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      How Volvo made rear-wheel drive work on ice for the EX30 SUV

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 April - 13:17 · 1 minute

    A grey Volvo EX30 parked on a snowy forest road

    Enlarge / The cheapest version of Volvo's affordable EX30 is rear-wheel drive, but there's no reason to be afraid of that. (credit: Tim Stevens)

    Volvo provided flights from Newark, New Jersey, to Sweden and accommodation so Ars could drive the EX30. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    Rear-wheel drive cars long ago earned a reputation for being a bit of a nightmare to live with in snowy, icy conditions. That's partly why Volvo stopped making the things way back in the 1990s, so it was a surprise that the brand returned to rear-drive for its latest EVs, like its upcoming subcompact SUV, the EX30.

    Why the throwback layout? Next-generation stability and traction-control systems, aided by the precise torque delivery of electric motors, allow for advanced modulation of power and braking that would have been impossible on those '90s icons. To see just how well Volvo's engineers succeeded at the task, I headed to northern Sweden to catch the tail of an Arctic winter and see whether this return to RWD was a success.

    The driven wheel dilemma

    Thanks to inertia, having the engine of a car drive the rear wheels actually provides the acceleration. When you accelerate, the car's mass effectively shifts rearward. That additional weight on the rear wheels gives them more grip—and gives you more speed.

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      Yamaha and Lola pair up to enter Formula E next season

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 28 March - 14:42 · 1 minute

    A Gen3 Formula E car with a yellow and blue livery and Lola logos on it.

    Enlarge / After a 10-year gap, Lola is back developing an electric racecar, or at least the powertrain for one, as it will enter Formula E next season. (credit: Lola)

    In 2022, we brought news that Lola, a once-famous racing company, was planning its renaissance . Lola never really cracked Formula 1, but it did have success in IndyCar and sports car racing with cars it designed and built from the 1960s until it ceased trading in 2012. Now, under new ownership, the company has been rebuilding its engineering facilities and expertise. And together with Yamaha as its technical partner, it has chosen Formula E for its official return to professional motorsport.

    Formula E's dart-shaped electric single-seaters are getting a bit of an update before they start season 11 next year. We expect new bodywork, better tires, and perhaps the ability to use the front electric motor to send power to the wheels instead of just acting as regenerative brakes on the front axle, but those components are all spec parts, meaning every team has to use the same ones without modifying them.

    That goes for the battery, too, but there is freedom when it comes to the 470 hp (350 kW) electric motor that powers the rear wheels. And then there's the software, without which the car won't go anywhere.

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      US pricing announced for the Polestar 4 EV; starts at $54,900

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 27 March - 17:42 · 1 minute

    A car underneath a gold dustcloth

    Enlarge / The Polestar 4 went on sale in China late last year, then in Europe and Australia in January. Now it's North America's turn. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    NEW YORK—On Wednesday, Polestar formally launched its next electric vehicle in the North American market at the New York International Auto Show. Until now, Polestar's range has been a little limited—there was the Polestar 1, a handsome if a little eccentric plug-in hybrid GT that went out of production after just 1,500 examples. And there's the Polestar 2 sedan, now available as a more efficient, more fun rear-wheel drive variant . But the brand has lacked that most popular of body styles, the SUV—until now.

    "We have been obviously waiting for this year so much in order to really accelerate now. So the two cars coming are SUVs, [which] is, for us, key to really get into the dimension that we want to be," said Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar. "We have invested so much into the brand. We have so much invested into being in 25 countries. Of course we need now that kind of scale, a minimum of a three-car company to justify all of that," he said.

    The latest addition is called the Polestar 4, which slightly confusingly slots between the smaller Polestar 2 sedan and larger, more expensive Polestar 3—the other SUV that joins the range this year . It has a clear family resemblance to its siblings, with similar front styling to the Polestar 3 and a fastback rear that calls back to the Polestar 2. The decision to ditch the rear windshield will no doubt be controversial—instead, the Polestar 4 uses a camera-based mirror that provides a wider-angle view of things behind the car than a normal passive mirror.

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      Genesis unveils its take on the big luxury EV—the Neolun Concept

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 26 March - 16:07 · 1 minute

    The front half of the Genesis Neolum Concept EV

    Enlarge / This concept points the way to a future Genesis flagship SUV. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    Genesis provided train tickets from Washington to New York and accommodation so Ars could attend its event. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    NEW YORK—You can always rely on Genesis to bring at least one interesting concept to the New York International Auto Show. This year, the company brought several. At a busy reveal at the brand's Genesis House in Manhattan, it showed us its high-performance ambitions with not one but four bright orange machines, plus one rather famous Belgian racing driver. Then, in a chamber reminiscent of The Barmacide Feast , we got to see the poshest Genesis yet, the brand's take on a big luxury electric vehicle inspired by Korean hospitality.

    The Neolum Concept

    Genesis was tight-lipped in the lead-up to Monday night's unveilings, but no one was entirely surprised to see a big electric SUV. Genesis is owned by Hyundai Group, after all, and has access to the E-GMP architecture, a thoroughly up-to-date flexible platform that keeps impressing us. Kia just used E-GMP to great effect to make the EV9 , a three-row family SUV. And Hyundai's take on that form factor is due later this year in the production Ioniq 7, so an upmarket model from Genesis seemed obvious.

    "The last eight years, it was about finding who we are and then discovering DNA for the Genesis," said SangYup Lee, global design head for Genesis. "Now it's time to expand."

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      Cheating Automatic Toll Booths by Obscuring License Plates

      news.movim.eu / Schneier · Thursday, 14 March - 11:52 · 1 minute

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a variety of techniques drivers are using to obscure their license plates so that automatic readers can’t identify them and charge tolls properly.

    Some drivers have power-washed paint off their plates or covered them with a range of household items such as leaf-shaped magnets, Bramwell-Stewart said. The Port Authority says officers in 2023 roughly doubled the number of summonses issued for obstructed, missing or fictitious license plates compared with the prior year.

    Bramwell-Stewart said one driver from New Jersey repeatedly used what’s known in the streets as a flipper, which lets you remotely swap out a car’s real plate for a bogus one ahead of a toll area. In this instance, the bogus plate corresponded to an actual one registered to a woman who was mystified to receive the tolls. “Why do you keep billing me?” Bramwell-Stewart recalled her asking.


    Cathy Sheridan, president of MTA Bridges and Tunnels in New York City, showed video of a flipper in action at a recent public meeting, after the car was stopped by police. One minute it had New York plates, the next it sported Texas tags. She also showed a clip of a second car with a device that lowered a cover over the plate like a curtain.

    Boing Boing post .

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      Electric Vehicles are better than gas-powered cars in winter—here’s why

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 5 December - 13:33

    Heart shape in snow on car.

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    Objectively speaking, a battery-electric vehicle provides a superior driving experience in cold and inclement weather to its internal combustion engine-powered counterparts—for numerous reasons. Comfort, control, even durability benefits come along for the cold ride. Let me explain.

    First, actually, let me concede a point. It's true that BEVs lose range in colder climates. The two main reasons for that stem from the need to keep both the cabin and battery pack warm, which requires energy that would otherwise go toward going. And, generally speaking, it takes more energy to warm an electric vehicle in the winter than to cool it in the summer.

    But bear in mind, all cars lose range in the winter . Air gets denser as it cools, which takes more work to push through. And all the viscous fluids vehicles need take more time to warm up to their respective operating temperatures. And that means your engine, transmission, and differential all have more work to do—requiring more energy—in the cold.

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      Automakers’ data privacy practices “are unacceptable,” says US senator

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 4 December - 15:20

    A person sits in a car holding a smartphone, the screen reads

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    US Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is one of the more technologically engaged of our elected lawmakers. And like many technologically engaged Ars Technica readers, he does not like what he sees in terms of automakers' approach to data privacy. On Friday, Sen. Markey wrote to 14 car companies with a variety of questions about data privacy policies, urging them to do better.

    As Ars reported in September , the Mozilla Foundation published a scathing report on the subject of data privacy and automakers. The problems were widespread—most automakers collect too much personal data and are too eager to sell or share it with third parties, the foundation found.

    Markey noted the Mozilla Foundation report in his letters, which were sent to BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen. The senator is concerned about the large amounts of data that modern cars can collect, including the troubling potential to use biometric data (like the rate a driver blinks and breathes, as well as their pulse) to infer mood or mental health.

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      Why don’t EVs have standard diagnostic ports—and when will that change?

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 4 December - 15:07

    Auto mechanic using car diagnostic scanner tool

    Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

    Its original name is an ALDL, short for Assembly Line Diagnostic Link, or Assembly Line Data Link. But most call an ALDL the OBD-II port because it provides everyone from engineers at proving grounds to dealership technicians to shade tree mechanics a connection to the vehicle's software and diagnostic systems. And soon, battery electric as well as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will offer similar access.

    Wait… EVs don't already have that? Not all of them, no. And the various manufacturers' systems differ from each other in both connectivity and scope, which makes troubleshooting an errant EV that much more difficult. That, as you can imagine, causes more than a few headaches for the good folks that service EVs.

    Modern on-board diagnostics, or OBD-II, became a standardized and mandatory part of every automobile sold in the United States starting with the 1996 model year. And all vehicles, from a Ford Escape to a Ferrari SF90, needed one. But this mandate exempted EVs and other alternatively powered vehicles.

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      Porsche summons old-school cool with the 2024 911 Sport Classic

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 2 December - 12:30 · 1 minute

    A grey Porsche 911 Sport Classic parked in the Angeles National Forest

    Enlarge / We never get tired of seeing the different ways Porsche finds to tweak the venerable 911. It's outdone itself with the Sport Classic, but the car comes with a price tag that means very few will experience it. (credit: Bradley Iger)

    Sports cars have always been emotionally driven purchases, and perhaps no automaker understands this better than Porsche. There are more than two dozen iterations of the 911 on sale today, and while it can sometimes feel like sussing out the differences in character between one variant and another is an exercise in splitting hairs, the new Sport Classic tugs at enthusiasts' heartstrings in a way that no other modern 911 can.

    Part of the Heritage Design Edition series, which includes a 911 Targa as well as two more as-yet-unnamed models, the new Sport Classic leverages the formidable capability of the latest 911 Turbo while delivering a genuinely unique driving experience and a distinct sense of style.

    While its purposeful stance comes courtesy of the Turbo's widened body, elements like the bespoke carbon fiber hood, the Carrera GT-inspired carbon “double bubble” roof, and the eye-catching carbon fiber ducktail rear spoiler—the latter of which pays homage to the iconic 911 Carrera RS 2.7 of the early 1970s—help to provide the Sport Classic with a look all its own. The bodywork is also further differentiated from its Turbo sibling thanks to the deletion of the side intakes, a change that necessitated new tooling to stamp the unique panels that run from underneath the front of the doors all the way to the rear bumper. New inlets installed under the ducktail spoiler are on hand to channel air into the engine's intake system.

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