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Top Gear series 24 episode 4 review: Fun adventures but needs more Rory Reid, please

Last week’s Top Gear veered dangerously close to Grand Tour territory in the ‘fake and silly films’ brigade, but how did the BBC Two motoring show fare this week?

Well, one of the most anticipated cars in recent memory was on show, while they may have also discovered the next best activity for all future stag dos in the form of a Pacman game with cars.

1. The actual car review bit – the Bugatti Chiron

As usual, Top Gear likes to start off with what could be considered the ‘boring’ bit. The bit where they actually properly review a car. But unlike the days when Clarkson and co would muck about and unleash as many sarcy metaphors as possible, Chris Harris actually attempts to provide a genuine review.

And this week, we have the Bugatti Chiron. Even those who aren’t all that into their cars will have to stand up and take notice, as it’s the follow-up to the stupidly quick and slick Bugatti Veyron. And unlike the days of Chris Evans, you didn’t feel too jealous that it was Chris Harris that got to review it. He’s never too loud or irritating, you listen to every word he says, and he says it all in a way that even complete car noobs can understand and be interested in.

For a car review as important as this one, it was filmed in the typically beautiful manner that Top Gear has become well respected for. And with the Dubai backdrop, it just added that dimension of elite. Though, we can never quite understand who these reviews are for. As Chris said, the average owner of Bugatti owns 42 cars, 2 yachts and a helicopter. It’s not like you’re going to drive this around Stoke.

2. The studio bits and celebrity interview – Tinie Tempah

With each week that passes, it seems that Matt LeBlanc is getting far more comfortable with the autocue, the spontaneous banter, and is thankfully being asked to do less scripted jokes. These always come off as forced, and there was far less of that this week, so that’s a plus.

As for the interview, you’ll either be a person who was massively chuffed to see Tinie Tempah, or you’ll have felt a big load of ‘meh’. It’s not exactly Hollywood A-list. Considering this show used to attract the likes of Tom Cruise and Will Smith, you’d have rather had Drake if you wanted a rapper – he’s got an album out this week and everything.

Having said that, Tinie had one of the most natural and relaxed chats this series, probably helped that he visited the show last year too. Top Gear has made the interview segments much more smooth and slick this year, and by splitting up the initial interview and the lap time into two different parts of the show, you’re not sitting there too bored without any proper car action for too long. Well done for whoever came up with that one.

3. Rory’s Pacman game

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WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Stolen white CR-V; package theft; car break-in; found fishing gear; bicycle reunion

Five notes in West Seattle Crime Watch tonight:

STOLEN CAR: Lisa sent the photo, reporting: “Our 1999 white CR-V was stolen from 35th and Andover sometime in the last two days. Plate number BCX-8350. It has a Yakima rack on top, and the back window has a snowflake on the top left and WSEA sticker on the right.” Call 911 if you see it.

STOLEN PACKAGE: Thao reports from The Triangle: “Just wanted to notify that I had a package stolen today. FedEx had it delivered (I verified with them the correct address later and they confirmed the drop off) at 9 am. I came back to pick up my package at 11 and it was not there. Asked neighbors and they did not see anything at all. I know there has been a lot of theft lately, but this is the first time it has ever happened to me. I am on 37th and Alaska.”

CAR BREAK-IN: From Tiffany: “We had a car break in (Wednesday) night/(Thursday) morning at 39th and Stevens. Nothing material stolen but we can’t figure out how they got into the car. We just want the neighbors to know in case someone is stealing car signals or something!”

FOUND FISHING POLES: From John in Gatewood: “While out walking today, came across two discarded fishing poles (with reels) discarded at 39th and Cloverdale; possible that someone stole them and dropped them there (or set them down and forgot them?).”

BICYCLE REUNION: Happy ending for a bicycle-theft case in the Westwood area. Mark found one in his yard and sent the photo we published early Thursday. Hours later, Thad saw that photo here and immediately recognized the bicycle stolen from his son – who now has it back.

Thanks to everyone who shares Crime Watch reports! Once you’ve reported it to police – 911 if it’s happening now or just happened – consider letting us know so your neighbors all around the peninsula will be aware of what happened – 206-293-6302 text or voice, – thank you.

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Mazda Still Working on Wankel Engines, But Not Like You’d Hope

Mazda RX Vision Concept

Mazda has repeatedly teased—or tortured—Wankel-engine fans with the possibility of a multirotor sports car and then retracted that possibility. Now, new patent applications show the brand is once again working on the rotary, but in an application that’s likely to dash the hopes of the engine’s fans: using its iconic engine as an onboard generator, rather than the free-revving heart of a sports car.

It’s not a new idea for the brand. Mazda tested the idea a decade ago in the hydrogen-fueled, rotary-range-extended electric Mazda 5 (Premacy) minivan and more recently in the electric Mazda 2 RE Range Extender (an application similar to that of the BMW i3), which complemented an electric-only version of the Mazda 2 in Japan.

Two new U.S. patents filed by Mazda, and first reported by Autoblog, indicate that the company is still at work on that idea for a small car. One of the patents covers the layout of the Mazda 2 RE while the other points specifically to the Wankel—and a mechanism that would stop it at precisely the place in its combustion cycle that would minimize emissions while easing restarting.

Mazda rotary engine stop-start system

Mazda spokesperson Jacob Brown confirmed that the automaker has continued to study and develop range-extending technologies based around the pistonless engine, and he also confirmed that Mazda is planning to launch an electric vehicle in 2019. “We can’t quite say yet where a potential EV or PHEV would be sold, as the vehicle doesn’t exist,” Brown said. “But we can confirm that Mazda is committed to delivering driving enjoyment in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Matsuhiro Tanaka, Mazda’s research and development chief for Europe, did confirm to Auto Express that the plug-in-hybrid (perhaps rotary) models will enter some markets in 2021 and that the EV would be a subcompact, with lighter underpinnings than equivalent gasoline models to make up for the weight of batteries.

Mazda range-extended EV

A simple range extender may be little consolation to those hoping for a successor for the RX-8 sports car, which was discontinued in 2012. The rumor mill of rotary-engine ups and downs has been turbulent; most recently, Wankel heads had their hopes up when Mazda introduced the RX-Vision concept at the 2015 Tokyo auto show (seen at top). Executives had teased that they were working on bringing the rotary engine back to market—and that a new RX sports car could only be made with such an engine (possibly turbocharged, even). Then, just a few months ago, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said that the automaker had no plans to build such a sports car above the MX-5 Miata.

Sorry, Mazda, but the idea of a Wankel engine cycling on and off to charge a battery pack—that holds none of the appeal of a racy, two- or three-rotor screamer powering a new sports car.

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Operating in Autonomous Mode, Uber Self-Driving Vehicle Involved in Crash


A tumultuous time for Uber continues.

One of the company’s autonomous vehicles was involved in a collision Friday in Tempe, Arizona. The incident has prompted company executives to ground their fleet of self-driving Volvo XC90s in Arizona while an investigation takes place.

An Uber spokesperson said the vehicle’s autonomous mode was engaged at the time of the crash. Tempe police said the Uber vehicle was not to blame for the three-car crash.

No serious injuries were reported. The crash occurred as the Uber vehicle drove southbound on McClintock Drive, a major arterial road in the city. A northbound vehicle failed to yield to the Uber SUV while making a left turn onto Don Carlos Drive, according to a police spokesperson. Photos taken at the scene show the XC90 on its right side with its lights on.

“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no back-seat passengers in the vehicle,” an Uber spokesperson said Saturday. There was no immediate time frame given for conducting the investigation and potentially getting the vehicles back on the road.


The car was part of a pilot project operating in Tempe that allows users of the company’s regular ride-hailing service to summon autonomous vehicles. Uber started the project in Pittsburgh last September and added the Tempe-area vehicles earlier this month. Human safety engineers remain behind the wheel of the vehicles.

This is the first known crash involving Uber’s self-driving vehicles, and it comes on the heels of multiple reports that detailed the company’s troubles in fine-tuning its self-driving technology.

Last week, internal documents revealed the disengagement rate of the company’s autonomous vehicles—the rate at which human drivers needed to intervene—was slightly less than once per mile. During the week ending March 8, the company’s 43 active cars on the road drove an average of 0.8 mile before requiring driver intervention, according to the website That’s down slightly from a one-disengagement-per-mile rate achieved in February and a 0.9-per-mile average in January, the news outlet reported.

Last week, Uber president Jeff Jones announced his resignation after only six months with the company, citing personal beliefs that are “inconsistent with what I saw and experienced at Uber.” His comments come following high-profile accusations of sexual discrimination that allegedly runs rampant through the company.

Separately, one of Uber’s top competitors, Waymo, the independent company formerly known as Google’s self-driving-car project, filed a lawsuit last month against Uber, alleging its top automated-driving executive absconded with more than 14,000 documents related to intellectual property and trade secrets obtained during his tenure at Google that he used in pursuing self-driving technology at Uber.

That’s the latest in a laundry list of problems for Uber’s self-driving division. In December, the California DMV revoked the registrations of the company’s vehicles after Uber began testing in the state without a permit. Separately, the California DMV is reviewing the legality of the company’s self-driving-truck testing in the state.

Given the spate of problems, initial reports that Friday’s crash is the fault of another driver might be the best news Uber has received in a long time.

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Larson hangs on for XFINITY triumph at Auto Club

RELATED: Results | Larson on pole for Sunday’s race | Detailed breakdown

FONTANA, Calif. — Kyle Larson kept pole-sitter Joey Logano at bay after a restart with four laps left in Saturday’s Service King 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway and held on to win by .127 seconds.

Larson and Logano had swapped the lead on three successive laps before Brandon Jones plowed into the outside wall on Lap 142 to bring out the seventh and final caution of the afternoon.

The lead cars pitted for fresh tires under the yellow flag, with Larson exiting pit road first and Spencer Gallagher grabbing the second spot with a two-tire stop. That proved Logano’s undoing, as his No. 22 Team Penske Ford was pinned behind Gallagher’s GMS Racing Chevrolet for the restart on Lap 147 of 150.

Logano chased Larson to the checkered flag but couldn’t prevent the driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet from scoring his first victory of the season, his second at Fontana and the sixth of his career.

“The racing there at the end with Joey was awesome,” said Larson, a California native who got his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at the 2-mile track. “I had just a couple-lap fresher tires than he did, and I was able to chase him down. That was a lot of fun.

WATCH: Larson overcomes speeding penalty to win

“I wish that last caution wouldn’t have come out, because it would have been easier for me to win, I think. But a heck of a race. I honestly didn’t think we would be here yesterday. I was struggling bad in practice. Fought the balance a lot throughout the race, too. Finally, the last few runs, we hit on it and it felt good for the short run and throughout the long run.”

MORE: Larson fast, atop Monster Energy Series standings

Both the winner and the runner-up had obstacles to overcome. Larson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to win the race. Logano sped on pit road and subsequently fell to the back of the field when the jack on the left side of his Ford dropped prematurely during an extended stay on pit road.

But Logano — who led six times for a race-high 70 laps — was in prime position at the end, though he acknowledged that Gallagher’s two-tire call deprived him of the chance to overtake Larson.

“What’s his number? 23?” Logano asked. “Yeah, I don’t know about that move. That wasn’t a good move. I don’t know what they were thinking, but that maybe wasn’t the best play at this race track. I knew he was going to spin them (his tires). There’s no way he couldn’t. It wasn’t his fault. 

“He was a sitting duck and I was a sitting duck behind him that lost too much track position on that restart being too far behind Kyle. If not for that, we would have probably been door-to-door across the line bumping and banging or something. We were able to catch Larson the last few laps. We were definitely faster, but I needed another lap, maybe two.”

Kyle Busch led 55 laps and finished third after scraping the wall on Lap 122 while in pursuit of Logano, who was leading at the time. Erik Jones ran fourth and Sunoco rookie William Byron fifth as the highest-finishing series regular.

The action-filled race wasn’t without a number of hard crashes. Paul Menard’s Chevrolet nosed hard into the outside wall after contact from Jones, who appeared to misjudge his Turn 4 exit on Lap 94.

WATCH: Fiery hit for Menard at Auto Club

“I don’t know if he tried to push me or if he was just crossing over,” Menard said after leaving the infield care center. “Definitely had a brain fart.”

Cole Custer took a wild ride when he clobbered the Turn 1 wall with an assist from Ryan Sieg — and was upset when he exited the car.

“I just got hooked going into the corner,” Custer said. “I think I hit him (Sieg) a tick just on my side-draft going off of (Turn) 4, and then he decided just to hook us going into Turn 1 and wreck us. I thought we could have competed for a win there. We had a bad pit stop. We were going to work our way back up there, but just got our day ended by a clown move.”

The incident left him with a wrecked car for the second straight week.

“Last week it was all my fault and I’ll take that all on me,” said Custer, who finished 35th. ”Today it was just a clown. I don’t understand what his reasoning was to pay us back that much, but that’s just a joke.”

Notes: Byron is second in the series standings, 17 points behind seventh-place finisher Elliott Sadler… Darrell Wallace Jr. finished sixth for the fourth-straight race… Busch won both the first and second stages of the race, earning a total of two playoff points toward the owner’s championship.

Contributing: Staff reports

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Thriving Auto Club Speedway has history of peaks, valleys

At the tunnel entrance leading to the infield of Auto Club Speedway, there’s a blown-up photo printed on a wall that shows racing mogul Roger Penske cutting a checkered-flag ribbon to open the track that was then called California Speedway.

That was in 1997 and, as the speedway in Fontana celebrates its 20th anniversary with the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race Sunday, Penske remains proud of the 568-acre track he built on the site of a former steel mill despite the highs and lows the speedway has endured in the last two decades.

“We didn’t know what the reaction would be in such a major metropolitan market to what we were doing,” Penske said. “It’s become one of the best stops on the NASCAR schedule each and every year.”

True enough. Drivers in stock-car racing’s premier Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now love racing at the sweeping two-mile oval 50 miles east of Los Angeles, and the racing in recent years has seen several hair-raising finishes that kept spectators on their feet for the final laps.

Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Cup race at Fontana in 1997, the track’s appeal dovetailed the surge in NASCAR’s popularity, and starting in 2004, NASCAR awarded Auto Club Speedway two Cup races a year.

“This was a very important track because of the expansion that was going on and how NASCAR was really taking off,” said Gordon, now a NASCAR analyst on Fox Sports.

Auto Club Speedway, which opened with 72,000 grandstand seats, also expanded to 92,000 seats to accommodate the growing interest, just as other tracks nationwide added seats as well.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in 2007 that “people in Hollywood could care less.”

The track and NASCAR also were often derided for holding the races when Southern California temperatures were blistering hot, and for boring parade-like racing that denied fans the frequent passing they enjoy.

“There was a period of time where we would have long green-flag runs and the cars would really get spread out,” Gordon recalled.

Then came severe economic recession starting in 2008 sparked by a housing collapse that hit Inland Empire cities around Fontana especially hard.

Photos of swaths of empty seats at Auto Club Speedway became symbols of how the track appeared to be a dreary, wayward state in NASCAR Nation. But California was a leading indicator; soon the plunge in attendance for NASCAR racing spread nationwide.

By mid-2010, NASCAR had seen enough. The sanctioning body moved one of Fontana’s two Cup races to Kansas starting in the 2011 season, leaving Auto Club Speedway with its sole Cup race in March.

Then the Fontana track and speedways across the country began slashing their seating capacity. Auto Club Speedway took out 26% of its seats, to the 68,000 seats its has today, and the races have been at or near sellouts since then.

One reason: As the Fontana track’s asphalt surface has aged, it’s better enabled drivers to race high, low and in between, which spawns three- and four-wide racing at 200 mph and contributes to the exciting finishes.

The result: Fontana has gone from being a poster child for NASCAR’s pullback to one of the favorite tracks among drivers and fans.

When Jimmie Johnson thinks of Auto Club Speedway, “I smile, I love it,” said the seven-time Cup champion who holds the record for most Cup wins, six, at Fontana, including last year’s race.

“We’re running from under the apron to the wall and it takes a track 10, 15 years to give us that opportunity,” Johnson said. “We’re finally there with this track and that’s what so exciting about it.”

Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen agreed that “we’re in a really good space now” in large part because “the on-track racing product is better than it’s ever been. It all starts with that.”

Kurt Busch keeps turbulent times in rear-view mirror

Kurt Busch keeps turbulent times in rear-view mirror

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch spent this week touring the Southern California headquarters of two of his main sponsors ahead of Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Busch signed autographs and took selfies with employees at Haas Automation Inc. in Oxnard and Monster Beverage Corp. in Corona.

“I want [the workers]…

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch spent this week touring the Southern California headquarters of two of his main sponsors ahead of Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Busch signed autographs and took selfies with employees at Haas Automation Inc. in Oxnard and Monster Beverage Corp. in Corona.

“I want [the workers]…

(James F. Peltz)

Penske decided to build Auto Club Speedway after the demise of two other Southern California tracks: Riverside International Raceway, a venerable curvy road course, and Ontario Motor Speedway, which was similar to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Penske, who runs NASCAR and IndyCar teams and oversees an automotive empire that includes car dealerships and truck rentals, built the Fontana track for $120 million on the site of a former Kaiser Steel plant.

He later sold the speedway to its current owner, International Speedway Corp., a track operator controlled by the France family that runs NASCAR.

Auto Club Speedway also hosted IndyCar series races for many years, most recently in 2015. But IndyCar’s popularity has fallen off sharply in the last 20 years and the races in recent years suffered from a lack of “date equity,” or fans being able to count on the race being held at about the same date each year.

The 2015 IndyCar race at Fontana, held in June, drew a paltry crowd of roughly 10,000 and IndyCar did not return to Fontana last year.

As for NASCAR, Penske said, “it’s huge for the the sport to be seen in the L.A .market.” But Allen said that regardless of how NASCAR’s popularity rises and falls, selling seats in Southern California always has been challenging.

“It’s not easy to fill these grandstands,” Allen said. “We try really hard to keep the ticket price at a point that’s reasonable,” with grandstand seats starting at $45 for Sunday’s Auto Club 400, he said.

The aging track that Penske first built, and its contribution to exciting racing, is perhaps the top asset that helps keep fans coming to Fontana, Allen said.

Would Fontana have to be repaved in the near future anyway because the surface is getting too old? “I hope not,” Allen said. “We’ll hold it together and go as long as we can.”

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Car buyers and dreamers pack the the Lehigh Valley Auto Show …

The Lehigh Valley Auto Show marks its 20th year with some new features — a fourth tent of automobiles, vintage car display, on-site test drives and more.

The four-day event at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus draws thousands for a peek at vehicles that range from the practical family sedan to wish-list sportscars.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, sport utility vehicles and minivans cover 130,000 square feet of space at Stabler Arena, Rauch Field House and two temporary tents labeled Goodman Halls A and B this weekend.

Gene Boyer and his daughter Samantha, both of Brodheadsville, have made a day of it for years.

Beyond the dreamy and the practical was the unusual — a 1957 BMW Isetta, a micro-sized European car built with a meager, but gas-conserving, 13 horsepower engine.

Charlie Luecke and Don Costello, both of Easton, admired the miniature vehicle.

“It’s always fun, there’s a little bit of everything here,” Luecke said. “The new cars, they come and go, but the vintage cars are the best.”

Sarah Fulton is a freelance writer.


What: The Greater Lehigh Valley Auto Dealers Association’s annual Lehigh Valley Auto Show, featuring makes and models from 32 manufacturers

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Stabler Athletic and Convocation Center, Rauch Fieldhouse and Goodman Halls A B; Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus, Goodman Drive in Bethlehem.

Parking: Free

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Waste not, want not: auto industry toys with the circular economy

Megan Lampinen takes a look at the auto industry’s growing interest in the circular economy

A world with little or no waste – it’s not just a nice idea for the distant future, it’s a means of improving the environment, public health and even profit margins today.

Companies across many industries are moving towards the idea of a circular economy as an alternative to the traditional linear model of make, use, dispose. In many regions around the world, governments are stepping up with support in the form of guidance and legislation.

The European Commission (EC), for example, is pushing legislation that would encourage the recycling or reuse of “most if not all products and materials” through repairing, refurbishing and recycling. The savings could be substantial. For instance, the EC estimates that if 95% of mobile phones were collected for re-use, savings on material costs of more than €1bn per year could be generated. Imagine what the savings could be for cars.

Playing out

“The automotive industry depends on different raw materials to produce vehicles. Much of the supply of materials goes to car manufacturing. An increase in demand will lead to increases in prices, which can potentially increase the costs to car manufacturers,” explained Khaled Soufani of Cambridge Judge Business School. “The circular economy concept emphasises the need for firms in the automotive value chain, and other value chains, to come up with disruptive technology and business models that are based on longevity, renewability, reuse, repair, upgrade, refurbishment, servitisation and capacity sharing.”

The circular economy covers a complex and wide range of initiatives ensuring we work to make the best use of the valuable resources that go into our vehicles – Adrian Tautscher, Jaguar Land Rover

It is already playing out in a variety of ways, and Soufani points specifically to the concept of ‘reverse logistics’ as it relates to reusing materials. “There are also other issues relating to the industry exploring ways to use less energy and apply more innovative ways of reusing, remanufacturing, and reconditioning,” he added, suggesting that more research is needed in this area.

A handful of OEMs, including Jaguar Land Rover, have been investigating the potential for reuse and remanufacturing. “The circular economy covers a complex and wide range of initiatives ensuring we work to make the best use of the valuable resources that go into our vehicles. This includes technological innovation – such as recycling, remanufacturing, autonomous vehicles and ownership models that consider the future mobility needs of our customers,” suggested Adrian Tautscher, Sustainable Aluminium Strategies, Jaguar Land Rover.

From OEMs to suppliers

JLR’s REALCAR (REcycled ALuminium CAR) and the REALCAR2 projects have identified huge opportunities around the circular economy and resource efficiency. The OEM worked with Novelis and Innovate UK on this closed loop value chain project, creating new materials and production systems to introduce closed-loop aluminium into Jaguar Land Rover cars. The work resulted in the development of a recycled aluminium-based alloy for use in vehicles and the implementation of an innovative closed-loop aluminium recycling process. JLR claims that the closed-loop enabled it to reclaim more than 50,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap back into the production process during 2015 and 2016. This prevented emissions of more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

“REALCAR has delivered a technical and supply chain solution that allows aluminium scrap generated in manufacturing processes to be recycled in a much more efficient way,” explained Tautscher. “REALCAR applies ‘circular economy’ principles by ensuring that high quality automotive grade material is reclaimed and put back into the same high quality product. This transparent and traceable process adds value and keeps a tight logistical loop for the material where it is needed, in the UK and Europe.”

Material suppliers are also making headway on this front. ArcelorMittal’s head of RD, Greg Ludkovsky, has spoken about sustainability as a catalyst for change. Amongst other things, the supplier is using waste created during the steelmaking process to make agricultural fertiliser, and the waste gases created during steelmaking have been used to create bioethanol for aeroplanes. “Sustainability, and specifically the role that steel is playing in the circular economy, are resulting in the creation of new business models and pan-industry collaborations that are potential game-changers,” Ludkovksy commented.

Speaking to Megatrends, a spokesman for the steel supplier added: “Our innovation is helping our automotive customers to reduce their carbon footprint. Add to this the fact that steel is inherently recyclable without any loss of quality, so it is a perfect material for the circular economy.”

The shared economy

Another good fit with the circular economy is alternative ownership models. The shift towards a shared economy, with concepts such as car-sharing and ride-sharing, attack the problem from a very different angle. “The shared economy is about the shared use of an asset that is not fully used by its owner. The sharing economy model contributes to extending the time usage of an asset or a product, so the economic objective is the maximisation of the usage of the asset,” explained Soufani. “When this is applied to the automotive sector it is understood that cars are parked over 90% of the time, and thus a sharing model might increase utilisation and hence contribute to the circular economy. But there could be some challenges and again more research is required in this area.”

Headwinds and potential

A number of headwinds currently prevent automotive material recycling from reaching its full potential. As Soufani pointed out, the whole concept of the circular economy “is relatively new in the minds of consumers and producers. There is a need for greater awareness and more information and education about the need to explore this model in the different industries. When consumers and producers are more informed about the benefits of this system probably more would decide to learn about it and possibly consider the application.”

Our innovation is helping our automotive customers to reduce their carbon footprint. Add to this the fact that steel is inherently recyclable without any loss of quality, so it is a perfect material for the circular economy – ArcelorMittal

JLR’s Tautscher called for greater financial support. As he told Megatrends: “The solutions are complex but attainable; industry expertise needs to be supported with funding to innovate materials and recycling technologies. The steps to achieving this are equally complex.” These steps could include optimising current and future materials to allow increased recycling rates. He also flagged potential in advanced waste separation technology that is applied to end-of-life, post consumer and industrial waste streams to liberate a purer material source for recycling. There could also be potential in full supply chain engagement – from raw material producers to end users to the recycling industry, as Tautscher cautions that “automotive companies will not be able to deliver in isolation.”

Financial payback

All of these developments promise financial payback at some point for the companies involved. A report by Cambridge Judge Business School concluded that “full adoption of the circular strategy not only conserves resources, but can also raise businesses’ net profit margins and earnings dramatically over the long run.” As Soufani elaborated: “Reusing some of the used materials in the process of producing new products might reduce direct material costs, which is included in the cost of sales, and consequently would impact profit margins.” He cautioned that further research could uncover that different industries see different results.

JLR anticipates a return on its investment. “Fortune favours the brave, and ambitious thinking to break beyond existing established ways of working, as part of a long-term strategy, will yield financial benefits,” asserted Tautscher. “Specifically for recycling, maintaining material quality and purity helps ensure material properties are retained; this maximises the market value of the material. The challenge is delivering the technology alongside the associated business model to make it economically viable. A long-term strategic approach helps, because the financial benefit can take time to build as ideas go from small scale to fully industrialised, with scale and volume.”



This article appeared in the Q1 2017 issue of Automotive Megatrends Magazine. Follow this link to download the full issue. 

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Newsroom : Premier Committed to Supporting Ontario’s Automotive …

Premier Committed to Supporting Ontario’s Automotive Industry

March 24, 2017 11:50 A.M.

Office of the Premier

Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement today after meeting with leaders from Ontario’s auto sector:

“Ontario’s automotive industry is a vital economic engine and a global leader in manufacturing and innovation. Today, Minister Brad Duguid and I met with key auto industry leaders to discuss how we can continue to support growth in a changing global landscape.

Our province is built on our ability to trade and our economic success is linked directly to our strong business relationships with the U.S.

There is no other sector that benefits more from these relationships than the auto industry. A vehicle crosses North American borders an average of seven times before it is complete. Free trade allows that to happen. And in communities across Ontario, people are earning a good living and supporting their families with manufacturing jobs in the auto industry. Those jobs exist because of free trade.

I am absolutely committed to protecting Ontario’s interests, defending our province’s business relationship with the U.S. and creating more good jobs in a strong Ontario auto sector. We have the people, the technology and the drive to make sure that our auto industry continues to be a pillar of our province’s economy.

Today we discussed how our government is also working closely with our federal partners and with our U.S. colleagues to sustain the unique and mutually beneficial relationship between Ontario and the U.S.

In the past five years, Ontario produced almost 15 per cent of North American cars. Our highly skilled workforce and our reputation as a hub for research and innovation make the province an attractive place to do business. We are working together with the industry to keep Ontario manufacturers at the forefront of evolving technology.

Today underscored the key role the auto industry plays in our province’s continued success. Minister Duguid and I look forward to working with auto leaders to create more jobs and growth in the industry and in Ontario’s economy.”

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2017 BMW X1

C/D Overall Rating:

It seems that every brand—both luxury and mainstream—is throwing all its resources to the growing crossover market. Our testing reveals that the BMW X1 is the best crossover in the small-luxury segment. It’s quick, nimble, spacious, well-built, and undeniably upscale. BMW’s baby crossover belies its boxy shape with athletic handling and peppy performance, but it still provides class-leading cargo and passenger space. The X1 meets its mission so well that we named it on our 10Best Trucks and SUVs list for 2017.

What’s New for 2017?

For 2017, BMW has made few changes to its smallest crossover, which was fully redesigned and introduced in 2015 as a 2016 model. While the previous generation was available with an inline-six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive, the 2016 model rolled out on an all-new front-drive platform with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder as its sole engine. This year, the M Sport package will include a sport-tuned suspension for the first time; sport seats are also offered as a stand-alone option.

Standard Feature Highlights

• Power-adjustable front seats with memory
• Rain-sensing windshield wipers
• Power liftgate

Trims and Options We’d Choose

The all-wheel-drive X1 xDrive28i is $2000 more than the front-wheel-drive X1 sDrive28i, but, depending on where you live, it may be a worthwhile choice. The front-wheel-drive model is more than adequate for daily commutes, though we recommend the M Sport package ($2450) because it comes with more comfortable sport seats and other enticing add-ons, including:

• M sport suspension
• Body-colored bumpers and lower-body cladding
• A racy M-branded steering wheel
• Blacked-out window trim and roof rails

At $37,540, our front-drive X1 sDrive28i represents great value and a sharper dynamic edge than rivals such as the Lexus NX, with the M Sport Package dialing in even more driving fun. However, unless you want to limit your color choices to either black or white, plan on spending an extra $700 for a metallic paint option, of which there are nine.

In Depth: 2017 BMW X1

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