Tag: vehicle technology

Audi Keynote at 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show

January 24, 2014 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Prof. Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of Audi AG, and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of management of Audi AG for technical development, deliver the “Tech Titans” keynote address on Monday evening at the 2014 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.

They are joined by Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, and Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder, president and CEO of NVIDIA, to present the five biggest trends in automotive electronics: lighting, connectivity, infotainment, human machine interface and piloted driving.

Check it out and tell us what you think of each innovation:


Volkswagen Debuts New Twin Up! Concept at Tokyo Motor Show

December 3, 2013 lacarguy Volkswagen Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Volkswagen is taking everything it has learned from the introduction of the XL1, the world’s most fuel-efficient hybrid car, and applied it to a high-production vehicle, a plug-in hybrid version of the up!, called the twin up! concept. To be presented at the Tokyo Motor show this year, the four-seater shares certain parts of its drive system with the XL1 including its diesel engine, electric motor, and DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

vw-twin-upIt was an easy conversion to install the compact plug-in hybrid since all new Volkswagen vehicles are configured to accept alternative drive systems as well as conventional ones. The only modification made in the production version was to lengthen the extremely short front overhang by 1.2 inches.

The twin up!’s 55 kW (75 PS) drive unit—consisting of a 35 kW (48 PS) 0.8-liter TDI Clean Diesel engine, a 35kW electric motor, a seven-speed DQ200 DSG transmission, and the power electronics—is mounted at the front of the car. Installed at the back, behind the rear seats and under the trunk, is the “fuel storage system”: an 8.6 kWh lithium-ion battery, the 12-volt battery for the electrical system, and an 8.7-gallon fuel tank.

The car attains impressive efficiency thanks to a combination of good aerodynamics (0.30 Cd), a low unladen weight of 2657 pounds, lightweight plug-in drive components, and low rolling resistance 165/65 R15 tires. In all-electric model, for example, the twin up! has a driving range of 31 miles. In the “New European Driving Cycle”—the standard testing and comparison driving cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe—the concept car returns a sensationally low fuel consumption figure of 214 mpg, which equates to CO2 emissions of just 27 g/km.

The twin up! highlights the fact that efficiency and driving fun will not be mutually exclusive in the future. In the city, in electric mode, the twin up! accelerates from 0 to 37 mph in 8.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of 78 mph. In hybrid mode, the car delivers 159 pound-feet of torque, a high number for such a small car. Out of town, the twin up! goes from 0 to 62 mph in 15.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 87 mph.

Porsche Tops Redesigned JD Power 2013 Initial Quality Study

June 25, 2013 lacarguy Porsche Tags: , , , 0 Comments

J.D. Power released the result of a new version of its Initial Quality Study last week and the results reveal that Porsche has knocked Lexus off the top spot for 2013, ending the Japanese marque’s two-year reign.


The annual quality study, now in its 27th year, looks at problems experiences by buyers of new cars during their first 90 days of ownership and uses the average number of problems to rank the brands. Lower scores mean a better result.

The industry average this year was 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Porsche ranked highest among brands included in the 2013 study, averaging just 80 PP100. While GMC ranked second with 90 PP100 and Lexus ranked third with 94 PP100.

The 2013 study was redesigned to better measure the quality of new technology that is becoming more common in vehicles–including features like voice-recognition, blind-sport monitoring, lane-departure-warning and self-parking systems. The study found that nearly two-thirds of the problems that owners experience with their new vehicles in the first 90 days are related to design rather than manufacturing. In some cases, components were working as they were designed to, but can still pose an issue for the owners because it is difficult to understand or operate.

Because design problems are not the result of breakdowns or malfunctions, the study found that just 9 percent of the problems are taken to the dealership within the first 90 days of ownership. And if they are brought to the attention of the dealer, the problem is fixed only 13 percent of the time, whereas in the case of an actual defect or malfunction, the problem is resolved 42 percent of the time.

The JD Power Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 owners and lessees of 2013 model year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The results of the 233-question survey are compiled to produce a score for each vehicle measured as problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

Check out the complete ranking at autos.jdpower.com.

Toyota Unveils Green Concepts at Shanghai Auto Show

May 6, 2013 lacarguy Concept Vehicles, Toyota Tags: , , 0 Comments

At the Shanghai Auto Show last week, Toyota revealed a pair of green technology concepts, which might be a preview of hybrid systems that could appear in future models. Both cars are aimed at the Chinese market, with the FT-HT Yuejia debuting a six-seater hatch and the Yundong Shuangquing II previewing a new sedan model.

Toyota says that the hatch’s “Yuejia” name means “happy family”, while the sedan’s name combines “movement upon clouds” with the term “dual support” – the latter a reference to its petrol-electric powertrain. The Yundong Shuangqing II seems to be a more subdued version of the Furia concept seen at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, but now with a hybrid powertrain. Both the Furia and Yundong Shuangqing II concepts have sharply defined sheetmetal to separate the front of the car from the side. The two cars’ profiles look identical, from the upward kink of the rear side window to the character line that strikes through the door handles.

Little has been revealed about the concepts’ hybrid drivetrains, although Toyota has confirmed that a new system is being developed at its Changshu plant in China.

Audi Launches Fuel Finder Service as Part of Audi Connect System

April 30, 2013 lacarguy Audi Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

With Audi connect®, drivers can access the latest weather news, and now gas prices based on the currently location or destination. The application, Refuelling Stop, works by consulting an online database of the cheapest fuel stations either near the car’s current location or planned destination, or a freely selectable location. Drivers can then sort the list of fuel stations by price or distance.


Once a fuel station is selected, the location can be set as a destination via the car’s navigation system with the required route then mapped out. Audi says the system for the current A3 line-up even considers the specific type of fuel required by petrol and diesel-powered models.

Audi connect covers a range of applications that connects Audi vehicles to their owners, the internet, infrastructure as well as other vehicles, including online traffic information. The service requires Audi’s MMI (Multi Media Interface) Navigation plus and optional online Bluetooth phone connectivity or the full Audi connect option in A3 models.

In the future, Audi says, it will also offer Refuelling Stop on all models with Audi connect starting in May and this would include the A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5 and Q7.

Lexus to Unveil Autonomous Driving Technology at 2013 CES

January 8, 2013 lacarguy Lexus Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Over the past several years, the Consumer and Electronics Show (CES) has increasingly become more about automotive technology. This year, Lexus will be flaunting its latest contribution to the research into autonomous driving technology, the Advanced Active Safety Research Vehicle. The car is part of a larger program based here in North America.


Watch the following video for a glimpse of the prototype showing a modified Lexus LS 600h decked out with various sensors on the front grill, rear wheels and the roof, the most striking of which is a spinning cylinder on the roof.

On one hand we can appreciate the potential for safety advances, easier commuting and even possible reductions in traffic slow downs, the thought of handing over control of a high-speed vehicle to a computer is a completely different matter. What are your thoughts on self-driving vehicles?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2CttJwLU6s]

RAV4 EV Incentives Reach as High as $17,500

January 3, 2013 lacarguy Green Articles, HybridCars.com, Toyota Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

by Zach McDonald of HybridCars.com

Toyota’s decision to release the RAV4 EV exclusively in California instantly ensured that buyers of the car would receive an additional $2,500 in state incentives on top of the $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit. But thanks to a series of additional perks, the first lithium ion battery-powered crossover utility vehicle available in the United States will now be even more affordable.

Toyota RAV4 EV
With a substantial (and expensive) Tesla-built 42-kWh battery pack, the RAV4 EV starts at $49,800—in league with many luxury hybrids. In addition to $10,000 in federal and state credits, Toyota will reportedly tacking on $7,500 in incentives—including $5,000 cash back and $2,500 in “loyalty cash” for returning Toyota customers.

In all, some RAV4 EV buyers could pay as little as $32,300 for the vehicle (though availability is limited.) As a final enticement, buyers who act before January 7, 2013 will also be eligible for zero-percent financing.

Toyota is offering a 36-month, $599-per month deal for leasers.

The RAV4 EV first hit California roads on September 24. Toyota plans to limit sales to 2,600 vehicles by 2014, and there has been no announcement as to whether the carmaker plans to continue its arrangement with Tesla to produce more vehicles beyond that point. The crossover is the only fully-electric SUV available in the United States market, carrying a range of 103 miles and equivalent efficiency of 76 electric miles per gallon.

Toyota Tests Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication Technology

December 28, 2012 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Toyota Motor Corp. has begun testing car safety systems that allow vehicles to communicate with each other and also with the roads they are on. The newly completed Intelligent Transport System facility in Toyota’s Mount Fuji Technology Centre, houses a large network of indoor roads that are used to test the latest safety technologies. Test vehicle receive information from sensors and transmitters installed on the streets to minimize the risk of accidents in situations such as missing a red light, a vehicle advancing from blind spots, and pedestrians crossing the street. The data can then be used by the individual vehicle to prepare for a collision or stop one from happening through electronic intervention, like automatic braking. Not only can the cars receive information, but they can also relay it to other vehicles on the road.

Toyota vehicle-2-vehicle communication
Toyota officials said the smart-car technology it is developing will be tested on some Japanese roads starting in 2014. Similar tests are planned for the U.S., although details were not decided. Such technology is expected to be effective because half of car accidents happen at intersections, according to studies. Managing Officer Moritaka Yoshida said Toyota sees preventing collisions, watching out for pedestrians and helping the driving of the elderly as key to ensuring safety in the cars of the future.

Toyota also previewed a new feature that helps the driver brake harder to prevent rear-ending the vehicle in front. Toyota officials said drivers often fail to push hard on their brakes in such situations because they get into a panic. Toyota said the technology will be available soon and hinted it will be offered for Lexus luxury models. It already offers features like automatic cruise control and blind-spot monitoring in some of its Toyota and Lexus vehicles.Technology involving precise sensors remains expensive, sometimes costing as much as an entry-level Toyota vehicle.

Cars that stop and go on their own, avoiding accidents, are not pure science fiction, experts say. Alberto Broggi, professor at the University of Parma and an expert on intelligent transportation systems, said the idea of the accident-free cars is “very hot,” and probably within reach on some roads within several years. “I’m sure we will arrive to such a technology even if I don’t know when exactly,” he said.

What do you think are some of the ways these technologies could help improve safety on the road? Are there any particular areas that you think manufacturers should focus their attention on?

2013 Toyota Avalon Offers World’s First Application of Qi Wireless In-Car Charging

December 21, 2012 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Among the various technologies available in the 2013 Toyota Avalon, one that stands out as a world’s first is the in-console Qi wireless charging for Qi-enabled mobile phones and devices which is part of the Technology Package. Available for both the gasoline and hybrid versions of the new Avalon Limited, other technologies include Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High beams and a Pre-Collision System.

Avalon Ebin Charging
Qi has become the global standard for wireless power and charging. Devices can be charged simply by placing them on or near any Qi-enabled surface. Any Qi-enabled device works with any Qi charger, no matter what brand of manufacturer.

Now integrated in 34 mobile phone models, the Qi wireless charging system is found in recent launches of the LG Goole Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920, and HTC Windows Phone 8X. Qi-certified products range from smartphones to charging pads, gaming controllers, Blu-ray Disc recorders, smartphone docking speakers, vehicle phone chargers, alarm clocks and battery packs, to charging modules that can be installed in tabletops and furniture.

Charging a Qi-enabled devices is as simple as placing the phone upon the ebin® lid found on the center console, which integrates the Avalon’s wireless charging pad. The system is enabled by a switch found beneath the lid. The technology was developed by ConvenientPower and Philips Lite-on Digital Solution (PLDS) and is supplied by DENSO.

“Pioneering the ability to charge with no wires or connectors by simply putting devices in the car console is an intuitive innovation which reflects Toyota’s continuing commitment to improve the consumer experience,” said Randy Stephens, chief engineer of Toyota Avalon. “We see wireless charging as an important feature that helps enhance the high-technology theme and consumer interface offered by Avalon Limited which is already equipped with three TFT color screens and Intellitouch™ controls.”

The newly redesigned 2013 Toyota Avalon arrived in showrooms earlier this month. To find out more about the available technologies as well as learn about Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy drive, visit Toyota of Hollywood or Toyota Santa Monica today!