18 Articles
Techsplanations: Extended-Range Electric Vehicles

These vehicles offer electric operation with the convenience of a traditional gasoline-powered car

Extended-range vehicles offer electric operation with the convenience of a traditional gasoline-powered car

Techsplanations: Infotainment

From Bluetooth connectivity, to in-car apps, we decode the latest hi-tech infotainment systems

From Bluetooth connectivity to in-car apps, we decode the latest hi-tech infotainment systems

Techsplanations: Park Assist

Parking phobia will soon be a thing of the past

To combat parking phobia and unintentional rear-endings, Mercedes-Benz has a solution. Take the driver out of the equation.

Techsplanations: Pedestrian Safety Design

Safety changes help shape future vehicles

For decades, engineers have worked diligently to make people safer inside their vehicles. But more recently, safety engineers and designers have begun to make people safer outside of vehicles in the event of a collision.

Techsplanations: Owning An Electric Car

Hard to accept, but the payoff can be big for many drivers

Electric cars have been around for decades, but it hasn't been until recently that they have been controversial.

Good Government: Stability Control Systems Really Saving Lives

Systems that prevent rollovers were mandated and thousands are grateful

There is often a debate over whether government regulation is good or bad. But in the case of Uncle Sam's mandate that all new cars have electronic stability control (ESC), the news is good. According to data assembled by Consumer Reports, 2200 lives have been saved by the technology in three years.

Techsplanations: Lane Departure Warning Systems

High tech system helps drivers stay between the lines

Keeping on the straight and narrow has never been so simple. And it's only going to get easier, as most carmakers begin installing Lane Departure Warning Systems to assist in the battle against distracted driving.

Techsplanations: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

CVT-equipped vehicles popping up more and more to improve fuel economy

Before every car, SUV and truck sold in America gets turned into a gas-electric hybrid or all-electric vehicle to meet stiffer fuel economy standards imposed by the government, automakers are adding more and more technology that has been around for years to the internal combustion engine to reduce the amount of gas they burn.

Techsplanations: Driving On Clean Diesel

Clean diesel cars and trucks give big bost to fuel economy

"Diesel fuel" is one of those terms that divides drivers and vehicle owners. To some, it elicits, "Cool," and "Fun." To others, the term brings out "Ugh!" But it is really all about knowing the facts, and understanding how diesel fuel works before deciding on whether you might want to own a car, truck or SUV that runs on diesel instead of gasoline.

Techsplanations: Tire Tread Technology

Pirelli and the development of grip and performance on wheels

Pirelli has distinguished itself in the tire market by creating products for its performance and racecars with technology that can then be applied to luxury and general consumer cars. The brand's renewed foray into Formula 1 racing after a 20-year absence has enhanced the emphasis on its tire technology, which hinges on tire tread designs. In its second straight year of being the sole supplier for Formula 1 with the 63rd FIA World Championship at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi,

Techsplanations: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

The most abundant chemical element in the world can power our cars if we are smart about it

To scientists, running vehicles on hydrogen makes all the sense in the world. Hydrogen can be derived from so many different things, including water, and constitutes roughly 75 percent of the universe's chemical elemental mass.

Techsplanations: Turbo Charging For The Family Car

Not just for performance cars any more. Turbo is boosting fuel economy in even entry-level hatchbacks

Turbo chargers have been around the auto industry for decades, typically used to boost the performance of already powerful engines. But today, the turbo is showing up in cars, SUVs and trucks of every stripe and price to boost fuel economy.

Techsplanations: Collision Avoidance Systems

Collision avoidance is the next frontier in safety. Ever since seat-belts became mandatory equipment in the 1960s, most safety improvements have been focused on surviving an accident. From impact-absorbing bumpers to multiple airbags, the idea has long been to make a car more able to take a hit and still protect its passengers. Automakers have been very successful in their efforts, so now they're turning towards using technology to help cars avoid accidents altogether. The cars are literally bec

Techsplanations: Check Engine Light

No longer just an "idiot light," ignore the check engine warning at your peril

It glows on your car's dashboard and instantly ignites terror and loathing in the hearts and wallets of drivers; the dreaded "Check Engine" warning light. For some, it is a minor irritant to be ignored. Even Public Television's "Car Guys" joke that the remedy is to put a piece of duct-tape over it. Some cynics believe the "Check Engine" light was invented to get vehicle owners to schedule more visits to the dealer for service. Some cars, after all, seem to have such a sensitive "Che

Techsplanations: All-Wheel Drive

Check out the vehicles that make winter driving safer and easier

All-wheel-drive vehicles have systems in which the engine drives all four wheels at the same time, as opposed to just the front wheels in most cars. By means of sensors and the vehicle's central computer power from the engine is routed to each wheel depending on your traction. If you are traveling on a dry road, your car will operate in front-drive mode or rear-drive mode, depending on its orientation. A BMW all-wheel-drive vehicle tagged with the "x" designation will travel in rear-drive on a d

Techsplanations: Modern Automatic Transmissions

Automatic transmissions in today's vehicles are very different from the "slushboxes" of years past. In fact, in many new cars and trucks, automatic transmissions actually return higher fuel economy than manuals. While the first automatic transmissions only had two forward gears, and even as late as the 1990's it was common to see three-speed automatics, these transmissions have been entirely supplanted by modern designs. The automatics in today's cars use computers to control when they shift, an

Techsplanations: Direct Injection

Gasoline direct injection is one of those technologies that make you think, "Why the heck didn't they figure this out sooner?" It's a simple fix to the regular old combustion engine, and it saves a lot of fuel. Instead of mixing air and gasoline outside the combustion chamber, the system sprays gasoline directly into the chamber. The result is literally more bang for your buck. (Don't worry, we'll explain this all in detail in a little bit).

Techsplanations: Gas-Electric Hybrid

A hybrid is a car or truck that has both an internal-combustion gasoline engine and an electric motor to drive its wheels. These two work together to power the car in the most efficient fashion possible. This means that sometimes the gas engine drives the wheels alone, while other times the electric motor adds its power. Some hybrids even allow the electric motor to power the car for limited distances all by itself.