Well, there's certainly precedent for it, Rob. The Cadillac Northstar engines in the '90s were developed from the ground up by a dedicated GM group that was trying to compete with the powertrains of German luxury cars. The technology eventually trickled down to Oldsmobile and Buick, but not until Cadillac had gotten several years use from it. Obviously, luxury automakers can't always develop their engines from the ground up, as Cadillac did in that case, but many have their own teams that enhance existing powertrain platforms.
One of the things we were trying to determine in another thread, Chuck, is whether these luxury cars have a separate engineering team for the drive chain, or whether the luxury car design team is only there for the interior and exterior body. Any thoughts?
You got that right, Rob. That's why we have automotive divisions like Cadillac, Lincoln, Lexus, Infiniti and Acura, not to mention BMW and Mercedes. There will always be a market for luxury. Only the definition changes, not the desire.
This thread has been going on a long time. You're right about SUVs, Chuck. They're the big, long cars for the baby boom generation. the WWII generation had its long sleek Caddys and Lincolns. Baby Boomers have their SUVs.
I'm not surprised to see that 92% figure, Chuck. I would imagine you'd see similar stats for trucks when it comes to how many trips are actually used to move stuff in the bed. That's a lot of money spent and gas consumed to use these vehicles just for passenger trips.
Yes, the high perch is also the appeal for many SUV drivers, Rob. In the mid-'90s, we were told that 92% of SUV drivers never took their vehicles off road. They didn't want the powertrain and clearance so much as they wanted the high seats. It's the same for me in a minivan -- in and out is so much easier.
That makes sense, Chuck. One thing I liked about the minivan is that I climbed up into the driver's seat rather than stooping down into the seat of a standard car. I also liked the heightened view of traffic.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.