Mike Spinelli

Mercedes-Benz Splitview: Clever LCD Screen Keeps Driver Informed, Passenger Entertained

A single LCD monitor on the dashboard lets a driver view the nav screen while a passenger catches a movie

Picture this: You're motoring down the highway, following route guidance on the navigation screen, when the guy in the passenger seat decides he wants to watch Raising Arizona on DVD. Mercedes-Benz and Bosch jointly devised a novel gizmo can satisfy both viewing requests, without a sword and the smarts of Solomon. It's a dual-view LCD monitor system called, elegantly enough, Splitview.

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The Parajet Skycar: From London to Timbuktu on Biofuel

A 6,000 kilometre intercontinental journey in a high-tech swamp boat? Bring it on

If you were wondering, Timbuktu isn't some mythical city with a skyline of emerald buildings housing a race of unicorn-men. It's a real place, situated in the west African country of Mali, a city historians cite as an intellectual and spiritual center of the 15th and 16th centuries. It's also some 6,000 kilometres from London. Keep that in mind when you consider a scheme to cover those miles in a car that looks like an Everglades airboat designed by Luigi Colani.

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Compressed-Air Cars Planned for Airport Test, US Launch

If Luxembourg's Motor Development International gets its wish, the next wave of alternative-energy vehicles will be a real bunch of windbags

The idea of using compressed air to propel a passenger car has been kicking around tech circles for years. Now, Luxembourg's Motor Development International SA (MDI) may have the first viable angle to launching a first wave of air cars: airport transportation. Behold the AirPod, a four-wheel, multipassenger minicar set to be built in Nice, France. It's one of the brainchildren of Guy Nègre, a former aeronautics and Formula One engineer who's been messing around with compressed-air technology in passenger cars for nearly two decades.

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Zero to 1,000 in 40 Seconds

More than a decade after the Thrust SSC project exceeded Mach 1 on land, Richard Noble and company plan to go really fast

Back in 1997, RAF wing commander Andy Green proved breaking the sound barrier on land wouldn't destroy the universe. Now, a successor to the ThrustSSC, the jet car Green piloted a decade ago on Nevada's Black Rock Desert, is in the works. Target: 1,000 mph.

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Riding in the Rain: Peugeot HYmotion3 Compressor Concept

Peugeot looks toward a future of fuel-efficient, all-weather scooters replacing cars for short, urban jaunts

Quick, name a car with three-wheel drive. Okay, trick question; this isn't quite a car, but Peugeot's idea of a fuel-efficient all-weather runabout. The HYmotion3 Compressor Concept foresees a hybrid vehicle in more ways than one: part gasoline-, part electric-powered; part car, part scooter. The French automaker says it offers the stability of a trike with the protection of a safety cell similar to that which supports occupants of a Smart car.

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Parlez Vous Électronique? In Paris, Electric Cars Steal the Show

With promises of production by early next decade, car makers focused their energies on battery power at this year's Paris motor show

Venturi Volage: Monaco-based Venturi showed off its latest electric sports car, the Volage, at the Paris motor show. A joint venture with Michelin, the Volage is propelled by four in-wheel electric motors.  Venturi
Alongside the traditional luxury cars, pricey exotics and thrifty urban runabouts displayed in Paris this year, an eclectic group of electric cars captured the world's attention. Some represented radical visions for a more distant future, while others are in the production pipeline, and could hit the market by early next decade. Below are some of the standouts, launch the gallery for a further look.

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Report: Honda to Launch Hybrid Motorcycle by 2011

Will volatile gas prices and global-warming concerns cause trickle-down adoption of hybrid tech?

Earlier this month, Japanese media reported Honda and Yamaha were each planning a line of electric motorcycles by 2010. The new bikes, which reports say can travel up to 60 miles on a charge, will use lithium-ion batteries for power. Now, word from Japan's Mainichi news service is Honda is also planning new gas-electric hybrid motorcycles.

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High Compression: Running a Porsche on Air

Electric cars could start a grab for natural resources on par with the petroleum industry; is compressed air the answer?

If you thought the rise of petroleum caused global economic upheavals, just wait until we start producing electric-car batteries in mass quantities. That's the warning from Glenn Bell, CEO of Air Fuel Auto. Bell told reporters at this weekend's Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica the need for precious metals and other raw materials for next-generation batteries could have a ripple effect on the global economy. Of course, Bell isn't a passive observer; he's got his own answer to the alternative-fuel question. You're breathing it.

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It's Electric: Chrysler Reveals Alternative-Energy Prototypes

Chrysler reveals what could be its best-kept secret: an electric-car program

Not to be outdone by GM's Chevy Volt hoopla last week, Chrysler today revealed three prototypes from its own electric-car program earlier today on CNBC. Who knew Chrysler had an electric-car program? Practically no one. But the company calls it ENVI, pronounced "envy," and the first consumer product from the program could appear as early as 2010.

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A $40,000 Hyundai? Luxuriating in the 2009 Genesis Sedan

Hyundai undercuts Lexus, Infiniti and Mercedes with a luxury car that'll give car buyers another reason to forget the Korean carmaker's checkered past

The world has turned upside-down. The US government is the hottest ticket on Wall Street, Cadillac builds European sports sedans, Saab markets SUVs, and now Hyundai makes a $42,000 luxury car. Someone e-mail the Bizarro Justice League, stat.

The 2009 Hyundai Genesis has been a long time coming for the South Korean automaker. Years ago, Hyundai introduced to the American market an ignoble range of economy cars that, unadjusted for inflation, cost the equivalent of pocket lint. It's a different company now. To mangle a Pink Floyd lyric, 20 odd years may have gotten behind Hyundai Motor America, but it didn't miss the starting gun.

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2009 Honda Fit: A Little Economy Car Grows Up, a Little

Honda updates its smallest, most economical US model with more space, new features and increased refinement. Does that mean it's over the hill?

The first Japanese hatchback I ever loved was a borrowed, battered 1978 Honda Accord CVCC. It was punchy and raw, light as a laundry basket and it loved to be tossed into a dusty bend and coaxed back out. It was just the thing for a teenaged-hack Stig Blomqvist with more hormones than money, and I returned it reluctantly, a changed not-quite man.

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Next-Wave Astrovan: Canadians Pen All-Electric Concept With Aeronautic Touches

With less aerodynamic drag than a Toyota Prius, the Hinterland 1 concept car could redefine people-moving in the north country.

It has the profile of a Toyota Prius interpreted by the late Maxime Faget, designer of the Space Shuttle. It's the Hinterland 1, a conceptual all-electric minivan with a drag coefficient of less than 0.25 (the Prius's is 0.26). And if its designers get their way, it'll become a Canadian icon on par with the CN Tower, Geddy Lee and Poutine.

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Driving The 2009 Corvette ZR1: Detroit's Mild-Mannered Supercar

Chevrolet's latest sports car pairs supercar horsepower with driving comfort. Yes, we're sure it's a Corvette.

Chevrolet's 2009 Corvette ZR1 is the best thing to come out of Detroit since Dearborn-style pistachio baklawa. I don't say that lightly; pistachio baklawa is spectacular.

Leading with a headline-grabbing horsepower figure, the ZR1 delivers sharp, predictable handling, unjarring road feel and performance as barmy on pavement as on paper, all without artifice or intimidation. Yes, it’s a Corvette, and while that may confound anyone who assumes the badge signifies rough trade, the ZR1’s excellence won’t surprise anyone whose watched GM’s Corvette program evolve over the past decade.

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