Mustang Parts
   Carrying Saleen wheels and Bullitt wheels.

Friday, April 27, 2012

SOLVED! TheAutoProphet Geocache Challenge 2012


Jason F. has solved the challenge and captured the prize.  However, in true geocaching spirit, he left the container with something new in it for the next person.

I didn't think it would still be there, but wow, there it was! So cool! Thank you for the awesome prize and sharing this great park with me. I will be coming back here for sure. Now in true geocaching spirit I left behind a little prize, and I plan on listing it on a caching site if thats ok with you?
Thanks again!

Ps. I plan on using this to detail my new-to-me 04' Grand Marquis.  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SAE Congress Tidbit: DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) Issues in US

Listening to an SAE Congress panel discussion about future powertrains. 

A question to the panel, regarding transmission, elicits an interesting comment on DCT (dual clutch or automated manual transmissions)

In the U.S., DCTs (e.g. Ford Focus) are not well liked because they have a less smooth low-speed and stop/start/creep performance compared to a traditional hydraulic torque converter equipped automatic.  In the U.S., customers are used to the very smooth performance of automatics, having mostly abandoned manual transmissions, so the jerky feel from DCTs is a big minus.  In Europe, most customers are coming from automatics, and are used to some clunkiness.

The industry hopes that customer acceptance in the US will increase as consumers become used to the feel of DCTs... but there is a real danger here to the technology, judging by the poor acceptance and near-demise of the CVT in the NA market.

Personally, I would nave no problem trading some clunkiness of a DCT for its advantages: fast shifts, full manual control, and no fluid to deal with.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The 2014 Impala

GM has unveiled the 2014 Chevrolet Impala at the NY Auto Show.  You can see nice photos here.

I like the exterior design, it is a big improvement over the current, ancient Impala. 

The interior is also a big upgrade, but to me seems a bit busy.

GM says that it will come with a choice of 2.5L I4, 2.4L eAssist (mild hybrid), and 3.6L V6 powertrains.  It should get pretty good fuel economy, but with the I4 engines pushing about 200HP, it is not going to feel very quick unless the weight is substantially reduced over the current model.  Looking at the photos, I'd be surprised if it is less than 3750#.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Ford's 5 "Myths", Aren't

Ford has a post on their web site listing 5 "myths" about electric vehicles.

I think these need a rebuttal.

Myth 1:
"The technology isn't ready."
Ford: "
Ford has been putting reliable, efficient hybrid electric vehicles on the road for over 10 years."
Rebuttal: Sneaky Ford is combining hybrid electric vehicles into the same bin as battery electric vehicles.  Truth is, Ford is about to release its first modern mass market BEV.  The electric Ranger of the late 1990's was a low volume fleet product.  And high profile technical issues in the new crop of EVs show that, in fact, the technology is still in flux.

Myth 2:
"Electric vehicles are too expensive."
Ford: "
Ford has yet to determine pricing on its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and all-electric vehicles. Though the initial price of these vehicles may be higher than a conventional gas-powered vehicle, keep in mind that the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is being designed to deliver maximum fuel efficiency. So you may be able to save money on fuel costs. Tax credits may also be available. Check with your appropriate local, state and federal agencies for more information."
Rebuttal: Ford has yet to determine?  They already announced an MSRP of $40,000 for the Focus BEV, and current HEVs, I don't expect the final prices to go down by much--batteries are still expensive.  Truth is, BEVs are prohibitive for most people to buy, until battery costs are reduced dramatically.   HEVs do have a faster payoff, yet even with $4/gal gas, they are not exactly flying off of the dealer lots.

Myth 3: "I'm afraid I'm going to get stranded when the battery runs out."
Ford: "
A Ford hybrid electric vehicle has a gasoline engine, so you're in no more danger of getting stuck than you would be if you were driving a traditional gasoline engine- powered vehicle. The battery of the hybrid electric is also continuously charged while you drive. As for the all-electric vehicle now in development, Ford is working with the public and private sectors to help create the infrastructure that will enable you to recharge your all-electric vehicle in a variety of locations other than your home."
Rebuttal: Ford again combines HEV and BEV into the same answer.  If you have a Focus BEV, chances are you will only get about 75 miles (according to EPA) on average.  That's a mere one hour of driving at Michigan speeds.  Anyone driving a BEV must be careful about range, because recharging takes at least 4 hours for a full charge.

Myth 4: "My commute is too long for an electric vehicle."
Ford: "Because a hybrid electric vehicle has a gas engine as well as an electric motor, no commute is too long for a hybrid. The Ford all-electric vehicle, currently in development, is targeted to go up to 100 miles on a single charge."
Rebuttal: The average daily commute is about 40 miles, so a 75 mile average range should cover it.  But if you are driving in the winter, and using the heater, you probably won't have much range left for the grocery run after work, or the detour to pick up the dry cleaning.

Myth 5: "They don't make electric vehicles in the style I want."
Ford: "Ford offers hybrid electric vehicles in the responsive, fun-to-drive Fusion as well as the Escape small SUV. Other Ford vehicles are currently in development."
Rebuttal: Escape HEV is about to be killed.  Transit BEV is in limbo along with Azure's future.  Which leaves two styles of vehicle--compact hatch and mid-size car.