Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alternative fuels and some fun for the movie fans out there!

First of all I have to apologize for the lack of posts this week.  I smashed my finger nail into a nice shade of black while I was at the gym on Tuesday.  Since I have to type a lot at my day job I’ve been taking it easy at home.  But I can bend it for the most part now, so time to man up and do another blog entry. 

Today’s topic revolves primarily around alternative fuel vehicles, specifically electric and hydrogen powered cars.  I know, hydrogen cars are technically powered by electricity too (they just generate it on site). 

Daimler-Benz is going to be leveraging their relationship with Tesla Motors to put out an electric version of their B-Class.  This will be the commuter car EV for Benz since they also produce a high performance electric SLS.   

This is part of their overall strategy that involves producing a number of new vehicles over the next few years to boost their sales numbers past BMW’s and to achieve an operational profit margin of 10%.  Of course, since Mercedes is currently the 3rd place volume seller in the segment it will have to get past Audi first.  You can read more about Daimler-Benz’sstrategy in this article from

The EV B-Class will likely compete directly with BMW’s new i3EV.  For a small electric car it has some good potential on paper – 170hp, 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds and a range of almost 125 miles.  However, not since the Bangle-era 5-Series has a BMW looked so... unusual.  In fact, I would go so far as to say the i3 is thoroughly unattractive.  Why most car makers decide to punish their customers with awful EV designs, I’ll never know.  I guess the excellent driving experience isn’t the only reason why it’s better to be inside a BMW than outside one anymore.

Of course, I was always more into the idea of a hydrogen fueled vehicle.  I was never a fan of the idea that I would have to plug in a car for a number of hours (or in some cases, overnight) in order to “refuel”.  One of the great aspects of traditional fuel vehicles is that refueling takes a few minutes and then you’re on your way again.  Hydrogen powered solutions are more in line with that sort of expectation of traveling freedom.  James May explains it all here in this clip from TopGear’s 12th series. 

Toyota will apparently be launching a hydrogen powered vehicle in2015.  Hopefully it comes through and lots of wealthy folks with tons of influence are able to lobby businesses and governments for the infrastructure to support these things. 

For now though, I think most of us will still be driving more traditional offerings.  Luckily, the car makers seem to be doing a good job of innovating new fuel saving technology to include in these cars.  For instance,the new Nissan Rogue includes a segment exclusive muffler spoiler to cut down on drag.  It brings a whole new meaning to the term performance exhaust. 

And now a fun one for all of you movie buffs out there!  BBC Autos has posted a great movie car trivia interactive graphic on their website.  Check it out here!  I got about 80% of them right... some of the movies I haven’t seen and one car threw me off because I thought it was hovering (spoiler alert: it’s supposed to be underwater!).


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