- SEAT agrees loan of two electric hybrid vehicles to Madrid City Hall
- Porsche to show Hybrid world premiere and others at Geneva
- VW ponders the future of the Rouatn
- Audi R8 tops Valentines Day Turn-on list
- Audi connect: the path to networked mobility
- James Bond fancies Continental GT in Carte Blanche
Posted: 14 Feb 2011 06:45 PM PST
Today SEAT signed an agreement with Madrid City Council for the loan of two electric cars. The two vehicles are the León Twin Drive Ecomotive model, SEAT’s first ever hybrid plug-in, with a range in electric mode of up to 50 km and a top speed of 190 kph. The León Twin Drive Ecomotive, equipped with an electric motor and internal combustion engine, manifests SEAT’s commitment to the development of the electric vehicle in Spain.
The agreement was signed at Madrid City Hall this morning, at an event attended by Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, plus Pedro Calvo, city councillor for Safety and Mobility; Ramón Paredes, Executive Vice-president for Governmental and Institutional Relations both for SEAT and the Volkswagen Group in Spain, and Vicente Adrián, director of SEAT España. The agreement signed today with Madrid City Council is the second of its kind, following that reached last July with the Generalitat (Catalan autonomous government) and Barcelona City Hall.
To quote Ramón Paredes, the loan agreement for the two León Twin Drive cars shows that “SEAT is pioneer in the development of the electric vehicle and in electromobility-related technology in Spain, thereby contributing to the overall aim of transforming our country’s economic model by means of activities generating high added value”.
The Spanish multinational is the only company with the capacity to develop electric vehicles in Spain. In addition to the León Twin Drive, SEAT also unveiled the IBE 2.0 – a concept car with an electric-only motor – at the last Paris Motor Show. It also heads Cenit Verde, a project initiated by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, bringing together 15 companies as well as14 universities and technological centres, in order to develop the necessary technologies and components for hybrid and electric cars.
SEAT’s commitment to environmental protection and the reduction of emissions in its vehicles is already patent in its Ecomotive vehicle range. SEAT was market leader in 2010, and has already begun 2011as the best-selling brand. The company is also leader in the greencar segment, with one of every two of its cars sold having CO2 emissions below 130 g/km.
Posted: 14 Feb 2011 08:00 AM PST
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart is putting the spotlight of its presence at the 81st Geneva Motor Show on the world premiere of a parallel full hybrid model. In the wake of the success of the Cayenne S Hybrid it signals a new chapter in the Zuffenhausen company’s “Porsche Intelligent Performance“ philosophy. The new hybrid model is being unveiled on 1st March 2011 at the press conference to be held on the Porsche stand in Hall 1, stand number 1050, starting at 7:30 a.m.
The world premiere in Geneva is being complemented by the 918 RSR hybrid racing car concept, making its first public appearance in front of a European audience. The mid-engine coupé combines the design of the 918 Spyder with the technology of the 911 GT3 R hybrid racing car. Porsche is also showcasing the especially sporty 330 hp (243 kW) Cayman R in Europe for the first time. Limited special editions of the 911 and Boxster model lines are two especially tasty morsels rounding off the appearance in Geneva. Porsche is producing the 911 Black Edition, limited to 1,911 units, based on the 345 hp (254 kW) 911 Carrera. The Boxster S Black Edition, which with its 320 hp (235 kW) packs ten hp (7 kW) more power than the Boxster S, is limited to 987 units.
Posted: 14 Feb 2011 07:34 AM PST
Volkswagen has not decided whether to offer a minivan after its contract with the Chrysler Group expires in about two years, said Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
The VW Routan, which is built at Chrysler’s plant in Windsor, Ontario, shares a platform and mechanicals with the Chrysler Town & Country.
VW sold 15,961 Routans in the United States last year, up almost 9 percent in an overall market that grew 11 percent from 2009.
Browning also said VW has no plans to enter NASCAR competition as a way to market the redesigned, U.S.-built 2012 Passat sedan, despite reports on some Web sites: “It’s not something we are looking at.”
VW expects to build 150,000 Passats annually in the United States once full production is reached in Chattanooga, Tenn. U.S. sales begin in late August or early September.
On other topics, Browning said:
– U.S.-built Passats will be sold in Canada, Mexico, Korea and possibly the Middle East.
– VW will drop “New” from the New Beetle’s name when the redesigned car goes on sale late this year. The car will be called the Volkswagen Beetle.
– Suppliers are still struggling to meet production demand. In VW of America’s case, Browning said the VW Touareg SUV is affected: “We probably will see it tight through the balance of this year.”
Posted: 14 Feb 2011 06:23 AM PST
In motion, words like fast, visceral and thrilling somehow commingle with words like comfortable, refined and approachable. Simply amazing. While it doesn’t always hold true with people, if you spend a little time with the R8, passion will undoubtedly lead to love.
Complete Top 10 Turn-on Cars
Posted: 14 Feb 2011 06:05 AM PST
The Audi vehicle networking strategy has a name: Audi connect. Audi is using this term to bundle all of the applications and developments that link current and future models with the Internet with their owners and with the infrastructure. Audi connect is creating revolutionary infotainment and entertainment functionalities and taking automotive comfort and fun to a new level.
The world is becoming increasingly networked, and Audi is intensifying its links with the world. Audi has been collaborating with Google since 2005, and, as a result of this fruitful partnership, has set new standards in Internet use in the vehicle. With Audi connect, the manufacturer with the four rings is now continuing to build on this foundation and is expanding its product range to include new forms of networking. In the process, Audi connect is encompassing the fields of online vehicle connection, networking of the car and its owner and networking of the car with the infrastructure and with other cars.
Audi connect is already present in the Audi A8, A7 Sportback and the new A6, and soon the A1 will include it as well. These models can be equipped with an optional UMTS module that links them with the online world. These connections make a wide array of useful applications possible, such as the unrestricted integration of Google Earth into the navigation system’s map display, which makes orientation significantly easier. In addition, due to being connected to the Google search engine, the driver has instant access to a huge number of up-to-date points of interest. And the integrated information service brings information such as weather, travel data and news into the car.
Thanks to the integrated W-LAN hotspot, up to eight mobile devices can be linked to the Internet. In June 2010 an independent jury selected the online functionality of the Audi A8 and A7 Sportback models as the “Best Embedded Navigation Telematics Product”.
Additional milestones are due to follow in Europe during summer 2011, with Audi online traffic information and expanded voice command controls – which can be used to find special destinations via Google. Audi online traffic information provides precise forecasts about traffic situations on selected routes based on real-time information, and works faster and more accurately than any previous traffic information services.
In addition, in future Audi customers in some countries will be able to use Google Street View as a new online service, and will be able to view the navigation destination on the MMI display from the pedestrian’s perspective in a 360-degree radius.
Further into the future, the Audi online connection will allow customers to use software functions to influence the car, as well as make use of online services. An array of functions will be automatically updated or can be activated retrospectively.
“We’re following a clear strategy with all Audi connect functions, to keep operation simple, minimize driver distraction and keep the level of safety high. The online services are integrated into the sophisticated Audi display format. The functions intentionally do not offer the entire spectrum of the Internet, but instead present a selection that offers maximum usefulness,” said Ricky Hudi, Head of Electric and Electronic Development at AUDI AG.
Another topic of Audi connect defines the network between the car and the owner. Here, Audi connect pairs the automotive environment with the new lifestyle shaped by the Internet and mobile telephony. Audi drivers will be able to use a wide range of Smartphone functions that are specially adapted for their Audi model. For instance, photos taken with a GPS cell phone can be stored in the navigation system, which can then show the coordinates for the location of the photo. The Smartphone also plays an important role in the mobility plans for cars powered by electricity. With the prototypes for the Audi A1 e-tron, the driver can view the status of the rechargeable battery on their cell phone display at all times. The driver can also check whether the doors and windows are closed, or if there is any service information. Controlling interior temperature by cell phone is also possible. In order to gather practical experience in this area, in summer 2011 Audi and one or two partners will launch a fleet test with the A1 e-tron.
Another field with which Audi connect is concerned is the connection between the car and its environment. This centers around what is known as car-to-car, car-to-x and x-to-car communications. These terms describe the exchange of data between various cars, from cars to the infrastructure, and from the infrastructure to the car.
In order to explore such technologies, already in 2006 Audi joined up with various partners to launch the Travolution project. As part of the project, more than 150 traffic signals in Ingolstadt were equipped to communicate with 15 test vehicles. This network recommends the optimal speed for drivers to travel in order to “ride the green wave.” Optionally, the electronics are capable of controlling the speed automatically. This improves traffic flow, results in shorter waiting times, and reduces CO₂ emissions by up to one fifth. In addition, the car’s electronics intervene if a car threatens to run a red light.
Car-to-car communication also plays a major role at Audi. If, for example, a car at the end of a traffic jam can warn cars behind by radio signal, or if warnings about slick streets can be communicated from one car to the next, this can increase traffic safety considerably. But these approaches to research also serve to prepare Audi cars for driving completely independently. One scenario could include fatigued drivers in congested areas turning driving over to the intelligent technology in order to more effectively utilize time.
“The topics bundled within Audi connect will largely determine the mobility of the future. With the applications we presented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early 2011, we will contribute significantly to shaping the networked world of the future. We will be presenting more innovations for this in the near future. Thanks to the new Audi connect technologies, driving an Audi will be even more enjoyable, efficient and safe. And in spite of all of the networking, the technology will play a supporting role and will never overrule the driver,” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG.
Posted: 14 Feb 2011 06:05 AM PST
Bond is back, and as ever he is sporting the best in luxury cars. In the pages of Carte Blanche, the new James Bond book by international best-selling author Jeffery Deaver, the fictional British spy has continued with his classic preference of luxury sports car by selecting the breathtaking new Bentley Continental GT as his transport of choice.
Carte Blanche is due to be published by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK on May 26, a few days before the anniversary of Fleming’s birthday. It has been commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
The book is partly set in Dubai, which is where the author and the new Bond car have been spotted, outside the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City. Bond’s new Continental GT certainly suits his character, with a fabled 6.0-litre, W12, twin-turbo engine capable of producing 567 bhp and 516 lb-ft of torque.
While James Bond’s new car may be better suited for a secret agent in understated tones, the author of the book admired a less inconspicuous model. Set in stunning white with a blood-red interior, the new Continental GT mixes svelte good looks with power, poise and exceptional prowess. The hand-stitched leather interior contains all the high-tech gadgetry Bond could ever need. And with the famed sound dampening that only lets through the captivating sound of the wonderful engine, the cabin provides a true Quantum of Solace for Fleming’s jet-setting gentleman spy.
Jeffery Deaver sampled the stunning vehicle on his recent visit to the Emirates, where he commented, “I’m really excited about being back in Dubai. It is an inspirational and awe-inspiring city and makes a perfect Bond location—especially for a novel that pushes our hero to new extremes.”
Regarding the book’s title, which was revealed in January, Deaver added: “In the world of espionage, giving an agent carte blanche on a mission comes with an enormous amount of trust and constantly tests both personal and professional judgement. Part of the nonstop suspense in the novel is the looming question of what is acceptable in matters of national and international security. Are there lines that even James Bond should not cross?”
The James Bond of Ian Fleming’s original novels also opted for a Bentley. The world’s most famous spy would choose nothing less than the scintillating performance and second-to-none quality of the classic luxury car.
Jeffery Deaver has written 28 novels and sold more than 20m books worldwide. He is best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme books, most notably The Bone Collector, which was adapted for film in 1999, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Before becoming a full-time author, Deaver was a journalist, like Fleming, and attorney. He started writing suspense novels on the long commute to and from his office on Wall Street. His books are now translated into 25 languages and he lives in North Carolina.
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