Übergizmo: Nokia might be the number 1 cellphone manufacturer in the world at the moment, but their market share is eroding slowly but surely no thanks to newcomers to the scene. Well, in a move that could see them claw back what used to be theirs, we have word that Nokia has agreed to partner with Alpine to offer integrated Nokia handsets alongside free Ovi Maps navigation into vehicle dashboard systems. Apart from that, you will be able to interact with widgets that monitor your fuel level as well as engine condition while you’re on the road. This development ought to see action in the near future, and we’re stoked.
Guardian: Car makers may be in trouble, but that’s not stopping them rolling out new green ideas at the Geneva Motor Show, writes motoring journalist Richard Aucock.
- GM hasn’t killed the electric car: In 2006, a documentary film Called Who Killed the Electric Car alleged that American automakers, including General Motors, had limited the technology. But GM has actually given it life. The Opel Ampera “extended range electric vehicle” – E-REV – is massively significant.
- Volvo prefers to work better: with what we already have With no expensive hybrid technology, Volvo has produced a conventional diesel that matches the CO2 emissions of today’s Toyota Prius. The C30 DRIVe is much cheaper, will sell more, and lead to a far greater cumulative CO2 reduction.
- Blue Volkswagen turns the best-selling car sector green: Thirty-five per cent of all the new cars sold in Britain are superminis. A new version of a best-seller, the Volkswagen Polo, is out this winter, including one that does 74mpg and emits 96g/km of CO2. Next year, we’ll get the Bluemotion II variant, which will do 85mpg and emit just 87g/km of CO2. It will still cost around £12k, seat five and have decent performance from its 1.2-litre 75hp turbodiesel.
- Citroen asks how fast do we want to go, anyway? “We need to move from always having more, to always having better. The simple solution to greener cars,” says Citroen’s Vincent Besson, is to have smaller ones. These are lighter, need less fuel, so give out less from the exhaust. But this “reduction” policy will go much deeper and says that custommers are more willing to accept “less” for lower-emission cars.
- Bentley takes the moral high ground: By introducing the “well to wheel” fuel efficiency argument into the mainstream, Bentley isn’t expecting to greatly reduce world CO2 emissions. Its entire range already emits “inconsequential” levels of CO2, says sales head Stuart McCullough. Making such low volumes of cars more ecological won’t alter global warming one jot. No, with the Continental GT Supersports, which runs on 85% bioethanol, it’s opening up the ethical debate over biofuels.
- Toyota makes the celebrity’s eco-darling even greener: The consciences of Leo DiCaprio and Arnie Schwarzenegger will remain clear. When conventional cars are calling themselves Prius-beaters, you need to respond. Toyota has done so, with this summer’s all-new model. It’s got a fifth more power, is 10% more economical, yet also emits just 89g/km of CO2. That’s way down from even the slower current car’s 104g/km.
- Peugeot solves the logical flaw in the hybrid argument: Petrol hybrids are very economical, but few return anything a conventional diesel model can’t. Obvious solution? A diesel hybrid. Making this an economic reality is another matter. Diesel engines are costlier than petrols. Hybrid componentry is another added cost. But Peugeot will become the first manufacturer to solve this dilemma in 2011, with it’s hybrid Number 4 swift 200hp people carrier that averages 109g/km – similar to a tiny city car. O
- Open source thinking creates the first wiki-car: Following the logic that many minds are better than one, German engineering experts EDAG unveiled the Light Car. This is a small electric car with lightweight construction and novel features. The company wants many more besides, including those from non-automotive companies. It’s therefore made it “open source”. Companies can approach EDAG with their ideas. If viable, they’ll be incorporated onto a concept for next year’s show – so long as EDAG can have the rights to then put the solution into production.
- Renault is quietly making the electric car a reality: Renault is working on plans to introduce Europe-wide electric car infrastructures by 2012. It has a headline Better Place project in Israel, that will see a nationwide recharging infrastructure installed. What’s been less well publicised is that similar developments are occurring Europe-wide – including the UK. Key to this is treating batteries as you do SIM cards in mobile phones. You lease them off a “mobility operator”, which immediately solves the problem of electric car range. How? You have a “filling stations network”, where you swap flat battery packs for full one, in minutes. Good network coverage in cities is the first priority, with London already signed up.
- Auto giants offered off-the-shelf electric car: The Magna Steyr mila ev is a bespoke electric car concept showcased by Austrian coachbuilders Magna. It is a five-seat supermini-sized car, with lithium ion batteries providing decent performance and a potential 170-mile range. It has a distinctive composite body that can quickly be designed into any shape required – and that’s the story. For, Magna is offering this to large car makers to buy into. They can have a family-look, off-the-shelf electric model, built in numbers up to 20,000 a year, in as little as 2 years’ time.
Navigadget: Here is a good use for that cassette player taking up prime location on your dashboard: just use it to mount your GPS navigation system there. Manufactured by Jijiok, these mounts can hold anything from your sat nav system to your PDA or even just a cell phone.
We’re not sure if these cassette deck mounts will be picked by a western distributor or how much they’ll cost (…).
This fall, Philips is to introduce a range of portable navigation devices. Three devices will compete with those of Dutch TomTom.
According to Philips, the PNS series – Personal Navigation System – will offer the safest and most practical GPS solution inside and outside the car. The devices are likely to appeal to first-time buyers, since user-friendliness (‘Sense and Simplicity’ being the brand’s tagline) was one of the main concerns during pre-production.
All 3 models (PNS 100, PNS 200, PNS 150) are supplied with special cradles with built-in amplifier and speaker with few control buttons. They all have small dimensions: 10 cm long and less than 2 cm thick, weighing only 160 grams.
Philips’ navigation devices will be priced at 399 euro to 599 euro.