January 3rd, 2013 at 11:48am
In China you can now get a ticket for running a yellow light. The debate over DuPont-Honeywell’s new automotive refrigerant heats up after it fails Daimler’s internal safety test. One man’s trash is another man’s… garage floor? All that and more, plus John McElroy talks with the head of BMW i design about what went into the interior of the i3 electric.
Hello and thank you for joining us for another report from Autoline Daily. Here are some of the things taking place in the global automotive industry today.
1-2-3 RED LIGHT
In America it seems that everyone is running red lights these days. But in China you can get a ticket for running yellow lights. According to Bloomberg, drivers will receive six demerit points for running a yellow. They lose their license if they reach 12 points. Not surprisingly, the new rule, which started the first of the year, is not popular. Critics argue that driver’s won’t be able to brake fast enough to avoid running a yellow light. It’s estimated that there are 250,000 traffic deaths in China every year.
AS LONG AS THEY DON’T IPAD THE BILL
Mopar is in charge of all the dealerships at Chrysler and when Mopar’s CEO, Pietro Gorlier was on Autoline This Week he said one of his top goals was to improve the dealership experience for customers and improve profitability for the dealers. Now the Detroit News reports that when customers bring their cars to the dealer, a technician will plug an iPad into the car and bring up everything about it, from tire pressures to service bulletins. Right now they’re beta testing the system but customers seem to like seeing everything about their car within seconds of driving in the service doors. It’s optional for dealers to use, but Chrysler thinks 1,000 of its 2,400 dealers will use it.
HEY, DON’T THROW THAT AWAY
A company called repurposedMATERIALS takes industrial byproducts and repurposes them. For example, it’s taking conveyor belts from mining operations and using them for garage floors, truck bed liners, and other things. Used conveyor belt rubber is much stronger than other rubber materials of similar thickness, even in extreme temperatures. Not only does it keep this stuff out of landfills, it can be 50 percent to 75 percent cheaper than using new material. I think I’m going to have to take a look at this for my garage floor.
NOT SO COOL REFRIGERANT
A new refrigerant designed by DuPont-Honeywell to reduce the global warming potential of automotive A/C systems just failed Daimler’s internal safety tests. It simulated a high-speed crash in which the refrigerant, known as 1234yf, was released into an engine compartment heated to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. In each of the more than 20 tests, a fire broke out. I had heard this refrigerant is safer than the current R-134a refrigerant. But I guess the book is still out on this one.
JAGUAR ADDS AWD
Rear drive cars can be a handful in snowy conditions, so Jaguar will now offer all-wheel-drive in the XJ and XJL sedans. The driver can choose from 3 different setting. The system defaults to 100 percent rear-wheel-drive but can also send 100 percent of the power to the front wheels, which should help maintain that classic Jaguar driving experience.
Wow, we sure got a lot of guesses about that car I found out in the woods that we covered in yesterday’s show. We’ll dive more into that tomorrow when we do our Barn Finds segment. But all I’ll say for now is that the Spitfire name on the engine is the clearest clue we’ve got.
Coming up next, the BMW i3 gives us a hint at the future of interior design at the Bavarian automaker.
BMW i3 ELECTRIC
(The i3 interior design can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
We’re getting closer and closer to the introduction of BMW’s electric cars. And the company is taking a decidedly different approach to designing the interior of those vehicles. Recently I asked Benoit Jacob, the head of design of BMWi to point out what they did with the interior of the i3 electric.
Supposedly we’ll see the i3 in production sometime later this year.
Say, before we go, please be aware that Autoline After Hours will be on tonight at its regular webcast time of 6 pm eastern time. If you want to know what’s in store for the automotive industry for 2013 we have a great prognosticator joining us. Anthony Pratt the head of forecasting from RL Polk will be joining me and that outrageous, bodacious, Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for the best insider’s view of what’s happening in the car biz. That’s right here at Autoline.tv.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.