Monday November 28th, 2011 12:27 New Concept Cars

We realize the future of the automobile will be greener, however, what happens to drivers who love rev-matched downshifts and the coordinated shriek of pistons, valves and cams? Who knows what the future of car performance is, nonetheless, a survey within the automobile industry has come up with some great new automobile concepts. Automobile manufactures use auto-show concept cars that are usually one-of-a-kind prototypes. Just think of your typical haute-couture fashion show, with outlandishly designed outfits to capture the audience’s unswerving attention.

These automobile prototypes are built by hand in order to encapsulate the thoughts of the press and public with eccentric automobile models of what is in store for the future. Some designs seem practical, and others are pure fantasy, not even the Jetson’s era would fathom. Nonetheless, some of the bigwig automakers are pursuing concept cars that may turn out to really be worth something. Some of the automobile concepts are vaguely camouflaged as future possibilities and other present ideas from a technological standpoint that CEOs want to road-test with the press and the public.

Let’s take a look at some of the future concept automobile models:

Maserati Kubang

Maserati Kubang:
Even though the Kubang will be assembled in the same plant as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the chief bits will be created specifically for Maserati’s new SUV. Included is a new production of Maserati engines, created by Paolo Martinelli. The new engines will be secured to an eight-speed mechanized transmission along with Modena-engineered functioning brakes, suspension and navigation.

Toyota FT-CH

Toyota FT-CH:
The Toyota’s concentrated efforts with the FT-CH concept indicate that they want to increase its utilization of gas-electric hybrid technology to a wider group of vehicles. The company hinted that it plans to introduce eight new hybrid modes in the coming years, and plans to sell one million hybrids per year.

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Miata:
Kijima’s future point-of-view is to take the MX-5 back to the essentials. The planning for the new concept of the Mazda MX-5 Miata began a few years ago, with the company’s goal to decrease fuel consumption by 30% and lessen the weight by 8%. The new MX-5 will be suited with a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G engine producing approximately 125 Hp with mileage upwards of 50mpg, including a six-speed manual transmission. During the meantime, the American model will still utilize the 2.0 liter engine.

Ford Mustang 2015

2015 Ford Mustang:
The 2015 Ford Mustang suspension will be comparable to the Australian Ford Falcon. Computer managed torque vectoring could be part of the equation for future handling enhancement. The engine is geared to generate 247 horsepower from 2.0 liters.

GMC Granite

GMC Granite:
The GMC Granite is a small concept automobile with a 1.4 liter engine and a six speed transmission. The idea is more in the lines of a square type four-cylinder urban mini-wagon.

BMW M5

BMW M-5:
The BMW M-5 is known for its powerful engine. The future model will have the same 4.4 liter twin turbo V-8 that generates 555 horsepower and 500 pound feet torque. The 2012 model will utilize an automatic start-up utility together with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission as well.

Jaguar 2012

Jaguar C-X16:
To lighten the weight of the Jaguar C-X16 copious sums of aluminum is utilized including all the body panels. Most of the power comes from a highly-charged, straight-injected, complete aluminum 3.0 liter V-6 recognized 375 Hp and 332 ft. lbs. of torque. The C-X16 includes a push-to-pass function that is activated by a steering wheel installed feature. This feature utilizes an electric motor to go with the gas engine with over nine-seconds of added enhancement. Jaguar states that the C-X16 needs only 4.4 seconds to go from 0-60 mph; the highest speed is 186 mph.

Jarod Matthews is a writer providing information about Car Tax Bands and advice on obtaining a vehicle tax band for your car.

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Monday November 21st, 2011 18:49 Looking a Million Dollars on a Budget

Why Choose a Budget Car when you could be Cruising in a Luxury Motor?

When upgrading our car or even buying our first ever set of wheels, many people choose a brand new budget hatchback.
These small cars are convenient, cost-effective and reliable – but why blend quietly into the rush hour queues when for the same money you could be behind the wheel of a classic piece of luxury?

While owning a luxury car might not be for everyone; the rewards that come with doing so are well worth the extra little care and attention they require. It’s amazing to note that for the price of an entry level brand new car you could get a fully loaded BMW or Audi that although it is a few years old will boast the kind of specification the new car will never have.

You’ll stand out from the crowds

Few of us wish to blend in; we want to be noticed (for good things!). Yet you’ll never stand out in a conventional hatchback; you need something a little different for that.

You’ll be the envy of your street

Many luxury cars are thought of as nothing short of a work of art. Park this beauty on your front drive and watch your neighbours fawn over it in admiration and envy. Watch as they try and work out how you afforded that Mercedes or Jaguar.

You might meet new friends

Owning a classic or luxury car instantly makes you a member of a very exclusive club. As well as the opportunity to join internet forums and chat with like-minded enthusiasts, you might find yourself invited to regular events around the country, either to display your own car or simply to chat over the exquisite lines of a vintage Aston Martin.

It shouldn’t decrease in value

When we buy brand new cars, in most cases, we’re being ripped off. We are paying a premium for ‘new’ and the minute we sign on the dotted line and hit the road, its value will begin to drop.

A used luxury car on the other hand can boast a relatively stable value. Initial depreciation costs can be frightening but this levels off over time. So long as they are cared for properly they should sustain or increase in value.

You can hide the cars cost

If you don’t want people to ascertain how much you paid for your car, hide its age. The difference in value can vary by thousands in a few short years so if you want people to perceive your car as more valuable than it is; change the registration plates.

Dateless registration plates can ensure that very few people will be able to tell the year your car was built.
What’s more, dateless registration plates are usually quite valuable. They may cost a good few hundred pounds initially, but they should retain their value or if you’re lucky, gain more value.

It’s eco-friendly

Although older cars might not be quite so eco-friendly on the petrol front, the fact that you are recycling an old machine should more than make up for this.

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This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of The Plate Market who offer registration plates and number plates for sale.

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Monday November 14th, 2011 19:21 Keep your Tyres in Top Condition

As any car enthusiast will know, the hardest parts of a car to keep bright and shining are the wheels. This stands to reason as they are continually being coated with road grime and dust from the brakes.

Brake dust can corrode alloy wheels and is difficult to remove. It’s caused by the friction between brake pads and discs. This happens with all cars, whether they are conventional or hybrid cars, it’s not something that can be avoided. As you brake, the brake pad surface gradually wears away, producing the dust that lands on any nearby surface – your wheel rims being first in line.

As the different compounds used to make brake pads contain different amounts of metal content, different brake pads can create varying levels of brake dust. The dust is a mix of metal filings, carbon fibres and adhesive residues. The adhesive helps the dust stick firmly to every surface in comes in contact with, and as the adhesive is acidic, it will cause corrosion, too.

Erosion of the wheel rims doesn’t look pretty, and if left too long it will eventually begin to affect the structure of the wheel.

Fortunately there are ways to combat brake dust. Firstly, you can change your brake pads for low dust-generating brake pads. Choose some that have a high metal content or contain Kevlar-based compounds. Alternatively, or as well, you can fit dust shields. These sit between the rim and the bub, but some people don’t like the way they look. Finally, and perhaps most effectively, you can establish a good wheel care routine.

This isn’t as burdensome as it sounds – at a minimum you can wash the wheels once a week and apply sealant every quarter. This relatively simple procedure will prevent corrosion from taking place. Make sure that you don’t let the weeks slip to months during the winter. Even though it may seem a little pointless as the wheels get dirty again immediately, it’s a better policy than letting salt and brake dust build up.

Whether you’re driving one of the latest eco cars UK showrooms have to offer, or your car has been a faithful part of your household for the last decade or more, all cars will benefit from this kind of regular maintenance.

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Sunday November 13th, 2011 13:57 Subaru Set to Unveil Advanced Tourer Concept Hybrid

Subaru has revealed that it will showcase the Advanced Tourer Concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan.

The Advanced Tourer Concept is a hybrid car, and is seen as a potential replacement for the Subaru Legacy.

Through the use of a single electric motor, the ATC will have a silent electric mode when travelling at low speeds. The lithium-ion batteries are recharged by a regenerative braking system which kicks in under deceleration.

The Tourer Concept is fitted with a horizontally opposed 1.6-litre turbo boxer engine mated to an electric motor. It may not be as big as the 2.0 and 2.5-litre boxer turbos of the past, but Subaru believe that the 1.6-litre turbo engine is both cleaner and more efficient. Although there are no official statistics for this yet, the word is that the Tourer Concept’s power output will match the 262bhp of the 2.5-litre boxer unit, while both emitting less CO2 and using less fuel at the same time.

Performance figures for the Tourer Concept should be an improvement on those of the current Legacy model, as the engine drives through a Lineartronic CVT transmission. This sends power to all four wheels.

The styling of the car uses Subaru’s “confidence in motion” design language. Visually, the Tourer Concept resembles a cross between a Jaguar XF and an Audi A6. The signature Subaru grille and angular headlights have been restyled to give the car a more aggressive appearance at the front.

The car’s interior features Art Deco style wood and polished aluminium surfaces with leather surfaces. In a fairly strange move, the steering wheel features a built-in digital monitor that displays maps, TV and internet. This is not exactly the safest feature in the world, but it is a concept car after all.

Perhaps with that digital monitor in mind, Subaru’s EyeSight crash avoidance system is incorporated into the design of the Tourer Concept. This system uses two mounted cameras above the rear-view mirror to monitor pedestrians and cyclists.

The Tokyo Motor Show – which runs from the 30th of November to the 11th of December – is a big event for Subaru, as the new BRZ sports car will also allow be on display.

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Saturday November 12th, 2011 20:19 All-Electric Car In the Works for SEAT

 

SEAT has revealed that it is currently working on prototypes of a fully electric and a plug-in hybrid car. The Spanish car manufacturer anticipates that the plug-in hybrid car will be launched in 2015, followed by the all-electric car in 2016.

In the mean time, units of the all-electric Altea XL Electric Ecomotive and the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive will both be made available to Spanish government institutions in Catalonia and Madrid. This should enable SEAT to assess the usage of these cars, giving the car manufacturer an idea about the potential for mass production in the future.

Talking about the reasoning behind SEAT’s strategy, SEAT President James Muir said: “Customers demand a more sustainable form of mobility, but their needs are diverse. Therefore, we believe that a parallel strategy of developing two different technologies will put SEAT in the best position to meet their needs.”

So what about some actual information about the two forthcoming green models? Well, the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive plug-in hybrid has a range of 52 kilometres when full electric mode is engaged. Its top speed in this mode is 120 kph. When it is in its combined mode, it should have a top speed of 170 kph, and an impressive emissions rate of 39g/km of CO2.

In comparison, the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive will have a top speed of 135 kph. The electric engine will produce 115 hp as well as 270 Nm of torque. A climate control system whereby rooftop photovoltaic cells recirculate fresh air inside the passenger compartment will reduce energy needs. Impressive stuff.

It is not just these two new green cars that the Spanish firm has in the pipeline, as in the next year, four new models will be launched next year. The first of these models is the SEAT Mii, set for a European release in spring.

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Sunday November 6th, 2011 21:49 SEAT Look to the Future with the IBX Concept Car

Earlier this year, at the Geneva Motor Show, SEAT unveiled its latest concept car – the IBX hybrid car. The concept car has been described by SEAT as a cross between a sports utility vehicle and a sports coupe, and represents the company’s vision for an urban SUV.

In terms of its appearance, the two-door concept car has an understated, minimalist feel to it. A crisp and clean exterior, devoid of any flashy design features, gives the SEAT IBX a confident and sporty look. The IBX bears no ornamentation, and SEAT representatives say this is because “perfect design requires no decoration.”

SEAT’s Chief Designer Luc Donckerwolke said of the IBX: “We are proving that with our design, our sporty pedigree and our youthful character, we can also create a vehicle concept that is unique among SUVs.”

This uniqueness among SUVs may come from the fact that the IBX is both agile and compact enough to meet the demands of urban streets and parking spaces.

SEAT say that the IBX has an electric range of 50 kilometres, something that will no doubt appeal to those living in city areas. This electric range should be more than enough to cover local everyday journeys, while having an emission rate of zero. The car can be charged from a domestic power point, but the IBX’s internal combustion engine means that the concept car will be able to handle longer journeys just as easily.

Although there has been no official confirmation, there have been reports that the IBX concept car will go into production in the near future. If it does, then SEAT’s hybrid car is sure to create a stir with in the SUV market with its sports coupe sensibilities.

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Friday October 28th, 2011 11:41 Trident Iceni: A Supercar running on Biodiesel

Trident Iceni Supercar

 

Trident Iceni, the latest name in the segment of supercars is making waves for a lot of reasons. The car comes with a V-8 diesel engine and runs on the eco friendly bio – diesel. Being run on bio – diesel does not mean that the car’s efficiency is lesser than any other super car. The car gets to 60 mph in 4 seconds and can push up to 200 mph, which is a good enough speed for any bio – diesel run car. The question that arises is, is Trident Iceni a next generation car? Well, the answer is, yes, it could be since there are many sources of bio- diesel that come from non food category and hence do not inflict any damage on food sources and their consumption and hence can be grown for the specific purpose of fuel, creating a sustainable alternative.

The car can safely be said a good competition for other supercars as it claims a top speed of 220 mph and very rapid acceleration. The maximum torque of the car is a massive 950 lb ft (1,288 Nm) at 1,800 rpm. Though the engine is pretty heavy due to the use of iron cylinder block, it also contains a common rail injection along with four valves in each cylinder.

Trident Iceni comes with new eight speed automatic gear box. In order to get good weight distribution in the car; the gear box is mounted at the rear side, just ahead of the axle gears and is controlled by a pair of paddles on the steering.

The car comes with wheels of 20 inch diameter wherein the front side tires are 255/35 ZR tires and the rear tires are 335/30 ZR. The rear side wheels look like rather wide for a front engine car, but may be that was the requirement for handling the huge torque.
Another striking feature of the car is that its frame is made up of stainless steel sheet. The frame is made up of folded and welded sheet. Trident claims that this frame is very rigid and is good enough for a supercar.

There is no doubt that the car’s performance is good but the question is how far it goes on the fuel consumption parameter? The company is making big claims that the car will give 68 mpg (Imperial) or 55 mpg (US) (4 liters/100 km) at a steady 70 mph. Though the car has a large engine, but still it is compact with an overall length of 165 inches and weighs 3,260 lb and this balance goes well for a supercar.

Undoubtedly, Trident Iceni is an excellent car and it is hoped that it will be good enough for driving across cities and for general day to day use.

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About the author: Amanda Kidd is a blogger who is also a technology freak. She loves blogging on automobiles and tech innovations. She also happens to be a nature lover and hence, is a big fan of the cars based on the concept of green design.

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Sunday October 23rd, 2011 13:04 Electric Vehicle Sales Still Struggling in UK and Europe

 
Sales of electric cars in the UK are still struggling, according to new data released by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

Last month, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggested that sales of electric cars in the UK were significantly poorer than had been both hoped and anticipated, and it seems that there has been little improvement since then.

The Office of Low Emission Vehicles’ data reveals that only 308 models were bought using the government’s grant scheme in the third quarter of the year.

The government’s grant scheme offers buyers of low emission vehicles a grant of £5,000, but the quarterly statistics have shown a distinct reluctance on the part of UK car consumers to switch towards green cars. In the first quarter of the year, only 465 were registered. Things were even worse in the second quarter, with only 215 EVs registered.

The electric car grant scheme has a total fund of £43 million – a figure large enough to cover 8,600 EVs – but at this slow rate it will take years to reach that full amount. At the moment, under £4 million of this grant money has been spent.

At a time when the UK’s economy is struggling, you would think that a £5,000 grant would act as a great incentive for UK drivers, but clearly more work has to be done to encourage people to switch to low emission vehicles.

The move towards universal electric car chargers is the type of thing that will hopefully assure drivers that switching to an electric vehicle will not prove to be more hassle than it’s worth.

It’s not just in the UK that electric vehicle sales are struggling. Belgians get a subsidy of just under €11,000 euros, yet only 85 electric vehicles were purchased there in the first half of 2011. In Norway, where a grant of €17,524 is offered, only 850 EVs were purchased over the same period.

Hopefully the fourth quarter will show an improvement in green car sales, but with so much economic uncertainty, people need to be made much more aware of these grants and subsidies.

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Wednesday October 19th, 2011 20:08 BMW Prepares 3 Series for 2012 Release

BMW has revealed that its new 3 Series range will be displayed in public for the first time at the Detroit Motor Show in January. However, UK customers will have to wait another month before the cars actually go on sale.

The German car manufacturers are already claiming that its direct market rival to the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class is a better drive. BMW also claims that it is not only more comfortable and spacious than its market rivals, but is also lighter.

In addition to petrol and diesel models, BMW are offering full hybrid and four-wheel-drive models for the first time.

The entry-level 316d ES will cost upwards of £24,880, while the 335i will cost customers £35,525.

All engines in the 3 series will be turbocharged, and this will make for some pretty impressive performance statistics. The 328i, powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine will go from 0-62mph in just 5.9 seconds. The top of the range 335i, powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine, allowing it to run an impressive 302bhp. This power means that the 335i is capable of going from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 155mph.

Drivers looking to buy something more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly should perhaps look toward the 320d Efficient Dynamics. Powered by a 161bhp, 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, it manages 68.9mpg while emitting just 109g/km of CO2. This emissions rate means that it will be tax-free in the first year.

BMW expects to have eight versions of the 3 series on sale by March 2012 that have emissions under 120g/km of CO2. The ActiveHybrid 3 will be released towards the end of 2012. For now though, BMW enthusiasts should look towards the Detroit Motor Show for a closer look at the new 3 Series.

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Tuesday October 4th, 2011 10:32 Alternatives to petrol

Biofuel
Just when you thought petrol prices couldn’t get any higher – they carry on doing so. While those people who considered using an alternative fuel used to be in the minority, many mainstream drivers are now searching for a better alternative to petrol or diesel.

There are a number of viable alternatives already available – here are three of the best.

Plant power

Two of the most popular alternative fuels are sourced partly from plant crops. Bioethanol is a mixture of ethanol and petrol – the blend ratio can vary, but the most commonly used blend is 80% petrol to 20% ethanol. Ethanol is produced from crops. Bioethanol is popular in countries where corn and sugarcane can be grown in vast quantities – hence the number one user is the US, followed by Brazil.

Similarly biodiesel is a blend of normal diesel and biodiesel, which is produced from crops such as rape or animal fats. As with biofuel, any vehicle including 4×4 cars and trucks can be modified to use biodiesel, so the cost to the car owner is low. The environmental downside is that both biodiesel and biofuel production rely heavily on agriculture – so put a squeeze on land use.

Halfway house
Hybrids are cars that have a petrol engine and an electric motor. The motor’s batteries are charged by regenerative braking, and plug-in hybrids can be charged while the vehicle is parked up. As the electric motor assists the engine during acceleration and can power the car alone in slow moving traffic, the fuel economy is marked. Most hybrid cars in the UK have petrol engines, so though petrol prices will still be relevant, they won’t affect you half as much.

Go electric
Electric cars don’t need petrol at all, as they are fully powered by electric motors. Instead, you’ll be more focused on electricity costs. The big disadvantage to electric cars is that they are limited by their range before they need recharging, and often don’t compare in terms of speed to other fuels.

Image copyright Robert Couse Baker

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