Aerodynamics are key to electric vehicle (EV) efficiency and driving range. The basic principle is simple; the lower the coefficient of drag (cD), the further you can travel per charge. The slickest cars follow nature. A bird that’s shaped like a brick cannot fly. Unfortunately, electric vehicle aerodynamics have taken a back seat to the whims of the market. In the quarter century since the introduction of the General Motors EV1, it’s 0.19 cD remains unrivaled.
Vehicle subscription services offer a compelling alternative to traditional ownership, leasing, and rental. They are useful in situations that prevent long-term commitment. Think of it as an in-betweener for those times when a traditional rental is too expensive and a lease is too burdensome. Need a car for a month or two (maybe six)? A subscription might be right for you. The primary differentiators between car subscription plans include service areas, monthly costs, upfront fees, mileage limits, flexibility, and vehicles offered. A slew of companies have launched in recent years and the marketplace is evolving rapidly.
Choosing a first car is a right of passage. While the top two criteria for most parents are safety and affordability, teenagers on the other hand, are more focused on what’s cool. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) recently published a list of safe and affordable used vehicles for teenagers and we’ve taken it up a notch.
A first car should be safe above all, but it needn’t be boring. Grandma’s cast-off Buick LaCrosse may be safe and priced right, but it lacks a certain cache. That’s why we’ve poured through the list to find the ten most affordable and most appealing of the IIHS’ picks. Our criteria focused on affordability, with all models starting under $10,000, in addition to a preference for manual transmissions and all-wheel-drive. If you’re driving a manual, you’re not holding a cell-phone.
Our top eleven list (yes, our list goes to eleven!) includes imports, domestics, sedans, wagons and SUVs, but no small cars. The IIHS does not recommend any small cars for teenagers. Big is better when it comes to safety. We’ve included links to MPG reviews and fuel economy ratings in the list.
We’ve never seen anything like Volkswagen’s massive deception on NOx emissions. Automobile manufacturers can do some questionable things, but this ranks among the most puzzling. It’s a huge slap in the face for diesel advocates. The current buzz indicates that VW will “fix” the effected TDI diesel-powered vehicles that exceed federal emissions standards. Exactly how this will play out, remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, legal firms are circling Volkswagen like vultures. There are a number of lawsuits in the works, aiming to score a settlement with Volkswagen. Is this really about TDI owners getting restitution or is it simply a big payday for the attorneys? The fix will surely lower performance and fuel efficiency. How much can Jetta, Golf, and Passat owners expect to recieve? If I owned one of these vehicles, I wouldn’t want it “fixed” … I’d want to swap it for a brand new version that delivered the performance and MPGs that I was promised.
With the spotlight on Volkswagen, the media is ignoring the larger issue. If we are serious about reducing emissions, whether it’s particulates, NOx, carbon, or other pollutants, we must move past our addiction to petroleum. The biggest problem isn’t diesel engines. It’s the fuel.
With auto manufacturer and supplier exhibits spread throughout Detroit’s cavernous Cobo Hall, finding the most efficient route through the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever wished you had an app on your smartphone to provide navigation within the winding aisles of a gigantic car show, your prayers have been answered.
Enter ZF AutoShowMe!
The ZF AutoShowMe App runs on iOS and Android devices. ZF is providing the app free of charge via Google Play and the iPhone App Store. Download ZF AutoShowMe for NAIAS 2014 and you’ll chart a course to auto show nirvana.