Japan and gadgets go hand in hand, so it's no wonder that car technology figures prominently in automaker displays at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. Both Honda and Volkswagen put up exhibits showing their latest-generation navigation systems, which are generally available as in-dash options in their cars. Both companies embrace the new trend of hard drive-based navigation. These types of systems offer faster data access than DVD-based systems, and there is usually a bit of space left over for music storage. Honda uses a 40GB drive, the largest we've heard of as a factory install, while the Volkswagen … Read more
The highlight of the 2007 Tokyo auto show is easily the Nissan GT-R, gaining its mantle through its supercar performance and its fairly affordable price. For hours after Nissan unveiled the GT-R, people stood around it in awed silence, the only sound the frequent shutter clicks of cameras. Its design suggests brute strength and, according to the specs, it isn't faking. The car's 3.8-liter twin turbo engine puts out 473 horsepower, launching it to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Despite this amount of power, the GT-R achieves Japan's Ultra Low Emission Vehicle rating.
Nissan developed … Read more
Although a standard feature of gym equipment, do we need cardiac monitors in our cars? Denso thinks so, displaying this steering wheel-integrated monitor at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. When you grip the wheel, metal strips set into its rim use the contact with your hands to measure your heartbeat. We gave it a try, and it worked quickly, showing our heart rate on a screen. The health of drivers is obviously important for safety, because if someone is going into cardiac arrest behind the wheel, they would take out a dozen more people. Denso's monitor could be hooked … Read more
BMW showed an interest in mining its past with the CS concept, first shown at the 2007 Shanghai auto show. The company follows this theme with the tii concept here at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. This concept is based on the very real and very exciting 135i Coupe, BMW's new small car with the very big engine. If the 135i Coupe isn't enough car for you, the tii concept should certainly be. BMW didn't bother to change the engine or interior electronics for the concept, instead opting for some bodywork. The tii gets a lightened load … Read more
Having set out its conservative agenda for the production of plug-in cars earlier this week, Toyota gave away some more details yesterday, confirming that it would offer plug-in technology "during the life" of its third-generation Prius hybrid, according to an article in Just Auto.
The non plug-in version of the third-gen Prius is scheduled to go on sale in the next two to three years with a plug-in version possible by 2011, according to Thierry Dombreval, executive vice president of Toyota Europe. Dombreval also suggested that the plug-in Prius would be available only as an option when it … Read more
Refrigerator trucks may not be sexy, but they play a vital role in our day-to-day lives by carrying food and supplies from one part of the country to another. However, they also contribute a significant amount of pollution on our roads.
Aura Systems, a company based in El Segundo, Calif., on Wednesday introduced a mobile-power system that keeps produce cold by using electricity instead of diesel fuel.
Traditional refrigeration trucks use a separate diesel engine to drive the compressor that keeps the inside of the truck cold. The extra engine not only emits more pollutants, but is also extremely expensive … Read more
Honda is upping its production of gas-electric hybrid cars, but has no immediate plans to develop the kind of hybrid that would recharge from an electrical outlet, the company announced Tuesday.
Honda CEO Takeo Fukui also publicly criticized General Motors for its pursuit of the Chevy Volt at a press conference on Tuesday in Japan.
If that kind of high-performance battery power is possible then carmakers would be better served making a completely electric vehicle from an environmental standpoint, said Fukui, according to the The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
A German statute known as the "Volkswagen Law" was struck down Tuesday by the European Court of Justice, opening the door for sports car maker Porsche to acquire the German automaker.
The ruling means that Porsche, which has expressed an interest in making Volkswagen a rival to Toyota in terms of global sales, can now proceed.
Porsche already owns a significant amount of shares in Volkswagen. It's now free to continue buying up VW stock, increase its voting share, become the majority owner and take control of the company.
"With a voting interest of just above … Read more
You know the times are a-changin' when you see Bob Dylan in a commercial for the Cadillac Escalade. In an ad campaign beginning today with a 30-second TV spot, the counterculture icon is shown driving across the desert behind the wheel of the '08 blingmobile in an effort to highlight its as-standard XM Radio. Dylan hosts his own "Theme Time Radio Hour" show on XM, which will this week feature a Cadillac-themed episode.
In today's press release, Liz Vanzura, Global Marketing Director for Cadillac, said that the automaker was "pleased to join XM in this exciting … Read more
How do you improve on a sexy, sporty, stylish coupe? Easy--make it sexier, sportier, and more stylish. With the G37 Coupe, Infiniti has built a very powerful and good-looking follow-up to the G35. In addition to its swooping lines and punchy power plant, the G37 comes armed to the teeth with cutting-edge cabin technology, including a hard-drive-based navigation system, music server, iPod integration, hands-free Bluetooth cell phone integration, and a solid Bose audio system. Check out our full review of 2008 Infiniti G37 Sport here.