RCF Ayra 8 – Italian Studio Monitor

RCF Ayra 8

RCF Ayra 8 – from pro-audio to prosumers

We live in exciting times, none more so than in the pro-audio world. There seems to be a smaller line now been drawn between the pro and consumer market, many products now being sold as prosumer,  a little play on words but which has big impact in the audio field. Years back, a professional series piece of equipment was very expensive and not something commonly seen in the home. The professional recording studio price is now seen in the home with much of the entry level equipment even being of a very high standard and indeed many phenomenal recordings have come straight from the home studio. It won’t be that long before the professional and huge commercial studios may even become a thing of the past.  The main drawback will always be how well you know your equipment, what are the caveats, what is going to cause you to lose money? Recording/audio engineers are a funny bunch – they are nearly always pedantic about the final image and rightly so, just as a professional cameraman is and always will be.

RCF Ayra 8
Ayra 8 from RCF

The bad news turns good

A pretty good but slightly higher than just entry level home recording setup will cost you 5 000 dollars upwards but yet there are professional guitarists using only the minimum amount of gear recording takes of their own with equipment under 1 000 dollars, excluding microphones and instruments. We can argue about all the different products and their capabilities, at a cost, on the market but the fact will always remain that a bad musician will always blame the tools. Just listen to the various recorders currently on the market, which includes entry level to high end and you will be amazed at what a good sound engineer can do with entry level equipment. Even possibly with a bad musician.

Field recorders – carrying a tube driven 4 track machine into the forest

In 1965/68 a fairly good quality stereo deck (4 track) for home use would cost upwards of 500 dollars – a lot of money in those days. Moving on, for the same price we can buy a Zoom, Roland and Tascam to name a few – 6 channels, extremely good S/N ratio with good quality XY microphones. The older open reel tape decks, collector’s item or not, sadly sit around and gather dust. This even applies to high end Revox and Sony machines. Of course we bring them out when the opportunity arises – nothing gathers more interest in audiophile circles than vintage equipment but sadly, like steamers of old they no longer have any use.

Accuracy – the ear is in the detail

The modern home studio will have four pieces of equipment as bare minimum: a microphone, a microphone preamplifier / sound card, a recording and output device for listening or reproduction, usually a computer and set of headphones. Unfortunately as many have found, the headphone set does not do the final mix any justice – the sound needs to be totally neutral and as I found out many years back, somewhat flat with no life whatsoever. I also discovered that the HS10s, the kingpin from Yamaha were the ultimate in studio monitors. They simply sounded dreadful. Yet this is the thing, listen to them over a period of an hour or two with the same settings, usually no boost and equalisation, things started coming together. Things you never heard before become more natural – a straight mic preamp into a good active studio reference monitors starts sounding like it should and not the over-compressed, humps and bumps of the home sound system. And this is what this article is all about – true accuracy of your home recording.

The RCF Ayra 8

The RCF Ayra 5, 6 and 8 plus sub is little heard of but is manufactured in Asia through Italian outfit called RCF. They are well known for sterling PA systems but scant recognition is given to the brand from us wannabes because they were never in the budget market. Now they are. Costing about the same as any low to mid budget system the only way to test the final result is through exhaustive electronic tests which obviously includes high quality calibrated devices. How does one compare one monitor against another which covers the same frequency range? If they are both good, you cannot, they both depend on reproducing an accurate image so what would be the benchmark? But you can because your ear tells you different.  This is why so many tell us which one to buy. Then  you buy and find out it’s not so great. So listen first and then buy. How long is a piece of string? Depends on what you compare it to. If the HS10 is the reference the 8″ is the one I would opt for. Other reviews rate the 5s and 6s exceptional – in one case they say do not get the 8, the sub will make up for any deficit – maybe so but there is such a little price difference between the 5s and 6s it should not really break the bank.  I did  jot test the 5s or 6s. In fact I purchased without listening – breaking the cardinal rule, always listen first.

Nearfields – listen until your ears fall off

Nearfield monitors are designed to be listened to closely. Modern nearfields usually boast pretty powerful bi-amped (or tri-amped as in Fostex 8s) amplifiers and the Ayra 8 is no different. At 80W into the 8″ and 30W into the 3/4″ HF driver with no distortion present whatsoever at full power they will make you deaf after an hour or so – wonderful!  What you pay for also is a monitor which is going to bring out the worst in your CD selection. The amplifier is class A/AB, possibly A for the tweeter and AB for the mid but this is a bit ambiguous. Cut out crossover distortion in the final transistors you have class AB. After playing for two hours at 3/4 volume setting the aluminium back plate does get hot.

These are not ‘hi-fi’ speakers and I would not connect them on to my notebook to play games – they look too good and they sound too good. For a gaming programmer: definitely. Testing them as the front speakers to a 5.1 sound system – perhaps. Definitely on your Art Pro, Presonus, Focusrite, Rane and Mackie system. They do have RCA connectors too, just in case you need to prove a point.

Nearfield monitors like the Ayra 8 are bad news for the way many of our mixes are done these days – much of our modern commercial music unfortunately does not lend itself to long hours of listening pleasure so when you do get your hands on a FLAC file covering something as diverse as Houses of the Holy by Zeppelin you will only realise how phenomenal these speakers really sound. Not that they were designed for this but cares. They will not make you tired and reach for the off switch.

Testing – without ears

The Ayra 8’s were also tested with pink noise, a GW Instek function generator on sweep, Hantek digital scope and a Behringer calibration microphone. They will need a sub for anything under about 50Hz.

RCF has been around for a long time and stealing a little bit from my friend Monty Python, this range is only the beginning of something completely different. Really nice build quality and with a white dome, priceless. Being of Italian design of course always adds that extra bit of credibility. The Ayra 8 is a truly brilliant reference monitor – they usually don’t look good but these do. Please get the sub with it otherwise steal the one from the home theater system – your wife won’t miss it.

Chinese Motorcycles – getting the facts straight

Chinese motorcycles – why the controversy?

Not that many years back the Japanese brought out motor vehicles for the export market which were scoffed at by the press and general motorists. Toyota started selling so many that they started manufacturing overseas. They still do. Just like Nissan. Then came the Honda CB750/4 – every teen’s dream. Fathers of teen daughters became nervous. Who remembers the Kawasaki Z900, the Suzuki Katana, the Yamaha RD350, the Kawasaki two stroke 500s and 750s?

Chinese Motorcycles - Zongshen
Zongshen Pit Garage – Ngchikit

The die-hards stood by their BMW’s, Harley’s, BSA’s and Triumphs. Italian bikes reigned supreme.  Japanese bikes started taking on the European two wheelers on all the major (and minor) tracks. Becoming ever powerful on the racing circuits meant booming sales. Modern machines are no longer just a means of transport – they signify money, power and male (and female) dominance. Or not?

Fighting the transport issue with reliable budget motorcycles

Chinese pocket rockets are scoffed at. Ridiculed. Just like “Made in Hong Kong” in the 60s. Then everything got made in Hong Kong and Singapore, just not high end two wheelers. Electronics became digital and smaller. The Chinese (included would be Taiwan) went for the jugular and are now world leaders in the electronic consumer goods sector. It was only a matter of time before they started producing their own vehicles. Their motorcycle manufacturers focused on energy saving, light emission vehicles. Energy saving and light emission does not go hand in hand with the Honda Fireblade, never was, never will be. Just as the number of Chinese electronic goods producers have slowly shrunk to produce only fine quality laptops, cellphones and tablets so it is with their entry level machines. Motorcycles are been sold with 3 year / 20 000km warranty. 12 000 miles is not a lot –  333 miles per month or 16 miles per day over a 20 day working month. Rationalise then, these bikes only cost possibly in the ballpark region of about 1 200 Dollars each, costing being about 33 Dollars per month. Add in fuel and maintenance costs, there is no cheaper form of transport world wide. Chinese dominance then? For sure.

The problem is that we scoff at Chinese motorcycles. We ride them into the ground and say that they are absolute rubbish. In 5 years time (2020) we will possibly not scoff so much.  The impressive thing is that in most cases the body parts fall off but the engine remains running. Remember the Nissan 1200cc LDV and sedans?  All now collector’s items – if the body was looked after.

Budget motorcycles Vs Budget maintenance plans

Students and budget conscious commuters are buying Chinese bikes in droves. 60% of them promise they will never buy another one. Next year it will be 40%.  Smacks of poor old Behringer, “conceived in Germany and built in China”.  How many people complain about their products but don’t do proper maintenance. Budget conscious riders often don’t do the maths – maintenance and service costs are going to far exceed that of the purchase price of a cheap bike, drive train and  tyres are consumables and do not get included into the warranty. Don’t complain about the cheap arsed tyres – get other tyres. When you don’t like something or feel it is not safe, don’t buy it or at least change it. If a bike is meant for off road remember that there are safety limits, weighing in at 100kg is one of them.  Steel gauge and tensile strength will always be a problem on budget vehicles – always check for cracks in the frame and swing arm. This doesn’t apply to budget bikes but every bike, not just cheap imports. Often riders looking for a bargain will stick to second hand Japanese bikes because they are better than Chinese. Are they really?  Once per week the bike must be checked, not once per year. This applies to any motorcycle. Sure, a Harley will give you less problems, that’s what you pay for. Nuts and bolts on a motorbike are more prone to working loose than a four wheeler. KTMs and Husqvarnas are great at what they do but guaranteed the rider will check every working part on either of these bikes each and every time they go for a ride – meant to be driven hard they also succumb to vibration and wear and tear.

Chinese bikes are fun bikes but can be used to commute – just service regularly. They are designed to be cheap, they are designed to be lean on energy but mostly, they are designed to keep your running costs to a bare minimum. Don’t compare them to something which costs four times as much. Budget bikes are not designed for track racing neither hard off road use. Know your own weight and the bike’s limitations.

There is a vast difference in the quality of the imported bikes we saw 5 years ago to what is now available, pricing has remained stable – Chinese motorcycles are here to stay. We knew that then, we know that now.

Care to view your thoughts?

 

Generators – Diesel, petrol, AVRs, ATS and AMF

Generators - Deep Sea Control DSE 4420

Generators – what to do and what to get?

With most of the first and third world energy problems raising it’s ugly head more just a few times over the last few years it’s not surprising that many are turning to alternative means of energy:  PV cells, batteries, inverters, grid and non-grid tied systems and the more popular petrol and diesel generators. The first thing one needs to know is that a licenced electrician is the only person allowed to touch the distribution board of your house, whether it be for modification or repair. Your family’s life depends on this, insurance companies will want to know this and if someone’s life is lost through negligence, the police will want to know this. Never, ever, connect and/or run a generator onto your home supply by yourself unless you are a licenced electrician.  Always ensure on a certificate upon completion.

Generators - Deep Sea Control DSE 4420
Deep Sea Control DSE 4420

ATS and AMF installed on generators

The ATS or auto transfer switch is similar to the AMF or auto mains failure system where the genset can start itself and switch-over power when there is deep sagging, over-voltage or just plain blackout of utility power. Sound simple? It isn’t.

Utility power and grid

Your utility power runs through a distribution system or network (grid) and there are many parameters which determine where the power goes to, what the voltage should be, how many phases and what current the conductors should be able to carry. This includes therefore switchgear, contactors and huge transformers for stepping up or down the voltages. Because this forms part of a network, the supply will always be live if the network is supplied from the utility generators and the switches are closed. Although certain parts of the world only run on 100 or 110V, this supply is still lethal. High voltage linesmen get paid a lot of money for this very reason. They put their lives at risk each and every time they need to repair the lines.

Home generators

The home generator is an extremely handy tool in the right hands, not so in the hands of anyone unskilled. An ATS system for your home generator is ideal if it can run supervised but never unsupervised. Large industrial generators have over-speed, under-speed, current trips, over-voltage, under-voltage, temperature and often synchro panels – they are installed by very skilled personnel and therefore need to be repaired by skilled personnel. The motor or prime mover delivers often hundreds of kilowatts at full power and needs to be extremely reliable. Utility power is often driven by nuclear, hydro, coal, wind and solar. They can deliver hundreds of megawatts. Coal firing supplies deliver upwards of 1 000MW at one site alone. Highly qualified electrical and mechanical engineers design and build these supplies to make it safe for everyone but still things go wrong. Hydro electric plants are still the biggest in the world, coal being pretty low down on the list at nearly 6 000MW. These powers stations comprise of multiples of alternators to get this combined power output.

Home generators are mostly single phase and are usually found from 1kW up to 10kW, enough for the necessities and 20kW to 30kW to supply the entire household comfortably. The larger generator sets have more safety features built in, as well as supplying three phase power – for the DIYer it would therefore seem feasible to build their own auto shut-off and fail-safe systems for the engine.  Although in most cases the DIYer will build his own AMF or ATS panel it may not be legal. In fact this is highly unrecommended. Many companies sell interlocked contactors which by design prohibit backfeed onto the utility lines – these may prove to be illegal as well. Motorised rotary switches are becoming more commonplace (and possibly the only legal entrant) as this isolates the chances of relay contacts welding themselves closed. Backfeed is when the generator feeds power back onto the grid, an extremely dangerous practice, especially for any linesmen con ducting any repair suddenly finding an isolated line is now live.

Generator Voltage Regulation

The generator AVR (automatic voltage regulator) unfortunately is not very sophisticated in smaller gensets. This is made worse in smaller petrol engine prime movers – torque is low at lower RPM usually 3000 or 3600 RPM for 50 or 60Hz. When running the generator, fast acting transient loads cause the generator to hunt, easily heard by the generator changing speed – up and down. Over rating the generator for bare necessities by 100% or switching to diesel generators which have higher toque at lower RPM is often the best way to go. Petrol generators are cheaper to over-rate than diesel, they are also easier to move around. Diesel generators are supposedly more reliable, definitely much heavier but use less fuel for a given kW rating.  Gensets should have surge protection and GFCI Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) built in – if not, this is your first stop. Earthing and safety should always be on the top of the to do list. Surge protection is a simple enough modification, not so with the GFCI. Some generator sets have bonded earth and neutral which does not allow imbalance detection – the current through the live must equal that in the return path, the neutral. An imbalance often causes problems for the electrician – the home owner may just disconnect the earthing entirely. A very dangerous step to take. A qualified electrician has to ensure that the wiring is correct and legal. Which includes your family’s safety.

Safety circuits for the motor

Small generator engines should have the following safety circuits built in as a matter of course, if not, do the necessary changes if you have the skillset:

  • Low oil pressure – shut off.
  • Incorrect mains frequency – shut off.
  • High and Low voltage – shut off.
  • High temp – shut off.

Over and above this keep an approved fire extinguisher nearby for the designed purpose. Usually CO2.

Cabling

If the generator is powering the house through a changeover switch ensure that the cabling to the main DB can carry the maximum load current and non-essential circuits are switched off automatically. This includes the stove, geyser and pumps. As this will be done by the electrician in any event, do request that the highest current cabling that you can afford be put in place for future upgrades.

Parking

Depending on where you live sometimes having a generator outside is impractical (theft) – know your region bylaws and legislation and ensure that exhaust emissions are outside. Carbon monoxide detection circuits should also be mandatory if the genset is positioned in the garage (legally).

Insurance

Insurance companies often do not pay out when there is a line surge. Ensure that all equipment have surge protectors. Low line voltages can causes the fridge compressor to burn out. Although your plasma and LCD panels may have switched mode power supplies which can take large voltage swings, voltage surges and spikes will way exceed manufacturer ratings.

UPS

More UPS are damaged through line surges than anything else. A common myth is that online UPS are better than line-interactive UPS for mission critical power supplies – the online UPS or double conversion UPS can boost and buck a supply rail more effectively than a line interactive unit but a surge remains a surge. Because of this, more often than not the more expensive online UPS is connected to a generator which then fails because the generator or the power utility has a huge surge on start up or switchover.  UPS input power must only be applied when the line voltage is stable.

Important note: The UPS has a modified sine wave which is not recommended to drive inductive loads e.g. transformers and drilling machines. Use a pure sine wave inverter for this purpose. This is a fairly comprehensive and technical subject which will be covered in another article.

800W gensets

Very tiny gensets, in the 800W to 100W range should be modified to feed through a mains transformer, stepped down to 12V, rectified, filtered to feed a deep cycle battery which in turn runs an inverter to power a TV set or low power appliance. These gensets are otherwise perfect for small drilling machines or non-sensitive equipment. Definitely not a plasma or any panel screen.

Snippets

A 170kVA generator was installed at a premises where power was known to be unstable. The lighting inside the premises suddenly started glowing very brightly, the generator started and then shut down, restarted and then shut down again. This happened quite a few times before one of the staff pushed the kill-switch and isolated the building power. The mains voltage read 258V in a 230V area. A typical example of the designer not following the ‘what if’ scenario. The generator was designed to start up on high or low utility power. However the sense circuit detected mains incoming which included generator power. on switch-over. This same generator initially never started automatically because the battery always ran down. The alternator field was coupled directly to the battery, was not isolated through switching, neither had a charge lamp.

Experience

In most cases your best bet electrician for genset installations are ex-personnel from large industry, including mining and marine. Experience is king, not the text book theory.

As an alternative: DC to DC

An auto or car alternator, 12V or 24V can be a very versatile device. It is small and because of this can be mounted at any angle without taking too much space. Using any petrol or diesel motor of possibly around 1kW one can power an inverter from the alternator in cases of emergency whilst keeping the battery charged. Use a deep cycle battery, original AVR and lawnmower chassis of your Briggs and Stratton, a V-belt (same ratio as your car, for every 1000 RPM the alternator runs at 2x or 3x) and your tried and trusted B&S you have at least 50A to feed an inverter or directly to 12V LED lighting in your house. Recommended to use 12V for most small voltage appliances through a linear regulator if need be. When the generator is off one still has the battery to feed the alternator or 12V load. The 12V battery can also be fed from a solar panel or two. This may sound like a cheap and nasty solution to many problems but it is not – it is very effective and extremely reliable. Most parts can be obtained 2nd hand but always use a new battery.  Useful post.

In conclusion…

Generators are cheap but have high running and maintenance costs – they will never compete with the utility kW/hr rates but are ideal under blackout conditions and in critical circumstances.  Solar energy is great when and where there is high absorption throughout the year but setup costs remain extremely high. The solution is to provide light first and then look at energy demand. The DIYer then comes into his own. Natural gas is not always a solution, especially when the gas is bottled and not piped. In most cases natural gas supply is low during an energy crises and natural catastrophes cause more mayhem . Battery power means lead acid secondary cells, tried and tested but never trusted.  We may believe in an accumulative solution of all these forms of energy but right now the biggest money spinner is in the sale of portable petrol, gas and diesel generators.

  • Read up on portable generator power here.

As the earth spins and there is a magnetic field one can only wonder….

Note:  The Deep Sea Electronic control panel used in our image library was not added through affiliation. The writer personally endorses their products but they do not necessarily endorse the writings on this website, parts-ring.com. The writer of this article has had numerous years of experience in the marine and commercial sector and has never had a failure of their products. Deep Sea remains one of the better products available as can be ascertained through dealings with any of their educated and friendly staff, on any level and at any distribution center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Motor Vehicles – what the future holds

Advanced Motor Vehicles - the Peugeot HYbrid

Advanced Motor Vehicles – from ECUs to ADAS

Modern vehicle technology has become increasingly more sophisticated, simple buttons and switches belie the complex analogue and digital circuitry hidden beneath steel, metal and plastic. In the 1970s CDI and electronic fuel injection were slowly becoming mainstream and it was not long thereafter that the Engine Control Unit became the buzzword for auto electronics. The ECU which now refers to the more generic Electronic Control Unit can encompass many controller units or sub systems from window winders, airbag deployment, GPS to vehicle lighting.  The one stand out feature in the evolution of vehicle electronics is safety in the form of the  Advanced Driver Assistance System or ADAS.  Vehicles are just becoming more safer to drive than ever before, with the Germans and Swedes standing possibly head and shoulders above most other nations in this highly innovative industry.

 

Advanced Motor Vehicles - the Peugeot HYbrid
2008 Peugeot HYbrid – courtesy Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz)

 

As the motor industry changed, the old die-hards and grease monkeys found themselves having to up-skill or change trade entirely. It is now no longer uncommon for a vehicle in the workshop to be directly linked to a diagnostics tester, sometimes even at the factory through the OBD-II port. This wasn’t just any simple revolutionary idea, fighting for lower emissions and having access to the engine management system the evolution of onboard diagnostic testing was inevitable. For factory trained personnel, most malfunctions in the vehicle mechanical and electronic system can and should lead to a reliable and complete repair. For non-factory trained personnel misdiagnosis is not infrequent, neither the fact that many vehicle owners end up paying for repairs or replacement of components which weren’t malfunctioning in the first place. Tales of woe are in abundance, especially in the auto sector.

Advanced Motor Vehicles – no visual burnt fuse display?

Motor vehicle electronics, although extremely sophisticated, still relies on (in most cases) point to point wiring with spade, bullet and ring connectors along with plugs and sockets. Time proven, they are reliable and cheap. Vehicle electronics, depending on supply and demand is also comparatively cheap. And reliable. Wire used in motor vehicles is heat resistant and not prone to cracking even under extreme conditions. Problems do arise through vibration and in many cases failures are of a mechanical nature, not electronic. Motor vehicle manufacturers do not as a rule have a ‘blown fuse’ indicator. Neither do the electronic controllers tell you where the problem exists in the a/c line or whether a brake light is out. These are things that can easily be remedied by using a fault or error diagnosis system. Expensive cars do have this – but price wise it should be a given that all vehicles should have this as a necessity. Does the driver know that correct deployment of an air bag relies on safety belt being on and sometimes the weight of the occupants in the passenger seats being measured? See Chevy Impala.

 

 

Communication

Modern technique should rely on (+) (-) and a bi-directional communication signal to the rear, front, dash and central point of the vehicle, which is easily accessible. Most car owners find it difficult to pin-point blown fuses because the manual covers many different revisions. There should be an international standard applied to onboard self-tests and the wiring code to essential safety components like hooter, headlights, rear lights and indicators.  Most auto electronics have diagrams which confuse not only the layman but light current technicians as well.  Often the symbols used in diagrams vary from one country to the next which adds to the confusion. The days when a simple 12V light-bulb tester would suffice for most repairs is gone.  Tow hitch wiring continues to be a mess, a serial data stream along with battery power is really all that is needed to ensure that the correct circuit is invoked.

Years back it was common practice to find auto electrical systems running on 6V (remember the older Beetles) or 12V with a grounded positive (British). The good old Brits found that a positive ground system reduced corrosion and according to folklore electronic systems started seeing more bipolar NPN transistors being used, forcing the standard to change to negative ground. This may be true to a certain degree but a lot of cars were using negative ground before electronics became common and it may just be that too many manufacturers were opting for negative ground which lead to car radios having negative ground, then CDI etc, etc, Sounds like the Beta – VHS wars. Having said that, many workshops reported that ignition systems using the simple contact breaker method (points) lasted longer on vehicles with positive ground.

A 42V electrical system for Advanced Motor Vehicles

6V auto systems, dynamos and wiring corrosion were all the fad in the 50s. For the layman, a 6V system is going to be higher current for the same wattage which would lead to unnecessary voltage drops, most prevalently seen in the low intensity headlights. It would have made more sense to stick to 24V but then the generator, a dynamo, was not the most efficient device around in those years. Auto electricians of the time should recall the intricate regulation systems required which consisted of ‘A’ or ‘B’ point-contact current-voltage regulators. Sophisticated they were but never all that reliable. Alternators were far more efficient at any given RPM range and of course an alternator has one huge advantage – one could step up the voltage. Stepping up voltage (aux. power) whilst still having a 12V output (battery charging) is great for reducing copper conductors. In fact there is no real advantage of using a 12V system in motor vehicles these days but the idea of switching to a 42V system which theoretically in many aspects should be superior to the 12V system has been supposedly cancelled.  As hybrid propulsion units become more popular the 42V system looked all the more attractive with dual 14 and 42V systems appearing to make a debut in the latter part of the 90s but to date 12V still reigns king. With volatile copper pricing eating into manufacturer margins this may make an interesting review in another ten years. Be it as it may, modern charging systems, controllers, electric motors and pumps are extremely reliable with only one down side – de-misting, de-icing and electrical propulsion systems require gobs of power and higher voltages still remains the answer. It all comes down to conductor size at a given voltage – sometimes 12V will just not do.

Many years back nearly all motor vehicles had hand cranks for emergency starting. There were also power take-offs for winches on certain off-road vehicles. With the vehicle electrics relying more and more on the lead-acid accumulator and more efficient charging systems things have only followed a natural trend, not an innovative one. More power, bigger batteries. Stop-start systems have become increasingly popular. Cluck-cluck, cluck-cluck! Wonderful innovation or just another gimmick?  This is of course not a new idea, neither is it highly innovative. Mazda has the i-stop system which relies on the diesel engine crank position. Hybrid technology utilising a large energy stack should be vastly superior to stop-start both from a transmission point of view as well as emission control but costing still remains fairly prohibitive. Tests remain ambiguous and potential buyers dodge the hype.

Advanced Motor Vehicles – what next?

One thing is definite:  Over the last fifty years there has been incredible changes to the motor industry and over the next ten there will be even more. Electronics has made the IC engine more reliable and efficient, chassis components and ADAS has become infinitely better but maybe we need to overhaul our entire thinking processes to move on to the next stage. Electronic control is here to stay, possibly not the internal combustion engine. Electric motors are extremely efficient, with incredible low end torque but their power to weight ratio when one includes the batteries remains the big pitfall. Advanced motor vehicles using hybrid technology has matured but one significant step forward in storage cell capacity will change the course of manufacture.