There are a few obligatory things in any attention-grabbing car commercial. They are a desirable car, sweet cool music, and the optional good looking woman, and by optional we mean mandatory… Well, Duxcoat, a water and stain repellant company, decided to show us exactly how confident they are in their Nano paint treatment using the mandatory woman and one not-so-mandatory addition. For those that don’t know what Nano paint treatment is, it is a sealant that prevents water and stains from sitting on your car’s paint or windshield.
Onto the video… So, you have a rather attractive and (ahem) “well-equipped” woman jogging down an old dirt road in a white shirt, a Nissan Frontier, and a puddle of water. Hmm, can you do the math? If not, call in any former member of a fraternity and he’ll explain it to you (white shirt + water = see-through shirt and lots of hoops and hollers). In to ruin the fun is a well-fed man with upper torso equipment not quite as intriguing as the running woman’s.
All three converge in front of the mud puddle, leaving the woman and man soaked. Every male TopSpeed reader is now thinking the same thing “Woo Hoo!!” Well, there is a “wardrobe malfunction” in this commercial, but only with one of the two folks in white shirts. The other one is wearing a shirt coated with… Duxcoat! We’re not going to tell you which one, but we’ll leave it at this; at a certain angle, man boobs look a lot like those found on a female, so be careful with the staring on this one. You might give people the wrong idea.
For many people, the term “limited-slip differential,” or LSD, just means more grippy stuff and that’s that. However, there is actually a little science and physics behind understanding precisely what it does and how it does it. Toyota has done the less mechanically inclined auto buff the service of creating a video that gives the basic outline of what a limited-slip differential is and how it increases traction.
While the video is extremely simple and doesn’t really get into the inside of the LSD’s pumpkin to tell you precisely how it transfers power, it is still informative. Essentially, the Torsen LSD in the 2013 ScionFR-S senses when one wheel is spinning faster than the other (A.K.A. slipping) and transfers more power toward the opposite wheel. The Torsen system is unique in the fact that it can actually increase the power going to one wheel four times, if needed.
An LSD is good for two things. The most commonly understood benefit is in low traction situations, like snow, ice, and rain. When one wheel starts slipping, the LSD cuts power from the slipping wheel and transfers it to the one with the most traction, which is exactly the opposite of a posi-traction rear end. The Torson LSD also helps in handling, believe it or not, as when you take a corner at a high rate of speed, the inside wheel tends to lose traction and it also moves slower. The Torsen LSD transfers as much power as needed to the outside wheel, pushing the FR-S through the turn in a stable manner. This is all achieved through the binding and releasing of two gears placed about each side gear in the LSD.
For a clearer understanding, you can check out the above video.
One of the largest – if not the largest – problems with electric cars becoming a complete reality is the limitation of the lithium-ion battery. One issue is the fact that they are extremely susceptible to extreme heat and cold. Both ends of the temperature spectrum result in serious energy loss, which, in turn, creates excessive battery usage to obtain the same results. This is exactly why the estimated mileage of EVs can vary greatly, depending on the environment.
To help regulate the battery temperature, EV manufacturers today are using liquid coolant to maintain an optimal temperature, just like the coolant works in an internal combustion engine. This liquid come with added expense, as it is expensive to manufacture and adds in a complex system to regulate the coolant temperature.
A123, a leading battery manufacturer for EVs, recently developed and is currently testing a battery it dubbed the Nanophosphate EXT, which can handle extreme hot and cold without requiring any coolant to maintain its temperature, per A123. In testing, this new lithium-ion battery held roughly 90 percent of its energy capacity in 113-degree heat, which shows it can take heat.
According to reports, cold testing is underway at a temperature of -22 degrees Fahrenheit and A123 claims that the batteries deliver 20 percent more power than standard coolant-regulated batteries at the same temperature.
In addition to it not needing temperature regulation, A123 also claims that Nanophosphate EXT batteries can last two to three times longer than an equivalent lithium-ion battery.
Combining more energy at extreme temperatures, deletion of the complex cooling system, and the lighter nature of these batteries, thanks to the lack of coolant, this new battery technology appears to be nothing short of a winner. With developments like this new battery and the high-tech and high-performance nature of EVs like the Tesla Model S and Fisker Karma, we just may see EVs become more of a reality to replace Dinosaur flesh-burning vehicles in the next 10 years.
We’ll keep you updated if anything new comes from A123’s research.
Click past the jump to read A123’s official presser about this new technology.
There’s no denying that the sound of any kind of forced induction is incredible. Fitting a turbocharger to any car is quite expensive and as a result, people generally only install aftermarket ones for the performance upgrades. However, if you’re still obsessed with the sound of a turbo, but aren’t prepared to pay to have one installed, then a recently launched iOS app dubbed ‘iBoost’ may be the perfect solution for you.
Developed by app development team Bonobo in conjunction with Japanese tuning firm HKS, the app helps recreate the sounds of the systems developed by HKS itself. In order to function, the iBoost app utilities the iPhon’s accelerometer to detect movement of the car, with a variety of different gauges and sounds being offered.
Nathan Hamey, lead designer of iBoost stated, "Working with HKS has been a blast. The partnership has given us pit-lane access to extract the best sounds possible from their SQV. We’ve also painstakingly crafted their boost gauges to look and respond just like the real thing. I think people are going to get a real buzz out of seeing and hearing authentic HKS gear in their car."
"We’re thrilled to have the chance to be featured in iBoost," says Masaya Funayama, spokesperson for HKS. "It’s is an incredibly well designed application and a lot of fun to play with. It’s a great match for the HKS SQV," he continued.
With the basic version costing just $0.99, while the upgraded pack costs $1.99, the iBoost app is definitely an attractive purchase.
The Apple vs. PC war has gone from computers to laptops, from laptops to MP3 players, from MP3 players to phones, and from phones to tablets, but Apple has never attempted to compete with Microsoft in its automotive form (see: Ford Sync)… That is, until now. Apple has just announced that it will start fitting its Siri system into vehicles.
For those that hate having only one mouse button to choose from (A.K.A. those that could give a rat’s backside about Macs) you may have no clue what Siri is. Well, Siri is, as Apple calls it, an “Eyes Free” system that allows you to control various items, like the iPad and iPhone, with only your voice. Before you start thinking “OMG, that’s like so 2007,” Siri actually learns your speech pattern and does not require you to use a series of ridiculous keywords to activate certain features, so it is basically a 2012 twist on 2007 technology.
So, this means that you can now drive “Eyes Free…” Okay, maybe not, but you never have to unglue your hands from the 10-and-2 position ever again when controlling whatever iDevice you happen to have, via Bluetooth, plus it also controls a turn-by-turn navigation system with crowd-sourced traffic updates. We are sure that there are tons more features to the automotive variant of Siri, but for now, this is all that Apple has released.
As for the cars that will include this new system; let’s just say that Apple definitely flexed its superpower connections, as according to Macworld, it has signed up Land Rover, Jaguar, BMW, GM, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda. According to reports, you can pick up your first “iCar” starting in about 12 months.
Given this system is as cool as it sounds on paper, I can add one more product to the short list of Apple items I can actually stomach, making that list the iPad, iPod, and Siri.
In 2012, the C250 boasted an impressive 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that pumped out 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of twist. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the 3.0-liter V-6 cranked out only 228 ponies and 221 pound-feet of torque. This means that short of the 4-wheel-drive, there was little reason to snag up the C300.
Instead of eliminating the mid-range C300 and leaving just the C250 and C350, Mercedes has wisely detuned the direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 in the C350 and is dropping it into the C300 4Matic, giving its buyers an extra 20 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque to play with and giving buyers on the fence more reason to opt for the higher level C-series.
In the overall scheme, the 248 ponies and 251 pound-feet of torque that this remapped 3.5-liter pump out are still way too low for modern day luxury cars. We know that Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want the C300 4Matic to infringe on the C350’s sales territory, but offering a luxury car with that type of engine with that low power cannot help much.
This is multiplied when you consider that the 328i Sedan still pumps out more foot-pounds and only has 4 less horsepower from its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Also, the 328i is significantly cheaper than the C300 4Matic. The biggest thing is that this is at least a step in the right direction for the C-Class lineup, and all signs are pointing that more changes are on the horizon for Mercedes. Maybe we will start to see more forced induction across the luxury automaker’s entire lineup in the future to help get it up to snuff before BMW pulls away from the luxury pack.
Some of you may already know this, but back in early 2007, the U.S. state of Texas banned all speed cameras and then the following year recorded the lowest ever vehicle causality rate since counting began 75 years ago. Reports are claiming that the biggest state in America is set to take another huge step to help slow the road toll even more.
Some controversial research has previously shown that driving consistently at higher speeds on highways is actually safer than slower speeds as it forces drivers to be more alert. Taking into consideration the fact that the Autobahn is extremely safe with many regions not having speed limits, it wouldn’t be out of the question to raise speed limits in Texas.
That’s exactly what the Texas Department of Transportation is planning to do. The highest speed you’re allowed to legally travel in Texas is currently 80 miles per hour on select roads, but the TDOT plans to increase that to 85 mph on State Highway 130 which travels from San Antonio all the way to Austin.
Understandably, many people are outraged by this proposal and before anything goes ahead, the TDOT will have to conduct extensive speed tests to make sure the road is actually safe to be driven on at 85 mph. However, speed management director for the TDOT, Darren McDaniel is confident the road is up for the job claiming it “was designed under extremely high design parameters.”
If the changes do go through and the results are positive, then expect other U.S. states to go down a similar route.
Every now and again we come across something of such creative genius that we just cannot get enough of it. The above video is one example of someone taking a new technology – pocket projector – and doing something so bad ass that it’ll be forever etched in our memory. In this example, the folks at The Theory have taken a pocket projector and fed it video of various movements of a police chase and projected that chase throughout a room.
It sounds simple and pretty stupid on paper, but once you watch it, you’ll see the creative genius that we are talking about. All of the motions of the characters are precisely timed and actually look realistic, even though they are happening in 2-D.
To make matters even better, the folks at The Theory pulled at our auto strings a little harder by including a Ford GT40 in the chase, which is something that none of us would ever see in a lifetime.
Have a look at the video above and get a few chuckles on us. While you’re at it, think about how much time this filmmaking duo must have put into this video. We can’t help but think how much technology has progressed in the last decade, considering that projectors that could put out images like in this video were the size of a small desk and cost over $1,000.
The technology behind the device is just as amazing as the ingenuity behind the video… Enjoy.
In the last year, we have seen Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology make its way into various vehicles in an effort to increase fuel efficiency without reinventing the wheel. These technologies include advanced weight reduction, reduced friction, forced induction, and ultra-high compression ratings. All of these advancements combine to boost the fuel economy ratings of Mazda’s street cars.
Now Mazda is ready to take SKYACTIV to the next level, and introduce it into racing, via the Grand-Am Road Racing Series. The first engine that Mazda will offer to race teams is the 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D engine, which is an ultra-high-efficiency diesel engine. Now, before you start wondering how Mazda expects this engine to be competitive in the Grand-Am series, keep in mind that this engine will only be raced in the GX class, which is a class dedicated to alternative fuels and highly fuel efficient vehicles.
The SKYACTIV-D that is currently being developed will boast a 14-to-1 compression ratio, a two-stage turbocharger and a 5,200 rpm redline. In comparison to the current Mazda 2.2-liter diesel engine, the SKYACTIV-D is 10 percent lighter, has 20 percent less internal friction, and gets 20 percent better fuel economy.
The production numbers are not out yet for this racing engine, but we do know that the production SKYACTIV 2.2-liter diesel produces 173 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and an impressive 310 pound-feet of torque at just 2,000 rpm. We will update you with the official base numbers once Mazda completes the dyno phase of its testing.
Click past the jump to read the full press release.
Turbochargers were once only used to bump up horsepower and torque figures on tuned cars in the Japanese mountains, but as the years have rolled on they’ve become more popular to increase fuel-efficiency while not limiting power or taking away from the driving capabilities of a car.
This incredible increase is partially due to the fact that both Ford and General Motors have really begun developing and implementing turbo technology into its new models. In addition to these startling figures, it has also been revealed that in 2008, just 2% of all passenger vehicles produced in the U.S. came fitted with a turbo, but this rose to 9.5% in 2011 and is expected to soar to 23.5% in the next five years.
Vice President for the American branch of Honeywell, Tony Schultz stated "With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon. Turbocharging technology has been a fuel economy driver for decades in the United States for the on- and off-highway commercial vehicle market, as well as in global passenger vehicle markets like Europe," added Schultz.
Curiously however, no details have been revealed about sales of superchargers, either by themselves or fitted to cars, and perhaps this indicates that superchargers are on the way out.
And that makes us very sad.
Superchargers operate on pretty much the same premise as turbo’s, except for the fact they’re directly connected to the given engine through a belt or crankshaft, and as we all know, they provide the most glorious sound at full throttle. However, we do have that sinking feeling...