Ford F-150 fuel tank, similar to those NuTankX expects to swap
Ford F-150 fuel tank, similar to those NuTankX expects to swapEnlarge Photo
The BP concept adapted a gasoline tradition to electric-car use, but a second innovation goes the other way round, adapting a radical concept from the battery electric universe to the much greater number of gasoline-fueled vehicles out there.
Silicon Valley venture-funded startup NuTankX is already prototyping a network of gasoline-tank swapping stations, created by adapting the vehicle hoists already in place at smaller independent repair garages.
Screencaps from the Sheen's Ravines appEnlarge Photo
We have to view every Sheen post with skepticism, but at the same time, it's what makes them all plausible. So the notion that the allegedly erratic star with alleged substance-abuse issues and family-relations concerns is now a smart-phone app developer makes ... perfect sense.
Cheekily titled Sheen's Ravines, after the episode in which two of his pricey luxury cars were allegedly stolen and ended up in ravines near his house, the app helpfully identifies the nearest steep cliff, unfenced hillside, water hazard, swimming pool, or other location where you can quickly ditch a car that's become a problem. Winning.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally at introductory press event for MyFord-Sync-KinectEnlarge Photo
Ford just keeps piling it on, with the dizzying pace of infotainment-integrated system rollouts flying by at ... well, Internet speed. From SYNC just three years ago to the 2011 MyFord Touch voice-free vehicle systems control application, the blue oval is operating at warp speed squared.
Their latest advance for the 2012 model year is to add KINECT, the Microsoft motion-sensing game device, to the driver's seat. This way, simple motions can control complex functions. It sounds complex, but the press-release text makes it all crystal-clear:
Tilting the virtual wheel forward will accelerate the vehicle, adjusting output signals to the advanced engine management system to maximize vehicle fuel economy. Tilting the wheel back will decelerate the vehicle, utilizing engine braking or the antilock brake system as the system determines the optimal deceleration parameters based on Gesture Wheel inputs. Turning your hands as if turning the wheel will turn the vehicle, as naturally and intuitively as older direct-interface systems.
With shrieking over ethanol in gasoline all the rage, most recently the House vote to block the EPA's approval of E15 for 2001 and newer cars, the question of fuel additives is much on our minds.
TrueCar's story on the additive urenol is based on data leaked by a former employee of the Finnish company Bla Där Teknology, so it's always good to consider the angle that the information stream is coming from.
Nonetheless, the urea (urine) based additive is said to react with the complex chemical bonds found in gasoline, to sever and then replicate them with added energy content. The idea, TrueCar says, is to allow money that would otherwise be spent buying gasoline to "trickle back into users' pockets."
Barack ObamaEnlarge Photo
Stories about industrial policy rarely get a lot of traffic, so we're not surprised this one slipped under the radar.
The initiative, to be known as the "Automaker Production Refinement and Improvement Legislation Act of 2011," was announced in a mid-morning press briefing at the White House, but was largely ignored by a media corps seemingly more interested in the president's views of Supreme Court Justice Scalia's recent 4-car auto accident.
We tried to reach small automotive startups Aptera, Coda, Fisker Automotive, and Tesla Motors for comment, but no one responded by our printing deadline.
Borg Warner headquartersEnlarge Photo
The shock waves from the stunning (and non-April Fool's) coup engineered by the newly Arianna-ized AOL, whose Autoblog unit silently engineered a swift takeover of detested rival Jalopnik, are still reverberating through the auto-media world. Or blogosphere, as Ms. Huffington used to say.
But the first day's output from the newly renamed Autoblognik brings some stability, journalistic standards, and generally high-quality writing to the gutter journalism practiced by self-proclaimed "big, saucy, Hebrew minx" Ray Wert, whose sniveling, self-pitying departure note sent cheers of jubiliation through the greasy caves of his former underlings and serfs.
This story on sensible personnel actions at solid Tier One supplier Borg Warner marks, we hope, a return to proper journalism of the kind practiced most effectively in print publications--the sort at which online writers aspire one day to be employed. Especially daily newspapers.