TIME India

Cars Older Than 15 Years Can No Longer Drive in the Indian Capital

Traffic make way in haze mainly caused by air pollution in Delhi, India on January 20, 2014. Air pollution in India exceeds that of China as diesel fuel subsidies encourage ownership of polluting vehicles. (Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg)
Kuni Takahashi— Bloomberg Finance LP Traffic make way in haze mainly caused by air pollution in Delhi, India on January 20, 2014.

The city of 17 million is one of the world's most polluted

More than a few car owners in New Delhi will likely have to get rid of their vehicles, after the country’s apex court upheld a ban on automobiles older than 15 years on the sprawling capital’s streets.

India’s Supreme Court on Monday confirmed the measure put forth by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last November, the Indian Express reports.

“One tribunal is trying to do something which is good for people,” a bench led by Chief Justic H.L Dattu said. “Let us assist them and not discourage them. We are not interfering with their order.”

The NGT recently attempted to ban diesel vehicles older than 10 years as well, but adjourned its decision by two weeks following protests from affected transport companies. India’s minister for road, transport and highways said last week that the government was exploring various options for highly polluting vehicles, and on Tuesday sought an extension of six months on the phasing out of older cars.

New Delhi has been deemed one of the world’s most polluted cities; several studies deem its air highly toxic and unfit to breathe.

MONEY Autos

This Chevy Concept Car Will Blow Your Mind

Chevy says its FNR concept car, unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2015, is a model for an affordable, autonomous car you could drive in the 2030s.

Tucked away in a nondescript commercial building in Fountain Valley, Calif., dozens of designers, engineers, and craftsmen have toiled secretively for months on a project that offers a glimpse of the way we may be driving 15 years from now.

Their hangar-like workspace belongs to GFMI Metalcrafters, a company that for decades has built many of the most important concept cars to hit the auto-show circuit. Laboring furiously in its password-protected workrooms, these teams have been assembling a car far ahead of its time.

Meet the FNR, perhaps Chevy’s most unusual concept car to date, and a stake-in-the-ground statement from Chevy’s parent, General Motors.

The FNR, unveiled this week at the Auto Shanghai 2015 car show in China, is a fully autonomous electric vehicle. It’s a family sedan-cum-techno-infotainment solution aimed squarely at China’s youth market — consumers who characteristically respond better to smartphones than sheet metal. The really great news, for real: This is GM’s best guess on what a family vehicle will offer on the affordable front within 15 years.

Chevy hopes that the FNR will hook millennials, not just in China but worldwide, with the promise of a vehicle that will be part Siri, part BFF and part Fitbit. “Everywhere in the world our time is constrained — commute time, work time, family time,” says Sharon Nishi, head of sales and marketing for GM China. “Those are some of the things that inspired this car.”

In a departure from current trends in autonomous-vehicle development, Chevy envisions the FNR as a vehicle for the mass market. GM projects that by 2030 — the hypothetical model year for the FNR — self-driving technologies will have proliferated enough to have become less costly, and therefore feasible for a real-world family car. And GM’s executives think autonomous vehicles have particularly good opportunities for growth in developing countries like China, where cities and roads are crowding quickly, governments are anxious to resolve congestion, and much infrastructure is yet to be built.

“Design is really important in China,” says Nishi. Appropriately enough, the FNR’s exterior projects futuristic muscle-car attitude. Motors housed in the rims of its massive, hubless wheels will power the car (once that particular innovation is fully developed). The FNR’s sculpted exterior panels are made from composites like carbon fiber, to save weight, and designed with air intakes that add drama and aerodynamic flow to the overall shape.

Double scissor doors open on each side like lotus blossoms. The crowning touch: Thousands of LED lights swathe the vehicle, illuminating it outside and in with a bright blue light, chief designer Cao Min’s ode to Shanghai’s famous evening light shows.

The interior promises that driving itself can be an afterthought, if the user chooses. The FNR would allow occupants to sit back and enjoy the ride in motorized, webbed seats that can read everything from heart rate and blood pressure to mood — and adjust temperature, speed, lighting, and even musical selections for those who want to work or sleep.

Care to swap out the map projected on the oversized canopy to work on some spreadsheets? Simply swipe your hand over the gesture-controlled crystal ball in the center console to reconfigure the display. Of course, that’s assuming you’re in the car at all. The FNR could “take itself to the dealer for service so you don’t have to,” says Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of global product development.

There’s much work to be done before cars come anywhere close to fulfilling the FNR’s fully autonomous promise. Like other manufacturers and suppliers, GM has gradually loaded more vehicles with active-safety technologies that are precursors to a car that could pilot itself — night vision, blind-spot alerts, lane-change warnings, adaptive cruise control, brake assist. Next year, GM will be the first automaker to bring to market vehicle-to-vehicle communication — cars “talking” to one another to help them avoid collisions — in a 2017 Cadillac CTS. “It’s a step-by-step progression; some of the things we introduced in 2010 and 2011 are now trickling down into our production cars,” says John Capp, GM’s global director of safety strategies and vehicle programs.

Other, more luxury-oriented companies, including Audi and Mercedes-Benz, are closer to putting autonomous vehicles on the road. But GM executives say that by 2030, that may not matter. “How will the consumer interface with and experience all this technology — will it really help, or will it become a secondary burden?” asks Bryan Nesbitt, GM China vice president of design. The automakers that integrate the tech most successfully, Nesbitt says, will come out ahead.

MONEY Autos

Here’s a Good Indication of How Much People Hate Car Dealerships

man in car dealership showroom
Adam Gault—Getty Images

If it were possible and practical, most people would never set foot in a car dealership when purchasing a vehicle.

Accenture surveyed 10,000 people in the U.S. and a handful of other countries about buying cars, and the results show that most consumers aren’t exactly fans of the standard car dealership experience. In fact, three-quarters said that “if given the opportunity, they would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back office paperwork and home delivery.”

Some cultures are keener on purchasing via the web than others. Overall, the poll showed that Chinese, American, and Brazilian drivers are “more interested in online digital experiences than other countries,” specifically countries in Europe. For instance, 75% of Brazilians and 90% of Chinese would buy a car in an online auction, versus 45% of Germans and just 35% of French.

The survey findings didn’t reveal all that much about why consumers don’t seem to think it’s important to make the big-ticket purchase of an automobile the old-fashioned way, in person at a car dealership. But anyone who has bought a car probably has an idea about why online purchasing is appealing. For many, buying a car at a dealership is too much of a confusing, high-pressure, unreasonably long process. It’s easy to see how it’s preferable to haggle over prices and options and review the fine print at one’s leisure in front of a screen rather than surrounded by salespeople and their “let me talk to the manager” games. After all, a classic negotiation tactic is walking away from the deal on the table, and walking away from an online offer is as simple as ignoring an email.

For another indication of the degree to which consumers don’t like the traditional car-buying experience, check out a recent survey conducted for Autotrader. Of the 4,002 consumers polled, only 17 said they like the current car buying process just as it is. The rest said they “want significant changes, particularly in the test drive, deal structuring, financing paperwork and service phases.” Many said they’d like to see the nitty-gritty of deals conducted online rather than in person. For instance:

Consumers indicate that they would like to see a big change in the way they go about negotiating the deal structure. Of those who liked the idea of online deal building, over half, 56 percent, want the ability to start the negotiation on their own terms—preferably online—and 45 percent would like to remain anonymous until they lock in the deal structure.

And this:

Nearly three fourths of consumers, 72 percent, want to complete the credit application and financing paperwork online. The key factors driving this desire are to save time at the dealership (reported by 72 percent of those who favor online paperwork) and to have less pressure while filling out paperwork (reported by 71 percent of those who favor online paperwork).

There’s no big mystery as to why car dealerships and automakers are reluctant to make online vehicle purchasing more practical and readily available. Doing so would put car sales staffers out of jobs and likely result in lower profits for automakers and dealerships. Let’s not forget that one of the supposed purposes of car dealerships is to provide a place for consumers to kick the tires, test-drive vehicles, and (hopefully) get good insights and advice from employees. A car is a major purchase, and a good car dealership will help steer you in the right direction.

Nonetheless, there’s considerable pressure to change the often-maddening experience—to make it quicker, more transparent, less stressful, and less complicated—and some auto brands are becoming more open to online purchases.

“There aren’t too many things out there anymore that you can’t buy in an online way, and it’s really automotive that’s lagging pretty much every other industry out there,” Doug Murtha, Scion’s brand chief, acknowledged in a recent Bloomberg story about how the Toyota-owned brand is attempting to make car purchasing “Feel More Like Buying an iPad.”

Most customers have been able to use Scion’s new options to buy a car in less than two hours—less than half the usual time suck—and the goal is to get the process chopped down to under an hour. Meanwhile, some Auto Nation dealerships in South Florida have been attempting to make it possible for shoppers to seal the deal on a new or used car in a Domino’s-delivery-like 30 minutes or less, thanks to customers doing much of the browsing and completing of paperwork online in advance.

MONEY Autos

8 Luxury Cars You Can Buy for Under $20K

2012 Infiniti G Sedan
Infiniti—Wieck 2012 Infiniti G Sedan

A little patience and shopping around can save you a lot of money on luxury vehicles.

Fancy cars generally come with hefty price tags, but that doesn’t necessarily mean luxury is beyond your reach. With a little bit of patience and strategy, you might be able to buy a luxury vehicle for thousands of dollars off the sticker price.

The National Automobile Dealers Association compiled a list of eight luxury vehicles that could be bought for roughly $20,000 or less — in some cases, that’s more than $10,000 off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). NADA recently published the list, which is made up of used vehicles with mileages between 45,001 and 50,000.

2012 Infiniti G25 Sedan
Used Price: $20,500
MSRP: $32,400

2012 MINI Cooper S Convertible
Used Price: $19,600
MSRP: $27,950

2012 Lincoln MKZ AWD 3.5L V6
Used Price: $19,575
MSRP: $36,535

2012 Volvo C30 2.5L I5 Turbo
Used Price: $19,500
MSRP: $24,700

2012 Acura TSX 2.4L I4 Automatic
Used Price: $19,450
MSRP: $29,810

2012 Volvo S60 2.5L I5 Turbo
Used Price: $19,250
MSRP: $31,450

2012 Audi A3 2.0T Premium Automatic
Used Price: $18,825
MSRP: $27,270

2012 MINI Cooper Clubman S
Used Price: $18,425
MSRP: $24,900

The auto dealers association also published lists of luxury vehicles available for less than $25,000 and less than $30,000 — the vehicles on those lists were also mostly used cars with about 45,001 to 50,000 miles on them.

Sticker price is only part of figuring out what kind of car you can afford to buy. If you’re financing the purchase, your credit score and down payment will heavily influence the interest rate you qualify for, and the higher it is, the more you’ll end up paying over time. (You can get your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.) You also need to consider how long you plan to own the car and, as a result, what length loan term makes sense for you. A six-year loan will lower your monthly payment, but you’ll end up paying more on a depreciating asset in the long run, and you may find yourself in a complicated situation if you want to replace the vehicle before you’ve repaid the loan. On top of that, you’ll have to consider insurance costs, because that may drive your monthly automobile costs higher than your budget allows.

If driving a luxury car is a high priority for you, there are certainly deals to be had, but if minimizing your car costs overall is more important, going for a used luxury vehicle may not be a ticket to saving money.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: April 3

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. With sanctions lifted, is Iran on its way to becoming a Shiite counterweight to Saudi Arabia?

By Bobby Ghosh in Quartz

2. The al-Shabab attack on a college in Kenya is part of a dangerous terrorist trend of targeting schools in Africa.

By David A. Graham in the Atlantic

3. Finally, big data we can use: Precision traffic modeling lets cities program stoplights to reduce delays and carbon emissions.

By David L. Chandler in MIT News

4. You are the first line of defense against identity theft, and you’re doing a terrible job.

By Stewart Rogers in Venture Beat

5. Coding the next generation of mobile apps means planning for self-driving cars and much more.

By Peter Wayner in InfoWorld

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Autos

We Got a Tour of the New Lincoln Continental

The new Lincoln Continental concept car was on display at the New York Auto show, and Jason Harper got an up-close look.

TIME Transportation

The Percentage Increase in Traffic Deaths During Spring Break Will Shock You

Most fatalities occur among drivers under 25 and those traveling from out-of-state

Spring break can be a time of hedonism for many college students, but it’s also a dangerous one, with the holiday leading to a sharp jump in traffic fatalities. That’s according to a new study published in Economic Inquiry, cited by Science Daily.

“We found that between the last week of February and the first week of April, a significantly greater number of traffic fatalities occurred in spring break hot spots compared to other locations in the same states and at other times of the year,” said researcher Michael T. French.

French and his team looked at traffic fatalities in 14 popular spring break destinations from Florida to California. They discovered that death tolls were 9.1% higher during spring break in these destinations, with a higher fatality incidence among drivers under 25 and those traveling from out-of-state.

During spring break, the authors also noted that there was no increase in traffic fatalities in non-spring break destinations, confirming that the spike is attributable to the holiday period itself.

To reduce traffic fatalities, researchers recommend that destinations offer transportation incentives to persuade students to leave cars behind. Travel vouchers for rideshares, taxis and other programs might go a long way in saving a life this spring break, researchers say.

[Science Daily]

TIME Transportation

Here’s the Incredible Flying Car You Can Buy in 2017

Potentially coming to "wealthy supercar buyers" in 2017

This high-tech car could be flying off the showroom floor by 2017.

At SXSW on Sunday, AeroMobil CEO Juraj Vaculik unveiled plans for a flying car for the “wealthy supercar buyer” that will likely cost a couple of hundred thousand euros, The Verge reports.

“We need another revolution, we need a revolution in personal transportation,” Vaculik said.

According to AeroMobil’s YouTube page, the above video shows a prototype that is “very close to the final product,” which will come equipped with autopilot and parachute deployment systems.

Vaculik says he anticipates the car will be available by 2017.

Uber partnership TBD.

Read next: Apple Is Turning Itself into a Fashion Company

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Television

Top Gear Host Jeremy Clarkson Has Been Suspended After a ‘Fracas’ With a Producer

He's no stranger to controversy

British Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC.

Clarkson, 54, who is known for being outspoken, had already been given a final warning about his behavior after claims that he had used a racist slur during filming two years ago, Reuters reports.

“Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation,” the BBC said in a statement on Tuesday.

The U.K. broadcaster reported that he stands accused of hitting the producer during an argument last week.

Clarkson has not commented on the suspension.

Sunday’s episode of the current season will not be broadcast and it is uncertain whether the remaining episodes will be shown.

Top Gear is one of the BBC’s most successful television programs and is watched in more than 200 countries.

READ MORE: Here’s 6 Times the BBC Should Have Suspended Jeremy Clarkson But Didn’t

Read next: Julie Andrews on The Sound of Music at 50 — And That NBC Remake

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

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