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With the race now on for the first mass selling mainstream consumer electric automobile, Ford has announced it will be releasing 13 new green cars over the next five years, sitting alongside an impressive investment of $4.5 billion in researching its own "electrified vehicle solutions."
This investment and release schedule means that 40% of Ford's fleet of new cars should be electric by 2020, showcasing the biggest electric investment yet for this automotive company. Looking to capture the consumer market, Ford's new vehicles will reportedly come packed with fast charging technology, allowing for an 80% charge in 30 minutes time, looking to offer a 100-mile range.
With one of the biggest issues based around electric vehicles being that of charging times compared to filling up with gas at a pump, Ford hopes that this new direct current fast-charge technology will draw the mainstream audience towards what it has on offer. In addition to these charging capabilities, Ford also plans to install new instrument clusters, providing users with real-time power usage and customizable displays.
After a tumultuous year for Volkswagen, there are rumors that the German carmaker is set to unveil an EV concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Volkswagen looks to be using a sexy futuristic design, with the electric vehicle sporting an awesome-looking illuminated grille and squinting headlights. We should see the full shape including some vintage cues from the iconic van, something that would include short overhangs, a wide D-pillar, and boxy overall aesthetic.
VW should be using the concept car as a way to push into the future, with Volkswagen's chairman set to unveil the EV during his keynote at CES on January 5, where he will focus on "the latest developments in electromobility as well as the next generation of connectivity".
Tesla gets all the headlines when it comes to electric vehicles, but Porsche will soon be competing in the all-electric vehicle race with its forthcoming Mission E sedan.
Porsche showed off the four-door Mission E concept vehicle in September, saying that the all-electric vehicle would have the equivalent of 600 horsepower. This will provide the Mission E car with 0-60 mph times of under 3.5 seconds, with a range of more than 310 miles. At these specs, Porsche's Mission E car will be slower than Telsa's more-than-impressive Model S P85D, which is rated at 762 horsepower - enough power to usher in 0-60 mph in less than 2.8 seconds (with Ludicrous mode enabled).
Mission E will feature an 800-volt charger that will charge up the all-electric vehicle to 80% charge in only 15 minutes. This is impressive, considering Tesla's vehicle takes nearly twice as long to get to 80%. Porsche also promises to build its lithium-ion battery pack into the floor of the car, just like Tesla does. Porsche's chairman of the executive board, Oliver Blume, says that the Mission E is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the sports car. We should expect the first vehicles to roll off the production line before 2020.
In the coming weeks, Uber is launching "SPOT", a technology it's using to more easily connect riders with their drivers, thereby cutting down wait times.
It works very simply: while waiting for pickup, you select a colour in the Uber app, and when your driver shows up, he'll have a glowstick-like device matching the colour you've chosen in his windshield. He'll also more easily be able to find you if you choose to light up your phone screen with the same colour.
Automaker Volvo and Microsoft have announced they will work together to help develop autonomous car technology, with collected data aimed at delivering "meaningful services."
"Technology will transform when it comes to autonomous cars, connectivity and the car buying process," said Bjorn Annwall, senior VP of marketing at Volvo, in a statement to CNBC. "We believe this will happen it's naturally the tech and automotive industry comes closer to explore this together. We are exploring a number of different collaborations."
Specifics related to how the two companies will work together were not released - but the idea of machine learning and finding a way to promote Volvo vehicles using HoloLens are two likely solutions. Consumers can expect to begin seeing "mixed reality" solutions starting sometime in 2016.
Korean automaker Hyundai expects highly autonomous vehicle technologies available by 2020, with full autonomous models available by 2030, according to company senior executives. Over the next five years, almost $10 billion will be invested by Hyundai to bolster its autonomous research efforts.
"Fully-autonomous vehicles are still some way off, and a great deal of research and rigorous product testing will need to be carried out to make the 'self-driving car' a reality," said Lim Tae-won, VP of the Hyundai Motor Central Advanced Research and Engineering Institute. "Kia is still in the early stages of developing its own technologies, and we are confident that the latest innovations - both partially and fully autonomous - will ultimately make driving safer for everyone."
Meanwhile, the Hyundai Genesis self-driving vehicle recently completed a three-kilometer series of test runs in South Korea - marking the first time the vehicle hit public city streets. The vehicle will be showcased next month, with the sedan supporting semi-autonomous solutions.
Following up its Volta Racer release in 2013, Volta has now published news of its Volta Flyer product, set to soar throughout the sky fully powered by solar panels attached to the structure, no batteries required.
It takes 90 seconds for the Flyer to warm up, and allows 10 to 15 seconds of flight time should you run out of sunlight, helping ensure a safe and soft landing when in danger. Coming complete with a build-it-yourself kit, the product is further packaged with a breakaway wing, meaning that crashes shouldn't completely demolish the frame. But just in case something does go wrong, a second wing is included for free.
The whole product will set you back $40 and is currently sitting on Kickstarter with $9,034 pledged of a $39,000 goal, at the time of writing this article. You can order one for yourself here.
Just how efficient are Google's prototype autonomous cars? Well, in over 1.2 million miles on the road, Google has yet to have received a ticket with one of its cars.
According to Google, the autonomous cars have driven 1.2 million miles, which is the equivalent to 90 years of driving experience for the average person. The new prototype cars are something Google classifies as "Neighborhood Electric Vehicles", with their speeds capped at 25mph. An officer had some questions about the car, which is a common occurrence with these strange looking vehicles.
Domino's has just unveiled an impressive new pizza delivery car, where it has heavily modified a Chevy Spark into the pizza delivery car to end the war between pizza delivery cars - it has a damn built-in oven!
The new '100 DXP' is being rolled out across 25 cities around the United States in the next 90 days, including Boston, Dallas, New Orleans, San Diego and Seattle. The vehicle has an outward-facing oven in the back, so that your pizza delivery driver can arrive to your house with pizza that has literally just come out of the oven.
Better yet, the modified Chevy Spark can hold 80 pizzas for those late night gaming sessions - you know, when you need 80 pizzas. The car makes sense, and once these bad boys have 3D printers in the back and get injected with some self-driving technology, we could see pizza delivery step into the future.
With its new autonomous, electric DeLorean, Stanford University has all the other Back To the Future Day creations beat.
Named after the film's iconic hoverboard-riding don't-call-me-chicken Marty McFly, Stanford's self-driving DeLorean was built in conjunction with the Revs Program at Stanford and Renovo Motors, and stands as the team's newest research project.
"We want to design automated vehicles that can take any action necessary to avoid an accident," said Chris Gerdes, a Stanford professor of mechanical engineering who orchestrated the project. "The laws of physics will limit what the car can do, but we think the software should be capable of any possible maneuver within those limits. MARTY is another step in this direction, thanks to the passion and hard work of our students. Stanford builds great research by building great researchers."