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2015 Subaru WRX CVT Review

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Detroit so broke it can't afford the right batteries for parking metres that make it millions

Posted Aug 22nd 2014 9:00AM

San Francisco's Parking Ticket Fees To Become Nation's Most Expensive

The city of Detroit is desperate for two things – revenue and savings. It needs to start making more money, and it needs to curb spending. What happens, though, when those two objectives run counter to each other? Well, you get a story like this one, where cost-saving measures are actually costing the city far more in lost revenue.

The city of Detroit has over 3,400 parking metres. If they were all functional, it's estimated they could bring in an additional $6 million per year in revenue. That's money the city could desperately use. Instead, only about half are working, a spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr told The Detroit News. The reasons for this are alarmingly easy to fix.

First, as part of the city's austerity measures, it switched to a cheaper, lower-quality battery. According to The News, BatteryJunction.com claims the current batteries being used by the city are nearly three dollars cheaper than the Duracell CopperTop nine-volts the city used before it went bust.

According to an anonymous meter attendant, the Duracells were swapped out every summer and winter. These new batteries, though, are dead well before attendants can get there with replacements. So yes, money is being saved somewhere, but revenue isn't being realized elsewhere.

Even simply changing the batteries requires a fight. The cylinder locks that house the batteries and other internals are prone to seizing when they meet water or dirt. Because maintenance budgets have been trimmed, the locks aren't replaced as often as they should be, which in turn damages the cylinder keys. This in turn exacerbates the battery issue, costing the city more money, due to its attempts at saving funds from maintenance. It really is a vicious cycle.

Of course the solution is rather simple – spend money to make money. For Detroiters, though, how do you do that when there's simply no money left to spend?

News Source: The Detroit News

Image Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Answering that age-old question, can you drift while being tazed?

Posted Aug 21st 2014 8:00PM

Drifting while tazed

Many people tolerate a lot of distractions while doing their jobs and still get things done. Formula Drift Superstar Chris Forsberg is a veteran drifter who is very accomplished at his profession, but the question is: just how good? Forsberg's stripped car doesn't have any incoming texts, but there is a guy next to him putting a Taser to his chest.

Forsberg is challenged to enter a corner for a drift, and his torturer, Drift Alliance's Tony Angelo, tazes a different part of Chris' body in hopes of making him lose concentration and control. Things start off somewhat mild, but Angelo tries a little bit harder during each run.

Of course, it would ruin everything to tell you whether or not Forsberg does lose control, so you just have to watch to find out. Don't worry about his safety too much, they're on a closed track with safety personnel nearby. Warning, there is a fair bit of explicit language, as you would expect from a video of two people being tazed repeatedly.

News Source: Hoonigan via YouTube

Jay Leno keeps on truckin' in a 1967 Chevy C10 restomod from Holley

Posted Aug 21st 2014 7:00PM

Holley-tuned C10 truck

Jay Leno doesn't seem like a pickup truck kind of guy. Sure, he may have some appreciation for practically every vehicle on the road, but surely he cares more for some of them a little more than others. Trucks just don't appear to be in his wheelhouse. Still, there's an exception to every rule, and this week he welcomes in the CEO of Holley Performance Products to highlight the company's restomodded 1967 Chevrolet C10 in Jay Leno's Garage.

Holley forgoes the big wheels, tons of chrome, huge engine path of modding in favour of a more subdued approach that focuses on mechanical upgrades. Under that mint green hood is a Chevy LS3 V8 mated to a six-speed Tremec T56 manual transmission with a Hurst shifter. The engine bay keeps the vintage styling too with a Holley self-tuning fuel injection system and coil pack covers – Jay describes the mill as looking like a "little block that thinks it's a big block." All told, the company thinks the truck is sending about 500 horsepower to the rear wheels.

Outside of the new engine, the C10 also gets a lowered suspension, wood-lined bed and modestly larger wheels with period styling. That green paint is original, too. Of course, looks are only half the equation for any restored vehicle, and Jay proves that with two big burnouts in this restomodded pickup. Check out this video of Leno happily going out of his comfort zone.

News Source: Jay Leno's Garage via YouTube

Honda fixes Fit flaw, improves performance on key crash test

Posted Aug 21st 2014 6:30PM

Honda to offer 12,000 owners free fitment of upgraded bumper design



The Fit's grade on the small-front overlap test improved from "marginal" to "acceptable."

Back in March, safety engineers at Honda were disappointed when the much-anticipated 2015 Fit received a substandard grade on an important crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

They thought they had reinforced a steel bumper beam that runs behind the front fascia of the vehicle. But it had broke free in the impact, and the result was much more of the crash energy being absorbed on the driver's side of the car.

So Honda did something unusual. Even as this new-generation Fit started arriving in showrooms, the engineers raced to redesign the front of the car, and then asked IIHS to re-test the vehicle.

The result: The Fit's grade on the small-front overlap test improved from "marginal" on the earlier test to "acceptable," a result that IIHS announced Thursday morning. Because the Fit had already received 'good' marks on the organization's four other crash tests, the Fit will now earn the 'Top Safety Pick' overall title, the IIHS' second-highest ranking.

Image Credit: IIHS | Copyright 2014 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

Wait, we could have electric buses that recharge in 15 seconds?

Posted Aug 21st 2014 6:00PM



First, Swiss watches. Now this. Switzerland is home to a system that will allow battery-electric buses to get their juice in 15-second increments at bus-stop-mounted electric chargers. High-tech, indeed!

Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is leading of a group of public and private entities that is developing something called the TOSA bus system. TOSA buses get recharged via a robotic arm that connects the roof-mounted bus batteries to an electric charging system mounted on the bus stop. The buses can hold up to 133 people and the "flash charging" provides enough juice in a 15-second charge to get the bus to the next electrified stop without delaying the route. The researchers say such buses could be put into regular service in Geneva by 2017.

Bus electrification has been topical because of the traditionally low fuel economy of diesel-powered municipal buses as well as the troublesome electrification systems that require overhead lines for electric power. With that in mind, companies like China-based BYD have been developing battery-electric buses. This spring, BYD started making electric buses at its California factory and, earlier in the year, said it received an order for 1,200 electric buses from Dalian, China.

Click here to watch, as there's a 100-second video about the TOSA system below.

News Source: EPFL

2015 Chevy Silverado Rally Edition misunderstands black tie, dons it anyway

Posted Aug 21st 2014 5:30PM

2015 Chevy Silverado Rally Edition

In terms of dress code, "black tie" events are rather ritzy affairs. For men, that means a black jacket (sans tails), a black bowtie and a white dress shirt. Chevrolet, though, has fitted a black tie to the automotive equivalent of a tuxedo t-shirt – the Silverado pickup. The Detroit-based manufacturer is swapping out the gold bowtie badge of its bread-and-butter pickup for a black item, as part of a pair of new styling packages known as the Rally 1 and Rally 2 Editions.

The Rally 1 pack adds a body colored grille, and blacked-out Chevy logo, door handles and mirror caps, as well as a pair of black rally stripes to the LS trim. LT buyers will also get 17-inch aluminum wheels, a trailering pack, locking rear differential, rear defroster and a backup camera.

The Rally 2 Edition is limited to the higher-end LT truck and adds the Rally 1 tweaks, as well as 22-inch black wheels, black side steps, 10-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, remote start, a backup camera, and rear defroster.

The base engine for the Rally Editions will be Chevy's 4.3-litre V6, although buyers can ditch that 285-horsepower, 305-pound-foot mill for the 355-hp, 5.3-litre V8. Customers will also be able to choose between double and crew-cab models, although the former will hit dealers first, with orders opening on September 4. The crew cabs won't be available for order until October.

Reactions among the Autoblog staff are mixed, although as one staffer said, these trucks would look immensely better had Chevy gone all the way and smoked the headlights or swapped out the bezels for black chrome.

Take a look below for the full press release from Chevrolet, and then head into Comments and let us know what you think of the latest trucks in the Silverado clan.

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News Source: Chevrolet

Only 1 in 234 pass Melbourne's tough new taxi driver test

Posted Aug 21st 2014 5:00PM

Taxi Driver Protest Jams Melbourne's CBD

In London, cab drivers undergo a grueling testing and memorization regime known ominously as "The Knowledge." Obtaining a license to drive one of the British capital's distinctive black cabs is so difficult that students often use motor scooters to get around and learn some 320 routes on 25,000 roads, a process that takes two to four years. They then need to take a completely random oral test, just to make sure they know their way about the city.

The Australian state of Victoria, meanwhile, is doing its best to match London's notorious standards. It recently announced new tests to "weed out" bad taxi drivers. The first round of exams were so challenging, though, that only one in 234 wanna-be cab drivers passed. Drivers are allowed to take the test twice before they're forced into a 12-month waiting period.

"There's 55 questions in each unit and you get an hour to do it," Karen Downie, the sole driver to pass the tests, said. "[It's] a lot of knowing your bus lanes and tram rules and how to deal with people with disabilities. Having done the test now myself, I'll be much better at helping others to prepare for it."

Some, though, are concerned that the exacting standards will lead to a shortage of cab drivers.

"If things don't change we're probably looking at a 25 per cent reduction in the taxi fleet by Christmas," Stuart Overell, the COO of 13Cabs, told Yahoo! News Australia. That's a view disputed by Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel.

"What it indicates is that there has been poor training and poor assessment in the past," Samuel told Yahoo!, adding that drivers who fail this round of testing will still be re-accredited for 2015.

"Drivers, however, who come up for accreditation from the first of January next year and fail the test will have their accreditations removed," Samuels said. "Frankly 13Cabs is just being mischievous putting out that sort of nonsense."

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News Source: Yahoo! News Australia

Image Credit: Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Lamborghini Miura and Countach driven back to back in bid to make Autoblog staff jealous

Posted Aug 21st 2014 4:00PM

Lamborghini Miura and Countach video

For the Autoblog staff, we're in the honeymoon phase following the Monterey car week and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. In terms of big, huge, labor-intensive events on the horizon, we're free until the beginning of October, when we'll ship off to Paris for its annual motor show. That means we're free to look back on the beautiful metal out in California, which included more than a few classic Lamborghinis, including the Miura and Countach.

Unfortunately, we never had a hope of getting behind the wheel (believe it or not, asking exceptionally wealthy car collectors to borrow their meticulously maintained, extraordinarily rare vehicles doesn't elicit immediate cooperation). Considering this grave injustice, we're left taking solace in the latest video from Car, which sees the British outlet taking spins in both the Miura and Countach. The pair of vehicles served as forbearers to the modern supercar, with the former's early mid-engine layout and the latter's aggressive, wedge-shaped styling.

Take a look at the latest video from the lucky bastards team at Car.

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News Source: CARmagazineTV via YouTube

Watch Audi's Emmy promo, starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Posted Aug 21st 2014 2:58PM

Emmy Awards Promo

A lot of online videos try way too hard to be funny, but the promo from Audi for the 66th Emmy Awards on Monday, August 25, shows that if you put faith in a proven group of hilarious actors, you can strike comedy gold. The short film reunites Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul as the proprietors of a pawnshop of rare and obscure items called Barely Legal Pawn. They have their own fictional reality show (which really needs to exist) that rips off Pawn Stars, and this segment has comedy veteran Julia Louis-Dreyfus coming in to sell her Emmy award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy as Elaine on Seinfeld. Louis-Dreyfus also pays the title sponsor's bills by subtly incorporating a 2015 S3 into the otherwise car-free gag.

It would ruin the video to spoil any of the jokes; you just need to watch it. Cranston actually bridges the gap here because way before he became famous as Walter White on Breaking Bad, he had a recurring guest role on Seinfeld as dentist Dr. Tim Whatley. If you're a fan of either show or just need a hearty chuckle for today, this one is definitely for you because all three former Emmy winners put in fantastic performances.

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News Source: Television Academy via YouTube, Adweek

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