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Carbon fiber is low weight, high stiffness and high tensile strength fibers that due to their favorable attributes are popular in the military, aerospace, motorsports and civil engineering industries. To produce them carbon atoms are bonded together and subsequently bundled. In the larger auto sector, carbon fibers have been in play for some time, but a handful of researchers want to take them to an innovative, new level.
Electric vehicles (EVs) rely on batteries to run. A battery is nicely known as a “structural parasite.” It adds weight to a car, saps efficiency and does not contribute a thing to the structure or physical strength of the vehicle. The holy grail in the EV world would be a battery that can add to the car, a “structural battery” if you will. This is where carbon fiber come into play.
It is no secret in the engineering world the wealth of electrochemical properties that [...]

Car subscription services began their rollout just a handful of years ago. Conceived as a high-end alternative to “normal” car ownership, providing a series of options and amenities to subscribers of a specific auto brand, members receive truly first-class service which often means a rotation of different vehicles per their request. If you have a Porsche subscription for example and wanted to head to the coast with the family, a Cayenne is a nice bet. If it’s just you and the missus for a night out, how about a 911?
Book by Cadillac was one of the first of these services, serving the New York, Dallas and Los Angeles markets. For $1,800 per month members had carte blanche to the Cadillac model lineup. Started last year Book by Cadillac was an initial hit, but a GM spokesperson recently announced the program is officially taking a pause. A letter was sent to all subscribers that [...]

Continuing in our series, a whole cottage car audio industry came to life overnight in the 1990s, offering in-dash cassette units (later CD units), expensive amplifiers and sought-after companies such as Blaupunkt and Alpine would outfit Mercedes and Porsche with what were known as “boomin systems.” No car was complete at a very high-end level without a booming system (which ran north of $5,000). This all took another turn in 1996 when the Ford Taurus introduced an Integrated Control Panel that could not be modified post-market. Ford was tired of seeing Alpine and the like earning profits off their engineering base and this level of audio experience in the Taurus was nothing short of spectacular for the time – six speakers, optional CD-changer and of course the high-end models with added features never seen before.
An audio experience in 2018 in a BMW might sound nothing short of life-changing. But audio engineers agree, the [...]

Once folks opened their homes (Airbnb) to complete strangers, without even needing to meet them in person to do business, it was only a matter of time the idea would eventually hit the auto sector. Getaround, founded in 2009 by a trio of guys in the Bay Area, is exactly that – the Airbnb of the auto world, a platform where one can pick the car they’d like to rent for an hour, day, week, you name it. In 2011 the company took home the prestigious TechCrunch Disrupt NYC competition and later begun serving the Portland, Oregon market after successfully securing a $1.725 million grant from the federal government.
While it’s nice to see the federal government investing in innovative tech ideas, it wasn’t until the company hit the jackpot with $300 million via the SoftBank Vision Fund. Toyota came in with another chunk and to date Getaround has raised an impressive $400 million [...]

Doing business in China is big business. Mainly due to the population more than simply purchasing power. While China has undergone extraordinary changes in terms of bringing folks out of poverty and into a relative middle-class, there is still a lot to be done. Purchasing power is still far beneath that of the western world but the sheer number of people who together represent a large contingent of potential buyers keeps manufacturers around the globe salivating at the mouth.
Little by little China is opening itself up, and as we’ve reported earlier car companies are eager to enter, have done so successfully, but must partner up with a Chinese firm (per government regulations) to operate. This is the odd little quirk in China – you can do business, but it must be with us (the Chinese bureaucratic apparatus). In October BMW announced it would pay $4.2 billion to take control of its principal joint [...]

$1.1 trillion. Not billion, trillion. That was the outstanding auto loan balance in the U.S. when January 1, 2018 rang in the new year. Good grief, that’s one of those numbers that needs explaining, as wrapping one’s head around such a figure is frankly impossible on its own.
Experian reported that this figure is 7.1% higher than 2016 and just a tad above the overall amount of credit card debt held by Americans. The only figure higher … student debt ($1.4 trillion). The big increase in auto loan balances emanated from prime auto loans even though subprime loans were declining. In fact, the latter account for only 20 to 22 percent of all loans and increasing delinquency rates are now being blamed on tighter lending standards.
The New York Federal Reserve reported that banks are hitting record lows in the number of subprime loans issued. A troubling amount of delinquencies over the previous [...]

Safety is an easy concept to understand. If something or someone is harming you, you’re in an unsafe position. Now, there are plenty of instances, especially when it comes to cars, that place people in unsafe positions. We trust seatbelts will protect us, that drivers pay close attention so as not to jump a curb and mow down a pedestrian. Fatalities occur, as do accidents, but most of us leave the house everyday placing a high level of trust in our fellow citizens that they will do the right thing and we’ll all therefore stay … safe.
In the autonomous driving (AVs) sphere safety is by far one, if not the, issue for regulators and the public at large. The technology has a chance of completely revolutionizing not only how we move from A to B but live in general. The Department of Transportation released a statement surrounding their approach to AV – “We [...]

Car tuning is the process of modifying the appearance or performance of a vehicle. A simple definition, but a more complex and wide-ranging sub-industry of the auto world you could not find. When a car leaves the factory floor it is designed according to the average driver’s expectations. But there is a giant market out there for altered vehicles – better fuel economy, more power, improved handling and driving.
There is a plethora of players in the car tuning world, most focusing on either one brand or a handful of improvement areas. Founded in 2013, and a quick walk from Tesla’s design center is Unplugged Performance, the premier performance upgrade supplier for Tesla cars. Their sole focus (as pulled from their website) – “the holistic development and improvement of all Tesla cars.” Sound absolutely riveting? It is …
Founder Ben Schaffer is an east-coast guy, Massachusetts to be exact, a gear-head who got [...]

On a brisk autumn day in 1908 the Ford Motor Company began selling the Model T. The first private, passenger car to be widely marketed and sold, the Model T was rolled out and the public, understandably, head over heels for a chance to purchase their very own personal, transportation mechanism. Yet, there is another side of this story as the Model T did not run itself. It of course, like most cars today, needed gas.
The interplay between auto manufacturers and gas stations dates to 1912. The Model T’s tank for example was positioned under the front of the seat cushion. From 1908 to 1912 Model T owners would buy gas at a general store, ladle it into a container and then pour the gas into the seat cushion hole. It was a messy affair which gave rise to the first gas station four years later.
Station owners at the time bought [...]

“To alleviate traffic, transportation corridors, like the buildings that feed into them, must expand into three dimensions. One option is to ‘go up’ with flying cars. However, flying cars have issues with weather, noise, and generally increase anxiety levels of those below them. The other option is to ‘go down’ and build tunnels.
Elon Musk has been up (or down) to something over the past year. The Boring Company, where the above quote was taken from, has a rather simple mission. They want to dig tunnels and route traffic through them. Sounds simplistic, we know, but this has never been taken on before due mainly to one thing – cost. The company’s founder, Musk, understands this intimately having to contend with costs as prohibitive as paying $1 billion per mile dug.
The natural comparison that The Boring Company project has drawn is with a subway. Basically, what’s the difference? Musk envisions a transportation [...]

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