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.
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.
I feel like an old fogey with this comment; but it seems that the electronics revolution translates into a chance for the repair shops to charge whatever they feel like for repairs. Two real stories both involving my wife's cars - one had a faulty sensor that required replacement of the entire engine (I kid you not - fortunately it was under warranty) and recently a thermostat replacement cost $700 - not under warranty. Now granted, newer cars are much more sophisticated and fuel effecient than the cars of 30 years ago - but sometimes it would be nice to know that if your car dies you can clean up the sparkplugs with a wire brush and gap the points with a piece of cardboard and get it running again.
The Grand Prix isn't much of a family car. No place to put your luggage, the mileage stinks, the shock absorbers are lousy, the CD player is non-existant, and it is a magnet for the police! They need to go back to the drawing board...
At the dawn of this new millennium, (circa Y2K) when advance development teams were brainstorming radical new concepts of integrating GPS, BT, MP3 via USB, WiFi, Large-color LCD-screens, and other "radically new ideas" into the automotive sector, electronics engineers were somewhat chastised by automotive engineers for crowding into their space. After all, the V8 and the automatic transmissions were established mechanical wonders with over half a century of implemented use."Surely this new electronic stuff is just a passing fad --- its kinda cool, but really, who would want all that electronic gizmo stuff – it only distracts from the driving experience".
Thank goodness the automotive sector DID adapt, since their legacy is often backward looking.
Driving, no. Sitting in lots of them, yes. Getting into a Smart car and closing the door is an experience. Not exactly a heavy thud. Sensors were definitely on the agenda there, in that they're not visible but if you go to the automaker people, they will talk about them. Anyway, the electronics evolution is well along on the automotive platform.
hey Alex - did you get to roadtest any of those babies? they are all gorgeous and fun to drive as well - but are they safe? However, one thing is for sure: I am sure there are a lot of "MEMS inside" those machines.... Karen
I enjoyed the slideshow. It was nice to see what is coming down the pipeline. But where are the other US automakers. Half of those were old cars and don't get me wrong I love seeing old cars. Too bad no brass era cars in there or a speedsteer with an airplane engine in it. Those are even more neat to see. :) I realize the show name has international in it, but Ford seems to have been present. Hey, have any more pics of Honda's NASCAR engine? Is it tuned port or direct injection? Looks like it's a dual overhead cam engine and a direct inject, but never can see any really up close pics of one of the engines.
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