A Better Automotive Paradigm

A hundred years ago, Henry Ford promised customers that their car could be painted any color so long as it was black. Today, color is the least of the auto industry’s challenges. The car of the 21st century must be fuel-efficient and robust, technologically savvy and affordable, and manufactured quickly on the line without defects. It must meet increasingly stricter government regulations. And the vehicle must incorporate fast-evolving electronic, communication and software technology that hardly existed a few years ago. Continue reading

ASWC 2015 Draws Near!

After completing the first circuit of the globe, this year the Automotive Simulation World Congress (ASWC) 2015 returns to Detroit. The conference is now exactly two weeks away — to be held on June 2 and 3 — and I am really excited about it. If you haven’t registered and reserved your seat, please take a moment to register. You don’t want to miss this great event. And if you don’t know what it’s all about, read on for more information. Continue reading

Gas Prices Spark Innovative Auto Design

image of rising gas pricesRecently, several gas stations in the state of California – major brands and independents alike – made national headlines when the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline topped the $5 mark. USA Today reported that one independent station even topped the $6 mark!

Admittedly, this unprecedented price spike could be traced back to a series of closures and unexpected shutdowns at California-based petroleum refineries. Although prices are expected to ease as some of these refineries come back online – and switch over to producing the cheaper winter-blend mixture before the end of October – the incident serves as yet another painful reminder of how volatile gas prices have been over the last decade.

But while the cost of petroleum trends upward, the cost of lithium ion (LiO) battery assemblies is actually going down. And while this is slowly but surely making the batteries – and the electric vehicles/hybrid electric vehicles (EVs/HEVs) that they power – more competitive, much work still remains to be done before they can truly be considered a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine (ICE). Continue reading

Automotive Simulation World Congress Draws Near

In late October, I will have the distinct pleasure of opening the 2012 Automotive Simulation World Congress (ASWC) in Detroit, MI – birthplace of the U.S. automotive industry. I posted some generic information about the congress in my July blog. For this post, I’d like to tell you a little bit more about why I think you should attend.

At the end of August it was front-page news in the automotive world that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally ratified its new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. This news has a huge impact for automakers because by 2025 they’ll be expected to produce a line of vehicles with a fleet-wide average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg). That’s double today’s standards!

Add to that all of the advanced electronics that customers are demanding—like built-in global positioning systems (GPSs), telephones, music files (mp3) and other data storage, and even internet connectivity — and it’s easy to see how designing an already complex vehicle (and keeping it affordable) is going to become even more challenging in the years ahead. Continue reading