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Volkswagen Spending $300M to Begin Electrifying America

New effort to install chargers in 11 markets part of $15B settlement. 

by on Apr.17, 2017

Volkswagen is getting ready to build $300 million worth of new EV chargers in 11 markets.

Volkswagen is making the first “payment” on its $15 billion settlement with the United States as it unveiled its spending $300 million on new chargers for electric vehicles through its Electrify America subsidiary.

The company is planning to build “hundreds” of charging stations with non-proprietary chargers in 11 different markets: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Raleigh, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Many of those stations will be along well-traveled highway corridors.

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The program is expected to grow to more than 300 stations in 15 markets. The idea behind the project is to further stimulate interest in electric vehicles by cutting down on the largest problem facing EV sellers: range anxiety. (more…)

Apple Gets Nod to Test Autonomous Vehicles in California

Tech giant one of 30 companies approved.

by on Apr.14, 2017

Apple and its mysterious Project Titan pulled back the cloak a bit after it asked for and received permission to test autonomous vehicles in California.

The world’s worst-kept secret continues to be kept worse: Apple received a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in the State of California. The tech behemoth has never confirmed its program to develop an autonomous vehicle … or any type of vehicle for that matter.

Apple joins 30 other companies that the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has cleared to test self-driving cars. Others included General Motors, Google and Ford. Business Insider first reported the approval.

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The company’s never-confirmed-but-often-teased vehicle program is code-named Project Titan internally. Apple’s hired several employees who held high ranking jobs at automakers or suppliers during the past three years. (more…)

Toyota’s New Robot Helps Paralysis Recovery

Robotic leg helps victims recover more quickly.

by on Apr.13, 2017

Toyota's Welwalk WW-1000 uses a robotic leg brace to help partial paralysis sufferers with their rehabilitation.

Toyota’s latest model introduction doesn’t shatter any speed records, offer industry leading fuel economy or come some unique color with “pearlescent” in the name — it is a wearable robotic leg brace that helps partially paralyzed people walk.

The device is named the Welwalk WW-1000. It’s composed of a motorized robotic frame that a person wears from the knee down. It’s used in concert with a specialized treadmill that can support the weight of the rehabbing patient. The system can be controlled by medical staffers using a touch screen.

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The automaker worked with Fujita Health University to develop the device, which is designed to be worn on one leg at a time. Its focus is on improving mobility for a person who suffers from paralysis on one side due to a stroke or other similar issue. (more…)

Toyota Trying to Appeal to Millennials with FT-4X Concept

New ute designed to meet demands of younger buyers.

by on Apr.12, 2017

Toyota's looking to appeal to millennials with the new FT-4X Concept at this year's New York International Auto Show.

If Toyota’s latest concept vehicle debuted in New York is any indication, the Japanese automaker believes that millennials are buying new vehicles as the FT-4X Concept is aimed squarely at that segment.

The almost Lego-ish SUV concept evokes a sense of what the recently discontinued FJ Cruiser might look like in another decade or so. However, this is designed to allow millennials to live their lives on their terms: no boundaries and quick decisions.

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It’s a four-wheel drive toolbox penned by Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, California. With its long list of unique functionalities and a Rugged Charm compact design, the FT-4X is the seamless conduit of popular Casualcore – rather than hardcore – outings by anyone, anytime. (more…)

Jaguar Looking to Draw F-Type Buyers with Four Models

The "F" stands for four cylinder!

by on Apr.12, 2017

The Jaguar F-Type gets a 4-cylinder engine for 2018, putting out 296 horsepower.

When it comes to high-priced vehicles, it’s all about options. Jaguar is now taking that to the extreme with its 2018 F-Type line-up offering a portfolio that provides choices ranging from Jaguar’s first 4-cylinder engine to a 575 horsepower tricked-out model.

In all, the maker is offering 24 derivatives that include the 296 hp Ingenium 4-cylnder entry-level model to the 200 mph all-wheel drive 575-hp V8-powered F-Type SVR with prices ranging from just under $60k to $125k when it hits the market later this year.

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“Introducing our advanced four-cylinder engine to the F-Type has created a vehicle with its own distinct character,” said Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line director, Jaguar F-Type. “Performance from an engine of this size is remarkable and is balanced with improved fuel efficiency and affordability, making the F-TYPE experience more accessible than ever before.” (more…)

Kia Spices Up 2018 Rio with New Design, Updated Engine

Next-gen models make U.S. debut.

by on Apr.12, 2017

The 2018 Kia Rio gets an updated exterior and engine for the new model.

Kia’s fifth generation Rio is everything you want the next version of a vehicle be: bigger, better, faster, smarter and better on gas.

The new South Korean maker’s new subcompact for 2018 gets a new-look exterior that centers on a longer vehicle and a new take on the company’s well-known tiger-nose grille as well as an improved powerplant and an influx of infotainment and safety technology.

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The company rolled out the sedan and five-door at the New York International Auto Show to make their U.S. debut. The value-based subcompact hits dealer showrooms later this year, executives said. (more…)

Nissan Rogue Projects Cater to Canines and Preppers

Maker provides glimpse of ute’s flexibility.

by on Apr.11, 2017

The Nissan Rogue Trail Warrior substitutes snow/sand tracks for tires, satisfying the inner Doomsday Prepper in all of us.

Many of the new models hitting the stands at the New York International Auto Show focus on a need for speed; however, Nissan’s two new Rogue editions blaze a new trail while going to the dogs.

The Japanese maker rolled out its new Rogue Trail Warrior and Rogue Dogue projects, and while different in scope, both reflect the capability and flexibility of Nissan’s sport-ute.

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The Trail Warrior is hard to miss since one might argue it’s a top choice for the Doomsday Prepper set. Clad in camouflage, the Rogue “rolls” on snow/and tracks instead of tires. The Dominator Tracks, from American Track Truck Inc., are 48 inches long, 30 inches high and 15 inches wide, and they replace the Rogue’s regular wheels and tires. (more…)

Lexus Mixing Speed With Pleasure in New F Sport

New LS F Sport offers multiple powertrains.

by on Apr.11, 2017

The 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport brings the power element to the grace and style of the new flagship.

The styling evolution of the Lexus line-up, specifically the Japanese brand’s LS flagship portfolio, continues with the debut of the all-new LS F Sport at the 2017 New York International Auto Show.

The new F Sport comes on the heels of the debut of the LS 500 in Detroit and the LS 500h in Geneva. The previous models offered the comfort, style and efficiency capable in the LS group, however, the F Sport is all about the speed and performance.

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The all-new LS is based on an extended version of the brand’s premium global architecture for luxury vehicles, which is the stiffest that Lexus has ever developed. The result is enhanced handling, ride smoothness and cabin quietness. F Sport capitalizes on the platform’s responsiveness and agility to present the most engaging LS driving experience yet. (more…)

Nissan Filling the Need for Speed with New GT-R, 370Z

Japanese maker brings the fast with new debuts.

by on Apr.11, 2017

The new 2018 Nissan 370Z Coupe Heritage Edition hits the show floor at this year's New York Auto Show.

Nissan is getting back to its sports car heritage with the release of two new models in New York: the limited production GT-R Track Edition and the new 370Z Heritage.

The new GT-R Track edition follows the earlier releases of the GT-R Premium and GT-R Nismo, actually it melds the best of both of those models. Nissan claims it “occupies a unique position” resting between the touring and racing sides of the GT-R line-up.

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It puts out the Premium’s 565 horsepower — compared with the Nismo’s 600 hp — but sways back toward the “racing” side with additional adhesive bonding (in addition to spot welding), which helps increase body shell rigidity versus the GT-R Premium model. (more…)

Alfa Romeo Unleashes the Mechanics of Emotion with New Stelvio

Portfolio of SUVs topped with Quadrifoglio performance model.

by on Apr.10, 2017

Alfa Romeo debuted its first-ever sport-utility vehicle, the Stelvio, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The hypercompetitive sport-utility market in the U.S. is getting another entry, or entries, depending upon how much money a buyer is willing to spend as the long-awaited Alfa Romeo Stelvio line-up debuts in New York.

The first-ever SUV from the Italian-based maker debuted last fall, but it was only a brief appearance. The entire portfolio for the U.S. is now being revealed at the New York Auto Show and between the styling and the performance options, it should a player.

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“The 2018 Stelvio lineup marks Alfa Romeo’s venture into the second fastest-growing premium segment and an important next chapter of the brand’s rich 105-year heritage as we continue to grow in North America,” said Reid Bigland, head of Alfa Romeo. (more…)