By on February 7, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 12.14.52 PM

No, the State of Colorado isn’t blowing up grandmas for doing 10 mph under the limit in the left lane. But the state’s Department of Transportation is keeping people safe by clearing avalanches with World War II artillery.

Armed with a 105 mm howitzer — possibly an M101A1, though please feel free to correct us — the Colorado DOT clears avalanche prone areas by shooting shells up to 7 miles away into the mountain tops. Those shells have a secondary charge that explodes on impact to trigger a controlled avalanche.

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By on February 6, 2016

Volkswagen Diesel Sale Disclaimer

The fuel cost savings of a diesel vehicle can be huge for those who eat up highway miles. However, with Volkswagen’s voluntary stop sale of those vehicles implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, you may think you can’t buy one from a Volkswagen dealer.

You’d be wrong.

According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, Volkswagen dealers are still able to sell an affected diesel vehicle should it meet certain conditions: that it not be a “certified pre-owned” (CPO) or new vehicle, and that the buyer signs a disclaimer stating they understand the vehicle being purchased pollutes more than government compliance tests initially indicated.

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By on January 30, 2016

Elon Musk

The automotive and tech blogs are aflutter Saturday with news that Elon Musk has gobbled up another chunk of Tesla stock — this time at a discount.

Musk exercised and held a stock option this week that saw the multi-billionaire increase his ownership of Tesla Motors by 532,000 shares. In total, those shares are worth over $101 million as of the last closing price of $191.20/share.

Here’s where the discount comes in: Musk’s option dictated a price pegged to the share value as of Dec. 4, 2009, before the automaker went public, of $6.63/share — or just over $3.5 million.

Sounds like Elon got a stellar deal. But does any of it matter? Is owning 1/5th of Tesla a big deal?

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By on January 9, 2016

GrandNational 011

If you were looking for at least one wild-ass auto show rumor to see you through the weekend, look no further: Bloomberg (via AutoGuide) is reporting that Buick may show “a sporty coupe concept” this weekend prior to the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

The sports car, reported to be “about the size of the Chevrolet Camaro,” is expected to debut Sunday night. AutoGuide is now speculating that model will be called — drum roll, please — Grand National!

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By on January 8, 2016

Detroit Concept Teaser #2

Kia announced Friday that its upcoming concept, to debut at the North American International Auto Show next week, will be named Telluride — continuing the long, illustrious history of vehicles being named after places in the state of Colorado.

If you buy vehicles based on solely their names and currently own a Chrysler Aspen, this is your next luxury SUV.

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By on January 8, 2016

Photo courtesy of Washington State DOT: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov

Suppose you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle and you’re looking to fit a set of winter tires. Also, let’s assume that two of those tires have much more tread depth than the other two. On which end of the car do you install the better rubber?

According to the CBC, a woman in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada (that’s my town!) ran into just this problem, complete with conflicting advice from two repair shops: One said putting the fresher rubber up front is safer as the vehicle is front-wheel drive, while the other said giving the rear more grip is the best course of action to reduce the chance of a spin out.

Which one is correct?

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By on January 5, 2016

Faraday Future (FF) FFZERO1

Faraday Future revealed its FFZERO1 Concept in Las Vegas on Monday night. It is a striking artifact that continues to keep the company’s product plans mysterious. This “car of concepts,” as Head of Design Richard Kim called it, is an extreme expression containing select elements that foreshadow the company’s production vehicles.

We now know that Faraday Future (they like to be called FF) can design a theoretical 200+ mph, 1,000 horsepower, single-seat hypercar. Even in a world full of extreme cars, this one looks futuristic. But this is not an attempt to compete with Bugatti, Koenigsegg, or Ascari. It’s an extreme test-bed, right down to the drag reducing, heat-dissipating pair of see-through “aero-tunnels” channeling air directly through the vehicle.

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By on December 13, 2015

2015 Chrysler 200 S AWD front angle

According to a report from Allpar, Chrysler’s model mix might be getting a major re-shuffle compared to Sergio Marchionne’s much touted five-year plan shown in 2014. While Allpar doesn’t list a source, a recent investor presentation marked Chrysler’s future lineup as “under re-evaluation”.

The five-year plan called for a new C-segment sedan, which was dubbed Chrysler 100, and a slew of other new product.

With fuel prices expected to stay at their current level until at least 2020 and the market eschewing smaller cars for crossovers, the time may not be right for the Chrysler 100 in North America, reports Allpar.

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By on December 12, 2015

Volkswagen Microbus CES teaser

Multiple outlets are reporting that the vehicle seen in this teaser photo from Volkswagen is none other than an electrified version of the Microbus concept and it will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. The photo follows an earlier report by Autocar (which has since been updated with the same photo and new text) that said Volkswagen would bring a new Microbus to the Las Vegas convention.

We won’t disagree. We also won’t hold our breath for a production model.

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By on December 9, 2015

2016ToyotaPrius_(7_of_10)

Toyota announced Wednesday it would lower its global sales goal for the 2016 Prius in light of low fuel prices curbing sales of fuel-efficent vehicles.

According to Reuters, Toyota’s new target is to move an annual average of 300,000 to 350,000 Prii out of the lot around the world, compared to the 300,000 to 400,000 annual sales average sought for the outgoing model. A company representative said a decline in global sales of the hybrid since 2013 was one of the reasons behind Toyota’s decision.

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