Saturday, February 09, 2008


This keeps coming up... via AutoBlogGreen again:

When people like GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz talk about how new fuel economy regulations are going to add $5-6,000 to the price of new cars and trucks, it's worth examining how they come to those numbers. Obviously there are some cars today that can achieve the 35mpg level without being insanely expensive. Unfortunately those tend to be smaller cars that the vast majority of American new car buyers seem to be unwilling to buy at current fuel prices. For any number of reasons, Americans still prefer vehicles that are larger, heavier and thirstier, in some cases for perfectly legitimate reasons.

Unless the cost of operating those vehicles rises dramatically, it seems Americans won't want to make the switch. Of course the cost may jump anyway, although the timing of such a rise is uncertain. As is all too often the case, trying legislate a simplistic solution to a complex problem is likely to lead to unintended consequences. If customers want their bigger vehicles but carmakers are forced either produce unaffordable versions of big rides or smaller vehicles people don't want, something has to give.

In Cuba, where nearly half a century of U.S. trade embargoes have eliminated access to new American cars, people have just learned to keep the cars that existed there in the fifties on the road seemingly indefinitely. During a discussion at the Chicago Auto Show, GM NA President Troy Clarke indicated something similar could also happen here in the coming years. If car-makers are unable to provide the vehicles customers want at a price they can pay, businesses that specialize in reconditioning used vehicles could step in to fill the gap. While this would benefit consumers by providing affordable transportation, it would negate the benefits of higher fuel economy standards by keeping those more efficient vehicles from supplanting older ones in the fleet. Unless car buyers have a real financial incentive to move to smaller vehicles, they will likely just move to the used car market.

Sounds familiar...

CleanTDI on its way

The new 50-state legal CleanTDI is on it's way! This is great news from the company who built a huge TDI following here in the states only to leave them hanging for several years. I guess I shouldn't put the blame on VW; a lot of the problem had to do with the US and our diesel regulations. For a while there, diesels could not be sold in California and 4 other states. Not any more!

via AutoBlogGreen, the most prolific blog I've ever subscribed to (really, it's out of control, guys/gals).

Friday, February 08, 2008

*sigh* ... going the wrong direction

Innovation and consumer choice has it's upsides and downsides. Meet the XUV.

That makes the 660 ft-lbs of torque generated by its 7.2L Caterpillar engine seem paltry. Besides the big-rig-meets-Excursion bodywork, your nearly $200,000 expenditure for this XUV will get you hardwood floors, custom captains chairs, a 42-speaker sound system, two drop-down 16-inch TVs plus a 42-inch plasma, four computer workstations, plus a train horn

Powered by a Caterpillar engine no less... seriously, why?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I have not forgot about you...

Hang in there my few but intrinsically excellent subscribers! I hath not forgotten about thee!

There has been a lot going on in my world, most of which is demanding attention and time-critical. I don't like to half-ass things so I'd rather simply just not post then post for posting's sake.

Coming up:

  • More words of the day
  • A session on batteries
  • A session low-resistance tires
  • Maybe a scoche of politics

    Thanks for your support... I won't disappoint!

  • Monday, February 04, 2008

    I want one

    Very cool alternative to the SMART I don't have... from here:

    A new range of city models is being planned by BMW, and they could be called Isetta after the famous bubble car of the Fifties. In Issue 989, we revealed how the firm was looking at the designs for such a vehicle (above). But now, it seems the project is being developed into a range of eco-friendly models to sit below MINI. Back in September, bosses announced plans for a fourth brand – and this is the clearest indication of what it will be. An insider revealed the range would be primarily designed for town use, but driver appeal would still be key. As with MINI, it would need a badge with a strong heritage. And while Isetta is the likeliest candidate, BMW has some classic British badges at its disposal – most notably Triumph.

    There has been speculation that BMW’s new range would be hybrids. However, our insider said: “That technology is reserved for larger models, such as our SUVs.”

    Instead, small turbo petrol and diesel engines would be used to help keep costs down, yet provide decent performance and excellent economy and emissions. This last feature is a key reason for BMW giving the city car project the go-ahead. It needs to reduce the average CO2 outputs from its vehicles to meet new EU targets.

    Great concept picture:

    And the original for reference:

    Edit: found another post here at AutoBlogGreen

    And another intersting (but less enticing) concept pic:


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    I know not everyone is apt to spend $20 on this but I couldn't keep the money in my wallet when I read what this site does.

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    This, to me, should OF COURSE be a free service but who would offer it? I guess advertising falls under the "bastardization of free speech" category and, as such, there's not much to do about it besides having recycle days. Still, I find it very disturbing that I can't simply generally opt-out from useless, wasteful, ineffective marketing campaigns. I hate spam and I hate telemarketing but there is nothing worse, in the marketing sphere, than having a pile of coupons and catalogs that go from tree to manufacture to post office to my house to the trash. I find that MASSIVELY agitating and, as such, will gladly pay to stop it coming to my house.

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