John's Journal: John McElroy's multimedia blog about the automotive industry

Archive for the ‘John’s Journal’ Category

What the Greens Want Next

May 2nd, 2008 at 4:37pm

As published by
WardsAuto.com

Small Cluster

If the auto industry thinks it’s going to have a hard time meeting U.S. fuel economy mandates or European CO2 limits, it ain’t seen nothing yet. Hold onto your hat with both hands folks, the regulatory push has barely begun.

I just had a fascinating discussion with three leading environmentalists in California, all with the goal of getting an idea of where the next round of CO2 regulations is headed. After all, as goes California, so goes the nation-and ultimately the world. And what the California environmental lobby wants is somewhere between 70 and 100 miles per gallon.

Automakers will wring their hands in anguish because the investment needed to hit those kinds of numbers is going to suck up much of their cash for decades to come. But they better figure out how to deal with it because I have no question the regulations are coming.

I spoke with Roland Hwang, Vehicles Policy Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council; Dr. Mark Bernstein, Managing Director of USC’s Energy Institute; and Dr. James Lents, President of the International Sustainable Systems Research Center. That interview will run soon on Autoline.

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AUTOLINE ON AUTOBLOG: Driving the Dodge Challenger SRT-8

May 1st, 2008 at 6:00pm

In Partnership With
Autoblog Logo

A couple of weeks back I wrote a bit about the new Dodge Challenger SRT-8. But to honor the embargo that the Public Relations people put on driving impressions, I had to hold the best stuff until now. And man, was it worth the wait!

Despite a sagging economy, sinking car sales and soaring gas prices, the SRT-8 version of the Challenger is . . .

This article continues on Autoblog

AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: FAW Pursues Ford Strategy

May 1st, 2008 at 4:11pm

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

Listen to this story:

Ford and FAW Logos

It sure looks like one of China’s biggest domestic car companies is pursuing the same fuel economy strategy as the Ford Motor Company.

A company called the First Automotive Works is one of China’s main car companies. And their chief technology office, a guy named Jun Li, was in town last week talking about their technology strategy.

Jun Li said that First Automotive Works is coming out with direct injection, turbocharged gasoline engines and will have them ready in 2010. That made me sit up and pay attention because that’s the exact same strategy Ford is pursuing.

Moreover, FAW was just awarded its first U.S. patent on a hybrid for a B-class car using a supercharged 2.0-liter engine that gets 40 percent better fuel economy. So if anyone wonders if the Chinese can compete in this market, it sure looks like they’re getting ready to.

AUTOMOTIVE INSIGHT: French want to Team Up with U.S. Partners

May 1st, 2008 at 1:00pm

As heard on
WWJ Newsradio 950

Listen to this story:

There is a consortium of automotive research labs in France that desperately wants to link up with their counterparts in America.

Over in France a group of companies, universities and government agencies have joined forces to do automotive research in the environment, safety, mobility and mechatronics.

They’ve got some real money behind them and they’re doing some heavy-duty R&D. For example, they’re down to the molecular level in studying spray patterns in diesel fuel injection systems to cut CO2 emissions.

The name of this consortium in France is called Mov’eo, and they were in town recently because they desperately want to team up with American companies and universities. Sounds to me like Mov’eo could be a great way to leverage your research budget.