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)
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
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.
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
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".
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.
...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
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.
... 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.
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:
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab
Ford Transit Connect
GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab
GMC Terrain (certain models)
Nissan Frontier (certain models)
Nissan Versa Note
Nissan NV200 Cargo
Ram 1500 Regular Cab
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen
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)
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.
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)
...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)
From the strange bedfellows' file; Hyundai and Kia have announced a joint investment of 80 million Euros (about $90 million) into Croatia-based Rimac Automobili. Rimac may be known to most people for the fast Concept One electric supercar - the vehicle which Richard Hammond had a serious crash when filming The Grand Tour.
"The companies will work closely together to develop prototypes for an electric version of Hyundai Motor's N brand midship sports concept car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. Hyundai Motor Group will leverage the partnership to build on its existing R&D capabilities to meet its electrification plan, which includes deployment of 44 eco-friendly models by 2025," Hyundai said in a statement this week.
Hyundai has been teasing the idea mid-ship sports car for the past few years with a number of Veloster based concepts like the RM16 N. Maybe something could come to fruition with the help of Rimac.
What does Rimac get out of this deal? This will allow the company to grow into a Tier 1 supplier for the industry for electric components.
Source: Hyundai, Rimac
HYUNDAI MOTOR AND KIA MOTORS INVEST 80M EUR IN RIMAC AND ESTABLISH A TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIP
Hyundai Motor to invest 64M EUR; Kia Motors to invest 16M EUR; Rimac and Hyundai Motor Group form a technical partnership to collaborate on two high-performance electric vehicles by 2020
SEOUL, ZAGREB, 14 May 2019 – Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation have jointly invested 80M Euros in Rimac Automobili (Rimac) - the Croatian high-performance electric vehicle technology and sportscar company. The companies have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on the development of high-performance electric vehicles.
With the new collaboration underway, Hyundai Motor Group aims to speed up its transition towards Clean Mobility and position itself as a global leader in driving this change in the industry.
Rimac has established themselves as a leader in high-performance electric vehicle technology and as an electric sportscar manufacturer. The company continues to deliver EV technology supporting many industry partners, including Hyundai Motor Group, to accelerate their way towards an electric future.
Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Rimac will work closely together to develop an electric version of Hyundai Motor’s N brand midship sports car and a high-performance fuel cell electric vehicle. “Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us. We look forward to collaborating with Rimac on our road to Clean Mobility.”
Founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac said: “We are very impressed by the Hyundai Motor Group’s vision and prompt and decisive initiative. We believe that this technology partnership will create maximum value for our companies and their customers. Rimac is still a young and relatively small but fast-growing company. We see a strong investor and technology partner in Hyundai Motor Group and believe that this collaboration will charge the company’s position as a Tier-1 electrification components supplier to the industry.
If you're the owner of an Android phone and an Android Auto enabled vehicle, this summer there will be a big upgrade coming to the interface of both. The new design will allow you to do more with fewer taps, while also showing more information on the screen at a time.
As soon as you start your car, Android Auto will pick up where you left off with your media and automatically show your navigation app of choice. Navigation will show a suggested list of places or the user can say "Hey Google" to navigate to a new place.
At the bottom will be a navigation bar that will allow users to control apps and see turn-by-turn navigation instructions even while on a Media or Phone screen.
The color pallet has changed to a darker theme which is easier on the eyes. The font has been changed to be easier to read.
In vehicles with wider screens, Android Auto will now fill that extra space with additional information such as next-turn direction, playback controls, or ongoing call information.
You can see the new animations and look at the video below.
These changes will be available on all Android Auto capable devices this summer.
...in a market that continues to decline, EVs are doing well...
The European car market as a whole has been in decline for six consecutive months as of March 2019 with 19 out of 27 markets posting declines. March numbers were down 3.6 percent over the same month in 2018. Looking at the first quarter of 2019 paints an even bleaker picture with only 6 countries recording growth.
While overall demand is down, the demand for electric vehicles grows. The sales of EVs exceeded 100,000 units for the first time ever with a total of 125,400 EV and PHEVs sold. That is an increase of 31%, mostly in Germany, Norway, Spain, and the Netherlands. Much of that growth is attributed to the Tesla Model 3 entering the market and becoming Europe's top selling electric car. Model 3 sales jumped from 3,747 units in February to 15,755 units in March. It was also the best selling premium mid-size car in the EU.
Diesel on the other hand is facing continuing losses. Registrations of new diesels have moved from 44.8 percent of all registrations in March 2017 to 31.2 percent of all registrations in March 2019. Analysts expect diesel to continue to fade as more cities put in diesel bans and stricter emissions regulations come into effect.
...more torque, better power density, and 10 percent further range...
Revolution most commonly starts in the heart of what is to be disrupted. In this case, oil country is where one of the most revolutionary new motor designs is coming from. The minds at the University of Texas in Dallas, Dr. Babak Fahimi and the Renewable Enery and Vehicular Technology Laboratory brings us this new startup "Linear Labs Inc. A Smart Electric Motor Company" who just completed their funding round to allow them to market and produce their flagship motor, the Hunstable Electric Turbine motor.
Currently today's electric vehicle has a high revving horsepower motor with low torque, as an example you can find many electric motors that produce 50 horsepower at 10,000 rpm with 26 lb-ft of torque. The Hunstable Electric Turbine motor produces that same 50 horsepower at 1,300 rpm with 200 lb-ft of torque thus eliminating the need for a gear box as well as other components which in turn reduces cost and complexity.
The Hunstable motor while eliminating geared reduction thus being useful for direct drive applications retains the capability to perform at extremely high speeds and maintains maximum efficiency throughout the loading curve.
Let's get into the technical chops of the Hunstable Electric Turbine (HET) motor.
Permanent magnet circumferential flux 4 rotor motor
3D magnetic structure produces four active torque producing areas all with the same polarity
30% reduced use of copper in the coil
Maximum torque production from all magnetic field interactions
Reduced motor size due to patented unique design requires no unproductive open spaces
Large Lorentz Force that peaks with a large reluctance force. Best way to explain this is to quote their website: " by extending the length of the magnetic tunnel region, the torque that is present throughout the coils travels without regard to the coils at pole face length. Unlike existing conventional machines where torque is only present at an optimum point as it approaches a magnetic pole, the HET has no single optimum point but rather all positions exhibit maximum torque. The torque and force will exist while the coil in in the tunnel, regardless of tunnel length.
Traditional electric motors have always had a current pulse from the three phase supply requiring a timed rotation that allows for optimum torque production at a single instant in time where only a single phase is active. Electronics have been used to manipulate and soften the pulsations to some degree to gain performance as seen by the current leading EV manufacturers.
The HET motor is able to use a different approach due to the large force presented. One could talk about coils, poles and phases but the end result is that the the technology used by the HET Motor allows for all phases produced to create a continuous pulse of power. These power pulses overlap rather than being sequential thus eliminating torque pulsations ending with maximum torque production.
The HET Motor has an advantage that no other electric motor can equal and that is that via software control, the phases can be controlled into particular patterns allowing for true variable pole count ending in adjustable speed / torque development. To quote Linear Labs: "This allows a speed change increase with no changes in frequency, current or voltage level, which makes an electronic transmission possible."
Current electric motors use what is called Field Weakening. This is where one has peak torque at 0 RPM but trades torque for speed as it goes faster. Excitation speed increases as torque drops by weakening the magnetic fields.
Induction motors increase speed by reducing this excitation current, permanent magnet motors inject an opposing current to control this which is known as a D axis current injection. The constant horsepower region is what this area of speed increase is called. Torque being traded for speed, but total horsepower does not change.
Efficiency drops off in the uses as stated above and this is what the HET motor addresses with its revolutionary design. To quote Linear Labs: " By slightly rotating a single side rotor, an axial magnetic component is introduced. This weakens , as far as the coils are concerned, the total magnetic field experienced by the coils. The degree of field weakening controls the trade-off between torque and speed.
For the first time in electric machine history, as the HET Motor enters the Constant Horsepower Region, core losses drop and overall efficiencies actually climb."
At this time you would not be blamed for saying "SO WHAT" what does this get me?
The benefits of this revolutionary new motor or as Linear Labs likes to call it their electric turbine is the following list:
Magnetic Configuration producing 100% more torque than any other design.
Efficiency, reduced copper losses resulting in reduced on-board energy storage.
Power, testing has shown that the HET motor with standard cooling produces continuous and peak power at 1.9 kW and 2.7 kW at a base speed of 3000 RPM superseding any other commercially available electric propulsion unit.
Cost and Compactness, resulting in less cost of on-board electronics, converters, controllers, etc.
Thermal Management, superior design due to less copper and what is known as end windings that contribute nothing to torque or output giving you superior efficiency.
Variable speed applications, perfect for low speed constant use but also for high speed applications.
Acoustic Noise, HET motors being smaller than current commercial counterparts along with limited torque pulsation provides a quiet drive system removing most noise heard by the human ear.
Some of the markets that are ripe for Linear Labs motors are of course the auto industry, HVAC industry, industry manufacturing, pretty much any market where constant and variable electric motors are being used. This results in potential energy conservation on a large scale.
Linear Labs see's the potential benefits from scooters, to drones, motorcycles, cars and trucks. The uses of their HET Motor will revolutionize the world while contributing to energy conservation.
...banding together to bring about safer autonomous vehicles...
The Society of Automotive Engineers has announced today that they are joining with Ford, General Motors, and Toyota to form the Automatic Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), a group that will work together to test the deployment and development of Level 4 and Level 5 automated vehicles.
The AVSC will provide a safety framework for the advancement of the technology in a safe and responsible manner. The group will use the expertise of its current members to establish a set of guiding principles for safety.
GM, Ford, and Toyota already have autonomous vehicle development well underway. GM is producing driverless Chevrolet Bolt EVs as part of a development and testing program via its GM Cruise unit.
If you're currently running with an older GPS system, either built into your car or via an external device, you may need to check if a firmware update is available. Tonight at midnight, the UTC clock used by the satellite navigation system will roll over to 0000000000. That number is a 10-bit "week number" that counts the number of weeks since August 21, 1999, the date of the current GPS "epoch".
Most newer GPS devices will know about the coming rollover and will just continue working, but older ones that haven't been updated could fail with timing data jumping backwards by almost 20 years. This isn't a new issue, this will be the second time the GPS system has seen such a flip. Eventually, the GPS system will be upgraded to a 13-bit date system and greatly increase the length of time between epochs.
If you have an older GPS device or car with GPS built in, you may want to check with the manufacturer if a firmware update is needed.
I get a twinge of cognitive dissonance when I see a Pontiac GP, which uses the same platform as the car I ultimately bought. It has the same powertrain, too.
This one is (light bulb goes on) Fusion Orange metallic, clearly an inaugural 2004 color that might have carried forward into 2005, because this unit, in sound shape and cruising effortlessly down the freeway, did not have a trunk lock cylinder. Also, one has to give Pontiac some credit for having the moxie to offer a polarizing and sportier color like this on the GP. Not so with other W-body GM vehicles of the same years. I don't know if I'd want to own a Fusion Orange metallic car, but I like(d) seeing these.
This was on the 4th of July ... or the next day. Will never forget Pontiac! Have loved them for as long as I can remember.