Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bikes From Ferrari

I was emailed these photo's from circulating the internet any while we primarily write about cars in this website I couldn't miss not loading these from Ferrari. The are the ideal example of what the future could possibly look like for motorbikes and making them a reality for the present far surpassing the stereotypical designs from the likes of Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki.

What are your thoughts.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hydrogen filling pump in West Los Angeles

I was getting my haircut at my usual place, which led to taking my car to be cleaned at the usual place and interestingly enough there is a hydrogen fueling pump just across the road on Santa Monica Blvd at the shell station. Upon close inspection it looked to be all hooked up, but alas there were no Hydrogen Bmw 7 series or Honda Hydrogen cars lining up. While the service station my have made the investment and at this time not getting a return, it is a great sign of things to come.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mini E (Electric)

As per a BMW press release on October 18th 2008. The BMW Group will be the world's first manufacturer of premium automobiles to deploy a fleet of some 500 all-electric vehicles for private use in daily traffic. The MINI E will be powered by a 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor fed by a high-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery, transferring its power to the front wheels via a single-stage helical gearbox nearly without a sound and entirely free of emissions. Specially engineered for automobile use, the battery technology will have a range of more than 240 kilometers, or 150 miles. The MINI E will initially be made available to select private and corporate customers as part of a pilot project in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey. The possibility of offering the MINI E in Europe as well is currently being considered. The MINI E will give its world premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 19 and 20, 2008.
The MINI E's electric drive train produces a peak torque of 220 Newton meters, delivering seamless acceleration to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 152 km/h (95 mph). Featuring a suspension system tuned to match its weight distribution, the MINI E sports the brand's hallmark agility and outstanding handling.

By introducing the MINI E, the BMW Group is underscoring the resolve with which it works towards reducing energy consumption and emissions in road traffic. The BMW Group is drawing on its unique technological expertise in the field of drive systems to develop a vehicle concept enabling zero emissions without renouncing the joy of driving. Putting some 500 cars on the road under real daily traffic conditions will make it possible to gain widely applicable hands-on experience. Evaluating these findings will generate valuable know-how, which will be factored into the engineering of mass-produced vehicles.
The BMW Group aims to start series production of all-electric vehicles over the medium term as part of its Number ONE strategy. The development of innovative concepts for mobility in big-city conurbations within the scope of "project i" has a similar thrust, as its objective also includes making use of an all-electric power train.

The energy storage unit: cutting-edge lithium-ion technology engineered specifically for use in the MINI.

Based on the current MINI, the car will initially be available as a two-seater. The space taken up by back-seat passengers in the series model has been reserved for the lithium-ion battery. When in use in the zero-emissions MINI, the battery unit combines high output with ample storage capacity and a small footprint with power ratios that are unrivaled in this field of application so far. The lithium-ion storage unit will have a maximum capacity of 35 kilowatt hours (kWh) and transmit energy to the electric motor as direct current at a nominal 380 volts. The rechargeable battery is made up of 5,088 cells grouped into 48 modules. These modules are packaged into three battery elements that are compactly arranged inside the MINI E.

The energy storage unit's basic components are based on the technological principle that has proven itself in practice in power supplies for mobile phones and portable computers. The MINI E's lithium-ion battery can be plugged into all standard power outlets. Its charge time is strongly dependent on the voltage and amperage of the electricity flowing through the grid. In the USA, users can recharge a battery that has been completely drained within a very short period of time using a wallbox that will ship with every MINI E. The wallbox will be installed in the customer's garage, enable higher amperage, and thus provide for extremely short charging times. Wallboxes fully recharge batteries after a mere two-and-a-half hours.

Driven by electricity: reliably, affordably and free of emissions.

A full recharge draws a maximum of 28 kilowatt hours of electricity from the grid. Based on the car's range, a kilowatt hour translates into 5.4 miles. Besides the benefit of zero-emissions driving, the MINI E thus offers significant economic advantages over a vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine as well.

The heavy-duty battery delivers its power to an electric motor, which transforms it into thrilling agility. Mounted transversely under the MINI E's bonnet, the drive train unleashes its full thrust from a dead standstill. This provides for the car's fascinating launch capability. The MINI E's intense driving experience is augmented by its dynamic deceleration potential, which is also directly coupled to the accelerator pedal. As soon as the driver releases the gas pedal, the electric motor acts as a generator. This results in braking force, and the power recovered from the kinetic energy is fed back to the battery. This interaction ensures extremely comfortable drives - especially at medium speed with constant, but marginal, variation. In city traffic, some 75 percent of all deceleration can be done without the brakes. Making substantial use of this energy recuperation feature extends the car's range by up to 20 percent.
Signature MINI agility in a new guise.

Weighing in at 1,465 kilograms (3.230 lbs), the MINI E has an even weight distribution. Minor modifications made to the suspension ensure safe handling at all times. The Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system has been adapted to this model's specific wheel loads.

The MINI E's brake system comes with a newly developed electric underpressure pump. Its Electrical Power Assisted Steering (EPS) is the same as the one used in mass-produced MINIs. Both brake and steering assistance react to driving conditions and are thus extremely efficient. Even the air conditioning's electrical compressor only operates if desired or necessary.

Design: unmistakably MINI, undoubtedly new.

At first glance, the MINI E is obviously an iteration of the brand. But its design, which is the blueprint for the zero-emissions two-seater, has been complemented by a number of visual cues that point to its revolutionary drive concept. All of the units produced for the pilot project will have the same paintwork and bear a serial number on their front fenders.

The MINI E's coachwork sports an exclusive combination of metallic Dark Silver on all panels but the roof, which is clad in Pure Silver. What distinguishes the zero-emissions MINI is a specially designed logo in Interchange Yellow, depicting a stylized power plug in the shape of an "E" set against the silver backdrop. It has been applied to the roof, in smaller dimensions to the front and back, to the charger port lid, the dashboard trim, and - combined with the MINI logo - to the door jamb, in slightly modified form. The color of the roof edges, mirror housings, interior style cues and seat seams will match the logo's yellow tone as well.

Moreover, the central gauge and the battery level indicator behind the wheel of the MINI E, which replaces the MINI's rev counter, feature yellow lettering against a dark grey background. The battery level is displayed in percentage figures. The central gauge includes an LED display indicating power consumption in red and power recuperation in green.
MINI E customers will be part of a pioneering mission.

A 500-unit, limited-production MINI E series will be manufactured through the end of 2008. The project will thus attain an order of magnitude that clearly exceeds the size of currently comparable test series. Putting the MINI E on the road on a daily basis will be a pioneering feat to which both the drivers and engineers of the first zero-emissions MINI will contribute as a team.

MINI E customers will join forces with BMW Group experts to assist in the project's scientific evaluation. MINI E engineers accord high importance to staying in touch with the drivers on a regular basis, as this will help them analyze driver behavior besides vehicle characteristics in order to gain the most accurate and realistic picture of the demands placed on a vehicle with a purely electrical drive in the select usage areas.

Special charging station and full service for every MINI E.

The cars will change hands based on a one-year lease with an extension option. Monthly lease installments will cover any required technical service including all necessary maintenance and the replacement of wearing parts. At the end of the lease, all of the automobiles belonging to the project will be returned to the BMW Group's engineering fleet where they will be subjected to comparative tests.

The MINI E's lithium-ion battery can be charged using a wallbox provided to MINI customers. Only lockable garages or similar buildings will qualify as homebases and power stations for the MINI E.

Maintenance by qualified specialists.

The electric drive's high-voltage technology requires that maintenance work be done by qualified personnel using special tools that are not included in MINI service partners' standard toolboxes. In light of this, a service base will be set up on both coasts, staffed by service engineers that are specially trained to perform maintenance and repair work on the MINI E's electrical components. In the event of drive malfunction, these experts will provide professional support at the customer's local MINI dealer or the service base's specially equipped workshop. Technical inspections will take place after 3,000 miles (just under 5,000 kilometers) and at least after six months.

Production in Oxford and Munich.

The MINI E has already gone through the major phases of product development for mass-produced vehicles and passed numerous crash tests on the way. Aspects investigated besides passenger protection were the impact of collision forces on the lithium-ion battery and finding a non-hazardous location for it in the car. The MINI E's energy storage unit emerged completely unscathed from all of the crash tests mandated by US standards, which are especially high.

Production of the approximately 500 cars will take place at the company's Oxford and Munich sites and is scheduled for completion before the end of 2008. MINI's UK plant will be responsible for manufacturing the entire vehicle with the exception of the drive components and the lithium-ion battery, with the brand's series models rolling off its assembly lines concurrently. The units will then be transferred to a specially equipped manufacturing complex situated on BMW plant premises where the electric motor, battery units, performance electronics and transmission will be integrated.

To download photos and technical specifications for the MINI E, please visit the BMW Group PressClub at

Good on BMW for making this car. It will work well in places like NYC and Los Angeles. I may even get one myself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

2009 Peugeot RC Hybrid Electric Concept

If your going to design a Hybrid car why make it god awful like the Prius? where as the French have taken a Hybrid idea and implemented a good looking design. The concept hybrid is a front engined GT Sedan able to produce 313bhp but the photo is rather dark which doesnt give us much faith that the end design will hold much confidence but the outline looks nothing as terrible as the Prius. The only factor is that its a french car which a poll undertaken in the last year saw a high percentage of owners dissatisfied with their cars were in fact French with most being Pugs. However, we still have great hope for Peugeot as the cars they are releasing as of late seem to have undergone a complete make over and are looking quite astounding. This Hybrid could be included in that group and look forward to seeing this concept go into production so I can have to opportunity to write it up in future.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

2008 Insignia Interior

NISSAN: Eco Pedal

Japanese car maker NISSAN have produced an Eco-Pedal system that alerts the driver if they are not driving economically. In the present international Fuel and Credit Crisis they expect to capture customers whom are feeling the pinch the pedal has been designed to push back on the drivers foot when the system thinks the current pressure applied is too much & informs the driver they are not driving efficiently, thus saving the driver money. The eco-pedal has a driving indicator which fits to the instrument panel and able to show real-time fuel consumption. Nissan believe that drivers will now beable to save up to 10% with this new system which does also includes an off function. These Eco-pedals are expected to be fitted to cars from next year.

Here are some personal comments.
I have some questions to raise here in relation to its practical applications. Firstly, it will be outfitted to their cars as of next year so in saying, if you can afford a new car you wouldnt exactly be feeling much of the credit crunch or concerned about driving economically most of the time. Secondly, if you just drive economically from the get go the need of such an item is made comletely redundant & Thirdly, this is coming from a company that produced the Nissan GTR which is just a complete animal and the thought of including that technology in that car is just mind-blowing.
Test Case
In the last year, Jeremy Clarkson made a test using a Toyota Prius and a BMW M5. One is built to be eco-friendly and economical and the other isnt. The test involved the Prius being driven flat out around their test track over 10 laps and Clarkson in the M5 and only had to pace the Prius. The result was that over the 10 laps the M5 was the more fuel efficient and it clearly marked the point that its not What you drive But How you drive. So if you want to save on fuel simply follow a few quick points.

Dont race off from a standstill rather gradually build up the speed, turn off the air-con, brake early and softly, keep a steady constant speed at all times where possibly. Follow that and you'll cut your fuel consumption to that 10% without having to pay an additional 10% on a new priced car in order to save the 10% you could do right now in what ever car your driving.

In closing, I have to hand it to the innovation of the Japanese, by all means not a bad idea as may come handy for drivers that suffer from the leadfooted syndrome.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Volkswagen CC

The VW CC Gold Coast, based on the Passat, is a luxury sports coupe that showcases some very bold lines and a stunning paint job highlighted in the picture above.
This model features a 3.6l TFSI estimated to produce an output of 280 horsepower and 360Nm of torque. The DSG (double-clutch 6-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic)system can offer the advantage of choosing between fully automatic or full manual selection, DSG also changes gears more quickly and smoothly than a conventional transmission, while improving fuel economy which is a bonus in todays fuel crisis.

Bad news for New Zealanders is that this model goes on sale this year it wont be sold here in Aotearoa which is unfortunate for us as it looks a bute. When it goes on sale in America later in the year the estimated starting price will be approximately $27,000.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Opel Insignia (Holden Vectra)

Hopefully this is a new generation moving forward from the Vectra days. The new model looks superb and looks to compete alongside the much loved Mazda6's.
They will go on sale in Europe meeting the current Euro 5 legislation on emmissions which is brillient considering it comes from Holden in a country NOT signed up to they Kyoto aggreement.
The new Insignia will come in either Manual or 6-speed automatic transmission in either a saloon or hatchback where the entry model will have a 4-cylinder 104kw petrol engine or choice of a 2.0 turbo diesel engine producing 97-120kw. At the high end there will be a V6 engine with 194kw.
It looks set to now rival the very well known Mazda 6 series and the Ford Mondeo's.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Lightning GT

Don't blink, don't even breathe or you'll have missed your opportunity to see this prototype car. The Lightning GT is 100% electric incorporating the very latest battery technology (Nanosafe) enough energy they say to match the equivalent power of 700bhp which is staggering but we'll have to wait to put that claim to the test. Like the Tesla, it also should be 0-62mph in sub 4 seconds and the four individual motors powering each wheel (each 120kw Power Permanent Magnet Brusless Motors) certainly helps with grip, balance & just sheer imagination.

The stat's the company have released have high claims and too be honest I would be thrilled to see them not only meet those but absolutely smash em'. But one thing they have done from the get go and can be seen immediately in the picture above is that it doesn't appear to be a typical ugly EV. It is in fact an absolute **STAR** and looks just smashing and we can see the designers have thought long and hard about what tract they were heading down. I won't run thru the major EV stats of the Lightning GT as wish to focus on its design apperance being the new front runner poster child of the modern era EV's, sorry Tesla but you have strong competition.
The sleek lines are magestic like the Aston Martin and while in a contemporary phase of its design there is certainly plenty of room for bolder models to follow. Because there is no use of an exhaust on an EV the rear is far from typical now housing a downforce diffuser and the ability to create a signature shape.

Pre-orders are currently being accepted for an equivalent of NZ$40,869.32 or in British poundes 15k.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

2008 Fiat 500 Abarth

As far as small cars go I have to rate this right at the top.
This car marks the return of Italian car maker Fiat to the world of compact sports cars getting away from the boring econovans and I have to say, what a pearl.
It's front engine FWD turbo I4 tapping out 135bhp at max gives this little gem a top speed of 127mph. The 500 Abarth is a compact car with a subtle attitude saying "yes, see me, luuuv me" which gives this wee tot almost a soul.
Looking at this car I just can't help myself from wanting one, but at the same time I can't find myself behind the wheel of one. Maybe your wife might be better suited to zip up the road to your mothers to retrieve the home baked apple pie. Yet the more I look at it the more intrigued I am to test drive it when it lands in NZ.
It has an estimated fuel consumption of 33mpg which to say if your mother in-law was behind the wheel that maybe the case. The average kiwi bloke in a small manual sports car couldn't help but throttle it racing thru the gears and in the spirit of the upcoming Olympics, GO FOR GOLD. Peace of mind comes in the knowledge that it will meet with Euro 5 legislation so would be the perfect car for Beijing clearing the air for our sports atheletes.
In closing, there's just something about this car I just cant put my finger on but would love to have one...maybe at some point.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

sQuba - Underwater Car

Unlike Alan Gibbs Aquada, this car can actually submerse itself to a dept of 32.8ft below the water line. While the car drives off road as a convertible it is also a convertible underwater so scuba regulators are required and supplied as part of the car. It was designed as an open water vehile for safety purposes so occupants could evacuate the vehicle quickly and easily in case of 'emergency'.

Full pic's and details can be viewed at the following blog click here

Its an electric car so has zero emmissions so would work silently above and below water. Would be a stylish car for the US Navy Seals but most likely impracticle in most parts however a great idea. It can travel above water so there's not always the need to get wet and is another alternative in the normal commute to work, espcially a unique way if you live in the likes of the Caribbean.

2007 Gumpert Apollo Sport

It's not the most eye appealing supercar on the roads today and weilds a name to that of some eastern european village idiot but the stats on this vehicle are more than enough to crush anyone who'd put shame to its name.
This is the top of the range model which comes with 800bhp, the lowest they go for the entrance driver to the Gumpert is 650bhp and middle of the range is 700bhp so no matter what Gumpert you end up with, it will have more than enough power to propel you into the future. If your above average height you may not be able to own/drive one as the seating position is fixed so if your 6ft tall, you may have to allow your long legs to become part of the crumple zone. But the benefit is, perfect weight distribution, not being thrown off by adjusting the seating position fwd/back.
The beauty of this car and the fact that I love it so much is that it is not at all a pretty car, to be honest it's hard to find a good angle that would make Jamie Oliver say "Pukkah" but the reason I truly love this car is that its not pretty like the Ferrari's, the Aston Martin's & most other supercars making it hard for the Gumpert to be concieved as a chic's car. This has got power, a strong design, handles brilliently and a real mans driving car that even Louis Hamilton would love if he wasn't happy driving his pimp-mobile on his down time off the circuits.
Ok so Louis Hamilton maynot take one home, but then again if your not going to be attending any gala dinners or prestigeous award ceremonies where a fancy car would be required or at the very least expected then the Gumpert is a car to consider.

Friday, June 20, 2008

HSV W427. The 500hp Australian BEAST.

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) today announced the seven liter W427 program.

Tom Walkinshaw, who has been involved with making a few fast cars in the past, confirmed the price of the W427 will be $AUS150,000, plus on road costs. HSV will build up to 427 W427s, with vehicles being built to order. These will surely become collectors items up there with the SLR5000, VK Group A Brock, GTR XU-1 etc etc etc.

Each New Zealand and Australian HSV Dealer (64 in total) will be allocated one W427, as long as they have a firm retail order. Remaining W427s will be allocated to dealers based on 2007 sales figures.

Tom Walkinshaw has confirmed the final power output figure for the HSV W427. It will be 375kW (502.88HP) and 640NM of torque.

The Holden Special Vehicles W427 will go on sale in August. Looking forward to seeing what the 0-62MPH and 1/4 mile will be. I am guessing 4.3-4.5 to 62mph (100kph) and 12.8-13.0 for the 1/4.

The mighty Powertrain
- 7.0 Litre, LS7 Engine with HSV specific calibration
- Putting out 502.88 HP (375kw) @ 6500rpm & 640Nm @ 5000rpm
- Over radiator style cold air induction system – with high flow air filter.
- Dry sump lubrication system with 2 stage pump.
- Hand fabricated aluminium oil reservoir, with baffles for high G loading.
- Front mount, 13 row engine oil cooler
- Ceramic coated, high flow 4 into 1 extractors
- High flow catalytic converters and exhaust system (3” into 2 ¾”)
- Active bi-modal rear mufflers
- Exhaust back pressure management
- Improved noise quality
- High strength limited slip differential
- New high strength 6 speed manual gear box (TR6060)
- GMPT LS7 Clutch with new actuator and pedal assembly for high clamp loads

Save up your gas money folks.

Monday, June 09, 2008

2009 Cadillac CTS-V

It seems that the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V is going to be a tire smoking power house. Its 6.2-liter supercharged V8 is expected to produce 556 horsepower at 6,100rpm and 551 pound-feet of torque at 3,800rpm. Cadillac claims the CTS-V sedan will go from 0-to-60mph in just 3.9 seconds and through the quarter mile in 12 seconds flat. Now that my friends is FAST.

Top speed when equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission is limited to 175mph. Get the six-speed manual and you’re free to run all the way to 191mph. Autobahn type situation on our hands courtesy of Detroit.

Even with gas at about $5 per gallon, if it is as economical as it's cousin the Corvette ZO6 then this may well be the candidate for my next vehicle.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Holdens 60th Anniversary

Holden celebrate their 60th anniversary since first opening at its Fishermans Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria Australia. They spotlight the 6 decade achievement with the Coupe 60, a concept car to take the VE brand further into the future of the company.

The coupe is 60mm shorter than the VE sedan and a pillarless concept car exploring the rear-wheel drive capabilities of racing design and technology for the casual on-road sporting experience. The engine is a 6.0l V8 with active fuel management calibrated to run on E85 Ethanol and sports the very latest in Holden Design and technologies they have to date.

The body is covered in a one off original paint scheme called "Diamond Silver" to give it a liquid aluminium finish. Racing enhancements include a full flat underbody, rear underbody diffuser along with a functional rear deck lid spoiler that houses LED tail lamps. The interior includes a sports inspired flat bottom steering wheel, one piece carbon fiber bucket seats.

All designed to encompass the 'Holden DNA' factor, while strickly a concept car there are no company updates to mark if this will go into production as the next chapter after the release of the updated Monaro. The Coupe 60 has been designed for those Holden fan's to herald a new chapter in their future design's.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saleen S5S Raptor

Famed US vehicle tuner and manufacturer has released a new concept called the Saleen S5S Raptor. The vehicle is powered by a hand built 5.0 V8 supercharged 650 hp engine. The car is likely to go into production within 2 years with a price of approx $185,000 This car is a good look and if it preforms as well as it looks it will certainly be a US built vehicle that will give Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini a good run for their money.

Unleash the beast.

BMW Gran Turismo

BMW has confirmed that the CS Concept is a design study outlining the company’s new flagship Gran Turismo model. The car will fit above the 7-Series when it hits markets in 2011, and will compete with other 4 dr coupes including the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide,
Mercedes-Benz CLS etc

Gerhard Richter, a member of the management team of the BMW Motorsport, will be assigned project leader on the upcoming Gran Turismo, which means that this is going to be a fast beast.

Various reports say that engine choices will range from a V8 all the way up to a V12. A new report from a German magazine says that the BMW Gran Turismo will get a new V10 twin-turbo charged, direct fuel injection engine that is capable of producing up to 625-hp, which is just a little more than the Mercedes Benz S65 AMG. The report also says an entry level V8 twin-turbo will also be offered producing 450-hp.

What will BMW come up with next?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Grand Prix manager is back

Log in and sign up. See if you can beat me this year....

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Return of KITT

growing up as a young boy there were several TV programs that interested me such as The Duke's of Hazzard which created my fascination with car's followed by Knight Rider. Apart from the Million Dollar Bionic man, this year in 2008 we shall not only see the return to the small screen the Bionic Woman but the continuing story of the Knight Rider along with KITT.

Upgraded from the Trans Am we still see the flashing red light but the car has been moved to what critics are saying is a huge push on commercialised advertising in a TV series, highlighting the range of Ford vehicles.

Pictured above is the new KITT, but also hightlighted in the series will be the new ford focus and a selection of other vehicles.

You can google the search for the week story outline but as per the original TV series starring the Hoff, the show was mainly focussed on the car which for every boy growing up thru the 80's always wanted a car the could smash thru walls and most importantly have the option of the Turbo-Boost.