Beecham's Tech-Talk

Beecham's Tech-Talk

By: Matthew Beecham

Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.


Lightweight monotube dampers – Q&A with BWI Group

19 Jun 2017 | Matthew Beecham

As OEMs pursue lighter vehicles to help comply with CO2 emissions legislation, ever more pressure is being placed on Tier 1 suppliers to provide lighter components. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews, we spoke to Marcin Knapczyk, engineering manager at global braking and chassis systems specialist, BWI Group, about how far lightweighting has come and where it is set to go.


Automakers mix virtual reality with the real world

19 Jun 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Forget glossy brochures and the pantomime of buying a new car. Game software and wearable technology is changing the way we shop. Consumers in shopping centres or sitting at home can now visualise their next yet-to-be-launched car in any configuration using a Virtual Reality (VR) headset. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of research snapshots, this one takes a look at how, from engineering and styling to marketing and retail, VR continues to surprise and delight.


Interior design and technology - Vauxhall Mokka X

12 Jun 2017 | Matthew Beecham

It is only when you get to drive a certain car model for a few days that you begin to notice them everywhere. The Vauxhall Mokka is no exception, with more than 120,000 buyers here in the UK alone, its single biggest market in Europe. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look at the facelifted and renamed Mokka X.


Driving passion - the psychology of driving a car

12 Jun 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews, we spoke to Thomas Ebenfeld, psychologist and managing partner of Concept M, about what makes car consumers tick. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany with offices worldwide, Concept M consists of a group of psychological market researchers with a focus on the automotive industry.


RESEARCH SNAPSHOT - Steering tomorrow’s car

6 Jun 2017 | Matthew Beecham

From a niche product for small cars to a technology of choice for all, electric power steering (EPS) remains ever popular as OEMs develop yet more fuel-efficient cars and push to reduce CO2 emissions. Continuing just-auto/QUBE's series of research snapshots, this one reviews some market and technical trends in the steering system sector.


Carbon fibre in car production – weighing up the benefits

1 Jun 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Until recently, the use of carbon fibre in vehicle manufacture has been confined to high-end, low-volume vehicles - a fashionable choice for the automotive elite. Yet times are changing. Continuing just-auto/QUBE's series of research snapshots, this is the second of two parts reviewing lightweighting developments using magnesium and carbon fibre.


Magnesium in car production - a weighting game

30 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

While magnesium may not be as popular for lightweighting as steel alternatives like composites, its application is gradually spreading from luxury marques to mass-produced models.  Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of research snapshots, this is the first of two parts reviewing lightweighting developments using magnesium and carbon fibre.


The art of painting carbon fibre – Q&A with Project 12

24 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

As the application of carbon fibre in car manufacture increases, demand for custom and novel finishes has also soared. UK-based Project 12 develops and supplies finishes and coatings for carbon fibre and composites. just-auto/QUBE spoke to managing director Dave King to learn what automakers are seeking and the direction carbon fibre finishes are taking.


Making good connections in the self-driving car

22 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

We live in an increasingly connected society and the way things are heading, we will not be escaping ‘always-on’ personal connectivity when we get into our cars. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of research snapshots of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), this one considers some recent advances in the fast-changing world of car connectivity.


GKN on prospects for torque vectoring

22 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Torque vectoring is an often heard term, rarely seen computer-controlled system used on cars to deliver just the right amount of power to each wheel in order to improve road grip, stability, handling and performance. GKN Driveline’s solution, known as Twinster, is available on a number of cars, including mainstream executive models like the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. As advanced torque vectoring systems are likely to appear on an even wider range of vehicles, just-auto/QUBE spoke to Ray Kuczera, Senior Vice President of Engineering, GKN Driveline.


Self-driving cars - are we nearly there yet?

15 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Predictions as to when we can buy a driverless car vary depending on who we talk to. Even if the more optimistic predictions come true, initial volumes will be small. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of research snapshots, this one considers what we can expect, by when and how much extra it might cost.


Thermal challenges for commercial vehicle exhaust systems – Q&A with Zircotec

15 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Commercial vehicle exhaust systems are facing multiple challenges. Ever tighter engine emission requirements demand ever more efficient DPF and catalyst performance and this, in turn, requires ever more effective heat management. These systems have necessarily increased in size putting more pressure on overall packaging, with hot exhaust system components encroaching on systems that could potentially be damaged by heat. There is also a desire to keep heat in the exhaust to maintain turbocharger efficiency and response. Continuing just-auto/QUBE's series of interviews, we spoke to heat management specialist Zircotec’s Group Sales Director, Graeme Barette, about some novel approaches that could address both issues.


If a self-driving car could give you back an hour each day, how would you use it?

9 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

While time spent sitting in traffic can feel tedious, it could fly by in a robo-car as you focus on other things, productive or otherwise. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of research snapshots, this one takes a sideways look at the autonomous car.


Castrol Nexcel reinvents the oil change – Q&A

9 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

As pressures to improve air quality intensify, it is becoming harder for automakers to find new, affordable ways to improve fuel economy through established measures such as engine downsizing. Not yet high on the industry agenda but of growing importance, sustainability in fast-growing new markets must also be addressed. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's series of interviews, we spoke to Dr Oliver Taylor about a new approach to engine lubrication that could address both issues. Dr Taylor is chief engineer with Nexcel, an innovation business within BP’s Castrol subsidiary.


The car sharing economy

5 May 2017 | Matthew Beecham

Barely six months have passed since our last review of car sharing yet there have been a plethora of developments since then. This week alone saw GM expand its Maven car sharing platform to accelerate the ‘gig’ (freelance) economy. Continuing QUBE/just-auto’s series of research snapshots, this one takes another look at this blossoming market. Car sharing schemes allow us to rent cars for a short period on an ad hoc basis.



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