PARIS--These may be trying times for the European economy, but that automakers rallied at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, bringing out a variety of new concepts and some model updates relevant to the U.S. buyer. As has become a theme given European interest in CO2 reduction, many of the cars we saw featured hybrid or electric drive trains. And many new models and updates were what we in the U.S. consider premium cars boasting fine coachwork.
Honda built a reputation on economy cars that displayed a touch more quality than the competition. To this day, Honda's lineup consists of practical, well-built cars. However, the company has not had a new idea in years. The 2013 Honda Accord heralds the revivification of Honda's collective brain cells, bringing with it new technologies necessary for the company to face off against its already modernized competition.
At a press preview, I drove a few of the many variants of the 2013 Accord about to be unleashed on the American public. Honda's sales model has always been a … Read more
Honda can boast just as much hybrid history as Toyota, yet Honda's hybrid cars have not met with the same level of success. Where the Prius can drive under pure electric power at low speeds, especially useful when creeping along in traffic, Honda's hybrid system was not as robust, its motor merely giving extra boost to assist the engine.
For a time, Honda offered an Accord Hybrid with this system, but it only lasted three years. Now, Honda is ready to bring a Accord Plug-in Hybrid and Accord Hybrid back, with an entirely new hybrid drive system.
The … Read more
Internal combustion cars dominated the last century, but led to pollution and unpleasant foreign entanglements due to oil imports. Electric cars solve both of these problems through much greater efficiency and the multitude of means by which electricity is generated. The cars reviewed here look to be the first generation of the kind of vehicle that will dominate the new century. All of them are pricey compared with gasoline-fueled equivalents, but they cost considerably less for both electricity and maintenance. … Read more
Tuesday's tech news roundup honors our future robot overlords:
AT&T is being accused of data-plan discrimination and breaking FCC rules regarding new iPhone FaceTime options. AT&T recently announced that iPhone customers could use FaceTime video chat service over a cellular network if they have the new shared data plan. (Previously, FaceTime was limited to Wi-Fi.) But several groups have spoken out about the limit and questioned if it follows FCC guidelines. AT&T responded saying it does not believe this breaks any FCC rules, since FaceTime was offered to all customers over Wi-Fi and … Read more
The droid trims lawns several times per week, cutting only 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) of grass at a time. The clippings are small enough so that they can be left on the lawn to act as natural fertilizer, the automaker said.
Miimo mows in a random or directional pattern, staying within an electronic perimeter but using its sensors to navigate the lawn, even on sloping areas. If its bump sensors encounter an obstacle, it will stop and then set off in another direction. It will automatically devote more time to patches of long grass. … Read more
Driving a blue Honda Fit EV down El Segundo Blvd. in Los Angeles, I began to feel a bit guilty. To my left stretched a massive complex, a big stretch of beachfront property devoted to a Chevron oil refinery. As the Fit EV whispered by this facility, which Wikipedia told me later was founded in 1911 and gave the town of El Segundo its name, I thought of all the oil workers the little electric car I was driving would put out of a job.
Lacking a gas tank and exhaust pipes, this Fit EV would never need to sully itself at one of the many gas stations I passed on this drive through Los Angeles, except maybe to top off the air in the tires.
The Fit EV represents one of the new breed of electric cars, which current battery technology is making more practical for daily use. And in my drive I found the Fit EV the best of the bunch.
At this year's CES, Harman International's Aha announced a partnership with Honda. Today Honda hosted a conference showing how that partnership would play out with a new service called HondaLink. This new connected service will let drivers listen to a variety of Internet-based stations, featuring everything from Slacker radio to Yelp listings of nearby restaurants.… Read more
I can't wait for the era of self-driving cars. I can't believe it's 2012 and we still have to turn a steering wheel and push pedals to get around while we could be doing better things like sleeping, reading, or actually watching the scenery roll by instead of the road.
The Japanese government has started talks on the goal of getting self-driving cars on public roads by the early 2020s.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism has said it's the first in the world to seriously consider robot cars for the masses, according to Nikkei Automotive News. … Read more
Among the handful of electric cars either in production for coming out this year, Honda can now boast the best fuel economy. The EPA rating for its Fit EV shows the car earning 118 MPG equivalent, beating the next runner-up Mitsubishi i-Miev's 112 MPGe and the Nissan Leaf's 99 MPGe.
The numbers break down to 132 MPGe city, 105 MPGe highway, with the 118 MPGe number being the combined rating.