By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Things change quickly in this business. Here are some updates on previous posts along with some new items worth watching.
● Research scientists have identified areas of the Pacific seabed that may contain large deposits of many rare earth elements used in electronic products. Development of these areas could ease the virtual geographic monopoly held by China on about 98 percent of the world’s supplies. The materials aren’t really rare but occur in hard-to-get-at locations.
▼ The EV Cup racing series for all-electric, purpose-built racing cars has postponed its 2011 debut, citing delays in manufacturing the vehicles and getting them to meet certain safety standards. They’re hoping for a 2012 season but nothing definite has been announced.
▲ Toyota has said it will return to international endurance racing – and LeMans – in 2012 with a gas-electric hybrid prototype. Toyota has not raced at the international level for many years, but has a stellar record of success when they choose to compete. The company plans to compete head to head with the presently dominant diesel powered Audis and Peugeots.
● General Motors announced that there will be an all-electric (plug-in) Chevrolet Spark for 2013. It will be sold in “selected markets” (read: urban areas) including California. Gas and diesel powered Sparks are currently built in Korea, India, and Uzbekistan. No word yet on where Chevy will build the electric version.
▲SAAB of Sweden appears to have received part of its anticipated bridge loan from the Chinese investment company interested in purchasing the company. The deal has been held up by Chinese rules that all such investment must be approved by the government. SAAB has not produced any cars since about June of this year, and nearly filed for bankruptcy before the loan came through.
▼ Honda has announced that production of the HondaJet aircraft will again be delayed, possibly into 2013. They have to go back to the drawing board and redesign parts of the engines to prevent icing damage.
● Various companies and researchers are looking into a new (or very old) material for use in vehicle body work—bamboo. When mixed certain resins, bamboo fibers can form a material with a strength to weight ratio somewhere between fiberglass and carbon fiber. The idea is already in production use for surfboards and a few other products
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.