Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hayek angles actor Clooney for energy venture

Swatch chairman Nicolas G. Hayek says Hollywood star George Clooney will sit on the board of a new company that is to develop clean energy systems in Switzerland.
Hayek, hailed as the saviour of the Swiss watch industry in the 1980s and a driving force behind the Smart car, added that Switzerland could become the world leader in renewable energies.
In an interview in Saturday's Berner Zeitung newspaper, Hayek said that the headquarters of the new holding company – yet to be named - would be in Biel, the Bernese town where the Swatch Group has its headquarters.The tireless 79-year-old announced in August that his Swatch Group - the world leader in the watchmaking industry – and Swiss power company Groupe E would join forces to develop and produce clean, renewable energy systems. The aim is to provide people with electricity for both residential and transport purposes, offering the automobile industry know-how in "clean power" engines.Read more here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mini Cooper killer? Audi A1 Metroproject Quattro Tokyo show concept

By Rory Jurnecka - When Audi said it wanted a car to do battle with the Mini Cooper in the subcompact category, we got excited. Word on the street was that an A1 entry-level model would be built and entered in the low-to-mid $20,000 segment in the U.S., offering a real alternative for enthusiasts looking for a small, sporty Audi that's also easy on the bank account. When we heard this car might be coming to Tokyo later this month, we couldn't wait to see it.
Now, ahead of Tokyo, the wait is over. Images and details of Audi's newest concept are out. Labeled the Audi A1 Metroproject Quattro concept, the vehicle is a three-door, four-seat hatch with an outwardly aggressive attitude and stance. Audi's bold, deep front grille is present along with glaring, narrow-eyed headlamps and deep lower air intakes. Aluminum accent trim adorns the pillars and roofline of the car and the coupe-like profile is neat and tidy. At the rear, two largish exhaust tips slot through the rear valance and a subtle roof spoiler is fitted.
Read full article here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fiat, Daimler launch plagiarism complaints vs Chinese carmakers - report

BERLIN Thomson Financial - Fiat and Daimler have lodged plagiarism complaints against Chinese carmakers before Chinese and European courts, according to a report in Automotive News Europe magazine.
German carmaker Daimler has launched legal proceedings to block the sale of the Noble (nyse: NE - news - people ), manufactured by the Shuanghuan group, according to the magazine.
The Nobel is very reminiscent of Daimler's Smart Fortwo. The Shuanghuan group decided not to show the car in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the world's biggest car show, because Daimler threatened to lodge a complaint.
Italian manufacturer Fiat (nyse: FIA - news - people ) has has lodged complaints in Italy and China to prevent the sale of Great Wall Motors group's Peri, which could be mistaken for its Panda, reported Automotive News Europe.
'We are waiting for the first announcements in China in December and in Turin for Europe towards the end of January,' Fiat legal advisor Monica Norgi told the magazine.
Great Wall Motor's Italian importer, Eurasia Motors, has delayed the introduction of the Peri until a decision has been made.

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Smarten up your act

Small, fuel-efficient vehicles are the way of the future for car travel.
Rock stars performing at the recent Live Earth concerts got to the international stadiums in Smart cars (except for one Wolfmother member who reportedly caught the train).
Some of the giants of the music industry said no to limousines and yes to car-pooling in the pint-sized fuel-efficient vehicles that have among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any car on the road.
“The environment, carbon emissions and global warming are becoming bigger and bigger issues,” says Zac Loo, head of Smart cars in Australia, which is part of DaimlerChrysler’s Mercedes Benz division.
“Smart cars are the cars of the future. They tie in with people’s response to their carbon footprint. More and more people are trying to reduce it.
“CityLink has anecdotal evidence which shows that most people have one person in their car most of the time, so why do you need four seats in your car if 90 per cent of the time you use only one?
Read full article here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rethinking Transportation

Friday, October 12, 2007 BY ISOLDE RAFTERY, Columbian staff writer
Mike Briggs and T.J. Prendergast are Clark County kids, pickup truck drivers who spend between a quarter and a half of their money on driving.
Not that they have a choice: Both are students at Washington State University Vancouver but live out in the county. So they fork over $240 to $290 in parking a year, and another $160 a month on gas and insurance.
They earned most of their keep last summer, all the while leafing through "Asphalt Nation," a book about America's dependence on highways and driving. They shrug their shoulders when it comes to what they could do - taking the bus is out of the question, they said, and would take hours compared to the 10-minute drive from home.
"If you live in Portland or Vancouver or Seattle, there are systems for getting around," Prendergast said. "Even 10 miles out, there are buses, but it's not the greatest. You have to go the opposite direction to get to where you need."
WSUV's freshman class was assigned "Asphalt Nation," by Jane Kay Holtz, before starting school this year. The book is part of WSUV's emphasis on rethinking ways to commute in the name of a greener Earth.
Read full story here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

2007 Tokyo Auto Show Preview: Mazda Taiki

HIROSHIMA, Japan — The Mazda Taiki is so, well, Japanese. What other concept vehicle in recent memory has been inspired by koinobori— literally, "climbing carp streamers"? The latest, and perhaps wildest, Mazda concept vehicle yet will be formally unveiled in late October at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show. Ford's Japanese subsidiary says it "reflects one possible direction for a future generation of Mazda sports cars aimed at helping create a sustainable society." The fourth and latest iteration in the company's ongoing Nagare design series, the Taiki borrows its name from the Japanese word for "atmosphere." The design intent was to create the visual impression of air flowing through a tube. The two-seater concept is a stretched coupe on a front-engine/rear-drive chassis configuration, with short overhangs and an all-glass canopy. Power is supplied by a next-generation rotary engine.
What this means to you: As if the "carp streamers" theme weren't enough to pique your Western curiosity, Mazda also claims the Taiki's design was inspired by hagorom — "the flowing robes that enable a celestial maiden to fly in Japanese legend."

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