Prototypes or prototypical instances combine the most representative attributes of a category. A prototype is the stage before the final design. They are the best examples among the members of a category and serve as benchmarks against which the surrounding "poorer" instances are categorized.
We all know that due to the global economy many automakers have canceled or at least put on hold many of their high performance intentions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream a little. This video comes courtesy of the folks at Edmund’s Inside Line showing a their next generation V10 powered Honda NSX prototype running around the Green Hell. Hopefully when all this recession mumbo jumbo is over car makers can get back to work on those vehicles that make us flock to their showrooms.
The latest in the Chevrolet E-Flex line up are a series of Chevrolet Cruze bodied extended range electric vehicles. In order for General Motors engineers to perfect the working parts of the future production Volt, Chevrolet has developed a series of test mules to work out all the kinks and prepare GM for the November 2010 deadline for a road going Chevrolet Volt.
Mitsubishi wants to give it’s Outlander mini-SUV some street cred and is going to debuit what will likely look a Evo X wagon on steroids. The Outlander GT Prototype will make its debut later this week at the New York Auto Show. Mitsu says the styling will iclude plenty of elements from the Evo including the “Jet-Fighter” grille and Super-All-Wheel-Control System.
Unlike the Evo, the Outlander GT will not get a 291 hp four cylinder engine turborcharged within an inch of its life. Instead the GT is going for more fuel efficient diggs. It will get a version of the 3.0-liter SOHC MIVEC V6 already in use on the Outlander, but this one will have added gas saving technology.
Volkswagen is preparing its next technology: the hybrid one. It will not only be applied to small cars, the Touareg will also use it. A near-production prototype was released today, and if the production version will have the same performance will be pretty impressive: a 9,0 liters/100 km and a CO2 emission of 210 g/km for a SUV is pretty good, no?
Volkswagen will be implementing a parallel hybrid drive on the future Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid. This version of the SUV will have a high-performance, full-time all-wheel drive too. The V6 engine develops 328 hp at 5,500 rpm and a peak torque of 440 NM at 3000 rpm.
V6 TSI plus E-motor drives fuel consumption below 9.0 liters The E-motor integrated between the V6 TSI and the 8-speed automatic transmission adds power of 50hp and up to 300 Newton-meters torque.
In so-called boosting – where requests for maximum power and torque (by kickdown or gearshift selector in “S” position) are supported by the engagement of both V6 TSI and electric drive systems – the powertrain briefly supplies a power of 368 hp and the maximum available torque increases to 550 Newton-meters. In this case, the Touareg V6 TSI Hybrid prototype accelerates to 100 km/h in (62 mph) just 6.8 seconds.
After thinking about the comeback of kit cars, we stumbled across a builder in Michigan that has a pretty interesting option. Race Car Replicas (RCR) has introduced the Superlite Coupe (SL-C), and while we haven’t been able to confirm any on the road, it seems like a pretty interesting option for the do-it-yourself crowd.
For $43,995 RCR sells a complete rolling kit. This includes an aluminum chassis with six-point roll cage, six-piston calipers brakes, FIA bladder style fuel tanks, and a complete (but minimal) interior. The body is made out of a gelcoat polymer likely over fiberglass for lightweight construction.
RCR doesn’t supply the engine or transmission, but it insists, "the engine bay will accept any longitudinal engine trans package." RCR suggest using everything from a Chevy LS series V8 to a twin turbo charged Lexus V8.
While spending $44K on a car that still requires an engine and some serious personal wrench time may not appeal to everyone, RCR also has a minimalist Superlite Roadster (SL-R). It’s $16K price tag and Ariel Atom-like looks may get the masses back to kit cars.
There must be something in the water in England. Earlier this year we reported on a Welshman who took his Land Rover from England to America. Now we have a Brit who will be taking his flying dune buggy from England to the Sahara Desert. Gilo Cardozo is a paramotor manufacturer whose Wiltshire-based company Parajet built the paramotor that the adventurer Bear Grylls used to fly near Everest last year. Normally paramotors work by a person using a parachute while having a giant fan strapped to their back. The fan provides forward propulsion while helping to give lift to the parachute during take off. Cardozo first had the idea to build the flying dune-buggy four years ago.
"I started making a paramotor on wheels that you sit on and take off and it suddenly occurred to me, ‘Why not just have a car that does everything?’” recalls Cardozo. “I’ve been dreaming about making flying cars since I was a boy,thinking about all the ways it could be done and seeing how all the other people in the world have done it wrong. No one’s ever made one that really does work that you can go out and buy. But here’s the ultimate solution: it’s cheap, it’s safe, it works, all the technology’s already there. So I pushed ahead and thought, ‘We’ve got to do it’.”
The Sky car is quite impressive on the ground. It is powered by a modified Yamaha R1 motor, made to run on bioethanol, creating 140 hp with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) gearbox from a snowmobile. The power plant accelerates the car from 0-60 in 4.5 sec and has a top speed of 112 mph. The car also features four-wheel independent suspension, rear-wheel drive, and will travel 248 miles to a tank of fuel.
When the car takes off power is taken away from the rear wheels and switched to the fan at the back. while in the air the SkyCar will travel 80 mph and up to 15,000 ft, with a cruising altitude of 2000-3000 ft. Potential buyers won’t need a private pilot’s license to fly a Skycar, just one day’s tuition and a powered parachute license.
The journey is set to begin in January 2009 and take 40 days. Until it lands in Timbuktu though, it still remains an attempt to achieve the holy grail of inventors everywhere.
A supercar from Lebanon? and it’s premiering in the U.S.?! Welcome to the global market. Of course you never heard about it. Unless you know David Frem, a Lebanese student at American University of Science and Technology, who is the proud designer.
Frem wants to compete with models from Ferrari, and he’s off to a slow start. The Frem F1 is built with a 2.0-liter 16v four-cylinder engine sourced from Volkswagen and a transmission from Audi. This combination should be good for a top speed around 125 mph. But it does come with some nice luxury options like xenon lights, reverse parking camera, navigation system and a glass roof. The fiberglass body is only 10 cm off the ground for better stability and traction.
Supercars are supposed to be made from light alloys, right? Late last year, we brought you a story about a wooden supercar known as the Splinter. Well it seems that North Carolina State graduate student Joe Harmond is actually making progress on his tree-borne vehicle. The car is supposed to have a 600 horsepower engine and a 240 mph top speed. So if it hits something when at speed, then it may really be a splinter.
There are plenty of jokes to be made, but there is something truly admirable about this car. We should all be lucky enough to go out to our shed and carve out over 200 mph. Besides if you don’t think wood can make a beautiful car, you haven’t seen a Morgan.
As we have already reported, Nissan has announced a plan to reveal an all-electric vehicle by 2010 with global sales to begin in 2012. Today the company revealed the first prototypes: one all-electric and one hybrid electric both powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries.
The EV prototype features front-wheel drive layout and uses a newly developed 80kW motor and inverter. The HEV prototype delivers two breakthrough technologies – a high-performance rear-wheel drive hybrid system and parallel-powertrain hybrid system.
The advanced lithium-ion batteries used in both prototypes are sourced from the Nissan-NEC joint-venture, AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation). These advanced batteries offer superior performance, reliability, safety, versatility and cost competitiveness, compared to the conventional nickel metal-hydride batteries.
Ever dreamed of being the Rocketeer? Well thankfully New Zealander Glenn Martin has had such dreams. The 48-year-old spent 27 years developing, what he considers, the first practical jetpack. Weighing 250-pounds the Martin Jetpack is powered by a 200bhp V4 engine providing 600 pounds of thrust. Right now it will only hover at about six feet, but the engineering team reckon they’ll have that up to 600 feet within a year. The jetpack has a range of about 30 miles, and will use up its fuel tank in about half an hour. For safety, it includes a ballistic parachute. Martin admits the device will likely give "somebody a very bad experience" at some point, but he said it’s still the "safest jetpack ever built."
This may not be a car, but we at TopSpeed like anything that moves - even if the direction is up.