Chevrolet’s redesigned new 2014 Impala sedan, majestic in its spacious proportions and featuring a new winning design that’s the most attractive product in the Chevy portfolio, has been a hit with critics and buyers alike. After receiving an outstanding rating of 95/100 from Consumer Reports, the highest rating among current sedans, the Imapala has exceeded even Chevy’s own expectations by flying off the dealership floor.
Tesla Motors is in the midst of planning stages for a new “gigafactory” to be located in the American Southwest that would have the capacity to produce 50,000 lithium-ion battery packs annually for use in the company’s future vehicles. Set to become operational at full capacity by 2020, the move would allow the fledgling automaker to save money by taking advantage of economies of scale and moving all parts of battery production under one roof. The factory would produce more lithium-ion car batteries in-house by 2020 than were produced worldwide in all of 2013.
We’ve all heard rumors and news swirling of self-driving cars in our not too distant future, but if they were here today, what form would they take? What would the interior look like if optimized for enjoying leisure time during fully autonomous driving mode? That’s the question “idea factory” Rinspeed attempts to answer in its new Rinspeed XchangE Concept, based on the Tesla Model S EV and coming to this year’s Geneva Motor Show next month.
With 20 possible different seating positions in a versatile interior, the XchangE features front chairs that swivel rearward for better watching of a 32-inch 4K ultra-HD screen in the rear. There’s also four screens in the dash for all manner of driving and productivity tasks, and the drive-by-wire steering wheel is placed at the center, ready to be slid toward the driver should manual control be needed (see below).
There’s even the world’s most expensive watch winder on board, Rinspeed says, which uses an electric motor to wind a special Carl F. Bucherer Patravi TravelTec watch that’s mounted in the steering column. Why, you ask? Well, why not? After all, this is one over-the-top concept car.
As for nuts and bolts, making use of an LTE high-speed data network from Deutsche Telecom for an always-on connection, the XchangE uses a data network created by linking multiple cars together for the greatest possible safety during autonomous driving on the road. If all cars were linked in this fashion, first on special “self-driving car-only lanes”, for example, the system would allow the vehicles to interact with each other to keep things in line as well as the network being instantly aware of changing road conditions. The more vehicles connected to the network; the better the network works. At least that’s the plan, Rinspeed says.
The XchangE is just a concept and won’t be coming to a dealer near you anytime soon, but this cloud-connected car tech cannot be stopped in its march toward the mainstream. Will Rinspeed be the first to bring it to market? Check out the video below.
The 2015 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel, the only standard-duty full-size pickup on the market with a diesel engine today, has far exceeded Chrysler’s expectations, selling out its initial production run of 8,000 units between the days of February 7 and February 10 alone.
A used and well-worn 1996 Nissan Maxima, complete with torn seats, road rash and a dangerous looking thrown-together hood latch, will be getting a full factory restoration by none other than Nissan Motor Company itself—thanks to the creativity of the car’s owner.