When Nissan was done introducing the revised Juke and hawking the BladeGlider concept to the press at Geneva, there was time for reflection… on its new rearview mirror design. The Smart mirror has a built-in LCD monitor, and is housed within the structure of a conventional rearview mirror. This was made possible by the development of a high-performance narrow-angle camera and specially shaped LCD monitor. A standard wide-angle camera lens would, when its image was adjusted to the monitor’s size, produce a low resolution, low quality image. The special 1.3 megapixel narrow-angle camera, on the other hand, produces a high quality image ideal for the LCD monitor’s 4:1 aspect ratio. (Conventional monitors have aspect ratios of 4:3 or 16:9.) It is mounted above the rear window.
Though the 1948 Type 356 is the first sports car to bear the Porsche name, it wasn’t the first Porsche. That honor belongs to this, the 1898 Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model, a.k.a. the Porsche P1. Designed and built by Ferdinand Porsche, the P1 took to the streets of Vienna, Austria on June 26, 1898, it makes its way into the Porsche Museum in unrestored condition 116 years later.
Powered by a compact electric drive system that weighs 130 kg (286 lb), the P1 had an output of 3 hp that could, for short periods, be increased via overloading to 5 hp. This gave the vehicle a top speed of 22 mph, and a range of 50 miles. Vehicle speed was controlled by a 12-speed switching mechanism. The P1 proved itself in competition in September 1899, when it won a 25-mile race for electric vehicles by 18 minutes. Most of Porsche’s competition failed to finish due to technical difficulties, while the P1 carried Porsche and three passengers. It also had the lowest measured energy consumption. — CAS
The 2015 Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt will be the first Chevrolet’s to offer OnStar 4G LTE as an option. This system runs on AT&Ts 4G LTE network, and will be ported to the Equinox, Silverado, Silverado HD, Spark and Spark EV soon afterward. More models will be announced later this year.
OnStar 4G LTE will bring a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot into these vehicles, making them a mobile hub and giving them access to apps that require a high-speed cellular or data connection. The vehicles equipped with this service employ a wireless connection that doesn’t rely on a bought-in mobile device such as a smartphone for a connection. According to Mary Chan, president, GM’s Global Connected Consumer: “A 4G LTE hotspot that’s built into a car’s architecture will provide a more consistent and powerful Wi-Fi connection than a smartphone.”
It’s expected that the optional form of OnStar will allow passengers to connect their tablets, smartphones and laptops to high-speed wireless while accommodating multiple devices at once. Current AT&T customers will be able to add their OnStar 4G LTE-capable vehicle to a shareable bucket of data through AT&T’s Mobile Share plans. Or drivers can pay for data as a standalone option. Pricing and data packages will be announced later. — CAS
By Christopher A. Sawyer
Through the Glass Darkly
Like it or not, Google Glass appears to be headed to a vehicle near you. Hyundai announced integration of the wearable technology into its infotainment system, and Harman demonstrated integration of Google Glass with its Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). The system uses an Android camera feed to analyze real-time road risks, and send alerts through the Google Glass. One way Harman sees the technology working is by having the Google specs continuously compute the time-to-collision with a vehicle ahead, and triggering audio-visual alerts once a preset threshold has been crossed.
The new Lexus RC Coupe features a more dynamic red color option that uses a new paint process combining both silver and red base coats. It involves four base coats that are baked twice, and a layering of base color and clear coats to establish a balance between brightness and depth; elements that usually work against each other. The car is first painted with a silver base coat over which is applied a clear coat. This is followed by a translucent red base coat and another coat of clear before the car is baked twice to set the color. The result is that light reflects off both the red and silver layers, which adds depth and a metallic highlight. Undoubtedly repainting will be expensive. — CAS