Tom Murphy

Senior Editor,

Tom writes about suppliers, automotive technology and other wide-ranging topics.

i3: A BMW Like No Other
The i3 electric vehicle feels like a BMW, but the appearance – inside and out – will take some getting used to. BMW is banking that its customers agree that form follows function.
KSPG Steeling Piston Market
The move toward turbocharged GDI engines has raised operating temperatures to the point that aluminum pistons expand, causing excess friction within the combustion chamber. Steel is more rigid and can resist expansion.
BMW Exec Sees Little Need for Public Charging
As European customers take ownership of the new i3 electric vehicle, Herbert Diess says establishing a public infrastructure “is not really very important because most people are charging their cars at home.”
Faurecia’s Ammonia-Based SCR Suited for Deep Freeze
The exhaust supplier expects its system to become the new global standard for NOx reduction in diesel engines as regulations will focus more heavily on real-world conditions at low temperatures.
Denso Growth Plans Still Growing
In Southfield, MI, Denso is spending $10 million to purchase a neighboring 3-story building to join the current campus of four facilities, creating 176 new jobs. The supplier also announces a consortium to study how drivers interact with vehicles.
BMW ‘M’ Showcase for Power, Lightweight Materials
Going on sale this summer, the all-new ’15 M3 and M4 reflect BMW’s eager embrace of carbon fiber as a lightweight material that can be decorative as well as structural.
Schaeffler Opening New Plant in Mexico
The supplier has a Puebla plant already supplying dry clutches for DCTs to Ford. The new facility will manufacture torque converters for North America. “It’s a good problem that we have to increase capacity,” an executive says.
Toyota Preps for Fuel-Cell Launch
Toyota says its fuel-cell car carries a tank with 11 lbs. (5 kg) of compressed hydrogen that can keep the wheels spinning for 300 miles (483 km). Recharging at hydrogen stations can be completed within five minutes.
Audi at CES: ‘The Future Is Almost Here’
The German automaker uses the Consumer Electronics Show stage to discuss laser headlamps, self-driving cars, virtual cockpits and the 2015 launch of the A3 e-tron sportback plug-in hybrid.
20 Years of Favorite Engines
The Ward’s 10 Best Engines competition is in its 20th year. We mark the occasion by recalling those that are hard to forget.
2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines Quick Hits  2
A concise pro-and-con summation of all 44 engines in the 2014 competition.
Panasonic, Abbey Road Studios Come Together
Panasonic’s automotive division previously has partnered with Fender and recording veteran Elliot Scheiner for audio systems and now teams up with the legendary London studio where the Beatles recorded hit after hit during the 1960s.
Diesel Shines Among Ward’s 10 Best Engines
Takeaways from this year’s competition: Direct injection and forced induction remain extremely popular; diesels still hold a considerable fuel-efficiency edge over gasoline engines; and there is a future for pushrods.
2014 Winner: Audi 3.0L TFSI Supercharged DOHC V-6
The 333-hp TFSI V-6 is as stealthy and lethal as an assassin’s bullet. It revs so effortlessly and sounds so enticing in the Audi S5, it’s hard to think of this engine excluded from the list.
2014 Winner: BMW 3.0L N57 Turbodiesel DOHC I-6
On a long road trip, we’re convinced 40 mpg (5.8 L/100 km) is within reach in this spacious luxury cruiser with its 8-speed automatic transmission, because diesels, unlike gasoline engines, routinely outperform their stated mileage estimates.
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