Posts from the ‘automotive’ Category

The Transportation Shake Up

The transportation shake up

For those who live in rural areas, giving up your vehicle and choosing to travel solely by alternate modes of transportation is difficult. However, driving less and looking to other transportation options to supplement your travel is do-able – and your health, community and environment will thank you.

Active Transportation:

Active transportation, or ‘human-powered travel” refers primarily to walking and cycling but can also include in-line skating, skateboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even kayaking and canoeing. Although not all options are possible in every community, biking to the convenience store or walking to your neighbour’s dinner party can have multiple benefits:

• Improve health by fighting obesity and chronic illnesses

• Offers independent mobility for children, youth and seniors

• Emission free, making it a powerful weapon against climate change and air pollution

Public Transportation:
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Volkswagen XL1 Concept

That’s right, a sipper car, not a supercar like the VW Group’s Lamborghinis or Bugattis that appeared at the 2011 Qatar Auto Show.

It’s not unusual for us to find all sorts of experimental vehicles at auto shows, but to drive one just a few days after its launch? Very unusual.

But that’s why we were in Doha, Qatar, where VW’s slim and aero slick XL1 made its debut. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch — grandson of Ferdinand Porsche and godfather of such legends as Porsche’s 917 race car — has set the 1-liter/100-km mileage goal — that’s 235 mpg to us — as a corporate quest.

With the XL1 Concept, Volkswagen beats that goal with an astounding fuel consumption figure of only 0.9 liters/100 km, which translates to 261 mpg.

Approaching the Problem from All Fronts
Aero: Super sleek with a CD of 0.186, the XL1 has an overall teardrop shape. The aero detailing is precise, from louvered inlets for radiator air, to a sculpted bellypan, to rear wheel spats to well defined covers on the wheels that hold the super-narrow Michelin low-rolling-resistance tires.
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SUV Compare: CR-V vs. RAV4 vs. Forester

The SUV is not dead — it’s merely evolved to fit the current automotive landscape. Opulent behemoths with V8 power and indulgent interiors have fallen from favor in the face of four-dollar fuel prices. Built on a car chassis and using car-sized engines, “crossover” SUVs are a hot commodity. The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are far and away the top dogs in the small-SUV segment. Our third competitor is the all-new 2009 Subaru Forester.

Model Lineup
The RAV4 and CR-V can be ordered in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), while all Foresters come standard with Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD. The base Forester X starts at $19,995 and the model line tops out with the XT Limited at $28,195. The Forester has five distinct trims with individual price points.

Honda’s CR-V line-up baselines at $20,700 for the FWD LX and is split into FWD and AWD examples of its three basic trims: LX, EX and EX-L. An AWD EX-L tops the price sheet at with a $26,700 tag. Similarly, the Toyota RAV4 has three trim levels: Base, Sport and Limited. Starting at $21,250, the RAV4 has no less than 12 price points, peaking at $26,820.
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The new Infiniti M37x, equipped with all-wheel drive in combination with 330-horsepower V6 engine horsepower, and can really move when pressed. He also has a quiet city driving conditions, with a smooth liquid. And the 7-speed automatic transmission has helped me to achieve 18 miles per gallon in mixed driving. As expected, a luxurious interior with leather and old wood treatment in the cockpit. On the road it is smooth, quiet ride and dreams, thanks largely to technological elements, such as Premium sound and navigation systems. Even with heavy all-wheel drive, Infiniti felt nimble and light on his feet. Infiniti M37x is a truly remarkable car, not only for driving, but the available technology that is unmatched. Jo-Chulick

Infiniti M37x feels like a passing car. Although she grew animated and facelift, the changes seem on the surface. Suspension the same as did four years ago, and as Infiniti, it’s also a slight sense of insecurity in sharp turns. The engine still feels the same way as before, and still finds a lousy fuel economy (16 miles per gallon). Superficial “Eco Pedal is inefficient and annoying. As the eco-pedal is activated, the fuel consumption seems unchanged, but the pedal seems to be stuck in the molasses and slow to respond. Detection system to prevent irritation of the channel than I want the habit of riding you want to expect from their own. Paul Hagger

Infiniti to expand their cars redesigned so that they all look the same basis, M is the last start. The new style looks good on the M, though. Like the previous generation, M interior furnishings with comfortable leather seats and upscale trim. Infiniti media system has a large screen with intuitive easy to use – much easier than the German competition. In 2011, M receives major engine of 3.7 liters, which is almost 30 hp more than the previous V6 does. Power is a good idea, but was not as high as I expected a performance car is difficult, even with 330 horsepower on tap. With AWD, handling is very good – the car does exactly what you expect. Sports sedan market has strong competition, but I think second place in this impressive group of cars. Perry stars

Don’t Count Out the V8

Don’t count out the V8 as a powerplant for the future.

Many contend that only fewer cylinders will help automakers meet new federal fuel economy and emissions rules. But some manufacturers have doubled down on their bets that the V8 engine will stay in the game.

In late April, General Motors Co. announced it was spending $893 million to upgrade North American factories to make new all-aluminum V8s.

Dean Guard, GM’s chief engineer and program manager for small-block V8 engines, says the investment “speaks volumes on the fact that General Motors believes for the foreseeable future that the V8s play a critical role in our gasoline engine lineup.”

Guard said truck buyers in particular need the power and endurance of a V8 to do the things trucks are meant to do, such as towing or hauling heavy cargo.

GM uses cylinder deactivation, which it calls Active Fuel Management, to improve V8 efficiency by firing only four cylinders when engines are under light loads. The company also is using direct fuel injection, camshaft phasing and transmission advances to increase fuel efficiency in V-8s.

Smaller, Lighter V8s
At recent auto shows, Ford showed off its 5.0-liter, 412-hp engine in the 2011 Mustang as an example of making a performance V8 fuel-stingy. The EPA rates the car at 26 mpg on the highway.

“V8s are going to be smaller, more powerful and weigh less, and they will be in vehicles where customers expect a V8,” said Ford spokesman Said Deep.

One example, he said, is Ford’s latest diesel V8, which is 160 pounds lighter than the previous diesel because it uses compacted graphite iron casting technology to make the engine block. In the case of the Mustang, Ford used dozens of technological advances, including a 32-valve design and twin independent variable cam timing.
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Hydrogen Cars Closer to Reality

Did you know that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe? That it powers our very sun?That everything in the hydrogen future is going to be so groovy that we’ll need tranquilizer darts shot into our necks just to keep from screaming about how great it’ll be?

There are politicians, plutocrats and pundits who believe that H2 is the future, that ramming it through the membranes of a fuel cell to make electricity is what will power cars in the not-too-far-from-near term. And there are companies betting big bucks on that, too.

All of these elements — people, private industry and government entities — converged this week at the annual National Hydrogen Association’s Exposition and Conference in Long Beach, Calif. Even the governor showed up and bench-pressed a few atoms.

The news? One interesting thing was that Toyota chose this week to announce that the target price for its fuel cell-powered sedan, due in showrooms in 2015, will be about $50,000. That’s a far cry from early fuel-cell-car estimates that were usually more like “astronomical.”

Toyota, General Motors, Honda, Daimler and Hyundai have all said they’ll have fuel-cell cars available for retail sale in the United States within five years. So while it’s still off in the future, the fuel-cell revolution is a little less futuristic than it traditionally has been.
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Motor Trend details 2013 Mitsubishi Evolution XI’s plug-in electric drivetrain

Rumors that the 2013 Mitsubishi Evolution XI will come with a hybrid powertrain aren’t new. In fact, we first heard such rumblings way back in October of 2009 when the Japanese automaker unleashed its PX-MiEV concept, which is also rumored to have received the green light for production using the same platform as the Evo, at the Tokyo Motor Show. But Motor Trend has a few more intriguing details to share, starting with the fact that it will boast a plug and a short-distance EV mode that won’t ever activate the gasoline-fueled engine.

If MT is correct, a powerful electric motor would drive the front wheels of the Evo XI, drawing power from a lithium ion battery pack, while the (presumably turbocharged but possibly normally aspirated) 2.0-liter engine would drive the rear wheels only when necessary. The two combined powerplants could theoretically put out as much as 350 horsepower (or more, depending on final specifications) to all four wheels, catapulting the car from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds.

Finally, the Evo would reportedly be blessed with the Active Steering and Roll Control Suspension that Mitsubishi has been working on getting into production since 2006, as well as a new electronically-controlled Active Yaw Control system for the engine-driven rear wheels. Sounds like a lot of technology, which could potentially equal lots of weight and a hefty sticker price.