The Car Geek: February 2008

The Car Geek

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Honda Civic GX: Part Of 'Greenest Vehicles Of 2008' List For The Fifth Straight Year

Honda’s continuing effort in enhancing environmental-friendly and fuel efficient vehicles had paid off by earning top honors from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) as the "greenest vehicles of 2008". This award recognizes the company’s dedication in the application of efficient alternative fuel technologies. According to the Auto Channel, the Civic GX natural gas vehicle took the crown of being one of the greenest vehicles with a rising thermostat for the fifth straight year.

The 11th annual ACEEE's "Green Book(R) Online" results were announced by the American Honda Motor Co., Inc. a few days ago. The Civic GX topped the list along with the gasoline Civic, Fit and Civic Hybrid. In addition to this, this is the eighth consecutive year that a Honda car achieved the top ranking and the seventh successive year that Honda vehicles seized a minimum of four spots in the top 12.

"The ACEEE awards speak to the commitment Honda has made to lead the industry in lowering emissions, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing dependence on oil. Honda continues to set the standard for socially and environmentally-responsible automotive products and our commitment to alternative fuels will further expand with the zero emissions FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle coming to market this summer," says John Mendel, the executive vice president of American Honda.

The company holds a long and glorious history of environmental leadership that includes the unveiling of the America's first hybrid, the Honda Insight.

The first vehicles to meet stricter emissions standards, includes:

  • The first gasoline Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV), the 1996 Honda Civic.
  • The first gasoline Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle (ULEV), the 1998 Honda Accord.
  • The first gasoline Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), the 2000 Honda Accord.
  • The first Advanced Technology Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), the 2001 Civic GX natural gas vehicle.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Museum Of Modern Arts To Feature Mercedes-Benz Bionic Car

I never knew some automakers can make great philosophers too. Not until, I came across Daimler Chrysler’s philosophy. As we all know, Daimler Chrysler is the leading automobile manufacturer in terms of technological advancements. And it lives by these philosophies: Thinking the unthinkable. Looking beyond the horizon. Leaving familiar paths and giving new ideas a chance.

Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz Technology Center’s commitment to safety, comfort and most importantly to environmental compatibility complemented by its engineer’s creative minds paved the way for the Mercedes-Benz bionic car -- a concept vehicle inspired by nature but utilizes the diesel engine technology for practical use. According to, this bionic car features qualities similar to a fish -- with streamlined contours and outstanding aerodynamics. Biologists, bionics scientists and automotive researchers took the challenge of finding the ideal creature that suits their concept of a car transformed from nature to technology. Finally, they found all the qualities they’ve been looking for in Ostracion Cubicus better known as the boxfish -- agile and streamlined at first sight but is a good swimmer.

By finding homes in the coral reefs, lagoons and seaweeds of the tropical seas, the boxfish has developed good maneuverability -- great characteristics that is common with Daimler Chrysler’s ideal car.

The Mercedes-Benz bionic car, a four-seater compact car with two doors, windscreen, glass roof and a tailgate, 4.24 meters long, 1.82 meters wide and 1.59 meters high. It also incorporates cameras as substitute for exterior mirrors and rear wheels covered with sheets of plastic flush-fitted door handles.

The bionic car is equipped with a 103 kW per 140 horsepower direct-injection diesel engine, consumes 4.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers and has a top speed of 190 kilometers per hour. Hopefully, it comes with high-quality oil filters as well though it promises about 80 percent lower nitrogen oxide emissions using its selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

Starting on February 24 up to May 12, this bionic car from Mercedes-Benz will be displayed in the “Design and Elastic Mind” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, which honors and recognizes the powerful innovations and latest developments in science, research and design.

Indeed, by exploring the beauty of one's philosophy, anyone can turn simple things into amazing achievements.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Teens Unite To Prevent Car Crashes

Car crashes is among the primary cause of several fatalities for teen drivers in the past years. It’s sad to know that they pay a major price for being too neglectful and aggressive behind the wheel whereas control arms won’t even save their precious lives. As a result, dedicated teenagers in the U.S., students from 25 different schools, came together and compete to generate a significant and convincing safe driving communication campaigns. According to the Auto Channel, the program is intended to encourage their friends and classmates of the hazards of perilous behavior while driving.

Project Ignition sponsored by State Farm(R) and organized by the National Youth Leadership Council(R), announced the ten finalist schools for this year. Here are the finalists in the fourth year of the program:

  • Ada High School - Ada, Okla.
  • Bergen County Technical School - Paramus, N.J.
  • Bishop McNamara High School - Forestville, Md.
  • Harry D. Jacobs High School - Algonquin, Ill.
  • Howenstine High Magnet School - Tucson, Ariz.
  • Louisburg High School - Louisburg, Kan.
  • Medina Valley High School - Castroville, Texas
  • Nease High School - Ponte Vedra, Fla.
  • Owen Valley High School - Spencer, Ind.
  • Upper Arlington High School - Columbus, Ohio

"Project Ignition embodies the true meaning of service-learning and how teens can have a direct impact not only on the lives of their peers, but also on the community. Teen driving behavior and habits are a major factor in teen driving accidents. Project Ignition uses service-learning as a tool for young people to educate themselves and their neighbors on the risks they face every time they get behind the wheel," says Dr. James Kielsmeier, the president of NYLC.

Nearly 7,000 teens, ranging from 16 to 20 years old, were involved in deadly car accidents in the United States last year. The death rate for drivers’ age 16 to 19 years, based on miles driven, is four times that of drivers' aged 25 to 69 years according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Today's young people are faced with hazards both inside and outside the vehicle. Through service-learning, the Project Ignition program empowers teens to influence their peers and make a positive impact on driving behaviors and attitudes. State Farm's goal is to make the roads safer for all drivers and help save lives," says Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President of Community Relations for State Farm.


Monday, February 11, 2008

GEMA Plant, Noted For Operational Excellence By Shingo

Focus. Practice. Commitment to outstanding results. These highly-regarded “virtues” in business processes make a Shingo Awardee - considered as the “Nobel Prize of Manufacturing.”

Based from a report in Autochannel, on the 20th Annual Shingo prize for Operational Excellence Conference in Dallas, Texas scheduled this coming March 31 to April 3, the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan that holds facilities in producing fuel-efficient engines for Chrysler will be receiving the 2008 Shingo Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence. Last year, it also bagged the same award making it as the sole automotive manufacturer to receive such recognition.

According to Vice President for Chrysler Limited Liability Company (LLC) Manufacturing and also a member of the GEMA Board of Directors, Richard Chow-Wah, it is a pleasure to be receiving such recognition which he considers a confirmation that they accomplished their mission of setting a revolutionary pace in engine manufacturing by maximizing manpower, processes, technologies and systems. Meanwhile, Global Engine Manufaturing Alliance LLC President Bruce Coventry dedicates the success to the committed and hardworking members of the GEMA team. According to him, the 330 GEMA employees including the 265 partner employees who keep the facility going just the way an Acura Legend tie rod enables your Acura car wheels to turn deserve the applaud and the honor.

He pointed out, “At the same time, in the spirit of continuous improvement we recognize there are many opportunities in our processes. We understand that manufacturing excellence is a never-ending journey, not a final destination.”

GEMA is known as a producer of 1.8-, 2.0-, and 2.4-liter engines used for Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible, Dodge Caliber, Avenger and other vehicles using what are considered as the “World Engines,” these units developed by the joint efforts of Chrysler, Hyundai Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

According to, the GEMA plant in Michigan, which has been operating for three years now, was also a recipient of the Top Plant Award given by the Plant Engineering Magazine in 2007 while in 2006, it was given the Environmental Achievement Award from the Environmental Management Association.