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Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Ford to Push Technologically Advanced Cars to Stop Share Price Landslide

Ford CEO, Jim Hackett, is looking to lead a technological revolution, saying that “dumb cars” have no place and Ford isn’t going to be left behind.
The revolution begins by focusing on assisted, autonomous, and electric vehicles now and in the future.

With Ford’s share price in a downward spiral over the past few years, GM, on the other hand, has seen share increases. Of course, the most technologically advanced automaker, Tesla, recently crept past Ford and GM when its valuation hit $58.7 billion – ultimately making it America’s most valuable car company. As such, Ford investors have been putting on the pressure for the brand to focus on the latest technology and be less dependent on large truck sales as its primary source of income.

“Hackett believes that cars still have a future on the road, but dumb cars will fall behind.”

Hackett believes that cars still have a future on the road, but dumb cars will fall behind, which is already happening with a lot of Ford’s models as other brands surpass the brand in that regard. At the Michigan CEO summit in Detroit, Hackett said, “Fords future is not about giving up the car. We have to evolve these things to be ever smarter. For a while, we didn’t see the computer as an integrated aspect. Now, think about it, my vehicle is a rolling computer.”

And, we have no choice but to agree as every other automaker is integrated was we now consider “basic” assistance and autonomous systems as standard equipment or, at the very least, an available option at relatively low cost compared to just a few years ago. After all, when a company like Tesla, which doesn’t even know what profit smells like, can become America’s most valuable automaker ahead of long-living brands like Ford and GM, it’s time to put up or shut up.

“In recent years, Ford has introduced things like drift mode in the Focus RS, line lock, and a diff-locking handbrake”

Of course, it’s not that Ford isn’t pushing to some extent. In recent years, the brand has introduced things like drift mode in the Focus RS, line lock, and a diff-locking handbrake, among other technologies. Now, however, it’s time for the brand to step its game up. It needs more EVs, it needs more hybrids, and it needs more autonomous tech. If not, the brand is going to continue to slide, and one of America’s oldest car companies could eventually fade in the history books as a once great but failed automaker.

Does Jim Hackett have what it takes to stop Ford’s landslide and bring it back to par with its main rival GM? Let us know what you think and what you would like to see in the coming years from the blue oval.

References

Ford Focus


2016 Ford Focus RS - image 664735

Read our full review on the 2017 Ford Focus RS.


2018 Ford Focus - image 725939

Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Ford Focus.

PostHeaderIcon Fisker’s New Battery Patent Promises 500-Mile Range; One-Minute Charging

Fisker, the company that has worked diligently to bring about a dead-to-rights Tesla Model S fighter, has just announced a new battery patent that promises a new technology capable of ranges exceeding 500 miles and one-minute recharging. Let me say that again: One-minute recharging.

Details are still rather thin at this point, but we have learned that Fisker’s new power storage technology will allow the company to build solid-state batteries with lots of surface area in comparison to the current thin-film solid-state electrodes currently in development and use. This ultimately means better conductivity below the shell which, in turn, makes for a battery that works better in cold weather and charges faster. Keep in mind; this is why lithium-ion batteries are the go-to right now for EVs – the current capabilities of solid-state batteries are insufficient and low conductivity levels is a primary cause of this. So, if what Fisker is saying is true, the company could have just solved a very big problem and could, very well, usher in the next generation of battery technology.

Of course, Fisker isn’t the only company gunning for solid-state batteries, and Toyota has even promised its battery would be put to use in electric cars by 2022, just two years sooner than what Fisker claims it can do. Then again, Toyota hasn’t proved its technology, so it still has the same burden that has now be thrust onto Fisker’s shoulders as well. It’s obviously an arms race in which the winner will reign supreme in the EV world. In the end, Fisker if lofting out claims for density 2.5 times that of current lithium-ion batters, which means these babies could charge in minutes and offer up ranges of 500 miles. Just think, you can pull into a “gas station” and by the time you make up your hot dogs, buy a beverage, and take a leak, you’re EV is good for another 500 miles. Range Anxiety? Not in this future. The question now is: Who’s going to deliver on these lofty promises first?

Toyota still has a few years, and the man behind Fisker isn’t exactly working with a full deck of successful resumes either. He hasn’t exactly been the most successful cat on the street, and he promises an advanced battery in the Emotion just to retract his claims. But, for EVs to be truly successful, this is the kind of technology we need, and if we’re really this close – Toyota claims 2022 and Fisker 2024 – we’ll certainly be seeing it happen in most of our lifetimes. And, once that technology is there, there isn’t really a need for the ICE anymore either now is there?

Have something on your mind? Let us know in the comments section below. We’re curious as to what you think about these hefty claims.

References

Fisker Emotion


2017 Fisker EMotion - image 693722

Read our full review on the 2018 Fisker Emotion.



Read more Fisker news.

PostHeaderIcon On-Demand Aviation Could Be Closer To Reality Than We Think

The prospect of air taxis has long been a pipe dream for this world. But it might not stay that way anymore now that Uber and NASA have finalized a partnership that will sensually turn “on-demand aviation” from fantasy to reality. Together, the two companies hope to start doing test runs of flying taxis by 2020 – yes, that’s a little over two years away – in certain locations around the world, including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.

The announcement was made by no less than Uber’s own head of product, Jeff Holden, who laid out new details about the company’s ambitious Project Elevate program. Included in his speech at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal is the announcement that the ride-hailing service has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, which aims to create a new air-traffic control system that will specifically manage the low-flying, possibly autonomous aircrafts that Uber plans to develop to make up its fleet of air taxis. The goal, according to Holden, is to bring UberAir into the forefront of public transportation by “performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before.” Holden added that the road to getting there will be made easier by “combining Uber’s software engineering expertise with NASA’s decades of airspace experience.”

Whereas the full details of the Uber-NASA partnership haven’t been made clear, this partnership is far from a cosmetic one. There’s already a groundswell of support growing for the propagation of this technology, most notably from Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s leading the charge in turning Los Angeles into a true city of the future in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Rest assured, as the project evolves and becomes more feasible, expect more and more cities, and possibly countries, to jump aboard the prospect of seeing a full-fledged, fully operational, on-demand aviation offering in their locales.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The future is coming to the skies

For those who are still skeptical of Uber’s Elevate program, I understand where the cynicism is coming from. It’s hard to imagine a world where flying taxis actually exist because we’ve constantly been teased and promised it for years, and it’s become kind of an old hat to even put any stock in it.

But, there is something different now given how technology has advanced to the point that it’s actually becoming possible to do it. I’m not going to pretend to know the intricacies of the technology or the specifics on how far Uber has progressed in the development of the tech, but it is emboldening for all of us to start dreaming now when you consider that Uber isn’t the only company that’s putting in the work to put these flying taxis to the sky. Airbus is in on it too with CityAirbus; its version of a VTOL taxi that will take to the skies for test runs in 2018. Then there’s Volocopter, which broke ground on aerial testing over in Dubai back in September. Clearly, this technology is within reach enough that some of the biggest transportation and aviation firms are in a veritable arms race to see which company can be the first to bring the technology to life.

Uber’s inclusion of Los Angeles as a test city is a big deal

Previously, Uber only announced that it’s Project Elevate program had the green light to do test runs in Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But now, Los Angeles is in the fold and this is important for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is the city’s current traffic situation, which is horrible to put it lightly. It’s the most traffic congested city in the world as the city clocked in a staggering average of 104 hours of traffic jams in 2016 alone. What’s a good way, then, to ease the prevalence of gridlocks in such a densely-populated city? Offer air taxis to the public.

Then there’s Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti. He may not have universal popularity in the City of Angels, but he remains committed to turning Los Angeles into a city of the future. He’s been proactive in welcoming and embracing technology and innovation to the city, all with the goal of preparing it for the future, which now includes the hosting of the 2028 Summer Olympics.

If the tech succeeds, expect more cities to follow suit


On-Demand Aviation Could Be Closer To Reality Than We Think - image 744018

This is what’s at stake for companies like Uber and Airbus who are pioneering air taxi technology. If this revolutionary way of public transportation succeeds and becomes reality, it could literally decongest traffic gridlocks in cities all over the world, thus giving the population of these places more effective use of their time. I don’t think that it’s going to completely eradicate traffic, but it’s far and away one of the most ambitious plans out there. And, for what it’s worth, it’s also, ironically, one of those solutions that could become a reality sooner than we think.

PostHeaderIcon On-Demand Aviation Could Be Closer To Reality Than We Think

The prospect of air taxis has long been a pipe dream for this world. But it might not stay that way anymore now that Uber and NASA have finalized a partnership that will sensually turn “on-demand aviation” from fantasy to reality. Together, the two companies hope to start doing test runs of flying taxis by 2020 – yes, that’s a little over two years away – in certain locations around the world, including Los Angeles, Dallas, and Dubai.

The announcement was made by no less than Uber’s own head of product, Jeff Holden, who laid out new details about the company’s ambitious Project Elevate program. Included in his speech at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal is the announcement that the ride-hailing service has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA, which aims to create a new air-traffic control system that will specifically manage the low-flying, possibly autonomous aircrafts that Uber plans to develop to make up its fleet of air taxis. The goal, according to Holden, is to bring UberAir into the forefront of public transportation by “performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before.” Holden added that the road to getting there will be made easier by “combining Uber’s software engineering expertise with NASA’s decades of airspace experience.”

Whereas the full details of the Uber-NASA partnership haven’t been made clear, this partnership is far from a cosmetic one. There’s already a groundswell of support growing for the propagation of this technology, most notably from Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s leading the charge in turning Los Angeles into a true city of the future in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Rest assured, as the project evolves and becomes more feasible, expect more and more cities, and possibly countries, to jump aboard the prospect of seeing a full-fledged, fully operational, on-demand aviation offering in their locales.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

The future is coming to the skies

For those who are still skeptical of Uber’s Elevate program, I understand where the cynicism is coming from. It’s hard to imagine a world where flying taxis actually exist because we’ve constantly been teased and promised it for years, and it’s become kind of an old hat to even put any stock in it.

But, there is something different now given how technology has advanced to the point that it’s actually becoming possible to do it. I’m not going to pretend to know the intricacies of the technology or the specifics on how far Uber has progressed in the development of the tech, but it is emboldening for all of us to start dreaming now when you consider that Uber isn’t the only company that’s putting in the work to put these flying taxis to the sky. Airbus is in on it too with CityAirbus; its version of a VTOL taxi that will take to the skies for test runs in 2018. Then there’s Volocopter, which broke ground on aerial testing over in Dubai back in September. Clearly, this technology is within reach enough that some of the biggest transportation and aviation firms are in a veritable arms race to see which company can be the first to bring the technology to life.

Uber’s inclusion of Los Angeles as a test city is a big deal

Previously, Uber only announced that it’s Project Elevate program had the green light to do test runs in Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But now, Los Angeles is in the fold and this is important for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious reason is the city’s current traffic situation, which is horrible to put it lightly. It’s the most traffic congested city in the world as the city clocked in a staggering average of 104 hours of traffic jams in 2016 alone. What’s a good way, then, to ease the prevalence of gridlocks in such a densely-populated city? Offer air taxis to the public.

Then there’s Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti. He may not have universal popularity in the City of Angels, but he remains committed to turning Los Angeles into a city of the future. He’s been proactive in welcoming and embracing technology and innovation to the city, all with the goal of preparing it for the future, which now includes the hosting of the 2028 Summer Olympics.

If the tech succeeds, expect more cities to follow suit


On-Demand Aviation Could Be Closer To Reality Than We Think - image 744018

This is what’s at stake for companies like Uber and Airbus who are pioneering air taxi technology. If this revolutionary way of public transportation succeeds and becomes reality, it could literally decongest traffic gridlocks in cities all over the world, thus giving the population of these places more effective use of their time. I don’t think that it’s going to completely eradicate traffic, but it’s far and away one of the most ambitious plans out there. And, for what it’s worth, it’s also, ironically, one of those solutions that could become a reality sooner than we think.

PostHeaderIcon Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept

2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept

Just when you think that you have the auto industry all figured out, it still finds a way to make you question what you know. Very few automakers are as good at doing that as Lamborghini, and after bearing witness to the madness that is the Terzo Millennia Concept, I might as well just throw my hands up and admit defeat. I don’t know enough to know what Lamborghini knows because, if I did, I would’ve seen the Terzo Millennio Concept coming a while ago. But nothing prepares you for this kind of presentation, especially when the Italian automaker is involved. You just sit back, be amazed, and try not to piss yourself in the process.

The narrative surrounding the Terzo Millennio Concept is a pretty straightforward one. The concept is a joint creation by Lamborghini and some smart folks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was created to showcase the future of the Raging Bull, or rather, the possibilities of what can happen in automotive design and engineering when smart people work together for a common purpose. History hasn’t always been kind to this innovative bullishness, but if there’s one automaker that has proven to be adept at bringing state-of-the-art tech to life, no matter how ridiculous they may be, it’s Lamborghini. All that is why the Terzo Millennio Concept is so intriguing beyond the fact that it proudly wears the iconic Sant’Agata Bull badge. The concept may be defined by tech offerings that don’t exist yet, but that’s not to say they can’t happen, especially when Lamborghini’s involved.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio Concept.

  • Designed to be the super sports car of the third millennium
  • Futuristic technology
  • Body panels contain energy accumulation system, health monitoring, and self-healing technology
  • Four motors
  • Each wheel is designed around a motor to keep the body and powertrain separate
  • Four-wheel torque control, dynamic body control system
  • New architecture is said to “perfect airflow”
  • Shorter hood a first for Lambo
  • New lighting layout compared to traditional DNA
  • The true embodiment of future Lamborghini vehicles

Exterior


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743134
“The concept is outlandish in so many ways, yet it’s no accident that it looks the way it does.”

Where do I even begin? I suppose the obvious place to start is the “Terzo Millennio” name, which basically means “Third Millennium.” It’s no accident that Lamborghini opted for that monicker since CEO Stefano Domenicali himself referred to the concept as “the future of the super sports car for the third millennium.”

One look at the Terzo Millennio, and it’s easy to see the reference. The concept is outlandish in so many ways, yet it’s no accident that it looks the way it does. There’s a purpose behind every aerodynamic detail to the car, from the massive LMP1-style wheel arches, the short hood, the expansive windshield, to all the carbon fiber panels that seemingly protrude on all sections of the concept from just about every direction.

The front section has hints of Lamborghini’s styling DNA, but there are some new aspects to it too. For one, I haven’t seen a Lamborghini with that kind lighting configuration before. The shortened hood is another new approach, and it is a little jarring to see the windshield extend all the way to the same level as the headlights. It’s also worth noting how close to the ground the concept is. At least that’s one feature that you can expect to remain in concept form.


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743127
“Panels deemed unnecessary have been stripped out in the name of making the concept as light as possible”

Move to the side, and you’ll see one of the defining design traits of the Terzo Milennio. Panels deemed unnecessary have been stripped out in the name of making the concept as light as possible. You’ll see in a few angles that the traditional intakes in front of the rear wheels have been taken out completely. The result is a completely exposed section that gives the wind another area to blast through unimpeded. The concept also features two gills on each side – another nod to the unbridled focus on aerodynamics. It’s a similar story in the rear of the concept, though if I may be granted an opinion, this is my favorite section of the Terzo MIllenio. The stance alone is perfect. It’s brutish and elegant at the same time, kind of like how you’d describe a massive bull with muscles bulging from every body part but still moves with the grace that we humans can only dream of. It’s beautiful. It’s spectacular. It’s a work of art.

Here’s the really interesting part about the Terzo Millenio. I’ve rambled on about its design attributes, but I’ve yet to get to the defining element of the concept. Those body panels that make up the body of the concept aren’t just standard carbon fiber panels. They also store the concept’s power source. Yes, you read that right. The body panels themselves contain the batteries, specifically carbon fiber nanotubes that are malleable enough to to be shaped in such a way that they can be thin enough to be sandwiched in layers of carbon fiber, thus preventing the possibility of future Lambo owners getting electrocuted.


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743128

And, you thought the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio was your typical run-of-the-mill concept? Well, guess again.

Interior

There’s not much to talk as far as the interior is concerned. What we do know at this point is that the concept only comes with two seats since, you know, weight savings. Other than that, there’s plenty to speculate on what kind of cabin the concept has. Knowing Lamborghini, I imagine something of a never-seen-before set-up that relies on some kind of advanced AI interface with enough futuristic mumbo-jumbo to make George Jetson proud.

Drivetrain


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743164
“The concept uses four electric motors, housed at each of the four wheels”

If you’re dreaming about numbers, then continue to dream because neither Lamborghini nor MIT have any concrete power figures attached to the Terzo Millennio. Not that it matters because horsepower should be the least of our concern anyway. What’s important is the tech that comes with the concept, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s a doozy.

There are still elements about the drivetrain that speak to our language. One is the use of four electric motors, housed at each of the four wheels. Another is the use of advanced supercapacitors, something that Lamborghini has already fiddled with in the current Aventador.

But it wouldn’t be a Lamborghini concept without the inclusion of mind-blowing technology. This is where those body panels come into the equation. The idea is that instead of installing a clunky battery pack in the car – that’s added weight, among other perceived nuisances – the energy storage are built into the body panels of the car through that carbon fiber sandwiching process I alluded to earlier. Having this energy source in the body of the car not only helps in generating high amounts of power for the car, but also assists it through fast recharging, effective regeneration of kinetic energy, and slow degradation of the battery pack itself.


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743140
“Lamborghini says that the concept will be able to monitor its carbon fiber structure and detect if there are any issues to any of its panels”

The technology itself is a definite shot into the future, but it isn’t without its real-world issues, one of which is the physical integrity of the carbon fiber. As durable as it is, it’s no vibranium, so there is a possibility that the material cracks or even breaks, especially when it’s subjected to a good amount of electricity literally flowing inside of it. To address that, Lambo and MIT are looking at a tech feature that essentially lets the carbon fiber material heal by itself.

I won’t blame any of you if your eyebrows start trending upwards, but this is still a concept so the thin line between reality is fantasy is understandably a lot more blurred than it should be. In any event, Lamborghini says that the concept will be able to monitor its carbon fiber structure – there’s that AI technology I’m predicting – and detect if there are any issues to any of its panels, be it cracked, or completely broken. In these instances, the Italian automaker literally said that “micro-channels filled with healing chemistries” will do the repairs by themselves. I don’t know what micro-channels are, and I’m pretty sure that the phrase “healing chemistries” is a good source of chuckles, but the possibilities are pretty fascinating, provided that you open your imagination.

In other words, when the world’s greatest minds collaborate on a concept like the Lamborghini Terzo Millenio, we’re going to need to give them some latitude on some of the crazy stuff.

Conclusion


2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept - image 743128

There’s a lot to like about the Lamborghini Terzo Millennia, but as with most concept vehicles like this, it’s hard to really gauge its effectiveness. Most of what Lamborghini and MIT created speak to an automotive future that doesn’t exist yet or, at best, is at least still in its embryonic stage. It’s hard to tell if these features will ever come to pass, let alone turn into something meaningful in the future. These are discussions for another time, though credit should still go to Lamborghini for already looking into future automotive technology.

As far as how the concept looks, well, just look at it. It’s the embodiment of what it means to take pride in the Lamborghini name. Fearsome, brutish, and classy all at the same time. That’s the kind of concept we expect from the Italian automaker. Safe to say that it’s reassuring to know that the company hasn’t lost its touch in this regard.

  • Leave it
    • Some tech features are too outlandish to even think about
    • Can Lamborghini develop these techs for future application?
    • Don’t expect a production model anytime soon, maybe ever.

PostHeaderIcon Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5

The Cadillac User Experience, or CUE system, has been dragged through the dirt for not being easy to use. Specifically, it’s the touch-sensitive radio and HVAC controls that leave critics in a bad mood. Cadillac models like the ATS, CTS, and even the Escalade all have nearly identical CUE systems that require sliding a finger across gloss-black plastic to adjust the radio volume and pressing on invisible buttons marked only with labels. Well, apparently Cadillac heard the complaints and decided to address the issue.

The 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover I’m driving this week has an updated version of the CUE system – with actual buttons! In fact, the center stack is far simpler in design and feels less cluttered. The XT5’s HVAC system has chrome toggle switches that control fan speed and temperatures for the dual zones. Yes, other features like the heated and vented seats, defrost, and recirculation functions still rely on the invisible buttons, but their operation seems improved. The same is true with the radio slider. Yeah, it’s still there, but it somehow isn’t as frustrating to use as the one in the 2017 Cadillac CTS-V I tested a few weeks back.

Continue reading for more information.

Impressive Infotainment


Cadillac Fixed CUE For The XT5 - image 742589
“The 8.0-inch touchscreen runs similar software to the Chevrolet MyLink and GMC IntelliLink system”

Despite gripes about the CUE system’s touch-sensitive buttons on other models, the infotainment portion of the Cadillac User Experience is absolutely fantastic. The 8.0-inch touchscreen runs similar software to the Chevrolet MyLink and GMC IntelliLink system. All three are incredibly easy to use and have intuitive menus and features. The home screen icons can be moved around, and things like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the weather, live traffic, SMS texting, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi all make the experience a memorable one.

And besides the XT5 crossover, Cadillac’s updated CUE system can be found in the CT6 sedan. You can read my review on that car here.

References

Cadillac XT5


2017 Cadillac XT5 - image 645340

Read our full review on the 2017 Cadillac XT5.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota’s Solid-State Battery: Game Changer or Utter Disappointment?

Toyota has said that it’s solid-state battery will be a “game changer” at the Tokyo Motor Show but at the same show, Chairman and Engineer, Takeshi Uchiyamada told Reuters that there are still some issues with the batteries:

“We are scrambling to finish developing this technology, but a few issues still remain as we try to mass produce this.”

Apparently, there’s an issue with the life-span of the battery, which uses a solid material instead of a liquid electrolyte – something that is said to improve performance and safety since it isn’t flammable either. Uchiyamada didn’t specify what kind of life Toyota was getting from the batteries that it had tried to mass produce, but it was mentioned that people wouldn’t buy an electric car if the battery pack only last three years. If that’s the kind of lifespan these batteries currently have, that’s certainly far from the “game-changing” technology I told you about when I brought you news about Mazda getting the shaft in the Toyota-Mazda-Denso EV partnership.

And, in case you’re questioning Uchiyamada’s credibility, he was behind the design of the first Prius, so he happens to know a few things about batteries and what makes them tick. Despite this seemingly huge setback that Toyota is experiencing in producing these batteries, the brand still believes the batteries will be the bee’s knees when they are perfected. It’s an unproven technology, but they can supposedly provide greater energy density, which would allow a SSB the same size as a traditional lithium-ion battery to hold more electricity, ultimately leading to smaller, lighter batteries. Or, depending on the situation, larger batteries with much longer range.

So, what can we expect? Did Mazda luck out not being involved with the solid-state batteries? Keep reading to learn more.

It’s All About Lifespan


Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology - image 741751

The truth is, while it may appear that Mazda got the shaft over the new batteries if Toyota doesn’t figure out how to make them last longer – somewhere upward of at least 7 years minimum – then there’s no way those batteries can be used in the first place. With that said, I have to say I’m a little surprised at how excited some Toyota executives are when talking about the technology while others admit there’s a real problem. You can’t exactly call something “game-changing” when it can’t live up to the demands placed on current batteries. That’s just not how it works.

In the end, Toyota will probably end up perfecting the solid-state battery. But, at the same time, so will someone else. It will be a nice advancement for the automotive industry, but we’ll probably see it around 2025, and it will likely be available from more than just Toyota. Whether or not Mazda will get its hands on the technology remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t rule out a long-range Mazda EV quite yet. We’ll just have to wait to find out. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

References

Toyota Prius


2016 Toyota Prius - image 738294

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota Prius.



Read more Mazda news.



Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon $350 Is All You Need To Make Your Go-Fast Corvette Go Faster

The auto industry can be a weird business, right? Imagine spending upwards of $50,000 on a tuning kit that makes your car go one second a lap faster on a race track. It seems weird to even think about, but it happens all the time in this industry so nobody bats an eye anytime a tuning firm charges whatever it does so long as the results are justified. Chevrolet, though, has a business that doesn’t revolve around these power and performance upgrades, and that partly explains why the automaker is charging a pittance for a software upgrade that ends in the current-generation Corvette getting a decent performance spike. So much so, in fact, that it improves its lap time around the automaker’s 2.9-mile Milford Roads Course race track. The cost of this software update? $350.

I’m not sure if it qualifies as the bargain of the century, but it certainly looks like one. Granted, the software update is non-obtrusive, so there’s really no physical changes to the Corvette’s physical makeup. All it does is modify the sports car’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension, which in turn leads to improved handling and ride quality for the ‘Vette. The result, as General Motors VP of performance vehicles and motorsports Jim Campbell puts it, “is a greater feeling of balance and more linear responses to driver inputs.” It’s the kind of improvement that won’t appear physically on the Corvette, but owners of the sports car are expected to feel it instantaneously. Even better, availing of the download won’t mess up your Chevy warranty since the software update is factory-developed and can only be installed by dealerships.

For now, the updated software is compatible for a handful of Corvette models, including 2014-2016 Corvette Stingray Z51s, 2016 Stingray, and 2015-2016 Corvette Z06s. Other Corvette variants are expected to receive the software update at a later time, so if anybody here owns any one of these Corvettes, there’s little reason to go the aftermarket route to spike up your sports car’s performance. All you need to do is go to Chevrolet directly, and it’ll take care of the business for you at a cost that’s presumably cheaper than an aftermarket lug nut.

References

Chevrolet Corvette


2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - image 526910

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette.


2017 SEMA Show – Preview - image 741107

Read more news on the 2017 SEMA Show.

PostHeaderIcon Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology

Despite the partnership between Toyota, Mazda, and Denso to develop structural technologies for electric cars, Toyota showed up at the Tokyo Auto Show with news that its new solid-state battery technology is a “game changer,” but that it would not share the new technology with its partner Mazda. Apparently, the two brands will still share a platform that can support either current Lithium-Ion batteries on the new solid-state units that Toyota has developed in-house and will keep in-house.

This news comes just a few months after the initial deal between Toyota and Mazda was announced that included an investment from both automakers to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. to develop “electric vehicle technology.” A month later, Denso was added into the mix, and a new contract was signed. The new plant will reportedly be built in the south and employ 4,000 people that will have a hand in producing 300,000 vehicles annually. Essentially, the companies will be sharing factory space and pulling certain parts – now, apparently, EV platforms – that they can all use in their vehicles, something that should help both companies shed a little bit of production costs.

Of course, we haven’t heard a word from Mazda as to whether or not it was expecting to get Toyota’s battery tech as well, but there certainly could be some drama flying around if it was an expectation of the deal. On the other hand, the move should help keep the companies competitive and hopefully Mazda has something up its sleeve as well. At this point, both companies really need to step up their EV game as stricter emissions laws are forcing automakers to shift into delivering more and more EVs in the coming years and some countries are outright banning the ICE altogether. There’s no word as to when Mazda will put its first EV on the road, but Toyota plans to launch its first EVs (probably SUVs or Crossovers) in the first few years of the next decade. Exciting stuff to say the least.

References



Read more Mazda news.



Read more Toyota news.

PostHeaderIcon Like Lots of Tech? You Need the Audi A7 in your Life

The Audi A7 recently made its debut, and it should come as no surprise that it took a lot of DNA from it’s bigger brother, the Audi A8. A lot of this DNA includes an insane amount of technology that shows just how far we’ve come in this department over the last 20 years. Digital Displays in cars were once practically non-existent, and those that did have them didn’t have anything anywhere near as cool as we have today. With that in mind, the Audi A7 (and the A8 for that matter) really push things to the limit with technology, and that’s what we’re here to talk about today.

First off, let me point out that you’re going to have to pay up if you want the goods, but in the end, it’s really worth it if you’re into this kind of stuff. You want to hit up the checkbox for the MMI Navigation Plus system that gives you the Audi Digital Cockpit, and the MMI navigation. I mean, the graphics are beautiful, the infotainment screen is almost too gorgeous to allow in a car (talk about distracted driving,) and the way that ten-inch display in the center stack blends in so nicely with the glass panel around it, the whole package just comes together nice and clean. The best part is that the system works like a smartphone in that you can use the upper screen to control most infotainment system functions, meaning there is no more control knob. And, the lower screen is used to control various creature comforts – that means there are far fewer buttons inside the vehicle.

There’s a lot what you find in the infotainment system, though. We’re talking about as many as 39 driver assistance features (these are available via three different packages, so they don’t come cheap,) and there’s the option for voice control as well. And, when you use this voice control, the system accesses data stored locally with the vehicle and in the Audi cloud. A head-up display can be had for some extra moolah and, sometime in 2018, Audi will activate the garage and parking pilot systems which should park your car for you. And, to bring the whole technology package together, the A7 is a mild hybrid as well, which means it can freewheel at certain speeds with the engine off, only starting when needed. A front-facing camera is also used to help improve start\stop functionality.

Now, obviously, a lot of this technology is just really over the top. The mild hybrid technology doesn’t even save you a whole liter per 100km driven, and until the A7 can locate a parking spot and park itself, the parking and garage assistant just seem to be in place for people who like the showoff or are simply too lazy to park themselves. Be that as it may, the A7 is very technological and, if you’re into technology, it’s certainly something you want to look into. This is what the future of all cars looks like – few buttons, more touch displays, more hybrid technology – but it still comes at a cost. What do you guys think of the new A7’s technology? Let us know in the comments section below

Audi Virtual Cockpit and MMI explained

Audi AI parking pilot and garage pilot

References

Audi A7


Like Lots of Tech? You Need the Audi A7 in your Life - image 739611

Read our full review on the new, 2019 Audi A7.


2018 Audi RS4 And RS5 Carbon Editions - image 734768

Read more Audi news.


Watch Giant Robots Duel One Another: Video - image 739786

Read more technology news.

PostHeaderIcon Watch Giant Robots Duel One Another: Video

I don’t know about you, but just the premise of this video was enough to get me to click. Look at those three words – Giant. Robot. Duel. What’s not to like? Here’s a little background on it for ya… a few years back, a group of U.S.-based engineering geeks called themselves MegaBots decided to put together a giant, human-piloted robot specifically created to fight other giant robots. As luck would have it, a rival Japanese group named Suidobashi was riding the same wavelength, so MegaBots did the only sensible thing and challenged Suidobashi to a duel. This is the result.

At just under 30 minutes in length, the video gives some background on both robots and the teams that created them, followed by several rounds of fighting. To be completely honest, the battles are a little slow, a little scripted, and a little anti-climatic, but hugely entertaining nonetheless. The technical know-how that went into creating these machines is monumentally impressive, and seeing the potential here is hugely exciting. This is, after all, a first in the world of giant robot-based combat entertainment, and you can bet your oversized actuator we’ll be checking out Giant Robot Duel #2 if and when it goes down. One thing, though – let’s try to keep the weight classes a little more even, mm’kay?

References


Amazon Alexa Will Talk Directly To Your 2018 Jeep Cherokee - image 738431

Read more technology news.

PostHeaderIcon Apple’s Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads

In case you hadn’t heard, Apple is secretly developing self-driving car technology, and earlier this week, one of the tech giant’s autonomous test mules was possibly spotted out and about on California streets. Made public in a brief video clip posted to Twitter, the car in question is a late-model Lexus RX SUV with what appears to be a roof full of cameras, radar equipment, lidar, and various other sensors critical to self-driving operation. Making the spot was MacCallister Higgins, co-founder of Voyage, a rival self-driving tech startup, who seems convinced that the car is indeed of Apple origin. In response to Higgins’ short video clip, Twitter user @idiggapple posted a pic of the same Lexus (or one that looks very similar), which apparently pulled up to an Apple shuttle stop briefly before departing.

By all accounts, it certainly looks like this is indeed Apple’s latest test mule. The company has already been approved for public testing of autonomous Lexus RX vehicles, the previous iterations of which have made headlines after showing up at random intervals around the Bay Area. To us, this definitely looks like the car is gathering data for self-driving software development, although the car could also be used for mapping purposes, another activity that lends itself to self-driving tech development.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


2021 Apple iCar - image 688456

We’ve been following the Apple car story for a few years now, even going so far as to draw up a rendering of what it might look like. However, these days it’s looking like Apple will probably stick with just creating self-driving software, rather than a whole new car from the ground up.

That wasn’t always the case. Apple’s self-driving project, dubbed internally as “Project Titan,” was reportedly first tasked with designing and producing a standalone all-electric vehicle. However, following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.

“Following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.”

Meanwhile, a variety of other tech companies are also pushing for full-autonomous tech. Google is one good example, which created the subsidiary Waymo to take over its self-driving project in 2009.

The question is this – who will get there first, and what will the tech look like?

While the idea of a standalone car built by tech companies is an interesting proposition, the more likely scenario is an established automaker sourcing self-driving software solutions from the tech companies in some kind of joint project.


Apple's Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads - image 739283
“While getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world.”

The alternative is a company like Tesla, which seems deadest on developing its own systems and offering them directly to customers through products like the Model 3.

But here’s the rub – while getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world. And that’s no easy feat, especially when developing these systems in secrecy while racing to be the first to market. Tesla knows this all to well, already feeling the heat after several highly publicized crashes raised questions over the safety of self-driving systems.

What do you think, dear reader? Does the idea of self-driving cars excite you, or does news like this have you worried? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

References


2021 Apple iCar - image 688199

Read our full speculative review on the 2021 Apple iCar.

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.

PostHeaderIcon Apple’s Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads

In case you hadn’t heard, Apple is secretly developing self-driving car technology, and earlier this week, one of the tech giant’s autonomous test mules was possibly spotted out and about on California streets. Made public in a brief video clip posted to Twitter, the car in question is a late-model Lexus RX SUV with what appears to be a roof full of cameras, radar equipment, lidar, and various other sensors critical to self-driving operation. Making the spot was MacCallister Higgins, co-founder of Voyage, a rival self-driving tech startup, who seems convinced that the car is indeed of Apple origin. In response to Higgins’ short video clip, Twitter user @idiggapple posted a pic of the same Lexus (or one that looks very similar), which apparently pulled up to an Apple shuttle stop briefly before departing.

By all accounts, it certainly looks like this is indeed Apple’s latest test mule. The company has already been approved for public testing of autonomous Lexus RX vehicles, the previous iterations of which have made headlines after showing up at random intervals around the Bay Area. To us, this definitely looks like the car is gathering data for self-driving software development, although the car could also be used for mapping purposes, another activity that lends itself to self-driving tech development.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


2021 Apple iCar - image 688456

We’ve been following the Apple car story for a few years now, even going so far as to draw up a rendering of what it might look like. However, these days it’s looking like Apple will probably stick with just creating self-driving software, rather than a whole new car from the ground up.

That wasn’t always the case. Apple’s self-driving project, dubbed internally as “Project Titan,” was reportedly first tasked with designing and producing a standalone all-electric vehicle. However, following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.

“Following a variety of setbacks and staff shakeups, it would appear as though Apple is now focusing primarily on software creation.”

Meanwhile, a variety of other tech companies are also pushing for full-autonomous tech. Google is one good example, which created the subsidiary Waymo to take over its self-driving project in 2009.

The question is this – who will get there first, and what will the tech look like?

While the idea of a standalone car built by tech companies is an interesting proposition, the more likely scenario is an established automaker sourcing self-driving software solutions from the tech companies in some kind of joint project.


Apple's Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads - image 739283
“While getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world.”

The alternative is a company like Tesla, which seems deadest on developing its own systems and offering them directly to customers through products like the Model 3.

But here’s the rub – while getting there first is important, the tech has to stand up to the rigors of the real world. And that’s no easy feat, especially when developing these systems in secrecy while racing to be the first to market. Tesla knows this all to well, already feeling the heat after several highly publicized crashes raised questions over the safety of self-driving systems.

What do you think, dear reader? Does the idea of self-driving cars excite you, or does news like this have you worried? Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.

References


2021 Apple iCar - image 688199

Read our full speculative review on the 2021 Apple iCar.

Lexus RX


2016 Lexus RX - image 624726

Read our full review on the 2017 Lexus RX.

PostHeaderIcon Real Self-Driving Cars are on the way thanks to Nvidia

For those of you who have been sleeping under a rock for the past 24 years, Nvidia is a company that is quite popular in the gaming and computer world thanks to its amazing graphics processors. You might recognize the name “GeForce” – it’s the company’s main product line. Well, the same company that builds GPUs for gamers has dived into the automotive market headfirst and has now released a whole new computing platform that is said to be capable of level-5 autonomy. That’s right folks, the future is here, and true driverless cars are right around the corner.

The name of this new computing system? It goes by the Codename “Pegasus” and is considered an extension of the Nvidia Drive PX AI computer platform currently in use by more than 200 companies working on self-driving cars. It’s excessively important because this specific computer is capable of delivering more than 320 trillion operations per second. To put that into perspective. A Tesla Model S, which uses the Nvidia Drive PX 2, is capable of 24 trillion operations per second. So, we’re talking about more than 10 Model S computers all running at the same time and in sync with one another. The technology is here; now it’s just up to developers to put it into play. But, it’s going to take some time. Keep reading to learn why.

It’s Not Easy Being Driverless


Real Self-Driving Cars are on the way thanks to Nvidia - image 737912
“It goes by the Codename “Pegasus” and is considered an extension of the Nvidia Drive PX AI computer platform currently in use by more than 200 companies working on self-driving cars”

Out of all those companies that are partnered with Nvidia to deliver autonomous driving platforms, at least 25 of them are in the process of developing robotaxis to be our people-delivery slaves. But, at the current time, they aren’t exactly feasible for production as the deep learning process and related artificial intelligence requires a trunk full of computer equipment that’s not only a huge power suck but quite heavy as well. This system will make all of that a thing of the past, and instead provide all the computing power needed to analyze things like 360-degree cameras, lidar, radar, and laser sensors to maintain a safe and reliable journey all in something the size of a modern license plate. That means these cars will shed weight and account for a serious decrease in energy consumption.

Now, this is, of course, really good news, but the truth is that this is only one piece of the puzzle. This is the hardware, but it’s up to developers to integrate and develop software for it. And, keep in mind that they have to develop code that can handle all driving situations or “think” for itself. To add to that, it won’t be available to developers until mid-to-late 2018. Even still, if developers can pull it off, we just might see self-driving cars in the next decade after all…


Real Self-Driving Cars are on the way thanks to Nvidia - image 737914
“If developers can pull it off, we just might see self-driving cars in the next decade after all”

What’s your take on driverless cars? Will you give it a try with driverless taxis or would you rather a human stay behind the wheel? Let us know where you stand in the comments section below.

References

Tesla Model S


2017 Tesla Model S - image 672438

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S.


GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS - image 737171

Read more autonomous cars news.

PostHeaderIcon GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS

General Motors has thought outside the box on this one. Meet SURUS, a fully autonomous platform with 4WD and four-wheel steering powered by a fuel cell. Its name stands for “Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure,” and it’s GM’s latest joint project with the United States Army. Unlike diesel-powered trucks, the SURUS produces no noise, smell, or by-product besides purified water. It also isn’t confined to any one job. With a completely bare deck, GM can attach anything from a cab-over crew compartment or a shipping container. Thanks to its fully autonomous driving capability, it doesn’t need a driver and therefore doesn’t need a dedicated cab. This frees up the entire platform to accept an endless number of compatible up-fits.

“SURUS redefines fuel cell electric technology for both highway and off-road environments,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM Global Fuel Cell Business. “General Motors is committed to bringing new high-performance, zero-emission systems to solve complex challenges for a variety of customers.” GM is currently readying the SURUS for testing, both with the U.S. military and in commercial applications. SURUS is GM’s second vehicle study of fuel cell applications for the military in recent months. Back in April, the Army began evaluating a fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 concept pickup as a possible addition to its field operations. Fuel Cells have the distinct advantage of silent operation while being able to produce electricity for base camp operations with purified water as the only by-product.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters


GM Developing Autonomous, Fuel Cell, Multi-Use Platform Called SURUS - image 736780

General Motors’ SURUS platform offers boundless possibilities in terms of mobility and reconfigurability. Add to that the SURUS’ ability to drive and operate in a follow-the-leader style convoy all without a driver. The military could use the SURUS platform to deliver hospital units to disaster areas one day, National Guard troops the next day, and haul debris away the next day – all by simply changing what’s riding on top.

While this style of platform might not take off with the general public, private sector businesses could also employ the SURUS to handle a variety of jobs without having to purchase multiple vehicles. The possibilities are literally endless, all without changing the chassis or mechanical workings. How cool is that?

References

Chevrolet Colorado


2016 Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 - image 691017

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 Concept.


Audi Looks To Our Autonomous EV Future With Aicon Concept - image 730472

Read more autonomous cars news.

PostHeaderIcon Hot Vee For Velocity – A Look at the Mercedes-AMG GT’s Turbo Layout

Many modern automakers use turbocharging to create more power from an engine without negatively affecting fuel economy during mundane driving. Most turbochargers can be found bolted to the exhaust manifold and hanging off the engine’s side. While economical to engineer and produce, this turbo layout can be less efficient due to extra-long plumbing, which causes the dreaded turbo lag. However, a few automakers employ what’s called a Hot V engine layout that’s designed to nearly eliminate turbo lag while also making it easier to ingest cooler air into the combustion chambers.

How does it work? Well, Engineering Explained takes a deep look at how Mercedes-AMG uses a Hot V design on its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the GT.

Long story short – a Hot V engine uses reverse-flow cylinder heads that pull cool air from two separate intake manifolds mounted on the outside of the engine and expel the hot exhaust towards the inside of the engine’s V. Basically, the intake and exhaust manifolds trade places. This allows the turbochargers to be mounted within the engine’s valley and very close to the exhaust ports. The advantage is reduced turbo lag thanks to the close proximity of the turbo’s compressor wheel to the combustion chamber. Reduced turbo lag directly translates to improved throttle response and a near-instant gain in boost.

Aside from that benefit, a Hot V design also keeps intake temperatures cooler. This happens because the intake manifolds are located on the outside of the V where ambient airflow is greater and heat soak is less prevalent. A reduction in intake temperatures means cooler air. Cooler air is denser and can therefore provide more oxygen to the combustion process, thereby improving the engine’s power output.

Mercedes is only one automaker to use the Hot V design. BMW uses it on its modern twin-turbocharged V-8s like in its M products, Audi’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 uses it, and the Porsche 918 even has a Hot V despite it not having turbos. Ferrari even used a Hot V design in its Formula 1 engine from 1981 to 1984, 1.5-liter twin-turbo V-6. Sports car fans might be surprised to hear both Ford and General Motors uses Hot V designs on their V-8 turbodiesels. Yep, both the 6.7-liter Power Stroke and 6.6-liter Duramax have their turbochargers mounted up top.

References

Mercedes-AMG GT


2016 Mercedes-AMG GT - image 567775

Read our full review on the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT.


2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe - image 700638

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C.

PostHeaderIcon Hot Vee For Velocity – A Look at the Mercedes-AMG GT’s Turbo Layout

Many modern automakers use turbocharging to create more power from an engine without negatively affecting fuel economy during mundane driving. Most turbochargers can be found bolted to the exhaust manifold and hanging off the engine’s side. While economical to engineer and produce, this turbo layout can be less efficient due to extra-long plumbing, which causes the dreaded turbo lag. However, a few automakers employ what’s called a Hot V engine layout that’s designed to nearly eliminate turbo lag while also making it easier to ingest cooler air into the combustion chambers.

How does it work? Well, Engineering Explained takes a deep look at how Mercedes-AMG uses a Hot V design on its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the GT.

Long story short – a Hot V engine uses reverse-flow cylinder heads that pull cool air from two separate intake manifolds mounted on the outside of the engine and expel the hot exhaust towards the inside of the engine’s V. Basically, the intake and exhaust manifolds trade places. This allows the turbochargers to be mounted within the engine’s valley and very close to the exhaust ports. The advantage is reduced turbo lag thanks to the close proximity of the turbo’s compressor wheel to the combustion chamber. Reduced turbo lag directly translates to improved throttle response and a near-instant gain in boost.

Aside from that benefit, a Hot V design also keeps intake temperatures cooler. This happens because the intake manifolds are located on the outside of the V where ambient airflow is greater and heat soak is less prevalent. A reduction in intake temperatures means cooler air. Cooler air is denser and can therefore provide more oxygen to the combustion process, thereby improving the engine’s power output.

Mercedes is only one automaker to use the Hot V design. BMW uses it on its modern twin-turbocharged V-8s like in its M products, Audi’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 uses it, and the Porsche 918 even has a Hot V despite it not having turbos. Ferrari even used a Hot V design in its Formula 1 engine from 1981 to 1984, 1.5-liter twin-turbo V-6. Sports car fans might be surprised to hear both Ford and General Motors uses Hot V designs on their V-8 turbodiesels. Yep, both the 6.7-liter Power Stroke and 6.6-liter Duramax have their turbochargers mounted up top.

References

Mercedes-AMG GT


2016 Mercedes-AMG GT - image 567775

Read our full review on the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT.


2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe - image 700638

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C.

PostHeaderIcon Hot Vee For Velocity – A Look at the Mercedes-AMG GT’s Turbo Layout

Many modern automakers use turbocharging to create more power from an engine without negatively affecting fuel economy during mundane driving. Most turbochargers can be found bolted to the exhaust manifold and hanging off the engine’s side. While economical to engineer and produce, this turbo layout can be less efficient due to extra-long plumbing, which causes the dreaded turbo lag. However, a few automakers employ what’s called a Hot V engine layout that’s designed to nearly eliminate turbo lag while also making it easier to ingest cooler air into the combustion chambers.

How does it work? Well, Engineering Explained takes a deep look at how Mercedes-AMG uses a Hot V design on its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 found in the GT.

Long story short – a Hot V engine uses reverse-flow cylinder heads that pull cool air from two separate intake manifolds mounted on the outside of the engine and expel the hot exhaust towards the inside of the engine’s V. Basically, the intake and exhaust manifolds trade places. This allows the turbochargers to be mounted within the engine’s valley and very close to the exhaust ports. The advantage is reduced turbo lag thanks to the close proximity of the turbo’s compressor wheel to the combustion chamber. Reduced turbo lag directly translates to improved throttle response and a near-instant gain in boost.

Aside from that benefit, a Hot V design also keeps intake temperatures cooler. This happens because the intake manifolds are located on the outside of the V where ambient airflow is greater and heat soak is less prevalent. A reduction in intake temperatures means cooler air. Cooler air is denser and can therefore provide more oxygen to the combustion process, thereby improving the engine’s power output.

Mercedes is only one automaker to use the Hot V design. BMW uses it on its modern twin-turbocharged V-8s like in its M products, Audi’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 uses it, and the Porsche 918 even has a Hot V despite it not having turbos. Ferrari even used a Hot V design in its Formula 1 engine from 1981 to 1984, 1.5-liter twin-turbo V-6. Sports car fans might be surprised to hear both Ford and General Motors uses Hot V designs on their V-8 turbodiesels. Yep, both the 6.7-liter Power Stroke and 6.6-liter Duramax have their turbochargers mounted up top.

References

Mercedes-AMG GT


2016 Mercedes-AMG GT - image 567775

Read our full review on the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT.


2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe - image 700638

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water

Most of you have probably heard about the study conducted by the European Hydration Institute back in 2015 that concluded that dehydration has the same effects on a person as driving under the influence of alcohol. Whether its tiredness, headaches, dizziness, and slower reactions times, these symptoms have been suggested as being evident in cases of people who are dehydrated or are under the influence. Nissan is well aware of the situation and is addressing it with Dutch design brand Droog. Their solution? A sweat-sensing material on the steering wheel and driver’s seat that informs drivers when they’re dehydrated and in need of some rehydration.

The video provides a proper demonstration of how the technology works, though, in a nutshell, it essentially involves a material called SOAK coating that’s placed on the two aforementioned locations. The material works by changing colors to indicate the driver’s hydration levels with “yellow” indicating that they’re dehydrated and “blue” signifying that they’re fully hydrated. It is worth mentioning that Droog actually owns the rights to the equipment, which it initially developed to help and inform athletes of their own hydration levels. Now that it’s partnered with Nissan, there’s the possibility that the technology can be applied to the auto industry. There’s no telling when that’s going to be since Nissan itself hasn’t indicated its plans for the SOAK technology and its potential application for its model lineup. That said, the Japanese automaker must be intrigued enough with the product to enlist Nismo racer Lucas Ordoñez to help spread awareness regarding the real state of affairs as far as driving while dehydrated is concerned.

Smart technology although not pleasant to look at

If you’ve seen the video, you probably know by now how the technology works. The SOAK material is placed on the steering wheel where the driver grips it. Once it comes in contact with perspiration, it starts to change color depending on whether a person is hydrated or not. If he or she is, the color of the SOAK coating turns to blue. If he isn’t, it turns to yellow. In cases of the later it means the driver is being informed that he needs to chug down water. Once he does and he’s properly hydrated, the yellow color turns blue. The same principle applies in the SOAK coating located in the driver’s seat.

It’s a simple enough tool, though I will point out that the yellow color on the seats reminds me of the color of yellow pee, the surest indicator of dehydration. I don’t know about you, but the image of all that yellow on the seats is vivid enough for me to think of it as, well, you know.


Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water - image 736249

Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water - image 736248

On a more serious note, the study’s revelation about the effects of dehydration on a driver is ironically sobering. Further studies even qualified the research, saying that the number of road errors dehydrated drivers make was equivalent to the number of errors a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent finds himself making. It may not seem like much, but that 0.08 percent is the legal limit across most of the US.

The pertinent question to ask now is whether or not we’ll see this kind of technology on future Nissan models. It’s too early to say at this point since Nissan itself hasn’t fully committed to using the product. I think it should though, uncomfortable visuals notwithstanding. I’ve always been a proponent of enhancing driver’s safety on the road through means that are meaningful and yield positive results. This kind of technology does that to a certain degree. It doesn’t have any of the usual physical restraints so it shouldn’t be of inconvenience to any of us. And, if it the application of this technology means that we have a better focus on the road, then I’m all for it.

References

Nissan Juke


2014 Nissan Juke - image 546025

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Juke.


2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept - image 736206

Read more Nissan news.

PostHeaderIcon Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water

Most of you have probably heard about the study conducted by the European Hydration Institute back in 2015 that concluded that dehydration has the same effects on a person as driving under the influence of alcohol. Whether its tiredness, headaches, dizziness, and slower reactions times, these symptoms have been suggested as being evident in cases of people who are dehydrated or are under the influence. Nissan is well aware of the situation and is addressing it with Dutch design brand Droog. Their solution? A sweat-sensing material on the steering wheel and driver’s seat that informs drivers when they’re dehydrated and in need of some rehydration.

The video provides a proper demonstration of how the technology works, though, in a nutshell, it essentially involves a material called SOAK coating that’s placed on the two aforementioned locations. The material works by changing colors to indicate the driver’s hydration levels with “yellow” indicating that they’re dehydrated and “blue” signifying that they’re fully hydrated. It is worth mentioning that Droog actually owns the rights to the equipment, which it initially developed to help and inform athletes of their own hydration levels. Now that it’s partnered with Nissan, there’s the possibility that the technology can be applied to the auto industry. There’s no telling when that’s going to be since Nissan itself hasn’t indicated its plans for the SOAK technology and its potential application for its model lineup. That said, the Japanese automaker must be intrigued enough with the product to enlist Nismo racer Lucas Ordoñez to help spread awareness regarding the real state of affairs as far as driving while dehydrated is concerned.

Smart technology although not pleasant to look at

If you’ve seen the video, you probably know by now how the technology works. The SOAK material is placed on the steering wheel where the driver grips it. Once it comes in contact with perspiration, it starts to change color depending on whether a person is hydrated or not. If he or she is, the color of the SOAK coating turns to blue. If he isn’t, it turns to yellow. In cases of the later it means the driver is being informed that he needs to chug down water. Once he does and he’s properly hydrated, the yellow color turns blue. The same principle applies in the SOAK coating located in the driver’s seat.

It’s a simple enough tool, though I will point out that the yellow color on the seats reminds me of the color of yellow pee, the surest indicator of dehydration. I don’t know about you, but the image of all that yellow on the seats is vivid enough for me to think of it as, well, you know.


Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water - image 736249

Nissan Wants To Let You Know When You Need A Swig Of Water - image 736248

On a more serious note, the study’s revelation about the effects of dehydration on a driver is ironically sobering. Further studies even qualified the research, saying that the number of road errors dehydrated drivers make was equivalent to the number of errors a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent finds himself making. It may not seem like much, but that 0.08 percent is the legal limit across most of the US.

The pertinent question to ask now is whether or not we’ll see this kind of technology on future Nissan models. It’s too early to say at this point since Nissan itself hasn’t fully committed to using the product. I think it should though, uncomfortable visuals notwithstanding. I’ve always been a proponent of enhancing driver’s safety on the road through means that are meaningful and yield positive results. This kind of technology does that to a certain degree. It doesn’t have any of the usual physical restraints so it shouldn’t be of inconvenience to any of us. And, if it the application of this technology means that we have a better focus on the road, then I’m all for it.

References

Nissan Juke


2014 Nissan Juke - image 546025

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan Juke.


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