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Archives for the Category: Going Green

Would You Rather Drive Or Have Your Car Drive For You

 

Is this a case of not knowing what you have till it’s gone, what will happen when the car doesn’t need a driver turning its steering wheel anymore.

Mercedes-Benz , Cadillac, Volvo–not to mention Google GOOGL -1.51%, Tesla and, rumor has it, Apple AAPL +0.00%–are all racing to relieve drivers of that fun. Within five years, most automakers say, they’ll offer highly automated cars that can handle stop-and-go traffic and freeway speeds without any driver input. In ten years drivers will be able to work or even take a nap during their commute. Volvo just unveiled the Time Machine, a futuristic cockpit with a 25-inch flat-screen that rotates out of the dashboard as the steering wheel retreats and the driver reclines. Google is developing self-driving cars that don’t even come with a steering wheel or gas pedal.

This is the future, asserts Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk. “Any cars that are being made that don’t have full autonomy will have negative value,” he predicted in a November conference call with Wall Street analysts. “It will be like owning a horse. You’re really owning it for sentimental reasons.”

Not everyone thinks so. “It’s not just getting from point A to point B,” says Mazda’s soft-spoken CEO, Masamichi Kogai, who heads up perhaps the only major automaker that is not working on autonomous cars. “Our mission is to provide the essence of driving pleasure.

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 What Stands In The Way With Cars Being Able To Drive Themselves

The autonomous car is a dream for all car companies to sell, however they may need to wait a little longer to be able to put this car on the market as they fix these few bugs.

As more than 800 engineers, software developers, transportation experts and other technical folks met last week in this Detroit suburb to discuss the risks and benefits of autonomous and connected vehicles, they were raising more questions than finding answers.

Here are six unsolved challenges that stand between the technologies’ potential and reality:

  1. Cybersecurity and privacy protection. Maybe this can’t be solved until there are thousands of pilot vehicles on our roads, but last week Wired magazine writer Andy Greenberg wrote about two cybersecurity experts who accessed a newer Jeep Cherokee’s computer brain through its Uconnect infotainment system and rewrote the firmware to plant their malicious code. The result: hip-hop began blasting through the stereo system, the AC turned to maximum force. Then the hacker’s code killed the transmission and brakes. We know autonomous cars will have even more software coding. One major attack and consumer confidence in the technology could be severely damaged.
  1. How much will these vehicles cost? Established automakers are introducing progressively more advanced autonomous features in their most expensive models. Ride-hailing or other fleet-based services such as Uber or Lyft will try to deliver their service at a lower price than competing options.

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When Does The Time Come To Get Rid Of Your Car

It is hard to get ride of things that matter to us. However, there comes a time where getting something new will help you more than repairing something old.

 

Of all the things we buy, maintain, use, and eventually scrap at the end of its lifecycle, nothing involves emotion like our relationship with our vehicles.

 

Perhaps it’s because of the cost and the sacrifices we make to own and operate them, or because they represent independence and mobility. But regardless, all this emotion can cloud our decision-making process when it comes to parting with our beloved daily driver. Many automakers invest as much time and energy in creating and developing an emotional bond between their products and their customers as they do in designing and building the vehicles themselves. If you doubt this, consider the amount carmakers spend on advertising each year compared to what they spend on R&D. While every auto manufacturer will supply an endless list of reasons why you should buy their particular product, few will help you decide when, and if, it’s time to leave your wheels by the curb and buy or lease something new. Here, then, is some advice to help make that decision easier.

 

Time and distance

Of all the auto executives I’ve met over almost four decades, only one ever admitted to the lifespan for which they design and build their vehicles to survive. While no auto company will admit it, the useful life for the majority of mainstream, non-luxury vehicles is about 10 years and/or 250,000 kilometers. While many cars, light trucks and SUVs may exceed that mark without exceptional repair or maintenance, a good percentage are relegated to the boneyard much sooner. A vehicle’s reliability takes a decidedly marked downturn once these milestones are passed. Does this mean we need to rush to the nearest dealership when the odometer clicks past that fateful mark? No, but it means it’s time create a succession plan. No matter the many variables when it comes to our relationships with cars, there’s one constant you can rely on: when you are forced to make a rushed decision on purchasing or leasing a vehicle (because your present chariot is dead in the driveway) it will cost you more than if you planned ahead.

 

Major repair estimate

Everyone dreads this call. They’ve had the family car towed into their repair provider because it failed to start/move/stop, and they get the estimate to overhaul/repair/replace something big. A good rule of thumb in these circumstances is to review your options of repairing or replacing your vehicle if a single-repair estimate approaches or exceeds its wholesale value. A quick internet tour of just about any used vehicle sales website can pinpoint this value. Just take the average asking price for the same vehicle in your area (with identical equipment and mileage) and subtract around $1,500 from a retailer’s asking price to come up with a wholesale value. Vehicles, unless it’s a collector classic, are a depreciating asset. Spending its entire value in one repair won’t double its worth.

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GM Discusses The Next Line of Volts

The Volt was one  of the leaders in it’s market last year.  General Motors will show the next-generation Chevrolet Volt plug-in at the Detroit auto show in January, Chevy’s top marketer said today.

Tim Mahoney, Chevy’s global chief marketing officer, disclosed the plans at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. He also revealed a teaser photo that showed the redesigned 2016 Volt’s rear badge and a more sculpted decklid.

The next-gen Volt is expected to arrive in showrooms sometime in late 2015. GM will add a third seat in the rear and downsize to a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder engine, from the current 1.4-liter four-cylinder, sources have told Automotive News.

GM has sold more than 65,000 Volts since it went on sale in December 2010, making it the top selling U.S. plug-in car, GM said in a statement today.

Still, sales volumes have fallen short of the company’s initial expectations. Former CEO Dan Akerson had initially projected production of 60,000 Volts in 2012 alone.

This year through July, GM sold 10,635 Volts, down 9 percent from a year earlier. Sales dipped 2 percent last year, to 23,094.

GM said nearly 70 percent of buyers who trade in another vehicle for a Volt are coming out of non-GM brands, which is a high conquest rate. The majority of those trade-ins are Toyota Prius hybrids, GM said.

The Volt is powered by energy from its 435-pound battery pack for an estimated range of 38 miles. Once the charge is depleted, the gasoline-powered engine kicks on to power the electric drivetrain.  Although the Volt was one of the top leaders, this new generation may push them to be the overall best selling car.

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International Auto Recycling Events Scheduled

Professional associations are a great way to network with others in your industry and to talk shop with people who share your passion. Both national and provincial recycler associations hold various meetings for their members around the country. Below are the currently scheduled conventions and meetings for the coming year. A few of the highlights from the 2013 meeting slate include AARDA’s 25th Anniversary Convention this June in Sylvan Lake, Alberta, and the joint OARA – ARA meeting, bringing together Ontario and U.S. recyclers this October in Niagara Falls, New York. The International Roundtable on Auto Recycling returns to North America in 2013, taking place in November immediately following the ARA Convention & Trade Show in Phoenix, Arizona.

Read the full article here.

The Facts on Electric Cars Exploding

Supporters of electric vehicles are getting charged up in their defense of battery-powered cars, citing the pros of plug-ins and attacking critics for ignoring, misrepresenting or misunderstanding the facts.

General Motors, for instance, is now saying Chevrolet Volt owners collectively have “saved a supertanker of gasoline since the electric car with extended range went on sale.” Volt owners have gone 40 million miles on electricity and avoided using more than 2.1 million gallons of gasoline, says GM in a new release.

“No electric vehicle has ever caught fire, and yet the political right is constantly talking about the flammability, overheating, fire hazards and so forth,” an exasperated Lutz is reported have said. “Folks,” said the former Marine Corp. pilot and noted global warning skeptic, “it’s a pure fiction. Get it out of your heads.”

Lutz himself is no friend of left-wingers and liberals on most issues, but when it comes to EVs he’s almost in bed with the Ralph Naders of the world. For more on his views, have a look at his recent column in Forbes entitled “I Give Up On Correcting The Wrong-Headed Right Over The Volt.”

It’s hard to imagine Lutz penning something with “Wrong-Headed Right” in the headline, but such is the juiced atmosphere in the EV debate.

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We Have all Heard of a Spare Tire?

But with a gas guzzler like this I guess a spare car could come in handy also!

Old Tire Take-Back for Charity!

Visit Standard Auto Wreckers in Scarborough next month and bring in all your old tires for recycling!

Recycled Tranny

Gotta love this idea!

Get Rid of your Old Junk Vehicles

Good Ask Joanne article!

In most cities, every second power pole is plastered with ads for scrappers who will pick up clunkers for free, and pay you for the privilege. Call around to compare prices, but keep in mind that who buys your vehicle can make a difference in where and how it ends up.

“Our members are not looking solely at how much it weighs, but there are many guys out there who operate that way: they’re not going to do anything environmental to it, it’s going to be squished with all the fluids in it, and who’s to care?” says Fletcher.

Fletcher has been with the Ontario Auto Recyclers Association since 1992. “We’re all audited to the Canadian Auto Recyclers Environmental Code, which we developed with Environment Canada. We physically go visit the places and see how they deal with the different materials, and where they send them; that’s the only level of oversight that exists in the industry right now.”

Read the full article here.