Tesla Motors Lawsuit: Model X Owner Files Claim For Sudden Acceleration

Tesla Motors is coming under fire again with a lawsuit claiming that one of their cars, the Model X, suddenly accelerated causing damage to the owners’ home. It’s important to note that this does not concern the autopilot feature of the Tesla vehicles. Gizmodo reports that the lawsuit claims the owner of the Model X, Ji Chang Son, was pulling into his driveway when the vehicle spontaneously accelerated. An excerpt of the lawsuit, reported by VentureBeat, states that the vehicle jerked forward and crashed into the owner’s home. “The vehicle spontaneously began to accelerate at full power, jerking forward and crashing through the interior wall of the garage, destroying several wooden support beams in the wall and a steel sewer pipe, among other things, and coming to rest in Plaintiffs’ living room.” The lawsuit, which seeks to obtain class action status, cites seven other complaints of sudden acceleration and is seeking an unspecified amount of damages. The Model X was claimed by Tesla to be the safest SUV in history. [Image by Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images] While the seven other claims have been registered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the details of the claims are far from uncontested. In each of those cases, Tesla reviewed the logs and concluded that the accelerator pedal was pressed. In an article published by electrek, a quote from a Tesla spokesperson stated, “Tesla’s cars do not accelerate without the driver instructing it to do so. In every situation where we have received a customer claim about this, the vehicle’s diagnostic logs have confirmed that the acceleration was the result of the driver pressing the accelerator pedal.” Additionally, they reported the findings of an independent source. Jason Hughes purchased one of the Tesla Model X vehicles that were involved in one of the claims. He was then able to find out that the vehicles save footage from the autopilot cameras in the event of a collision, like a dashcam. Using this, and comparing them to pictures from the original incident, he was able to confirm that it was the same vehicle. He then looked at the logs from that time and confirmed what Tesla had stated, the accelerator was pressed and the brake was not. These findings are especially important considering that Tesla has not released the logs that they obtained on any of the incidents. Mistaking the accelerator for the brake accounts for many collisions each year. [Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images] Those findings, however, cannot be applied to any of the other incidents directly, including the one that this lawsuit pertains to. Additionally, some of the persons involved in the other claims have questioned the validity of Tesla’s claims, questioning whether it may have been some sort of sensor error on the Tesla Model X or if Tesla is telling the truth about the logs. Another very possible explanation for these incidents is user error. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are approximately 16,000 crashes caused by pedal error, or mistaking the accelerator for the brake, each year. While pressing the wrong pedal can cause issues in any vehicle, it can be especially troublesome for the Model X. Being an electric engine, it doesn’t behave in the same way that you would be used to with a gas-powered engine. The Tesla Model X can accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 3.2 seconds and has been reported by MotorTrend as the quickest SUV they’ve ever tested. The acceleration is also different in that it’s a more immediate response, as opposed to the ramp-up that you normally get from a gas engine. What will come of this lawsuit, and the true cause of the collision, is still to be seen. Outside of the lawsuit, Elon Musk and all of his teams, still have something to look forward to. Space X, another of Musk’s ventures, is still looking to launch their Falcon 9 rocket in January, following a delay stemming from a rocket explosion in September. [Featured Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

2016 Detroit Auto Show: Are These The 5 Coolest Cars On Stage?

The 2016 Detroit Auto Show opened last Monday, giving us a look of things to come for the U.S. auto industry. Overall, the event is bannered by muscle cars and luxury rides, a trend that reflects more Americans go for the glamorously fast or furiously bulky. We pick up five cars that we thought are cool and merit a tenth look from you.

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The Detroit car show comes on the heels of the U.S. auto industry breaking a decade-old record, in a report by Bloomberg. The car exhibit is expected to carry over last year’s momentum to this year, allowing the automakers to showcase their biggest wares to date to excite customers for car upgrades or new purchases.

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Meantime, the 2016 Detroit Auto Show got a sideshow glitz when  the White House announced earlier that U.S. President Barack Obama will drop by the exhibit on January 20. The visit is Obama’s first and is notable considering he’s instrumental behind the billion-dollar financing that saved Chrysler and GM from toppling over during the last recession.

Back to our fave five, do you think these are the coolest rides in the show?

GM Buick Avista Concept
GM Buick Avista ConceptGM Buick Avista Concept

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They transformed the grille that adds to the broad-shouldered but sleek look of this coupe.

It’s rear-wheel drive, which is a first for GM since the late eighties. Inside, this car looks like it’s been lifted from a sci-fi movie; all major controls are accessed via touch screen. Avista has perforated leather, brushed aluminum trim, and sophisticated electronics. Analysts believe it has its sights on Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Camaro.

2017 Lincoln Continental

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Lincoln Continental conceptLincoln Continental concept

It seems an amalgamation of Bentley, Volvo, and Ford, but it works.The underpinnings may have Ford parts, but its V6 powertrain engine is entirely Continental. And the interior, too. “Quiet, understated luxury is always what Lincoln has stood for,” is how Chris Theodore, the former product development chief for Ford North America, said. It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter  V6 with 400hp.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Its 9-speed automatic is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, giving this sedan 275 hp running on a C350 plug-in hybrid. The car can run for 20 miles under electric-only charge. It also features a semi-autonomous Drive Pilot that helps anticipate obstacles and accidents. Want this car? Prepare somewhere south of $100,000.

Honda Ridgeline
honda ridgelinehonda ridgeline

This midsize pickup is handsome with comfortable seats and a neat dashboard. Nothing fancy, the Ridgeline is a tough truck to chug across weekend out-of-town trails, while it’s pretty enough to take to your corporate meeting the next day. An audio system is securely installed in the bed that can withstand the elements.

Lexus LF-FC Concept
Lexus LF-FC ConceptLexus LF-FC Concept

It features a long wheelbase and sleek profile that makes this Lexus look more like an Italian swagger than a Japanese samurai in deep meditation. It is expected that the model will use conventional gas powertrain with an optional hybrid system. The highlight is the new Lexus’ next-generation automated driving technology, which puts the car on track of the self-driving car concept..

Have you been to the 2016 Detroit Auto Show? What are your favorite cars?

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Need For Speed February Update Adds Many New Features

Need For Speed racers have a lot to look forward to next month. Electronic Arts (EA) has just revealed some exciting new features that are coming to the game in the “Showcase” update, which hits all platforms on Feb. 3.

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The big addition is “Snapshot Pro,” a new photo mode that lets players capture, edit, and share images of their tweaked rides. Here’s the official description from EA’s announcement:

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“Hit start to get to phone screen, then select Snapshot Pro from the phone menu. You’ll then be able to manoeuvre the camera around the car, apply a number of custom settings such as depth of field, brightness, contrast, vignette, saturation and more. You’ll also be able to apply a number of pre-set filters, allowing you to achieve great results in a very short amount of time.”

Another welcome addition is the new wrap-sharing feature. Now skilled car customizers can easily share their custom wraps and paints with other members of the community. Players can also download other creators’ works and apply them to their cars instantly.

EA is also promising over 100 new customization items for several of the game’s cars. The vehicles on the list are:

Advertisement        Ford Focus RS        Chevrolet Camaro Z28        BMW M3 E92        Ford Mustang Boss 302        Ford Mustang Foxbody        Ford Mustang GT        Mazda MX5 (2015)        NISSAN 180sx Type X        NISSAN Silvia Spec-R        SUBARU BRZ Premium        SUBARU Impreza WRX

Rounding out the new customization options is a license plate creator. The new feature lets players customize the text on their plate and select one of the numerous backgrounds available.

Multiplayer is also getting a boost in the form of a new competitive option that allows players who are looking to race to be matched with fellow racers. To see the full patch notes, check out Need For Speed’s website.

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Google's self-driving cars may come to London, transport officials say

Google’s self-driving cars have already reached to Kirkland Washington and Texas for trials. The transport officials in London have been inviting the company to the city. The officials are said to be in discussions with Google to persuade the tech firm to bring the self driving cars to London.

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Isabel Dedring, the deputy mayor for transport, claimed the officials met with Google to convince the company to extend the trials to England’s capital.

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“It’s going to have to work in big cities, so why don’t we start trialling it now? Google have said they are focused on the US, but they’re starting to think about going elsewhere, so we’re in active discussions,” Dedring said in an interview as quoted by The Guardian.

“We met them a few weeks ago to see whether they would do trials here. It is still very early days, but we would be keen for trials to happen in London whenever Google are ready to move them into other countries,” Dedring added.

London is undoubtedly a pretty impressive ground for Google to test its self-driving cars. It is possible that Google is tempted by the proposal of the transport department officials because the company might surely want to test its vehicle and technology in different conditions and roads. With heavy traffic to crowds of pedestrians, smaller roads and expressways, the city of London would provide insightful data to the firm. Google will also be benefitted with testing the rides on the left.

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Dedring has never been a tech enthusiast, but she says that self-driving cars have some great benefits. These vehicles are much safer as everything is controlled by the computers. Autonomous vehicles may also lower down the likelihood of accidents. As the vehicle size will not be huge, people can expect a decrease in case of road accidents.

Google has not revealed anything if the firm will indeed extend the trial to the United Kingdom. It seems that the company is initially focused on the US market only. Google self-driving pilot is currently working in three cities and trials in London would need time, money and a team based somewhere in the UK.

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Tesla Model 3 Price Puts It Head On Vs These Cars

Tesla Model 3 is scheduled for showcase on March 31, but this isn’t an actual release with production and first deliveries not coming up until 2017. The Model 3 is expected to start at $35,000, according to Tesla Motors, but it will be selling for as low as $25000 soon.

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Tesla has confirmed that the $35,000 price tag on the Model 3 doesn’t include the significant federal and state incentives available to electric car buyers. “We can confirm it’s $35,000 before incentives,” a Tesla spokeswoman told Bloomberg. “We haven’t changed our minds.”

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The Model 3 could become a true mass-market vehicle given the fact that tax incentives can knock off as much as $10,000 from the cost of purchase. The base incentive alone is $7,500 federal income tax credit available to everyone in the country. Additional incentives would further knock down the price in more than a dozen states, including an additional $6,000 in Colorado and $2,500 in California, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. So it will likely give Tesla a room to take on a large number of vehicles electric, hybrid or traditional, given their superior mileage that gives 200 miles minimum.

So with a longer range battery Tesla will be taking on these cars:

BMW i3 ($ 43,350)

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BMW’s electric hatchback boasts 170 horsepower and a range of up to 81 miles or 150 miles with an optional range-extending gas engine, says EVObsession. The EPA estimates the range at 81 miles per charge; it can charge in three hours from a 220-volt outlet.

Mercedes B-Class Electric ($ 41,450)

Mercedes-Benz too brought an all-electric vehicle to the party. Priced near the BMW i3, Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive gives 87 miles of electric range.

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Nissan LEAF ($29,010)

Nissan Leaf still holds a spot in the top five with 84 miles of range on a full charge. Classified by the EPA as a midsize car, the Leaf boasts an impressive efficiency rating of 114 MPGe.

The LEAF is the best-selling electric car in history globally, in the US, in Europe, and in Japan.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (38,825)

The Sportback e-tron is basically an A3 five-door with a 1.4-liter turbo four, an electric motor, and battery pack. Caranddriver.com confirms the combined output of the car is 204 hp; but all-electric range is only 31 miles.

Chevrolet Volt ($33,995)

The all-electric range is 53 miles; after that, the gas engine starts up to recharge the battery and keep you going. Total driving range is 420 miles and charge times are 13 hours on 120V and 4.5 on 240V.

Renault Zoe (£13,443)

It’s super affordable, yet comfortable, stylish, and has all of the things most of us need in a car. It seats 5 and has 130 miles or 210 kilometers of range in Europe.

Fiat 500e ($32000)

Fiat’s mini EV offers a dose of Italian style along with third-best electric range of 87 miles on a full charge. Fiat 500e offers drivers the equivalent of 116 combined miles per gallon and an estimated $5,750 in fuel savings over five years of operation. With that figure and the $7,500 tax credit in mind (not to mention state incentives), its starting price makes plenty of sense.

Kia Soul EV ($33700)

Kia offers 93 miles of electric driving range, voice command navigation, parking assist, and a host of other features and has a respectable 105 MPGe.

VW e-Golf ($33450)

The Volkswagen e-Golf is tied for third as the most efficient car in the U.S. market. Along with that strength, the electric Golf offers 83 miles of range on a full charge and gets an even better 116 MPGe.

Ford Focus Electric($29,170)

It seats 5 comfortably, has 76 miles (122 km) of range on a full charge, and gets a stellar 105 MPGe.

Chevy Spark EV ($25,995)

Spark EV’s 119 miles per gallon equivalent made it the car with the second-best economy in the United States at 119 MPGe. Pricing dips well below $20,000 after the federal EV tax rebate, while its very affordable lease ($139 a month) has made it a sensation on the EV market in 2015.

Smart Electric Drive ($25,750)

The tiny Smart EV delivers up to 68 miles on a full charge as well as 107 combined miles per gallon equivalent, fifth-best on the road. Smart’s Electric Drive is currently the only electric vehicle with a convertible option and remains the most affordable model for drivers who want to go green. At a post-rebate cost of $18,250 and $0.95 in operating costs for every 25 miles, it delivers transportation on any budget.

Additionally, GM will be making the first deliveries of its 200-mile Chevy Bolt later this year. The Bolt is expected to deliver “200-plus” mile range for a net price of around $30,000 after tax breaks. It can reach 0-60 time under 7 seconds, which would match or best vehicles of similar size and shape like Ford’s C-Max. So it seems future of electric cars is finally here.

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Toyota Settlement: Automaker Agrees To Pay $3.4 Billion Over Rust Disputes

In recent days, news of Toyota’s settlement for a reported $3.4 billion, or thereabouts, has made headlines. Owners of certain vehicle models claimed that they were insufficiently protected from rust and corrosion, and Toyota will now be digging deep into its pockets to settle the claims. Toyota to settle U.S. truck rust lawsuit for up to $3.4 billion https://t.co/7CUehlXmKv pic.twitter.com/y3NXD8KU5Q — Reuters Top News (@Reuters) November 13, 2016 According to Sara Randazzo of The Wall Street Journal, the Toyota settlement covers 1.5 million compact and full-size trucks (also known as the Tacoma and Tundra models, respectively) as well as the Sequoia sport-utility vehicle. All of the vehicles covered in the agreement were made in the year 2010 or before. Toyota’s settlement includes Tacomas made from 2005-10, Tundras made from 2007-08, and Sequoias made from 2005-08. The Wall Street Journal also reports that this is an obvious and clear setback for the Japanese automaker. “The agreement is a substantial financial setback at a time when the Japanese auto giant’s record-breaking profit streak has slowed in recent quarters as a strong yen dents its performance. The company also is part of a broader group of auto makers facing plateauing retail sales in the profitable U.S. market.” As reported by Keith Laing of the Detroit News, Toyota’s settlement was approved by a U.S. District Judge in Los Angeles, California this past Wednesday. As also reported by the Detroit News, Toyota’s settlement does not include an admission of wrongdoing by the company. “The settlement agreement states that the deal is not “an admission or concession of any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever” on behalf of Toyota.” Toyota further seemed to reassure customers that it cares deeply about customer satisfaction, and it is dedicated to maintaining a high level of excellence in its vehicles. “Toyota said in a statement “we want our customers to have a great ownership experience, so we are pleased to resolve this litigation in a way that benefits them and demonstrates that we stand behind the quality and reliability of our vehicles.”” Toyota’s settlement also means that the company will have other expenses, as Reuters reports. “Toyota also agreed to pay $9.75 million in attorneys’ fees, $150,000 in costs and expenses, and $2,500 each to the named eight class representatives as well as the cost of advertising the settlement.” For a little bit more background, Laing’s article in the Detroit News reports that the lawsuit began with a plaintiff in Arkansas, who was an owner of one of the Tacomas that was affected. The lawsuit was later changed to also include Tundra and Sequoia owners in four other states, per the Detroit News. According to Reuters, court documents showed that the problem was serious enough to put the “structural integrity” of the vehicles at risk. Per the agreement, owners of the vehicles in question will now have the opportunity to have Toyota inspect their frames for a period of 12 years from the day they were originally leased or sold. According to Reuters, if the frames of the affected vehicles do indeed need to be replaced, it will come at the company’s expense. Moreover, if owners have already paid for a frame replacement, they will be reimbursed. Having rust on a vehicle is certainly not a fun thing to deal with, and it is worth noting that the news of Toyota’s settlement also comes as winter is approaching. Rust can be a big problem for vehicle owners who live in the “salt belt,” which are states where salt is used to combat snow and ice on the roads. DMV.org has a few helpful tips on how to protect vehicles from rusting due to road salt. Among them are planning ahead by thoroughly cleaning and waxing your automobile during the fall months. The smooth running 2017 @Toyota Tacoma TRD is comfy on and off road https://t.co/IO6UcbTJ5m pic.twitter.com/DUi3bI2NcT — Autoblog (@therealautoblog) November 11, 2016 Though still behind trucks made by American companies, such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Dodge Ram, the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra have become quite popular in the United States. According to GoodCarBadCar.net, the Tacoma and Tundra were recently ranked as the fifth and sixth best-selling pickup trucks in the country. The news of Toyota’s settlement is clearly a big blow for the company, but it still wouldn’t be shocking to see sales of the Tacoma and Tundra remain steady. [Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]

Fiat Chrysler Inflated Sales Numbers, Leads To Class Action Lawsuit By Shareholders

Fiat Chrysler is struggling as it was recently revealed that the car maker inflated its sales numbers and claimed thousands of car sales that never happened. A class action lawsuit by the shareholders in now taking place as Fiat Chrysler plans to stop making small cars to focus on making Jeeps and Rams. Jalopnik reported that Fiat Chrysler had been posting thousands of sales, but the data pointed to the sales being fake. Fiat Chrysler is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). Two company sources reported that Fiat Chrysler executives ordered an internal review in 2015 that discovered the thousands of fake sales where there was no buyer. Another insider at Fiat Chrysler said that the employee turnover rate was four times higher at the company’s nine business centers than the rest of the company. Fiat Chrysler review shows U.S. sales figures were inflated: report https://t.co/2p0J7g6Z7W pic.twitter.com/gmKkkTOxQQ — Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) July 25, 2016 The over the tops sales allowed the company to set a record of 75 months in a row where the high sales were the longest running active streak of any auto maker. Reid Bigland, the U. S. sales head, put a stop to the practice after it was discovered, and lawsuits were underway. The Car Connection reported that the sales stats were inflated, and the SEC and the U. S. Justice Department were set to investigate. In January, two dealerships filed lawsuits against Fiat Chrysler claiming that Fiat Chrysler had ordered them to inflate their sales claims. Although the lawsuit didn’t explain exactly how the sales were recorded, it did state the following. “FCA asked the dealerships to submit inflated sales stats on the last day of particular months, then back the sales out of the system on the following day. Doing so would have allowed the false sales to be counted for the given month, but kept the factory warranties on the affected vehicles from being processed, which would’ve made backing the sales out of the system more difficult to do.” A Double Whammy for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: Sales Scandal and 323k Vehicles Recalled – https://t.co/s643BZIsBK pic.twitter.com/17sQokSVtO — TFLcar (@TFLcar) July 25, 2016 Tech Times reported that Fiat Chrysler would stop making small cars in the U. S. and would focus on the Jeep and also Ram trucks instead. Sergio Marchionne, CEO at Fiat Chrysler made the announcement and said that the last cars would roll off the assembly line at the end of 2017. Factories that are currently assembling the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 will stop building the cars and switch to delivering SUVs and trucks. Fiat plans to invest $1.5 billion in its assembly plant in Sterling, Michigan. The Sterling, Michigan plant was responsible for assembling the Chrysler 200 C, and with the decline in car sales, approximately 1,300 employees were laid off from the plant. Once the plant is upgraded, it will be used to assemble the Dodge Ram trucks. Fiat Chrysler faked ‘thousands’ of vehicle sales: report https://t.co/FsUIWHh8Ux pic.twitter.com/wOAZLpvqNV — Jalopnik (@Jalopnik) July 25, 2016 In a press release released through PR Web, it was announced that the shareholders of Fiat Chrysler were involved with a class action lawsuit against the company. The class action lawsuit was recently announced and filed by the law firm Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP and covers the purchase period between October 29, 2014 and July 18, 2016. Shareholders who purchased the Fiat Chrysler stock have until September 27, 2016 to petition the court to be appointed a lead plaintiff in the case. The complaint alleges that Fiat Chrysler failed to reveal the true financial condition of the company to shareholders who purchased the stock. Specifically, this meant that Fiat Chrysler inflated their sales figures to inflate the price of the stock. [Photo via Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

2016 Detroit Auto Show: Are These The 5 Coolest Cars On Stage?

The 2016 Detroit Auto Show opened last Monday, giving us a look of things to come for the U.S. auto industry. Overall, the event is bannered by muscle cars and luxury rides, a trend that reflects more Americans go for the glamorously fast or furiously bulky. We pick up five cars that we thought are cool and merit a tenth look from you.

Advertisement

The Detroit car show comes on the heels of the U.S. auto industry breaking a decade-old record, in a report by Bloomberg. The car exhibit is expected to carry over last year’s momentum to this year, allowing the automakers to showcase their biggest wares to date to excite customers for car upgrades or new purchases.

Advertisement

Meantime, the 2016 Detroit Auto Show got a sideshow glitz when  the White House announced earlier that U.S. President Barack Obama will drop by the exhibit on January 20. The visit is Obama’s first and is notable considering he’s instrumental behind the billion-dollar financing that saved Chrysler and GM from toppling over during the last recession.

Back to our fave five, do you think these are the coolest rides in the show?

GM Buick Avista Concept
GM Buick Avista ConceptGM Buick Avista Concept

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They transformed the grille that adds to the broad-shouldered but sleek look of this coupe.

It’s rear-wheel drive, which is a first for GM since the late eighties. Inside, this car looks like it’s been lifted from a sci-fi movie; all major controls are accessed via touch screen. Avista has perforated leather, brushed aluminum trim, and sophisticated electronics. Analysts believe it has its sights on Cadillac ATS and Chevrolet Camaro.

2017 Lincoln Continental

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Lincoln Continental conceptLincoln Continental concept

It seems an amalgamation of Bentley, Volvo, and Ford, but it works.The underpinnings may have Ford parts, but its V6 powertrain engine is entirely Continental. And the interior, too. “Quiet, understated luxury is always what Lincoln has stood for,” is how Chris Theodore, the former product development chief for Ford North America, said. It’s powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter  V6 with 400hp.

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Its 9-speed automatic is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, giving this sedan 275 hp running on a C350 plug-in hybrid. The car can run for 20 miles under electric-only charge. It also features a semi-autonomous Drive Pilot that helps anticipate obstacles and accidents. Want this car? Prepare somewhere south of $100,000.

Honda Ridgeline
honda ridgelinehonda ridgeline

This midsize pickup is handsome with comfortable seats and a neat dashboard. Nothing fancy, the Ridgeline is a tough truck to chug across weekend out-of-town trails, while it’s pretty enough to take to your corporate meeting the next day. An audio system is securely installed in the bed that can withstand the elements.

Lexus LF-FC Concept
Lexus LF-FC ConceptLexus LF-FC Concept

It features a long wheelbase and sleek profile that makes this Lexus look more like an Italian swagger than a Japanese samurai in deep meditation. It is expected that the model will use conventional gas powertrain with an optional hybrid system. The highlight is the new Lexus’ next-generation automated driving technology, which puts the car on track of the self-driving car concept..

Have you been to the 2016 Detroit Auto Show? What are your favorite cars?

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Uber Promises No Driver Layoffs With Launch Of Self-Drive Cars

Uber is finally launching driverless cars for hire. Should Uber drivers start fearing for their jobs? Times are changing quite quickly, with technological advancement getting more aggressive by the day. And with Google’s self-driving cars driving down the street, car-for-hire company Uber is starting to launch their driverless fleet, ready for hire, in Pittsburgh this month. Uber’s official statement reads: Starting later this month, Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved. Uber’s Pittsburgh fleet, which will be supervised by humans in the driver’s seat for the time being, consists of specially modified Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicles outfitted with dozens of sensors that use cameras, lasers, radar, and GPS receivers. Volvo Cars has so far delivered a handful of vehicles out of a total of 100 due by the end of the year. The two companies signed a pact earlier this year to spend $300 million to develop a fully autonomous car that will be ready for the road by 2021. As of now, Uber is launching these self-driving Volvo cars, which are still co-piloted by Uber drivers. According to a new report by Bloomberg, Uber is also acquiring Otto, a company that has been focused on developing self-driving technology that can be fitted on already existing cars. This means that with the acquisition of Otto in the books for Uber, Uber may be looking to fit regular cars with self-driving technology in the near future, too. We’re joining with @ottodrives to rethink the future of transportation. Read more on Travis Kalanick’s thoughts: https://t.co/WKAnOJjEDj — Uber (@Uber) August 18, 2016 It’s clear that the prices of on-demand rides will drastically drop once Uber completely implements self-driving technology across its vehicles, since the company and the user, technically, will not have to pay anymore for the driver. This, however, raised several concerns among Uber drivers. Will Uber finally get rid of Uber drivers since their cars can basically function without them? Uber is adapting to the times with the launch of their self-drive fleet (photo by iStock) As of now, state law requires a licensed driver to be seated behind the wheel of any vehicle, autonomous or not. So this means Uber cannot get rid of their drivers just yet. But with technology fast developing, how soon will state law finally adapt? The Guardian talked to 41-year-old Uber driver Rob Judge regarding the concern that Uber drivers might be rendered useless due to the change in Uber’s approach to its services and Ingram notes: It feels like we’re just rentals. We’re kind of like placeholders until the technology comes out. For me personally, this isn’t a long term stop. But for a lot of other people that I’ve connected with, this is their only means. It has the potential for that human interaction to go away, and that’s the best part of the whole experience. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick tells Business Insider in an interview, however, that Uber drivers do not have to fear that the company is trying to get rid of their drivers. In fact, Uber is looking to even increase their workforce: If you’re talking about a city like San Francisco or the Bay Area generally, we have, like, 30,000 active drivers. We are going to go from 30,000 to, let’s say, hypothetically, a million cars, right? But when you go to a million cars, you’re still going to need a human-driven parallel, or hybrid. And the reason why is because there are just places that autonomous cars are just not going to be able to go or conditions they’re not going to be able to handle. And even though it is going to be a smaller percentage of the whole, I can imagine 50,000 to 100,000 drivers, human drivers, alongside a million-car network. So I don’t think the number of human drivers will go down anytime soon. In fact, I think in an autonomous world, it goes up. In absolute figures. With plenty of people wanting to get around the city without the hassle of driving, parking, and dealing with the traffic, Uber is gaining steady footing in many countries across the globe. Uber’s move to deploy their autonomous cars is only the first step for the company and the industry to grow. [Featured image via iStock]

Aston Martin And Red Bull Racing Unleash The Hypercar AM-RB 001

Earlier this year Aston Martin teamed with Red Bull Racing and promised to deliver the ultimate hypercar. The company released the AM-RB 001. Based on its design and performance, as well as technical wizardry, it has been elevated to the level of hypercar. The Australian reported that the Aston Martin AM-RB 001 is the result of pairing a luxury brand with a team that has excelled in F1 and offers speed and efficiency. The team at Red Bull is led by Adrian Newey, who is a renowned race engineer as well as an aerodynamics expert. One of the features of the AM-RB 001 is that it offers radical underfloor dynamics that will keep it pressed to the tarmac at high speeds. Newey said that he wanted to design a car that was a road car and it also had to be exceptional on the track. “This means it really has to be a car of two characters. That’s the secret we’re trying to put into this car — the technology that allows it to be docile and comfortable but with immense outright capabilities.” .@AstonMartin and @RedBull are already working on the follow-up to the AM-RB 001.https://t.co/8pQtDPZKW5 pic.twitter.com/a1DP9YrH6w — HYPEBEAST (@HYPEBEAST) July 18, 2016 Autoevolution reported that the Aston Martin AM-RB 001 is a road legal, mid-engine supercar. Only 100 units of the car will be sold. Aston Martin created a brand new engine for the car that revs at 11,000 rpm. This is the first hypercar designed by Aston Martin, and the next design the car company is expected to release will appear sometime in 2020. The body is the design of Aston Martin design chief Marek Reichman. The engine raises the bar on supercars. It is a high revving V12 that can achieve a one-to-one power ratio. This means a 1bhp (0.75kW) for each kilogram of vehicle weight. The AM-RB 001 is the product of a joint development program between Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced… https://t.co/Z8UH3CAKFq — Westcoast Auto (@wca_sales) July 24, 2016 Gizmag reported that the new Aston Martin AM-RB 001 mixes state of the art underbody dynamics with a design that will bring car lovers to their knees. It has heavily sculpted flanks, and is comparable to the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918. It is also built around a carbon fiber structure and has a complex underbody structure to create downforce, which fits in with the classic Aston Martin aesthetic. Because the design was done with Red Bull, Aston Martin integrated the tight restrictions that are required of Formula One designs. Since it is designed more for the road than the track, it makes it possible for Newey to create the design elements he wanted without having to completely stick to all the restrictions normally required for Formula One cars. Aston Martin AM-RB-001 supercar concept, due in 2018! ???? pic.twitter.com/0gvwskCjCF — Beck Evans (@beckevans2000) July 22, 2016 Car and Driver reported that the new Aston Martin AM-RB 001 will have a price tag of around $3 million. According to Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, it is the fastest street legal car in the world. It comes with a tiny passenger compartment, and a motorsport style keel running underneath the car. Marek Reichman said the car would probably come in two variants, a street legal version and one for the track only. Newey said that the track only version would be designed to be as fast as the LMP1-class Le Mans endurance racer. Many of the parts between the street legal version and track only version will be the same. The AM-RB 001 is expected to be at least 20 seconds quicker on the track than the Porsche 918 or McLaren P1. The goal is to make the Aston Martin AM-RB 001 the fastest car on the road. [Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images]