Quantcast UA-8086277

Millbrook GM European Proving Grounds

European Proving Grounds Millbrook is a 700 acre facility about 40 miles north of London with test tracks and testing facilities for aerospace, military, vehicle production, driver training (Aston Martin), and real-time online vehicle tracking. Here is link to the Millbrook website. Construction began in 1968 for a smaller version …

Auto Body Tems

Automotive Body Terms Every automotive professional has been challenged by their lack of knowledge regarding this particular terminology. Complications arise when the same parts and sub-assemblies are referred to with different names even if everyone speaks English. Furthermore, every automotive technical professional has been frustrated by their lack of knowledge …

Low Speed Vehicles – Neighborhood Electric Vehicles

  LSV Low Speed Vehicles and NEV Neighborhood Electric Vehicles represent a classification for a Federally approved street-legal vehicle that is speed limited to 25 mph.  This United States Department of Transportation [USDOT] legislation was put into effect by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard [FMVSS] 500 in 1998.  Simply put, NEV’s represent a …

Auto Battlefront 2011

Cruze, Focus & Elantra, The 2012 Models King Kong vs Godzilla vs Smog Monster — An epic battle is in the works for 2011 and it is definitely not some of my favorite from the classic 1950-1960’s sci-fi mega-characters. Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra are the three 2012 models that are on the …

Recent Articles:

Dogs At The Drive-In Church

Dogs Are Welcome

img_0205-mediumDog getting dog boneIt is obvious that dogs like coming to the Drive-In Christian Church.  Maybe dogs like coming because of the Dog Biscuits or the fact that for a few minutes they can stretch out and rest.

Dog Biscuits On Arrival

img_0223-largeimg_0206-largeFrom the dog’s point of view, being offered a dog biscuit when you get there is a good thing.  A second or third dog biscuit is also provided by the Deacons when they make the rounds for the offering. 

Dog Biscuits During The Service

img_0224-mediumimg_0122-largeAll dogs know when to wake up and be on alert for the dog biscuits.  There are other things worthy of attention from a dog’s point of view, whether it is an opportunity to stretch out on the grass or keep watch on the dog in car next to you.

A Place To Walk

img_0168-mediumimg_0182-mediumChurch property is on the site of the old Neptune Drive In as addressed in a previous Tribune article detailing history of the Drive-In Christian Church.  Since there is plenty of room many dogs love to walk or romp or run.

img_0217-largeIt is clear that dogs appreciate the special effort to keep them happy at the Church!

Fusion & Prius Hybrid Vehicle Road Test

May 2, 2009 Hybrid Cars No Comments

Back-to Back Road Tests

hybrid-logos-combinedToday, I did a back-to-back road test with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2009 Toyota Prius.  In conclusion the Prius gets better gas mileage but the Fusion wins the Tribune vote for the car to drive.

Specific Technical Points

Both cars have electric air conditioning that keeps you cool, whether-or-not the engine is running, but the Fusion system performed better.  When driving, Fusion engine cut-in and cut-out are substantially smoother.  Fusion electro-hydraulic brakes are the finest that I have ever driven! 

Fusion electric power steering provided good roadway feedback and had good ressistance in general driving.  Add a modern interior and good mid-size dimensions and the package is very well thought out.

Escape Based Hybrid

fusion-frontFusion hybrid technology was initially developed for the Escape SUV and introduced to the market in 2004.  This system reportedly took five years for 100 engineers to successfully complete the hybrid powertrain.  These years of experience has helped to refine and improve reliability for the hybrid system in the Fusion. 

4WD Hybrid Fusion Possibility

Having installed the hybrid system initially in the Escape SUV and in a 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) platform provided Ford a great opportunity to observe product abuse that would be somewhat unlikely for a passenger car.  This 4WD experience might even result in a 4WD Fusion Hybrid in the future and 4WD is definitely a feature that appeals to a segment of the automobile buying market.

Fusion Recommendations

fusion-interior

Recommendations to improve the Fusion would include HID or LED headlamps as an option.  Customers who buy technology laden cars expect HID or LED headlamps as an available option. 

My road test assistant reported that the passenger seat was hard and not as comfortable as expected.  The rear seat has good headroom for a 6′ tall passenger.  I’m not too sure that the rear seat would be confortable for any extended period of time, however.

Prius Road Test

prius-side-viewPrius has super technology and this has been addressed for a long time.  Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT is not as smooth as the Fusion. 

When the engine would turn on and turn off it was very noticeable compared to the Fusion which you could still feel, but substantially less.

A Spartan Space Ship

prius-interiorSome of the Prius controls and instrument positions could be considered unique.  All controls work fine, although the Prius seemed a bit more like a Spartan Space Ship rather than the Luxury Sedan of the leather appointed Fusion.

2010 Prius Is Coming

The 2010 Prius will be arriving in dealerships within the next couple of weeks. 

Review of the 2010 product book clearly shows that the 2010 Prius will be substantially better in base form and in fully optioned form.  Tribune readers can look forward to this update.

prius-informationDid I say that the 2010 Prius was about to show up?  Well, reference to the product book would lead me to believe that the 2010 Prius is going to address this Spartan Space Ship situation

LED Headlamps

Of note is that the 2010 Prius will no longer have HID headlamps available.  In review of the product brochure this fact seemed hard to believe. 

However, halogen is the standard headlamp system and top of the line Prius V models will have LED headlamps.  This is very high-tech technology.  All models will have LED taillamps.

When the 2010 Prius shows up there will be two high-mileage impressive cars at the dealerships. 

 The 2010 Prius will be a much more refined product but the Tribune predicts that the Fusion will still win as the the best overall Driver’s Hybrid Car

Each car is a winner and each car has their own unique personality.  If you are looking for fantastic mileage then your selection between these two requires driving each.  At minimum that will be a very educational experience.

Chrysler Chaos

Chrysler Will Survive

It has been a long slide but Chrysler has now started Bankruptcy Reorganization.  There are three stories here: A) past, B) present and C) future.  Each story is different but with a common thread. chrysler

Every Car Guy has an opinion but right now politicians, governments, business executives and selected experts are establishing a new direction and putting into place a new company.  Everyone has apprehension about the future of Chrysler.  Only after the current state of chaos is over will the Car Guy and Gal be able to assess a rebuilt Chrysler.  A lot of people want success.  Success for the Car Guy is defined as Product Available.  If you like Chrysler you want Great Product; No More and No Less.  Great Product wins in the marketplace.

Present Chrysler — The Storied Phoenix

dsc_0014-mediumFiat will control the ultimate future and product destination for Chrysler.  Control could be viewed in two ways, one good and one skeptical.  Given Fiat’s successes in Europe, especially with the 500 (a Mini derivative) the product side for cars is promising since Chrysler cars are dismal according to the Automotive Press.  Ram trucks and Jeep are successful and these should not see any significant change other than a gradual morphing of powertrain and body style to reflect contemporary trends.

Unions, Governments, Legacy Costs, Dealers, and Suppliers will all have a say in the re-birth of Chrysler.  Each group has their own turf to defend.  … Continue Reading

Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle — Construction Photos

Gallery Photographs Added

paint-booth-completion-front

Finished In The Paint Booth, A Dignified Patriotic Paint Job With Sparkle

Photo sheets related to construction of the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile have been added to the Gallery Photographs.  You will need to go to the Gallery Tab at the top of the page to access the Solar-Thermal Hybrid photos.  Normally, you could scroll down the page and on the right side you will see the gallery posted on the main page.  However, this link apparently is not active because of the size of the composite photographs.

Photographs Taken During Construction

These photographs were taken during construction of the vehicle.  One photo sheet is of the documentation associated with the photographs.  After about 30 years in the album, the album started coming apart and deterioration has affected the text entries.

Effort of reporting about the Experimental Vehicle in the Tribune is to provide a functional record for those who have academic or general interest about this topic.

Polaroid Photographs Were State-of-the-Art

Red, White and Three Shades of Blue Leaving The Paint Booth

Red, White and Three Shades of Blue Leaving The Paint Booth

At the time that this project was being conducted traditional Polaroid Photographs were state-of-the-art for quick photographs.  They do not have great resolution but they are the best graphic documentation that exists.

Text Explanation

Text information page is very significant.  It contains the explanation information associated with the photographs.  From the condition of the archive, it appears that some of the text entries have been lost over time.  Loss of some photographs also appears to have occurred.

Solar Thermal Hybrid Vehicle – Background

April 27, 2009 Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle Comments Off on Solar Thermal Hybrid Vehicle – Background

Why a Solar-Thermal Car?

press-release-photo-large

1981 Press Release Photo

It did not start out that way.  Discussion for the Solar-Thermal car came during the Patent process in 1980.  It went something like Dr. McElroy, because of the high energy density you can achieve in the Thermal Battery you could conceivably patent this as a fuel.  If you had a fuel could you build a vehicle?  My reply was I never thought about it, but I will look into the idea.  That statement was life altering.

History and Background

Rather than addressing the technology right from the start let’s go back to the fundamentals for this unique vehicle, its technology and story behind its design, construction, testing and operation.  With this information in place we will move into politics, publicity, funding, and the phases of death for the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile.

Every emotion in the book can be associated with the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile.  A project of this magnitude, with its publicity and media coverage taught everyone involved courage, humility, and perseverance.  This project has had a life-long impact on everyone involved.

washington-star-march-10-1981_bIn 1981 the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile went on display at the 8th Energy Technology Conference and Exposition at the Sheraton Washington, D.C. Hotel.  This car represents the only Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile ever built.

Today, almost 30 years later, there appear to be no other alternative-energy thermal-powered automobile assembled.  This is for good reason, the technology does not readily lend itself to powering automobiles.  It works elegantly to heat & cool homes, provide process heat, and provide electricity.

The Energy Conference was the first public outing for the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile.  We made the front page of the Business Section of the Washington Star.  As reported in the Washington Star on March 10, 1981 American Solar Energy Corporation of Arlington is displaying a small station wagon powered by a solar thermal fuel system.  The automobile sports the inaugural license plate NOGAS.

Oil Embargoes

 

March 30, 1981 -- Page 3 Article

March 30, 1981 -- Page 3 Article "The Stanley Steamer Goes Solar"

In 1967 the US experienced its first Oil Embargo

or the 1967 Oil Embargo.  In retrospect, this should be called the First Arab Oil Embargo.

In 1973-74 the US experienced the Second Oil Embargo.  This Second Arab Oil Embargo which is typically referred to as the Arab Oil Embargo.

Looking back, it is interesting to note that the energy crisis that occurred in 1973 was particularly significant, in a number of ways.  It definitely started the US to think about energy issues that were not considered beforehand.  Here is a summarization for the 25th Anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo.  It puts many issues into perspective.

In 1979 there was another Energy Crisis .  This 1979 Energy Crisis also led to economic turmoil and recession.

newsweek-march-30-1981_bReflecting on these repeated supply and demand problems in the Nation’s fuel supply revealed that the US, and all industrialized nations were being controlled to some degree by Foreign fuel suppliers.

An interesting summary, When The Gas Ran Out, brings key issues associated wit these difficult years together.

Recognizing the massive energy problems facing the US was not too difficult.  You had the opportunity to live with gas lines or No Gas (later to be used for the license plate of the Solar Thermal Hybrid Automobile).

This was not a good situation.  At times it was risky to take any trip by car because you might not be able to get gas.

Next Step

Energy Today at Louisville, KY, October 11, 1981.  Event promoter Everett Hurd in the world's only Solar-Thermal vehicle.

Energy Today at Louisville, KY, October 11, 1981. Event promoter Everett Hurd in the world's only Solar-Thermal vehicle.

After departing the Texas Transportation Institute School For High Performance Driving, a previous article in the Tribune, I read in the Wall Street Journal that the US was going to spend lots of money to re-insulate homes.  This fact made it clear that being in the Insulation Business and Home Improvement Business would be just the right place to make money from a major trend that what was going to happen.

Insul-Aid Insulation Company was co-founded with Alan Maurer.  We had a great business and soon had some 30 people working for us.  Alan was an architect who worked with other architects that were coming up with high-tech innovative ways to cut energy use and energy loss in the new designs.  Insul-Aid was always in the news as a partner in special projects.

Automobile racing team member sizes up the Solar-Thermal Car.  At right is Vice-President of American Solar, Richard Kubis.

Automobile racing team member sizes up the Solar-Thermal Car. At right is Vice-President of American Solar, Richard Kubis.

The company quickly expanded from walls and ceiling insulation systems to any other insulation system you could imagine.  If the customer needed the product, we would make it happen.  Expansion rapidly brought us into energy efficient doors, windows, solar screens, ceiling fans, wood stoves, passive & active ventilation systems, and many other products.

1979 Graduation

In 1979 I finished my academic work at Texas A&M and was faced witha very serious decision after Commencement.  Continue to work with Insul-Aid, and my car business, or find a new challenge.

After several days, I decided to tackle the energy crisis.  It came down to a focus that said, everything in solar up to this point had delivered only modest powe output.  If solar was ever going to be a viable alternative energy then someone had to figure out a way to make solar power a reality.

(L to R) R. Kubis, E. Hurd, Dr. R. McElroy.  Mr. Hurd offers his congratulations to American Solar on being the Feature Attraction of the Energy Today Exposition.

(L to R) R. Kubis, E. Hurd, Dr. R. McElroy. Mr. Hurd offers his congratulations to American Solar on being the Feature Attraction of the Energy Today Exposition.

Review of Solar Literature

No small task, but up to that time things had worked fairly successfully for me.  I spent months at the Texas A&M University library reading solar and power materials in an attempt to get an engineering understanding of what made solar efficient and what properties made solar inefficient.

After completing the review of literature and coming up with a basic mathematical model for how a system could work then I was faced with the problme of how do you build it?

Having a great idea is just that.  For the idea and concept to be useful and implementable for society the idea must be turned into physical reality.  I moved back to Arlington, VA and continued to search for the final pieces of the technology puzzle.  While reviewing engineering tables on physical properties of heat and thermal transfer my attention was drawn to a particular type of wax.  It had high specific heat, high specific gravity, and had a very large temperature range that it would remain fluid.

Information Error Leads To Success

Heat flow diagram

Heat flow diagram

There was an error in the specific information in the manual but I had found the ideal material for a Thermal Battery.  Many thermal batteries are molten salt.  The system I developed did not use salts, in an effort to eliminate the corrosive effects.  In addition to the fact that established functional parameters for he system supported use of the wax product in the Thermal Battery.

Patent Application

I wrote up the initial patent application and sent it to the Patent Office at Crystal City, just a few miles from where I was located in Arlington.  Reviewers at the Patent Office communicated that this was a Novel idea but the final preparation needed to be completed by a Patent Attorney.

In the process of working with the Patent Attorney it went something like Dr. McElroy, because of the high energy density you can achieve in the Thermal Battery you could conceivably patent this as a fuel.  If you had a fuel could you build a vehicle?  My reply was I never thought about it, but I will look into the idea.  That statement was life altering.

2010 Camaro, A Second Look

April 26, 2009 Cars & Road Tests 2 Comments

Camaro RS Revisited

rs-frontToday, I had the opportunity to take a second look at the 2010 Camaro RS previously reviewed on April 25th.  The car is very well put together with uniform body gaps and a very aggressive business appearance. 

The car was still bringing in the car guys and gals to take a look.  I did not photograph the paparazzi today.  The focus was on selected important technical details that would be of interest to the Tribune reader.

Front Photo

rs-emblemThere were some specific detail items that deserve attention.  At the front of the car are the halo lights and in the front photo is the subdued RS Emblem tucked in the grill.

Rear Photo

At the right rear is the not-so-subtle RS emblem and the RS spoiler. … Continue Reading

Random Photos From Automotive Tribune Site

rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image
rotating image

Spin Ball and Click On Key Word for Article

2010 Camaro accident reconstruciton AMC auction automobile bailout bankruptcy Barrett Jackson beach racing Big 3 Bill Heard Chevrolet Bill Lear biomechanics black box BMW board of directors Bob Lutz bondurant brake pads brake rotor brakes Brembo Brock Yates Cadillac Camaro Cannonball Cannonball Run Cape Kennedy Car & Driver car allowance rebate system CARB CARFAX cash for clunkers CATAIR catwalk Charles Erwin Wilson Chevrolet Chrysler Cirrus SR22 collision analysis Copart Crane Cams crash test Csabe Csere CTS-V Daytona Daytona Beach Daytona Beach spring car show Diesel DOT Dr. Robert Zubrin Drive In Christian Church driving Ed Cole EDR electric car Energy Technology Conference Energy Victory EPA EV1 Fiat flight data recorder flood damage flood damage cars flying Ford Forensic Engineering fuel economy fuel mileage Fusion Hybrid gas guzzler GM GM Saturn HID high performance driver training horsepower Hudson Hornet hybrid hybrid vehicles Iacocca IIHS IIHS< Insurance Institute of Highway Safety insurance company Insurance Institute of Highway Safety James May Jeep Commander 2009 jeffrey coats Jon Hall Chevrolet labor legacy cost Maintenance Mercedes Benz Mikronite Corporation Mulally Nano NASA NASCAR new car new truck NHTSA NTSB One Lap of America Ormond Beach P-51 personal watercraft pickup truck Porsche Carrera GT Prius recycle restructure restructuring Richard Kubis Rick Wagoner Robert McElroy Sadisco SAE sales Smart Car Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle Space Shuttle special attraction speedweeks Spruce Creek Fly In Starship Enterprise Star Trek Tata Tata Nano Texas Transportation Institute texting TF1 television theft Top Gear torque total Toyota TTI turkey rod run UAW Ural motorcycle USDOE USDOT VEBA VFR. IFR wagoner Who Killed the Electric Car? Yugo z06 Zastava ZL-1 ZR1

WP Cumulus Flash tag cloud by Roy Tanck and Luke Morton requires Flash Player 9 or better.

Richard Kubis Explains Solar Thermal Hybrid Automobile