New tech will help the BMW i3 electric car cope wth range anxiety

bMW i3 concept front three quarter urbanThe BMW i3 electric city car won’t be revealed until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, but BMW is already discussing some of the car’s features. Perhaps to reassure both customers and BMW’s shareholders, they all relate to range anxiety.

Short ranges and long charging times create a very low margin of error for EV drivers, which is one of the reasons why few people want to buy an EV. To counteract this, BMW has designed a special infotainment system for the i3, and plans to loan customers gasoline and diesel cars as backups.

A ConnectedDriver infotainment system will read topography and real-time traffic data to provide the driver with the most accurate range estimate possible. This is obviously important, but real-world conditions can change rapidly. Hopefully i3s won’t be providing their drivers with wildly fluctuating range estimates, which could be more confusing than reassuring.

If ConnectedDrive calculates that there isn’t enough range to reach the destination, it will direct the driver to the nearest charging station. That’s assuming there will be a charging station within range, which isn’t something that can be counted on at the moment. It will be interesting to see how far in advance the system plans for recharging stops.

Range Assistant has three modes, Comfort, Eco Pro, and Eco Pro+, that can squeeze extra miles out of the i3.

Comfort is the default, and should be good for 100 miles of range per charge. Eco Pro can increase range by 10 percent (of whatever the actual range is in a given situation) by remapping the throttle. That’s probably code for making the throttle less responsive, making it harder to floor it and waste those precious electrons.

Eco Pro+ changes the transmission’s gearing, puts the climate control into power-saving mode, and limits top speed to 56 mph. It sounds like it wouldn’t be much fun to do on a busy highway, but it could save the hapless i3 driver a trip on a tow truck.

BMW i3 concept profile suburbanBMW will also loan i3 drivers a gasoline or diesel car for an unspecified number of days per year. It’s unclear whether customers will have to pay for the loaner cars.

BMW will also sell the i3 with an optional two-cylinder gasoline range extender, which should give the pint-sized hatchback a range of 186 miles.

More details on the i3 should be revealed in the coming months, and we’ll see the finished product at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.


Will high-res radar make tomorrow’s cars safer?

Modern cars have sensors designed to make driving safer. The problem? They don’t work well. A combination of radar, lidar, and cameras is a solution, but we aren’t there yet.

Huawei is not-so-subtly trolling Friday’s iPhone launch

Apple launches the iPhone XS range to the public on Friday, but Huawei is out in force to remind the public what they could be missing out on (Hint: It's the Mate 20 Pro) by choosing Apple's latest smartphone.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro's body may wirelessly charge new Bluetooth headphones

Huawei is no stranger when it comes to big phones. And this year it plans to go even bigger with the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. Here's what we think we know about the new range.

Volkswagen shows us the workaholic side of its modern-day classic van

The Volkswagen I.D. Cargo concept is an electric, connected delivery van based on the I.D. Buzz concept from 2017. It boasts up to 350 miles of range and cool features like solar panels on the roof and a 230-volt outlet for power tools.

End your dependence on fossil fuels with one of these amazing electric cars

Electric cars are getting smarter, safer, and more capable with each passing year. Here are our picks for the best electric cars on the market, whether you're looking for a performance ride or a family-friendly crossover.

Exclusive: Faulty radars are compromising Nissan’s emergency braking system

Faulty radar modules are causing the automatic emergency braking system in select 2018 Nissan vehicles to turn off. AEB is designed to alert a driver of proximity to the car ahead, and apply the brakes when the driver can't.
Product Review

With the XT4, Cadillac's tech game goes from frustrating to first class

The 2019 Cadillac XT4 is the American luxury brand’s first small SUV, slotting under the XT5. Aimed at younger buyers, the XT4 is intended to be a nurturing product — something to introduce new customers and lead to future Cadillac…
Emerging Tech

These flying cars want to take your commute to new heights

The future is closer than you'd think: Companies around the world are working on flying car models, with many successful tests! Here are all the flying cars and taxis currently in development, and how they work!
Smart Home

Here’s how to pre-order everything Amazon announced this week

Amazon announced new devices available in its Echo, Fire TV, and AmazonBasics lineups. Most of the devices aren't available quite yet but if you head over to Amazon, you can pre-order them.

Tesla says dash cam feature using car’s built-in cameras is coming soon

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is promising the next version of Autopilot, which is expected imminently, will include a dash cam feature that uses the car's built-in cameras. It's a feature many Tesla drivers have long been asking for.

Amazon Alexa can now hitch a ride in any car with Echo Auto

At its massive hardware event, Amazon unveiled Echo Auto, a dashboard-mounted device that adds Alexa to any car. It's one of myriad ways Amazon is trying to integrate Alexa with cars.

Aced it! Tesla’s Model 3 earns a five-star crash-test rating

The results are in and they're great: the rear-wheel drive Tesla Model 3 has aced the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's different crash tests and earned a five-star safety rating.

Audi’s subscription service lets you roll in style without commitment

Audi expanded its mobility options by launching a car subscription service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For $1,395, buyers can choose from five models (including the Q7, the Q5, and the A4) and swap cars twice a month.

Stop the madness! Here's how to fix those squeaky brakes

Few noises are worse than the sound of squeaky brakes. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about fixing the issue without giving up your weekend or investing a small fortune. Here's what you need to know.