Car Tech

  • 2015 Volkswagen Golf, at 2013 New York Auto Show

    Volkswagen has made large strides in most areas with the 2015 Golf, but largest of all is the car's weight reduction. Some models are over 200 pounds lighter than their equivalent in the current Golf range, thanks to clever use of stronger steel, lighter components and other weight-saving measures. It's set to get even lighter according to Edmunds (via Motor Authority), as VW adds a carbon fiber roof option to performance versions of the hatchback. The carbon roof will save a not insignificant 18-20 pounds from the car, aiding performance and economy. The weight is removed from the right...

  • 2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar, New York City, Aug 2012
    2014 Chevrolet Spark To Get CVT, Replacing 4-Speed Automatic

    The Chevrolet Spark, the smallest Chevy sold in the U.S., will get some mechanical changes next year, according to Christi Landy, the brand's small-car marketing director. The 2014 Chevrolet Spark, which will go on sale late this year, will offer a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) in place...

  • Ford and Schaeffler eWheelDrive electric Fiesta prototype
    In-Wheel Motor Electric Ford Fiesta Previews Future Urban Vehicles

    When automakers test prototypes and new technologies, it's often done under the skin of an existing vehicle--partly to save costs, partly to avoid the gaze of prying spy photographers. That's why the Ford Fiesta you see here looks nothing special, save for some basic wheels and its not-for-U.S...

  • 2014 Volkswagen e-Up electric minicar
    VW Talks Future Tech: Plug-Ins, Natural Gas, 10-Speed Transmissions

    Volkswagen chairman Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn covered virtually every area of green technology in his talk at the recent Vienna Motor Symposium. Plug-in cars, natural gas vehicles, diesels and a new ten-speed dual-clutch transmission were all discussed, pointing to a bright future for...

  • Volvo flywheel Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS)
    Volvo Flywheel Hybrid System (aka KERS) Tests Completed Successfully

    If you follow Formula One racing, you'll have heard of KERS, or Kinetic Energy Recovery System. There are several techologies being used, but among them is flywheel KERS, using a spinning flywheel to capture energy which can then be used at a later time. Volvo has been trialing such a system for...

  • Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
    Yes, Combustion Engines Will Be With Us For Decades; However...

    It should be fairly obvious, but apparently it isn't: Plug-in electric cars are not going to sweep the marketplace overnight. Their sales will grow slowly and steadily from a low base. U.S. plug-in sales in 2012 tripled over the previous year, and most projections are that they'll double again this...

  • Volkswagen e-Golf electric car leaked images

    We've heard it all before--new battery technologies appear, set to revolutionize the way we use electric products. The story is the same for new microbatteries developed at the University of Illinois, but the researchers there are making even bigger claims than most. Imagine a battery so small it could feature in a credit card-sized cellphone, charge in mere seconds, with enough power to jump-start a car. Now imagine it scaled up for use in an electric vehicle. All the above scenarios are a possibility with the new microbattery technology, and the researchers say it finally brings batteries...

  • Protean in-wheel electric motor
    Protean Launches Production In-Wheel Electric Motor

    The benefits for dedicating an electric motor to each wheel of a vehicle were clear to see in Drive's recent video of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive. Make those motors in-wheel units, and in theory you get even more benefits. It's a design that in-wheel motor company Protean has been...

  • Six-speed automatic previously developed by Ford and GM
    Fuel-Efficient 9- And 10-Speed Auto Transmissions Coming From GM, Ford

    The modern automotive business is a funny thing, making bedfellows of the unlikeliest of couples. Ford and General Motors don't collaborate often, but when they do it's usually on a transmission. This tradition continues as both companies announce an agreement to co-develop new 9- and 10-speed...

  • Audi's signature LEDs on the 2013 S7
    Audi LED Lights Actually Save Fuel, Cut Emissions, EU Says

    Many people imagine that fuel efficiency stops and starts with engine technology and driving technique, but there's a little more to it than that. Making a fuel-efficient vehicle involves a holistic approach that examines every aspect of a car's design and tries to reduce its impact on fuel...

  • EcoMotors OPOC engine diagram
    China To Build EcoMotors' Efficient Opposed-Piston Engines

    History makes fools of us all sometimes, none more so than when we dismiss certain ideas out of hand, only for them to come back years later and eat our words. That's why we're always intrigued by companies claiming to reinvent the engine. One of them might well do so, given the right resources...

  • Volvo i-ART diesel injection technology
    Volvo Adds New Diesel Tech, 8-Speed Auto To Improve Fuel Economy

    Volvo doesn't sell any diesel vehicles in the U.S, but if and when it decides to change that it'll certainly have some of the more advanced units on sale. The company's new diesel engine family, launched this fall in Europe, features what Volvo calls 'i-ART' technology to help cut fuel consumption...

  • 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2012

    Life can be confusing for those motivated into greener cars with the aim of saving money. With all the options available to today's buyers--more efficient gasoline, diesel, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, biofuels and more--it's hard to know what is really best. Throw in the multitude of fuel efficiency claims, electric range and more, and, well, it gets pretty tough to understand. That's why, says Earth Techling, Ford is offering prizes of $50,000 to software developers to come up with a smartphone app that helps people make sense of the barrage of information. The Personalized Fuel...

  • Red Bull Racing during testing for the 2013 Formula One season
    F1 Racing's Focus Turns To 2014's More Fuel Efficient Engines

    The 2013 Formula One racing season is already underway--and already causing controversy--but from an engineering standpoint much of the focus is already on 2014. That's because from the start of next season, new engine regulations are set to significantly improve the cars' fuel efficiency, and...

  • Cover of Los Angeles Times Magazine, April 3 1988, depicting L.A. in 2013
    What 2013 Looked Like For Greener Cars, Back In 1988

    The rate at which technology develops makes predicting the future incredibly difficult, but people get it right sometimes. They get it wrong sometimes too, and you'd have found a mixture of both in the April 3, 1988 issue of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, which peered 25 years into the future--to...

  • BMW i3 Concept live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show
    BMW i3's Tall Skinny Tires To Boost Efficiency (And Cut Noise)

    Most people give them little thought, but tires are one of the most important components on a car. They are, of course, your only point of contact with the road. So ultimately, tires are responsible for everything from performance, through cornering, to efficiency and noise. Tires of the future...

  • Audi Urban Future: Project New York -- visions of five up-and-coming New York architects
    Vehicles In 2050: No Petroleum Required, DoE Says

    It's both exciting and frustrating living in the current automotive age. Exciting, because we're truly seeing an eclectic mix of powertrain technologies being developed, the fruits of which we're increasingly able to drive. And frustrating, because there's still no surefire way of knowing what...

  • 2014 Volkswagen XL1, 2013 Geneva Motor Show
    Volkswagen XL1's Technology Will Filter Down To Other VWs

    As the Geneva Motor Show finally closes its doors to the public, many will go home lusting after the LaFerrari or McLaren's P1 hypercars. For others though, the show's indisputed star was the production Volkswagen XL1--as thoroughly engineered to be economical as the others are to be fast. While VW...

  • 2013 Chevrolet Volt  -  Driven, December 2012

    Range-extended electric cars are a great idea, mixing clean electric running for the majority of drivers' commutes, with an extra few hundred miles of gasoline running for those longer trips. As we alluded to last week though, the engine isn't always perfectly optimized for its task, often a standard car unit designed for standard car requirements. That could change with the next Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR, which Edmunds reports may get a smaller, three-cylinder engine in place of the current car's 1.4-liter four-cylinder. It's part of a plan to reduce both the fuel consumption and weight of...

  • Axiflux compact electric motor (Axiflux)
    How Plasma TVs Led To Smaller Electric-Car Motor

    All that sitting in front of the TV watching bad sitcoms could pay off, if a new electric motor proves successful in field trials. A startup in Melbourne, Australia, has developed a new motor for use in an electric-powered Holden Commodore. There's nothing wildly special about that, but the new...

  • Free Piston Linear Generator range-extending engine (DLR)
    New Internal Combustion Tech Could Improve Range-Extended Electric Cars

    As any Chevrolet Volt owner will tell you, the range-extended electric car concept is very well adapted to the average car ownership experience. The majority of your daily driving can be accomplished on electricity alone, but there's always that engine there waiting to back you up should a longer...

  • Chiton marine snail could inspire improved battery and solar cell development (Wikimedia Commons)
    Snail's Teeth Could Help Develop Future Battery Tech--No, Really

    We often cover the progress of battery technologies here on Green Car Reports, and while always of interest, few new discoveries are really that surprising. The potential of a biomineral found in the teeth of a marine snail isn't one of those unsurprising discoveries. Studies at the University of...

  • 2013 Jaguar XJ
    Jaguar Joins BMW, Other Luxury Makes, In Adding Start-Stop For Fuel Savings (Video)

    It's taken a while for carmakers to begin fitting stop/start systems to U.S. vehicles, such systems' benefits not really advertised to consumers in a car's EPA numbers. In the real world though, many manufacturers say the systems can save you significant amounts of fuel--particularly if you...

  • 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
    Forget Freon: VW Will Use CO2 As Air-Conditioning Refrigerant

    One of the prices we pay for discovering new, daily life-enhancing technologies, is occasionally inventing something that turns out to be less than ideal from an environmental perspective. That was true of air conditioning, the refrigerants contained chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. Often known under...

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