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Category: Technology

Honda to Install Wind Turbines for Ohio Manufacturing Plant

In another example of how Honda is looking forward and blazing the trail of environmentally-friendly auto manufacturing, Honda announced it will install two wind turbines that will supply 10% of the energy for its Russell Point, Ohio plant.

According to this article, “These wind turbines stand at 160 feet tall; the blades will be 160 feet long…They are to generate 10,000 MWh per year, which is enough to power 800 houses.”

The local community has been supportive of Honda’s efforts to lessen the carbon footprint of the plant that employs more about 1,150 people. Honda is one of only five companies to use wind power on this level.

“We appreciate the support we have received from the township and our neighbors that will help Honda reduce (carbon) emissions,” Gary Hand, vice president of Honda Transmission.”

Read the complete article about how Honda is reducing its environmental impact HERE.

 

 

Honda Fit Transforms into Musical Instrument, DJ Table

When we find and read articles about automobile breakthroughs and technology, it usually has to do with safety or gas mileage or something along those lines. Rarely, do we find something as cool as an automobile being used as a musical instrument as is the case with the Honda Fit Twist (only available in Brazil) in this video. You won’t believe it until you watch it.

All the elements used in the song are triggered by different features of the car (my favorite is the one that occurs when the glove compartment opens.

The Honda Fit Twist-turned-DJ-Table campaign is also a contest for different blogs to create the own remixes of the original song (called Overdrive). People can vote for their favorite remix at the blogs.

To see the really creative and entertaining creation of the original song by Squeak E. Clean and DJ Zegon and read specifics about the campaign and contest, click on the link above.

2012 Honda Odyssey Comes With Multi-Angle Rearview Cameras

As a Honda blogger, it’s usually pretty easy for me to stay on top of Honda news, especially about popular vehicles like the Honda Odyssey. However, this article gave me something I did not know: the 2012 Honda Odyssey comes with a multi-angle rearview camera standard on the Touring and EX-L models.

A one-angle rearview camera comes standard on all 2012 Honda Odyssey models.

“The standard angle, wide angle, and straight down angle are life-savers in a vehicle as big as the 2012 Honda Odyssey,” said John Clough, sales manager at Northwest Honda dealership in Bellingham. “The Honda Odyssey has some really great features that make it the best in its class. The multi-angle rearview camera is just one more thing that takes it over the top.”

While the multi-angle rearview camera is available, you won’t get as affordable as you will on the 2012 Honda Odyssey.

According the article, “The multi-angle rearview camera comes standard in the Odyssey Touring Elite model I tested, which had a sticker price of $44,485. It’s also standard on the Touring model that starts at $41,430 and on the EX-L model with the Satellite-Linked Navigation System that starts at $37,125. By comparison, the Around View Monitor is standard on the 2013 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum edition, which starts at $39,170.”

Check out the article below to see a quick video of how the multi-view rearview camera works on a touch screen! Or even better, stop by Northwest Honda, Sims Honda, or Apple Valley Honda to take the 2012 Honda Odyssey for a test drive and try the rearview camera yourself!

Honda’s LaneWatch System is 2012 Automobile Technology Finalist

The 2013 Honda Accord has made a splash with industry know-what’s and  consumers. A big part of that is because of all the bells and whistles that come standard on the newest Accord, including the LaneWatch system. Now the LaneWatch system has been named a finalist for the 2012 Technology of the Year Award by AOL Autos.

“It would be really great for the LaneWatch system to win 2012 Technology of the Year Award,” said Keith Hofkamp, general manager of Sims Honda dealership in Burlington. “The 2013 Honda Accord is loaded with some really awesome technology, most of which comes standard on all models not just the more expensive models. The LaneWatch system is so representative of Honda: it is convenient, it is innovative and it makes the 2013 Honda Accord a much safer car.”

Here’s what the article had to say about the LaneWatch system: “LaneWatch uses a camera positioned below the passenger-side exterior mirror to display a wide-angle view of the passenger side roadway on the standard 8-inch color intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID). The image appears when the right turn signal is activated, or when a button on the end of the turn signal stalk is pressed. The feature can also be deactivated in the vehicle settings at the driver’s discretion…The system helps the driver to see traffic, as well as pedestrians or objects, in the vehicle’s blind spot. To help make judging distance easier, the display has three reference lines. Drivers are encouraged to visually confirm roadway conditions prior to changing lanes.

Why is this important? The article also points out that the typical view of a passenger-side mirror is 18-22 degrees. With the LaneWatch technology, drivers will be able to see up to 80 degrees.

Really, does anything else need to be said to convince you of the value of the LaneWatch system?

The AOL Autos Technology of the Year Award will be given in January. Check out the other finalists at AOLAutos.com.

“I hope LaneWatch wins,” said Hofkamp. “But if it doesn’t win, I think just being a finalist brings a lot of justified attention to this incredible safety technology and the 2013 Honda Accord. We’ll take that.”

But don’t wait until January when the award will be announced to try the technology itself. Stop by Sims Honda, Northwest Honda or Apple Valley Honda today to test drive the 2013 Honda Accord and see how much safer you can be with LaneWatch looking over your shoulder.

 

http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/11/27/4443268/honda-lanewatch-named-2012-technology.html

Electric Cars: Fad or Future?

Electric Cars: Fad or Future?

Are electric cars just a passing fad like bell bottoms, lower-back tattoos and big hair? Honestly, I hadn’t even thought to ask this question because it seemed easy to see that electric cars will be a big part of the automobile industry, but the writer of this article had been asked the question enough times that he felt he needed to answer it.

His answer to the above question is a resounding “No” and here are some of his reasons why EVs are here to stay:

Honda FCX Clarity

“Among other things, 1) electrics cars run dead quiet, 2) electric cars have instant torque and terrific acceleration at low RPMs, performance which cannot be matched by gasoline engines, 3) electric cars have platform flexibility, turn radius/handling that can be amazing, since you can use distributed motors, all electric control etc, the same promise that fuel cell cars had, but couldn’t deliver, and 4) maintenance goes WAY down, virtually no fluids fewer moving parts.

Bottom line, once an EV or PHEV comes close on range and cost, it’s a better car than a gasoline car.”

 

As we, the consumer, get used to the EV idea, the technology will perform the way we demand and the price will come down. It will take time, but EVs are definitely a thing of the future (especially with gas prices as high as they are and no sign of coming down).

 

It is true, the mainstream consumer feels uneasy about aspects of owning an EV: range (how far can the car travel on a single charge), charge time (how long it takes to charge the battery), and maintenance (if you’re like me, you assume the new technology will be more costly to maintain and repair. Read on).

The range of EVs of today (and the future) is not like the EVs of yester-decade. Most EVs in the industry will easily get you to and from work if you have an average commute. I, however, have had a very un-average commute (100 miles per day) and what’s the point in not having to pay for gas if you can’t take your car on a long road trip? There are a couple EVs today that could handle that and as far as the future, the writer of the article predicts “by 2015 the average EV/PHEV range will approach 200 mi, and range anxiety will be a thing of the past.” Good news for all.

 

So, let’s say we want to go on that long-range road trip and we find a several charging stations along the way; am I going to have to spend half the day waiting for my EVs battery to charge? The not-so-short answer is no, but it depends on your cars battery. Here’s what the writer said: “charging is not a huge limitation, it’s a technology and cost choice.  Charge time is effectively a function of battery size, onboard charger size, and volts.  Let’s start out by saying we’re not going to be charging EVs at 110.  Too slow.  But charging at 220 is very doable.  220V home chargers today are in the 1-2K range. They will not stay that high for long.   Onboard charging The Leaf chose a 3.3Kw onboard charger.  Big mistake, done to skim $2K off the price of the car and keep it inline with the conventional Camry price point after tax credit.  They should have offered multiple options.  The Focus and Volt noticed this went with a 6.6 kw job, the Tesla Model S comes with a 10 – 20 kw.  Faster charging is pretty much an ask and you shall receive issue.”

As someone who put a lot of miles on her new 2009 Honda Accord (remember the 100 mile per day commute?) and someone who previously owned a very costly used foreign car (every six months we’d have to put $1,200 into a car we paid bought for $10,000…thus the new Accord), maintenance and repair costs are very important to me. The writer touched briefly on the fact that EVs have “virtually no fluids fewer moving parts” which brings costs way down. Winning.

So here’s what we know about EVs:

  • While they currently cost $8-$35,000 more than a gas vehicle, prices will continue to go down and demand and supply go up
  • They will cost less to fuel (electrically charging vs gasoline that is currently around $3.50 per gallon)
  • They will cost less to maintain and repair because they are simpler
  • They will drive better and perform better as the technology catches up with the potential of not having a big, heavy engine in the front
  • Many manufacturers will be producing cars that will alleviate concerns about range and charge time by 2015.

Yeah, I’d say EVs are here to stay.

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2012/1126/Electric-cars-niche-technology-or-the-auto-industry-s-future

Honda Creates a Computer You Can Drive

Honda announced that next year it will begin tests of a new micro commuter car prototype that “uses a driver’s tablet for displaying dashboard readings, audio, navigation and images from its rearview camera…” That’s right, your personal tablet will fit into a designated place on the dash and communicates with you all car and driving vitals. The tablet can be charged with the solar panels that will be located on top of the car.

How “micro” of a car are we talking? According to the article, “The prototype is an electric vehicle that seats a single driver and can reach speeds of 80 kilometers per hour, with a range of about 60 kilometers. It is 2.5 meters long, 1.25 meters wide and about 1.4 meters tall.

Honda did say the car can fit very small children in the backseat, but really this car is designed for city commuting because, let’s face it, very small children do not stay very small for very long.

“Honda’s prototype can also be used with its home energy system, which can charge its electric vehicles efficiently but also allows them to function as batteries for home use when they are plugged into a home power grid.”

Honda continues to push the technological and automotive envelope and we can’t wait to see this micro-commuter-computer-car.

Self-Driving Cars Overcome the Dangers of Technology

Much has been written about the self-driving cars that have recently been made legal in the state of California and, unbeknownst to me, have logged more than 250,000 driving miles…without a single incident.

That’s right; a perfect record.

I have thought a lot about the self-driving car and while I was wary at first, I was convinced of their inherent good and benefit to society when someone pointed out how they can give independence to people with disabilities and the elderly.

This article points out how the self-driving car can save those of us who willingly disable ourselves while we drive…with technology. We all know we do it: text, talk on the phone, check our emails on our phone, etc. If it’s not you, then it’s someone in a car around you, which could easily make you a statistic.

Imagine being able to tell your self-driving car to drive you home while you typed away at all those emails you didn’t get sent while in the office? Or telling your car to take you home after you’ve had one too many drinks? Self-driving cars are convenient and life-saving.

This paragraph from the article sums up the issue nicely:

“Pioneers in the field estimate that driverless cars could save a substantial number of lives each year. These cars are immune to distractions caused by talking on cell phones, texting and checking emails, eating and drinki

ng, grooming and shaving, reading and writing, watching TV or a video, adjusting the radio or CD player, checking the navigation system, watching the scenery, putting on make-up, fighting with passengers and disciplining children. They are also not impaired by alcohol, drugs, sleep deprivation and anger. They can react instantaneously and accurately. They always maintain the lane, use turn signals and never tailgate. They always respect red lights or stop signs. They keep detailed logs. They always remind you way before the time for refueling and maintenance service.”

What do you think? Are these arguments enough for you to jump behind the wheel of a self-driving car? What would it take to get you there?

Read the original article here.

 

Five Things to Look Forward to From Honda

This is a really interesting article that Automobilemag.com did based on a sit-down that Honda CEO Takanobu Ito had with American journalists.

 

  1. Honda wants more sporty cars some time in the future. While Ito didn’t give any specifics or lay out any plans for sportier cars, he did say that he wants them in Honda’s future. This leads me to the next point (which is actually point number five in the original article, but I think my way makes more sense).
  2. Honda wants to appeal to younger buyers. It seems like this goes hand-in-hand with wanting sportier cars.  Ito points out that young people buy cars that are interesting and that perhaps Honda had gotten a little complacent in design. My solution: start offering sportier cars and the younger buyers will line up because, while young buyers want sporty and interesting, they also have high expectation of dependability (probably because most young people don’t even know how to check their oil anymore, but that’s a different topic entirely).
  3. Honda will use dual-clutch and continuously variable transmissions. “Honda maintains that CVTs are generally the better solution for all-out fuel economy, but recognizes that dual-clutch transmissions are much more fun to drive and sporty. Cars that are designed only with fuel economy in mind will continue to use CVTs, but premium and sportier vehicles will get dual-clutch setups.”
  4. The driver is still in charge. I loved this point by Ito. We are getting into a car-driving age where our cars can tell us a lot of stuff and can do a lot of stuff for us (ie parallel park, keep a consistent speed, etc), but Ito wants driver’s to see all these features as “assists” and not “controls” because, he said, the car needs to “respect
  5.  the driver’s will as much as possible.” Amen to that.
  6. Downsized turbocharged engines are on the way. Here’s what the article said: “Honda has already confirmed that the next Civic Type R will use a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine based on that of the Civic WTCC race car. After that, Honda will begin offering more downsized turbocharged engines in future products. The move comes a fair bit after most other automakers switched from V-6 engines to turbo four-cylinders, due to the fact that Honda is only just starting to tinker with direct fuel injection. First of all, the main key is that we are successful in developing direct injection engines,” said Ito. “By adopting turbocharging systems, we get can have an engine with better fuel efficiency as well as better performance.

 

Check out the whole article here.

Self-Driving Cars Overcome Dangers of Technology

Much has been written about the self-driving cars that have recently been made legal in the state of California and, unbeknownst to me, have logged more than 250,000 driving miles…without a single incident.

 

That’s right; a perfect record.

 

I have thought a lot about the self-driving car and while I was wary at first, I was convinced of their inherent good and benefit to society when someone pointed out how they can give independence to people with disabilities and the elderly.

 

This article points out how the self-driving car can save those of us who willingly disable ourselves while we drive…with technology. We all know we do it: text, talk on the phone, check our emails on our phone, etc. If it’s not you, then it’s someone in a car around you, which could easily make you a statistic.

 

There are many states that have outlawed texting and talking on the phone while driving, but imagine being able to tell your self-driving car to drive you home while you typed away at all those emails you didn’t get sent while in the office? Or telling your car to take you home after you’ve had one too many drinks? Self-driving cars are convenient and life-saving.

 

This paragraph from the article sums up the issue nicely:

 

“Pioneers in the field estimate that driverless cars could save a substantial number of lives each year. These cars are immune to distractions caused by talking on cell phones, texting and checking emails, eating and drinking, grooming and shaving, reading and writing, watching TV or a video, adjusting the radio or CD player, checking the navigation system, watching the scenery, putting on make-up, fighting with passengers and disciplining children. They are also not impaired by alcohol, drugs, sleep deprivation and anger. They can react instantaneously and accurately. They always maintain the lane, use turn signals and never tailgate. They always respect red lights or stop signs. They keep detailed logs. They always remind you way before the time for refueling and maintenance service.”

 

What do you think? Are these arguments enough for you to jump behind the wheel of a self-driving car? What would it take to get you there?

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