Tesla Patents Electromagnetic Windshield Wiper—Could It Be for the Cybertruck?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 20:07

Windshield wipers are perhaps the least-interesting components on any new vehicle, especially so when you’re talking about a new vehicle as insane-looking as Tesla’s Cybertruck. But hold on—where are the Cybertruck’s windshield wipers? The electric pickup utterly lacks wipers (as well as side mirrors). Could it be Tesla simply didn’t have time to install the Cybertruck’s windshield wipers on the prototype shown at its reveal event last month? Or could it be that Tesla is still working on a novel new wiper design, previewed in a patent we recently discovered, for its new electric pickup truck?

Filed in March 2019 and published early in September, the patent shows off a design for a single windshield wiper that moves laterally, side-to-side, straight across the windshield. Unlike traditional wipers’ arcing rotational sweeps, the Tesla wiper, in concept, moves with pretty much the same motion as a human holding one of those gas-station wiper tools. It trades a rotating motor arm mount for a pair of tracks, essentially, at the top and bottom of the windshield glass. Electromagnets in those “rails” and on the wiper arm itself propel the wiper back and forth. The same basic technology propels maglev trains along.

What does this have to do with the Cybertruck’s windshield wipers? While Tesla notes in its patent filing how an electromagnetic, rail-based wiper system would be ideal for complex windshields with elaborate curves—ensuring optimal, um, wiping—the huge, flat windshield on the Cybertruck would make an ideal test bed for the technology. Tesla could literally install two straight rails, an electromagnetic wiper blade, and call it a day. And with the Cybertruck’s straight-edged looks, it isn’t difficult to imagine a single, vertical wiper blade tucked up against one of its windshield pillars, ready to glide laterally across the glass when needed.

Tesla also believes its novel windshield wiper design is more attractive than a typical wiper. We’d have to see one for ourselves to make such a judgment, but the wiper certainly would look more at home on the out-there-looking Cybertruck than a traditional set of wipers uggo-fying the base of the windshield. As a bonus, Tesla’s patent filing claims the electromagnetic wiperis are more energy efficient than typical motor-driven wipers when in use, sucking up less charge from the battery (a concern for an electric car that fossil-fuel-powered vehicles needn’t worry about). We’ll have to wait and see what Tesla does with this patent going forward, but the automaker is clearly aiming to shake up pickup trucks and car building in general with the Cybertruck. And this wiper tech is a lot more grounded in reality than other futuristic windshield-wiping technologies we’ve seen, which include air blasted across the glass and funny water-repellent coatings.



The post Tesla Patents Electromagnetic Windshield Wiper—Could It Be for the Cybertruck? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2020 Lexus LC 500 Convertible: 9 Need-to-Know Facts About the 8 Series Fighter

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 19:01

For the recent Los Angeles Auto Show, Lexus flew in all of the top engineering brass responsible for designing the 2020 Lexus LC 500 Convertible to explain the nuances of what makes this gorgeous drop-top a worthy rival for cars like the BMW 8 Series. Good listeners that we are, we picked up on a few juicy LC convertible tidbits—and probed with a few questions of our own. Read on to see what we learned about the long-awaited roofless LC:

Will There Be A High-Performance LC-F?

We asked Lexus folks about the likelihood that the company would introduce a high-performance “F” variant of the LC convertible to go up against BMW’s M8, the hot-dog version of the LC’s 8 Series rival. We know there is an LC-F coupe on the horizon, but Lexus officials have yet to formally acknowledge the project. Pressed over a hypothetical LC-F convertible, those same Lexus representatives expressed concerns over packaging go-fast gear into the roofless LC body. Fair. We asked about the possibility of dusting off the LFA’s V-10 and shoehorning it in, but were told not to hold our breath. There’s not much space in there to accommodate two extra cylinders. If or when an LC-F officially appears, expect it to use a twin-turbo V-8.

Why no Hybrid?

While an LC-F remains a hypothetical at this point, the LC coupe is currently offered with a hybrid powertrain (and dubbed the LC 500h). So, it stands to reason that Lexus could easily create an LC 500h hybrid convertible, right? Not so! The convertible’s soft top folds down right into the space where the hybrid coupe’s battery lives, in the forward portion of the trunk. The good news is that the convertible top’s cubby takes up the same amount of space as does the LC 500h’s battery, so those two LCs have identical trunk space.

How’s the Torsional Rigidity?

Cutting the roof off a coupe of this size generally halves the torsional rigidity of the body structure. Lexus recovers 75-80 percent of that lost rigidity by installing a series of diagonal steel reinforcements to the underbody and adding sheer plates. The engineers stressed that what’s more important than the lb-ft/degree twist number is the fact that the handling demeanor of the coupe is retained, at least at the speeds and handling limits typically probed by convertible users. Long-time Toyota-Lexus racing driver and ride/handling consultant Scott Pruett assures us the car responds superbly to a brisk drive on a twisty road.

Reduced Un-sprung Weight

The LC 500 Convertible team was very concerned about limiting the Convertible’s weight gain (to roughly 200 pounds) and preserving the coupe’s weight distribution, which we’ve consistently measured at 53 percent front/47 percent rear. Some of the weight savings was in un-sprung weight, which improves ride quality as well. Up front, steel control arms were replaced with aluminum, while in the rear the wheels were machined to remove excess weight. In the end, the Convertible’s front/rear weight distribution reportedly comes in at 52/48 percent.

Forged Carbon Fiber

The trunk-lid inner panel and the door inner panels are both made of pressed or “forged carbon fiber” and finished in glossy resin that highlights the material. (The coupe also forms these panels of forged carbon fiber.)

Vibration-Absorbing Rear Bumper

The rear bumper beam is attached by vibration-absorbing dampeners that allow the mass of the bumper beam to counteract body vibrations excited by the road inputs to the suspension.

Neck Warmers & Speakers

Front-seat occupants get a little hair-dryer in each headrest, which clicks on whenever the Lexus Climate Concierge decides a bit of neck warmth is called for. The same areas in the rear seats are occupied by speakers, a dozen of which the base stereo uses, while the Mark Levinson system gets 13.


Lexus expects to sell only 400-600 convertibles per year in the U.S., which should keep them nice and rare on our roadways.

Structural Blue Paint

What’s up with the name on that special Inspiration Series car’s paint? First, it’s engineered in layers inspired by the way some brilliant blue butterflies like the Morpho achieve their appearance. We’re told it almost completely absorbs red light. If this ends up providing Lidar speed-detection stealth, that paint could easily pay for itself.

The post 2020 Lexus LC 500 Convertible: 9 Need-to-Know Facts About the 8 Series Fighter appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

Track Test: Will the Chevrolet Corvette Z51 in Track Alignment Erase Understeer?

Motortrend News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 18:24

After we originally tested the new C8 Corvette on our figure-eight course a few months ago, I hopped out, walked over to my laptop, and typed these very first, raw, unvarnished notes about the car’s handling:

“Biggest issue is midcorner understeer. The lap times would be way quicker with more front grip.”

I’d also paused during my lapping to mention the understeer to a Corvette engineer who was watching track-side—and he looked slightly frustrated. “That’s easy to adjust” he sighed. Easy, that is, if you have a lift handy (as well as the know-how). Of course, we’re always fiddling with a test car’s driver-accessible software settings during testing (and tire pressures during lapping). But that’s as far as we go in altering things; after all, we want our numbers to reflect how the car is sold to customers. Nevertheless, the engineer looked as if we were missing an important insight, and it felt like unfinished business when he left.

Apparently, it was, as GM invited Randy Pobst, photographer Robin Trajano, videographer Alex Valencia, and me to Virginia International Raceway for a few hours of back-to-back lapping of two identical-looking C8 Corvettes: one in its stock suspension settings (just as I’d taken on the figure eight), the other tuned in the grippier, understeer-erasing track configuration the engineer had in mind back when I mentioned the understeer. Otherwise, the two cars were identical, down to their pumpkin color schemes.

If you haven’t done so already, check out Randy’s qualitative story of what the MotorTrend Maestro experienced behind the wheel. But here, I wanted to share with our left-brain audience some quantitative insights into the data stories these cars had to tell.

Stories? Besides our usual Vbox recordings of mph, g’s, and lap times, the twin Corvettes were fitted with the super cool Performance Data Recorder (PDR) that directly taps into the Chevrolet’s nervous system. It harvests a ton more channels and puts the data into theatrical context as the asphalt ribbon rapidly spools toward you. It’s all tidily stored on an SD card that you can pop out and play on your laptop.

Opening it via its companion Cosworth Toolbox software is super easy, and it’s festooned with slick visual insights. But missing was that stream of steering angle, lateral g’s, and yaw angle data that I’d traveled across the country for. To harvest that, you need to download the Cosworth Toolbox’s hard-knuckled software bigger brother called Pi Toolbox (Lite). Warning: I don’t recommend wading into these waters unless you’ve already worked with simpler data-acquisition software, are OK with feeling like an idiot for hours staring, not sure what to do next, or stumble across the enormously helpful YouTube videos posted by HiPo Driver (thanks, man).

Their biggest differences are about six times the negative camber up front, roughly five times at the rear, and lower (cold) tire pressures that start off a pound lower up front. Those tire pressures are pre-bled in anticipation of the heat buildup that’s about to repressurize them.

Actually, the only thing that’s visually noticeable—and they are definitely noticeable—are the wheels’ knocked-kneed cambers angles. When the engineer showed us these numbers, Randy pointed to the negative 3 degrees up front. The engineer responded, “We had limited adjustability with the C7; with the C8, we made sure there’d be all we’d need.”

Randy ran both cars with a passenger, and then a final session in the track-settings solo (which was quicker, due to less weight and not fretting about his passenger’s safety). However, here, we’ll focus on the directly comparable laps (both with the passenger).

To literally set the stage, here’s the track (like most road courses, the direction of travel is clockwise):

Chevrolet used VIR’s fast, 3.27-mile (the racing line is about 3.24 miles) Full Course, which is wrinkled with 17 corners (plus a few sub-corners), most of them very, very fast esses (which, I’ll note, encourages a confidence-building, understeer setup). Out of curiosity, I asked Randy which track he prefers: VIR or our Best Driver’s Car home base, Laguna Seca. He hesitated for a few seconds, then diplomatically responded, “I like both. But VIR doesn’t have the sort of brake-turn-accelerate corners that are helpful for evaluating a production car. Laguna has those.” His VIR lap time in the stock alignment? 2:03.68. Time in the track alignment? 2:01.91.

1.77 seconds quicker.

Here’s the overlaid speed traces that the cars produced around those (the dips are corners):

The track alignment is clearly quicker through the high-speed back-and-forth jinks (he brakes later before Turn 14, as well).

Next, here’s a comparison of Randy’s steering angles. Remember, these were produced by virtually identical cars, with the same tires and same driver. What’s different is tire pressures and alignment specs:

Notice during the stock setup’s lap at least three big countersteer corrections and (most of the time) slightly greater steering angle. Evidence of understeer? Maybe. But also punctuated by the car getting out of shape. Not a happy combination.

Here’s my last (and weirdest) graph. For this one, I’ve distilled the data so that all we see are the cars’ near-steady-state (constant-speed) instances. In other words, midcorner steering at various-speed corners—good spots to spotlight as we try to answer this understeer question.

Data on the left is g’s turning left. To the right, yep, g’s turning right. The y-axis (vertical axis) is the steering angle needed to generate those g’s. I’ve drawn in red lines to illustrate the noticeable difference in the data’s slope up to about 0.5 g’s.

What do these graphs say? The track alignment is more sensitive to steering inputs up to about 15 degrees in either direction. After that, the data scatters (partly due to banking) in similar ways, but how they twist (up or down). By the way, these twists are the tires’ fingerprints identifying how their grip plateaus at their limits.

So where’s the graph that dramatically shows how the track alignment tempers understeer? I don’t have one. As it turns out, the C8’s rich data stream doesn’t include chassis yaw angle. Write this down, you young vehicle dynamists: The definition of understeer is that the front tires’ slip angles are greater than the rears’—what the driver intuitively senses when he says, “I need more front grip!” (Corollary definition: Slip angle is difference between where the tire is aimed and where it’s actually going.) But the rear tires’ slip angle is the same as the chassis’ yaw angle—and I don’t have that. Errr.

Would the C8’s track alignment erase that understeer I felt around the figure eight? Randy’s subjective comments suggest that they would. But I’d like to selfishly hold out for an eventual figure eight retest—just to be sure.

More on the C8 Corvette:

The post Track Test: Will the Chevrolet Corvette Z51 in Track Alignment Erase Understeer? appeared first on MotorTrend.

Categories: Property

2020 Kia Soul

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 18:00
The 2020 Kia Soul hatchback scopes in its target audience by aiming at the fringes. Outre style, light-up speakers, and a low price speak to periphery shoppers who don’t mind trading style for substance. The Soul’s secret? Its hatchback practicality, fuel-efficient powertrains, and quiet ride are right down Broadway for many buyers...
Categories: Property

Proptech flatfair hires talent from Savills and Zoopla

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 17:46
Proptech startup flatfair has hired two former senior staff from Savills and online agent Zoopla to expand its business.
Categories: Property

KRFI refinances ‘complex case funding’ for Fitch & Fitch client

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 17:42
Kent Reliance for Intermediaries (KRFI), part of OneSavings Bank, has secured an £8m refinancing for nine new-build flats in central London.
Categories: Property

Black Friday: UK online retail sales hit all time high at £20bn

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 17:17
Online retail sales in the UK in November and December are set to exceed £20bn for the first time ever, according to data from Colliers International.
Categories: Property

Coalition urges party leaders to cut VAT to unleash £1bn green housing revolution

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 16:53
A coalition of business groups and organisations from the property and construction sectors have urged the next UK government to cut VAT on homes maintenance and improvement works.
Categories: Property

Telluride vs. Atlas, Hyundai RM19 review, electric Microbus builds Buzz: What's New @ The Car Connection

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 16:30
2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2020 VW Atlas: Compare Crossover SUVs The two three-row crossovers fight for family buyers, and the all-new Telluride gets the edge, but it's closer than the scores reflect. 2019 Ford Ranger recalled again, this time for defective taillights The 2019 Ford Ranger has been recalled for a fifth time, this time due to taillights...
Categories: Property

ASK Partners provides third loan to Montreaux

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 16:12
ASK Partners has provided an £11.05m loan facility to developer Montreaux for a mixed-use scheme in north London.
Categories: Property

Capco buys two mixed-use blocks in Covent Garden for £52m

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 15:51
Capital & Counties (Capco) has bought two mixed-use blocks that sit adjacent to its Covent Garden estate following Delancey’s £425m acquisition of its Earls Court holdings.
Categories: Property

2019 Ford Ranger recalled again, this time for defective taillights

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 15:19
The 2019 Ford Ranger has been recalled for defective taillights that reduce the visibility of the mid-size pickup truck and can increase the risk of a crash, according to a statement by the NHTSA released Monday. A misaligned connector in the right and left rear taillight terminals is the cause of the problem, though the third center-mounted...
Categories: Property

Civitas reports 45% increase in rental income

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 14:01
ivitas has reported a 45% increase in rental income in the six months ending 30 September 2019, from £15.7m to £22.7m.
Categories: Property

Planning for remediation work to create 1,500 homes at Festival Gardens to be submitted this week

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 13:47
Planning permission for remediation work that could pave the way for 1,500 eco-homes in Liverpool’s Festival Gardens will be submitted this week (6 December).
Categories: Property

2020 Audi A8

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 13:00
The 2020 Audi A8 is a high-tech masterpiece of a full-size luxury sedan. With its screen-heavy interior and silent powertrains, the A8 can come off a little cold and sterile at first, but we’ve warmed up to this spectacular sedan. We rate the 2020 A8 at 7.2 out of 10, a score based for now on the base V-6-powered versions. A8s and S8s with a...
Categories: Property

2020 Audi A3

The Car Connection News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 13:00
The 2020 Audi A3 is in the twilight of its current design, but remains a feature-filled compact luxury sedan worth consideration. The design has held up well thanks to its combination of good performance and surprising luxury features for a modest price. A new A3 is set to arrive in the U.S. for 2021, but for now we rate the 2020 A3 at 6.7 out of...
Categories: Property

Paul Kennedy to join JP Morgan Asset Management’s real estate Europe team

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:59
JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) has recruited Paul Kennedy as head of strategy and portfolio manager, real estate Europe.
Categories: Property

Alasdair Evans to join Tritax Group as chief financial officer

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 12:46
Tritax Group has appointed Alasdair Evans (pictured) as chief financial officer.
Categories: Property

Colliers launches flexible workspace division in Manchester

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 10:04
Colliers has launched a new flexible workspace division in Manchester.
Categories: Property

Barwood Capital secures five care home sites with partner Perseus Land & Development

Property Week News Feed - Mon, 12/02/2019 - 10:03
Barwood Capital has acquired five care home sites, which should deliver more than £55m gross development value (GDV) and 347 beds, in partnership with Perseus Land & Developments.
Categories: Property