Starting in 2021 Infiniti will be offering electrified powertrains on its new models. It will also release its first pure electric vehicle in the same year. With an emphasis on low-emission technology, Infiniti is developing a full range of new technology with a mix of pure electric and e-POWER vehicles.
To bridge the gap between now and 2021 Infiniti has also introduced breakthrough VC-Turbo technology shown in its Q inspiration concept car. This is the world’s first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. It provides turbocharged gasoline power with the torque and efficiency of a hybrid or diesel engine. It is able to constantly adjust its compression ratio to optimize power and fuel efficiency.
Who Knew? – Cadillac introduces first ever twin-turbo V-8 engine. Applying loads of technology they have developed a small displacement 4.2L V-8 that produces a whopping 550 horsepower. Exclusive to Cadillac the all-new engine design is code designated LTA and will be the power plant for the new CT6. It is the first Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) eight-cylinder engine from Cadillac and GM since the discontinued Northstar V8 in 2010.
The DOHC design should offer smoother operation over the “old school” push-rod engines and a new “Hot V” layout places the turbochargers in the valley at the top of the engine to eliminate turbo lag and reduce the engine’s overall size. The twin-scroll design of the turbochargers, each with electronically controlled wastegates precisely balance output allowing 90 percent of the engine’s 627 lb-ft of peak torque to be available at only 2000 rpm and carried through 5200 rpm.
To enhance engine performance twin intercoolers are used to cool the air temperature going into the engine by more than 130 degrees. Cooler air is denser allowing it to hold more oxygen allowing optimal combustion resulting in more power.
Some of the other specialized technology being used include:
Audi continues to roll out its vehicle-to-infrastructure technology activating components of its Traffic Light Information package in the Washington DC area. This becomes the seventh city in the US that Audi has brought online that supports traffic signals for more than 1,600 intersections.
The current system allows the drivers of select Audi models in these areas access to “time to green” technology. Displayed on both the instrument cluster and the heads-up display, a countdown clock provides real-time remaining until the traffic lights turn green.
General Motors has a long-standing tradition of partnering with other leaders in engineering and innovation to make the world a better place. Now some of its out-of-this world accomplishments are finding a place in the here and now.
In the 1960s, GM teamed up with NASA to help create the Lunar Rover. It remains the first and only car ever driven by man on the moon. At the time they were pushing the envelope of creativity to develop, design, and test the Lunar Rover. Engineers from GM helped create the revolutionary electric motor drive system, suspension, mesh wire wheels and a unique drive controller adapted for lunar gloves.
Now that revolutionary technology is finding its place in electric vehicles being introduced today here on earth. The Lunar Rover had a price tag of $38 million, but paved the way for current long-range, affordable electric vehicles that do not require a space suit to operate.
For the first time level 4 autonomous driving has been achieved in a fuel cell electric vehicle. With level 0 being no automation and level 5 being a driver-less car able to operate on any road in any conditions a human driver could negotiate, level 4 is considered “high automation”. A level 4 autonomous vehicle can operate without human input or oversight but only under select conditions, typically highway conditions.
Recently, five Hyundai fuel cell electric vehicles completed a self-driven 118 mile journey from Seoul to Pyeongchang. Not at limited speed on domestic roads, but at the speed limit of 68 mph on public highways. The level 4 autonomous vehicles equipped with 5G network technology executed lane changes, passing maneuvers, and navigated toll gates.
These self-driving vehicles use an array of cameras, radar, LiDAR (laser sensors), and GPS to identify their location and be able to navigate through obstacles like toll gates. Autonomous driving processes a high volume of data, which requires a lot of power. The fuel cell electric model is an ideal choice since it produces electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in the on-board fuel cell stack.
The world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV is here in the US. It comes with all sorts of goodies. Twin electric motors and a gasoline engine to generate electricity or additional power, 4WD, traction control, stability control, yaw control, cameras, laser radar, the list goes on. That stuff is all fancy and necessary, but lets look at the some of the extra cool accessories you can add on your own to make it stand out a little and be special for you.
General Motors is asking the Department of Transportation for permission to put their self-driving vehicles on the road in 2019. The first Production-Ready autonomous electric cars with no steering wheels or pedals have been named Cruise AV.
GM and Cruise Automation are combining over 100 years of automotive engineering experience with state-of-the-art software and hardware to create a Motor City/Silicon Valley matchup that can safely make driverless vehicles a reality.
Mazda rotary engine technology lives on. Since the last rotary powered RX-8 sports car was retired in 2012 there has been much speculation on when we would see another Mazda rotary engine in production.
In 2017 Mazda celebrated the 50 year anniversary of the first rotary powered production vehicle. Even though rotary power had been benched, research and development has continued to refine the technology and adapt it to other fuel sources including diesel and hydrogen.
Kenichi Yamamoto who led the effort to mass produce the rotary engine passed away in December 2017 at age 95. Known as the architect of the Mazda rotary he directed development in the 1960’s and later became Mazda’s president in 1985 and chairman in 1987. In addition to his many accomplishments with rotary while president he paved the way for production of the Miata.
A teaser in 2015 at the Tokyo Motor show of a RX-9 concept car fitted with a Skyactiv-R rotary engine has kept hope alive for fans that another rotary sports car may be on the way. There is confirmation that rotary research continues and rumors from development managers that a next generation rotary engine sports car is in the pipeline.
Who knew that underneath Mazda’s Research and Development facility in Irvine, California there is a basement full of historic Mazda vehicles. Not too surprising that Mazda would preserve a museum of heritage cars, but these vehicles are not there just for display, they are maintained to be ready to drive.
For those who enjoy tinkering on classic vehicles, to be in charge of keeping Mazda’s Heritage Collection of about 80 cars road ready would be a dream come true. Mazda Motorsports Engineer Randy Miller has this dream job of curator, restoration artist, race car engineer, fabricator and maintenance mechanic.
Randy’s dad helped him work on his own cars that led to an automotive degree. After some time at Mazda’s service shop he became a R&D engineering technician that led to a full-time position with the Heritage Collection.
Mazda continues to push to make its vehicles stand out from the crowd. Allowing its designers to have more freedom than most manufacturers to inject life and soul into the vehicles they are creating. It is a philosophy Mazda calls KODO – soul of motion.
At Mazda’s Master Craft event in Los Angeles the similarities between Mazda design clay modelers and artisan bread makers became apparent. Unlike other car companies who only use computers in new vehicle design, Mazda’s modeled-by-hand design using clay is present in every step of the design process. Using clay models rather than computers and mathematics can make a car’s crisp exterior lines seemingly disappear, evoking emotion through its more fluid form instead of being “boxy and boring.” Artisan bakers agreed that “Like clay modeling, we shape every loaf by hand. It’s all about scale, shape and creating an out-of-this-world product.”
Mazda uses more clay than any other manufacturer in its KODO design process. KODO design is about “creating cars that embody the dynamic beauty of life – cars that visually suggest different expressions of this energy”. While the initial digital design model visualizes the fine details and specific materials of a vehicle, it is the sculpting from clay that brings it to life, something Mazda believes is impossible to replicate digitally.