Volkswagen To Debut Electric Zero-Emissions Beetle

Eco-friendly vehicles have come a long way from simply being prototypes. Manufacturers have been ambitious with emissions-free cars, even attempting to assemble them using resin. However, for big names in the industry, keeping it simple is key. Known for its funky appearance, the VW Beetle is getting another makeover — this time, it’s going electric.

“If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive,” said [VW chairman Herbert] Diess.

It may still be in the talks, but VW already has its hands full with an electric version of its classic microbus. Despite their overflowing to-do list, it seems fans of the Bug are on their toes. Thrilled prospective customers have been pleading with the chairman to follow through via letters and e-mails.

VW is aiming for a massive revamp of its vehicles by 2030. While that may seem a long ways away, its $24 billion budget speaks volumes about the group’s potential.

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Swedish Startup Provides Free Solar Power With Car

As electric vehicles increase in sustainability, they also decrease in parts. Built with only 580 components, the XYT eco car is tiny, but in every way efficient. Banking on the “less is more” theme of newer hybrids, Swedish group Uniti has treats in store for its buyers. Along with its “smartphone car”, the startup is throwing in five years of free electricity for eager consumers.

“Today, there are many new possibilities,” Tobias Ekman, Uniti’s innovation manager, said… “The car and the driving experience has been digitalized in order to increase safety, comfort, and driving pleasure while minimizing environmental impact.”

At $17,560, its features seem entirely worth it — and some 1,000 preordering customers can vouch for that. The car is a jack of all trades, seating up to five passengers and running 185 miles on one charge. The fun apparently doesn’t end there.

It’s optimized for urban and highway driving; and has an auxiliary battery that can be removed for indoor charging, or charged while still inside the vehicle.

Could Uniti’s brainchild be the iPhone of all vehicles? Seems likely.

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Toyota To Introduce Autonomous Service Vehicle

As self-driving delivery vans hit the streets of England, Toyota is brewing up its own unique prototype. With no itinerary, the popular automaker has all the time in the world to be ambitious. (Maybe even a little over-the-top!) Over the weekend, the vehicle manufacturer announced the “e-Palette”, an autonomous vehicle that does… well, whatever you want it to do.

[Toyota] describes them as “fully-automated, next generation battery electric vehicle[s] designed to be scalable and customizable for a range of Mobility as a Service businesses.”

Essentially, the buggy is a self-driving cargo van that grows (or shrinks) depending on what it’s carrying. There’s no word on a launch date, or whether Toyota will actually build its formidable e-Palette. Still, makers are fixated on the idea — to suit millennials in particular.

“Just think how good e-Palette would be at Burning man,” quipped Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Company’s bespectacled president.

Whatever Toyota has up its sleeve next, it’s good to know that future technologies will match its ambition.

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Drive GM’s Autonomous Car Without A Pedal

In view of the escalating rate of vehicular accidents, tech societies are turning to wearable devices for sleepy drivers. Despite the success of products such as Steer, drunk driving remains to be a pressing predicament. Keeping reckless drivers off the road may be difficult, but not if General Motors has its foot in the door. The automobile manufacturer is mass producing a self-driving car without manual controls.

It’ll be possible for humans to stop the car – GM says customers having an emergency “may end the ride by making a stop request, and the vehicle will pull to the side of the road at the next available safe place.”

As with any drastic change, motor aficionados are voicing concerns regarding safety laws. Testing prototypes in San Francisco, GM is confident in its sleek, new model. The Cruise AV may be unique, but it isn’t the first of its kind.

“Mercedes-Benz will make an electric or hybrid version of all its cars by 2022, and they’re not alone. Volvo will go all electric by next year. Ford has plans for an electric F-150 truck and an electric Mustang.”

It’s a lot of competition to face, but hopefully safety remains a priority.

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