AD #1654 – See Beauty in Death, Achates’ OP Engine Update, ZF Develops Urban Cruiser

July 9th, 2015 at 11:48am

Runtime: 8:44

- Hyundai-Kia Develops Fast Wireless Charging
- VW Sets Fuel Consumption Record
- Concours Event Showcases Hearses
- Double Fuel Economy at No Extra Cost
- Supplier ZF Makes Own Urban Cruiser

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31 Comments to “AD #1654 – See Beauty in Death, Achates’ OP Engine Update, ZF Develops Urban Cruiser”

  1. HtG Says:


    Two questions
    1 how do the half shafts make that angle?
    2 Does the car communicate directly with the smartphone/tablet or must the link go through a remote datacenter?

  2. MJB Says:

    So did the Lincoln MKT snag one of the coveted six pots at this years Concours D’Elegance hearse showing?

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I watched the segment on the Achates engine…very impressive imho.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    KIA’s getting 92% efficiency with cordless charging is impressive, but still, the 7-8% cost of laziness relative to the 99+% grid to car efficiency you get when plugging it in seems kind of high to me.

  5. Rob Says:

    Just curious what happens when your cat decides to crawl under your cordless electric vehicle while it charging?

  6. pedro fernandez Says:

    #4 the same people that can not or will not manually open a hatch or a trunk lid.

  7. MJB Says:


    Well Kit, I think most folk will live with that percentage of loss. In fact, if the iPhone had inductive charging built-in, I’ll bet no one would classify it as ‘laziness’.

    I only bring the phone reference to bare because the Palm Pre (my personal favorite smart phone of all-time) was the first (and only for many years) to have built-in inductive charging. The only people who dismissed that feature as useless at the time (and there were many) were the ones who had never experienced the absolute freedom of being able to just set the device down on a surface to charge, or pick it up when ready to go – instead of all the gymnastics involved in using cords.

    Did the Touchstone inductive cradle make for slightly slower charging? Yep. Did anyone who experienced the ease of using such a charging method mind? Not many.

    My guess is not many people will mind the slight loss in efficiency here either. Too much convenience to be gained.

  8. Bob D Says:

    I wonder if the VW mileage record was set “legitimately”, or used tricks like an escort truck that Gerdes could draft behind the entire way. Regardless, 81 mpg on an 8200 mile loop is impressive.

    With diesel prices recently favorable to gas, I had finally convince myself to order a redesigned 2016 Cruze with a diesel, only to find out GM is dropping the diesel for 2016. A new diesel is supposed to be available in 2017, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I will probably continue to plug in my phone, even if/when inductive charging becomes more commonplace, unless they get to inductive or capacitive charging that is nearly the efficiency of plugging it in.

    There is a much bigger difference with cars, though. We are talking about charge rates of thousands of watts, and more than a killowatt hour of power a day per vehicle being thrown away. with cordless charging. Yes, there are so many phones that, for now, if all of them used cordless charging, the total power wasted would probably be greater, even at a few watt hours a day. I’d guess that cordless charging efficiency of phones could be better than with cars, though, because the charging dock could accurately position the phone for best efficiency.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 The TDI would get over 50 mpg just driving at a steady speed of 60 mpg, but as the article said, they used a noted “hypermiler” to get the 80+ mpg.

    I suspect he would have used all of the known tricks, including accelerate-and-coasting, tailgating 18 wheelers, and just holding the speed down. I suspect they had a number of obscene gestures displayed to them during the run.

  11. rick Says:

    if achates engines are production ready and are twice as fuel efficient as normal gasoline engines, dont know why boating industry isnt beating path to their door. seems like they`d benefit most.

  12. Albemarle Says:

    A Kia Soul has a 30 kWh battery. If it was quite low, say needs 24 kWh of recharging, an 8% efficiency drop translates to less than 2 kWh loss or about 20 cents. I think the convenience is worth the cost.

    #5 Unless the cat has a bunch of wire inside it, I don’t think it would be harmed.

    I think this kind of technology will help make EVs more popular.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    I bet they did not drive through any urban areas, otherwise shooting a middle finger would have been the least of their problems.

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 To me, it’s not the money, but the idea of burning that many more tons of coal, or million cubic feet of natural gas, whatever, a year for a little convenience. Yeah, I’m probably in the minority of Americans regarding such things.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    13 Too true in many urban areas.

  16. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit, do you recycle a lot? I do recycle as much as possible even though I know a few people are getting rich on recycling stuff, but I care more about saving the environment than that, IMO it was a big mistake eliminating deposits for returned bottles and such so many years ago.

  17. cwolf Says:

    Bottle deposits were a good idea, pedro. I think ALL beverage bottles should be in glass because plastics are polluting land and sea. Betcha you didn’t see many pop bottles along the road when a deposit was in place. Heck, when a kid, I collected enough bottles in an afternoon to buy a case of pop and beer for dad when visiting the tobacco fields in S. Carolina.

  18. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Were I ever to have a plug in car,which I will never own,but just sayin’ I would have no problem actually plugging it in.What’s it take,30 seconds or less?

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    We still have bottle deposits here in Oregon,wow….what a surprise,lol.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I recycle what I can, or at least I intend to. In both FL and IN, they say to put aluminum, steel, glass, paper, and most plastics together. Sometimes I wonder if all of this stuff really gets separated and recycled, but if not, I can’t do much about it.

    Something that bugs me is the bottled water fad, with hundreds of millions of plastic bottles made each year, for nothing. Some of these bottles get recycled, but many do not. Even if all of them were recycled, it takes a lot of energy to re-make bottles and truck water around. People don’t seem to realize that their own tap water is probably safer than someone elses tap water from a plastic bottle that may be outgassing carcinogens. Sorry about the rant.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I don’t know if it is still this way, but when I was in Czechoslovakia in 1992, all of the beer was sold in thick, heavy, returnable bottles. The bottles were interchangable among brands, and varied in color from brown, to various shades of green, with a few clear ones. I found that re-use of bottles refreshing, even then.

  22. G.A.Branigan Says:

    We recycle here too.Separate dumpsters for cardboard,co mingle,plastic and packing peanuts and the like,then just plain ol garbage.easy setup,no muss no fuss.We keep three small trash cans in the house to keep things separated.We’ve been doing this for so long it’s pretty much an automatic thing.We don’t mind it at all.

  23. C-Tech Says:

    @ #5 I think the charging system efficiency goes down about 10%,depending on the size of the cat, the cat’s efficiency will likely suffer over 50% reduction.
    The other question is if the floor / charging system is wet and you are wet from the rain, how much will your efficiency be reduced?

  24. HtG Says:

    You can also think about the efficiency a convenience charger has in enticing more people to get an electric car. If you compare the lower efficiency against increased adoption, maybe that’s a good trade off. And it isn’t as if cars aren’t filled with convenience features already; somebody’s buying that stuff.

  25. Roger T Says:

    30 seconds under heavy rain to plug your car in would be a big inconvenience, yes. At the same time, having to stop at a gas station and (omg) pump your own gas will seem so last century.
    Plus inductive charging would be easier to spread around in normal parking, fewer obstructions in public sidewalks and less visible to everyone. The losses are significant, but personally I wouldn’t be afraid of frying my cat, but I would be afraid to be microwaving my pants, no matter what experts say. That in my opinion is a solid bias against this electrified mat.

  26. Rob Says:

    Why limit inductive charging to your garage? Just energize the pavement and forget battery’s all together. Can be like the slot cars I had as a kid.

  27. MJB Says:


    I’m telling you, G.A., (I think) you’re saying that because you haven’t experienced the ease-of-use that inductive charging affords.

    A lot of folk (mostly iPhone fanboys) poo-poo’d Palm’s Touchstone inductive charging dock for the Pre back in 2009 citing the exact same argument you’re making. But once you use the technology, you realize how nice it can be NOT to have to “take the extra 30 seconds” to plug/unplug. Especially when you have one mounted in your car (like I did) and it has a magnetic base that holds the phone snugly to the dock even when cornering and braking hard.

    It’s all about one word today: Convenience.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, convenience things can be nice, if they come at little cost, and no recurring cost. I like the keyless entry/starting of my Prius, but if it caused me to use an extra 500 pounds of coal a year, as cordless charging of an EV would in an area using coal fired power plants, I would’t like the idea.

    I use a phone using micro usb for charging, and with the battery losing capacity, I need to plug it in twice or more often a day. I have the “top” of the connectors marked to make it easy, and it doesn’t bother me. My phone stays in my cup holders, even when cornering vigorously.

    Yeah, I guess I don’t value convenience as much as many people. Heck, I even drive manual transmission cars about half the time.

  29. Bob D Says:

    I’d say the main danger to cats and induction charging is when the cat gets run over by the owner because the cat was napping under the car on the floor charger pad, warmed from the efficiency loss.

  30. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I have a charger on the powerstrip on the side of my desk,plugging in my phone to charge it is an almost automatic thing for me.I’m not one to go and buy a new technology for the ‘latest and greatest’.What I have works,and works very well.The rare times I need to put my phone on charge in the car is when I’m using the gps feature,and when I use that,I have it in the docking thing that keeps it charged up.I guess I’m not an ‘up to date’ kinda guy.

  31. Bob Wilson Says:

    I hate stunts because they give a false impression that ordinary driving will ‘be like this.’ It is like advertising ‘highway mileage’ so no one notices the car is an urban gas/diesel hog. Still, I did a driving stunt in July 2013 (see web link.)

    Using just cruise control over a three week period, I burned 10.9 gallons, ~$35, to drive 1000.8 miles. My average speed, 22 mph done on cruise control set to 25 mph in town.

    The Prius trick was: (1) always drove 2 hours on every trip; (2) drove on less-traveled, 4 lane streets so people could easily pass; (3) drove outside of ordinary commuting hours, and; (4) hit ‘flashers’ when overtaking traffic was not in the passing lane so they could easily change lanes.

    Nobody noticed; nobody flashed lights or showed the finger; and I was able to confirm that ‘warm-up costs’ are the greatest MPG penalty.

    This driving stunt had a technical purpose, to confirm the ‘warm-up’ hypothesis. It also let me verify a simple control law change that would give everyone an improved MPG.

    I don’t like ‘driving stunts’ used to mislead potential customers . . . called lying or some call salesmanship. However, I do like testing to find ‘low hanging fruit’.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL