Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety

DEU HB Verkehr Tempolimit

If George Orwell were alive today and had read this story from The Daily Telegraph, he’d be standing in the middle of the Rue de la Loi, shouting “I told you so!” at the top of his lungs. In a bid to decrease the 30,000 deaths on European roads each year, the European Commission is seeking to require speed-limiting devices on all vehicles.

It’s unclear how the commission would go about this, although according to The Daily Telegraph. The leading candidates involve vehicle-mounted cameras that read speed-limit signs, or satellites beaming speed information into cars so that motorists can be warned whenever they are at risk of exceeding the limit. Another, more invasive scenario could actually see a vehicle’s brakes applied any time the driver exceeds the maximum allowable speed, in this case, 70 mph. This proposed legislation isn’t sitting well with the United Kingdom, though.

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has flatly opposed the notion, telling the paper, “This has Big Brother written all over it.” Besides infringing on the freedom of drivers, the Ministry of Transport also argues that the UK’s road safety record – only 1,754 people dying on the island nation’s roads in 2012 – proves that Britain can get by without the the mandate.

Us? We don’t see this attempt getting very far. Aside from the inevitable invasion of privacy concerns, there’s a big financial one, as well – most countries, states and municipalities in Europe have some level of dependency on revenue collection from speed violations, be they administered automatically via speed camera or the good old fashioned way, by getting pulled over.

What do you think of all this? Have your say in Comments.

UPDATE: The EU has issued a rather scathing formal statement denying this report, saying it is “quite simply not true.” Read the full statement here at the official EU blog.

Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]”

Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]

Filed under: Europe, Government/Legal, Safety

DEU HB Verkehr Tempolimit

If George Orwell were alive today and had read this story from The Daily Telegraph, he’d be standing in the middle of the Rue de la Loi, shouting “I told you so!” at the top of his lungs. In a bid to decrease the 30,000 deaths on European roads each year, the European Commission is seeking to require speed-limiting devices on all vehicles.

It’s unclear how the commission would go about this, although according to The Daily Telegraph. The leading candidates involve vehicle-mounted cameras that read speed-limit signs, or satellites beaming speed information into cars so that motorists can be warned whenever they are at risk of exceeding the limit. Another, more invasive scenario could actually see a vehicle’s brakes applied any time the driver exceeds the maximum allowable speed, in this case, 70 mph. This proposed legislation isn’t sitting well with the United Kingdom, though.

Britain’s Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has flatly opposed the notion, telling the paper, “This has Big Brother written all over it.” Besides infringing on the freedom of drivers, the Ministry of Transport also argues that the UK’s road safety record – only 1,754 people dying on the island nation’s roads in 2012 – proves that Britain can get by without the the mandate.

Us? We don’t see this attempt getting very far. Aside from the inevitable invasion of privacy concerns, there’s a big financial one, as well – most countries, states and municipalities in Europe have some level of dependency on revenue collection from speed violations, be they administered automatically via speed camera or the good old fashioned way, by getting pulled over.

What do you think of all this? Have your say in Comments.

UPDATE: The EU has issued a rather scathing formal statement denying this report, saying it is “quite simply not true.” Read the full statement here at the official EU blog.

Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Sep 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Europe considering 70-mph speed limiters on all cars? [UPDATE]”

Report: Ford to update Sync, MyFord Touch software… again

Filed under: Technology, Ford, Infotainment

MyFord Touch

Ford hasn’t had the best luck with its MyFord Touch and Sync systems, as the finicky infotainment system has been subject to a critical whooping while customer issues have helped sink Ford’s IQS scores. The automaker has made a concerted effort, though, to try and fix MyFord Touch. And while the results have been mixed, The Blue Oval is hoping its latest free update, set to go live next week, will make things better.

According to a report from The Detroit News, the new system promises streamlined voice commands with fewer levels between opening query and actual result. Ford is also addressing where certain options are selected on the touchscreen. Rather than working one of the four quadrants on the homescreen, users will be able to select anywhere within the quadrant to make adjustments.

While it might only be a band-aid for MFT’s problems, the fact that Ford is still trying to improve it is a promising sign. It’s going to take more than just this update to address the system’s ills, though.

Ford to update Sync, MyFord Touch software… again originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Ford to update Sync, MyFord Touch software… again”

Official: Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE]

Filed under: Motorsports, Videos, Honda, UK, Specialty

Back in June, we reported that Top Gear was building what it hoped would become the world’s fastest lawn mower, and had solicited help from Honda and its British Touring Car Championship partner Team Dynamics. Well, they’ve finished the build and the resulting contraption is the Mean Mower. With a top speed estimated to be over 130 miles per hour, it should beat the 96.529-mph record set by Bobby Cleveland and his Snapper race mower at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September 2010, and take the cake as the fastest lawn mower ever.

Let’s start off with the specs: 109 horsepower, 309-pound curb weight and 0-60 mph in four seconds. Crazy numbers, but maybe you’ll be comforted that the lawn mower is a Honda HF2620 in name only, with a custom chassis made of 4130 chromoly, a 1,000cc engine from a VTR Firestorm, a paddle-shifted six-speed transmission, a bespoke suspension and wheels from an ATV. The body was sourced from the production mower, however.

Sure, it can cut grass – at 15 mph, double the top speed of a regular HF2620 – using two electric motors spinning 3mm steel-cutting cables at 4000 rpm, but the grass bag has been reengineered to house the fuel tank, a high-capacity oil cooler and a secondary radiator. So much for that clean cut.

Honda says that it has topped 100 mph on track, but there’s no video to verify this. (Please Honda!?) But there is a great teaser with reigning BTCC champion Gordon “Flash” Shedden mowing the lawn in a mean way, below.

UPDATE: A second video of the Mean Mower has been added below, this time featuring The Stig.

Continue reading Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE]

Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Honda Mean Mower hits 60 mph in 4 seconds, cuts to 130 mph [w/video] [UPDATE]”

Official: Ford hybrids getting update to improve fuel economy

Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Hatchback, Ford

Ford has announced that it is introducing “calibration updates designed to improve on-road fuel economy for owners of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.”

We can speculate that these changes are at least due in part to lawsuits over mileage claims of hybrid vehicles. The automaker is enhancing 2013 models starting in August by raising their electric cruising speed to 85 miles per hour from 62 mph, optimizing the use of active grille shutters and the climate control system, shortening the engine warm-up period by 50 percent and reducing electric fan speed to minimize the fan’s energy consumption.

It bears mentioning that Ford is doing pretty well in the US electrified vehicle market this year. The company claims to have grown its share in the segment by 12 points to 16 percent while taking a high number of Toyota Prius trade-ins in the process. Conversely, Toyota has experienced a five-percent drop in new-Prius sales over the same period. Additionally, Ford states that it has increased its share of the US vehicle market by one percent this year, more than any full-line automaker.

We’re sure Ford will be monitoring the fuel mileage of its hybrid fleet closely with the hopes of seeing significant improvements, though the automaker offers the expected ‘Your mileage will vary” disclaimer, which you can read all about in the press release below.

Continue reading Ford hybrids getting update to improve fuel economy

Ford hybrids getting update to improve fuel economy originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Official: Ford hybrids getting update to improve fuel economy”

Breaking: 2014 Mazda3 breaks cover early, in Euro-spec at least [UPDATE]

Filed under: Budget, Sedan, Europe, Hatchback, Mazda, Diesel

2014 Mazda3 - front three-quarter dynamic view

We’re set to get a closer look at the US-spec 2014 Mazda3 later today, but AutoExpress has the first peek at the machine’s European cousin (after initial leaks reportedly came from a Czech outlet). The photos show a compact that’s taken plenty of design inspiration from its older sister, the Mazda6. That’s excellent news, as the larger car’s dynamic front fascia, accentuated fender arches and long nose translate well to the Mazda3. Inside, there are are new and improved material choices, and the longer wheelbase means occupants get to enjoy more room than before. There’s also a larger trunk with 12.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Buyers in the EU can get their hands on a 1.5-liter Skyactiv-G gasoline engine with 99 horsepower, though the old 2.0-liter four-cylinder will still be available in either 118 hp or 163 hp configuration. A 2.2-liter diesel tops out the engine choices.

The 2014 Mazda3 is lighter than its predecessor and boasts disc brakes and a multi-link rear suspension on every trim. That means this thing should be fun to shuffle around. Stay tuned for details on the US-spec variant later today, including a lot more images of the good-looking hatch.

UPDATE: We’ve just received word from Mazda that the photos seen here do, in fact, show the global Mazda3, and not merely a European version. So the good-looking hatch in our gallery is one that you can look forward to in your dealership before too long. Expect to see full US specs, and even more images of the 3, later today.

2014 Mazda3 breaks cover early, in Euro-spec at least [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 26 Jun 2013 09:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Breaking: 2014 Mazda3 breaks cover early, in Euro-spec at least [UPDATE]”

Report: Judge’s ruling paves way for owners to sue Toyota over economic losses *UPDATE

Filed under: Government/Legal, Toyota

toyota emblem

If Toyota was hoping to end its ongoing unintended acceleration-related legal issues, the latest bit of courtroom news will make the automaker quite unhappy. U.S. District Judge James Selna has ruled that vehicle owners can sue Toyota over economic losses. Some Toyota owners claim the automaker is responsible for diminished resale value of vehicles wearing the Toyota badge.

“A vehicle with a defect is worth less than one without a defect,” said Selna.

Toyota, however, has stated that it remains confident it will emerge from the courtroom victorious. Selna’s ruling moves the burden of proof over to the plaintiff’s lawyers, and Toyota believes that no such proof of wrong-doing on its part exists. Lawyers for the plaintiffs will be tasked with proving that the automaker was aware of a defect and chose to ignore it.

One particular issue from Toyota’s point of view, with regards to James Selna’s ruling, is the judge has applied a California law to the case. One that may make it easier for plaintiffs to recover damages. Toyota argues that vehicle owners from all over the country are involved in the lawsuit, and therefore local state laws should be applied with respect to the owner’s location. Either way, it appears that Toyota’s legal drama is going to continue for quite some time.

*UPDATE: Toyota reached out to Autoblog.com for clarification. It appears the ruling has not yet come down, but that Selna is merely considering the application of California law to a case that reaches across the entire country.

Judge’s ruling paves way for owners to sue Toyota over economic losses *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 18 May 2011 15:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Judge’s ruling paves way for owners to sue Toyota over economic losses *UPDATE”

Report: Audi S6 and S7 to offer diesel engines *UPDATE

Filed under: Sedan, Performance, Audi, Rumormill, Luxury

spy photo audi s7

2012 Audi S7 spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Audi S lineup is not a world filled with many choices. Sure, you can pick your poison in terms of which S vehicle you want, but you do not have a say in which engine is mounted under the hood. However, it seems the upcoming Audi S6 and S7 might be poised to break with that tradition.

Rumor has it that the more athletic versions of the A6 and A7 will be offered with a choice of engines. The standard engine for both cars is slated to be a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with around 450 horsepower, but Audi is reportedly going to offer up a diesel, as well, marking the first time such an engine has been offered with an S-branded vehicle. This 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 should be good for 300 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque.

*Update: Apparently, this one is too good to be true – kind of. The cars will be available with the diesel lumps, but the badging will keep the A and not wear an S. Regardless, we’re excited to see more sporty diesels arrive stateside.

Audi S6 and S7 to offer diesel engines *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 May 2011 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Report: Audi S6 and S7 to offer diesel engines *UPDATE”

New Autoblog Beta: Try it out now! *UPDATE

The next version of Autoblog is currently under development, but we’re ready to give everyone a sneak peek at what we’re working on. There’s a whole new look to the site, as well as tons of new features we can’t wait for you to check out. Here’s a list of just some of them:

  • A new carousel to promote the day’s big stories
  • New site navigation to get around
  • “Lazy loading” that lets the site load 3X quicker
  • Browse via the classic Blog View or new Quick Scan View
  • A Download Wallpaper feature in the galleries
  • Vital Stats data in vehicle reviews
  • New modules in the right rail

Click here to log into Autoblog Beta. We’re reserving the privilege for only our Facebook followers, so if you’re not already a Facebook fan, you’ll need to become one in order to try it out.

And keep an eye out for the Beta Bar (below) at the bottom of Autoblog Beta, which you can use to switch between the current and Beta sites, as well as send us feedback on what you like and don’t like. We want Autoblog to be the best destination for automotive news and features, and your feedback will make the difference.

PS: Download the new Autoblog.com iPhone app if you haven’t yet and, if you like it, give the app a five-star rating.

UPDATE: We did not want the Beta site to be open to the world, but rather closed to a finite group of people who are fans of the site and would carefully critique and give us honest feedback on its development. Our community of Facebook followers fits that description, which is why we’re restricting access to the Beta site to just them. Access to Autoblog.com is still as free and open as it’s always been, and will remain so.

UPDATE 2: If you’re not seeing any images on Autoblog Beta, try performing a hard refresh of your browser (hold down Shift and reload the page).

New Autoblog Beta: Try it out now! *UPDATE originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 May 2011 12:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “New Autoblog Beta: Try it out now! *UPDATE”

Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April

Filed under: Car Buying, Hybrid, Plants/Manufacturing, Marketing/Advertising, Chevrolet, GM, Nissan, Electric

nissan leaf chevy volt mash up

Last month we tallied the cumulative North American sales of both the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, and it’s time to check those numbers again. While neither vehicle is selling like hotcakes, April’s numbers show that one of the two electric autos is inching up the sales chart, while the other has slipped a bit.

The Leaf sold 573 units in April versus the Volt’s 493. Compared to March’s results, which had Leaf sales at 298 and Volt sales at 608, Nissan’s electric hatch has gained some ground, while Chevy’s plug-in lost some traction.

The latest cumulative U.S. sales totals for the plug-in duo, since launching in late 2010, has the Volt leading the pack with 2,029 units sold, while the Leaf comes in at 1,044. Year-to-date, Volt sales stand at 1,703, while Nissan says Leaf production had, as of April 15th, hit nearly 8,000.

Nissan’s presser on Leaf sales is posted after the jump and a detailed look at GM’s numbers are available here (PDF warning).

[Source: Nissan, General Motors]

Continue reading Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April

Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 May 2011 13:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Continue reading “Sales update: Nissan Leaf hits 573, Chevy Volt at 493 in April”