Archive for the ‘Scrap Book’ Category

Ford challenges PAPA on EcoBoost courses

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Posted 06 May 2015 — by Cathy Luebke
Category Scrap Book

How can you pass up a chIMG_3629ance to drive new Ford Mustang and F-150 aluminum pickups? Or pit Focus ST against Fiesta ST, and size up competitors such as Ford Edge and the popular Toyota Highlander.

Ford gave Phoenix Automotive Press Association members and local dealers a preview of the courses May 1 and more than 600 consumers hit WestWorld the following day as part of the company’s annual EcoBoost Challenge.

It also served as a kickoff for a bottled water drive in conjunction with Big Surf Waterpark, Salvation Army and Valley Ford dealers.

“The EcoBoost Challenge Drive tour gives us the chance to provide a comfortable, no pressure environment for consumers to drive Ford’s lineup of great vehicles with our EcoBoost technology and compare those vehicles to the competition,” said Steve Papanikolas, Phoenix regional manager for Ford Motor Co. “We know when customers get to compare our vehicles with their direct competition, they will agree that Ford is the superior product and will consider Ford when the time comes for them to purchase a new vehicle.”

EcoBoost is Ford’s trademark for its turbocharged engines that bring on more or equal power than a traditional increase in cylinders while saving fuel.

The success of Ford’s EcoBoost Challenge is impressive, said Larry Edsall, PAPA treasurer and editorial director for Phoenix-based ClassicCars.com.

“They told us that of the 30,000 who took part last year, 70 percent were non-Ford owners but that after driving, 85 percent said they’d consider buying an EcoBoosted Ford.

“And closer to home for those of us in Phoenix, of all Ford F-150s sold in April in Pheonix, 79 percent were equipped with the EcoBoost V6 engine. That compares to 60 percent nationally. Again, that’s a very impressive number,” Edsall said.

Ford’s goal is to collect 2,000 cases of water through the end of May. Big Surf is proving 50 percent off coupons for people who drop off a case of bottled water at one of the local Ford dealerships. Ford is further supporting the effort with a $20,000 grant to Phoenix’s Salvation Army. IMG_3638 IMG_3643 (Photos by Larry Edsall)

ASU Polytechnic students take EcoCAR 3 full throttle

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Posted 30 Apr 2015 — by Larry Edsall
Category Scrap Book

IMG_3012It’s a Tuesday night near the end of the spring semester, a time of the school year when most students are ready for classes to end and for summer to begin. Yet this small, L-shaped room, a room that looks like it originally was designed as a storage closet, is packed with students.

The room a literal hot house. What air there is is circulated by a single fan sitting on the floor a few feet inside the open doorway. But the students — and there are so many that in some places they sit two-deep — don’t seem to mind. Their attention is focused on the laptop and desktop computers lined up side-by-side around the room’s perimeter.

But the ambient temperature isn’t the only thing that qualifies the room as a hot house. There are ideas being planted, germinated and blooming on those computer screens and in the conversations between the students.

And all of this is taking place without a professor anywhere to be seen. You see, this isn’t a classroom, but a room being used by just a part of the EcoCAR 3 team of Arizona State University engineering students who are involved in a four-year competition against teams from 15 other schools in the United States and Canada to plan, devise and implement technology to turn a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a car that not only is a blast to drive, but also is environmentally responsible.

IMG_3006Yes, these students, and those at those other universities, are out to prove you can have your cake and eat it too.

Oh, and you read that correctly. The students will be working on a 2016 Camaro, a car that won’t even be revealed — to the students or the public at large — until the middle of next month. Yet the team has been working for nearly a year already, doing market research — why build a car if no one will buy it? — and plotting out the hybrid powertrain technology it plans to use to make the Camaro as clean to drive as it is fun to drive.

As ASU team project manager and senior mechanical engineering major Brian Hennesy explains as he guides a group of PAPA members through the various labs and the team’s garage, the first year of the four-year competition is the initialization stage — research, architecture planning, etc. Year Two involves developing and installing the selected technology into the vehicle and the start of testing. Year Three is for refining the integration. The final year involves getting the vehicle to showroom quality. There are sub-competitions along the way.

There are perhaps 20 students crammed into the work room this night. But there are another 40 or so students, plus three faculty advisors, who comprise the team representing Arizona State’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and College of Technology and Innovation in the competition staged by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the Argonne National Laboratory.

IMG_3011The EcoCAR program dates to 1986, when the DOE started its Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. In 2011, EcoCAR 2 was launched as a three-year competition involving Chevrolet Malibu sedans.

While some college engineering departments have been involved from the start, the ASU team is a rookie, the newbie. But it’s already done very well in the preliminary checkpoints being judged along the way in this, because, as the grad student and team communication manager Ashley Yost explained, the engineering effort at ASU’s Polytechnic campus, located on the former Williams Air Force Base, emphasizes innovation and an open-minded approach. It also is a project-based degree program in which engineering students learn to design, build, test and report on their projects, just as they will in the “real world” after graduation.

While the DOE, General Motors and other corporate sponsors fund the effort, the rewards for the students are bragging rights and jobs. Already several ASU team members have been invited to summer internships with sponsoring companies and a few already know they’re going from cap and gown to full-time jobs because of the exposure they’ve already received while working with mentor advisors from the competition’s corporate sponsors.

Riding the Phoenix streets in the latest Mercedes

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Posted 23 Mar 2015 — by Cathy Luebke
Category Scrap Book
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

By Nicole James
In March, members of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association made their way to the Phoenix Art Museum where they drove three Mercedes-Benz vehicles, including an AMG, and learned about the innovative things the company is doing to engage Millennials.
The evening was split into two parts; the ride and drive and the presentation where PAPA members heard from the GLA and CLA Project manager, Anna.
Anna Kleinbreil, product manager for Mercedes-Benz USA, spoke about how Mercedes-Benz has been making a push to introduce vehicles, in large part, designed for new and younger buyers. According to MBUSA research, Millennials comprise 25 percent of the current population and by 2017 they will have more buying power then any other demographic group.
To appeal to this group, aged 25-34, Mercedes has developed the CLA and GLA models. In its first full year of sales, 74 percent of those buying the CLA, a compact front-wheel-drive sedan, were new to Mercedes showrooms, and 70 percent were buying their first luxury-brand vehicle.
Also notable was that 30 percent of the “build-your-own” online feature in 2014 involved the CLA.
To appeal to this new audience, MBUSA took to Facebook, Twitter and started a very successful Instagram campaign, #TakeTheWheel. For #TakeTheWheel, MBUSA gave five Instagram photographers the keys to a new CLA for two weeks and had them document their experience. The photographer whose posts drew the most people got to keep the keys and the car.
The campaign increased MBUSA’s Instagram following by 200 percent.
Mercedes’ newest car is the recently launched GLA, a sport utility vehicle based on the CLA. The wagon-style vehicle has a bold design fused with function and passion to deliver flexibility, fuel efficiency and fun.
Available for PAPA members to test drive were the GLA250, the GLA45 AMG and the C400.
The GLA 250 has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4-cylinder engine with 208 horsepower. The AMG version pushes output to 355 hp.
The C400 4Matic sedan comes with a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 that pushes out 329 horsepower.
Being a Millennial and the demographic Mercedes-Benz is appealing to, I offer my perspective on the vehicles after driving major surface streets in downtown Phoenix in the middle of rush hour.
By far the GLA 250 and the GLA 45 were more enjoyable to drive. While being undeniably gorgeous, the C400 4Matic was like other Mercedes-Benz sedans — large and luxurious and while it had some power it was a bit stuffy. The price tag of around $50,000 seemed unattainable, at least for the moment. I felt like I needed to be about 10 or 20 years older to really enjoy the car.
Both the GLA 250 and the GLA 45 AMG were smaller and seemed a bit more zippy. The AMG version is like a small power wagon for the gear-head thinking about having a family or taking trips with friends.
Of the two, I basically fell in love withmercedes trio the AMG. The turbo spool made me drool while the carbon fiber in the interior drew me in. While driving, you could tell people around me were interested in the vehicle. It was something the average Phoenix commuter hadn’t seen yet.
I had the windows down and while stopped at a light, the 30-something passengers in the car next to me asked what I was driving and said, “That’s the coolest Mercedes I have ever seen!”