The internal combustion engine saved the horse in the 1900s, and hybrid cars were supposed to save the automobile in the 2000s (nice try, Prius.) Now there’s a new savior in town--well, actually, there are a few.
Though the hybrid was a great start, it was only a gateway drug of an idea for gear-heads everywhere. We’ve all walked out into our driveway ready to get doing, only to stumble upon a flat tire. You can kiss that problem goodbye thanks to Goodyear. Thinking that your engine isn’t as efficient as it should be? You’re probably right, but technology mirroring NASA will solve that worry for you. Oh, and forget about getting a bigger motor, because you should instead be focusing on the 1-liter powerhouses. As technology improves, our automotive life will too. To get the full story, click on through to get a look at Car and Driver's 10 Most Promising Auto Technologies of the Future.
BMW has announced that it plans to lease 700 demo units of its first completely electric vehicle, the BMW ActivE. They'll start the trial this fall in New York City, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, and parts of Connecticut, the company said in a statement. Consumers will have to pay $499 a month for a 24-month lease, plus a down payment of $2,250. Reservations start at the end of this summer.
"Based on the 1 Series Coupe, the BMW ActiveE will accelerate from 0-60 mph in under nine seconds, making it the first electric vehicle to combine the dynamic characteristics typical of a BMW with the zero-emissions benefits of driving an electric vehicle," BMW said in a press release.
When fully powered, the car's lithium-ion batteries last around 100 miles. The batteries also feature heating and cooling and can pre-condition your car to maximize power during various weather conditions.
Furthermore the dashboard features a set of instruments that track the amount of energy being consumed. Instead of a tachometer, for instance, you'll find indicators for battery consumption and charge time. And because the car is apparently very quiet, BMW has also installed a needle to let you know when a car at standstill is ready to drive again.
We've gotta hand it to BMW for launching the innovative DriveNow service in its hometown of Munich. If you thought ZipCar was good, wait til you hear about how DriveNow works. Check it:
- The biggest feature is convenience. You pick up the car, and when you are done, you can leave it anywhere. No need to bring it back to a designated parking lot or garage. Just park it anywhere you find a spot, and you are done. An iPhone app tells you where the nearest available car is.
- You sign up for the service and get a sticker that goes on your drivers license. That sticker becomes the key that unlocks the car, so you don't need anything extra to carry with you.
- Gas usage is included in the price
- Parking is free in within city limits
As we said, the service has launched in Munich with a fleet of 300 BMW and Mini Cooper vehicles, and we assume that if DriveNow is found to be successful, BMW will roll it out elsewhere.
For those of you with a spare $410,000 laying around your apartment—hidden in your toilet’s water tank or in the base of your wooden-spool coffee table, perhaps—today is your lucky day! BMW has introduced the new Motosport Z4 GT3, and it delivers more than its share of German engineering and lack of emotion. Impress your friends with your ability to not settle for second best AND to pay through the nose for it! You, sir, are man amongst boys! A man, simply, who craves a Miata-sized car with which to project all of his emotional and physical self-worth. ‘Affliction’ t-shirt not included.
Thermaltake contracted BMW DesignWorksUSA, a subsidiary of the German auto company, to co-create a new game system concept. Components are placed on the outside of the “Level 10” to remain cool and are enclosed in their own protective cases for interchangeability. The team calls the design a “strong architectural statement.” The gaming tower also features a smart lock system with a USB memory key that activates the system as well as keeping personal data secure.
Read More | Autoblog
Mini Financial Services has launched a new iPhone and iPod touch game dubbed MINI Liquid Assets. This is based on the retro water-filled handheld games where you pushed a button to get one object to hit another. Based on an exhibit originally designed for dealers, you shoot nickels into the Mini-Es to keep more assets while in the liquid. (We are guessing that they paid big bucks to develop the clever play on words.) The download is free at the iTunes App Store, but as this is also a commercial, the main menu has a link to your nearest BMW Mini dealer.
Read More | MINI Liquid Assets
Okay, so we didn’t get all the facts and figures and stats of the major three players in the NAIAS, although they did get a major portion of the showroom floor. What we did get was a peek at some of the cars we could only covet, including this Alfa Romeo, the most expensive vehicle at the show at a cool million. After the jump, a few of the other sights we appreciated.
Read More | NAIAS 2008