Automotive Newsline

“Quiet Cars” to Become Audible

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established a new safety standard requiring all new hybrid and electric light-duty vehicles to emit a sound alerting pedestrians to their presence. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No.141 establishes minimum sound levels intended to help both blind and sighted pedestrians more easily detect the vehicles. An audible noise from external waterproof speakers must be emitted when the vehicle is traveling in reverse or forward at speeds up to 19 mph. At higher speeds, natural sounds, such as tire and wind noise, should provide adequate audible warning to pedestrians. The rule will be phased-in over one year between 2018 and 2019.

New Ford SUV to be imported from India

Ford’s new EcoSport will be the smallest SUV in the automaker’s line-up when it is introduced for the 2018 model year.  To be built in India, Ford will be the first automaker to begin selling Indian-made vehicles in the United States when the small SUV debuts.   Billed as a fun, capable, connected compact SUV, the EcoSport will be available in ten exterior color choices, seven ambient lighting options and four trim level offerings – S, SE, SES and Titanium. All series feature a swing-gate-style tailgate.  Power for the small Ford SUV will be generated by either a 1.0L three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost® or 2.0L four-cylinder engine.  Drivers opting for the 2.0L powerplant will get Ford’s Intelligent 4WD standard. Both engines come with six-speed automatic transmissions.

Inside the passenger cabin, EcoSport makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family with SYNC® 3, Ford’s communications and entertainment system. Faster, more intuitive and easier to use, the system provides more conversational voice recognition and enhanced response to driver commands. Optimized for hands-free use, SYNC 3 for EcoSport is coupled with a touch screen similar to a smartphone or tablet. The 8-inch screen gives front-row occupants easy access to operate available Apple CarPlay™  and Android Auto™ commands, and B&O PLAY audio settings.  As many as 30 stowage pockets, bins, hooks make efficient use of every interior inch. A cargo management system at the rear features a movable floor board and fold-away second-row seats to provide a flat area for moving furniture and other larger items.

Israeli company develops revolutionary engine

Aquarius Engines has developed an integrated power system composed of a revolutionary one-cylinder combustion engine design with one moving part and a dedicated electricity generator.  Boasting an exceptionally high power-to-weight ratio, the firm says that the engine can allow cars to travel more than 990 miles on a single tank of fuel.  With fewer than 20 parts and a single action, the company believes that the engine would work best as part of a plug-in hybrid system.  In tests by the German engineering company FEV, the Aquarius engine delivered an efficiency that was more than double that of traditional internal combustion engines. The Israeli company estimates that the unit cost of engine would be about $100.  France’s Peugeot is in current discussions with the company regarding its revolutionary engine technology.

Toyota to go “All In” with EVs

The maker of the affordable Prius hybrid plans to make a full-scale entry into the electric vehicle market by 2020.  Toyota has offered consumers a variety of hybrid vehicles over the last 20 years from the Toyota Prius to the Lexus RX crossover.  The Japanese automaker plans to launch an EV development division with plans to develop electric vehicles that will travel almost 200 miles on a single charge.  The platform for such models like the Prius hybrid or Corolla sedan is being considered for use to launch an electric sport utility vehicle.  The automaker will also bolster development of batteries, a core component that determines the vehicle’s performance. Toyota’s EV launch date coincides with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when the world will be tuned into Japan.

Autonomous Truck Makes Beer Delivery

As if you needed another indication that autonomous vehicles are about to become a major part of daily life in the United States, consider this fact: recently, some 45,000 cans of Budweiser beer was delivered to a Colorado warehouse in October after traveling over 120 highway miles in an autonomous semi-trailer truck with no driver at the wheel.  Otto, the autonomous truck subsidiary of Uber, shipped the brew with a driver monitoring from the truck’s sleeper berth for the entire two-hour journey.  The shipment traveled from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs.  The early morning drive traveled at an average speed of 55 mph and is considered to be the first revenue generating load transported via an autonomous truck.  Otto was paid the market rate of $470 for the job using one of its trucks outfitted with the new technology.  Working with the state of Colorado, the movement was monitored by the state patrol.  Colorado currently does not expressly prohibit the movement of self-driving trucks on its roads and highways.   The only time the truck driver delivering the beer took to the wheel was while driving on and off the highway ramp.

Compiled by Ken Chester Jr.
Motor News Media Corporation

Ken Chester, Jr. is President & CEO of Motor News Media Corporation – an automotive news service founded in 1989 as The AutoBuyer Plus Corporation. Featured on numerous television and radio programs, viewers, listeners and readers alike relate to Ken's friendly manner and wealth of information about the many vehicles currently for sale in today's complex automotive marketplace.

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