Mercedes-Benz have recently posted commercial videos for their new SLK-Class which is to be released 2012. Much of the car is the same as always in a Mercedes, flamboyance and luxury together with German high-end engineering.
However, it has a new feature which is quite interesting, the Magic Sky Control. With the touch of a button, the driver can switch between a transparent or an opaque sunroof glass. This technology has been around for some years in other applications than cars, such as Interior design for houses where a room can have these "smart glass" walls instead of curtains or blinds to block insight and sunlight.
The SLK implements an on/off version of the Smart glass but it is also possible to have Smart glasses with gradient control which enables you to adjust the shading to your liking. It can of course also be made automatic for applications where sudden bright lights are to be reduced. Smart glass in the windscreen of a car can for instance be useful when the sun stands low in front of you or at night when you meet a high beam from another car. These are just my ideas, but they are probably under investigation at some of the major premium automakers. Mercedes was first with this, lets see who takes the technology to the next level! For more info - Global Motors
Daimler AG claims that fuel cell powered cars will become much cheaper in the next few years. Daimler is not the first automaker to make this claim though. Toyota has on numerous occasions declared that they will launch a sedan-type fuel cell powered vehicle in 2015 at a price of $50,000 or less.
Daimler seems to share that belief:
"A few years ago, the price was at about 1,500 euros per kilowatt hour [for a lithium ion battery]. In the midterm we should be at a level of 400 euros," Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility at Daimler, told Automotive News Europe
Mr. Kohler continues by saying that he expects fuel cell vehicles to be cheaper compared to electrical vehicles within the next five years. Currently Mercedes-Benz provides their B-Class F-Cell for leasing in the U.S for $849 a month (not very cheap if you ask me)
But he also points out that the hardware incorporated in the F-Cell will become considirably cheaper to produce for the next generation. - Automotive News
-I believe that the Hydrogen Fuel cell cars are the future of motoring if we are to end the fossile fuel consumption. We have the technology to do it and there are already numerous concepts of hydrogen powered cars out on the market. The Honda Clarity and BMW 7-series Hydrogen for instance. The difficulty is the production of Hydrogen.
Hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe but it's always stuck on something else which makes it complicated and energy consuming to refine and isolate.
Take water for instance, each water molecule contains two hydrogen atoms, and all organic organisms are full of it. But as I said, it requires a vast amount of energy to isolate the hydrogen molecules. And currently the only usable energy for this is electricity, and electricity comes from nuclear powerplants and coal powerplants. If you then consider the complete life cycle of the hydrogen cars, from the production of the hydrogen, to the convertion to energy in the fuel cell, it will harm the environment more than a petrol vehicle. Unless it is produced with renewable energy such as wind or solar energy.
The Way of producing hydrogen in an Eco-friendly and efficient way is still the biggest part of the problem. And when we have the method and hardware to do it, the Hydrogen cars will surely replace the petrol engined ones.
Don't worry, Lamborghini is still building their replacement for the Murcielago, the Aventador. I mean the wheels are suspended, as usual. Well, not quite as usual...
At the Detroit Motor Show, Lamborghini revealed that their replacement for the Murcielago (The Aventador) will incorporate a new type of suspension that has never before been seen on a series production car, according to the automaker. A pushrod suspension with horizontal dampers. The setup will keep the wheels in perfect alignment throughout the range of suspension travel and a high-end set of Ohlins shocks should keep the tire on the pavement. - Autoblog
The complete concept car will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show March 3rd 2011 so stay tuned...
Bloomberg Businessweek has had a tradition since 2005 to present the 50 most innovative companies in the world based on their experts' analysis. 2010 has shown a remarkable growth in Chinese companies and also companies around the globe that are somehow connected to China, for instance LG Electronics who have several production plants in China. One of the most interesting companies to be on the list is the China based automotive company Build Your Dreams (BYD). BYD has gone from not being on the list in 2009, to receiving 8th place in 2010!
I am a bit critical to placing an automotive company, which in essence makes it's living on copying other companies design and ideas, on the list of the 50 most innovative companies. But hey, a thief can also be innovative...
From Businessweek's article:
"If Asia ever did figure out how to design cutting-edge products comparable to those dreamed up in the West, however, the one-two punch of high-value research and development and low-cost manufacturing would make it almost unbeatable in the battle for global economic supremacy. "