Following on from the win for Fernando Alonso and Ferrari in Spain, is there anyone willing to hazard a guess for the winner at Monaco this weekend? With the limitation in passing opportunities round the Monegasque houses, pole position becomes very important. The most critical part of this Grand Prix will then happen on the Saturday. And that’s qualifying. He who is on pole, has a greater than 75 percent chance of winning. So who will be on P1?
A US study has indicated that batteries used in electric and hybrid cars could have a lifespan of up to 20 years - much longer than car-makers are guaranteeing.
Some brands, including General Motors and Toyota, will only guarantee the batteries in their cars for up to eight years.
The American Chemical Society investigated the question of battery life in cars but only looked at the more expensive lithium-ion units, and not the nickel-metal hydride types used in the Toyota Prius in some markets.
The results are interesting. “The (lithium-ion) battery pack could be used during a quite reasonable period of time ranging from five to 20 years depending on many factors,” Mikael Cugnet, a project manager at France’s Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission, told the society’s meeting in New Orleans.
“That’s good news when you consider that some estimates put the average life expectancy of a new car at about eight years.”
Toyota introduced its Prius hybrid to Australia in 2001, however, since its launch there the car has used the cheaper, less energy-dense nickel-metal hydride batteries, though the recently introduced Prius V petrol-electric hybrid people-mover, uses the more expensive batteries.
Dr Cugnet’s study noted that deterioration in lithium-ion batteries was affected most by heat, with temperatures above 30 degrees affecting performance “instantly and even permanently” if it was for an extended period, which is not good news for Thailand, with the tropical temperatures well over 30 degrees at present.
Dr Cugnet also said electric vehicle owners needed to closely monitor a battery’s charge in hot weather, as a fully charged battery was “more vulnerable to losing power”.
The study ranked a battery as beyond its useful life after it had lost more than 20 percent of its original charge capacity.
Nissan’s Leaf electric car came under close scrutiny last year after US owners started to complain about big drops in the lithium-ion battery pack’s ability to hold a charge.
Owners in warmer parts of the US, including Arizona, Texas and California, started noting that their Leaf was losing up to a quarter of its battery capacity in a matter of months.
The website mynissanleaf.com estimates the rate of battery deterioration in Leaf electric cars worldwide and predicts that a car driven in Melbourne would fall to 82 percent of charge capacity - just above the study’s cut-off of a 20 per cent loss of charge capacity - within five years, and would fall to 70 percent in 11 years.
A sultry, lipstick-wearing Sir Richard Branson finally earned his stripes as an AirAsia flight attendant, when he honored his friendly wager on board AirAsia X’s flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur.
Drivers fail to obey traffic laws, which many of the region’s governments notoriously don’t enforce. Cars must navigate crumbling roads and poorly designed highway systems that all but make gridlock and accidents unavoidable. And many drivers simply value perks such as alloy wheels and sound systems over unseen crumple zones.
Thailand’s automotive industry showed its strength in 2012, manufacturing 2.45 million vehicles. This represented a 68 percent increase from 2011 and saw Thailand elevated to 10th place among car producing countries. However, it should be remembered that following the floods, production nose-dived, with some factories inundated, so it was natural that huge increases in production would be seen.
With the government backed incentive scheme for new car buyers last year, this pushed domestic car sales to 1.43 million vehicles last year, up by 81 percent. Car exports increased by 40 percent to over one million units, a record high making Thailand the world’s seventh-largest car exporter.
With the world economic woes, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) forecasts that production will be only marginally improved at 2.5 million vehicles this year. 1.4 million of which is destined for domestic sales. The FTI also expects to see export sales drop by six percent if the strong baht keeps around 29 to the dollar this year.
The new Tesla Model S is bringing the electric sedan within the reach of more of the public with a starting price of about US$70,000.
Not only has the Model S contributed to a profit bottom line for the electric car company, in addition, Tesla Motors Inc.’s all-electric Model S sedan ranks as the influential magazine Consumer Reports’ highest rated vehicle.
This publication rated their US$89,650 Model S a 99 out of 100, the first time since 2007 that CR has rated a car that high.
Apparently CR thought so highly of the Tesla that they said that it was very close to being the best car ever!
The Model S, when equipped with an 85 kilowatt hour battery, could get 320 kays on one electric charge. The US$ 70,000 base model only has a 60 kilowatt hour battery. However, even at US$ 70,000, this is still expensive for a vehicle built in the US.
Last week, in an attempt to confound the Googlers, I asked you to have a look at the photo. I asked what is it and who built it? It was the Kettenkrad made by NSU.
So to this week. Which record breaking drivers towed a portable petrol bowser, so they could refuel on the run?
An uncle in my wife’s family has just died from a stroke in her village, so I may as well use that as the reason for this week’s column. It is also a very common condition and one of the major causes of death and disability.
This new Honda is the ninth-generation Accord and is improved in many ways, but the price will reflect this. Honda claim better economy than the previous version, and a longer list of standard features.
Well, we learned that Spaniards are passionate about bull fights, tennis, soccer and winning, and home hero Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) certainly gave the crowd something to cheer for. Another second place for Raikkonen (“Lotus”) and Felipe Massa (Ferrari) back in form to take third.