AD #1629 – GM Pushes High Tech, New Miata’s Powerplant Frame, Ford Opens Electrified Patents

May 28th, 2015 at 11:32am

Runtime: 6:54

- Chevy Goes Even More High Tech.
- Opel Improves Connected Driving
- Volvo XC90′s New Infotainment Screen
- MX-5 Miata’s Effective Powerplant Frame
- Ford Opens Electrified Patents Vault
- Public Charging Stations Set to Explode
- 3D Printing Race Engine Parts

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31 Comments to “AD #1629 – GM Pushes High Tech, New Miata’s Powerplant Frame, Ford Opens Electrified Patents”

  1. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, is Miata’s truss the same, similar or different from Corvette’s torque tube (looks like it is in the same configuration.

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    EVs are sales duds – fact. So what makes any expert think we need explosive growth in charging stations?

  3. dcars Says:

    It’s pretty hard to predict the future. VW missed their US sales target by thousands of vehicles yet they still sell vehicles here.

  4. HtG Says:

    1. The truss is looks like the side of a truss style bridge. It’s not a tube at all. Miatas have had this feature since the beginning, I believe.

    Embargo respected

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2 EV’s would be a lot more useful if there was a place to charge them. Right? I’d certainly consider an EV or plug-in hybrid if I had a way to charge it at my condo. That might not be considered a “public” charging station, though, as the show refers to.

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    Did anyone watch the video of the Volvo with auto stop hitting a couple of bystanders caused it FAILED? Funny stuff, lucky no one cot killed, yeah there is a future for autonomous cars, I can see pedestrians scattering when they see one approaching them. Also another client with a Civic hybrid whose battery had to be replaced after only 2 yrs. Anyone knows if it’s battery or system failure that causes this, while the Prius does not have this problem?

  7. Rob Says:

    As for the larger touch screens, I believe the first automaker to integrate a removable tablet into the dash will find huge success. You could remove it and familiarize yourself with the screens at your leisure. You could download apps, navigation, music, contacts even movies and take them with you. Oh and best part would be when your car is 6 years old, you buy a new tablet and have the latest technology and not 6 year old software like the competition.

  8. Rob Says:

    The automakers should be developing apps to control the HVAC system and provide vehicle information to a tablet. Concentrate on building great cars and let the silicon valley folks develop software.

  9. HtG Says:

    8 If carcos don’t stay on top of the tech consumers demand, they will cede control of their industry to the silicon tech world. Look at the music industry. The geeks are always looking for models to disrupt. Oops, did I just say Apple?

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 The 2010 and earlier Civic Hybrids have NiMH batteries like a Prius, so it seems that the charge-discharge algorithms of the Prius are easier on the batteries. I’m guessing that the Honda discharges the battery deeper, while the Prius only uses the middle part of the charge-discharge cycle, which is easier on batteries. That’s just a guess, though.

    The difference in battery failure rate between a Civic hybrid and a Prius is dramatic, REALLY dramatic, in CR’s 2013 survey results. 0.1% of Priuses had battery failures, while 32% of Civic hybrids had battery failures.

  11. HtG Says:

    Personally, I see autos becoming a compliant part of the new landscape of the planet where we’re surrounded by and ensconced within thinking sensors whose inputs and outputs are mediated for profit inside remote data centers. Billions and billions of sensors.

    Just me?

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 That 0.1% vs 32% is for 2010 cars. Going to older ones, 14% of 2004 Civic hybrids had battery failures, but only 1% of same year Priuses.

  13. Brett Says:


    From my understanding, it did not fail. It was not installed on the vehicle they select to use.

  14. pedro fernandez Says:

    #13 That is one big OOPS! or since it was a Latin country, it would have been AY CARAMBA! Kit this Civic was most likely a 2012 or 13 since the 3 yr lease is up, no more hybrids for this family.

  15. pedro fernandez Says:

    Yes correct, they did not order the option on that model, this is really funny now! The headline is very misleading. Volvo needs to start filing law suits over this, cause you know it’s gonna get reported incorrectly over and over again. It will hurt sales for sure.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    This gives the name “crash test dummies” an all new meaning.

  17. W L Simpson Says:

    I’m holding out for Toyota’s pure electric, minimal batts, constant duty gas powered linear gen. The present Prius puts the rest to shame.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14, Pedro, a ’12 or ’13 Civic hybrid would have a lithium battery, rather than NiMH, but it still sounds like they are running the battery too low, or charging it too high. I wouldn’t want a hybrid either, if the battery only lasted two years, even though it would be on warranty. Maybe he should try a Toyota hybrid. Still, it’s surprising to me the Honda doesn’t have this figured out, and fixed. They’ve been selling hybrids longer than anyone else.

  19. FSTFWRD Says:

    Yes, I believe Mazda’s MX-5 has had the “truss” from day one, 1990.

  20. HtG Says:


    I just read in the Automotive News that Ford’s F series trucks account for 90% of the company’s global profit. This according to Morgan Stanley. The Franchise indeed.


  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Somehow Honda does not care about hybrids, the Accord did not sell well, the Insight was horrible. I cannot believe that they could not compete with Toyota and offer a decent Hybrid, too bad since the Civic was a nice platform upon which to build a good hybrid, but battery issues and mediocre mileage kept it extremely low volume in sales.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It looks like the Miata truss is to make the differential rock back and forth with the engine. Is that the case?

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …or to prevent the engine rocking, by tortionally connecting the engine and diff.

  24. HtG Says:

    The truss bolts to the back end of the transmission and to the front of the diff. It’s kind of meaningless to talk about which end of the drivetrain is stabilized. Responsiveness of the contact patches to the throttle is the idea. Now, maybe the coming truss is even stiffer than before.

  25. HtG Says:

    I think it’s safe to say that the journos who’ve driven the 2016 Miata are very impressed, and Mazda knows it. One of the things I’d like to know more about is to what degree the driver can turn off the nannies: Come on, it’s only about 155 horsepower.

  26. HtG Says:

    24 Actually, maybe it is the engine that’s being stabilized, since the diff is bolted to a sub-frame already. I guess I have more to learn. I know that a fault of the Civic is that under certain circumstances you can wind up the motor and feel it bounce around against its mounts. Miata never treated me that way.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It sounds like the Miata truss does the exact same thing as a torque tube, but looks different.

    With a front driver, the entire torque multiplication is transferred to the engine, rather than just the transmission, less differential as with rear drivers. Front drivers use torque reaction arms, etc. to control it, but there is a lot of force trying to rotate the engine/transaxle in a front drive car.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    26 I haven’t experienced it in years, but when my van was newer, and I did a few aggressive launches, it would sometimes get into a nasty oscillation where it felt like it was breaking something. It probably would have broken something if I’d done it very often.

  29. HtG Says:

    Interesting that Mazda hasn’t offered me a press car yet.

  30. Drew Says:

    Actually the Volvo was equipped with an auto raking system. But they failed to re-initiate the system after they had a battery disconnect. Nevertheless, it was a huge embarrassment to Volvo.

  31. BobbyT Says:

    When I was a Ford engineer, we looked at doing the Mazda type truss on a car, can’t remember which one, but I think it was an early ’80s Tbird. Never did it though. We called it a torque arm, and as Kit said, it performed the same function as a torque tube. It’s an old idea. I’ve seen them on Pierce Arrows from the ’30s.