September 2017

What’s the point of an Audi you can’t drive yourself?

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(September 17, 2017) Audi says the Aicon Mobility Concept is a technology demonstrator, “in which the advantages of door-to-door individual transportation are combined with the luxurious ambiance of a first-class cabin.” More than just a robot taxi, the Aicon sits on a wheelbase that, at 136.6 inches, is 9.4 inches longer than that of the new A8, stretches 214 inches overall, is a massive 82.7 inches wide, and stands 59.3 inches tall.

VW Golf SportWagen shows it's time for the station wagon to get respect

By Paul Borden

(September 16, 2017) MIAMI — This is no fairy tale, but I’ll say it anyway. Once upon a time, before crossovers, SUVs, and minivans began taking over as the favored providers of family transportation, there were perfectly capable vehicles for the task. They were called station wagons.

Honda unveils Urban EV Concept in Frankfurt; production version in 2019

(September 16, 2017) Honda has revealed an all-new electric vehicle, the Urban EV Concept, which mades its global debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show this week. The concept car is built on a completely new platform, and sets the direction for the technology and design that will appear on a future battery electric Honda production model.

Barrett-Jackson takes the top down for annual Las Vegas auction

(September 15, 2017) LAS VEGAS —  Barrett-Jackson is bringing the joy of top-down driving to the Las Vegas Strip with a wide selection of classic, exotic and luxury convertibles during its 10th annual Las Vegas Auction, Oct. 19-21 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Some of the highly anticipated convertibles crossing the Las Vegas Auction block include a limited-production 2011 Porsche Speedster, a Torch Red ’08 Ford Shelby GT500SE Super Snake with only 9,900 actual miles and a stunning ’57 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible that has been beautifully restored to its original Amethyst exterior color.

Shell to build seven hydrogen refueling stations in northern California

(September 15, 2017) SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — On Aug. 9, the California Energy Commission awarded a grant of $16,362,500 to Equilon Enterprises LLC a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company for the introduction of seven hydrogen refueling stations in northern California.

The hydrogen refueling stations will be built in collaboration with Honda and Toyota, who will provide financial support, at seven Shell-branded retail stations across northern California; three in San Francisco, and one each in Berkeley, Sacramento, Citrus Heights and Walnut Creek.

Genesis rolls out performance-focused G70 sedan

(September 15, 2017) A new era dawned this week as Genesis officially presented the highly anticipated G70 luxury performance sedan at the Hyundai·Genesis Design Center in Namyang, Korea.

“The Genesis G70 is the latest demonstration of our dedication to delivering innovative, customer-oriented vehicles,” said Dr. Woong-Chul Vice Chairman of the Hyundai Motor Group's R&D division. “We will continue to focus our R&D efforts on the development and expansion of the Genesis brand. It is a great point of pride to have Genesis showcase what a true luxury brand of Korean origin can present to our discerning customers.”

Speedometers — Read ‘em or weep


By Al Vinikour

Generally the majority of my day is spoken for. Some days I have an auto event to attend; sometimes I’m out of town; and still days others find me at home writing while watching reruns of Law & Order (pick one…there’s three separate series).  Sometimes I have already seen the episode at least once and if Sponge Bob Square Pants is also a rerun I’ll mull over auto-related items that frost my behind (some would say it would take the entire South Pole to find that much ice) and give me fodder for these Diatribe columns.

Dallas Mecum auction sales total more than $22.2 million

(September 14, 2017) Bidders honed in on the 10 impressive private collections that took to the auction block at the recent Mecum Dallas 2017 classic- and collector-car auction held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The collection buzz made for intense bidding, which contributed heavily to the auction’s strong overall sales totals of more than $22.2 million.

Ford, Virginia Tech go undercover to develop signals for pedestrians

(September 14, 2017) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a simple head nod or hand wave from a driver is usually enough to indicate it’s okay for a pedestrian to cross the street, but in an autonomous vehicle future, how will a self-driving car with no human driver communicate with pedestrians, cyclists or humans operating other cars on the road?

Mercedes-Benz testing automated driving functions with world drive

(September 14, 2017) STUTTGART, Germany — With the "Intelligent World Drive," Mercedes-Benz is testing automated driving functions on all five continents using a vehicle based on the S‑Class. At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, president and CEO of Daimler AG, fired the starting gun to send the test vehicle off on its worldwide test drive.

The test vehicle is based on the new series production saloon. Between now and January, this S‑C lass, which has been automated for test purposes, will face a variety of complex traffic situations.