Category Archives: Automotive

Ford Start Concept – More than simply a design exploration into the feasibility of a small car.



BEIJING, April 23, 2010 – For parts of the world that are growing increasingly urban, the future of the automobile looks small, green, smart and fun in the eyes of Ford designers who created the Ford Start Concept. It’s a design vision inspired for the transportation needs of the world’s mega cities.

Making its global debut at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, the Ford Start Concept is more than simply a design exploration into the feasibility of a small car. It also demonstrates how Ford will extend the promise of its EcoBoost engine technology story even further – previewing a fuel-efficient petrol Ford EcoBoost engine with just three cylinders and 1.0 liter of displacement, yet the power of a larger, 1.6-liter I4 engine.

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Posted by on April 25, 2010 in Automotive



Porsche 918 Spyder Concept: Oh…man…

Well, I guess hybrids can look sexy and cool! Porsche took the wraps off a 2-seat mid-engine supercar on the eve of the Geneva Auto Show: the Concept Study Porsche 918 Spyder – a high-performance hybrid for the 21st century.


Porsche: The 500 hp V8/218 hp Electric Hybrid 918 Spyder Concept hits 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 3.2 seconds, and it boasts a top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph). Not only that, according to Porsche, it laps the Nürburgring in less than 7:30 minutes, faster than the drool inducing Carrera GT.


Porsche says that, when driven accordingly [yes I’m laughing too], the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder Concept gets an outstanding 78 mpg, with an emissions level of just 70 grams of C02 per kilometer.


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Posted by on March 3, 2010 in Automotive, Racing


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Toyota Announces Comprehensive Plan to Fix Accelerator Pedals on Recalled Vehicles and Ensure Customer Safety

Toyota Answers Customer Questions About the Solution for Sticking Accelerator Pedals

Rigorously Tested Reinforced Pedals Will Eliminate the Excess Friction that Caused Sticking

Toyota Will Make Concerted Effort to Repair Recalled Vehicles as Quickly and Conveniently as Possible

TORRANCE, Calif., February 1, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A., Inc., today announced it will begin fixing accelerator pedals in recalled Toyota Division vehicles this week.  Toyota’s engineers have developed and rigorously tested a solution that involves reinforcing the pedal assembly in a manner that eliminates the excess friction that has caused the pedals to stick in rare instances.  In addition, Toyota has developed an effective solution for vehicles in production.

Pedal Assembly Parts to reinforce the pedals are already being shipped for use by dealers, and dealer training is under way.  Many Toyota dealers will work extended hours to complete the recall campaign as quickly and conveniently as possible, some even staying open 24 hours a day. The company has also taken the unprecedented action of stopping production of affected vehicles for the week of February 1.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive,” said Jim Lentz, president and Chief Operating Officer, TMS.  “We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to make things right.  Stopping production is never an easy decision, but we are 100% confident it was the right decision.  We know what’s causing the sticking accelerator pedals, and we know what we have to do to fix it.  We also know it is most important to fix this problem in the cars on the road.”

Lentz added: “We are focused on making this recall as simple and trouble-free as possible, and will work day and night with our dealers to fix recalled vehicles quickly.  We want to demonstrate that our commitment to safety is as high as ever and that our commitment to our customers is unwavering.”

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Posted by on February 1, 2010 in Automotive, Public Service


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Automakers Deliver on Hybrid Technology, But Too Often Inflate Cost with Luxury Options ~ Union of Concerned Scientists, Hybrid Scorecard

Automakers Deliver on Hybrid Technology, But Too Often Inflate Cost with Luxury Options


WASHINGTON (January 28, 2010) — Many automakers are selling hybrid vehicles with significantly enhanced environmental performance and fuel economy at a reasonable cost, but too often they are inflating prices by including unnecessary luxury features, such as DVD players, keyless entry systems and leather interiors, according to a new “Hybrid Scorecard” guide from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“Hybrids don’t have to be luxury vehicles,” said Don Anair, the senior vehicles analyst with UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program who oversaw the guide. “They should be within the reach of all Americans. Car buyers shouldn’t be forced to buy high-end bells and whistles when fuel economy and reducing emissions are their top priority.”

The popular 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid illustrate the problem with “forced features.” UCS’s scorecard gave both cars a high “hybrid value” rating. Both emit 31 percent less heat-trapping pollution than their base conventional models due to their use of hybrid drivetrains, each of which costs approximately $4,000. But both models come with forced features that cost nearly as much as their hybrid drivetrains. The Honda Civic Hybrid has more than $3,000 worth of forced features, while the Ford Fusion Hybrid includes nearly $4,000 worth.

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Posted by on January 29, 2010 in Automotive, Green Tech


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Public Service Announcement: Driving While BlackBerrying

14% of American drivers admit that they’ve read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving.

29% say they often see others texting at the wheel.

British research released on September 18 found that texting while driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol or cannabis. The reaction times of drivers on a simulator slowed by 35% while writing or reading text messages, compared to 21% for those under the influence of cannabis and 12% at the U.K.’s legal alcohol limit.

Nearly 50% of drivers aged between 18 and 24 texted while driving, the study said.

The texters also drifted out of lanes more and had poorer steering control.

The overall driving performance was poor among those tested by the Transport Research Laboratory, which also carried out the previous studies, the RAC Foundation said.

Steering control among drivers in the text test was 91% worse, compared with 35% worse for those under the influence of cannabis.



Posted by on September 28, 2008 in Automotive, Public Service


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Formula One Is Going Green In 2009

“In 2009 Formula One is going hybrid as the first stage of a programme to divert the vast research effort at the pinnacle of motor sport towards energy efficiency,” Mosley said. “The development of engines has been frozen, meaning that extra power can only be gained by making better use of energy, or by getting more useful work from the fuel burned.
 “Called KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), this hybrid device is set to revolutionise Formula One. It will make the sport at once more environmentally friendly, road relevant, and at the cutting edge of future automotive technology.
Kinetic Energy Recovery System (F1)

Kinetic Energy Recovery System (F1)

KERS is a 55-pound hybrid addition (light by hybrid standards, but heavy by Formula One standards) that stores kinetic energy in a flywheel in the vehicle’s transmission. This kinetic energy can then be used at the push of a “boost” button on the steering wheel. Instead of using batteries and electric motors for energy storage, KERS relies on mechanical energy storage.

Rumors that F1 cars in the future will include pedal power for an even larger boost in fuel efficiency, although not without a serious cost to performance, remain unconfirmed.

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Posted by on August 31, 2008 in Automotive, Racing


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‘TOP GEAR’ Comes to NBC; DOH! NBC Miss-Shifts First Three Gears…Loses Race

Top Gear is coming to NBC, but it appears that NBC has already ruined it.

Now I am compelled to ask: “Has anyone at NBC ever even watched the show?” Richard Mark, Jeremy Clarkson, and James May, the hosts of the BBC TWO program Top Gear, are what make it so enjoyable! Instead, we Americans are going to be graced, so to speak, with the likes of Adam Carolla, Eric Stromer, and Tanner Foust. Scintillating eh? HEADLINE: NBC Miss-Shifts First 3 Gears Off Of Starting Line…Loses Race. HIGH-OCTANE my A**!


BURBANK – June 16, 2008 – Television and radio comedian Adam Carolla, champion rally and drift racer Tanner Foust, and TV construction guru Eric Stromer, will lead NBC’s pilot of the international smash hit series “Top Gear.” The production will begin later this week.

Produced by BBC Worldwide America, the U.S. version of the hit franchise will mirror the UK show’s irreverent humor and camaraderie between the three presenters, epic races, outrageous stunts and challenges, unique celebrity guest participation and eccentric methods of testing cars.

“This franchise is a proven winner worldwide and the hosting team of Adam, Tanner and Eric that we have brought together for the U.S. version offers a perfect match of humor, insider know-how and priceless track experience,” said Craig Plestis, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming Development and Specials, NBC Entertainment. “We are going to create a high-powered show that, like the original, will keep viewers in every demographic clutching the edge of their seats.”

“These three guys will get to drive the world’s most amazing cars, go on incredible road trips and blow stuff up. It’s a dirty old job but someone has to do it…why didn’t I get the job?!” said Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, TV Sales and Content & Production, BBC Worldwide America.

Jeremy Clarkson, executive producer and host of the UK “Top Gear” said: “This is fantastic news – but how on earth you lot are going to do it on the wrong side of the road I’ve no idea.”

Adam Carolla:

Television and radio personality Adam Carolla is host of the daily, nationally-syndicated radio program “The Adam Carolla Show,” based out of Los Angeles’ KLSX 97.1/ FREE FM. With partners Jimmy Kimmel and Daniel Kellison, Carolla created Jackhole Industries where he produced and starred in two hit Comedy Central shows, “The Man Show” and “Crank Yankers.” Carolla also co-hosted the nationally-syndicated radio program “Loveline” with Dr. Drew Pinsky for 10 years, as well as its TV version on MTV. Carolla also recently wrote and starred in the independent, award-winning feature film, “The Hammer.” In season six of “Dancing with the Stars,” Adam became the first ever contestant to complete a Paso Doble on a unicycle. Carolla is an avid car collector and owns several classic collectible Lamborghinis, Maseratis, two Ferraris and an Audi S4.

Tanner Foust:

Tanner Foust is in high-demand as a stunt driver, with film credits including “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and “The Dukes of Hazard.” Foust is a winning competitor in rally, drift, ice racing and time attack with multiple champion podium placements including the 2007 X Games Rally Champion and 2007 Formula Drift Pro Drift Champion. His varied race experience includes open wheel competition, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb (2002 – 2004), five Ice Racing championships and the 2005 PGT Rally Championship. He also holds class lap records at numerous U.S. road courses in Time Attack. In addition, Foust also hosted “Supercars Exposed” for the SPEED channel. Foust’s car of choice is a tricked-out M3.

Eric Stromer:

Eric Stromer, host of the HGTV show “Over Your Head,” started life in construction and remodeling houses after a short acting career as a soap opera hunk was abruptly ended by a Styrofoam boulder on the set of “Santa Barbara.” For 20 years he ran a successful building company before becoming the face of HGTV’s hit show. He’s a regular on Adam Carolla’s nationally-syndicated radio show giving out construction advice, and also appears on TLC’s “Clean Sweep,” NBC’s “Three Wishes” and is a special correspondent for “The Insider.” Stromer prefers his Camry hybrid.

About the Executive Producers:

The pilot of “Top Gear” will be executive produced by Tod Mesirow and Kevin Harris. Mesirow’s background includes producing credits on “Wired Science,” Discovery Channel’s “Smash Lab,” “Mythbusters,” and “Monster Garage.” He also executive produced Discovery Studio’s “Overhaulin’” for TLC. Harris’ credits include “The Apprentice” and “The Baby Borrowers” for NBC.

About Top Gear:

The series, which premiered in the UK in 1977, is consistently BBC TWO’s most-watched program in the UK. The UK version of “Top Gear” is broadcast globally in over 100 countries and has been airing on BBC America since 2007. The program has been the recipient of various awards including National Television Awards, BAFTAs, Broadcast Award, Royal Television Society Awards and an International Emmy Award. Top celebrity guests have included Hugh Grant, Simon Cowell, Ewan McGregor, Helen Mirren and Gordon Ramsay. In addition to the television show, the “Top Gear” brand has achieved global success. The self-titled magazine Top Gear continues to be both the best-selling car and men’s magazines in the UK. Internationally, Top Gear is the leading motoring media brand.

About BBC Worldwide America:

BBC Worldwide America (BBCWA) is part of BBC Worldwide – the main commercial arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). BBCWA has headquarters in New York and Los Angeles and brings together all of BBC Worldwide’s businesses in the U.S. – including cable channel BBC America and a bi-coastal production division responsible for the smash hit “Dancing with the Stars,” which returns for its 7th season this Fall.

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Posted by on July 2, 2008 in Automotive, Opinion


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