GM to install brake override system worldwide by 2012 -- but does it fix unintended acceleration?
But here's my question: Is GM actually combating unintended acceleration, or simply the perception of the problem? Look, the brake override system, in which the electronic throttle control favors the brake over the accelerator when both are deployed, is a good safety measure. It's smart to have it in vehicles, because it can prevent or rectify several safety issues. (Toyota, for its part, has promised a similar system in all its vehicles by the end of this year.) However, I'm just not sure that it solves the unintended-acceleration issue -- and from what I can tell, no one is sure, because no one has conclusively proved what does and does not cause the problem in the first place.
Volvo's new S60 has as many high-tech gadgets as an airplane -- all designed to keep your family safe.
Written by Matthew de Paula
Not that Volvo has any ties to the airplane industry, though the grille of the new Volvo S60 looks like something off a stealth fighter jet. But it does have performance and safety technology rivaling what you'd expect on some aircraft, such as its prominent camera, which captures a 180-degree image of what’s in front of the car and displays it on the navigation screen, alerting drivers to unseen traffic in a parking lot.
Opposite the little camera is a black box that looks like another high-tech aerospace gadget -- and the technology it houses is, in fact, employed on aircraft.
The New York show -- like others before it -- was all about the green
As one carmaker after another extolled their latest green hybrids and tiny fuel-sippers at the New York International Auto Show, you’d have thought that the idea came to them as an epiphany... rather than the reality, which saw manufacturers having to be dragged, kicking and screaming, toward higher-mileage cars.
The timing couldn’t have been better: During the show (which runs through April 11 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center) the Environmental Protection Agency finalized rules that, for the first time, will regulate global warming emissions. The upshot is that car companies will have to boost the mileage of their fleets to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. For an industry that has barely budged the mileage needle over the past three decades, it’s by far the biggest regulatory jump since the Clean Air Act established the first economy standards in the 1970s.
Throw in a still-shaky economy and lust-worthy but no-show brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini, and the result was a show that focused almost exclusively on tiny cars and new hybrids from unexpected sources like Porsche and Lincoln. High-performance offerings were virtually nonexistent: The redesign of the budget Scion tC and the (previously shown) Bentley Supersports convertible were about it. Even the luxury cars were less about decadence, and more about utilitarian and altruistic values. The Hyundai Equus aims to deliver Lexus LS or Mercedes S-Class levels of space, luxury and dealer pampering, but for closer to $60,000. The Volvo S60’s biggest claim to fame, besides appealing styling, was a camera-and-radar system that can detect stray pedestrians and automatically stop the car. And the Lincoln MKZ hybrid was essentially a Ford Fusion Hybrid, plus a toothy chrome grill and jazzed-up interior.
If so, worry no more: Your car is probably about to become a mobile hotspot.
The Internet is everywhere today. In fact, for a lot of people, spending any time “offline” causes serious separation anxiety. And it’s easy to understand why. Many of us don’t read books or newspapers any more. Instead, we download the text to our e-readers, or surf the Web for the latest headlines. We buy and sell goods and services on Craig’s List and eBay, rather than at the local market or by word of mouth. We even socialize electronically. People don’t meet and greet, they tweet and text. Don’t get me started on Facebook. (It’s more addictive than heroin.)
Automakers are starting to recognize this affliction and are turning their attention from the desktop to the dashboard to help assuage the public’s fear of “disconnection” when they take to the road.
Jeep Design and Mopar roll out new treats in Moab
Jeep and Dodge treat the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, the same way Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche approach the Frankfurt motor show--it is a serious event deserving of its own concepts and visits by top executives. The fact that Moab, perhaps less so than Frankfurt, is also a ton of fun is purely coincidental.
So every year, Jeep and sometimes Dodge roll out concepts in Moab to gauge customer interest and to thrill the faithful. This year there were several trailers full of wild Jeeps, and at least one Dodge, and Chrysler let us drive a few of them in their natural habitat.
World's First Electric SUV Displayed at New York Auto Show
Written by Erik Sofge
The first major exhibition of the Amp Equinox at the 2010 New York International Auto Show wasn't exactly a surprise; the Cincinnati-based company unveiled the pure-electric SUV, a conversion of the Chevy Equinox, at its headquarters back in February. But parked in the Jacob Javitz Center next to a lineup of electric cars that included the MINI-E, the Mitsubishi iMiev and THINK's City, the Amp's first real appearance spoke volumes.
While major automakers struggle to bring an EV to market that can seat two, here was an electric truck, a fully-featured, 5-seat Equinox, its cargo space unspoiled by bulky battery packs. Part of Amp's decision to use the Equinox was the SUV's volume—with the engine and gas tank pulled out, there's enough room for 37 kWh-worth of lithium-phosphate cells. The Nissan Leaf, by comparison stores 24 kWh. According to Amp Electric Vehicles CEO Steve Burns, the company is working on a 47kWh-version of the truck, similar to an optional V6, for customers who don't mind even longer recharge times. The truck currently takes 16 hours to charge to full on a standard 110 V outlet, or four hours on a 220 V.
The auto industry's idea of poking fun during some bleak times
Anyway, I originally thought of writing a joke post, but then I realized something: I hate when people do that.
So instead, here's a rundown -- from the funny crew over at Jalopnik, natch -- of the "creative" press releases and hoaxes sent around from automotive industry PR flacks. Entries range from the clever (like BMW's take, above) to the "F for effort" variety. Below, a rundown -- and note that none of these, of course, are real.
Microsoft's Hohm energy management system to integrate Ford Focus Electric vehicle, others
The program, called Hohm, will expand its capabilities to cover the energy use demanded by plug-in EVs, specifically starting with the electric version of the Ford Focus due next year.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5