Mon Oct 28 2013 15:05:44 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The Broadway songwriting duo of John Kander and Fred Ebb created enduring musicals like "Cabaret" and "Chicago." Then there is the duo's 1966 show "Go Fly a Kite."
It wasn't a flop. It just wasn't intended for the public. "Go Fly a Kite" was an "industrial musical," a genre created when American industry was booming and businesses wanted fully staged live shows for corporate meetings or events. Many shows were Broadway-quality, with full sets, costumes, orchestras and plots, but they were written as infotainment that could span a day, with speeches in-between, or be performed in a meeting session. "Go Fly a Kite" ran at the Fifth Electric Utility Executives Conference in Williamsburg, Va., with songs including "PDM (Power Distribution Management) Can Do." Read more at link above.
Fri Oct 04 2013 16:56:20 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Volvo Cars has developed an ingenious concept for autonomous parking, where the car finds and parks in a vacant space all by itself. The smart, driverless car also interacts safely and smoothly with other cars and pedestrians in the car park.
By using a mobile phone application, the driver can activate the Autonomous Parking and then simply walk away from the car. The car will in turn use sensors—connected to transmitters in the road infrastructure—to localise and navigate to a free parking space, and later, back to the driver.
Moreover, by combining autonomous driving with detection and auto brake features, the car can safely interact with other vehicles and pedestrians in the car park.
This is one of several steps in Volvo Car Group's aim is to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving by moving beyond concepts and actually delivering pioneering technologies that will reach the customers.
Fri Aug 23 2013 19:02:55 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
Powered by a CNG-electric extended-range powertrain, the Opel Monza coupe concept will make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Get all the latest auto industry news in the Executive Briefing.
Troubled sports car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. failed to make a $10-million payment on a federal government loan Monday, tipping the Anaheim company closer to a bankruptcy reorganization or liquidation.
Fisker was scheduled to start to pay down about $192 million it had borrowed under the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
The Energy Department said that on April 11, it “recouped the company’s approximately $21 million reserve account -- funds that came from the company's sales and investors, not our loan -– and will apply those funds to the loan.”
An individual familiar with the process but not authorized to speak about Fisker’s debt said the government essentially swept the car company’s account clean but now must wait to see if the automaker is sold or obtains new investor money before it can try to recoup more of the loan.
“Given the obvious difficulties the company is facing, we are taking strong and appropriate action on behalf of taxpayers,” said Aoife McCarthy, an Energy Department representative. “Using the safeguards we write into our loan agreements, the Department stopped disbursing on the loan in June 2011 after the company fell short of the aggressive milestones that we had established as a condition of the loan. As a result, while our original loan commitment was for $529 million, only $192 million was actually disbursed.”
After taking the $21 million, the government is still owed $171 million.
A Fisker spokesman declined to comment.
Fisker laid off most of its workers this month.
Analysts said the move, following the hiring of a bankruptcy law firm last month, probably signals the death of the Anaheim company, which was founded by auto designer Henrik Fisker in 2007 with great hopes of selling highly styled hybrid sports cars and sedans.
Fisker has been working for months to raise $500 million so it could restart production of the Karma, its only model, which was built in Finland. Fisker stopped making the $110,000 plug-in hybrid last year after A123 Systems Inc., the maker of its lithium-ion battery, filed for bankruptcy.
Fisker has sold just 2,000 of its Karma hybrid sports cars and hasn't assembled a vehicle in about nine months.
The Karma is a plug-in hybrid that can run on electricity and gasoline. A pair of 150,000-watt electric motors power the rear wheels. Those motors get their energy from the large 180-kilowatt lithium-ion battery, which can power the car on electric-only power for 30 to 50 miles, depending on how the Karma is driven.
After the batteries are depleted, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, sourced from General Motors, kicks in to recharge them.
The sports car was designed by Henrik Fisker, who had worked on other high-end cars, including the Aston Martin DB9 and V-8 Vantage and the BMW Z8. The four-door Karma cut a dramatic silhouette on the road, with sweeping lines flowing around massive 22-inch wheels, a long hood and a cramped cabin but has been hampered by reliability problems and several recalls.
Panther DRR Planning To Shut Down After Indy 500. Oriol Servia will be rideless after next month's Indy 500 unless additional sponsorship or a new team partner/investor can be identified.
Unless a new partner or financial angel surfaces quickly, one of the loyal, little guys in the IZOD IndyCar series is shutting down after next month’s Indianapolis 500.
And one of the most resilient drivers in open wheel racing will again find himself in free fall.
Dennis Reinbold and Robbie Buhl, whose Dreyer & Reinbold team has been a mainstay of Indy-car racing since 2000, don’t have the sponsorship necessary to continue to field a car for Oriol Servia.
“It’s disappointing, obviously, but financially it has to make sense,” said Reinbold, who informed Servia and the crew of their plight this week after returning from Long Beach.
“IndyCar racing is getting more and more affordable and it needs to continue that way but we just don’t have the funds to continue past May.”
Servia, one of IndyCar’s most under-rated values, figured he’d finally found a home after more than a decade of ride hopping.
“I didn’t see it coming. There were no signs because we never missed a test and we just bought eight new dampers and went to the shaker rig,” said the 38-year-old Spaniard who began his career in CART in 1999.
Without a new sponsor or investor, Oriol Servia and the Panther DRR team will be forced to shut down after next month's Indy 500. (Photo: Marshall Pruett)
“I knew we were a little short and one big deal fell through at the last second but I figured we’d be OK. It’s sad because Dennis and Robbie have put together a damn good team.”
Even though he shares technology with Panther Racing, Reinbold is a single-car team that has been creative with sponsorships because he and Buhl have never scored a big company like Target or Verizon.
This year he’s got Charter (a media company), Valspar (a paint company), Mecum (auctions), Wix (filters), Hurco (a CNC machine company) and Sandvik (a tool company) on Servia’s Dallara/Chevy.
“That’s why we have so many different liveries,” continued Reinbold, whose car dealership is his main source of income. “The crazy thing is that we’ve already got a sponsor for the 2014 Indy 500 so I know we’ll be back there for sure.
“I want to keep as many of our people (25-30 employees) as possible if we do have to cease our operation so we’ll try and get creative and weather the storm.”
Servia is searching for an angel while trying to stay optimistic about next month.
“We’re not selling smoke here,” said last year’s fourth place finisher at Indianapolis who finished a fighting sixth last weekend in Long Beach. “This is a proper operation and we can win Indy so maybe somebody will see that and come along and save us.
“I’m not giving up and neither is Dennis.”
Robin Miller brings 40 years of experience to his role as SPEED.com's senior open-wheel reporter, and serves as a frequent contributor to SPEED Center and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain.