Green Tires That Save Money?
Yokohama just introduced the dB Super E-spec tire, which besides being a mouthful to say, is supposedly the greatest thing since sliced bread. The tire, which is comprised mostly of orange oil rather than petroleum-based products, is said to improve rolling resistance by 20 percent.
"The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance," said Dan King, Yokohama vice president of sales. "It also helps consumers save money at the gas pump by improving fuel efficiency via a 20-percent reduction in rolling resistance. With these innovations, the dB Super E-spec could very well be the most technologically-advanced tire ever produced."
"The idea of combining oil from orange peels with natural rubber was originally conceived by our racing engineers," said Chung. "The same orange oil technology, which improves a tire's grip, can be seen today with our ADVAN(r) ENV-R1TM racing tire on Porsche GT3 Cup cars. The ENV-R1 (the official spec tire of the Patrón GT3 Challenge by Yokohama) is the first environmentally-sensitive race tire used in a motorsports series."
At press time, the dB Super E-spec isn't available in sizes for fullsize pickups. Yokohama targeted hybrid-driving greenies with 185/65R15 88H, 195/65R15 91H, 195/55R16 86V and 215/60R16 95V sizes, which fit the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid/Civic GX NGV, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Nissan Versa and VW Golf. Whether or not this technology will move into the truck segment remains to be seen, but anything that will improve fuel economy without hurting the horsepower numbers of our trucks would be a welcome improvement.
Sport Trucks in Space?
This column was penned on the 40th anniversary of the NASA moon landing, so it was especially fitting that we found an article in USA Today that suggests the next generation of lunar rover vehicles might include pickups. Apollo 15-, 16-, and 17 all had lunar rover vehicles, which were battery-powered, built by Boeing, and cost about 38 million bucks. The article quotes Lucien Junkin, a Johnson Space Center robotics engineer in Cape Canaveral who said: "When you think of a truck, it screams America."
We couldn't agree more. Plus, a pickup makes sense since the bed would obviously be used to haul equipment around the moon. A bed net made from Velcro would be a good idea as well.
No Flareside for 2010 F-150
You won't be able to order a Ford F-150 Supercab with a 5.5-foot bed on a 133-inch chassis or get a Flareside bed unless you pony up for the off-road-inspired Raptor SVT truck. But, the '10 F-150 will have six-percent larger disc brakes, which is nice. Other than that, the changes are minor cosmetic and comfort updates, so there's nothing to really get excited about unless you really wanted that Flareside.
Edelbrock Hooks Up Another High Schooler
For the seventh consecutive year, the Edelbrock Corporation has supported the future of our industry by awarding a scholarship to help one lucky high school kid to further his or her automotive education. Mathew Mitchell of Torrance, California, inspired the Edelbrocks with an essay spelling out his plans to attend college where he'd major in business, while harnessing his automotive passion generated through his high school shop classes. Ultimately, Matthew wants to open a specialty automotive shop.
Edelbrock President, Vic Edelbrock, presented Matthew with a check for $1,500.00, an autographed copy of Edelbrock: Made in USA, an Edelbrock letterman's jacket, and an honorary plaque. Torrance Education Foundation member, Pat Furey; Principal, John O'Brien; Torrance City Council Member, Tom Brewer; Torrance Unified School District Sr. Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Tom Stowe; and Auto Shop program instructor Adam Drace were all on hand in support of the award presentation.
When asked what this award means to him, Matt shared, "I want to keep the automotive business alive with new inspiring energy and dreams."