Driverless cars-UK gives thumbs-up to — but first come the driverless pods

Driverless cars

driverless cars

An experimental Google Self-Driving Car

In effect, the UK will be  opening up its roads to driverless cars. So, with the government announcing this week that it wants to take a “light touch, non-regulatory approach” to trials of autonomous vehicles. The…

Truly, I must be getting really old ? for one thing, i just cant see these things taking off here in the UK. That is to say, without any special lanes for them. Separating them from the regular cars. driverless cars ? what next.

 

Driverless cars-If only we could have seen into the future?

Indeed, I suppose if I sit back and look at this more deeply.Then it probably does not mean what it sounds like. As a UK resident living in the North of England, I often travel to London on the odd occasion with my wife Michelle. I do try to take a break from writing about tyres and the Auto industry. So, to see what the rest of the country are up to.

Here in the North we are always moaning about the fact that we are left behind. Especially, when it comes to infrastructure development, (new roads and rail projects) in particular. That is to say, as just an example we probably have the worst railway system in the country. To emphasise, in my opinion most of the allocated money is spent in the South. Especially in the London area.

Whichever political party is in power, then it is the same old thing and nothing happens. One or two exceptions spring to mind, such as the Sheffield tram system. Although I am certain that this was built out of guilt. Because of the decimation of the giant steel industry that the great city once had. In other words, and has now whittled down to nothing. I am sure that the same thing can be repeated in many other countries across the globe. Perhaps you could let me know?

Our last trip to London was in December 2014, just before Christmas. At the same time as a birthday treat to my wife. Once again the experience never fails to amaze me at the amount of money that is being spent on the transport system.  Compared to our virtual “nothing”. Although I love my country the indifference is there for all to see and in my mind immoral. Subsequently, we pay our taxes in the North, just the same as Londoners, so why should we not have the same travel facilities?

This takes me on to the subject of “driverless cars”, here in the UK.

To be truthful, driverless cars in my opinion are just a fantasy and will never really take off. Our northern towns and cities are too small crowded and frankly would need rebuilding if the driverless cars were ever to take off.

It took forty years to convert the closed down railway network into cycle paths and places where people can walk. In  the area where I live we have a twenty mile circuit called the “Kirk-lees way”, this was to be where we all could walk, run and cycle without any traffic problems affecting our pleasure, but this has now become grown over and covered in mud and horse poo, and is no pleasure to walk on any more.

This is when things started to click?

What if we converted these old railway cycle paths into roads for the driverless cars? When I saw the example diving around the southern town of Milton Keynes, (where billions of pounds have been invested), they were driving on the cycle and walking/jogging path network that goes for miles around and  through the city.

I thought that that looked a good idea, if we had to have these driverless cars thrust upon us, then we could give them their own little road network and it would keep them away from the sensible drivers who just want to get on with their lives, it is bad enough trying to dodge an 82 year old lady, who flies around our local supermarket, in her mobility scooter almost hitting all the other customers, without having to worry about what the driverless car coming towards us will do next, and if they do hit you, who will give you the insurance details.

driverless cars

Driverless pods like these could soon be seen in Milton Keynes and Yorkshire could be getting half decent trains?

re-generated to make way the driverless pods?

Also to finish with as a garage owner I wonder which garage the Nissan Driverless Car or the Volvo Driverless Cars will drive into, probably not my garage.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles.

Eric Roberts

 

NYPD testing out Smart Cars to replace scooters – New York Daily News

three wheeler

Scooters gotta scoot. The NYPD wants to replace its fleet of three-wheeled scooters with Smart Cars, officials said Wednesday.

Source: www.nydailynews.com

This is a great idea, but why dont they go the whole way and use driverless cars, or at least small electric cars that are good for the environment.

Just a thought perhaps they will.

www.pellonautocentre.com/blog

 

Smart cars to replace three wheelers

When you look at the three wheelers, that the NYPD use at the moment, they remind me of a squashed up Reliant Robin. The Reliant Robin was made famous here in the UK by the excellent “Only Fools and Horses” TV series, which went on for a number of years.

smart cars

A small Renault electric used for the cities by the French post office

I have been lucky enough to visit New York and have seen the Police driving about on these three wheelers, which are just really covered motorcycles. I was very surprised to see the price tag of $27000 each, which I thought was on the high side, compared to the price of a car?

smart cars

Similar small car used in Spain

The three wheelers are made by a company called “Cushman” and started out in Nebraska, making 2-stroke engines for the fishing boat industry. They then began to make three wheel lightweight vans and went under the name of “Cushman Motor Works”.

The vans developed over the years are become useful in small spaces such as for Mail vans and airport vehicles, as well as for use in factories and of course by the NYPD in New York. As I have mentioned earlier they do remind me of the Reliant Robin three wheelers that we had here in the UK, even down to the single front wheel and two wheels at the rear.

The Cushman’s are powered by an 18m horse power engine and can reach speeds of 35 mph, making it easier to police the narrow streets of the inner cities, than walking about on foot.

Smart cars may take over the three wheelers

We have all seen the little Smart cars bobbing about our towns and cities, and the NYPD have taken stock of nine of them as an experiment to replace the three wheelers with them.

The Smart cars was originally a joint production venture by Mercedes, the giant German car manufacturer and the Swiss watch maker Swatch. However Swatch pulled out of the venture leaving Mercedes to build the car in Hambach, France. Although Mercedes had another Mini car in progress, the MCC or Mercedes City Coupe, they took on the task of continuing with the Smart Cars production in France.

The little cars are made from all sorts of parts that are sourced in Europe. With some having Japanese engines, this is one of the reasons that I wrote this article, because I am very surprised at the NYPD buying non-American products to replace the all American three wheelers.

I suppose you could say that the Smart Cars are an up-marketing project, because they would give more comfort, with air-conditioning and heating with an airbag for driver safety, also

smart cars

New NYPD Smart car under testing

the response to an incident would be quicker and in actual fact the Smart cars workout cheaper than the three wheelers.

Not my usual stuff, but I thought it was an interesting story. I wonder also why did the New York authorities take the chance of using Smaller Electric vehicles that would also help with the cities emission figures?

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Michelin Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

 

BMW’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will begin testing in the near future

hydrogen fuel cell

 

BMW will begin testing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the near future. The new generation of  hydrogen vehicles are currently under development

Source: www.bmwblog.com

This is good news for the regular garage owner?

I believe that we will be able to repair these hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the after market but the car manufacturers will keep a tight lid on the battery driven EV’s, and we will only get the scraps.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology battles it out with battery power

Believe it or not the Hydrogen Fuel cell (HFC) technology is nothing new? The method of converting pure hydrogen and oxygen into water and electricity is a blast from the past, and goes back to the 1930’s (even older than me).

This kind of technology was also effectively used on the Space Shuttle Programme by NASA until it was all taken apart the other year. The older type of fuel cell equipment that produced enough power to propel a vehicle, was very large and would just about fit into a large van, and so something smaller had to be designed.

A smaller type of fuel cell had to be designed and it became clear that Toyota Motor Company were in the lead in the design of this technology. Toyota plan to have a smaller more powerful and efficient fuel cell in use in one of the cars by the end of 2015, (this year).

All the car manufacturers are looking at developing greener vehicle and it now looks likely that BMW the giant German car maker are looking at HFC  technology to power their vehicles in the future, in fact it is thought that they come into some sort of research and development agreement with Toyota and hope that the two car giants can come out tops with the HFC engines fitted into their cars.

BMW forge ahead with Hydrogen cell technology with the Hydrogen 7 car

The battle between the different engine concepts is hotting up between the Hydrogen cells and the Lithium-Ion battery driven vehicles. BMW have brought out their Hydrogen 7 production car, with a hundred of them out on test. I understand that they have done this by turning a regular gasoline burning car into a Hydrogen burning car and the results are positive so far, the car retains all the comfort and exclusivity that you would expect from a BMW luxury car.

Audi have also bought into the fuel cell scenario, by purchasing patents of hydrogen fuel cell technology from a company called Ballard Power Systems

hydrogen fuel cell

How a Hydrogen cell car works

One more thing is missing from the stage: hydrogen filling pumps. Once such a network would be deployed, batteries would suddenly become the dirtier and more inefficient option, since using hydrogen only produces water, does not deplete Earth’s lithium reserves and does not pollute the environment in any way. They will also share the patents with the rest of the VW group, showing their intent and interest in the hydrogen fuel cell format for greener cars of the future.

We all know that there is no love lost between supporters of battery-electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars, but what is a realistic way to compare the two? One of the big advantages at the moment is that Hydrogen cell vehicles can travel five times longer than the EV battery electric cars on a single tank, and it takes just a few minutes to fill the tank with hydrogen, this can be compared with the 8 hours or so it takes to recharge a battery.

On the down side we do not yet have a good enough network of  filling stations, I know that Germany have started to install them and I have heard the some of the big UK supermarkets are considering adding hydrogen to their extensive petrol station outlets, this could also be the case in the USA, especially the California area where they are very aggressive about greener pollutant free cars.

Time will only tell but although I am not an expert, I am very interested in what is happening and it may well be hotting up with the demise of the diesel engine, after they have had bad reports about pollution. In fact the authorities in Paris are going to ban the older diesel cars from entering the city in the near future, this after the experts were preaching how safe diesel cars were, they have now done an about turn and left us all in it?

Hyundai also developing hydrogen cell cars

The Hyundai company have developed the “Tucson Fuel Cell” car which  looks just like a typical small SUV, but the difference is that it is’ powered by hydrogen. These  vehicles use a Hydrogen fuel cell instead of  battery technology. The fuel cell is replenished with hydrogen mixed with oxygen, and the result is a supply of electricity to power the car. Water is the only emission, that is emitted from the car, a great success.

Honda will also bring out their own Hydrogen cell version which is known as the FCX Clarity Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle .

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Michelin Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

 

 

 

Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 275/35 R20 102W tyre specifications, review and features

Michelin Pilot Alpin

Tyre Michelin Pilot Alpin PA 4 275/35 R 20 102 W specs, price, review. Michelin tyres for cars.

 

Not many Michelin Pilot Alpin PA 4 customers here in Halifax UK

As many of my readers will know, I am a big fan of almost everything that Michelin tyres produce and have produced over the years. I think that this could be something to do with the fact that the Michelin Pilot Alpin was developed with the larger luxury car in mind and as I have said before, Halifax ix a small market town in Yorkshire UK and therefore does not have that many wealthy people who would buy such cars.

Tyre retailers in say Leeds and York do get a larger share of the BMW’s and Porsche’s as we do in Halifax. We do however have some of these marques in the area and we have fitted a few Michelin Pilot Alpin tyres to these cars. The drivers that bring this type of car into us for their tyres, are people that trust us with these valuable machines, we do not scratch their alloy wheels, that sort of thing.

The customers who use us also give us good feedback, I have been a tyre retailer now for 40 years and it is surprising how they like to chat to me especially about their tyres, the people with these types of luxury cars are usually very knowledgeable about their cars and so like a chat.

One particular guy owns a business that supply wall insulation and also installs it into buildings. His business does very well and he likes fast, sporty cars. His latest car is a Porsche and he came to us for a set of winter tyres for his car. He was visiting friends in Germany and he normally drives in his Range Rover in winter, but he decided to give the Porsche a run out.

Like me the guy is a very big fan of Michelin tyres, in fact he will not have anything else on his car. He insisted on a set of Michelin Pilot Alpin tyres. The guy’s name is Richard, but the tyres he wanted were not available in the UK. We have some good connections and suppliers in other European countries and so we had a ring round.

To my surprise I found out that Michelin make these tyres in two different tread pattern designs, the asymmetric and the directional. At first I thought that there some kind of mistake as I found this very unusual?. Sure enough when I rang Richard he did know about this and wanted the asymmetric pattern that was recommended for the Porsche models.

Michelin pilot Alpin in two distinct pattern types

When I checked this out with Michelin, they told me that they thought that both Tyre Tread designs had their own successes and achieved the end desired result for both types of tyres. Both designs are made from what Michelin Pilot Tyres call their Helio-compound rubber mixture, compound 3 G, which is a compound that is made from sunflower oil and silica and traditional rubber, to give the tyres more flexible sidewalls and therefore a better gripping tread surface in cold weather, bellow 7c

Indeed the new MICHELIN PILOT ALPIN has two different tread patterns. The reason is that we worked simultaneously in two parallel ways: one is made in collaboration with Porsche, the second one in a more common way. The two solutions have succeeded to achieve the desired result. Both of tread patterns respond perfectly to the “ridge-n-flex” philosophy and use the same elements but in a slightly different way.

We finally received and fitted Richards and off he went to Germany with his new Michelin Pilot Alpine tyres fitted.

Another customer that fitted these tyres said that it was the first time that he had bought a set of winter tyres, but he now feels that he can fully measure the benefits, especially in treacherous weather conditions, they were the difference between getting home, or getting stuck in snow.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Michelin Pilot Alpin Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.
http://www.pellontyres.co.uk/Tyre/Details/Michelin/Pilot+Alpin+PA4

Unsafe Used Tyres-Florida lawmakers look to ban unsafe used tyres – Or part-worn tyres to us !

Unsafe Used Tyres
Unsafe Used Tyres

 

 

This should be a good example to all authorities to ban the sale of Used tyres.

 

 

Unsafe Used Tyres are a worldwide problem

In this case, this article is about the used tyres problem that also affects the USA. Including, the UK and also the rest of Europe. That is to say that I can understand the problem. Which was stepped up to a higher level when the economic downturn started to bite. Forcing, the hard up motorists amongst us to be tempted and  gamble on buying cheap part worn tyres, for their cars.

On the negative side, I think that the terrible economic downturn affected most people (my family and I included). Having to reign in their spending and cut their cloths accordingly. Shoppers began to buy cheaper tyres online. Giving the internet sales of tyres a massive boost. Consequently, many people looked at sites such as E Bay to reduce their car running costs and try save some money. This had a two-fold effect on the tyre industry. Many what I call “lower end” tyre dealers started to sell what they called “used tyres” which are better known in the UK as “part worn tyres”, or they are known as New and Used Tyres.

Increase with customers experiencing tyre problems

At the same time we at Pellon tyres in Halifax UK, started to see an increase in customers with tyre problems. Also at the same time as this, hundreds of small tyre shops started to open up in every town across the country. These were all selling used tyres to the gullible motoring public, who thought that they buying a bargain tyre, when in fact they were perhaps putting their lives at risk. Since the rise of the part worn tyres there has been a significant rise in the road traffic accident figures and this has been linked to the use of these dangerous tyres.

We seem to get this problem at every recession that the country has to endure. The last time was in the nineties, when the government of the time had to pass legislation, to make the used tyres safer. They did this by passing regulations that said that these tyres should be tested and marked up as “Part Worn Car Tyres“.

Used Tyres

This part worn tyre only lasted one week before disintegrated.

The following used Tyre Safety Regulations are from TyreSafe UK

Under The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 (reg.7.) part of the Consumer Protection Act. In effect, then it is an offense for anyone to sell part worn tyres that do not meet the following principal requirements:

The structural integrity must not be compromised. It should be free of large cuts, any bulges or lumps both internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.  Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.

The original grooves must still be clearly visible. That is to say, in their entirety and must be to a depth of at least 2 mm. Across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.

Part worn tyres which have not been re-treaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4 mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.

Part-worn tyres that have been re-treaded must have one of the following:

BS AU 144b, 144c, 144d, or 144e markings on the side wall (if first supplied as a re-tread on or before 31 December 2003 an ECE approval mark (if first supplied as a re-tread on or after 1 January 2004)

a permanent mark to identify the original model and manufacturer, the word ‘RETREAD’ moulded onto or into its sidewall (in upper case letters at least 4mm high) and further markings in accordance with ECE rules. You may need to seek further advice as to which rules apply

The indication ‘PART WORN’ must also appear next to the BS or ECE approval mark, or next to the word ‘RETREAD’

For tyres marked BS AU 144e, a speed category symbol and load capacity marking should be present.

A tyre has to comply with all these requirements whether or not it is fitted to a rim. This means that all the part worn tyres that are in your stock should be marked up and comply with the law. I have nothing against the sale of used tyres that comply with this law, but unfortunately it has gone to the wayside.

Governments and local county and council officials are starting to clamp down on these people

But it is a long slow slog, trading standards have had staff cuts, like most other government departments and are fully stretched to take action.

Good news is starting to come out of the USA now with counties such as Florida looking at a complete ban the sale of these tyres and I think that this will spread and eventually it will sink in with pressure from the legitimate tyre dealers and organisations like the excellent tyresafe.org.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles.