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Archive for December, 2014

images-1Gifts are great, but they’re always much more special when you aren’t expecting them. Maybe this is why Cpl. Ethan Laberge was stunned when Jay Leno said that he was going to give him a brand new Challenger Hellcat. While on foot patrol in Afghanistan, Ethan Laberge was rushed by a suicide bomber. The bomber drove up to Laberge and immediately detonated the bomb. This left Laberge seriously injured, and killed two of his fellow soldiers and friends.

During an interview on the Today Show, Laberge described how metal pierced his knee and leg. He had superficial wounds on his arm, and broke a couple of bones in his wrist. Metal shards embedded in his arm bone, and he shattered his thumb. But out of all of these physical injuries, nothing compares to the traumatic PSTD that he must live with on a daily basis. Laberge frequently experiences memory problems and finds it difficult to function in everyday society.

While on the Today Show, Sgt. Clinton Lein went on to say that, “If you called Cpl. Laberge a hero, he’d laugh”. He added, “He’d never consider himself a hero but he is to guys like us.” Jay Leno, who turned 64 this year, often meets with a variety of soldiers. However, considering that most of them are barely out of their teen years, he finds it difficult to relate to them. But Leno didn’t have any trouble at all building rapport with Laberge when he was recently on “The Shine A Light series on the Today Show. For one, they both love to drive cars. And not just any cars – fast ones.

Due to their common ground, Leno had something for Leberge: a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Well, he didn’t actually present it as a gift initially. Instead, he offered to take Laberge for a ride, which he instantly agreed to. As a matter of fact, when asked if he wanted to take it for a spin, Laberge answered, “Hell yeah!” As he opened up the vehicle on the country roads near the base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, he let out a screetch of excitement, “It’s too cool!

Visit Chapman Dodge Las Vegas to gain some firsthand knowledge about the Hellcat.

During their joy ride, the two stopped to enjoy some food. This is when Leno was really able to sit down and learn more about Laberge’s story. Laberge said “Where I’m sitting now, I don’t know exactly how well I’ll recover.” Leno asked the ex-solider if he ever feels discouraged based on what happened. Laberge admitted he does, but that he gets through it with the help of family and friends. After arriving back to the base, Laberge told The Today Show, “That was awesome. I wouldn’t mind having one of these”.

Then came the big surprise. “It’s yours,” Leno said, adding, “America loves you. Thank you buddy. Have a lot of fun. Don’t get any tickets.”  What were Laberge’s final words? “It can’t promise that,” he said with a gaping smile.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles became the “life of the party” at the LA Auto Show. But the real question still exists, “How do they compare against hybrid or traditional electric vehicles?” The 107-year old show happens to be one of the most prestigious auto shows in the world. It operates from November 21st to November 30th each year, and attracts quite an audience. And in 2014 the hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles have stolen the spotlight from the fully electric models.

One of the primary benefits associated with hydrogen-based vehicles is that they are quiet. They don’t release any emissions and are extremely fuel-efficient compared to traditional vehicles. There’s no doubt they offer a wide range of benefits over traditional electric vehicles. For example, they offer better range and they can be refilled much more quickly. A hydrogen powered vehicle can be refilled in as little as three minutes, and can then go on to drive 400 miles before needing to be refilled again. The average all-electric vehicle takes several hours to charge (between 6 and 12) and can only provide an average range of 100 miles or less. Check out Chapman Dodge to learn more about the future of these vehicles.

Despite all of these advantages, hydrogen vehicles still haven’t seen the commercial success that is being experienced by their all-electric cousins. This is probably because they are still in the earlier stages of development and deployment. In the coming years, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that automakers are going to start moving from the drawing board and prototypes to real-life hydrogen-powered vehicles that you can purchase at a dealership.

It’s been known that Honda has been working on fuel cell technology for quite some time. However, at the LA Auto Show, Toyota seemed to be the car company that really took everyone’s attention. They showed off their Mirai mid-sized sedan, which will be available to the general public in 2015 (and even sooner in Japan). Volkswagen, Hyundai, Audi, and Honda were among the other car companies to announce their plans for the production of hydrogen-based vehicles in the coming years.

A huge and important concern for the immediate future of these types of vehicles is the soft infrastructure associated with it. The majority of electric vehicles can charge up at almost any 110-volt outlet. The major challenge is that hydrogen vehicles are going to require specialized refueling stations in order to charge up. At the moment, there are only 9 of these filling stations in California. Fortunately, by the end of 2016, it is estimated that there will be closer to 50 locations within the state where people can go to refuel their hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Europe is actually leading the race in this department, although, the United States will be sure to catch up in coming years. It’s estimated that many hydrogen-based vehicles are going to start becoming operational by as early as 2015, although they’ll probably see more momentum in 2016 and the subsequent years after that. Needless to say, cars powered by fuel cells are going to become mainstream sooner than we think.

UnknownThere is a long-awaited anticipation for the year 2018. Why you ask? For Jeep enthusiasts, it’s because the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is expected to be equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This new transmission should help deliver radical new fuel economy, something that will save Wrangler drivers thousands of dollars in fuel costs in the long run. Although Jeep won’t discuss all of the details associated with the announcement, there’s good reason to believe the Wrangler will feature that new transmission.

The company mentioned in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, “The 8-speed transmission is currently paired with gasoline and diesel engines in the 2014 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee and is also featured in the new 2014 Dodge Durango. We plan to use this transmission in all of our rear-wheel-drive vehicles, except for heavy-duty versions of the Ram pick-up truck and the SRT Viper.”

It’s important to note that there are a few other changes expected to happen to the Jeep Wrangler for 2018. Aside from the transmission upgrade, Chrysler is also going to fit the vehicle with an aluminum body. The Jeep Wrangler hasn’t experienced changes like these for quite some time. In fact, the last time it underwent major changes was in 2006. Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler CEO, said that the goal was to help make the Jeep Wrangler lighter, as well as dramatically improve fuel economy. Despite all of this good news, there are still a few things not known. Check out Chapman Jeep Las Vegas to learn more about this exciting change!

For example, is the 2018 Jeep Wrangler going to keep its stock solid axles? At the moment, Dana Holding Corp is providing them. The solid axles are important because they are essentially what provide the Jeep Wrangler with the ability to go “off-road”. But, if the company were to switch to an independent suspension then this would dramatically increase overall fuel efficiency.

Chrysler didn’t give any mention as to what they were going to do about their rear axles for their future Wrangler models. However, there are some clues for enthusiasts to watch out for. For example, the company’s CEO purchased all new machinery and equipment. But they wouldn’t comment on whether or not this equipment was designed to upgrade the next-generation Jeep Wrangler. Learn more about the latest and greatest Jeep Wrangler inventory at Chapman Jeep Las Vegas.

Currently, the Jeep Wrangler comes available as either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. As previously mentioned, the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission pretty much confirmed that the Jeep Wrangler is going to be acquiring a new automatic transmission. More specifically, in this filing, the company confirmed that it would be using the eight-speed transmission that is currently found in the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

This filing also mentioned that the ZF eight-speed automatic is nearly 10 percent more fuel efficient than the current five-speed models. The real question remains: why is the company waiting so long to implement this dramatic change? The answer: Because the eight-speed automatic transmission doesn’t fit in the current models, which is why we will all need to wait until 2018 to experience it.