April 22nd, 2011 at 12:00pm
Inexpensive polymers may soon make paint scratches a thing of the past. The usage of public EV charging stations in France calls their worth into question. BMW will be the first manufacturer to equip all motorcycles with anti-lock brakes. All that and more plus a drive in the smart ED and a wrap up of the New York International Auto Show.
This is Autoline Daily for April 22, 2011. And now the news.
CAR, HEAL THYSELF!
Scientists at universities in Ohio and Switzerland have teamed up with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to develop a self-healing polymer. When it’s exposed to certain levels of ultraviolet light it turns liquid-like and flows into scratches or dings to repair them. In other words, if you painted your car with this stuff, it would automatically repair itself. Researchers say it isn’t expensive because it’s made from commercially available substances. But it won’t be ready for industrial application for several years.
BEEMERS GET ABS
A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association says that despite a two percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities last year, there is still concern that they could start rising again. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that as a percentage of all motor vehicle deaths, motorcycle fatalities have doubled over the past decade. That’s why BMW announced it will be the first manufacturer to equip all of its motorcycles with Anti-lock Brakes. An IIHS study says that bikes with ABS are 37% less likely to get in fatal accident.
PUTTING CHARGERS ON THE MAP
One of the criticisms of electric vehicles is the lack of places to plug-in them in to charge but now Google is working with the U.S. Energy Department to make it easier to find charging stations. They’re teaming up to identify stations which will then be displayed on Google Maps and GPS systems. In addition, the Energy Department will provide $5 million to communities that apply for funding to establish charging stations.
LE CHARGEUR SOLITAIRE
But while Google may have ideas of where to put public charging stations, the question is, will anyone use them? The French government has already installed public charging stations all around the country. But so far, no one is using them. One French government official from the General Directorate for Competitiveness, Industry and Services told me, “They are 100% empty.” Turns out people with EV’s prefer to recharge their electric car at home or at work. They find it inconvenient to go to a public charging station and leave their cars there for hours on end. Even if that might only be a couple of blocks away. This could be a red warning flag for governments and companies that are rushing to build public charging stations. These things typically cost $50,000 to $75,000 to install. But why make that investment if no one is going to use them?
NY AUTO SHOW WRAP UP
I wasn’t at the New York Auto Show this week but Autoline Daily correspondent Craig Cole was there to fill us in on what we may have missed.
Thanks for that report Craig.
Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the electric version of the smart fortwo. Back right after this.
I haven’t been a very big fan of the smart fortwo and so I was really looking forward to driving the electric version of the car. Recently I got a chance to do just that and here’s my impression of what that car is all about.
I still don’t get why they’re charging so much for the electric version of the smart, even BMW’s ActiveE is going to cost $100 a month less. Oh well.
Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline Detroit this weekend, we have a terrific show. My guests include Margo Oge from the Environmental Protection Agency, Pat Davis from the U.S. Department of Energy, and
Jake Jones who handles External Affairs for Daimler. It’s available now on our website, but check out your local public television listings because Autoline is now available in 40 markets around the United States, and is also available coast-to-coast in Canada.
We’ve had a lot of product news with this week’s competing auto shows going on, but we couldn’t cover it all. Several members of the RoundAbout podcast were on the ground in New York including Autoline Daily’s Craig Cole. Craig?
Thanks, Craig. As always you can catch RoundAbout live TONIGHT at 6:30PM Eastern Time at AutolineDetroit.TV.
And that’s today’s report on the top news in the global automotive industry, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.