Monday, February 17, 2014

Stuck for Conversation?

It happens to everyone. That uneasy silence when you simply run out of things to say, once you've done the weather, work, family and all the usual topics.

Well, fear no more. Here are some amazing motoring titbits that will have you talking for hours.

The longest traffic jam was in France 20 years ago. It stretched 176 km from Paris to Lyon. What caused it? Authorities never found out. It just happened.

Speaking of traffic jams. Enough people around the world sit in frustrating bumper-to-bumper traffic to chew up 26 billion litres of fuel a year. That's a lot money and pollution for going nowhere.

Hate traffic lights? No problem in Monrovia, Liberia. Their traffic lights system broke down in 1990 and they couldn't be bothered fixing it. Traffic is directed by hand waving police and everyone's happy.

Hybrid cars are a headache for emergency services trained to deal with traditional cars. When a hybrid has an accident, there are high voltage power sources to deal with that can have shocking consequences. True.

Last but not least, if you think Australia has some long roads, remember everything is bigger Stateside. Their Pan-American Highway stretches from the state of Alaska all the way down to Chile, a distance of 25,800km!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New Trends 2: Bye Bye

Previously the Carzoos' blog touched on new car design trends for 2014. You can't stop progress and as cars gain more and more gadgets, something has to give, or go.

So with some of the new trends already addressed, time to consider what looks like history in the near future.

CD players. Probably an obvious candidate for the bin, but some cars still come with them as a selling point. However, CD's and CD players have had their day with digital ruling the roost in everyone's lives.

Hand brakes. Every car has one and they're an essential, particularly if your car is a manual. But it seems reaching for the hand brake will be replaced with the touch of a button. Manufacturers are looking at introducing electronic hand brakes, so that classic, reassuring clickity-click as you engage or release the lever will be just a memory.

Gear change. Cars usually come two ways – automatic or manual.
But it won't be long before you don't have a choice, with the gear stick and it's associated cogs and clunks set for retirement. It costs manufacturers a fortune to have production lines accommodating two kinds of transmissions. So in the interest of saving money and getting more cars out, it will soon be automatic all the way.

What next? No steering wheel, replaced by a plane-like joy stick? You read it here first.

Friday, February 7, 2014

New Year, New Trends

The new year’s here and so are the new models. Manufacturers are slowly releasing their latest and greatest with new looks and features to get your attention and give the competition a shake up.

Every 2014 car will be different, but they'll share some design trends that all manufacturers seem to follow. Some touches will be wonderful and ground breaking, others just plain weird, leaving you wondering why they bothered. But that's half the fun with design, right? So, what's on the cards going forward?

Designers have rediscovered classic, flowing lines. After a recent love affair with angles and odd shapes, the look will be smoother and cleaner with shapelier lines and balanced proportions.

Interiors will be simplified, with more electronics then ever before.
It's the digital age so there'll be lots of connectivity; touch screens, lights, colour and action. And little innovations like smaller, lighter switchgear replacing clunky knobs and buttons.

Bling will be big, too. The devil is in the detail and manufactures will be going all out to give their cars unique signature features, like distinctive grilles, ornate mag wheels and graphics that define a car's attitude, and yours.

Just some of the trends to watch out for in 2014. Will they survive? Until 2015? Only time will tell.