Author Archives: russcage

I'm a car guy, an energy wonk and a science geek from way back. The world is starting to change in ways I've long anticipated, and it's time to start a chronicle of events and thoughts.

The broken promise of renewables

Back in 2011, Google engineers came to a conclusion guaranteed to give Greenpeace nightmares:  “Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”  Google promptly dropped its work on renewables and looked at other options.  The dirty secret of renewables is that, in the […]

The 2009 slideshow from Penguicon

Here’s the slideshow I created for Penguicon (or the fraction which survived the forced shutdown after the video driver hung in projector-only mode when I had to surrender the room). NuclearWind

Economics of the Chevy Volt and F150 PHEV

The list of retrofit/prototype/experimental EREVs just got longer.  Auburn Hills-based (why haven’t they offered me a job?) Alt-E LLC has raised the ante on its Crown Victoria conversion with the addition of a converted F150.  (Auburn Hills company showcasing converted Fords… must be some disaffected ex-Chrysler people in there!)  They’ve put their weight behind a […]

Now Ford schools GM

The announcements are coming fast and furious.  Ford has previewed a 1-liter, 3-cylinder Ecoboost engine for the Ford Start Concept, and announced production intent.  This engine has gasoline direct injection (GDI), turbocharging and a 10:1 geometric compression ratio.  The power is “comparable to a normally aspirated, 1.6-litre I4 powerplant“.  Parts count is of course reduced, […]

When Fiat shows GM how it’s done, Detroit is in deep trouble

You would think that the sustainer engine in a car like the Chevy Volt would be cutting-edge for its size, weight and efficiency, wouldn’t you? You would be wrong.  The sustainer in the Volt is an off-the-shelf 1.4 liter with little to recommend it.  It does not even use the Atkinson cycle.  Worse, it has […]

What did Illinois’ bid to produce the Ford Explorer cost the nation?

The news reported the other day that production of the Ford Explorer is being moved from a plant in Tennessee to Chicago.  This is estimated to bring 1200 jobs with it.  Tax breaks were a key factor in Ford’s decision to go to Chicago.  The Tennessee plant is being retooled to make small cars. Nobody […]

Bill Gates doesn’t understand efficiency

The Huffington Post has a piece under Bill Gates’ byline in which he says efficiency is over-rated, and what we need is “innovation, not just insulation”. Perhaps he neglected his calculus studies while he was working to become the world’s greatest software monopolist†, because there are some things he obviously does not understand.  I’ll list […]

The near future

Jeff Rubin talks about the production of oil, changing demand, the resulting price, carbon, and the economic implications for many industries including autos. It’s about 30 minutes of presentation plus a Q&A. It is very interesting how the price of oil and carbon both push towards more local production (de-globalization). The effect of higher oil […]

Ancient history

I admit it, I’ve been at this for a while. It’s strange, but the US auto industry has taken eighteen years to get to a point I foresaw in 1992 (actually earlier, but I don’t have records of it.) From the ancient archives of Usenet News, I bring you words of another time (pardon the […]