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2011 Frankfurt auto show: Land Rover Defender Concept

The Land Rover Defender hasn't been updated in 25 years. That's about to change dramatically.

The Defender has always been a sort of farm implement in the Land Rover lineup: stout, solid, and chunky. This new concept features huge ride height, an alloy frame, four-cylinder motors, and maybe a hybrid.

(CNET's full coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt auto show)

PETA goes after Mario and his Tanooki suit

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recently began calling the new Super Mario 3D Land for the Nintendo 3DS insensitive to the hunting and killing of real-life tanuki racoon dogs for fur. I guess PETA never had an issue with everyone's favorite plumber stomping on turtles and using their shells as weapons all these years.

From the "Mario Kills Tanooki" section of PETA's site: "Tanooki may be just a 'suit' in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur." … Read more

Can Super Mario 3D Land save the 3DS?

It's no secret that the Nintendo 3DS has suffered from a dearth of compelling software to play on its unique 3D glasses-less screen. While we were shocked to see the system debut without the company's leading plumber, Nintendo calmed gamers' fears with the announcement of Super Mario 3D Land at this past summer's E3 2011 expo.

Just in time for the holiday season, Mario is back in his first-ever portable 3D adventure. He's got an enormous gaming void to fill, so how does the latest game stack up?… Read more

Land Rover seen testing diesel hybrid plug-in

Land Rover's Range_e concept, unveiled at the International Motor Show in Geneva, was not just a publicity stunt. A working model has been seen charging up in a parking lot in Bristol, England.

Green Car Reports caught the Range_e concept out in the wild. It was plugged into a charging station at a Bristol mall. The blog site published a round of photos and some details observed about the car.

Notably, Land Rover touts the Range_e concept's CO2 emissions of 89 grams per kilometer, as opposed to the nonhybrid diesel's 243 grams per kilometer.

The concept uses … Read more

Car Tech Live 232: Frankfurt auto show preview (podcast)

This week, our Frankfurt auto show preview. Volkswagen finds the only direction is up, Land Rover ends tea time to update a 25 year old model, and Yo-Auto redesigns the car door.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 232 SHOW NOTES

Aha Radio and Slacker join forces to add beats to your tweets

Volkswagen to showcase Up at Frankfurt auto show

Land Rover concept heralds Defender update

Infiniti mystery concept for Frankfurt

New Porsche 911 shows up with seven-speed manual

Land Rover concept heralds Defender update

In 2015, the Defender will be 25 years old, so Land Rover designers are putting down their tea and getting to work on an update. The company will show a concept for a new Defender model at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show. With only four years until the production version is due, the blokes at Land Rover will barely have time for a biscuit.

The DC100 concept appears as a two-door, with rounded edges and grille that lose the welded sheet-metal hard edges of the current model. The wheels chosen for the concept look designed to appeal to first-world consumers rather than military buyers from countries created last week.

But Land Rover's long timeline for the Defender update shows a very careful approach. If the public derides this one, there is still plenty of space on the drawing board. And Land Rover says it will pay close attention to customer input as it finalizes the design. … Read more

Moon landing, Roswell re-imagined as model kits

Japanese plastic-model-kit company Tamiya was looking to make a splash in the Vietnamese market, so it decided to drum up some excitement with a series of ads that portray famous conspiracy theories in plastic-model-kit form.

The ads depict kits for the moon landing, the Roswell UFO crash, Elvis, JFK, and Marilyn Monroe. Marketing company Ogilvy & Mather and animation company Cirkus conspired on the project.

For us techies, the moon landing is particularly compelling. It comes complete with Neil Armstrong, a director's chair, the lunar module, movie lights, and a big sack of money.

The Roswell UFO crash kit even has a partially dissected pig. I don't know why the pig is included. Maybe someone with more UFO conspiracy knowledge can fill me in. … Read more

Vertical axis wind turbines trump others on land use

Typically, cost is the driving concern when choosing one renewable energy technology over another. But a pair of studies that consider land use give the edge to niche forms of solar and wind power generation.

Caltech researcher John Dabiri, a professor of aeronautics and bioengineering, this week presented results of a test that found that vertical-axis wind turbines have the potential to generate more power per square meter than the propeller-like, three-blade wind turbines. The key is that vertical-axis turbines can be placed close together without creating the type of wind disturbances that would sap performance of traditional turbines.

Dabiri … Read more

Land Rover EV sneaks up on big game

The Land Rover Defender has been a mainstay for African safaris, but concern over the carbon dioxide emissions from their 2.4-liter diesel engines spawned the development of the first electrically powered Defender. Battery producer Axeon fitted a Defender with an electric drive unit and will show the concept at a tourism convention in South Africa.

The 28.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack gives the Defender a range of about 60 miles, three times further than a typical game drive. Axeon touts the reduction in emissions, going from the diesel Defender's 295 grams per kilometer to zero, and the electric Defender's quiet operation, allowing it to get closer to animals in game parks.

The battery pack has been placed in the engine compartment, maintaining the Defender's ground clearance and fording depth.

The next step: electric vehicle charging stations in safari camps. … Read more

Jaguar taps RealVNC for BlackBerry-integrated infotainment

RealVNC announced at the BlackBerry World Conference this week that it will be supplying Jaguar and Land Rover with a smartphone-integrated infotainment system.

RealVNC demonstrated the Connect and View system using a BlackBerry smartphone connected to a RealVNC Connect and View infotainment system connected to a BlackBerry smartphone in a Jaguar XJ head unit. When linked with a BlackBerry device, Connect and View uses Terminal Mode to replicate music and navigation applications on the car's in-dash screen.

A few automotive manufacturers such as GM, Toyota, and BMW are using similar technology in their vehicles. So far, some manufacturers have … Read more