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BACK SEAT DRIVING - JANUARY 2010

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Jan 1, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

For hot and tender news wires on the car culture, see LA Car's Hot Wires

Another E-Tron from Audi VW's New Coupe - The New Jetta? Green Apps For Your Car The Traffic Guy Rides Again

Not content with the one e-tron sports car, Audi showed a second e-tron concept car at the Detroit auto show. As with the first one, the second e-tron is an uncompromising purist compact sports car with all-electric drive. The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron is the name of this 3.93 meter (154.72 in) long and 1.78 meter (70.08 in) wide but just 1.22 meter (48.03 in) tall two-seater; just a few months after the debut of the Audi e-tron at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. Coupled with the Detroit showcar Audi e-tron's low gross weight of around only 1,350 kilograms (2976.24 lb), high-torque power units driving the rear wheels guarantees commensurate road performance, according to Audi. Two electric motors with a combined output of 150 kW (204 hp) and 2,650 Nm (1954.54 lb-ft) accelerate the coupe with ASF-design aluminum body from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 5.9 seconds. The Audi e-tron accomplishes the sprint from 60 to 120 km/h (37.28 - 74.56 mph) in 5.1 seconds. The Detroit showcar Audi e-tron is able to distribute its electric motors' high torque between the wheels entirely as required. Its "torque vectoring" is said to be the key to precise and excellent traction. Thanks also to its low weight, short wheelbase and optimal weight distribution for dynamic handling, Audi says its e-tron has the drivability of a go-kart. Lithium-ion batteries, located for an optimal center of gravity behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear axle, make an effective energy content of 45 kilowatt-hours available. This makes an operating range of up to 250 kilometers (155.34 miles) realistically possible, according to Audi. As previously with the first e-tron concept car shown in Frankfurt, Audi bases all components in this electric vehicle on an integral concept with many novel details: a heat pump as an efficient means of heating up and maintaining the interior temperature. The drive system, power electronics and battery have thermal management - crucial for maintaining a high operating range coupled with outstanding interior comfort.

Expect e-tron to be the name of Audi's line of electric vehicles.

NAKANO: BACK SEAT DRIVING

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The New Jetta? Volkswagen used the forum of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to introduce the NCC, AKA the New Compact Coupe. This coupe is fitted with a hybrid drive that VW claims is very fast and yet economical. VW says its combined fuel consumption is 4.2 l/100 km (45 mpg). CO2 emissions is rated at 98 g/km. Top speed: 227 km/h (141 mph), with a relatively short 8.1 seconds needed for the classic sprint to 60 mph. These values were made technically feasible by a high-tech alliance: a TSI engine (gasoline powered with 110 kW / 150 PS), an electric motor (20 kW / 27 PS) and a 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). In the first half of the year, Volkswagen will launch its first hybrid model on the market under the VW label - an SUV with full-time all-wheel drive. Meanwhile, the NCC is a good indicator of the next generation Jetta. WOLF: BACK SEAT DRIVING GREEN APPS FOR YOUR CAR The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) never fails to provide a sneak peak of cool new technology. Among the items introduced at CES this month is a new device and software that can turn a Garmin Nuvi into a fuel saving device, as well as an automotive diagnostic tool. The new ecoRoute HD device plugs into the vehicle's onboard diagnostics and transmits data wirelessly to the Nuvi. This can tell drivers how greenly they are driving and how they can improve and also lets drivers choose routes based on fuel economy as opposed to distance or fastest time. Garmin has announced an expected availability date of March 2010. Another interesting bit of tech: General Motors has announced they will launch the Volt with charging apps for the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid that will allow users to schedule their battery charging for the cheapest charging times. Wondering why you haven't seen more of the start-stop technology used in hybrids in regular gasoline vehicles? Mazda and other automakers blame the EPA's city-test mode, saying it only allows for one stop, which does not show the MPG benefits of the technology in their official ratings. Luckily, the EPA is listening and is currently taking public comments on proposed testing changes that would better evaluate the stop-start technology. Sounds like drivers are really starting to embrace clean diesel technology and understand the fuel efficiency benefits it provides along with better power than hybrid and electric vehicles. Volkswagen of America Inc. announced in December that its line of clean diesel TDI models sold 41, 278 models-approximately 20 percent of the company's overall sales volume for the year. - Ailis Aaron Wolf, 40mpg.org

NAKANO: BACK SEAT DRIVING THE TRAFFIC GUY RIDES AGAIN New Laws for 2010 It's the beginning of a new year, and that means LA Car's Reed Berry, AKA The Traffic Guy, informs drivers about all the noteworthy new car laws in California. Did you also know, however, that Reed makes the rounds on radio stations throughout the state. Here in the Southland, he frequents The Tim Conway Jr. Show on KFI-AM 640, but his radio romps go way back. In 1988, Reed co-hosted his first talk radio show, The Friday Special on KIEV 870 AM in Los Angeles. Later, he co-hosted L.A.'s Travel Show on KIEV, The Weekend Special which aired on KNDI 1270 AM in Honolulu and The Kenny & Reed Show on KRLA 1110 AM in Los Angeles. As one of southern California's most popular traffic school instructors, Reed became known as The Traffic Guy and was frequently asked to be a guest on local, national and international radio programs to discuss driving-related issues. In 1998, Reed co-created and co-hosted the first talk radio show in America for and about drivers, Traffic Jam, which was heard Saturdays on KRLA 1110 AM in Los Angeles through the summer of 1999. Each show featured experts from the world of driving as well as a "Celebrity Driver of the Week". The celebrity guest on the very first show was none other than the ultimate car enthusiast, Jay Leno, Bob Barker, Walter Matthau, Howie Mandel, Steve Allen, Dennis Franz and Casey Kasem were also featured as celebrity drivers on the show, just to name a few. Because it was a live call-in show, listeners would phone in throughout the broadcast to discuss issues, ask questions and win prizes. Traffic Jam was a unique and popular show which received much media attention. The program was featured in the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, The Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, Talkers magazine and in the internet radio columns LARadio.com and RadioDigest.com. Reed and his co-host were interviewed for local television news programs and were guests on Great Day America, a national television talk show that aired on PAX-TV. In 1999, Reed received an Award of Honor from RADD (Recording Artists, Actors and Athletes Against Drunk Driving) for using the radio show to promote safe, sober driving. Reed continues to make guest appearances on radio programs around the country. He is a regular contributor to The Larry Marino Show on NewsTalk 590 KTIE in Southern California's Inland Empire. You may have also heard Reed on The Brian Whitman Show on Talkradio 790 KABC, both in Los Angeles. If you turn on the radio and hear a traffic-related issue being discussed, there's a good chance the guest expert being interviewed is Reed Berry, "The Traffic Guy". To read Reed's report on the new laws for 2010, click here. A JOURNAL OF LOS ANGELES & ITS CAR CULTURE

LA Car

That was LA Car's subtitle when it started back in 1997. Its original website address was about five times the size of lacar.com. Since then, La Car became LA Car. Its subtitle became Reporting From Car Culture Ground Zero, then From The Heart of Car Culture, to The Cars and Culture of Southern California and back. At all times, however, we aimed to chronicle the Southland's automotive spirit - much like one's own journal or diary. LA Car has always been a great source to come back to from week-to-week, to see what articles and reviews have been added to our rather staggering database. With Back Seat Driving, a.k.a. BSD (not to be confused with two similar, well-worn abbreviations, BS and BFD) and Hot Wires - Hot & Tender News From the Car Culture (co-located with Back Seat Driving, and updated at least daily), we give you some reasons to come back more often (all opinions, by the way, are those of the respective author). So, go ahead and bookmark www.lacar.com. We'll be sure to always provide a link to Hot Wires and the latest Back Seat Driving blog entry. In the meantime, welcome to the journal and journey from the heart of the car culture. - Roy Nakano Visit the publisher and executive editor's Facebook page at facebook.com/backseatdriving For the story behind LA Car's shift knob avatar, go to Kool Knobs for LA Car For past Back Seat Driving and LA Car Blog entries, click the Archives.

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