Tag Archives: Auto

e-XIV electric concept revealed for Paris Motor Show

SsangYong e-XIV

SsangYong’s Paris concept uses a range-extended electric drive system.


Although e-XIV looks like it should mean e-14, Korean automaker SsangYong intends the tortured acronym for its new electric concept to stand for electric – eXciting user Interface Vehicle. The press release announcing the new concept did not go into details of what the user interface might be like, but did mention it would be electrically driven, and include a gasoline engine to generate electricity once the batteries are depleted.

The vehicle renderings show many cues standard on recent concept vehicles. The rounded front and LED lights all around are reminiscent of such past concept
cars as the Citroen Revolte. Oversized wheels on what looks like a small SUV have also been a common theme with recent concept vehicles. The small SUV style is somewhat illusory with the e-XIV, as the concept is just over 5 feet high. With only two doors, it seems more like a hatchback.

Another common feature of recent concept cars is an electrified drivetrain. SsangYong gave few details about the e-XIV except to note that it would use an electric drive motor and range-extender gasoline engine. Solar panels on the roof are designed to provide extra electricity.

The concept represents an affirmation of SsangYong’s vitality, as the company was saved from bankruptcy last year by Indian automaker Mahindra Mahindra.

The concept will be unveiled during the press preview for the 2012 Paris Motor Show, beginning on September 27.

SsangYong e-XIV

The e-XIV is classified as a B-segment vehicle in Europe.


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Ford Sync advises what to do on a date

TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon

The TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon attracted many app developers, some of who participated in Ford’s Sync Developer Challenge.

James Martin/CNET)

Seeking new apps to integrate with its
cars through Sync AppLink, Ford hosted its annual Developer Challenge at TechCrunch Disrupt. This year’s winner is startup Dates.fm, a Web site and app designed to give couples suggestions about what to do on date nights.

Dates.fm and its sister site, BeCouply, are currently in beta. A counter on the BeCouply site says it will launch in 3 days and 21 hours. The founders of Dates.fm, Becky Cruze and Pius Uzamere, attended the TechCrunch Disrupt event and entered the Dates.fm app in the Ford Challenge, using the Sync API to develop voice commands and interface elements that would make the app usable in a car.

Ford says the Dates.fm Internet service “makes it fun and easy to discover great date ideas, capture special moments, and connect with other couples.” Cruze notes that the service lets couples favorite date ideas, saving them for return visits. Of the Sync integration, Uzamere says that most dates start in the car.

Winning the Challenge means the Dates.fm founders will get support to develop a release version of the app that can integrate with Sync. They will also be invited to join Ford at
CES 2013 in January.

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Streetpong lets pedestrians play Pong against each other

Streetpong gives walkers something to do while waiting for the light to change.


Two students at the HAWK University in Germany have created an interesting concept to kill time and entertain pedestrians while waiting at a crosswalk. Instead of simply standing around waiting for the light to change, Sandro Engel and Holger Michel thought to have two walkers play each other in a game of Pong. Players compete on either of the two touch-screen controllers, and the game lasts as long as the light takes to change.

Unfortunately, Streetpong is only a concept, as the demonstration video was made using special effects and a green screen. While you won’t be able to test your Pong skills any time soon, if ever, the idea is still a pretty cool one and worth checking out.

STREETPONG from HAWK Hildesheim on Vimeo.

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GM clothes homeless in extra auto material

Coat made from donated materials

Empowerment Pant)

Interesting news out of Detroit, General Motors donates leftover sound absorbing material to be turned into warm weather clothing for the city’s homeless.

In total, GM has given over 2,000 lbs of unused and leftover materials to the Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based nonprofit aimed at providing the homeless of that city a job with pay, and a coat. A coat, that in this case, is not only self-heating, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag, but is also made from material donated by GM. In one of the coldest cities in the United States, a coat can go a long way.

A small operation, the Empowerment Plan employs eight homeless women full-time making around 150 coats a month. The idea behind the organization is to employ homeless women of Detroit, teach sewing and manufacturing skills to people who need jobs, and provide a warm jacket for those people living on the street.

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Nissan previews a tablet, complete with a car, for Paris

Nissan Terra concept

Nissan will unveil its compact SUV Terra concept during the 2012 Paris Motor Show.


Showing off what seems like a very good idea for future
cars, Nissan designed its new Terra SUV concept car to use a
tablet as its key and instrument panel. The concept, to be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, uses three electric motors to drive the wheels and a fuel cell stack for electricity.

The design of the Terra concept follows some cues seen on Nissan’s Juke, so much so that the Terra looks like a very futuristic version of that compact SUV. High front fenders hold integrated LED headlights, while round fog lights are mounted below the bumper. Of course, as a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Terra does not need a large front air intake.

Nissan Terra SUV concept: Hydrogen-powered and tablet-enabled (pictures)

Click through for the full photo gallery and more details.

Typical for current concept cars are the lack of side mirrors, the large wheels, and the heavily sculpted sides.

Nissan provides no specifics about the drive system, except to note that the fuel cell stack sits under the hood, while a single drive motor turns the front wheels. The Terra gets all-wheel drive from two additional in-wheel motors at the rear wheels. How much hydrogen the car can carry, and at what pressure, was not revealed, although Nissan does say that it could produce cars with this drive system today if the hydrogen filling infrastructure were available.

The interior has four single seats arranged in a staggered fashion. The driver’s seat is set as close to center as possible, the idea seeming to be that this position will lead to better car control.

With the Terra concept, the driver maintains possession of the control tablet. When getting into the car, the driver docks the tablet, enabling the car to be driven. In its docked position, the tablet shows a speedometer and, presumably, hydrogen level and energy usage. Nissan says the driver can switch the tablet view to infotainment functions, although it is a small screen to simultaneously show driving information such as vehicle speed.

Nissan will unveil the Terra during the press preview of the Paris Motor Show, beginning on September 27.

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Five hybrid cars: The newest gas-electric fuel-sippers

Hybrid drive systems in modern
cars store what would otherwise be wasted kinetic energy from braking, making it available to supplement the work of the gasoline engine. These hybrid cars get much better fuel economy than their gasoline-only equivalents, and, due to regenerative braking, reduce brake pad wear. Although the Prius is the hybrid poster car, many other types of hybrid cars exist today, meeting the American buyers’ variety of needs.

Here are five of the latest hybrids hitting the market.

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

The newest hybrid hitting the U.S. market is based on one of Ford’s European models. The C-Max Hybrid is kind of like a tall, fat hatchback. It uses a similar hybrid system to what Ford will be offering in its upcoming Fusion Hybrid. As such, the electric motor can drive the car for short distances, letting the gas engine remain off. This operation is a boon in heavy traffic. Read the full review.

EPA rating: 47 mpg city/47 mpg highway

2013 Acura ILX Hybrid

Acura’s newest model, the ILX, comes in both gasoline-only and hybrid models. Based on the Civic, the ILX Hybrid gets its own body style and the premium elements in the cabin you would expect from Acura. As it uses the same hybrid system as found in the Civic Hybrid, the car uses a lithium ion battery pack for electricity storage. However, this system does not allow the electric motor to drive the car by itself, instead assisting the gas engine with acceleration. Read the full review.

EPA rating: 39 mpg city/38 mpg highway

2012 Toyota Prius C

The Prius has been such a big success for Toyota that the company decided to branch out the brand, offering new models under the Prius name to accommodate the different needs of buyers. The Prius C is the mini version of this hybrid poster child, a hatchback with diminutive proportions making it sized for the city. It uses a downsized version of the Prius’ hybrid drive system, which loses nothing in capability. Like the Prius, the Prius C can drive for short distances under electric power. Read the full review.

EPA rating: 53 mpg city/46 mpg highway

2012 Lexus CT 200h

Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, has been offering its own hybrid vehicles for years, giving buyers who want a car with nicer appointments than the Prius an option. The CT 200h is one of the more recent hybrid entrants to the Lexus model line. This hatchback has no gasoline-only equivalent and cuts a stylish figure. It uses the same hybrid power train as the Prius’, which makes it big on fuel economy, although a little short on power. Read the full review.

EPA rating: 43 mpg city/40 mpg highway

2012 Buick LaCrosse

GM’s hybrid efforts over the last decade have not been all that successful, but with the Buick LaCrosse it looks like the company has found the right formula. The new LaCrosse is a premium sedan with cabin appointments close to that of a Lexus, and it comes standard with GM’s mild hybrid system. This system consists of a modern, direct injection engine aided by an electric motor. The motor does not drive the wheels of its own accord, but adds to acceleration and enables the engine to shut down at traffic stops. Read the full review.

EPA rating: 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway

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