Notable

GM Improves Powertrain Throughput

General Motors continues to pursue its “Road to Lab to Math” strategy that pushes more development work into the analysis realm in order to reduce the time and cost necessary to produce new powertrains. “We still need to test the vehicle for refinement,” says Dan Hancock, v.p., GM Powertrain Global Engineering, “but much of the earlier development work can now be done in math.” Hancock believes GM Powertrain’s new Engineering Development Center in Pontiac, MI, will improve calibration efficiency by as much as 50% as it rolls out 68 new calibration procedures that will reduce the number of on-road tests necessary to adjust powertrain parameters. “We’ve been able to determine the fewest number of data points necessary to produce statistically significant calibration curves,” he says, “which has allowed us to reduce our initial calibration time by 10 weeks (16 weeks on a dynamometer and undergoing analytical study versus 8 weeks on the dyno and 18 weeks of in-vehicle testing), and save more than $200 million.”As expected, GM is running all of its engine test facilities on a common operating system and to a global standard, and projects can be run on a 24-hour basis by forwarding data around the world, if necessary.

Nissan Redesigns the Fuel Cell

Nissan’s latest fuel stack has double the power density of its predecessor, but costs 35% less due to using half the platinum.

“Green” Steel

WorldAutoSteel (www.worldautosteel.org)—the automotive organization consisting of member companies of the International Iron and Steel Institute—is undertaking its fifth vehicular automotive research project, the “Future Steel Vehicle,” which is predicated on demonstrating the benefits of lightweight steel bodies combined with alternative powertrains (e.g., hybrid, electric, fuel cell). The engineering study for the project is being performed by EDAG Engineering + Design’s facility in Auburn Hills, MI (www.edag-us.com).One of the reasons behind the work is to show that when it comes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the lifecycle of a vehicle, steel is beneficial.To that point, Jody Shaw, manager, Automotive Marketing, United States Steel Corp. (www.ussteel.com), explains that there has been a study on that subject conducted at the University of California-Santa Barbara by Dr.

GM’s Light Truck Strategy: Nip and Tuck

As gasoline prices price skyrocketed in late 2007 and early 2008, GM’s truck engineering team was concerned about what would happen to their products, which had been providing a consistent flow of revenue to the automaker’s bottom line.

’09 Volkswagen Golf Revealed

Volkswagen has revealed the ’09 Mark VI Golf.

Feature

The Future Of Electric Steering Assist

Does the future of power steering belong to fully electric systems becauseof their greater efficiency?

AVL's Holistic Approach To Powertrain Testing

As OEMs accelerate their migration to fuel-efficient, smaller-displacement engines, the pressure on powertrain engineers is reaching a fevered pitch.

Multi-CAD Enviroments

In the beginning, "you had a lump of model," explains Paul Brown, director of NX marketing for Siemens PLM Software (Plano, TX; www.siemens.com/plm). Solids modelers based on boundary representation (brep) were all about topology.

Acoustic Quality Control

"The easiest way to think of this technology is as an acoustic lens," says SenSound LLC (Detroit, MI; www.sensound.com) president, CEO and co-founder Sergio Mazza.

Mazda6: Lessons Learned

Mazda admits its midsize sedan failed to catch on with U.S. buyers due to its small size, and hopes to remedy that problem with the bigger '09 model.

KIA's Borrego: Right Vehicle, Wrong Time?

Four years ago, when gasoline was $2 per gallon, a vehicle like the Borrego made a lot of sense.

Software As a Service For ERP

It's not like Inteva Products, LLC (Troy, MI; www.intevaproducts.com), started with nothing when it spun off from Delphi Interiors and Closures last March.

The Future Of Steering

There are a couple ways to look at the "future" of the title.

Dodge Challenger: Mopar's Modern Muscle Car

Work on the Challenger began at Chrysler's recently closed Pacifica Design facility in California in 2004, just as Ford was introducing the current generation Mustang.

VW Pursues Advanced Electronics

Thanks to sensors and powerful processors, the car that drives you is on the horizon. Yes, it is still on the test track, but it is getting closer.

Maxima: Sports Car As Daily Driver

When engineering the seventh-generation Maxima, Nissan personnel were faced with (1) addressing the needs of an aging Baby Boomer who still likes to get on the throttle every now and then and (2) creating a car that credibly belongs in the same showroom as the GT-R. And they did it.

Columns

Dudder: Skeptics Welcome

Remember the "Pepsi Challenge"? It was a blind taste test started in 1975 that had people sample unmarked glasses of cola, and pick their preferred drink based solely on taste.

EuroAuto: Formula One: Beyond the Engine Freeze

Over the last few months Max Mosley, president of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the regulatory body that controls Formula One and most other international motor sport championships, has made the headlines around the world, not for anything he has done in his official capacity, but for his behavior behind closed private doors.

Competitive Challenges: It's What's Up Front That Counts

It's hard to believe that we're already in the third quarter of 2008.

Insight: A Problem-Solving Tool for Problematic Times

The Japanese have demonstrated that there are simple things that companies can do to improve their performance that do not cost a lot of money to implement.

Marginal: Better Green than (in the) Red

If Al Gore came out on behalf of hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolets, I suspect that there would be a considerable number of people who would either question his motives, say something snarky about his consumption of hot dogs and apple pie, wonder why he says nothing about hamburgers, ice cream or Fords, or maintain that there is a whiff of junk science in the room.

Insider: Detroit's Katrina

During a recent presentation on the state of the U.S. automotive and supplier industries, Daniel Cheng, vice president of consulting firm A.T.

Profiles: Chris Theodore: Keeping Performance Alive

The CEO of ASC and Saleen sees this time of higher gas prices and tighter emissions regulations as the perfect opportunity for domestic automakers to grab the imagination of the next generation by increasing their reliance on niche manufacturers.

Close Up: KUKA KR 1000 Titan

To describe the new robot from KUKA Robotics Corp. (www.kukarobotics.com), the KR 1000 Titan, as "big" is to essentially understate the case.

Objects of Interest

Objects of Interest: September 2008

Digital OscilloscopesLeCroy's (www.lecroy.com) WavePro 7 Zi Series oscilloscope operates in the 1.5-GHz to 6-GHz bandwidth range with 50 and 1M input capability.