Automotive Supply Side

This zone covers the products—from spark plugs to transmissions—developed by automotive suppliers.

Driving Fuel Efficiency Improvements

By: Gary S. Vasilash - May 04, 2016 at 5:51 AM

Electrification of the vehicle powertrain doesn’t mean getting rid of the internal combustion engine and sticking an electric motor in its place and batteries where the fuel tank would otherwise be.

Innovation for Comfortable Rides

By: Gary S. Vasilash - April 13, 2016 at 5:11 AM

As the pursuit of greater fuel efficiency, whether it’s for achieving miles-per-gallon increases or carbon dioxide emissions decreases, continues with seeming increased vigor, it seems as though “energy on demand” is something of a mantra, whether this means providing energy to throttle response or simply to provide what’s needed to actuate something only when needed.

Electrification for the Rest of Us

By: Gary S. Vasilash - March 17, 2016 at 5:06 AM

This is the Porsche 918 Spyder, which went out of production in June 2015, after 21 months of production: What’s notable about the 918 Spyder (among other things) is that it is a hybrid.

Opel GT Concept and Real Red Tires

By: Gary S. Vasilash - March 16, 2016 at 6:00 AM

At the Geneva Motor Show, Opel exhibited its GT Concept, a front mid-engine, rear-drive car that is predicated on the production model GT from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Performance Directly on the Road

By: Gary S. Vasilash - November 11, 2015 at 5:29 AM

Although tire development is part of new vehicle development—after all, the ride and handling of any vehicle is going to be significantly affected by that singular patch on the road surface (OK, there are four such patches, but you know what I mean)—generally an OEM talks about as much about its tire supplier as it does its seat supplier (and the tire supplier at least has the advantage of having its name visible on the product, while the typical seat supplier is effectively transparent). So it comes as a bit of a surprise to see this: Yes, that’s right, Michelin Bib in the company of a Ford Shelby.

Fast Car, Reliable Sensors

By: Gary S. Vasilash - October 21, 2015 at 5:00 AM

Although the auto industry in Finland isn’t exactly large, Valmet Automotive has long been a specialty manufacturer hired by companies including the former-Fisker to build the Karma and the still-existing Mercedes to build the A-Class.

ZF: Not Waiting for the Future

By: Gary S. Vasilash - October 20, 2015 at 10:07 AM

An announcement about a company establishing a new division tends to be rather, well, not particularly interesting to anyone outside of the company or related to someone who will work there.

Seen in Frankfurt: Peugeot FRACTAL

By: Gary S. Vasilash - September 23, 2015 at 5:13 AM

This is the Peugeot FRACTAL, a concept car: What’s interesting to note about the vehicle—an electric-powered coupe—is that the greatest emphasis on this vehicle has less to do with the exterior design and execution and more to do with the fact that Peugeot’s StelLab research organization worked with FOCAL, a French sound system company, and Brazilian sound designer Amon Tobin to come up with an audio system that is said to make “driving more instinctive by enriching information through the use of acoustics.” There is also a heads-up display, so presumably there is a need for information that isn’t coming through one of the thirteen speakers (including bass systems that are built into the seats to provide tactile inputs to one’s posterior—SubPac, a U.S. start-up, developed the tactic bass system that has the sound waves travel though the seating material rather than through the air, so they reach the listener’s ear via the body rather than from the normal channels). That said, there are other aspects of the FRACTAL that are of note, like the use of 3D printing to produce much—on the order of 80%--of the interior trim surface, a considerable portion of which, as those who have ever gone into a sound lab, will recognize as anechoic in nature.

Conceptually Cool Rubber

By: Gary S. Vasilash - March 11, 2015 at 6:06 AM

While people attending the 85th Geneva Motor Show are, for obvious reasons, distracted by things like the Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Pullman and the McLaren P1 GTR, from a design and engineering perspective there were two other introductions—of concepts—at the show that are conceptually more startling than even the Lexus LF-SA: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company showed two tires, the BHO3 and the Triple Tube.

BMW EV Tires

By: Gary S. Vasilash - December 16, 2014 at 5:06 AM

Although BMW i3 electric vehicles have been on sale in the U.S. since May 2014, I must confess to never having seen one in the wild.