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Talking Tyres

Tyres capable of monitoring themselves, road conditions and 'talking' with a vehicle's electronic systems will be available within three years, according to one of the world's leading automotive sensor companies Schrader Electronics.

The development is a quantum leap forward coming just a few years after tyres relied entirely on their mechanical and physical properties for their contribution to a vehicle's driving dynamics.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) introduced the concept of combining electronic sensors within a vehicle's tyre and have proven to make a significant contribution to safety and fuel efficiency. Fitment to all cars in the UK will soon be required by law.

A sensor mounted within the inside of the tyre rather than on the valve or wheel rim transmits information wirelessly to receivers mounted in the vehicle's wheel housing and via the car's ECU to the driver.

Communication relayed to the vehicle's ABS, ESP and other electronic systems will include information about the tyre's tread depth, pressure and temperature, along with the shape of its footprint and the amount of load. This will be combined with precise readings of road conditions, such as the amount of grip available, to optimise control of the vehicle's dynamics.

Schrader has partnered with lyre company Pirelli to release the first phase of these tyres arriving in the European market during 2010. Called the 'Cyber Tyre Lean', pressure, temperature, average load and the number of revolutions are measured and fed to the vehicle's electronic systems. The fully intelligent tyre, to be called the 'Cyber Tyre' is expected in the marketplace during 2013.

Ignorance

A consumer survey in the UK found that while over 80 percent of UK motorists have their car cleaned regularly, only percent have checked their spare tyre/wheel in the last three months. Almost 20 percent admit to never having checked the spare at all. Surprisingly though, almost half of UK drivers checked the tread depth of their tyres within the last month.

The legal requirement for minimum tread depth in Australia is 1.6mm over the entire width and over 2/3rds of the tyre circumference. Whilst it is not illegal to have a spare below the legal 1.6mm tread depth, it does become illegal the moment it is fitted to the car.

Tom Chilton of Mountune Racing, a part of the Performance Engineering division of Revolve Technologies, has made motorsport history by scoring pole position with an LPG powered vehicle in the British Touring Car Championship.

The Mountune Racing Ford Focus LPG 2 litre Duratec engine is an evolution of the engine that the team used successfully in the latter half of the 2009 season. The LPG injection system and turbocharger complete the major changes from the 2009 spec engine.

Cool Cat for the Motorway Police

The Central Motorway Police Group, which patrols motorways across Staffordshire, Merc la and the West Midlands has bought seven high performance Police vehicles based on the award-winning Jaguar XF Diesel S model.

The Police-specification Jaguars feature the 275PS 3.0-litre Diesel S engine with fuel economy figures as low as 5.5 l/IOOkms.

Battery

DEwa

DEwa

Smith Electric Vehicles has put the UK's first 17 seat, all-electric minibus into production.

Based on the Ford Transit chassis, the Smith Edison minibus has atop speed of 80km/h and a range of up to 140kms. A full recharge takes 6-8 hours, or 3-4 hours with Smith's new fast charging technology. Designed for urban work, the Edison minibus is aimed at jobs like airport passenger transfer, tourist attractions, city trips and closed campus travel on large commercial, military, education and industrial sites. Essex County Council has just bought the first vehicle.

cm aroll

Research conducted between December 2009 and February 2010 shows Kumho car tyres to have been the first brand recommendation of Britain's local independent tyre specialists. With an average of 5.6 percent, Kumho products were recommended first more than twice as often as those of some traditional household-name brands.

Kumho's 4x4 tyres also fared well in the sun/ey. being the third most likely brand to be recommended first by independents, behind Bridgestone and Pirelli.

The data is based on an ongoing and large scale marketing survey conducted by market analysts Encircle Marketing. Sampling across all of the UK's tyre distribution channels, the data focuses on recommendations and pricing data.

It is widely accepted that dealer recommendation has considerable bearing on customer choice, as tyres are a highly technical product and customers generally rely on dealer advice regarding the relative performance, safety, wear and environmental credentials of the multitude of brands now available.

Mitsubishi making money

Mitsubishi Motors has posted a net profit of YEN4.8bn (US$51 8m) for 2009, up some YEN59.7bn compared to the same period last year. Global retail sales volume in fiscal year 2009 totalled 960,000 vehicles, a 10 percent decrease of 106,000 units on fiscal 2008.

The Japanese manufacturer is forecasting global sales volume of 1.12m vehicles for fiscal 2010, up 17 percent or 161,000 units, aided by the phased introduction of its new compact crossover and an expected market recovery.

Ford US has reported strong financial results for the first quarter of the year on the back of much higher sales - particularly in North America.

The firm reported net income of US $2,1 bn for the first quarter and duly raised its forecast for the year.

The Q1 results beat analysts' expectations and the net profit compares with a loss of US1.43bn in the same quarter of last year.

Ford's first quarter revenue was USD28.1bn, up USD3.7bn from the same period a year ago.

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