Posts By: Michael Accardi

By on September 18, 2018

“Dare Greatly,” Cadillac’s slogan du jour, is open to a wide spectrum of interpretation. Daring greatly could mean being the first to achieve something of note, like when Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; it could mean being the first to not do something, like that one […]

By on February 2, 2018

Here at TTAC, we sometimes offer up a story published by a sister publication after deciding it’s something worthy of your time. This piece, published by GMInsideNews, fits that bill. While the soulless autonomous future scares many of us, General Motors is working on a way to stop those driverless cars from plowing over each and every one of us. Read on.

General Motors continues to pour money and time into perfecting vehicle autonomy.

One of the integral themes of an autonomous driving future is communication. Vehicles will be required to rapidly and constantly talk to one another, relaying position, speed, and intent, with the same demands applying to our roadways and intersections — which will be expected to relay weather, traffic, and safety information in real time as vehicles approach.

Pedestrians, however, pose a unique problem. In busy cities, pedestrians and drivers routinely communicate nonverbally by making eye contact or gesticulating, but an autonomous vehicle doesn’t have that privilege. Its machine code is dependant on a series of binary questions it must ask itself in order to determine if the person is a threat, which — if affirmative — currently results in the car coming to a halt, which on occasion has caused a rear-end collision, or two.

Well, GM is working on a system in which autonomous vehicles will be capable of better understanding the motions of pedestrians by communicating with their Internet-connected devices, be it smart-phones, wearables, or perhaps even future advancements made towards transhumanism. (Read More…)

By on January 16, 2018

Image: Ford Mustang Mach I, by Corey Lewis

We know it’s a bad idea, you know it’s a bad idea, and as it turns out, even Ford knows using the legendary Mach 1 name on a “performance” battery electric SUV is a bad idea.

Initially, the rumblings were that Ford would revive the Mach 1 name for some kind of hybrid or full-blown battery electric high-performance Mustang. But it is not. Ford’s executive vice president and president of Global Markets, Jim Farley, quickly clarified to assembled media that the new boxy BEV could certainly be related to the Mustang, but would not be a Mustang.

Instead, the badge might live on the back of a new electric performance SUV coming in 2020. But Ford’s North American Product Communications Manager, Mike Levine, began backpedaling shortly after the announcement, following a groundswell of negative opinions. Levine was adamant the company was only considering using the Mach 1 name, claiming the Blue Oval brand would listen to public reaction before making an actual decision. (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2017

 

Two weeks ago, an image of a supercharger embossed with the iconic Shelby snake made its way onto the internet, followed by another claiming to depict the biggest set of rotors ever affixed to a factory Mustang.

The GT500 rumor mill went ballistic.

Now, we have official — albeit inadvertent — acknowledgment from Ford that a new Shelby GT500 is incoming, courtesy of the company’s OEM service portal, which revealed wiring diagrams and a slew of service procedures which incidentally confirm several details about the upcoming Über Mustang.

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2017

(In keeping with our promise to share thought-provoking fodder with our readers, we sometimes run articles published by TTAC’s sister sites. This look at recent crashes involving self-driving Chevrolet Bolts, penned by GM Inside News head honcho Michael Accardi, touches on a number of themes we’ve explored in these pages. Are humans really to blame for all of the accidents involving “perfectly safe” autonomous vehicles, or is the real picture not as crystal clear? Read on.)

The autonomous Chevrolet Bolts GM’s self-driving startup has running around San Francisco have been involved in 22 accidents during 2017 – none of which were the software’s fault (legally, that is).

Cruise Automation has been using a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolts to log autonomous miles in an urban environment since GM purchased the company for more than $1 billion in 2016. When you’re trying to disrupt personal transportation as we know it and develop a new technology standard, there are bound to be a few incidents.

But this hybrid model of humans and algorithms sharing the road is more complex than simply apportioning blame based on the law, isn’t it? None of the 22 incidents involving GM’s Cruise fleet were serious, but a majority of them were caused by a fundamental difference in the way autonomous and human drivers react. (Read More…)

By on December 14, 2017

2019 Corvette ZR1

General Motors has recently filed a patent that could point to the future of the company’s high-performance offerings, including the C8 Corvette.

After 18 months in review by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, documents published on October 24, 2017, reveal GM has been granted a patent for an internal combustion engine with elevated compression ratio and multi-stage boosting.

The document describes a propulsion system made up of a high compression internal combustion engine that uses a low-flow supercharger in combination with a high-flow turbocharger, linked to “one or more electric motor/generators.”

It gives us an interesting look at how GM engineers plan to continue producing obscene performance cars like the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1 1LE in a world of increasingly stringent emission regulations.  (Read More…)

By on October 21, 2017

2017 Buick LaCrosse rear - Image: Buick

As part of a larger group of automotive publications, TTAC has access to a variety of content. We wanted to bring you some of the unique content we think lives up to TTAC’s standards and offers legitimate insight or a properly critical viewpoint to car evaluation. This story, by GM Inside News editor Michael Accardi, showcases Buick’s latest attempt to boost flagging LaCrosse sales.

NHTSA documents discovered by GM Inside News reveal Buick will expand its Avenir sub-brand in 2018 with the addition of the LaCrosse.

As the full-size sedan market continues to crumble, and the LaCrosse carries a production-crippling 204-day supply of inventory, Buick will push its flagship sedan further into the premium sphere as it attempts to chase unsatisfied luxury shoppers with its new top-shelf Avenir line. (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2017

2018 Ford Mustang, Image: Ford

Ford’s German division has filed a patent for a new water injection system that could bring exponential improvements in efficiencies and high horsepower gains.

Truthfully, water injection isn’t a new technology, World War II fighter planes used vaporized water to improve low-speed thrust during take off, plus, an extra spurt of speed during dogfights. Post-war, both Saab and Oldsmobile offered vehicles with factory installed water injection systems before the technology enjoyed a renaissance in high-performance Group B rally cars during the 1980s.

Traditionally, water injection has been used as a shortcut to high performance, where a 50/50 water-alcohol mix is injected into the intake manifold where it’s used to lower combustion temperatures and cool the pistons and cylinder walls. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of detonation and allows for higher compression ratios, which can manifest as either higher performance metrics or a more efficient engine.

But where Ford’s design differs is its focus on injecting water directly into the combustion chamber instead of its traditional upstream location in the intake tract. (Read More…)

By on June 25, 2017

With contributions by Sebastien Bell and Sam McEachern Mechanics have made their last-minute checks, drivers circulate sur la piste managing tire and brake temperatures, engineers confirm strategies; cars stage on the starting grid, the dissonant cacophony of twenty 1.6-liter V6 hybrid Formula 1 engines spooling reverberates through the grandstands as five red lights illuminate sequentially… Hosted on Montreal’s […]

By on June 22, 2017

2017-camaro-zl1-1le-610x407

Team Camaro just went ballistic.

With ride and handling engineer Bill Wise at the wheel, the 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE ate the 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife for breakfast, devouring the Teutonic track in an absurd 7:16.04, making it the fastest production Camaro, ever.

It might even be the fastest piece of metal GM has ever made for public consumption.

To put the Camaro’s time in context, the Corvette ZR1 officially looped the Green Hell 3.6 seconds slower than the 1LE; a brand new Ferrari 488 GTB is 5.6 seconds behind; meanwhile, the Formula 1–derived Enzo looks like a hot mess showing up 9.1 seconds after the land rocket from Lansing.

Rumor has it that Wise actually turned in a hand-timed 7:13.xx, but it will remain unofficial.

That’s like, super, stupid fast. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2017

Opel Insignia Grand Sport

Newly published emissions certification documents on the California Air Resources Board website now confirm the existence of the Buick Regal TourX wagon — and much, much more.

The CARB documents show GM’s 250+ horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powering both front- and all-wheel-drive Regal hatchbacks, plus the anticipated all-wheel-drive-only TourX wagon.

But how AWD Regals get their power to the wheels diverges from the script.

(Read More…)

By on February 23, 2017

Opel Ampera-e

Peugeot Citroën’s planned purchase of Opel and its operations from General Motors is believed to be largely a done deal, with only minor details remaining.

According to Bildthe details will be announced on the first of March. It’s thought that both GM and PSA want to sign the papers before the Geneva International Autosalon, where Opel will introduce the new Insignia sedan and PSA plans to show the new DS7 mid-size crossover. The deal does not include Australia’s once-glorious-but-now-gutted Holden brand. (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

(Update: Fred Ligouri from Chevrolet Communications confirmed GM is aware and is currently investigating.)

One Bolt owner thinks Skynet may already be here.

Fresh off its North American Car of the Year victory (despite being classified as a crossover) and just days ahead of its official media launch next week, something strange happened in Southern California.

This owner alleges his Bolt turned itself on, selected reverse gear, and backed into the work bench in his garage. The incident happened with the car shut down and in Park, both keys in the house, and the owner nearly 40 miles away on business in the family’s third vehicle.   (Read More…)

By on December 27, 2016

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand-Sport overhead view (Image: General Motors)

It appears the Chevrolet Corvette is in line to receive a new dual-overhead cam V8.

An internal GM document detailing 2018 model year VIN codes was posted to the GM Inside News forum, and down on page five is buried treasure: “Passenger Car Engines for GMNA.”

The very last entry is a unicorn — the long rumored LT5 small block. General Motors lists the engine as “GAS 8 CYL, 6.2L, SIDI, DOHC, VVT, ALUM, GM” under code “Y”, which denotes the Corvette family. (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2016

It’s fall in the Mojave Desert. Morning greets us with a cool and blinding brightness at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nevada. Several of us mill about like the speed freaks we are, anxiously awaiting our next fix, sipping coffee, smoking cigarettes, pacing in anticipation. And then it happens: someone hits the little rectangular […]

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