Dubbed America’s “Motor City,” Detroit has functioned as the heart of the country’s automotive industry for over a century. The largest and most populous city in Michigan has a long history of automotive manufacturing—one that other states and industries eventually replicated. The success of Motor City was attributed to two main factors: the state’s access to natural resources and the birth of critical players in the automotive industry.
Before the state took an interest in automobiles, it had already made a name for itself as a manufacturing center. The state manufactured a vast range of items, including soap, paint, and tobacco. In the 1830s, it began to produce stoves and grew to become the leading producer of the appliance over the next few decades. By the 1850s, the state was a major pharmaceutical producer in the country, coming second only to New York.
The fact that the state also had access to a host of natural resources paved the way for Detroit to dip its toes into automotive manufacturing. Automobiles require minerals rich in iron for their steel components. Back then, Detroit’s supply of timber also helped in the construction of wooden car frames. The state was able to quickly ship cars to other cities like New York thanks to water and rail routes, and the growing workforce allowed for the mass hiring of capable employees.
Though these resources certainly worked in Detroit’s favor, the state evolved into the Motor City primarily because of the men behind the automobile companies that shaped the American experience behind the wheel.
Perhaps the most famous automaker in the history of the state is Henry Ford, born in Dearborn in 1863 but moved to Detroit in 1891. As a child, Ford had already shown an interest in the engineering behind watches and steam engines. In Detroit, Ford learned from his fellow engineers at the Edison Electric Illuminating Company before test-driving his car in Detroit in 1896. He then founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899. Unfortunately, his company produced only two cars in three years.
By 1903, Ford had established the Ford Motor Company. He then built the Ford Model T vehicle in 1908. Though Ford did not invent the car, he did master the mass-producing assembly line, utilized Detroit’s resources, and treated his employees well. Ford hired African American employees and provided them with higher-than-average salaries. The moving assembly line shortened the time it would take for vehicles to be produced, which meant it also lowered the price of the Ford Model T. The “five-dollar day” concept is credited to Ford as well, popularizing the payment of $5 salaries (double the minimum at the time) and reducing working day hours from nine to eight. Ford employees stayed loyal to the company as it grew into one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers in the country.
Ransom E. Olds founded Olds Motor Works in 1897 and produced the curved-dash Oldsmobile. Olds left his company in 1904, and by 1908, the company sold to General Motors. General Motors, founded by Charles Mott and William Durant in 1908, focused on Buick, its automotive division. However, it also took several small automobile companies, including Oldsmobile and Cadillac, under its wing. General Motors itself was also a relatively small company, so their financial strategy of acquiring smaller companies was not very sustainable. Durant was forced out of his own company in 1920 and ended up launching Chevrolet but returned to General Motors to acquire other brands.
It was then that Buick President Walter Chrysler left to establish the Chrysler Corporation, the third member of the Big Three, in 1925. Following in the footsteps of General Motors, Chrysler acquired smaller brands such as Dodge Brothers, Fargo Trucks, and Jeep.
Aside from the Big Three, other automotive companies also set up shop in Motor City. The Packard Motor Car Company, for instance, established a large factory in Detroit for their luxury automobile.
The Golden Age
Detroit’s automobile Golden Age began after World War II when more workers had to be hired in factories to address the demand for reliable vehicles. The factories also transformed into ones capable of manufacturing spark plugs for automobiles instead of tanks for the war. Detroit’s economy suddenly revolved around the production of cars and car parts, with General Motors benefiting the most from the change.
The Golden Age went just as soon as it came. By 1956, the Big Three reported that their import sales had doubled, and consumers had shifted their attention to newer models from Europe. Though the companies did their best to address the demand for foreign compact cars by creating their own, this was just the first sign that the market was evolving. In 1958, Packard’s factory had to close, signaling the real beginning of the state’s automotive downfall.
African-American workers who traveled to Detroit to look for suitable work were either turned away or mistreated by white residents, leading to increased racial tensions. The tensions came to a head in 1967 during the 12th Street Riot, in which black residents and members of the police took part in multiple confrontations. The five-day riot left 43 people dead and 342 people injured.
In the 1970s, gas prices began to rise, which meant American automobiles were no longer pocket-friendly, and fuel-efficient Japanese vehicles became bestsellers. At the same time, the country blamed Detroit for being a significant contributor to air pollution. Fewer and fewer consumers preferred cars sold by the Big Three, leading the companies into a financial disaster.
By the 1980s, each of the Big Three began to shrink. Ford considered pulling out of North America, while General Motors failed to develop a working rotary engine. Meanwhile, Japanese automakers like Mazda were becoming more popular in the US.
The Big Three greatly suffered during the automotive industry crisis of 2008-2010, but they have maintained their title and will likely do so for the foreseeable future.
Airbags are standard features in most vehicles today, but thankfully, not many of us get to see them in action. The numerous crash test videos one can find online illustrate exactly how life-saving they can be in the event of a collision. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that over 18,300 people are alive today because of airbags. Using a lap and shoulder belt in a car with airbags has even been found to reduce serious head injury by about 80%.
Every day, vehicles with airbags are sold, amounting to around 1 million every month. According to the NHTSA, over 163 million cars and light trucks in the US are equipped with driver airbags, while over 144 million are equipped with passenger airbags.
This vehicle safety device—which inflates upon collision and acts as a cushion preventing those inside the vehicle from acquiring severe injuries—has saved thousands upon thousands of lives. Who invented airbags, and for what reason?
The very first airbag was created by two English dentists, Arthur Parrott and Harold Round, in the 1910s. The two treated victims during World War I and, thus, observed various types of injuries due to bullets, bombs, and vehicular collisions. They created their “air cushion” as a way to prevent jaw injuries as the device could be installed in both automobiles and aircraft. They filed for a patent on November 22, 1919, and received it on February 17, 1920. Though Parrott and Round were from Birmingham, England, they chose to file for a patent through the United States Patent Office.
Decades later, an American named John W. Hetrick would develop what is considered the first modern-day airbag. Hetrick was out with his wife and seven-year-old daughter on a Sunday afternoon in their 1948 Chrysler Windsor. They were headed to the Pennsylvania countryside when they tried to avoid both a deer and a large rock in their path. Hetrick was able to hit the brakes in time and steer the car away from the nearby tree and wooden fence, leading them into a ditch.
Safety Cushion Patent
Hetrick later told the American Heritage magazine that he couldn’t stop thinking about the accident on the ride home. He said, “As I applied the brakes, both my wife and I threw our hands up to keep our daughter from hitting the dashboard.” Hetrick wondered if an object could somehow come out and stop people from “striking the inside of the car.” This laid the foundations for the concept of the airbag. That same day, he began designing the “safety cushion” he would pay $250 to patent it on August 5, 1952. It took over a year to finalize, but by 1953, he received the patent for the “safety cushion assembly for automotive vehicles.”
German inventor Walter Linderer also patented his “inflatable cushion” based on a compressed air system in 1953. The cushion was designed to be released either by the driver or by bumper contact. Unfortunately, studies in the 1960s found that compressed air failed to inflate airbags fast enough during collisions, making them ineffective. Linderer’s invention still provided the groundwork for automakers hoping to make their vehicles safer for consumers.
By the late 1950s, automakers such as Ford and General Motors had begun working on the development of inflatable restraints, eventually discovering that they would have to be both fast and accurate. To be effective, airbags would have to be released within 40 milliseconds of sensing a crash. Airbags were also found to cause a problem in place of the one they solved: injuries in the passengers they save.
In 1967, American mechanical engineer Allen Breed developed crash sensing technology. At the time, he sold the device for $5. It is still considered the world’s first electromechanical automotive airbag system.
The same year Breed created his airbags, German automobile company Mercedes-Benz began developing airbags as well. The issue of car safety became a hot topic as more and more Americans died on the road. By 1968, the NHTSA made seatbelts a mandatory feature in vehicles, and cars in the US were required to have “automatic occupant protection systems” by 1969. Automakers like Ford and General Motors opposed the mandatory use of airbags, but eventually, governmental regulation made it necessary for their incorporation into vehicles.
General Motors’ luxury car Oldsmobile Toronado became the first vehicle with a passenger airbag in 1973. They also equipped the 1973 Chevrolet Impala with airbags for government use. Throughout the next few years, GM’s air cushion restraint system (ACRS) became an option for vehicles such as their Cadillacs and Buicks. However, a lack of demand for the ACRS led the company to discontinue the option beginning in 1977.
Ford also had an experimental airbag fleet in 1971 but, unlike General Motors, chose to offer airbags again in 1984 for their Tempo model. For a long time, automakers like Honda and Volvo offered the airbag only as part of their higher-end models. It was during the 1990s that airbags truly became a common feature in mainstream American and European vehicles.
In 1991, Breed – who several decades prior created the crash sensing technology mentioned above – received a patent for airbags which used two layers of fabric. When the airbag was triggered, it would inflate then let some gas out, making it safer for passengers by reducing the device’s rigidity. Breed is known to have designed over two dozen car safety inventions and created Key Safety Systems, Inc., a leading manufacturer of airbags, seatbelts, and other crash-sensor supplies and safety systems. US federal legislation made airbags mandatory in all cars and light trucks in September 1998, giving way to a safer future behind the wheel.
The airbags of today are not the airbags of tomorrow. Automakers have long been studying how airbags could be improved to reduce injuries, especially in frontal collisions. With the emergence of electric power steering and autonomous driving, they must now develop airbags with future use in mind.
Given their prevalence, it is hard to believe the dashcam was rare at one time. Though they do not directly make driving any safer, dashboard cameras are also small enough to not pose any inconvenience.
According to the market research company, Grand View Research, what once was viewed as an untapped market is projected to be worth $7.5 billion by 2027. For a person who considers themselves a perfectly capable driver and does not intend to be involved in a collision anytime soon, the usefulness of a dashcam may be debated. However, contrary to popular belief, dashboard cameras are not solely for catching accidents on tape.
Also known as a dashcam, dashboard cameras are small video cameras installed on a vehicle’s dashboard, windshield, or any other area inside the vehicle. A person can use any camera or recording device as a dashcam, but those specifically built for car use typically feature “always-on” recording and run on 12V DC power. The latter allows power to flow to the camera using the car’s electrical system, so it turns on along with the vehicle. Dashcams are also designed to overwrite old video files with new data as it is recorded and saved to the storage media. Some dashboard cameras can continue running even when the car is turned off, as long as they are connected to a battery.
8 Reasons drivers should have a dashcam
1. Footage of car accidents and traffic violations
Unfortunately, when a car is involved in an accident, the public tends to automatically blame the driver. At the same time, the driver might also recount a completely different version of events than that reported by witnesses. Having video evidence of the accident can help the driver clear their name if not at fault—evidence that the driver can show their insurance company and bring to court if necessary.
The same can be said about traffic violations that one may be confident did not occur. Allow the police officer to view the dashcam footage. If they still issue a ticket, bring the ticket and footage to court to contest it.
It is important to remember that the footage captured can help others that the driver may come across in these kinds of situations, too.
According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, fraudulent claims total to around $80 billion each year in the US. Insurance fraud is especially common on the road, with some drivers purposely causing accidents or faking injuries to collect insurance money. Footage of the supposed accident can shield a driver from these claims.
3. A watchful eye on inexperienced drivers
Many parents have used a dashcam to keep an eye on their young drivers, and for good reason. Teenage drivers have particularly high car insurance rates because of their lack of experience on the road. For a parent who may be afraid that their child will get into an accident or drive carelessly, footage of the child driving when the parent is not there can help teach the child how they can improve.
If a person frequently allows their friends and family to borrow the car and worry that they aren’t treating it well, a dashboard camera can probably get the vehicle owner’s mind at ease as well.
4. Safety of both passenger and driver
For individuals who drive for a ridesharing company, it would make sense to purchase a two-way dashcam that can record not only what is happening in front of the vehicle but inside it as well. Both the passenger and the driver can feel safe and secure knowing that footage exists of what occurs inside the vehicle, no matter what happens. This can protect both sides from false accusations and prevent any unwanted behavior during the ride.
5. Security when unattended
Some dashboard cameras now feature the ability to stay on standby and turn on if motion is detected in or around the vehicle. Cars are broken into every day, so it is better to be prepared for a vehicle burglary instead of being caught off guard. If a person’s car ends up burglarized, or the driver is the victim of a hit-and-run crash, the vehicle owner can show the footage of the incident to their insurance company and the relevant authorities for action.
6. Tangible memories of road trips
With a dashcam, a person can collect footage of all their travels even without having to think about it. It is easy to get soaked up in the scenery while traveling and forget to document the experience. Footage of the trip from the driver’s point of view can only add to the nostalgia he is bound to feel in the future. This works even better if the driver has a two-way dashboard camera, so you can relive all the road trip karaoke over and over again!
7. Unexpected events caught on camera
Footage of events like floods or landslides that damage a person’s car can help with insurance claims, but those major events are not the only things that a camera can catch on video. Go online, and one can find tons of funny, weird, strange, and terrifying happenings caught on dashboard cameras worldwide.
A person does not have to be a young, inexperienced driver to want to review their driving footage and want to improve. Even the best of the best look for ways to better themselves. A dashcam could be any driver’s tool for self-improvement on the road.
Acquiring a dashcam
Before purchasing a dashcam, check if they are legal in your area and if they can be used in court. Dashcams come in a variety of styles, with many offering features such as WiFi capability and GPS and speed monitoring. Available at low and high price points, dashboard cameras are now more accessible than ever.
Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum Picture Gallery
You will find over 130 cars in the collection at last count. Whether you wish to find the 1914 Detroit Electric, a Ford Model A or Model T, a Packard, a Studebaker, or possibly a Locomobile, you’re sure to find your favorite.
If you like vintage motorcycles the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum has Harley Davidsons, Indians, Cushmans and more!
You can find aircraft, automobiles, motorcycles, tractors, military jeeps and engines at WAAAM.
Every licensed driver is taught not to speed. Speeding presents a hazard on the road, not only endangering those in the speeding and oncoming cars but also pedestrians. Despite the constant warnings given to drivers to consider public safety, a vast number of speeding vehicles are caught every day, all around the world.
87% of drivers exceeded the speed limit on 20mph roads in 2018. However, only 52% of drivers drove too fast on 30mph roads, which decreased to 46% on motorways. Therefore, the study shows that drivers tend to speed on roads with lower speed limits. Though motorists recognize that speed can cause road accidents, many continue to speed, either intentionally or unintentionally.
What makes drivers choose to endanger themselves and others when they can just as easily, not speed? Keep reading to find out why people speed when driving.
They may have a medical emergency and need to head to a hospital, or be late for a meeting and rush to the office. Maybe they even just need to reach a bathroom. Some drivers want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, regardless of any speed limits they must follow.
2. They love the thrill
The excitement and thrill of speeding are most evident among young male drivers who love driving faster than they should. They might be after the image of being a daredevil behind the wheel or craving acceptance among their peers who drive over the speed limit. Ultimately, they want to feel like they belong and take part in the group identity, and that identity may involve speeding.
Like any routine, driving the same road to and from work or school every day can give one a sense of comfort or familiarity. This feeling allows drivers to trust themselves and their instincts when driving instead of being careful about the speed at which they are driving. They may be so familiar with specific intersections and expect no other cars to pass there at a particular time, causing them to drive faster than on streets with which they are unfamiliar. This is the reason many car accidents occur so close to the driver’s home.
4. They take drugs or alcohol
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 30 people die in the US every day due to car accidents related to drunk driving. That equates to around one person every 50 minutes. In 2010, drunk-driving crashes cost the country $44 billion. Instead of driving under the influence, drivers can choose a designated driver in their group to stay sober and bring them home. However, some drivers actively choose to consume alcohol or drugs to add to the thrill they feel when speeding.
4. They feel road rage
Road rage is the term used to refer to motorists’ anger or aggression on the road. The NHTSA says that road rage incidents have been increasing over the years, with fatal car crashes associated with road rage jumping almost 500% between 2006 and 2015. In 2006, they recorded 80 fatal car crashes linked to road rage. In 2015, they recorded 467. Motorists could lash out at other cars by using their cars to express their frustration. Sometimes, this results in high-speed car chases. Other times, they intentionally cause car collisions.
5. They are too confident
While younger motorists may speed to seem cool in front of their friends, older motorists may have too much confidence in their driving abilities. Anyone can end up feeling too confident if they spend enough hours behind the wheel. Their experience can give them a false sense of security and let them think they can handle anything while driving, even if they speed.
Maybe the driver has never driven fast before and wants to try it at least once. Perhaps they have seen their parents, siblings, or friends drive fast and want to get in on the action. The problem is that even just a few seconds of speeding could result in a fatal car crash. In this case, it would probably be better not to let curiosity kill the cat.
7. They are unaware of the speed limit
Drivers stopped by police for speeding often try to excuse their behavior by explaining they were unaware of the road’s speed limit, which means their speeding was unintentional. They could argue that they never saw a speed limit sign and were unaware of the roadway’s speed limit. It is possible that they were not paying enough attention to their driving and were distracted by their passengers or the music on the radio.
8. They love how it feels
Drivers who speed because it feels good do not necessarily do it for the thrill. If they have a luxury sports car made for fast speeds, they may end up speeding to make the most of their vehicle.
According to the UK Department for Transport, drivers can be categorized into compliant drivers, moderate speeders, and excessive speeders. In a study conducted, the department found that half of all drivers are compliant drivers, while a third are moderate speeders, and the rest are excessive speeders. Compliant drivers typically follow speed limits, while moderate speeders occasionally go over speed limits, and excessive speeders normally exceed speed limits.
There is a clear difference between different types of drivers, and researchers have been able to link speeding with drivers’ age, sex, and preference for risky behavior. The European Commission states that people who prefer exciting and challenging activities are more likely to drive fast. The same is true for young drivers, male drivers, and drivers on the road for professional purposes.
Traffic organizations seem to agree on one thing: adherence to speed limits can lead to safer roads.
I found a new Portland Cars and Coffee event held every Saturday morning from 8 AM to 11 AM in Sherwood, Oregon at the Langer’s Entertainment Center parking lot. Now, I’m not sure if this PDX cars & coffee event replaces the one that used to be at the World of Speed Motorsports Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon. Due to the pandemic, the museum closed.
According to the Portland Cars & Coffee Facebook page, I found, Langer’s is the original Portland Cars and Coffee event and they have been doing this event since 2008 because they love cars. Langer’s PDX cars & coffee happens every Saturday (rain or shine) from 8 am to 11 am at Langer’s Entertainment Center in Sherwood (21650 SW Langer Farm Parkway, Sherwood, Oregon). There’s additional parking in the Fred Meyers parking lot.
Not quite a “car show” and a little less formal than the usual”cruise-in”, the PDX cars and coffee event located at Langer’s in Sherwood, OR is a place where everyone regardless of age, race, creed, color or gender attends. And unlike a formal car show, there typically are no set rules on what qualifies as a participating vehicle, and in-progress project cars are often parked directly with late-model exotics. You’ll see every kind of car at a Portland cars & coffee event.
Every cars and coffee event I attend at Langer’s I will take photos of cars as well as video the event and upload it to my YouTube channel. Make sure you come back and visit this page every week for updates and check my playlist to watch any and all of my Portland Cars and Coffee videos.
At some point in the relatively near future, self-driving cars will be part of everyday life for millions around the world. In the meantime, there is currently a race between major companies to develop the first commercially viable self-driving vehicle. So, what should we know about this important technological advance in driving? Here is some information about self-driving vehicles and when you can expect to see self-driving cars on roads near you.
This is a general outline regarding some aspects of self-driving cars. It includes explaining the difference between autonomous and self-driving vehicles, what a self-driving car is, how it works, safety, and when cars should be available to the general public. It gives a generally positive impression of self-driving cars.
A self-driving vehicle is one that can drive with little or no human interaction. There is an important distinction between self-driving vehicles and autonomous vehicles. Self-driving vehicles need some human control, whereas autonomous vehicles need no input at all from a human. To further clarify this distinction, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) created an international standard of different levels of autonomy for self-driving vehicles. These SAE levels are:
Level 0 – A human is in full control of the vehicle
Level 1 – The car has some automation, such as blind-spot detection or lane control detection.
Level 2 – The automated system assists the driver with things like automatic braking, advanced cruise control, and assisted parking. The driver is still in control of the vehicle at other times.
Level 3 – An automated system can take over part of the driving and monitor the surroundings. However, the human driver can take back control whenever necessary. A similar system is already available in cars manufactured by Tesla and Mercedes.
Level 4 – The automated system monitors the car surroundings and conducts the driving to some extent without the human needing to take control. However, this is only possible in certain locations/environments. This type of SAE level is currently tested by Uber, Samsung, and Google, amongst others.
Level 5 – The automated system performs every driving task a human would normally perform in every type of environment.
Only levels 4 and 5 are considered to be autonomous driving. All these SAE levels should be seen primarily as a guide. As self-driving technology constantly develops, a vehicle could also be placed between certain levels.
A self-driving vehicle maneuvers using a combination of technologies such as radar, cameras, lidar (a kind of radar using lasers) as well as additional artificial intelligence and computers. With numerous sensors integrated with detailed map database information, it constantly monitors its environment around the car as well as performing the actual driving. The sensors process every bit of information regarding the surroundings while also being able to react quickly to unexpected events and obstacles that can appear. Naturally, driving safely in a busy urban environment is far more complicated than driving in quieter rural surroundings. It’s this challenge of designing a car that can drive in every environment safely, which is currently one of the main goals for autonomous car manufacturers.
Some people, such as Elon Musk, say autonomous vehicles are safer than human drivers because they eliminate human error, and, according to some studies, human error accounts for more than 90% of traffic accidents. There has been one fatality so far involving a level 3 car. That happened in Arizona by a vehicle tested by Uber. As of September 2019, there were five other fatalities involving level 2 cars, all operated by Tesla while the automated driving system was engaged. A lot more mileage needs to be conducted with self-driving vehicles in real conditions to see whether self-driving cars are safer, or not than conventional driving.
Who are the main companies behind self-driving cars?
Almost all major car manufacturers are investing a significant amount of money into the research and development of self-driving vehicles. In addition, there are technology companies such as Waymo (Google/Alphabet), Apple, and Samsung involved. Since this is an industry predicted to be worth billions of dollars in the future, it’s no wonder there are at least thirty major companies around the world currently involved with developing self-driving vehicles. The two main countries racing to develop a fully commercial self-driving vehicle are China and the USA.
Will I be able to buy a self-driving car soon?
Self-driving cars have been tested and developed since 2013. Currently, the cost of the cutting-edge technology involved with manufacturing each vehicle also means owning a self-driving car will be out of most people’s budget. Initially, these self-driving vehicles will be used as taxis, hire cars, and the transportation of goods, including self-driving trucks. There is currently a self-driving taxi service operated by Waymo within a contained area of Phoenix, Arizona. Current predictions for when self-driving vehicles will be a regular sight in towns and cities are around five to ten years. Innovations still have to take place, not just car technology, but in factors like legislation and updating map database information. Other typical issues include things like the state of roads. In the US, for example, many roads with potholes are not good enough to sustain safe autonomous driving.
Self-driving vehicles are already here in many respects and certainly look to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. As autonomous vehicles continue to be tested and developed, you can expect to see a lot more self-driving vehicles on the roads performing all kinds of services, including taking you to your chosen destination.
The BMW X3 plug-in hybrid arrives on the market in 2020 to undercut pricey offerings from Audi, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. The 2020 BMW xDrive30e has a single electric motor, lithium-ion battery bank, and a twin-turbo engine. It’s also equipped with all-wheel drive.
Gone are the days when plug-in hybrids were thought to be slow. This hybrid from BMW promises an exhilarating driving experience that takes you around turns with a lizard-like grip and pushes through the corners with the power of 288 horses. Roof rails and high wheel wells combine with a wide kidney grille and polished aluminum wheels to make a crossover that marries off-road ruggedness with sport car thrills.
2020 BMW X3 Plug-In Hybrid Performance and Electric Range
The 2020 BMW X3 has two conventional engine configurations – a 2.0 Liter turbo 4 and a 382-horsepower turbo 6. Starting in the Spring of 2020, BMW will add the plug-in hybrid version of the X3. It’s called xDrive30e.
The plug-in hybrid X3 uses the 2.0 Liter twin-turbo 4 cylinder engine as a base. It produces 180 horsepower. It works in tandem with a single electric motor that produces 107 horsepower on its own with 80 kW / 109 PS. With both systems working together, the combined horsepower is rated at 288. The torque is 310-pound feet. The X3 plug-in hybrid is mated to an 8-speed sport automatic transmission. You can either cruise like an automatic or get sporty with steering-wheel-mounted paddle controls.
With an electric motor and battery bank, the X3 becomes a much heavier vehicle. It has a top speed of 130 MPH and can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. When you compare that to the performance numbers of the 2020 BMW X3 M40i, the plug-in hybrid is about a second and a half slower. It does have a launch control though, which automatically sets the throttle response and torque for a racing start.
There are three driving modes for the hybrid system. There’s Auto eDrive, Max eDrive, and Battery Control. You really have unprecedented control over how the power of the hybrid system is allocated. The xDrive30e also uses regenerative braking to recoup some battery life. This gives it a larger driving range between charges. According to BMW, the X3 plug-in hybrid has a combined 60 MPG and an all-electric range of 20 miles. Another thing that makes the XDrive30e unique is that it operates in full all-wheel-drive even when operating exclusively on electric power.
The X3 xDrive30e doesn’t lag or handle sloppily. Even though it’s a plug-in hybrid, it still moves like a powerful rear-wheel-drive sedan. It grips the road with double-pivot front strut suspension up front and a five-link independent rear. You can toggle between ECO PRO, COMFORT, and SPORT driving modes. These mostly affect the shocks and dampeners.
The 2020 BMW X3 is listed as a small crossover SUV. Its interior doesn’t leave much room for horseplay, but it’s quite spacious. The power liftgate comes standard on the X3 plug-in hybrid and the rear seats fold down flat. There are 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats up. There are 40.3 inches of front legroom and 36.4 inches of legroom in the rear. The 2020 Audi Q5 hybrid has 25 cubic feet of cargo space, but the 2020 Volvo XC60 T8 trumps them all in terms of interior volume.
Back to the plug-in hybrid from BMW. Nearly any amenity that BMW offers can be equipped a la carte. It’s a grab bag of luxury features for the xDrive30e. The interior looks more upscale with real dark oak wood trim and beige synthetic leather. You can add a leather-wrapped steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, ambient lighting, as well as heated and ventilated seats.
The X3 plug-in hybrid is loaded with technology to keep you entertained, informed, and safe. The xDrive30e has Apple Car Play connectivity, but BMW vehicles come with their own application. You can use the BMW Connected app as a concierge to get traffic information, navigation, and schedule maintenance.
The dashboard display and instrument cluster are full of digital touchscreen controls. The xDrive30e has a signature 12.3-inch instrument cluster that relays information about your electric motor status and battery life. The video-game-like street map in the center of the display is also a nice touch. The 10.25-inch central display sits high in the dashboard, but that it makes it easily accessible for both driver and passenger. There aren’t many analog controls inside the new X3 hybrid, just a few for climate control.
If you’re looking for an entry-level luxury vehicle, then the X3 plug-in hybrid from BMW is an excellent choice. If you are specifically looking for a luxury hybrid vehicle, then you could do some more shopping. The 2020 BMW X3 xDrive30e is a bit cheaper than its competitors, but you always get what you pay for.
The Volvo hybrid crossover has tons of interior space. The Audi crossover hybrid has superb handling and acceleration. The BMW crossover hybrid excels in top tier materials inside the cabin. With that being said, the 2020 X3 plug-in hybrid boasts an all-electric driving range of 20 miles and 60 miles per gallon combined.
The 2020 BMW X3 hybrid can get pricey if you pick and choose features. However, a nicely equipped luxury hybrid can be had for around $50,000. The X3 doesn’t win any beauty contests. Its style is a bit dated, but the interior technology is out of this world. Just get inside and drive; all else can be forgiven.
Nearly a century after its creator started designing cars, Porsche is still going strong and that is the end result of being the premier cure for a mid-life crisis like Harley-Davidson. Some of Porsche’s current model lineup includes the 718 Cayman, the 911 Carrera 4, the Taycan Turbo S, and the Panamera GTS. And when these vehicles are too expensive, Porsche also offers accessories like watches, luggage, and clothing bearing the Porsche name.
Through the years, Porsche transformed itself from serious money-loser into one of the most profitable car companies in the world, all this while other auto manufacturers toil over money incentives, market share, and strategies for the Chinese market. Porsche has always rolled out fresh products and despite the costs and risks is has quadrupled its annual unit sales in just under a decade. The latest introduction is the 2020 Taycan. And up to now, the key to their success appears to be the long product life cycles and the company plans to maintain this approach.
It’s hard to say precisely which is the start of the Porsche narrative. It could be in 1950 when the famous Max Hoffman imported Porsche 356 into the USA. Or in 1948 when the first automobile to bear the title Porsche was built. But so as to understand Porsche’s heritage and its own doctrine we will need to return to 1875, when, in September, in the house of a tinsmith in the Bohemian village of Maffersdorf, a son was born. His name was Ferdinand Porsche.
Since his adolescence, Ferdinand Porsche revealed glimpses of technical genius: at age 18, he wired the family house for power in 1893. Still, he did not show any signs of a disciplined engineer which will eventually become his signature. Even if the “Doctor” is usually appended to his name, it’s in essence honorary, because his only formal technical training was as a part-time technology student in Vienna.
By age 25, the young Ferdinand Porsche had entered the area of automotive design. His first vehicle design was accepted by Lohner & Co. of Vienna. Over the next 20 years, Ferdinand Porsche, the temperamental but brilliant engineer succeeded in associating with every major car manufacturer in Germany. At exactly the same time, he made a dozen of the most technically important cars in history.
Working for Mercedes-Benz, Ferdinand Porsche helped create the most revered Mercedes-Benz automobiles of all time: the SSK series. For NSU, he designed the Auto Union Wanderer and the NSU Type 32, a precursor of the Volkswagen Beetle.
After being dismissed from Mercedes for disagreeing with the company’s staid engineering policies, Porsche decided to establish what afterward became Porsche A.G.: his own engineering consulting business. In a small office in Stuttgart, the senior Dr. Porsche assembled a select group of engineers to operate beneath the dramatic name, Doctor of Engineering Ferdinand Porsche, Inc., Construction Facility for Land, Air, and Sea Transportation. One of his workers was his young son, Ferry Porsche. His chief interest was one that any young man might select: sports and racing cars.
The senior Dr. Porsche and his staff had been kept extremely busy. The consulting company developed for Steyr, the Austria luxury sedan, but it didn’t progress past the prototype stage. They worked a lot for Auto Union, now Audi: the firm developed the world’s first front-drive car. They amazed Auto Union with the mid-engine Grand Prix cars and their supercharged V-12 and V-16 engines that, together with Mercedes-Benz racers, dominated European automobile racing for almost a decade.
Following that, the company created its best selling designs for NSU and Zundapp. The set of prototypes was characterized by Dr. Porsche’s patented torsion-bar suspension and a rear-mounted engine. Since neither firm moved rapidly enough to manufacture the designs, Porsche sold the concept to the German authorities. Then he oversaw the construction of a plant on Wolfsburg to fabricate the layout. His drawings called the car the Type 60. The world came to know it as the Volkswagen Beetle.
Following the Second World War, the Porsche Company began to create vehicles. Now, almost a century later, Porsche became the marque and the family that created outstanding, often unique and surely lasting contributions to automotive design and engineering.
What is possibly among the best automakers in the world today, Porsche the German car giant has gone from being a small-time sports car maker that appealed to the enthusiast into an automobile powerhouse making automobiles for a broad cross-section of consumers.
Porsche’s utter dominance of motorsport has been well documented. Not only are they a very successful LeMans team, but Porsche has also won races in virtually every kind of track-based – and even sometimes some off-road motorsport. So this is what I believe are the best Porsche automobiles ever made. Have another list or think I missed from some iconic Porsches? Leave a comment below tell me what you think!
Many believe the Porsche 64 (also known as the VW Aerocoupe, Type 64 and Sort 64K10) as being the very first automobile by Porsche. It was constructed mainly from components from the Model 64 VW Beetle. Its flat-four engine generated 50 bhp and gave a top speed of 160 km/h.
Porsche designed the entire body following wind tunnel tests made for the Type 114, a V10 sports car that was never produced. Dr. Porsche wanted to enter the car in the 1939 Berlin-Rome race. The bodywork company Reutter constructed three cars in shaped aluminum. Out of the three, one was crashed in early World War II by a Volkswagen bureaucrat. The two remaining were utilized by the Porsche family. Later on, they put them in storage and used just one.
In May 1945 American troops discovered the one put in storage, cut the roof off, and used it for joyriding for a couple of weeks until the motor gave up and it was scrapped. Pinin Farina restored the remaining Porsche 64 in 1947, as it was owned and driven by Ferry Porsche. In 1949, the Austrian racer Otto Matte bought it and won the Alpine Rally in 1950 in it.
The Porsche 356 is the first Porsche production automobile and it was sold from 1948 through 1965. Although many believe the Porsche 64 as being the very first automobile created by the German company, the 64 was never mass-produced and it was only a drivable test-mule. The 356 was made by Ferdinand Porsche and his son, Ferry Porsche, designed by Erwin Komenda and its engine features derived from the Volkswagen Beetle, designed by Mr. Porsche Senior.
The models available were initially coupe, cabriolet (luxury convertible) and then roadster (a stripped-down convertible). Before being withdrawn in 1965, it went through several changes. The most desirable versions were 356 “Carrera”, “Super 90” and “Speedster”. In the late ’50s, the initial selling price for a Porsche 356 was $4,000.
In 1954, Max Hoffman, the only importer of Porsches into America needed a lower price, racier version for the American market. Therefore, Porsche created the 356 “Speedster” that became an instant hit thanks to the low, raked windshield (easily removable for weekend racing), bucket seats, and a minimum folding top. These days, this car is still quite appreciated as it’s sold for more than $100,000 and it’s been used in a number of films, including 48 Hours, its sequel — Another 48 Hours and Top Gun. In 1957, the Speedster production peaked at 1,171 cars. In 1959 it was replaced with the Convertible D model, which featured a taller, more practical windshield, glass side windows, and more comfortable seats.
Porsche 550 Spyder
In 1953, Porsche needed a race car stronger than the 356. They created the 550. This was the first true competition car from Porsche. It was lightweight, it had two bucket seats, an aluminum body, a tubular frame, and an open-top. The initial pair of 550s dominated their class at Le Mans finishing one-two from the 1500cc division. Then, one of those two cars won its category in the famed Pan Americana Mexican road race.
Later Porsche 550’s carried on what the first 550s had started. They were fitted with the four-cam Carrera flat four-cylinder engine. They soon became dominant cars worldwide. During races, the 550 was fast and easily maneuvered so no other automobile stood a chance. The public loved it buying every one of these quick little cars they could find.
In 1956, Porsche began to create the 550A, a slightly modified Spyder. It was a hit, shocking the whole world by winning the Targa Florio, a brutal road race. Additionally, it humbled well-known and stronger rivals like Ferrari, Maserati, and Jaguar. In the following five years it won nearly all of the races in which it competed. It turned into a car that brought more attention because of its occasional losses compared to its nearly nonstop victories.
Introduced in September 1969, the Porsche 914 was a sporty, mid-engined two-seater with a Targa top and a 4 cylinder boxer engine. The concept of this new model came up as Volkswagen and Porsche collaborated to create a new car. VW would take 914 bodies and finish them as 914/4s, and Porsche would take their portion of the body cubes, and build 914/6s. When marketed in North America, however, all 914s would be considered Porsches.
The Porsche 914 is not like other Porsches. It has pop-up headlamps, a vertical rear windshield, and a horizontal deck lid covering the rear engine and trunk. It has no backseats so when you sit down, you are practically on the pavement.
The inside of the 914 is rather straightforward, not luxurious but with necessities. There is not too much space other than the passenger seat. The transmission is like the 928’s with 1st down and to the left side. The 914 has a Targa top, also like 911’s, it stores in the trunk. But if you remove the top and roll down the windows, the Porsche 914 is a fairly nice small roadster.
Porsche 911 Turbo
Back in 1975 Porsche created the very first Porsche 911 Turbo. The engineers designed this modern engine and Chairman Ernst Fuhrman determined they could use a turbocharger in the production automobile. The initial prototype was exhibited at several European venues in 1973. In 1974, the “911 Turbo” went on the market and it had a 3.0 liter 260 bhp engine.
The new 911 Turbo was filled with luxury. The Turbo had air-conditioning, electric windows, tinted glass, headlamp washers, leather seats, and Bilstein shocks. Originally, it was supposed to be a limited edition, with just 500 versions to be sold. The demand was so large that over 1000 cars were sold. It was clear that Turbo would have a secure future.
What attracted so many buyers was its huge rear wing, widened wheel arches, and big tires. This fantastic look along with the powerful engine made the Turbo look faster than any other 911.
The Porsche 928 is a luxury grand tourer created by Porsche AG of Germany from 1978 to 1995. Originally intended to replace the company’s legendary 911, the 928 combined the capability, poise, and handling of a sports automobile together with the refinement, relaxation, and equipment of a luxury sedan. Porsche executives thought such a flagship could have broader appeal than the compact, quirky and sometimes tricky to drive 911. The 928 has the distinction of being the company’s first front-mounted V8 engine.
When designing the 928, which went into series production as of the model year 1978, the attention was on a lightweight structure. The doors, front wings and bonnet were consequently made from aluminum instead of sheet steel. Behind the plastic bumpers incorporated from the body contour, there were also aluminum profiles that could withstand an accident at up to 8 km/h (5 mph) with no harm.
The 928 had round, electrically operated pop-up headlights that were integrated into the front bumpers. The rounded fastback was dominated by the huge window of the rear lid. The 928 models were powered with a water-cooled V8 motor using a 90° arrangement. The displacement of the power unit was increased from an initial 4.5 liters to 5.4 liters.
The Porsche 968 is essentially the successor of the Porsche 944. The 968 has a very low nose and wide wheel arches which helps to accentuate the gorgeous lines of the traditional silhouette that is a real head-turner. It’s also the timeless GT front-engine, rear-wheel-drive design with the extra benefit of a rear transaxle giving virtually ideal 50/50 weight distribution.
The motor is a variant of this first used on the 944 S2: it’s a 4 cylinder, 3 liters of displacement and 16 valves. The setup in the 968 included VarioCam for optimal performance throughout the speed range. The engine made 240 HP at 6200 rpm and a torque of 305 Nm at 4100 RPM. For its time, it was a striking motor, obtaining the maximum displacement per cylinder of almost any engine as well as the maximum torque output of any naturally aspirated 3-liter engine. Certainly, Porsches’ investment with this engine paid off.
The rear-mounted gearbox is a 6-speed manual or 4-speed Tiptronic. It’s the very first ever mounted onto a production automobile. The chassis has nearly perfect weight distribution and very rigid features.
Porsche Carrera GT
Unofficially, the Porsche Carrera GT is a racecar, a racecar built for the street. What makes it a racecar is not always the huge power generated by its V10 engine or the carbon fiber construction that keeps all very lightweight — although those features certainly make it a fast car. It’s more the sum of its parts that make this car value every bit of its $440,000 price tag.
The Carrera GT has unique attributes, among which are a 5.7 liter, 605 horsepower V10 engine, monocoque chassis with Porsche-patented engine and transmission mounts made of carbon-reinforced plastic and also the first use of a ceramic composite clutch in a production car. A crucial aspect is the Carrera GT is secure and stable at speeds up to 205 mph, thanks to the aerodynamic and race-bred suspension package.
The design of the suspension is so complicated that the architecture of its components enhances the Carrera GT’s aerodynamics. The designers used lightweight materials such as magnesium for the wheels and tires as well as the frames of its distinctive sport seats, the consequence being a faster and safer car. The Carrera GT accelerates from a standing start to 62 mph (100km/h) in only 3.9 seconds reaches 100 mph (160 km/h) in under seven seconds, 125 mph (200 km/h) in less than 10 seconds, and can achieve a track speed of 205 mph (330 km/h).
20 years ago, the idea of a Porsche SUV would have seemed absurd. And the reason isn’t that Porsche lacks expertise with off-road automobiles since their engineering has developed AWD army vehicles. It is more that, compared to General Motors, Toyota or Daimler-Chrysler, the automotive giants, Porsche represents a very small fraction of their production volume. For decades, the business has generated quick, nimble, small sports cars, or in other words, the contrary of SUV’s. When Porsche made a decision to invest in an SUV and a factory to build it, it became clear the times, as well as our taste, have shifted.
And today, after producing the most anticipated Porsche in decades, the organization is proud that its SUV is what many expected it would be: technically slick and remarkably fast, with on-road handling that belies its bulk. Additionally, the Cayenne provides what most SUV buyers demand, including decent cargo space, more than enough capability for casual off-road usage, and impressive towing capacity.
When it comes to pricing, Cayenne is a true Porsche. A very expensive Porsche. With tax and license, a loaded Cayenne Turbo can crack the $150,000 barrier, and that alone will knock it off most shopping lists. But for the connoisseurs, the Porsche Cayenne will be truly appreciated for its performance and driving satisfaction.
In 2010 the company came out with a four-door, four-seat coupe, known as Porsche Panamera. The vehicle, powered by a modified version of the 4.5L V8 found at the Cayenne, equipped with a front-engine and rear-wheel-drive setup.
The Porsche Panamera is built in the new plant at Leipzig along with the Cayenne. It’s the first V8-engined sports car built by Porsche since 1995 when the 928 was discontinued and some consider it a suitable successor to the two-doored 928.
Like Porsche Carrera’s name, the Panamera’s derives its name from the Carrera Panamerican race. Before the Panamera, there were additional four-door sedans prototypes, like the 1991 Porsche 989 prototype or the even earlier 4 door model in line with the 911, but they never went to production.
Coming from humble beginnings, Porsche history dates back to 1948, where founder Ferdinand Porsche established the Porsche brand with only 200 workers. The very first Porsche version was created later that year, called the Porsche 356, and 52 automobiles were subsequently generated in 1949 in a small garage. A couple of years later, in 1952, the automaker introduced its most popular model yet, the 550 Spyder, and the brand only continued to grow from there, with the 10,000th Porsche vehicle hitting the streets by its 25th anniversary.
Today, when enthusiast drivers consider the Porsche brand, they think of luxury and high performing vehicles — and rightly so. Porsche now produces many distinct versions that deliver strong engine performance and extend a variety of special comfort and convenience features that differentiate the Porsche brand.
There was a sharp growth in the sales of electric cars in the past ten years, with improvements in technology bringing them into closer competition with petrol and diesel powered automobiles. Action by governments to boost electrically-powered transport is also encouraging many drivers to think about the option of switching to an electric vehicle. This report explains the key advantages and disadvantages of a plug-in electric vehicle.
The earnings of plug-in electric vehicles have seen a massive rise in the previous ten years, as environmental issues have deepened and technology has progressed to generate more functional vehicles and greater public charging infrastructure.
Making the switch from an internal combustion engine automobile to an all-electric one is a big step for most people, considering that a car is usually the second most expensive item someone will ever buy. Here’s a contrast for individuals considering changing from an ICEV (internal combustion engine car ) into a PEV (plug-in electric vehicle).
ICEVs have a lot more components that wear or move out than their electrical counterparts. Once automobiles have done 50,000 miles or longer, repair and replacement of components become significantly more expensive for the ones which are gas or diesel powered. With the exception of battery replacement (see below), electric cars are much cheaper to maintain.
PEVs win hands down over their gas and diesel counterparts in this regard. Electric motors are nearly silent. Unlike ICEVs, they remain that way throughout their whole working lifespan. PEVs typically don’t have a gearbox or clutch mechanism, which further reduces noise.
Electric cars are cheaper in terms of direct running costs, i.e., the cost of charging the battery versus purchasing gasoline or diesel. A study conducted in 2018 found electrical cars much cheaper to operate in each state, without exception. On average a PEV will cost $485 per annum to operate, while an equal ICEV will cost $1,117. In Hawaii, where the figures for the two kinds of car are nearest, the expense of a petrol car and a PEV is $1,509 p.a. and $1,106 p.a. respectively. In Washington State, the gap is widest, with a PEV costing $372 p.a. compared to $1,338 p.a. for an equivalent gasoline car.
That is where PEVs are at a substantial disadvantage compared to ICEVs. An economical petrol or diesel family car can easily offer a range of 500 miles on a tank full of gas. Most PEVs have a selection of between l00 and 175 miles, although battery technology is progressing to boost that.
Usually, a full charge will take eight to ten hours from a standard domestic power point, even though a unique quick charge will bring the battery up to 80 percent of its whole capacity in 30 minutes (these rapid chargers are expensive to own, so this is typically done in a public charging station). A 7kW home charging system may give a complete charge in about four hours, but costs from $500 to $1500 for a routine installation.
The complete cost of batteries is dependent upon how long they last, and their lifespan may vary based on the model and the sort of usage they’ve seen. Most manufacturers give a guarantee of five to eight years on a battery, which usually means they will replace lost capacity if it drops below a predetermined percentage of its initial maximum, e.g., 75 or 8o percent.
Larger capacity batteries tend to last longer. A complete battery replacement for a Nissan Leaf prices around $8,500 including labor, for example. This adds much to the total cost of owning a PEV, but improvements in technology are expected to reduce it. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, electric car batteries cost 80 percent less per kilowatt/hour in 2018 than they did in 2010, and costs continue to fall.
It should also be added that batteries are vulnerable to damage in accidents. This increases the insurance premium on a PEV.
Initial cost and depreciation
Generally speaking, PEVs are more expensive to purchase than their fossil fuel equivalents. However, there are a lot of government financial incentives (both national and state) that decrease the cost to the purchaser of a new PEV. Some areas also give subsidies for home charging units.
There’s greater depreciation on PEVs than on petrol or diesel cars of equal size and specifications. A 2018 study showed a typical four-year-old compact electric car is worth 23 percent of its original sticker price, as against 41 percent for an equivalent ICEV. This is largely due to battery depletion and is therefore likely to be alleviated in the future by the diminishing cost of battery replacement.
The pollution caused by the use of electric cars varies based on the way the electricity used to recharge the batteries is generated, and this also varies by region. A study conducted in 2015 reasoned that in areas inhabited by two-thirds of the US population, driving an ordinary PEV will lead to lower global warming emissions than forcing a 50 mpg petrol car.
So buying an electric car requires careful consideration. You won’t have the pleasure of a 600-mile driveway without needing to fill up, and the prohibitive cost of batteries still makes PEVs more expensive in terms of overall cost of still makes PEVs more expensive in terms of total cost of ownership.
You may, however, be driving a quiet and clean car, and current trends indicate that situation will become ever more beneficial to possessing electric vehicles. According to some estimates, PEVs will match ICEVs concerning total cost of ownership by 2025. And, with dwindling reserves of fossil fuels as well as the urgency of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, there is no denying that electric cars are the future.