January 10th, 2017 at 11:45am
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- Stop Quick, It’s An Emergency!
- I Can’t Find My Keys
- Sierra Club Slams EV Marketing
- Used Batteries Get Second Life
- Red Hot Manufacturing
- Aero Wheels Make MPGs
On today’s show… are car keys heading the way of the dodo bird?…the Sierra Club says automakers need to do a better job of marketing electric vehicles… and how a new manufacturing technique is helping automakers cut weight from vehicles. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
STOP QUICK, IT’S AN EMERGENCY!
With the amount of technology that’s crammed into cars today it’s more important than ever for drivers to fully understand each system and how they work. And according to AAA more education needs to be done with Automatic Emergency Braking. The agency conducted a series of tests on vehicles equipped with the technology and found that the systems vary greatly in performance. For example, systems designed to prevent crashes reduced vehicle speeds by twice that of systems designed to only lessen crash severity. While both systems avoid crash situations under 30 MPH pretty well, the more robust systems do a much better job at reducing vehicle speed when pushed to and beyond their limits. You may remember back in March a group of 20 automakers announced they will make automatic emergency braking standard on all cars by 2022. So, as more cars get equipped with the technology you can see why it would be important for someone to know which system they have. Especially when 66% of Americans currently think Auto Emergency Braking systems are designed to avoid crashes without driver intervention.
I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS
Are car keys headed for extinction? Continental developed an app that uses smartphones to do everything your car keys or key fob can do. It will turn on the lights as you approach your car at night and open the trunk when you stand near it. It will adjust the seats and mirrors, and choose your favorite music. And even if your phone is in your jacket or purse in the back seat you can start the engine. OK, a lot of key fobs can do this already. The main selling point about using smartphones is that they’re perfect for car sharing. The car sharing service can download the “keys” to your phone, and then disable the keys once you’re done driving. This is also perfect for fleet managers and dealers who have to monitor and move the cars in their inventory. Now they don’t need physical keys or key fobs. They can handle it all with one smartphone. Continental says this technology will hit the market in 2020.
Still to come… a look at what steps automakers can take to boost sales of electric vehicles.
SIERRA CLUB SLAMS EV MARKETING
Sales of electric cars only account for a small percentage of the total U.S. market, and the Sierra Club says it thinks it knows why. It says most car companies and dealers do a terrible job of marketing and selling them. It suggests dealers need more EVs in inventory, to display them more prominently and advertise more about them. And they need to do a better job of training their salespeople to sell EVs, especially on the kind of rebates and tax credits buyers can get. The Sierra Club ranks Tesla, BMW, Chevrolet and Nissan as the best at selling EVs. It says that Mercedes, Porsche, Hyundai and Volvo are the worst.
USED BATTERIES GET SECOND LIFE
And speaking of electric cars, one of the questions with them is what will happen to used batteries once they need to be replaced. A report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that they could be a perfect solution for low-cost battery storage. The study found there will be 29 GWh of used EV batteries coming out of cars in 2025 with around a third of those living on as stationary storage. Currently it can cost up to $1,000/kWh for a new stationary storage system. Used EV batteries could drop that to only $49/kWh in 2018 plus another $400/kWh to convert it to stationary storage. This is why companies like BMW, Mercedes and Nissan are developing their own second-life stationary storage systems.
Coming up next, a look at some creative solutions automakers are using to improve fuel economy.
RED HOT MANUFACTURING
Automakers need to cut weight from cars to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. One of the materials they’re turning to is ultra high strength steel. That steel is so strong that you can use a thinner gauge, which helps cut weight. But it’s so strong it has to be softened up before it can be stamped. Otherwise you’ll break the dies. So stamping companies like Gestamp are using a new manufacturing method they call hot stamping. Here’s how it works. They start with steel coils that get cut into sheets. Those are fed into a blanking press which trims them to the proper size. The blanks are moved by robots onto a conveyor line that feeds them into an oven. That heats up the blanks red-hot, almost instantly. Now that the blanks are hot and soft they can be transferred into a press and stamped into the final part. Hot stamping is now being used to make A and B pillars and other structural components. And to us this shows how creative the automotive industry can be when it comes to meeting fuel economy standards.
AERO WHEELS MAKE MPGs
And speaking of regulations, automakers and suppliers are knocking their brains out trying to use every last drop of fuel they can. But changing wheels can make a remarkable difference and here’s one the supplier Lacks developed called the eVOLVE wheel It uses a light-weight aluminum backbone that is covered with a composite outer surface. Not only is the wheel lighter, it’s more aerodynamic. When tested on a 2013 Ford Focus SE it gained .4 MPG in the city and 1.1 MPG on the highway, using the same size wheel as the stock version. That’s a pretty significant jump in fuel economy and probably more noticeable than using something like Start/Stop.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and have a great day.
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