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2012 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Competitors Announced

2012 LA Auto Show Design Challenge Competitors Announced

Back in September, Los Angeles Auto Show organizers announced the theme for this year’s Design Challenge contest: contenders needed to design a law enforcement car for the year 2025. Today, they have finally announced the six competitors coming from BMW, General Motors, Honda (two entries), Mercedes-Benz and Subaru.

BMW’s entry will be the E-Patrol (Human-Drone Pursuit Vehicle), which is a concept built on a modular structure with three different drones. In the case of a pursuit in heavy traffic, the patrol officer can deploy either the flying drone or one of the single-wheel drones to chase the suspect and report back to the officer.

General Motors entered the contest with a Volt Squad — a three-vehicle fleet designed around the concept of observe, pursue and engage. Honda has two entries for 2012: the CHP Drone Squad, a vehicle-based-system for 2025, which is designed to work efficiently and seamlessly in the harsh environment of California highways. Honda’s second entry is the "CHiPs" 2025 Traffic Crawler, a vehicle that has the ability to adjust to changes in the traffic environment.

Mercedes is entering the contest with Ener-G-Force, a vehicle based on the G-Class and designed as an environmentally friendly SUV. And finally Subaru’s entry is the SHARC (Subaru Highway Automated Response Concept) highway patrol vehicles. They are capable of providing an innovative, affordable and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection and rapid emergency response.

The winner of the contest will be announced on November 25.

Click past the jump to read the press release on each vehicle.

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Fisker's Battery Supplier, A123, Files Bankruptcy and Sells off Assets

Fisker’s Battery Supplier, A123, Files Bankruptcy and Sells off Assets

A123 has been put through the ringer in recent history, most notably with its massive battery recall, and now it is just about belly up. Things were starting to look up for the battery make when it announced that a $450 million deal had been reached with Wanxiang Group Corp, but that deal recently fell through.

Now the inevitable is upon A123, as news came across the board that A123 had filed for bankruptcy protection, despite having received a $249 million government grant. With this bankruptcy filing also comes the likely liquidation of its assets. It appears as if A123 has already gotten a head start on this liquidation by negotiating to sell off its automotive business to Johnson Controls – well-known for building nearly every lead-acid and gel battery sold.

The deal is not yet done, but it is reportedly for the sum of $125 million and will include the Fisker, GM, and BMW contracts that A123 has already inked. Part of the proposed deal includes Johnson Controls fronting A123 $72.5 million in “debtor possession” funds to keep the bankrupt company running while the sale is being completed. There is no timetable for the completion of the deal, but per the press release, things will continue as usual for A123 during the entire sale process.

All we can hope for is a full turnaround once this technology gets in the hands of Johnson Controls, as the fate of the EV realm rests heavily on the technologies developed by A123. This could possibly be part of the reason that Fisker wasn’t shy about announcing that the upcoming Atlantic was delayed. We’ll also keep an eye on the Chevy Spark EV project to see if that is put on hold until this situation is resolved.

We’ll keep you updated.

Click past the jump to read A123’s press release.

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Jay Leno's EcoJet makes appearance at "All GM Show"

Jay Leno’s EcoJet makes appearance at "All GM Show"

Sometimes, we often catch ourselves imagining what it must feel like to be Jay Leno. No, we’re not interested in how he gets all of these celebrities to appear on his show - okay, maybe a little - but more so because, as we all know, there’s not a lot of people in this world that can boast of having a similar car collection as the one the comedian has.

But out of all his cars - yeah, there’s a lot of ’em - the EcoJet is one of those that doesn’t fail to illicit drools from all of us. Powered by a Honeywell LT101 jet turbine engine that produces over 750 horsepower and 700 lb/ft of torque while churning out 48,000 rpm while using biodiesel as fuel.

Recently, Jay Leno brought his EcoJet to the All GM Show in Van Nuys, California where it was, as expected, one of the stars of the show. Check out this video of the EcoJet’s appearance at the show, courtesy of our buddies over at ConcoursBlog.

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2010 GM EN-V Concept

2010 GM EN-V Concept

While most of us never think on how the cars will look like in 2030, there are people out there that want to bring a part of the future in our days. In China for example, GM launched the EN-V (Electric Networked-Vehicle,) Concept. There are three different versions of the EN-V, each of them representing three different characteristics that emphasize the enjoyable nature of future transportation: Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic) and Xiao (Laugh).

The En-V is powered by electric motors in each of its two driving-mode wheels. The power for the electric motors is provided by lithium-ion batteries that produce zero emissions and have an autonomy of at least 40 kilometers on a single charge.

The body and canopy of EN-V are constructed from carbon fiber, custom-tinted Lexan and acrylic, materials that are more commonly used in race cars, military airplanes and spacecraft because of their strength and lightweight characteristics.

Press release after the jump.

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LA Design Challenge: GM Car Hero

LA Design Challenge: GM Car Hero

Another automaker set to enter the 2009 L.A. Design Challenge is General Motors with their play on the popular Guitar Hero video game brand that get gamers in touch with their musical sides. The 2030 OnStar Car Hero from GM is a driver training device that is packaged to look like a video game of today, the Car Hero features three stages of automotive instruction. The unit will take users from piloting a somewhat traditional four wheeled machine used for teaching the rules of the road all the way up to a gyroscopically controlled single wheeled vehicle with upgraded maneuverability that will challenge the driver’s skills against the car’s autonomous system.

Aside from being a learning device, once fully unlocked GM’s car of the future will also be full of features like P2P applications like Friends and Fantay Drive. The first is a futuristic take on Twitter that lets your companions come along with you on your journey and opens up a direct line of communication with them from wherever you are on the planet. The Fantasy Drive feature is the perfect alternative to tiresome and lengthy commutes allowing the driver to virtually escape the traffic and much like a bonus level in a video game experience unique and fantastic alternative driving environments. The GM Car Hero blurs the line between driving and gaming, and if the next generation of automotive consumers have anything to say about it, General Motors’ car of the future is guaranteed to be a hit.

Official details after the jump.

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GM introduces the Buick Avant

GM introduces the Buick Avant

More than any other industry in the world, the automotive business has the capacity to remind us just what the future may look like. It may not smell of grandeur like other scientific fields, but the auto industry can give us sneak peeks of what may be in store for all of us somewhere down the road.

Take General Motors for example. After launching its new Lab website, GM has given us a slew of cars that could one day – all things considered, of course – end up roaming the streets in the future. The brand’s latest offering is the Buick Avant, which, in addition to being innovative in every sense of the word, could also become the standard bearer of scaled-down models among high-end car brands.

If futuristic cars become topics of discussion, the Buick Avant should be right in the thick of the conversation. It’s got a cargo space that automatically brings the luggage to the passenger, it’s got doors that seemingly swings and slides every which way, and what GM is calling a pergola roof, which turns translucently depending on what the driver wants.

It’s innovation at its finest, and you can check out the video to learn more about the car.

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GM Project PUMA

GM Project PUMA

Instead of reinventing the wheel, General Motors decided to reinvent the automobile. It teamed up with Segway to create a two-wheeled, two-seat urban people mover. Called the P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility), it carries many of the design ideas that we once thought were pipe dreams coming out of design schools.

The PUMA is part of a vision of a vehicle network that is able to recognize outside objects, including other moving vehicles, so that they can all interact and avoid each other. The compact vehicle integrates a lithium-ion battery, digital smart energy management, two-wheel balancing, dual electric wheel motors, and a dockable user interface that allows off-board connectivity. If anyone is scared of two-wheeled motoring, there are two small wheels placed at the front and back of the concept for stability.

Each charge to the PUMA’s battery should be good for 35 miles (GM did not indicate recharge times.) Since this is designed as for urban areas, the top speed is 35 mph.

Press release after the jump.

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GM’s Motorama Memories

Sometimes technology isn’t a blessing. Not only did video kill the radio star, but also General Motor’s travailing showcase know as Motorama.

Motorama used to travel all around the U.S. in a caravan of specially built “Parade of Progress” busses, all used to showcase GM’s new cars and new innovations. But once television was in every household, the Motorama changed. It was still a grand spectacle, but the Motorama no longer came to your doorstep. By the mid-50s Motorama would only set up in the major cities but could be broadcast to homes nationwide through TV. The last one was held in 1961.

Enjoy as GM’s Vice President of Global Design, Ed Welburn reminisces about the Motorama and the dream cars of GM’s past before they are showcased next week at Pebble Beach (including the Chevrolet Biscayne.)

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GM Motorama Concepts coming at the Concours d'Elegance

GM Motorama Concepts coming at the Concours d’Elegance

Fifty-three years ago, the LaSalle II Roadster and the Chevrolet Biscayne were among the concepts that showcased General Motors’ vision of the future in its traveling Motorama. After the debut of this automotive eye candy, these cars were not only discarded but destroyed.

Throughout the 1950s, the General Motors Motorama took concept cars on tour to cities throughout the United States, inviting the public to enter the future by stepping through the doors of a GM automobile. After each cross-country show was concluded, these futuristic cars were relegated to the trash heap. In fact, since most of these vehicles had not been road tested, GM often ordered their total destruction to prevent legal problems.

General Motors will also be bringing nearly a dozen dream cars that the company itself has saved, and these cars will join the Bortz Collection and Motorama treasures owned by other collectors during the Concours’ celebration of the General Motors Centennial.

Lines from the 1955 LaSalle II Roadster can be found in such icons as the ’56 and ‘57 Corvette, while lines from the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne are visible in the 1960 Corvair.

The Motorama cars that will be appearing at Pebble Beach will be joined by a rare assortment of GM Woodies, Cadillac V-16s and GM-powered sports cars. Other featured marques for 2008 include Lancia and Lamborghini.

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GM unveils second propulsion system for Chevrolet Volt

GM unveils second propulsion system for Chevrolet Volt

GM’s global commitment to developing transportation that reduces oil use and promotes energy diversity continued today at the Shanghai Auto Show with the unveiling of the next iteration of the E-Flex electric architecture, configured with GM’s newest, most efficient hydrogen fuel cell system to date.
This second variant of the E-Flex system uses GM’s new fifth-generation fuel cell propulsion technology and a lithium-ion battery to provide up to 300 miles (483 km) of petroleum- and (...)

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GM Announces North American Debut of Four Global Concepts

GM Announces North American Debut of Four Global Concepts

In addition to an array of classic GM Designs, including the 2006 Camaro Concept (an instant classic) and the 1951 Buick LeSabre Concept (an iconic classic), four global concepts never before seen in North America will “drive the runway” with celebrity guests including Carmen Electra and Mario Lopez during January’s GM Style.
The Holden EFIJY, Chevrolet T2X, Chevrolet WTCC and Opel Antara GTC will make North American debuts on Jan. 6, 2007, in a pavilion on the Detroit Riverfront and then (...)

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GM to unveil 5 concepts at Detroit

GM to unveil 5 concepts at Detroit

At Detroit Auto Show, in january, GM says will complement its stylish new vehicle designs and showcase each of its eight brands. "The message we’re trying to build is that GM is a design-driven organization. And auto shows are the perfect venues to highlight the design story," says Teckla Rhoads, GM director of industrial design and North American design operations.
GM will unveil five concept vehicles at the core of the setup, as well as an exhibit on the future of vehicle propulsion (...)

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GM to unveil an plug-in hybrid prototype in Detroit

GM to unveil an plug-in hybrid prototype in Detroit

General Motors is likely to unveil a prototype plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show 2007 as part of its company-wide focus on "electrifying" the car, GM officials said Thursday.
The prototype’s advanced technology would have an extended driving range on battery power alone and would also have a diesel or gasoline engine that could power the car when the battery was low.
GM sees hydrogen fuel cells as the solution to ending the country’s reliance on oil. However GM (...)

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2007 Turbine-Powered EcoJet Concept

2007 Turbine-Powered EcoJet Concept

What would keep a group of automotive designers up all night? "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, for starters, but not by his monologue or parade of Hollywood guests. This time it’s because the late-night talk show host invited the General Motors Advanced Design Studio to help design a mid-engine, turbine-powered supercar called EcoJet. Leno and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the car today at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.

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