November 13th, 2012 at 11:36am
An international agency says that the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production by the end of the decade. Honda shows off the Civic’s new face prior to its Los Angeles debut. For the first time ever, women rule the roads. All that and more, plus we preview Continental’s newest safety technology developed to meet stricter safety regulations.
Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Coming up later we have some news from the guy that many of you taken to calling “Sandy Claus” — the one and only Sandy Munro. But, before we get to that, here’s what’s hot off the presses.
U.S. TO DOMINATE GLOBAL OIL PRODUCTION…AGAIN
In what is going to become a geopolitical game changer, the International Energy Agency based in Paris, says the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production by 2020. It’s all about shale oil and fracking. And it says natural gas will replace oil as the primary energy source in the U.S. by 2030. That doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices for gasoline at the pump, because those are set by the international market. However, U.S. oil consumption is declining and is expected to decline for decades. Here’s my Autoline Insight: this could have a big impact on the 2017 review of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations. The pressure to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 could ease up. It’s unlikely the target would be reduced, but it’s possible the auto industry would be given more time to achieve it.
TAKING 700 POUNDS OUT OF A VENZA
Speaking of CAFE, on Autoline After Hours last Thursday, Sandy Munro, whose company does all kinds of vehicle teardowns, showed us a study they worked on with the company FEV. They essentially redesigned a Toyota Venza, reducing its mass by 700 pounds, or about 313 kilograms. And yet they also reduced the cost by $148, while meeting all the crash standards. This was a government sponsored study so the results are public information. Check out today’s show notes for a link to that study. But I warn you, it’s almost 900 pages long.
HONDA’S MICRO EV
Honda unveiled a tiny EV concept car in Japan called the Micro Commuter Prototype. It’s designed for short-distance trips for families with small children, senior citizens, delivery services and car sharing services. The EV has a range of 60 kilometers or 37 miles and a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour or about 50 miles per hour. The company will start testing the vehicle in Japan next year.
CIVIC GETS A MODEST FACELIFT
And speaking of Honda, the company just revealed the 2013 Civic before it debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. The company says the refreshed model incorporates more upscale and premium styling to go along with new safety, comfort and chassis features. I’d say this is a fairly modest facelift that is a step in the right direction. It goes on sale later this month.
WOMEN RULE THE ROADS
Here’s a seismic cultural change. Last week we reported that a new study says women are better drivers than men. Now the AP reports that for the first time in the U.S. there are more women with a driver’s license than men. In 2010 nearly 106 million women had their license compared to 104 million men. And that gap will only widen if current trends continue. Fewer young adults are getting their license but the decline is greater for young men.
Coming up next, a look at how German supplier Continental is helping automakers receive five-star crash ratings.
CONTI’S EMERGENCY BRAKE SYSTEMS
Safety regulations for cars are becoming more stringent in the U.S. and it’s the same case in Europe. In the coming years, automakers are unlikely to receive five star ratings from the EuroNCAP, the continent’s rating agency, unless vehicles are equipped with driver assistance systems. That’s why German supplier Continental is developing several different emergency brake assist systems, to help automakers pass the stricter tests.
I think we’re going to see dramatic improvements in safety in the next decade. That technology is really impressive.
Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours when the Autoextremist and I will have the chief engineer of Ford’s new Fusion on the show. Here’s your chance to learn how Ford went about developing that car.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.