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Tech Highlights From the Detroit Auto Show

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naperlou
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torque, torque...
naperlou   1/23/2015 11:47:10 AM
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Chuck, all this talk about torque, especially in respect to electric vehicles, is getting a little old.  The fact is that most people don't use what torque they have, even in a small economy car.  What gets me is to be behind someone in a BMW, usually an older person (like myself) moving slowly off the line.  Many people buy cars becuase, especially more expensive cars, more as status symbols.  When I was young I had an MG B which I heavily modified (as I did with all my cars back then).  When "street racing" I routinely beat much more expensive cars.  Even though they shuold have been able to "win" they were never as crazy as I was.  Interestingly, one of the only cars I never beat out was an Olds 442.  This makes sense.  You only buy such a car to go fast. 

So, while the torque of an electric car may be great, it's much greater weight is a real disadvantage. 

fredsay
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Gold
Re: torque, torque...
fredsay   1/26/2015 9:53:17 AM
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Horsepower sells cars. Torque puts the smile on your face.

To a hot rodder (like me), talk of "torque" NEVER gets old. And the expression "Too much torque" borders on blasphamey.

Giddy up.

 

Thinking_J
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Platinum
Re: torque, torque...
Thinking_J   1/27/2015 3:51:49 PM
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Naperlou....

I agree with everything you stated.

Last night I was watching Jay Leno present a steam powered car from 1908.. 30 hp.. but over 1500 lbs of torque (!).... I don't see anyone getting excited about this car's performance.

Using only two numbers (HP and torque) to represent the complex performance characteristics of an engine is seriously "limiting". Giving these numbers @ RPM is only marginally better. So far graphing of performance is the only documentation that comes close to documenting an engine's performance. Then there is the rest of the car's design impacting real performance.

It appears most people love to simplify things (single number, two/three letter acromyms, etc..)   .. excessively... to the point of eliminating any value in what is being communicated.  IP....was that Intelectual Property? or Internet Protocol? 500 hp ? over what percentage of it's power curve? Torque? peaking where?

There is a lot being assumed.. (traditional relationships between hp/torque on V8 engines of a certain size and vintage) that has not been valid for a long time.

And yes, street racing is rarely about the faster car.. it is more about who is crazier. Sigh.. It is amazing I survived my youth.

 

Chris Wiltz
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Blogger
That Ford GT
Chris Wiltz   1/23/2015 2:26:41 PM
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We need to invent time travel soley so we can travel to 2020 and get behind that Ford GT.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: That Ford GT
Charles Murray   1/23/2015 3:59:25 PM
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I agree, Chris. I took two dozen photos of it and couldn't decide which was best. It looks good from every possible angle.

ChasChas
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Platinum
Why so long?
ChasChas   1/24/2015 3:21:27 PM
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Love that Ford GT. (But, I'll be 70 - if at all - before it gets here.)

It took all this long to get a honest to goodness mainline American performance car that can actually go around curves and corners.

mr88cet
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Silver
Volt: "Impressive" 50 Miles?!
mr88cet   1/26/2015 9:21:37 AM
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A fifty-mile range on the Volt doesn't strike me as particularly "impressive."  However, yes, it is a very substantial improvement over the previous 40-mile range, and it would take me back and forth to/from work without recharging (but then again, we have free-to-employee recharge stations at work).

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Volt: "Impressive" 50 Miles?!
Charles Murray   1/26/2015 6:51:04 PM
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You're right, mr88cet, 50 miles in and of itself is not tremendously impressive. What's impressive is that battery capabilities are improving. This has a smaller volume battery and longer range. Also, as you point out, it does get a lot of people back and forth from work, while still offering the range extender. Most Volt owners are going 900 miles between gasoline fillups, and that's likely to go even higher now.

mr88cet
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Silver
Re: Volt: "Impressive" 50 Miles?!
mr88cet   1/26/2015 7:13:28 PM
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To the degree that the two vehicles are comparable, the main thing I like about the Volt over my 2009 Prius, is that the Volt's engine is almost always completely off, under typical use. Among other things, it's usable lifespan must be through the roof! The main thing that my 2009 Prius has done to me is to make internal-combustion engines annoy me! It stems from frustration of the Prius' idiotic computer thinking like a start/stop instead of a true hybrid, and not shutting off the engine when it clearly can do so. Clearly part of its programming includes a rule of the nature of "after the car comes to a stop for 2-3 seconds, shut off the engine." I've seen it obnoxiously often go for tens of seconds or minutes with the engine uselessly idling and not actually powering anything, because that stupid computer is waiting for the car to come to a stop for 2-3 seconds before it will shut off the engine! Really! It does that all the time! So I've gotten to where ICE's just annoy me, and ideally, I don't want to ever buy one again! They're bulky, they're noisy, they're complicated, they smoke, they've got all that obnoxious maintenance...

patb2009
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Gold
Re: Volt: "Impressive" 50 Miles?!
patb2009   1/29/2015 12:18:50 PM
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What's impressive is that battery capabilities are improving. This has a smaller volume battery and longer range. Also, as you point out, it does get a lot of people back and forth from work, while still offering the range extender.

 


Who are you, and what have you done with Charles :-)

 

I have been talking for at least two years, about the fabulous growth rate of battery

tech means that cars will soon make the swap to battery.

 

if Chevy had wanted to keep the battery volume the same, they probably could have done 70 miles electric...

ck_02
User Rank
Iron
Ford GT a supercar?
ck_02   1/26/2015 11:07:47 AM
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Though the build would promote the idea that the 2020 Ford GT is meant to be among the supercar class, I feel it falls a bit short. I mean, yes it's a V-6 engine, so I understand that I'm not comparing apples to apples here, but even the Cadillac CTS-V  sedan outperforms the Ford GT horsepower and torque statistic-wise. Maybe I'm being a bit over critical, but other than looking pretty, it falls a bit short for me. I just tend to expect a little bit more out of the top end Ford vehicle, especially at a rumored $200k+ price tag.

Charles Murray
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Re: Ford GT a supercar?
Charles Murray   1/26/2015 6:55:13 PM
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Yes, ck_02, it definitely comes up short compared to the Ferreris and Lamborghinis and McLarens, but we're assuming it won't be in a price class with those. It certainly drew a lot of attention at NAIAS. All the photos show dozens, and sometimes hundreds of people crowded around it.

terrys
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Iron
Re: Ford GT a supercar?
terrys   1/26/2015 11:30:01 PM
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ck_02  How do you compare a 3.5L dohc v6 that will be at least 600 hp to a 6.2L pushrod v8 rated at 640 hp. The hp/L is much more impressive for the v6. GM is using an archaic engine design that should have been sent to the scrap yard long ago.  Who else other than GM and Mopar have used a pushrod v8 in the last 20 years.  The Ford GT is designed for lap times and the rules for the race.  I was surprised they didn't use the new 5.2L dohc single plane V8 that is in the Shelby GT350 until I found out they needed to use the v6.  The Ford GT will probably be a lot less than a Ferrarri or Lambo but I'll be willing bet that it will be a lot faster on the race track and that is all that counts.  Where did the 2020 come from?  It is scheduled to race in 2016.  It will have to be on the street by then as well.

ck_02
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Iron
Re: Ford GT a supercar?
ck_02   1/27/2015 9:34:47 AM
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@Terrys, To answer your last question, the heading/caption under the photo states that the Ford GT that was pictured stated, "Ford's GT supercar isn't expected to hit the streets until 2020." Also, I explained that I wasn't comparing apples to apples in my previous comment. I did not mean to. I also did not compare it to lambos or ferraris other than to state that it is being pushed as a supercar and is considered the top end of Ford engineering. What I was pointing out was that a Cadillac at less than half the price will have more horsepower and torque. Heck, I can get better performance (cleaner, faster, more horsepower, and torque) out of some suped in-line 4's than the Ford GT at a mere fraction of the pricetag of the GT if that is the point you were looking for. My point was that I have the opinion that Ford is putting a steep pricetag on that pony for what a person can actually get out of it. Again, merely my opinion.

Charles Murray
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Re: Ford GT a supercar?
Charles Murray   1/27/2015 7:40:15 PM
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Sorry for misunderstanding your point, ck_02. I don't yet know what the pricetag will be on the GT, but this will definitely be marketed toward enthusiasts, many of whom who will be willing to pay a premium.

bobjengr
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Platinum
TECH HIGHLIGHTS AND DETROIT
bobjengr   1/27/2015 5:13:46 PM
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Excellent slide show Charles.  I suppose I'm showing my age but I really loved the styling of the Buick Avenir. I went on line to get a glimpse of the interior and was very surprised as to how efficient the layout was.  Their web site indicated the designs were "concept" but I certainly hope the concept makes it to reality and ultimate production. Again--excellent slides. 

Charles Murray
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Re: TECH HIGHLIGHTS AND DETROIT
Charles Murray   1/27/2015 7:43:59 PM
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We agree on this, bobjengr. I liked the Avenir, as well. I also think the Avenir's use of start-stop is significant. When Buick reaches for a technology, it usually (not always, mind you) means that the technology is approaching the mainstream.

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