“The advanced new P400e Plug-In Hybrid perfectly balances performance with fuel economy and all-electric off-road capability,” senior manager for powertrain advanced engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, Iain Gray said in a statement. “The latest model also provides refined and powerful new in-line six-cylinder diesel engines that bring improvements in fuel economy and drivability. They join a comprehensive range of powertrain options for Defender.”
OP-ED by Stephanie Larson
With the interstate building project of the 1950s, most U.S. cities suddenly became connected by paved roads. What was once dirt and gravel roads became paved asphalt highways. For car lovers, these highways were a dream come true. Drivers finally had long stretches of paved roads where they could see what their vehicles could do.
Some thought the interstate system was the future of transportation, but technology is advancing and changing how drivers get around. Here are some automotive advances you should watch for in the coming years.
1. Self-Driving Vehicles
Autonomous vehicles are already here, and several car manufacturers have models slowly making their way up the guideline levels set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are four levels and two sub-levels vehicles have to pass before considered fully-automatic and safe to drive.
Most self-driving models are at level one. The vehicle reliably provides drivers with warnings and information. Some vehicles are in the early stages of level 2 for automated parking and highway driving. However, Google is currently the company ahead at level four. While the company’s vehicle is fully-automated there are still a few glitches that need to be worked out.
Soon, your car may be the one driving instead of you.
2. All Electric Vehicles
Hybrid vehicles are becoming more common as technology progresses. The batteries are capable of holding a charge longer and the vehicles are getting a little bigger instead of smaller. All electric models still won’t be larger than a small sedan for quite some time.
One of the appeals electric vehicles have is its simple components. Without the need for gasoline, several components will no longer be necessary. The essentially scale-downed vehicles are also expected to cost consumers less in the purchase price and maintenance.
These advancements in technology have even lead Bloomberg New Energy Finance to predict electric vehicles will comprise 35 percent of worldwide car sales by 2040.
3. Self-Driving Electric Vehicles
It’s not uncommon for technologies to mix. Smart cars owe their intelligence to computer technology. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine smart electric cars. Automobile manufacturers with eminent plans to release self-driving technology in 2022 now include giants like Ford. However, the automotive giant plans on using the technology in their hybrid vehicles first.
In the future, ride share services like Uber and others could do away with their drivers. When you use the app to order a ride, a self-driving electric vehicle shows up. Instead of bus drivers and train operators, public transportation could also become fully automated, along with electrically powered.
With these vehicles, you are the passenger.
What These Changes Mean For You
It’s impossible to stop technology advancing and this means changes, even in transportation. Self-driving cars, both gas and electric will be on the roads in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that your love of the open road has to change.
Electric cars don’t have the ‘oomph’ that an 8-cyllander engine has. Self-driving vehicles are still crashing into things on road tests. However, these glitches will be fixed, and these automobiles will become a common sight on the interstate.
There is one thing that will remain the same regardless of how far technology goes. Vehicle maintenance will always be important. Even self-driving electric vehicles need regular tune-ups. You will also want to keep an eye on the battery condition. This is something that you should still be doing regularly whether you drive a hybrid or have a gas engine.
Honda had done hybrids but they’re now doing an all electric car…very tiny…but a car.
Most car companies, not just US auto-makers, but seriously most, are desperately trying to figure out how to make a bigger EV. Honda, who is entering the game a little later, is actually making waves by going small.
“The Honda e, released in Europe earlier this month, is a compact model meant solely for city driving.”Maki Shiraki
Tesla dominates the market currently, and wisely started with a luxury sedan. Of Course Tesla was a startup company that needed to ramp up production. Selling a high ticket item with limited run capacity made a lot of sense.
Honda has evaluated the market and found a niche they feel they can dominate with an EV given the unique limitations of current technology.
I one sense they are removing the gas bill from a market that typically already drives very efficient vehicles. In another sense they’re removing carbon emissions from a community that is most conscious of smog.
Starting in Europe is the no-brainer choice as they have the highest population centers and highest fuel prices. They’re also less dependent on personal vehicles for longer trips as the rail system already fits that bill.
In such a huge industry like the vehicle industry, you are bound to have a controversy or two. They pop up every so often. Some controversies are just about cutting corners to get round safety standards or environmental law. Others are life or death.
Generally speaking, businesspeople will keep to the rules though with the amount of money involved, there will always be a company willing to bend the rules if an investigative journalist is determined to find one.
Emissions Testing Controversy
One of the more recent controversies was the emission test scandal discovered in 2014. It was associated with VWs but it affected Chrysler, Nissan and Mercedes. It boils down to the same model vehicle showing different levels of CO² in American and European tests. There might be slight fluctuations in the test but not as much as the results submitted. Something was off it seems.
It’s not the first time that these emission tests have caused problems. In 1973 the “ambient temperature switches” (we would probably call it an air conditioner these days) seemed to affect the emission recall. More recently in 1996, there was a problem with the onboard software that seemed to alter the test results. Ultimately the only way validate emissions tests is to continually compare and contrast results from different locations.
The Hennessey Venom GT
Was the Hennessey Venom GT the fastest turnaround in production or was it just a complete ripoff of the Lotus? The evidence would suggest the latter, the chassis belonging to the Lotus Exige, according to sources. Though the manufacture involved various part of the Exige Hennessey remains adamant it is not associated with the Lotus—which doesn’t stop the car from being registered as a Lotus Exige (modified) with many DMV’s.
The Most Mysterious Controversy Yet
There was a limited number of the BMW 2002 Turbo, about 1700. There’s some discussion about why both Turbo and 2002 were written backwards on the vehicle, Journalists and police bemoaned this altered script, but it’s not clear why. Look into it yourself and let us know why you think this is a big deal (https://buy.motorious.com/articles/news/308437/bmw-2002-turbo-began-the-m-division).
Fuel from Water
There have been quite a series of water fueled car inventors that have spawned controversy.
The 1st thing you must understand is that there are two basic approaches to fueling a car with water. One is two split hydrogen out of the water using super-efficient nanotechnology to get as close to frictionless energy transfer as possible without breaking Newtonian physics, and the other is to toss out Newton and Einstein and use ninja techniques from Nikola Tesla’s mad years when he claimed frictionless forms of electricity exist. Guess which one is more accepted in the scientific community.
A company named Genesis World Energy/United Fuel Cell Technology patented a process to split water into HHO gas, and mixed it to create a fuel. Four years later, in 2006, after raising nearly three million dollars from investors, the owner of the company, Patrick Kelly, was convicted in New Jersey of theft.
In 2008, similarly named Japanese company Genepax announced a car that runs on water. But the company received a sound beat down by Popular Mechanics magazine. No lawsuits so far, let’s see what their 2016 claim to run a car on two cans of pop will bring.
Daniel Dingel, a Filipino inventor, also claimed to have invented a water-powered car. He applied for a patent, view it here, and in 2000, he talked Formosa Plastics Group to back him. They appear to have sued him in 2008 for fraud and won. Dingel passed away in prison in 2011, escaping the last 15 years of his sentence.
In 2015, a Swiss-French company, nanoFlowcell AG, came out with a whole line of water-powered cars. They, at least, have remained in business. Fending off initial concerns from skeptical journalists. NanoFlowcell doesn’t burn HHO gas, instead, it’s an electrolysis process powering a fuel cell through—you guessed it—a nanoflow process. But it’s a water-powered electric car by any other name.
In 2019 a Chinese company claimed they had created a car that ran on water by catalysing (or transforming) the hydrogen in the water. Many people felt this to be a scam. The Chinese government which usually funds car production in the country did not release a statement. It seemed that the science didn’t work and despite the unique technology that must be involved, no patent had been filed.
No further follow-ups of this story seem to exist online, so it seems most people’s suspicions were justified. Just a pie-in-the-sky, license-to-print-money exercise. It’s not clear however how they thought they could get away with it, you can’t market a water powered car without some kind of explanation. So perhaps this time they did make the discovery of the century and when the Chinese government realized it, they quickly squashed all talk of it.
What will be the next controversy? Well, there are discussions about the safety of driverless cars and whether electric cars are as environmentally safety as advertised. Just another car controversy to be wary of. Just another day in the office around here.
By Andy Bunch
When it comes to running a car on alternate fuel sources, one of the biggest issues is infrastructure. If it takes a nationwide network of fueling stations to make the car practical, then it’s not likely to happen quickly. Electric cars are no exception, largely because they require a special plug-in. However, since electricity is readily available everywhere it’s not an impossible hurtle to leap.
Another likely fuel source is water. Water is everywhere and even easier and safer to work with than regular unleaded or deasil. Or so you would think. But before we talk about the danger of water as fuel lets address the elephant in the room, how does one use water as fuel?
Water as Fuel!
H2O is the stable substance created by combining two highly flammable gases, which we commonly use to put out fires. Don’t blame me, it’s chemistry. Much like we can combine two poisons Sodium and Chloride into NACL and get ordinary table salt, we can take tap water apart and burn the hydrogen part of it. The only exhaust is water vapor which is generally accepted as environmentally okay.
Now to the potentially bad news. The process takes electricity and enough of it that we don’t really come out with a net savings of energy over harvesting fossil fuels. The other challenge is that you need to compress, or enrich, the hydrogen in order to turn it into a practical fuel. Do this too much and you get a highly radioactive gas.
To quote ourselves There are “two basic approaches to fueling a car with water. One is two split hydrogen out of the water using super-efficient nanotechnology to get as close to frictionless energy transfer as possible without breaking Newtonian physics, and the other is to toss out Newton and Einstein and use ninja techniques from Nikola Tesla’s mad years when he claimed frictionless forms of electricity exist.”
As you might guess the government isn’t happy to have one of those groups experimenting with a substance that could turn into something radioactive.
The Uphill Battle to Fuel Cars on Water
However, there is another reasonable explanation for the fact that we’re not all driving around in water powered cars. The fuel industry is powerful and rich. As an element of international relations, the world reserve currency is the Petro dollar—which means the US buying oil from nations that would probably rather destroy the US provides stability. So, there is a lot of push to avoid widespread use of alternative fuels.
In this best of the web our crack staff has gathered some great articles about the international efforts to create a water-powered car. To make it less serious we’ve embedded so cool videos.
Starting with the most noteworthy efforts of a swiss company to do it the right way and turn super efficiency into a working Hydro-car.
Next is a tiny welsh company that is trying to convert transportation on their small island into all water cars.
Check out these cool videos of water-powered cars
Indian Homebrew Water Car
The animated history of water as fuel.
This Isreally car runs on electricity AND water.
On the controversial side of things…
…and let’s face it, that’s more fun, these two items are worth a gander. The first is the story of Stanly Meyer’s attempt to create a perpetual motion machine using water. He died tragically, perhaps suspiciously while meeting with foreign investors. It’s worth looking into…
A Chinese auto company has recently made claims about hydrogen fuels cells, which the government of China has been rather quiet about. Either they were wrong and that’s why the silence…or they were right and that’s why the silence…
For a rather lengthy but super interesting dig into the topic of water-powered cars you can’t miss this post on medium. We’d have led with it, but you need to pay to read medium so not everyone will find this article helpful.
It appears that the upcoming Lucid Air is poised to enter the market with a trump card against the kings of the premium electric sedan market today: the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan. While the Model S boasts a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.23, and the Porsche Taycan stands with an impressive Cd of 0.22, tests of the Lucid Air at the Windshear facility in North Carolina have determined that the upcoming premium electric sedan has an industry-leading Cd of only 0.21.
The findings were announced by the electric car maker on Tuesday, with Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors stating that the company has been intensively focused on optimizing the Air’s aerodynamics. This should help the vehicle achieve its target electric range of 400 miles per charge, which should place it right on the level of the Tesla Model S’s EPA range and far above that of the Porsche Taycan.
As a follow up to yesterdays post about innovative electric cars here’s a video test drive of the Solo mentioned on the post.
Today we will be looking into early electrical cars, generally designed for one person such as The Solo and similar. Why didn’t these cars go mainstream and why did people at the time prefer gas vehicles? Things do change but why were these cars so ahead of their time?
The Solo was made by ElectraMeccanica based in Vancouver, Canada. It was built for just one person. The sales pitch was simple, why drive with empty seats. The advantage of this is to cheaper to build and retails at a comparatively reduced price.
Technically it is a motorbike rather than a car as it has three wheels (why cars can’t be called cars unless they have four wheels is not clear). Many three wheeled vehicles have the one wheel at the front, but the Solo has the one wheel at the rear of the vehicle.
Although the modern idea of electric cars is to save energy and riding around in an electric car by yourself may fly in the face of modern idealists but ElectraMeccanica had a decent idea. According to the Census Bureau90% of Americans drive alone, so why not get the saving on both the purchase an operation of your commuter vehicle.
It’s unclear why people seem to prefer to drive a car designed for three or more passengers rather than single cars, maybe people want to keep seats in reserve, or they feel claustrophobic in a tiny car. Or maybe a 3 wheeled electric car is somewhat geeky? Hard to say.
Other single person vehicles include the Bond Bug and the Corbin Sparrow.
Let’s take these one by one.
The Bond Bug is a Reliant car whose color makes it resemble an orange wedge of cheese, or a German Bubble car. It doesn’t so much have a door as a compartment which opens up.
The Corbin Sparrow has three models, the Jellybean, the Hatchback and Pizza Butt. Sparrows featured in the Austin Powers movies because they look so novel. They were manufactured in Ohio with the byline “NmG” – No more Gas.
They were plans for the company to go beyond a single electric car and into creating a Duo in 2009 running on lithium ion batteries but plans were shelved, likely because everyone suddenly jumped onto the electric car bandwagon and it’s hard to compete with major manufacturers when they join your little niche.
Okay, so they’re tiny, but why did all these makers decide to go electric?
These cars were so small that they couldn’t be gas propelled or hybrid, they had to be electric. It’s not just being kind to the environment, they have to run on electric propulsion. They weighed more than a bike so they needed more power, but they were too small for safe gas tank.
Then and Now
There was never a mass production of electric vehicles until 2010 and there were plenty of automakers that tried their hand at it. Enough so it could be said there wasn’t a market for it.
It’s taken a government grant to the consumer to drive sales which could fall off quickly for two reasons. 1st if the cars are actually inferior, which they don’t have to be, but they might be. And 2nd, because they aren’t really saving the environment.
After all 64% of the electric grid is still based around fossil fuels such as coal and gas. Those supporting ecological issues would prefer this to be lower, but it all comes down to cost.
Still things are changing, there is a noticeable increase in cars run off wall sockets and battery packs, though they aren’t as revolutionary in appearance as the Solo, Bond Bug or Corbin Sparrow.
So, we solute the pioneers of the electric car, even if they couldn’t stand the competition once the government bribed people to buy on a large scale. If electric cars are going to corner the market we’ll need the major manufacturers to supply the demand. It’s sad for the smaller companies though who probably only wanted to carve out a niche.
The Kicker has covered Rivian a few times, but they’re not the only E-Truck coming.
The electric truck is a fairly new on the scene and suddenly so many companies added it to next years offering that it could make your eyes water. Players like Tesla are giving the bigger fish a run for their money, to mix metaphors a bit. It is still possible that designs will change before they finally reach the market.
An electric pickup is advantageous when compared to a diesel engine in that it is drastically more compact. Nor does the vehicle require a transmission or multiple gears so this saved space may be applied to other uses.
Atlis’s XT does seem like an electrified version of a conventional pickup with conventional proportions, but it still has some extra features. There’s a choice of cab sizes and whether you have single or dual rear wheels. It has an electric motor per wheel rather than one per axle (apparently the norm) and goes from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds. These cars are shrouded in mystery, even where they are being manufactured.
General Motors have come up with the GMC Hummer. The debut date was May 20, 2020 and goes from 0-60 in 3 seconds. It was created in the Detroit plant, however, there’s yet to be any announcement on the price though there are rumors on a 80,000 price tag.
The Lordstown Endurance takes its name from a city in Ohio. The factory creating the Endurance was purchased from General Motors and is planned to produce the first pickup of many this year. Having one motor per wheel helps control the torque, similar to the XT above. The workers who used to be in General Motors could be repositioned.
Bolinger Motors could have a disadvantage when weighed up against its rivals in that it has been in operation for a relatively short time. It started in New York and has now moved and is based in Detroit, where similar companies are based. Both the B1 and B2 have a door to the bed section, differentiating from similar designs. The door also allows items which are longer than the bed itself to fit in the vehicle.
Both vehicles have features you might expect in similar pickups such as 4 wheel drive and can operate both on-road and off-road. It is well worth watching Bolinger to see what they come up with next.
The Tesla Cybertruck has a controversial design involving a number of strong angles and the cab pushed forwards. It can run on 500 miles per charge, only it isn’t clear from their reports how long a charge is. There is also a lack of paint options with the only color being a steel gray.
The Cybertruck isn’t technically a pickup as it hasn’t a bed, the area behind the cab where items are stored. Despite this it can tow 7,500lbs of weight. The lower priced Cybertrucks won’t be manufactured until 2021 and the tri-motor in 2022.
Maybe it’s some sort of prejudice that only the sporty type of vehicle has used electric motors. But with these upcoming vehicles many companies are making up for lost time.
There are huge number of public spaces in European towns, especially in Italy, tight areas where it would be hard for sedans to navigate. Whether the roads are too rough, or the area is designated to pedestrians, it is not a place for normal cars. Added to this are car-free islands where there is no way to transport anything substantial to the place.
Is there a Motorized Vehicle Solution?
This is where you need some kind of minimalist car. What is a minimalist car? Well there are a few examples already in existence, and if the market demands it, perhaps they will design more.
In Slovenia, for instance, where the elderly and the infirm are moved about by Ljubjani or slow-moving taxis. But there are hundreds of such regions from the Spandau of Berlin to the Renaissance Quarter of Seville. There must be a market here for mini vehicles?
Such was the concept that Giorgetto Guigiaro hoped to innovate. One of the chief designers of Italdesign, he had created a number of specialist cars like the famous Delorean. Giorgetto was ahead of his time, thinking up concepts like ride-sharing long before others created it. Could he create a car that narrowed everything down to the basic essentials, for use in these urban enclaves where other cars cannot go?
A New Approach to A New Type of Car
In terms of car design, Italdesign does a little of everything, including creating prototypes for automobiles and design validation. At least according to their website. It’s not clear how validation differs from testing, maybe it’s about getting from a prototype to a product that can enter the market.
Guigiaro planned to get a minimalist car to market by 1992, but there’s little point in researching a new vehicle unless you plan for some kind of success. Previous attempts at minimalist cars, like the Sinclair C5, had a toy car look and feel. These cars embraced their identity as novelty cars and therefore had no mass marketability.
The car that Guigiaro came up with was the Biga, one of the first electric cars. This type of car looks more like a small van than a car and it has been built to save space.
Which parts did the vehicle need and what could be left out?
To look at the Biga from the outside you might find it hard to believe it is possible for this tiny a vehicle to transport four people. The way round this is to only to have the driver’s seat where it usually is. The other three seats are at 90° from the driver’s seat and access is only available through a back door. If each seat had its own door this would take up needless space.
You might have thought that the Biga was made of fiberglass, but it was actually made of a lightweight steel. The overall effect is a cube on wheels. Like a number of compact cars since, the Biga can be parked at right angles to the sidewalk (where the law permits), this allows you to easily fit three Biga’s in the length of two normal parking spots.
Not all cars can be Cadiallacs, there are hundreds of vehicles that aren’t there for the mass market. It’s hard to find accurate sales of the Biga. It would be difficult to judge those numbers in context if you found them. The reason is that the Biga is a cross between a novelty car and a mass market production vehicle—more in the category of a four-wheel drive off-road vehicle, only most off-road vehicles are still able to serve as a daily driver in a pinch. The Biga is the type of car which encourages creative thought and solves a problem, rather than one that makes a huge impression. So it makes a splash in its own way.