Have automobiles become electronics platforms with engines and transmissions thrown in as afterthoughts? One might be forgiven for thinking so. At the 2012 New York International Auto Show, taking place at New York City's Javits Center April 6 through 15, there was less differentiation amongst products outside the sheet metal than beneath it.
Under the hood, power trains are moving forward via the slow but steady mainstreaming of hybrids and electric vehicles. Performance cars are pushing the envelope with faster but more economical engines. And collector cars of yore, in a special show-floor pavilion, proved that Detroit has quite a historical heritage.
Click on the picture below to see our gallery of the latest from the New York Auto Show floor
Honda's Indy Grand Prix car. This chassis first raced in 2006 and won the Toronto Indy in 2009.
For a close-up look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller.
Scott, I join you on this one. Long gone are the days when I could successfully "fix" a problem with my carburetion, transmission, etc etc. I, like most engineers, pretty much grew up working on cars. Of course that was in the late '50s and early 60s and boy have times changed. I suppose for the better but at any rate they have changed. One good thing--the diagnostic equipment, seemingly, has changed with it but your "shade-tree mechanic" (like me) does not have that equipment. We are dependent upon others, supposedly trained, to affect any and all repairs. From past experience, issues with electronics seem to be the most difficult to diagnose when problems arise. As automotive technology advances, the ability to make necessary repairs must keep pace.
@naperlou. Much as I'd like to believe it, the Morgan 3-wheelr doesn't have a wooden chassis: it's tubular space-frame like the originals. You may be confusing it with the wooden floors they used to have. The only wooden chassis I can remember was the 1960s Marcos that originally used a marine ply and fibreglass monococque, but sensibly abandoned it in favour of a conventional steel chassis.
economic justification is the predisposing influence in buying most cars in our world, electric cars are nice, except lithium batteries heat up and the car creeps along, then there is a disposal cost for the petro chemical coalfired electric powered carbattery, and the replaement costs, All this talk about tesla, a company fueled by obama but since elon took the company away from eberhardt in the early 2000's it has lost more money than anyone knows except the bankruptcy expert playing the electric, solar green hype, spacex, iron man to get unwary investors to buy and or invest in the invisible cars and the missing manufacturing company. wind energy and lithium batteries make a good source of power for laptops, but on a matter of scale, it does not pass the economic justification model and will eventually fail taking its unwary investors with it, in the NYSE IPO's where las vegas ethics are the dominant power, similar to farce buck where IPO's get unwary investors to invest in cheap india produced software, selling the invisible, for the more visan=ble gold, works well for the NYSE criminal commercial gang who stole america exporting our factories and ending our family businesses, for chump change FREE TRADE IS SLAVERY
I agree completely, MMorgan. I'm still surprised by the reliability of cars I've owned in the past 15 or 20 years. I drove my last three cars beyond 150,000 miles with no major problems. A new alternator here, a new battery there. That's about it.
I must say that the cars I have owned for the past 20 years have been extremely reliable. Perhaps we are all a little spoiled. I remember when I was starting out in the '60's, I always bought used because I couldn't afford new. I also remember spending a substantial part of my life UNDER the car replacing: Exhaust system ,about once a year, points...Maybe not all of you are old enough to know about points, condensers, ignition coils, replaced every 3000 miles, plugs re-gapped every 1000 miles , engine overhaul at 40,000......should I go on?
I have driven my last 5 cars in excess of 80,000 miles without as much as one tune-up and no other problems that I can think of that wasn't covered by warantee.
I know we owe Japanese quality (invented by an American by the way) for what we have today along with competition.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
Researchers have been developing a number of nano- and micro-scale technologies that can be used for implantable medical technology for the treatment of disease, diagnostics, prevention, and other health-related applications.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
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.