Ford recalls 110,000 SUVs
Ford Motor Co. is recalling about 110,000 sport-utilities because they can exceed the speed rating of their tires, federal safety officials said late last week.
The recall affects some Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers from the 1999-2000 model years. It began in December but was part of a list of manufacturers' safety repairs made public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday, Feb. 15. Their top speeds were set at 112 mph, 115 mph or 120 mph, depending on the axle ratio and tire size, Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said.
The tires on the trucks all have speed ratings of 112 mph. Dealers will reprogram each vehicle's powertrain control module so that the maximum speed is reduced to 106 mph, providing a margin of safety, Vaughn said.
The problem was discovered during the engineering review that the company launched in the wake of reports of Firestone tire failures and vehicle rollovers. Vaughn said Ford has no record of any crashes caused by the faulty speed settings.
BMW unveils fuel cell
FRANKFURT - BMW AG has developed a car that uses a gasoline-powered fuel cell to run all its accessories, Reuters reported.
The development is significant because it holds the promise of increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions by lessening the load on a vehicle's engine. The fuel cell would provide power for systems such as air conditioning, which also could be run when the engine is off.
The new type of fuel cell, which BMW developed with Delphi Automotive Systems Corp., can be used in all conventional cars, Reuters said. The news service also said BMW's 'Auxiliary Power Unit' would be in BMWs in about five years.