Going Back in Time: Jeep History

This exact month over 70 years ago, the first Bantam Jeep vehicle was designed and completed. To be exact it was completed on September 21st of 1940. After it’s completion it was quickly thrown into a very serious, and rigorous series of tests, off-road and not. After its superb performance by the standards of that era, it quickly became the most iconic military vehicle.

Jump forward 70 plus years to 2013, and we now see thew newest military vehicle, the Jeep J8. The all new Jeep J8 was brought into play this month, just six years ago (September 13th, 2007). This Jeep model is solely used for military, security and governmental purposes. This is made apparent with its features, like being built in the deserts of Egypt, heavy duty rear leaf springs, and a hood mounted snorkel for water or even worse, sand storms. Seriously how awesome would it be to have a snorkel on a vehicle? Even though the consumer market designed Jeep Wrangler doesn’t have some of these oddball features, it still is the base design of this Jeep J8, that in itself is a prime reason that the Jeep is the true leader for the development of 4×4 vehicles.

The Evolution of Jeep, sure it has been incredible–but it has been consistent. The base Jeep Wrangler model may not be an armored military vehicle, but it is still highly capable of conquering just about any terrain. For more information on the Jeep Wrangler and all other Jeep models, visit our website www.reedmantoll.com.

Posted by reedman on Sep 19 2013 in Automotive Industry News, Jeep News, New Technology

Recent Chrysler Group News and Reviews

Posted by reedman on Aug 20 2013 in Chrysler Models, Chrysler News, Economy, Environment, New Technology, Vehicle Safety

XV Crosstrek, Orange and Outstanding

Subaru has always been able to produce some of the most reliable all-wheel drive vehicles that hte North American market had to offer. While other automakers had spent a lot of time creating new crossover models, Subaru took their time when looking to join in the Crossover segment fun.

The XV Crosstrek gives a very outdoorsy appearance, just like many other Subaru models might provide–but this crossover gives drivers this taste of real adventure. If you can find it in this marvelous orange color it really give you a unique appearance. It is essentially an Impreza, but with a slight lift to give it better clearance, much like a SUV model. This is an ideal choice for those with a family, or those who like to take weekend adventures. Check out our inventory of crossover Subarus.

Posted by reedman on Apr 22 2013 in Automotive Industry News, New Technology, Subaru News

The Rise of the Turbocharged Engine

2011 Chevy Cruze

2011 Chevy Cruze

The turbocharged engine – for many years in the automotive world these were reserved for high-end, on-demand powered vehicles. But today turbocharged engines have finally gone mainstream. While these engines were originally found on vehicles such as the Porsche 911 way back the the 1970′s, many automakers have turned to this growing technology as a source of powerful fuel efficiency.  Turbochargers boost pressure in the engine, increasing torque and horsepower, while dropping fuel consumption. As the price of gasoline dropped and the availability of gasoline increased throughout the ’80′s, turbocharging became an added bonus for expensive vehicle owners who loved driving fast and hard. At this year’s New York International Auto Show, it was clear that the technology isn’t just being used for its get-up-and-go possibilities any more here in the United States, as high-performance turbocharged models were joined on the show floor by much more affordable, turbocharged models from automakers such as Chevrolet.

In fact, the use of the turbocharged engine has changed so much in the last decade that turbocharging could eventually become a standard feature on all gas engines. It may be a more expensive technology than the standard gasoline engine, but it offers customers what they want: more power and better fuel efficiency all together.

The Chevy Cruze might be the best example of where the technology is headed. Everything about this compact is geared towards fuel economy, including the standard Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which gets as estimated, hybrid-like 40 mpg on the highway. Topping out at 138 horsepower, Chevy claims that the power is there when you need it — the Eco delivers 148 lb-ft. torque at just 1800 rpm — but the 4-cylinder fuel efficiency is always there.

Posted by reedman on Jun 10 2010 in New Technology

Cool Car Apps

With the huge increase in smartphone and i-phone usage, developers are creating apps to keep up with the trend. One type of app that can be very useful for iPhone users are apps that are meant for use in the car. Apple has brought a car-customization approach to consumer electronics by allowing anyone with programming skills and an innovative idea to develop third-party applications for the device. Read below for a few suggestions for cool car apps.

The Car Care application ($4.99) allows you to keep tabs on your ride with just a few screen taps. It tracks oil changes and tire rotations as well as fuel economy.

Gas Cubby ($4.99) is another maintenance and mileage app that files fuel economy info and provides service reminders and records, while Trip Cubby ($9.99) from the same developer is designed for business road warriors who need to monitor mileage for expense purposes. It even allows you to log deductible expenses for multiple vehicles and drivers.

gMeter ($8.99) measures forward and lateral Gs and can be used to compute velocity, distance traveled and engine power. It can also be set up to capture timed distance, timed speed and timed braking and has a hands-free auto-start feature.

g-tac ($4.99) is a less expensive alternative to the above apps that only records straight-line performance. It can be used to capture 0-60 and quarter-mile times, 60-0 stopping distance and acceleration G-force, while graphing allows comparing three separate runs.

DevToaster’s Rev is a performance app that’s currently under development (and the beta version is free). It can graph cornering, braking and acceleration Gs, and it uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS to display acceleration and braking data on a map screen. With the addition of an interface, it can tap into a car’s OBD-II port and display information such as vehicle speed, RPM, engine load and other parameters and allow you to check and reset engine and error codes.

AccuFuel ($.99) is another iPhone car app that allows you to see how your driving habits affect fuel-efficiency. While this is something anyone can do with a pen and paper, AccuFuel computes gas mileage according to the kind of car you drive, and it can keep track of multiple vehicles.

iGas app ($2.99) shows the 10 lowest gas or diesel prices in a given area of the U.S. and also provides directions and the distance to each station.

Auto Fuel Economics ($.99) compares the sticker price and fuel economy of two vehicles, taking into account current gas prices, the average number of miles driven per year and how long you plan to keep the car to calculate what it will cost to drive it, minus maintenance.

Car Finder V1.1 ($.99) app will save you time, and perhaps embarrassment. Using the GPS capability built into an iPhone 3G, it lets you note the level you parked on and the car’s location so you can get compass directions and use Google Maps to lead you back to it.

G-Park ($.99) is a more sophisticated app that also works with the original iPhone and iPod touch, although it’s more accurate when used with the iPhone 3G. After parking, you press the app’s Park Me button, and then when you’re ready to return to your ride simply press the “Where Did I Park My Car” button and Google Maps provides turn-by-turn directions.

Car Spotter ($.99) only works with the iPhone 3G, but offers features such as a timer, camera log, audio recorder and a notes section. It also allows you to set the accuracy of the “pin drop” where you parked your car as well as adjusting the type, view and zoom level of the phone’s GPS map.

Posted by reedman on Mar 19 2010 in New Technology

Green Road Aiming to Help Drivers Improve Safety and Efficiency

A new auto technology is aimed at drivers, to help them drive with the environment and fuel efficiency in mind. Green Road is the manufacturer behind a green driving system designed to encourage motorists to drive in a safe and fuel-efficient manner.

Green Road’s technology combines GPS, an accelerometer and map data to provide feedback to a driver on how efficiently and safely they are driving using a dashboard device that lights up red if they are braking or cornering too sharply. The device also records a log of driving maneuvers throughout the day, allowing fleet managers to assess how individuals are driving. The firm says a typical fleet operator sees up to a 50 per cent reduction in crash costs and up to a 10 per cent cut in fuel consumption within the first year.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for young drivers. Already in use by thousands of drivers, the GreenRoad 360 service has been proven to decrease crashes by as much as 50%. While based on sophisticated technology, the service is incredibly simple: young drivers receive continuous feedback and coaching on safe driving habits both in their vehicles and online. Parents can finally have peace of mind when their teens are out on the roads. Insurance companies are so impressed with the results they are offering discounts of up to 25% to young drivers who sign up.

The dashboard component is directly connected to a password-protected web interface, where drivers and their managers can access real-time reports on driving performance, recommendations for improving safety measures or fuel efficiency, and tools to calculate risk on a vehicle or fleet-wide level. Currently, GreenRoad has 80 fleet customers, some with as many as 20,000 active vehicles. Each of these clients pays $1,000 per car equipped with the GreenRoad system. The hope is that the Green Road driving system will eventually become more mainstream on the consumer market and help drivers around the country drive ‘greener’ and safer.

Posted by reedman on Mar 5 2010 in New Technology

New Shape Memory Alloy Technology

Today, even the most efficient internal-combustion engines use only 30 percent of the fuel’s energy to propel the vehicle. Much of the rest exits out the rear as waste heat. Now, researchers at General Motors are working on an energy-­scavenging device that could convert that exhaust heat into electricity.

The key is the use of a shape-memory alloy (SMA), explains Jan Aase, director of GM’s Vehicle Development Research Lab. “When you heat it up, it shrinks to its original length and gets stiffer,” he says. “When you cool it, you can stretch it out. So if you wrap shape-memory-alloy wire around two pulleys—one hot, one cold—the material will actually cycle the pulleys.”

The hot set is next to the pipe, while the cold one is offset and cooled by fresh air. The SMA wire coils around the pulleys. As the material expands and contracts, it causes the pulleys to spin, which drives a generator. GM is working with California-based Dynalloy, a company that recently developed a process to produce a nickel-titanium SMA capable of repeating millions of heat/cool cycles.

The researchers hope that the unit will produce enough juice to power all of a car’s electrical accessories— including electric power-steering pumps—allowing the engine to burn less fuel. GM R&D last year received a $2.7 million government grant to pursue the technology, which could potentially harness energy from factory smokestacks and house furnaces, as well as from automotive tailpipes. GM hopes to have a prototype ready by late 2010. Maybe in the Volt?

Posted by reedman on Jan 28 2010 in New Technology

2011 Lincoln MKX to Feature MyLincoln Touch – A New Advanced SYNC Technology

mytouch-ford-topThe first vehicle to feature Ford’s new MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch Technology will be the 2011 Lincoln MKX, which will debut at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. After the MKX, look for this technology in the refreshed 2011 Ford Edge and then the all-new 2011 Ford Focus. Eventually, all Lincoln models will feature this. So what is MyLincoln Touch? MyLincoln Touch brings Ford a generation (or two) beyond the competition. It is a piece of driver connect technology like SYNC, only much more advanced. Ford has gone ahead and broken down all of the possible non-driving-related tasks into four groups: Phone, Climate, Navigation and Entertainment. In the car you will get a large, eight-inch touchscreen display in the center stack, two 4.2-inch LCD screens to the right and left of an analog speedometer and two steering wheel-mounted five-way button controls. Using Ford’s award-winning HMI (human-machine interface) setup, MyLincoln Touch seeks to allow a driver to control in-car technology through either voice, touch or the wheel-mounted controllers. As Ford termed it, VUI (voice user interface), TUI (touch user interface) and GUI (graphic user interface).

Ford has gone ahead and broken down all of the possible non-driving-related tasks into four groups: Phone, Climate, Navigation and Entertainment. As far as the large, eight-inch touchscreen goes, its four corners each contain a button for one of the four groupings. Phone is brown, Navigation is green, Entertainment is purple and Climate is blue. All devices with bluetooth will be able to connect..in addition the system will serve as a wireless hotspot. Users will be able to take all of their MyLincoln Touch settings with them from vehicle to vehicle – just plug in an SD card or flash drive and you’re good to go drive another MyFord Touch-equipped car.

Posted by reedman on Jan 4 2010 in New Technology

Internet and TV on Wheels

Over the past few years microprocessors and wireless Internet connections have turned cameras, phones and televisions into computers. Today the same technologies are being used and developed to transform the common automobile into a moving communication center; the internet on the dashboard. There are already products like Chrysler’s Uconnect that can turn the family minivan into a rolling Wi-Fi hot spot. The $499 box is a combination high-speed cellular Internet connection and wireless router that gives any nearby Wi-Fi-enabled device Web access. This allows passengers to surf the Web while cruising around town or down the highway. Coming technologies promise to take car computing to the next level by tightly integrating Web information and entertainment with driving tasks — and even putting Internet-based information at the driver’s fingertips.

Television technology is also coming to cars. In development is a way to extend live television feeds to the back seat. Various aftermarket companies are working towards this. The industry is eagerly waiting consumer’s response to this new world of Web- and channel-surfing in automobiles. There are still many potholes that could put a dent in the progress.  Coverage is still spotty in rural areas, and the speed of existing networks cannot match that of a cable broadband connection. Do we really need TV and internet in our cars? Not really, but with today’s hustle and bustle society saving time, even if it’s in the car, will likely be important to many. The funny thing is years in the future it will likely be like the internet and cell phones are today, part of everyday life.

Posted by reedman on Oct 1 2009 in New Technology

A New Radio Technology: HD Radio

HD Radio – Clearer Radio For Free

HD radio makes FM radio sound like CD and AM sound like FM, and offers what the HD Radio Web site calls “crystal-clear reception with no audio distortion.” The biggest benefit compared to satellite radio is it’s free. And like satellite radio, it offers alternative content that’s largely commercial-free by allowing a station to “multicast” separate programming on an adjacent sub-frequency that only an HD Radio can tune in. Another benefit to HD radio is it supplies detailed artist and song title listings, as well as info on traffic, weather, sports, stocks, emergencies and more. Although HD Radio has been around since 2005, it has yet to achieve mainstream status.

So how do you get HD Radio?  It was first available as an aftermarket product, but more recently automakers are beginning to offer it factory installed. For example, Jaguar offers HD Radio as standard in the 2009 XF and XK and will make it standard in all 2010 models. The bottom line with HD Radio is it is a free source of higher quality sound compared to traditional radio. HD Digital radio receivers are able to smooth out the sound signals to deliver crystal-clear reception. One factor that is keeping HD from becoming mainstream is that the service is not available everywhere, particularly in rural areas. While 1,800 radio stations have signed up so far, the signals from HD Radio stations in urban areas only extend about a maximum of 50 miles.

Posted by reedman on Jul 16 2009 in New Technology