VWs – US and Europe

The last Polo was on sale in the 2016. To the outsider it might not seem like the end of an era. This was after all the fifth generation Polo and it was declared World Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show in April 2010. But no more Polos made their way across the Atlantic.

It does seem a bit of a pattern. The vehicles available in Europe differ both in style and quality to those in the US. VW gets tax credits for manufacturing cars in the US yet there’s still that differentiation between the two markets.

There are models like the Golf Estate and the VW van California which although it might evoke the Californian spirit is not available in the state, indeed not elsewhere either.

There are some interesting features to the California camper such as the self-leveling system and a number of swivelling captain’s chairs. But VW doesn’t think there’s a profit in them stateside.

The European Passat is midsize, just below luxury quality. The US version however is more like an Audi (at half the cost of the Audi A6).

European Passat 2019

But is it all that different? There is an increase in torque and an improved interior but that’s ultimately it.

The Passat GT with the diesel or hybrid engine is not available in the US, so you will have to make do with other GT models.

Other European VWs include:

The VW Mk7 GTi had a Porsche style about it. The 2019 GTi is slightly similar, but not quite.

Mk2 Golf Rallye was used in the World Rally championship in 1986. It had a 1.8 liter engine and noticeable box-fenders.

VWs haven’t sold Coupes in the US since 1994; so more than 25 years. The Scirocco was based on Italian design. It was revived in 2006 and you might have thought it was for sale in the US, only it wasn’t.

What about the Rabbit Pickup? You may think anything pickup is a sure thing in the US market, but it’s hard to keep up with models like the Silverado. The Rabbit Pickup is a small front wheel drive; it’s not exactly an off-road vehicle. So, it’s not in available over here.

The ID3 is another example of a VW not being launched in the US, which is especially a shame as a new generation electric power. Because it is a hatchback it’s not considered that marketable, though there are some US customers who have been crying out for an electric VW.

If it was an SUV not a hatchback it would be a different matter. But all cars need to find their feet and Europe is the best place to experiment as far as Volkswagen is concerned.

It’s a global brand but make no mistake, the European style of VWs are nothing like the American VWs. But then again, all brands vary from country to country. It keeps the money flowing even if the product is not exactly the best.

Tesla Cars – Their Success Continues

Tesla seems to have a different way of selling than its rivals. They speak of being mission-focused, consumer-focused and giving a consistent experience, but how does it stack up?

There is certainly expansion occuring, not only in the US but also they are building factories in China and Germany. But why have they reached such lofty heights?

Despite various models, such as the Roadster, Model S and Model X they seem more than a car company. With (according to CNN) revenue valued at 24.6 billion, they are also a hardware and software company.

There are other authorities which speak well of Tesla – the Owner Satisfaction Survey in 2017, run by Consumer Reports, placed them highest. The survey looked into such variables as the driving experience, comfort and value amongst other items.

These cars are in majority sold online, selling cars directly to the customers instead of using dealerships. Their showrooms are in malls and places with high footfall instead of the regular out of town places. There is remote diagnosis and even remote repair so no need to visit the customer. Relying on mobile technology they don’t make a profit on service.

The prototypes of the Tesla were revealed in July 2006 in Santa Monica to 350 invited guests. It was certainly about quality, not quantity.

A loan from the US Department of Energy in January 2010 of a massive 465 million dollars was certainly good for business. It was repaid in 2013 in full. Tesla has been developing its technology in an environmentally friendly way ever since.

Surprisingly, the patents aren’t heavily protected but can be used by other companies. As a sidenote, the number of patents registered is certainly a sign that it’s a technology company with a emphasis on the internet; most car companies have only the odd patent. While they are flexible with their patents, there are several trade secrets of Tesla which do remain private.

If you wish to let Tesla self-drive, there is an autopilot program available. If you wish to drive it yourself reviews of the cars talk about a “feeling of acceleration” in addition to “ride quality.”

There is some controversy as to whether it is actually “self-driving,” the car still needs to be supervised. The Tesla can handle various automatic tasks such as lane centering, lane changes, self-parking and summoning cars from a parking space or a garage. It all sounds pretty cool.

20% of all electric cars were produced by Tesla, which given the strong Japanese and German electric car market this is quite an achievement. So in the grand scheme of all cars made in the world, Tesla has a tiny piece, however in an apples to apple comparison to similar cars produced they are a big fish in their tiny pond.

So, are you self-driving or are you supervising the driving? In September 2020 someone was charged with driving over 90mph, it appears both “passengers” where asleep. According to the authorities these support systems are meant to be complementary, the human behind the wheel is ultimately responsible.

Despite this differentiation from how other car makers sell their cars, there is a huge amount of choice with a Tesla. The sky is the limit—did you know they were developing a space program as well?

Ford SUVs

Ecosport

A mixture of SUV and a Smart car is one of the ways to think about the Ford Ecosport. There’s a certain capable, go anywhere attitude about it.

Bronco:

New models include the 2021 Bronco and the 2021 Bronco Sport, as well as the Mach-E. It might worry some people that the pictures tend to be computer generated images, rather than actual photographs.

Cars can be photographed before they go into pre-production, though it is a more expensive way of doing things. You can produce a car before they go on sale to the general public, but for some reason they don’t. It’s something we’ve had to get used to.

According to the Ford website, the Sport is more designed to be “adventure-ready.” Both have an EcoBoost engine, which means it is turbocharged, but also that it’s a gas engine, rather than electric. There are Hybrid Ecoboosts available, but Bronco Sport isn’t one of them.

The original Bronco was much more box-like than the 2021 model, though it does keep the grille and some of the flat body sides. Though more compact, it was still considered a SUV, bearing some similarities to CJ-5 Jeep and Dodge Ram Charger. Even today the Bronco keeps to its Goes Over Any Terrain original slogan.

Mach-E:

We referred to the Mach-E above, a big selling point of which is the All-Wheel drive and its ability to accelerate with some style. If you prefer you can also use the front axles, or alternately the back axles. It’s big selling point is the Mustang power. Like the Bronco, it is using an animal analogy here.

Kuga

For those who want a plug-in hybrid, you might consider the Kuga, the full hybrid will be available in the last quarter of 2020. “Full Hybrid” may seem a contradictory term, they do hold some electric charge but can rely on the usual combustion engine too. Given its the usual version, why did Ford start with the Plug-In?

There is also colors like a Chrome Blue (a metallic version of that specific tone) and three choices of silver-Moondust Silver, Diffused Silver and Solar Silver-moondust being the lightest shade. There is an opportunity to build your own Kuga online and observe how it looks on the road.

Though there is more choice with the Kugu than the Bronco and the Bronco Sport, the Broncos do appear to have more character and may be better designed for those with families. Apart from having clean fuel, it’s hard to grasp the personality of the Kugu. Shouldn’t clean cars also have a personality? Or do too many characteristics confuse the buyer. Still Broncos have the edge.

Given that Bronco delivers both sports AND utility they could be impossible to beat in this class, though the Mach-E gives them a run for their money. Only time will tell if the new Bronco garners the kind of cult following the earlier models enjoyed. Many people prefer a specific generation of Bronco so these new models will have to earn their spot like all SUVs.

What’s news: Big Tesla E-Semi Order

Tesla (TSLA) has secured a massive order of 130 Tesla Semi electric trucks from Walmart Canada.

Back in 2017, shortly after the unveiling of the Tesla Semi, Walmart Canada ordered 15 electric trucks from the automaker.

They have been adding to that original order and now almost 3 years later and after the Tesla Semi program was delayed, Walmart has announced that it is expanding its Tesla Semi orders to 130 trucks:

“Walmart Canada is now reserving a total of 130 Tesla Semi trucks, making it one of the largest reservations of electrified trucks in the country. The move comes on the heels of Walmart Canada announcing a major $3.5 billion investment over the next five years aimed to generate significant growth in the business and is aligned with  Walmarts global goal to target zero emissions by 2040 announced at Climate Week earlier this month.”

Tesla first started taking reservations with a $5,000 deposit per truck, but it later changed the listed deposit price to $20,000 for a “base reservation” of the production version and the full $200,000 for the “Founders Series” truck.

It means that Walmart would have placed over $2 million in deposits alone for the electric trucks and the total order could be worth over $20 million.

It makes this new order one of the biggest orders to date for the Tesla Semi….

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Emission Rules For Traffic

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) had developed clean automotive technology and state of the art testing to help prevent air pollution, even if a ZEV or Zero Emissions Vehicle is a long way away (it’s not quite the same as an electric vehicle, see below).

The regulations around vehicle inspection are all over the place. Some states require periodic safety inspection, some states require safety inspection upon sale or transfer. Some states require a safety inspection when registering from elsewhere (different state or country), for instance Maryland and Alabama.

It seems that most states are on the side of the businesses, they don’t require inspection tests at all. States such as Minnesota and Kentucky have removed their tests and other states may follow suit. The tests might be unpopular but having them is better for the environment than not having them.

California set the strictest standards of all, with legislation that predated the 1970 Clean Air Act. California’s new laws weren’t that popular with the automobile industry as a whole, to put it mildly, even though some feel it should be the standard for all states.

The rules for heavy duty vehicles are very strict-requiring ultra-low sulfur diesel – 15 ppm (parts per million).

Around the World in two Paragraphs

It’s not a problem confined to the US. In 2009 a regulation said that all new passenger cars should have 130 grams of CO 2 as a target, but it was finally phased in as late as 2015. It seems as if many countries are slow to catch up to the emission standard and in 2021 they are due to change again.

In a perfect world, all vehicles would be zero emission, but we have not got there yet. A Google search of Zero Emission Vehicles will produce a list of low emission cars such as Audi or Mazda. However, if a car is recharged from fossil fuel, it cannot be called a ZEV.

ZEVs

The problem is further exasperated by hybrids being sold as ZEV – the problem is does anyone know or care if it’s being run on electrical power or not after it is sold? There’s something is suspiciously wrong with the classification here.

Fuel Cell Vehicles may be considered the better of the low emission vehicles as they run on cells powered by Hydrogen, rather than traditional methods. They work by transforming the Oxygen in the air. Even these type of car rely on a natural gas power, so more fossil fuel. It does seem a bit of a battle here to change the status quo.

Changing the Status Quo

Low emission zones in certain towns and built up islands may be one way to fix it as long as they are enforced strictly. The larger vehicles, such as trucks have the toughest rules, but it doesn’t mean that SUVs aren’t a problem. Some areas are imposing a diesel surcharge and you might wonder if companies would rather pay the charge than alter the fleet of trucks. Legislation can only go so far.

What’s news: New Land Rover–it plugs in

“The advanced new P400e Plug-In Hybrid perfectly balances performance with fuel economy and all-electric off-road capability,” senior manager for powertrain advanced engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, Iain Gray said in a statement. “The latest model also provides refined and powerful new in-line six-cylinder diesel engines that bring improvements in fuel economy and drivability. They join a comprehensive range of powertrain options for Defender.”

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The Future of Transportation

OP-ED by Stephanie Larson

With the interstate building project of the 1950s, most U.S. cities suddenly became connected by paved roads. What was once dirt and gravel roads became paved asphalt highways. For car lovers, these highways were a dream come true. Drivers finally had long stretches of paved roads where they could see what their vehicles could do.

Some thought the interstate system was the future of transportation, but technology is advancing and changing how drivers get around. Here are some automotive advances you should watch for in the coming years.

1. Self-Driving Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are already here, and several car manufacturers have models slowly making their way up the guideline levels set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There are four levels and two sub-levels vehicles have to pass before considered fully-automatic and safe to drive.

Most self-driving models are at level one. The vehicle reliably provides drivers with warnings and information. Some vehicles are in the early stages of level 2 for automated parking and highway driving. However, Google is currently the company ahead at level four. While the company’s vehicle is fully-automated there are still a few glitches that need to be worked out.

Soon, your car may be the one driving instead of you.

2. All Electric Vehicles

Hybrid vehicles are becoming more common as technology progresses. The batteries are capable of holding a charge longer and the vehicles are getting a little bigger instead of smaller. All electric models still won’t be larger than a small sedan for quite some time.

One of the appeals electric vehicles have is its simple components. Without the need for gasoline, several components will no longer be necessary. The essentially scale-downed vehicles are also expected to cost consumers less in the purchase price and maintenance.

These advancements in technology have even lead Bloomberg New Energy Finance to predict electric vehicles will comprise 35 percent of worldwide car sales by 2040.

3. Self-Driving Electric Vehicles

It’s not uncommon for technologies to mix. Smart cars owe their intelligence to computer technology. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine smart electric cars. Automobile manufacturers with eminent plans to release self-driving technology in 2022 now include giants like Ford. However, the automotive giant plans on using the technology in their hybrid vehicles first.

In the future, ride share services like Uber and others could do away with their drivers. When you use the app to order a ride, a self-driving electric vehicle shows up. Instead of bus drivers and train operators, public transportation could also become fully automated, along with electrically powered.

With these vehicles, you are the passenger.

What These Changes Mean For You

It’s impossible to stop technology advancing and this means changes, even in transportation. Self-driving cars, both gas and electric will be on the roads in the future. However, this doesn’t mean that your love of the open road has to change.

Electric cars don’t have the ‘oomph’ that an 8-cyllander engine has. Self-driving vehicles are still crashing into things on road tests. However, these glitches will be fixed, and these automobiles will become a common sight on the interstate.

There is one thing that will remain the same regardless of how far technology goes. Vehicle maintenance will always be important. Even self-driving electric vehicles need regular tune-ups. You will also want to keep an eye on the battery condition. This is something that you should still be doing regularly whether you drive a hybrid or have a gas engine.

What’s news: Honda’s new EV

Honda had done hybrids but they’re now doing an all electric car…very tiny…but a car.

FILE PHOTO: A Honda E electric car is seen at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium January 9, 2020.REUTERS/FRANCOIS LENOIR

Most car companies, not just US auto-makers, but seriously most, are desperately trying to figure out how to make a bigger EV. Honda, who is entering the game a little later, is actually making waves by going small.

“The Honda e, released in Europe earlier this month, is a compact model meant solely for city driving.”

Maki Shiraki

Tesla dominates the market currently, and wisely started with a luxury sedan. Of Course Tesla was a startup company that needed to ramp up production. Selling a high ticket item with limited run capacity made a lot of sense.

Honda has evaluated the market and found a niche they feel they can dominate with an EV given the unique limitations of current technology.

I one sense they are removing the gas bill from a market that typically already drives very efficient vehicles. In another sense they’re removing carbon emissions from a community that is most conscious of smog.

Starting in Europe is the no-brainer choice as they have the highest population centers and highest fuel prices. They’re also less dependent on personal vehicles for longer trips as the rail system already fits that bill.

Story source.

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Car Controversies

Rare 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

In such a huge industry like the vehicle industry, you are bound to have a controversy or two. They pop up every so often. Some controversies are just about cutting corners to get round safety standards or environmental law. Others are life or death.

Generally speaking, businesspeople will keep to the rules though with the amount of money involved, there will always be a company willing to bend the rules if an investigative journalist is determined to find one.

Emissions Testing Controversy

One of the more recent controversies was the emission test scandal discovered in 2014. It was associated with VWs but it affected Chrysler, Nissan and Mercedes. It boils down to the same model vehicle showing different levels of CO² in American and European tests. There might be slight fluctuations in the test but not as much as the results submitted. Something was off it seems.

It’s not the first time that these emission tests have caused problems. In 1973 the “ambient temperature switches” (we would probably call it an air conditioner these days) seemed to affect the emission recall. More recently in 1996, there was a problem with the onboard software that seemed to alter the test results. Ultimately the only way validate emissions tests is to continually compare and contrast results from different locations.

The Hennessey Venom GT

Was the Hennessey Venom GT the fastest turnaround in production or was it just a complete ripoff of the Lotus? The evidence would suggest the latter, the chassis belonging to the Lotus Exige, according to sources. Though the manufacture involved various part of the Exige Hennessey remains adamant it is not associated with the Lotus—which doesn’t stop the car from being registered as a Lotus Exige (modified) with many DMV’s.

The Most Mysterious Controversy Yet

There was a limited number of the BMW 2002 Turbo, about 1700. There’s some discussion about why both Turbo and 2002 were written backwards on the vehicle, Journalists and police bemoaned this altered script, but it’s not clear why. Look into it yourself and let us know why you think this is a big deal (https://buy.motorious.com/articles/news/308437/bmw-2002-turbo-began-the-m-division).

Fuel from Water

There have been quite a series of water fueled car inventors that have spawned controversy.

The 1st thing you must understand is that there are two basic approaches to fueling a car with water. One is two split hydrogen out of the water using super-efficient nanotechnology to get as close to frictionless energy transfer as possible without breaking Newtonian physics, and the other is to toss out Newton and Einstein and use ninja techniques from Nikola Tesla’s mad years when he claimed frictionless forms of electricity exist. Guess which one is more accepted in the scientific community.

(For a deep dive on the technology follow this link. )

A company named Genesis World Energy/United Fuel Cell Technology patented a process to split water into HHO gas, and mixed it to create a fuel. Four years later, in 2006, after raising nearly three million dollars from investors, the owner of the company, Patrick Kelly, was convicted in New Jersey of theft.

In 2008, similarly named Japanese company Genepax announced a car that runs on water. But the company received a sound beat down by Popular Mechanics magazine. No lawsuits so far, let’s see what their 2016 claim to run a car on two cans of pop will bring.

Daniel Dingel, a Filipino inventor, also claimed to have invented a water-powered car. He applied for a patent, view it here, and in 2000, he talked Formosa Plastics Group to back him. They appear to have sued him in 2008 for fraud and won. Dingel passed away in prison in 2011, escaping the last 15 years of his sentence.

In 2015, a Swiss-French company, nanoFlowcell AG, came out with a whole line of water-powered cars. They, at least, have remained in business. Fending off initial concerns from skeptical journalists. NanoFlowcell doesn’t burn HHO gas, instead, it’s an electrolysis process powering a fuel cell through—you guessed it—a nanoflow process. But it’s a water-powered electric car by any other name.

In 2019 a Chinese company claimed they had created a car that ran on water by catalysing (or transforming) the hydrogen in the water. Many people felt this to be a scam. The Chinese government which usually funds car production in the country did not release a statement. It seemed that the science didn’t work and despite the unique technology that must be involved, no patent had been filed.

No further follow-ups of this story seem to exist online, so it seems most people’s suspicions were justified. Just a pie-in-the-sky, license-to-print-money exercise. It’s not clear however how they thought they could get away with it, you can’t market a water powered car without some kind of explanation. So perhaps this time they did make the discovery of the century and when the Chinese government realized it, they quickly squashed all talk of it.

In conclusion:

What will be the next controversy? Well, there are discussions about the safety of driverless cars and whether electric cars are as environmentally safety as advertised. Just another car controversy to be wary of. Just another day in the office around here.

Water-powered Cars

By Andy Bunch

When it comes to running a car on alternate fuel sources, one of the biggest issues is infrastructure. If it takes a nationwide network of fueling stations to make the car practical, then it’s not likely to happen quickly. Electric cars are no exception, largely because they require a special plug-in. However, since electricity is readily available everywhere it’s not an impossible hurtle to leap.

Another likely fuel source is water. Water is everywhere and even easier and safer to work with than regular unleaded or deasil. Or so you would think. But before we talk about the danger of water as fuel lets address the elephant in the room, how does one use water as fuel?

Water as Fuel!

H2O is the stable substance created by combining two highly flammable gases, which we commonly use to put out fires. Don’t blame me, it’s chemistry. Much like we can combine two poisons Sodium and Chloride into NACL and get ordinary table salt, we can take tap water apart and burn the hydrogen part of it. The only exhaust is water vapor which is generally accepted as environmentally okay.

Now to the potentially bad news. The process takes electricity and enough of it that we don’t really come out with a net savings of energy over harvesting fossil fuels. The other challenge is that you need to compress, or enrich, the hydrogen in order to turn it into a practical fuel. Do this too much and you get a highly radioactive gas.

To quote ourselves There are “two basic approaches to fueling a car with water. One is two split hydrogen out of the water using super-efficient nanotechnology to get as close to frictionless energy transfer as possible without breaking Newtonian physics, and the other is to toss out Newton and Einstein and use ninja techniques from Nikola Tesla’s mad years when he claimed frictionless forms of electricity exist.”

As you might guess the government isn’t happy to have one of those groups experimenting with a substance that could turn into something radioactive.

The Uphill Battle to Fuel Cars on Water

However, there is another reasonable explanation for the fact that we’re not all driving around in water powered cars. The fuel industry is powerful and rich. As an element of international relations, the world reserve currency is the Petro dollar—which means the US buying oil from nations that would probably rather destroy the US provides stability. So, there is a lot of push to avoid widespread use of alternative fuels.

In this best of the web our crack staff has gathered some great articles about the international efforts to create a water-powered car. To make it less serious we’ve embedded so cool videos.

Starting with the most noteworthy efforts of a swiss company to do it the right way and turn super efficiency into a working Hydro-car.

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Next is a tiny welsh company that is trying to convert transportation on their small island into all water cars.

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Check out these cool videos of water-powered cars

Indian Homebrew Water Car

The animated history of water as fuel.

This Isreally car runs on electricity AND water.

On the controversial side of things…

…and let’s face it, that’s more fun, these two items are worth a gander. The first is the story of Stanly Meyer’s attempt to create a perpetual motion machine using water. He died tragically, perhaps suspiciously while meeting with foreign investors. It’s worth looking into…

A Chinese auto company has recently made claims about hydrogen fuels cells, which the government of China has been rather quiet about. Either they were wrong and that’s why the silence…or they were right and that’s why the silence…

For a rather lengthy but super interesting dig into the topic of water-powered cars you can’t miss this post on medium. We’d have led with it, but you need to pay to read medium so not everyone will find this article helpful.

Other Research:

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Research Link