Popular Science picks best auto innovations
What were the best innovations in the automotive world last year? Popular Science magazine picked these for its "Best of What's New" roundup.
Chevrolet Spark: The Spark set a new plug standard, using a three-way "combo plug" that puts household, 240-volt and DC fast charging on the same lightweight, higher-capacity plug.
ZF & Levant Power Genshock: Developed by MIT students, Genshock is the first active suspension system that generates energy from bumps in the road.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Its advances in safety and autonomy include a 360-
degree sensing system of cameras, radar, sonar, stability controls, throttle and steering so that the car can better negotiate traffic and curves.
Audi R18 e-tron Quattro: The diesel-hybrid racer won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race thanks to greater fuel efficiency, which led to fewer pit stops.
BMW i3: BMW sped up its injection-molding process so it could turn out carbon-fiber parts in minutes, rather than hours or days. Its carbon-fiber passenger cell lightens the load; the i3 weighs about 2,700 pounds.
Ford 1.0-Liter EcoBoost: The engine has three cylinders and is smaller than many motorcycle engines, yet it produces 123 horsepower and mileage of 41 mpg or more on the highway.
Mazda6: Its fuel-saving firsts include the i-ELOOP system to capture braking energy and the Skyactiv-D engine for clean-diesel driving in the 45-mpg range.
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray: It matches the technology and performance of much pricier sports cars, yet delivers a $51,995 sticker price.
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The car can fully charge its lithium-ion battery while in motion.
Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering: Nissan's Infiniti Q50 sedan introduced a steer-by-wire system, bringing it a step closer to autonomous driving.
— NWautos staff