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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:

Bite of the Viper

Bitten By The Viper

viper_3Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli has potentially opened a proverbial Hornet’s Nest by saying that there were no serious interested parties for the Dodge Viper and inaccurately stating the offers for Viper.  In Washington on June 4th it came out that a Michigan-based investor group had offered $35 million for the Viper car line.  However, Chrysler reported in their bankruptcy filing that the best offer that came along was $5.5 million.

This Looks Like A Major Error

His statement may be valid, although at this time it is has become public that the higher offer was made.  This mis-communication may be an honest error on the part of Mr. Nardelli.  Unfortunately for Chrysler and Mr. Nardelli, Washington, D.C. Congressmen and Senators will likely take this topic and turn it into a media show that will not be good for Chrysler.

Chrysler Smoke In Washington

For now the smoke is rising on this matter and it has been said that where there is smoke there is fire.

The Real Money

Viper value is a “drop in the bucket” of money associated with Chrysler.  This money is almost totally negligible when keeping Chrysler alive.  Although, if there is an error in reporting the information then everything that Chrysler brings forward will be suspect.  That outcome would certainly make future negotiations between Chrysler and the Government much more challenging.

Killer Texting

killer-textingKiller Texting — June 2, 2009

Texting while driving is a very Dangerous Game.  The Dangerous Game is that the driver will not get into an “Event”, and one defintion of “Event” is fatal collision.

Just about every driver thinks they are great.  If the driver has attended a High Performance Driver Training Program or other advanced driving program then the driver has not been as skilled or trained as best possible.

Dr Phil Show – Killer Texting

high-collision-intersection-ahead-signDr Phil did a show that appeared recently dealing with Killer Texting.  This was a particularlly significant show because the Automotive Tribuen totally agrees that texting while driving is deadly.

In the last couple of decades before involvement with the Automotive Tribune many would say that I was active as a Forensic Engineer who specialized in accident reconstruction, vehicle product liability and vehicle black box technology.  For a period of years my firm analyzed approximately 1% of the annual traffic fatalalities in the US or about 400 annually.  I have done approximately 1,000 depositions and 100 trials and have concluded that there are a lot of ways to get killed.

Staying alive is frequently a 1 second window.  This window means that in the period of 1 second the killer vehicle will be some place ahead or behind of your travel path.  If you are not there when the other vehicle comes along you will not be struck.  On the left is a traffic sign from Ontario, Canada.  It communicates a very clear message.

It is critical to be able to recognize a hazard.  Texting puts the driver in a situation that they do not recognize hazards as far away as possible.  Also, texting takes the hands off the wheel so minor pot holes or debris on the roadway can pull the steering out from the driver’s knee.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

50-mph-distance-equationIIHS has a great deal of information at their web site about texting and highway safety.  Arkansas, California, Utah and Virginia are among the states that have banned texting for all drivers.  Here is a May 2009 report and map which details cellphone and texting bans.  IIHS also has an informative article Teen Drivers Often Ignore Bans On Using Cellphones and Texting.

table-resultsMathematics For Collision

Travelling at a constant 50 mph for one second means that the car will travel a distance of 73′.  A historic time associated with driver perception reaction time when exposed to an unexpected hazard when driving is 1.5 seconds which means that at 50 mph the car would travel a distance of 110′.  With the driver taking their eyes and concentration off the road and then looking up will require a perception reaction greater than the normal time and distance in addition to the fact that the driver does not have both hands on the wheel to control the car.  Very aggressive deceleration (-.7g) results in a stopping distance from 50 mph of 119′ and would take 3.25 seconds.

Many More Fatalities From Texting

cemetary-post-cardTexting is addictive, otherwise drivers would not text when attempting to drive.  If you are going to not be where the wayward car is you must recognize the hazard before it gets to you.  There are some situations where it is impossible to avoid impact.  Those situations might be referred to as an Accident or Unplanned Impact.  Most Accidents are not Accidents they are properly defined as Collision Events.  Texting is a distraction and distractions on the highway causes collisions and collisions can be fatal.

On the left is a copy of an old post card that has been in my office for years.  In a morbid way this postcard seems appropriate.  Brock Yates and Andy Rooney would certainly have something to say about this very important and timely topic of Killer Texting.  It is very likely that each with their own unique brand of humorand communication, would provide a very focused assessment about being a driver that operates the car in a concerned manner.  Dr. Phil and the Automotive Tribune have made their comments about this deadly subject.

GM Bankruptcy Filing For A New Start

GM Files Bankruptcy June 1, 2009

The Automotive Tribune has chronicled the evolution of this saga for some time with focus into selected or unique issues associated with the auto maker.  All car guys have some level of concern whether or not you like GM because problems with one manufacturer o supplier affects teh entire industry.  GM’s formal bankruptcy filing on June 1st in Manhattan is historic. … Continue Reading

The New USA Automobile Manufacturing Presence

The New USA Automobile Manufacturing Presence

auto-mfg-triangleChange for Detroit is going to come.  Right now what is going on is only preparation for a massive change in ideology and product.  This change will be the New World Order or at least the new North American Order.  NWO and NAO will establish a new functional standard for cars and light trucks that will affect everyone.

Where Are The Real Changes

Fuel mileage and technology to achieve fuel mileage and safety are the key issues that will establish how New Detroit progresses into the future.  Federal Government financial assistance does not have much room for “fun” in their vision and it is OK to apply this same mind set to all Governments providing financial assistance around the World. … Continue Reading

Motor City Challenge: “Failure Is Not An Option”

Motor City Challenge: “Failure Is Not An Option”

GM Entering Bankruptcy and Chrysler Poised to Exit

failure-not-optionReading the Wall Street Journal or watching the nightly news makes it seem inevitable that GM will enter bankruptcy soon.  This is not an unexpected event as reported in the Tribune over the past months.  Chrysler appears to be on the verge of coming out of bankruptcy, and this is one fast trip in and out!  GM is too complex for a speedy journey like Chrysler.

Deadly Symbolic and Deadly Serious

In some ways this is symbolic and in some ways it is deadly serious.  Looking at the deadly serious side GM absolutely must be re-cast properly for the good of the US and all of North America if you take the proposition that GM is worth saving and the Tribune takes that position.  However, re-casting GM is not simple from the business plan side of the equation and it is imperative that the new business plan must “hold water” otherwise the entire Government assistance plan is flawed.  The New GM absolutely must have a viable business plan… Continue Reading

The Solar Powered Steam Car

The Solar Powered Steam Car

Reprinted from Volume 23, #3 of The Steam Automobile
(Fall, 1981 issue, pages 32-36)

Editor’s Note: this submission came to the Automotive Tribune from Peter Brow who had originally posted the article on on his site.   Peter had spotted an article in the Steam Automobile Club of America from 1981 and had found significant interest and some of the commentary is included here.  Additional information about the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle is included at this link for the Automotive Tribune.  In our archives we have a copy of this particular 1981 SACA magazine which were unable to locate to add a photograph of the magazine cover and for possible inclusion of graphics and artwork that would be relevant to the reader.


Note: Peter Brow’s updated comments following this article, below.

[1-30-2001]

 


Introduction:

Here is a very interesting article on a technology which I think holds great promise for the future. Imagine a future where all cars are powered directly by solar energy without toxic electric batteries or gaseous emissions. I believe the heat-battery steam car technology described in the following article can be developed to where solar steam cars are quickly refueled by draining cooled “thermal liquid” out of onboard tanks and pumping in hot “thermal liquid” heated at desert solar-collector farms. The hot thermal liquid pumped into the car’s tanks generates steam, which runs a steam engine, which propels the car. The cool liquid is shipped back to the solar farms for reheating, and hot liquid is transported from solar farms to distant cities, especially those in less-sunny areas, via insulated pipelines or insulated road or rail tankers.

Due to the simplicity of the equipment and the low cost of the materials, I think nonpolluting solar cars like these could run at a lower overall cost per mile (purchase, maintenance, and energy) than cars powered by fossil fuels, electric batteries, fuel cells, etc.. My calculations indicate that the range of these solar cars could be economically extended to about 200 miles with extra solar heat-tank capacity.

Homes could be heated by pipelined solar “thermal liquid” too, and small steam-powered generators at each home could provide all electrical service.

So we may someday have a world whose energy not only comes entirely from the sun, but where energy is both cleaner and cheaper too!

Check out the following article, and see what you think. Eventually I will try to scan the pictures from the article, and include them on this page.

 


On-board “thermal battery” can be charged by parabolic reflector to provide boiler heat for steam-driven experimental car. Widespread application of propulsion concept could result in sizeable energy savings.

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With a hiss and a burst of steam, the solar-powered test car jumped to life. I drove a short distance, eased to a stop, checked the steam-pressure and thermal-battery temperature gauges, shifted into reverse and returned. The car had moved smoothly with surprising power, and solely by heat energy stored on board.

An intriguing contrivance — a 1977 Vega wagon stripped of its engine, transmission, and drive shaft, and refitted with a 1915 Stanley engine, a monotube flash boiler and a 700 lb thermal battery — the experimental car effectively demonstrated the feasibility of using solar energy for vehicular propulsion. The thermal battery, a unique heat sink and the key element in the design, contains a stable, high-temperature, heat-storage material that can be charged (heated) by a high-temperature solar concentrator, such as a parabolic reflector (for convenience a small oil burner charges the thermal battery during testing). Water pumped through the monotube boiler, which is submerged in the heat-storage material, produces steam to run the engine. … Continue Reading

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Richard Kubis Explains Solar Thermal Hybrid Automobile