Greener than a Prius and hotter than a Maserati, the Fisker Karma promises to change the way the world thinks about electric cars. The only problem is that nobody outside the company has driven one yet. Will Henrik Fisker tempt buyers into the electric age, or is he already a relic of the past?
By Bill GiffordPosted 04.11.2010 at 9:16 pm 1 Comment
Long, wide and low-slung, the car looks exotic, unplaceable. “It’s the length of a Mercedes CLS, the width of a BMW 7-series, and the height of a Porsche 911,” says the corporate spokesman at the wheel. The front end is so long that it must hold at least a V8, but in fact there is no discernible engine noise, only the quiet whine of electric motors. Instead, a pair of external speakers emits—for effect—a sound somewhere between a Formula One car and a starship.
The 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was quieter, smaller and shorter than in years' past. But it was not, however, depressing, and considering the smoldering wreckage that is the automotive industry, that's quite an accomplishment.
Two months ago, it was far from clear whether Detroit's Big 3 carmakers would even exist by the time their hometown auto show rolled around. Thanks to government funds they made it—and as a result, much of the Detroit show seemed to be a performance for Washington; an elaborate sales pitch for the continued relevance and potential solvency of the American auto industry. Hybrids, plug-ins, and pure electric cars, both real and vaporous, were central to that pitch. Meanwhile, Nissan, Infiniti, Porsche and Ferrari skipped town, and boutique electric-car makers Fisker and Tesla and the Chinese automakers BYD and Brilliance staked out sizable plots on the main showroom floor. Here's a selection of highlights.
PopSci heads to the 20th North American International Auto Show to bring you the mean, green machines about to flood our shores
By Seth FletcherPosted 01.20.2008 at 11:41 pm 0 Comments
Mazda Furai Front
Is this the Batmobile? No—it's the Mazda Furai racecar, a 450 hp monster powered by a three-rotor rotary engine.
Green's been in the air of late, and this year's North American International Auto Show was no exception. While the usual hyped sports cars and solid trucks weren't exactly in short supply, nearly every concept car toed the eco line. Fuel cells, biodiesel and batteries powered most. Ethanol was popular despite continual rumors of a looming corn shortage (probably less of a problem in the "conceptual" realm). Even Hummer promised a FlexFuel system for its HX concept. Of course, none of this means power will be sacrificed.
When General Motors rolled out its "skateboard" vision for a fuel cell car at the 2002 Detroit auto show in January, there was buzz, and there was a big question. The skateboard concept, called Auto-nomy, was the product of GM's Design and Technology Fusion Group, and it radically reordered automobile physiology: Fuel cells, hydrogen, motor, and brakes were all crammed into a 15-foot-long, 6-inch-thick chassis onto which modular car bodies could be snapped. Drive-by-wire controls would plug into the skateboard's computer brain through a docking port.
2002 Consumer Electronics Show: We uncover the really cool stuff you'll want to own soon.
By Tom SamiljanPosted 03.19.2002 at 8:10 pm 0 Comments
It's day two of the 2002 international Consumer Electronics Show, and I'm wired and exhausted. I've been sharing the Las Vegas Convention Center with 110,000 people from around the world, and it feels like I've bumped into every single one of them. It's the same thing every year, yet I always come back, for this is the only place you can get a peek at the latest stereos, TVs, PDAs, phones, and other devices about to hit the market.