AD #1260 – Green with NV, Hyundai’s “Game Changer,” A Corny Story

November 18th, 2013 at 12:10pm

Runtime: 9:10

- Green with NV
- Honda Device to Help Stroke Victims
- Honda’s Next-Gen UNI-CUB
- Hyundai’s “Game Changer”
- A Corny Story
- Talk about Run-Flats
- You Said It!


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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. Here’s what’s been going on in the global automotive industry since we last saw you on Friday.

Earlier in the year Nissan announced that it’s developing an electric version of its NV200 small cargo van and now we’ve got a few more details. Production will begin in the middle of next year at the company’s plant in Barcelona, Spain. Or maybe I should say Barthelona. The e-NV200 first goes on sale in Japan and then the rest of the world.

As you know Honda makes a lot more things than just cars. We’ve shown you this Walking Assist Device from the company in the past and now researchers and physical therapists from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago are testing it with stroke victims. It weighs about six pounds and is powered by a lithium-ion battery that lasts about an hour.

And in other Honda alternative mobility news, the company introduced the next-gen version of its UNI-CUB device called the UNI-CUB β. Like a Segway, you control the vehicle by shifting your body weight but you sit on the UNI-CUB instead of standing on it. The new version weighs about 55 pounds and is powered by a lithium-ion battery. It has a top speed of just under 4 mph and has a range of about 3.7 miles. Toyota has something similar and it’s interesting to see that those Japanese automakers keep developing and refining the concept.

Hyundai is working on a new gasoline engine that it claims could be a game changer because it acts like a diesel. It’s projected to get 25% better fuel economy than a regular gasoline engine but at a lower cost than a diesel. The 1.8 liter engine has a 14.8:1 compression ratio that will ignite gasoline without using spark plugs. But it’s not HCCI engine, or homogeneous charge ignition engine, like other automakers have been working on. Hyundai calls it PPCI, partially pre-mixed compression ignition. The key to making it work is multiple late-injections and by late I mean right at top dead center. Impressively, it can run on 87 octane. The engine uses both a supercharger and turbocharger. Hyundai is working with the supplier company Delphi on the system, but they still have some kinks to work out, like making it be able to start at 40 below zero. But they say it could be in the next Hyundai Elantra sometime in the next five years.

In 2007 Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard requiring the country to use 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022. And of course the only fuel available in that quantity is corn-based ethanol. But the shale revolution has changed the need for so much renewable fuel. And automakers argue that higher ethanol blends, like E-15, could damage older engines. Now the EPA is proposing to slash the 2014 target by nearly 3 billion gallons of renewable fuel. So we want to know what you think. Should the U.S. back off its renewable fuel mandate? Should it require cellulosic ethanol instead of corn ethanol? Or should the standard remain as it is? Just click the survey icon below today’s show to vote and we will reveal the results later this week.

We have shown you air-less wheel and tire packages in the past, but never on a ATV. The folks over at Polaris are launching a version of its Sportsman model with, what it calls, Terrain Armor Non-Pneumatic Tires. The tires can drive over 350 miles after taking a .50-caliber round or 1,000 miles after driving over a railroad spike. So, if you’re gearing up for the zombie apocalypse or are just an avid hunter, the ATV goes on sale next month with a starting price of $15,000.

Coming up next, it’s time for You Said It!

And now it’s time for some of your feedback.

Chuck Grenci Says, “The analogy of alveoli, used by the Chrysler spokesman is incorrect; while the human lung can create more surface volume (to fully realize the oxygen in the lung) by using the alveoli (similar to the folding of the human brain to create more surface area), when you are talking about storing compressed gas, absolute volume is the important value. Now the making of non-standard shape fuel tanks, well, that is a breakthrough but the physiologic comparison was incorrect.”

OK, it’s correction time. Rob says: “The Air Grabber not available on the Superbird, Roadrunner – yes.” And Dan Clemons says, “The Flying Tigers flew the P-40 Warhawk not the P-40 Tomahawk.”

Thanks guys, I knew that, even though I said it wrong.

GM Veteran wants to know: “Diesel incentives. Why are they needed? Diesel does not have an infrastructure problem like electric, CNG or hydrogen. It is readily available at every gas station I go to. And, the technology is fully developed, unlike batteries and fuel cell stacks. To me, the only issue is the way the fuel is priced and revising that is something that could be explored.”

Yes, the federal tax on diesel fuel is 6 cents higher than it is on gasoline. Also, the way the EPA calculates fuel economy is to assume that drivers spend 55% of their time in city driving and 45% on the highway. Volkswagen says this unfairly gives hybrids a higher number because they do better in city driving.

Larry wants to know, “Why are U.S. auto companies in such a rush to develop the Chinese auto market? China is forcing them to form partnerships so they can develop their own engineers, designers and such. It is blatantly obvious that China will be entering and challenging the ‘Big 3’ in the U.S. market, costing them all sales.”

Larry, the only reason all foreign automakers want to be in the Chinese market is that it’s the biggest in the world. By 2030 it could be bigger than the U.S. and Europe combined. So strategically thinking, why would you want to leave that market all alone for the Chinese?

G. Jason Anderson wants something explained, “I’ve heard many times on your show how profitable large body-on-frame trucks and SUVs can be for automobile manufacturers. What exactly makes them more profitable? Are the raw materials less expensive, the engineering / development / manufacturing easier, or is the market just such that premium prices can be charged?”

First it has to do with scale. Those pick-ups sell in such volume that the automakers can spread the development and tooling costs across so many vehicles. Also, SUV’s can be built on the same frames, and use a lot of the sheet metal from the pick-up cabs. But most of all it’s because some buyers will pay an amazing amount of money for these trucks. A Ford King Ranch costs $20,000 more than a regular F-150 but it has nowhere near $20,000 more equipment added to it. Most of that money drops to the bottom line.

Thanks for all your letters and comments, we really like going through them all, even if we cannot answer them all.

Be sure to check out our LIVE coverage of the LA Auto Show on this Wednesday, November 20th at 4PM eastern or 1PM Pacific that’s being brought you by our signature sponsor Hyundai. I will be talking with some of the top executives about the newest cars at the show. That’s this Wednesday at 4PM at our website

And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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45 Comments to “AD #1260 – Green with NV, Hyundai’s “Game Changer,” A Corny Story”

  1. Bradley Says:

    I really like the idea of airless tires, but my Yaris cost $15k. Can you say PROFIT?!?!



  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    And I though H/S was a shill!! Why not just include your phone # as well?

  4. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Those airless tires are pretty cool,until they load up with mud/snow etc.And,anybody that has off roaded with a atv will know what I’m talking about.I remember the military was messing with these some years ago,not sure if they went with them.

    @ Jack Thompson: Spam much? Use caps much? Dork!!

  5. HtG Says:

    Let’s hope Jack’s right about Cherokee sales. My local dealer has 37 Cherokees in stock, with another 31 labeled as ‘in transit.’ $30K seems to be the sweet spot.

  6. Bradley Says:


    It’s simply impressive to know a car dealership can do anything in 30 minutes, let alone sell a car.

  7. Kate McLeod Says:

    AP just came out with a story on the environmental costs of ethanol, which in my opinion puts the final nail in the corn coffin.

  8. Don Yel C6 Says:

    Regarding Honda’s new Uni-Cub — and others like it: do they really think such vehicles could be used in The Real World? With the tiny wheels they have, any kind of sidewalk unevenness or pothole could grab the wheel and send you flying face-first out in front. Can you imagine the field day lawyers would have with this?

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    HtG my local Chrysler dealer also has a large number of Cherokees in stock and many more in transit, most have MSRP of $26k to 28k For a car that has been so “anticipated” I have yet to see a new one on the road yet, however, I have seen at least one new Corolla every day I have been out and about, even though it just came out as well.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Those environmentalists thought that corn was the answer to all our energy woes and now this?? What is gonna happen to the cost of gasoline if they remove ethanol? around here, non-ethanol regular costs a lot more than even diesel, Is this gonna make diesel vehicles more attractive then?

  11. pedro fernandez Says:

    #8 Don’t fret about this, when the Segway first came out, they predicted we all would be using one just like cell phones, LOL if you want to see one,go to a large mall or Disney World parks.

  12. Bradley Says:


    It’s all about creating a perception of artificial demand.

    IMO, the motivations with Ethanol go way back to cold-war mindset. Like the creation of High Fructose Corn Syrup, if you believe the “corn-spiracies” many things were put into play 50 years ago so our country could be self-sufficient.

    Another part of Ethanol was Flex Fuel cars. Flex Fuel was nothing more than a get out-of-jail free card too the Big 3 for CAFE. As each one counted as 100mpg.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Bio-diesel,from hemp.That is the direction that renewable fuel should go in.AND,hemp doesn’t screw up the soil,can grow just about anywhere without much fuss,or chemicals.

  14. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Here’s some info on bio-diesel:

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    #13 GA does this mean that we will have some pot heads inhaling the fumes from the tailpipe of these Pot-mobiles?

  16. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Pedro: Nope,not gonna happen.Hemp is virtually thc free.Thc is the psychoactive chemical that potheads smoke pot for.Hemp’s thc level is so low that there is no buzz from smoking it.The history of hemp in the USA is pretty amazing,and it’s downfall was a political and racial move.

  17. HtG Says:

    next thing you’ll be telling us, GA, hemp helped win WWII. ;)

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    And pot helped us lose in Vietnam?

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Hemp was used extensively in WWII.In fact the law was suspended for the duration.

    Politicians lost the war in vietnam Pedro,not the soldiers.The heads,(pot smokers) which I was one,and still am,never got culled from flying a combat mission like the boozers did,on a regular basis due to extreme hangovers etc.

  20. HtG Says:

    IIRC, my BiL’s family in Kentucky raised hemp for the US military during the war.

    A member of the current generation is doing other stuff much, much higher. Like up there above the sky.

  21. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The area in upstate NY where I’m originally from was used extensively by George Washington and some of his Generals to specifically grow hemp for the war effort.To this day one can still find some hemp plants around in the summertime.

  22. Bradley Says:

    I understand that having a gas engine without a spark plug is a game changer, but what other benefits are there? Higher MPG? Less Weight?

  23. M Campbell Says:

    E-beating someone for using all caps following a post with equally poor writing etiquette.

    “Hello, pot? This is kettle.”

  24. G.A.Branigan Says:

    They claim a 25% increase in mpg,without the high price of diesel fuel,and the diesel engine.

  25. Tom Says:

    Backing off the ethanol mandate will not only prevent damage to engines that are particularly susceptible to alcohol, such as those in motorcycles and other power equipment, but it will reduce the environmental damage caused by the farming of land simply to produce enough corn to meet the current regulation’s requirements.

  26. Tim Achterhoff Says:

    Less ethanol will not only save on damage to engines… will bill also bring down the cost of food. Regarding the Cherokee… I sat in one last week and I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful interior and the whole look of the vehicle.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10, The high price of ethanol-free gas, which is hard to find, might be mostly to do with “what the market will bear.”. Some people really want the stuff. I tried a couple tanks of it when I could get it, and, as the science would predict, I couldn’t tell any significant difference in gas mileage, or the way the car ran.

  28. C-Tech Says:

    My understanding is that with the reduced usage of gasoline, the EPA’s anticipated need for ethanol is lower to maintain the 10% level in our current fuel supply. The government solution is to increase the blend rate (bad idea for older cars, good idea for corn farmers income). I believe the regulation should be changed to lower the amount of ethanol to maintain the 10% level. The corn farmers will have to grow something else on part of their land.

    The super and turbo charged Diesel-gas engine. Talk about added complexity and cost. What is Hyundai going to cut out of an Elantra to make it cost competitive? You buy one first!

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I have a couple older cars, and a 36 year old lawn tractor, none of which show adverse effects from using E10. Still, all indications are that using corn to make motor fuel is a rediculous thing to do.

  30. cwolf Says:

    Using any food source for fuel is a bad idea. It is bad enough the petro co.’s are contaminating the sea and land. Now we have added the farmers run-off of nitrogen and pesticides into our lakes and streams raising these fuel crops. I wonder if this is worth the cost, knowing the US is supposed to be self sufficient and even has begun exporting. I personally don’t want to sacrifice my drinking water so some foreigner can fill their gas tank.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder is using sugar cane, like Brazil does, is as bad for the environment as corn, after all, most of our sugar does not come from cane, but from corn.

  32. cwolf Says:

    Sugar beets seem to be the source around here. Is corn a dominant source over beets?

  33. cwolf Says:

    I can here Mr. Thompson’s sales pitch now; “Trust me,…my word is as reliable as the Jeeps I sell!” Just funn’in…

  34. cwolf Says:

    pedro, I’m not seeing that many new Corollas. Of all things,…. I’m seeing Darts!!! Silly huh?

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    Well everything seems to contain the high fructose corn syrup which is partly responsible for America’s ever increasing obesity problem, most products that should contain cane sugar like soda and cereals, instead have the highly concentrated corn syrup sweetener cause it’s cheaper to make and to use as well.

  36. ColoradoKid Says:

    Back off the entire ethanol mandate I say . Its served no one [ especially the environment ] well …. has costed everyone from the farmer – producer – end user more money … done untold damage to multitudes of engines … and all around has earned a big fat … F … in any rational thinking persons book . Funny that the EPA’d finally come to a logical conclusion for once ..


    Pedro – If I tried to put up a list of everything containing a Corn By Product in it … I’d need a complete website of my own just to write out half of it ..

    Corn coming second only to petroleum in its invasion of every aspect of our lives

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    #36 yeah, but CK what is gonna happen to the price of gas? most likely it’s gonna shot up again close to $4.00 at least with the govt subsidized E15. we were getting a break!

  38. cwolf Says:

    I was refering to the actual production of granulated sugar in my reference to sugar beets.

    Nice to see ya on board again, CK.

  39. Al DeGennaro Says:

    Hi, John,

    Regarding your reference to the P-40, a Google search brings up sites that refer to it as both the “Warhawk” and the “Tomahawk”.

    Everybody’s right!

    Al DeGennaro
    Hanover, PA

  40. HtG Says:

    I keep in mind that EPA May face a lawsuit from the ethanol lobby over E15. Does a filing freeze the govt, even before a judgement?

    Don’t look at me.

  41. HtG Says:

    37 Other factors like a deal with Iran or the govt forcing banks out of the oil futures market will also push around the price. And of course, shale oil is our friend.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34, I really see a lot of Darts in Kokomo, IN, but Chrysler is by far the largest employer in town.

  43. pedro fernandez Says:

    cwolf this is an import car area, most new domestics I see are rentals.

  44. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Of all vehicles to use those airless tires/wheels, I would think they would need to cover them, to keep mud/dirt/debris out of those ‘openings’ from the off road vehicles the most.

  45. Joseph Says:

    Is it just me or does John sound very different? Hope he’s doing well.