Archive for January, 2008

Cars Get More Horses Under The Hood

January 30, 2008 Leave a comment

Who says the battle of the horsepower is over? You are wrong. Actually, the battle is just getter hotter as automakers give more horses under the hood.

The most remarkable, by far, is RENNTECH’s package for the Mercedes AMG models. Imagine, the car gets 695 hp. Awesome!

In the last few years, the auto industry has witnessed the parade of 500hp sedans. German automakers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes have inundated the industry with uber fast cars. But, as I’ve said the battle isn’t over.

In a release, RENNTECH, one of the leading tuning firms we have today, announced a new “stage 3” tune for the 2008 65 series AMG models, which makes use of what RENNTECH calls “next-generation ECU software” to get 695hp and 890 lb-ft of torque from the AMG’s twin-turbo V12.

“Power will always be important to many customers, especially torque,” explained Hartmut Feyhl, RENNTECH’s president and ex technical director of AMG North America. “Our cars have always been able to make considerable torque, and have been praised in magazines for their drivability. Still, we are constantly trying to improve our product.”

“We now have two in-house engineers that are doing software full-time, and others that work with the software on a part-time or contract basis. We are always looking for improvements. The latest software takes advantage of the increased power of the new engine computers, and offers a number of small improvements that add up to a big ‘overall’ improvement,” Feyhl explained.

Feyhl concluded: “It really is that ‘next-generation’ sort of product that is much more advanced than what we were capable of offering before. Compared to earlier versions, our new software gives customers more power and better drivability in a way that is more reliable, smoother power curve, and even improves emissions and gas mileage.”

With approximately 900 lb-ft of torque who won’t be lured?

One thing is apparent – the performance and power of cars are getting more and more impressive. But automakers should not neglect safety and comfort. The maker of Volvo wheels, for one, should not take its safety milestones for granted.

More horses, more power. So cut the horses reins without compromising other auto aspects.

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More than Just Dessert

January 26, 2008 Leave a comment

They are regarded as one of the keystones in the aquatic food chain being the major food of fish, suppliers of oxygen to the aquatic world, a source of fertilizer and also used as stabilizer in food, cosmetics and paints. Yeah, you got it right! That substance you dissolve in boiling water, mixed with sugar, milk and food color and molded into yummy gelatin dessert is the same material from which the latest biodiesel-fuel was derived. Algae, that is.

Just two days ago, the first algae-derived biodiesel fuel, produced by Solazyme Incorporated, a synthetic biology company that unleashes the power of aquatic microbes in providing clean and cheap solutions for biofuel, industrial chemical, health and wellness markets, has undergone its first road test and had successfully powered a factory-standard automobile. Maybe, one with an Acura Integra steering rack. Under usual driving conditions, the fuel can enable any vehicle to run even long distances. Clean, renewable, environmentally sustainable and scalable. Those are some of the best qualities of soladiesel biodiesel.

Using standard industrial fermentation equipment, Solazyme’s soladiesel biodiesel was yielded from manufactured algal oil thus producing a biodegradable and nontoxic biofuel.

“Biodiesel from algae changes the landscape of renewable fuels,” Solazyme Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Wolfson said. He added, “The concept of algal biofuel has been discussed for decades, and Solazyme’s technology finally provides a scalable solution based on proven industrial processes. This fuel is just the first example of how algal oil will help the environment through new products that offer attractive economics and performance, as well as environmental benefits.”

Solazyme has currently signed an agreement with Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A Incorporated, a leading refiner and manufacturer of gasoline.

Harris Dillon, President and Chief Technology Officer of Solazyme, said that by demonstrating soladiesel as a new fuel alternative, the need for a cost-effective and sustainable near-term solution to the country’s energy problem is being addressed.

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Are You Wedded To Your Cars?

January 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Picture this: The world stays as it is today but without – cars! Yes, you can have all other whims but cars. Are you gonna survive?

Traveling is just an ordinary thing these days. And without a car, where do you think you’ll be going? Quite obviously, it is nice to travel from one town to another. The views are breathtaking. The moments are priceless. But driving isn’t just for leisure. It’s actually for everyday travel. No wonder cars are deemed indispensable.

If you think you can’t live devoid of any auto pleasure, you’re just being true to yourself. If you think you are wedded to your car, some are addicted to it. Yeah, you are not alone.

A Statistics Canada report said Edmonton leads major Canadian cities in its residents’ reliance on cars. And across Canada, auto dependence is escalating.

The report dubbed Dependence on Cars in Urban Neighbourhoods found that 77% of adult Edmontonians made all their trips by car on the day the survey was conducted. It topped the 8 major Canadian cities studied in 2005, the most recent year for which numbers are available, reported Other cities include:

– Calgary, 75%
– Quebec, 74%
– Winnipeg, 72%
– Ottawa-Gatineau, 71%
– Vancouver, 69%
– Toronto, 66%
– Montreal, 65%

StatsCan found the proportion of Canadians who travel everywhere by car surged from 68% in 1992 to 74% in 2005. The report added the proportion of Canadians who made at least a trip by bicycle or on foot appears to have declined. In 2005, 19% of adults walked or biked somewhere on the survey day, a decline from 26% in 1998.

“Human physiology has not changed for 50,000 years, but the way we live has changed dramatically,” said Prof. John Spence, a researcher at the University of Alberta. “Our environments are increasingly promoting sedentary living.”

And with people wedded to their cars plus the lack of exercise factor, it is predicted that percentage of obese individuals will rise. A person’s chances of being obese go up 6% for every hour they spend in a car each day, according to a study by Prof. Lawrence Frank of the University of British Columbia.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Gerry Predy said the concerns are that long commutes to sprawling suburbs produce air pollution that can cause health problems. What’s needed are neighbourhoods where you don’t have to get into your car to go to the grocery store or the dry cleaner, Predy added.

So every once in a while, try to fight the temptation of hitting the starter of your car, take a brisk walk instead.

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Fight The Cold

January 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Winter is the worst weather for a vehicle. It is hard to get a car started in very cold weather, the snow can affect the vision of the driver, and heavy snow fall can lead to a car being stuck on the road. These are just some problems that you can encounter during this season of frigid weather. To help you keep your car running, AAA Michigan published tips in The Auto Channel

According to them, you can do the following:

  • Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a battery has 35 percent less starting power than in summer. At minus 20, battery power drops 50 percent. If your battery is more than three years old, have a load test performed by a mechanic.

  • Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door or window glass and the frame.

  • Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.

  • To avoid frozen door locks, buy a lubricant available in most auto supply stores.

  • If you become snowbound, stay with your vehicle. It provides excellent shelter from the cold and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. If you can start your engine, run it only enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free. Keep emergency supplies in the car, such as a cell phone, boots, hats, gloves, blankets, a “coffee can heater,” flashlight and reflective triangle.

These tips can save you a lot of trouble. Remember that a car cover is not enough to keep your car safe during winter.

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Is It End Of The Line For Petrol Cars?

January 15, 2008 Leave a comment
With the constant increase in gasoline prices and the rising demand for foreign oil, there is a great probability that petrol-powered cars will soon be facing extinction. Matter of fact, General Motors was earlier quoted as saying it believes global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable.

At the opening of this year’s North American International Auto Show, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said ethanol was an “important interim solution” to the world’s demand for oil, until battery technology improved to give electric cars the same driving range as petrol-powered cars.

General Motors is absorbed in developing an electric car dubbed Chevy Volt. The plug-in hybrid is set to arrive in showrooms by 2010. But the arrival could be held in abeyance due to the delays in the development of the car’s battery technology.

Wagoner cited the United States Department of Energy statistics which show the world is consuming approximately 1000 barrels of oil every second of the day, and yet demand for oil may surge by 70% over the next 2 decades. Some experts believe the supply of oil peaked in 2006, according to Sydney Morning Herald.

According to a report, the remaining oil reserves are deeper below the Earth’s surface. As such, they are more expensive to to mine and refine. “There is no doubt demand for oil is outpacing supply at a rapid pace, and has been for some time now,” Wagoner said. “As a business necessity and an obligation to society we need to develop alternative sources of propulsion.”

“So, are electrically driven vehicles the answer for the mid- and long-term? Yes, for sure. But… we need something else to significantly reduce our reliance on petroleum in the interim,” he added.

The auto industry is slowly embracing the greener trend. It’s like having the necessary heater core replacement. And the effect will become more apparent in the near future. So far, petrol cars hold dominion over American roads.

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Infiniti EX35 Earns Top IIHS Safety Award

January 12, 2008 Leave a comment

All types of vehicles go along with a dependable safety system to protect drivers and passengers during rear, side and front crashes. Of course, safety comes first and that is closely followed by performance and convenience. That’s the way it should be. Our lives are more important than the driveshaft, fenders or whatsoever. Today, we are in so much delight because of the fact that several car manufacturers are giving lots of efforts in bringing the best safety technologies in premium vehicles. One of the best automobiles at present which best embodies car safety is the all-new 2008 Infiniti EX35!

According to the Auto Channel, the new luxury SUV, Infiniti EX35, received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick award for 2008. It’s the first-ever Infiniti to earn this award for everybody’s information. Winners for the Top Safety Pick meet the rate of advanced overall crash protection among the vehicles in their respective divisions. A vehicle is required to earn the highest rating of good in the Institute’s front, side, and rear tests and be outfitted with the electronic stability control.

“Criteria to win are tough because the award is intended to drive continued safety improvements such as top crash test ratings and rapid addition of electronic stability control, which is standard equipment on the EX35. Recognizing vehicles at the head of the class for safety helps consumers distinguish the best overall choices without having to sort through multiple test results,” says Institute president Adrian Lund.

For past several months, the number of vehicles earning Top Safety Pick has been rapidly escalating. There were 13 cars, minivans, and SUVs which originally made it to the 2007 awards. The numbers of recipients were doubled to 34 at the start of the 2008 model year.

“The EX35 is a leader in its class for state-of-the-art safety,” Lund says. “You don’t know what kind of crash you’re going to be in. That’s why it’s important to choose a vehicle that will protect you in all kinds of crashes. The Top Safety Pick designation is intended to help people find the safest choices.”

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The Hyundai Genesis Premium Sports Sedan At The 2008 NAIAS

January 10, 2008 Leave a comment

The 2008 NAIAS is definitely the hottest phenomenon to start the brand new year. Radiators will totally burst with the presentation of the newest concept cars courtesy of the giant automakers around the globe. And among these renowned groups is Hyundai.

The Genesis Concept was once a grand vision from Hyundai, but now, it’s a dream come true… finally! The luxury sedan’s initial design sketch was superb – almost perfect that is. The unveiling of Hyundai’s masterpiece is one of the most awaited events in the upcoming 2008 North American International Auto Show. Hyundai presents the Genesis premium sports sedan!

According to my source, the newest Genesis rear-wheel-drive sports sedan is scheduled to have its first public appearance on January 13, 2007. This vehicle is equipped with features and capabilities similar to luxury sedans with a $60,000 tag. The Genesis premium sport sedan will be offered at an initial price below $30,000 when it hits dealership this summer.

“While Genesis will compete for customers with cars like Chrysler 300 and Pontiac G8, our engineering benchmarks were Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Infiniti M, and Lexus GS. Genesis provides a potent combination of performance, luxury, and value. We think it has the opportunity to be an extremely disruptive force in the large sedan and near-luxury segments,” says John Krafcik, the vice president for product development and strategic planning at Hyundai Motor America.

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Special Corvette In Indianapolis

January 4, 2008 Leave a comment

The 2008 Indianapolis 500 is widely anticipated by race fans not only for the racing but also for the cars. And what more can appease them than two Corvette pace cars? The Auto Channel reported that a pair of Corvettes will be gracing the event. These two cars are identically designed of course but differ in many ways.

One of the cars is designed to showcase Chevrolet’s commitment to a greener auto industry while the second car is designed to celebrate thirty years of the Corvette being the pace car in this popular event.

The report reads: “One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced alternative fuel similar to the E100 fuel that powers all of the racecars in the IndyCar Series. It will be driven during the race’s pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

“The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car – the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.”

Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager had this to say: “Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet’s gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions. As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM’s efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.”

I would bet that these two Corvettes can outrun any Acura CL washer pump-equipped car.

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A Sneak At Detroit’s Big 3 Plans For 2008

January 2, 2008 Leave a comment

Still tired of the New Year’s celebration? Well, exhaustion shouldn’t keep you adrift for the longest time and lose contact with auto industry’s upcoming offerings. Those are not something that should be missed.

To give you a preview of what’s forthcoming in the industry, here’s a quick rundown:

Ford Motor Co. has licensed its technology for soy-based flexible seat foam to Deere & Co. and Sears Manufacturing Co., so those companies can develop it for John Deere farming equipment and other applications.

Ford is already using the soy-based seat foam in the 2008 Ford Mustang, F-150, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. It also will be featured in the 2009 Ford Escape.

The Dearborn automaker says the soy-based foam is more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based foams, and soy foam reduces carbon dioxide emissions and takes less energy to produce. “Ford is pioneering renewable solutions and forging strategic partnerships to extend our capabilities and our ability to innovate,” Gerhardt Schmidt, vice president of Ford research and advanced engineering, said in a statement.

Coming up: Ford will release its December and annual sales results on Thursday. Ford sales were up slightly in November following a decline for the previous 12 months.

Cerberus Capital Management’s CEO Stephen Feinberg was thrust into the spotlight this month when he took the witness stand as part of the private-equity firm’s efforts to back out of a $4-billion deal to purchase United Rentals.

News media across the land have struggled — and failed — to find a recent picture of Feinberg ever since Cerberus acquired Chrysler. Newspapers have run college pictures of the very private Feinberg.

Coming up: Chrysler’s unveilings at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month include the Dodge Ram.

General Motors
The Chevrolet Tahoe gets its most powerful engine yet. Chevrolet will bring out a 6.2L small-block V8 in the Tahoe LTZ in 2008. The 380-horsepower Tahoe will be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Tahoe LTZ 6.2L is available on two-wheel drive models and adds to a Tahoe lineup that includes a hybrid version. A six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80 RWD electronically controlled automatic transmission allows the driver to manually select upshifts and downshifts. The Tahoe LTZ 6.2L has towing capacity of 7,900 pounds.

Coming up: GM CEO Rick Wagoner speaks to the Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8.

Special thanks to Detroit Free Press for the wonderful revelations.

Cold air intake filter
will be breathing a little comfortable this year and in the years to come. Additionally, car occupants will be more comfy in their seats.

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