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What’s next for ‘Top Gear’?

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With Jeremy Clarkson officially getting the boot from the BBC, it appears likely that the pubcaster’s “Top Gear” franchise will be reinvented once again with new hosts. James May, who has co-hosted the show with Clarkson and Richard Hammond since 2003, has indicated that he and Hammond would not continue without Clarkson. All three hosts’ contracts are up at the end of the current season. Speaking to reporters in London on Wednesday, May expressed his dismay at the situation that led to Clarkson’s canning – his physical assault on a “Top Gear” producer during filming earlier this month. “It’s a…

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India’s long road to tougher law against killer drivers

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One month after Anita Rajput’s son was crushed to death by two buses as he walked home in the Indian capital, the distraught mother cannot bear to send her remaining child back to school. “Has anything changed? How can I let him out on the road? What if my younger son meets a similar fate,” Rajput told AFP, tears welling in her eyes. India has some of the world’s deadliest roads, with more than 200,000 fatalities annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The deaths are blamed on weak laws, which are routinely flouted by drivers and poorly enforced,…

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Modular mojo: Toyota re-engineers its appeal

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Toyota Motor is looking to cast off a reputation for making reliable, but often dull, cars in a wide-ranging review of its designs, technologies, factories and supply deals – a full makeover aimed at staying on top in a cut-throat industry. For decades, the Japanese automaker carved out global leadership by using common parts across many of its models. This was efficient, but made for uniform styling. A one-size-fits-all layout for the engine’s surrounding parts, for example, gave its cars a boxy front end. Under its ongoing Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) initiative, the automaker will standardise vehicle engineering, such…

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Automakers race to double driving range of affordable electric cars

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Global automakers are readying a new generation of mass-market electric cars with more than double the driving range of today’s Nissan LEAF, betting that technical breakthroughs by big battery suppliers such as LG Chem Ltd will jump-start demand and pull them abreast of Tesla Motors Inc. At least four major automakers – General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG plan to race Tesla to be first to field affordable electric vehicles that will travel up to 322km between charges. That is more than twice as far as current lower-priced models such as the Nissan…

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Does DeltaWing’s concept point to the future of automotive design?

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It might not be a household name when it comes to mass-market motoring, but DeltaWing has been building a reputation within racing where its very unusual looking car has been proving that optimised aerodynamics are just as important as horsepower when it come to going fast. And now it’s looking to move from the raceway to the driveway with a road-legal sportscar. The DeltaWing racecar looks like an arrow tip or a triangle – incredibly narrow at the nose and very wide at the rear. But as strange as it looks, it can keep up with all of the conventionally…

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America falls in love again with Muscle cars

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Ford has tallied up serious European interest online for its new Mustang, Dodge has had to stop taking orders for its Hellcat Challenger and Charger models in order to catch its breath, and now Chevrolet has announced its next Camaro will be making its debut in May. The sixth-generation Camaro won’t be gracing the New York Auto Show in April but instead will be making its global debut at a special event in Detroit, its spiritual home, on May 16. The event will be staged on Belle Isle, the 982-acre island park in Michigan where Chevrolet hosts its annual grand…

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China driving slowly towards a greener future

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Interest in electric cars is growing in China, but don’t expect a green motoring revolution anytime soon. It’s going to take until the end of the decade for electric and hybrid vehicles to constitute 4% of new cars on the road. Still, the figures, courtesy of Frost and Sullivan, paint a more optimistic picture of the country’s personal mobility future than the most recent report from the US Energy Information Administration. Its 2014 long-term outlook forecasts that it will take until 2040 for plug-in electric cars to represent 1% of new vehicles on US roads. However, it is more optimistic…

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VW committed to electric and connected cars

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Volkswagen is dedicated to building more electric and connected cars. According to VW, the future will mean more SUVs and crossovers, greater and greater efficiency and use of propulsion methods other than fossil fuels plus internet connectivity as standard on all its cars by 2020. This increased connectivity will also enable the group to usher in greater levels of autonomous driving technology. The first Audis with “piloted technology”,  the ability to take over during motorway driving or in traffic jam and parking situations, are expected to go on sale within the next 18 months, and during its presentation, VW demonstrated…

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Car makers all for cleaning up diesel’s image

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British consumers are confused when it comes to diesel fuel’s green credentials and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) wants to remedy the situation. With the support of a host of major car makers, SMMT is attempting to redress the balance and correct many misconceptions. They might be more expensive to buy but new-generation diesel engine cars are cheaper to run, offer better fuel efficiency than petrol or even many hybrids and, thanks to a number of technological upgrades have also become less sluggish, quieter and kinder to the environment. However it would appear that despite ongoing popularity…

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Mother and wife on weekdays, Desmodonna on weekends

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Three cats. Four kids. A sprawling house in Subang Jaya. Life for hijab-wearing suburban mum Nurulalis Aidil Akhbar seems ordinary … until the weekend rolls around. Come Saturdays and Sundays, the 40-year-old shimmies into leather, slips on a pair of aviators and hops onto a bike that’s more than four times her weight and at least twice her size. She’s now Kiki: motorsports enthusiast; president of Desmodonna Malaysia, a women-only Ducati club; and a star on the racetracks. Tearing down the highway in a blaze of smoke, horsepower and oil, Kiki leaves Nurulalis behind. Her destination varies according to the…

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