By Dale Jewett
Smart USA Distributor LLC, which is owned by Roger Penske's Penske Automotive Group, said the car would be powered by a gasoline engine and fit the B-segment size class. The Nissan Versa is a B-size car in the Japanese automaker's U.S. lineup.
Smart USA released two sketches of its version of the car. The car in the sketches bear some similarity to the Nissan March, a small car built on the same platform as the Versa but not sold in the United States. Nissan sells the March in Japan and a similar car, badged the Micra, in other countries.
Test drives of Nissan Leaf, Ford prototypes show electric vehicles can handle everyday duties with ease.
They’re still expensive -- too expensive for many drivers -- but modern electric vehicles and their more practical offshoot, the plug-in hybrid, are definitely good enough to be viable everyday transportation. And as with any early-adopter technology, expect prices to come down as manufacturers begin cranking out product on a mass scale; in this case, EVs and lithium-ion batteries from a slew of new factories around the world.
While in Manhattan on Monday, I drove the Nissan Leaf, the much ballyhooed all-electric hatchback that goes in sale in December, as well as a pair of battery-powered Ford prototypes: a Focus EV hatchback and a plug-in Escape SUV. The Focus EV, in both sedan and hatchback versions, will go on sale next spring and the plug-in Escape hybrid will hit showrooms in 2012 -- the same year that conventional Ford hybrids such as the Fusion sedan and Escape switch to stronger, lighter lithium-ion batteries. And Ford is already taking orders for its Transit Connect EV, a small van aimed at commercial customers.
From tangled New York streets to 70-mph traffic on the West Side Highway, the Nissan and Ford models delivered all the acceleration, handling, comfort and convenience of a typical gas-powered car -- but without most of the sound. The Nissan and Ford EVs can travel 100 miles on a charge for roughly $2.75 worth of electricity; the same trip would cost about $12 in gasoline for cars that get the typical 25 mpg.
By Brad Constant
Tesla Motors is recalling its electric Roadster 2.0 and 2.5 models because a power cable may short and catch fire.
The 12-volt cable, located behind the right-front headlight, could rub against the carbon-fiber paneling causing the cable to short, begin smoking and possibly catch fire, Tesla said.
The cable is part of a backup system that powers the headlights, taillights, turn signals and airbags if the primary 12-volt cable fails.
NHTSA upgrades 5-star safety rating system.
According to The New York Times "Wheels" blog:
"The revamped system provides an overall ratings score to help make comparing vehicle safety easier. The score will combine findings from the frontal crash test and side crash test, as well as a new side-impact oblique pole and rollover test."
The full set of new scores -- 33 in total -- after the jump, but as a quick aside, only two of those received the highest vehicle score of five stars: the rear-wheel-drive BMW 5-Series sedan and the Hyundai Sonata (applicable to all those built after July 2 of this year.)
By Jonathan Wong
WITH VIDEO -- If John Scott has his way, every car on the road will be shod with tires featuring built-in camber. Scott is the owner of Wisconsin-based Optima Sports, a small automotive-engineering firm, and inventor of Camber Tires--tires with a constantly decreasing diameter.
According to Scott, his tires offer multiple benefits, including enhanced handling, increased stability, reduced tread noise, improved fuel economy and better safety by reducing rollovers.
And Scott says preliminary tests show no abnormal wear characteristics, and he extrapolates that 140-tread-rating Camber Tires will easily last 24,000 miles.
We briefly tested a set of the tires with two degrees of camber on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and came away amazed. The ride was shockingly quiet and comfortable over rutted roads, which is a stark contrast to the rough and loud ride normally associated with the Evolution on stock Yokohama rubber. Even more impressive was that the Camber Tires still returned the incredible steering response and cornering grip we expect of an Evo.
Lack of funding for public transit called a threat to future prosperity.
This a major finding, as reported by the Washington Post based on literature released yesterday from a three-day summit in September 2009 at the University of Virginia, attended by about 80 transportation experts, including former secretaries of transportation Norman Mineta and Samuel Skinner.
By Izzi Bendall
Prices for the 2011 Cadillac CTS-V wagon will begin at $62,990, including destination charges.
Available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, the CTS-V is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 delivering 556 hp and 551 lb-ft of torque.
Commercial drivers banned from texting while driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently made big waves about the dangers of distracted driving. The government agency released data saying that 5,500 people died and around 500,000 were injured in 2009 in accidents in which distracted driving was a factor. Likewise, research has surfaced saying that teens still don’t think texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, even though both have been shown to be just as detrimental to a driver’s ability to operate a car or truck.
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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