By on February 18, 2010

This is a short story of how we sometimes arrive at the truth. Letting go of deep-seated childhood emotional responses is hard. Growing up in the fifties in Austria, Mercedes was my true God. My father had a friend with a 300 SL Gullwing, and I spent hours walking around it, absorbing each detail. There was an old Tatra streamliner in the neighborhood. Aerodynamics, efficiency, and speed are my triggers. In 1985, I bought one of the first W124 300E sedans in LA, in part because its Cd. of .28 was the best in the world then, as well as its 140 mph top speed.  Just yesterday, in Part 3 of the History of Automotive Aerodynamics, I concluded the survey of current production car aerodynamics record-holders with the 2010 Mercedes E-Class coupe, honoring its widely disseminated Cd of .24, lower than even the 2010 Prius. Looking at the picture of that E Class coupe this morning triggered a totally unexpected upsurge of that old lust, something that I thought was long extinguished, and I actually went to the Mercedes web site for strictly personal reasons. I expected that Mercedes would be trumpeting the coupe’s .24 Cd proudly. Not so, and for a good reason. (Read More…)

By on December 22, 2009

torque claims for idiots

It’s going to take a while before the words “EV” and “Idiot” are not inextricably linked with Audi. The company that let it slip that it thought the Volt was “a car for idiots must think we’re idiots too, to swallow their idiotic claim of 3,319 lb.-ft. of torque. We didn’t at the time. Now the truth is out: as some of the commentators then suspected, Audi was using “at the wheel” torque numbers. Thanks to the miracle of gears and their remarkable torque amplifying ways, stating torque at the wheels is about as logical and useful as the Volt’s 230 mpg claim. And EV range claims based on only using the EPA City driving loop. Well, someone took Audi to task, and came up with a confession and a more realistic torque number. (Read More…)

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