Mercedes is on a model-refresh rampage. Following the very successful update to the C-Class for 2008, and last week's CLS-class makeover announcement, comes news and images of the 2009 SL roadster. On the outside, the convertible gets a new schnoz with a grille face-lift and new headlights, as well as a couple of power domes on the hood. Inside, the COMAND system that so underwhelmed us in our review of the 2007 SL550 is augmented with a hard-drive based navigation system and music server. Interestingly (and somewhat disappointingly), the new SL does not receive S-Class-level cabin tech upgrade that … Read more
Tesla Motors, the people who put the all-electric car on the map, are going to work with gas too.
The San Carlos, Calif.-based company will produce two basic types of its Whitestar sedan, due toward the end of 2009. One will run completely on batteries. The other will be a range-extended vehicle, or REV, CEO Ze'ev Drori said in an interview. In an REV, a small gas motor recharges the battery pack while the car is being driven. The battery pack on these types of cars only goes about 40 to 50 miles on a charge, but because … Read more
The Zune Car Pack ($79) is Microsoft's in-car FM transmitter made especially for its entire line of Zune MP3 players (including the first generation Zune). The Car Pack shares the same aesthetic as Microsoft's second-generation series of Zune players, offering design-conscious Zune users an elegant in-car listening solution.
When most car companies launch a special edition, it means custom colors, maybe some new interior components, and 10 percent to 20 percent price increase. But Japanese car maker Mitsuoka went the opposite direction, launching a special edition of its Orochi model called the Orochi Zero. It comes in about 10 percent cheaper than the standard model. We first saw the Mitsuoka Orochi at the 2005 Tokyo Auto Show. This different-looking handmade car, originally based on the Acura NSX platform, uses a 3.3-liter V-6 producing 230 horsepower. We don't know why Mitsuoka decided to build the Orochi Zero, … Read more
Many in the auto industry are touting ethanol as the solution to the challenge of post-petroleum transportation. Major carmakers advertise many new cars can run on E85--a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline--and they trumpet the fuels environmental benefits relative to gasoline. But the ethanol story is not as straightforward as it sounds. Aside from the lack of infrastructure--only around 1,400 out of 170,000 U.S. filling stations have ethanol available--the production of ethanol from corn has drawn criticism for its cost (in terms of food-stocks and land usage) and the relative inefficiency of the … Read more
When you think of the words "hydrogen highway," your mind tends to conjure up images of silent cars whizzing down the road in an environmentally friendly manner.
You don't think about trying to squeeze into a seat between a 300-pound man and a woman with 18 grocery bags. But this scenario might be more realistic.
CalStart, an alternative-transportation advocacy group, has signed five contracts with bus companies to develop and study fuel cells, as well as other components for making hydrogen buses. The $24 million project is partly underwritten by federal grants.
GreenRoad Technologies exists because, as a driver, you probably suck.
The company has developed a software program that analyzes a person's driving habits and then reports back to their boss, insurance company, or, conceivably, the rental car agency. The idea is to identify problem drivers and/or bad driving habits (rapid starts and slamming breaks). Conversely, good habits can be rewarded. The software largely gets sold to owners of large fleets of cars, like delivery companies. But it's not all criticism. The program also provides drivers tips on how to improve on safety and fuel economy.
By installing … Read more
You can't buy cellulosic ethanol at the pump just yet, but Corvette Racing will use it on the track this year in the American LeMans circuit.
The Corvette team will put a version of E85 ethanol (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) made from cellulosic ethanol into its cars for the 2008 season. Unlike conventional ethanol, an alcohol made out of corn or sugar cane, cellulosic ethanol is made from sawdust, wood chips, and agricultural waste. Processing cellulosic ethanol is trickier, but advocates say it could result in a cheap form of transportation fuel someday because the feedstock (i.… Read more
The gadget world is filled with concepts and prototypes that never come close to going into production. So it's particularly encouraging to see one finally make it that far, especially one as whacky as the "iShoes."
These personal conveyances went through two versions before brother-partners Ilya and Borish Kaganovich were apparently satisfied. Now GizmoWatch says the powered footwear, which we still think are best described as a cross between the Segway and a motorized skateboard, are actually for sale.
That's the good news. The bad news is the price--$599 plus $20 shipping--which is significantly more … Read more
Here at CNET Car Tech, we make our living fiddling around with evaluating in-car displays designed to show everything from GPS navigation maps to DVD video to rear-view camera input. Fortunately for us, a report out today from Research and Markets on the production of in-car TVs in China suggests we'll have plenty of work for a long time to come. Citing "overseas demand and an expanding domestic market", the report suggests that exports of in-car TVs are set to increase by 20 percent in the coming months. According to the report, growth is expected in all … Read more