AD #1586 – Renault May Leave F1, Kia Optima Sneak Peek, How to Improve Infotainment

March 27th, 2015 at 11:54am

Runtime: 6:41

- Automakers Boost MPGs in U.S.
- Kia Optima Sneak Peek
- Renault May Say “Au Revoir” To F1
- Ford Partners With Microsoft…Again
- Aston Says Fisker Copied Design
- How to Improve Infotainment

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54 Comments to “AD #1586 – Renault May Leave F1, Kia Optima Sneak Peek, How to Improve Infotainment”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’d hate to see Renault leave F1; it makes things more interesting to have more engine builders, but if they can’t improve performance, and soon, they should quit, both for their own good, and so Red Bull can get back where they want to be, as one of the top teams.

  2. Jon M Says:

    AMEN, John and Doug, AMEN. The only thing I would say is that, sitting from here, I think all the OEMs HAVE, not sometimes, lost track of focusing on the who’s buying the cars.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Aston Martin doesn’t like Fisker copying their styling, but I guess they were ok with Ford copying it, including for nearly all of their high volume cars. Is that because Ford used to own Aston, and may still be a benefactor?

  4. GM Veteran Says:

    Huh! I thought the Thunderbolt WAS a customized version of the Aston Martin, like Callaway, Lingenfelter, etc. I don’t think they are going to sell very many Thunderbolts. Who would want to pay twice as much for a car that looks just like an Aston Martin?

  5. HtG Says:

    I say the BlunderDolt is Fisker’s way to generate some attention for numero uno, Fisker.
    I say it’s not a little ironic that Renault is now pointing at the exit door after making the same threat several years ago if they didn’t get this new power unit regime. Go on F1, keep pulling the trigger, that chamber is bound to have a round in it sometime.

  6. TC Says:

    Is that 24.1 mpg average of offered or sold vehicles? Average mpg of vehicles actually sold would be more interesting.

  7. Duke Says:

    Kit, it often is difficult to ascertain what clauses are imbedded in corporate buy-outs/sales. As most of the styling of the recent AM’s most likely was done while Ford owned AM (they haven’t changed much since then), there easily could be a clause that allows them to use some of those designs.

    IIRC, AM re-signed an extension for another 5 years for Ford to make their engines back in 2013 (until ’18) , so there is certainly greater likelihood that such clauses do exist.

    Audi’s outright copying the Chrysler 300 grill a while back is another thing all together. And have you seen that “new” grill on their Prologue concept car – that sorta morphs it into a trapezoid? Hmmm . . wonder where they got that idea?

    The Asian manufacturers copy more than anyone IMO . . . and probably more than all the rest put together. . . and often contain elements from several other manufacturers . . . and in the same car. A little bit of this . . . and a little bit of that.

    #6 – I totally agree, TC and I also wonder how the different manufacturers are progressing toward meeting upcoming CAFE standards? Not that it keeps me up at night, but still. Especially, when one adds up the TV ads that almost exclusively tout their “performance” (racing around city streets and such) by some manuf’s.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    I know I’ve expressed this before, but as long as most vehicles remain like Porky Pig, we will not see better fuel economy w/o spending big bucks on R/D for drive trains.

  9. TJWatson59 Says:

    Re: infotainment centers – why not have a few pre-set levels in the software so the end user can choose whether they want a simplified system,( Say a level one ) or the most technical ( a level three perhaps, such as in the computer game industry ) or even a ala carte menu system for what user really want and will use. This could be one way that some poor software programmer does not have to make a usable, coherent system for everyone. Just a thought.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 At some point, in order to improve city mpg much, cars will need to get substantially lighter. To improve mileage at highway speed, they will need to have lower aero drag, not what you get with tall, wide, fat tired vehicles that are so much in vogue. The best technology for efficient powertrains that use liquid fuel, would be diesel hybrids, and they barely exist.

  11. Mike Says:

    Here’s one for you:

    Freightliner is touting their new fuel efficient Tractor Trailer truck. Super truck gets more than double existing average mileage (12.2 claimed) through a combination of better aerodynamics, lighter weight, a hybrid drivetrain, roof mounted solar cells that can supply the HVAC system, and heat recovery from the exhaust. as always, down at the bottom it says “no plans for production”

  12. HtG Says:

    How light do you think cars can get, Kit? How much benefit can come directly from there?

    2000lb CUV or Camcord?

  13. Mike Says:

    HTG: There was a study done a couple of years ago. Fundedby the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by the FEV Corp. The Study dissected a 2013 Toyota Venza and showed how 750 lbs could be taken out at a net cost save. Toyota later confirmed that something like 680 Lbs of that was feasible by their standards. This was what could be done without changing function or size. Hollow camshafts, plastic pieces filled with bubbles during molding,Lighter weight materials such as plastics and aluminum: lots of ideas are out there. If you are willing to spend more or go smaller, even more weight can come out.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 Part of making them lighter, is just making them smaller. Today’s Corolla is about the size of a ’90′s Camry. Keeping CamCords their present size, I’d think 2500 pounds or less would be feasable, using a combination of techniques Mike mentions, and using a lot of composites. Also, replacing actual sound deadening material with active noise cancellation will save weight. Then, the car won’t need as big of engine to perform the same. The 1.5 turbo triple in the new MINI would power a 2500 pound CamCord well enough.

  15. donfromnaples Says:

    10. Totally agree Kit. Lighter cars, more aerodynamic, and please rid the roadways of those tall obese vehicles. I’d love to see diesel hybrids in the U.S. I’ve been hoping for such a creation to go mainstream for the past 15 years.

  16. HtG Says:

    OK, that’s five tries to post a comment. I give. You guys sharing a server with Peter D. this week?

  17. HtG Says:

    16 Oh, that comment goes through.

  18. HtG Says:

    13.14 So how much mileage benefit from the light weighting? Other tech has benefits too, and maybe at lower cost.

  19. donfromnaples Says:

    13 The Venza is $30,000-$40,000 Camry wagon with ugly thrown in. Unbelievable that the Venza is still in production in 2015. Gotta love the combined 20 mpg.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 I’ve read about it, but don’t remember exactly, but I think 10% weight reduction is good for 6-7 % fuel economy improvement in stop and go driving. At steady speed, especially on flat terrain, aero drag is the thing, more than weight.

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Efficient engines, many gears to keep RPM’s low, lower weight, better aerodynamics all help, but if the jackrabbit starting morons don’t change their ways, we won’t make much progress, I am so sick of choking from the putrid smell of unburned fuel as these idiots floor their cars to get ahead of everyone else at every red light, knowing quite well that another red is waiting for them a couple of blocks away, and then they do it all over again and again.

  22. HtG Says:

    20. Now if those light weight, solid state batteries being developed in Michigan get hooked up to light vehicles….

  23. Ziggy Says:

    Seb told me that was one of the main reasons he left Red Bull ;)

  24. XA351GT Says:

    What is the point of setting a standard if someone who is non compliant can just buy the credits from someone who does? It seems counter-productive unless the only green you care about is money. So the industry is at 24.1 MPG exactly how will any of them come close to the ridiculous standard set for the near future that is almost double that? Will they just be allowed to buy their way out or will someone wake up and realize that no one will make this standard unless they start running on water?

  25. XA351GT Says:

    There is only one problem with everyone’s light weighting plans. People want bigger and bigger vehicles . Manufacturers want more and more content in them for more profit. The Government wants them safer and all of those add weight . Here’s a rough example my 1972 Falcon wieghs 3400 lbs. Has a cast iron V8, steel 4 speed trans ,and a full log axel out back. Is 16 feet long . A new Honda Civic wieghs more . Go figure that out.

  26. XA351GT Says:

    Actually I was thinking the Accord not the Civic ,but it is around 200 lbs lighter then the Falcon ,but I think you can get my point.

  27. HtG Says:

    XA, I saw the new Chevy Trax last night on the road. Now that’s a cute car. It’s also pretty tall. (Of course my taste is a little, shall we say, special)

  28. pedro fernandez Says:

    Considering things like aerodynamics and mpg’s, not to mention stability in high winds, I would much prefer a station wagon over these high off the ground CUV’s that everyone seems to love now.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28 Me too.

    24 The CAFE standard does not equate to the same EPA rating. The 50-some future CAFE equates to an EPA combined rating in the 30′s, as I remember. I’ll try to find the numbers.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the 56 mpg cafe equates to about 40 mpg EPA number. The whole thing is complex, with vehicle footprint affecting CAFE requirements.

  31. HtG Says:

    When will it be enough? It’s not like autos make the most green house gases or that the US isn’t making a steaming ton of petroleum. Cars are just so visible.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Yep, the biggest source of greenhouse gases, globally, is from coal fired powerplants. The U.S., China, and India all are big contributors there.

  33. XA351GT Says:

    Okay , the Café/EPA numbers are confusing . As for my small mind think they should mean the same thing. So let’ s play devil’s advocate. So if the number they need is 40 MPG can we all agree that is going to be a huge leap from 24 MPG in only a few years. Unless all they produce are mini cars like the Fiesta,Spark, Fiat 500 etc. ?

  34. HtG Says:

    Maybe a tipping point for all these efficiency technologies will come when fewer people can even afford new cars or to finance them. How expensive can an average car/truck really get? How long the loan term before no one will offer the deal? And now we hear that the Federal Reserve will begin to raise interest rates, making financing more expensive.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33, 34 It will mean more hybrids, lighter cars, and probably smaller vehicles if the target for 2025 remains in place. Having been in Europe several times, I feel pretty strongly that our fleet of huge SUV’s and pickups is ridiculous, but I realize that a lot of Americans think they need a 3 ton truck to go grocery shopping.

  36. HtG Says:

    I’m surrounded here by Acura RDXs and MDXs and the like. It’s not just about big, it’s easier ingress/egress and visibility. Seats for most people can’t be so low like in a Mini or Miata.

    I’ll be interested to see that new taller thing from Honda, the HRV, looks.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t think I’d want to be the first kid on the block to have an HR-V. I read they are having major problems getting the new plant in Mexico up and running.

    Like the Fit its based on, the HR-V will have very good packaging efficiency, and being marketed as a mini-ute rather than as a car, it will sell like hot cakes.

  38. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just because it’s got a Honda emblem in the hatch means little these days, when you have the Fit and soon the Yaris, both of them were built in Japan and now Mexico, I don’t know if I’d be first to buy either one of those, I predict that in a few years, those used ones built in the homeland will demand a pretty penny in the used car market.

  39. HtG Says:

    Snowing again in NY, even as flowers on sale at the local nursery/farmer’s market.

    I know, it’s nuts

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like Vettel knew what he was doing, in leaving Red Bull.

  41. HtG Says:

    Engineer James Allison also made a smart move, leaving Lotus.

  42. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Heck of a F1 race this morning (up at 0230; wanted to see it live), Ferrari’s back (it seems). Vettel and Raikkonen both had good ‘runs’. It will/should be interesting to see how the next couple races define the beginning of the season.

  43. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ XA351GT: The way I see it,the ridicules EPA mpg mandates are not meant to be achieved.That would give the govt the impetus to fine the oems that don’t meet those insane standards,thereby the fines imposed are nothing more then another contrived tax.Jmho….

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If the 2025 standards go into effect as now written, there will be a lot more hybrids, diesels, and EV’s, and there will be credit trading, etc., and yeah, maybe some fines. Also, the U.S. fleet will look a lot more like that in Europe which I, for one, will welcome.

  45. HtG Says:

    REALLY. where does this end? So many other industries emit green house gases. How far does transportation need to be pushed? Little dinks don’t appreciate that the data centers enabling their internet fun are emitting CO2. It’s about 2%, but consider the growth rate.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Transportation is the biggest GHG emitter, next to electricity generation, and it is close.

    Still, it bugs me that people want things like wireless cell phone charging, which probably increases the energy used by 30-50% Is it that big of deal to plug a connector into a phone, for most people once a day?

  47. HtG Says:

    Here are EPA figures. Transport is 13%

    Even if you reduce transport by 50%, so what?

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    47 Thanks for the correction. I saw somewhere that transportation was second, but I’m not sure where. Apparently I was misinformed.

    Still, I’d rather share the road with more Golfs, and few Suburbans.

  49. HtG Says:

    I think we’ll see more Trax and HRV types of autos. But cars will keep getting wacked just because we see them all the time.

  50. HtG Says:

    48 Not correcting you, Kit. I’m curious about it too. I follow the data center wars, where energy use is a key.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48, 50 I think this is what I saw, also from the EPA. I think it is for the US, while your link is global, which is what really matters.

  52. HtG Says:

    From your link, ” (28% of 2012 greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes.”

    That’s not all consumers in cars.

    Isn’t there a federal review for auto emissions coming up in a year?

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    52 Yeah, I think 30 percent or so is from big trucks.

  54. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Guys,we as a country are doing pretty good as far as ‘cleaning up our act’,but other countries such as India are way behind.

    For me,my next vehicle will be a 4 cyl.I don’t need a V6 anymore.I’m about 95% sure I will buy a new Ram Promaster City Wagon Slt as soon as I can order what I want.Small on the outside,roomy on the inside,will easily tow a 2k pound trailer,etc.