That Moment when Your Car Dies

I’ve never had a lot of luck in my life.

I’ve never had a lot of luck in my life. It hasn’t always been easy living the life that I do – I’ve never been able to hold down a steady job very well and I am honestly kind of bad with my money. I try to be a good person regardless of my own flaws but sometimes, life can be frustrating, especially so when it’s out of your control! i was driving through St. Louis to a new job and my car decided to kick the bucket. Luckily, I found st louis car service! Without this service, I would have been up the creek without a paddle and knowing my luck, probably in a canoe with a few holes in it, too. I know a lot of what happens in my life is going to be my fault because of the choices I’ve made and the consequences that follow.

Related Story – Get The top Deals for both Tire Rack And Advanced Autos

I Switched to Using Taxi Services in the City

I was looking for the best taxi services in the city where I live. I have to commute around the city throughout a normal business day. Though it is nice to have a private car to drive around in, it is a problem in the city. Parking is at a premium. All of the spaces in the building where I work are already leased. I used a public lot. When I would leave and come back, the lot would be full. I have had more than one occasion where there was no place to park. I started using a taxi to get around and it saves time and hassle. I get in the cab, get to where I am going and hop out. When it is time to go to the next place, I repeat the process.

Related Story – Get The top Deals for both Tire Rack And Advanced Autostaxi

I was checking out the taxi services that offer the most to the customer. I want clean cabs and great drivers. I also do not want to have to make sure that the driver is taking the best route. I want to be able to work during the commute.

GM’s Chairman Rick Wagoner Meets with Bloggers at NAIAS

Rick Wagoner Answered Questions On Several Topics

 

In an hour sit down with online journalists during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS[/ta), GM’s Chairman Rick Wagoner answered questions on several topics from the joint partnership announcement the day before with Coskata, to Tata Motors Nano, recently unveiled for the Indian auto market. Participating int he breakfast meeting were journalists including (but not limited to) Brian Dooley at HummerGuy.net, Lyle Dennis of GM-Volt.com, Joe LaMuraglia – Gaywheels.com, Paul Stamatiou, Gear Diary’s David Goodspeed, Hybridcarblog’s Chad Snyder, Hank Green of Ecogeek.org, Joel Williams of Lifegoggles.com, Alphamom’s Isabel Kallman, Autowriter Matthew Keegan, Philippe Daix of TopSpeed.com, PSP-Themes.org, Clayton Cornell of Green Options, and Autopia’sMarty Jerome.Image result for GM’s Chairman Rick Wagoner Meets with Bloggers at NAIAS

 

Your Responses

Lyle,

I saw the blogger press conference with Rick Waggoner. You broached the subject of risks (market et al.) with him but I found that his response was a bit dismissive of the risks and how they will deal with them. I would like him to address these risks and GM’s risk mitigation plan. He glossed over the technical risks and, more importantly the substantial marketing risks, with the major one being price. Specifically, the Volt may be a technical tour de force but people will be reluctant to pay much of a premium over a similarly equipped conventional auto even if it can be shown that the life cycle cost of a Volt is much less than its conventional equivalent. For example, look at the market acceptance of compact fluorescent light-bulbs (CFLs) versus incandescent bulbs.

Ten years ago, with power at 8¢ per kWh, it could be shown that a 15-watt CFL at $15 represented about a $25 savings over its 10,000 hour life compared to ten 60-watt incandescent bulbs at $0.50 a pop with a 1,000 hour life. Despite these demonstrable savings and the added benefit of fewer bulb replacements, CFLs did not fly off the shelves. Yes, the form factor was nerdy and the light was a bit stark but CFLs did not even take the basement or garage lighting market by storm. Even now with better quality of light, improved form factor, a price under $3 and higher power rates, CFLs have not displaced incandescent bulbs to the degree that logic says they should. It seems that the higher price is the sticking point. Will the Volt premium price have a similar effect on its market acceptance?

A key difference between a light bulb purchase and an automobile purchase is the four orders of magnitude difference in price. An auto motive purchase entails a detailed examination of choices (color, style, etc.) and affordability, which should include some life cycle cost considerations that will work in the favor of a Volt versus a conventional equivalent – for example, a calculation of the monthly cost (lease payments, fuel expenses, maintenance, insurance) of the possible choices. Sales people are sure to present the Volt in the most favorable light, e.g., fewer trips to the gas station, since its premium price translates to premium commission. For the customer, the premium price will lead to the demand for strong guarantees, particularly on the battery, to provide assurance that the Volt’s useful life is sufficient to recoup the premium price differential in the form of lower fuel and maintenance costs, e.g., fewer brake jobs. These strong guarantees will increase the carmakers risk which they can mitigate. I am thinking of other stakeholders in PHEV development that should be shouldering some of this risk. These stakeholders include environmentalists, government and the power companies.

The power companies would be major beneficiaries of market acceptance of the Volt. It is estimated that the current US power system has sufficient capacity to recharge 80 million PHEVs nightly with NO additional infrastructure. At 8 to 10 kWh per PHEV per night, we are talking additional annual revenue of about $300 per PHEV. Accessory and parts companies will also benefot hugely from a new era of components and even getting access to high quality tires at good cheap prices will be possible in time . The power companies recognize this potential windfall and have conducted studies that support the economics of PHEVs and better yet (for the power companies) EVs. As major beneficiaries, the power companies should be able to help in decreasing the risks of PHEV development. For example, Austin (TX) Power has talked about providing a $1,000 grant to PHEV purchasers in its serving area. Here is a link to a 2004 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) studies on PHEV and EV economics.

http://www.epriweb.com/public/000000000001009299.pdf

So, the question that I would like you to forward to GM is, “What are you doing to involve any of the other PHEV stakeholders in your Volt development?”

 

Knowing the Dynamics of Heavy Duty Brakes

We all know that brakes wear out. They are actually made to wear out. That is how they perform their function. But that does not mean you as a person who maintains trucks or buses would mind seeing them last just a little longer and perform just little better.Image result for "We all know that brakes wear out.

Michael Caggiano of Bendix Brakes says the goal of brake manufacturers is to get brakes to last longer without compromising their effectiveness. That means finding materials that will help the brakes perform their job with less damage, wear and tear. “To be quite honest, no one’s completely there yet,” he says.

News ; Grab Yourself Advanced Auto deals and coupons 

Unlike engines and other truck components, Caggiano points out, brakes often come last from an innovation standpoint. “It is essentially the same brake today as it was in 1940,” he says. Yet everything else has changed, all the other dynamics from traffic to truck size. Trucks are performing in extremely different environments than in the past. Need proof? On many downhill grades, drivers today often have to rely on their brakes instead of downshifting.

In order to gain better fuel economy, modern H.D. vehicles have less rolling resistance and wind resistance, thanks to radial tires, aerodynamic designs, high-speed rear axle ratios, and less drag inside the engine. This adds up to a 30% decrease in the vehicle’s natural retardation versus 15 years ago, and the brakes have to take up the slack. So while engines and other truck components have progressed so that they need less maintenance than ever before, brakes are taking more abuse while their make-up remains only slightly changed.

What innovations will help bridge the gap between the brakes and the increasingly brutal environment they are expected to perform in? Caggiano says next to advances in friction materials, air disc brakes will help change the landscape of heavy-duty braking. Air disc brakes provide shorter stopping distances and are lighter and easier to maintain than drums, though their linings do not necessarily last longer. Already being used in Europe, Caggiano thinks other areas of the world will also see the proliferation of air disc brakes. However, he says it is going to take government action and changes to stopping distance requirements before air disc brakes become common because it is an expensive changeover.

Dennis Henson with Dana/Spicer’s Heavy Duty Axle and Brake Division, says the heavy– duty brake industry will continue to see wider brake packages and evolving brake linings. He believes wider brakes will offer fleets many benefits, such as reduced operating costs per kilometer or mile. As for linings, he says, “The challenge is, can you get them to wear longer?”

Spicer has several products available to help meet that challenge. The Class 7 and 8 Air Disc Brake System features easy-access quick-change linings to minimize maintenance labor and expense. Dana’s LMS brake package is available in both “low lube” and “lube free” versions to eliminate brake and automatic slack mechanism lubrication. “Low lube” versions increases brake and automatic slack lube intervals to 400,000 km (250,000 miles). The “Lube Free” version makes this traditional maintenance procedure entirely unnecessary. This has the potential of eliminating brake maintenance altogether for fleets that “turn” their vehicles every three years. Henson says the technology goes towards having the product serviced only when there are issues in it.

It is not easy for the brake manufacturers to keep up with all the developments affecting the world of heavyduty vehicles, however. “Every time you think you see the target, they. move it just a little bit,” Caggiano says. Whether because of emissions regulations, economic factors, or fuel availability and price, the brake industry sees a variety of changes it is forced to deal with.

Service issues are no different. Caggiano sees the biggest issue as a lack of good technicians. “The industry in general, not just brakes, needs warm bodies,” he says. With the rapid growth in the truck population, there is now a shortage of both service repair facilities and technicians capable of handling today’s complicated trucks. Regardless of how much training is done, technicians with solid experience are still needed. “You just cannot teach experience,” Caggiano says. “Jobs that should only take an hour and a half are taking five and a half hours.” He also mentions that brake repairs still require some basic hands-on work, grease and all, so many technicians do not want to do the job, preferring instead higher-tech work on other systems.

As for the future of heavy-duty brake service, Henson says it will be “smart” brakes with sensors that will have the ability to monitor lining wear and tear and provide an indication of when maintenance is needed. Caggiano agrees, saying brakes will become more technologically advanced, similar to engines. “It is on the horizon,” he says.

Why has the evolution of the brake industry lagged behind that of other systems, such as engines? Caggiano says it is because brakes have always been simple and dependable – you step on the pedal and they stop the vehicle. “It is not very glamorous,” he says.

Still, the brake industry continues to grow. For example, Dana Corporation is expanding, especially throughout Europe, having recently announced plans for a state-of-the– art technology center for research and development in Pamploma, Spain. “The European Heavy Axle and Brake Technology Center plays a key role in enabling Dana to provide value-added solutions to our customers – all over the world. We are dedicated to providing technologically– advanced, high-quality products that meet the needs of today’s European OEMs,” says Josetxo Zugalidia, general manager of Dana’s Heavy Axle and Brake division. Dana currently has 17 advanced technology centers located throughout Europe.

Source:
Park, Jocelyn (2001). Heavy duty brakes 2001. Auto & Truck International, 78(2), 26.

It’s Electric! Vectrix USA Launches ZEV Motorcycle

Vectrix Unveils Zero-emissions vehicle

unveiled their zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) in San Francisco at the Presidio last week. I had the opportunity to ride it with Jeff Morrill, Vectrix marketing director, and it was a lot of fun! (I want one!) At $11k, I’ll have to wait, although the State of California (where I live) is apparently very close to granting a $2000 rebate after purchase of the Vectrix, and that’s enough to make a difference for lots of people. If this machine gains wide acceptance, could it become the Prius of motorcycles? During taping, I couldn’t help but notice how quiet this bike is, especially after several loud scooters and motorbikes rode by! It sports some real appeal and even the road noise is very low due in part to the high quality tires we got a great discount on at Tire Rack using a coupon

Grab Yourself Advanced Auto deals and coupons Image result for It’s Electric! Vectrix USA Launches ZEV Motorcycle

Your Responses

  1. For a bit more than half the price I can get an Aprilia Atlantic 500, which has several times the range and tops 90 mph, or any number of lesser scooters that still go over 50 mph and cost as little as $2500.
    Wonderful concept, but the price needs to come ‘way, ‘way down if this is going to be anything but a very expensive “eco-toy.”

  2. You miss the point!! This is a HIGH PERFORMANCE ELECTRIC VEHICLE. Yes, you can get a scooter that has longer range and higher top end, but this will beat it hands down in acceleration and it has zero emmisions, zero noise. Total cost over four years – the Vectrix beats a combustion scooter too!!