Electrifying Silver Arrow


Click to see the 1937 version

❝ 2018 seems to be the year of the electric classic concept in Monterey and frankly, that’s all right by us. The latest to throw its hat in that particular ring is Mercedes-Benz with its gorgeous EQ Silver Arrow.

If Silver Arrow rings a bell, that’s what Mercedes used to call its race cars from 1934 to 1939, as well as in 1954 and 1955. EQ is what Mercedes calls its electric vehicles and in this particular example, we think the marriage of the two monikers is totally apt.

Of course I’d love to have one. But, even though my brain still feels as if it functions like a 26-year-old, reflexes don’t match, I’m afraid. I’d settle for a CLA equivalent with an EQ drivetrain.

After 113 years of cranking out engines, Mercedes plant to make batteries, electric motors

❝ The first vehicle in history considered to be an automobile was the Benz Motorwagen of 1885…It was also the first vehicle from an automaker that has been around for the duration of the industry: we know it today as Mercedes-Benz.

In other words, the company has been building cars for 132 years…

And engines for those cars have come from its the German luxury car maker’s Untertürkheim production facility for 113 years.

❝ Now, after more than a century of internal-combustion engines, that historic plant is undergoing a seismic change: it will now build batteries for electric cars as well as engines…

❝ …The Untertürkheim facility will eventually be a major supplier to the Sindelfingen passenger-car plant…There, the brand’s EQ line of electric cars will be built, for which Untertürkheim will supply the battery packs.

The luxury marque has said it will launch 10 electric cars under the EQ badge by the year 2025.

Yes, of course, the market for conventional fossil fuel-fired internal combustion engines will continue for a spell. Even with a diminishing market share it will take some years for consumers to change. Cripes, we still have enclaves of flat-earthers AROUND the globe.

Mercedes launching car-to-car communications

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications are a fundamental pillar of autonomous, self-driving cars. Once vehicles can exchange data with each other and the greater driving infrastructure, they’ll be able to “see” and adapt to driving obstacles more completely, preventing accidents and delivering more efficient driving. Mercedes plans to be the first automaker to bring a Car-to-X vehicle-to-vehicle communications system to market.

When fully equipped with the latest technologies on offer, modern cars can already do much of the driving themselves. They can accelerate, maintain following distance and brake for traffic. They can help the driver maintain lanes. They can monitor hazards and obstacles such as pedestrians, rear cross traffic and blind spots. They do all these advanced activities with the help of onboard camera, sensor, laser and radar systems…

Vehicle-to-vehicle communications will serve to expand vehicles’ monitoring and autonomous driving capabilities, gaining a more comprehensive picture of surrounding road conditions like traffic and accidents. Being able to gather and send information about driving conditions will enable cars to analyze, adapt and navigate independently within road systems. Such communications can also make roadways more efficient, for instance transmitting real-time traffic pattern data with traffic lights…

When equipped with Car-to-X, the Mercedes vehicle is both a receiver and transmitter of data. It can gather information from other nearby Car-to-X-equipped cars and compatible broadcast systems. For instance, an emergency response vehicle involved in accident response could send information about the location of the accident and applicable road closures. Other examples include alerts about bad weather, animals on the road, wrong-way drivers and potholes.

Once the driver sees these notifications on his infotainment display, he can react accordingly, slowing down, taking a different route, etc. For now, the system still relies on the driver to react, but it’s easy to see how it could be used to power autonomous vehicle reactions in the future.

A Car-to-X-equipped vehicle can also serve as the initiation point for notifications. It can detect and transmit some warnings automatically and includes a push-button notification system so that the driver or passenger can warn other cars of hazards.

While being the first to market gives Mercedes bragging rights, it also means that Car-to-X technology will be very limited, as only other drivers of Mercedes vehicles equipped with the technology will be using it. To help deploy it faster, Driver Kit Plus hardware will be offered on both new vehicles and as an aftermarket option for older Mercedes models. Mercedes is also working with other auto manufacturers toward future car-to-car systems that allow vehicles of all makes and models to communicate. Along with automakers like Audi, BMW and Volvo, Daimler/Mercedes is part of the Car 2 Car Communications Consortium.

For the US market they’ll probably have to include a massive multiplayer version of Angry Birds.

Alabama coppers arrest managers of two car factories under their new suspicious furriners law

To arrest one foreign car-making executive under Alabama’s new tough immigration laws may be regarded as a misfortune; to arrest a second looks like carelessness.

A judge has acted to put a Japanese employee of Honda Motor Company out of his misery by dismissing immigration charges against him, three days after he was booked under Alabama’s new immigration laws that have been billed as the most swingeing in America. Ichiro Yada is one of about 100 Japanese managers of the company on assignment in southern state.

Yada was stopped in Leeds, Alabama, at a checkpoint set up by police to catch unlicenced drivers. He was ticketed on the spot, despite the fact that he showed an international driver’s licence, a valid passport and a US work permit.

Bamalama coppers probably think an international driver’s license is just for driving outside Dixie.

Key parts of the new immigration law, HB56, came into effect in late September, including the driving provisions. Under them, the police are required to check up on the immigration status of anyone they stop who they suspect of being in the country illegally…

Yada is the second foreign car executive to fall foul of the new law. Last month police officers arrested a German director of Mercedes-Benz for failing to carry a valid driver’s licence. The move exposed Alabama to widespread criticism and ridicule…

The St Louis-based Post-Dispatch newspaper revelled in Alabama’s embarrassment by publishing an open letter to foreign car companies encouraging them to pack their bags and move to the rival car-producing state of Missouri.

We are the Show Me State, not the Show Me Your Papers State,” it wrote, telling auto bosses: “You’ve got two choices. Either ask your executives to carry their immigration papers at all times, or move to a state that understands gemüchlichkeit…”

Between redneck idiots, Tea Party idiots and the new Republikan Party idiots, freedom to travel in a free country is only a memory in the Confederate States of America. That includes all the old boundaries plus the states outside of Dixie run by the latest clan of fools dedicated to voodoo economics and ethnic hatreds to match.

Mercedes-Benz BIOME Concept

Get ready to have your concept of how a car is manufactured flipped upside-down and turned inside-out. Picture a production process that has plenty in common with agar jelly (used to culture organic materials in laboratories) and little in common with what we would normally think of as production-line automotive manufacturing. You are starting to get close to what the people at Mercedes-Benz have spawned with the BIOME – one of the most outlandish and ambitious concepts in this year’s Los Angeles Design Challenge…

This vision includes growing a material called BioFibre which would be lighter than metal or plastic, yet stronger than steel. The resulting car would weighs in at 875.5 lbs (around 394 kg). The entire vehicle would also be completely biodegradable.

“The interior of the BIOME grows from the DNA in the Mercedes star on the front of the vehicle, while the exterior grows from the star on the rear. To accommodate specific customer requirements, the Mercedes star is genetically engineered in each case, and the vehicle grows when the genetic code is combined with the seed capsule. The wheels are grown from four separate seeds,” Mercedes-Benz explained.

Once on the road the vehicle would run on “BioNectar4534” stored in the car’s BioFibre, of which the only by-product is oxygen.

Wildly ambitious? Yes. Completely implausible? Maybe. Bound to piss off Luddites as much as Rednecks.

Silver Arrows return to Formula One

German car giant Mercedes has bought the Brawn Formula 1 team in a move that is likely to see Jenson Button join McLaren as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate.

Mercedes will buy 75% of Brawn in partnership with an Abu Dhabi investment company but will continue as McLaren’s engine partner until 2015. Brawn, who won both world titles in their debut season in 2009, will be rebranded as Mercedes Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg will be their lead driver, with Nick Heidfeld his likely partner. Fellow German Timo Glock, who drove for Toyota last season, is also a possibility.

“We are talking (with Button) and that’s why we cannot announce the driver line-up,” said Norbert Haug on Monday. “We have to accept that speculation takes place, but that’s the name of the game.”

But he added: “This will be an international team – Mercedes-Benz is a global player.

“We definitely do not want to have a pure German team. It’s an international team and we want to have the best drivers in the car.”

RTFA for all the silly season gossip. It’s the time of the year for drivers to play musical chairs. We get the added benefit of new players in terms of new teams + new money scattered here and there.