Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Lead Acid Battery Leads the Charge in Automotive Design

Automotive lead acid batteries used to start car engines, are one of the oldest design of rechargeable battery in existence. The lead acid battery was primarily used for the storage of DC power and used in early commercial vehicles due to the weight and size. These batteries have literally dominated the marketplace for many years ever since their invention back in the early 1800's and have continued to be an important automotive component to the point were there is one in every vehicle on the roads.
Today, automotive batteries used to start gasoline and diesel engines, are smaller, cheaper and more cost effective than their earlier cousins, supplying greater starting and surge currents than ever before at a fraction of their original price.
Not only does the lead acid battery provide the correct amount of electricity needed to start engines, but they also supply electricity for the ignition system, lights, indication, stereos and other such electronic features found on today's modern vehicles.
The energy produced by a lead acid battery occurs via an internal chemical process which involves lead (hence their name), lead oxide and a liquid acid solution called the electrolyte. Solid lead and lead oxide plates are submerged within an electrolytic solution that consists of a very small percentage of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) mixed with distilled water. When electrical power is drawn from the battery, a chemical reaction takes place between the plates and liquid electrolyte releasing electrons. These free electrons in the form of an electrical current flow through electrical conductors mounted on the battery and out via lead terminals providing the electricity required to start the car.
As the lead acid battery becomes discharged, the sulphuric acid forms deposits onto the lead plates, but when the lead acid battery is recharged again, the sulphuric acid breaks down and returns back into their separate lead and lead oxide components. Heat is generated by this constant charging and discharging of the battery evaporating the water inside.
This evaporation meant that older lead acid batteries needed to be "topped-up" with more distilled water on a monthly basis but the modern maintenance free lead acid battery is fully sealed against leakage in which the electrolyte in the form of a gel is contained in separate compartments are now used. The result is that these fully sealed batteries can be rotated upside down or positioned sideways in the event of an accident without any risk of an acid leakage. Also these modern batteries have safety valves fitted which allow the venting of fumes during the charging, the discharging and changes in atmospheric pressure when driving at altitude.
The lead acid battery is the only batteries suitable to be used in alternative energy systems but the continuous cycle of discharging a battery into a load (night time hours) and then recharging the battery (sunlight hours) many times over requires a different type of battery as not all lead acid batteries are the same. The most important requirement of a battery is whether it is a Deep Cycle Battery or a Shallow Cycle Battery.
Consider automotive starting batteries. These batteries are cheap to buy but are designed to provide high amperes of current for very short periods of time (less than 10 seconds) to operate the starter motor and turn over the engine. After the car has started, the battery is then trickle charged by the cars alternator. Even on cold frosty mornings the cars battery is only discharged to less than 10% of its rated capacity at startup so automotive batteries are designed for this very shallow cycle service, (100% to 90% state of charge).
As a car battery is designed to deliver high currents for very short periods of time it is therefore made of many thin lead plates giving a large surface area for the chemical reaction to occur. These thin lead plates do not have the necessary mechanical strength for repeated cycling over a period of many years and wear out very quickly after only 200 to 400 cycles. Therefore shallow cycle car batteries which although they work, are not designed for a long term solar power or wind power system which requires a much deeper cycling service.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Career in Automotive Design

Probably every neighborhood from New York to California and Maine to Florida has a kid who likes to draw cars. And maybe those kids will proudly announce that when they grow up they are going to be car designers. For many, that dream will fall by the wayside but for a select few it will become reality. In the early mid-forties, Giorgietto Giugiaro and Marcello Gandini were a couple of Italian kids who like to draw cars. Today, they are Italy's top designers.
The vehicle designer is responsible for creating the exterior and interior appearance of over the road vehicles. Generally, these are automobiles but trucks, vans, coaches, and motorcycles are also included.
The designers usually work in teams. One person does the exterior, another the interior and a third works with colors, materials and trim. The working environment and working conditions are pleasant. It is a risk-free career that does not usually require overtime or weekend work.
A design begins with a set of digital or manual sketches. Once these are approved by management, more detailed drawings follow. Then clay models or digital models are developed. The same procedure is followed for exterior, interior, and color and trim design.
However the road from car sketches to the design studio is paved with hard work beginning in high school. Auto design is one of the most competitive careers in the design industry. Consequently the competition to gain admission to the colleges that offer transportation design classes is fierce.
Prospective designers need to begin in high school with all the two-dimensional drawing classes they can fit into their schedule. But it isn't enough to just be able to draw a car. They also need to understand aerodynamics, engineering concepts and ergonomics. They will be working with figures so knowledge of math and physics is required.
And throughout high school they need to work on building a drawing portfolio. All colleges require a portfolio. And it goes without saying that the better the portfolio, the better the graduate's chances of being accepted by a prestigious institution.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Are Automotive MPG Regulations Killing Car Innovation for the Consumer

Should lawmakers, and the Obama Administration increase regulations on the miles per gallon that each individual car gets? Some automobile designers are complaining because if the cars have to get really good gas mileage, then there are only a few types of designs that cars can possibly have. A teardrop shaped car would get the best gas mileage above about 55 miles per hour. But if every car looks the same, then no one will have a car with any individuality that the person can stake their claim too.
In other words every BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda, GM, Chrysler, Tata, or BYD will all basically look the same. The chance for individual differentiation by any one car maker basically goes out the window. There was an interesting article not long ago on WardsAuto Auto Industry Online News Website which asked a tough question; "Are Aerodynamic Requirements Killing Automotive Design" written by Byron Pope and published on June 20, 2011.
After I read this article, I decided to make a comment about it, and as I was preparing my outline to create this article, I noticed that in the news today, June 27, 2011 - the Obama Administration has asked for more regulation, and potential legislation to require that all automobiles by the year 2025 maintain an average of 52.5 miles per gallon.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

How to Become a Car Designer - Where to Start

Before pursuing a design career, my first thought was "I want to become a car designer - but how do I start? To those who are asking themselves this exact question, here are a few tips:
More specifically, take drawing classes at your local college. Take as many classes as needed until you are comfortable drawing objects straight from your head. Take classes like:
- Sketching, Still Life
- Figure drawing (This helps with speed and form development especially with cars.)
- Perspective drawing (I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, perspective is as important to a designer as sentences are to a writer. Learn it-learn to love it.)
More Tips:
- If you sketch in pencil, retrace the same drawing on a separate sheet of paper in pen. Continue with this exercise until you are confident enough to sketch in pen. Most professionals sketch entirely in pen.
- Always carry a small sketchbook (I use Moleskine) or folded copy paper and a pen with you at all times.
- Several times a day, practice by sketching the first object you see in front of you.
- Fill the entire page of your sketchbook- blank space on a page is the enemy.
- For the aspiring car designers, purchase a scale model of a car, set it in front of you and draw it in various angles. Draw is exactly as you see it-don't cheat by only drawing the side view!
Learn to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Painter. This is the standard rendering program for the design industry. The more comfortable you become with these programs, the stronger of a designer you will become.
Purchase a Wacom Tablet. This is also an essential tool in the design industry. This tool is much more efficient than a mouse for rendering and you will be less likely to suffer from carpel tunnel due to prolonged use. Initially, it will be a bit awkward to use, but it becomes more fun as you get used to it, I promise.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Automotive Engineering Jobs

Knowledge Requirements
Automotive engineering encompasses mechanical and structural engineering and requires those working within the field to apply the principles of several scientific disciplines. These include physics, structural design, and materials analysis. Automotive engineering jobs also require a strong understanding of manufacturing principles and mechanical system design and operation methods.
These engineers may also need to be knowledgeable in several other areas of engineering, including safety, power, electronics, and software. Many engineers working in the automotive field will specialize in a particular area, allowing them to become experts in their realm. This often results in higher pay and better job security.
Project Leaders
Some of the most well educated, experiences, and skilled automotive engineers are those who are able to oversee projects in new business or product development. These automotive engineering jobs are responsible to leading a design, engineering and manufacturing team that take new products from conceptualization through production. Such engineering roles are highly compensated in the marketplace and also require candidates to have strong "soft" skills in addition to technical know-how.
Communication and leadership are among the soft skills necessary for engineers to be successful in overseeing team-based automotive engineering development projects. While the job market is jam packed with highly skilled technical engineers, it is a wide open playing field for those with a more well-rounded skill set.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Top 5 Automotive WordPress Sites

There were some really good automotive WordPress sites that I came across as I made this list. Some websites had brilliant designs and utilized WordPress to its full potential. I decided to make a list of the top 5 automotive WordPress sites. Some of the criteria I used while judging were: design, content, user friendliness. I have found that some WordPress sites are just not too fun for the end-user. This list of the best auto related WordPress sites is not ranked. So that means these are my top five sites in no particular order. Recent trends have seen a lot more WordPress powered automotive sites. Companies are beginning to realize that its customer base wants to stay informed. There are plenty of great reasons why you want to run WordPress for your automotive sites. One of them being content management. You have a wealth of options available as far as managing content goes. Their are plugins of all sorts for WordPress from SEO, to sitemap generation and tweet this buttons. Below is my list of the top five automotive WordPress sites. Remember that all elements of a website were taken into account. I added links to the sites so that you can check out how awesome they are for yourself. is a really nice looking site that focuses automobiles as well as bikes. The design is simple and clean with a nice menu bar on the top left. The turned corners on the sidebar also add a nice touch. is another nice looking WordPress site with the use of a featured content gallery. The ad placement and design of them blend nicely within the site. The content on automotive addicts is very thorough and they have a ton of it. Posts are updated frequently and I highly recommend this blog for anything automotive.
Mike Maez is an automotive photographer who takes ridiculously good looking car pictures. His blog and it has some stunning pictures from his various photo shoots. I think these are some of the best pictures on any WordPress site out there. Word has it that I am bias to WordPress websites for automobiles. Guess what? I am!

Friday, February 22, 2013

How Custom Website Design Helps Auto Dealers

Effective online presence is very important for an auto dealer in the highly competitive automotive market. A website plays a key role in establishing a strong online presence. However, it is difficult to persuade a customer without differentiating a business in any market. Custom web design helps auto dealers to create unique, professional, and effective website to reach customers precisely.
Helps to generates sales leads
When potential customers search online for required information on vehicles, in order to appear it is necessary to have a professional and comprehensive (should provide complete information) website. Custom-built web design helps to create a fully contented and carefully developed website to increase conversion to phone calls and e-mails. Custom-built web design enables to specifically market a business to its targeted online customers.
Gives an edge over competitors
It is hard to stand out from competitors by using any standard template for an automotive website which also possibly can be used by other competitors, which it does not differentiate your business. Custom web design facilitates to create a professional and user friendly website based on your needs and type of business. This helps to gain a position of advantage for your business online. Custom web design makes your website prominent from competitors by building a unique, professional image for your company on your customers mind. Thus, a custom built website enables to create a competitive advantage for an automotive dealer over its competitors.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Custom Automotive Logos for Your Ca

If you're proud of yourself and the car you are driving. There is an easy way to show it to the rest of the world by adding your own personalized logos in the form of custom stickers. With all the new technology available to us, it is cheap and easy to develop your own design and get it screen printed.
This process cause that the general bumper sticker became absolute and they tend to become weary and tacky after a while. In this modern world people became aware of their individuality and sick and tired of the normal bumper stickers.
Really how many of the same slogans, logos and brands do you want to see on bumper stickers while driving down the freeway? The new age and vinyl stickers changed this whole concept, normally these vinyl stickers last for a life time.
But then you must just ask your printer to use UV protected materials. You do get vinyl stickers for the indoors use only as the material use to print them on is not UV protected. These custom stickers is a great way to proof your individuality and who the car belongs too, and will cause your old car to look great again.
You can decide yourself if your custom sticker will only be a normal bumper sticker or you want it more complex. If you decide on the more complex way it becomes very interesting. Complex stickers can change the complete look of your car and personalize it the way you want it.
If you driving an older model car that may need an expensive paint job, and you want to customize it and haven't got the money to do so. Considering these custom vinyl custom stickers, can make the whole process very interesting and much cheaper.
Now you can design your own automotive logos and designs, by following the next process.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Automotive Technical Schools

Automotive technical schools are specially designed to prepare students in the automotive field as professional automotive technicians. During the past decade, the number of automotive technical schools has increased manifold and most offer unique specializations. The automotive industry is not just confined to engines and repair work; opportunities are diverse. With the automobile industry at an all-time high, job opportunities in this field are many.
Automotive technical schools offer a wide range of career programs in the areas of fuel and ignition systems, engines and repair, brakes, power trains, electronics and diagnostic equipment, transmissions, auto electronic fundamentals, custom motorcycle body fabrication, collision repair and refinishing, emission testing, and much more. Some of the common programs to be found in the automotive technical schools include automotive technician training, collision repair and refinishing, diesel and industrial technician training, automotive service management, and mechanical drafting design and CAD technology.
Based on the courses, students finishing automotive technical schools are awarded diplomas or degree certificates. Almost every automotive technical school boasts experienced and highly qualified instructors from the automotive sectors. The fees at most of the schools are a bit high but financial aid packages are available at most schools.