Automotive

Byton is calling its new EV a “smart device”

Byton is calling its new EV a “smart device”

Chinese automaker Byton will unveil its first EV at CES 2018. Byton’s main focus is to promote their product as a smart device instead of a simple vehicle. Will Byton break barriers in the automotive world or will it run out of juice before breaking ground? For more coverage of CS 2018 head over to https://www.autoblog.com/tag/ces+2018/

Published at Sat, 06 Jan 2018 03:10:45 +0000

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Mid-engine Corvette — our clearest pictures yet

Mid-engine Corvette — our clearest pictures yet

Hurray, high resolution! Spy photographers have delivered the highest-quality pictures yet of the future mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette , this time as it was undergoing winter testing in the Arctic. This would seem to be the same test mule previously spotted from high-above a test track and at a McDonald’s, but these provide the best glimpse yet of what we might expect from a mid-engine Corvette, or whatever this ends up being. The only difference seems to be the wheels and tires, but that’s because of the snow.

At the very least, we can now spot that despite having its engine in the back, this Corvette maintains a removable, targa-style roof. We can now clearly make out the lines at the windshield header and across the B-pillar/roll bar. We can also spot that there is clearly an air intake underneath the square-ish black side panel — as if the enormous rear end and short front-end weren’t already enough of a mid-engine tipoff. (Question: Is the area aft of the backlight large enough to fit the removed roof and perhaps a trunk like the original Acura NSX?)

Also, from what we can make out of the fascia beneath all that black camo, there’s very little to dissuade from the ongoing belief that this will indeed be a Corvette. Whether it’s a C7 replacement or an addition to a new Corvette family is still anyone’s guess at this point.

In any event, enjoy flipping through the pics … as if you haven’t already.

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Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 21:25:00 +0000

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This hero bought a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and went straight to the dragstrip

This hero bought a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and went straight to the dragstrip

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Irwindale Raceway in California is home to a number of racing surfaces. One of the most popular is the eighth-mile dragstrip. On certain nights, anyone interested can bring their car or truck to the track and see how it performs on this straight line of asphalt. For what might be the first time ever at this location, one wonderful individual has brought their showroom-new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.

The 840-horsepower Dodge Demon is a road car that happens to be nearly fully prepped for drag-racing duty. This car is so focused on straight-line speed that a new owner can pluck one out of a showroom and rip off impressive times down an eighth-mile track.

It seems fairly evident from the video that the owner is still learning the car, and possibly still figuring out drag racing in general. On the first run, the driver has issues at the starting tree, but that doesn’t really matter here because this isn’t an official competition. It’s a guy or gal taking a new car to a place where it was designed to thrive. And thrive it does.

The driver rips off a burnout and then stages at the lights. There seems to be a bit of confusion around the launch system, but they’ll get that figured out in due time. After re-staging, the Demon is given a bit of gas and it then launches into the night air. That first pass happens in 6.67 seconds with a trap speed of 102 mph. Based on simple racing conversion math (yes, it exists and here it’s used to show how an 1/8-mile time would convert to a full 1/4-mile run), that 6.67 would translate to about a 10.40 pass for the quarter mile.

The second run goes a lot more smoothly. With a “regular” Hellcat lined up in the opposite lane, the Demon driver records a time of 6.60 seconds at 104 mph. In this run, you can see how much faster the Demon is than its Hellcat sibling. Pay attention to the rapidly disappearing taillights in the right lane. That 6.60 translates to a 10.30 for the quarter mile.

A third and final pass doesn’t result in any improvement in time, but the angle of the video here is different and you get a great blast of the noise produced by the Demon. Under its hood sits a 6.2-liter V-8 and you can hear its supercharger absolutely screaming as the owner lays into the throttle. With the right combination of fuel and tires, this is a car that will sprint to a 9.65 quarter-mile blast.

The video description says the car was running on 91 octane fuel and drag radials, though we don’t know if they were the Nittos that came with the car or special tires bought for drag racing (we suspect they’re the Nittos). Given that the engine probably isn’t broken in and the car isn’t using racing fuel, a 6.60/10.30 time the first time out is a pretty impressive number. Maybe that 9.65 time is achievable.

Click play on the video above and watch the Demon in action.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 20:00:00 +0000

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Junkyard Gem: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

Junkyard Gem: 1986 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon

The second-generation Volkswagen Passat went by the Quantum name in North America (the first-generation Passat was known as the Dasher on these shores) and sold to a small but devoted cadre of American buyers. Here’s one in a Colorado self-serve wrecking yard after a 31-year career in or near the Rocky Mountains.

All Quantum Syncros sold in the United States came with the five-cylinder Audi engine. On the other side of the Atlantic, many flavors of VW/Audi four- and five-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines were available.

This Quantum appears to have been sold new in Colorado, perhaps spending some time in the even snowier state to the north. Colorado wrecking yards are excellent museums for fans of low-sales-volume four- and all-wheel-drive 1980s vehicles, from the Camry All-Trac to the Tempo All-Wheel-Drive.

These things tended to be finicky and fragile, at least by the standards of maintenance-averse American car owners, so I was not shocked to find the odometer reading an average of just under 5,000 miles per year for the car’s lifetime.

It’s a bit rusty, but nothing catastrophic by the standards of a 31-year-old Volkswagen product.

Was the Quantum copied by all the competition later in the 1980s, as this advertisement implies?

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:55:00 +0000

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McLaren delivers record 3,340 cars in 2017

McLaren delivers record 3,340 cars in 2017

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It’s been another bumper year for McLaren as the British automaker set a new record for deliveries in 2017, and that’s after back-to-back record deliveries in 2015 and 2016.

McLaren delivered 3,340 cars in 2017, which compares to 3,286 in 2016 and 1,654 in 2015.

Models from the Sports Series range accounted for about two thirds of the total. McLaren says the cars, which in the United States include the 570S and 570GT, were mostly snapped up by buyers new to the brand.

The breathtaking 720S only enjoyed six months of sales but even so the car almost matched the prior year’s total for the full Super Series range. If the current sales rate continues, it means 2018 should see McLaren set another record for deliveries.

North America continued to be McLaren’s single largest market with deliveries of 1,234 cars, up from 1,139 cars in 2016. Reflecting this, McLaren last November opened the North American Regional Distribution Center in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. The 7,500-square foot site is the first McLaren parts distribution center outside the company’s headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom.

Speaking of the Woking headquarters, McLaren will be able to free up capacity at the site by moving production of the carbon fiber tubs for its cars to a new site in Yorkshire. The Yorkshire site opens in 2018 and should be fully operational in 2019.

McLaren fans still have a lot to look forward to in the years ahead. McLaren’s Track22 plan announced in 2016 called for 15 models by 2022, and so far we’ve only seen three of them, the 720S, 570S Spider and Senna. Another that we know of is the BP23 hypercar which is due in 2019 and already sold out.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 16:45:00 +0000

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Did Garmin just reveal the 2020 Volvo S60/V60 interior?

Did Garmin just reveal the 2020 Volvo S60/V60 interior?

Garmin, the U.S. technology company best known for its navigation systems, plans to showcase an all-new car infotainment system at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. But, the reason this news really piqued our interest is because the system’s introduction clearly shows a new Volvo interior, possibly for the 2020 Volvo S60 and V60.

Dutch publication Auto RAI first discovered the connection and reported the news on Friday. The video showcases some typical Volvo interior parts and design, such as the vertical center touchscreen, flowing center stack, and signature gear selector, and the video eventually pans over the steering wheel and gauge cluster, though we can’t quite make out the Volvo logo on the steering wheel.

Volvo hasn’t shared any news or photos of the next-generation S60 or V60, which makes the video all the more intriguing.

The news about the control interface and infotainment system is pretty cool, too. It has smart dials with touch and toggle controls and digital faces. Weather and parking information display for the selected navigation route. The Garmin infotainment system shown in this mystery Volvo has wireless entertainment and navigation support for tablets in the car. Amazon Alexa is built into the system. The gauge cluster, shown briefly, also displays digital gauges and the navigation map fills the screen. The cluster is more than likely highly configurable, too, akin to the Audi virtual cockpit.

The 2020 S60 and V60 are due for a 2019 reveal and they will be the first vehicles to roll out of Volvo’s new Ridgeville, South Carolina, plant, which is scheduled to open in the third-quarter of this year. The brand currently builds the S60 in Europe and in China, but all future cars will call South Carolina home. An SUV could also be built at the U.S. plant.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 17:09:00 +0000

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Chevy Silverado owner goes four-wheeling, sinks brand-new truck in frozen pond

Chevy Silverado owner goes four-wheeling, sinks brand-new truck in frozen pond

We’ve all done stupid stuff in cars. Sometimes it ends with a speeding ticket , other times it ends in a crumpled heap of steel and plastic and teenage tears. For a couple of friends, it ended with a new Chevy Silverado and a rented backhoe sunk and stuck several feet deep in a frozen pond in western Illinois.

Fox 2 in St. Louis reports that a couple of friends decided to have some fun in a lifted Silverado. The owner was in the passenger seat while the driver took the truck out on what they believed to be a frozen field. The ice on the pond did a decent job of supporting the truck for a bit before eventually giving way. The truck’s owner told his friend to head back to the edge. They nearly made it, too.

In an effort to free the truck, the pair then rented a backhoe. That ended up frozen in the surface ice and mud as well.

The property owner was understandably irked, as the owner of the Silverado didn’t have permission to be there. Though the property owner wants the truck and the backhoe gone, his biggest concern is the danger illegal four-wheeling poses in the case of an accident or a rollover. The Silverado’s owner should be the one really on edge. When the ice melts he’ll find his truck 6 to 7 feet deep underwater. And then what will it cost to repair or replace the backhoe? James Bond’s Lotus Esprit might be built for that, but we’re not sure the Chevy is prepped as a submersible.

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Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 16:25:00 +0000

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Bentley Bentayga plug-in hybrid set for 2018 Geneva motor show

Bentley Bentayga plug-in hybrid set for 2018 Geneva motor show

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Buyers of the Bentley Bentayga will no longer need to feel guilty lugging their 2-ton-plus luxury SUVs around town as a plug-in hybrid option is coming up shortly.

Bentley recently confirmed to Automotive News (subscription required) that a plug-in hybrid Bentayga will debut in March at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. It will make the automaker the first among ultra-luxury marques with an electrified vehicle.

A prototype for the Bentayga plug-in was spotted in public last fall. Its powertrain is expected to be based on the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid setup, which pairs a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with an electric motor and sends power to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic. The powertrain is good for 462 horsepower and 30 miles of electric range in the Porsche.

Bentley isn’t immune to the political pressures of the environmental movement. We’re already seen it introduce a diesel Bentayga in some markets, and with stricter emissions regulations due in coming years we’ll start to see more electrified powertrains filter across the automaker’s lineup. Next in line will be the Continental GT. We could also see Bentley introduce a dedicated electric car at some point.

Look for the Bentayga plug-in to go on sale in the second half of the year, as a 2019 model. It will likely go by the name Bentayga Hybrid, and it’s pricing should start slightly above the $200k mark.

This year’s Geneva motor show starts March 6. For more coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 15:00:00 +0000

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Proposed bill calls for ban on internal combustion cars in California by 2040

Proposed bill calls for ban on internal combustion cars in California by 2040

The state of California is, and has been, a staunch supporter of electric cars and tight regulations aimed at curbing car emissions in order to reduce pollution. Most of its programs and initiatives have supported the sale of electrified cars in general, but the state may take a much bigger, more worrying step.

It started last fall when California Governor Jerry Brown expressed interest in potentially banning the sale of cars powered by internal combustion engines as part of a long-term goal to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Things have since progressed as on Wednesday Democratic Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced a bill that if passed would ban the sale of vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine.

The bill, known as the Clean Cars 2040 Act, proposes that all vehicles sold in the state from 2040 must be zero-emission vehicles, meaning plug-in hybrids would also be banned. There are some exceptions, though. The bill does not apply to commercial vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Some extended-range electric cars may also be excluded.

“We’re at an inflection point,” Ting said in a statement. “We’ve got to address the harmful emissions that cause climate change.”

California would follow the Netherlands, Norway, France, the United Kingdom, India, and China if it were to introduce its own ban on the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels. China, however, hasn’t revealed a set date for its ban to take effect, but it floated 2040 as a potential start date. It may be later, according to some industry analysts.

The potential for California to follow the Asian and European countries would have just as much of an impact, too. More cars are sold in California than any other state. In fact, more cars are sold in the state than in some major countries such as France.

Thus, a ban on internal combustion engines would affect automakers in profound ways as they would have to adjust their vehicle portfolios to embrace electric and fuel cell cars more quickly than many plan to at present. Already, the Association of Global Automakers has cast doubts on California’s interest in banning internal combustion engines. It argued that consumers must be able to afford the electric cars required to meet emission and climate goals.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 13:00:00 +0000

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Fisker's 400-mile EMotion electric car coming to CES

Fisker's 400-mile EMotion electric car coming to CES

Henrik Fisker’s second go at independently producing its own car is set to kick off with the EMotion electric car at next week’s 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Fisker himself, the company’s chief, added a new image on social media and confirmed that some of the car’s next-generation technology will be on display as well.

Fisker promises 400 miles of range, the ability to replenish 125 miles of charge in nine minutes, and eventual fully self-driving capability. However, don’t expect Fisker’s once-promised solid-state graphene batteries to show up. The electric-car company and its partner Nanotech dissolved a joint venture to develop the batteries. 

Following the end of the partnership, both Nanotech and Fisker remain in friendly spirits, but the EMotion will now use battery cells sourced from LG Chem. The supplier also provides its battery cells for the Chevrolet Bolt EV among others.

The EMotion is scheduled to enter production sometime in 2019, though it’s unclear where the car will be built. Customers can place an order for the car now with $2,000 toward the starting price of $129,900.

And if the EMotion doesn’t sound ambitious enough, Fisker also dropped another piece of information. He says his company is also working on a $34,000 electric car that will surface sometime in 2020.

This year’s CES starts on January 8. For more coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

Published at Fri, 05 Jan 2018 13:30:00 +0000

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