Finding a free parking spot is one of the current problems in crowded cities. BMW seems to have already thought about a solution to this: a micro-navigation technology incorporated into a prototype version of BMW’s ConnectedDrive navigation. The concept was presented during BMW Group Innovation Days; apparently, BMW is working on it for three years.
The system is helping drivers to find the nearest available parking lot, based on accurate information, stored in the micro-maps of the device. For all this, no GPS is needed and the information can be relayed on driver’s mobile device, so that to show him the precise location of the vehicle upon return.
So, BMW is serious about taking part in the development of the next generation of cars.
How much does it take you to find a free parking spot?
The Ingolstadt-based car maker Audi has revealed a prototype of the R8 e-Tron, which looks to be a near production vehicle. The car will go on sale in late 2012 and will feature a ventilated bonnet, more carbon fiber accents and an updated grille.
Audi R8 e-tron (Prototype)
The Audi R8 e-Tron will come with a 53 kW lithium-ion battery pack that will send power to four electric motors that generate 308 hp (313 PS / 230 kW) and a 3,319 lb.-ft (4,500 Nm) of torque. The car is able to hit 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and on a single charge it can be driven for up to 155 miles (250 km).
Celebrating 75 years from the birth of BMW 328 the Hommage prototype has one of the most stunning car designs in history. If in the 1930s the 328 was a dreamy sports car for every driver, 75 years later BMW doesn’t stop to impress. We think it is fair to say that this is one of the most beatiful custom made cars all-time.
This beauty features some unique details including exterior leather side-straps, no car doors, carbon fibre re-enforced plastic, retro round headlights and last but not least, iPhone gauges.
The two built-in iPhones display lap times, GPS maps and other regular informations about the car’s status and are meant to replace the usual board gauges.
In the French capital, Ferrari will present another fuel-efficient supercar prototype, like the 599 HY-KERS we saw in Geneva at the beginning of the year.
This time though, things will be different. The prototype will be based on the California roadster, and instead of KERS hybrid technology, other things like cylinder deactivation, reduced internal engine friction or improved aerodynamics will be showcased.
All of these technologies are then expected to be used on future Ferrari models, in order to make them a bit more fuel efficient and eco-friendly.
No other details are known, so we’ll have to wait until the end of the month, when the Paris show starts.
Almost all Italian car fans, as well as rally enthusiasts, fondly remember the iconic Lancia Stratos sportscar, which broke records and won hearts in the hectic 1970s. Sadly, it was discontinued, and models are now worth quite a lot of money.
Enthusiasts were treated to a huge surprise with the Fenomen Stratos concept, which was revealed back in 2005. Sadly, nothing came out of it, not even a limited series.
Now, it seems things might have changed. According to ItaliaSpeed, these two spy photos depict a Lancia Stratos prototype being tested out on a private Fiat track.
While the model does share most of its design with the Fenomen Stratos, a few things have been changed, for a better functionality, including the front fascia. Not much else was revealed, so do take these shots with a mighty huge grain of salt.
If it will revive the Stratos, we’re pretty sure Lancia is going to strike gold in the deep pockets of enthusiasts all over the world.
Swedish carmaker Saab is wasting no time after it swapped owners, going from General Motors to Spyker, and has already announced plans to introduce a test fleet of all-electric vehicles, based on the next Saab 9-3 entry-level sedan.
According to the Scandinavian executives, these vehicles will be part of a test fleet, set to roll onto the streets at the beginning of 2011. They are the result of a partnership between Saab, lithium ion battery producer Boston Power, electric powertrain manufacturer Electroengine and, last but not least, the Swedish Energy Authority.
The data and information resulting from the test fleet will be used in the near future to make cars more efficient, and drive the fuel consumption as low as possible.
The research will also benefit a future all-electric vehicle, but Saab isn’t ready to make any commitment about a launch date.
Now, the company has officially revealed that it will be testing out three new all-electric prototypes next year, all based on the Boxster convertible sportscar.
These will be tried out in real life conditions around the company’s native city of Stuttgart, Germany, and provide key insight into electric motor and battery technology. You can expect that these findings will not only help the future 918 Spyder concept become a reality, but also other electric plans.
Now, the engineers at Mercedes-Benz and from its AMG performance division have just revealed the first electric prototype of the performance model: the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell.
The fully-working prototype, decked out in AMG Lumilectric Mango (the best paint name in the world), is powered by four electric motors, with a pair on each axle. The units redline at a whopping 12,000 rpm and can produce a very impressive 526 HP and 649 lb-ft of torque (Mercedes didn’t go the Audi way of blasting out outrageous torque ratings for its electric model).
This electric SLS AMG uses a lithium polymer battery pack, capable of a maximum output of 643 HP (480 kW). The pack is split between the center tunnel and a box mounted behind the cockpit. It also has twin cooling/heating circuits, in order to ensure optimum operating conditions.
The aerodynamics of the car have also been improved, as the lack of an internal combustion engine allows for an optimized air flow. A new front splitter and a rear diffuser were added to the SLS AMG E-Cell. On the inside, the new car boasts an upgraded 10-inch touchscreen while new warning systems were added to let the driver know of the state of the battery charge.
Expect the electric Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell to debut in a production form around 2013.
These days, for various luxury models, you’ll be able to order a variety of high end audio systems from brands like Bang & Olufsen or Bose, with an impressive number of speakers.
Audi wants to completely one-up its rivals though, and has revealed a Q7 prototype with not one, not two but 62 speakers!
The model has resulted from a partnership between Audi and Institute for Digital Media Technology. As you can see above, the Q7 now has 5 tweeters, 52 mid-range speakers, 4 woofers and 1 subwoofer, all sprinkled around the cabin of the big SUV.
The audio technology powering the system is wave field synthesis, and is able to delay the impulses sent to speakers in order to truly get the complete experience.
Sadly, media companies aren’t using this technology today, so you’ll have a lot of speakers but not all of them will be used to their full potential.
Volvo grasped the audience at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week largely with its R-Design styling kit for its hatchback model, the C30. But the Swedish automaker also revealed to the general public the C30 BEV, a fully electric concept of its model.
The C30 BEV will have a 100% electric engine, which will be capable of going for 150 km (93 miles), go from 0 to 100 km/h (60 mph) in less than 11 seconds and will reach 130 km/h (80 mph). As with many recently released electric cars, it will be a normal plug-in model, which can be fully charged when connected to a regular 230 V socket.The lithium-ion battery can reach its maximum charge in just eight hours, guaranteeing that your Volvo C30 BEV can be fueled up in the morning.
Sadly though, the BEV is still a prototype concept, but the Scandinavia manufacturer did reveal that in the future, it might release a production-ready model of the BEV. Until then though, eco-conscious drivers can opt for the DRIVe version of the C30, which has a 1.6-liter diesel engine that emits only 99 grams of CO2/km. Also, if you still want an electric motor in your C30, Volvo says it will release a plug-in hybrid based on the hatchback as soon as 2012.
Today, Nissan unveiled that it’s working on an electric vehicle prototype based on the Cube minicar currently available in Japan. However, the production version will have a new unique look. The front-wheel drive prototype is powered by a new 80 kW motor and uses an advanced laminated compact lithium-ion batteries developed by the Nissan-NEC joint-venture, known as AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation). The batteries are installed under the floor, so no cabin or cargo space is sacrificed.
According to Nissan, they’re planning on introducing the all-electric vehicle in 2010 and mass market it globally in 2012.
Yesterday we wrote about the Honda Pilot prototype which has benn unveiled at Detroit and which preview the next generation Honda Pilot, scheduled to debut this spring. Here’s a video of the presentation. Enjoy!
The new generation Honda Pilot is scheduled to debut this spring but, until then, Honda presented this Pilot prototype at the Detroit show, prototype which previews the production model. The new Pilot will have a more boldly style and the exterior will give a “powerful” sensation, in the same allowing more space for the interior. The eight-passenger Pilot rides on a redesigned platform which allows more refined handling and ride comfort. Safety features include Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure and extensive use of high-strength steel.
The new Honda Pilot will be powered by a V6 engine featuring Honda’s improved Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology that operates in 6-cylinder mode for power and 4 and 3-cylinder modes for efficiency.
You can check out the Honda Pilot‘s official website (click here) and you can also check out more photos after the jump. (more…)
In this winter holiday, some pretty interesting things happened, related to the Chevrolet Camaro project. First, we received an e-mail from one of our readers, a worker for Auto Warehousing Canada, the company processing GM vehicles in Canada, telling us that people over there are talking about the Camaro project not happening. And he also said that, usually, when these rumors show up, they’re usually true. Another fact he points out is that usually, prototypes show up in the plant, but so far, nothing. I repeat, this is just a rumor, sent to us by one of our readers.
On the other hand, a couple of days ago, GM released a photo of a Chevrolette Camaro, without any camouflage, and also announced that, from now on, all pre-production Camaro wil be tested undisguised. So, a really interesting situation.
Codenamed W197, the Mercedes SLC is the successor of the legendary 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ and it will probably be one of the coolest cars around when it will be presented, probably in 2010. We can’t say much about the car, as it’s heavy camouflaged and the prototype is using the body of a Dodge Viper.
What we know about the car is that it will be developed by Mercedes and its tuning division, AMG (so expect some nice performances) and, every year, between 3,000 and 5,000 units will be built in Sindelfingen plant in Germany. Still speculation, but we expect the stylish coupe to be powered by Mercedes’ 620 hp V8 engine and price will probably be in the 150,000-200,000 Euro range.
Above we have a rendering created by Lehmann Photo-Syndication and after the jump you can see more spy photographs of the prototype.