Sunday, August 09, 2015

Automotive Reporter Biz News for Wk of 8-10-15

 Infinity is defined as “having no end,”and Nissan’s luxury nameplate, Infiniti, is stretching the envelope on that definition with new entries to its line-up for 2016. I’ve always been a big fan of Infiniti’s crossover SUV, and its QX50 gets a longer wheelbase, affording more rear passenger and cargo space. They’re going to dress up this land yacht with new LED lights front and rear, and a standard power moon-roof on all models.
And it comes in AWD.

Infiniti is minding its P’s and Q’s…mostly Q’s…with a new 2-liter turbo-4 engine for its QX50, while planning for a 2017 release of the Q30 Premium compact and QX30 Premium crossover. The ‘30’s will be the replacements for the Q40 and QX40, which ends production with the 2015 model.
Then there’s the ‘50’s…including a sports sedan to be revealed in the winter of 2016.
The Q60 coupe and convertibles are also ending their run in 2015.
Infiniti is working on concept models for their replacements, which will be introduced for the 2017 model year.
The Q70 will be offered in five models in 2016. The QX80 will include a Signature Edition among the three models offered in that line. There could be more surprises in store as Infiniti’s skunkworks continues to work on new designs in the queue.

The little SUV made popular by a pair of hamsters continues to drive success for Kia Motors.  The 2016 Soul acquires features first debuted on Kia’s K900 sedan, and will include standard alloy wheels on all three models.

No alphabet soup at Kia. The trim levels are “Base,” “Plus,” and “Exclaim.” Kia is also offering two-tone paint schemes, and even leather upholstery in the top of the line trim. Kia is adding Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems in its premium package for when those wacky hamsters start to get out of control.

I’m still a bit leery of driverless automobiles, and really can’t see myself ever owning one. That may change when I’m 90 and wheelchair bound, but we’ll see. However, if you’re going be driven around in a robot car, might as well make it fast and snazzy…like an Audi A8. Audi has been actively participating in its Ko-HAF research initiative into standards for something they call highly-automated driving. (That’s not what happens when you’re on the tollway at 5pm.)

Audi says it will introduce what it calls “piloted driving” in its next-gen iteration of the Audi A8. This might result in a resurgence of those “God is My Co-pilot” bumper stickers. 

Audi has already remotely navigated an Audi RS-7 around the Grand Prix track in Hockenheim--at race speeds. 

The first piloted Audi should be able to automatically drive you along in rush hour traffic at speeds up to 37mph—that’s like light-speed in drive times on the tollway!

Remember that cool hoverboard in the “Back to the Future” series? Lexus has brought that dream to life in a project known as “SLIDE,” unveiling its Lexus Hoverboard in Barcelona, Spain.
Yes, it’s for real.

The Lexus Hoverboard project is the spawn of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH, who collaborated to create a working application of magnetic levitation technology. This virtually eliminates all friction between the board and any surface over which it travels.

Okay—here’s the trick: You have to have a magnetic hoverboard track over which the craft will glide. Lexus built a 200-meter hoverboard park—it resembles a skateboard track, with hills and curves and loops, and even a water pond.  

How does it work? According to Lexus, the Hoverboard technology “features two “cryostats”—reservoirs in which superconducting material is kept at -197 degrees through immersion in liquid nitrogen. The board is then placed above a track that contains permanent magnets.”

evico CEO, Dr. Oliver de Haas, says “The magnetic field from the track is effectively ‘frozen’ into the superconductors in the board, maintaining the distance between the board and the track—essentially keeping the board hovering. This force is strong enough to allow the rider to stand and even jump on the board.”
You can watch for yourself here.
I know what I want for Christmas.

Disclosure:   Lexus says its Hoverboard remains a prototype and will not be on sale.

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