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Bernard
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Harvey, FYI, the Quebec City "Écolobus" electric bus experiment has been cancelled due to high running costs (supposedly six times that of conventional buses). You have until the end of the month to take one last ride.
Harvey, Perhaps you are on the roads when the kids are in school?
Harvey, It's a school bus, metaphorically, in that it will spend most of it's (on-road) time shuttling children back and forth to school, and to the innumerable after-school activities that today's children get signed-up for. You should compare it to three-row SUVs and minivans (or to the "full size" station wagons of our youth), rather than to a normal PHEV such as a Volt or Prius.
Harvey, It may be the most efficient if you need 7-seater capacity and ground clearance. These things are used to shuttle children around, and it's hard to get more than two children in a Prius, especially if one is in a car seat. This Volvo should be wide enough to carry 3 children in the middle row, and up to two more in the back row. Of course, the video in the linked press release shows a single adult carelessly driving along the Mediterranean coast. If that's your planed usage, then the new Volvo is possibly the worse PHEV you can buy (short of a city bus).
Henrik, Automatic charging probably won't cost that much. There are lots of self-parking cars on the market right now, getting them to park near a charger is a minor software tweak. The rest of the system could be prototyped in a few days by a class of 1st year engineering students: you just need to get a known plug into a known socket. Most of the safety systems are already part of the charging interface.
I think they are on the right path targeting this at scooters and mopeds. You can't get much more mainstream than that for most inhabitants of this planet. The big question will be durability, especially as regards the apex seals. You either need to make them last the full life of the bike (at least a decade), or you need to sell them for pennies and make them easy to change with basic tools.
the first three-cylinder gasoline engine in the history of Audi Except if you consider that the first Audi was also the last DKW, a brand known for its 3 cylinder engines.
This area of R&D is apparently being pushed by Volvo's corporate parent. Being able to filter-out Beijing's foul air is a big selling point.
Roger, The other companies that had to re-state MPG figures are listed on fueleconomy.gov: BMW (Mini), Mercedes and Ford.
Roger, I see that you've come around and stated that the EPA's role should be "to watch over the industries." Clearly, the EPA has "enough technical expertise" to do this, given how Hyundai/Kia were caught and punished. Other auto makers have also been caught and punished for much smaller misstatements, so their ability "to watch over the industries" isn't limited to gross misconduct. I had a feeling that you would come to this conclusion once you started reasoning through your ideas. Unless, of course, what you wrote isn't what you meant. It's hard to tell sometimes.
Roger, Once again, you are pretending that I made an argument that I did not make (soil samples?). I love that you would create an enormous and redundant bureaucracy just so we can treat giant conglomerates like schoolchildren! "One of you cheated, so we have to treat everyone like criminals, for ever and ever."
Roger, "except for the class-action lawyers", and consumers who will pay more for less, and automakers who will spend more, and the EPA who will waste valuable resources needlessly duplicating tests, and air quality which will suffer when resources are re-purposed for a bureaucratic circus, and our children who will inherit this world with higher taxes, prices and pollution, and simple-minded fans of complicated government who will quickly find out that you can just as easily cheat on a government-run test, and those who seek justice from corporate malfeasance... In other words, I'm surprised your "solution" hasn't been implemented already!
Roger, Why do you always conveniently forget basic information? EPA MPG is just a number. There is no way that every consumer will perfectly match that number on every tank, summer and winter, city and highway, loaded with passengers or almost empty. The fact that you (and I) sometimes beat EPA MPG is proof that the figures are in the right ballpark (unlike EU fuel consumption numbers). In simpler terms: you are arguing against the EPA, but your chosen example contradicts you! That seems to happen a lot, why is that? I will let you have the last word.
Roger, Other auto makers will not get together to help Hyundai. Other automakers follow the rules and get it right! This is not kindergarten, there is no moral obligation to help the student who failed a test (or cheated). The EPA's attitude is "trust, but verify." It seems to be working quite well. We both know that you would be dreaming-up more conspiracy theories when Hyundai does poorly on EPA-run (or third-party) tests. Unfortunately for Hyundai, the best way to improve their EPA mpg numbers is through engineering. That's what this web site is about: recognizing good engineering, not blindly rooting for one brand or another.
Roger, The difference is that Ford exploited a loophole in the regulations, which has since been closed, while Hyundai systematically gamed their results across two brands and several model lines. Compare sales of the C-Max to those of the affected Kia and Hyundai lineups and you will see that Hyundai got off cheap. Even at an exaggerated $350 million, the total cost per car is under $300. Ford voluntarily paid each C-Max owner $550, and $325 for those who leased their cars. Ask yourself, is this really a gross injustice? They made a much bigger misstatement (1.2 million vs approximately 50 thousand cars), and paid a lower cost (per unit) for it. Also, you should know that a 4 mpg difference on a 45 mpg car is essentially the same thing as a 2 mpg difference on a car that gets half that mileage. Again: you are here every day, you know this! Why do you choose to forget basics when it's convenient? You can, and should, do better.
Roger, The changes suggested by the EPA have been detailed right here on GCC. Automakers now have to use real-life coast-down data instead of relying on theoretical numbers. You should know this, you are here every day. It is inconceivable that Hyundai does not already run coast-down tests on all their cars. It's the cheapest and most accurate way to get accurate drag numbers, and it's always used to calibrate wind tunnel data. Any aspiring automotive engineer learns this in their first semester at school, or even before. Arguing otherwise is arguing incompetence, like it or not.
Roger, You are the one who raised the incompetence defence, not me. Your claim of "they couldn't understand the instructions" only works if the whole company is populated by morons, from the newest intern all the way to the CEO. I'm proposing that Hyundai isn't as dumb as you think. You wrote: "There was no way that Huyndai (sic) could have predicted the falling gasoline prices several years in advance." I didn't claim that they predicted anything. I only noted that they settled with the EPA at a time when fuel economy is low on consumers' radars, and other automakers are mired in huge safety scandals. It's great timing on their part, the story barely made waves in the mainstream press. Your discrimination claim involves cases that have nothing to do with the EPA, and yet you want me to "disprove" it? You need to present some actual evidence that there's an enormous multy-agency conspiracy against Hyundai first. The EPA does not regulate airbags, or civil suits against GM. I see no evidence that these cases are related to Hyundai's EPA settlement, other than the fact that these companies operate in the auto industry.
Roger, Again, you are arguing Hyundai's incompetence. That is not a valid defence. They are trying to tell us that their world-class engineers are unable to calibrate a simple system. On top of that, they never even wondered why, when they tested their competitors' cars (and they are even more incompetent than they claim if they didn't test Camry and Accord), they got much higher numbers than expected. Your interpretation would require Hyundai to be populated by a veritable confederacy of incompetence, spanning thousands of engineers, managers, directors, vice presidents, lawyers, PR staff, etc. Not one of them ever asked "how can we get such good MPG results without using all the sophisticated tech that Honda and Toyota use?", or "why don't Honda and Toyota claim much higher MPG figures? Our test results show that they could." The simpler explanation, Roger, is that Hyundai decided that the short-term advantage of claiming higher MPG numbers, at a time when fuel prices were high and growth opportunities were abundant (due to Toyota's unintended acceleration crisis and the Detroit 3's collapse) would ultimately outweigh any medium term brand damage and token fines. Turns out they were correct. They gained market share that was worth 50 times more than the fines, and their brand image is unlikely to be damaged for long. They lied on a government form, but GM, Toyota and now Honda tried to kill their own customers! On top of everything, they timed their settlement to coincide with historically low fuel prices! You will argue that this is simply "the luck of the incompetent," and that the 4th biggest car manufacturer in the world doesn't track the relative value of metrics like economy, reliability, luxury, performance, etc, over time. If you've spent time in the business world, you know that this fuel economy scandal was considered a liability by Hyundai. They assigned a monetary value to it, and adjusted that value over time. The amount of that liability went down with low fuel prices and relatively bigger scandals that hit their competition. Now was the perfect time to settle and get this liability off their books. Incompetence (as you claim)? I hardly think so. I can see future MBA programs using this as an example of successful scandal management. Everybody wins: Hyundai gets to keep their market share advantage, and the Justice department gets a relatively small fine (equivalent to the retail price of a few thousand cars). The fact that some gullible consumers even believed their "dog ate my homework" excuse is icing on the cake.
Roger, Do you realize that EPA MPG estimates have been around since the 1970s? It's not a new thing, and Hyundai is a massive company, not a mom-and-pop shop. Your only "proof" of a conspiracy is the fact that the Justice Department does not comment on ongoing investigations! That's standard practice, in any type of investigation. I love how you think that the fact that Honda, Ford, GM and others (BMW you mentioned earlier) are under investigation proves that Hyundai is being singled-out!
Roger, Why are you asking me? Your own earlier comment lists other companies that have been punished. maybe you should go back and read what you wrote. Hyundai has been selling cars in the US for almost 30 years. They are the fourth largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. Your argument that they should be excused from falsifying EPA MPG results because of incompetence is absolutely ridiculous. That's a grade-school excuse, and even then it wouldn't fly. They've settled with the Department of Justice and accepted their punishment. Perhaps you will argue that their lawyers are also incompetent? If that's the case, why should we believe that their designers and engineers aren't also incompetent? I think I understand why you are misguidedly defending them, but you should understand that your excuses for their actions (which are yours alone and not supported by Hyundai or anybody else) paint an even worse picture of the corporation. It's like pleading "I'm sorry I hit your dog but, in my defense, I was drunk and trying to hit your children, so you can see it was an honest mistake!"
Roger, So your argument now is that they should be excused because they are foreign and couldn't understand the instructions? Give it a rest. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. There is no "problem" that needs to be ended. There is a clearly defined process that includes penalties for violations. The system works just fine. As your quotes show, other automakers have been caught playing with their results (though admittedly not to the same extent) and have also been punished.
Roger, The fine has nothing to do with how you personally feel about the Hyundai brand. They deliberately cheated and got caught. Perhaps the EPA could test all new cars every summer, but that would cost the buying public more money. What the EPA does is spot-check manufacturer-supplied results. Evidently the system is working since they are able to catch cheats like Hyundai. As you may recall, the Ford issue happened after the Hyundai issue. It's hardly a conspiracy that the Hyundai case got resolved first. I fail to be convinced that fining corporations who willfully cheat and deceive the American people is "OUTRAGEOUS AND DISCRIMINATIVE." It sure beats the alternative: living in a state where corporate crimes go unpunished (which you seem to favor). The Judiciary is one of the three pillars of government.
Roger, EPA testing protocols are well documented. Any large manufacturer can easily test their own cars at their own expense. Hyundai fudged their numbers. They cheated. They got caught. That's all there is to it. You may believe that the fines are excessive and unfair, but I'm sure Hyundai took those fines into account when they decided to submit fake numbers. They made a business decision to try and cheat the American public, and now they are paying the price (literally). It's really hard to have any sympathy for them.
DaveD, Is it really necessary to completely undermine the argument that you think you put forward by framing it within the language of a five year old? If your points are strong they can be discussed as adults. As things stand, it's hard to take you seriously.
Once again, GCC, just because you use US gallons doesn't mean you should claim "54.7 mpg US." EU fuel use figures are practically meaningless, and their whole system is about to be overhauled (as detailed right here on GCC). Regular websites can claim that they don't know any better, but that's hardly believable here. The same powertrain gets 36 mpg combined on the EPA cycle in the new 2015 Golf. Barring evidence to the contrary, there is no reason to believe that the new TT will do much better.