The auto industry is now in a state of constant flux. When an auto manufacturer takes it to the next level or makes a blunder that will lead to changes in the future, you will see it here in The Up Shift.


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Tesla – So Quiet They Snuck Up On The Entire Industry

Its funny that I would learn about the Tesla Model X from a website that was also clueless about its existence until just recently. Read more

TCPFI

The 26B 4 Rotor – New Arrival of the Total Car Produce Magic FD.

In the world of performance vehicles the FD3S RX-7 has stood out as somewhat of a dark horse thanks to the heartbeat of its 13B rotrary power. In the world of rotary power the 26B 4rotor trumps all.

From Mazdas 787B to the 792P. Rotary and RX-7 ledgendary gurus such as RE/Amemiya who built the 26B for Fujita Engineering AKA FEED. These have all lead up to more and more 4 rotor drift and race cars including Brian Gray of New Zealand and Mad Mike’s MadBull which have been tearing up drifting for quite some time now. But theres a new kid on the block, and since when have rotaries been known to play well with others?

Its always crazy to see these well put together one off pieces of engineering dumping well over 400 normaly asperated horse power at the drop of a hat, without breaking a sweat and I have been studying them off and on for years now. Im very happy to see more and more of these engines popping up and whats more so, not hearing about them popping!

So enjoy the videos and pics of the latest terror to hit the tracks from my new favorite tuning house, Total Car Produce Magic.

Photo Credit: SPEEDHUNTERS.COM

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Tesla Motors Launches New Washington, D.C. Store

 

It’s just after 5 AM on February 4th and I have an email in my inbox letting me know that Tesla Motors, after much anticipation, is opening their new location in Washington, D.C.  They want to know if I would like to “take another spin in the car”…

First of all, there is no way I would turn down another opportunity to drive what is quite possibly a turning point in automotive history.  Second, I had been looking for more of an opportunity to talk about the people and company that is Tesla Motors instead of just chatting about blinding performance.  After talking with Tesla VP of Communications, Ricardo Reyes, I found that they are focused at taking a serious, customer-centric stab at changing the face of automotive industry. 

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With over 3500 electric vehicles operating on the road today the company has established a toe hold on its goals of making every car electric.  A lofty goal if ever there were one.  However they currently supply battery packs and electric power trains to Toyota and Daimler/Mercedes.  They also have vehicles operating in the harshest of climates from the Arctic Circle to Arizona having logged almost 10 million electronically driven miles. 

True, hybrid electric vehicles have been around for ages helping to promote greener electric technologies.  However, having established themselves as the leader in electric vehicle technology, Tesla is taking the next step which is what this night was all about.    img_9479

Unfortunately it’s my understanding that once the Elise based Roadster is finished its contracted production run, it’s over.  For many it will be a sad bit of news but the truth of the matter is that the Roaster is simply one technology, modified to support another and in the long run isn’t considered to be the platform necessary to promote a permanent change in auto culture.  So the gears are moving to put a strong emphasis on the production of the Model S, a purpose built chassis designed specifically to support full electric vehicle technology.  To move forward with a system that will allow Tesla to get the most out of its technologies.  Having driven the roadster twice now it’s difficult to imagine what more they could extract in the way of performance however the numbers for the Model S hint at a shift from ragged edge performance to extended range and efficiency.

If you want a true electric vehicle with no compromises that is effective for the full range of daily uses Tesla will be your only option.  Making such a change to a vehicle like the Model S is why they will continue to be industry leaders in this field, simply because every other auto manufacturer will continue to try and adapt old chassis designed for propulsion by internal combustion.  And when the results of Tesla’s efforts take effect (i.e. making the technologies cheaper) most auto manufacturers will be off balance for quite some time and some kept that way possibly until we stop using petroleum based fuels. 

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I was honored to be included in such a moment in history.  For a long time electric cars have been discredited because of one fault or the other that have kept us from living our lives unchanged from an automotive standpoint, kept us from moving freely without compromise.  I truly believe though that Tesla’s establishing their Washington location is one more building block in the infrastructure needed to support its plans for the Model S which will go a long way toward changing the way we think, the way we look at the automobile and its capabilities and ultimately change the world itself. 

Here’s to a cleaner and more intelligent way of life.  Thank you, Tesla Motors.

Hot Rod Jakob

What Is Ferrari Smoking?

Bridgestones apparently.

When you think Ferrari you think ultra high-performance. But when you think ultra high-performance you dont always thing Bridgestone.

While I have not had a chance to talk to anyone at Bridgestone to get more data, it is official that they will be providing the Potenza S-001 as original equipment for the new 570 CV Ferrari 458. Interestingly enough thats also true of the Aston Martin Rapide.

I was surprized to learn that Bridgestone has built tires for Ferrari and supplied original equipment to Maranello production cars since the Ferrari 348 back in 1990.

Its also important to note that the S-001 has been specifically developed to match the handling, control and safety requirments for the 458.

Bridgestone Petenza S-001

Bridgestone Petenza S-001

Fenix Automotive, Why you should be paying attention

Many of you have never heard of Fenix Automotive. However I am sure that many of you have heard of Noble. Lee Noble has brought us amazing home grown vehicles ever since the Noble M400, M12 and most recently the M15. However it apears that Lee isnt the type to sit about.

Going back to the drawing board the Fenix Automotive group decided that GMs 480bhp LS3 V8 would be the engine for the base model with an optional SuperCharged 6.2 liter LS9 V8, currently in the ZR1 Corvette, would be just what the doctor ordered for those power hungry drivers. Giving a whopping dose of 638bhp

With a target curb weight of 2645 lbs its estimated that the production model will be able to run the 0-100 mark in just under 7 seconds and push on to an undetermined top speed of around 200 mph. Blindingly quick.

Speaking of blinding…dont hurt yourself:

Fenix Automotive Concept

Fenix Automotive Concept

Fenix Automotive Concept

Fenix Automotive Concept

Nissan Receives Government Support For Zero Emissions Efforts

As we take stock of our situations during the global economic downturn, everyone is looking to implement new strategies that will not simply band-aid the problem so to speak.  What most are concerned with are alternatives that allow permanent change to take effect.  To reduce the bad habits and practices that caused the negative effects to begin with.

The first company we take a look at is hot on the heals of just such a solution.  Nissan Motor Co. announced in July that they, along with its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corporation, have begun trial production of an advanced Lithium-Ion battery thru its join joint-venture company – Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC).  AESC has the aim of becoming a global leader in advanced battery products and services, and intends to mass produce and market its batteries to any interested automaker.  This marks the start of a strong effort by Nissan to move toward a Zero Fossil Fuel culture.

They have taken very large steps in making an automotive future of Zero Fossil Fuels a reality with just the type of support and backing needed to breathe life into a tangible structure to support it.  Back in July the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that it was partnering with the U.K. and Portuguese governments to build two plants for the production of advanced Lithium-Ion batteries in Europe for what it calls its Zero Emission Mobility Program.

Having twice the energy density of conventional nickel-hydride batteries, AESC’s advanced Lithium-Ion batteries employ a compact module comprised of laminated-type cells that contribute to more efficient packaging.  The use of manganese-type electrode offers thermal stability and the laminated structure improves cooling, thus contributing to the battery’s safety performance.  The battery has undergone extreme durability tests demonstrating average runs of more than 100,000 Km.  That’s 60,000 Miles!

The effects on the automotive industry are obvious and revolutionary.  Not to mention the long term benefits to the national and regional health of the countries that welcome the production facilities.  The automotive and associated industries can look forward to a boost in jobs, growth in the skills sector, as well as having bragging rights to pioneering the manufacturing of Zero Emission Vehicles in Europe.

Portugal and the U.K. have show that they recognize the impact of this initiative and extended more than just financial support to ensure that Nissan locates the plants in their countries.  Talks are continuing with other governments in Europe to identify more locations for other battery plants in an effort to meet expected production requirements.

Specifics for the U.K. site have not yet been detailed; once they are the plant is expected to be located in Sunderland, England where Nissan already ahs an existing manufacturing facility.  This Sunderland location is planned to be the Nissan European Mother Site for battery production and the centerpiece for the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the North East of England.  As part of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area, local government intends to establish a new training centre, specializing in low carbon automotive technologies; a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.

Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann said: “In March Nissan and regional development agency One North East signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing both partners to explore fully the North East’s potential to spearhead the U.K.’s drive towards Zero Emissions Mobility.”

“Since then, a great deal of work has been going on at both the local and national level to promote and facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles within the region.  Today’s announcement potentially marks another important milestone in establishing low carbon transport as a viable and attractive alternative across the North East and beyond, and reinforces Nissan’s commitment to lead the world in the mass-marketing of zero emission vehicles.”

The plans for Portugal are the most exciting part of this report.  The first European country to sign a final agreement with Renault-Nissan, Portugal will be implementing a Zero Emissions Mobility program in the year 2010.  This plan will allow Renault-Nissan to supply its electric vehicles starting in the spring of 2011 that will be supported by an extensive network of 1300 recharging stations constructed across Portugal over the next 2 years.

This past June a prototype of the recharging stations was unveiled.  The development of the station between a Portuguese co-operative in collaboration with Nissan has gone so well that the Portuguese Government has signed an agreement with 25 cities, key motorways and parking industry leaders aimed at the implementation of the stations.  These agreements mark a crucial step.  The plan will allow the construction of stations throughout Portugal, creating a recharging network that will secure full coverage for the entire country.  This will transform Portugal into what some are calling Europe’s EV Eco-Valley.

The U.K. and Portuguese plants will be the exclusive supplier of the Advanced Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles to be produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will be here A LOT sooner than you might think.  Renault-Nissan’s commitment to the production is so advanced that it says they will begin to offer the electric vehicles in the United States and Japan in 2010.  The 2010 release is scheduled ahead of a mass marketing campaign that will provide the vehicle to consumers globally in 2012.

“The zero-emission mobility program is a priority for the company,’ said Eric Nicolas, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance for Nissan Europe.  “At Nissan, as we manage through this global crisis, we continue to prepare for the major evolutions that are occurring in our industry.  We are not compromising our efforts to mass-market the electric car.  And today, we have taken a key step to making zero-emissions a reality.”

More details on Nissan’s initiatives can be found here:

http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/ENVIRONMENT/GREENPROGRAM_2010/index.html

Upshift TV is

Its always interesting trying to build a project like Up Shift TV.  After a week or so of pluging away at the keyboards everyone has produced a bit of forward momentum with the show efforts.  Cross promoting, new articles, the video sites, content for them, and even events!

Some things we cant mention just yet however we do want to take the time to let you know that we are going to start producing our own content with our first trip out to the Porsche Club of America Club Race this October.  All of the guys are very excited to get together track side and have our own David Spriggs take to the tarmac with his Porsche 968.  Of course we will have a few odds and ends ready for everyone shortly after that however were really looking forward to having our first eppisode ready that month as well!

If you havent already please take a minute to subscribe to our video sites at

http://www.youtube.com/user/UpShiftReviews

and

http://up-shifttv.blip.tv/

Blip.tv will actually allow you to subscribe via your iPhone so you can enjoy the show on the go.  Youtube subscriptions let you know when we have updated our video content and helps us continue to grow our ability to bring you useful and exciting content.

In the mean time if you havent already, please take a moment to subscribe here as well to keep up with our writen content.

Thanks for your time and attention and we look forward to reading your comments and suggestions.

A Brief Look Back So That We Can Look Forward

This is actually a copy of a rather old press release from October of 2008.  In fact some of you may already know about Mazda’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and have seen the RX-8 Hydrogen RE.

The reason I wanted to revisit this article in its entirety is because the momentum behind the green movement, and its effect on the automotive industry, is starting to show signs of not only picking up momentum, but accelerating toward a greener future.  We may see the infrastructure and availability necessary to support the Eco-Cars of the future alot sooner than anyone ever expected.

In fact, for the entire month of August I plan to focus on a few key developments in the industry.  They showcase clear plans in place for a new automotive industry, centered on responsible motoring, that will be a reality in just a few years.  For now thou enjoy a spark from that flame:

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation today introduced the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (Rotary Engine) vehicle to Norway’s public roads in collaboration with the Norwegian national hydrogen project, HyNor. Initially, the RX-8 Hydrogen RE’s driving performance on Norwegian roads will be validated with a single vehicle, which will also be shown at various events. This marks the first time that a Mazda hydrogen rotary vehicle has been put into regular use on public roads outside Japan.

Mazda signed a memorandum of understanding with HyNor (Hydrogen Road of Norway) to participate in the project in November 2007. HyNor is a national project in the Kingdom of Norway that aims to establish a clean energy transport system based on hydrogen fuel. Beginning in fiscal year 2009, Mazda will provide approximately 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles for the HyNor project under commercial lease contracts.

 

RX-8 Hydrogen RE handover ceremony

 

The RX-8 Hydrogen RE validation vehicle is being delivered in advance so that Mazda and HyNor can jointly assess its driving performance in Norway. It will also be exhibited at environmental and other events for potential customers who are interested in leasing a hydrogen vehicle.

“Up to now, real world use of Mazda’s hydrogen rotary vehicles has been limited to Japan. Participation in the HyNor project marks our advancement to the next stage,” says Akihiro Kashiwagi, Mazda’s program manager in charge of hydrogen RE development. “After we validate the first vehicle on Norwegian roads, we intend to deliver 30 more units under commercial lease contracts. We are pleased to be a part of the establishment of a society based on hydrogen energy in Norway. Mazda plans to use the wealth of data and experience that will result from this project for the further development of hydrogen vehicles.”

HyNor is a unique Norwegian initiative to demonstrate the implementation of a hydrogen energy infrastructure along a 580 kilometer route from Oslo to Stavanger in Norway. Hydrogen filling stations are being established along this transport corridor to enable refueling of hydrogen vehicles. The project aims to revolutionize transportation in Norway by encompassing buses, taxis and private cars, and varying types of transport systems, including urban, inter-city, regional and even long-distance transport. In August 2006, Mazda attended the ceremony to commemorate the opening of Norway’s first hydrogen filling station constructed by HyNor. This was also where the first on-road demonstration of a RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle outside of Japan took place. Since April 2006, Mazda has delivered eight RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles to government bodies and enterprises in Japan under commercial lease contracts.

Mazda Hydrogen Technologies: http://www.mazda.com/csr/special_features/env/01-06-03.html

I highly encourage you to check out Mazda’s commitment to CSR: http://www.mazda.com/csr/

BMW to Exit Formula One at End of 2009 Season

In 1980, BMW announced entry into Formula One racing as an engine supplier. In 1991, a joint talent promotion campaign by BMW and ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club) allowed Formula One drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Adrian Sutil, Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien to learn the basics of Formula Racing. Then BMW scored ten victories when it Joined Williams F1 in the 2000 season. In the middle of 2005, BMW acquired the Swiss team Sauber, took to the starting grid, and collected a total of 19 Grand Prix wins. By 2008, the new BMW Sauber F1 Team had established itself as one of the top three teams.

Now BMW is putting a close to yet another chapter in its motor sports history. In a press conference on July 29th, BMW Group announced that they have decided to pull out of Formula One at the end of the 2009 season; dedicating these resources to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability.

The BMW Group is rolling out that strategy in all areas within the BMW Group. “In addition, we initiated an internal change process that goes hand in hand with a new mindset throughout our workforce.” says Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. C02 and other emission requirements standards in the UK continue to be reduced. However sportiness and dynamics remain key attributes of all BMW models, albeit paired with responsibility. Being the world’s leading premium car-company in the automotive industry, Reithofer says, “We believe that this demands accountability.”, and is convinced that they must remain a positive role model within our society.

Reithofer continues:

In line with our Strategy Number ONE, we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. We made this clear with the initial announcement of our Strategy Number ONE. And, naturally, this also includes motor sports. And I have always been clear about my position on making tough decisions that will help ensure the BMW Group’s success over the long run. As our company places stronger focus on sustainability initiatives, our participation in Formula One becomes less a key promoter of this engagement. It goes without saying that this step was very difficult for us – as well as for me personally. On behalf of the entire Board of Management, I would like to express our immense gratitude to Mario Theissen for his commitment and successes. Everyone knows that the BMW brand embodies sportiness with sheer driving pleasure. Sportiness and fair competition are firmly encoded in our DNA. This is why we will remain loyal to motor sports. But we will do this in series that enable us to transfer technology more directly and to realize additional synergies, while strengthening our brand values. This is in our customers’ best interest. As a company, we are making a paradigm shift based on our Strategy Number ONE. We are setting new priorities in an ever-changing environment.

Having had great success in touring car, sports car, rally and Formula Two racing, BMW reports they will continue participation in the Formula BMW, Touring Car, ALMS and endurance races as well as their increasing activity in close-to-production customer sports and the Super Bike World Championship.