AD #2030 – Customers Tooling Up Achates’ OP Engine, Faraday May Not Have a Future, Hella Develops Smart Headlights
January 24th, 2017 at 11:57am
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- Bernie Ecclestone No Longer Running F1
- Faraday Future Could Be In Trouble
- Paris Experiments with Autonomous Shuttle
- Achates’ Engine Getting Tooled Up
- Ford Announces New Parts Brand for All Makes
- Kia Niro Under Prices Competitors
- Hella Develops Smart Headlights
On today’s show… Achates Power says customers are already tooling up its radical engine, Faraday Future may be on the ropes and Hella comes up with a completely different way to make headlamps. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
BERNIE OUT OF F1
Yesterday we reported that Bernie Ecclestone may be out of Formula One. Today it’s official. He was named Chairman Emeritus but after 40 years of building F1 into what it is today, he will no longer be running the show. While you have to respect his achievements, most fans would agree that a change in F1 leadership was long overdue.
FARADAY MAY NOT HAVE A FUTURE
Faraday Future developed a game-changing, 1,000 horsepower electric luxury car. But we may never see it come to production. Business Insider reports that more than eight top executives quit the company late last year amid reports that it was running out of money and has $300 million in unpaid bills. It’s main investor, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, is publicly on record as saying he faces a cash crunch. That’s too bad. We got a chance to ride in the Faraday Future FF91 at the CES show and were knocked out by its acceleration and handling capabilities. One thing’s for sure. If Faraday goes belly up, it would be the perfect opportunity for one of the big car companies to swoop in and buy it up for pennies on the dollar. So just to get the rumor mill running, wouldn’t a car like this be perfect for Ford to buy and add to the Lincoln line-up?
YET ANOTHER AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLE
Autonomy is becoming closer and closer to reality. A number of companies are already testing self-driving cars on public roads for ride sharing. But now the city of Paris is experimenting with autonomous shuttles to transport passengers between two train stations in the city. Called the EZ10, it was created by French company Easy Mile and holds up to six people. The service is free and will operate 24/7 until April when the test concludes. Paris is experimenting with the autonomous shuttles as way to reduce traffic and pollution.
We’ve been talking about it for years, but finally, one radial engine is going into production. That’s coming up next.
ACHATES ENGINE GETTING TOOLED UP
You should know Achates Power by now. We’ve had its CEO David Johnson on our shows in the past and just the other day we reported how the company says a full-size truck with its opposed-piston engine will get 37 miles to the gallon. The real question is when the heck will we see one of these engines in production? Well, according to WardsAuto, Achates claims nine customers have hired the company to develop, build and test engines. It also says that some engine manufacturers are retooling plants in certain parts of the world to produce the opposed-piston engines. Look for the first engines to be built in China.
FORD GRABS SERVICE BUSINESS
Anyone who’s ever owned a Ford probably knows the Motorcraft name. It’s slapped on the box of nearly every Ford part. But now Ford wants dealers to service other brands, too. It just launched Omnicraft, an all-new brand of replacement parts for all makes of cars and trucks. As of now Omnicraft it focusing on the most commonly requested parts, including oil filters, brake pads, rotors, loaded struts, starters and alternators. But it plans to expand into 30 parts categories with about 10,000 total offerings. The parts will first be available through Ford and Lincoln dealers, which is a real benefit to them because they will now be able to service more non-Ford vehicles. And we’ll see the parts roll out to other Ford Authorized Distributors throughout the year.
KIA NIRO UNDER PRICES COMPETITORS
Kia is getting set to introduce its all-new crossover hybrid, the Niro, to the market. And now we know the price. $23,785. That includes keyless entry, a seven-inch touchscreen and the UVO infotainment system. The top line version costs $30,545 and comes standard with a power sunroof, front and rear park assist, and heated seats and steering wheel. Kia is aggressively pricing the Niro against its competition. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid starts at $28,755.
Coming up next, Hella comes up with a completely new idea of how to make headlamps.
HEY! WHO TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS?
Consumer Reports is heavily criticising car companies for having lousy headlights. In fact, it’s now including headlight performance as part of its Top Safety Pick Plus rating. Well maybe automakers need to take a look at a new LED headlamp system from the supplier company Hella. These lamps use over a thousand of individual pixels that can be turned on and off to greatly improve headlamp performance. For example, when driving on a country road at night the lamps stay on high beam. But so your headlamps are not glaring in the rear view mirrors of the car in front of you, the system turns off certain pixels. It almost looks like the car in front is in a black box. The same goes for vehicles passing by in the other direction. The pixels turn off in sequence so the oncoming driver is not blinded. We’ve some similar stuff like this before, but here’s where Hella has taken it another step further. Using the radar for the adaptive cruise control, potential hazards like a deer at the side of the road can be spotlighted by the headlamps. Even more, if someone is about to walk across the road, the headlamps can beam out a warning that’s projected onto the pavement right in front of the pedestrian. By turning pixels on and off as needed the headlamps can be much brighter without blinding other motorists. Look for headlamps like this to first appear in Europe, probably on a top line Mercedes-Benz.
Say before we go, don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours this Thursday when we’re going to have the amazing Chevy Colorado ZR2 in the studio along with Anita Burke, the chief engineer. This truck has amazing off-road, rock-climbing and desert racing capabilities. And yet, you can use it comfortably for everyday driving. So join John and Gary for some of the best insights with the people who really make this industry tick.
But with that we wrap up today’s report. Thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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