Drive Wire: October 7, 2015
Dieselgate fallout, Land Rover’s Evoque convertible, Volvo’s Auto-pilot system, a super useful helmet, and wet racetrack hijinks.
Hey guys, it’s Christina Thompson, and this is Drive Wire for Wednesday, October 7.
Turning to a controversy that seemingly never ends: Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said yesterday that massive cutbacks would happen at VW, citing the obvious financial costs of dealing with the Dieselgate crisis. Although VW has as of yet only discussed cutting back on expansion and future investments, the signs are ominous: Mueller told 20,000 concerned workers at VW’s iconic Wolfsburg plant that surviving this scandal would not happen without pain. Only time will tell how much pain will be brought on the company and its employees.
Here’s a different type of controversy — the fun kind, not the kind with massive cover-ups and looming recalls. Land Rover is making a convertible of the Evoque, its city-friendly SUV, and the company is going out of its way to tout the vehicle’s off-road capability. Some of you may wonder if this is a repeat of Nissan’s infamous Murano cross-cabriolet. Here’s our two cents. One, the Evoque is way more composed off-road than the cross-cabriolet. And two, let’s just all agree that it’ll never be as good, or as cool, as the mythically great Land Rover Defender 90 Convertible. Controversy over!
Volvo has released video of their new Intelli-Safe Auto Pilot System. The system doesn’t actually eliminate the driver completely. Rather it uses countdown timers to restore control to its occupants when autonomous operation isn’t possible. If the humans are unresponsive, it slows the Volvo to a safe stop. Volvo promises that this feature will allow for a seamless transition from active to autonomous driving without having to come to a stop. We look forward to seeing how this feature performs in live testing in 2017.
For gnarly wipeouts, epic jumps or if you’re just doing something dangerous, here’s the helmet to wear while doing it. The Forcite Alpine Helmet combines a camera, a GPS tracker, and a two-way radio, so you can record the emergency you’re trapped in, tell your friends about it, and be found easily. It’s a great combination of three pieces of equipment that any extreme-sports enthusiast should have. The Forcite Alpine Helmet is inching closer to its crowdfunding goal. The price if funded? $800. But you can lock it in on Kickstarter for $649.
In today’s ridiculous video, reflexes are the name of the game. The intrepid Zac Moseley and his Miata on a wet racetrack made the save of the year and it’s worth checking out. Watch Zac’s hands on the wheel as he avoids first the spinning BMW and then the bridge. So smooth! Very well done, Zac.