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Ford pumps $4.5B into electrifying 40% of its global product line by 2020

Ford Motor Co. is accelerating its electrified vehicle development program, backed by a recent $4.5 billion investment aimed at making 40% of the company’s global vehicles hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and battery-electrics by 2020.

Ford will add 13 new EVs and hybrids over the next four model years, raising the percentage of electrified vehicles in its lineup from 13% in 2015. PHEVs will be the fastest-growing type of electrified vehicle, according to Raj Nair, Executive Vice President of Product Development and CTO. Nair noted that Ford is the current North American market leader in PHEVs.

A Focus Electric with a 100-mi (161-km) range and DC fast charge capability will enter production in late 2016. The SAE Level 2 charging system will deliver an 80% state of charge in 30 min, Nair said. The current Focus EV can travel 76 mi (122 km) between charges. At a recent media event in Dearborn, Nair was repeatedly asked about Ford’s response to the recently unveiled 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV, which GM claims will have a 200-mi (322-km) range on a single charge.

Ford Powertrain sources tell Automotive Engineering that the company has “a variety of electrified programs in the works” including a hybridized powertrain for light trucks and improved versions of its current PHEVs. The sources indicated that Ford may unveil at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit an improved version of its Fusion Energi for 2017, with greater EV range than the incumbent model’s 21 mi (34 km).

Ford’s amped-up investment strategy comes at a time of depressed North American sales of electrified cars in general, a result of low retail gasoline prices. Deliveries in 2015 through November of Ford’s C-Max, Fusion, and Lincoln MKZ hybrid versions fell 25% to 59,301 units, according to Autodata.

Sales slid 41% for Nissan’s Leaf EV, 23% for Chevrolet’s Volt plug-in hybrid, and 12% for the Toyota Prius.

Ford is significantly expanding its Electrified Powertrain Engineering program in Dearborn. It hired an additional 120 engineers in 2015 and plans to add more in 2016. Last fall Ford, along with partners the University of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., announced a $9 million battery lab at the university to help develop more energy- and power-dense, lower cost battery cells.

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Choosing A Gps Fleet Tracking System

The global positioning system (GPS) incorporates 24 satellites all positioned in the orbit. GPS fleet tracking systems use TIGTrack tracking software to monitor vehicles and other road users by equipping users with real-time alerts and update by use of available data received by the monitoring operator from the devices via the satellite thus having an eye on the devices from a central point, useful in ensuring traffic operates optimally by having responsible drivers, thus safe fleet movement. It require embedded hardware installation in the fleet devices then linked to the satellite to give it signals which the GPS tracking system gets from the satellites and use them to locate, monitor and track devices location. Multiple satellites are used in triangulating these locations thus the accuracy and effectiveness of the device depends on and is directly proportional to the number of satellites it can see.

The choice of the most suitable system depends on how its features match the requirement of the expected fleet management area. Preferably, the chosen system should offer a wide range of standard features, with no extra cost. Such factors include customer support program and features, fuel card integration, excellent navigation, communication and interaction capabilities and trending on-key metrics dashboards.

The system should allow for real time live or electronic (emails, videos extra) contacting, be available any time needed, incorporate documentation options and help-desk services. Consider the third-party integration capabilities to enable save time via automatic payroll, into account data, software and attendance syncing. Thirdly, the system should be customer affordable, realistic, not complicated to use by requiring much training and high technology operational skills or having in-person and virtual demonstrations, instead be easy to use by beginners.

Equally important, the preferred system should enable system alerts by sending warning signals or written messages in case of malfunctioning or malpractices within the monitored device. Ensure the system of choice allow alerts setting for preferred occurrences such as over drunk and off-route drives and other unsafe traffic practices. The GPS tracking system of choice should be always reliable, not keep losing signal by dropping connectivity in certain geographical areas such as down-hills and tunnels. Finally, consider the availability of the mobile access i.e. ability to support various web-based versions and mobile applications and their availability for different devices of prevalence. Also check the ability to access the latter services anytime, from anywhere such as 3G locations.

Though such systems experience a major limitation of employee pushback, the condition is highly manageable thus making the system the best of its king in fleet management. The task is all about selecting the most suitable solution to carb business challenges and delivers the most rewards. Long-term partner tracking companies are most preferred for location and service intelligence.

Car Roof Bars - Tips

When looking for car accessories, better check first with companies that have sufficient experience in dealing with different car models and types. If your car is a Honda, Citroen, Mitsubishi, Toyota or a Volvo, we would like to be of assistance to you.

We put high regard on quality and customer buying experience. We support 4x4 vehicles, motor homes and caravans. Before you transact with us, we would like to share with the following tips on using car roof bars.

Read the manual

If you can't reach us to guide you on the step by step installation, you have the manual as an alternative. If possible, have someone to help you. Make sure that you understand all instructions before you proceed installing.

Be careful with the torque

For every bar, there is a particular torque setting. If you make a mistake, you will have bars that are over-tightened or under-tightened. Worst case is that you might destroy the threading. Screwing should be done gradually.

Put oil on the connections

There's good benefit if you put oil on the connections between the rail and the bar. If you do that, it will be easily to remove the bars when there's a need to do it.

Remove the bars when they are not needed

This is advised for customers to do because it comes with some benefits. Foremost among them is it allows decreasing the weight of the vehicle. Another one is the lessening of the aerodynamic drag which eventually means that you will get savings on fuel. Some say this also has positive effect on mileage. Finally, it is one way of reducing wind noise when the car is being driven.

Always get help when loading things on the roof bars

Don't proceed stacking up anything on the bars all alone, especially if you're loading heavy items. This is a common mistake that leads to destroying the car's painting or even disfiguring the bars.

Decide whether the base material is aluminum or steel

We have roof bars made of either aluminum or steel. The advantages of aluminum is that it is sturdier than steel. Also, it works well with the drag component and perhaps the mileage too. However, if you're looking into lowering the cost, the steel type will be the better option.

Check the height

When using the roof bar, the height will be increased, and it will increase further with loaded items. Think about the time when you have to drive through tunnels or parking your car in a shopping mall's basement.

Check the weight limits

It depends on what you intend to load onto the bars. If you are looking into a long-term use, it is prudent to choose the one with a high weight capacity. Needs do change over time.

Tell us what you need and we will go with you poring through the selections. Rest assured you will have the most suited roof bars for your vehicle.

Courier Freight - What Vehicles Are Used?

Customers and businesses all year round want to have parcels picked up or delivered and it is up to courier service providers to meet demand and cater to those needs. Picking the right vehicle for the job is very important because it ensures parcels are picked up and delivered successfully plus it saves cost. Courier service providers always make sure that they have a variety of vehicles in their ranks to cater to business and clients needs because their requests do vary all the time. Vehicles used for courier work include pushbikes, large vans, medium vans and motorcycles. To make sure that deliveries are made successfully, courier providers make sure that they give their employees, especially their drivers the right training to get jobs done. Vehicles used by couriers have a GPS tracking unit in them which helps their businesses and customers track their parcels or packages as they are being delivered.

Working as a driver in the courier industry is not easy due to the strict screening process where driving history and criminal records are checked. Vehicles used for courier work also go through a strict screen process to ensure they are fit for purpose. One thing which is part of the training given to drivers who work in the courier industry is road safety. Clients have all the information they need by going on the courier providers website and if they have any further queries, they can always contact their local providers and have things cleared up. To ensure that needs are met and the right vehicles are dispatched, clients are asked to provide correct dimensions of their parcels (weight, length, width). Parcels and packages need to be properly packed to avoid any damage and anything that costs more than £1000 needs declaring for insurance purposes.

Vehicles used

1. Pushbikes are preferred by courier service providers when it comes to delivering parcels that weight less than 2kgs and nothing more.

2. Motorcycles are a massive upgrade from the pushbike because not only are they faster, but they can carry slightly bigger parcels that weigh up to 5kgs. Motorcycles are good for making multiple deliveries in urban areas.

3. The small van is also one of the most used vehicles in the courier industry. Small vans can carry items that weigh up to 700kgs. Clients and businesses mostly hire a small van that can carry between 400kg to 700kgs as this offers the ideal space needed and it is affordable.

4. For those with large items that need delivering, large vans are the best options. Large vans can carry packages and parcels that weigh up to 1100kgs.

Should You Lease Or Buy Your Tow Truck?

If you run a towing business, you've probably considered leasing rather than purchasing. The vehicles you need to run the business, such as Wreckers and Tow Trucks, are massive investments. Deciding whether you're going to purchase or lease is possibly the most important decision you'll make about the business. Naturally, both choices have their benefits and drawbacks. Yet these days, there are creative lease packages that are carefully designed to fit customer needs.

So why is leasing a better option than buying? The biggest reason is freedom of choice. For example, leasing gives you more options on what to do with your truck. Most lease contracts have a clause that allows you to buy your truck from the lease company for a "residual" amount. This can range anywhere from a mere $1.00 to 50% of the original purchase price. If you think you can buy a better truck for cheaper, then you can let the lease company have the truck. Since leasing contracts can last for 3 years or more, it may well be true that you can find better for cheaper at the end of your contract. Leasing means you won't be stuck with a sub-par truck if you don't want it.

The second reason would be the profit. For a service company such as a towing company, having a higher profit margin every month may be the difference between success and failure. Comparing your monthly lease payment to the amount of depreciation, especially when you add in the interest on a traditional loan, you'll often find that there's a lower overall cost. This could easily lead to more money in your business coffers.

Money in general, and not just profit, might be a good reason to lease. When you lease a new or used tow truck, you might find that you can protect your cash flow. Many traditional loans will require a 20% down payment. However, many leases require nothing more than the first and last month's payment. This can be a good deal less than the 20% down payment, which means you'll have more money to start your business.

The way lease payments are set up might make your balance sheet look better, as well. It is true that lease payments are a monthly expense. However, they don't tend to be listed as a long term debt. Since it's not listed as a long term debt, this can make your company have a higher net worth when looking at the books. That can have a huge effect on any future loans you end up taking out. Not only that, it can have an effect on how much your bank is willing to extend when you set up your business line of credit. It may seem questionable, but there's nothing illegal about it. Lease payments simply aren't considered the same was as loans.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you whether to buy or lease. Buying is the traditional choice, but not being able to pay your loan payments results in the same problem as not being able to pay your lease payments. Namely, the bank possesses your business. Since the end result of failure is the same either way, you may as well choose the option that gives you a better footing when you start.

The Difference Between Alloy And Steel Wheels

Wheels are essential components in every vehicle. These days, there are a number of different materials used in fabricating these from carbon fiber to a plastic and rubber compound mix. Two of the most popular varieties are alloy and steel wheels.

But which one is the far better option? Both of these wheel types are available from have their fair share of pros and cons. When a driver is concerned with beauty and performance, alloy wheels work best. In the case of a wheel requirement calling for toughness, durability, and inexpensiveness, steel wheels should be considered.

Most cars now come with alloy wheels as a standard inclusion not only because they offer both a good look and quality performance but also because these can be worked into so many designs. Alloy is a material that is quite easy to cast offering easy customizability when it comes to wheels. And unlike steel, this is a much lighter material making the wheel more agile and accommodating of a greater level of acceleration.

Unlike their steel counterparts, being lightweight allows the alloy wheels to bend with ease when they are exposed to road impact. But as they lessen the shock felt by the driver or passengers, the wheel becomes vulnerable to cracking via over bending. Although different finishes can be applied to alloy wheel, these become more vulnerable to cosmetic damage including corrosion and scratches.

As for steel wheels, they are known for their unsprung weight. This is because the heaviness of the material means that the suspension springs cannot support the weight entirely. This is why even the smallest change in the weight carried by the vehicle can have a strong effect on how the ride feels.

Steel wheels are probably the heaviest types of wheels there are. The weight easily dampens the agility not to mention the acceleration capabilities of the vehicle. Cars are much more difficult to drive. Seemingly undesirable in most conditions, this tank-like feature is actually beneficial when vehicles are driven across wet or snowy roads.

Even if they are heavier than their alloy counterparts, the added weight makes steel wheels stronger. More force is required to bend them and it is almost impossible for these to crack. Cosmetic issues also do not exist for steel wheels because of their utilitarian design. Drivers that favor larger wheels will also have a problem with the steel types as these can only be made with a 17-inch diameter at the largest.

Luxury Airport Transfers: Common Questions To Address

Luxury Road Events prides itself on providing topnotch party bus services that make peoples travels more swanky, comfortable and exciting. It applies not just to celebrations such as corporate events, weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthdays or prom nights but to airport transfers as well. In fact, our clients have given us great feedback and commended us for turning what couldve been a dull couple of hours on the road into the ride of their lives. We are happy every time we give such unforgettable experiences!

We would like to clear the air on some of the questions that people may ask about airport transfers in limos or party buses. This would allow you a better perspective of why we continue doing what we do, especially if havent tried our services.

Why should I ride one of these when there are cabs?

While it is true that taxis are always going to be around in airports, you should take note that there are queues you would have to go through. If you were heading to the airport, you would also end up wasting time calling for one or signaling one on the road. You wouldnt be able to predict how long doing so might take. Also, if you were among a group of more than four, you would need to get multiple cabs. Wouldnt everything be easier and more enjoyable if you were all together in one spacious vehicle? And wouldnt it be better to have transport that could pick you up at the exact time you want? One that could take you to your destination without being uncertain with directions?

Isnt pubic transportation a faster option?

Even though the answer may be a technical yes, there are a number of other things you should consider. First, it might only be faster by a matter of minutes. Second, you would be subjected to crowdedness and standing in lines. Third, you might encounter problems while bringing along or stowing heavy luggage, as there could be weight restrictions in some metros, trains or buses. None of those issues exist when you are taking one of our services.

Arent luxury airport transfers only for the wealthy and privileged?

That is a common misconception. There wouldnt be thousands of limo or party bus hire companies if only affluent people hired them. Our clients could be anyone from CEOs to middle-class families to a group of college students. There are different affordable services for people to choose from.

Would the driver be allowed to wait if my flight got delayed for quite a bit?

We do our best to make enough allowance for any delays in your airport arrival. However, there are times when your chauffeur would have no choice but to leave due to another booking. The good news is that we are very efficient with getting you a backup ride in that case. If your flight gets cancelled or you wouldnt get to leave until the next day, just get in touch with us. We would have no problem accommodating you for the time when your alternative flight arrives.

Hovercrafts For Sale With A Choice Of Engines

There's a lot of talk out there about personal hovercraft material and construction techniques which tend to focus on the skirt and the hull, which of course have undergone big changes over the past 6 or 7 years, but the all-important engines are often not talked about, or at least, not extensively. In the past, large passenger hovercraft were driven by multiple engines. Huge ones for proving lift and slightly smaller ones for forward thrust. The RN101 hovercraft which first saw service across the British Channel in the 60s, had four massive Rolls Royce engines mounted and equally spaced across the deck, one in each corner of the air cushioned craft.

Several more Roll-Royce state-of-the-art engines were hoisted well above the deck at the rear and drove the monster at about 100 kmph. The noise must have been formidable and it rocked around a lot - the channel can be very choppy indeed. The Russian monster Zubr class hovercraft is the biggest yet ever built and has 7 engines. Three high temperature gas turbine engines are shrouded at the rear of the craft and four are used for creating lift for the air cushion. This monster can carry up to 400 troops and 20 tanks within it's cargo hold.

Small personal hovercraft may have one or two engines, depending upon payload which means number of passengers and equipment combined - more here Hovery Leisure Hovercraft . This figure is very important t ensure that there is enough power to lift the hovercraft off water when fully loaded - this is called getting over the hump and is a critical test of hovercraft efficiency. Paradoxically, it takes about 30% of the power required to lift a helicopter of equivalent weight, but three times the hovering power to get over the hump when resting on water. Generally, hovercraft over 6 seats have two engines, one for lift and one for forward thrust.

Finally, there is a choice of the kind of engine you can have when you buy a hovercraft. The smaller variety craft can have either two stroke or four stroke engines. Two stroke are cheaper, but the four stroke are more powerful for the same weight and smoother. Neither of these are water cooled, as the goal is keep all systems as simple as possible. An exciting third option is now appearing for some lighter craft such as the Hovery, which is an inflatable craft designed by a Brazilian pilot, and that is an electric motor.

Boat Batteries: How To Stay Afloat

When it comes to boat batteries, it is important to choose the right one. Whether the battery is running the accessories on the boat or powering the engine, having the proper power is crucial. When it comes time to find the best choice for your vessel, use the information that follows.

When deciding on a boat battery, it is important that you know that you should pay special attention this powering source. While you can switch batteries out and power the boat, it is not good for your boat or your battery and can cause substantial damage. It can kill the battery by overheating and can also damage other mechanical features of the boat.

First of all, you need to decide what type of battery you need. There are many factors that will help you determine your needs and it depends on the size of the boat and what you are wanting to power.

Are you needing to power your depth finder, fish locator, trolling motor, or bilge pump? If you are, you may consider deep cycle batteries. This option is best for heavy charge and discharge cycling.

Another battery option is starting marine boat batteries. This one is best for turning over either the inboard or outboard speedboat motor as they have the power to kick over nearly horsepower engine.

If you need a battery to simply start your boat and manage minor accessories, such as the stereo or radio, you should look at dual purpose options that will give you cycling capabilities and starting power.

While having the proper battery for your boat is crucial, maintaining the battery during off-season is important, too. When you provide the necessary maintenance, your battery will offer you extended running time and last much longer. Try your best to keep the battery charged as it should not be stored in its discharged state.

Other powering options for boats are helpful, too. You can find custom cables and jump packs, along with battery boxes that will keep your boat running and in great shape.

In conclusion, finding the right battery for your boat and your needs is very important. You can use the information shared here or visit a local battery shop to help you find the perfect option. While you can likely power up your boat with just about any battery, choosing the right one is the best choice.