Suzuki Seeks a Savior With 2010 Kizashi, Hybrid to Follow

Suzuki has had a bad run in the North American market in recent times, with sales declining up to 60 percent in the past year. Some analysts claimed that the company was to forget about North American sales in the future, but Suzuki has countered that with its all new Kizashi sedan aimed at the market.

The car will hit North American showrooms just before winter and the all new design seems to claim that the car company has come a long way since its previous models. The cars exterior is stylish and looks good. The interior has also seen significant improvement and provides a comfortable space for the occupants within. The car will offer its buyers with the option of all wheel drive and a choice of CVT. The company also says that it will be introducing a new fuel efficient hybrid car in the near future which will be the car that will most likely actually save the company. The hybrid will also allow the Suzuki to beat the Koreans to market and help the company to boost sales over their rivals. \

Suzuki has said that its new Kizashi would offer “Japanese quality with European flair” with this new “car of the year contender”.

BMW Builds the Ultimate Security Machine

BMW makes cars that are used by heads of governments, ambassadors, company presidents and celebrities. Therefore passengers of these cars require a lot of security and protection. Hence BMW has incorporated heavy duty security features in to their 760Li and 750Li High Security cars.

The features include armor plated exterior and protection for the cabin, bullet resistant glass, air filtration systems and more. The armor plating is mounted on the doors, the roof, the pillars and the front footwell and the separation wall between the passenger and luggage compartments. The gaps created by door cut and body joint lines have also been specially safety sealed. The undercarriage of the car is also armor plated and provides maximum safety against explosions. The windows are 2 inches thick and covered in a polycarbonate layer on the inside so that shattered glass particles will not penetrate the interior. There is also an intercom system with concealed microphones and speakers, assault alarm, fire extinguishing system for the engine compartment and below the vehicle. Also sensors can detect irritant gas and automatically close all the windows, shut off the fresh air vents and seal the ventilation system. A secondary fresh air system provides the passengers with breathable air.

Apart from all these added security features, BMW also provides the option of having a gun case with compartments for two machine guns in the center console. A lot of security built in to a comfortable limousine in order provide its passengers with maximum safety against all kinds of threats.

Ford Shows ‘Intelligent’ System For Hybrids

The concept behind Ford’s new intelligent system is to provide EV owners with the capability to program when their cars should charge and for how long. Ford has been tirelessly working on this project with the Department of Energy and 10 utility companies on developing the system.

Ford’s new communication and charging technology will allow owners to use a dashboard mounted touchscreen interface and an in-dash computer to choose when the charging process should start. Officials at Ford stated that direct communication between EVs and the grid can only be accomplished by car companies collaborating with utility companies. How the technology works is when a car is plugged in the battery systems will communicate with the grid via smart meters provided by the utility companies through wireless networking. The in-dash computer then allows the vehicle owner to specify what time the vehicle should be charged and at what utility rate. For an example the owner can specify that the vehicle should be charged only during off-peak hours when the rates are cheaper or during hours when the utility offers renewable energy from sources such as wind or solar power.

Ford states that popularization of such technologies cannot be achieved by an automaker alone, which is why Ford is teaming up with the utility companies and the Department of Energy to bring a whole solution that would benefit customers all over the nation.

The 3-Point Seat belt Turns 50

The 3-point seat belt was first introduced on the 13th of August 1959. In the fifty years since, the invention has been a huge success and saved well over a million lives. All cars today come equipped with a three point seat belt.

The three point seat belt was invented by an engineer named Nils Bohlin, who was looking for a better way of keeping passengers secure during a collision. Although two point belts across the lap were available in some cars, they did not prove to be very effective, especially at high speeds. Thus, Bohlin together with Volvo went to work and their result was the three point seat belt. Volvo then patented the three point belt design as an open patent. This allowed everyone to develop and include the three point seat belt in their cars, making driving safer for everyone. The invention of the three point safety belt puts Bohlin on par with patent holders such as Benz, Edison and Diesel.

The three point seat belt has been named as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. The German patent registrars have also stated that it is one of the eight patents to have the greatest significance to humanity during the hundred years leading up to 1985. This also means that the three point safety belt is the single most important safety device in the 120 years of automobile history.

Ferrari Builds High Tech Steering Wheel

Ferrari has incorporated all the knowledge it gathers from its F1 research and incorporated it in to their new car the Ferrari 458 Italia. Since they have built this car to reach breathtaking speeds and handle corners like roaches do, they have equipped it with one of the most useful steering wheels Ferrari ever made.

Ferrari has mounted all the primary inputs on the steering wheel and secondary inputs are located on two satellite pods on either side. The Italian carmaker has done away with the stalks on the steering wheel column, just like in many cars on the road today and replaced them with buttons on the steering wheel. Hence, turn indicators, high beam, lights, wipers are all buttons located on the steering wheel. Even the button to change shock-absorber settings is now located on the steering wheel above the big red start button. Controls for the stereo are also located on the steering wheel but at the back as opposed on the main panel as in most cars. Ferrari have also located the driving modes switch on the steering wheel allowing the driver to quickly switch from one mode to the other without taking his or her eyes off the road. They also claim to have tightened the paddle-shift gear leavers allowing drivers to change gears swiftly from any angle; even while taking a tight corner.

As in the past, Ferrari is taking its technology to another level by bringing F1 technology from the track to its road cars. This technology will soon catch on with other sports cars that compete with Italian carmaker.

Tokyo Tests Electric Taxis

Sponsored by the Japanese government, Better Place is ready to test electric taxis for the first time in Japan. Using swappable batteries that can be replaced within the same amount of time it takes to fill a tank of gas, there will be four taxis participating in the test run. Japan has a huge taxi market, larger than New York, Hong Kong or Paris and these taxis contribute as much as 20% of the CO2 emissions in the city.

The key feature in this test run is the use of battery-swapping technology. This is the first time that battery swapping technology is being used in a real world scenario. Although the test run will launch with only four cars, the Japanese government along with Better Place hope to convert all of Tokyo’s taxis to electricity within the next decade. Better place plans to build as many as 100 of its $500,000 battery swapping stations. Better place also hopes to build a swapping station to facilitate the test run that will serve the Roppongi Hills neighborhood of central Tokyo.

Taxis are a great place to start testing of technologies such as battery swapping since they operate from a central location; the battery swapping station and the economies of scale provided by the Tokyo taxi industry makes the conversion and operation of these taxis more cost-effective.

Mercedes Makes A Small Bet On Hydrogen

Mercedes-Benz will begin building Hydrogen fuel-cell cars this falls and ship them to dealers by next year. Although almost all major automakers are making the transition to hybrid-electric cars, Mercedes is betting on Hydrogen fuel-cells to enter the green car market.

The car is based on the Mercedes production model, the B-Class and will include an electric motor that provides 135 horsepower and 213 pound-feet of torque. The car, currently named the F-Cell will reach 105 miles per hour. The proposed figures sound great, but Mercedes says that there will be only 200 of these produced. This means that Mercedes-Benz doesn’t except huge sales with this model and this is due to the poor Hydrogen fueling infrastructure. In this respect Mercedes has mentioned that it is working with the government and energy companies in Germany and California to get more suitable Hydrogen fueling infrastructure installed. Mercedes-Benz has not commented on how it hopes to price the new F-Cell that will be launched early next year.

BMW Envisions 155 mpg Plug-In Hybrid

BMW has been a pioneer in motor engineering and debuting futuristic concepts. In recent times it has successfully launched it’s series of Hydrogen powered cars. But the latest from the Bavarian automaker is the diesel-hybrid concept that claims M3 performance with Toyota Prius like fuel consumption.

The new concept car is to be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show this year. This four door saloon is said to go from 0 – 62 in just 4.8 seconds and had a top speed of 155 mph. The impressive point is that that the car can achieve the afore-mentioned figures while doing 62.2 mpg and emitting 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer. BMW also claims that the car can travel 31 miles on battery power alone. All this is possible due to a 1.5 liter, 3 cylinder diesel engine and an electric motor on each axle. The engine is compact and has been fitted between the rear seat and the rear axle, giving the car more stability and control. The lithium-polymer battery used by BMW is has 98 cells and the serial arrangement of these batteries will provide a gross storage of 10.8 kilowatt-hours. BMW says that the batteries do not require an active cooling system and that the batteries will recharge in 2.2 hours at 220 volts.

The car is still a concept and production dates have not been set. However, with such concepts we are assured that BMW is moving towards more sustainable and energy efficient automobiles that are less harmful to the environment.