Monthly Archives: September 2013

Nissan Leaf buyers in Texas charge up for free

The Nissan Leaf getting charged up.

(Credit: Nissan)

Nissan Leaf buyers and lessees will soon have the ability to charge up their electric cars at no charge.

Customers who buy or lease a new Nissan Leaf between October 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, will receive one-year complimentary charging at NRG eVgo stations, Nissan announced on Thursday. The “No Charge to Charge” offer is available at 23 eVgo locations around Dallas-Fort Worth and 17 in the “greater Houston Area.”

Nissan’s Leaf is one of the more popular all-electric vehicles available. The car has been selling well, according to Nissan, with deliveries to customers in the US up 317 percent since the new model launched in March.

Just a day after it announced free charging in Texas, Nissan said on Friday that Leaf sales in the US have hit 35,000 units since its launch in December 2010.

[Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Bentley’s luxury Flying Spur can’t shed performance character

Bentley puts a new sedan on the road with the Flying Spur.

(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)

Driving down the freeway, the low rumble of a passing motorcycle took me by surprise, the noise only obtrusive because the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur I was in did such a good job of shielding my ears from all the other traffic around. In fact, that motorcycle was probably obnoxiously loud, the kind that roars down the street late on a Sunday night setting off car alarms.

From the driver’s seat of the Flying Spur, however, it merely registered as a bass growl, temporarily eclipsing the music pouring from the stereo.

If you ever wonder why anyone would pay $ 200,000 for a luxury sedan in this class, Bentley answers, at least partially, with the Flying Spur’s serene island of comfort and quiet amid the bustle of the world outside. Despite their crystal-clear transparency, the double-paned windows do their part deflecting outside noise. Coating the inside of the steel body, noise-deadening materials muffle the roar of the Flying Spur’s own engine.

Bentley does a wonderful job hiding its sound-insulating magic, craftsmanship I could happily contemplate while surrounded by thick, ivory-colored leather and high-gloss wood paneling. I particularly liked the interior design of the Flying Spur, which seemed well-suited to a modern, electronics-equipped car. Vertical stanchions rise from either side of the co… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Broadcom announces new wireless chips for cars

(Credit: Broadcom)

Tomorrow’s cars will probably all be connected connected cars. For drivers, this means better access to the media on your phone and in the cloud, but for automakers that means finding better and easier ways to add that connectivity to their vehicles. Enter Broadcom with its newly announced line of integrated wireless chips for automotive applications.

Broadcom’s new BCM89335 5G WiFi and Bluetooth Smart Ready combo chip will allow automakers to easily integrate the latest generation 802.11ac wireless standards, which Broadcom markets as “5G WiFi”, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy wireless communication into their vehicles with one thumbnail sized chip. Also in the lineup is the BCM89071 Bluetooth Smart Ready chip for applications that don’t require WiFi.

These technologies will allow vehicles to communicate with smartphones, home networks, and more, which in turn gives the driver and passengers access to a variety of potentially cool features.

For example, a car parked in a garage could quickly sync media with a home 802.11ac WiFi network that’s in range. A driver with a smartphone could take advantage of that phone’s Internet connection to provide data to the vehicle’s navigation system via Bluetooth’s 2.4GHz connection while simultaneously streaming video to a rear seat entertainment system over the 5GHz WiFi connection without the signals interfering with one another.

R… [Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Car firmware need updating? Red Bend hopes to make it easy

Red Bend Software's FUSE product is designed to enable over-the-air firmware updates for car electronics that have very limited computing capacity.

(Credit: Red Bend Software)

What do you get when you cross the software auto-update era with the cars reworked by the computing industry?

A lot of trips to the dealer to have your engine’s combustion algorithm tuned and your lasers recalibrated.

Naturally, when such problems arrive, businesses are keen to profit from solving it. That’s the case for Red Bend Software, which on Tuesday announced its FUSE technology that enables over-the-air updates.

Smartphones and computers don’t have much trouble with software updates, since they’re relatively powerful devices. FUSE — short for Firmware Updating of Small Electronics — is designed for much more limited computing systems, though.

Its installer needs only 7KB of memory to run, and the software can download updates in lots of small pieces and over very slow networks. That small size is useful for the small elec… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine car sells for $968,000

This submersible Lotus Esprit from 'The Spy Who Loved Me' was found in a locker.

(Credit: RM Auctions)

No matter how luxurious your dream car is, it probably can’t drive under water. Unless you’re the proud new owner of James Bond’s submarine car from “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Piloted by Roger Moore as 007, the Lotus Esprit became famous in the 1977 film for vaulting into the sea, promptly converting to submarine mode, and dispatching a few baddies beneath the waves.

But after languishing in a Long Island storage locker, the aqua-car has seen the light of day again, selling for $ 968,000 with fees at a London auction.

James Bond’s snazzy submarine car (pictures)

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2014 Mazda CX-5 Photo Gallery

2014 Mazda CX-5 with SKYACTIV Technology

2014 Mazda CX-5 with SKYACTIV Technology

Welcome to the 2014 Mazda CX-5 photo gallery.  The Mazda CX-5 is a 5 passenger fuel efficient cross-over SUV with SKYACTIV Technology.

Read the full review here.

2014 Mazda CX-5 Review – First Drive

2014 Mazda CX5 with SKYACTIV Technology

2014 Mazda CX5 with SKYACTIV Technology

Crossover SUV’s has been an emerging trend in the last few years as more consumers are opting for versatility, fuel efficiency and performance all in a single package.  What sets the CX5 apart in the competition pool is Mazda’s first attempt to build a vehicle designed around the “KODO” philosophy, otherwise known as “Soul of Motion”.  For the poetic illiterates like myself, this basically means the CX5 symbolizes elements of nature such a wind breeze, stormy weather and things like that… Anyways, it’s supposedly a car that reflects nature.  Sounds good on a brochure, but how well does it drive?

Mercedes-Benz takes two doors off the S-Class

Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe

FRANKFURT — Mercedes-Benz very recently launched its upgraded S-Class, the flagship sedan in its lineup that also is one of the more luxurious cars in auto-dom. But here at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, the company showed it could do one better, exhibiting the S-Class Coupe concept, a lusciously designed two-door vehicle with some near-future features.

Where the new S-Class was an exercise in subtlety, the Coupe concept uses bolder lines, with a strong crease down the side and a sleek, pillarless side window opening. The oval back glass forms a similar shape to the roof glass, meeting over the C-pillar. LED headlights contain jewel-like parking lights.

The hood, inset neatly over the nose of the car, shows two creases that look aerodynamic, and a broad Mercedes-Benz grille stretches across the front.

Mercedes-Benz builds a big-dog coupe (pictures)

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Infiniti gives first look at Q30 hatchback

Infiniti Q30 Concept

FRANKFURT — Five years after crossover vehicles came out in droves, the auto industry is all abuzz over compact SUVs. Similar to a crossover, a compact SUV fits well into the urban environment while offering owners convenient utility.

Infiniti plans to enter this space in 2015 with the Q30 model.

On its way to the production model, Infiniti revealed a concept for the Q30 here at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. Infiniti writes in a press release that the Q30 concept defies categorization, sitting somewhere between a “coupe, hatch, and crossover.”

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Giving it the Q30 name, rather than QX30, suggests that Infiniti does not want the vehicle classified with its larger crossovers, the EX and FX, which are undergoing a name change. Currently, the Infiniti’s Q models are all sedans. The Q30 would add variety to that end of the lineup.

Sitting up on 20-inch wheels and with its high sides, it looks taller than a typical hatchback, so would seem to fit the compact SUV category.

[Read more]

Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET

Mercedes-Benz goes small, premium, and rugged with the GLA-Class

2015 Mercedes GLA

FRANKFURT — Car buyers may not be quite ready for a premium compact sedan, but a compact SUV might just be the right bait to get wealthier buyers looking at smaller cars. Or such seems to be Mercedes-Benz’s logic with the new GLA-Class, which debuted at the 2013 International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

This new car will be sold as a 2015 model, and although the European market will enjoy a variety of engine choices, including a diesel, the only version coming to the US will be the GLA250. Powered by a turbocharged 2-liter gasoline engine, the GLA250 will be available in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive formats.

Bearing the Mercedes-Benz tri-star, you might expect the GLA to be somewhat effete, but in person it pulls off a rugged look. Notched plastic runners under the rocker panels protect the car from rocks and brush, while a good gap between wheels and fenders suggests decent suspension travel. It looks a little like the Subaru XV Crosstrek.

While those features may be more cosmetic than anything, it’s important to remember that Mercedes-Benz makes one of the more potent off-road production vehicles available, the G-Class.

Mercedes-Benz notes that the GLA will use a newer version of the 4Mati… [Read more]


Car Tech: An automotive blog from CNET