Saturday, 7 January 2017

Weekend Update 07/01/2017 – Motoring Along.

This weekend something held over to the weekend, but too good not to share. With the Detroit Motor Show just about to get underway tomorrow, move over CES, today the Golden Age of early motoring. GM’s Bolt. Bentley’s 700 HP Supersports car.

The fastest cars in history: 1894 to 1914

Mike Hanlon January 3rd, 2017
Our history of the world's fastest production car is produced in three parts: pre-WWI, WWI to WWII and the already-published segment from WWII until now. This is article covers the earliest period from the first cars through to WW1. The nature of the data available means we've had to rely on disparate data points and some ballpark figures in tracing the early development of the fastest road cars, making it less clinical than our look at the cars of the modern era, but no less fascinating.

The modern car evolved from initial attempts to motorize a horse-drawn carriage in just two decades, from 1894 to 1914. In many ways, the rise in speeds from 1894 to 1914 charts that wave of innovation: from one cylinder to 12 cylinders, from two- to four-wheel brakes, from side-valve to DOHC 4-valve hemispherical combustion chambers, from open to streamlined, from solid axles to pneumatic suspension and incredibly, from 12 mph to 120 mph.

In one generation, the automobile was embraced by civilization as a symbol of personal freedom. The initial circumstance was ideal for the success of the automobile, as a ready-made market existed comprised of the millions who had experienced personal transport's first "killer app" – the bicycle.
Viewed in this narrow time-frame, the automobile's top speeds increased on average more than 5 mph per year for 20 years from 1894 to 1914. This was Moore's Law v 0.9.

Defining a road car during this period of time is problematic, as race cars and record cars were almost always based on road cars. It was a different time, and cannot be seen clearly with a mentality framed by 21st century mass production and road registration rules. Each jurisdiction meant that different road registration rules and applications of those rules existed and as you'll see in the research below, purpose built racetracks didn't exist, so all competition was staged on public roads throughout this period.

In 1900, a mass market for personal transportation had already existed for thousands of years – the horse drawn carriage. The largest producer of horse-drawn vehicles in the USA was Durant-Dort which was selling over 150,000 carriages a year and already had sophisticated manufacturing operations and a sales channel to America's wealthy. There was life before the motor car, just at a more leisurely pace.

---- Trains might have owned the market for luxury long-distance land travel, but automotive pioneers could see that would change once the engine, roads, tires and cars achieved their full potential.

An automobile would ultimately offer greater possibilities than the steam train, most notably being able to transport you quickly and safely from A to B, instead of the train's station A to station B.
The world's road infrastructure was in its infancy 100 years ago. The first automobile crossing of America was not achieved until 26 July 1903. The 4,500-mile journey had taken 63 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes. The same New-York Los Angeles road record now stands at 28 hours and 50 minutes.

The vast majority of the world's cars prior to 1907 were built in Europe, with America overtaking France as the leading car manufacturer in the world in 1904 by volume and in 1905 by value. By 1907, America's 250 car manufacturers were producing more cars (44,000 per year) than France, Britain and Germany combined, and America's more equitable income distribution and far higher average wages put the dream of personal transportation within reach of the common man.
Ultimately, although America would start behind the European countries in its quest for mass personal transport, it would put the freedom machine in the hands of the people a full generation ahead of Europe.
Production capabilities were growing quickly in 1907 as America embraced the new low-priced four-cylinder Ford Model N and Buick Model 10 "Nifty". Ford was producing 100 Model N cars a day in one factory and the 6000 cars it made in 1908 were behind only Buick's 9000 as they fought to be the largest car manufacturer in the world.
From five vehicles for every 1000 Americans in 1910, there were 86 vehicles for every 1000 people by 1920, and by the end of WW2, Europe lay in ruins while America's homeland was untouched by war and there were 220 cars for every 1000 people. In just a few decades, one in five Americans had purchased a car. Next to a home, it was the most expensive discretionary purchase most people ever made and car ownership would eventually reach eight in 10 Americans.

GM's journey from Volt to Bolt

January 3, 2017 Updated 3 days ago
Ten years ago, General Motors Co. was in deep trouble.

Yet then-CEO Rick Wagoner took the stage at the 2007 Detroit auto show with his usual stoic confidence. On the other side of the wall was the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid concept car that was as much about proving that GM still had a bright future as it was about guzzling less gasoline.

"This isn't about science projects," Wagoner said after unveiling the Volt. "This is about creating cars and trucks propelled in an efficient manner that people really want to own. And that's the way we're going to win."

The concept Volt featured plastics extensively, including body panels and polycarbonate window features. While the version that went into production dropped some of that dramatic plastic styling, it still relies on plastics. Its battery system won the Society of Plastics Engineers’ top auto award in 2011 for the injection molded nylon used in its prismatic cells.

The current Volt also added a battery pack with a glass-reinforced polyester structural composite cover.

The Volt didn't keep GM out of bankruptcy (or save Wagoner's job), and consumers didn't embrace it the way GM had projected. But it did set GM on a decadelong path that culminated in the launch late in 2016 of the Chevy Bolt, a battery-powered car that presages a future with self-driving, emissions-free vehicles that consumers might share rather than own.

GM's journey from the Volt to the Bolt mirrors the dramatic shifts and lessons for the entire auto industry over the course of that decade. The fact that the Bolt runs on electricity is now only part of its story: Its greatest legacy may lie in its ability to help GM navigate a future in which automakers that fall too far behind can become obsolete.

The Bolt arrives as automakers race to acquire technology startups, align themselves with ride-hailing companies and battle Silicon Valley for software-development talent. Many of the news conferences that kick off the Detroit show Jan. 9 will focus on that mobility frenzy rather than traditional vehicle debuts.

While complete details on the Bolt’s battery system have not been released yet, it likely represents a higher amount of plastics used. The original Volt had 135 individual prismatic cells, which used 37 pounds of nylon for their individual cell frames.

The updated Volt, which debuted at the 2015 auto show in Detroit, increased the battery pack to 192 cells. GM says the Bolt’s battery pack will have “96 cell groups,” with each group consisting of 3 individual cells — or 288 prismatic cells.

The Bolt, whose half-ton battery can store enough juice to travel an estimated 238 miles before recharging, became real on Dec. 13, when the first three buyers drove away in them from Fremont Chevrolet in California. The location for those first deliveries was highly symbolic. When Wagoner rolled out the Volt concept, GM was building Pontiac Vibes in Fremont, at a factory it jointly ran with Toyota Motor Corp.

Today, Tesla Motors uses the same plant — cast aside by GM, along with Pontiac, in connection with its quick-rinse bankruptcy — to churn out $80,000-plus electric cars favored by celebrities, and a crossover with overengineered falcon-wing doors. Tesla, a company that built its first vehicle just nine years ago, has collected more than 350,000 deposits for its upcoming Model 3, which has similar specs to the Bolt's. Unlike the Model 3, though, the Bolt is already here.

Bentley's New 700-HP Continental Supersports Is Its Fastest Car Ever

It's the fastest, most powerful Bentley ever.
by Hannah Elliott 6 January 2017, 22:50 GMT
On Friday, Bentley announced the fastest, most powerful production Bentley ever: the 2017 Continental Supersports.

This is the third iteration of the Supersports model that Bentley first produced in the 1920s and reintroduced in 2009. Everything on this latest model has been lightened, tightened ,and sculpted. The new car looks potent, fresh, and agile.

The $293,300 Continental Supersports four-seat coupe comes with a six-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 engine that gets 700 brake horsepower and 750 pound-feet of torque, up 79bhp and 160 pound-feet over the 2009 version. It has Bentley’s eight-speed automatic paddle-shifting all-wheel drive. It’ll hit 60 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, an improvement by 0.3 seconds—pretty fast for a four-seat chariot that weighs 5027 pound. (For reference, that's not as fast as a Lamborghini Huracán or even a Ferrari 488 GTB, but it nearly touches the speed of the 2017 Audi R8 V10 Plus, which hits 60mph a mere 0.2 seconds faster.) Top speed is 209 mph, beating the previous figures by five miles per hour.

Better yet, the Continental Supersports also comes in a $322,600 four-seat convertible option, which has a 0-60mph sprint time of 3.7 seconds and a 205mph top speed. That makes it the fastest four-seat convertible on the market.

As usual we close with the thoughts and observations from Jason Jencka, normally in Lake Tahoe California, but this week in cold and rainy London.

Process at Indian Chemical Plant may Represent Inadvertent Breakthrough
For Global Battle Against Carbon Emissions
 N. Jason Jencka  January 6th, 2017 3:20 am GMT

                Discussion of India's role in global efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions generally revolves around how to bring electricity to the ~300 million Indians lacking access to it without blowing much of whats left of the global “carbon budget”. Initiatives have included a robust push to increase clean energy capacity, particularly that of solar power as well as to boost efficiency through a program that has distributed over 190 million subsidized LED bulbs since May of 2015.  While efforts have won global praise and attracted billions in foreign investment, an inadvertent “breakthrough” at a small Indian chemical plant may be of equal or greater global relevance.

                The plant expects to capture 60,000 tons of C02 then incorporate it in a marketable product, baking soda, without subsidy. This emphasis is critical as global projects to capture C02 to-date have depended on inconsistent subsidies and been plagued by substantial cost overruns. One of the better-known projects, the Kemper coal power plant the American state of Mississippi has exceeded initial cost projections by $ 4 billion and is still not fully operational as of this writing. The large Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan, Canada has faced similar troubles as it became evident that it had not secured enough demand for the CO2 it produced (in its case from oil companies looking to boost the yield of wells). While the quantity of C02 captured at the chemicals factory in far-southeastern India is orders of magnitude too small to be relevant from a climate perspective, the fact that process has gone forward without subsidy is momentous and may prove to be a historically significant milestone in efforts to reduce anthroprogenic climate change.
Ministry of Power, Government of India-web January 7th, 2017:
Stefani Langenegger, CBC News December 14th, 2016:

N. Jason Jencka is presently studying Finance and Economics at Sierra Nevada College, located near the shores of Lake Tahoe on the border of California and Nevada. His interests include the interplay between world markets and the global political sphere, with a focus on developments of both sides of the Atlantic in North America and Europe. In his leisure time he enjoys connecting with those people that have an interesting story to tell and a genuine desire to make an impact in the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment