The 2014 North American International Auto Show opened its doors to the public in snowy Detroit last week. It offered its annual seamless blend of cars, celebrities, bright lights, loud music, short dresses, and variable camshaft timing.
The show, which included a visit from Vice President Joe Biden and an evening appearance by Sheryl Crow, featured 71 vehicle debuts. Chevrolet, Toyota, Chrysler, Cadillac, Porsche, Lexus, Acura, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and many others made major introductions. On the technical side, Ford stole the show by unveiling an F-150 truck with heavy doses of aluminum and high-strength steels.
We offer photos of the show's newest vehicles and technologies. From aluminum trucks to racy concept cars to nine-speed transmissions, take a peek at some of the auto industry's most notable introductions for 2014.
Click Chrysler's Stryker Green SRT Viper below to start the slideshow.
Chrysler's use of green paint served as one of the North American International Auto Show's biggest show stoppers. For the SRT Viper, the automaker unveiled a Stryker Green color -- a combination of "enhanced green and yellow pigments" and a "liquid mercury appearance." (Source: Chrysler)
I started out in composites building boats at 15, 46 yrs ago but did a lot in engineered, tortured ply and epoxies making very lighweight but very strong to take the massive sailing rig loads when I started designing, building them myself.
In the composites trade it's normal to build a wood plug/mold to make the production molds from.
Then I got into racing multihull sailboats and so much surface area wood/epoxy was the lightest method around. Especially 'WEST System Tortured Ply' which I took to higher levels making 40' round bigled hulls by myself in 10 manhrs.
There really isn't much I can't build in wood/epoxy or composites. Or metal or near any material, the right material for the right job. I've work in near all materials worth working in.
On cars remember it wasn't till into the 30's before steel was good enough to handle the road shocks plus old growth lumber was running out, the tide turned.
Now though steel, etc costs have went up which I think engineered wood will be big in the future for many things, car production likely won't be one. For 1 offs it can be a great way. My all wood Harley sevicecar size EV trike only took 32hrs of 50% was the body/chassis from wood.
The one wood fiber you'll see a lot more of soom is hemp. It'll replace a lot of composites like Henery Ford did with it before it became illegal because it was so good, big plastics/Dow, forests, cotton and paper of the time killed it just as the tech came to free the fibers economically. Otherwise we'd likely be wearing hemp fiber shirts, etc now and will be soon.
As I'm recovering from medical costs I'll likely build, sell a couple as I call them Lumberghini's, Clear coated mahogany Aerocabin 2 and 3wh EV MC's to get cash flow up . Then later all composite versions for production.
Looks like I now have a source of auto OEM low cost lithium batts which will give me 200-250 mile range if want. ;^D If anyone tells you OEM's are paying over $200kwhr in packs, they are wrong or getting ripped off.
Ann, Not to mention I'm building a couple of wood/epoxy cars at the moment.
I build most of my prototypes, test mules in wood/epoxy as much lower cost, lighter weight for 1 off cars. Only once perfected do they get composite molds popped off them.
Interestingly I took a Kaw 750 MC replacing the frame in wood/epoxy, motor, trans, etc with a 50lb EV motor, 300lbs of batteries and was still lighter than the stock MC!!
It was a test mule to see how low CG and longer wheelbase MC's handled before I built the full Streamliner EV in composites. It handled slightly different but as good, maybe better than high CG bikes. So a go for the production EV Streamliner MC.
With low cost lithium batteries now things will get very interesting.
Naperlou, wasn't the Elan an all composite car, the first production one? Or was it another Lotus of that time?
Also similar light wooden sportcars like the Morgan and Markos also terrorized the bigger racecars of the 60's era along with Lotus, a favorite of mine and where I found out bigger wasn't better in cars.
Like I've been saying for decades, it's not the power but what you put it in. If you weigh 50% as much and better aero you can win using much less.
Yet other the supercars like Farrari, McLaren, car makers still won't use composites to cut weight, costs in half!!
So excuse me if I see these vehicles, etc as sad imitation of what we could have for less money, fuel, running costs for the same comfort, job, results.
PS I just found great lithium battery packs for under lead prices. ;^) This means I'll soon have a 100-200 mile range EV for a fraction of a regular car costs finally.
And I've been finding so much OEM info on low cost lithium it's so obvious they now cost OEM's under $200kwhr in packs. Thus of you still holding onto the $450-700/kwhr need to deal with it. Tesla even admits it.
Facts are EV's can be built cost competitive with gas cars now. They are just price gouging trying to make it look like EV's are not as cost effective.
While j-allen is certainly right about the former existence of "woodies," as my surfer friends used to call old wooden-body cars, they didn't last long because of the extreme expense involved in their manufacture. OTOH, the idea of using wood products in cars is being resurrected by papermakers (what a surprise :)), such as Weyerhaeuser, which we reported here http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=252129 and more recently, by Finnish company UPM-Kymmene Oyj: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-26/wood-car-takes-automakers-back-to-future-in-mileage-quest.html
I agree that the aluminum F-150 is the most important thing at the show, naperlou. Getting to 54.5 mpg is going to be really difficult by 2025, which is now only 11 years away, with carmakers working at least four years out. Aluminum will be one of many fuel efficiency techniques.
Please note that my comment applied to the historical background of variable valve timing. Also note that the engine cited is the Rankine Cycle, not the Otto Cycle. The steam engine rejects its thermodynamic waste heat in its exhaust where it is dissipated in the condenser. But let's apply this to the automotive steam engine. When cruising the driver keeps the cutoff short, admitting just a short burst of steam which then expands adiabatically for the rest of the stroke. This maximizes efficiency. For a burst of acceleration, you prolong the admission to more of the stroke. The integral of pressure over volume is now greater (more power) but the adiabatic expansion ratio is reduced (poorer efficiency). A amart driver operates this way only when necessary, and for a short time. A.Saji is then correct that the condenser is sometimes unable to keep up with the excess exhaust steam, and some may get vented (wasted) to the atmosphere, rather than condensed and returned to the boiler.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
There's good news and bad news regarding the subsystems of today's vehicles. The good news is that new engines and transmissions are more trouble-free than in the past. The bad news is that the infotainment systems are still prone to be "buggy."
For decades, the corporate path to the chief executive's office has often passed through engineering. Automotive, computer, electronics, and oil companies have frequently drawn their leaders from the engineering ranks.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.