The benefits of hybrid cars have been outlined and debated exhaustively. However, the National Federation of the Blind will testify next week on the dangers hybrid vehicles in silent mode pose to the blind, and other pedestrians. So called "full hybrid" cars, such as the Toyota Prius, and the Lexus GS450h shut off their combustion engines and rely on propulsion from quiet electric motors under certain low-speed driving conditions. According to the NFB, "hybrid vehicles are virtually silent when accelerating and decelerating, making it impossible for blind individuals to detect their presence". To address the issue, … Read more
It's not often that you get people volunteering to get stuck in traffic. However, that's exactly what happened today in Northern California. About 150 students from the University of California at Berkeley participated a project devised to test the potential of using GPS-enabled, internet-connected cell phones as aids for reporting real-time information on traffic congestion. The test by the university was done in collaboration with Nokia, and the California Transportation Department. Real-time traffic services are nothing new. Services from Satellite companies, such as XM and Sirius, as well as maps from Google and Yahoo provide color-coded estimates of … Read more
The gadget-laden Acura RL has long been a favorite here at CNET Car Tech. As one of the first cars to offer a navigation system with real-time traffic data, and an active collision mitigation system, the current generation RL was ahead of the pack in terms of cabin and drivetrain technology. However, as we found in our recent review of the 2007 RL, the model has started to show its age. Acura is remedying that with the release of the 2009 RL. The 2009 RL comes with a new body style, a more powerful engine, and some more pioneering cabin … Read more
GMC takes a major step in reimagining the SUV with the Denali XT concept unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. Although this concept uses a pickup truck style body, all of its tech innovation can be applied to an SUV, a class of vehicle that includes the current production GMC Yukon Denali. Unlike traditional SUVs, which consist of a body bolted onto a frame, the Denali XT is built on a unibody architecture, similar to how today's cars are built. Unibody vehicles are considered to have better handling, and a more comfortable ride. However, they are not considered … Read more
An ejector seat might be a fine way to get rid of the boss, but let's be serious--it isn't exactly something you'd find showcased in Architectural Digest. Aston Martin's "DB6 Couch" might not be either, but at least it doesn't threaten to send you flying out a window.
This limited-edition piece, from Aston Martin Heritage Designs, is an exact replica of a DB6 model's rear end with and is available in custom colors. Also true to the real thing is the price: $7,300, according to OhGizmo, and that doesn't even … Read more
At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai showed off a purpose-built fuel cell vehicle called the i-Blue. Hyundai has been developing a fuel cell powertrain for several years using its Tucson SUV as a test vehicle. As a purpose-built vehicle, Hyundai was able to place the fuel stack under the floor, making for better weight distribution. Hyundai classifies the i-Blue as a crossover utility vehicle, although it uses a 2+2 seating arrangement, which would put it on the small side for a crossover. As a concept, it employs futuristic-looking driver controls and instrumentation, complete with a 3D heads-up display … Read more
Volkswagen rolled out its new Routan vehicle at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, reinforcing Chrysler's idea that the minivan is alive and well. Frankly, we don't care for the conventional minivan look of the Routan. The minivan segment was pioneered by Volkswagen way back in 1950--with the Type 1 Transporter, or microbus--so we would expect something more interesting looking than the Routan. The Routan offers minivan amenities in the form of three rows of seats, with second row captain's chairs, and 32.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Without the third row seats, there is 83 cubic … Read more
INDIAN WELLS, Calif.--Tesla Motors is contemplating selling the drivetrains and software components necessary to build electric cars to other companies.
The company will probably come out with an announcement on this initiative in the second quarter of this year, and parts and software from Tesla could start shipping to other carmakers by 2010 or earlier, said Tesla Chairman Elon Musk during an interview at the Clean Tech Investor Summit taking place this week in Indian Wells, near Palm Springs. Of course, any third-party deals will depend on Tesla's success in getting its own cars on the road. The … Read more
Making a virtue out of practicality, the 2008 Honda Fit Sport doesn't offer breathtaking looks, rugged capability, or racetrack speed. What it does offer is low-speed power, maneuverability, nice cabin materials, and plenty of room inside for occupants and cargo. But even with these practical points, it's a car that doesn't live up to its potential.
From our Car Tech perspective, there is very little special about the Fit. As is typical with the segment, GPS navigation isn't available. Nor does it offer Bluetooth cell phone integration, like the Nissan Versa. Also, you won't get … Read more
Chevrolet launched a new crossover vehicle at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, but from its specifications, it sounds more like an SUV. The Traverse has three rows of seating, plus cargo space, although the automaker insists that it drives like a much smaller car. We like that it uses a six-speed automatic. It also has some interesting tech options, such as Bluetooth, that shows GM isn't as bound to OnStar as it has been in the past.