- Lexus LS 600hL Black Bison by Wald International
- Building a Mustang Cobra Jet engine by Ford Racing
- 2011 Ford Territory only available in Australia
- John Travolta drives a Mercedes Classic
- Truck jump goes horribly wrong: Video
- Delivery Vans going green
- Slow motion drifting captured from a RC helicopter: Video
- 2012 Shelby GT350 to be unveiled at Chicago Auto Show
Posted: 09 Feb 2011 03:59 AM PST
Japanese car tuners – Wald International has released a new body kit for the Lexus LS 600h and its called Black Bison body.
Lexus LS 600hL Black Bison body kit by Wald International features a more wider and aggressive front bumper spoiler, side steps, sports fender ducts, LED daytime running lights, a rear bumper spoiler, roof spoiler, trunk spoiler, plus a new exhaust system.
This package also comes with a more unique grille and a set of matching black Wald rims.
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Posted: 09 Feb 2011 03:45 AM PST
The 2012 Mustang Cobra Jet is in full production now at the Auto Alliance Plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. But the mighty Cobra Jet engines are built st the Ford Romeo engine assembly plant. This plant produces more than 10 million V8 engines for the Mustang, F-150, Explorer and other Ford vehicles.
The Mustang Cobra Jet’s engine doesn’t go through the regular assembly line, a dedicated team hand-builds each of the Cobra Jet engines on what is called the Romeo Niche line. This special assembly program was started in 1996 to produce engines for special projects like the SVT Cobra and Ford GT, and it added the Cobra Jet engine in 2008.
Ford Racing was kind enough to share what goes into the creation of each engine, and has posted pictures of each step of the build process from the arrival of the engine blocks to the final testing and assembly:
All 2012 Cobra Jet engines start with a 5.4 Liter aluminum block sourced from the Ford Racing catalog (Part # M-6010-GTWS or M-6010-M54A). To begin the build, the block is paired with a crankshaft and run through a high-tech washing machine then quickly dried with a combination of compressed air and vacuum lines.
Once washed and dried, the block is fitted with its dedicated carrier mounts that use the engine’s motor mount attachment points. The carrier is used to rotate the work-in-process engine 360-degrees and move the engine from build station to build station.
Station One: Block Prep and Crank Install
The main-cap bolts are loosened and the main caps removed so the main bearings and crank can be installed. The Cobra Jet uses a double-keyed steel crank that is similar to the units installed in the 2011 GT500.
Before leaving station one, the main caps are torqued down with a computer controlled torque wrench. Most of the power torque wrenches on the Niche Line are electric, and they’re calibrated by a computer program that ensures the fasteners receive the proper torque.
Station Two: Pistons and Connecting Rods
The Cobra Jet forged pistons and piston rings are sourced from Mahle and the H-beam steel connecting rods come from Manley. Each engine has a two person build team that works in tandem on each engine during the build process.
For piston installation, one team member uses a piston tool to collapse the rings while the other member uses a guide to direct the connecting rod big-end over the crank throw. Once the piston and rod assembly is aligned, a piston installation tool is used to knock the piston into the bore.
Once seated, the piston cap and rod bolts are installed. When all eight pistons/rods are installed on the crank, the piston cap bolts are torqued with a computerized torque wrench.
Station Three: Oil Pump and Seals
After the pistons are in place, the front and rear crank seal and oil pump are installed. The high volume gear driven oil pump is driven off the crank and is sourced from the GT500 parts bin.
Station Four: Cylinder Head Prep and Install
With the short block assembled, the Cobra Jet’s DOHC heads are prepped for installation. The heads are similar to the GT500 units but feature Cobra Jet spec cams and valve springs. They arrive at the Niche line build station pre-assembled with cams, springs and roller finger followers already installed. While on the prep table, head bolts are placed in the heads before they are set on the engine.
At the head install station, the engine team sets a pair of MLS head gaskets in the engine followed by the left and right cylinder heads. The heads are then torqued in place with a computerized overhead torque gun.
Station Five: Timing Set Installation
The timing set arrives pre-kitted from the suppler and includes all gears, chains, guides and tensioners needed to run four cams. The build team member aligns the timing set to the appropriate marks on the chain and tightens the bolts before releasing the tensioners. All tensioner pins are saved with the engine build sheet as a quality control process.
Station Six: Front Cover, Cam Covers and Oil Pan
The front engine cover is installed followed by the trademark Ford blue DOHC cam covers.
With the front cover and heads sealed, the build team seals up the bottom of the engine with the installation of the oil pump pick-up tube and oil pan with integral windage tray.
Station Seven: Balancer and Leak Test
The Cobra Jet engine uses a harmonic balancer from Innovators West, Inc. The billet aluminum unit is SFI approved and legal in NHRA Stock and Super Stock.
Once the engine is sealed, the exhaust ports and intake ports are sealed off and air is pumped into the engine to test for leaks. Once the leak test is passed, the engine is ready for its supercharger installation.
Station Eight: Supercharger Install
Base 5.4L Cobra Jet engines are topped off with a 2.3 liter TVS supercharger unit and Super Cobra Jet engines feature a 4.0L Ford Racing/Whipple unit. The superchargers arrive at the NICHE line preassembled in a unit known as the “Charge-Air assembly” with intercooler, fuel injectors and fuel lines already in place.
The build team tops the Cobra Jet off with a unique engine wiring harness that adds specific wires for dash mounted Ford Racing gauges and saves weight by eliminating any unnecessary wiring found on a stock GT500 harness.
Station Nine: Cold Fire Test
Once the Cobra Jet engine is complete, the build team hoists the engine off the line to a cold test station for a cold test run. The test stand spins the engine up to a predetermined RPM and engine functions like oil pressure and vacuum are monitored. The engine’s flywheel is attached to the stand, the injectors fire, the plugs fire, and the throttle body opens, as if the engine were running. The Aeromotive fuel system is checked for leaks using pressurized air, which shows leaks much easier than fluid would.
After passing cold test, the two man team places the Niche line build signature plate. This signature plate has been used since 1996 when the build line started with the SVT program. In the early days of the Niche line, the build team signed the signature plates that were attached to the cam covers. To speed up the process and make a more permanent badge, the signatures are now pressed into the plates prior to installation.
Station Ten: Final FEAD Assembly and Packaging
Once the engine passes the cold test, it’s placed back on the moving carrier for final FEAD assembly and crating. At the FEAD installation station, the alternator and A/C eliminator pulley is installed followed by the FEAD drive belt.
Once the engine is complete, the assembly is placed in a custom wood crate in preparation for the trip south to Flat Rock Michigan.
Source: Mustangs Daily
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Posted: 09 Feb 2011 02:17 AM PST
The Ford Motor Company has revealed their new SUV called the Ford Territory which will be available for residents of Australia.
The 2011 Ford Territory was designed and developed in Australia and is huge improvement over the previous model. The exterior and interior has been completely redesigned with the overall layout remaining the same 5 or 7 seater .
Even though this model is only available in Australia it provides some design hints as to what the next-generation Escape and Kuga will look like when they arrive as 2012 models.
For a full report on the 2011 Ford Territory read the press release below.
Ford Australia today officially unveiled its stunning new Territory SUV.
Following an extensive development programme the covers have finally come off the highly anticipated new-model Ford Territory.
The Australian-designed-and-developed SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) has undergone an extensive visual update inside and out. The new Territory wears a stylish suit cut from Ford’s kinetic design language and its bold new look makes it instantly recognisable as a member of Ford’s comprehensive model family.
Redesigning the multi-award-winning Territory meant building on its already clean and attractive looks, the result of the first-generation Territory’s original design goal: to create a vehicle that embodied the strength and power of a traditional SUV while having the prestige, agility and nimbleness of a sporting sedan. The new Territory has taken this to another level.
Underpinning new Territory’s design was its dual personality: a sophisticated and sporty urban wagon for weekdays and a family getaway vehicle on weekends. Successfully presenting these two functional roles in an exciting visual form was the responsibility of the Ford Australia design team, headed by Chris Svensson, Design Director for Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.
“We worked hard to ensure the new Territory was an evolution of the original model and, through the use of Ford’s distinct design DNA, also gave a hint of the future,” Svensson said.
“To achieve this we applied Ford’s unique style philosophy: kinetic design.
“Kinetic design comprises several specific elements, all of which are present in the new Territory. They are confident stance, dynamic lines, expressive form language, taut surfacing, bold graphics and great detailing.
“When you combine them they convey movement and athleticism. In other words, the vehicle looks like it is moving when standing still,” Svensson said.
“The overall visual effect of kinetic design is simple: in the case of the new Territory it communicates its dynamic capabilities and fun-to-drive spirit.”
Externally, significant changes to Territory’s styling have resulted in a stunning new look. At the front, the vehicle uses an all-new tri-plane front-end architecture. The new trapezoid-shaped main grille is one of the new Territory’s most noticeable updates. This larger, lower grille in a unique three-bar design connects with the slim-line treatment given to the upper grille opening, a feature which sees the famous Ford roundel now surrounded by its own elegant winged structure.
New slim-line headlights with projector beam technology are another stand-out feature of the new Territory’s frontal styling. The high-series Titanium variant takes this a step further with the introduction of LED (Light-Emitting Diode) position lamps integrated into its redesigned front bumper. At the bottom of Territory’s new face is a U-formed lower chin skid plate.
Combining these stunning elements has produced an impressive new look.
“New Territory’s unique frontal design was recognised by Ford’s Global Design Management as a key feature that not only identified Territory as a distinctly Australian product, but also embodies cues that are core to the Ford design DNA,” Chris Svensson said.
“That’s the strength of our global One Ford philosophy. The design of Territory was developed as part of our global philosophy but specifically crafted to appeal to the Australian consumer.”
Moving rearwards, the new Territory sports a sculpted new bonnet and subtle flutes for the front guards. Bold wheel lips emphasise its athletic stance.
A new C-pillar design smooths the transition from front to rear. Resurfaced door cladding and a lower rocker moulding combine to give Territory a lower, athletic stance.
At the rear, Svensson’s highly skilled team has made a number of enhancements. New Territory sports sleek horizontal tail lights that wrap around the rear of the vehicle that create a seamless visual link to the rear of the vehicle. Connecting them is a new rear lift-gate applique. Finishing the new rear styling is a redesigned bumper and new lower-level valence panel.
Rounding out new Territory’s exterior is a new catalogue of locally designed wheels, which will be available in diameters of 17 and 18 inches in model-specific designs.
On the inside, the popular SUV maintains its famed ability for almost endless adaptation to Australian lifestyles. Its car-like cabin is sporty and sophisticated and continues its “dual personality” theme by delivering stunning form and excellent function.
The new Territory is fitted with an all-new Instrument Panel (IP) featuring – for the first time – an eight-inch touch screen and new functional storage solutions. Territory drivers will find the technologically advanced touch screen both easy to reach and use and its central location makes it simple for both front occupants to operate.
A new four-spoke steering wheel puts drivers in control of the new Territory’s impressive handling capabilities and gives finger-tip control to audio and cruise control functions.
Territory’s new Interior Command Centre (ICC) provides front-seat occupants with familiar and simple-to-use controls for functions such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning. At the bottom of this new ICC is an all-new storage area. This stylish and functional feature uses a smooth-action tambour door which adds to the interior’s equally smooth style. It is here the new IP connects with Territory’s stylish and functional centre console. Versatile cup holders, deep console bin storage and USB / iPod connectivity exemplify Territory’s famed user-friendliness.
Carefully selected materials and colours bring the new Territory’s exterior design inside. For example, high-gloss spears adorn the centre console in the Territory Titanium and connect the front of the interior with the middle seat row. Spears of a similar design feature on the new IP.
Chris Svensson: “The contemporary design of the new Territory combines stylish surfacing, exact proportions and high-quality finishes with advanced engineering and delivers a vehicle that is even further refined and composed on the road.”
THE NEW FORD TERRITORY: EXTERIOR DESIGN
“Our goal was to ensure the new Ford Territory was an evolution of the original model but also gave a glimpse of the future through its Ford-specific design DNA.” – Todd Willing, Design Manager – Exterior
For some, designing a vehicle with two personalities would be considered a tough challenge. Not for Todd Willing, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa’s Melbourne-based chief designer responsible for the new Territory’s stunning look.
“Territory’s credentials as the weekday family car ideal for weekend getaways are well established and it is this dual personality – one of Territory’s many attractive features – that is emphasised in its new exterior design,” Willing said.
“The new Territory exhibits a rugged outdoors-oriented look but its contemporary design is just as at home in the city.
“Keeping that connection was important, as was showcasing Ford’s distinct design DNA – especially the styling hallmarks from the company’s passenger car family.”
The front end of the new Ford Territory uses a modern tri-plane design. This kinetic facial layout achieves its dynamic look by combining several important elements.
Precision-design projector headlights give the new Territory an immediate attitude that is modern and polished. These are connected visually by a slim-line upper air intake grille that wears a unique wing-formed shape formed from a single bar. This sharp design element surrounds the centrally mounted Blue Oval badge. It is an entirely new design feature from the Ford Australia design team.
“By adding some definition around the Ford badge we have made it more three-dimensional and prominent without changing its size,” Willing said.
“It is an important feature fitted to the new Territory’s frontal design and one which has the potential to be adopted elsewhere.”
One of new Territory’s most dominating frontal features is its new centrally located main grille opening. This clipped trapezoidal air intake is an important part of Territory’s kinetic styling and features an eye-catching triple open-bar design. These bars are given additional attention on the range-leading Titanium version by wearing a chrome finish for a high-jewel effect.
“Dominating the front-end design of the new Territory is its striking trapezoid main grille, a design feature our global design colleagues have recognised as highly creative in forging Territory as a uniquely Australian design,” Willing said.
The clipped trapezoid-shaped air intake is more than just a showpiece; its eye-catching shape is also the result of the Territory’s cooling needs.
Todd Willing: “The overall main grille design is tied into Territory’s engine cooling airflow requirements so getting the final shape absolutely correct had as much to do with engineering as it did aesthetics.”
Moving downwards, new Territory’s face is completed by an integrated U-form lower chin skid plate. This subtle design feature emphasises Territory’s versatility as an outdoor-lifestyle vehicle. It is also a strong yet smooth design element that finishes the vehicle’s new frontal style.
Another first for new Territory is the fitment of high-tech LED (Light-Emitting Diode) position lamps. These are fitted to the range-leading Territory Titanium and are usually found on more expensive European SUVs. They are located at the outer edges of the lower trapezoid grille and they operate as position lamps. They also constitute a signature design feature for Territory Titanium. Round fog lights are fitted to the mid-range TS model.
Moving up to the bonnet, Willing and his team have added more surface sculpting.
“We wanted to add more muscularity to the bonnet design with a modest bulge that hints at the available power underneath,” Willing said.
“These details refer to the arrival of the new TDCi V6 engine and the finer sculpture treatments across both the bonnet and front of the car add to the message of a more dynamic design.”
The new Territory wears fender features, also known as guard flutes, that add to its sense of strength. This design detail also helps differentiate between each of the models in the series: TX, TS and Titanium. The chrome finish fitted to the Titanium hints at its premium status.
Willing: “The Territory’s doors now wear a more integrated design and we have surfaced the door cladding and lower door moulding to make it flusher. The body is given a lower look overall which is a more dynamic appearance.”
The SUV’s integrated roof rails carry over from the outgoing model Territory and make cross-bar mounting easy to enhance the vehicle’s versatility.
To unite the new Territory’s front and rear designs Willing’s team has made the C-pillar sit flush with the body and there is a subtle kink to the top edge of the C-pillar side window to give a more three-dimensional look.
“The new Territory’s rear-three-quarter sheet metal is all new and this gave us the freedom to give it a sleek and modern finish,” Willing said.
“The rear side glass is also clipped to sharpen the new Territory’s overall profile.”
Immediately apparent at the rear of the new Territory is the new design of its tail lights. These shoulder-set lights wrap around into Territory’s rear three-quarter panels and connect the side- and rear-end treatments. Their design is more car-like and their jewel-like effect transforms the look of the new Territory at the rear, especially at a three-quarter angle.
“We have been able to connect the tail-light treatment with a new rear lift-gate appliqué across the back of the car,” Todd Willing said. “This not only looks more contemporary but helps visually widen the rear of the car.”
“The rear bumper has been restyled along with the rear lower protective skid plate – a feature which matches that used on the front of the car as well as the hexagonal design used in Territory’s door kick plates.”
The range-leading Titanium model features twin chrome C-shaped accents embedded into the lower valence panel. This subtle graphic touch again differentiates the range-leading version and helps emphasise new Territory’s tapered rear design.
The new Territory retains the clever multi-piece tailgate with integrated release handle and easy-access flip-glass.
Ford Territory model family
Model-by-model exterior designs
- TS (mid-series model)
- Titanium (high-series model)
The entry-level TX comes fitted with rugged 17-inch alloy wheels in a five-spoke design while the mid-series TS is fitted with 18-inch painted and machined-faced alloy wheels in a five-split-spoke design.
The top-of-the-range Titanium wears 18-inch alloy wheels in a five twin-spoke style. Featuring a machined and painted finish these wheels have a “wet” look as part of new Territory’s kinetic design, giving the impression of movement even when stationary.
Exterior Paint finishes
The following exterior paint finishes will be available for the new Territory range.
Summary of Exterior Design Features: New Ford Territory
THE NEW FORD TERRITORY: INTERIOR DESIGN
“The interior of the new Ford Territory is sophisticated and sporty and builds on the model’s famed functionality and comfort.”
The Ford Australia design team responsible for the new Territory’s interior has worked to build on the model’s famed functionality and attractive cabin. New Territory’s five- or seven-seat flexibility, user-friendly technology and driver-oriented cockpit provide the ideal environment for today’s modern family.
Melbourne-based Scott Ferrier, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa’s Design Manager for passenger car interiors, said it was vital to maintain familiarity when developing new Territory’s interior.
“When we first designed the Territory our customers hailed the vehicle’s functionality, spaciousness, and design,” he said.
“Territory is a very successful model for Ford. We had to enhance it with respect to its many existing owners, all of whom are essential to the model’s continued success.
“Hence, there are several aspects to the new Territory’s interior that identify with the original model.
“Drivers will find the positioning of the new Territory’s controls both familiar and easy to use. The layout of the panel’s instrument cluster and central LED screen, the centre console, button controls and steering column-mounted stalk controls are stylish and logical.”
Instrument Panel (IP), Steering Wheel and All-new 8-inch Touch Screen
The new Territory’s fundamental interior architecture remains unchanged and starts with its seven-seat “theatre-style” seating layout (standard fitment on Titanium and TS, optional at extra cost on TX).
Each of the three variants – TX, TS and Titanium – receives unique cabin treatments taken from new Territory’s kinetic design DNA.
Customers will instantly feel at home with the clearly visible Ford design language obvious in the new Territory’s enhanced interior space.
Headlining the list of enhancements are the new instrument panel (IP), centre console, and four-spoke steering wheel, all of which share their design origins from the current-model FG Falcon sedan. The design of their push-button controls and elegant layout add to the interior’s up-to-date feel.
Behind the new four-spoke steering wheel, the new instrument panel’s easy-to-read gauge cluster with centrally mounted LED screen is elegant and effective. New, round air vents are located at each end of the new instrument panel. These not only enhance the look of the cabin but also provide efficient cooling and heating.
The new Territory’s Interior Command Centre (ICC) – which is located at the centre of the instrument panel – is also familiar from the FG Falcon but it arrives in the new Territory with a special addition. In an Australian Ford-first, the new Territory will be available with Ford’s advanced eight-inch colour touch screen – a technology milestone for an Australian-built Ford vehicle. This stylish and simple-to-use feature will be fitted to the Territory TS and Titanium models as standard equipment. The Territory TX will be fitted with a 5.8-inch monochromatic display screen.
This signature touch-screen feature is mounted at the top of the instrument panel’s ICC and within easy view and reach for both the driver and front passenger. The sleek-looking unit controls functions such as Territory’s audio system, telephone and climate controls.
Scott Ferrier: “The new colour touch screen is very easy to operate from both front seats and we worked hard to ensure it is suitably recessed to shield it from direct sunlight.”
At the base of the ICC and located just ahead of the transmission gear shifter is another all-new feature. A stylish tambour door conceals a deeply recessed storage bin with ample room for mobile telephones, CDs, iPods or small cameras. It also offers dedicated storage for a tissue box and has an integrated pen holder and a 12-volt accessory outlet.
This storage unit is a clever addition to Territory’s famed functionality and packaging. The roller-action tambour door has been carefully developed to provide a smooth and damped action reminiscent of those found in more expensive European cars. It has also been sculpted as part of the new Territory’s centre console, the comfortable design of which will also be familiar to Ford drivers.
The centre console now comes with recessed cup holders for better stowage and their rubber surrounds offer increased support. They are also located well clear of the handbrake and transmission shifter.
Another key aspect of the new Territory’s interior design is the structural wrap-around for the centre console and the satin spears. These emphasise strength and are one of the many kinetic design touches that match Territory’s interior with its exterior.
“The play of both satin and gloss finishes not only provides a high level of sophisticated elegance but link the vehicle’s exterior styling with the interior, a truly holistic package”.
An essential element of new Territory’s interior design brief was the use of more luxurious fabrics on all model variants, giving the occupant space a high level of quality, sophistication and comfort.
Emily Lai, Ford Australia’s Design Manager for Colours and Materials, said the new Territory’s architectural-type interior finishes of satin and bright chrome were the result of customer feedback.
“Our customers made it clear they wanted to feel like they were in a car, not a truck,” she said.
“The new Territory’s cabin environment is both sporty and sophisticated and its high chrome and satin highlights are modelled on the architectural finishes found in many modern homes and businesses.
“Both satin and gloss finishes not only provide a high level of sophisticated elegance but link the vehicle’s exterior styling with the interior.”
The stylish cabin design carries from the front-seat area to the middle- and third-row passengers, areas often overlooked by designers. There is no compromise with the look and feel of the materials from the front of the cabin to the rear.
The new Territory will be available in a variety of upholstery colours and finishes. For example, the no-cost optional light-coloured leather seats in the new range-leading Titanium model, Cashmere, provides a tonal environment that reflects light with the use of high-gloss and satin-metallic finishes. It adds a feeling of heightened visual comfort traditionally found in luxury cars and SUVs. The interior of the Titanium model is partly upholstered in high-grade leather and will also be available in a Shadow (black) environment. The mid-level TS model also wears a Shadow environment and will feature a colour keyed cloth-suede combination seat trim and satin-metallic finishes. The TX will be available in a Shadow environment offering a colour-harmonised cloth seat trim and technical satin finish accents.
The new Territory’s instrument panel wears the same high-quality grain finish that was developed specifically for the current-model FG Falcon. Called “Natural”, it is designed to vary subtly in size, scale and depth throughout the IP. Natural gives a softer, more leather-like appearance.
Storage: Clever and Practical Packaging
New Territory builds on its famed interior functionality. Customers will enjoy the clever lockable drawer located under the driver’s seat and the handbag / umbrella recesses next to both the driver and front passenger seats. In addition to the revised centre console-mounted cup holders there are adjustable door-mounted versions for cups and bottles of varying size. Each rear door has an integrated stowage area as do the sides of the third-row passenger compartment, which are fitted with armrest bins and cup holders. The new Territory also comes fitted with map pockets and seat pockets along with a flat folding floor for the rear compartment.
Model-by-model interior environments
Summary of interior design features: New Ford Territory
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Posted: 09 Feb 2011 01:05 AM PST
Hollywood actor – John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston was spotted out and about in his classic Mercedes.
Now we are presuming that John Travolta is driving a Mercedes 230SL Roadster here but we are not entirely certain, it could be a 230SL or a 250SL or even a 280SL. If you think you know which model John is driving let us know in the comments box below.
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Posted: 09 Feb 2011 12:30 AM PST
The guys in this video attempt to jump a Chevy pickup truck, they built the take off and landing ramps, backed the truck up far enough to gain a high speed but due to a serious miscalculation it all ends in disaster, or should I say an epic fail!!
We presume from the crowd cheers at the end of the video that the driver was ok, but he probably wont be attempting this stunt again any time soon.
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Posted: 09 Feb 2011 12:04 AM PST
For the past few years development in electric cars has increased dramatically and we have even see quite a few electric supercars enter production. Well now commercial vehicle producers are jumping on the green bandwagon and are starting to develop electric vehicles. Take this for Navistar eStar delivery truck for instance.
This truck has not just been converted to electric it has actually been designed from the ground up as a commercial electric vehicle. It's got a range of up to 100 miles per charge, it will take up to a 4,000 pound payload and it can reach speeds of up to 50 mph (80km/h). Using a Level 2 charger (220 volt), the eStar can be fully recharged in about 8 hours.
Postal company – FedEx, tested four eStars for routes in Los Angeles, and found the battery range to be sufficient for a normal eight hour shift.
The Navistar eStar is powered by a 70 kw electric motor, which can generate around 102 horsepower and 221 ft-lb of torque. Batteries are listed as "cassette style", which (in theory) makes them easily replaced at end of life, or easily upgradable from the standard 80 kWhr configuration as technology progresses. The eStar is rear wheel drive, and features a turning circle of just 36 feet, which makes it ideal for an urban delivery environment. The transmission is single speed, and the brakes (front discs, rear drums) offer regenerative braking, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution.
Since the eStar lacks conventional doors, drivers enter and exit through a passenger side door (much like an RV). Inside, the eStar looks like a convention delivery truck with one glaring omission: I didn't see air conditioning as an available option, although the panel does show that heat is available for winter driving. I'm not sure what markets the eStar can function in without air conditioning, but I'm sure that none of them are located in Florida or Texas.
With a limited range, limited top speed, a lack of A/C and a price tag of $150,000, the eStar will appeal to a very limited range of potential buyers.
Ok, so no air con, limited range are all bad points but if you remember the first electric cars, they weren’t exactly great either, but as technology progresses things should improve and we may well see more electric vans hitting the roads sometime in the near future.
Posted: 08 Feb 2011 05:38 AM PST
A company called DK Video Productions has created this video of themselves performing drifts on a concrete strip in Koropi, Greece. Now whats special about this video is that they filmed themselves in slow motion from a camera attached to a radio controlled helicopter and the results are quite impressive.
These shots were captured by utilizing a TREX 700N remote controlled helicopter with an HCS mount and a Canon 550d camera with 18-55 lens. Filming with remote controlled helicopters is something that in recent years has really been coming into its own. A properly set-up machine would run around $2,500-$3,000, with the camera being about $900. That’s not too bad considering renting out a real helicopter with a pilot for a day would run you exponentially more. What’s really amazing are the professional looking shots that were obtained, which is something that I wouldn’t think possible from a remote controlled unit.
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Posted: 08 Feb 2011 05:23 AM PST
Shelby has announced that they will be unveiling the new 2012 Mustang GT350 at the Chicago Auto Show this month.
Shelby have released no information about the changes for the new version, but they did release this statement:
So what could be in store for the 2012 GT350? One might assume that an updated model would include performance upgrades, but the GT350 is already one of the quickest and best handling Mustangs on the market. Plus, offering more than the optional 624 horsepower would either reduce reliability or increase the cost of the car dramatically.
Shelby could offer a variety of paint options for those that don’t want the traditional white with blue stripes, but there is also one major thing missing from the GT350 lineup, a convertible.
We will bring you more info after its debut in Chicago this week.
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