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Tag Archives: automotive

LOLGAS: Wolkswagen To Release 314mpg XL1 Hybrid

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With all the talk about the superior performance of the Tesla Model S, it’s easy to forget that most electric cars aren’t quite as swift. But what the Wolkswagen XL1 lacks in speed and acceleration, it makes up in fuel efficiency. The plug-in hybrid was tested at 340mpg, but the officials in charge of the test imposed a rounding error, from 0.83L/100km to 0.9L/100km (not sure why), bringing the official mileage to 314mpg. That’s still decent enough to travel 300 miles on $1.5 of electricity and $4.5 of diesel, at European energy prices. That works out to $6 for 300 miles with the XL1, versus $13.68 with the Model S.

Of course, there are some drawbacks. The diesel engine develops 48bhp, the e-motor 27bhp, which means that acceleration is crap, taking 12.7 seconds to get to 60mph. And if you keep going past that, you’ll top out at 100mph. And to make things really bad, you can’t really take advantage of the super mileage, because the gas tank is only 10L. Of course, you can still travel long distances by refuelling along the way, and you’ll still get 141mpg that way, the only inconvenience being that you have to stop every 300 miles. But we’re not sure where we sit on this one. Wolkswagen isn’t planning on mass production anyway, so obviously nor does VW. There’s no official price, and the talk is that 50 will be made, with maybe more if there’s demand. So it’s a wait and see.

[ Top Gear ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Enterprising Driver Attempts Spectacular Vehicle-ception, Is Foiled By Spoilsport Traffic Cop

vehicleception

The above picture is that of a truck driven by a Polish driver, carrying another truck, in turn carrying a smaller truck, on top of which is stacked a car. It’s a beautiful example of human ingenuity, and would have become a very efficient delivery operation had it not been forcefully aborted by a German cop who decided to actually stick to road regulations. Regulations are suggestions, everyone knows that! We’re a little disappointed at the outcome, but impressed by the attempt:

On the road, the officers stopped the breakdown field daredevil transport (on the way to Belgium). On the Iveco car carrier (1) there was a large truck (2, on the deck again, a smaller VW MAN truck (3 And on the deck one Mercedes (4)!

Police spokesman Acor Kniely: “This tower contradicted all road traffic legislation. Especially as he to make matters worse the trailer still wanted to charge another truck! “

VIA [ BoingBoing ]

Tesla CEO Offers Damning Refutal To NYT’s Negative Model S Review

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On February 8th, the New York Time’s Josh Broder released a scathing review of the Tesla Model S, claiming it was unfit for cold weather driving. The problem was, according to Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, there were factual inaccuracies in the piece. Matter of fact, according to him, the review “was fake” and he would produce some hard data to back that up. Yesterday, he did, and it’s quite shocking. It turns out Broder did a number of things to, at least apparently, purposely sabotage the test. Here are just a few:

    The car never actually ran out of battery, even as the flatbed truck was being called.
    On the final leg of Broder’s trip, he disconnected the charger with a range of 32 miles on the dash, when that leg of the trip was going to be 62 miles. “He did so expressly against the advice of Tesla personnel and in obvious violation of common sense.”
    On that last leg, Broder drove right past a charging station, even as alarms on the dash were telling him that he was low on charge.
    Perhaps most damning of all, in one of the legs of the trip, Broder drove around in circles in a tiny parking lot for over half a mile, attempting to drain the battery fully, which was displaying “0 miles remaining”. He didn’t succeed that time, though apparently that motivated him to try harder next time.

There are quite a few other things, and you should definitely head over to the Tesla link below for more details. It’s sad to see media outlets trying to destroy the reputation of what could very well be the future of transportation. In the end, hard data speaks louder than everything, and we hope Tesla succeeds in reversing whatever damage the NYT might have done.

[ A Most Peculiar Test Drive ]

Tesla Model S Does Quarter Mile In The Twelves

We knew the Tesla Model S was fast, but when we read that it was doing the quarter mile consistently in the 12s. region, we were blown away. “This past weekend at the Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida, the National Electric Drag Racing Association awarded the Tesla Model S its stamp of officiation for being “the quickest production vehicle” in quarter mile tests.” It ran the distance in 12.371 at 110.84mph, a number that is very impressive for very large and very fast combustion cars, let alone electric ones. It’s even more impressive considering the Model S is rated at only 416HP and weighs in at a hefty 4,700 lbs. Clearly the electric power delivery and curve, and instantaneous torque, all combined with the lack of gear changes (it uses a single-speed gear-reduction transmission) produce the kind of thrust that is hard to match without consuming ridiculous amounts of gasoline. And don’t forget that despite the blistering acceleration, the Model S is capable of traveling up to 350 miles on a charge, although of course this is with more sedate driving.

This car is still a luxury item, and it’s not even one that will really save you money on the long run. It is however electric, and on par with luxury sedans in its class, cost-wise. So all else being equal, if you’re really hankering for a greener ride but are worried about performance issues, the Tesla Model S won’t let you down.

VIA [ Engadget ]

Ever Wanted To See A Tractor Do Donuts?

You can if you watch the below video featuring Rickard Nilsson and his creation. He stuffed a Volvo 240 engine in a tractor and set it loose on the unsuspecting fields near his home. Needless to say, the fields are now ruined. But we’re not too concerned because frankly, this is just awesome!

That’s one fast tractor and also what looks like an accident waiting to happen.

VIA [ Laughing Squid ]

Hennessy Makes A Caddy Right With The VR1200 Twin-Turbo V8

Long gone are the days that the word Cadillac is automatically associated with a nice present Jerry Seinfeld would make to his Florida-bound parents. With the CTS-V, the Caddy has already gone from tepid to torrid, and automobile tuner extraordinaire Hennessy has taken that platform and pumped it full of otherworldly steroids. The result is the VR1200, a machine so fantastically fast that it reaches 60mph in just 2.9 seconds and flies through the quarter mile in 10.2s. It does this thanks to its 7.0L twin-turbo V8 that pumps out an astonishing 1,066 rear wheel HP along with 964 lb-ft of rear wheel torque. If you’re so foolish as to keep the pedal to the metal until it reaches its maximum, you’ll be travelling at 242 mph, or just 10mph short of the Bugatti Veyron’s early records.

Aside from 15.1inch carbon discs and massive Brembo callipers, the VR1200 has carbon fiber accents throughout. Interior luxury touches include an Alcantara layer for the steering wheel as well as upgraded leather and stitching.

So… the price tag? We… don’t know. But they’re only making 12, so it’ll be one of those items that if you have to ask, you can’t afford.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

That Shiny New BMW Of Yours? Yeah… Turns Out It’s Pretty Easy To Steal

By David Ponce

The newer generations of BMW’s have keys that would appear to make theft pretty hard to accomplish. There’s really no way to start the car without them, and since they’re encoded right at the dealership (with blanks sent over from Germany), no one but you has access to them. The encryption is strong, so they can’t be hacked… and yet… Turns out that some enterprising thieves have found a way to steal a new BMW in less than 90 seconds. The ways this is done is by purchasing a key encoder, which is sold on the black market in some parts of Europe for $8,000 or thereabouts. They then smash the driver’s side window and attach this encoder from the outside to the ODB-II port, which is not password protected. It appears that the cars’ alarm system has a blind spot right in front of the ODB-II port, so sticking your arm inside doesn’t seem to trigger anything. From there it’s just a matter of programming a blank (which the miscreants also appear to be able to acquire, although an old fob can also be reprogrammed) and leaving with the car, making use of their newly minted keyfob. This seems to affect every BMW, from the 1-series to the X6.

BMW’s official response? “Yeah, we know about this. And guess what, it’s a problem all premium, luxury cars face. (Not in those actual words.)” So, uh, looks like BMW won’t do much for you. Maybe keep a dog next to your car at night?

Anyway, hit the jump for a video of a car being stolen using this method, and another of a key being programmed with one of the illicit encoders.

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BMW Unveils i8 Spyder Concept

By David Ponce

BMW is going to town with their i8 cars. The above is the third instalment in their electric-gas hybrids: the i8 Spyder. It’s a shorter car, and one with two less spots for passengers. And one less roof. And while some might find it ugly, we think it looks awesome! Some specs:

96 kW/131 hp on the front, coupled with a 164 kW/223 hp gasoline engine on the back, which accelerate the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

As far as fuel consumption goes, BMW claims 3 liters per 100 km (62 miles), with 30 kilometres (19 miles) of autonomy on electric power alone.

There’s even a rumour that BMW will stash two electric scooters in the trunk, though there aren’t much details on these. The New York Auto Show is coming up, and so is Beijing’s so we should have more information then. Considering BMW plans to make the other i8 cars, pretty much as-is, there’s a good chance that the Spyder version will see production at some point in the future, unlike so many such futuristic looking concepts.

VIA [ DVice ]

Harley Davidson Hearse Will Give You A Rocking Last Ride

By David Ponce

So the thing about dying is that it’s not fun. What with all the not being alive and stuff, you’d think less people would sign up. And yet here we are, all bound to have to take that sad last trip to the cemetery. Joerg Grossmann from Germany likes Harley-Davidsons, and has seen it fit to develop the bitchin’ hearse you see pictured above. If you like to live the rock and roll lifestyle, this here hearse is the way to go. Joerg has made a business of renting out his original hearse (at $1,600 a ride), but the interest is so high that he’s now taken 10 orders to deliver them to eager customers. At $78,000, it’s not exactly something that you’d by for personal use. It is, after all, a hearse. So as an investment for an… alternative kind of funeral home, it’s not that bad an idea.

VIA [ Huffington Post ] AND [ Jalopnik ]