Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New Platform, New Season - The Future Of IndyCar 2018 Starts Now

New Platform, New Season - The Future Of IndyCar 2018 Starts Now

As drivers sped through a quick right-left portion of the club course Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 at Sebring International Raceway, their hands were notably busy as they got back into the throttle.

Occasionally they made sudden corrections. Sometimes they slid to the right on the exit of the left-hand corner. More than once, they kicked up dirt as they used all of the exit and drifted off the pavement.

The overall theme derived from that portion of the track? The drivers best able to adapt quickly to the changes brought from a new universal aero kit will be the ones who win races.

Marco Andretti, driver in 2018 season of the No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda taking first laps in the new 2018 IndyCar universal aero kit platform. Image Credit: Brian Cleary via IndyCar (2018)

Welcome to what is bound to be an eventful 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The introduction of the kit has changed everything for drivers. The car is lighter on downforce, especially in the rear end, making cornering, braking and throttle control more difficult – and more essential to success.

As Ryan Hunter-Reay put it when asked to describe the car: “It’s alive.”

Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Alexander Rossi and Ed Jones had their first shot at the new kit during Wednesday’s test session. Like others who have tested it previously, they described it as completely different from what they’ve driven in the past.

Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, the partnership between Herta and Michael Andretti’s Andretti Autosport, will field the No. 98 Honda again this year in the Verizon IndyCar Series, with one major change: Marco Andretti will drive it (with Herta calling Marco’s race strategy for a second straight year), while Alexander Rossi moves to Andretti’s previous car, the Andretti Autosport No. 27 Honda. But the underlying story of their switch is the entire team’s effort to piece together four cars with the new universal aero kit in time to get them from its Indianapolis shop to Sebring for the test session.

The term “universal aero kit” makes the 2018 car sound like the Dallara IR-12 chassis has simply been fitted with new bodywork. In reality, the change is extensive, calling for a complete rewiring of electronics, movement of radiators and movement of key elements of the turbocharger system.

“It still has four wheels, but it’s a different car,” said Andretti, driver of the No. 98 Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda. “There are a couple of inherent things that it does differently. I think we’re yet to know if it’s something we can fix or something we’re just going to have to get used to as drivers.”

They cautioned against making final judgments about the effect of the kit after only a few hours of testing, but all repeated the theme about the difference between it and what they’ve driven previously.

“It’s definitely more alive,” said Hunter-Reay, who's back in the No. 28 DHL Honda. “It’s been a busier car to drive. We still have a lot of work to do. We only just started.”

All four Andretti Autosport drivers – Hunter-Reay, Andretti, Rossi and rookie Zach Veach – took part in Wednesday’s session alongside Chip Ganassi Racing’s Jones and Scott Dixon. Zachary Claman DeMelo, the 19-year-old Canadian who won an Indy Lights race last season at Road America and made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the season finale at Sonoma Raceway, was scheduled to test for Dale Coyne Racing, but a paperwork issue with results of a recent drug test kept him from participating.

Platform in white, the No.9 Scott Dixon 2018 Honda Dallara. Image Credit: Brian Cleary via IndyCar (2018) 

A hundred yards away in the Chip Ganassi Racing transporter, Mike Hull went over details of the new car and the manpower it took to get cars ready for Scott Dixon and Ed Jones. As managing director of CGR’s INDYCAR operation, Hull oversaw the complicated process of getting the parts and people in the right places.

“We had to have the monocoque modified to be able to accept the new bodywork and its new safety enhancements, which are really important,” Hull explained. “I think everybody now is well down the road with that part of it. The second part was fitting all the bodywork and making sure it fit right. That’s pretty labor-intensive.”

Those who drove the car for the first time Wednesday spoke about braking stability and rear grip. They also spoke about the challenge of adapting to a new style of driving.   

“You’re always looking for new challenges,” Jones (left) said. “Everyone is in the same boat. Obviously, some people have done more testing with it, but it’s going to be good. It’s good for the series to change things up after a while. The cars will be a lot more challenging to drive. It should equal out the playing field a lot more in terms of the difference between teams.”

Additional team testing is scheduled for Sebring in late and more at Sonoma Raceway in California in early February before the entire series heads to ISM Raceway outside Phoenix for an open test Feb. 9-10 on the short oval. The season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is set for March 11. Until then, the familiarization continues.

“We’re at Day 1. We’re super green,” Andretti said. “We don’t really know if these new characteristics are permanent or not. We’re still going to try to mechanically fix them. If not, then we adapt.”
(ht: Jeff Olsen, IndyCar) 

 ... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: #IndyCar Marco Andretti, Andretti Herta Autosport, Andretti Autosport, Alexander Rossi, Ed Jones, Zach Veach, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mike Hull, Chip Ganassi Racing, The EDJE

Friday, January 5, 2018

Verizon IndyCar Series Amazing Race 30 Ep.1 Viewing Party & Media Event

Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have a chat with NBC Sports IndyCar race analyst Townsend Bell in front of Rock & Reilly's Sunset Strip. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

Verizon IndyCar Series Amazing Race 30 Ep.1 Viewing Party & Media Event

Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly know a lot more about what happens on the upcoming 30th season of CBS’ “The Amazing Race” than they will divulge.

That’s because Rossi and Daly are sworn to secrecy, especially when it comes to details surrounding their performance as one of 11 teams competing for a $1 million prize. Anyone who wants to know what happens to them on the long-running show, which had its season premiere at 8 p.m. ET, with a stream opportunity link at CBS All Access – AR30.

The Emmy Award-winning reality series, hosted by New Zealander (& past Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race competitor) Phil Keoghan, takes the two-person teams around the world as they compete in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical, and only when the tasks are complete do they learn of their next location. Teams farthest behind are gradually eliminated and the first team to arrive at the show’s final destination wins “The Amazing Race.”

Pictured here from Left to Right - @ConorDaly22 @AlexanderRossi @codynicksonstan @thejessicagraf @joeyjaws Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2018)

The show’s social media accounts have offered a few clues about how Season 30, which was taped for several weeks last fall, progresses. So far, we know that the teams kicked the competition off in New York City and then headed to Iceland where one team was eliminated by mere seconds.

The two teams (actually three - Joey Chesnut of #TeamChomp was in attendance) that participated in the Verizon IndyCar Series Amazing Race 30 Episode-1 Viewing Party and Media Event held at Rock & Reilly's Sunset Strip just a couple of doors West of the famed Wiskey A Go Go, #TeamIndyCar of Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi & #TeamJody of Big Brother 19's Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf.

Although Daly and Rossi are keeping mum about the outcome, they say they had a great time and are hoping the show helps create new INDYCAR fans. Much the same as fellow drivers Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe did in successful appearances on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and the way Daly, Castroneves, Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Will Power won over viewers when they dominated their competition on ABC’s “Celebrity Family Feud.”

Daly, Kanaan, Castroneves and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden have all also competed on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” in the past two years, shedding more light on the athletic abilities of INDYCAR drivers and drawing new followers to the sport.

“There are probably people who watch ‘The Amazing Race’ that have never seen an INDYCAR race,” said Daly. “I think we’ll probably open ourselves up to a different fan base.”

Viewers will see funny moments between Daly and Rossi and get to know 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Rossi better, according to his teammate.

“Alex’s personality really comes out and that’s awesome because he’s a good dude,” Daly said.

The drivers caught the premiere of the show tonight in Los Angeles at a private watch party with two (actually three as referenced above) other Season 30 cast members – Cody Nickson and Jessica Graf of “Big Brother” fame.

Tune in to INDYCAR’s social channels – @INDYCAR on Twitter and Instagram – to follow what happened at the exclusive watch party, which began at 9 p.m. ET ahead of the West Coast airing of the premiere.

“The Amazing Race” airs at 8 p.m. ET Wednesdays on CBS. The Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off its 2018 season with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 11.

... notes From The EDJE

TAGS: #BB19, #AmazingRace, #AR30, #IndyCar #TeamIndyCar, #TeamJody, #TeamChomp, @VZWIndy, @CBS, #TGPLB, The EDJE

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Welcome The Age Of Callaway Competition In America's 2018 Pirelli World Challenge

Sideview of the Corvette C7 GT3-R, designed, manufactured and homologated on behalf of General Motors by Callaway Competition. Image Credit: Callaway Competition (2017)

Welcome The Age Of Callaway Competition In America's 2018 Pirelli World Challenge

Thursday morning at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Team owner Reeves Callaway and Pirelli World Challenge President and CEO Greg Gill opened the press event alongside a matte black carbon Corvette C7 GT3-R, one of two that will be entered as full season factory efforts in the GT class. The GT3-spec homologated Corvette C7 GT3-R will compete in the GT class in both the sprint races, as well as the two driver format SprintX races. Drivers for the SprintX events will be announced at a later date.

"We are proud to have Daniel and Michael on board for our 2018 effort," said Callaway. "Both drivers have won several championships and will be excellent brand ambassadors for the Corvette C7 GT3-R's debut year of American Competition. Daniel brings with him a wealth of knowledge about our team and the car, and Michael has years of experience on the tracks we'll be competing on. Together, with the team we're assembling, this will be an excellent program to show our future customers what the Corvette C7 GT3-R is capable of."

While Daniel Keilwitz may be new to competition in the United States, the 28 year old German is no stranger to sports car racing or Callaway Competition.

Keilwitz began his career in go karts in 2000, spending four years there before moving up to the German Production Car Championship in 2005. After finishing tenth in the championship, he competed in the ADAC Procar series, finishing second in the 2006 championship. In the three years to follow, he continued his driver development in the Mini Challenge, twice finishing in the top five championship results.

Image Credit: Callaway Competition (2017)

The first of three championship titles came in 2010 when he clinched the FIA GT3 European Championship with Callaway Competition.  Keilwitz joined the ADAC GT Masters series in 2011, and has risen to become the most successful driver in the series with 19 overall race wins.

Together, Keilwitz and Callaway clinched the 2013 championship, and have finished in the top three in the 2014, 2016, and 2017 championship standings. In 2017, Keilwitz earned the ADAC GT Masters team title, with teammate Jules Gounon also on the effort.

Although Keilwitz will be new to all the tracks on the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge calendar, his eight years of experience with Callaway Competition and two years behind the wheel of the Corvette C7 GT3-R will prove invaluable to Callaway Competition USA's North American Debut.

"I'm really looking forward to join Callaway Competition for the Pirelli World Challenge in 2018," said Keilwitz. "I have done a lot of races for them in Europe and now I'm really happy to join them also in the USA for my ninth year with the team. The car is really amazing and was performing really well in Europe against all the big manufacturers, so I'm sure that it will perform also well in USA. Of course we have to get some experience with the car on the new tracks, but we also bring a lot of experience from Europe to the USA from the past two years racing with this car. We clearly want to show that the Callaway C7 GT3-R is a great performing and winning car. I'm really proud to be part of this team."

Image Credit: Callaway Competition (2017)

Fresh off winning the 2017 SprintX Championship, American racer Michael Cooper joins the team, bringing with him four championship titles in six years of competition.

The 28 year old began his racing career in the 2010 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Challenge, earning two wins and three podiums in his rookie season. In 2011, he clinched the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup championship title, and the following year, the Pirelli World Challenge rookie again wheeled his way to the top of a championship, as the 2012 TC champion.

In the two years to follow, Cadillac racing twice tested with Cooper, and in 2015, made him a GM Factory driver in their Pirelli World Challenge efforts. Cooper wasted no time proving himself, earning the 2015 GTS championship title with Blackdog Speedshop, and finishing third in the 2016 GT championship with two wins and seven additional podiums representing Cadillac Racing.

Cooper returned to the GT class with Cadillac Racing in 2017, finishing second in the driver championship, and earning the inaugural SprintX Championship alongside Jordan Taylor.

"I'm very proud to be joining Callaway Competition USA for their factory effort next year," said Cooper. "The Corvette C7 GT3-R has already proven itself on track in Europe, and I'm eager to start testing. The team that is being assembled by Callaway is top-notch, and will no doubt put us in contention for the championship. This will be an exciting year for the car's debut in the Pirelli World Challenge."

Image Credit: Callaway Competition (2017)

Introduced to competition in 2016, the Corvette C7 GT3-R, designed, manufactured and homologated on behalf of General Motors by Callaway Competition GmbH produced a successful debut and sophomore season, winning the 2017 ADAC GT Masters Series Driver and Team Championships with Jules Gounon and Daniel Keilwitz.

Now available for competition in the United States, the Corvette C7 GT3-R will no doubt be a championship contender again in 2018. The American season will begin March 9-11, 2018 on the streets of Saint Petersburg, Florida ... along side of the season opener for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
[Reference Here]

Looking forward to having a local Southern California racecar manufacturer back in the saddle of competition on it's home turf - welcome the age of Callaway Competition in America's 2018 Pirelli World Challenge.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Callaway Competition, Pirelli World Challenge, Corvette C7 GT3-R, Daniel Keilwitz, Michael Cooper, SprintX Championship, ADAC, Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, The EDJE

Monday, December 4, 2017

2019 KIA Sorento - Refreshed & Ready For LA Auto Show

KIA Sorento unveiling at AutoMobility LA ... formally the LA Auto Show Press Days. The Sorento sits on the presentation stage next to the recently introduced, and nominated as finalist for 2018 Car Of The Year Stinger GT (left) and the 2018 Niro Plug-In Hybrid (right). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2017)

2019 KIA Sorento - Refreshed & Ready For LA Auto Show

Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the refreshed 2019 Sorento SUV at the Los Angeles International Auto Show.

Refined, rugged and roomy, the Sorento remains as capable as ever, but touts a number of visual and feature enhancements, inside and out.

Aside from new front and rear fascias, which help achieve a more sophisticated appearance, the cabin is now decidedly more upscale and integrates newly-added technology, including Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keep Assist1 and QuantumLogic™ Surround Sound.

In addition, the Sorento now pairs its available 3.3-liter V6 with a new 8-speed automatic transmission for an even smoother and more seamless driving experience.
[ht: KMA]

See the 2019 KIA Sorento conquer the Gates Of Hell in Moab Utah.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: AutoMobility LA, LA Auto Show, KIA, KIA Motors America, Sorento, Moab, Utah, Gates Of Hell, Kia Tech Talk, The EDJE

Friday, December 1, 2017

Mazda Team Joest Driver Lineup For 2018 Season Introduced @AutoMobilityLA

Driver line up sans Rene Rast who was unable to attend. Holding a press conference at AutoMobility LA from press days at the LA Auto Show 2017 while sitting on the Joest Mazda RT24-P Prototype, Jonathan Bomarito, Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nuñez, Spencer Pigot, & Harry Tincknell (L to R). Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2017)

Mazda Team Joest Driver Lineup For 2018 Season Introduced @AutoMobilityLA

Six Drivers Will Pilot Two Mazda RT24-P Prototypes

Mazda Motorsports has announced the team of drivers that will pilot the two Mazda RT24-P race cars in the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Mazda Team Joest. Racing under the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) rules package, this is the first season for the combination of Mazda and Joest Racing, joining the third-winningest manufacturer in IMSA racing history with the team that has won 15 times at Le Mans.

Competing for the championship in the 10-race season will be long-time Mazda drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nuñez, both Americans, who will be joined by British racers Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell, who both join Mazda for the first time. For the four longest endurance races, the quartet of drivers will be supplemented by IndyCar racer Spencer Pigot and 2017 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) touring car champion René Rast. The driver combinations for each car have not been set, as the team continues a busy testing schedule ahead of the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January.

“Mazda has had a driver development program since 2007,” explained John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports in North America. “So, it’s a big part of our Mazda Prototype program to feature drivers that have come up through the Mazda ranks, whether that’s in sports cars like Tristan Nuñez, or the open-wheel side of things with Bomarito and Pigot. We’re thrilled that those superb young men are back with us again in 2018.

"Working with Joest, we were also able to secure fast, winning drivers from their recent history, which makes Jarvis and Rast a good fit, as is Tincknell, who has been successful in both GT and Prototype cars,” said Doonan. “We ask a lot of our drivers outside the car as well, so it’s great to add drivers who will fit the chemistry of what we hope to achieve as a team.”

LA Auto Show (2017) trade show booth helmet display used to announce the 2018 driver line-up for the Mazda Motorsports IMSA Joest Mazda Prototype racing season challenge. Image Credit : Edmund Jenks (2017)

Age: 35
Hometown: Louisville, Tennessee
Twitter: @JBomarito

Bomarito won the 2010 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the GT category, driving a Mazda RX-8. Bomarito, who grew up in Monterey, Calif., won the 2003 USF2000 open-wheel championship, was a race winner in the Mazda-powered Atlantic Series, and nearly won the 2014 IMSA GTLM drivers championship before his stint in the Mazda Prototype began in 2015.

“Whether you’re a young driver or an accomplished driver, the dream is to align yourself with a manufacturer,” said Bomarito. “So, I can check that box with Mazda. Second, it’s best to be with a good manufacturer, and I check that box with Mazda. Look at their involvement in motorsports history. It’s a really hard industry to find stability, so I’m glad to be with one of the heavy hitters in IMSA. And now, to be aligned with a team like Joest and their history with the sport, it’s great. Their experience, their professionalism and attention to detail is already showing. It’s huge for any driver to be with Mazda Team Joest and I’m proud to be one of them. I’m looking forward to 2018. I think we’re going to have some big improvement and it’s a very exciting time.”

Age: 33
Hometown: Burwell, England
Twitter: @OllyJarvis

Jarvis joins Mazda after winning the LMP2 category (and nearly winning overall) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Jackie Chan DC Racing in 2017. He finished tied for second in the season-long LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championships (WEC), and has extensive experience with Joest, including an overall victory at the 2013 12 Hours of Sebring and multiple podiums at Le Mans. Jarvis has a GT class win at the 2013 Rolex 24 at Daytona with Alex Job Racing.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Mazda at such an exciting time,” Jarvis said. “I have followed the project closely since the launch of the stunning RT24-P and I am convinced that the project will be successful. It was an easy decision when the opportunity arose to be part of it. Having raced in and won both the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, the IMSA championship is one I know very well. It has always been a goal of mine to race in the championship full-time and I don't think there’s ever been a better time to be part of it as the championship continues to grow.”

Age: 22
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
Twitter: @TristanNuñez

Nuñez holds the record as the youngest champion in a professional class of road racing in North America. He won the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda (nee Prototype Lites) series in 2012 with 11 wins at age 17. He became a Mazda-backed driver after winning the prestigious open-wheel Walter Hayes Trophy event at Silverstone, England in 2011. Nuñez does presentations across the country on behalf of his “Dnt txt n drV Foundation,” which is devoted to educating young people about the dangers of distracted driving.

“It’s a continuous dream come true,” said Nuñez. “Sometimes you think ‘there’s no way that could happen to me,’ but it’s really cool to see where I’m at now. Things just keep getting better and better. I signed on with Mazda when I was 17-years old. Some guys don’t get to be on a factory team at all, so I got really lucky, especially now with the new partnership with Mazda Team Joest. I grew up watching Joest and all the success they had with their previous manufacturer. I’m excited to get going and get to the first race of the year.”

Age: 24
Hometown: Orlando, Florida
Twitter: @SpencerPigot

Spencer Pigot will contest the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Championship with Ed Carpenter Racing, and will also be a part of four races with Mazda Team Joest. This will mark Pigot’s third year as an endurance driver for Mazda. He is the first and only driver to win four Mazda driver development scholarships, which included championships in Pro Mazda (2014) and Indy Lights (2015).

“It’s very exciting to be back,” said Pigot. “Mazda Team Joest is really impressive, and it’s been a big improvement already in testing. It’s what you’d expect with a team like this, and it’s really nice. Multimatic and Joest have done a great job with the improvements of the car. It’s all very encouraging and we’ll be able to give it a good fight at Daytona and the other endurance races.”

Age: 31
Hometown: Minden, Germany
Twitter: @ReneRastRacing

The versatile Rast will compete with Mazda at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. As a rookie in the DTM series in 2017, Rast won the prestigious drivers championship. He will defend his title in 2018. Rast has previously driven for Joest Racing and has significant Prototype experience, including a podium finish at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona with Visit Florida Racing.

“I worked with Joest Racing in 2015 and 2016, and I enjoyed every single day with their team,” said Rast. “They are one of the most professional teams I have worked with and the atmosphere is always very relaxed but focused. Obviously its a big honor driving for Mazda and one of the most successful endurance racing teams on this planet. The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona is always one of my favorite races of the year and I can’t wait to hit the track again. Racing after a long winter break is always great and that’s also what I look forward to the most.”

Age: 26
Hometown: Exeter, England
Twitter: @HarryTincknell

The young British driver joins Mazda Team Joest after a third-place championship finish in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE category driving for Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK. Like several other Mazda Prototype drivers, Tincknell had a sparkling young career in open-wheel categories before joining the sports car ranks. He won the LMP2 class at Le Mans in only his fourth sports car race in 2014, and was the driver’s champion in the LMP2 class of the 2016 European Le Mans Series.

“I am really honored to be able to race for Mazda Team Joest this season in the WeatherTech Championship,” said Tincknell. “The whole Mazda team has put in so much effort and made a lot of progress in every area, and after my first test in the car I can’t wait to see how we get on at Daytona. The Mazda RT24-P DPi has taken huge strides over the winter and I immediately felt comfortable in the car. I know the championship is very competitive and it will be a tough fight, but the spirit of the whole team is so determined and ready for it.”

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: @AutoMobilityLA, Mazda, Joest, Mazda Motorsports, RT24-P Prototype, Jonathan Bomarito, Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nuñez, Spencer Pigot, Rene Rast, Harry Tincknell, The EDJE

Saturday, November 18, 2017

TESLA Semi - Welcome The First Step Toward Institutional Alternative-Power Autonomy

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s new electric semi truck at the design studio in Hawthorne. Thursday evening in an invite only event. What was shown during the presentation were Two futuristic Semi trucks, in shiny silver and matte gray, pulled up next to Elon Musk, displaying sleek LED lights and sharply angled faces. Credit Tesla

 TESLA Semi - Welcome The First Step Toward Institutional Alternative-Power Autonomy

Tesla Motors, from an aircraft hangar at Hawthorne airport Thursday night, delivered a presentation that amounted to a "smack-down" to all things fossil fuel. Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a new electric Semi, a pickup and a Roadster that the company says will outshine their combustion-engine counterparts in all areas.

Musk introduced these new electric-powered platforms on a stage facing the runway, adjacent to the Tesla Design Studio and at the site of aviation pioneer Jack Northrop’s former headquarters.

The fully electric trucks “are designed like a bullet,” Musk said. They can go zero to 60 in 5 seconds (or 20 seconds if fully loaded), climb a steep hill at 65 mph, and carefully pull off the road to call for help if the driver’s hands leave the wheel, he said. The driver’s seat is in the center like a racecar.

“It’s not like any truck that you’ve ever driven,” said Musk, wearing dark jeans, a black T-shirt and brown jacket. “We are guaranteeing this truck will not break down for a million miles because it has four independent motors. Even if you only have two motors active, it’ll still beat a diesel trucks.”

“The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smack-down to gasoline cars,” Musk said. “Driving a gasoline sports-car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

The Tesla Semi is the latest addition to clean-energy trucking technologies being considered for use at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are the single largest stationary source of air pollution in Southern California.
[ht: Daily Breeze - Reference Here]

Artist rendering of the 500 mile range TESLA Semi. Image Credit: Tesla


This excerpted and edited from Driving.ca -

Motor Mouth: The inconvenient truth about Tesla’s truck
by  DAVID BOOTH - Driving/Going Green

Tesla has finally unveiled its much-promised big rig. And with not a little fanfare, especially considering that said semi is claimed to have a range of 500 miles (800 kilometres!) and, more importantly — at least for fleets seriously considering an all-electric 18-wheeled future — is able to recharge 400 of those miles (640 km) in just 30 minutes. So the question is, has The Elon Musk really reinvented the electric vehicle yet again? Or are his latest claims of re-imagining heavy-duty transport just more of his Madoffian fantasy?

To find out, Motor Mouth broke out the old calculator — Plugging what we know — 30 minutes of recharging time and the fact that the biggest recharger available is 600 kilowatts — into some fairly simple formulae and we arrive at a number that says Musk estimates his sleek semi will require about 300 kilowatt-hours to travel 400 miles.

Now, here’s where those numbers go just slightly awry. Mr. Musk’s sleek Model S — a bit of a porker but aerodynamically efficient nonetheless — needs just a hair under 0.33 kilowatt-hours to travel one mile. So, if it, too, were to claim a 400-mile range, it would need about a 135 kW-h battery. Now, I am pretty sure that it doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to figure out that one of those calculations — a Model S needing 135 kW-hr to travel 400 miles or a full-sized 18-wheeler requiring just 300 kW-hr to do the same — is a little wonky. The truck is, after all, about 15 times heavier and probably has at least three times the aerodynamic resistance.

For those needing a little more arithmetic backup, consider the following: A current, fully-loaded 18-wheeler similar in shape and size to Tesla’s big rig can consume anywhere between 40 and 50 litres of diesel fuel per 100 kilometres while cruising at about 100 kilometres an hour. By way of comparison, an Audi A7 — similar in size and shape to a Model S, but also diesel powered — consumes about 6 L/100 km. And that’s with your humble Motor Mouth hogging the fast lane at about 120 km/h. Simple math, then, says that said ginourmous truck consumes somewhere in the vicinity of six to eight times more fuel to cover the same distance than the itty, bitty car. As further comparator, big rigs can use up 10 times as much horsepower to cruise at 100 km/h as a car, but we’ll stick with the more conservative estimate of six to eight for our calculations.

If we use the median of those figures and assume that Musk’s truck requires eight times the battery as his Model S to cover the same distance, then, that 500-mile range he claims requires somewhere around 1,000 kW-h to power. At current prices, the batteries alone could cost as much as US$200,000, a figure that jives (roughly) with a recent Carnegie Mellon study on electric semi trucks that determined that “a 300-mile-capable battery pack costs about $200,000.” An entire diesel truck, by way of comparison, costs about US$120,000. That same study also estimates that the battery required for a long-distance big rig could weigh as much as as 22 tons — in other words, according to the study, the truck’s battery is heavier than its payload.

More dramatically, plugging those numbers — 1,000 kW-h rechargeable in 30 minutes — into those same basic recharging calculations tells us a 2 MW (yes, two megawatts!) charger would be required to replenish the new Tesla 18-wheeler in the time Musk claims. That, as they say, is a game changer, since the 0.6 MW unit I mentioned earlier is so powerful it needs to be fully automated, is about the size of a small gas station kiosk and costs in the range of half a million bucks.

And, lest you think I am being overly harsh with my estimations, that aforementioned Carnegie Mellon study (Evaluating the Potential of Platooning in Lowering the Required Performance metrics of Li-on Batteries to Enable Practical Electric Semi-Trucks) estimated that 1,000 kW-h would only generate 300 miles of range; so, in fact, Tesla’s proposed Megacharger might have to actually be larger than two megawatts if Tesla wants to recharge 400 miles in just 30 minutes.

Unlike previous Motor Mouths regarding Mr. Musk’s claims, I will pass no judgment on whether these latest pronouncements are feasible or outrageous. I am, frankly, tired of his acolytes portraying me as anti-electric and, more insulting, anti-progress. I will, instead, simply offer these calculations as a starting point for discussion. Make of them what you will.

[Reference Here]

Unless Elon Musk was holding back on some technological breakthrough (highly unlikely since these discovery things actually move at a snails pace as opposed to the torque delivery-pace of an electric motor), this counterpoint has a point. It takes large claims to open up additional subsidy from a sycophant federal Treasury.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Tesla, Semi-Truck, Truck Tech Talk, Elon Musk, #trucks #semitruck #trucking #bigrig #tractors #trucker #truckdriver #18wheeler #owneroperator 

Friday, November 10, 2017

AUTONOMOUS ... Living, Kiss Self-Determination Ta-Tah!

Bob Lutz, former vice chairman and head of product development at General Motors, published an opinion article that appeared in AutoNews November 5, 2017.

Included in Part 1 of a five-part series in AutoNews titled  “Redesigning the Industry,” Bob outlines his point-of-view on the future of a business in the throes of change into AI (artificial intelligence) and the coming age of autonomous vehicles - everyday driving of cars isn't a part of the landscape.

In the article, Bob Lutz postulates a future of transportation where self-determination and the concept of personal freedom in point-to-point travel becomes greatly devalued ... if non-existant.

These experimental Google autonomous cars are probably a lot prettier and will have more design than what will become the transportation modules in 20 years from now. NOTE - these cars have rear-view mirrors which will be unnecessary when everything becomes autonomous. Image Credit: Digital Trends (2016)

This excerpted and edited from Automotive News - 

It saddens me to say it, but we are approaching the end of the automotive era.

The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve. For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile.

Now we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile because travel will be in standardized modules.

The end state will be the fully autonomous module with no capability for the driver to exercise command. You will call for it, it will arrive at your location, you'll get in, input your destination and go to the freeway.
You will be billed for the transportation. You will enter your credit card number or your thumbprint or whatever it will be then. The module will take off and go to its collection point, ready for the next person to call.
A minority of individuals may elect to have personalized modules sitting at home so they can leave their vacation stuff and the kids' soccer gear in them. They'll still want that convenience.

The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.

The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. 
Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap or trade it on a module.

The big fleets
We don't need public acceptance of autonomous vehicles at first. All we need is acceptance by the big fleets: Uber, Lyft, FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, utility companies, delivery services. Amazon will probably buy a slew of them. These fleet owners will account for several million vehicles a year. Every few months they will order 100,000 low-end modules, 100,000 medium and 100,000 high-end. The low-cost provider that delivers the specification will get the business.

These modules won't be branded Chevrolet, Ford or Toyota. They'll be branded Uber or Lyft or who-ever else is competing in the market.

The manufacturers of the modules will be much like Nokia — basically building handsets. 

The end of performance

These transportation companies will be able to order modules of various sizes — short ones, medium ones, long ones, even pickup modules. But the performance will be the same for all because nobody will be passing anybody else on the highway. That is the death knell for companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. That kind of performance is not going to count anymore.
There will be no limit to what you can cram into these things because drinking while driving or texting while driving will no longer be an issue.

The importance of styling will be minimized because the modules in the high-speed trains will have to be blunt at both ends. 
The future of dealers?

Unfortunately, I think this is the demise of automotive retailing as we know it.

Think about it: A horse dealer had a stable of horses of all ages, and you would come in and get the horse that suited you. You'd trade in your old horse and take your new horse home.
Automotive sport — using the cars for fun — will survive, just not on public highways. It will survive in country clubs. 

It will be the well-to-do, to the amazement of all their friends, who still know how to drive and who will teach their kids how to drive. It is going to be an elitist thing, though there might be public tracks, like public golf courses, where you sign up for a certain car and you go over and have fun for a few hours.

And like racehorse breeders, there will be manufacturers of race cars and sports cars and off-road vehicles. But it will be a cottage industry.
People will be unable to drive the car to the dealership, so dealers will probably all be on these motorsports and off-road dude ranches. 
In the early days, those tracks may be relatively numerous, but they will decline over time.
Dealerships are ultimately doomed. And I think Automotive News is doomed. Car and Driver is done; Road & Track is done. They are all facing a finite future. They'll be replaced by a magazine called Battery and Module read by the big fleets.

The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it — all will be gone in 20 years.

Today's automakers?

The companies that can move downstream and get into value creation will do OK. But unless they develop superior technical capability, the manufacturers of the modules, the handset providers, if you will, will have their specifications set by the big transportation companies.
Automakers, if they are smart, may be able to adapt. General Motors sees the handwriting on the wall. It has created Maven and has bought into Cruise Automation and Lyft.
This transition will be largely complete in 20 years.

I won't be around to say, "I told you so," though if I do make it to 105, I could no longer drive anyway because driving will be banned. So my timing once again is impeccable.
[Reference Here]

If one doubts this major social transition would be impossible to have happen in this short a period in America where there exists a Constitution that was written to protect individual freedom of all peoples in a society - consider this:

So say Ta-Tah! to the total personal freedom paradigm or template of "Where do I want to go today?" - and as you set out the door, you change your mind ... and as you travel in the module (you may or may not own), you realize that up at the next corner when something catches your eye, you can not just pull over and discover what is there because it was never placed in the co-ordinates!

On an interesting (and almost laughable) note ... Las Vegas' Autonomous Bus crashed

Again, since one does not own fuel, car, and the general aspect of community roads, the concept of personal freedom of point-to-point travel in the pursuit of happiness becomes greatly devalued ... if non-existent.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Bob Lutz, AutoNews, autonomous cars, autonomous driving, personal freedom, Big Fleets, end of performance, public tracks, doomed, The EDJE