Auto news round-up
BMW amps up performance with new M3 CS sedan
LOS ANGELES (TNS):
BMW took its M3 performance sedan and made it even racier.
The result, which will be seen at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, is the new BMW M3 CS.
This week BMW released photos and details of the new model, a little spitfire of a car that tries to improve upon the more conventional - though still extraordinary - M3 in myriad ways.
The CS is, for instance, 110 pounds lighter due to more extensive use of carbon fiber. The twin-turbocharged, 3-litre six-cylinder engine produces 453 horsepower, 28 more horsepower than the M3, with additional torque as well.
The result is a faster car. The M3 CS leaps from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds. Its top speed is 174mph.
And it's going to be exclusive, as one might expect. Only 1,200 will be available worldwide. Almost half, 550, will be coming to the United States (U.S.), where orders for it begin next May.
Gearheads, those geeky car enthusiasts, will have plenty of new gadgetry to pour over when it comes to the M3 CS.
The car will have an adaptive suspension with three settings. There will also be a trio of settings for the sensitivity of the steering. There's an electronically controlled limited slip differential for better traction, but for enthusiasts, there will be the ability to allow for greater wheel slip so that the car can engage in a mild form of drifting, that motorsport of skidding around a racetrack.
Makes sense. BMW paints the M3 CS as a lion on the track and a kitten in everyday, normal traffic.
So, while the sedan has a rear lip around the back to help hold the car on the pavement at high speeds, there is no roll cage, a feature of serious, track-only race cars.
This is the kind of weekend racer that has a high-end sound system and fancy leather seats. It will probably also have a hefty price to go along with it all, but that hasn't been disclosed yet.
- Chris Woodyard
Electric Cars Aren't as Green as You Might Think
Electric vehicles may be zero-emission at the tailpipe, but the relative filth of the electric production they draw from has a big effect on just how green an electric car can be.
For example, for an electric car in the United States, the equivalent is 55.4 miles per gallon - that is, any gasoline car with that mileage or higher is as good as, or better than, an electric vehicle for greenhouse gas reduction, according to a new study. That's because more than a third of electric generation comes from the most greenhouse-dirty source, coal.
In France, an electric car contributes greenhouse gases equivalent to a gasoline-powered car that gets 524.6 miles per gallon. That's because nuclear power is France's main electric energy source, and nuclear power is relatively clean, at least where greenhouse gases are concerned.
The rankings come from a study by Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan.
The study didn't look at individual US states.
Countries that rely mainly on hydropower scored best. One is Albania, with a 5,100mpg equivalent. Sweden, Norway and the Congo also scored well.
The worst performers, because they rely almost exclusively on coal and oil for electricity, include Botswana, Eritrea and Kosovo.
- Russ Mitchell
Volvo to sell Uber 24,000 driverless cars
Volvo said recently that it will sell tens of thousands of vehicles to Uber Technologies that will be the ride-hailing company's self-driving fleet.
The so-called base vehicles will be developed from car architecture currently used on Volvo's 90 series cars and the XC60 midsize SUV. Volvo said in a statement that its engineers have worked closely with Uber to develop the technology on another SUV currently on the market.
The autonomous vehicle fleet will number 24,000 vehicles, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is unclear when the vehicles would be put on the road. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances at San Francisco-based Uber, said in a statement that the agreement puts the company on a "path towards mass-produced self-driving vehicles at scale".
The Swedish carmaker, acquired by Chinese automaker Geely Holding in 2012, said hat it also plans to use the base vehicle in the development of its own "independent autonomous car strategy". The automaker said that it plans to release its first fully autonomous car in 2021.
The "framework agreement," which Volvo said was non-exclusive, builds on an earlier agreement from 2016 in which the two companies said they would co-develop autonomous vehicles.
Uber has increased its interest in self-driving technology.
Last year, the company began offering rides in self-driving Ford Fusions to passengers in Pittsburgh as part of a test of Uber's self-driving technology. The firm has also opened an advanced technologies group focused on self-driving-technology development, vehicle safety, and mapping.
Competitor Lyft has also doubled down on the development of autonomous vehicle technology. The San Francisco ride-hailing firm set up a unit to develop autonomous vehicle technology this past summer. It has also formed partnerships with General Motors and Waymo, the self-driving car company created by Google.
- Samantha Masunaga