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Machines that Move Emotions : Art in Metal : Cars

2018 Nissan LEAF Battery Electric Vehicle
More Power & Range + 1 E-Pedal Driving
Pro Pilot Semiautonomous + Self Park 
Curiosity to Crazy for Cars 

Craziness for cars makes sense when you stop to think about what they are, what they represent, & the deeply storied history of how cars came to be as well as their interesting future.

Stop & think about how cars have affected the trajectory of mankind; moving people & things at great speed in affordable machines over great distances at a moment's notice.


Rocks @ Palouse Falls State Park: via Roadtrip Sept 4th 2017 
Road Tripping Through History

To some, a car is just a type of transportation, a means to an end, a convenient alternative to aircraft, walking, bicycles, motorcycles, buses, and trains. Others understand that cars are far more than just transportation as they define our modern history, providing a way that we can understand decades of changes in technological progress. Mechanical hallmarks of each era, of each generation of people.

Functional Sculptures

Cars are some of the most intoxicatingly beautiful things ever forged by mankind, the cumulative work of millions of people working together across time * space. The art of integration minerals & materials using applied science * technology that automakers weave together into a mechanical symphony of systems that creating power, energy & movement with increasing information sophistication that will ultimately pave ways to cars that can drive themselves with greater skill & safety than any human using Level 5 autonomy in the near future.

Liberating Technology 

Cars are emblematic of the glory of technology & the essence of personal freedom. Cars are a deeply integrated part of globalization, modern culture, of the long road away from global starvation to a future of abundance of everything for everyone.

Dare to Dodge Death 

Cars have been the weapons in some of mankind's most gripping sporting events, races of all kinds across the powersports domain, from club hot hatchback boy racer events at your local track ot the pinnacle of F1 racing, edge of the seat rally racing, shifter cart racing & other exotic forms of autosports. Cars are like guns, sometimes fun, often deadly, the operator makes all the difference! This will make self driving cars quite the discussion in the 2020's!

Mobility Lust 

Cars are a shrine to speed & power made beautiful in metal madness, where dreams are driven from 0-60 speeds that will pull the skin on your face back with g-forces a Porsche Turbo or Tesla Model S P100D! "Moving us Forward" "Innovations that Excite" what's you favorite automaker slogan?

Loving Energy 


This post is about the love of all things with wheels that are fast! The intoxication of breathing tail pipe emission created by the explosions happen in the core of all internal combustion engines that inhale air like we do, compress it with fuel, ignite it with a spark, then extract extract the explosive from the work stroke as the burning gas expands pushing down on the piston, through the connecting rod, to rotate the crankshaft that ultimately delivers power through the transmission to the wheels where tires translate that force into mechanical work to push * or pull the car, people & stuff.

Tailpipe Debacle 
Sadly the process of combustion of liquid hydrocarbon fuels in this way results in tailpipe emissions so nasty at the billion person global scale as to act as a causal factor in accelerating climate change.
Fossil fueled cars have one critical problem, tailpipe emissions.

Inhaling Stupidity & Diseases

The inhalation of exhaust gases linked to all manner of cancers, degeneration of the brain, kidneys, liver, spine, cells of the lungs, etc. as well as risk factors for so many different diseases. Tire & brake dust are also unhealthy to breath, ingest or conduct through the skin or eyes. While we have moved away from leaded fuel for the health of our brains, we are also moving away from tailpipe problems with increasingly awesome fully electric vehicles.

Survived a Gasoline Mishap @ the Gas Station with Chemical Burns


Gasoline is nasty stuff. If you spill gasoline on your skin it can cause a nasty chemical burn. Sadly I know about this because of a tragedy that happened at a gas station when I was helping my mother fill her car with gas.

At the time I was 19, riding my 1999 Honda CBD600 F4 motorcycle & had used my cell phone to agree to meet my mother at our local Texaco station, the one I grew up going to with my parents over the years. She had unfortunately pulled her 2001 Audi A4 Quattro too far forward from the gas pump. I pulled the filling hose * handle which are on a stretchy mounting system that allows for the filling handle valve to be articulated over a large range of possible parking positions. This placed the fuel cable under tension. I was wearing a 1998 Arai Signet motorcycle helmet, with the polycarbonate face shield lifted, with the gas hose being pulled over my left shoulder. I articulate the filler valve by squeezing it * then locked the valve in with the continuous fill latch that holds the pump handle closed until the fill up is completed.

I was wearing leather motorcycle gloves that did not provide good grip with the polymer pump handle cover. My mother was standing directly in front of me, the gas pump inserted into her Audi between us. My hand slipped and the tension on the hose pulled the filler nozzle out of the port on the car, therein spraying the side of the car. The filler valve was locked on and did not disengage. I scramble to grasp it, spraying gasoline everywhere, all over her, me, the side of the car, it splashed into my helmet, into my eyes, soaked ours cloths. I managed to disengage the handle blinded with gasoline in my eyes, then stammered into the station to find their eye wash setup. Fortunately the clerk was half sentient as was able to help me quickly. Oddly my high school health teacher then entered the service station to find me gasping for air trying to wash the gasoline out of my eyes in an odd position using their eye wash setup. In the end the helmet was destroyed as the gasoline ate the foam liner. Our clothes were ruined, and we both sustained nasty chemical burns because the gasoline soaked into our skin. The side of her car looked really clean where the gasoline splashing seems to clean the surfaces nicely. I think it was less than a gallon total, but it does not take much gasoline in your eyes or on your skin to causes a serious problem.

Down Memory Road


My first car was a 1985 Nissan 200SX coupe 5 speed manual in blue with pop up headlights, chrome hub caps & some emerging zeal of then 15 year old me. Thanks Papa Schwarz, may your soul live on in splendor & peace, Praise be to God.

1993 Subaru Legacy L gets a new Battery Sep. 2017
Preparing for the Road Trip : The old battery was 5yrs old!
Speaking of of the late Ken Schwarz, I am still to this day driving his automatic 1993 Suburu Legacy L 2.2L front wheel drive model that he purchased as a 2 year lease return from Chapmans in Eastgate back in 1995. It has over 184,000 miles now and the transmission is starting to fail. It has a tiny oil leak the stains my driveway with 2 drops of oil every day.

Doomed for a junk yard sadly, I cannot justify dumping any of my very limited income into a dying antique that would become a "black hole of wasted spending" according to one of my new acquaintances. I trust his advice, this guy * his wife are well into retirement years and still & have only ever driven manual cars ^^ He is car geek like me!

Meg & I just drove this Subaru on a 655.5 mi long road trip, returning a relatively good 32 MPG average over the trip! I put a new battery in just before leaving for this trip since the old battery was 5 years old. The wheels & tires are relatively new with about 5,000 miles and going. The engine & tranny were tuned up about 8,000 miles ago. I changed the oil 3,000 miles ago. I am curious about the fate of this machine, only time will tell!

Engines Energy, Heat, Pressure, Power

Transmissions exist to optimize power delivery to mate the RPM sweet spot zone of the engine to different vehicle speeds! Electric motors have a much wider power band range than reciprocating piston engines. Internal combustion makes for a fire breathing intake + fuel injection, compression & then spark, explosion driven expanding gasses pushing the piston to turn the crank, then a final 4th stroke to expel the spent combustion products, exhaust gases linked to climate change & disease problems so vast & complex that all the automakers are moving to Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV platforms.

New Noises : Less Sound Pollution  


The vibration & rumble of combustion giving way to whirl noises & electric sounds of inverters, resonance & polyphase AC motors doing brake energy regeneration. You can already hear their noises coming from decelerating Toyota Hybrids & Nissan Leaf's + Tesla Model S's and more! Millions of hybrids strong, more than 300,000 Nissan Leaf's worldwide, the future of cars is electrification, energy & information, smart + intelligent automation, autopilot self driving + increasingly connected * more! "Hey Alexa, preheat/ chill my Leaf to 69 Deg F (20.555 deg C)"

Tire noises are the dominate sound you hear from an EV. Lawmakers afraid of parking lot car pedestrian hazards of super quite cars gave rise to regulations of pedestrian warning noises that you can find on the new Chevy Bolt, with adjustable volume controls. I was always taken back by the quite solid feel of our leased 13 Nissan Leaf S, especially when you pushed deeply into the throttle to feel that instant acceleration.

All gusto & no clatter, noise vibration & harshness were so minimized that the tires made most of the fuss. When our 2005 Prius II was new I often spooked people by crawling along in EV mode in front of a grocery store. Someone would pop out, having not heard the clatter of an engine, they would be startled by the low speed trolling of the Astro the Prius, me behind the wheel snickering. To be fair to Hybrids, many fuel burning luxury cars from Lexus & others are super quiet at low speeds.

Tires : the Most Important part! 


Wheels & tires that translate automobile power to the pavement, to roads of all kinds to move people forward, often in ways that delight or excite people. Can you think of any fun car memories or stories that were made interesting by a car trip? a road trip? a favorite vehicle ? with friends or family or people you love? Without grip from a tire the vehicle cannot be controlled! Ever slide a car in the snow by jamming on the brakes while in motion? Racing tires are made so soft that they wear out super fast, providing maximum grip from the race. Passenger car tires are a marvel of modern technology. Some tires endure up to 90,000 miles of abusive real world daily commuting punishment. The tires used on aircraft have to withstand amazing pressure & heat to bring these million pound loaded mass transportation machines to a safely controlled stop for taxi-mode control to the terminal gates.

Personal Freedom vs Externalized Costs 

Mankind and his motorized machines, from power driver drills to weed wackers, cars, trucks, trains, ships, aircraft, rockets and more!

The burning of carbon to power these machines means that the freedom afforded by cars comes at a hidden cost; at non obvious costs or indirect costs called externalities. Consider the health care costs of tail pipe toxins.

Recently published research from 2017 showed that school children are harmed by vehicle exhaust impacts on their cognitive development, unburned hydrocarbon is a neurotoxin emitted on cold startup of a vehicle before the catalytic converter achieves "light off" temperatures where it is hot enough to burn any unburned fuel vapors into less toxic combustion byproduct emission gases.

Oxides of nitrogen from tail pipes are respiratory irritants, anything that interferes with lung function harms brain function by reducing cerebral blood flow in the cardio vascular (heart lung) system that provides the brain with oxygen.

Carbon Monoxide is a deadly gas that kills by displacing oxygen in the hemoglobin blood transport mechanism. If a fuel burning vehicle is operated in an inclosed space like a closed residential garage for prolonged period, the CO entering the cabin will eventually kill people, pets or any other living being that require oxygen.

Particulate Matter or PM, the fine almost invisible soot emitted by all fuel burning vehicles, these tiny particles of carbon enter deep into the lungs, causing a loss of vascular performance, asthma, or even lung cancer over life long periods of higher level exposure. Also known as soot, the dark particles emblematic of diesel vehicle exhaust, you can smell PM and it smells nasty! Gasoline itself smells nicer than PM, but breathing gasoline vapors also causes damage to the brain, lung, liver and kidney.

CO2 emissions from billions of fuel burning vehicles of all kind are accelerating the accumulation of solar energy in Earth's atmosphere. Green House gas emissions like this allow tropical storm system to intensify, putting more water from the ocean into the atmosphere, where heavier rainfall becomes possible. Look no further than the flooding in Texas today for an example of previously never seen before flooding from intensified storm system.

Approaching 8 billion people & 2 billion cars! If we continue down the guilty pathy of burning our way forward with fuel burning vehicles, we will do so to the detriment of our species, harming the health of Earths ecosystems that are responsible for providing mankind with clean water (forests), and food (farms) + nature + dirt & soil. If we poison the atmosphere with pollution, we hurt all future generations, making everyone more sick indirectly.

Thankfully all the problems with burning fuels in decaying privately owned and operated vehicles like our 1993 Subaru Legacy 2.2L is giving way to cooler electric vehicle Tech like the Chevy Bolt, Plug-in Prius, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model 3 and more.

Cleaning the engine of our 14 Honda CRz Ex Man Hybri 
Increasingly electric 

Without a battery most modern cars will not work! Increasingly the electrical system in cars support a lot of loads, computers, lighting, electric windows * seats, infotainment system, amplifiers, window defroster, heated seats * steering wheels, remote start * acces * more. Even basic functions like fuel injection * engine control are accomplish using electricity from the alternator & battery energy storage system. Most cars have a 6 cell 12v lead acid battery soaking up power from the alternator, dishing out huge current pulses to crank the motor on startup, also acting as an energy buffer for all the electrical loads. You can run the stereo & some of the electric stuff like lights even with the engine turned off, for a short period of time give the lead acid batteries typical 60 amp hours of capacity. Deeply discharging an SLI battery will cause accelerated damage. Most car batteries can only be driven flat about 5 times before significant cell damage is sustained.

With electric cars the huge onboard energy storage system has tons of power to drive computer able to perform autopilot functionality. The Tesla Model S was really the first car that transcended to become a high powered electrical gadget that has more in common with a smartphone than any car that came before it. That is a total mixed bag for long term reliability & endurance in the real world!

1.5L Petrol Engine (left) + IMA E-Power (Right)
The Hybrid Powertrain = ~40 MPG
Our 2014 Honda CRz ex Man Engine Bay 
Today lithium ion batteries cannot be recharged quickly without causing damage to the cells from heating. Limited lithium ion batteries provide good energy density, but are prone to fading, losing capacity rapidly when repeatedly fully charged. Lithium ion fires have made headlines over the last couple of decades as Dell & Apple laptops burned people, hoverboards burning houses down, the Galaxy Note 7 phone emblematic of lithium ion fires, even Boeing struggled with the 787 lithium battery debacle! NASA lost a really cool robot and sustained over $30 million dollars of damage to the robot and the clean room where it was being developed, assembled & tested.




Advanced Driver Assists 

With more electric power available onboard modern vehicles, more computers in small form factors are enabling automakers to create all kinds of advanced safety features never previously possible. Many of the sensors & technologies developed for smartphones are migrating into embedded vehicle platforms for enhanced navigation and many driver assistance technologies.

Autopilot, the emerging pinnacle of Advanced Driver Assist technology in its level 2 + flavors! The history of computerized vehicle technology started with electronic fuel injection, electronic engine management, electronic infotainment system with navigation, music & more. Even remote access keys are the result of technological integration.

Vehicle stability control, traction control, adaptive lane keep assist & cruise control. Driver awareness monitoring & blind spot warning systems. Birds eye camera vision fusion technology for safer parking + self parking tech and more! More onboard computers in vehicles enabled extended functionality. This tech is the "sizzle" that moves the "steak". A $8,000 used vehicle can move you A to B reliably with litter maintenance for years. People spend 20, 30, 40 thousand dollars or more on a car because they like the "new" sizzle of technological advancement. Consider the backorder list for the upcoming Tesla Model 3 or the tremendous sales of the relatively expensive Tesla Model S!

Tesla Gigafactory 2017 Cell Manufacturing Billions FTW
Electromotive Galore

All the automakers are developing electric vehicle technology. Batteries the critical limitation for electric vehicles. Today commercial lithium ion batteries hold about 2x more power than the initial lithium ion batteries commercialized by Sony in 1991. In the case of Tesla, the new 2170 cells for the Model 3, Tesla is making use of Panasonics NCA or Nickel Cobalt Aluminum lithium ion tech. The 2170 offers low costs per kWh than the outgoing 18650 models. Tesla's vehicle technology went on to inspire all the automakers in the world to move forward with electric vehicle development more quickly.


VW Polo Diesel undergoing Dieselgate Fix testing 
Diesel Gate to EV Future 

The dieselgate scandal affecting all the German Automakers propelled a new investment into German Electric Vehicle development. VW the automaker most associated with dieselgate committed to changing their entire vehicle lineup to electric models by 2022. Car makers are abandoning diesel because the emissions controls to clean up diesel exhaust are far too complicated. Over time emissions control systems are cars break down and perform less effectively. This means that diesel vehicles emit more toxic tail pipe funk as they age, though thats true of all fuel burning vehicles. Entropy has this way of breaking engines down slowly with heat cycling, vibration & mechanical shock. Simple robust electric motors with few moving parts can easily replace complicated internal combustion engines that have hundreds of complex moving parts! The only problems with electric vehicles are slow battery charging, limited range, and battery capacity fade : all originating from the limited lithium ion technology.

2020MY VW Budd-E concept Battery Electric Vehicle 

Li-Ion Limitations Holding EV's Back 

Lithium ion is fragile fire prone chemistry that likes to be partially charged. Fully charging Li-Ion causes them to break down faster. Heat, especially anything hotter than 77 deg F causes Li-Ion batteries to lose capacity faster. This means less range over time as the lithium electric vehicle ages. Lithium ion cannot be safely charged at 0 deg F, or metal plating occurs that caused rapid capacity loss by internal shorting of the cells. The metallic plating of super cold charging cannot be undone.

Nissan Leaf Geo-Analytics Heat Fade Mapping Hazards
2013 Leaf S Lease 

The leased 2013 Nissan Leaf S that I drove for 2 years lost 12% of its original 24kWh of battery capacity after 14,000 miles of operation. I mostly kept the Leaf in long life battery mode where charging was cutoff when the battery achieved 80% state of charge. The original range of this Leaf, namely 85 miles per charge mixed use, 123 miles at 16mph, or about 60 miles at 70mph, had faded by 12% : projecting the capacity fade meant the $5,000 battery in this Leaf would need to be changed every 8-10 years ~ noting also that while electricity is cheap compared with gasoline, it is not free.\

Energy Per Capita:  World Bank Data Image 
YMMV

This energy cost problem really depends on where you live. Gasoline & electricity prices vary considerably depending on location in the world. Some countries have gasoline for $0.16 per gallon! Most other countries have gasoline available for $2.50-8.50 per gallon. Some places have electricity prices in the $0.02/kWh, other places sell power for almost $1/kWh.

Chinese Hoverboard Fire ( Lithium Ion Stupidity )
Heat & Overcharging Harms Lithium Ion Batteries
So Does Poor BMS & ESS Design +
Low Intelligence QA:QC & Assembly 
Lithium Ion Avoid Heat 


Where you live also impacts heat sensitive lithium ion batteries that do not like to be frozen solid or heated beyond 77 deg F. The local weather and climate will greatly affect how fast your lithium electric vehicle batteries fade. Hot Arizona for example will break down a Nissan Leaf battery a lot faster than a Leaf operated in Oslo Norway! Heat and overcharging to full all the time are the primary killers of lithium ion batteries !

350 kw Porsche Supercharger : $900,000 of Solar + Charger
Faster Charging 

Faster L3 charging * more to 350kw & beyond. In Germany electric vehicle charging technology for extremely fast L3+ charing at Porsche takes the lead as the German carmakers seek to produce class leading battery electric vehicles inspired by the Tesla Model S. Many German automakers like BMW, Mercedes, Audio, & Porsche lost car sales to Tesla. Many Tesla Model S owners are of high income & have a long history of buying super premium $100,000+ vehicles, many from German automakers! The diesel gate disaster had technological trajectory enhancing effects across the entire world wide automotive sector, more specifically in Europe where diesel vehicle technologies continued to flourish right up until VW got caught cheating emissions tests with elaborate in car defeat software that could detect when a given vehicle was being emissions tested.

Computation Fluid Dynamics : Volvo S80 Development
More Intelligence

The dieselgate debacle actually speaks to the increasing information technology present in modern vehicles. I was reading about the 1NZ-FXE engine in our Toyota Prius II and was struck with a sense of awe upon recognizing the extraordinary complexity of the VVTI variable valve timing & engine control system. Modern cars contain upwards of 30,000 different parts. If you think about supply chain managment for a such a product, it should become immediately obvious why computer aided accounting, engineering & operations have enhanced the ability of large automakers to build increasingly complex vehicles.

Automotive Warranty Analytics
System Analytics

A vehicle is a system of systems, often made of components & functional parts from hundreds of different companies. The role of the finally assembly is the marriage of all these different parts into a cohesive working machine. When we drive cars we often overlook the mountain of problems that were overcome to enable such products to exist. Build upon the shoulders of giants, vehicle of today integrate integrate interdisciplinary learnings from many branches of science & technology. Consider the eco-friendly manufacturing focus of Subaru, the subsidiary automaker of Fuji Heavy Industries. While most Subaru vehicles achieve mediocre fuel economy, the manufacturing of Subaru vehicles is accomplished using one the cleanest lowest waste forming processes of any industrial automaker. Zero landfill manufacturing for example means that materials processing was imbued with intelligence across the processing sequence.

Ford Soy Seat Cushion Eco Friendly Materials Technology
Eco Friendly Co-developments 

Automakers work very closely with their suppliers to develop new eco-friendly materials that replace classical petrochemical plastics, energy emissions intensive metals, and replace these parts with biological compostable organic & natural fibers & polymers. Some polymers are actually as strong as cast aluminum for structural parts. Gunmaker Glock for example has long utilized advanced polymer frames or their semi-automatic pistols. The BMW i3 makes extensive use of polymers throughout its functional space frame to glue together the carbon-fibers that add strength to all the plastics. The CTO of DeWalt tools was speaking about the virtues of polymers, namely their electrical non-conductivity, waterproof properties, impact insensitivity & increasing strength of newly developed polymers. Eco-friendly products are being offered in higher performance flavors, many that appear to automakers looking for seat fabric & dash + trim & carpeting materials that are natural or eco-friendly! The move towards electrification means people are thinking more about the lifecycle of the products. Cars as gadgets & more that can do more for more people in more ways & places more of the time with Level 5 autonomy fleet vehicles that can pick up the customers...... automatically^^ 42

McLaren P1 in Forza 5 (in game CGI screen shot) 
Forza Gaming Inspired

Many years have passed, hours played, smiles & more with Xbox driving simulation galore, it was Forza Horizon 2 that opened up the game to more with its sadbox destruction landscaping modes, crash friendly points system & spiff points for skills & more. The Horizon series broke free from the constraints of the race oriented Forza 3 & 4 that I had long ago played. I got Forza 5 for free as a Xbox Gold Live download special deal, all ~40GB worth! The opening sequence of Forza 5 largely inspired this posting! Special thanks to Top Gear the Show and its notorious host Jeremy Clarkson, who narrated the start video of Forza 5 ^^










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