Monthly Archives: August 2015

Toyota Reaches The 8 Million Mark For Hybrids Sold

Two decades ago hybrids were never heard of, now you will see one every so often on the roads driving to and from work. Hybrids have now become a more popular choice for drivers’ worldwide.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has announced having sold more than 8 million hybrid vehicles around the world. The announcement comes 20 years after having presented its first hybrid technology concept-car.

Toyota introduced its first concept, Prius, back in the fall of 1995 during the Tokyo Motor Show. The first prototype had difficulty going for more than 1,600 feet. It was only two years later that the brand was able to reveal its first hybrid model vehicle with both combustion and electric engine in December 1997. The Prius was first sold exclusively in Japan before becoming available worldwide in 2000.

It was only in 2007 that the group crossed the symbolic one million hybrid vehicles sold. Sales of Toyota’s hybrid models progressed steadily year after year until reaching the 8 million marker.

Nearly 3.9 million cars were sold solely in Japan, 2.8 million in North America, 930,000 in Europe and a little over 440,000 in the rest of the world. The numbers include sales of the Lexus model, the high-end division of the brand. The emblematic Prius is the most popular model with more than 3.5 million units sold around the world.

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Car Crashes Are On The Rise But So Are The Safety Features

There are about 3200 deaths due to car accidents every day. Car companies have been trying to lower this number with strict safety requirements, but so far this has proven impossible.

Today’s cars are safer than they’ve ever been, with increasing numbers of models delivering top scores in what have become stricter crash tests, and offering an array of the latest safety features. We now have airbags in the front, rear and sides of a vehicle, with some even at knee height, mounted between the front seats and incorporated into the rear shoulder belts. There’s backup cameras, lane departure and blind spot warning systems and forward auto-braking systems now being offered on all but the smallest and cheapest models.

And yet, nearly 19,000 lives were lost in traffic accidents over the first six months of 2015, according to preliminary statistics just released by the National Safety Council (NSC). That’s a sizable 14% increase in fatalities over the same period in 2014.

What’s more, over 2.2 million people were seriously injured, which represents a staggering 30% increase. The NSC warns that this year could wind up as the deadliest for motorists and passengers since 2007.

Previously, vehicle-related fatalities had dropped from a peak of 43,510 in 2005 to 32,719 in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was largely attributed to improved vehicle engineering in accordance with stricter state DUI, seatbelt use and teen-driving laws.

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Testing The Ability To Recharge As You Drive In The UK

As electric vehicles become more popular, charging the cars has never been more crucial. So this new advancement in charging technology is the most important in the environmental market.

Pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell electric vehicles, are already playing an increasing role in the way we travel. But electric vehicles face a significant challenge: “range anxiety”, meaning that potential owners worry about the lack of sufficient power, and the inability to travel long distances.

One solution to this problem could be, of course, installing more charging stations; the UK, for instance, as part of its Road Investment strategy, is committed in the long-term to installing plug-in charging points every 20 miles on the motorway network. But Highways England and the British Government have announced on Tuesday that they’ll test a more futuristic approach as well.

Later this year, following the completion of an ongoing procurement process, they’ll start trialing (off road) a new technology called Dynamic Wireless Power Transfer (DWPT) which would allow drivers to wirelessly charge their electric vehicles while the on the move. The trials will involve fitting vehicles with wireless technology and testing special equipment, installed underneath the road, to replicate motorway conditions.

“The off road trials of wireless power technology will help to create a more sustainable road network for England and open up new opportunities for businesses that transport goods across the country,” Highways England Chief Highways Engineer Mike Wilson said in a statement.

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Could You Pass Your Driving Test Now?

Do you remember every rule and regulation that you must follow? If not, you are not alone.

Most people have this tendency to forget the basics also apply to steering a 1,000-kilogram vehicle on high-speed roads filled with other 1,000-kilogram vehicles.

While most of us probably aced the written driving test back in high school, odds are that few could score anywhere near as well decades later. The longer you drive, the more you forget.

It’s not because our memories are failing – did I already say that? – but rather that we slide into habits, good and bad.
If police conducted pop quizzes on the rules of the road, many of us would be taking a bus home.

To illustrate this, I recently enriched my life by leafing through the Ontario transport ministry’s drivers’ handbook and discovered things that I have either forgotten or never knew.

The first thing that jumped out was a passage on making left turns at a controlled intersection, a move I thought I had mastered so well I considered putting it on my résumé. “When waiting to make a left turn, keep your front wheels straight,” the book said.
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