Author & Automotive Expert James D. Halderman



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Halderman newsletterJuly 2012

Welcome to the July edition of the Halderman newsletter.

It certainly has been a hot one! Things are heating in more ways too, as I'm extremely proud to announce that I've redesigned my website. I think you'll find it a wonderful resource for your educational purposes. Please check it out and let me know your impressions.

Also, later this month, I'll be travelling to Tyler, Texas for the NACAT conference. I hope to see many of you there!

As always, you can contact me through social media and my website, and I truly do like hearing from everyone. Let's connect and keep in touch.





Website Relaunch
Plug-in conference
ASE samples
Straight Talk
Website relaunch relaunched


I'm thrilled to announce that is now live. Please log on and check it out. You'll notice many new features that you'll find as useful resources in your classrooms, in your study preparations and in your business operations.

New to you'll find:

  • More than 2,000 videos that are sorted by content area with run time and rated to make it easier to select which is best to show in class
  • Hundreds of animations, sorted by content area
  • Hundreds of photos all sorted by content area that can be used in PowerPoints and insructional documents.
  • Each Halderman textbook content such as chapter crossword puzzles and word search games
  • Links to Pearson Education websites to make getting instructor's manuals, PowerPoints and task sheets easy
  • Links to automotive events that provide update training
  • Links to automotive conferences.


I hope you find the site educational, helpful and easy to use!



Business of plugging in

Plug-in Electrect Vehicle Conference

A conference, called the "The Business of Plugging In" devoted to electric and plug-in electric vehicles was held in Dearborn, Michigan. The three-day event was designed to provide a place where issues related to government and industry could be addressed and discussed mostly about plug-in electric vehicles (PEV). The conference was presented by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and was held at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The event started for the media people with a "ride and drive" of various electric and extended range electric vehicles. The vehicles that were available to drive and my impressions included:

  • Tesla Roadster-A very fast all electric vehicle, but small two-seat sports car that cost over $100,000.
  • Nissan Leaf-The small four-door vehicle will be available soon in most of the country. Quiet and with a range of about 100 miles, this could be the perfect commuter vehicle for many people.
  • Ford Transit Connect electric van-This is a conventional Ford Transit Connect small delivery-type van. Instead of a small four cylinder gasoline engine, a front drive unit uses an electric motor with the high-voltage batteries under the floor in the rear. With a 100 mile range, this would make the perfect delivery vehicle if the distances traveled are limited.
  • Chevrolet Volt-The Chevrolet Volt uses a large high-voltage battery pack to provide electric-only operation for 25 miles to 50 miles before a gasoline engine starts to keep the batteries charged and extend the range of operation. This small four-door vehicle is very practical for everyday use and can be taken on long trips too.
  • Mercedes ML SUV-This sport utility vehicle is currently not in current production but was a converted vehicle being used to test the market and to prove the concept. It drove exactly like a conventional SUV and had a range of about 100 miles.

The workshop sessions included:

  1. Getting Plugged in to the Newest Technology
  2. Vehicle-to-Grid and Grid-to-Vehicle Connectivity
  3. Utility Perspectives on PEV readiness
  4. PEV Technology and the Consumer
  5. The E-revolution of transportation

The trade show included mostly vendors (companies) that manufacture electric vehicle charging stations. These vendors want to sell charging stations to colleges, universities, municipalities, shopping centers, hotel chains and stores or shopping malls to provide a place where electric vehicles can be charged. Most of the charging stations are equipped with a credit card slot, therefore making a charging station a sales point generating income to counter the price of installation. Most changing stations cost from $3,000 to $5,000 each but can charge an electric vehicle in a few hours using 220 volts compared to using 110-volt outlet where it would take overnight to charge most electric vehicles. High-voltage (220 volt) charging stations are available through many home improvement stores and Best Buy. They can be "cash and carry" with the home owner arranging for their own electrician to handle the installation or they can be purchased as a turn-key product with the retail store handling the installation. Vehicle companies also have contracted with companies such as SPX to handle charging station installation when they purchase a plug in electric vehicle. Obviously, the longest amount of time that the vehicle is not being used is when it is at home so it makes the most sense to have a charging station installed at the home. The second longest time that the vehicle could be charged is at work so many companies are installing charging stations to encourage their employees to purchase an electric vehicle or a plug in electrical extended range electric vehicle.

Some consumer insights from those who have purchased and used a Nissan Leaf all electric car said that "range anxiety" lasted just about 10 days. After ten days the owners of the Nissan Leaf all electric vehicle had enough confidence in their vehicle that they did not worry about running out of electrical power when they traveled during normal day-to-day activities. Owners of the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle reported that two-thirds of the miles traveled were all electric miles where the gasoline engine did not start. Many early purchasers of electric vehicles stated that "they could never go back to a conventional vehicle."

At this conference, General Motors Corp. announced that Chevrolet would start production of a small all electric passenger car in 2013 called the Chevrolet Spark. More information is available on their website:

ASE sample question

Question-A clutch engages close to the floor and will often not disengage. What is the most likely cause?


a.Worn clutch disc

b.Misadjusted clutch linkage

c.Weak pressure plate
d.Worn flywheel



Answer-The correct answer is b. A misadjusted clutch linkage is the most likely cause of the clutch engaging too close to the floor and not disengaging fully at times. Less free play would allow the clutch  to operate as designed. Answer a is not correct because as a clutch disc wears, the free play is decreased (not increased) making it unlikely to cause the problem of engagement too close to the floor. Answers c and d are not correct because a weak pressure plate or a worn flywheel could cause the clutch to slip but will not cause the clutch to grab too close to the floor.

Straight Talk

From the June 16, Wheels section in the Dayton Daily News:



Reader asks about fuel economy ratings



Wheels: Richard O. writes by e-mail: "I always find your columns very interesting and hope you can answer this question concerning the calculation of the miles per gallon figure that appears on a new car's sticker.  I have been told the mileage ratings on the sticker are calculated using gas that does not contain ethanol.  Is this correct?  If so, since most cars use gasoline containing ethanol, which gives poorer mileage, aren't the ratings shown on the sticker misleading."

Halderman: Thanks for writing. The fuel used is indolene which is a fuel with an octane rating of (R+M/2) of 92.25. Gasoline varies all over the country and is blended for each season. Winter blend gasoline has less BTU energy than summer grade fuel so the fuel economy is lower in the winter than in the summer. The calculations of fuel economy take into account the average of all of these blends and for the added ethanol based on averages around the country. While the added ethanol could be as high as 10%, it is usually a lot less even though the pump says that it can contain up to 10%.


Find more Straight Talk columns here







Please let me know what you think of the newsletter. I would love to include any of your automotive news or any tech tips you might have. Send me your suggestions! 
You can email me here or visit my website. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn too (links above). And I encourage you to visit this website for great car reviews and more of my Straight Talk columns.
Jim Halderman
James D. Halderman writes automotive technology textbooks for Pearson Education. He is an ASE-certified Master Technician with more than 20 years instructional experience.