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Saturday, 11 October 2008

Troller, under Ford control, presents the 2009 T4

Troller T4 is a Brazilian SUV that has been sold to some countries when its company was independent. It has been recently bought by Ford, who was seeking for new tax exemptions to increase its production capacity in Brazil. Most fans of T4 have feared its production would be ended up, but Ford apparently is investing in the vehicle's development, as it is clear with the presentation of the 2009 model.

T4 has had small exterior changes, such as a new removable front grille, to make engine repairs easier, as well as a curved windshield (the old one was flat), more resistant and less vulnerable to small rocks. The interior has been extensively revised and uses Ford components, what makes it look a lot like EcoSport from the inside. The only difference is that Troller T4 is a real off-roader, with known 4x4 capability.

The engine is still the 3-litre inline 4-cylindre MWM/International, able to produce 163 bhp at 3,800 rpm and 380 Nm between 1,600 rpm a 2,200 rpm. Prices will most certainly remain the same or be reduced, due to production process improvements and scale benefits.

Source: Troller via Troller Clube and O Povo

Friday, 10 October 2008

Carbon Motors E7, first purpose-built police car, will be presented this month

Next week, on Tuesday, the first purpose-built police car of the world will make its premiere to the public. Carbon Motors "E7", the codename of the car project (until North American police officers decide the name the car will have), will be shown at the "2008 Pure Justice Tour", an event the company has created to visi nine USA cities: Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Indianapolis, Columbus, Tampa, Jacksonville and Greenville. The first presentation will take place in Chicago.

The idea of the tour is to present the car to the most interested people on the product, policemen. According to Carbon Motors, many of them have been consulted to create the car. Probably some of them were European, since E7 will have a turbodiesel engine, a very popular option in the Old World, but not exactly the sort of engine most North Americans like the most. Who knows if this is not a chance for these powerplants to become popular around there?

There will be lots of advantages. Besides the high autonomy the fuel provides, what accounts for lower running costs, it also emits less CO2 and is not exactly weak. This 3-litre engine (possibly an inline six-cylindre) provides 300 bhp and 356 Nm of torque, a low figure for such a big turbodiesel engine. Since Carbon Motors has written it will have 420 lb-ft, maybe they have made a mistake and written the Nm unit in lb-ft. We tried to contact Carbon Motors, but did not manage to get in touch so far.

If performance is a concern, you are allowed to think again. The company says the car can reach 96 km/h from 0 in 6.5 s, a top speed of 250 km/h and a fuel economy of about 13 km/l in a combined cycle.

E7, or whatever they decide to name it, is a 5.08 m long, 1.98 m wide and 1.63 m tall sedan (wheelbase reaches 3.10 m). Although it has a aluminum spaceframe body structure, it still weighs a lot: about 1,800 kg. Weight distribution is said to be 50%/50% between front and rear axles, what will make it a really interesting machine to drive, euphemistically speaking.

This may be due to the fact it is loaded with police equipment, such as integrated surveillance capabilities, radar, LoJack, automatic license plate recognition system, radiation and biological threat detectors, 360º built-in LED emergency lighting, on-board Rapid Command Architecture™ (ORCA™) with a large touch-screen main display and a separate touch screen keyboard providing world-class data communication and human-machine interface. Armoring can be NIJ Level III-A or better, but only for front doors and dash panel. Or it is highly deficient, since no partial armoring is suitable, or Carbon Motors has forgotten to mention bullet-proof windows and front and rear seats partition.

Among other interesting features, E7 presents coach rear doors, for easier access for suspects and 120 km/h rear impact crash capability. This is clearly a precaution, since some state that Ford Crown Victoria, one of North American police officers' favourites, fire up when hit on the back.

Prices will only be revealed in some months, but Carbon Motors claims it will be similar to regular modified vehicles. It it rides as well as technical specs promise, all policen in the world will want to have an E7. And all bad guys too!

Source: Carbon Motors

Thursday, 9 October 2008

MDI releases the concept car AirPOD

MDI, the company created by the French engineer Guy Nègre, has released today a new vehicle to be "powered by compressed air", the AirPOD, a name that tries to associate the car with one of our days icon, the iPod, from Apple. As well as the MP3 device, MDI's AirPOD is compact and has an original design. We just can't say it is exactly elegant or beautiful, especially considering it should be a car.

Besides the compressed air engine, the AirPOD has another unusual feature: a joystick instead of a steering wheel. All controls, as the ones in Venturi Volage, are "by wire", with no mechanical connection among components.

Considering it is a 2.07 m long, 1.60 m wide and 1.74 m tall covered car (it looks like a trike, but it has two hidden wheels in the front end) with room for four people (three adults and one child), it had to save space for its passengers. Direction is given by different speeds in each of the rear wheels, another similarity with Volage.

Very light (only 220 kg for the passenger version), it can have its 175 l air tank recharged in a mere 1.5 minute (at 350 bar!) and is able to run up to 220 km, with a top speed of 70 km/h for people with a driving license.

In France, there are vehicles that can be driven by children and people with no driving licenses in regular city traffic. For these people, AirPOD's top speed is limited to 45 km/h.

MDI declares AirPOD will be the first car to be series-produced, by the end of the first quarter of 2009. It will join three other vehicles: OneFlowAIR, a convertible, MiniFlowAIR, a small city car a little bigger than AirPOD and CityFlowAIR, a mid-sized vehicle able to carry six people. Prices are said to be incredibly low when compared to similar sized vehicles, especially if they are electric.

Source: MDI

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

TAC Stark receives a 2.3-litre turbodiesel engine from FPT

Logic doesn't prevail all the time in the automotive world, especially when there are some information missing to support it. We, for example, believed TAC Stark, a small general purpose vehicle, would be equipped with a 1.9-litre engine from FPT and already in use by Linea, but FPT offered TAC something much better: the new S23 2.3-litres turbodiesel engine, one that powers Iveco Daily in Europe.

Logic, in this case, pointed to the 1.9 litre engine due to the presentation of Stark two years ago, at São Paulo Motor Show, in which a 1.8-litre flexible engine from VW was used in the car. According to Adolfo Cesar dos Santos, president of TAC, this engines was proposed at the time because available diesel engines were too heavy and because legislation is getting tougher on emissions, such as Euro 4 and Euro 5.

Since TAC volumes will not the very high (they will top 100 units per month in three years), and the new S23 engine will be mass-produced to up to 20,000 units. In order to make sense, this engine will not be used solely on Stark, but also for Fiat products, such as its version of Campagnola and Massif, sold in Europe under the Iveco brand.

Source: TAC and FPT

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Morgan Space, a design study that will never reach production (but should)

If you know what Morgan is, you must revere it (I do). After all, the company produces sportscar for over 100 years and still is at a top position when it comes to driving pleasure. Small, light and powerful cars. Even the style of the car is still the same, what does not prevent them to have long waiting lists (some may reach four years of awaiting). If you know the latest cars of the company, you may still like them, although the headlights of Aeromax are a little strabismic. They would be much more interesting if followed the Georgian designer Vladimer Kobakhidze's ideas. They are now known as Space.

Since it is only a design proposition, the car shall not reach production lines. If it did, it would still have the wood structure and the aluminium body that characterizes Morgan, but with the improved front end and a boattail rear end that distinguishes all the nicest classic cars in history. The engine would be the same BMW V8 that power the Aeromax. Indeed a car to run through our dreams.


Tata Nano will no longer be produced in Singur

Tata Nano, pointed out as the cheapest car of the world, lost its home definitely. After several violent protests from farmers against the little car's factory in Singur, West Bengal, in India, Tata has talked to the governor and announced once and for all it will abandon the plant that was already ready to function.

The press release regarding this decision is more a complain against Mamata Banerjee, one of the politicians that led the protests, than real information on what will happen to Tata's production. It also makes very clear the region lost its chance to become an industrialised place. Nano's new production ground has not been announced so far.

Source: Tata