Monday, July 27, 2015

Not trying to pick a fight...

But this is too funny not to share.

And  you know my position is when the manufacturers compete we only win.  Found this on a Dodge truck fan's we know his allegiance.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chevy Bolt, Volt and Goat

Actually, I'm kidding on the last one, Goat or GTO died with Pontiac which is sad.  The future for Chevy however is pretty electric.  Very Electric and all electric with the recently revealed Chevrolet Bolt.  The car Elon Musk said no manufacture could build, well Chevy just did it.  A purpose built from the ground up all electric car, the Bolt concept was revealed at this years NAIAS in Detroit.
The Chevrolet Bolt due to launch next year is GM's latest iteration of the electric car.  Recall they did the EV-1 sold through Saturn dealerships some 20 years ago then killed it as there was really no demand for electric cars then.  Flash forward to now and CA mandate for zero emissions auto and there's an artificial demand for electric cars and they are heavily subsidized with Federal and State incentives to the tune of nearly 10K depending on your income bracket.  That's not chump change and with a moderately priced car like the Bolt it suddenly becomes very affordable.

What we do know about the bolt is that it is a tall EV to maximize interior room.  It will use GM's newest Lithium ion batteries and capable of being fast charged.  Range is preliminarily estimated at 200 miles which makes this very practical for everything but extended road Vegas runs with this baby unless you have access to a fast charger at the half way point.  Still 200 miles is nothing to sneeze at and pretty much what one gets around town in a compact gasser.  Nice job if the numbers pull through.

Speaking of numbers officially Chevy says the price will be about $30,000 for a nicely equipped Bolt.  Off the record I over heard in the potty at NAIAS some GM Execs talking about how they were being pressed hard by another publication for a hard price.  They acknowledged full sticker price will be closer to 40K and with Federal and local incentives the price would be down around the 30K.  Makes sense, why the guess is incentive amounts will vary and are in question with the 2016 elections. No official on sale date was give for the car.

At the end of the day the Bolt is a nice dart tossed at Elon Musk and his "I build the cars no one else dares to".  (Several such darts were tossed at Tesla/Musk at NAIAS but I digress and giving the devil his due he's the first to really build a EV that people want and respect as a real car not a novelty).

Chevy didn't stop with the Bolt, they also have revealed the next generation Chevy Volt.   This car gets a host of feature updates as well as technology and complete redesign on the outside.

The Volt for 2016 maintains its profile but all the hard edges and creases are massaged into gentle curves and swoops.  It looks much more aerodynamic and mainstream.

Under the hood it has a newer battery pack, again using their newest battery technology.  This combined with a new gas engine for range extending improves performance, mileage and can travel up to 50 miles in all electric mode.  Price also is lower than the first generation Volt which adds up to a much more affordable gas/electric hybrid.

UPDATE 8/6/2015 General Motors Executive Chief Engineer Electrified Vehicles Pamela Fletcher announces the second-generation Chevrolet Volt delivers 53 miles of pure EV range, based on EPA testing, Tuesday, August 4, 2015 during her 'Advanced Powertrain Forum:  Developing Powertrain Diversity' presentation at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan..

More pics from NAIAS and the Chevy Bolt/Volt can be found in my flickr album.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

First L.A Auto Show and CCE Info being sent out...

I'm so jazzed, tickled even.  Today my credentials were approved again for the L.A Auto Show in November and the first press release on the topic hit the old inbox.  Yeah...
The press release:
Fortune partners with CCE to help recognize
new auto industry disruptors
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 16, 2015) – The Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo (CCE) announced its plans to establish the premier top ten list of the hottest and most influential startups to hit the automotive scene.  Slated for reveal in September by Fortune, the inaugural shortlist will recognize startups with the potential to shape the future of the new automotive industry.
LA Auto Show’s Top Ten Automotive Startups (Top 10) will be selected by the CCE Advisory Board, comprised of senior executives from companies including Aeris Communications, AT&T, City of Los Angeles, Elektrobit, Ellis & Associates, Google, Microsoft, Mobile Electronics Group, NVIDIA, Pandora and Strategy Analytics.  Following the Board’s consideration and extensive analysis of qualified newcomers, ten startups will be chosen based on the following criteria: vision, innovation, unique perspective and the likelihood of technology adoption and success.
“Today’s automakers are looking at California’s technological hotbeds to spark their innovation, but there are thousands of companies competing to bring their technologies to market,” said Andy Gryc, CCE Conference Director.  “We feel that the startups identified by our Advisory Board will be the true standouts among a crowded field, companies that will push the envelope of the automotive world in ways that will change the way cars are built, bought and driven.”
Part of LA Auto Show’s broader Press & Trade Days, CCE is the award-winning conference and trade show that unites innovators, manufacturers, futurists and influencers to further the convergence of technology and the automobile.  This year’s CCE will be held at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on Nov. 17, followed by LA Auto Show’s press and trade events at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Nov. 18-19.  CCE exhibitors and attendees with a premium pass can witness this year’s vehicle debuts and have access to an all-new CCE networking destination at the convention center.
Over the next few months, the LA Auto Show and CCE will announce more details about the 2015 show, including session/discussion topics and industry expert participants.
For more information visit and

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Jeep Patriot - Road trip review

So fraz left So Cal for a reunion and touring of the Ozarks and Southern IL wine country (they have one...who knew). As luck would have it Enterprise Rent a Car didn't have the Chrysler 200 in stock that I had reserved months prior and had really wanted to have.  They offered up this as an alternative which I took as it was still better than the massive SUV's they had left.

During the course of my week with the car I put on 1000 miles and was pleasantly surprised by the little beast as well as disappointed.  After having spent a lot of time in Honda CRV and the Ford Escape cute utes this car had a lot to live up to as the class leaders have raised the bar so high.

Powertrain, thankfully this car was equipped with the 2.4L 4 cylinder and 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC.  (My daughter has the Compass equipped with the CVT and I hate that combo).  The combination always found the right gear to keep you moving, though to down shift you did need to goose it good.  It rewarded you with taking off and accelerating quickly to the speed you need to climb a hill or pass a slow moving truck.  For the latter, plan accordingly as this naturally aspirated motor takes a bit to build a head of steam and passing without a long straight stretch is a challenge.  Passing, hill climbing and getting onto a freeway is an exercise in cacophony and aural displeasure.  The engine is coarse sounding and doesn't like to be pushed.

However, settle into a highway cruise where you can just set the cruise control and fly this car rewards you with a class competitive silence in the cabin.  Only when pressed does its bargain basement powertrain show.

Mileage was the big surprise with the Patriot.  Tanks were 22.7 mpg, 27.9 mpg, 28.9 mpg and 22.8 mpg.  The highest numbers came with flat land cruising and freeway cruise control in use.   The lower numbers were urban freeway and hill country driving with lots of hills and twisty bits.  Not bad and it compares favorably with its EPA numbers of 21 City, 23 Combined and 28 Highway.  (Note the CVT is rated 20/21/23 so why exactly would anyone get that tranny?)

This model was equipped with 4 wheel drive.  A waste in summer you say?  Hardly.  The area of the country was in flood mode after the wettest June on record.  It rained daily when I was there.  The 4WD was a simple flick of a switch to activate and you were ready to cross washed out roads, debris filled roads, ford creeks what have you.  My first flash food ravaged roadway I was glad I had the Patriot instead of the 200.  Trust me.

Engaging 4WD is easy peasy.  Flip a switch and its all silently activated.  The only way you know its on is by the "4WD" lit up in the instrument cluster.  Which leads to me a niggle...the switches for 4WD are right where you'd slide a cell phone while driving, far to easy to put it into 4WD mode by accident for my tastes.

The interior was comfortable.  A lot of hard plastics and cheap switchery.   Not at all what the leaders in the class give you.  But I suppose since its a Jeep you cut it some slack for not being upscale as this cute ute is meant for people who will actually do some occasional light off-roading and durable, read not easily soiled, materials is an asset not a liability.

One of the more interesting things with this car that caught me off guard was wind noise.  The mirrors were placed in such a way that at freeway speeds they generated a lot of noise on their own.  Not a whistle, but  rumble as the air tumbled over them.  In the rain you could see the fouled up air flow in that water collected on the window and swirled about blocking your view of the mirrors when travelling on the highway.

What absolutely dumbfounds me is the lack of technology in the car.  The closest thing to being in this decade was the auxiliary jack on the radio.  Bluetooth isn't even available as an option on the basic model such as this rental.  Really?   Yes, Really, something the class leaders offer up as standard in base models isn't even a pipe dream here.

Price, to build out this basic Patriot as equipped you start with the stripped down at 17.8K model, add 4WD, add A/C (not standard...sheesh), power window/locks and cruise control with the AM/FM/CD player with Auxiliary and you've now pushed the sticker up to 23.9K.  I had to choke on that as the class leaders add so many more features standard for the same money that I have a hard time backing down from them to consider the Patriot as a real option.  Maybe its trading on the legendary trail abilities that sell the model.  For my money I want more creature comforts and upscale feel than it had to offer.  IF creature comfort and upscale feel aren't important and off-road capability is then the Jeep may be your ticket.