Lexus introduces SkyJet- A Spacecraft designed for the 28th Century

Even if you do not have even the foggiest ideas about cars and automobiles, you may have come across the brand Lexus. Owned by Toyota, the company has taken traveling to new heights and how. Known to build its credibility by selling some of the most prominent cars that have stood their ground without troubling their owners with service issues, the Japanese executive car manufacturer has always been in the limelight for its edgy designs and its top-notch innovations.

The brand Lexus might recall the LFA supercar that was by far its most successful and the most impressive creation built by the brand has now taken a step back due to the launch of this amazing innovation.

Presenting, Skyjet, a single-seat pursuit spacecraft. (Nope, I’m not drunk and demonetization has not given me anything to worry about) The Spacejet, although currently unavailable in the market is scheduled to grace us with its presence in the 28th century. This is no joke and I certainly hope this jet does not become commercial allowing people to take turns flying them.

All of this wasn’t as easy as gulping a space cake. The company announced the formation of a creative partnership with film studio EuropaCorp. One of the early highlights of this collaboration will be the highly anticipated 2017 science fiction film, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Cara Delavigne and Dane DeHaan. Lexus collaborated with the Valerian creative team, as they imagined and brought to life the vision for the SKYJET, a single-seat pursuit craft featured in the film. An epic teaser trailer unveiled online gives fans a long-awaited first look at footage from the film. Viewers will also get a first glimpse of the SKYJET maneuvering through the intergalactic citadel of Alpha.

The Valerian team created the SKYJET with the ambition of featuring a vehicle grounded in reality but befitting of the Valerian world, set 700 years in the future. The creative team met with Lexus’ Chief Engineer, Takeaki Kato and the Lexus design team, to discuss incorporating believable, imaginative technologies and contemporary design cues into the final iteration of the SKYJET.

The SKYJET design also incorporates an adapted interpretation of Lexus’ signature “spindle” grille, and a similar headlight design to that of the hotly anticipated 2018 Lexus LC coupe, defined by an athletic and aerodynamic shape.

Commenting on the partnership, director Luc Besson said, “For this partnership we were looking for a brand that’s pioneering in innovation and technology, who is focused on the future more than the past.”

The brand is set to provide a unique fan experience over the next nine months that is designed to bring enthusiasts from around the world closer to the action leading up to the film’s release set to happen in July 2017.

 

Commenting on the development of the SKYJET, David Nordstrom, Global Branding Department General Manager at Lexus, added: “As fans of films and Luc’s previous work, Lexus is privileged to help bring Luc’s dream to life. We enjoyed the challenge of bringing Lexus’ design philosophy and technology innovations to this project. We look forward to developing our partnership with EuropaCorp as we strive to give audiences the most amazing experiences imaginable in the coming years.”

The design meets the aim of creating a vehicle that looks as though it could be from the Valerian future, but seems to be grounded in reality. The result is a streamlined, tubular craft that tapers towards the rear jet, with two pairs of side-mounted wings, two additional pairs of wings mounted to its underside and a top-mounted rear fin. What appear to be large air inlets can be seen on the sides and the pilot is seated in a cockpit with near-panoramic views out of the craft.

Lexus Chief Engineer Takeaki Kato and his design team met with the movie’s creative team to discuss the vehicle’s styling and design cues. Among those that are rooted in today’s reality are the headlights, which are inspired by those of the LC coupe, and an interpretation of Lexus’s signature mesh grille. It’s even badged as a Lexus.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is based on the French graphic novel series Valérian and Laureline. The film follows a pair of special government operatives working to maintain order of the human territories in a sprawling universe. Just so that you know, the Skyjet isn’t Lexus’s first movie vehicle, there was a car that was driven by Tom Cruise’s character in Minority Report and that too was a lexus.

 

Jaguar Land Rover and Ford test connected cars in Britain

Premium luxury car makers Jaguar Land Rover, Ford (F.N) as well as Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) are testing connected cars that can communicate with each other using technology designed to speed up journeys and cut accidents, the first such trials in Britain.

Imagine a world of cars that are able to warn drivers when another connected vehicle brakes suddenly and those which can monitor traffic signals and regulate their speed to encounter fewer red lights were being showcased at a testing ground in Central England.

With the rapid increase of technology and the up-rise of sophisticated technology in vehicles, the world is paving way for fully driverless vehicles with Jaguar (JLR) owned by India’s Tata Motors demonstrating a self-driving Range Rover Sport that can overtake even slower moving cars.

 

The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant — from increased road safety to improved traffic flow,” said Tim Armitage, a project director at government-backed UK Autodrive, which coordinated the trials.

As a part of government’s efforts to create an industry, which can serve a worldwide market, a driverless car was on trial on Britain’s streets for the first time. The worldwide market estimates to be worth an upwards of 1.1 billion dollars by 2025 and this figure is huge. Automakers are racing to head off the challenge from technology firms such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, which is developing autonomous vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover said earlier this year that it plans to create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over the next four years to test autonomous and connected technology and Volvo plans to trial driverless cars in London next year.

On the same lines, companies like Ford as well as Volvo are working with ride-hailing company Uber on trials of self-driving cars in the U.S city of Pittsburgh. The company views a driver take their hands off the wheel can be enough to unnerve even the most hardened front seat passenger.

Working with Ford and Tata Motors, the firms have launched a joint ‘Autodrive’ project, demonstrating a number of future vehicle technologies at Horiba Mira’s testing facility in Nun Eaton.

Land Rover has been fitted with communications technology, which will enable it to ‘talk’ to other makes and model of car and its surroundings – a key development on the road to driverless cars.

All three-vehicle manufacturers are all taking part in the £20 million ($24m) UK Autodrive research and development project, which will test connected and driverless tech over the course of three years. The project will be separated into two streams, with Ford focused on connected vehicle technologies rather than testing self-driving cars.

 

Tim Armitage, director of the UK Autodrive project, said: ‘The benefits of having cars that can communicate with each other and their surroundings could be very significant – from increased road safety to improved traffic flow, more efficient parking and better information for drivers.’

Advanced Highway Assist:

Among the array of features that are available on these cars, Land Rover’s Highway Assist feature enables the vehicle to overtake slower moving vehicles automatically as well as detecting any vehicles in the driver’s blind spot.

Other developments:

In the upcoming years, plenty of features will be tested that include safety parameters that sense when the driver is in front that haphazardly slams the brake even if the lights of the car are obscured either due to bad weather or other possible reasons. Drivers could welcome features that aim to reduce the amount of time spent waiting at the lights. Cars that are connected will receive real time updates from traffic lights to tell drivers to change their speed in advance while keeping the traffic moving.

This said, there are a slew of safety features that will enable vehicles to communicate with one another, while detecting hazards and even check for available parking spots:

Electronic Emergency Brake Light:

This feature comes in handy while alerting the driver when a vehicle in front suddenly brakes, providing advanced warning, especially when the driver is unable to see the lights of the braking vehicle due to weather conditions, road layout or other vehicles in between.
Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory:

This feature sends traffic light information to the connected car that is able to calculate the optimal speed for approaching lights, potentially minimizing the number of red light stops thereby improving traffic flow and reducing emission levels from the idling vehicles.

Emergency Vehicle Warning:

This feature sends a signal directly from the emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, fire engine, police vehicle to nearby connected cars. The driver is informed that the emergency vehicle is approaching and advised to make way for it.

Intersection Movement Assist:

This feature warns the driver when it is unsafe to enter an intersection due to a high probability of collision with other vehicles.

Intersection Priority Management:

This feature assigns priority when 2 or more vehicles come to an intersection without priority signs or traffic lights.

In-Vehicle Signage:

This feature helps send information about road conditions, congestion or other incidents directly to the in-car display rather than having to rely on expensive gantry systems.

Collaborative Parking:

Provides real-time information about free parking spaces either in the vicinity or close to the driver’s final destination.
Bottom Line:

As attractive as these safety features seem, companies need to realize that there is plenty at stake and there is no room for errors. If the companies pull it off, its going to be revolutionary, if not, it might be quite a risqué measure.

Hyundai’s first all-electric car in US; Chevy’s Green Car

Chevrolet Bolt:

Its quick on its feet, its peppy to drive, its nimble and it’s the Green Car of the year, all of that and still the Chevy Bolt stands humble and strong. This is one car that has given even Tesla a run for its money. General Motors, a 108-year-old monolithic automaker now sells a battery-electric hatchback that delivers more than 200 miles of driving range and can be had for less than the price of the average car.

The arrival of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, the electric car reaches a major milestone, one that also secures its future and makes a move towards mass appeal. The Bolt has enough range to cover a day’s task plus the unexpected. Electric cars appear to have laid down permanent roots in the automotive landscape with the first long-range with an affordable EV from an established mainstream automaker.

 

It’s here, its yours:

The bolt is priced at an introductory $37,495 in LT trim and comes with a $ 7500 federal tax credit that will pull the price way under $30,000.  Go from work hours to after hours without compromise with its EPS-estimated mileage of 238 miles once fully charged up.

Variants:

Born with 2 different trims, the Bolt comes with an LT and a Premier trim and this makes it quite the choice of enthusiasts. The ET comes with features such as Electronic precision shift, Michelin self-sealing tires, a 10.2 inch diagonal color touch-screen along with a Rear-vision camera. The Premier model on the other hand comes with all the LT features along with a Rear camera mirror, Surround vision along with Leather-wrapped heated steering wheel.

Braking in your hands:

A simple pull of the paddle that is located on the steering wheel of the car is able to slow down the car without having to use the brake pedal. This is definitely a cool feature and comes in handy.

 

Power starts with the battery:

A nickel-rich lithium-ion battery technology makes it possible for the Bolt EV to last longer than any other battery. The technology involved here is pretty interesting. The battery chemistry enhances heat resistance that allows the battery to tolerate heat before using power to cool it down. It has an active thermal management system that helps manage the battery temperature in extremely hot and cold weather conditions. The battery pack has an energy capacity of 60 kWh that offers an EPA estimated at 238 miles of range on full charge. The Bolt EV offers the driver 100,000 miles or 8-year warranty whichever comes first and so, you’ve got to be rest assured that you will get to where you need to go.

Charging is as easy as charging your phone:

Charging the Bolt EV is as easy as it gets. Simply plug it in at night and by the morning, its charged up and ready for you. The Bolt has 240-volt charging unit and the fastest way to recharge it is at home that offers more power than the standard 120-volt outlet.

Location based Charging:

The car can be programmed to charge whether you’re home or away. It uses the GPS signal and this helps the Bolt know when the driver is home and will activate according to the present time. If the driver is somewhere else, the EV will know to charge immediately and the charging can also be delayed until utility rates are at their lowest off-peak prices.

HYUNDAI TO LAUNCH ITS FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC CAR IN THE U.S:

In other news, the Korean automaker the Ioniq, all-electric car will be available in the U.S by the end of 2016. The plug-in hybrid car will be the last to arrive sometime by the 3rd quarter of 2017. Hyundai claims that the Ioniq will return an estimated 124 miles or 200 kilometers range. The company is expecting the standard hybrid variant to be its best seller of the 3 and is estimating that the high efficiency Blue model will return 58 mpg combined.  However, contrary to popular belief, it is said that the range of 124 miles is pretty good but, is it really good enough to capture a huge market share considering all factors is a big challenge and this will come into reality only in 2017.

 

Bottom Line:

èChevrolet Bolt EV has most certainly proven its worth in the international market and it is without any question the classier Green car of the year.

èIts good to know that Hyundai is upping its game and trying to penetrate into the electric car segment. Let’s hope they succeed with all that they claim.

 

 

 

 

Affordable Chinese Hybrid cars make it to the U.S of A

If the hybrid automobile game is changing, the Chinese automakers will be the first in line to grab as many customers as possible. It cannot be ignored that most of the products have had quite a challenging reputation and Chinese goods (including cars) haven’t really been the most reliable objects that were worth the money spent.

Enter Geely or otherwise known as Zhejiang Geely holding group Co., Ltd that is a Chinese multinational automobile manufacturing company that is headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. The company’s principal products are automobiles, taxis, motorcycles, engines as well as transmissions. The company sells passenger cars by the name Geely and Volvo brands and taxis under the London taxi brand. This is not an ordinary company, it has owned the Swedish passenger carmaker Volvo cars since 2010 when it acquired the company from Ford.

Fun Fact:

The name Geely means “Auspicious” or “lucky” in Mandarin (Chinese)

Predating:

The company was founded in 1986 as a refrigerator maker with money that was borrowed from his family. The founder; Li Shufu transformed the fate of this company into a successful selling inexpensive brand to its Chinese customers.  Till the year 2003, the company remained only a domestic car manufacturer to lack ties to the Chinese state. During this time, another independent automaker named BYD Auto was rising and this was burdening the competition. Geely Motors had later purchased a failing state run firm that manufactured motorcycles in the mid 1900’s. It later started a small van production and a year later, it received state approval to manufacture automobiles and that subsequently lead to car production in 2002. The company later approached Ford during 2008 regarding a possible takeover of Volvo Cars. On October 28, 2009, it was named as the preferred buyer of Volvo by the American automaker. The year 2010 was quite fruitful and the total sale of this went over 415,000 units. But later, the sales were lower than half a million units per year. In December 2011, it was announced that Geely would begin selling Chinese-designed and -manufactured cars in the U.K.

 Hybrid setting:

The company has begun a new brand by the name of Lynk & Co brand in Germany. This is a compact SUV that is aimed at taking on the likes of manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes Benz. Starting off its sales from the year 2017, the company will begin its sales in Eurpoe and USA in 2018.

Sales abroad:

A British designer named Peter Horbury who headed design and operations at Volvo in the 90’s has refined the Geely car’s design. In fact, he had overseen this for brands like Jaguar, Aston martin, Ford and various other brands from the year 2002. Geely is currently upping the competitive pressure on established global carmakers that have long accused Chinese rivals of merely ripping off their designs. Jaguar land Rover (JLR) had sued China’s Jiangling Motor after it released the Landwind X7 SUV in the year 2014, the car that JLR copied the Land Rover Evoque while costing around just 1/3rd of the price.

Car details:

The car is a hybrid powered 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine combined with a lithium-ion battery and electric motor. This is the first car that is based on the Complex Modular Architecture platform developed by Geely as well as Volvo. This is definitely making Mercedes (a unit of Daimler) as well as BMW investing loads on hybrid vehicles and trying to promote hybrid cars. Geely claims that the car would be priced competitively and says that it would be fixed across all markets (although the details aren’t out yet)

Enter Smart phones:

The company is launching the ‘01’model in Berlin soon. Alain Visser, senior vice president at Lynk & Co, described the SUV as “our first smart phone on wheels.”

The company is targeting tech-savvy customers that may have prioritized flexibility over car ownership in the past. “We are looking very much at millennial consumers all over the world who are very much concentrated around bigger cities,” he said.

 

Bottom Line:

Lynk has more models in its line-up, which the carmaker plans to launch over the next 3-5 years, but Visser declined to give details on body styles or launch dates apart from the name of the next car: ’02’.

Once the full line-up is launched, Lynk aims to sell more than 500,000 vehicles a year by 2021. Let’s hope that the company does something that changes the view on Chinese automobiles and ups its sales in the forthcoming years.

 

Best Hybrid Electric cars

Ever wonder what it’d be like to own a hybrid or an EV (Electric Vehicle)? Here’s your chance to view, visualize and may be drive a car based on your choice. There are plenty of Hybrid electric cars in the market but, have you wondered which car is the best bet for your money? Here’s an article that saves you all the trouble of collecting vital information about the car you want to buy, the following article will give you a clear picture on the best and top rated reliable hybrid electric cars in the year 2016-17.

While saving all the theatrics, this article focuses on the vital features of the car, its long-term usage and its impact on your wallet.

6. Audi A3-E-tron:

If the brand name isn’t enough, this car is a beauty. Mighty power combined with pure performance and infused with a eco-friendly blend of hybrid power, this Hatchback is set to thrill. In all fairness, albeit its EPA rating of 83-86 MPGe, the vehicle averages out fairly with 45-50 MPGe and still gets the better out of its competition.

Key features:

To start with, the E-tron comes powered with a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that powers up 204 hp with 258 lb-ft of torque with a grizzly 6-speed automatic transmission. You can go berserk with the Audi yet respect nature. The car is priced at an onward tag of $ 39,850/- and is spacious enough for 5-passengers.

5. Chevrolet Volt:

Chevy Volt has built a pretty eco befriending image and it also makes this car pretty fun to drive despite the differences of opinions. This car without range anxiety of pure electric vehicles comes with a gasoline-hybrid power train that offers impeccable all-electric range with greater efficiency and improved acceleration. The car clocks in a 58 MPGe.

 Key features:

Priced at $ 34,085, its engine is capable of churning out 194 Hp with a top speed of 104 mph and that’s not at all bad if you’d want to go places.

4. Ford C-Max:

When you count in a hybrid, do consider a Ford. Ford’s C-Max is one such example of a hybrid that combines class and eco-friendliness. The vehicle is pretty much a conventional hatchback.

Key Features:

The C-Max comes with a DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.0 –liter inline-4 141 hp producing engine with 129 lb-ft permanent magnet synchronous AC electric motor. The vehicle comes with an EPA of 40-42/36-37 mpg. The C-Max is priced at $ 25,045/-.

3. Lexus CT 200 H:

If you’re into the relentless pursuit of fuel efficiency—but you can’t take the doorstop style of the Toyota Prius—the CT200h may be what you seek. Utilizing the same hybrid-power train technology as the Prius, the CT200h offers excellent fuel economy and a more stylish and luxurious interior. Not surprisingly, with a total of 134 hp on hand, the CT200h is painfully slow.

Key Features:

The vehicle comes with a DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter inline-4, 98 hp, 105 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motor, 80 hp, 153 lb-ft; combined power rating, 134 hp; 1.3-kWh nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. The car has an economy of 43/40 Mpg and comes with a tag of $ 32,300/-.

2. Honda CR-Z:

Honda’s CR-Z is a pretty ambitious attempt at making a sporty hybrid and this comes infused with adventurous styling and much more than meets the eye. The good news is that it’s the only hybrid car that comes without a manual. It has a 6-speed transmission but the bad news is that this car clocks a speed of just 130 hp. It also has a 1.5 liter 4-cylinder that pairs with an electric motor and has an EPA rating of 36-39 with optional CVT.

Key features:

The car has standard features including Bluetooth capacity, Automatic climate control and cruise control. It tags a price of $ 21,130/- and has a 1.5 liter 4-cylinder engine with 130 hp along with 6-speed manual transmission.

1. Toyota Prius Prime:

The name Prius is sure to pop up when a hybrid is involved. Reason you ask? Is there a better hybrid out there? Perhaps not, and now people have a better option than to go in for the conventional Prius. Introducing the Prius Pime, a plug-in hybrid that comes with an electric motos and a 4-cylinder gas engine team with a larger battery than the regular prius.

 Key features:

The Prius Prime has the capacity of yielding up to 25 miles of electric-only range; its 124 MPGe rating beats the Chevy Volt’s 106 MPGe. An 11.6-inch touch screen infotainment system is standard. Behind the wheel, the Prius Prime feels quite nimble, smoothly taking curves; its ride is compliant, too, and its steering is among the best, hybrid or not. Its priced at $ 27,965 and carries a 1.8 liter 4 cylinder engine with  121 Hp along with CVT transmission along with 105 lb-ft of torque.

Bottom Line:

These are by far the best and the most reliable Hybrid electric cars out there. If you think otherwise, please drop in your views 🙂

Self driven Truck: Uber+Otto=happiness :)

It was the 20th of October 2016, when an 18-wheeler tractor trailer pulled into Colorado Springs, and in it was Sparkly liquid gold (Beer!!) and a Sh#t load of it bearing 50 freakin thousand frost cans of Budweisers. What’s abnormal about that you think? Normally, this wouldn’t matter but what would your reaction be when you came to know that the truck was driving itself?

Nope, I’m not drunk and I certainly am in my right senses (at least I think I am). This is the first time ever that commercial cargo was shipped with no one taking charge of the wheel. It all started 120 miles away at an Anheuser-Busch facility in Loveland, Colorado where a Volvo big rig that was equipped with cameras and sensors was one of the 5 owned by Otto. Otto is a San Francisco based self-driving truck company that was acquired by Uber in August. The truck was piloted to a weigh station in Fort Collins and from there on the vehicle drove itself for 100 miles without any human intervention to Colorado Springs and the driver monitoring the 2-hour trip from the sleeper berth.

The truck was outfitted with $ 30,000 worth of hardware and software from San Francisco. You’d think so momentous an occasion would have involved something more glamorous than 50,000 cans of Budweiser, but there it is. The drive was as mundane as the beer in the trailer. At 12:30 am, after leaving the brewery in Fort Collins and merging onto Interstate 25, an Otto driver punched a switch labeled “engage,” and, once sure autonomous mode had, in fact, engaged, climbed out of his seat. He buckled the safety belt behind him; to keep the warning chime from driving him crazy as the truck trundled 120 miles south to Colorado Springs. Uber bought Otto for roughly $680 million and this deal is totally worth it.

 

The tricky part though is that the technology works only on the highway where it doesn’t have to tackle the tricky variables like jaywalking pedestrians, four-way stops, or kids on bicycles. It maintains a safe following distance, and changes lanes only when absolutely necessary.

“The technology is ready to start doing these commercial pilots,” says Otto co-founder Lior Ron. “Over the next couple of years, we’ll continue to develop the tech, so it’s actually ready to encounter every condition on the road.”

If he can nail that, Ron says he can make trucking a local profession. “You can imagine a future where those trucks are essentially a virtual train on a software rail, on the highway,” he says.

 

Hardware:

Otto’s hardware works on any truck with an automatic transmission, and the retrofit doesn’t look like much. Three LIDAR laser detection units dot the cab and trailer, radar bolts to the bumper and a high-precision camera sits above the windshield. Inside this are a few hints of a human-free future that include 2 red, dollar-sized buttons that shut off the autonomous system with one near the steering wheel, the other in the sleeper cab behind the seats and the on/off switch, labeled “Engage.” A bank of computers turns all that data into driving directions, and an Uber engineer keeps tabs on it all. Although autonomous cars are pretty awesome, trucks are more practical and sensible.

Facts:

The trucking industry hauls 70 percent of United State’s freight of about 11 billion tons annually. But the drivers aren’t enough and the American Trucking Association pegs the shortfall at 48,000 drivers, and says it could hit 175,000 by 2024.

That said, there are roughly around 400,0000 truck crashes every year according to federal statistics and this kills around 4000 people. Who is to be blamed? Humans of course. “We think that self-driving technologies can improve safety, reduce emissions, and improve operational efficiencies of our shipments,” says James Sembrot, who handles logistics for Anheuser-Busch and worked with Otto on the October test run.

Bottom Line:

Otto is moving on a rapid phase. The company launched in January and quickly brought out its first truck. By May, it had a working prototype with a fleet of 6 trucks roaming interstates in the San Francisco bay Area with engineers pushing software tweaks weekly and major updates every month or so. Currently, the company is working on smoothing out the acceleration and braking as well as improving the lane control systems. Longer-term goals include predicting how other drivers are likely to behave, navigating construction zones, and dealing with hazards like sudden bad weather.

We are in the future and it’s time to innovate, create and make the world a better and more efficient place to live.

Flying cars, the next big thing?

Admit it, we’ve all been fascinated with the big boy toys that James Bond had flaunted on screen. But, have you ever wondered if these toys were real, what could the consequences be?

This article is all about unveiling that reality and bringing you closer to what seemed as objects from fantasyland. This is certainly going to give your imagination plenty of wings. So gear up and read on.

Transportation by any means (road, rail, water, air) was meant to carry a person or a group of people from point A to point B. Seems quite boring right? But what if I were to tell you that you can get rid of the boring lines at the airport/ railway station and directly be the pilot to your next trip? Wouldn’t that be fun!

Well, flying cars have been spoken about for a very long time now. It’s a personal vehicle intended on providing door-to-door aerial transportation. The good news is that the fulfillment of such vehicles is being developed. These vehicles include roadable aircrafts and hovercrafts. These vehixles might have caught your attention in fiction movies such as Harry Potter, Jetsons, Star Wars or perhaps the Back to the Future series. The flying cars remains a common feature of science fiction and will always be. Here’s a look into some of the production ready (well, almost) flying cars.

Moller Skycar:

Moller Skycar is a prototype Vertical take off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that was invented by Paul Moller.

Here’s a fun fact: Paul Moller has been attempting to develop such a vehicle type for more than 50 years.

The M400:

The M400 is a craft that is currently under development that is purported to transport at least 4 people. There are 6-seat variations planned too. The reason that this is defined as a car is because it is aimed at being a popular means of transport for anyone who can drive.

Moller Skycar

After 40 years and around $ 100,000,000 in expenditure, the Skycar had demonstrated tethered hovering capability. After several attempts and a few lawsuits filed against the company, the efforts are still on to bring out the Skycar.

Engine:

An affiliate to Moller company called Freedom Motors are developing engines for such cars. They are Wankel Engines branded “Rotapower”that have a direct drive to propulsion fan. Each fan is contained in Kevlar-lined housings that provide further protection for bystanders. The good part is that the Rotapower Wankel Engine is claimed to operate on any fuel, but not limited to gasoline, diesel, methanol and clean renewable ethanol.

Moller had announced a 503 cc Rotapower engine on November 1, 2013. This engine had achieved 102 horse power. Despite the announcements and such, the Rotapower engines have never been mass-produced.  As of 2015, Moller claims to have a backlog of conditional orders and letters of intent of over 3.5 Million Rotapower Engines.

Here’s more on the Moller skycar:

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Capacity: 4

Length: 21 ft 6 (prior prototype (year 2010): 19’6″) in (6.5 (prior prototype: 5.9m) m)

Wingspan: 8 ft 6 in ((prior prototype: same) 2.6 m)

Height: 7 ft 6 in ((prior prototype: same) 2.3 m)

Empty weight: 2,400 lb ((prior prototype: same) 1,088 kg)

Gross weight: 3120 lb (1,415 kg)

Powerplant: 8 × 530cc Rotapower rotary engines, 180 hp (134 kW) each

8 × electric motor back-up (short-term boosts of up to 900lb thrust with both rotary and electric engines powering the prop), 120 hp ( kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 331 (prior prototype: 330) mph (533 (prior prototype: 531 kmh) km/h)

Cruise speed: 308 (prior prototype: 305) mph (496 (prior prototype: 491) km/h)

Range: 805 miles (1,213 km)

Endurance: 5.9 hours

Service ceiling: 36,000 ft ((prior prototype: same) 10,973 m)

Rate of climb: 4,800 ft/min (24 m/s)

 

2. AeroMobil s.r.o. AeroMobil

* Please note that Aeromobil is to be confused with Aeromobile ot Airmobile.

Aeromobil s.r.o Aeromobil is a Slovak prototype roadable, aircraft that was designed by Stefan Klien and first flown in 2013. Co-founded by Juraj Vaculik indicated in Marh 2015 that the vehicle is intended for “wealthy supercar buyers and flight enthusiasts”.

With expectations of deliveries somewhere in 2018, the Aeromobil is currently taking shape and flight.

The Aeromobil:

The first prototype was developed from the idea that a vehicle can be converted from an automobile to an aircraft. Seemingly enough, the version 2.5 proof-of concepts took around 2 decades to develop and it finally took flight in 2013.

As of 2013, there have been 4 developmental versions of the Aeromobil (1.2, 2.0, 2.5 and the 3.0). The earlier versions lacked folding wings and the later versions had folding wings and fins around their wheels. Since the crash of one of its prototypes in 2015, the company hopes to deliver a fare few cars by 2018.

General characteristics:

Crew: two

Capacity: two passengers

Length: 6 m (19 ft 8 in)

Wingspan: 8.32 m (27 ft 4 in) wings extended

Width: 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in) wings folded

Empty weight: 600 kg (1,323 lb)

Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912 four cylinder horizontally-opposed liquid and air-cooled piston aircraft engine, 75 kW (100 hp)

Performance

Maximum speed: 200 km/h (124 mph; 108 kn) maximum road speed: 160 km/h (99 mph)

Stall speed: 60 km/h (37 mph; 32 kn)

Range: 700 km (435 mi; 378 nmi) Road range: 875 km (544 mi)

Driving fuel consumption: 8 l/100 km (29.4 mpg-US; 35.3 mpg-imp)

Flight fuel consumption: 15 l (4.0 US gal; 3.3 imp gal) /hour

 

Volocopter:

Manufactured by a company named e-volo, the VC200 Volocopter is a single-place experimental electric multi-rotor helicopter.

VC 200:

The e-voloVC200 is the second in a series of multi-rotor designs from the German manufacturer e-volo. The single-place 16 motor all-inclusive VC1 was demonstrated on 21 October 2011. However, the VC200 comes with 18 engines suspended around an aluminum truss frames.

Although, the company isn’t too open about the volocopter, here is what we know:

General characteristics:

Crew: one

Powerplant: 18 × Direct drive electric, 2 kW (2.7 hp) each

Propellers: two-bladed

Wrap up:

The future is coming sooner than you might have expected. Soon, individuals will be able to explore more open skies and we might see traffic above us too 😛

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

Honda has been one of the premium players in the global market. The cars have posed some serious threat to competitors.  After taking a year off to move production from Ohio to Sayama, Japan, Honda is launching this new 2017 Accord hybrid this spring. Available in all 50 states, this mid-size four-door has several driveline revisions aimed at improved mileage and performance. While pricing hasn’t been announced, Honda hints there will be minimal rise from the 2015 Accord hybrid’s $30,140 base.

The company has in its efforts to keep the end customer exhilarated has released some interesting specs about its upcoming Hybrid edition Accord. Some sources suggest that the new 2017 version of the Accord will carry a lithium-ion battery pack and an improved two-motor driveline. Revisions to the 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and the two AC motors have upped total system urge to 212 horsepower (16 more than before) according to Honda’s project manager, Ryan Harty. EPA mileage ratings are slightly improved to 49 mpg in the city, 47 mpg on the highway, and 48 mpg combined.

The main motive for Honda to accelerate its performance and be on top of the game is to take over the successfully running Prius from Toyota. Although Honda isn’t fretting over the new Prius for several reasons, one is that it was never able to fulfill demand for the previous Accord hybrid. A key aspect of this brand’s fortified attack on the environmentally friendly car business was moving hybrid production to Japan, where a better supply base and a deeper well of manufacturing knowledge exists. Honda will be happy delivering 28,000 of these hybrids per annum, twice what the previous edition achieved—but only 15 percent of the Prius’s 2015 volume in the United States.

Honda Accord 2017

Honda is already working on the 2017 Accord Hybrid. This new Honda hybrid car model will come with lots of changes and upgrades. According to the latest rumors, its exterior will be based on the concept that was presented during the 2014 Auto Show in Beijing. It will also have several similarities with the new TLX. However, the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will have attractive addition, which will definitely attract more attention as well as more potential buyers. If all goes as planned, we can expect the new model to hit the markets in 2017.

Here is what you can expect out of the all-new Honda Accrod Hybrid 2017 Edition:

Design:

According to various images surfing over the Internet, the new Accord Hybrid’s physical body has been changed for improved aerodynamics. The front side features with sleek body lines coupled with a shaped hood. The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is expected to be a luxurious appearance. At its front end, the brand new model will be situated in a completely new light bulb. It will also have fog lights in addition to an excellent net like grille design. The fog light bulbs are expected to be highlighted which will result in a more hostile look of this motor vehicle. The fog light bulbs will enhance visibility. The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid will not alter with the measurements although it is anticipated to have a larger wheel as compared to the previous model. You can definitely expect a lot of change and a refreshing feel.

Honda Accord hybrid

Interiors:

The interior design will be extremely stylish with a majority of the newest gadgets that you’d anticipate in any luxurious car. While the interior design will be reminiscent of what the new Honda Accord Hybrid for 2017 has to offer, its materials are expected to be of a better quality. This new hybrid sedan is likely to carry an 8-inch LCD screen that has all the significant features suited best for entertainment and productivity.

 

Honda Accord Hybrid

Engine:

The all-new Accord Hybrid 2017 has used what it calls a two-motor hybrid system, which is comprised of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine geared directly to a motor-generator (A) and through a computer-controlled clutch to the front differential. The second motor-generator (B) is geared directly to the differential. Disengaging the clutch enables pure electric propulsion via motor B with the engine resting. When the battery’s charge is depleted, motor A cranks the engine and then generates electricity for motor B. At higher speeds and during cruising, engaging the clutch allows both the engine and motor B to drive the wheels; motor A continues generating electricity for B. The fourth, all-hands-on-deck mode uses both motors and the combustion engine for propulsion; this configuration works only when there is suitable charge remaining in the battery pack.

Release Date:

High anticipation towards the launch of the 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid lies in the first quarter of 2017. Based on the previous models, it’s safe to assume that the vehicle will carry a price tag ranging between 29,000 to 35,000 USD.

 

Hyundai Ioniq – An Atom that may gain

It might be surprising, but Hyundai has yet to put a dedicated hybrid into production. Well, now the Korean automaker is ready to make up for lost time by introducing one vehicle in three flavors of electric performance, and it brought them along to the 2016 New York Auto Show,

As the debate over the relative merits of different hybrid technologies and pure-electric power trains continue to simmer if not quite rage, Hyundai offers a compellingly simple solution: sell them all.

The company was planning to offer 3 power train choices for its Ioniq: hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric. Now, with its official unveiling at the Geneva Auto Show, here are further details for this Prius competing notchback.

Although, the Ioniq is not on sale yet, but here’s what we know. There will be three models: a hybrid, an EV, and later in the spring of 2017, a plug-in.

Hyundai IONIQ

The 2017 IONIQ is a brand-new model designed to be offered with only hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric drive train. Here is a comprehensive preview on this vehicle:

Engine and Performance:

Both the Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in use Hyundai’s new Kappa 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct-injected engine. This produces 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque and has been tuned, predictably, for maximum economy. Those models also have an electric motor and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which was chosen, the company says, to avoid the rubber-band sensation of a continuously variable automatic.

Then things start to diverge, with the plug-in being more than just a hybrid with a plug. The hybrid’s permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor makes 43 horsepower and draws juice from a lithium-ion-polymer battery pack rated at 1.6 kWh and located under the rear seats. The plug-in may share the same 1.6-liter engine and dual-clutch gearbox, but it gets a meatier, 60-hp electric motor wired to a bigger, 8.9-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Hyundai says its targeting more than 25 miles of range on electric power.

The Ioniq electric ditches the whole internal-combustion power train in favor of a single, 120-hp motor that drives the front wheels through a single-speed direct-drive gear. It gets a 28.0-kWh battery, which is estimated to be good for 110 miles of range. A 100-kW fast charger can recharge the battery to 80 percent of its maximum capacity in about 20 minutes, but it also will be possible to charge it from a household socket, albeit much more slowly.

More details:

Although the performance numbers claims aren’t yet revealed, the IONIQ sits on a new “eco” platform that will also underpin the Kia Niro Hybrid later this year. Weight is kept down by the use of high-strength steel and aluminum, and the Ioniq’s shape has been designed for aerodynamic efficiency. The three versions are distinguished by different front-end treatments, the Ioniq EV doing without an open grille on the basis that there’s no engine radiator in need of cooling air. It also has different rear lights to distinguish it from its old-fashioned fossil-gargling siblings.

Hyundai IONIQ

Interiors:

This EV gets a copper-colored character line and interior detailing in the same hue to, as the official release puts it, “create the impression that electricity is flowing through the whole car’s interior.” That sounds painful. The cabin otherwise seems quite conventional, with the hybrid and the plug-in getting console-mounted shifters and the electric model offering push buttons to select gears. The cars on the stand in Geneva featured a large central touch screen in the dashboard with the promise of integration with both Android Auto and Apple Car Play. There’s also a reconfigurable TFT instrument cluster and an inductive charging pad for compatible smart phones.

Hyundai has made no secret of the fact it wants to get to where Toyota is as quickly as possible, and the Ioniq is aimed squarely at a part of the market that the Japanese giant has owned ever since the Prius debuted. Hyundai is committed to producing 12 hybrids, six plug-in hybrids, two EVs, and two hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2020, with the Ioniq in its three guises leading the way. On first impressions, it looks set to be the Prius’s toughest challenger when it goes on sale later this year.

Hyundai IONIQ Interiors

Bottom Line:

A car with a 200-mile range on the EPA Test Cycle would put Hyundai well in line with automakers like GMC, Tesla Motors as well as Nissan. A car with 250 miles or range for 2022 seems like a logical progression. This seems like a perfect strategically thought out decision. That said, Hyundai’s long-standing 7-year warranty program is all the assurance needed for this car. So, that said, would you consider a 200-mile electric car from Hyundai? Also, would it be really worth the money?

Do comment 🙂

Supernova EV, First Indian electric car

You’d certainly be amazed by the looks of this car. It looks like a car that has been under the limelight starring in some movie. But, what if I tell you that this vehicle is 100 percent Indian? Yes, looks can be deceiving and this all-Indian sports car named SuperNova has proven so.

Super Nova

 

With the Indian auto market opening up to newer segments, the new genre of vehicles featuring alternate power trains are slowly finding acceptance across homes in the country. One such attempt by nascent Indian car maker Golden Arrow Wireless grabbed a lot of attention at the recently concluded Gujarat Auto Show when the company showcased the Super Nova Electric Vehicle (SNEV) that is capable of doing 1000 kms on a single charge of batteries.

Whooping no?

Drawing attention at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s 2014 Gujarat Auto Show held at Gandhi Nagar, the Supernova Electric Car is claimed to run 1000 km in a single charge of its battery. This electric prototype of sports car was introduced by Ahmedabad based Golden Arrow Wireless Pvt Ltd at the Auto Show. The company for setting up a plant for the manufacture of electric sports car has entered into an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Madhya Pradesh government, while this prototype still needs the approval of Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), confirmed Shashi Vyas, Founder, Golden Arrow Wireless.

The company is called Supernova and its car is called, yes, the SNEV. Granted, it helps that the car is a two-seater with a fiberglass body and is going to leverage speed.

This electric or green sports car named as SNEV (Supernova Electric Vehicle) is manufactured at Aslali facility of the company located in Ahmedabad. It is available in three variants based on the battery used in the car. They are as follows-

Lead- Acid battery– It weighs 300 kg (120 volt) which requires eight hours to get charged.

Lithium ion battery- It weighs 120 kg and charges up in two hours.

Super Capacitors battery- It weighs 20 kg and takes 5 minutes to charge.

This company seems to be following Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ vision seriously with the showcase of its electric car as ‘Made in Gujarat’ car. Vyas who is an aerospace engineer and also the founder of the company further said that the company has already been allocated with 100 acres land for setting up plant while the company is further looking up for odds to set up a plant in Gujarat.

Supernova electric car was introduced at the Gujarat Auto Show where other automobile market leaders like Maruti, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Tata Motors and Rolls Royce were also present. This car is still waiting for approval from ARAI which might take more time since they do not have any set rules for examining sports cars prototypes in India and this car being an electric sports car needs completely different rules, said Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI.

What Golden Arrow is yet to specify is the speed at which the Supernova has to be driven to achieve a range of 1000 kms. Realistically with that kind of a range, the Supernova will be beating the Tesla’s range of 440 kms as well as the Fiat 500e with a range of 140 kms and the Toyota RAV4 EV with a range of 165 kms, which makes us take the claim with a pinch of salt. Even though the model showcased here is a prototype, the design also needs rework and a lesser early 1990’s influence if the company is serious about retailing the model to new age and modern customers.

 

Mullah:

The Supernova is expected to be priced around Rs. 15-25 lakhs and will be India’s first indigenously developed electric sportscar. The Gujarat based automaker also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Madhya Pradesh government and has been alloted 100 acres of land for establishing a facility. The company is looking to establish a plant in its home state Gujarat as well and will be sourcing funding through venture capitalists.

 

SuperNova

Golden Arrow claims to have around 250 bookings for the electric sportscar and can deliver the same by the end of 2016 once the ARAI approval comes through. The company has raised around Rs. 500 crores for the project and has spent 100 crores in developing the car. It will need a total of Rs. 2500 crore investments to set-up a new manufacturing facility.

 

Bottom Line:

If given a chance, would you give this Make in India Sports car a go? Or will you rely more on the international players? Do write to us 🙂

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