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    February 23rd 2021 the USPS awarded to Oshkosh Defense a contract for delivering up t 165,000 U.S. built vehicles over the next 10 years to modernize the postal delivery fleet. This will be made up of gas powered, Hybrid and electric vehicles with the first auto's set to be delivered in 2023.

    Oshkosh Defense was awarded a 10 year contract by the USPS to create, build and deliver up to 165,000 auto's for postal delivery across the United States of America. These auto's will be made up of traditional internal combustion engine, Hybrid and electrical vehicles. These purpose built, right-hand-drive vehicles will be used for mail and package delivery. A minimum of 50,000 to a maximum of 165,000 auto's over a 10 year time frame was agreed upon contract for a modern AC equipped NGDV or next generation delivery vehicle.

    Under the initial $482 million up front payment to Oshkosh Defense is the commitment to finalize the production design of the NGDV on a undefined new platform that will support ICE, Hybrid and battery electric powertrains. This is to include in this initial payment plant tooling and build-out of the U.S. manufacturing facility where final vehicle assembly will occur.
    According to the press release by the USPS, the following is to be included in the final design of the NGDV.
    Modern air conditioning and heating Improved ergonomics Advanced vehicle technology to include 360-degree cameras advanced disc brakes traction control air bags front and rear collision avoidance system visual, audio warning automatic braking increased cargo capacity with standing room in the back Modern powertrains to meet the needs of extreme rural to inner city delivery The contract is an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. The USPS will have the ongoing ability to order more NGDV over the 10 year period. This is part of the current USPS Boards plan for a 10 year plan to transform the USPS into a efficient preferred delivery service provider for the American Public

    ZETA or Zero Emissions Transportation Association which is made up 51 major companies from the Auto industry to the electrical and high tech industry have come out in protest to this contract. 
    ZETA has come out protesting the locking in of the worlds largest government fleet of auto's for the next 40 years at a time when some of the largest industry leading companies are working to reduce over the next 20 years to be carbon neutral. This move by companies to be BEV leading from UPS, FedEx and Amazon shows that our own USPS needs to also move to a pure BEV. ZETA questions if the U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has the USPS best interests at heart and mind with this decision which is seen as a reckless contract awarded to a company driven by building petrol powered military vehicles.
    ZETA is asking companies across the U.S. to speak out and call on Congress to act on what is best in the U.S. interest for clean air.


    FedEx has committed to being Carbon-Neutral by 2040 by going Green Globally with an initial investment of $2 Billion dollars for auto electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration. 

    FedEx has committed to being Carbon-Neutral by 2040 by going Green Globally with an initial investment of $2 Billion dollars for auto electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration. 

    FedEx has started their corporate march to a greener cleaner planet by pledging $100 million dollars to Yale University in establishing the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture. In the drive to offset current airline emissions which is a big part of FedEx business, they are heling to support the research into various methods of carbon sequestration at scale. This is where they scrub the CO2 emissions from our air and lock it away much the way trees and plants take it in and capture it inside the tree or plant which does not get released till you burn the wood or plant and release all that CO2.
    FedEx has put forth an ambitious carbon neutral goal with the following key points in this Carbon-Neutral plan.
    Vehicle Electrification. By 2040, the entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery (PUD) fleet will be zero–emission electric vehicles. This will be accomplished through phased programs to replace existing vehicles. For example, by 2025, 50% of FedEx Express global PUD vehicle purchases will be electric, rising to 100% of all purchases by 2030.   Sustainable Customer Solutions. FedEx will work with customers to offer end-to-end sustainability for their supply chains through carbon–neutral shipping offerings and sustainable packaging solutions.   Sustainable Fuels. FedEx will continue to invest in alternative fuels to reduce aircraft and vehicle emissions.   Fuel Conservation and Aircraft Modernization. FedEx will build on its successful FedEx Fuel Sense initiatives designed to reduce fuel consumption in its aircraft. Since 2012, the FedEx Fuel Sense and Aircraft Modernization programs have saved a combined 1.43 billion gallons of jet fuel and avoided over 13.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  Facilities. FedEx will continue efforts to make its more than 5,000 facilities worldwide more sustainable through continued investments in efficient facilities, renewable energy, and other energy management programs.   Natural Carbon Sequestration. FedEx funding will help to establish the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture to support applied research into natural carbon sequestration solutions.   Per FedEx own statement, since 2009 they have reduced their own CO2 emissions by 40% while package volume has increased 99%. FedEx has also ranked first in the industry on Just Capitals 2021 list of "America's Most Just Companies" for environmental category as well as first for the travel, transport and logistics sector of Newsweek's "America's Most Responsible Companies 2021".
    FedEx is leading the way for businesses who have a large impact on CO2 in reducing it and the affect on climate change.

    William Maley

    Remember the Detroit Auto Show?

    It has not been an easy go for the organizers of the Detroit Auto Show. Last year, they had to cancel the revamped show due to concerns about the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The hope was to launch the indoor-outdoor event that would sprawl various parts of Detroit for 2021. But with COVID-19 still a major issue, organizers this afternoon announced the 2021 version would be canceled.
    Automotive News reports that a new, outdoor program called Motor Bella will take its place from September 21st to 26th at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac - about 40 minutes north of Detroit. The new program "will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts," according to a statement released by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association (DADA) - the organizers of the show. Plans are to have "1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space," along with the 1.5-mile road course for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
    “The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business. This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products," said Rod Alberts, executive director of DADA.
    Motor Bella was originally planned to be a festival for European supercars that would take place with the updated Detroit Auto Show. 
    "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars, and everything in between, It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors," said event chairman Doug North.
    There are some big questions that face organizers. Will they be able to get the revamped Detroit Auto Show launched for 2022, or will Motor Bella take the place? Plus, will COVID-19 be a point where all of us can go this event safely?
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), DADA

    New All-Outdoor Motor Bella at M1 Creates Bridge to the Future While North American International Auto Show Pauses for 2021
    TROY, Mich. – (January 11, 2021) – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) today announced it will not hold its 2021 auto show as planned. Instead, show officials revealed a "bridge to the future" with an auto-centric event called Motor Bella.
    The new event will bring next-generation mobility and exciting vehicle debuts to media, show-goers and the automotive enthusiasts' world in a never before experienced way while also addressing continued COVID-19 concerns about indoor events.
    Motor Bella will be held from Sept. 21-26, 2021, at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich. Centrally located in the metro Detroit area, M1 Concourse, often referred to as an "87-acre playground for auto enthusiasts," enables exhibitors to showcase key vehicles and technologies in an outdoor setting.
    Plans call for 1.6 million square feet of dynamic vehicle and technology display space including terrain ideal for showcasing off-roading capabilities. M1 Concourse also offers a 1.5-mile hot track on the grounds for technology and vehicle demonstrations.
    "The pandemic has caused changes in our society and world in ways not previously imagined, and we all should be looking for new and highly creative ways of doing business," said Executive Director Rod Alberts. "This new event captures that creative spirit. It will provide new mobility experiences and increasingly innovative approaches to tapping into the industry and its products."
    Alberts said attendees can expect a multi-sensory experience at the new event. "This all-outdoor venue, with adrenaline-pumping track activities and a full complement of OEM and technology exhibits, is going to offer the sights, sounds and even the smell of all that the new world of mobility has to offer." 
    As auto shows around the world are being reimagined and will continue to do so in the wake of the pandemic, NAIAS had been reimagining its position for some time.
    "While auto shows remain an important platform to promote new mobility innovations and to help people make major vehicle purchase decisions, the traditional auto show model is changing," Alberts said. "We cannot ignore the major disruptions caused by the pandemic and the impact it has had on budgets. As such, we will be providing an amazing experience to the media, the auto industry and the public in a cost-effective way."
    Event Chairman Doug North noted that the M1 Concourse was envisioned as part of the 2021 Motor Bella activities, so it was "a natural progression" to build upon it in light of the growing demand for experiential mobility shows and an increased appetite for outdoor events as a result of the pandemic. Motor Bella was originally conceived as a celebration of Italian and British supercars and classic vehicles and was to have debuted at the June 2020 NAIAS.
    "With our new program for 2021, we will take the Motor Bella concept to the next level with multiple brands and mobilities represented, from hometown to international nameplates, autonomous vehicles to high-performance supercars and everything in between," North said. "It will be a mobility-filled event. One that will provide our show partners with a cost-efficient backdrop to share all of their brands, products and technologies in a fun and festival-like atmosphere that's completely outdoors." 
    Jordan Zlotoff, CEO of M1 Concourse, said, "We are proud and honored to be hosting this world-class automotive event. Motor Bella will allow journalists, industry executives and the public to interact with vehicles in a fully dynamic and experiential format, well beyond the limitations of static displays. As the largest Private Garage community in the world, we at M1 Concourse share the enthusiasm for creating a unique automotive environment built specifically for car enthusiasts."
    North added, "We see this outdoor experience at M1 as a bridge to the future. One that will continue to evolve as we explore new ways of presenting mobility and as we navigate through these unprecedented times. We are very cognizant of the importance and impact our show and our events have on the state and the entire metro Detroit area. This will always be part of our considerations for the future."
    Dates for the 2021 Motor Bella are: 
    Press Preview, Tuesday, Sept. 21 AutoMobili-D, Tuesday, Sept. 21 through a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Industry Preview, Wednesday, Sept. 22 and a half-day Thursday, Sept. 23 Public Show, Thursday, Sept. 23 through Sunday, Sept. 26


    What is ZETA you ask?

    This is the first industry-backed coalition of 28 businesses and growing covering employees in all US states advocating for a national policy that supports the sale of electric vehicles only starting in 2030 of light, medium and heavy-duty auto's. This group calls for the accelerated transition to EVs.

    Securing American global EV manufacturing leadership, dramatically improving public health and significantly reducing carbon pollution is some of the key goals that ZETA or Zero Emission Transportation Association was formed for.

    This industry association is focused on creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. In quoting their www.zeta2030.org web site they state the 3 core points.
    Job Creation - Enacting ambitious, but realistic policies to accelerate transportation electrification will create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. Congress must seize this opportunity or risk ceding this economic growth to others. Cleaner Environment - The transportation sector emits more carbon pollution than any other sector of the U.S. economy. Electric vehicles produce no tailpipe emissions and are 67% less carbon intensive than gasoline-powered auto's over their lifetime. Real Savings - By going electric, vehicle owners can save over $700 a year in Fuel and an additional $330 in annual maintenance costs. Federal, state and local incentives can drive greater consumer benefits. Their press release has the ZETA five key policy pillars:
    1. Outcome-driven consumer EV incentives. Point-of-sale consumer incentives drive adoption, provide cost reductions and achieve real results in pushing transportation electrification. In addition, incentivizing early retirements while encouraging EV adoption will speed the transition and meet the urgency of the moment.
    2. Emissions / performance standards enabling full electrification by 2030. Emission targets are a key piece of protecting public health and sending the correct market signals to support and accelerate the transition to zero emission transportation.
    3. Infrastructure investments. Strong federal charging infrastructure investments will drive the electric transportation transition and ensure that the United States is leading the way in a clean recovery where everyone is better off.
    4. Domestic manufacturing. We should not only accelerate U.S. transportation electrification, but also work to ensure that we secure domestic economic growth and leadership in EV manufacturing. Federal policies must encourage job creation and economic activity across the entire EV supply chain and lifecycle, from critical materials to vehicles.
    5. Federal leadership and cooperation with sub-national entities. Federal support should invest in research and development, provide an aligned vision for electrification, and ensure local leaders are empowered with the expertise and resources to support full vehicle electrification.
     Further details about their key issues can be found here: https://www.zeta2030.org/key-issues/
    ZETA includes the following founding members:
    ABB Albemarle Corporation Arrival ChargePoint ConEdison Copper Development Association, Inc. Duke Energy Edison International Enel X EVBox EVgo Ioneer Li-Cycle Lordstown Motors Lucid Motors Piedmont Lithium PG&E Corporation Proterra Redwood Materials Rivian Siemens Southern Company SRP Tesla Vistra Volta Uber WAVE ZETA mission statement:
    ZETA brings together those whose values and strategic interests support 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030.
    This diverse non-partisan group coordinates public education efforts and federal policy development to promote EV adoption with the goal of creating American electric vehicle manufacturing jobs, better serving consumers, improving air quality and public health, and significantly reducing carbon pollution.
    ZETA can be contacted at the following:
    Joe Britton
    Executive Director, ZETA
    David Ganske
    Communications and PR for ZETA

    William Maley

    Expect the Age to Climb Higher Due to COVID-19

    IHS Markit recently published their analysis on how long Americans are holding onto their vehicles. The average according to the firm stands at 11.9 years, the highest amount since they have been tracking this. Also, about one in four vehicles is over sixteen years old. We should note that this data came before COVID-19 started to wreak havoc on the U.S. IHS notes that new cars only made up 6.1 percent of vehicles in operation in 2019, down 0.8 percent when compared to high of 2016. This highlights falling new car sales.
    But the question lingering over automakers and analysts is will the pandemic cause sales to fall even further as more people hang on to their vehicles.
    "People are going to keep their vehicles because they don't know if they're going to be driving to work in the future, they don't know if they're going to be driving to work anytime soon even. If you're not accumulating the miles, you might keep that vehicle on the road a little longer," said Todd Campau, associate director of aftermarket solutions at IHS Markit.
    IHS estimates that new cars in operation could drop to 5% or less in the coming year or so. The firm also expects the age to climb upward in the coming years as owners consider whether or not to spend the hefty amount on a car, when their current vehicle is still quite good.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), CNBC

    William Maley

    How much did the two spend on consultants to come up with this name?

    We'll excuse you if you forgot that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group have been working towards finalizing their merger considering the state of the world at the moment. But the two are making serious headway as they have announced the new name of the multi-national corporation that will form once the two merge. Meet Stellantis.
    Don't worry, you're not the only who is thinking "What" or thinking of some clever joke to make fun of this name. We'll let the two explain what this name means?
    Yeah, if this doesn't like something from a branding agency, we don't what does.
    We should note here that Stellantis will only be used at a corporate level, not as a individual brand for vehicles.
    Source: FCA
    Press Release is on Page 2

    STELLANTIS: The Name of the New Group Resulting From the Merger of FCA and Groupe PSA
    July 15, 2020 , Vélizy-Villacoublay, France and London - In a major step as they move toward the completion of their 50:50 merger as defined in the Combination Agreement announced on December 18, 2019, Peugeot S.A. ("Groupe PSA") and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. ("FCA") (NYSE: FCAU / MTA: FCA) today announce that the corporate name of the new group will be STELLANTIS.
    STELLANTIS is rooted in the Latin verb “stello” meaning “to brighten with stars.” It draws inspiration from this new and ambitious alignment of storied automotive brands and strong company cultures that in coming together are creating one of the new leaders in the next era of mobility while at the same time preserving all the exceptional value and the values of its constituent parts. STELLANTIS will combine the scale of a truly global business with an exceptional breadth and depth of talent, knowhow and resource capable of providing the sustainable mobility solutions for the coming decades. The name’s Latin origins pay tribute to the rich history of its founding companies while the evocation of astronomy captures the true spirit of optimism, energy and renewal driving this industry-changing merger.
    The process of identifying the new name began soon after the Combination Agreement was announced and the senior management of both companies have been closely involved throughout, supported by Publicis Group.
    The STELLANTIS name will be used exclusively at the Group level, as a Corporate brand. The next step in the process will be the unveiling of a logo that with the name will become the corporate brand identity. The names and the logos of the STELLANTIS Group’s constituent brands will remain unchanged.
    As previously stated, completion of the merger project is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by both companies’ shareholders at their respective Extraordinary General Meetings and the satisfaction of antitrust and other regulatory requirements.

    William Maley

    The Trucks Are Alright, Everyone Else TBD

    Automakers for the most part were hurting in sales during the second quarter. The COVID-19 pandemic and the economy coming to a screeching halt for a brief time caused new car sales to drop by a third according to Automotive News. But there is a slim silver lining to this, full-size pickups have moved into being the best-selling segment of vehicles.
    According to data from Automotive News, one out of four vehicles sold between April and June was a pickup truck. This helped put them ahead of compact crossovers, which have held the top spot for some time. The reason is that trucks didn't take as big of a hit due to 0 percent financing offers from automakers to help bring in buyers. A large number of dealers said they sold the majority of trucks sitting on their lots.
    Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service provides another reason why trucks didn't fall off a cliff. Speaking to AN, he said that people need trucks for work and "affluent consumers who often buy such vehicles have been less affected by the pandemic."
    Trucks still took quite the hit in the quarter,
    Chevrolet Silverado: Down 14% Ford F-Series: Down 23% GMC Sierra: Down 4% Ram: Down 35% Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Is this a good idea or not?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has basically brought most of the world to halt. Orders to stay at home, businesses either having workers to their work from home or closing down, and unemployment skyrocketing is causing the economy to crater. There are efforts to try and jump-start the economy such as $1,200 stimulus checks. But an executive at Ford wants to see a return of a "cash for clunkers" like program.
    “We think some level of stimulus somewhere on the other side of this would help not only the auto industry and our dealers, which are a huge part of our overall economy, but will help the customers as well,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service to Bloomberg.
    “Cash for clunkers was very effective at that time. It would be nice to think we could have something equally as effective for 2020 when we get out of this because it was a great program.”
    According to LaNeve, internal discussions are taking place at Ford about doing a similar program and there are plans to bring the Government in to these talks.
    When asked by Automotive News about this, Ford spokeswoman Rachel McCleery said, "The auto industry is America’s economic engine.We are encouraging Congress to look at a variety of ways to drive job creation, increase demand, support customers and provide long-term stability for the entire auto ecosystem."
    A brief refresher on the Cash for Clunkers program. In 2009, the U.S. Government introduced a billion initiative called the Car Allowance Rebate System, which gave a voucher worth between $2,900 and $4,500 to anyone replacing a vehicle newer than 1984. Their old vehicle would be taken away and disposed of. The program was nicknamed Cash for Clunkers.
    On the surface, the program was a success. Within first month, all of the funds were exhausted. This prompted the U.S. congress infuse an addition two billion into the program, which would be all gone within 17 days. But begin to look deeper and the results are mixed. In 2012, a study published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics described the program as being a bit of a wash,
    "...the effect of the program on auto purchases is almost completely reversed by as early as March 2010 — only seven months after the program ended.”
    Other studies have come to the same conclusion.
    There's also the question of how many perfectly good used cars were taken off the road due to the program.
    Source: Bloomberg via Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Drive, The Truth About Cars

    Drew Dowdell

    ...open up!...

    A Pittsburgh Port Authority Bus became stuck in a sink hole in downtown Pittsburgh this morning.  The bus was waiting at a traffic light when the road gave way.  There were two people on the bus who were able to get off the bus safely. A Kia Optima was also left with its front wheels hanging into the hole.
    The incident occurred at about 7:40 a.m. outside the Westin Hotel downtown on the corner of 10th street and Penn Avenue. The hole is about 20 feet deep and 75 feet wide.  The bus is sitting on three powerlines, two of which are high voltage 22,000 volt lines.  Several gas lines and fiber lines have also be impacted. 
    The cranes to lift the bus out of the sink hole are being set up and will take 6 to 8 hours to assemble. 
    Traffic and bus routes will be rerouted around 10th street until it can be repaired. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...bracing for a No-Deal Brexit...

    Jaguar Land Rover has announced a temporary halt in production in November as the threat of disruption from a No-Deal Brexit looms.  BMW and Toyota have already announced plans for temporary work stoppages at their UK factories. All four of JLR's UK factories are affected. 
    Although No-Deal Brexit is still not a certainty. Manufacturers like JLR have to plan for the worst.  JLR uses 20 million parts a day and needs to have those parts available at just the right time. 
    Toyota will be stopping production of the Corolla Hatchback and Avensis on November 1st. BMW is planning on stopping Mini production in early November, but Rolls-Royce and BMW engine plants are expected to continue production. 


    Empowering super-fast charging batteries is the moto for Echion Technologies unique platform for battery material and composite manufacturing.

    Echion Technologies is addressing today's biggest challenge for electric vehicles is the speed at which the battery is recharged. Current technology pretty much has your 300 mile battery recharging in 45 minutes to 1 hour.
    In 2017 Toshiba came out with a battery that goes into production for select new EVs that come out at the end of 2019 with general availability in 2020. The Generation 1 SCiB battery was 200 miles in 6 min and with generation 2 they have now made it 353 miles fully recharged in 6 min. 
    Now we have Echion Technologies that has come up with a unique material solution for Lithium-ion batteries.
    According to the interview by Cambridge Independent newspaper Dr. Jean De La Verpilliere was studying at the University of Cambridge for his PhD in nanoscience when he created a material that could be used in Lithium batteries.

    His focus and expertise on high performance materials innovations for lithium brought about the following benefits that current batteries in current EVs do not have.
    Ultra-fast charge - Re-charge of Li-ion batteries in a matter of minutes. High energy - No sacrifice of energy for power Sustainable - Materials are entirely sustainable Safe - Fast charge without dangerous lithium dendrites Cost-effective - NO expensive or rare feedstocks needed The benefit of this new material according to Echion Technologies is that this patented technology material will help to drive the global electrification movement across the supply chain.  The benefit is that this material simply drops into the existing battery manufacturing infrastructure with no capital cost.
    Per the interview by Cambridge Indepenent is that they have replaced graphite with their own mass produced neutral material. One of the biggest benefits here is that current Li-ion batteries can explode when re-charged too fast. With the Echion material you have no explosion at any speed of charging.
    People will remember the Samsung Note 7 nightmare of exploding batteries. This was the push by Cambridge and various scientist who were researching various options for safer battery charging. Dr. De La Verpilliere was the one to figure out a non-explosive material that could replace the solid and liquid current design of Lithium batteries.
    With the startup of Echion Technologies they are taking their 1,000 tonnes manufactured a day and scale it as they work with various OEMs in building new next generation Lithium solid state batteries.
    Echion Technologies was funded by Cambridge Enterprise and NewablePrivate Investing. They have since been joined by Vantage Power, a company that designs and manufactures electric and hybrid systems for Buses and commercial goods vehicles.
    Backed with money and now working with various OEM vendors, Echion says their battery technology will show up in various EVs from consumer cars / CUV / Trucks to commercial applications and should bring the recharge time down to you going inside to get a cup of coffee, pay for it and walk back out and be ready to hit the road.
    Echion Technologies Founding Team

    Drew Dowdell

    ...They've gone as fast at they'll go...

    A near-production prototype Bugatti Chiron on special Michelin tires has broken the 300 mph barrier in Germany at the Ehra-Lessien proving ground. Though full specs were not announced, but it is suspected to have 1,578 horsepower, carbon fiber components, taller gearing, lowered suspension, and specialized Michelin tires. 
    The test mule received a clip on rear tail with a more aggressive diffuser. If the car makes it into production, it will hold the record as the fastest production cars. The current holder is the Koenigsegg Agera RS that maxed out at 277 mph.
    Just after the record setting run, Bugatti's president Stephan Winkelmann has said that the brand is done chasing speed records. He added, "From now on, we will focus on other areas". 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...New tech to replace old tech...

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun testing vehicles that have cameras in place of real mirrors.  The request to test such devices goes back to March of 2014 when the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers along with Tesla filed a petition with the NHTSA to get approval to install based rear or side vision cameras and screens  in their vehicles.  Daimler filed a similar petition in 2015 for their heavy duty trucks. Japan and Europe have already approved the technology. 
    The first car with cameras replacing the side mirrors was the Lexus ES sold in Japan, followed by the Audi e-tron in Europe back in December.  Both vehicles are sold in the U.S. with standard mirrors instead of the cameras.  Honda's coming Honda e will have the technology standard when it goes on sale in Europe later this year.
    Mirrorless systems are an area where the legislation has not yet caught up with the technology according to Mark Dahncke of Audi.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...two of the largest EV charging networks join forces...

    Electrify America is working hard to build up the largest network of electric chargers in the US.  They have already partnered with Chargepoint, so that if you have an account with one company, you can use your account at either company's charging stations without additional fees.   Now the network has gotten even larger as an interoperability agreement has been reached with EVgo, one of the largest charging networks out there.  So now, if you have an Electrify America account, you can charge your EV with at least three different providers on a single account with no additional fees. 
    Electrify America is the company that was formed from Volkwagen's dieselgate scandal and is hard at work deploying EV charging stations around the US, including 350-kW stations for fast charging. They are also working towards "plug and charge" capability which would allow the car to be charged without the need for a card at all. 
    The current Electrify America map before adding EVgo or ChargePoint:
    Porsche Offering Three Years Free Charging with Taycan

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Preparing for the worst...

    Ford and GM, the U.S.'s top two auto manufacturers are bracing themselves for the worst.  They have been running economic modeling to determin the steps they would take given a medium or severe recession in the US and across global markets.  General Motors has a stockpile of $18 billion in cash while Ford has $20 billion saved up.
    GM is relying on deferring non-essential capital expenditures and a shift in production to lower cost vehicles as part of its plan to save costs in the event of a a strong downturn.  Ford says is is evaluating its future moves. 
    Fears of a recession have plagued Wall St. most of 2019 while a trade war with China rages on.  Higher costs of materials due to tariffs is adding to the pain of weak product demand in the U.S., China, and Europe.  In Germany, Europe's biggest economy, growth shrank by 0.1 percent in Q2 2019 as trade conflicts and auto industry troubles weighed heavily on the economy.  Both exports and lagging demand at home have put a strain on German automakers already looking to slash costs. 
    Today, a strong signal that a recession is looming appeared as the 10-year treasury yield dropped below the 2-year treasury yield while do Dow Jones Industrial Average sank over 450 points.  
    Honda Slowing Production, Cutting Shifts
    Nissan Profit Plunges 99%; 12,500 Job Cuts Eminent
    Ford Europe Laying Off Another 12,000
    Daimler Books First Quarterly Loss in Ten Years


    An advanced new powertrain for urban transport...

    Protean Electric is proud to introduce their latest innovation to the auto world, the Protean 360+. A super-efficient, fully integrated in-wheel motor that brings 922lb-ft of torque or 1250Nm with 107hp or 80kW of power per wheel. This give the mobility solution a total of 428 hp or 320 kW of power with 3,688 lb-ft or 5,000 Nm of torque to move the auto.
    Urban mobility has never had a better option for ultimate maneuverability with the Protean 360+ delivering the following:
    Limitless 360-degree steering provides exceptional vehicle maneuverability. Pneumatic ride-height control enables 'kneeling' for stepless curb-to-vehicle access. Patent-pending quad-pivot lower wishbone design allows ultra-compact suspension setup. Fully integrated in-wheel motor delivers power with maximum efficiency. Module enables front, rear and side access into vehicles. Single module design is common across all four corners of the vehicle. Transport-as-a-service urban mobility is gaining momentum and with it a new class of urban transport auto's is possible with the Protean 360+ solution.



    ...XNRGI to develop the first-ever porous silicon chip based Lithium Metal rechargeable battery technology...

    The more people say we cannot do something or everything is already good enough why change, society goes through a major revolutionary change. This has never been more true than in the 21st century with those that say why change when ICE or internal combustion engines are perfect do we need to change to a different power train design?
    The PNW or Pacific Northwest has been a source of disruptive technology for the last 40 years. From Microsoft, Google, Apple to Intel corporation we have seen technology change the way we live. Tesla came on the scene July 1st, 2003 and has been a major disruptor to the auto industry. In mid 2018 Tesla confirmed that they had sustained battery production of 20 GWh, more than any other auto company in the world. They also stated that by 2019 with their partner Panasonic they would be at 35 GWh of battery production. Since then Tesla has announced that by the end of 2021, they will be at 105 GWh of battery cell production with a 150 GWh of total battery pack output.
    By now, one would be asking why am I reading about Tesla when I want to know about a 700 mile battery pack? In a word, REVOLUTION using an old technique with a new application. It should come as no surprise that this startup based in Portland Oregon is founded by a well educated PhD team of former Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Citibank and investment capital companies. With PhD in chemical engineering to marketing and finance, this company has been quietly perfecting their battery technology based on using an old tech product that even Intel has moved away from. The 12 inch Silicon Wafer Stack, yes the same thing that was used in 486 / Pentium computers is a perfect medium for energy storage without all the current drawbacks of the current Battery design.

    Existing EV battery technology has had the following concerns of overheating, catching fire, degrading through repeated charge/discharge cycles and a major issue is the "dendrite" buildup, which looks like stalactites on the battery cells and leads to failed cells and shorter battery life as to why current EV's only have a 10yr battery life.
    Instead of a two-dimensional surface as is found in today's existing EV battery tech, XNRGI's battery tech is able to take advantage of the three-dimensional surface area of the silicon wafer.

    Per XNRGI, each silicon disc can have up to 160 million microscopic pores. These wafers are then coated with a non-conductive surface on one side and a conductive metal  on the other side to carry the electrical current. The big benefit of what XNRGI is capitalizing on is that the wafer tech, coatings are all taken from existing tech used in the chip industry per President and CEO Dr. Chris D'Couto. To quote Dr. D'Couto, "Each of these little holes is effectively a very tiny battery," allowing a 70 times increase in total surface area for holding power compared to today's existing batteries which equals about a 10 times energy density in comparison to existing lithium-ion battery anodes. The bigger benefit of this battery design is that each pore is separated from its neighbors, eliminating internal short-circuits which results in resisting degradation over time and use. To quote Dr. D'Couto, "When any of those individually fail, the failure doesn't propagate. This architecture makes battery's completely safe by preventing thermal runaway and explosions." In layman's terms this removes the Airplanes refusal to have Lithium Ion batteries in the freight hold of a plane due to potential thermal runaway explosions. End result is that XNRGI Powerchip battery are a safer denser solution for today's demanding electrical designs.

    Another key benefit to the XNRGI battery design is life, current auto industry designs from Tesla, GM and Nissan is a 10 year battery life before degradation sets in. This is where the rub is in that some owners of these companies auto's have seen degradation set in, in only 5 years. Existing battery life is affected by not only the "dendrite" issue that can pierce the physical separator between the anode and cathode shorting out the battery on top of the other issues of build up much like plaque on teeth that happens with today's batteries. XNRGI uses a non-conductive coating on the silicon wafer that resists the dendrite formation and plaque build up. This ends up meaning that XNRGI batteries are able to offer three to five times the service life compared to today's existing Lithium-ion battery. This means a 30 to 50 year battery pack.

    Safety and density have been addressed by the XNRGI battery design which brings up a final question by many, what about recharge times? XNRGI Powerchip battery is able to discharge and recharge faster than conventional Lithium-ion cells due to its increased surface area. Quoting Dr. D'Couto, the Powerchip battery is able to achieve from empty 80% recharge in only 15 min. This benefit then means we have two options of how to apply this technology. One you can build smaller batteries that reduce weight making everything from small electronics to EVs lighter and more efficient or you can build for range by increasing the density with keeping the existing weight. Think of a pair of ear pods that will last weeks on a single charge or a cell phone that will last 6 to 7 days of heavy use rather than 1 to 2 days or an EV that currently goes 250 miles on the existing battery pack is replaced with an identical sized XNRGI battery pack and you now have 700 miles of range.

    Dr. D'Couto states they are working with multiple companies from around the world for including their solid state battery design into various products that will show up in 2020 such as motorbikes, scooters, drones, robots, cell phones and more. XNRGI expects their batteries to show up in EV's that are released in 2022 and 2023 from the auto industry which is due to their extensive testing. Toshiba was one of the first companies to come up with a solid state battery that will be coming out next year in Nissan and Mitsubishi EV products. XNRGI having signed or working on licensing agreements with various companies expects to see their batteries out in products around under limited volume in 2022 with high volume production in 2023 to 2024.
    XNRGI has put together this video of their company.


    Detroit Michigan has been chosen to ensure that AKASOL's customers comply with Buy America Act regulations, which dictate that they must purchase locally-produced battery systems.

    Premium battery manufacture of Germany, AKASOL has announced that they will open a battery system production plant in Detroit Michigan USA. This dedicated operations in North America will ensure that AKASOL's customers comply with the Buy America Act Regulations and is in response to demand for their high energy battery modules from various OEM manufacturer of Trucks, Buses and auto's. This considerable investment will create over 200 jobs within the next 5 years.
    State of Michigan awarded AKASOL a Michigan Business Development Program Grant for the construction of the production facility. Barry Matherly, President and CEO of Detroit Regional Partnership added: " The Detroit Region is thrilled to have been selected by AKASOL for its first battery production facility for the commercial vehicle market. The company is a global leader in the design and build of e-mobility solutions and our team is pleased we were able to demonstrate a highly compelling business case around the strengths of the region."
    AKASOL's new Michigan production facility will have similar capacity to the company's current plant in Langen, Germany. Production is due to begin in 2020, with a focus on the 2nd generation AKASystem OEM PRC battery system. By early 2021, AKASOL expects production to increase to 400 MWh in a three-shift operation. These high performance lithium-ion battery systems will be developed, tested and produced locally here in Detroit Michigan.
    AKASOL's commitment to quality, performance and flexibility is reflected in their European Top Tier customers. Daimler and French railway giant Alstom to name a few.

    Drew Dowdell

    ... Tesla Model 3 is the best selling car in Norway...

    Norway, a country that produces a lot of its own oil, has become the leader in electric vehicle sales.   According to a report by Reuters, 48.4% of all new car sales for the first half of 2019 have been electric vehicles.  This is up from just over a quarter of the market in the same period of 2019.  Tesla is the sales leader with a 24.5% share of all vehicles sold during the month of June, most of that being the Model 3. Telsa is not the only benefactor of the sales gain,  Nissan, Hyundai, and BMW all offer fully electric vehicles that have seen growth as well.  Mercedes and Ford, two makers without a full EV offering have seen their sales drop.
    Norway is seeking to end the sales of diesel and gasoline engines by the middle of the next decade and uses strong taxes on gasoline and diesel vehicles which EVs are exempt from to encourage that switch.  EVs also enjoy a discount on toll roads and auto ferries. 


    Automakers are planning to bring to market 100's of electric automobiles by 2025 and a german research company may have solved one of the biggest problems surrounding making them profitable.

    China is the world's largest EV market with sales of electric auto's reaching 2.61 million up 70% in 2018 over 2017. This constitutes 4% of the total Chinese market today. China is requiring 10% of total sales to be EV in 2019 and raised to 12% for 2020. In comparison, the US saw EV sales jump 81% for 2018 to a total of 360,000 EVs sold out of a total of 17.2 million auto's sold.  Yet the US has only 1 million EVs on the road and the auto industry is projected to spend a mind blowing $255 billion in R&D and Capital for electric models by 2023.  Due to high-system cost and low volumes with intense competition EVs in the short run will be unprofitable as OEM's bring the 207 models offered to market. Automakers have hopefully factored these costs into their EV strategies.
    The most expensive part of an EV is the battery pack. Current technology held by Tesla has their packs at 250 watts per kilogram and the holy grail is 400 watts per kilogram which reduces the size of the battery by half. How is one to achieve this?
    To date, EV battery packs such as Tesla, Nissan or Chevrolet have relied on a production system that causes contamination of the battery surface inside due to auxiliary materials or lubricants that is used in manufacturing. Commercial production of high density low cost batteries has been hindered to date by the current wet process of battery production. Franhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS, have created a process for creation of EV battery packs that uses a dry film coating process rather than liquids. The process does not use toxic solvents and is less energy -intensive ending in a cheaper to produce battery pack as much higher density. Quoting Dr. Benjamin Schumm, project manager for IWS, "Our dry transfer coating process aims to noticeably reduce the process costs in electrode coating." Why would this matter one might ask, currently EV battery production is mostly in the asian rim where cheap labor and cheap electricity allows a corner on the market. Trying to manufacture EV batteries in Germany where labor and electricity is some of the highest prices around make EVs expensive. Having a much cheaper, environmentally safer production allows the battery production to be done closer to the assembly line and reduces component costs in transportation also.
    With so many breakthroughs in battery technology in the last few years, it would make one think that batteries would be cheaper by now and yet it is the most expensive component of all EVs. So how would this tech be any different as the floor is littered with breakthrough after breakthrough that never made it into commercial production. IWS has been teamed up with a Finnish battery company "BroadBit Batteries" where they have a production line setup using this dry electrode material instead of a wet paste to coat electrodes for battery production. Currently IWS with BroadBits has proven they can coat several meters per minute of battery electrode foil at consistent production speed. BroadBit is currently using this technology to create and sell new Sodium Ion batteries.

    Currently an expensive wet complex and toxic paste is applied to the Lithium Ion foil which then requires expensive high energy costs to dry the foil before it can move to the next stage of battery production. IWS dry electrode coating allows foil creation without the ecologically damaging and expensive drying process steps. The result is a much quicker way to create the 100 micrometer thick film onto the aluminum foil creating the battery electrode in a much denser design. Dr. Benjamin Schumm states that this process allows new battery generations where the classic wet process failed and will allow faster and easier development of solid state batteries which uses ion-conducting solids over flammable liquid electrolytes. 
    This breakthrough in battery production is expected to allow European and Americas manufactures to break the asian strangle hold on battery production for not just EVs but all electronic devices.

    Drew Dowdell

    ...the "deal" was made months ago...

    The tariffs that Trump had threatened to impose on Mexico starting June 10th will not be going on to effect.  Trump tweeted out that Mexico had made concessions to deploy their newly formed Nation Guard to their own southern border and that it only took two days for Mexico to bend to Trump's demands.   This is false.
    The truth, according to a report in the New York Times is that Mexico had already agreed to do that back in March 2019 during secret talks between the (at the time) Director of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and the Mexican Secretary of Interior Olga Sanchez. Further, Trump claimed a victory via his tariff efforts saying that he had reached an agreement that Mexico would hold more asylum-seekers on the Mexican side of the border while the U.S. processes their cases.  The timing of this is also false.  The agreement was already reached at the same meeting in March.   Where Trump failed was in getting Mexico to accept a "Safe Third Country" treaty that would have given the U.S. the ability to reject asylum seekers if they had not first sought asylum in Mexico. 
    In opposition to the tariffs was many Senators from Trump's own party, including the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who said, "There is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure". Many in the GOP were whispering that the Senate was going to pass a resolution disapproving of the tariffs, causing embarrassment for Trump and making him look weak.  Most likely that whispering got to Trump himself and so then he laid claim to the previously agreed "concessions" from Mexico in order to save face and drop the tariff while claiming victory. 
    Many business leaders too were calling for relief from the tariffs, the auto industry would have been hit especially hard with a significant number of components passing over the border multiple times.  
    Below is a list of vehicles that are currently assembled in Mexico for U.S. consumption:
    Audi Q5
    BMW 3-series
    Chevrolet Blazer
    Chevrolet Cruze
    Chevrolet Equinox
    Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab
    Chevrolet Trax
    Dodge Journey
    Fiat 500
    Ford Fusion
    Ford Transit Connect
    GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab
    GMC Terrain (certain models)
    Honda Fit
    Honda HR-V
    Hyundai Accent
    Infiniti QX50
    Jeep Compass
    Kia Forte
    Kia Rio
    Lincoln MKZ
    Mazda 3
    Mercedes-Benz A-class
    Nissan Frontier (certain models)
    Nissan Kicks
    Nissan Sentra
    Nissan Versa
    Nissan Versa Note
    Nissan NV200 Cargo
    Ram 1500 Regular Cab
    Ram 2500/3500/4500/5500
    Ram ProMaster
    Toyota Tacoma
    Toyota Yaris
    Volkswagen Beetle
    Volkswagen Golf
    Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
    Volkswagen Jetta
    Volkswagen Tiguan

    William Maley

    ...That was abrupt...

    Fiat Chrysler Automobile has abruptly pulled back on their merger offer with Renault after the second day of negotiations came to a close. The Wall Street Journal reports that Renault's partner, Nissan declined to support the deal according to sources. During a vote today on the Renault board, the two Nissan representative abstained, raising concerns for both FCA and Renault that Nissan would back out of the alliance.
    This, in turn, caused the French Government (major stakeholder in Renault), to not pledge its support of the deal. The government asked for a delay on the vote until Nissan would guarantee that it would continue with the alliance. The falling of these dominos prompted FCA to withdraw their offer.
    The move is a heavy blow as FCA had reached a tentative agreement with the French Government on the merger according to two sources speaking to Reuters.
    FCA, Renault, and the French Government declined to comment.
    We'll update this story if any new details come to light.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

    Drew Dowdell

    ... 5%, to 10%, to 25% by October...

    Not content with a trade war just with China, Donald Trump has opened a second front in what is slowly turning into a trade world war.   Yesterday evening, Trump announced that beginning June 10th a 5% tariff would be slapped on all Mexican products coming into the country. That tariff would increase to 10% by July 1st and then go to its 25% maximum in October.  For automakers with razor thin margins, there is absolute certainty that the American consumer will end up paying these tariffs. 
    The White House said in a statement:
    Goods from Mexico account for 13.6 percent of all imported goods to the U.S, totaling about $346.5 billion. Automobiles and their components are high on the list of goods that are imported from Mexico.  Further complicating matters is that components can move over the border up to 20 times before reaching their final assembly location. 
    General Motors and other domestic manufacturers are going to be hit especially hard.  GM imported 811,000 vehicles from Mexico last year. One of their recent vehicles, the Chevrolet Blazer, caused a stir for being Mexican built when it was put on display at Comerica Park in Detroit at a time when GM was closing five U.S. manufacturing facilities. General Motors eventually took the display down and replaced it with a US built Traverse. 
    Stocks fell sharply Friday morning in response to the tariff announcement. 

    William Maley

    ...Damn you trade war!...

    Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. (GAC) made a big splash at the Detroit Auto Show this year with a number of models destined for the U.S. The plan at the time was to begin talking with dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in March, with sales to follow early next year. But GAC has postponed plans of coming to the U.S. due to the trade war.
    In a statement issued to Bloomberg, GAC said “the escalation of China-U.S. trade frictions” and distribution “uncertainties” had made them decide to put their plans on hold. It's unclear how long this postponement will last, but it will likely be some months - maybe years.
    Many Chinese automakers have made pronouncements to sell vehicles in the U.S. for over a decade, with none coming to shore. As Automotive News notes, Chinese Automaker Zotye as recently as this month was still recruiting dealers and planning to begin sales in the U.S. late next year. Bloomberg reached out to other Chinese automakers,
    Great Wall: No immediate comment on whether or not it plans on adjusting its plans to coming to the U.S. Lynk & Co. (under the Geely umbrella): Spokesperson said they are "evaluating" plans for North America Source: Bloomberg, Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    ...That whole autonomous-vehicle will be our savor to ride-hailing services.... that may not be exactly true...

    There has been a prevailing thought about the likes of Uber and Lyft that once they switch from human drivers to self-driving vehicles, they would stand to see a significant reduction in overall operating costs. This possibly means consumers could see these services as an alternative to owning a vehicle. But a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) disputes that claim.
    Researchers Ashley Nunes and Kristen D. Hernandez examined the San Francisco market on the per-mile cost of an automated taxi service to owning a vehicle. They found an automated taxi would range between $1.58 and $6.01 per mile, while the conventional vehicle would be at $0.72 per mile.
    "When we started going into this work, we found there's a lot of hand-waving. There was a notion that 'All we have to do is remove the driver, assume a reduction in insurance, and there's our great number.' We said, 'Let's hold it up to scrutiny.' It didn't hold up," explained Nunes to Automotive News.
    The massive disparity gap isn't due to ownership or maintenance, rather a fundamental issue about the taxi market in general. Nunes said taxi operators drive too many miles without a paying customer - hence their higher costs. In San Francisco, the MIT researchers found a 52 percent utilization rate for ride-hailing. Even if they were able to reach 100 percent utilization, Nunes said they would still be "unable to provide a fare that's comparable to car ownership."
    "Their approach with the investment folks has been, 'Trust us, we'll figure this out and it'll be this great utopia where everyone is jumping from an Uber to a scooter to an air taxi.The future may well be all those things. But you need to demonstrate you can offer the service at a price point that consumers are willing and able to pay. Thus far, they are unable to do so," said Nunes.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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