Four Advanced Car Technologies to Consider Before Buying a New Car

Many advancements have been made over the years in the automotive world to make driving safer and more enjoyable. If you are in the market for a new car, it is important to know what advancements have been made in the auto realm to ensure that you choose the best vehicle for our specific needs. The guide that follows provides you with valuable information about a few of the advancements that have been made for automobiles.

Determine What Your Payments Will Be Before Even Starting Your Search


When searching for a car, it is important to narrow the selection as much as you can. A great way to narrow down the selection is to start with the price point that fits into your finances well. Consider using an online auto payment calculator to determine how much your payment would be for a car each month. This allows you to determine how much you can afford to pay for a car so that you narrow down the selection to cars that fit into that specific budget.

Park with Ease When Parallel Parking


If parking isn’t necessarily a strong suit of yours, you may want to consider investing in a car that has hands-free parking assist built into it. The hands-free parking assist feature makes parking a breeze. The vehicle will have sensors built into the front and back of it that allows it to detect the position of objects near the car so that it can parallel park for you perfectly. This will give you the ability to park anywhere at any time.
Stay as Safe as Possible Behind the Wheel

When you are driving, there are times when accidents happen because you may not have been paying as much attention as you should have been or because someone else is driving recklessly. There are now features built into some cars that help to ensure that you are as safe as you can be at all times when behind the wheel.

Cars with an automatic emergency braking system can detect when a car has stopped in front of you so that they can engage the brakes even if you do not engage them yourself. This can stop you from getting into a bad accident and keep your car from being damaged. Blind spot collision systems are also helpful because they alert you if there is a vehicle in your blind spot so that you do not run into someone accidentally. Some cars come with these options as a standard feature, while other vehicles may give you the option to pay a little bit more for the car to have the features added to it. They are features that are well worth the investment.

Travel Distraction Free


There are also cars that operate completely on their own. You no longer have to drive the cars because they can drive themselves wherever you need them to go. The driverless cars do not require you to keep your hands on the wheel during operation and have navigation built into them so that they can determine what the best routes are to take during travel. These cars are currently very expensive though because there is such a limited quantity of them on the market.

It is important to take your time when you go to purchase your first car. Knowing what features are important to you and what price point you are trying to stick to will make the search much easier in the end.

Creating the Perfect Bedroom For Car Enthusiasts

In case you are a car enthusiast, creating a bedroom that follows a car theme is an excellent idea. In this way, you will not only increase the visual attractiveness of your bedroom, but you will also feel much more comfortable whenever you go to bed. Cars are the favorite thing of people of all ages and genders!

The simplest way to make the team is to get an attractive car bed. That’s right – there are many manufacturers that make beds that resemble muscle cars or ordinary cars. At the same time, you can find matching pillows, comforters, and beddings too. Don’t forget the bed is the focal point of every bedroom and the most used piece of furniture. This means that you must be careful about the quality. In addition, remember that you don’t have to spend a small fortune for a bed like this. Even if you can’t afford a pre-made bed like this, you can apply the DIY approach and make your existing bed look more like a beautiful car.

Obviously, the bed is just one of the things that can help you decorate your bedroom like a true gearhead. If you are interested in a less expensive solution that is almost equally effective, you can also opt for a special rug. The rug can bear the logo of your favorite car manufacturer or your team. In some cases, it is sufficient to buy a rug that has the colors of your favorite NASCAR or F1 team. The good news is that it is very easy and simple to buy a rug online. Online stores like Roth Rugs have hundreds of different high-quality rugs to choose from. We are sure that you’ll find the perfect rug easily.

At the same time, it’s worth mentioning that you can make the wardrobes in a similar color shade and even add some decorations with gadgets that are typical for car fans like race tracks, logos, and car deals. If you take some time to do research, we are sure that you’ll find adequate car lamps too. Obviously, racing memorabilia including photos and flags are ideal for a decoration like this.

According to many expert interior designers, the use of wallpapers and wall paint can bring a significant difference in the appearance of any room including the bedroom. So, if you want to show your love and passion for cars, you should look for matching wallpapers and/or wall paint. There is no simpler way to improve the overall appearance and style of the bedroom especially when it comes to car themes. It would be smart to use just two colors. One of the colors should cover a small portion of the wall (starting from the ground). Feel free to use borders to separate the colors. If you or the painter you’ve hired is able to perform shading that would be ideal. When it comes to car race themes, blue and red colors are the ones that are used the most. If you are prepared for something bolder, you can paint a race track on the walls too.

With the help of a car bed, matching furniture, suitable rugs, and other accessories, you will be able to turn your bedroom into a shrine where you can find peace and satisfaction.

My 2011 Nissan Solyndra

Last June, I wrote about my initial love/hate affair with Nissan’s all-electric production car. Since then, people keep asking me how I like my Leaf.

Here’s what I tell them: I am ready to turn over a new Leaf — my own.

This is not easy to admit. First, because it makes me feel like a jackass. More than a year ago, when I first read about the Leaf, I put my deposit down and eagerly waited eight months to buy the car. If America is ever to end its dependence on fossil fuel in general, and foreign oil in particular, we must develop sensible, economical alternatives. Not only that, we have to actually buy them.

According to every ad and brochure Nissan put out, the Leaf gets 100 miles per charge. With federal and state tax credits and subsidies, its $34,000 price tag approached a more affordable $22,000. Another federal subsidy would cover the estimated $2,400 cost of installation of a 220-volt charger in my home. I wouldn’t be spending a penny on gas, I’d be sticking it to the Saudis, and I’d be leading the way to a brighter future.

Well, half the way.

Because after driving this car for five months, I can tell you I have yet to get 100 miles per charge. The last three times I measured, it was 55, 58 and 58. 

My life now revolves around a near-constant calculation of how far I can drive before I’ll have to walk. The Nissan Leaf, I can report, is perfect if you don’t have enough anxiety in your life.

I told a friend of my disappointment, and his response was, to say the least, humbling.

“You mean to tell me,” he said, “a car advertisement lied?”

OK, I fell for it. Who’s to blame?

Well, Nissan. Over and over, they promoted the Leaf as getting 100 miles per charge. They still do — and Leaf owners have yet to weather their first winter, when heating will gobble up even more mileage than air-conditioning. 

At the AltCar Expo in Santa Monica a few weeks ago, I stopped by the massive Nissan Leaf display. I wanted to see if the company was sticking to its rap. As a crowd gathered round, a perky model in a tight T-shirt lifted the car’s hood. 

“It’s not even an engine,” she said, pointing inside, “but we make it look like one ’cause that’s what y’all are familiar with.”

The crowd giggled along with her.

I raised my hand. “How many miles does the Leaf get per charge?” I asked.

“A hundred,” she said.  

The audience oohed and aahed.

Five months ago, I did the same when the salesman at Santa Monica Nissan told me that. (He also assured me there are no problems installing home charging systems. I balked when the actual estimate came in close to $6,000.)

But I’m to blame, too. I bought the car. I signed the papers. I wanted it to prove a point. The life lesson: A fool and his ideology are soon parted.

I know a few Leaf owners who are happy. Keep your daily mileage requirements far, far below 100 miles, and you’ll find the Leaf zippy and well engineered. Economical? I’m not so sure — if you only drive 20 miles a day, is your gasoline bill high enough to justify the Leaf’s nonsubsidized cost?

The final straw for me came in late August. My gauge said I had 82 miles available, and I decided that was enough to drop off my son at Camp Alonim in Simi Valley. You may remember that in my first Leaf column, that was the exact trip I assumed I would never be able to make in a Leaf. Well, guess what?

Alonim is 35 miles from our home. I drove below the speed limit on the freeway, windows down so I could keep the mileage-guzzling AC off. Nevertheless, by the time I arrived at camp, I had only 31 of the original 82 miles left. That’s been my experience day in and day out — the gauge reports a best-case scenario that lures me into magical thinking. I left Alonim and drove another 10 miles to Mission Hills. Reported miles: 82. Actual miles driven: 41. Now the gauge showed me having three miles to go. 

Knowing that charging stations are as rare as monorails in L.A., I decided to pull off the freeway and drive very slowly to the closest Nissan dealership, where I could put in more juice. I called my office and told them I’d be late, as I had to charge enough to drive the next 20 miles. That would take two hours.

Needless to say, I didn’t join the electric car parade held on Main Street in Santa Monica two weeks ago. Nor did I rush out to see this week’s new documentary, “Revenge of the Electric Car,” which documents the efforts behind the Tesla, the Leaf and the Chevy Volt. I didn’t have to go see “Revenge of the Electric Car.” I’m experiencing it.

The Volt’s gas engine, by the way, kicks in after 40 miles. So what do I tell the people who stop me to ask how I like my Leaf? “Buy a Volt.”

I still believe the electric car is the future. But the raised public expectation for new technology can easily create a wicked backlash among a public already skeptical of change. Witness the recent Solyndra debacle, when the federal government pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into an over-hyped solar technology company, leaving taxpayers leery of supporting the development of the next good idea.

Nissan must be feeling some backlash now, as well. Leafs — which the company had expected to sell out — are piling up on dealer lots like, well, fallen leaves.

So, here’s my advice to any company trying to push the next new thing to save the environment: If you want to save the world, lose the hype.

To read my previous column about the Leaf, click here.

BMW family admits using slave labor for Nazis

The family that owns BMW has admitted to using slave labor during World War II.

Some 50,000 forced laborers are estimated to have worked in the factories of industrialist Guenther Quandt producing arms for the Nazis, according to a study commissioned by the Quandt family.

Gabriele Quandt, grandson of Guenther Quandt, told the German newspaper Die Zeit that it was “wrong” for the family to ignore this chapter of its history.

The independent study by the Bonn-based historian Joachim Scholtyseck concluded that Guenther Quandt and his son Herbert helped bolster the Nazis, according to the newspaper. The three-year study was commissioned in response to public outrage over a German television documentary that made the accusation; the documentary had access to the company’s files from the Third Reich period.

Guenther Quandt also is accused of taking over Jewish-owned companies during the war with the blessing of the Nazis.

The Quandt family bought shares of BMW 15 years after World War II.

Guenther Quandt became a Nazi Party member on May 1, 1933. He died in 1954.

The family still owns a majority of shares in the luxury carmaker.