Students Rock the Track with Concept Car!

2014 Getty Images Copyright ©

2014 Getty Images Copyright ©

We were back in Texas this week and wanted to share some exciting news with you! Women Auto Know was once again invited by Shell to come experience some awesome automotive events, including the introduction of an energy efficient concept car that gets 488 miles to the gallon!

Scuderia Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen each test drove one car designed by students from Louisiana Tech, prior to the U.S. Grand Prix held in Austin this past Sunday, November, 2, at the Circuit of Americas. And I got to test drive one too! So cool!

Read all about the experience, Shell’s commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Shell’s partnership with Scuderia Ferrari here. Stay tuned for more updates on our trip to out west coming soon!

Mechanically Yours,

Audra

Tesla to Move Into Driverless Car Business

24/7 Wall St.

tesla-model-s-blueTesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk told reporters in Japan that his company has started feverish work on self-driving cars. He really does not have any choice. One or another global car manufacturer seems to announce plans for a driverless car every day. Among the most recent was General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) CEO Mary Barra, who said the number one U.S. car company will launch a nearly driverless Cadillac.

Musk has started to run out of tricks. The world’s largest manufacturers are in the midst of releasing all-electric cars to compete with Tesla. Most have failed to release a vehicle that is truly “all electric.” BMW’s heavily promoted i8 is an example. Unfortunately for the German car company, it has to admit the i8 is not a pure breed:

BMW TwinPower Turbo 3-cylinder 228-hp engine with high-precision direct injection; combines eDrive 129-hp electric motor. Total power output…

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Shell’s V-Power Premium Gasoline

What’s in it and is it for you?

Shell Grand Prix Week 06252014 (67)

That’s me with Chris Prack from ASE and

Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained

I’m all about education. Being an educated consumer allows you to make better decisions. Decisions for you, for your car and for your wallet! Back in June I had the privilege to tour the Shell Technology Center Houston and get an inside peek at the innovation behind the Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline. My experience with Shell has been amazing. I got to meet some awesome scientists, hang with some other mechanically minded people, and even got to take a few laps around the track at the Pennzoil – Grand Prix Houston.

But the best part of the whole trip was getting the opportunity to learn about the Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline. Shell took its time developing this innovative fuel. They considered consumers’ needs across the nation and in countries throughout the world, researching people’s perceptions about their cars, how they use their vehicles and what they want in a high performance premium fuel.

Dave Dudek - Fuels Technology Manager

This data was analyzed by Shell’s Research and Development department and helped scientists select the specific ingredients to create the Premium Gasoline. As the technology consultant for Ferrari, Shell sets high standards for technological advancements and expertise. In fact, their V-Power Premium Gasoline was developed using information from testing conducted with Ferrari to ensure the highest quality performance. This handsome guy is Dave Dudek – Shell Fuels Technology Manager.

The brilliant team at Shell also reviewed research from aerospace, commercial vehicle and automotive technical experts and engineers. One third-party study, in particular, revealed that a higher octane quality fuel used in premium-recommended vehicles has the potential for delivering better acceleration and power.

With solid data, scientifically tested ingredients, and proven performance, the last step was to ensure that Shell V-Power fuels complied with all government requirements in every market and across all countries. Shell also made sure their special V-Power fuels work in extremely cold and hot temperatures so that friends across the globe can get the maximum benefit from this premium gasoline.

Get more information about Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline here!

Thanks Shell!

Mechanically Yours,

Audra

WAK Fun Facts:

  • Octane number refers to the measure of anti-knock quality in a gasoline.
  • The higher the octane, the more compression a fuel can handle before knocking or detonating.
  • The rate of compression correlates to the rate of engine performance.

High Compression = High Performing Engine

2012-06-19 16.24.50

Vroom Vroom!

 

 

Rollin’ Stupid! – Coal Rolling Debunked

Photo Feb 23, 8 35 02 PMHave you heard about the latest trend filling our roads and unfortunately, skies? It’s called Rolling Coal, also known as Rollin’ Coal (cause that is so much cooler), Coal Rolling, Prius Repellent (get the eco-enviro-jab there? Clever!), and many other not-so catchy catch phrases. This so-called sport cloaked in the guise of a political statement is neither a sport nor a statement. What it is, my empowered friends, is STUPID.  

Slide1

The activity itself, if you can even call it that, involves using a modified exhaust system on your vehicle so that you can blow big puffs of black diesel smoke out of stacks or exhaust pipes. The goal, I think, is to piss off the people driving behind you, especially the tree-hugger, vegan liberal types that drive flex-fuel and hybrid vehicles.

The steps involved in modifying a car (or in most cases, a big ‘ole honking truck) to actually Roll Coal are as follows:

  1. Come up with a big stack of money that probably should be spent on delinquent taxes, unpaid child-support, past-due rent, overdue bar tabs and the like.
  2. Use stack of money to tamper (Coal Rollers call this act “modifying,” but in actuality, it is “tampering”) with the existing emission control devices on the big ‘ole honking truck (come on, we know NOBODY Rolls Coal in a car).
  3. Tamper emission controls using a Defeat Device or other mechanism to increase the amount of toxic waste into the environment (brilliant!).
  4. Lose even more money as a result because in order to get bigger puffs of black smoke (arrrr, arrrr, arrrr), more fuel must be dumped into the motor. Coal Rollers see this as an investment in their vehicles. Personally, I see the idea of dumping more fuel to get more horsepower to get more smoke to get noticed as just STUPID (see definition above). And, I think that these coal rollers are probably overcompensating for something…. Just saying!

Coal Rollers do this to accomplish the following:

  1. To impress their girlfriends/cousins/virtual friends
  2. To cover the vehicle behind them in black smoke (oooh, scary)
  3. To get attention on social media sites and likes from their cousins/girlfriends/boyfriends and anyone else that stumbles across their vine.

But here’s what these geniuses actually accomplish:

  1. They waste fuel
  2. They waste money (likely increasing the outstanding warrants they already have)
  3. They break Environmental Protection Act laws:
    1. The CAA [Clean Air Act] prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer. A vehicle’s emission control system is designed to limit emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles or engines.1
  4. They reinforce the perception that the Prius owner already has of them as STUPID!
  5. They pollute the environment
  6. They damage the integrity of the diesel fuel industry, which has worked tirelessly to make great strides in its environmental impact
  7. They look like asses!

As an automobile owner and a responsible resident of this planet, I think Rolling Coal is an incredibly irresponsible and environmentally toxic activity. It is NOT a sport. It is NOT a political statement. It should come with a warning… like the activities aired on “Jack Ass” – do not try this at home (or on the road)!

As a shop owner, I think Rolling Coal harms the integrity and reputation of fuel companies, shops and responsible vehicle owners. The majority of people do not see any humor in this. They, like me, probably see it as an insult to the old school, gearhead activity of truly modifying a vehicle. They probably see Rolling Coal as pollution porn, a cry for help – help me get noticed, help me be liked, help me feel good about myself! And as a responsible shop owner, I’m betting that my fellow shop owners see Rolling Coal as a potential lawsuit for the vehicle owner, the parts store and any mechanic that helped modify the emission controls.

As an advocate for education, empowerment and transparency in the automotive industry, I can only say that Rolling Coal is STUPID. And as a mechanic, I can fix a lot of things…. But you just can’t fix stupid.

 

Mechanically Yours,

Audra

 

1 EPA