Henry Payne Blog

Payne: How do I love Miata?

Posted by hpayne on February 13, 2016

miata_topless It’s 28 degrees outside. Gloves? Check. Hat? Check. Heater cranked to 84 degree max, windows up and top down? Check. In Michigan you have to embrace the six-month winters or go stir crazy. Having a 2016 Mazda Miata MX-5 in your driveway helps. How do I love the new Miata? Let me count the ways: 1. Above all, it is – after 26 years – still the raw, throwback car that it set out to be. Just over a quarter-century after it was introduced, the fourth-generation car is the same weight as the original. Heck, I’m not the same weight I was 26 years ago. And neither is any other car on the market I can think of. The BMW M3, for example – an icon of automotive athleticism – weighs 900 pounds more than it did three decades ago. Nine-hundred pounds. That’s 40 percent of a Miata. 2. That raw character translates into throw-able, joyous handling. Go on. Turn off the traction control. Go too fast into a corner. Throw the front end into the apex. Let the rear slide out. It’ll come back to you just like your favorite puppy. Lightweight. Good balance. Low center of gravity. All the things that make a predictable sports car. 3. The shifter. Short, firm throws. Why doesn’t every gearbox feel like this? 4. That’s gearbox as in manual gearbox. Yeah, I know, automatics have made manuals an anachronism because they deliver better fuel economy, better zero-60 times, better sanity when you’re trapped in a five-mile winter traffic backup on the Lodge because some lunkhead was driving his F-150 90 mph and did a barrel roll. But automatics lack one thing: total control. Heel-and-tow downshifts, rowing the box out to redline, drifting with throttle. The good stuff. 5. A trunk big enough so you don’t have to mail your luggage to your destination (lookin’ at you, Alfa Romeo 4C Spider). 6. Going topless is as easy as pulling off a T-shirt. When I get the spontaneous urge to put the top down and take Mrs. Payne out to dinner (she’s more appreciative of my spontaneity when it’s 80 degrees outside), the Miata is just as spontaneous. No manual required for a multi-step roof fold. No pull-down tabs that require the strength of Arnold Schwarzenegger (remember the last gen Camaro?). No long, Corvette-like button presses while the top folds into a tonneau cover in the rear (though the Vette’s ability to drop the top up to 35 mph is a real convenience). No, all you have to do is flip back the switch, pull back the soft cover and stuff it behind the seats. With one arm. Without getting out of the car. And it’s just as easy to put back up. 7. In this age of alphanumeric badges, it’s still OK to call the Mazda roadster a “Miata.” 8. Distinctive design. At a time of me-too styling, Miata ditched its me-too, Lotus Elan, retro look for its own wardrobe. It took guts but it also rewards the Mazda’s staying power. A quarter-century after it took a risk in the U.S. market, it is now an icon in its own right. A halo for the Mazda brand. 9. Modern outside – but still festooned with interior quirks reminiscent of a British sports car. Quirks like cup holders that can snap into place at driver’s elbow – or by the passenger’s left knee. Cute – but you’d be crazy to trust a McDonald’s coffee in this baby. Of course, the sensible thing to do would be to put the cup holder in the middle of the console – but that’s occupied by a rotary dial needed to operate a touchscreen that’s only six inches away inside a car so small everything is six inches away. Seriously, the 2,309-pound roadster is so small you can throw it in the back of a Suburban with your golf clubs for a weekend up north. 10. You can buy a turn-key, ready-to-race, Cup car to compete in the single-make, factory-supported, SCCA Miata MX-5 Cup series. And true to the affordable, $25,735 base Miata production sticker, the Cup car’s 53-grand price is one of the cheapest ways you can go racing today. Which means those Michigan winter months will fly by as you prep your car and team for the opening round at Laguna Seca Raceway, California on April 29. It’ll still be winter in Michigan. But it’s always 70 degrees and sunny at Laguna. ’16 Mazda MX-5 Miata Vehicle type: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-passenger sports car Price: $25,735 base ($31,015 GT as tested) Power plant: 2.0-liter, dual overhead-cam 4-cylinder Power: 155 horsepower, 148 pound-feet of torque Transmission: Six-speed manual and six-speed automatic Performance: 0-60 mph, 5.9 seconds (Car & Driver) Weight: 2,309 pounds Fuel economy: EPA 27 mpg city/34 mpg highway/29.8 mpg heavily flogged by Payne Report card Highs: Topless-made-easy; simple, affordable fun Lows: Flimsy cupholders; BMW-like rotary infotainment dial Overall:★★★★  

Payne: Plug-in electric Volt or natural-gas Impala?

Posted by hpayne on February 11, 2016

dr11-Paynemain-0216n The 2015 Chevy Impala natural gas-assisted, gasoline hybrid has a range of about 545 miles. Which is a good thing because that’s how far you may need to drive to find a natural gas filling station. The closest one to my Oakland County home was 38 miles away at a DTE Energy depot on French Drive by Detroit City Airport. It’s not a neighborhood I would advise the missus to drive to every day. Take a right at Graffiti and Empty-Lot-With-Tall-Grass, then it’s the first right past the empty building with “FILTHY FRESH” spray-painted on the side. The security guard behind the barbed-wire fence will let you in. But you can fuel it at home if yours is one of 50 percent of U.S. residences powered by natural gas. That makes natural-gas hybrids a viable competitor to battery-powered electric vehicles for convenience. Plug-in electric hybrid or natural-gas hybrid? Chevy offers both, so I compared the 2016 Chevy Volt to the Impala to answer which is the King of Convenience. Greenies say the future has a plug and have touted electric vehicles for their alleged zero CO2 emissions. The truth is more complicated. Lithium-ion batteries take an enormous amount of energy to produce, contain toxins and get their juice from a carbon-based energy grid. Recent academic studies have found that — over the life-cycle of an EV in the coal-powered Midwest — it would actually increase CO2 emissions. Just as utilities seeking to affordably reduce their carbon footprint have turned to natural gas, so have automakers looked at compressed natural gas as an alternative. Their carbon dioxide emissions are 75 percent of gasoline-powered equivalents. Thanks to America’s fracking boom, the cost of natural gas plummeted in recent years, leading to GM’s ambitious plans for the Impala — only the second compressed natural gas vehicle on the market after Honda’s Civic. But fracking also benefited the oil market, meaning my CNG Impala cost $2.64 to refill down by the “FILTHY FRESH” in November when gas prices were just $1.89 at my local BP station (now $1.59). Ouch. But what if I could fill up at home? The convenience of a garage-installed natural gas station — called The Phill by BRC Fuelmaker — would set me back $5,500. Double ouch. After that heavy lift, refilling the Impala’s 7.8-gallon natural gas tank is a bargain at about 92 cents a gallon from home — if you’re patient. At a half-gallon an hour, she’ll take 16 hours to feed. With residential rates a mere 8 cents per kilowatt hour (just 3.7 kWh at night), the Volt has the CNG beat on cost, if not convenience. My Volt tester took a CNG-like 13 hours to recharge on a standard 110-volt outlet at a cost of about a buck. Forget to plug in one night when your arms were full of bags? Both Chevys will take half a day to top off when you realize you left them unfueled next morning (happily, gasoline backup is always ready). Want to cut that in half? DTE Energy says you can buy a $500 (plus $2,000 installation) 240-volt charger for the Volt. But don’t be so sure Volt will get its advertised 53 miles on a charge in Michigan winter. I got 30 mpg around town. Sure, I was lead-footing it (stomping Corvettes out of stoplights with instant electric torque is addicting). But even in good-boy, hyper-miling mode, I managed just 37 mpg. The CNG Impala offers consistent fuel mileage regardless of temperature. Toggle the CNG button on the left dash and the car draws its power from the extra tank behind the rear seat. My CNG mpg nearly matched gasoline (26 mpg vs 27) — and I got a range of 149 miles. When the tank runs out the car switches imperceptibly to gasoline just like the range-extending Volt. Total mileage? 545 miles compared to the plug-in’s maximum of 293 in balmy weather. Advantage Impala. But wait, there’s more. My two testers will set you back $38,210 (Impala) and $34,475 (Volt). Throw in the $7,500 EV federal tax subsidy for saving polar bears and the compact Volt is a whopping $11K cheaper than the full-size Impala. That savings, however, will get you a lot less car. Impala’s acres of seat room easily fit five polar bears. Thanks to a smaller battery, the ’16 Volt can now seat five — if the middle, back-seat passenger is a Barbie doll. When Volt’s charge runs dry you’re left with a buzzy, 1.4-liter four, whereas Impala gets a powerful V-6. Going bi-fuel, however, means less-powerful port-injection versus the standard Impala (260 vs. 305) — and more pounds (375) to carry. A generation ago you would have had to put a gun to my head to plug Impala. It was the bane of rental fleets. On a recent trip to Dollar Rental, I was reunited with Impala Sr. and it was as undistinguished as I remember. The Impala is all you have? NOOOOOOOOO! Check the key bin again! The 2015 model, however, has been transformed. Like the Volt, its user-friendly interior is state of the art. My 2015 model didn’t have the Apple Car Play connectivity of the Volt, but it’ll come. Impala’s Extreme Makeover gives it a welcoming, pretty face and voluptuous hips. It also exposes Volt’s biggest mistake: down-market styling. In the 30-grand neighborhood where it rubs shoulders with Impalas and sexy, small luxe rides, the chrome-beaked Volt looks like a $20K Chevy Cruze. A Cruze with bling, sure. But still a Cruze. I won’t deny the status factor. I got in more conversations with green cuties driving the Volt than I did Impala — which only betrays its green-ness with a big “CNG” sign on the trunk. Whaddaya got there? A DTE fleet vehicle? The Volt’s driving dynamics benefit from the floor-mounted battery’s low center of gravity. But the big Impala is no slug with a substantially stiffer chassis than the old rental dinosaur. Its CNG tank works against its natural advantage — space — by taking up half the trunk, meaning its 10 cubic feet of cargo room is just shy of the hatchback Volt. The verdict? That green halo never comes cheap. All things considered, the CNG Impala is more practical family transportation even as the Volt will save you in the wallet. ’15 Chevrolet Impala Vehicle type: Front-engine, front-wheel drive, five-passenger sedan Price: $38,210 Powerplant: 3.6-liter, dual overhead cam V-6 Power: 260 horsepower, 247 pound-feet of torque (using gasoline); 230 horsepower, 218 pound-feet of torque (CNG) Transmission: Six-speed automatic Performance: 0-60 mph (NA) Weight: 4,175 pounds Fuel economy: EPA 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway/20 combined (using gasoline); EPA 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway/19 combined (CNG) Report card Highs: Fuels at home just like an EV; acres of room Lows: Convenience home filling station an inconvenient $5,500; CNG tank means less trunk room Overall:★★★ ’16 Chevrolet Volt Vehicle type: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger sedan Price: $33,995 base ($34,475 as tested) Powerplant: 18.4 kWh, lithium-ion battery driving two electric, AC motors plus 1.5-liter, dual-overhead-cam, inline 4-cylinder Power: 149 horsepower, 294 pound-feet of torque (in electric mode); 101 horsepower (gas engine mode) Transmission: Continuously variable automatic Performance: 0-60 mph, 8.4 seconds (manufacturer) Weight: 3,543 pounds Fuel economy: EPA 106 MPGe (combined electric/gas); 43 city/42 mpg highway/42 mpg (gas engine only) Report card Highs: High-tech interior; good handling, low center of gravity Lows: Range suffers in polar bear weather; only a bargain as long as $7,500 subsidy lasts Overall:★★★  

Cartoon: Fascism and Socialism in New Hampshire

Posted by hpayne on February 10, 2016


Cartoon: Rubio Christie Wipe Out in New Hampshire

Posted by hpayne on February 10, 2016


Cartoon: Cam Clinton Loss

Posted by hpayne on February 10, 2016


Cartoon: Rubio Bubble Boy and Christie

Posted by hpayne on February 9, 2016


Cartoon: Obama Oil Tax

Posted by hpayne on February 9, 2016


Cartoon: Super Bowl Denver Defense

Posted by hpayne on February 8, 2016


Cartoon: Hillary on Benghazi and Flint

Posted by hpayne on February 8, 2016


Cartoon: Hillary and Flint Water Crisis

Posted by hpayne on February 8, 2016


Payne, Q&Auto: Fiat chief’s new toys

Posted by hpayne on February 6, 2016

Broderdorf_fiat124 “I’m a muscle car junkie with the Dodge Challenger,” says Bob Broderdorf, ex-chief of the Fiat-Chrysler performance car brand. “To deliver those cars – Hellcats, 392s – I’m very passionate. My dad had an old Barracuda. Woodward Dream Cruise is what I got excited about growing up.” Now Broderdorf is packaging excitement in a much smaller box. The 37-year-old Detroit native is the new captain of Fiat North America. He inherits an iconic Italian name that has struggled in the U.S. even as it has filled out its menu with more Yankee-friendly dishes like the Fiat 500X crossover – and received unexpected endorsements from a 500L-chauffered pope. Don’t ask Broderdorf about Pope Francis (always best not to mix religion and cars), but he’ll talk ’til sundown about the summer arrival of Fiat’s next big – er, little – thing: the 124 Spider. Broderdorf was handpicked by FCA car QB Tim Kuniskis to run Fiat, and it’s easy to see why. The two men share a youthful energy marked by a machine-gun delivery of facts and figures. And if Broderdorf can sprinkle some of that Hellcat marketing magic on Fiat, then the Spider will charm Dream Cruisers everywhere. I sat down with Broderdorf in Los Angeles to talk Fiats, Miatas and Minis. Q: Your first car? Broderdorf: Dodge Neon. Q: The 124 was originally conceived as an Alfa. Now a Fiat. Why? Broderdorf: Anytime you have an opportunity to have a partnership to launch a car like this – the 124 Spider – this is a platform that allowed us to do that. The idea of paying homage to the past... plays really well to what we have done previously for the Fiat brand. Q: The last 124 was made until 1985. How many sold? Broderdorf: In 1966 it was first announced in Italy. Then (from 1968-1985) it came here. Over that time frame, 170,000 were sold in the U.S. market – by far the most of the 200,000 they sold overall. It was a big deal here. Q: Where will the new, Mazda Miata-based 124 be built? Broderdorf: Hiroshima, Japan. Building it there leverages the platform to build two unique interpretations of the car. There are lots of synergies that the platform enables. Both (Miata and 124) have taken a different spin at the rear-wheel drive roadster. We wanted to make sure that if you put that badge on this car there is a whole cult following that is really excited about it. There is still a (U.S.) owner’s club with 8,000 members. If we can play the heartstrings of those people... then we are on the right track. Q: Engine shared with the Abarth? Broderdorf: Powertrain is 100 percent Italian. 1.4-liter Multi-air – 160 horsepower mated with automatic and manual transmissions. Q: Throwback styling? Broderdorf: It starts with face of the car. The old Spider had the hexagonal gril – that very clear face. Fiats overall are pleasant, not overly aggressive, very concentrated. Headlamps and taillights play homage to that. And the side of the car had a horizontal line from fender to the rear – we maintained that. Even where the license plate is bracketed plays homage to the original car, but we still put a modern twist on it. Q: You have a compact, a sports car, two crossovers... How have sales gone with the X? Broderdorf: We’re happy with sales. Making great progress. We’re getting buyers into the marketplace – they are taking a look at it. The key piece is all-wheel drive. A lot of our sales come in the southern markets. To get the northern markets on board we need the AWD feature. Q: Like your close competitor Mini Cooper, will Fiat always be a small brand? Broderdorf: There is a fine line between niche and mainstream. The most important thing for Fiat is (that people say) the number one reason to buy is “fun to drive.” When we stay in that vein, we grow. But we need to build cars the right way – that’s more important than just hammering down volume. Q: Is California important for you? Broderdorf: This is my No. One market in the U.S. It’s important to be here. There is a trendy cool factor. If things take off here in California – particularly some of your urban markets – then some of the cities like New York, Miami, New York will most quickly adopt to it. The original announcement of the brand was here.

Cartoon: Rand Paul Drops out

Posted by hpayne on February 5, 2016


Cartoon: Miners Aid

Posted by hpayne on February 5, 2016


Cartoon: Groundhog Trump

Posted by hpayne on February 5, 2016


Payne: Hyundai Elantra gets more tech, less style

Posted by hpayne on February 4, 2016

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra is still available at Kmart I think I speak for red-blooded males everywhere when I say we wish Angelina Jolie would do her “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” thing every six years. But after that turn, Ms. Jolie — determined to build her resume as an important actress — expanded into roles with less curvy costumes, like determined mom Christine Collins in the 2008 film “Changeling.” That role earned her an Oscar nomination, if not the hearts of red-blooded males. Which is kind of where we are with the Hyundai Elantra. You’ll remember the popular Ms. Elantra from her sexy 2011 turn as the siren of compact sedans. Folks couldn’t get enough of this hot little number with its curvy hips, cheekbones and big come-hither headlamps. The Elantra sold like, well, like tickets to “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” Six years later and Elantra has ridden its lovely curves to third-best seller in the segment behind only the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. It’s made its name. Time to explore more mature wardrobes to showcase its other skills — like sophisticated handling, high-tech accessories and a hushed interior. I give you the restrained, handsome 2017 Elantra. Plain, lightly-creased hips, small headlamps — a car distinguished by the family’s trademark full mouth established by luxury sibling Genesis. Hello, you must be Genesis Jr. Which is probably a good thing, because Elantra — like everything else in compacts these days — is walking upwind into the full fury of King Civic. Civic (you’ll recall frommy fan boy ravings last October) just dropped a bomb on the segment. Stung by criticism that its beloved compact had become bland vanilla, Honda unleashed an army of designers, engineers and marketeers to create a masked, swoopy 2016 Civic superhero benchmarked against the Audi A3. The Civic will run circles around mere mortal compacts while getting best-in-class fuel economy, best interior volume and first-in-class Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. And if that’s not enough, it’ll come in a sedan, wagon, coupe, hotter Si and hottest Type R configurations. It’s North American Car of the Year. Car & Driver Top 10. First-Team All-Everything. Next to the Civic, the more understated Elantra looks like Civic’s nerdy-if-not-unattractive college roommate. After all, car companies can only muster the resources for epic re-inventions every so often. For its ’17 remake, the Elantra may not rip up the red carpet, but it will solidify itself as one of the best role players in the segment. How far Hyundai has come. I remember my first Detroit auto show in 2000 when my kids asked to see “the most affordable thing on the floor,” and I took them to see tinny Hyundais with manual roll-up windows and Kmart prices. Elantra is still a Blue Light Special, but it now boasts technology features that luxury makers shouted about not long ago. It was just a year ago that we car guys were drooling over the new, midsized, $38,950 Genesis luxury sedan and its bag of tricks including adaptive cruise-control, lane-keep-assist and voice-control navigation. The fully equipped, $27,710 Elantra Limited can match that and more. Class-first mirror-and-seat-memory settings. Class-first rear-heated seats. Class-best cabin quiet. I’d applaud its Apple Car Play-Android Auto feature, too, but the system on my test car was glitchy and lacked the dexterity of systems in the Civic or Chevy Cruze/Volt. But remember, this is a compact car that starts at just $17,985. The firsts are all the more impressive because King Civic has selfishly set the standard for virtually every other stat in its class, from rear-seat room to tying your shoelaces in the morning (OK, I made up that last one). In short, if it’s a Civic you want — but without the Hollywood styling and with buttons for infotainment (I’ve seen grown men run screaming out of Civics after a day operating its slider volume controls) — then the Elantra is your cup of Joe. In its quest to be a big player in one of the dog-eat-dogiest spaces in the market, Elantra has solidified its place as a must-drive, all-around player in the league with the enduring Civic, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla. Personally, I am a hatch guy and my compact druthers tend toward the more athletic Mazda3 and Volkswagen Golf. But this is also an area where new-gen Elantra really focused itself. Though it did not get a full makeover like the Civic, Elantra has gained considerable stiffness with more high-strength steel and a 40-fold increase in structural adhesives. The changes were immediately evident through San Diego’s Cuyamaga Mountains, which may be the most-traveled testing roads in the country. I’ve flogged the Golf R, Porsche Panamera and Cayenne Cadillac CT6 there in the past year to prove their handling chops. With Hyundai’s North America CEO Dave Zuchowski in the back seat, Car & Driver’s Ron Sessions and I took turns trying to make him dizzy by hurling the eager Elantra from switchback to switchback. Sessions was particularly merciless — driving like his pants were on fire — but Zuchowski was having as much fun as we were. Only at the hard limit did the Elantra’s rear, torsion-beam suspension cry uncle (hey, Hyundai’s gotta save money somewhere), but Hyundai will address that in the upcoming Sport model which will get an independent rear suspension as well as a much-needed, 200-horsepower mill upgrade from the Elantra’s 2.0-liter, 148-horsepower engine (an Eco model gets a mousy 124-horse, 1.4-liter turbo four). Which is a good start. Because to ultimately compete against King Civic, Hyundai will have to commit to a full compact army. Civic dominates the segment because it not only makes a great appliance, but it can also go toe-to-toe against the segment athletes like VW GTI and Subaru WRX with the Civic Si and Type R. Like a well-rounded actor, Elantra will be a segment giant when it fills out its portfolio with more performance variants. In the meantime, however, it is checking the right boxes from safety to tech to chassis development. All for an attractive Kmart price. And I’m betting that, like Ms. Jolie, the Elantra is still saving a slinky suit in its closet. ’17 Hyundai Elantra Vehicle type: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-passenger sedan Price: $17,985 base ($27,710 Limited model as tested) Powerplant: 2.0-liter, inline 4-cylinder Power: 147 horsepower, 132 pound-feet of torque Transmission: Six-speed automatic; six-speed automatic (as tested) Performance: 0-60 mph (NA) Weight: 2,767 base (2,976 lbs. Limited model as tested) Fuel economy: EPA 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway/29 combined (base manual); EPA 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway/33 combined (base automatic); EPA 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway/32 combined (Limited automatic) Report card Highs: Fun to drive despite solid rear-beam; a compact with memory seats/mirror! Lows: Sexless compared to previous gen; almost as good as a Civic Overall:★★★

Cartoon: Regulations Tackle Economy

Posted by hpayne on February 3, 2016


Cartoon: Sanders or Hillary Food

Posted by hpayne on February 3, 2016


Consolidating power: New GM race engine facility

Posted by hpayne on February 3, 2016

Aerial View of GM Powertrain Engineering Center Pontiac — “You can’t rest a second in this sport,” General Motors Vice President of Motorsports Jim Campbell said Tuesday. Just two days after Corvette’s dominating 1-2 class finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, GM unveiled a state-of-the-art Powertrain Performance and Racing Center that will further turbocharge one of the world’s most formidable race engine development programs. The center’s 82 engineers and staff members will move from Wixom into a 111,420-square-foot facility connected to GM’s sprawling Global Powertrain Engineering Center. That will concentrate the company’s engine know-how under one roof. Part of a $200 million investment in the Pontiac campus, the consolidation leverages the resources at the Powertrain Center, enabling faster technology transfer between GM’s racing and production-vehicle powertrains. “This is a big statement about our commitment to racing and what we’re doing to do in the future,” said Dan Nicholson, vice president of GM Global Powertrain. “As storied as our history is in racing, we believe our best days are ahead of us.” That commitment was echoed by NASCAR star and Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman, who joined the executives at the opening. In addition to the 500-horsepower V-8s that powered the Corvettes around Daytona’s 180 mph-plus bankings, the Performance and Racing team develops engines for NHRA drag racing, IndyCar, Pirelli World Challenge Cadillacs — and the NASCAR “R07” mill for Chevy-powered teams like Newman’s Richard Childress Racing. Newman, a trained engineer, has spent countless hours at the old Wixom facility developing the 358-cubic-inch V-8 designed and developed for NASCAR. “One of the biggest things we work on is getting the vibration out, especially at the RPMs we are running,” said Newman. “At Daytona we’re going from 8,500 rpm in the turns to up to 9,200 in the straightaway. We want to make sure we are optimized in that range. We’re taking technology to the nth degree — and this facility gives us the opportunities and the people to do that.” The new facility incorporates the latest engine-assembly, engine-testing and calibration equipment. Highlights include: ■Ten new engine-build bays. ■Thirty machining tools, offering complete machining capability for cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, fuel rails and other components. ■Four engine dynamometer cells capable of handling 12,000 rpm, 1,000 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. When the Powertrain Performance and Racing Center opens in July, those four cells will bring the total number of dynos in the Powertrain Center to 120. It’s part of a decades-long push by GM to concentrate its engine resources as well as attract the industry’s best engineering talent. “GM’s technology transfer between racing and production is a two-way street,” says Nicholson. “We have production lessons learned that we transfer to racing and racing lessons learned that we transfer to production. Having these two teams located in Pontiac will turn this two-way street into a superhighway.” In addition to the race development wing, the 645,000-square-foot powertrain plant — the largest industrial facility in Pontiac — develops gas engines, fuel cells and hybrid-electrification systems and transmissions.

Cartoon: Iowa Vote

Posted by hpayne on February 2, 2016


Cartoon: Cruz Wins Iowa

Posted by hpayne on February 2, 2016