AD #1388 – UAW to Elect New President, 1st Drive: BMW i8, 3D Printed Slot Cars

June 2nd, 2014 at 11:46am

Runtime: 7:33

- UAW to Hold Vote for New President
- IBM Starts Cloud Based Car Connectivity in China
- BMW i8 Driving Impressions
- Jaguar Develops Bike for Tour de France
- 3D Printed Slot Cars
- Baja Racing Jumps Into Our Hearts
- 2015 Toyota Camry Updates

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Hello and welcome to a brand new month of Autoline Daily. Thanks for joining us today.

Later this week members of the UAW will vote on a new president. Of course we already know who that is going to be. Dennis Williams will be overwhelming elected. The 61 year old spent most of his career at the UAW organizing truck and farm equipment manufacturers, and the Mitsubishi plant in Illinois. So how come we’re so sure that Dennis Williams will get the job? Here’s an insider tip. Whoever is the Secretary Treasurer of the UAW Executive board almost always ends up as the next president. And Dennis Williams is the Secretary Treasurer.

In-car connectivity is one of the fastest growing sectors in the automotive business, so it comes as no surprise that IBM is jumping in with both feet—in China. IBM will use the cloud to deliver internet services to cars. It hopes to have one million customers within a year and 10 million within a few years. But Bloomberg reports that with the United States and China trading accusations of cyber espionage, China does not like the fact that its banks use IBM servers, and it may not like million of motorists relying on them as well. However, IBM is working with a Chinese company, the TransWiseway Information Technology Company for the in-car connectivity, so maybe that Chinese connection will help.

We just got our first test drive of BMW’s all-new plug-in hybrid, the i8. And wow what a fun car to drive. There is nothing “green” about this vehicle once you’re behind the wheel and it easily tackled Southern California’s twisty mountain roads. There are three different settings you can drive the car in: EV mode, comfort mode which uses both the engine and battery and sport mode which gives the i8 even more performance. It’s got great power and seamlessly shifts between the different modes. The biggest drawback with the i8 is getting in and out of it. The doors open butterfly style and you have to contort yourself to get inside. The i8 goes on sales later this year with a starting price of $136,000.

Every now and then automakers like to use their know-how in the sports world. BMW helped develop the 2-man bobsled used by team USA at this year’s Winter Olympics and now Jaguar has helped develop a bike for the Tour de France. The company teamed up with Pinarello, an Italian bike maker, to help with the aerodynamics of the bike which will be raced by Team Sky. The new bike is 26% more aerodynamic than the outgoing bike and with a rider it’s 6% more aerodynamic. Jaguar also helped to reduce the weight of the bike by 9% as well. Those are significant improvements and we’ll soon see how well they work. Team Sky’s first race with the new bike is this weekend.

We’ve all seen some pretty cool stuff made with 3D printers and now it’s getting even cooler. A new slot-car racing series is getting under way that uses 3D printed bodies. Contestants will not only have to create their own car but will have to race it as well. And they’ll compete in several categories being judged on things like fastest car and best design. The first ever race will take place on June 10th in Detroit. Click the link in today’s show notes to learn all the details.

And speaking of Detroit, at this weekend’s Belle Isle Grand Prix I was surprised to see Baja-style extreme off-road truck race around the track normally reserved for sports cars and Indy cars. They put ramps out on the road course to launch the trucks well up into the air and down the track. And you could not believe the crowd’s reaction. Everywhere I went people were talking about the trucks. Even the most hard-core race insiders were talking about it. The series is run and promoted by race driver Robby Gordon. I think he’s really onto something. And maybe we discovered the answer to declining viewership at NASCAR, they just need to put ramps out on the track!

Coming up next, a look at how Toyota modernized and redesigned the Camry.

Our guest last week on Autoline After Hours was Monte Kaehr, the chief engineer for the Toyota Camry in North America. In the following clip, Monte explains how the company upgraded the best selling passenger car in the U.S.

(Today’s AAH soundbite is only available in the video version of the show.)

Coming up this Thursday on After Hours we’ll have Philip Jansen from Jeep with the new Renegade in the studio, so all you Jeep enthusiasts will want to see that one.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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13 Comments to “AD #1388 – UAW to Elect New President, 1st Drive: BMW i8, 3D Printed Slot Cars”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    I think the off road truck action looks cool! I hope Indycar keeps up the partnership. I’ll have to see if I can find a rebroadcast because I missed that entirely.

  2. RumNCoke Says:

    I saw those crazy trucks on track at last year’s Honda Indy Toronto. Nobody knew what to expect and then, all of a sudden, all hell broke loose. It was hilarious. I don’t know what they have to do with IndyCar but it sure is entertaining! Next, I would like to see local politicians on bicycles being chased around the track by angry bulls.

  3. Bradley Says:

    3D Printed slot cars is a great idea. Ten year old kids should have fun with that.

    I like the 2015 Camry. Too bad they aren’t bringing the Camry wagon back.

    I just got my second recall letter for my Yaris. Both received within weeks of each other.

    The first was for seat locking during a crash.

    The second has to do with an airbag cable malfunctioning, but if you have the problem there is an indicator light.

  4. Tom Cerbo Says:

    John, please stop waisting your “hard Core” viewers time with clips from the past as today’s show, or are you just getting a bit to lazy to show us new things we have NOT seen.

  5. Mike Says:

    One of the needs, especially in big, bureaucratic, Car companies is the need to stretch the legs of the young Engineers. SLA slot cars, tour de France bicycles, and various skunk works projects are all “challenges” to get the engineering team stretched to their limits. It feeds very well back into current product Engineering.

  6. MJB Says:

    Silly question here. Why was Bob King’s time at the helm so short?

    I haven’t bothered yet to ask the internets when it was that Getlefinger stepped down, but It feels as though King has only had the reigns at UAW for a few short years.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The biggest problem with the BMW i8, for most of us, is the $136K price tag. It’s got to be easier to get in and out of than my C4 Corvette.

  8. Jon M Says:

    Hmmm, the UAW fails to organize the foreign automaker transplants and shortly thereafter a new President gets crowned. Well, the failure may not represent Mr. King’s end, but I’m sure the pressure will be on for Dennis Williams to get those rank and file to submit to the UAW.

  9. Ziggy Says:

    John, you are so spot on when it comes to the jumpin’ trucks at Belle Isle this past weekend, they were wild and definitely the highlight of Saturday’s activities where I saw them live, I even saw the winner of the truck race flip his truck over on its side celebrating in Turn 5 where the trucks enter and exit the circuit. Definitely hope they come back again next year and have their races televised at the other venues. Robby Gordon definitely has a winner on his hands.

  10. C-Tech Says:

    The 3rd slot car idea is great for bringing young boys and girls into autos and engineering.

  11. w l simpson Says:

    It took cast iron gonads to offer up an ugly,smaller, $50k more money than a model S , or maybe the cast iron is between the ears.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The i8 makes the Volt, or even the ELR seem like a bargain.

  13. Carroll E. Gant, JR Says:

    I just got tired of NASCAR because going left for hours and the crashes are just stupid. I’m into teal Sports Cars and F1. The IMSA Tudor Series is great to watch and enjoy to the wite than the hours of back and forth of old boy NASCAR with ugly COT stock cars with fake front endd of street cars you can buy now from a Dealer like Sports Cars of Road Racing and tracks of the world that ho left & right and don’t crash or wreck and in Europe they run im light rain with rain tires… Da!