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Saturday, 18 October 2008

Mini E, the all-electric Mini, will be released at Los Angeles Auto Show

BMW will soon present a small city car with its own badge to decrease its emission rates. Meanwhile, it will start testing its electric technologies on Mini, more specifically on Mini E, a 500-unit limited run of the little car that runs solely on electricity.

Most adaptations of existing cars result in some sort of loss, once these vehicles were not meant to perform their new functions. In Mini's case, the back seats are gone in favour of a large package of lithium-ion batteries (5,088 cells that have been grouped into 48 modules). This is not due only to lack of space, but also for a better weight distribution. If Mini E used four electric engines (one in each wheel) instead of only one, under the bonnet, as a regular engine, batteries could have been placed in the front end of the car, but BMW has chosen a more conservative arrangement.

These batteries can provide Mini E with 35 Kwh and 380V as direct current. This is enough for a top speed of 152 km/h (electronically limited) and 240 km of range. The 204 bhp electric engine can also sprint Mini E from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 s. Mini E could do better if it was not so heavy: 1,465 kg.

The gas pedal works also as a brake. When it is not pressed, the engine works as a generator and brakes the car, what helps improve car range in about 20%.

Besides having only a 500-unit run (with the car serial number printed in its side fender, close to side indication lights), Mini E will be sold to private clients and corporations only in California, USA. Sales in Europe are also under careful consideration, but will also have a limit. All of them will be leased by the end of 2008. Their owners may stay with the car for up to two years. When this period ends, all Mini E cars will get back to BMW for more studies and possibly a regular all-electric car soon afterwards. Possibly with at least four places and sales to other places all over the world.

Source: BMW

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Next-generation Renault Scénic appears on the web

A little after Renault Mégane official presentation, the next product to be originated from the new platform will be Scénic, the minivan from Mégane. These images have emerged at the Italian site and must have been obtained from patent registries, as most of the last spy images like these have appeared.

There is no information on engines or other technical specs, but the images seem to be real due to the resemblance the new minivan seems to have with the new Mégane. Just pay attention to the front end and to the backlights. The new Scénic must appear at next year's Geneva Motor Show, in March.


Carbon Motors E7 has its first official images revealed

We have already presented you renderings of the first purpose-built police car of the world, the so far called Carbon Motors E7 (policemen will choose a new name very soon for it). Now that its avant-première has taken place in Chicago, we can also show you the pictures of the car. I could have them protected with MotorTips logo, but won't do so in order to favour our readers so, if you would like to reproduce them, please give MotorTips the credit for them (an active link would be great, too!). Here they go!

E7 will be powered by a turbodiesel 3-litre engine (possibly an inline six-cylindre) that provides 300 bhp and 356 Nm of torque, a low figure for such a big turbodiesel engine. It must be bigger and the 420 lb-ft maybe, in fact, Nm. We'll get in touch with Carbon Motors to make that sure.

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. You can see most of these things on the dashboard pictures. Take a good look.

Armoring can be NIJ Level III-A or better, but only for front doors and dash panel. This is something else we have got to confirm, since partial armorings are said to be highly deficient. Carbon Motors must have 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. The production site is also to be defined, but it is nice to see the car is real. And that it works.

Source: Carbon Motors

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Harmon Splinter, the wooden supercar, appear almost in its final form

We have already spoken about Joe Harmon, a designer from North Carolina, and his incredible creation, a supercar made of wood and named Splinter. We have promised we would bring the first pictures of the car when it was ready. It still lacks its mid-mounted 4.6-litre V8 NorthStar engine able to produce 600 bhp for the rear wheels, with the help of two Roots superchargers, but you can have a fair idea of the vehicle with the pictures below.

Splinter is 4.43 m long, 2.08 m wide, 1.07 m tall, has a wheelbase of 2.67 m and weighs something below 1,200 kg. It's first public appearance occurred at the 2008 IWF (International Woodworking Fair) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Source: Joe Harmon Design

Gordon Murray celebrates the first birthday of T.25

Gordon Murray is the creator of one of the most fantastic automobiles ever built, the McLaren F1. Although this car was all about performance, Murray loves cars and has proposed, exactly one year ago, an answer for nowadays concerns on transportation and carbon dioxide emissions. Called T.25, it is said to be revolutionary not only in design, but also in producing methods and rationality. Unfortunately, it celebrates its first birthday all covered up.

Presented beside two supermini icons of the past and the presents, Fiat 500 and Mini, T.25 is so small two of them can run side by side inside an UK lane. Three of them also fit a regular parking space in the UK, what saves a lot of space without eliminating cars, something that the World Car Free Day so eagerly intends to do.

Although small, T.25 will meet at least EuroNCAP four star standards, according to Gordon Murray Design, the company Murray has founded to carry on his projects. His new car promises to be cheap both to buy and to maintain, safe, modern and with a nice performance, since it will be very light and no big engine will be necessary to push it ahead. The car will be revealed next year, by Octobre. We hope to see it a little earlier than that.

Source: Gordon Murray Design via AutoBlog

Fiat Punto T-JET gets ready for market presentation

Fiat still has some great new presentations for South America in the next few months, such as a double cab Strada, Bravo and the Campagnola SUV, but at least one of them is about to reach the market. We're talking about the sports version of Punto, T-JET, which receives the same name of the engine that powers it, a 1.4-litre 16V turbo petrol engine that pumps out 152 bhp. And we can say that after one of our readers, Fernando Augusto Coelho Pinho, from Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, in Brazil, has sent us these pictures, while the official press images were being taken. Why not anticipate them?

Besides Brazil, this car is sure to reach most South American countries, especially Argentina. T-JET badges can be seen in the lower right corner of the front right door and the back door, also. In Europe, this car, in three door version, receives the Abarth badge.

"I was close to my store when I realised a strange movimentation in the parking lot close by. There was a truck blocking the view of the people that was passing by, but, as I got closer, I saw a space between the truck and the street. So I took of my camera and started shooting. When they realised I was taking pictures, the guys around the car started screaming and asking me to stop, otherwise I would harm the car's presentation. Too late...", Pinho told us, one week after he had done the pictures.

This is the first "pocket rocket" produced in Brazil in many years. VW even tried to get close to Fiat by presenting a 2-litre Polo, called GT, but it does not match Punto T-JET nor its own "brothers", such as Polo GTI, which was sold in Brazil in a very limited series (what a pity...).

The only problem about this engine is its turbolag, very perceptible in Linea. VW has managed to avoid this efect by applying both a supercharger (for low revs) and a turbocharger (for higher revs) in its 1.4-litre, 1.4 TFSI.

Fiat Punto T-JET is expected to be presented in Brazil by the end of Octobre and months later in Argentina and other markets. We thank Pinho very much for the images and invite other readers to do the same at the e-mail We cannot offer you money because we still do not have much and the idea is to spread good news on cars. If you agree with that, please get in touch!

Source: Fernando Augusto Coelho Pinho

Monday, 13 October 2008

Car Magazine reveals the new McLaren P11

Car Magazine has published today exclusive images of the oncoming McLaren P11, a sportscar that aims to beat Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo when it reaches series production, somewhere around 2010.

The car project still may change a bit in appearance, especially after Frank Stephenson takes full charge for McLaren design, but AutoExpress has also published images of the car in tests and it resembles a lot the clay model pictures Car managed to obtain.

The car project objectives are a weight below 1,200 kg, a powerful engine, possibly the AMG 6.2-litre V8 in its turbocharged version, with more than 500 bhp, and a design sculpted in the wind tunnel. For more details, read the great article Car Magazine has written about the car, in the link below.

Source: Car Magazine Online via AutoBlog

Ghostbusters Cadillac Ecto-1 is sold for US$ 45,000 at eBay

Someone that only chased ghosts was lately chasing a buyer. This was the fate of one of the three 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor authorised to use the Ecto-1 outfit, the car that took the Ghostbusters from one mission to the other. This vehicle, about 6.40 m long and almost 3 m tall (due to its equipment), was for sale at eBay and reached a price of US$ 45,000, for which it was sold.

Used at Universal Studios, the car fell into the hands of its previous owner in August 2006 and was entirely reformed, something that can be seen at the site The new owner got lots of parts and the Bill of Sale from Universal Studios. Equipped with a V8 engine, Ecto-1 handled pretty well its ghost missions. Let's wait to see its new adventures.

Source: eBay via