AD #1442 – Battery Breakthrough?, Corvette Z06 Pricing, The Humvee That Never Was

August 22nd, 2014 at 11:59am

Runtime: 7:39

- Battery Breakthrough?
- China Goes With CAFC
- China Looks to Grow Used Car Market
- Corvette Z06 Pricing
- The Humvee That Never Was
- Mexico’s Booming Auto Industry

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In today’s show: Is this the battery breakthrough we’ve been waiting for? Why are so many automakers setting up shop in Mexico? And a look at Chrysler’s prototype for the Humvee. But now let’s get to the news.

EV enthusiasts have been praying for a battery breakthrough and maybe this is it. A start-up company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan called Sakti3, says its developed a new lithium-ion battery that could nearly double the range of the Model S. The company’s CEO, Ann Marie Sastry, who appeared on Autoline when this development was in its initial stages, says the company actually wants to target wearable electronics for its batteries before it sells to automakers. And the batteries won’t be for sales for another two years. However, GM is one of the Sakti3’s investors, and that could give GM a significant competitive advantage. We need to learn more about the costs and durability of these batteries, but what an interesting development.

If you want to come off as an automotive expert who knows what they’re talking about then you need to know the industry’s terminology. In China, they call their fuel economy program CAFC, not CAFE. CAFC stands for Corporate Average Fuel Consumption because China wants to focus on how much fuel will be consumed, not how far you can travel on that fuel. The new CAFC regulations mean that automakers need to meet a fleet average of 5 liters per 100 kilometers by 2020. That’s about 47 miles to the gallon. And that goes to 4.5 liters per 100 kilometers by 2025, which is about 52 miles to the gallon, which comes very close to the US standard of 54.5 mpgs.

In the U.S. and Europe the used car market is more than double the size of the new car market. But in China it’s only a quarter the size. And no wonder, when a license plate can cost upwards of $16,000 that entices people to hold onto the car they’ve got. In an effort to lure potential customers into considering used cars, car dealers are now starting to use online services. Up to now that’s been used only for customer-to-customer transactions, not marketing. And it seems to be working. The number of online sites specializing in used car sales are growing fast. With more and more fuel efficient and high quality vehicles hitting the streets every day we expect it won’t be too long before the Chinese used car market is on par with the U.S. and Europe.

This just in. Chevrolet announced the price of the Z06 Corvette. It’s $78,995. Let’s just call it seventy-nine thousand. The convertible is $84,000. And if you want the super-swoopy carbon fiber aerodynamic package get ready to fork out another $3,000. The Z07 performance package is $8,000. So the total price tag is about ninety grand. And while that’s a lot of money, it’s a bargain compared to anything else with that kind of performance.

And now I want to show you some photos from my files of a vehicle which I believe has never been seen before. It goes back to the early 1980’s when the US Department of Defense put out a request for bid on what it called a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. Detroit’s automakers were keenly interested in bidding on the program, and started developing vehicles built with mass production parts to drive down costs. So one day in March or April of 1981 I was invited to the Chrysler Proving Grounds to go see its prototype going through a battery of tests. I still think this thing looks really cool. Note how all the bodywork is made from flat panels with hard edges. That was to keep tooling costs to a minimum. Also note the extremely short front and rear overhangs and the tremendous ground clearance so it could climb over or out of just about anything. I think it had a 360 cubic inch V-8 and obviously four-wheel-drive. But the military decided to go with the High Mobility Multipurpose Vehicle designed by General Dynamics, which today we all know as the Humvee. One year later Chrysler sold its defense division to General Dynamics and to my knowledge has never tried to build a military vehicle again.

Coming up next, why are so many automakers moving to Mexico?

The auto industry in Mexico is booming with more and more automakers setting up shop there to build cars. So is the country poised to become one of the largest vehicle producers in the world? That’s one of the topics discussed on this week’s Autoline and here’s what my expert panel had to say.

(Today’s ATW preview is only available in the video version of the show.)

Joining me for that show are John Martin from Nissan North America manufacturing, Randy Miller, Ernst & Young, and Norman Jacobs, SANLUIS Rassini.

But that wraps up today’s Autoline Daily, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

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17 Comments to “AD #1442 – Battery Breakthrough?, Corvette Z06 Pricing, The Humvee That Never Was”

  1. Bradley Says:

    ” it’s a bargain compared to anything else with that kind of performance ”

    What about the GTR? It is my understanding that the GTR is very competitive against the Corvette.

  2. Bradley Says:

    The Chrysler HUMVEE looks like its roots are from a Dodge Rampage.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    The GTR starts at just under 100 g’s; close but no cigar.

  4. XA351GT Says:

    The Chrysler Humvee reminds me of Lambo’s SUV from back then . The LP 900 or something it was called.

    Mexico will continue to grow until workers start to demand wages that are on par with other countries workers have instead of slave labor they are currently being paid. As long as they work for nearly free like China they will be on the up.

  5. Jon M Says:

    My first reaction when I saw the pic of the once aspiring HUMVEE was that it had to be from the ’80s. With military aspirations it certainly had no intention of being futuristic in its styling, so of course it screams, shouts, and flaunts its 1980s design sense. It wasn’t not the most flattering decade for auto industry, but it earns points just for being so blatantly 80s!

  6. C-Tech Says:

    Chrysler could probably build that today and fill the void that Hummer left. Politically wrong, but profitable.

  7. HtG Says:

    Elon Musk, PR Super Genius

    How Tesla is a part of this Sakti3 battery story astonishes me. GM and Khosla ventures fund a company that grew out of U of M, and we’re hearing about Elon’s whip. It’s genius, I tell ya.

    Sceintific American has this piece on the tech behind the story. At least what is public.

  8. C-Tech Says:

    John you are right on the money with your report on Hertz and recalls. In the Orlando area, Hertz and the other large rental companies lose 1-2% of their rental fleet (think storing 400-600 rental cars just because of recalls).

  9. BobD Says:

    While Chrysler (and its derivatives) may have not ventured into other purpose-built military vehicles, I believe all of the “BIG-three” in recent years have provided “militarized” versions of their pickups to the US military and perhaps other countries to provide cheaper alternatives to the HUMVEE in light-duty applications.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1, 3
    Also, I doubt if the GTR is as quick as the C7 Z06 will be, though it’s too early to know. A basic C7 is about a second slower than the GTR in the quarter mile, 12 seconds vs 11 seconds.

    The GTR will be quicker 0-60, though, because its AWD helps a lot at low speed, where the acceleration of high powered cars is very much traction limited.

  11. C-Tech Says:

    Given the number battery fires in planes and ev’s I hope they, Sakti3, have solved this problem going forward.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Drama at Spa:

    Ricciardo wins, but Rosberg and Hamilton try occupying the same space at the same time. Wolff wasn’t happy.

  13. HtG Says:

    Exactly what the Merc board of directors doesn’t want to see.

  14. HtG Says:

    Kit, it looks like one interpretation of the incident is that Nico was tiffed that Ham first made a blocking move to the right, but then moved left as the cars approached the turn. I’m not sure, but I think only one block is permitted. Maybe this is “the point” Nico was making.

    Drama indeed.

  15. Chuck Grenci Says:

    I watched the race and I think Lauda summed it up (this from the link above): “If these things happen at the end of the race when they are fighting, we can talk about it. But on the second lap, it is ridiculous.
    “I thought they were clever enough to know that but obviously they aren’t.”

    Otherwise it was a good race; the Red Bulls seem to be catching up the the M/B’s (a little) and the Ferrari’s too (but not as much). Tires, talent and catching M/B seem to be the theme for this season’s racing.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I never would have expected Ricciardo to consistently outperform Vettel, as has been happening. It’s turning out to be an interesting season, and is getting better, as the non-M/B’s catch up (a little). Even Williams are in the hunt, which is good to see. Poor Lotus and Sauber, though.

  17. Lawrence Says:

    If the used car market is on the upswing, then why has Manheim given up its venture there?