Episode 627 – Self-Healing Cars, No Need for Public EV Chargers? Beemers Get ABS

April 22nd, 2011 at 12:00pm

Runtime 9:26

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.

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This is Autoline Daily for April 22, 2011. And now the news.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

48 Comments to “Episode 627 – Self-Healing Cars, No Need for Public EV Chargers? Beemers Get ABS”

  1. tj Martin Says:

    French Lessons ;

    Lets see here ;

    The French place a ban on cigarette and tobacco advertising before anyone else world wide .

    Effectiveness ? ZERO

    So what do we do ? Ban Tobacco advertising as well : then question why it isn’t working

    The French create a Public Bicycle Rental System ( Paris ) first .

    Effectiveness ? Massive

    What does the US do ? Nothing

    So now the French learn that no one wants public E/V Charging Stations .

    Want to place Bets the US Government will go ahead as planned , spending billions of Tax Payers dollars building Public E/V Charging Stations ?

    Maybe its about time the US starts taking those French Lessons seriously !

  2. Mouhamad A. Naboulsi Says:

    How come the YouTube link is not consistently added?

  3. Jim Taylor Says:

    If the crooks and criminals of the world are willing to risk life and limb to steal air conditioners and saw off copper pipes in restaurants, I bet these public charging stations will disappear as fast as they go up.

  4. tj Martin Says:

    @ Jim Taylor

    Good point .

  5. SalvadorG. Says:

    John McElroy,
    Nevermind Ev’s and Smarts, you need to get your hands on that Jeep, I think we all will love to see a Jeep that’s faster than a BMW M3.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Instead of bikes with ABS why don’t they bring back mandatory helmet use, here in Fl since they changed the law, the amount of motorcycle deaths has tripled, duh!

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    I can see it now, the slow moving Smart will get swallowed by the gigantic mouth of that Lexus, let’s beat Mazda at their own game, ugly-ass car.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ I know you don’t like Hyundai, but you gotta admit they bring previously big-car goodies to the entry level market, I mean the Accent and Elantra with a 6 speed auto, even the more expensive Corolla has just the old 4 speed, Camry with the 5. Toyota has been resting on its laurels for too long, they need to be more up-to-date in their products, depending on their quality reputation is not gonna be good enough anymore

  9. tj Martin Says:

    @ pedro fernandez

    M/C Helmet Laws . Absolutely . The differences in M/C deaths between KC,MO ( mandatory helmet law ) and KC,KS ( no mandatory helmet law ) is drastic in spite of KC,MO’s larger population


    Hyundai/KIA – Drive one for a week . You’ll find as I did all those Big Car Goodies H/K tosses in to the entry level are in fact Abject Cheap Poor Functioning Garbage .

    They’d ( H/K ) impress me a whole lot more if they left out all the Goodies and built the car with a decent level of Quality instead .

    Junk is Junk even if its Free !

  10. jim Says:

    I wish you could have covered a few of the events taking place at the SAE World Conference taking place right there in Detroit this week.

  11. HtG Says:

    Gentlemen, I have word from Lime Rock Park in CT.

    Yesterday, I was at an open event at the SkipBarber School where hundreds of fellow wretches got to see what the instructional program was about. Barber tries to stir up business from individuals and corporations with this annual event. I attended to decide if I wanted to take a higher car control course, and also to get a ride in the Lotus Evora and BMW M3. Here’s a rundown.

    -The Lotus is drop dead, inside and out. They really made the inside both hospitable and functional. I want it, please. We were driven around an autocross course by their instructors, who were just hot-dogging it. Evora is just so progressive in its motion and feedback. You can feel the suspension winding up and releasing just like a string player sliding his finger along the neck of his instrument. The driver was telling me the communication to the driver was just top-notch.

    -BMW M3 coupe. When the driver mashes the throttle it’s like the first time you saw box. What a rush of power as it takes off. Everything was happening so fast as the driver swung the tail out and or braked hard and rotated the car. M3 produces the feeling of joy as it is driven on the limit. M3 feels much wilder than Evora which likes to be driven neatly to get the most out of it. Between these two cars, the choice of which to get is really a matter of who you are, though the BMW would make more practical sense.

    I’ll post later on some of the other giggles at the event.

  12. shan Says:

    I laughed out loud when I seen John’s report of the Smart EV. The image of a few clowns cramped inside that car came to mind, lol. I pray the madness will end soon over the idea OF EV’s and their absent infrastructure. It’s simply a inherently flawed business model that’s doomed to fail. The brighter idea is to focus only on developing the right bio-fuel.

    I really enjoy all the shows on Autoline Detroit, but Roundabout is pretty hard to swallow. If only those young kids could try a bit harder to be serious, it might work. Just saying….. :)

  13. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, just got finished watching this weeks “Autoline Detroit”, specifically the interview with Margo Oge. Did you ask the omnipresent question concerning diesels in America: why is EPA adament about their ridiculously low NOX requirement, when she specifically stated, and I paraphrase that, the EPA ‘gets it’ and they have to use common sense with their regulations (or else they won’t work in the real world). Perhaps you did ask but it didn’t make the cut (though I was reminded of this because, in your interview box, it was at the Bosch Booth with Diesel “Good Clean Fun” staring me in the face.

  14. HtG Says:

    More from Lime Rock.

    About 600 people were at this event, so there were lots of nice cars to look at in the parking lot. What was in short supply on the skid pad and autocross was much evidence of car handling ability. I watched people try to recover spins on the water covered skid pad for about an hour, and swear there were only a couple of people that didn’t make a pig’s breakfast out of it. Where are those guys that came in Porsche’s?

    On the autocross, a course was laid out with cones. To go fast you had to lengthen the straights and rotate you Mazda3. People are generally either too timid or aggressive at this test (I fall into the latter category, as proven when I took out a few cones in the decreasing radius turn). There is also no relationship between any person’s competence and whether they wear driving shoes.

    This is a very male skewed clientele. I saw two gals accompanying their child/man, and only a sole solitary member of distaff nation. Does anyone else find this creepy? Does SkipBarber need to try harder to reach women?

    On a serious note, an instructor told me that one customer had signed up his teenage daughter for the Performance Driving School, sadly motivated by having lost his young son in a car crash. The skills and ideas learned driving a car at the limit under safe conditions are directly applicable to both sane and spirited driving on public roads.

  15. tj Martin Says:


    Glad you had a good time . Sad you didn’t get the chance to ” Shred some Tread ”

    I’d like to hear more about the Evora . Is it the ” Sensible ” Exotic Lotus touts it as , or still more plaything than daily driver . M3′s ? Not been impressed since the E30 M3 but thats just my opinion .

    Hint ; Porsche Winter Driving Experience

    GO if you can !!! A God Awful fortune , but worth every stinking penny . Tearing around a Snow Covered Golf Course ( best use of a Golf Course ever in my estimation ) in an $80K Carrera 4 ( with studded tires ) spewing up 20′ rooster tails and just imagining what you’re doing to the 18th Green ( oh but its under at least three feet of snow but ….. ) is more fun than anyone should be able to have in a car of any kind !

    PS; Everything from racing ( especially Rallying ) is useful and leads to safer driving , assuming the person driving is a responsible intelligent individual . Which is asking a lot these days .

    The tip I got from Sir Jackie Stewart was ;

    ” Realize you have more skills and a better car than 90% of the people on the road , then recognize the level of responsibility you have with such skills and drive accordingly . Because if someone crashes due to your racing them on the streets : as the trained driver you are ultimately responsible ”

    Damn good advice if you ask me .

  16. Tom L Says:

    @ HtG
    Thanks for the info

  17. HtG Says:

    tj, you have met the Flying Scott? I cannot believe the pathetic, narcissistic game of Six Degrees of Separation we could play.

    I did shred some tread. Going around the skid pad I was hanging the rear out, circling and trying to recover as the hysterical instructor sat beside me and menacingly pulled on the handbrake in an RX8 whose rear wheels were smaller sized and toed out.

    Evora. The driver was telling me that customers didn’t like the spareness and proportions on the Elise, and that Lotus had responded to this. First, the rocker panels on the Evora are not as wide, so ingress/egress is easy. The seats felt a bit higher than the Exige I was in last year. The creature comforts inside were very fine. Leather seating, leather door panels and dash. Very rich an tasteful. The rear seats were really only for teeny tots and groceries. The sculpting of the inside door handles was also expressive of the car’s look and function; they are sticking in my head. To my taste this is a most appealing car.

    BTW, I did decide to take the Car Control session, as they teach how to direct a car without the wheel. I chose the MX5 rather than the Mazda Formula car since I doubt my ability is as high as the point where a formula car is at its limit.

  18. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    Took the Flying Scottsmens driving course when it was offered back in the day .

    Ohhhh….. the Bowl & Ball thing on the hood routine . That’ll make you feel real stupid .

    Evora – Good to hear . The Elise and the Exige are a riot to drive , but about as useful as a GoKart for day to day driving .

    Every review I’ve read about the Evora says dump the rear seat option and use it for luggage , groceries etc.

    But….. I’ve also read that the Lotus bits ( not the Toyota engine ) have a tendency to ……. shall we say ……. disappoint after a few hundred miles .

    Car Control Session w/MX5 . Good move ! Might as well learn it in the car you’re driving rather than a full on race car .

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    TJ I did drive a previous gen Sonata 3 days and over a thousand miles and I thought it was a really nice car, good seats, quiet, good mpg, nice balanced ride. would I have bought one new? probably not, but used at a good price,yes! It was better than most others I have rented in recent yrs except the 2007 Civic I had also for the same trip

  20. Phoenix Mark Says:

    Sounds like HtG had a good time. Thanks for the report.

    Have a Happy Easter everyone.

  21. tj Martin Says:

    Just when I was beginning to have thoughts of ” Maybe I should just be boring and buy a RAV4″ todays announcement comes out

    308,000 Toyota RAV4′s and Highlanders recalled for Air Bag issues .

    Nix that idea !

    Then I go run an errand and what’s parked next to me when I get back to the car ? A red GLK .

    God Help Me ! I’m leaning hard towards the GLK . Used CPO ( and maybe an extended warranty as well )

    But I’ll be a good fellow , and stick with the sound advice to put some distance from the recent events till making such a decision . Unless of course a Steel Grey CPO w/less than 18,000 miles shows up on the dealers lot .

    Nahhh . i’ll be good . Promise ……. well ……..

  22. tj Martin Says:

    Happy Easter from me as well . Stay safe if you’re driving anywhere .

  23. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I have to agree with pedro f. Toyota and Honda better get to work on 6 and 7 speed automatic transmission. My son’s 2007 Civic with the auto 5 speed has issues in the mountains. Third being too low and forth being to high.

  24. SalvadorG. Says:

    I hate sound like a TV commercial but, GoPro.com man! (for next time)

  25. HtG Says:

    tj, let me help you with that red GLK. I know for a fact that the editor of one of the fashion mags gets chauffeured in her red GLK. Gorgeous car. Still can’t forget it.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Tj if you go for the GLK,it may be a good idea to treat the mechanic to some home-made chocolate cookies the first time you meet him, you might be seeing him a lot.

  27. tj Martin Says:

    @ HtG;

    How the heck does anyone get ” Chauffeured ” in a GLK , what with that miniscule back seat ( not a bother for us ) and all . Unless of course said Fashion Editor ( wouldn’t be the Red Dressed Devil would it ? Nahhh she’s got (or at least had ) a M-B S – Class ) is a bit of a Munchkin I’m not seeing how that’d work .

    Lessin maybe yer confusin the GL ( much much bigger ) with the GLK .

    @pedro – From what I’ve seen of the M-B mechanics me thinks a Six Pack of a mighty fine Micro Brew would be a lot more effective .

  28. tj Martin Says:

    @ Salvador G

    GoPro cameras . Got a friend on Cyprus that uses one in his Z4M Coupe . He’s shot some mighty fine videos with that little gem !

  29. HtG Says:

    Nope, tj. She used to have an american monster SUV, then got the GLK.

  30. tj Martin Says:

    HtG ;

    Well I’m shocked ( that anyone would be Chauffeured in a GLK ) but hey , if it works , why not .

    I’m guessing from your inside poop you’re involved in the Fashion Industry ( print etc )

    If so I’ve got another 6 Degrees of Separation for you . Has to do with who my Granny worked for ( as well as me in Jr H.S and H.S )

    Remembering I’m a Jersey Boy by Birth and until age 17 .

    This’n L blow yer cookies !

  31. tj Martin Says:

    Just read AutoBlog’s review of the GLK . Can’t say they said a single word I could disagree with . Damn !!!

    Who’d a thunk it ??? TJ considering buying a Mercedes .

    Got more than a few friends who’s jaws will drop if I do .

  32. HtG Says:

    nope, not in the industry. I was also surprised about the GLK switch.

    I think everybody is fine with not hearing about this 6er stuff. I can get you to a butcher of the last century, though(not what you’re thinking). This is silly stuff. But my mind will now start doing the math on the NJ person.

  33. tj Martin Says:


    So who is it ? The GLK owner that is .

  34. HtG Says:

    A great German writer once said that one should not seek out greatness, but bring it with you.

  35. Tom L Says:

    @ tj
    Why not buy a 2011 Lexus CT 200h .
    Nice car

  36. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I dropped Oil Bomb.

    Globalist Consortium plans invasion of Libya to get gas to $7.

    We dont just love Hyundais on my site, but we love cars in general, and the ultimate plan in the long run is to take cars away from the average person within 30 years.

    We cover the Esoteric stories the other News Stations/Journals refuse to OUT OF FEAR.

    HyundaiSmoke fears no one, because he’s not a corporate shill despite popular opinion. However, he could become a corporate shill though.

  37. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    A Snippet:

    USA- Sleuths pick up signals from Global Policy thank tanks that US is pushing for a full scale invasion of Libya, which would have the added effect of making gas $7 a Gallon.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, and Former President George W. Bush are just 3 of the over 120 persons/orgs/corps in this Globalist Consortium. Current sitting presidents of the US are not allowed in this Consortium due to open press reporting of the President’s daily functions, and due to the secretive nature of the content in these meetings (which require armed guards).

    Representatives from the US Big 3 Automakers are also asked to attend these meetings occasionally, as well as Foreign (Japanese/German) Automakers. We haven’t witnessed any Hyundai/KIA involvement yet, however.

  38. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    This is 100% true, but who cares. I’m already on their shit list. You cant live forever you know.

  39. HtG Says:


  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    Phoenix Mark #23 Honda Civic for 2012 has a 6 speed auto available, I’m afraid that Toyota has taken a back seat to the rest of the competition by still offering the archaic 4 speed. What the hell is going on with Toyota?, they’re letting the competition leave them in the dust, technologically speaking. They figure since the Corolla and Camry are still selling well, they don’t need to put a lot of $$ into them. They will regret this strategy one day and it will be too late to bring back customers.

  41. Andrew Charles Says:

    You get a bigger, more powerful, more advanced car if you buy a 2012 Rio, Fiesta, Sonic or Accent. The only car the Corolla remains competitive with is the new Versa sedan, which, considering the Versa is just the new Nissan Sunny (a low cost compact aimed BELOW the Fiesta etc.) rather than the new Tiida (Nissan’s standard global compact) says even more about how outdated the Corolla is becoming.

  42. pedro fernandez Says:

    Toyota had the opportunity in 2008 to bring the Corolla up to industry standards and they blew it. I remember reading that the top brass was disappointed with the finished product and send it back for more tweaking, what they should have done was start from scratch, i have to believe they must have know what the competition had in the planning stages, BTW the Versa is not in the same category as the Corolla.

  43. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Im disappointed in the Options for Accent though. They took the cheap bits from overseas Accents, while making the KIA Rio an Audi. Then they are charging $16K for steelies and caps, with black mirrors, black door handles, just to get the 6 speed Auto box.

    Who gives a shit if it competes with Yaris, Corolla, and Fiesta? The Accent is light years ahead of those cars, and im still not happy. For a Corolla buyer this Accent is sweet, but for a long time Accent buyer looking for something more grown-up= no.

    Boy did Hyundai Fu-k up.

  44. pedro fernandez Says:

    If you want more upscale than Accent there’s Elantra, Sonata and so forth, what I don’t like is when mfg’s make you buy other goodies just to get something you really want, when I got my Corolla with a 4 speed o/d tranny, I had to get the power option, which I did not want, years later, I regret NOT having tthe 4 sp. (the 3 is crap) BTW I like how Kia is getting its own identity despite sharing drive trains with the parent company, Motorweek threw in an Audi reference when describing the Optima interior and more spirited handling than the Sonata.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just went through the Edmunds consumer reviews pages and, low an behold, seems that some of the American brands’ claims of extraordinary reliability and improved quality is still a pipe dream, the number of dissatisfied owners is pretty high, not as bad as it used to be, but still a lot of work needs to be done, complains incl. the usual bad dealer service and less than expected mileage, It was truly eye-opening.

  46. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro, the Chevy Aveo (Sonic) is the Lowest ranked.

    Even though I’m very disappointed in US Accent. I’d rather ride a Donkey than that (Sonic). Accent is tops on the small B car reliability list, at least it has that card in my eyes.

    I’d honestly consider buying the Rio if it was like it’s Accent brother on the reliability front. Leather, Projector headlamps, Backup Camera, you cant lose.

    The way that Rio is is the way Accent is in every market except THE US.

    I know they want heavy Volume on the KIA side, but did they really have to decontent the US Accent to make that happen?

    Comparing both cars I’d say the Rio will have a 7/10 take rate over the Accent, which is fine.

    I just wont buy one out of protest.

  47. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    It’s obvious they want people to buy Velosters and Elantras. The Accent should have closer to 45 MPG. That car is rigged so people will buy Velosters and Elantras instead.

    The Versa may have a lot less power, but why would anybody buy a costly but frugal Accent over a larger Dirt cheap Versa with similar MPG from CVT if MPG is what they are looking for.

    That’s Pretty bad when an Accent Enthusiast says that, but sadly I think that’s what’s going to happen.

    If Hyundai really wanted to differentiate itself, they could have made the Accent a Hybrid only car, and marketed it as America’s cheapest Hybrid with better than Prius Economy. They have the tech- JUST DO IT!!!

    The Rio will be cheaper possibly on it’s low trim, but the Accent will not only cost more, but have less. That’s unless they add some last minute details to the Accent SE package. I know part of this was to make sure it wasnt “America’s Cheapest Car” anymore, which is fine.

    Hyundai spent all of that Money on R&D for fancy engines to pass on the costs to their customers, when Crapanese and American companies with POS Tech are getting close to their MPG.

    GDI is fine for now, but they are going to have to take it to the next level if they want to maintain their MPG lead within the next 3-4 years.

    Accent= Less for more. Rio= More for Less.

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    From all reviews I read and from personal experience, I have come to the conclusion that Toyota is heading the wrong way in quality and performance in the compact and mid-size segments, the current Corolla is universally panned and even my buddy, a long time Toyota faithful, recently rented a new Corolla and was put off by the cheapo plastic interior and vague steering, I have also noticed that my gen Corolla 998-02) is inferior in the most important points to the previous gen (92-97). While the Koreans (NOT DAEWOO) are indeed getting better. BTW I don’t understand why people are so high up on the upcoming Sonic, it is still Daewoo. BTW I have noticed that Daewoo electronics are no better than their cars.