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ŠKODA Electrifies With An Irish Twist.

Škoda has released details of their first electric vehicle and it’s to be a SUV. It will be called “Enyaq”. The name is derived from the Irish name ‘enya’, meaning ‘source of life’. Enya itself comes from the Irish Gaelic word ‘Eithne’, meaning ‘essence’, ‘spirit’ or ‘principle’. The ‘source of life’ symbolises the car manufacturer’s entry into the new era of electromobility and is in line with the Škoda brand’s history claim: ‘Driven by inventiveness –clever ideas since 1895’.

It’s to be built on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) platform and will be the first car from the brand to be built on this platform.. With its first all-electric SUV, Škoda is establishing a new nomenclature that combines the ‘E’ in reference to electromobility with the ‘Q’ that characterises the final letter of Škoda’s successful SUV family. With the new Enyaq, the Czech car manufacturer is taking another leap into the new era of electromobility in 2020.

Enyaq follows Škoda’s well-known SUV nomenclature. Like the names of Škoda’s successful SUV models Kodiac, Karoq, and Kamiq,names that have their origins in the language of the Inuit people living in northern Canada and Greenland, Škoda combines the future all-electric vehicles based on the MEB with the Irish language. The ‘E’ at the beginning of the name stands for electromobility whilst the ‘Q’ at the end creates a clear connection to the virtues of an SUV. The Škoda Enyaq is the next of the series of more than ten electric models that will be launched under the ŠKODA sub-brand by the end of 2022.

By 2025, Škoda expects all-electric vehicles and models with plug-in hybrid drives to account for 25% of sales. By 2021, the car manufacturer will have invested two billion euros in the development of electric models and a holistic, interconnected ecosystem for modern and environmentally friendly mobility solutions

Turbochargers For Beginners

It might look like a snail but with a turbo, your car certainly won’t be.

I could have called this post “Turbochargers for Dummies” but (a) anybody who is curious about how something works and wants to know more is not a dummy and (b) I don’t want to imply that those who want to have a vehicle with a turbocharger are dummies.

In any description or review of a new vehicle that’s got an internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) or even a hybrid engine, you’ll probably come across the mention of a turbocharger somewhere in there.  However, what is the point of a turbocharger and how do they work?  Are they just a fancy luxury or do they actually do something useful and valuable?  If you’re new to the world of motoring or if turbos have just been something you’ve heard about over the years and never really thought about before, you could well be asking these questions.  After all, nobody is born known about how a car works and it’s not something they teach you at school.  (Maybe it should be something they teach at school – physics would certainly be a lot more interesting if you could see the practical applications.)

Back To Basics

Let’s start by going back to the basics of how an internal combustion engine (ICE) works.   An ICE can be thought of as the offspring of a cannon and a spinning wheel.  The cannon (the father of the engine) works by using a spark and a controlled explosion within a small space, which produces a massive amount of force that moves a load (in this case, the cannon ball) in a straight line.  Mama Spinning Wheel uses a crankshaft (piston), a drive wheel and a gearing system to turn that linear motion into useful rotational motion.

In your typical four-stroke engine, which was invented in 1867 by Nikolaus Otto, the explosion part of the process involves four main motions, referred to as intake, compression, combustion and exhaust or, more simply, suck, squeeze, bang and blow.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

Let’s look more closely at the intake stage of the cycle.  During the intake phase, the piston and valves allow a combination of fuel (petrol or diesel) into the chamber.  In a naturally aspirated engine, ordinary common or garden atmospheric pressure and suction push the air into the cylinder.  However, to make the process go more quickly and use fuel more efficiently, one needs some way of compressing and forcing the air into where you want it rather than relying on, essentially, gravity and air pressure.  This was a bit of a burning need when they started flying planes a bit higher than they did in, say, World War 1, and the atmospheric pressure was a lot less at altitude.  Compressing the air and forcing it into the business bits of the ICE is what a turbocharger does.

How Turbos Work

The next question is how the turbocharger does the job of compressing air and forcing air into the cylinders?  It uses a system originally developed in aeroplanes with turboprop engines.  This uses a fan system to slurp and pump air into the cylinder – the shape of the fan does this by altering the air pressure around the blades.  Seems ridiculously simple, right?

Bright sparks among you will have wondered what gets the fan moving to do this job of pumping the air in.  After all, you don’t get anything for free.  However, the original designers came up with a clever solution.  After all, during the final phase of the Otto cycle – the exhaust or blow phase – the waste air and other exhaust products (hopefully, there won’t be too many of these) is shoved out of the engine.  A basic turbocharger uses this exhaust air to drive the turbine part of the system.  This means that a turbocharger has two main parts: the turbine that harnesses the exhaust stream, which is hitched up to the second part: the compressor that takes in clean air.

There is a third part to a basic turbocharger that does more than just hold the two spinning bits together. This is the intercooler.  As anybody who’s used a bike pump has noticed, when you compress air, it gets hotter.  The problem with this is that as things get hotter, the molecules inside it move more and it expands – meaning it’s less compressed.  Cold air is denser than warm air, which means that it’s not just in your head if you find it harder going on the bike or jogging on a cold morning.  The intercooler is a kind of miniature radiator system that dissipates the heat energy created by compressing the air to keep it nice and dense.

Why Use Turbochargers?

So why do you need to have a turbocharger and get that extra air into your car engine, given that you don’t have the problems of a fighter jet operating at altitude? Is there any advantage to it for the everyday motorist?

The answer is, of course, a great big yes.  By shoving more air into the cylinders, the power delivered by the combustion (bang) part of the cycle is increased.  Power is the amount of force delivered every second, so the faster the engine burns, the more powerful it is.  This means that an otherwise small engine can get the oomph of something much bigger.  Because adding a turbocharger involves less weight than adding another cylinder or increasing the size of the cylinders (the other ways to make an engine more powerful), this improves the power to weight ratio.  It’s all about the POWER (I’m hearing Jeremy Clarkson inside my head at this point).

You may hear some people claim that turbochargers are more environmentally friendly than naturally aspirated engines.  This is a bit controversial and it’s not as simple as Turbo Good, Natural Aspiration Bad.  Quite simply, a 1.2 litre engine that is naturally aspirated will use less fuel than a turbocharged 1.2.  However, the turbocharged 1.2 litre will deliver a lot more power than the naturally aspirated 1.2 and will produce the power of a naturally aspirated engine that’s a lot bigger. Because it has delivered the oomph of a bigger engine without the demands of the extra weight that would be involved, the small turbo engine will consume less fuel than the naturally aspirated big one.  The turbocharger is a racing greyhound that needs to eat as many doggy bikkies as a big sooky mastiff but will win the race.

Of course, this is only a very basic introduction – for beginners – and turbocharger designs get a lot more complicated that that. You’ve got all kinds of fun variations like twin turbos, which can be in sequence or in parallel, as well as the issue of turbo lag and how to overcome it.

What to Look For During a Test Drive

When we jump behind the wheel of a car we’re familiar with, we often take for granted the number of things that contribute to our driving experience. In part, this is because we become familiar with all the facets everything that makes it run like clockwork.

But what about when we are shopping for a new car? A new vehicle is a completely difference experience, after all. As is often the case, we start to notice subtle differences – ones that may even shape our purchasing decision. With this in mind, as you start drawing up your shortlist of cars to check out, here are some of the key things to look for during a test drive.

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Features and amenities

Decide which features you need in a vehicle, and distinguish them from those considered ‘luxuries’. For example, you may wish to evaluate the importance of the vehicle’s: drive system, fuel system, climate control, upholstery, entertainment system, aesthetics, paintjob, airbags, GPS, cameras and sensors, as well as the inclusion of other safety-focused technology.

Depending on your needs, prioritise and rank these amenities in order of importance so that you are prepared to compromise on something if need be. You’ll get a better idea as to which features matter most from your commute around town, but also think ahead as to what driving conditions you will encounter most of the time in your day-to-day driving.

 

Ride quality and feel

It’s standard procedure for test drives to last a short period of time. While certainly better than nothing, this often falls short of providing an adequate ‘feel’ for the vehicle. As such, try asking for a lengthened trial, where you might be able to experience the vehicle in different weather conditions, and to assess whether it fits in your garage. Some dealers will even let you borrow the car for a weekend, but this is subject to availability and certain conditions.

Importantly, take the vehicle on roads that you would normally travel on. Not only does this familiarity help lower the chance of becoming distracted, it will assist you in making an informed and balanced assessment on the vehicle’s handling and ride comfort.

As part of the test, try operate the vehicle under differing road conditions – light traffic, heavy traffic, on a freeway, roundabouts, and sharp corners. Meanwhile, put climate control and other technologies through their paces – this is an area where some vehicles still encounter teething issues, and there are few things more frustrating in a vehicle than a GPS system which doesn’t recognise your voice!

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Some of the key things you’ll want to look out for include:

  • does the suspension feels soft and cushion-like, or hard and uncomfortable?
  • does steering feels light and precise, or requires a greater exertion of effort?
  • does the engine offer enough punch and acceleration to meet your needs?
  • is there a sense of balance and poise in terms of handling on the road?
  • does the car operate with low noise?
  • is it easy to maneouvre and perform three-point turns in the vehicle?
  • if it is something you desire, does the car feel as though it would be up to the task in off-road settings?

 

The Ride Environment

While all the bells and whistles might be tempting, step inside the vehicle and familiarise yourself with its layout. How is the visibility from the driver’s seat? Is there clear access for the driver to reach controls and dials? Is it an intuitive and user-friendly layout? Are passengers, especially those in the back seats, provided adequate space for a comfortable ride? Are the seats able to be adjusted and folded down? Is there a suitable number of storage compartments or space in the boot? How does the general build quality of the vehicle rate, both internally and externally?

 

At the end of the day, if you’re unable to find the right vehicle, there’s no harm in continuing to test drive other vehicles beyond your shortlist. Follow the above considerations and the process will be a whole lot easier


ANCAP Updates.

ANCAP, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, has released some findings for a range of new vehicles. The standout performer amongst the latest batch of ratings is the updated Tesla Model X which is available from December 2019. It’s achieved a record-equaling high score of 98% for Adult Occupant Protection and 94% for Safety Assist. These scores closely follow the high scores recorded by its smaller sibling, the Model 3, earlier this year.

Full points were achieved for protection of the driver in all four of the full-scale vehicle crash tests (frontal offset, full width, side impact and oblique pole), full points were achieved for lane support and emergency lane keep functionality, and close to full points were awarded in each of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) test scenarios.

“Tesla should be commended for providing a vehicle which offers very high levels of safety performance both in its physical protection of occupants as well as its ability to help avoid a crash through its active safety systems,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

The Audi A7 Sportback and Audi Q8 demonstrated good performance in all assessment areas. New SUV market entrant, the MG HS, also offered good all-round safety however testing revealed a higher risk of injury in side impact crash scenarios.

“Tested to our most stringent criteria, the MG HS scored well, yet concerns were noted for chest protection of the driver in the oblique pole test and head protection for older children in the side impact test.”

Hyundai’s new small SUV, the Venue, scored 4 stars limited by its less advanced safety assist systems. “The Venue fell shy of the 5 star safety standard we’ve come to expect from Hyundai with Marginal performance levels observed for its ability to avoid a rear-end impact with vehicles in front. This limited the Venue’s Safety Assist score to 62%,” Mr Goodwin said.

“The Venue is the first model to undertake Safety Assist performance testing in Australia, following the commissioning of a new test facility in regional NSW,” he added.

MY20 Jeep Wrangler models see autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind spot monitoring (BSM) functionality introduced as standard safety features across the Wrangler model range, with performance testing of these systems undertaken by ANCAP earlier this month.

“These upgrades are welcome, and I commend the local supplier for moving to provide Wrangler buyers in Australia and New Zealand with collision avoidance capability,” said Goodwin. “While a 3 star rating is still somewhat shy of the expected 5 stars, all upgraded models now have the ability to detect and assist with avoiding a crash with another vehicle – both in lower and higher speed scenarios.”“Unfortunately the upgraded AEB system fitted to updated models is not yet able to detect our most vulnerable road users in pedestrians and cyclists.” he said.

“Consumers should be aware that the structural deficiencies we saw with the originally-tested model such as A-pillar and cross-facia beam failure, footwell intrusion, high seatbelt loads and excessive pedal movement have not been addressed and remain a risk for occupants,”  he added. Active lane support functionality is also not available. The 3 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all 2 door and 4 door Wrangler variants supplied to the Australian and New Zealand markets built from November 2019.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA (Medium Car) was the top performer for 2019, achieving an overall weighted score of 90.2%. “Well done to the CLA for being named the standout performer,” said  Goodwin.

“It received a healthy five-star score, performing exceptionally well in the areas of Child Occupant Protection (92%) and Vulnerable Road User Protection (91%) where it achieved the highest scores of all vehicles rated this year.”

Top performers by vehicle category:

LIGHT CAR: Audi A1, 86.6%. MEDIUM SUV: Toyota RAV4, 88.6%. SMALL CAR: Mazda 3, 88.4%. LARGE SUV: Tesla Model X, 89.6%.

MEDIUM CAR: Mercedes-Benz CLA, 90.2%. UTILITY: Toyota Hilux, 89.0%. LARGE CAR: Audi A7, 86.0%.

VAN: Toyota HiAce, 87.4%. SMALL SUV: Lexus UX, 89.0%. PEOPLE MOVER: Toyota Granvia, 87.8%

Further details on each of the vehicles rated can be viewed on the ANCAP website:
www.ancap.com.au/safety-ratings

AC and Keeping Cool in the Car this Summer

Crikey, we’re having a hot summer, for sure.  The heat outside can be unbearable some days.  Thanks to Willis Carrier, a 25-year-old engineer from New York, who in 1902 invented the first modern air-conditioning system we now have an invention developed further into what we now have for cooling our buildings and automobiles.  Willis’s system sent air through water-cooled coils, and was designed to control humidity in the printing plant where he worked.  People in Iran, Australia, Egypt and the Middle East know all about the benefits of having water held around dwellings so that any breeze passing over the water will be cooled thus providing a very pleasant space for people on the downwind side of the water source.  This cooled space is delightful on a very hot day.

The concept of pushing hot air over cool water and cooled refrigerant has also been developed in cars, and thus we have what is known as the air-conditioning unit, used in many of the cars that we drive.  More fancy cars use a climate control system which can automatically adjust the system to keep the cabin at a pre-set temperature.

It makes sense to keep your vehicle’s air-conditioning unit in good shape, so make it a habit to get it checked over every couple of years prior to summer kicking in – particularly when you sense that the air-conditioning system is running a little below par.  In Australia, where it is common for the temperatures to soar well into the high 30’s, and beyond, having a car with a properly functioning air-conditioning system is a must.  It becomes a safety issue, really!

The main reasons your air-con won’t be working are: a blocked condenser, the compressor no longer works properly, there is no more gas in the air-conditioning system, there could be a refrigerant leak, a relay problem or any other electrical issue.  Automotive air conditioning professionals can diagnose why your car’s A/C system isn’t working and fix or replace the required components.  Using the system more frequently helps it to keep ticking over for longer.

It’s also good to travel with plenty of water handy for hydration, and there are also some other simple and practical ways that will help you to stay cool in your car this summer.  Did you know that tinting your car’s windows makes travelling on hot sunny days more comfortable?  Window film cuts UV by 98% to protect your car and its occupants.

Sunshades are also very effective at keeping the sun and heat out of your car.  They can be placed on the front and/or rear inside windows and keep the direct sunlight out of your car.  Sunshades that attach to your side windows are also available from car accessory stores, nationwide.

Buying a car with reasonable engine performance and torque also ensures that the air-conditioning will run freely without taking too much away from the car’s overall performance and responsiveness.  Every time you activate the air-conditioning it draws power from the engine.

The performance impact may only be small, but it is there – and over time it adds up.  There are quite a few smaller, compact cars on the roads these days, and it’s worthwhile knowing that the effect of AC on engine performance is greater in these smaller vehicles than in those with larger engines – V6’s, diesels and V8s, for example.

Just so you know…

For All Mobile Phone Users

At last a serious move has been taken to nab the drivers using mobile phones illegally while driving.  New South Wales, Australia is the first place in the world to introduce mobile phone detection cameras, and these will be mounted without any warning signs saying that they are operating in the area.  The technology was invented by a University of Melbourne engineering graduate, Alexander Jannink, after a cyclist friend of his was killed in late 2013 by a driver suspected of being on a mobile phone.

During a three-month trial of the new camera at two locations in Sydney, 100,000 drivers were detected using a mobile phone illegally.  These motoring offences valued more than $34 million in fines.  Those caught in the trial were found to be browsing Facebook, text messaging and one driver was also caught allowing his passenger to steer the wheel.  Distracted drivers are very much a factor in motoring accidents, and placing the high-tech mounted cameras on our roads is a wonderful way to combat the habitual mobile phone actions of those who just can’t seem to leave their phone alone when behind the wheel.

It’s unsettling to notice drivers coming in the opposite direction with their eyes downward while on their phones.  The new cameras have been developed with sophisticated software that automatically detects if a driver is handling a phone.  The filtered images are then checked by a human eye before the weighty fine is issued.

I totally get what the NSW minister for roads and transport, Andrew Constance, recently remarked while on radio: “We want to create the same environment that we have around [random breath testing] because quite frankly using a mobile phone is equivalent to driving drunk behind the wheel.”  Other Australian states are to follow the NSW lead.

The law states that fully licenced drivers are not allowed to use any physical function of the phone while driving.  Making or receiving a call, playing audio, or using navigation maps can be done while the vehicle is parked and the engine not running.  Voice controlled smartphone mirroring apps such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which uses the vehicle’s infotainment technology makes things a little safer.

The reality is that nobody wants to share the road with a driver who isn’t paying attention.  When we’re driving, our focus should be on the road and getting everybody in the car to the destination safely.

Here are the mobile phone fines currently enforced in Australia:

NSW mobile phone fines: $344 and five demerit points, $457 and five demerit points in school zones, points doubled during double demerit periods.

Queensland mobile phone fines: $1000 and four demerit points from 1 February 2020, currently $400 and three points. Repeat offenders receive double demerit points if caught again within 12 months from the previous offence.

Victoria mobile phone fines: $496 and four demerit points.

Australian Capital Territory mobile phone fines: $480 three demerit points for handheld phone use, $589 and four demerit points for driver using mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing internet.

South Australia mobile phone fines: $554 and three demerit points.

Western Australia mobile phone fines: $400 and three demerit points.

Northern Territory mobile phone fines: $500 and three demerit points.

Tasmania mobile phone fine: $336 and three demerit points.

Are PHEVs Set for a Boost?

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or PHEV for short, have been pushed to motorists as a more ‘sustainable’ driving option. Boasting an on-board engine and generator that can power a rechargeable battery, advocates have argued that they offer emissions benefits and potentially lower operating costs for drivers.

Not everyone remains convinced however. Popularity for PHEVs has largely meandered along in recent years, despite this growing push for ‘eco-friendly’ driving. Although the category is starting to account for a larger proportion of electric passenger cars, if you ask many motorists, one of the prominent concerns for the technology has been limited driving distances (range).

In what could be welcome news for some, one development may see an improvement in this area.

 

ZF EVplus concept

The ZF EVplus concept was unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, incorporated within a BMW 330e. Having stripped the existing 7.6kWh battery, ZF installed a 35kWh replacement unit to provide power to the vehicle.

As you might guess, this corresponds with a decent bump up in power, but also a marked increase in the vehicle’s driving range when placed in all-electric driving mode. The jump takes it from approximately 30km range to more than 100km, which is a sizeable improvement, particularly considering this incorporates real-world operating conditions.

This new driving range is said to exceed the sort of performance milestones achieved by some of the latest competitors, including the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, as well as other electric models from the Mercedes-Benz and BMW stables.

 

 

Will it make driving more practical?

This is ultimately the million dollar question. Although 100km might not sound like an extensive driving range, let’s not forget this is when the car operates as an electric vehicle. PHEVs still have an internal combustion engine that can work as required, which is not the case for fully battery electric vehicles (BEVs). On top of that, most drivers don’t actually commute these sort of distances each and every day, or at least without an opportunity that they might be able to plug in the vehicle to top up its range.

So with either option to fall back on, for most motorists, some would say the concerns are overblown, and driven by behavioural conditioning. That is, we’ve become accustomed to driving the way we do, so we’re reluctant to change that to other methods.

This sort of development opens the way for a new era of PHEVs to enter the market in the not too distant future. However, the key obstacle for manufacturers’ lies with breaking through perceptions, and creating affordable PHEVs. If motorists cannot understand nor appreciate the appeal and attractiveness of PHEVs, then it is naïve to think that such cars can command the price premium they currently do.

Tech Torque: What Is An Electric Water Pump?

Life sometimes gives us questions to ponder. Why is the sky blue, are The Rolling Stones a better band than The Beatles, should I have pineapple on a pizza, and what is an electric water pump?
Unlike the others, the answer to what is an electric water pump is surprisingly simple to divine.

An electric water pump, or EWP, is a mechanical device, powered by electricity, and pumps water. There. Sounds simple. But wait, there’s more. One immediate benefit of an EWP is in the name, the electric bit.

Because it utilizes that amazing and invisible power, an EWP isn’t reliant on the spinning of a crankshaft, the rise and fall of conrods, and the pulsing of injectors. They work as long as there is juice in the battery. This means that if a car or truck or bus has been running for a while and the ignition gets switched off, a control device can keep the EWP running afterwards. This is especially crucial in automotive high load areas or in motorsport.Consider a drift car, running a high revving petrol engine and fitted with a turbo. A talented driver can pound a drift car around a circuit and the engine will be constantly working hard. The driver gets to the end of their run and switches off. A mechanical water pump them immediately stops working. This means cooling fluid is no longer pushed through the engine internals and through the radiator. This can lead to severe damage to the engine and potentially the radiator as well.

Another benefit of an EWP is the constant pressure and flow rate. An easy comparison is a child’s toy fan. Blow gently upon the vanes and it’ll spin slowly. Give it a good huff and it’ll spin hard before winding down. That’s a mechanical water pump, rising and falling with engine revolutions.

An EWP suffers not from this, and EWPs from an Australian company called Davies, Craig, with flow rates of up to 150 litres per minute, will CONSTANTLY deliver flow, as they’re not dependent on a crankshaft and belt to spin. And because they’re electrically powered they’re not sapping energy from a mechanical system. This means less strain, better fuel economy, and longer lasting mechanical parts. And they’re a lot smaller, which means less weight, better efficiency, and can be mounted in certain positions to help tidy up an engine bay. Digital controllers can assist here. These allow fine tuning of how an EWP works, including running a pump after a car’s engine has been switched off.Along with moving a cooling fluid through a radiator and engine, moving air across the vanes of a radiator, or heat exchanger, is crucial to keeping an engine as cool as possible.
Cars come with a belt driven fan, and those belts are attached to pulleys which are attached to the engine. Quite a few designs have a mechanically driven fan attached to the nose of the mechanically driven water pump. The fan has a kind of clutch that allows the fan to spin up to speed or spin down to a stop by itself.

In a cooling sense, these fans are only effective if the engine is running. And due to their source of power, they’ll not be as energy or fuel efficient, plus they’ll sometimes not be as aerodynamically efficient due to the design of the fan blade, their location in respect to the radiator, or lacking a shroud to assist in directing airflow. When it comes to electric fans for cars, or thermatic fans, there’s a different range of possibilities to explore. Because they’re powered by the vehicle’s electrical system, they’re far more energy or fuel efficient. A digital controller can be fitted to allow the fan to be on all of the time, only when needed, or to run after an engine is powered off.

A driver can choose to fit one fan or, two fans, and in an upstream (ahead of the radiator) and/or downstream (between the radiator and engine) configuration. If going for a two fan, upstream/downstream configuration, it’s recommended to have one fan on one side of the radiator (left or right) and the other in the opposing side. Let’s say one fan is on the engine’s side and mounted ahead of the driver, therefore the other would be on the headlights’ side and ahead of the passenger.

When it comes to finding and fitting the right electric fan or fans to suit your particular car, there are a couple of areas to look at. The thickness of the radiator is the first point of call. This is due to the amount of airflow required to pull or push air through the vanes. Then there is the shape of the radiator itself. As a rule, one large electric fan will do as good, or a better, job than two smaller ones. However, a wider than taller radiator may negate a single fan fitment, therefore two smaller diameter fans can be mounted side by side. It’s here that the research teams have provided a different solution. Davies, Craig electric fans for cars are built to have reversible blades and hubs.

When it comes to the design of the blades themselves, these are shaped to be both more aerodynamically efficient (reducing drag) and less likely to vibrate and cause supersonic shock. This is literally where the ends of the blades reach a velocity approaching the speed of sound, and therefore, not unlike many WW2 fighter planes that crashed due to the phenomenon not being understood, shake uncontrollably.The blade design A Davies, Craig uses has them straight out from the hub, and by curving the struts that are inside the shroud housing, airflow is increased and airflow noise is decreased. Also, when it comes to the tips of the blades, we’ve looked at the aerospace industry and the work put into the winglets on the ends of the wings on aircraft. Those stubby little winglets decrease air turbulence and balance air pressure as the tips rotate past the shroud. And because not every engine is the same, Davies, Craig offers six different fan diameters, from 8 inches to a whopping 16 inches. This means that there will be one or two electric fans, at least, that will be ideal for your engine and radiator size. Couple these with their extensive range of digital controllers and there is a package that will do a lot to be far better than an existing mechanically driven package.

What the New Mandatory Data Sharing Law Means for Motorists

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently took aim at car manufacturers. This time it wasn’t in relation to any specific mechanical controversies like the Dieselgate saga. Instead, it was about the after-purchase period concerning maintenance and repairs, where a lack of data sharing with independent mechanics has been said to ‘hurt’ everyday motorists. 

 

How did we get here?

Before we try to make sense of it all, let’s take a step back to a few years ago. In 2014, auto-makers agreed to a voluntary system where data sharing would be placed in the hands of manufacturers. Provisions were put in place that were designed to help independent mechanics access computer codes and calibration data among other information.

However, the voluntary nature of this program meant there were no formal obligations or requirements to comply with the intended aim of the program. More recently, in 2018, the Federal Government paved the way for a more structured approach to data sharing. Despite the matter being earmarked as part of ‘priority’ sector reform, it was largely overlooked amid more pressing issues until late last month when the Australian Government announced a mandatory data sharing law.

 

Why did it take so long?

For most of this discussion period, car manufacturers have continually expressed concerns about the idea of being compelled to comply with data sharing requirements. As such, you can imagine they were firmly opposed to any measure that would force them to provide your local independent mechanic with technical information about their vehicles.

Representatives regularly cited safety reasons for their reluctance to share data with independent mechanics. One of the key concerns was providing independent mechanics with access to complex information that may prompt them to undertake repairs beyond the scope of their training, or where they may otherwise be without the appropriate tools.

 

What impact might the new law have?

Independent mechanics have pointed to the increased sophistication in today’s cars to reinforce the need to access vehicle data. Jobs that were once a simple and easy fix in years gone by, have become increasingly complex if you believe the words of many independent mechanics.

In the eyes of the ACCC, this means motorists have been getting a raw deal on their servicing and repair costs. They estimate that drivers have been paying as much as $1 billion per year more than necessary on account of independent mechanics not having access to data that would make their jobs easier.

Meanwhile, in backing the call for greater data sharing, the Australian Automotive Aftermarkets Association (AAAA) noted that the US and European markets have established programs in place to facilitate data sharing. In the US alone, these measures are estimated to save motorists US$26 billion per year. It appears the government has the notion of consumer savings in its sights, which could help drivers save a pretty penny. However, will it prove wise to dismiss manufacturers concerns?

Hiccups And Glory: Tesla Cybertruck Revealed.

Mid afternoon Friday 22nd November (Sydney time) and Tesla has unveiled a surprise.

Called the Cybertruck it’s fair to say it’s unlike anything seen from any manufacturer, both in looks, and in specification.Tesla says: it will have a range of 500+ miles, and will see a zero to 96kph (60mph) time of around 2.9 seconds. The body is made from a sledgehammer resistant “Ultra-Hard 30x Cold-Rolled Steel”. The window glass is also intended to be shatter and impact resistant as evidenced by a few ball-drop demonstrations. Somewhat embarrassingly, a short range throw of a small steel ball like that used in the drop test broke the supposedly shatterproof glass in the vehicle shown.The cargo section is big enough to house an electric ATV, also shown during the launch, and has a payload capacity of up to 3,500 pounds or 1,587 kilos. There is 6.5 feet of length in the bay and there are extendable ramps and a charging point built in. An estimated 100 cubic feet of storage space is available inside the sci-fi looking wedge shape. There is also room for six adults and a 17 inch touchscreen to access the vehicle’s main controls.The ramp that allows cargo access showed the flexibility of the suspension with up to four inches of travel. The drivetrain will be a rear mounted engine, front and rear, and a triple motor configuration. The exterior is striking, to say the least, with a distinctive wedge shape and eye-catching LED strips front and rear. And in an alloy sheen reminiscent of a De Lorean, it should be an all-weather capable vehicle.
Pricing is slated to start at around $40,000USD.