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Car Tech Live 242: Is the Volt on fire...or just catching fire?Chevy Volt gets feds look at safety of all electric cars,, Nissan makes a fast charge cheaper (sort of), Toyota puts Intel Inside and Mercedes re-works the lowly windshield wiper.
Chevy volts on fire or just catching fire. Nissan gets a high speed charger down below ten grade and a great. It will tell you what's going on -- was some innovations in stereos that work with your Android device. I'm Brian Cooley its car tech live an abbreviated edition as we head to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States. Antuan Goodwin and Wayne Cunningham are already heading off to that holiday and I'm here holding -- the ship below -- all back together next week let's get a rundown of what's going on the headlines that this time around. First of all there have been some reports about Chevy volts having some issues with fires. Now this has to do with the battery pack of course which is always sort of the other weak -- in an electric or highly electrified car. Because those lithium ion cells have a lot of power in the may need constant cooling and management by the electronics and -- things could go wrong. So the auto safety regulators in the US are now taking a look. At the safety of the batteries in the ship -- -- This of course was an enormous investment General Motors made. To create that battery packets to sort of -- -- T shaped pack of sales we showed it to you on previous car techpodcasts. And it's a huge part of their. Of their secret sauce of their R&D of their unique technology in electric cars. And the regulators now are not just talking to GM there -- also opinion Nissan and Ford -- and saying okay. Do you guys have real confidence that your battery packs. Are safe and this is not an official formal public investigation yet this is according to a story in Automotive News at Bloomberg is reporting. And it's kind of being talked about sort of among the industry and regulators at this point apparently this of one volt in particular. Caught fire wall it was added government testing center of that's not good. And it was a few weeks after it was involved in -- side impact crash tests this was apparently a bold that was damaged. And then caught fire Souza got a standard volt is driving down the road -- make that clear and of course GM is saying. In normal conditions there is no risk of fire with a -- any more than the gas powered car -- quote but this apparently damaged one. Is -- -- -- as a woman had the runaway fire from electricity reportedly and now this is also an issue for emergency responders. As we've -- you and some of our car tech videos there are often very clear. While orange hows things on those high current lines that run from the battery to the electric motor and also very clear disconnect switches -- emergency responders can kill the Jews as much as they -- It's still -- the battery pack at all times but keep it from getting distributed around the car and it's -- one of the challenges are facing with these -- was so much electricity in -- -- that juice into cars is getting a little faster. And kind of cheaper. You know that the holy Grail for charging electric cars like a Nissan leaf is to get what they call a level three charger. So level one is a one a 120 volt outlet that's your household level two is -- 240 outlet it's double that. And level three is a 480. Volt outlet really rare stuff you don't -- in your house but it's sort of an industrial connection it was -- a three phase system. Well Nissan says they have brought down the cost of a 480 volt or -- three charger. By two thirds to under 101000 dollars. Does not -- is also gonna stick in your house but this is the idea of getting premises various businesses mall's parking lots what have you to install them it's a lot cheaper than 4045000. The way they were before. -- -- thinks this will print. -- various sorts of -- commercial property operators apartment. Owners whatever it may be. Who wanna give their customers their employees what have you a quick charge station now why do you do this if give a level three charger you can charge a -- In on about half an hour. From fully depleted to 80% charge that's a big difference it's not as fast by any means as what do you. Take a gas in a car but it's making a big stride toward that. Let's talk about -- streaming and Internet connectivity in cars as we couple headlines along those lines let's see BMW. Is launching the first on demand. Factory built streaming radios. Now you may say wait a minute what about pandora and all that which is out in cars already and even -- -- BMW's I'll what's happening here is this is an on demand where you have a pic of all the songs you want not the pandora model where you are streaming. A channel that is up to them to program. -- kind of -- -- it here but BMW is working with month a music streaming service that is kinda like Spotify. It lets you pick from apparently thirteen million songs in their collection. And that is served up on demand streaming through the car stereo connected through an iPhone as for the connection comes from the actual wireless Internet. As well as the -- software of the app is on the phone. This will also be showing up as an aftermarket -- the fact that it's showing up here. On a on actual OEM cars interest in and -- -- -- -- the pricing on this. Apparently is a nine dollar and 89 cent per month a ten dollar a month fee. For the use of smog through the app in the BMW. And they say they have -- 160000 users -- -- which is pretty small or to most of the services out there but. This is one of the ways are trying to make headlines is getting into card which I think is a pretty Smart idea. Of the space for streaming of music collections in general is pretty crowded. In terms of just on your folder on your tablet or your laptop what have you but getting unique car integration especially -- BMW. Could be doing some good things for up the visibility of smog in particular people and hopefully get that in on a BMW's and we have not tried that on a BMW yet. Kennel and producing -- Replacement head unit. For cars that have -- so let's say you've got a Ford's got the -- technology in it. And you want to replace that was something that will directly go in. And still have sync voice control sync steering control hands free Bluetooth the USB the satellite radio all that other gear. But -- want to change out the head unit they now say they have got the first one that is plug compatible. -- that will actually drop right -- -- give you what can would head unit if you prefer that would all of their audio and navigation into screen but it'll still -- and all the other -- gear in your car. The media to model number price on this here on -- it -- a module you have to use which is sold separately but is called the -- data link maestro. And -- this is gonna ship in Q1 of 2012 it's not out yet so pricing is about -- there. But apparently this'll work with a number of -- -- head unit so it's the actual module between that can would head unit and Ford sync. It is the news secret sauce here I don't think it works of every single -- would -- you know obviously I think it's aimed at the ones that have the of the large LCD screen. But if you do have one of those or if you wanted to put one in -- Ford car was -- and an aura -- -- and lose all that apparently now you can keep that going with this. -- would technology. Toyotas putting Intel inside adjusting sort of up a mash of two companies that are huge from two different areas of a post on this -- the CNET car tech blog this week. And -- and Intel are now going to research together and developed together and infotainment platform. It will have some degree a standards written all over -- think about it Intel doesn't want to sell chips to just one carmaker that's not their game. And Toyota has been working with -- lately on developing a uniform platform for automotive infotainment -- -- in connectivity. So it's still a little bit vague here but to hear the Toyota and Intel -- gonna work together on a platform. That will allow Italian navigation phone. Entertainment and also will get -- what's called the ten bus which is the local network in many cars. But that network topology they use in many vehicles to tie into the various subsystems like -- the united telemetry of the car what's happening of all its various systems it's fuel consumption. Of the G forces on all that sort of thing could make for a very interesting hybrid of extremely Smart vehicle awareness and of course Internet connectivity all tied together in the -- the -- kind of -- there when you think about what Toyota already does with their end -- -- system. Which has pandora open table and many others which is connected. What -- that knew more about the car itself the state of how much fuel you have how much -- burning gas it could really makes him interesting. Calculations about yes I wanna go see this movie after you press that on movie tickets dot com on the dash but it would also say by the way on the way we're gonna have to stop and gas. Let me plot the course. To a fuel station -- you TP -- use but one that has the lowest prices along the way with the brand you prefer you can see how all these various metrics and sort of dated notes come together. -- can make a very powerful system. Once carmakers Begin the -- infotainment to the vehicle and have a common platform to do it that's where it gets more economical and scalable. Carmakers will allow we'll tell you they don't like to in reinvent the wheel all the time on this tech stuff. They like to have some proprietary but they also like the fact that it can be in -- or up or -- -- quickly. And allow them to have a new technology headline every six months so that's why they will be seeks an appeal in the idea of a common platform even if their rival Toyota. Is the one to keep it off would -- Let's talk about some -- would Android car stereos. This is so we just -- account would in terms of integrating with sync here is going a different direction entirely with the Android side in this month to -- this month November. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And now can -- only the second one of these after market makers after Sony is going to give you car stereos in the aftermarket -- combine putting yourself that will let you. Integrate your Android phone. And control your music from it -- and plug your -- connected to the can would head -- little -- recognize it as a mass storage device what sounds like it's right now he only. Others -- can would -- you put in there and then the car radio seek play and pause key will control the music on the phone. So it's. In -- relatively kind of straightforward here it's not the most advanced system would even call it connected car technology but it's not expensive either there are two models and one of the expensive one is a hundred -- bucks the other one's a 110 dollars. Offer the fancier one the cost one -- 18 spend the extra ten bucks by the way. In addition to the Android music playback control you also get pandora control. But that's over an iPhone. Including sums up and thumbs down on so it's just basic control through an Android phone book for what it is you can now get that sort of us support. Coming up from these can would head units will keep an eye on that is they up as they and other manufacturers roll out more of these coming on the market. Last but -- -- -- say about this week is kind of up. -- -- -- It's two things that are in the new Mercedes-Benz SL the 2013. That we are seeing some early reports on. And you know all kinds of -- -- in terms of the body in using aluminum and being lighter and -- go on for days about that of the two things that caught me that -- interest in aside from aluminum chassis and things like that. It will use a you -- right now you issue watchers have a couple nozzles -- four nozzles they spray you from the bottom up on the screen. And they can get -- -- mobile that's not so much of a problem these days but they tend to spray over or under because they don't know of velocity you're going to -- the -- will carry the wash -- up and over and it goes on my car behind you which are probably just washed. Or it misses the part of the windchill it's really dirty -- system buried in an antiquated sort of technology became even call it technology -- now. This a new magic vision control is going to use a series of blood dispersed. Spray holes that are very fine in their Lazard grilled. To get the liquid right down across the -- I believe they're all motor in the -- the -- wash her arm as -- goes back and forth. Is that a spring it from a central point or two points. And make it more distributed so it's not coming up. This fire hose coming up off the howl of your car from a blast all your windshield which is just such a mask so that's gonna cool the other thing I notice on this car and -- -- -- -- that these -- photos of this are just amazing. Is the subwoofer. Is something called the front based system. It's 220 centimeters subwoofer was at about. But six inch yourself and their -- in the bulkhead which is right behind the car mean they're actually part of the body. Normally this kind of thing a sort -- screwed into some sheet metal that is kind of irrelevant but these are so. AVG -- you're watching RV -- video version these are so incredibly DC tactical -- they are the most stunningly. Heavy subwoofer is out there they look like military gear. So of this is a fascinating technology by Mercedes -- -- we're gonna really build the subs deep doubt in the car which I guess means are standard on every model consists does not look like something you'd get. In an option kick -- You'll keep an -- 2013 SL which is up you still ways away it's not going to debut even on the car show circuit until Detroit in January. But that's that's -- technology -- let's take a look what's going on now with -- S CNET car tech garage. The latest reviews we have -- right now includes the Infiniti FX 35 limited edition check that that we give out one that's really a half stars. Not bad didn't get our editors' choice. We only -- and -- half stars the more enthusiastically I'd say to the Porsche Cayman. -- of the real low roof seats track versions but of course street legal. That was a blast to drive I gotta say economies -- things. You know this is good enough. -- heated 9/11 if you had one of these and I've become big Mac eleven convert lately if we go veggie TS recently. And the latest car we have in our garage right now is the Mercedes-Benz. ML 350 blu tech Turbo diesel. That review and our video coming up shortly but our videos up on CNET TV dot com is coming up very shortly after you you're best at cars dot cnet.com. Okay folks that's -- -- version of the car tech live podcast for this US Thanksgiving week. December -- November 24. I get ahead of -- -- holidays are here fast enough. So -- thanks for joining us don't forget where you can find our CNET car tech podcast information. Everything you need about -- links related links to the show follow us on Twitter all that sort of thing is -- car. Tech dot cnet.com -- three you're gonna find. All those links. And of course cars dot cnet.com is our -- car tech site for all of our reviews videos everything if you just want the reviews go to CNET TV dot com. Any good quality on -- -- I'm Brian Cooley. Just like the sounds of Wayne is Wayne C underscore SF -- -- -- -- it's doing NT TO of thanks a lot. We'll talk you next week.