When you wish upon a star, be careful!…$3 Million car collection destroyed by fire…New online bidding platform to cut costs…Hydbrids putting pressure on OEM suppliers

You’ve got to hand to Elon Musk. When it comes to conjuring up new tricks, he’s a wizard. And, yes, he’s managed to pull yet another rabbit out of the hat with the ‘surprise’ launch of  a new sport car, the Roadster, alongside the much-expected Tesla Semi all-electric truck.

According to the master magician: “The point of doing this is to give a hardcore smack down to gasoline cars. Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.

Non-members of the Musk fan club, such as Peter M. DeLorenzo of autoextremistrants and Jason Murphy of thomasthethinkengine believe that it’s more about taking the focus away from Tesla’s difficulty in converting hyperbole and fanciful notions about the future direction of the auto industry into real production numbers.

Peter, Jason and other auto journos, have for some time been pointing out that it’s one thing to succeed in the unregulated, free flowing world of algorithms and the internet but quite something else to perform in the meticulous, highly regulated world of automotive manufacture.

Be that as it may, young Musk is pretty difficult to ignore, even for the skeptics here at ausauto.com.

So, what’s this latest glitter all about? Let’s start with the ‘Biggus Dickus’ claims. According to The Man in the Musk, the “base model” is able to hit 100km/p from a standstill in 1.9 seconds and that a production version of the car may be able to accelerate even faster.

That’s a full 0.4 seconds quicker to 100ks than the current fastest Tesla, the Model S P100D, in the so-called ludicrous plus mode. It’s faster than any current production car, with the performance hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder the current king with a time of 2.2 seconds. The fastest time ever recorded was 1.5 seconds by the AMZ Grimsel Electric Race Car.

Using a similar system to the Model S P100D, the Roadster will have three motors, to drive the front wheels and two for the rear wheels, giving the Roadster all-wheel drive and a ‘range’ of more than 1000ks of motorway driving between charges with a 200kWh battery.

Being a 2+2, it’s possible to squeeze two full-grown people into the front seats with two small children in the back.

The standard retail price of the so-called base model will start at $A270,000 making it the most expensive Tesla to date but relatively cheap in the world of the Spyder and Bugatti Chiron.

According to The Man, the Roadster will go on sale in 2020 (maybe) and is already technically up for pre-order, with interested buyers who put down a $50,000 deposit at the launch event able to have a ride in a prototype.

A hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars? Maybe!

CLICK HERE for Thomas The Think Engine’s take on the launch.


$3 Million car collection destroyed by fire

Garry and Darlene Cassidy are well known for an outstanding collection of classic cars all housed in a warehouse not far from their home in Langley, British Columbia. The 40-car collection from the 50s and 60s, included six Corvettes, a 1968 Camaro, 1961 Chevy Bel-Air (convertible top), two 1955 Pontiac Star Chiefs and a rare Safari station wagon.

When the couple left for their annual visit to the SEMA show in Las Vegas, the collection was valued at around $US3m. When they returned all that remained was a pile of ash.

Like all fire incidents, especially those that involve any kind of valuable belongings and owners that are not present at the time of the fire, the situation is currently being investigated to determine if any type of arson.

But according to a somewhat traumatised Garry, its just one of those terrible twists of fate: “I’ve always been a big car guy, but I don’t think my wife and I could have been more upset if we had lost a child.”

The alarm system notified the fire department but by the time it arrived the building was already entirely engulfed in flames with he fuel-filled vehicles likely to have contributed to the rapid destruction.

Fifteen minutes of fame results in record bid

Any doubts about a bit of motor racing precious metal being a ‘work of art’ have surely been put to rest with the news that Michael Schumacher’s 2001 Ferrari F1 has sold at a Sotheby’s Big Apple contemporary art auction for a massive US$7,504,000.

Ausauto.com reported last month that the vehicle would be seeking an additional 15 minutes of fame by lining up on the auction block surrounded by contemporary works from the likes of Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The jury may still be out as to whether other vehicles will follow this previously untried and unconventional sales venue, but US$7,504,000 suggests that the traditional automotive auction market now has some very serious competition.

The Ferrari F2001 racing car (chassis #211) won two grands prix, including the Grand Prix de Monaco and in 2001 was pivotal in winning Schumacher’s fourth world drivers title and the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships.

The Ferrari was estimated to sell for between $4-5m, but the result more than doubled the previous auction record for a modern era F1 car of $US3,198,500 fetched by an ex-Schumacher Ferrari F2004 sold at Sotheby’s Maranello sale in 2005.

New online bidding platform to cut costs

With so much speculation surrounding the future of the classic car auction industry, H&H Classics is looking to offer clients what it says is the best of both worlds through a physical auction service and a streamlined online global bidding platform.

According to the company, the main benefit for existing and potential buyers using H&H Online is that there will be no internet surcharge.  Purchases through external online bidding providers usually attract a one to three percent surcharge.

“The decision to offer the new service comes with the recognition that the selling environment today has to be one that suits the clients’ own time constraints and that means providing an around the clock and around the world facility,” said the company’s Simon Hope.

In addition to the company’s nine annual physical sales, the new service will also allow clients to buy and sell each and every day of the year and also enable potential buyers to bid online at physical auctions using the same platform. As a result, the company will be able to conduct timed online auctions outside of its physical event calendar.

“We have grown the business over 25 years by continually making it as user friendly as possible. Now, once again, we are offering a new service that will make the process of buying and selling classic cars and bikes a pleasure by using the very latest that IT can offer with a world class system and reducing costs to clients at the same time,” added Simon.

“We hope our customers and potential customers, will join us in welcoming this new technology whilst embracing the auction industry’s traditional values.”

H&H’s first timed auction that will feature a wide variety of automobilia, is scheduled for Sunday 3rd December. CLICK HERE to sign up


Independent servicing and repair will not invalidate new car warranty

The old argument about whether a motorist who gets a vehicle services outside of the dealer network renders a new car warranty invalid has surfaced again. This time around it’s Sparesbox.com.au that is using the issue to promote its online autoparts store.

As the ACCC has pointed out on numerous occasions, a vehicle owner is legally within his or her rights to choose who maintains or repairs their vehicle as long as it is repaired by qualified staff according to the manufacturer’s specification using appropriate quality parts.

According to Leon Saliba of Sparesbox, dealers and manufacturers make broad statements that consumers will void their warranties or similar if they go to an independent repairer.

“There’s a long-standing myth perpetuated by car manufacturers across Australia that to retain your new car warranty, your vehicle must be serviced at a franchised dealer. This is false information that is still the gospel of some new car dealers and and it’s time that consumers were made aware of their rights.”

Leon points to an ACCC report stating that more than 70% of people aged 35-50+ were most likely to get their new car serviced at the dealership of purchase with many citing they were concerned about invalidating their new car warranty.

“The average dealership service costing will often be more expensive and new car buyers should be given the choice to select an independent car servicing option where they can save money, not to mention avoiding the inconvenience of going back to the dealership,” he added.

Not unexpectedly, Leon claims that a car service with Sparebox.com.au can save consumers up to 30% with the company’s NSW fleet of mobile car servicing vans also taking the hassle out of taking a vehicle to a garage.

“With over 150,000 parts from 140 brands to fit over 10,000 different makes and models, it doesn’t matter if you drive a McLaren, a Mercedes or a Mitsubishi, Sparesbox.com.au will be able to supply any part, sourced directly from the car manufacturer so consumers don’t have to compromise on quality,” added Leon.

“So, make sure you’re not being duped by the car dealers. Know your rights. You have the option to select an independent, hassle-free car servicing option that will save you time and money.”


Leaning on the lamp post, yet again

Apart from lighting the way home, for drunks to lean on, kids to swing on and dogs to pee on, the traditional old lamp post has not been seen to serve any other useful purpose.

That is until Germany’s Ubitricity came along and thought of a really great idea that’s been starring us in the face for ages.

A couple of years back, this innovative company began converting common old garden lamp posts in the London boroughs of Hounslow and Richmond into EV charging stations.

And by all accounts it’s been such a success that the scheme is now about to invade the snotty nosed areas of Kensington and Chelsea.

First up, the streetlights are converted to energy-efficient LED. This frees up some of the available power that is then transferred to an EV charging socket installed at the base of the lamp column. And it’s all done without the inconvenience of digging up the footpath to install new cables.

The system, known as SimpleSockets, is said to be particularly useful in high-density areas where flat dwellers have little, or no, opportunity to recharge EVs overnight.

The SimpleSocket will only work with Ubertricity’s SmartCable, which is home to a meter that registers how much electricity has been used by an EV driver, who is then billed by the supplier.

And the catch?

Well, as usual it’s all hidden, or not so hidden, in the cost. Users have the option of paying £199 (US$260) for the cable, then £7.99 per month subscription and 15p (19 US cents) per kWh for electricity used. Alternately, they can drop the monthly subscription fee and pay 19p per kWh for the power.

Unlike many other countries, where governments are encouraging and helping to subsidise a one size fits all recharging system, the UK has left it all to private enterprise resulting in a patchwork of systems across the country that is said to be holding back the introduction of EVs.


Hydbrids putting pressure on OEM suppliers

The auto manufacturers’ rapid move through hybrids to electric vehicles is putting a great deal of pressure on the suppliers to come up with a wide and numerous range of new drive technologies.

Schaeffler, for instance, is currently working on 48v drives, efficient plug-in hybrid drives, drives for battery-electric vehicles and electric axles, clutch by wire, automated clutches and the recovery of braking energy.

At the same time it is striving to set a high level of service and training for the aftermarket garage professional that these products will require.

For automotive industry developers, hybrid means adding a second power source – principally electric motors – to complement the conventional internal combustion engine.

48v Drives: Energy demands made by modern vehicles are rapidly reaching the limits set by a 12-volt system. By quadrupling the voltage from 12 to 48 volts greater power can be realised for reduced cable cross sections, which in turn boosts efficiency.

Higher voltage cable cross sections enable a 75% smaller cable thickness than is used in 12 volt systems and lighter, more compact and less expensive wiring looms. A further advantage is that 48v is a low-voltage system that does not need the addition safety requirements for high-voltage systems in current hybrids and EVs. There is also a reduction in consumption and emissions.

The higher system voltage simultaneously guarantees greater generator power that in turn helps regenerative braking and opens up a broad range of possibilities with innovative electro mobility architectures leading to new freedoms on drive chains.

E-Motor: In conjunction with a conventional belt drive and aligned with the transmission, this system is installed in front of the engine and provides specific advantages when restarting.

The E-unit combined starter and generator reduces installation space in a simple and cost effective solution. When located between the combustion engine and the transmission, the E-unit has advantages in driving modes ‘boost’ and ‘coasting’ significantly reducing consumption and emissions.

An E-Motor requires little space when fitted to the transmission, or on the transmission outlet, and can be configuration for pure electric crawling or parking. A separate E-Axle, not connected to the combustion engine, allows an upgrade to all-wheel drive.

To position a belt driven starter generator in front of the engine, Schaeffler uses products such as a belt tensioner, idlers and tensioners, or the water pump bearings. The company has also developed a pulley featuring integrated decoupling module.

The functional advantages of the system, which is bolted directly to the crankshaft and operates according to the bow spring principle, are reduced resonances, less irregularities and frictional losses, plus a positive effect on consumption and emissions.

The pulley decoupler (PYD) is suited for conventional and belt stop-start systems and supports boost and recuperation functions in hybrid configurations. The system is designed for over one  million starts.

What Schaeffler term as the P4 configuration, is said to open up entirely new possibilities in inexpensive conce hybridisation. In many vehicles, the combustion engine drives the front wheels and the electric drivetrain and in this case can be integrated as dedicated drive for the rear wheels.

The 48-volt motor permits E-creeping, stop/go driving, turning, boosting to support the combustion engine and coasting and recuperation during braking. Torque vectoring can also be realised on the rear wheels.

If, for example, the outside wheel in the corner is fed more torque, the vehicle seems more eager to turn into the corner, handle better and support the driver’s chosen steering direction. A driver can also select all-wheel drive with P4 configuration, a form of hybridisation that can reduce emission by around 15%.

48-volt technology tests by the company is said to have produced 20kW more power than the first VW Beetle combustion engine and more than high-voltage E-cars transferred to the road two decades ago.

Clutch by wire automated clutch is, as far as the vehicle owner is concerned, a conventional manual transmission. But the ‘by-wire’ indicates there is no direct hydraulic or mechanical connection between the clutch and the clutch pedal. The clutch is actually operated by modern actuators and using stored driving strategies, the system can take control to increase driving comfort, safety and efficiency.

Recovering Braking Energy: Up until very recently, braking energy was lost in the form of heat, but modern hybrid components enable the recovery of this energy. A low voltage power system with 48-volts allows energy flows in the order of up to 12kW, sufficient to achieve significant fuel savings.

Electric Axles: Schaeffler’s electric axle is said to provide a pioneering solution for both hybrid and fully electric vehicles without internal combustion engines. Traction is provided by an electric motor on the rear axle.

Schaeffler tests developments in electric drive technology through drivetrains supplied to Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport’s FE02 electric race car.


Dopey trade deal back from the grave?

One of the first actions of Donald Trump when he became president was to bury the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But now Malcolm Turnbull is trying to dig it up and give this dirty old bone yet another run. This is what GetUp thinks of it all.


The TPP is back. Here’s what you need to know:

Posted by GetUp! on Sunday, 19 November 2017


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