Emissions trump speed for Callaway

  • 17-Sep-2008 09:35 EDT
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Callaway's high-performance engines, as well as vehicles, are engineered and developed by speedy design and testing methodologies.
Fuel and emissions regulations have spread into the high end of the industry, impacting even specialty providers known for racing prowess as well as street performance. Callaway Cars is continuing to push for speed, but it is also increasing its focus on emissions compliance.

C­allaway’s 2009 Chevrolet Corvette-based­ offering produces 580 hp (433 kW) and 510 lb·ft (691 N·m). Though environmental issues won’t be the driving factor for sales, they are a key reason General Motors has marketed Callaway vehicles for more than two decades.

“Making engines that are emissions compliant is what separates us from the engine shops,” said Pat Hodgins, Chief Engineer at Callaway.­

“Simply making horsepower is easy; you see that every weekend at the drag strip,” said Michael Zoner, Managing Director at Callaway Cars. “You also have to make something that’s drivable in road conditions 365 days a year and is reliable year after year.”

Zoner also said the company is researching ways it can combine its high-performance expertise with the growing hybrid-vehicle market. “We’ve got some ideas for electric motors,” he said, declining to provide details.

Callaway has provided high-performance limited-edition vehicles with those attributes to a number of OEMs. Land Rover, Mazda, and Alfa Romeo are among the automakers that have marketed Callaway designs.

Speed is also a forte when it comes to completing designs. OEMs often come to Callaway when they have gaps in their product plans and need to generate some excitement, Zoner observed.

When that happens, the contract design house has to respond quickly. “For the MazdaSpeed, we went from concept to validation in 10 months,” Zoner said.

That quick timeframe came despite it being the first time Callaway dealt with a Japanese company. That exercise in global design was complex. Mazda North America in California was the initial client, Mazda’s emissions group in Michigan played a key role in design, and Japanese engineers chimed in so the engine would meet emissions regulations in Japan.

Sharing files with these groups also proved difficult. “Mazda’s software is homegrown. Without flexible software, we couldn’t make the changes they need,” Hodgins said.

In recent years, the Old Lyme, CT, company has standardized on product lifecycle management tools from PTC, partially because those tools have translators that make it easy to export files in formats that can be read by other company’s programs. To date, that output has been acceptable to all the OEMs Callaway has worked with, he said.

Some OEMs demand that suppliers use the same tools they use. But Callaway has been able to sidestep that requirement.

“Customers require us to conform to their ways, but if we do everything in lockstep with them, we could not meet their speed requirements,” Hodgins said.

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