BESTProto Spring 2010 Newsletter
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For those of you that are old enough to remember these Kool bikes, this Saturday, June 19 is the 19th Annual
Schwinn Kratefest held at Blue Moon Bikes
in Sycamore IL.
here for more details.
BESTProto achieves
ISO 9001:2008 Certification

ISO 9001 Registration Mark
Earlier this year BESTProto was audited by a registration firm and has meet the ISO 9001:2008 standards. Contact us for more information. We will be happy to provide you with our quality certification and answer any questions you may have.
Dear Subscriber,

BESTProto proudly announces that we are now ITAR registered. (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). 

For those unfamiliar with ITAR it's a mandate by the U.S. Department of State with regulations that dictate that any information and/or material pertaining to defense and military related technologies may only be shared with U.S. Persons.

The regulations governing the export of defense related materials and technologies, including hardware, software, and services. ITAR's goal is to safeguard U.S. national security and further U.S. foreign policy objectives.

It provides definitions of important terms with information and procedures for registration, licenses, agreements, general policies, violations, penalties, and administrative procedures.

Should ITAR matter to you?  If you or your company deals with U.S. government, military or defense equipment including certain materials or technologies, you may be subject to, or could benefit from following ITAR guidelines. 

The bottom line is that we're all responsible for protecting our nation's security and by having an ITAR program in place; we're showing that we're committed to do our part in that effort.

"Garth's Garage"
  In case you weren't aware, I'm an admitted "gear head". I have a passion for most things mechanical.  Whether its cars, motorcycles, vintage bicycles or anything else with wheels and/or an engine, to me, it's all worthwhile I've also done a fair amount of reading on those subjects and have a host of otherwise useless knowledge that I hope you find interesting and informative.

Hybrid vs. Diesel
For those of you considering purchasing a new, or new to you, vehicle one important factor may be getting the best possible mileage traveling to work or picking little Johnny up from soccer practice. If high mileage is tops on your priority list, there are two cars with competing technologies that have emerged as the leading candidates in the contest for the title of "Mileage Champ".  Those two cars and technologies are the Toyota Prius (Hybrid gas/electric) and the Volkswagen Golf (TDI Clean Diesel).

With Gas prices having hit $4.00 a gallon in the recent past and $3.00 being more or less the norm, many people are looking to stretch their fuel dollars.  Other factors working in favor of the the two technologies are new minimum gas mileage regulations and the popularity of the "green" movement.  The quest for more fuel efficient vehicles has given us more choices than ever before.  First, a little background on how we got to where we are:

Diesel engines, long a main stay of the heavy trucking industry in this country and very popular for many decades in passenger cars in Europe, is starting to gain favor in the U.S.  Diesel's aren't a new phenomenon here in America.  VW and Mercedes brought Diesel engines to the U.S. back in the '80's and unfortunately, about the same time, so did GM. In order to catch the wave of Diesel popularity that was going on in the U.S. at the time, GM decided to convert a gasoline V8 engine into a Diesel engine, which was not a good idea. Diesel engines don't use spark plugs; they use very high internal pressure to ignite the fuel.  Consequently they need to be made extremely strong to withstand those pressures.  The GM engine just wasn't strong enough and it didn't last very long, (normally a side benefit for Diesels) as a result, Diesels got a bad rap and it essentially killed the market here.  Being slow, noisy, smelly and spewing big black clouds of soot from the exhaust didn't help either...

Europeans on the other hand, had good economic reasons to continue on using and developing Diesel engines.  They get approximately 30% better mileage than their gasoline engine counterparts, plus, the governments in Europe have traditionally provided tax incentives for those who bought Diesel engines. With 30 years of development and with the help of new technologies being available, Diesel engines are no longer relegated to clattering, spewing smelly black smoke in the slow lane. They're clean, quiet and get even better mileage than before.

When you ask people about what the most fuel efficient car you can buy, the most often heard response is a Toyota Prius. Although the Prius wasn't the first modern hybrid on the market (the first generation Honda Insight was), it has become the poster child for those wanting great gas mileage or, maybe more importantly, demonstrating how "green" their owners are.  It's interesting to note that the hybrid technology that's in the Prius has been made available in the Toyota Camry and the Corolla as well, however, Toyota doesn't sell nearly as many of those as you might expect.  Toyota's figured out that many, if not most of the folks that buy hybrids, want to be "conspicuously green" and have others recognize that they are doing their part to save the planet, if not money.  If you want proof, do the math.  The payback model for the additional cost associated with buying a Hybrid just doesn't add up.

The difference between EPA ratings for city/highway of 51/48 for the Prius and 30/42 for the Golf Diesel is fairly significant in terms of percentages however, so is the driving experience.  As with most things in life, there's no free lunch, As an example, since Toyota uses specially made tires to reduce rolling resistance and increase mileage, the ride and handling are somewhat compromised in the name of ultimate mileage.  The Golf/Jetta Diesel on the other hand, pretty much use the same tires as found on their gasoline engine cars.  Given the Golf's German engineering and Autobahn breeding, many professional automotive testers have come away from driving both the Golf and the Prius and declaring the Golf the hands down winner in the fun to drive contest.  An added benefit of the Diesel engine is that they produce prodigious amounts of torque very low in the RPM range compared to gasoline engines.  It's often said that people buy horsepower when it's really torque they're after.  Torque is the force that you feel when you accelerate away from a stop light. Horsepower is what you'd notice when you go to make that pass on the two lane back road.  In America we don't go all that fast but being weaned on big V8 engines, we grown to love torque.

Both technologies have their own unique sets of issues.  What happens when the Prius' battery ultimately dies?  At an estimated $5,000 - $7,000 to replace, no one wants to be holding the bag when that happens...  Or, what if you're in a rural area far from a Toyota dealer and you experience a mechanical failure?  It's not likely that Ricky Bobby down the road at the Citgo is going to be much help getting you back on your merry way.  Many EMS (emergency medical service) first responders are reluctant to use their "Jaws of Life" to cut you out of that twisted hunk of metal. They're concerned about cutting into a high voltage and being seriously injured themselves.
Diesels issues range from such pitfalls as just finding Diesel fuel.  Sure you can find it along the interstates but in urban areas, Diesel stations are few and far between.

Diesels also have had issues with the fuel "gelling" in cold weather.  It's no fun when you go to start your car in sub-zero weather only to find out your fuel looks and acts like the Jell-O in your fridge...

The bottom line: if it's ultimate city mileage you seek or you delight in being at the leading edge of technology or even perhaps you want the world to know that you're "green", then the Prius is your obvious choice. If you enjoy fine German car driving dynamics with drag strip winning torque along with great mileage and Fahrvergnügen the VW Golf/Jetta Diesel may be the best choice for you. 

Feedback and comments are always welcome.  Please feel free to contact me any time


Garth Cates
BESTProto Inc.
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