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When it Comes to Cars, Everything Old is New Again

Some of today’s hottest breakthroughs actually date back decades, centuries.

by on Jul.10, 2015

The idea behind the Toyota Mirai's fuel-cell powertrain dates back to the 1830s.

By the end of next year, at least three automakers, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, will be offering U.S. motorists new fuel-cell vehicles running on hydrogen rather than gasoline. They bill the technology as an environmental breakthrough, the first step towards what some are calling a “Hydrogen Society.”

But while hydrogen may be the fuel of the future, fuel cells have a surprisingly long past. The technology got its first serious use during the Apollo moon mission, and actually dates back to the mid-19th Century. Indeed, many of the technologies now showing up on today’s most advanced vehicles actually have a long history dating back decades and, in some instances, centuries.

The Last Word!

The idea for the automobile itself can be traced back at least to the days of the Roman Empire when a self-propelled carriage — powered by tightly wound human hair, much like a rubber band – was driven into the Coliseum to entertain 3rd Century Emperor Commodius.

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“Test Driving” Cadillac Cue

iPad-like system can be controlled with normal speech.

by on Nov.11, 2011

Cadillac demonstrates the new Cue infotainment system, which debuts on the 2013 Caddy XTS.

Ever since Motorola introduced the first primitive in-car radio motorists have been demanding more and better onboard electronics – and these days, some cars offer better technology than you’ll find in the typical home or office.

But that raises another challenge: how to provide simple and intuitive controls for all that technology so the car’s cabin doesn’t like the crowded cockpit of a fighter jet.  We’ve seen some creative solutions – from BMW’s iDrive to Ford MyTouch — that have created problems of their own, but now, General Motors is weighing in with what it bills as the even more advanced Cadillac Cue.

Your Source!

We got a chance to take the technology for a test drive, so to speak, ahead of its formal introduction at the L.A. Auto Show next week.  And, while the prototype Caddy Cue still had some clear bugs to work out before its launch on the new 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan, we found that it clearly advances the state of in-car infotainment controls.

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Is Onboard Navigation Finally Getting Affordable?

Majority of customers would choose built-in navi if it were less expensive.

by on Jul.08, 2011

Chevy cuts by half the price of navi on the Cruze. Will it set off a price war among makers and boost demand?

If you’ve ever gotten lost trying to find a friend’s new house or a well-reviewed new restaurant you’ll undoubtedly have wished for an onboard navigation system.  Portable “navis,” in fact, have become one of the hottest perennial holiday gifts.

Yet despite frequent surveys showing that a majority of motorists would like to get a car equipped with a built-in system, the technology is still only ordered on about one in ten new cars.  Why the big gap?  Cost, industry analysts agree.  Though the price of portable navigation systems have plunged in recent years, built-in systems remain one of the most expensive options you can add to a new vehicle.

News You Can Use!

But that is starting to change, and makers like Chevrolet, which is slashing the price of navi on its 2012 Cruze, “will win” lots of new buyers “with a low-cost solution,” predicts George Peterson, head of the consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc.

“Manufacturers have their heads in the sand trying to protect the revenue model they’ve developed over the last decade,” said Peterson.  But high costs don’t really generate big profits, he contends, because it results in much lower sales volumes for onboard navi technology.

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