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Archive for November, 2016

Obama EPA Upholds Tough 54.5 MPG Fuel Economy Standards

Decision could still see challenge from incoming administration.

by on Nov.30, 2016

President Obama is trying to keep the tough 54.5 mpg CAFE standard agreed to by automakers in place after his administration ends next year.

In what could be one of the Obama Administration’s last critical decisions on the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided not to change the tough, 54.5 mile per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard phasing in between now and 2025.

The announcement comes despite strong opposition from an auto industry having to adjust to a market moving away from passenger cars to less efficient pickups, utility vehicles and other light trucks. And it raises the question of whether the incoming administration, led by a president-elect who has questioned the reality of climate change, will step in after it sweeps into office in January.

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Officially, the EPA will continue taking comments through Dec. 30 as part of a so-called mid-term review of the mileage regulations enacted under President Obama, but in a conference call with reporters, Janet McCabe, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation said EPA chief Gina McCarthy’s “judgement is now is not the time to introduce uncertainty by changing the standards.” (more…)

Delphi Looking to Get Intel Inside its Autonomous Tech

Tech giant supplying computer chips for self-driving system.

by on Nov.30, 2016

Delphi plans to show off its new CSLP system featuring new Intel computer chips at the upcoming CES in January in Las Vegas.

Pretty soon your car may be “intel inside” as Delphi and Mobileye N.V. are partnering with Intel to use the company’s computer chips for its in-development autonomous vehicle system.

The new system, which is called Centralized Sensing Location and Planning, is expected to be available by 2019, according to Delphi officials. Intel is slated to deliver the chips late next year. Able to handle processing more than 12 trillion operations a second, they are the final piece to autonomous puzzle.

Tech News!

“We think they will be a great supplier for us,” Glen DeVos, vice president of Delphi’s services business unit told Automotive News. “For us, it’s a big step forward. It will allow us to accelerate development.” (more…)

Ford Looking to Crossover With New Fiesta

New, ute-like version could shore up appeal amidst global market shift.

by on Nov.30, 2016

Ford unveiled its next-gem Fiesta in Germany, including a new version call the Fiesta Active. It's unknown if the Active will hit U.S. shores.

It may be one of the smallest models in the Ford Motor Co. line-up, but the Detroit-based automaker has some big plans for the all-new Fiesta subcompact it unveiled during a splashy event at its Cologne, Germany, assembly plant.

Among other things, Ford hopes to take the Fiesta up-market, adding a higher-priced – and significantly higher-profit – Vignale version. There will also be a new crossover-like version of the Ford Fiesta, dubbed Fiesta Active, a move that could help rebuild momentum in a number of key markets, such as the U.S., where buyers by the millions are shifting from passenger cars to utility vehicles.

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“We don’t want to build commodities anymore,” declared Jim Farley, Ford Europe CEO, during an event that brought together 2,500 Ford dealers and staff and members of the news media. (more…)

Start-Up Lucid Set to Build Arizona EV Plant

The list of electric-car wannabes continues to grow.

by on Nov.30, 2016

Lucid's prototype may seem a little tame compared to its EV-making competition, but it will get a complete redesign, officials claim.

Yet another electric vehicle wannabe has announced it will enter the still-small U.S. market, Lucid Motors revealing plans for a new assembly plant based in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.

Construction on the $700 million factory is set to begin early next year, the company – originally called Atieva – promising to have its first vehicles on the road in 2018. As Lucid, it would join a growing procession of electric vehicle manufacturers, both start-ups like Tesla Motors and traditional auto companies like General Motors, vying for what is still a miniscule part of the American automotive market.

EV News!

Whether demand will absorb all the new comers is far from certain and could be strongly impacted by the as yet-uncertain energy policies of the incoming Trump Administration which could relax or even eliminate upcoming auto mileage rules that are promoting developing of alternate propulsion technologies. (more…)

GM Closing Indiana Semi-Conductor Plant

Aging technology too cost prohibitive to replace, company says.

by on Nov.30, 2016

GM is closing its semi-conductor plant in Kokomo, Indiana, mid-year next year.

After six years of employment stability, the layoff notices are starting to pile up at General Motors.

GM has announced that by the middle of 2017 it will eliminate 160 jobs at a semiconductor plant in Kokomo, Indiana. The layoff notices in Kokomo followed GM’s announcement that it would drop the third shift, employing 2,000 workers at the big Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant in northeastern Ohio.

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GM Kokomo will begin winding down its semiconductor production operations shortly, leaving about 20% of the plant’s employees idled. An estimated 100 hourly and 60 salaried positions will be affected by the production changes (more…)

NHTSA Concerned About GM’s Super Cruise Stopping Plan

Regulators worried stopping vehicle could cause additional problems.

by on Nov.29, 2016

General Motors Staff Researcher Dr. Jeremy Salinger road tests a Cadillac using the semi-autonomous Super Cruise technology.

The concerns U.S. regulators have about the implementation of semi-autonomous or autonomous vehicles appears to be growing as safety officials really dig into the inner workings of these new technological marvels.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently urged General Motors to exercise caution in the implementation of its Super Cruise semi-autonomous system, specifically the fact that the system will slowly bring the car to a full stop if it senses the driver is sleeping, incapacitated or simply not paying attention.

Tech News!

NHTSA confirms the automaker’s plan to bring the car to a stop and activate the vehicle’s hazard lights if the driver is inattentive or unresponsive is compliant with federal automotive standards. However, it is also concerned the flashing lights could be misinterpreted by other drivers creating a more serious safety issue. (more…)

Fiat Heir Arrested, Charged with Faking Own Kidnapping

Fashion designer and entrepreneur faces January trial.

by on Nov.29, 2016

Lapo Elkann is the grandson of the late Gianni Agnelli and brother of FCA Chairman John Elkann.

Italian fashion designer and industrial heir Lapo Elkann has been arrested by New York police for allegedly faking his own kidnapping.

The 39-year-old reportedly ran out of money, according to initial news reports, possibly due to involvement with an escort. Authorities were called to a housing complex on New York’s East Side after being told Elkann was being held against his will. They subsequently determined the claim was false.

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Lapo Elkann is the brother of John Elkann, currently the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He is the grandson of the late Giovanni Agnelli, who turned his family’s holdings into one of Italy’s most powerful industrial enterprises after World War II. That included Fiat SpA, the automaker that took control of Chrysler after the American firm’s 2010 bankruptcy.

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Nissan Wants to Get “Hyper-Personal”

Tech like 3D printing will permit new levels of vehicle customization.

by on Nov.29, 2016

Nissan wants to go to the next level of customization with its "hyper-personalization" strategy.

Using technologies as diverse as 3D printing and connected car services, Nissan hopes to soon let buyers extensively customize their vehicles – both new ones and those they already own.

The new approach could put Japan’s second-largest carmaker at the forefront of the rapidly growing automotive aftermarket, a business that generates almost $40 billion a year in the U.S. alone, according to the Specialty Equipment Marketers Association, or SEMA.

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This new effort, which Nissan is calling “hyper-personalization” could soon allow motorists to add customized body panels and fabric designs, as well as bring new levels of high-tech infotainment services and safety gear into their vehicles, according to Kent O’Hara, the Nissan Motor Co. vice president who manages global aftermarket sales.

(more…)

Trump Facing Latest Tough Choice: Oil or Corn

New targets for use of ethanol and biodiesel have oil companies crying foul.

by on Nov.29, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump faces a difficult task in sorting out what to do about the EPA's new targets for renewable fuel standard, if anything.

President-elect Donald Trump is going to have start picking which “child” is his favorite among part of the “big business” set: Big Oil or Big Corn.

Trump is already hearing from both groups after the Obama Administration submitted its final plan for renewable fuel use, i.e. adding ethanol and biodiesel to gasoline and diesel to lower greenhouse gas emissions, which instituted loftier-than-ever targets for fuel producers.

Renewable Fuels News!

This new plan, put together by the Environmental Protection Agency, left the oil industry crying foul while farmers scramble to remind Trump of his pro-ethanol stance put forth during the campaign. (more…)

Porsche Aiming to Sell 20,000 Mission E Battery Sports Cars

Volkswagen AG brands battle it out for control of company’s EV efforts.

by on Nov.29, 2016

Workers at Porsche's Zuffhausen plant in Germany agreed to wage cuts in order to get the job of building the new Mission E.

Porsche is aiming for annual sales of about 20,000 Mission E battery-electric vehicles, according to the sports car brand’s chief executive officer.

That would make it one of the more important products in the company’s line-up and more than double the numbers needed to turn a profit, according to another company official.

Electrifying News!

The launch of the Mission E in 2019 is part of an aggressive transformation planned by the Volkswagen Group, currently the world’s largest automaker by sales volume. But news reports from Germany suggest that there is an internal battle brewing between various VWAG brands as they position themselves to take the lead in battery-electric vehicle development.

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