Volkswagen Touareg R50 takes on Porsche’s Cayenne

Volkswagen is taking its R-series of hopped-up rides to the next extreme with the release of the Touareg R50 next week at the Australian International Motor Show. V-Dub claims that the R50 will be one of the most powerful SUVs on the market, producing 313 HP and 553 lb.-ft. of torque from its retuned V10 TDI. The R-treatment also includes upgraded wheels wrapped in high performance rubber, a revised suspension, some VW Individual aero bits and a restyled interior. Continue reading Volkswagen Touareg R50 takes on Porsche’s Cayenne

Volkswagen Increased Sales Up to 7.6 Percent

Volkswagen has reportedly experienced an increase in its commercial vehicles division sales to customers by an impressive 7.6 percent which translates to a record of 231,500 vehicles in the first half of 2007.

This was partly due to the growing demand in their Brazil division for the heavy trucks sales, which was said to increase nearly a quarter to about 21,750 vehicles, which was a commendable figure compared to last year’s 17,700. But apart from this surge of growth in the Brazilian units, the division was also said to improve to an all-time high mainly because of its 7.4 gain in sales of its smallest model, the Caddy delivery van. Continue reading Volkswagen Increased Sales Up to 7.6 Percent

Volkswagen Jetta and GTI recognized by J.D. Power and Associates APEAL Awards

Volkswagen of America has announced that the Jetta and the GTI have each earned a J.D. Power and Associates APEAL Award for 2007. The J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout or APEAL Study is aimed towards measuring owner delight with the design, content, layout, and performance of their new vehicles.

“These awards and our overall rankings show that Volkswagen builds compelling, quality vehicles that our customers love to drive,” said Adrian Hallmark, executive vice president, Volkswagen of America in an interview. “Our vehicles strike a strong emotional chord with owners.”

According to the study, new or redesigned products with a high APEAL score generally command a higher gross profit and sell more quickly.

The Jetta topped the vehicle in the compact car segment, which was followed by the all-new Rabbit which placed second. The redesigned GTI topped the compact sporty car segment, while the all-new EOS placed third. Never to be left out, the Passat also came in a close second in the competitive mid-size car segment.

The 2007 APEAL Study was conducted through a survey, and the responses gathered between February and May 2007 from more than 91,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2007 model-year cars and trucks who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership were used as reference.

Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Rabbit, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, GTI, Jetta, GLI, Passat, Passat wagon, Eos, and Touareg through approximately 600 independent U. S. dealers.

TT-West 2007: Ashland, Oregon

Text and Photos by: Ed Gildersleeve “It is not enough to speak, but to speak true”, words uttered under clear night skies in the beautiful city of Ashland, Oregon home of the annual Oregon Shakespeare festival. Such eloquent words seem …

Goodbye Sweaty Sheets: Hello Japanese Bed Cooler

I don’t care how many fans I point directly at my bed during the summer, the space between my butt and the mattress always reaches temperatures that make comfortable sleep entirely impossible. So, either I get a lame, inefficient AC window unit. Or I sweat my way through the brief, though surprisingly hot, Montana summers.

So far I’ve elected for option two, but now, thanks to some clever folks in Japan, I can cool the two inches between my butt and the mattress (the two inches that really matter) without having to pay to cool the entire room around me.

Lord this is an amazing idea. I’m about ready to fly my sweaty butt to Japan to get one right now. This extremely simple invention (by the people who brought you the USB Powered fan shirt) simply uses two ultra-quiet fans at the base of a mattress pad to pull cool air from above the head under your hot body. The device is more efficient even than regular fans. Even if used 8 hours a day for 30 days straight, it will only consume about 25 cents of electricity.

Via TreeHugger

Novel Barrel Turbine Wins $34,000 Grant

Graeme Attey, already a little bit famous as the inventor of a two-wheeled, wind-powered "dirt surfer," has just taken his inventing skills to a new (and more useful) level. This roof-top wind turbine is small, cheap, quiet and sits at the peak of the roof-line in order to capture wind at it’s maximum speed.

Mr. Attey has been awarded a AU$34,000 grant from the government of Australia to develop the technology and make it suitable for use across windy Western Australia. Another $28,000 was awarded to a scientist to determine the ideal placements for such small-scale residential turbines.

At only AU$700 a piece, these turbines are definitely the cheapest option we’ve seen in small wind. And though they don’t have an enormous generating capacity, they are designed to be used in series. So, an average household could install as many as six of these turbines on their roof, while selling all of their excess electricity back to the electric company.

The only issue, of course, is whether home-owners will be willing to add these clunky barrel turbines to their roof. But if Western Australia really wants to reduce it’s greenhouse emissions by 60% in 40 years, they’re going to have to make compromises. Besides its somewhat cumbersome appearance, these turbines look to me like a very promising advancement in suburban energy generation.

Video After the Jump.

Via Metaefficient

See Also:
Big Ideas in Small Wind
Shape-Shifting Personal Wind Turbine

Floating Off-Shore Wind Rig Based on Oil Rig Technology

What are the three biggest problems with wind power? Anybody, anybody, Bueller?

1. Bird Kill, 2. NIMBYism and 3 Dead bugs gumming up the works. Now, I’m not saying that these are always legitimate concerns, but migration corridors should be avoided and some people just really don’t like the way wind turbines look. These are real problems, so we’ve got to find real solutions.

How about we put wind turbines in a place that is literally no one’s back yard, there are no bugs, and where birds only go to die. Namely, 50-100 miles off-shore. The big problem, of course, is that there’s no way to anchor wind turbines into the sea-floor if the sea-floor is 300 meters down (as it is when you get that far off shore.)

Why is why Norsk Hydro has been working on a prototype floating off-shore wind rig called the Hywind. Norsk Hydro’s off-shore wind expertise comes directly from their experience with off-shore oil rigs. And now that off-shore oil is less interesting to Norway, Norsk Hydro happily developing this awesome new technology.

A pilot project with three 3 MW turbines will be installed before the beginning of 2008. But future plans call for larger farms with hundreds of 5 MW turbines producing as much as 4 terrawatt hours per year, or roughly enough to power 200,000 households.

More pics after the jump.

Via Inhabitat and Norsk Hydro

See Also:
World’s Largest Offshore Wind Project
The AeroGenerator

Making You Safer: A Look At The Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster’s Carbon Fiber Construction

For some of you, the decision as to whether or not the new Mercedes SLR McLaren is worth ponying up the roughly half-a-million or so it takes to get behind its ergonomic sport steering wheel is a difficult one. It’s without quesion a vehicle of immense beauty, but then again, $500,000 affords you plenty of things which are immensely beautiful. So the question lingers: why should you purchase the Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster? If Mercedes’ newest press release is to be believed, the answer to that question my dear friends, is safety. Thanks to its F1-style carbon-fiber monocoque construction, in the event of a head-on, side-on or rear-end collision, its occupants enjoy ‘a very rigid and hence securely protected space…’

Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Race Recap: Magny-Cours

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen; I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. To kick things off this morning we have a recap of the F1 race that transpired at Magny-Cours over the weekend. As usual, if you have the race TIVO’d and plant on catching it later, read no further; otherwise, keep reading for a quick recap of what transpired at the event.

Fat Spaniel Monitors Your Solar

Once you have your solar photovoltaic panels in place on your rooftop,
how do you know how well they are performing? Maybe you’re lucky and
you have net metering where you are, so you can sort of guess at it
because your electrical bills are lower than they were. But it would be
useful if you could get more information so you knew how much you were
producing and how much you were using.

is an amusingly named company (with an overweight corporate
mascot) which offers monitoring services
for building power systems
, particularly PV. They "provide hosted
data monitoring, management and control services that OEMs, installers,
and distributed utilities can use to optimize performance and ensure
investment returns for all types of renewable energy systems." And, as
a third party, they can help verify system performance to an owner,
rather than relying on the manufacturer’s claims about what the system
will do.

Fat Spaniel monitoring shows both immediate and historical data from a
power system. Owners, users, and the merely curious can see how much
power a building is using, and how much of that is coming from a
renewable system. The monitoring system shows both building demand as
well as energy output by the generating system.

Power monitoring and display information can be beneficial in green
building where it can help gain an additional point toward LEED
certification. And state grants to encourage the installation of
renewable power systems also sometimes require a monitoring and display
component as a precondition for awarding the grant.

link: Fat Spaniel

25% Profit Rise as Seen by Volkswagen

The joint venture of Volkswagen with First Automotive Works Corporation (FAW), which is one of the top Sino-foreign car partnerships, proved to be a good venture as they now expect their 2007 profits to increase by at least a quarter, helped by brisk sales and cost-cutting efforts.

“The venture, FAW Volkswagen, in the northeastern city of Changchun, will have a “minimum” profit growth of 25 percent this year from 2006,” Joachim Wedler said, their vice-president in charge of finance. However, Wedler didn’t disclose how much the firm will earn this year. Volkswagen only holds 40 percent of the firm whilst FAW holds the 60 percent.

Venture’s sales chief Weiming Soh said that it plans on selling more than 400,000 cars this year, which is 50,000 more from last year’s sales.

The first five months gave the firm a good start of the year as their retail sales jumped by 25.1 percent year-on-year to 173,218 units, making it reach the third spot after General Motor’s venture with SAIC Motor Corporation and Volkswagen’s other partnership with SAIC. “FAW Volkswgen’s June sales are expected to exceed 40,000 units,” Soh said.

The bold profit and sales projection of the company came amidst the blistering growth of China’s vehicle market. China-made vehicles’ slaes were up by 22 percent to 3.65 million units from January to May, including 2.12 million passenger cars, based on the industry data. During the first four months, the profits of the combined top 16 Chinese auto groups reached 18.1 billion yuan, increasing by 51.3 percent.

Wedler said that the cost-cutting plan of FAW Volkswagen is to use locally made engines and spare parts. “We are shooting for a very high localization rate to have more financial power to beat competition,” he said.

The competition is China’s passenger car market is going at its peak as companies are coming up with price incentives and product launches. Automakers offered some 50 price cuts in the first five months this year, based from the FAW Volkswagen data.

The venture’s general manager An Tiecheng said that it has plans on rolling out at least two new models under the Volkswagen and Audi makes yearly during the next five years to appeal to the increasing sophisticated buyers .

The venture will introduce a Volkswagen Magotan large-sized sedan next month. Their current line up includes Volkswagen Jetta, Bora, Golf, Sagitar, and Caddy. They also included Audi A6 and A4.

New 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan Revealed

The latest specification and details on Volkswagen’s new compact off-roader, the 2009 Tiguan Crossover has been disclosed. This compact crossover is not due to come out until September at Frankfurt’s Auto Show, but Volkswagen has decided to let people in on the latest features their 2009 Tiguan has.

The 2009 model year for Tiguan is 173.2 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and stands at 66.5 inches. It has the modified Golf/Rabbit as its platform and some specifications and attributes of the Touran MPV (which was sold in Europe) have been incorporated into this new compact off-roader. Three turbocharged gas engines and two turbodiesels are included in its global lineup of engines. The likely engine specification that U.S would have is a 200 hp, 2.0L turbo four with direct injection. There have been plans for a Jetta line having clean diesels and Volkswagen had also shown a Tiguan concept with clean diesel power during the 2006 L.A Auto Show but there is still no news on whether the upcoming 140 hp TDI engine will suit into the Tiguan.

In some world markets, the 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan comes with a choice of front ends. The first two will be called Trend & Fun and Sport & Style. Both will have 18 degrees at the front as their maximum entry angle. Track & Field will be the third one and it has a revised nose that would make it much more capable for off-road use. It is capable of entry angles of up to 28 degrees.

Volkswagen introduces another car technology in the form of the Offroad Mode. This is a button found on the dashboard that will activate a raft of alternative safety features. However, this technology will only be available on the Track & Field car, and this will switch on the hill descent control and hill climb assist. It wil also improve the throttle response to allow more accurate delivery of torque, and boost braking on loose surfaces.

This 2009 Volkswagen Tiguan will be launched at September’s Frankfurt Motor Show and will go on sale in Europe in early 2009.