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  • August 2011 Power Bits - Diesel News

August 2011 Power Bits - Diesel News

Biodiesel Bus, Diesel Beetle, Outstanding Trails, and More!

Aug 1, 2011
AI Goes Biodiesel
There’s a chance you watched (by force, naturally) the 10th season of American Idol. We won’t harass you about that—but only because the vehicle of choice for the season has been a biodiesel tour bus.
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Rumor of the Moment:
3.0L diesel. Jeep. Grand Cherokee. Wrangler. North America.
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BFG’s Outstanding Trails 2011
In 2011, BFGoodrich opened up its Outstanding Trails program to the public, allowing enthusiasts to vote for one of the three trails nabbing a $4,000 grant for conservation and maintenance. Shoo-ins were the Interlake Trail 19 in Indiana and the Morrison Jeep Trail in Wyoming. The trails up for public vote were: Moab’s Golden Spike, the Mirror Lake and Dusy-Ershim trails in California, and Blancak Peak in Colorado. Head to bfgoodrichtires.com to find out which trail won and to bfgoodrichtrails2011.outdoorhub.com to read all about ’em.
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Attention Philatelists Environmental stamps are upon us from the U.S. Postal Service. In fact, 16 be-friendly versions are available, including suggestions to use public transportation, carpool, and make sure your tires are properly inflated, as well as samplings of nonautomotive ideas. Paying your bills online is not one of the USPS’s suggestions.
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’12 VW Beetle Gets Redesign—and Diesel
Now you can opt to power your Beetle with a 2.0L four-cylinder TDI engine worth 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, estimated at 40 mpg highway, 29 mpg city. It’s mated to either a standard six-speed manual or the DSG six-speed dual-clutch system. Other than that, it’s wider, lower, and longer than the previous model, and it gets sportier inside and out.
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GM Design Vice President Names Chevy Icons
When someone turns 100, it’s pretty inevitable there will be the walk down memory lane—and questions about what food was consumed to add to a lengthy life. For Chevy’s 100th, the focus so far seems to be only on the former, and Ed Welburn, GM’s global vice president of design, has picked his top 10 designs from Chevy’s history (Ed was responsible for the Aerotech, among other noteworthy designs for GM).
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Ed’s picks are the ’12 Classic Six (the first car to have the Chevrolet name after the Louis Chevrolet/William Durant coupling), the ’32 Deluxe Sport Coupe (the two-seater came out during the Depression), the ’36 Suburban (you too might consider the Suburban the first SUV and first crossover), and the ’48 pickup (this was a post-war design). Also making the cut? The ’53 Corvette (it was the first Vette), the ’55 Bel Air (meet the small-block V-8), the ’63 Sting Ray (it had been based on a show car and set the stage for the dual cockpit interior), the ’67 pickup (it was a new generation of the truck), and the ’89 pickup (Ed revealed that photos of this truck are hanging on the wall of the designers of the upcoming next-generation pickup), and the ’10 Camaro (simply put, Ed said this car “lit a fire within the company”).
Jeep’s Diesel Cherokee Concept
If we had to sit down and think about the track record of Jeep concepts turning into Jeep production models, we’d be leaning toward “many.” So, we’re keeping our eye on the Jeep Cherokee Overland. Sure, the name Cherokee died in North America, but it still lives overseas (we call it Liberty here). This specimen was created by Mopar and introduced in America, so call us optimistic about its odds. It’s based on an ’11 Liberty and has a 2.8L four-banger diesel (which is the only reason we are able to overlook the zebra skin) and is outfitted with all sorts of off-road equipment, such as an ARB 3-inch suspension, Old Man Emu shocks, Mickey Thompson rubber, steel wheels, an ARB Air Locker, tow hooks, and an onboard air compressor.
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HECS Engine
What’s HECS, you ask? It refers to the High Efficiency Combustion System developed by FEV (pictured is where the magic happens), and the company is on its second generation of the technology, adapting HECS to a four-cylinder diesel engine, resulting in more than 135 hp. FEV said its engineers designed a 2,900-psi peak pressure cylinder head with variable valve lift. The lift comes via a unique roller finger follower, adjustable for two different lifts. There’s also a special seat-swirl chamfer—all of which points to better combustion.
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“It doesn’t make sense. We are not going to force it on customers.”
— Derrick Kuzak, Ford group VP of global product development, according to Automotive News. While Ford could bring diesels to the United States, he says the automaker will for now stick with the nearly as efficient EcoBoost gas engine.
BMW M Pickup
We tend to find April Fool’s Day pranks pretty lame. Come on, it was bad enough when it was just around the office, but now Fool’s means everything online is more bogus than on any other day of the year. Except this. We completely dug the fact that BMW played the game right and did it with an outstanding pickup idea that grabbed our attention. The BMW M was labeled as a cross between race and utility, and as the world’s fastest pickup, featuring a removable Targa top, a tuned suspension, a bed with aluminum sheeting, and a tow hitch (the only M3 variant with one). Throw in a diesel and the only fool is the person not salivating.
Rumor of the Moment:
The next-gen Land Rover Defender should be coming in a couple of years with a diesel, and possibly in the United States.
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What Men, Women Want: Brand Edition
Ah, we’ll never agree on much, will we? Throw cars into that mix, too. Truecar.com did a demographics study on car-buying behavior by gender in 2010 and what was learned? Gals were cost-conscious and lean toward fuel-efficient purchases, while men want big and strong like bull, such as trucks. The brand women went for most? The Mini, with Kia and Honda nipping at its ankles. Males went for the exotic brands (Ferrari had 6.4 percent sales to women, for example). Among the top 10 models with more than 50 percent retail sales to men and at least 1,000 annual retail sales in 2010 were the Silverado, F-Series, and Ram.
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Daimler Vehicles Head to Tsunami Areas
Daimler has made 50 vehicles available to the Nippon Foundation, a Tokyo-based Japanese aid organization. The multiple G-Class, Unimog, Zetros, and Fuso Canter trucks will be used for aid and clearance duty, most notably in the tsunami-affected portions of northeastern Japan. The M-B vehicles were going to be transported from Stuttgart to Japan in two Antonov 124 cargo planes, the largest serially manufactured planes in the world (the M-B vehicles actually have air-transport capability built into their design). The Fuso Canter trucks are produced in Japan.
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Diesel Bits
Detroit Diesel sold more than 25,000 engines last year with BlueTec technology.
The California Air Resources Board (plus six local air districts) will be offering $106 million in grant funding to help qualified diesel big-rig owners upgrade or replace their vehicles. The program has already awarded $230 million for cleaning up heavy-duty trucks in the past two years.
Speaking of CARB, the California Dump Truck Owners Association is suing CARB over the legality of the Truck and Bus Regulation, calling it unconstitutional, saying the association has tried to work with CARB for more than four years “to find reasonable solutions that accomplish the goal of cleaning California’s air while avoiding the needless devastation of the state’s trucking industry and specifically the dump truck industry.”
July 8: It’s the second annual Collector Car Appreciation Day. You can visit the SEMA Action Network (semasan.com) for more info and nationwide events scheduled for that day.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are rich in history for the automotive industry. Take a second and go to savethesalt.org to see what this nonprofit coalition is trying to do to protect the national landmark from further deterioration and to develop a program to replenish the salt.
The UK’s most stolen vehicles in 2010? The BMW X5, Land Rover Range Rover, BMW M3, and Audi RS4, according to Tracker, a vehicle-recovery expert.
Can you guess how many vehicles Chevrolet sold worldwide in the first three months of this year? If you guessed 1.1 million, you should play the lotto today. It was the brand’s best first quarter ever.
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