Mercedes ESF S400 Hybrid Concept 2009 initial photos

A slew of vehicle safety systems are being showcased by Mercedes-Benz. The German premium car maker has created an Experimental Safety Vehicle, the ESF 2009 which is based on the upcoming S400 Hybrid. It is their first vehicle of this nature since the ESV 24 which was introduced at the 1974 Geneva Motor Show.

The ESF 2009 features inflatable metal structures developed to save space and increase crash protection. These include side impact bars which would be blown to pressures of between 10 and 20 bar. When deflated they could save some weight and actually allow for other safety apparatus to be fitted.

Then they have an auxiliary brake in the floor of the ESF 2009. What makes this brake interesting is that it works with a bag that is similar to interior air bags but is much tougher. When the car senses an imminent collision the brake bag inflates to create friction with the road thus also slowing the car down. In addition to that it lifts the car up by up to 80mm to compensate for dive.

The interior, along with standard air bag and restraint systems is fitted with seat bolsters that shift the passengers about 50mm into the centre of the cabin should the car sense that a side impact is about to take place. The other safety features of interest arereflective tyres and air bags installed inside a seatbelts.

2010 Cars To Fight Gas Prices

2010 cars are looking better than ever and are enticing consumers as gas prices are once again on the rise. The list of new electric vehicles coming to market is met with strong consumer demand. Future automobiles will eventually eliminate the use of gasoline and provide cleaner ways to deliver new transportation.

Gas prices are unpredictable as consumers indicate a sudden trend for new cars with high fuel efficiency. The hybrids are zipping down streets in just about every neighborhood in America. Most of these alternative energy cars are made by Honda, Toyota, Ford and a few independent automakers, which just arrived on the scene.

The Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, and Ford Fusion are the popular new hybrid cars. If you're in the market to buy a new hybrid, don't just settle on word-of-mouth, but make your decision on reliability and fuel economy to help with the rising price of gas. Be sure to test-drive these vehicles at your local dealerships.

For example, I live on a street which has a second-generation Toyota Prius in most driveways. If I were to base my opinions on exterior looks, I think the new 2010 Ford Fusion car and Honda Insight look sharp. However, there is something about sitting in a Toyota Prius where the dashboard seems to be more modern than the rest.

You also need to act fast if you plan on using the hybrid tax credits for new cars in 2010. Some of them expire in September and October and could help you offset gas prices. Each time they expire, the credits are getting lower. The credits are to help reduce carbon emissions.

While most hybrids are using a combination of gasoline and electric alternatives, these 2010 cars still produce carbon emissions. However, most of them reduce it by as much as 90 percent. The only real zero emission automobiles are the plug-in hybrids which only use electric and no gas.

Most of the new 2010 vehicles do offer a plug-in option, even though they combine the use of gasoline. For example, most models will run solely on electric power for up to 47 miles without using one single drop of fuel. You can always purchase this option, if your daily commute is less than 47 miles, while charging the vehicle from home or at work.

Mitsubishi launches production of the iMiEV

Mitsubishi launched series production of its iMiEV electric car today at its Okayama, Japan factory. Mitsubishi is the first of the major automakers to kick off full scale production of a new EV and will be followed by most other automakers over the next two years. The automaker plans to build about 2,000 units through the remainder of this fiscal year and then crank that up to 5,000 next year. The first cars are going to corporate fleet customers but retail sales are expected to start later in the year.

The company aims to roll out 2,000 units in fiscal 2009 and 5,000 the following year. Deliveries are expected to start in late July for corporate customers.
The iMiEV has a range of about 100 miles from its lithium ion battery pack. The batteries are produced by a joint venture between Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa. With the government incentives available in Japan, the iMiEV will cost about $31,300 at current exchange rates which is a bit higher than the $27,000 price previously rumored. No decision has been made yet on when the car will be offered in the U.S. market, but we do know it will make its way here sometime. First, Mitsubishi needs to develop a production left-hand drive version.

Senner Tuning creates Audi A5 Black and White

Audi customizer Senner Tuning has released details about their latest modification. The German company's Audi A5 Black and White is now available.

Engineers first attacked the cars aerodynamics and weight by installing a carbon fiber spoiler apron with matching side-mirror housings. Carbon fiber is also used on a new rear bumper, one of many alterations at the back. Also found is a new rear spoiler and lip, new LED taillights, and a customized stainless steel quad-exhaust. Total cost of these mods: €3377.

New 20-inch ASA GT1 alloy wheels were also mounted. The wheels are available in either Shiny Silver or Matte Black, with the possibility of a separate color ring trim near the wheels' edge. Choices for the rim lip include orange, white, red, and silver. Measuring 9x20 in front, 10.5x20 in back, the wheels are wrapped in Vredestein ultra Sessanta XL tires. The company mounted a Bilstein B16 PSS10 fully adjustable coilover suspension to enhance the handling capabilities. These changes cost just under €4600.

Track wheels are also available for an additional €250.

Senner Tuning also retuned the engine to make it more powerful and performance-driven. The 3.0-liter TDI now produces 300 horsepower and a maximum 600 Nm of torque. Speed is electronically limited to 280 km/h. When combined with the new sport air filter, the cost of the under-the-hood modifications is €1649.

Last, designers looked at the car's interior, and decided some further changes needed to be made. They used silver-lined carbon fiber to surround the ashtray cover, center console, and both the front and rear door panels. Total price for this is €1690. The company charges an additional €395 to trim out the instrument cluster.

All in all, the car does look pretty hot with all these changes. But for over €11,700, maybe mix-and-matching only select modifications is a better decision than getting the full package.

Trying out the new Insight in Spain at the EcoDesafío Honda Insight

The first generation the Honda Insight wasn't offered for sale in most European markets, including Spain. The Honda Civic hybrid is available here, but hasn't seen too many sales, in part because diesel is usually cheaper than gasoline. Honda thought that it would be a good idea to promote its new Insight hybrid using a slightly more intensive marketing campaign. Named the "EcoDesafío Honda Insight" (Honda Insight EcoChallenge), a new event asks drivers from all around Spain to participate in a big challenge: how well can you hypermile the new Insight? The event is currently being held in different cities around the country and we hit up last weekend's event in Barcelona.

The circuit was very simple. We just went downhill the Montjuïc mountain, took the Ronda Litoral (the city's seaside highway) towards the Montjuïc Cemetery, then headed back to the hotel. On the return trip, we had to drive uphill along El Sot del Migdia, passing by the Olympic Stadium and the Fundació Miró. Total circuit length: 7.9 km, which we were supposed to drive in about 15 minutes.

Drivers were given points depending on our average speed, time and fuel consumption. The car's official consumption figure is 4.6 l/100 km (for the top Executive version, which we were driving). We were awarded 10 extra points over the standard 200 if we reduced our consumption by 0.1l/100 km over the standard (I managed 0.2 liters), we got the points subtracted for going over time (I did it in 18 minutes) and then our average speed was multiplied by 3 (I got 24 km/h). The winner of each city will participate in a same challenge performed on a circuit near Girona (NE Spain, near the French border) against moto GP champion Dani Pedrosa and the winner of that final event will be rewarded with a 12-month free lease the Insight Executive Navi. Second and third place winners will get tickets to go to the Moto GP race in Valencia.