Nissan not shuttering Leaf EV battery plants, at least not yet By

The big news on the electric vehicle front today is that Nissan is considering slowing down EV battery production in the US and UK and source all of Nissan's big packs come from Japan.

This incredible Mercedes V12 sculpture is built from bone, wood and fossils

We've seen some impressive automotive replicas, but this one definitely takes the prize as the most unique yet.

1967 Toyota 2000GT Solar Electric Vehicle

You may have packed James Bond's cars with plenty of killer tech (get it?), but the 1967 Toyota 2000GT you see above has got it's own bad boy secrets.

Ford Mondeo Titanium X Sport

The Ford Mondeo range of cars offers the best in style, appearance and performance on the roads without compromising on quality or safety.

Corvette Z06 tops Motor Trend list of shortest-stopping vehicles

Any modern performance car worth buying puts just as much emphasis on stopping as it does on going

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Insurers to use young driver behaviour to calculate premiums

The ECJ’s ban on using gender as an assessment factor when calculating insurance policies may
soon mean men have access to cheaper car insurance but for many young drivers in 2011, insurance premiums are simply too expensive or unavailable altogether. That could all be set to change, however, with the introduction of a ‘pay-how-you-drive’ initiative by the Co-Operative Insurance.

The Co-Op’s new insurance policy, aimed exclusively at the 17-25 age group, includes the installation of a Smartbox – like a black box recorder on an aeroplane – to record how the young driver handles the car on the road, sending information back to the insurance company so that they can then determine whether they need to reduce or increase the policy holder’s premium.

According to the Co-op, over three quarters of young drivers will be helped to achieve much lower premiums, averaging a saving of £328 per year, per person.

The policy will still be include a No Claims Discount with the policy, making it a particularly attractive one to those wishing to get a foot on the ladder of their car insurance career. Performance-based reviews will occur every three months to determine whether or not the young driver in question will receive a ‘safer driving discount’.

The Smartbox will send information using satellite technology back to the insurance company on factors like speed, acceleration and braking, cornering, and what time of the day or night the young driver is driving at. If the driver proves to be diligent, they stand to make an 11 per cent saving on their premium. Drive badly, and they could see an increase of as much as 15 per cent.

The Parliamentary Transport SelectCommittee investigation, a document commissioned by the
government this year, outlined how the challenges faced by the insurance industry have been
addressed, with investigators having made recommendations on how to tackle and get around
issues such as the cost of insurance for young drivers.

According to a related article in car insurance news, there are other things that young drivers can do decrease their car insurance premium, such as adding and older, more experienced driver as a named driver. It does, however, warn that young people and their parents must not, under any circumstances, add that driver as the main driver. This practice is known as ‘fronting’, is tantamount to fraud, and offenders will be prosecuted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ford's plan to make commutes more efficient, optimize EVs

by Damon Lavrinc

Android developers across the world have descended on San Francisco for this week's Google I/O conference, and Ford is getting in on the action with its announcement to utilize Google's new Prediction API to increase efficiency and decrease commute times.

The Prediction API has a range of location-based uses, but Ford's plan involves tapping into your driving habits, gathering historical commute and errand data, and then optimize your route depending on traffic, weather and a host of other information.

Cutting down commute times and increasing fuel efficiency are at the top of the list, but it's obvious Ford is primarily planning to use the tech for its future all-electric and plug-in hybrid-driving vehicles. By determining drive routes ahead of time, storing that information in the cloud and directing drivers to the most efficient roads, Ford can eliminate some of the range anxiety EV drivers have to contend with.

Tomorrow, a group of Ford researchers will be showing off concept version of the system at Google I/O, complete with a prototype use case that involves the driver opting in for the service (Ford is adamant that personal information security is of the utmost importance) and then utilizing the Google Prediction service to determine the most efficient route. The vehicle would ask the driver, "Good morning. Are you going to work?" and if the driver responds, "Yes," the system will choose a route that's optimized for the powertrain. This could also include EV-only zones, something that's being experimented with throughout Europe.

We'll have more on Ford's implementation of the Predictive API tomorrow...