Brabham back in racing and heading for Le Mans…ACCC backs right to repair horse that may already have bolted…Bosch diesel technology betting against the house…plus lots more…

You can’t keep a good man down and apparently you can’t keep a legendary name out of the headlines, especially when it happens to be Jack Brabham, the first man to win a F1 world championship title in a car that he manufactured himself.

The legend began in 1959 when Jack won his first WDC and repeated the feat the following year on both occasions as part of the Cooper Car Company race team. He later team up with engineer and fellow Australian Ron Tauranac to form the company that would eventually become a benchmark for racing car manufacturers of the period.

Based in the UK, the two friends went on to clock up 30 years of championship wins, both as a racing team and as a manufacturer supplier to other teams in all tiers of Formula racing.

The combination of a new engine from Repco and the Brabham BT19 chassis designed by Ron saw ‘Black Jack’ first across the line at the 1966 French Grand Prix to became the first man to win such a race in a car of his own construction.

All of which brings us to the whole point of this yarn which is the launch of an awesome little BT62 built by Brabham Racing headed by son David. A limited production run of the Brabham BT62 will consist of just 70 cars in all, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Brabham name in racing. The first 35 will be liveried in tribute to the company’s 35 F1 victories.

The BT62 weighs in at a mere 972 kilograms dry and has a huge 5.4-liter V8 that outputs 700bhp and 667Nm of torque. That gives the BT62 a power to weight ratio of 720bhp per tonne. The car also boasts 1200kgs of downforce from its bodywork aerodynamics.

According to David Brabham, himself an accomplished Le Mans racer, the company, has a phased product development program and a long-term plan in place to continue manufacture through the BT62 and beyond. Not surprisingly, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race is the company’s ultimate goal.

Unveiled at a gala event in London, the BT62 will be sold through both the Brabham UK and Australian offices and built at the company’s facility in Adelaide.     Source: Brabham Automotive

ACCC backs right to repair horse that may already have bolted

If there’s one thing that can be relied on when it comes to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission it’s that chairman Rod Sims can always be relied on to say the right thing to the right audience. Taking action! Well that’s a different thing altogether.

Take, for instance, his declaration at a recent automotive industry conference that “voluntary commitments by car manufacturers to share technical information with independent repairers have failed.”

Well, well, what a surprise!

Rod and his organisation have only had about 20 years to deal with this issue during which time there has, to quote Bill Shakespeare, been a lot of “mere prattle without practice”.

But better late than never, the ACCC seems to be dusting off the old files and making suitable noises about ‘action’.

But what action? And here there has to be some sympathy for the commission, because the justifiable right of independent repairers to repair any motor vehicle has all but been overtaken by the ‘cost of specialisation’.

Very few independent repairers can afford to specialise in one particular make of vehicle. Having access to the technical information is one thing, acquiring the costly tools to carry out the work on a wide variety of makes is quite another.

This is especially the case when the vehicle’s computer system has been ‘tricked up’ to suit a particularly expensive repair tool in which only a dealership, with same brand volume, can justify the investment.

For the independent, access to technical information is a bit like being given a race book but unable to afford the cost of entry to the track. Or, in other words, perhaps the horse has already bolted when it comes to the future of the independent.

Be that as it may, Rod went on to say that the ACCC has now recommended that a mandatory scheme be introduced compelling the sharing of technical information. He also filled in some time highlighting a range of other findings from the ACCC’s market study into the new car retailing industry.

These included that car manufacturers should update their logbooks and service manuals to remove any misleading statements that new car must be serviced only by an authorised dealer in order to maintain the warranty, when no such condition exists.

“The ACCC has seen numerous examples of practices by a number of car manufacturers that raise concerns. We found that there is a dominant ‘culture of repair’ underpinning systems and policies across the industry based mainly around the manufacturer’s warranties, when enhanced remedies may be available under Australian consumer law.”

Bosch diesel technology betting against the house

To say that diesel is on the nose is both a poor pun and stating the bleeding obvious. But according to Bosch head honcho Volkmar Denner there is a future for the technology.

And why is he betting against the house?

Well, apparently, Volkmar reckons that he’s got some ‘breakthrough’ technology that could enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) so drastically that they already comply with future limits.

At this stage one could be forgiven for quoting lyrics from a song made famous by Frank Sinatra that goes something like ‘seems to me I’ve heard that song before, it’s from an old familiar score….’

Still Bosch has had a few hits of its own in the past, so perhaps is well worth listening to.  According to Volkmar, Bosch engineers achieved these results by refining existing technologies.

“There is no need for additional components, which would drive up costs. Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable.”

The Bosch CEO also called for greater transparency with regard to the CO2 emissions caused by road traffic, and called for fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions to be also measured under real conditions on the road in the future.

Since 2017, European legislation has required that new passenger car models tested according to an RDE-compliant mix of urban, extra-urban and freeway cycles emit no more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometer.

As of 2020, this limit will be cut to 120 milligrams. But even today, the company claim that vehicles equipped with Bosch diesel technology can achieve as little as 13 milligrams of NOx in standard legally compliant RDE cycles.

“That is approximately one-tenth of the prescribed limit that will apply after 2020. And, even when driving in particularly challenging urban conditions where test parameters are well in excess of legal requirements, the average emissions of the Bosch test vehicles are as low as 40 milligrams per kilometer.”

The company claims that its engineers have achieved this decisive breakthrough using a combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system and intelligent temperature management.

All of which has prompted Volkmar to state that diesel is now very much back in the frame as an option in urban traffic. Bosch now aim to use artificial intelligence to build on these latest advances to develop a combustion engine that with the exception of CO2 has virtually no impact on the ambient air.

“We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility. Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines,” added the CEO.

Is that a huge sigh of relief we hear coming from Volkmar’s mates down the road at VW, or are they just pleased to see him? –Source AMN Global

Still on the subject, isn’t remarkable how all of a sudden everything to do with diesel technology seems to be a combination of new, fuel efficient and less polluting.

Reading the Bosch story it seems that it’s only a matter of time before we have an engine that cleans the atmosphere as it goes along.

And now Holden is heralding the release of a new fuel-efficient 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine on its SUV, Equinox that is said to have a fuel economy from just 5.6L/100km, whilst retaining a torque of 100kW and 320Nm.

But perhaps the most impressive thing is a heated and ventilated front seat that ‘gives drivers a small vibration to alert them of potential hazards’…the mind boggles as to what some of these potential hazards might include!

Would you travel in an automated vehicle?

With the auto industry worldwide spending – some say wasting – billions of dollars on automated vehicles, how will laws and regulations be affected when a machine, rather than a human, is in control of a car?

This is one of the questions the National Transport Commission (NTC) is seeking to answer in developing a regulatory system for automated vehicles in Australia.

The commission reckons that evidence suggests that automated vehicle technology has the potential to improve safety, efficiency and mobility in our communities and that there are important questions surrounding safety, insurance, the use of data, as well as how we define a ‘driver’ in the context of an automated vehicle.

“These issues are being addressed by the NTC as part of a comprehensive program of work being undertaken in collaboration with all levels of government to create an end-to-end regulatory system for automated vehicles,” says NTC’s Paul Retter.

“The commission will shortly release a regulation impact statement for public consultation on a safety assurance regime which aims to ensure that vehicles at all levels of automation are safe as they come to market.

“We will also look at how existing driving laws should be amended to allow for automated vehicles, how motor vehicle injury insurance schemes could be affected and how government will access and use the data generated by these vehicles.”

To help kick off the discussion, the NTC has released a video posing the question: Would you travel in an automated vehicle?

Manufacturers are progressively introducing automated features, such as braking, acceleration and steering but they still envisage a human driver taking control of the vehicle at some point in the journey, or if something goes wrong.

“We aim to have an end-to-end regulatory system in place so that all levels of automated vehicles can operate safely and legally on our roads from 2020. Our focus is on ensuring the regulatory system remains flexible enough to accommodate evolving technologies as they come to market while always prioritising public safety,” added Paul.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO

New tyre ideal for mud wrestlers

If you’re into the sort of auto adventuring that includes climbing, traction and toughness in the mud and over rock then the new Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 by BFGoodrich could be the rubber for you.

Said to be stacked with new technologies this new-gen tyre is clearly aimed at the serious off-road enthusiast. According to the company, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 has five percent better mud traction than its predecessor and ‘mud-phobic’ bars on the tyre’s shoulders designed to release compacted mud for enhanced traction in muddy or soft soil conditions.

Then there’s the terrain-attack tread pattern with its massive tread blocks designed to deliver maximum grip from any angle of approach.

“But wait, that’s not all,” says the company’s Harold Phillips.

“The tyre’s linear flex zone allows it to envelop objects at reduced inflation for even more grip when climbing whilst the traction-armor sidewall sculpture and notched shoulder design also boost traction in soft soil and mud.”

And how about CoreGard Max race-proven technology derived from the desert-racing tyre line that prevent splitting or puncturing with increased thickness that protects the critical sidewall failure zone.

All this technical wizardy and you thought it was just a matter of slapping some rubber on a wheel rim!

The KM3 tyre will be available in North America and Australian BFGoodrich dealers from June 2018. Australia will have 25 new sizes from 16 to 20-inch rim diameters and a full compliment of 38 sizes by end of 2019.

 

Rock ‘n roll and fast cars beats working in the post office

If you’ve been shooting cars and rock bands for more than 30 years then you’re bound to know a fair bit about both. And so it is with Martyn Goddard’s latest book Rock ‘N’ Roll and Fast Car Volume II.

Whilst the rest of us were putting in a shift down the pit or in the post office, Martin was flitting around the world taking snaps of exotic cars and pop stars. Lucky bugger!

Not surprisingly, the book is, to say the least, an eclectic mix. The music part is narrated by Martyn and is a fast moving summary of each assignment featured along with the resulting images of artists such as Blondie, The Jam and The Cure to name just a few.

The fast cars section combines text from the magazine articles the photographer worked on. This in itself is a great history of the evolution of photojournalism as the earlier text seems so dated and slow moving with a greater emphasis on the photography equipment used in contrast to the current style of fast moving text just supported by the image.

Martyn became part of the new wave music scene in the 1970’s working with famous and upcoming artists at the time. He was invited to contribute to the Sunday Telegraph Magazine and was given the opportunity to work with some of the greatest artists and personalities of the time…as we said, lucky bugger!

Rock ‘N’ Roll and Fast Cars Volume II is available online @ www.martyngoddard.com or www.rupbook.com for £35. Volume I and Volume II can be bought together for £55.

Super-fast charger ahead of the game but going in the right direction

For EVs to be fully accepted as long-range touring vehicles, they’ll need the kind of 350 kilowatts crazy charge rates…and more…that the likes of the new Terra High Power DC fast charger pumps out. Such umph would give an average electric vehicle a range of 200kms in just eight minutes.

Current charging infrastructure is far slower. A CHAdeMO can deliver up to 62.5kW, the J1772 level 2 spec allows up to 19.2 kW charging and the current Tesla Supercharger will pump power into a Model S at 120kW.

So the leap to 350 kW is a pretty huge jump.

Unfortunately, there’s currently nothing on the market that can handle that kind of power, with most EVs limited to 50kW charging to preserve battery life. The new Nissan Leaf can take a maximum of 100kW, and whilst the Tesla Model 3 is thought to be capable of charging at between 184-210kW, it’s currently limited to around 100kW.

Recharging a battery at these sorts of hyper-quick rates is a technical challenge.

Apparently, filling up a lithium battery is a lot like filling an empty milk jug with a pressure washer.

If it’s completely empty, one can squeeze the trigger and just blast away but then, almost immediately back off the pressure, or the water will start foaming out.

And it’s at this point that serious physical damage can be done to a battery.

The ability to accept ultra-fast charging is just another criterion on the list for battery developers to satisfy, alongside energy density, thermal stability, charge cycle life and many others.

Indeed, charging batteries this fast can be just as deleterious to battery life as massive power output rates. For now, the Terra High Power fast charge unit will only get to approach its full charging capability when multiple vehicles are plugged in at once.


 

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