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RESEARCH ON CARS

In good shape. UK car sales up

Britain's new car market defied the slump in the rest of Europe... BMW, whose ConnectDrive concept car is pictured, stood out...


Alamy

The Daily Telegraph, 7 November 2012

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Russia is now the world's greatest oil producer

Russia today, 19 October 2012

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"Corn-based ethanol and "imminent food crisis" 

The Obama administration was urged on Monday to stop diverting grain to gas amid warnings of an "imminent food crisis" caused by America's drought.

US government forecasts of a 4% rise in food prices for US consumers because of the drought have sharpened criticism of supports for producing fuel from corn-based ethanol.

Meanwhile, research published last week by the New England Complex Systems Institute warned of an "imminent food crisis" because of the diversion of corn stocks to ethanol.

"Necsi has warned for months that misguided food-to-ethanol conversion programs and rampant commodity speculation have created a food price bubble, leading to an inevitable spike in prices by 2013. Now it appears the "crop shock" will arrive even sooner due to drought, unless measures to curb ethanol production and rein in speculators are adopted immediately," the researchers warned.

"We are worried about having enough corn, soybean and other crops at any price to feed our animals," Randy Spronk, the president of the National Pork Producers Association told a conference call with reporters.

Demand for corn ethanol was seen as a key driver of the 2007 and 2008 global food crisis.

The Guardian online, Tuesday 31 July 2012, Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent.


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'Driving a bargain'

Mazda is letting buyers drive off without making a payment for the first 3 months, and Hyundai is allowing new owners to return a car if they lose their jobs within a year of purchase - and will even kick in a couple of payments.

Fortune magazine, March 16, 2009, Sue Zesiger Callaway.

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'Car production gloom'

American car production will fall to it's lowest level in more than 20 years and european output will drop to a 12-year low in 2009. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountancy firm, said that Britain would be one of the markets worst affected, with car production in the country sliding by 18.9 per cent.'

The Times, December 30, 2008, Christine Buckley, Industrial Editor.

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As of April 2008, we are aware that people in the shanty towns of Haiti are presently reduced to starvation due to the growing trend in the use of biofuels.

A year ago, "Fortune" magazine was already warning us that the tank of a car required the equivalent of food to nourish a human being over a year for refill.
Now that maize is increasingly being processed to feed cars, in particular for the US market, women are preparing round flat cakes of grey earth, of which
they have removed the grit, blended in a smooth paste and mixed with a little butter and salt, than dried, to fend off the hunger of their children and men, in the hope that some minerals will help maintain life.

Prime time evening television was showing these terrifying images to it's faithful British (and other) viewers towards the end of April 2008.

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A CAR can now commonly develop the equivalent of 600 HORSES' power. (2008)

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A prototype as from August 2008, the car 'Rinspeed'  can 'drive' (or rather glide) into water to a depth of 7 meters. It doesn't have a roof as this would overly increase the weight and pressure above it underwater and is attractively shaped as a rounded convertible two-seater sports car.

Driver and seater breathe from pipes and masks as deep-sea divers would however they carry no oxygene bottles and are kept seated by their seat belts which prevent them from rising back towards the surface.



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Joyce has pursued the following research at the British library, having had the privilege to obtain a one month pass to it' s reading rooms during March 2002.


"Recycling"

Source: Mira, virtual automotive information centre, 11 April 2001.

-There is a proposed legislation from the EC which will force car makers to recover more than 95% of a scrapped vehicle by 2015 which compares with the present 75% to 80%.

-Rhone Poulenc. The European auto industry has undertaken to recycle 85 % of the weight of scrap cars by 2002.

-Volkswagon group. In 2000 VW had a turnover of Euro 85.5 billion, a 66 % increase over 1999! They set aside Euro 1.4 billion for compliance with the new European directives on recycling scrap vehicles. In 2000, the VW group exceeded 5 million new vehicle registrations. Each brand contributed to the growth, particularly noticeable in North and South America. The group now holds 12.2% of the global vehicle market. It spends 4.8% of group sales on research and development which employs 18,735 people. They work on the development of fuel saving concepts (ex: updating of the TDI pump/nozzle) assembly concepts, the introduction of the FSI engine, as well as the next generation of the Transporter series. They also research the field of fuel cell drive systems, the implementation of electronic systems, and the recycling friendly overall design concept.

-Suzuki. Cutting recycling costs. In an effort to cut the cost of recycling Suzuki recently installed a small bumper crusher at 12 of it's dealerships in Japan to crush bumpers of used Suzuki vehicles to 1/6 of their original size (...) reduce cost of shipping of bulky bumpers.

-Toyota. They recognise the importance of recycling parts in an effort to limit the impact on the environment from discarding the car at the end of it's useful life. They are developing a recyclable airbag with silicon covered fabric which can be shredded and melted for use in other products. Attention also goes to recyclable steel parts.

-Volvo. The group has devised a recycling policy through the selection of raw materials and their recyclability. It has a pilot recycling facility in Jon Koping for scrapped cars. Dismantled cars and sorted materials can be sold for recycling and other non-recoverable materials will be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Volvo has also created a joint research company in Sweden, ECRIS (Environmental Car Recycling in Scandinavia), which focuses on dismantling and recycling scrapped cars.

- Between 10 and 11 million scrap vehicles are being recycled every year in the US. This recovers 95% of the ferrous and non-ferrous metals in an automobile or roughly 75% of the total car weight. However up to 3 million tons of waste is land-filled. There have been many new development in recycling in the last few years. University of Detroit, Mercy.

"Car colour"

Source: "Financial Times" 4 June 1992.

-According to a survey bright aggressive colours are starting to be replaced by more subdued tones. This year , grey company cars have become six times more popular than in the same period in 1991.

Source: "Automotive News" 25 September 1989.

-(...) past present and future developments in the use of colours for cars. Firstly, brighter and more vivid colours will be introduced on the 1992 year model, due partly to technological developments such as water-borne base coats. Secondly, using computer simulation, it will be possible to test as many as 1000 colour combinations in 2 or 3 days. Thirdly, it is clear that the use of colour varies with the country being considered so that 60 to 70% of Japanese cars are white. Fourthly, it is believed that car colours may well mirror the fashion in clothes. Finally, it is perceived that a colour choice is the last means of expressing one's individuality.

"Car weight"

-Trend of car weight reduction using high-strength steel. High functional steel is safe and light. The employment of light alloys aimed at weight saving is becoming a stringent need in the transport industry due to the environmental and social pressure. Fuel consumption and exhaust emissions are in fact strongly dependant on car weight and for such a reason, the automotive industry is looking at both innovative process technologies which make use of light alloys and new designer technologies.

"Cadillac"

Source: " www.auto.com " Publication date : 7 February 2002. Title: " GM may boost production of new Cadillac CTS." Abstract.

-General Motors Group is likely to increase the production of it's new Cadillac CTS , a luxury saloon that replaced the Catera entry level luxury vehicle by adding a second shift of workers at it's Lansing Michigan plant, as the luxury vehicle saloons produced in January 2002 were "flying off the shelves" in April 2002. Currently the new Lansing Grand River plant operates on a single shift of workers and annually manufacturers around 30.000 - 35.000 units of new CTS.

Source: "Automotive news" Bernstein M.

-The all new Cadillac Escalade (537,193 units ... up 29 percent for the calendar year) gave General Motors the all -time industry boost. General Motor's Cadillac decided to launch it's breakthrough campaign during the broadcast of the Super Bowl XXXVI which has become more of a show case for TV commercials than for professional football. Cadillac featured three new commercials 60 seconds during the game and two 30 second spots in post game shows.

Source: "General Motor 's Press Release " 31 January 2002.

-(...) in the tradition of prestige and excellence (...) luxury vehicle (...) Cadillac, America ' s premier luxury vehicle with this country's most popular prestigious highly anticipated and widely viewed sporting event, the Super Bowl (...) Cadillac is known for combining power and performance with over 100 years of heritage and tradition .

"Car fortress"

Source: DOMEX.

Ford has developed the new safeguard engine immobiliser system for all of it's car models. The immobiliser is passively activated to stop the vehicle from being started when a wrong key is used. Other safety systems in the Ford model include high security door locks, anti-burst shielded mechanisms and shrouded rods and cables. Apart from the above, perimeter alarms, visible VIN and unique engine identification systems form the significant features of the Ford security system.

"Motorway"

Source: " What car" march 2002.

-(...) at motorway speed the tyres make more noise than the engine. Source: "Auto car" 16/01/2002 p 30. -Renault's new Clio (...) Top speed 110 mph, 90 mph even on long motorway hills. Motorway cruising (...) relaxing.

Source: "Fleet News" 3 January 2002 p 15. Title of the article: "We're on the road to nowhere ". Abstract.

-Recent research by traffic master claims that UK road congestion is now reaching "crisis level" and that traffic jams clog up major routes for two weeks out of every month. Nine of the UK's most important motorways were jammed for a record 16.5 days in one month and journeys at peak times are now four times longer than at other times of the day. Frequent accidents often make the jams even worse, says the report.

Source: "Professional Engineering" 5 September 2001 p. 34. Eisenstein P.

-In the US alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA) estimates that driver distraction accounts for 1.6 million accidents a year - about a quarter of the total of all accidents.

-ETC, electronic toll collection. -Algeria's massive 1200 km motorway project continues to grow. -The Netherlands has set up 7 of 50 planned electronic weighing stations on main motorway routes to limit overloaded trucks.

-(...) optional video player with pull-down TFT screen which can help to entertain rear seat passengers (...) reduce wind noise from front passenger door at motorway speed , in the rear drinks holder and individual rear seat ventilation controls as well as load-space with a row of hooks to hang up shopping bags.

Source: "World highways" 1July 2001 p 45.

-The main project of the M25 , London ' s orbital motorway , has adopted a flexible approach in the use of aggregates and thinner topping without sacrificing the design ' s life (...) overlay the existing most deteriorated lanes with a continuously reinforced concrete pavement ( CROP ) (...) flexural strength rather than compressive strength . The concrete thickness was reduced from 280 mm to 200 mm by using specified limestone aggregate to increase the concrete grade. p.22. Heyner M.

-International motorway speed limits and death rates show no correlation. Germany with no mandatory speed limit has a fatality rate below the European average and the fatality rate for Spain is six times that of France and both have the same speed limit. Unrealistic speed limit imposed on high speed roads cause traffic jams, poor lane discipline and reduce driver's concentration. The amount of time saved by increasing or removing the limits would outweigh the cost of extra fuel consumption.

Source: "Accident analysis and prevention" p. 337. 1 may 2001. Queens University, Kingston, Canada.

-Limited to situations in which there is no other traffic present (...) impairments in simulated driving are evident even at relatively modest blood alcohol levels and wakefulness prolonged by as little as three hours can produce decrements in the ability to maintain speed and road position as serious as these found at the legal limits of alcohol consumption.

"Satellite navigation systems"

Source: Commercial Motors. Title: "All seeing eyes" Barnett C. 20 Dec 2001. p.32. Abstract.

-Commercial vehicle manufacturers have been slower than car makers at introducing satellite-navigation (sat-nav.) systems for commercial vehicles, though there are now a number of units on the market as low as GBP 1,000 that can be installed. The VDO Dayton MS 5000 is such a unit and has quickly become an industry standard for after-market sat-nav. The unit is simple to operate. An electronic "address-book" featuring as many as 100 destinations can easily set up a TV- style remote control and then the computer calculates the best route to each destination. The residential street database is good, but streets on trading estates are less well covered. Direction can be shown in three modes but the most effective is a full screen moving map. Directions are spoken in one of 21 different voices, and in nine different languages. Route options include the quickest, nearest, motorway or non-motorway. Pressing the "alt" button when faced with delays sets the computer calculating an alternative route. An optional receiver can also gather all available RDS traffic information and display it on-screen as well. A CD-Rom map covers each European country. An additional "point of interest" function calls up a directory including fuel stations, hospitals, hotels and restaurants. A rough calculation suggests the cost of the equipment would easily pay for itself off over a five year vehicle life in terms of fuel and time wasted, not to mention increased customer satisfaction.