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Tesla Model S Not So Super in East Coast Winter Weather?

Browsing through the NY Times’ Automobiles section, a review of Tesla’s Model S 416 hp supercar caught my attention. Tesla has been very successful on the West Coast of the Unites States in implementing a network of charging stations for its attractive looking electric vehicles. Recently, Tesla has opened up its Supercharger stations on the East Coast along a stretch of the I-95 corridor between Washington and Boston. Given how well the system is working out West, this seemed like a logical next step for improving electric vehicle charging infrastructures.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

The test did not go so well for NY Times writer John M. Broder. In the below freezing temperatures of an East Coast winter day, the lithium-ion battery powered vehicle did not reach its EPA rated 265 miles/per charge leaving the test driver no option but to turn off the heater and drive 10 mph under the speed limit. Later in the trip, the car needed the assistance of a tow truck to get to the next closest charging point.

The article was published on February 8th to almost immediate criticism and controversy. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, Tweeted that the article was a ‘Fake’ and accused the author of not charging the car to its max, taking a long detour and driving at high speed and vowing to publish the vehicle data logs of the journey (Tesla claims that it does not log data on its customers without their written permission but for all media test drives they turn on the feature).

Mr. Broder responded with an article rebutting the claims of the Tesla CEO. His “long detour” was apparently a brief stop in Manhattan that added 2 miles to his journey.  The author admitted that he did not keep the partially-charged car plugged in overnight on his trip not realizing the effect that the cold weather would have on the battery. Mr. Broder wrote,
 “This evaluation was intended to demonstrate its practicality as a “normal use,” no-compromise car, as Tesla markets it. Now that Tesla is striving to be a mass-market automaker, it cannot realistically expect all 20,000 buyers a year (the Model S sales goal) to be electric-car acolytes who will plug in at every Walmart stop.”

Regardless of the outcome of the data logs, what is clear is that this 416 hp supercar cannot be driven like a BMW M5 if you still expect to arrive at your destination in one go. It also puts the spotlight on the challenges that exist for lithium-ion batteries. Increasing their range per charge is an important issue that will help determine how successful the current generation of EVs will be at gaining a share of the automobile market. Another factor is their cost – much of which comes from the battery pack as the production process of lithium-ion batteries is still not completely automated or optimized for high quantities.

Original article from the NY Times: Click Here

Response from Mr. Broder: Click Here

If you are interested in learning more about battery production for EVs and HEVs, Automotive IQ interviewed a German expert in production management. To read the interview, click here.

We are also hosting a conference on Smart EV and HEV Battery Production from April 22-24, 2013.

Find out more information about the conference and access lots of free relevant content by following this link

Will Hornick is the Managing Editor of Automotive IQ

Russian Consumers Have Most Colorful Taste in Automotive Paint in 2012

Recently, one of my colleagues here at Automotive IQ laughed about the rather extravagant name used by the official dealer literature to describe the color of my car – Nautic Blue Pearl.  In fact, dark blue probably would have sufficed. This exchange caused me to do a bit of research on naming conventions used by car companies for their color pallets.

It turns out that there is a very comprehensive book published, entitled: The Anthropology of Color. One of the contributors writes that based on a survey of Swedish newspaper advertisements and car manufacturer brochures, there were no less than 150 complex color names listed. That is a far cry from Henry Ford’s infamous quote that, “Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants so long as it’ s black.”

Automotive painting has undoubtedly advanced in strides since the time of the Model T with the utilization of anti-reflective coatings, processes that improve paint adhesion, and even self-healing paints that use polymers activated by sunlight to repair scratches. But why is dark blue called Nautic Blue Pearl?

Venetian Red Volvo V70
(Compliments of

One explanation offered by The Anthropology of Color is color symbolism – the concept that people associate certain colors with status and mood.  Therefore, colors with noble names such as Classic Green, Diplomat Blue, and Imperial Red imply status. Logically, this would imply that luxury car makers would have more detailed and elegant names for their paints. Historically, there is evidence that this was indeed the case though the concept is now shared by cars traditionally in non-luxury segments. There is no evidence that the status-filled paint color names have improved the actual brand status of less expensive cars.

Regardless of the semantics a brochure uses to name a car’s paint color, there are very real trends in car buyer preferences. Dupont tracks consumer color preferences with their yearly paint survey. Traditionally, during an economic recession, car buyers tend toward conservative colors such as black, white and silver. When times are more prosperous, yellows, oranges and reds make a comeback.

The following graphics are from the 2012 Survey:

Dupont_Color Survey 2012 Europe

Dupont Color Survey 2012: Europe

Dupont_Color Survey 2012 NA
Dupont Survey 2012:  N. America

Predictably, the conservative colors were at the top of the charts for 2012 in both Europe and North America.  Interestingly, less conservative car colors had a much better showing in Russia than other parts of the world.

Dupont_Color Survey 2012 Russia

Dupont Color Survey 2012: Russia

Interested in Automotive Paint Technology? Check out our Conference in Stuttgart, Germany between February 19 – 20, 2013. Among the many interesting topics, Mercedes will be presenting on Color Development at Mercedes Benz – in the past, in the present and in the future. Click here to learn more.

Join our Free Online Resource: Automotive IQ


Will Hornick is the Managing Editor of Automotive IQ

2012 in review – Thanks for a great year!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Automotive-IQ looks forward to a new year of news, blog posts and discussions in 2013.

Safety in Automotive Seating Takes a Heart-Healthy Step Forward

Vehicle safety has come a long way since 1959.  Nevertheless, that year was a major milestone in automotive history.  In that year, the three-point seatbelt was improved upon by Nils Bohlin, a former SAAB aircraft engineer who spent his early career designing ejection seats (1).   After Volvo CEO Gunnar Engelau lost a relative in a car crash, he hired Bohlin as Volvo’s first Chief Safety Engineer.

Contrary to popular belief, Volvo and Bohlin did not invent the first safety belt in a car.  The first seat belts typically consisted of a belt strapped across the waist and two Americans, Roger Griswold and Hugh De Haven, patented the first three-point seatbelt in 1951 (2) though the buckle rested in the middle of the occupants abdomen causing severe internal injuries during high-speed collisions. Bohlin greatly improved upon the seat belt by moving the buckle to a safer location, anchoring the belt below the occupant’s waist and simplifying the process of using the seatbelt with its one-handed design. It has been estimated that Bohlin’s seat belt has saved a million lives in its roughly 50 year history. During that time, the standard car seat belt has remained fundamentally unchanged.

The same cannot be said for the automotive seat itself. It has undergone many changes in the past 50 years from the addition of headrests to aid in whiplash protection, lumbar support adjustment, built-in airbags to protect the occupant in a side-impact collision, to the materials used in the seat’s construction to reduce weight and increase driver comfort. A fatigued driver is not a safe driver.

Ford has recently taken the safety aspects of automotive seating a step further with its ECG seat for-in car heart monitoring.  Drivers who suffer from heart disease have a 23 percent greater risk of being involved in an accident (3).  Initial testing is very promising, showing a 95 percent accuracy during 98 percent of the time the driver spent in the seat.  Some emergency medical services already have the capability to send data wirelessly from ambulance to hospital and it is possible that the car seat may soon be able to do the same. It’s an exciting innovation to look out for.

IQPC is hosting its 8th International Conference on Innovative Seating in Bonn, Germany from the 25th – 28th of February, 2013.

To learn more about Ford’s ECG Seat and for free access to a number of other interesting articles on automotive seating, visit our download center.


  3. Colin Pawsey, Advancing Design and Driver Safety, IQPC.

LED technology promotes form and function

Recently, an article was published in the Art & Design section of the NY Times (full article here). The article discusses automotive lighting paying particular attention to the design elements evoked by lighting systems over the past century. A car’s headlamps can be one of the most dramatic visual cues on the front of a vehicle. They can set the tone and help to create a car model’s persona and character. The article mentions how design elements over the past century also reflected a particular era’s history from the straight lines representing machine age production lines to softer curves after the 2nd World War meant to calm emotions after such traumatic events.

The current design of headlamps is very futuristic thanks in no small part to the introduction of modern LEDs into vehicle lighting. A great example of this is the Audi R8 which was the first car to use full LED lamps. Light Emitting Diode technology is a particularly impressive innovation with regard to design.  In an interview with Valeo’s Benoist Fleury (see below link), he explained that in addition to being significantly more efficient than traditional halogen lights, LED lighting allows for much more creative styling opportunities in the design of the lighting system. This includes the components as well as the actual beam produced. Their small size allows for a much greater range of configurations and car designers are taking advantage of that.

Automotive lighting systems also provide a functional benefit for every vehicle in terms of safety and here LEDs can also provide benefits.  European regulation dictates that all new vehicles have daytime-running-lights (DRLs) installed and LEDs are significantly more energy efficient.  They are also designed to last for the life of the car.

IQPC’s 13th International Conference Intelligent Automotive Lighting 2013 will take place from Monday, 28th to the 29th of January, 2013 with interactive workshops on the 30th. The conference will focus on developments in interior and exterior vehicle lighting including design, thermal management for LEDs and OLED technology.

Who will you meet by attending?
•    Lighting component suppliers
•    Automotive OEMs
•    Lighting system suppliers
•    Optical Systems
•    Solid state lighting manufacturers
•    OLED manufacturers
To find out more about the conference click here

Toyota INSECT Unveiled at Consumer Electronics Show

Toyota recently unveiled a new concept car at CEATEC 2012, Japan’s largest consumer electronics show.  The INSECT is a single passenger EV but might better be thought of as a very capable smartphone on wheels.  The concept car facilitates and integrates very practical applications such as the ability to recommend a restaurant or turn on your home air conditioning system in anticipation of your arrival.  By utilizing Microsoft’s Kinect technology, facial and body movements will prompt a greeting by flashing the front lights and opening the door as you approach.  Current battery technology limits this car from moving beyond a concept, but it certainly provides a great starting point for discussion about the future of consumer electronics in vehicles.

Traditionally, consumers compare power, carrying capacity and fuel efficiency within a given price range.  By creating this concept, Toyota may have recognized a consumer flashpoint.  As people spend more time in their cars, their need to be connected while in their vehicles will grow and the weight placed on a car’s integration of mobile devices may significantly increase.  In fact, the average British motorist now spends three full years of their life driving.   That is an astounding amount of time spent behind the wheel.

By 2016, it is predicted that roughly 50 percent of new vehicles sold globally will be connected to the internet.  There are of course a number of challenges to consider.

  • Currently there is no single industry standard system for integrating mobile devices into a vehicle.
  • Should manufacturers strive for internet in the car or car in the internet by integrating the car into the cloud?
  • How can consumer electronics be incorporated ergonomically and without compromising driver safety?

Learn about these and other issues at the 6th International Conference on Consumer Electronics 4 Vehicles, 28-30 January in Stuttgart, Germany.

For more information about Toyota’s INSECT click here


Will Hornick is the Managing Editor of Automotive IQ

Harvesting energy with smart sensors

Rob van Schaijk, R&D Manager Sensors & Energy Harvesters at Holst Centre / imec, the     Netherlands explains the advantages of energy harvesting through sensors mounted on tires. One of the challenges is to add functionality in the tire by integrating smart sensor systems. Main focus in our work is to match for smart sensor systems in the tire the power generation (energy harvesting) with the power consumption of the system. Due to small financial margins one needs to differentiate, which can be done by adding relevant functionality.

Read the whole interview here:

He will be speaking at our 8th Annual Conference Intelligent Tire Technology, 24-26 September in Darmstadt, Germany.

Check the website for more detailed information and many relevant (and free!) downloads.

HMI and Driver Distraction

Incorporating advanced technology and connectivity in motor vehicles has the ability to make travel more entertaining and specifically far safer – but these very features may contribute to driver distraction, negating all the safety aspects. Accurate statistics in regard to distracted driving are notoriously hard to sample as most surveys rely on self-reporting for their data. Estimates of distraction as a cause or contributing factor in accidents range between a low percentage to as much as 70% of accidents. Statistics indicate that the impact of distracted driving now leads to higher fatalities.
Read the whole article here:      
Interested? Check out our conference on Automotive Cockpit HMI, 24 – 26 September 2012 in Bonn, Germany.

Find all conference details and interesting downloads on:

Ford’s use of renewable and recyclable materials

Dr. Valentina Cerato, Senior Materials Engineer at Ford UK will do a presentation about theStrategic approach to the use of non-metallic recycled content” at our international conference “Automotive Interior – Smart materials and surfaces” (24. – 26. September 2012, Hilton Hotel in Bonn, Germany).

Here you can read about the applications in the Ford Focus (2010):

To find out what happens to discarded household carpets, old jeans or empty bottles, take a closer look at the Ford Focus. Ford’s innovative hatchback is spearheading a comprehensive European recycling campaign, which has created over 300 separate parts formed with recycled material and diverts around 20,000 tonnes away from landfill each year.

Valentina Cerato, materials engineer at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre, Essex, said: “Ford’s approach is guided by its Product Sustainability Index, including sustainable material and substance management. The index covers recycled materials and the use of natural fibres, which continue to replace plastics in Ford components.”

For more information:

Here is a general overview from Ford (2010):

Ford is making its vehicles more eco-friendly through increased use of renewable and recyclable materials such as the soy and bio-based seat cushions and seatbacks on the 2010 Ford Taurus.Ford vehicles are now 85 percent recyclable by weight. In 2009, Ford saved approximately $4.5 million by using recycled materials, and diverted between 25 and 30 million pounds of plastic from landfills in North America alone.

“Sustainable materials need to meet the same high standards for quality, durability and performance as virgin material; there can be no compromise on product quality,” said Valentina Cerato, Ford materials engineer in Europe.

In Europe, automakers are required to take back the vehicles they’ve produced at the end of the vehicles’ useful lives. Ford has end-of-life recycling networks for its vehicles in 16 European markets and participates in industry collective systems in another 10. In 2007, Ford became one of the first automakers in Europe to be certified in compliance with end-of-life requirements.

For more information:

Ford Motor, USA: “PM sensors are biggest item for Euro 6/VI programs”

Ken Leisenring, Diesel Feature Calibration Manager, and John Bogema, Diesel OBD and SCR Calibration Supervisor at Ford Motor Company, USA will both speak at our diagnosis event. In their opinion, sensor durability and algorithm robustness will be key to having an overall cost efficient solution. Read the whole interview for their expert insight into the industry HERE.

IQPC’s conference 4th Advanced Automotive Diagnostics will take place 02 – 04 July, 2012 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Find more details on

John Bogema                   Ken Leisenring

Recently, Mercedes Benz released first regular bus that complies with Euro VI standards: The Citaro Euro VI.

A diesel powered service bus from Mercedes Benz holds the record of being the first such bus to be Euro VI compliant. The Citaro Euro VI is the cleanest running diesel powered bus being offered with Euro VI engines thus meeting stringent exhaust emission standards. What sets this bus apart from the rest is the fact that besides meeting high level of emission standards its fuel consumption too is reduced by 5% while oil and AdBlue consumption is also at a new reduced level.

Read this interesting article HERE (published May 23 on

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