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Wayne Cunningham, CNET Car Tech editor LIVE!

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / July 17, 2007 3:06 AM PDT

Ask the Editors Live!

Car tech live chat event with CNET senior editor Wayne Cunningham starts Thursday July 26th at 11 a.m. to noon Pacific / 2 p.m to 3 p.m Eastern. Where Wayne, will be answering your questions about new high-tech cars, car technology, and more. See you at the event!

Click here for upcoming Ask the Editors Live events and past transcripts of events.

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by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 3:55 AM PDT

Hi, I'm Wayne Cunningham, senior editor of CNET Car Tech, here to answer your questions about car technology.

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by jpr / July 26, 2007 3:58 AM PDT

is this live now?

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re: ?
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 3:59 AM PDT
In reply to: ?

yes it is

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by jpr / July 26, 2007 4:01 AM PDT

ok, I've got a question.
The NHTSA has proposed (and passed, I believe) a new requirement for passenger vehicles to have Electronic Stability Program standard in a few years. What vehicles are excepted? I believe very heavy vehicles are, but I'm not sure.

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re: ESP
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:03 AM PDT
In reply to: ESP

I believe commercial vehicles will have a different standard (as they do in most regulations). But I haven't verified that.

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by forkboy1965 / July 26, 2007 4:02 AM PDT

I recently heard a conversation between automotive experts where it was said that ABS doesn't really improve braking distances in dry conditions, but is really more for wet conditions and for maintaining directional stability in dry. Is this an accurate assessment of ABS?

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re: ABS
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:05 AM PDT
In reply to: ABS

I have never heard that ABS doesn't help in dry conditions. Where it definitely does help is maintaining driver control over the vehicle, in wet or dry. If you're skidding, you can't effectively maneuver. With ABS, you still have control over steering when the car is under hard braking.

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Oxygen technologies
by vlturner / July 26, 2007 4:02 AM PDT

Seeing as it is called oxidation, in all of this debate, when have you ever heard of anyone ever dealing with the oxygen side of the formula? I have radical process at 40% This changes combustion more than anyone ever has, and it can use cast magnets to do it, so it requires no energy input other than casting the fields.

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re: Oxygen technologies
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Oxygen technologies

Oxygenating gasoline definitely contributes to a cleaner burn. But I'm not knowledgable about how magnets can oxygenate gasoline.

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by jpr / July 26, 2007 4:05 AM PDT

Ok, I've got another. My 2004 SAAB 9-3 was cut off from OnStar services a few months ago becuase of the analog-digital switch. (even though GM knew about this as early as 2002). My other car, a 2007 BMW X5, uses a similar, (and superior) system called BMW Assist. Is this based on the most current digital system?

(Forkboy: No. ABS helps stopping distances and vehicle control in all conditions)

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re: OnStar
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:09 AM PDT
In reply to: OnStar

Yes, BMW Assist works on a digital cellular standard. You won't get it cut off due to a change from analog.

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On commercial vehicles
by vlturner / July 26, 2007 4:05 AM PDT

Diesel engines stop smoking when you can get the O2 level up to 25%, and it makes Diesel more efficent than gasoline engines.

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Toyota Prius 2010 Model
by EatMoreBread / July 26, 2007 4:08 AM PDT

I've heard that Toyota is planning on revamping their Prius model to vastly inprove energy efficiency, possibly making it a plug-in, changing to a Li-Ion battery and even adding solar panels on the top to help recharge the battery. What information have you heard about the Toyota Prius 2010 redesign?

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re: Toyota Prius 2010 Model
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:12 AM PDT

Well, I've heard from Toyota that they won't confirm a 2010 model upgrade. Toyota engineers don't want to be held to a timeline, as they want to incorporate the best tech they can. However, I'm sure Toyota marketing has a different view point. Also, Toyota showed off a concept at last Winter's auto shows that looks like a new generation Prius. New battery tech seems likely, as there have been big improvements. I'm sure plug-in is under consideration, but Toyota has only admitted to researching it. Solar panels seem less likely. Right now, though, there is only speculation.

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Oxygen is paramagnetic
by vlturner / July 26, 2007 4:10 AM PDT

Nitrogen is not. It is the paramagnetic properties that mak oxygen caus rust, oxidation, and other properties. Lightning is more the O2 molecules lining up in the atmosphere for the discharge, Then as the O2 is broken, it reforms to O3 and free radicals. Look at Lightning on other planets to see the difference.

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Portable GPS device
by jerzyb / July 26, 2007 4:12 AM PDT

I frequently travel on business to US and European cities and deal with rental cars. European cities are notoriously difficult to navigate. I would like to have a portable, simple device that would work in cars on multiple continents. Alternatively, I could be satisfied with GPS antenna only unit that can communicate with my GSM T-Mobile MDA phone via Bluetooth and allow me to use car 12V plug for only one device. What would You recommend ?
Thank You, Jerzy

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re: Portable GPS device
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Portable GPS device

For travel, I would recommend a dedicated portable nav device from Garmin or TomTom. You will have to buy the European maps, which are going to be expensive. Or you could buy one of those devices with the European maps, then buy the US maps separately, depending on your needs. Portable antennas can present hassles due to connectivity issues and having to load apps and maps onto your phone.

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Answer for EatMoreBread
by jpr / July 26, 2007 4:13 AM PDT
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Hybrid cars used on mostly highway driving
by sbaxter / July 26, 2007 4:15 AM PDT

Since hybrid cars run on the electric during stop and go driving, would it be best to stick with a non-hybrid car if 90% of your driving is on the highway?

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re: Hybrid cars used on mostly highway driving
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:18 AM PDT

Your driving habits are a big consideration if you're looking into hybrids. If you're doing a lot of high speed freeway driving, definitely consider a car with a 6 speed transmission. Plus, any small displacement engine should do as well as a hybrid on flat terrain at freeway or highway speeds. But if you have to deal with hills, the hybrid can increase efficiency.

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Cellulose fuels
by vlturner / July 26, 2007 4:16 AM PDT

You take one cellulose molecule to 3 O2 molecules and you get lots of energy released. Creating only CO2 and water. If cellulose is one of the top 5 most abundent molecules on the planet, why isn't that the fuel. And it is paart of the closed carbon cycle, and not a polutant. Only fossil fuel carbon is a bad thing. The reason is no one ever changed the O2 levels to take advantage of cellulose

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re: Cellulose fuels
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Cellulose fuels

There is plenty of research going on into cellulose fuels. Researchers have to deal with the same issues they deal with other alt fuels: how efficiently can it burn, what's the best source, how much energy will it produce, and will there be consequences to widespread use?

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Thanks Wayne... cont. hybrids on highways
by sbaxter / July 26, 2007 4:23 AM PDT

You said that "if you have to deal with hills, the hybrid can increase efficiency."

Can you further go into details about increase efficiency. Does the electric side of the motor help assist in driving up hills? Just need a little more clarification on when the electric motor does actually kick in to help save fuel...

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re: hybrids on highways
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:26 AM PDT

Sure, the hybrid system will kick in when you are going up the hills. With a non-hybrid system, the engine would shoot more gas through the cylinders to produce the extra power needed to get up the hills. With a hybrid, the electric motors provide the extra boost. You make up some of that energy expended when you go down the other side of the hill, with regen braking putting electricity back into the batteries.

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GPS Unit
by vlturner / July 26, 2007 4:25 AM PDT

I have the Garmin 76CSx I thinks that right, the new one that has the SD storage card. I put a 2GB card in and have all the US mapes in it. I travel as a PS engineer, and it works great.

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Hybrid European cars?
by sbaxter / July 26, 2007 4:30 AM PDT

Is there a reason why BMW, Mercedes, and other European car manufactures haven't released a hybrid yet? I've seen the concepts but when--and why are they so behind the times?

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re: Hybrid European cars?
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid European cars?

I think it comes down to culture more than anything. European car makers are a little more conservative than Asian manufacturers, and less likely to jump on a new technology. Also, in Europe they are used to building cars with very small engines compared to what we get in the US, so they are already economical, and have less of a need for hybrids.

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Cellulose fuels
by vlturner / July 26, 2007 4:30 AM PDT

But it's the same old same old. Fuel to air, not fuel to Oxygen. You have to take the Nitrogen out first. It acts as a retardant to combustion.

Efficentcy needs to be measured against 100% oxygen. A 95% efficent furnace in your home is in reality only 17% efficent.

Widespread use of cellulose isn't a problem, unless you consider that most of the higher order life forms are cellulose oxidizers.

The problem is not to oxidize it with any other molecule.

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re: Cellulose fuels
by wcunning Roadshow staff / July 26, 2007 4:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Cellulose fuels

I wish I could comment more on these issues, but I just don't know the science.

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answer for sbaxster
by jpr / July 26, 2007 4:33 AM PDT

Premium european car makers (bmw, audi, mercedes-benz) are much much more focused on Diesel technology for the US. Infact, BMW will be bringing diesel variants of popular models, including the X5 and 3 series, to our shores soon. Mercedes-Benz has thier E320 Blutech, and Audi is working on diesel technology too. A diesel equipied 335d BMW can achieve high mpg, low emmissions, and a very very quick ride.

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