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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Mar 13 2012, 4:01 PM

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British luxury car brand Jaguar stunned the world with its beautiful C-X75 concept back in 2010. Not only was its sleek design alluring, but also its jet-turbine technology.

The concept car used a pair of micro-turbines which would power the electric drive-train. So instead of using a conventional gas engine to power the electric motors, like in the Fisker Karma, Jaguar showed that using these lighter micro-turbines would be a more powerful and more efficient alternative.

But a concept is one thing, and the reality can be quite different. When Jaguar gave the C-X75 the green-light for production, they found that micro-turbine technology is still very much in its infancy, and that long-term reliability is not known for such a system. Plus, these turbines do generate more heat, so would require longer air-intakes to channel air to these motors.

So Jaguar has decided that the production, road-going C-X75, which will look pretty much identical to the concept car, will be offered with a Cosworth and Williams F1 developed 1.6-liter, turbo-charged, four cylinder engine, which will be able to produce roughly 500-hp. This engine will work with a pair of electric motors that not only assist in achieving better fuel-economy, but also add to the performance of this car.

All this is well and good, but what is to become of the original micro-turbine idea? Not to worry, that idea is not dead. Jaguar and its parent company Tata have invested and opened a new factory in Coventry, U.K. called the Bladon Jets Engineering Center. This facility, which employs 15-people, is dedicated towards the development of these micro-turbines. As for their first application, Jaguar global brand director Adrian Hallmark has said that this power plant will be featured on a track-only version of the C-X75.

Testing the system for track use will eventually pave the way forward for using the system on a road car. This means, cars with jet engines (just like what the Jetsons had) are going to be on our roads in the not too distant future.

GALLERY: Jaguar C-X75

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GALLERY: Jaguar C-X75 2010 Paris Auto Show

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[Source: Inside Line]

 |  Mar 05 2012, 7:01 PM

Cars are becoming more and more technologically sophisticated, because customers these days demand the latest and greatest gadgets.

While complex infotainment systems have become a norm, the future points an arrow towards configurable gauge clusters. Jaguar already has such a system in their XJ luxury sedan, and now Audi is looking to offer an even more advanced version of such a system in the next generation of their TT-model, which will be out by 2014.

Unlike Jaguar, Audi is looking to offer their advanced, configurable cluster on only their sporty models, citing that luxury car buyers prefer the chronograph look.

Audi’s system will comprise of a thin film transistor (TFT) flat screen display which a customer can modify to show maps, as well as configure the look of the instruments according to their taste. In short, the iPad generation will love it.

[Source: Car and Driver]

 |  Mar 02 2012, 10:15 AM

Not so long ago, the only bit of technology found in a car was the stereo system, but nowadays cars are becoming more and more complex and are offering technologies most of us cannot even dream about.

One of the technology leaders is the German car firm Audi. Its cars are getting more and more technically advanced and they are showing no signs of slowing things down.

Now Audi has announced that it is working on seven new tech-based features, which will eventually make their way into the cars we could buy from the showroom. They are:

1) Audi Wireless Charging: While Audi currently has no electric cars in their showrooms, that will soon change. Like many other companies who are offering or looking to offer electric cars, efficient charging solutions are big on their list. So Audi is co-developing a wireless charging system with WiTricity Corporation from Boston, MS. This system will have a coil-based receiver on the car and another mounted in your garage or parking spot. So when you drive your car into its spot, the car will start charging itself. According to Audi, the system will not be affected by rain or snow. Such a system will surely be a hit with electric car buyers.

2) Garage Parking Pilot: While self-parking features are already on the market, Audi is looking to go a step further with its Garage Parking Pilot. This system will not only help you park the car automatically, but will also help you find a parking spot in parking lots. When it finds that spot, it will guide the car neatly into the spot. Vehicle to vehicle networking will ensure that dings won’t be an issue.

3) OLED Lights: Audi was the first to introduce LED lights on its cars, now its looking to bring OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) to the market. While this technology is available on TV’s and cellphones, this organic polymer based semiconductor will see its first application on a car by Audi. This material is only nanometers thick, so hence is light and also uses less energy. They can also produce millions of colors.

4) Hybrid Body Materials: Audi has been at the forefront of reducing vehicle weights by using lighter materials since the early 1990′s. With their use of aluminum, their cars are upto 40% lighter than a similar cars made from steel. Now Audi is looking to combine steel with aluminum and carbon-fiber reinforced plastics to produce not only very strong components, but also very lightweight components.

5) FRP Coil Springs: A lot is riding on the springs in your car. To be exact, your whole car is riding on the springs. Thus springs have to be made from very strong metal. So how would you feel if we offer to replace your steel springs with ones made from plastic? Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) springs are being developed by Audi. These springs will be much lighter than their steel counterparts, but will retain the strength, in fact they’ll be even stronger. The first application of these springs will be seen on the Audi R8 e-tron, which will be out by 2014.

6) Multitouch Controls: While most luxury cars have some sort of multi-media controlling device on board, Audi was the first to introduce a Touchpad, which allows you to write your command using your finger. Now Audi is looking to enhance this feature by developing a new multitouch system similar to that of the iPad. This new system will allow the driver even more command options, and should also help in reducing distractions for the driver. The new system will work with voice command, touch, and the heads-up display system.

7) Predictive Suspension: Reading the road ahead is what many luxury car companies are working towards, and Audi is no exception. Audi will mount a camera ahead of the rear view mirror and a laser in the nose of the car to read the road 20-meters ahead and configure the suspension for what lies ahead. This photo-mixed detectors system will improve ride quality. The feature will probably debut in a future model of the A8.

Watch out for these new Audi developments to be on the road in the not to distant future. We’ll keep you posted on any further developments.

 |  Oct 18 2011, 8:15 PM

It created a lot of buzz when it was unveiled at Frankfurt back in September, yet the F-125! concept, besides showcasing possible future technologies such as a hydrogen-fuel cell powertrain, exotic construction materials and onboard telemetry, might also point to the direction large, executive cars may actually go if increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions standards remain on the cards.

Further emphasizing the fact that the F-125! might actually hint at future Mercedes S-Class models, Dr. Thomas Weber, head of R&D at Daimler AG (pictured with it above), said, in reference to the F-125! “this research car was built with the perspective of what does a car in 2025 look like?”

That’s far beyond the projection of most modern concept cars, which tend to either be trial balloons for upcoming production models, or hint at vehicles five to 10 years down the road.

However, given that the European Union, in it’s infinite wisdom, seems almost hell bent on outlawing large, gasoline engined cars (proposed smog standards for 2020 include a limit of 95 grams per km (5.4 ounces per mile – contrasting with around 154 g/km today) the F-125! could represent what you might get when walking into a Mercedes showroom and purchasing a S-Class, some two decades from now.

There’s no question, that in order to meet these ultra tough smog standards, electric drive and fuel cells will be part of the equation, though to meet the demands of future S-Class customers, particularly those of range and performance, Mercedes understands that new, unproven technologies will have to be employed.

One of them includes using a new Kevlar like material to store hydrogen in the vehicle’s body cavities instead of a conventional cylindrical tank, improving onboard capacity and help boosting the car’s range.

Yet another is using a lithium-sulphur battery to increase energy density and also boost performance and range. However, at present such technologies are very much in the infant stage, though Weber says that lithium-sulphur batteries might become more prevalent toward the end of the decade, even thought at that point, they’ll probably be relegated for use in small items, like power tools.

However, Tim Urquhart, a London based analyst with the firm IHS Global Insight, says that the F-125! doesn’t as much showcase the future of big cars, but rather how uncertain automakers are about them.

“Sometimes when an OEM is talking about these things, you take it with a pinch of salt,” he said. “In this car [the F-125!], I think they are trying to imagine what a vehicle of this type would be like in the long-term future.”

He also went on to state  that for performance models and long legged GT cars, current  thinking regarding EV technology simply isn’t the solution. “You’re not going to get a lithium-ion powered EV with internal combustion engine power and range. The chemistry won’t allow it.”

[Source: Automotive News]