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Oslo First City to Institute Wireless Charging for Electric Vehicles

City wants taxis to be zero-emission vehicles by 2023.

by on Mar.22, 2019

Oslo wants to install induction plates into taxi stands to allow them recharge wirelessly by 2023.

One of the issues limiting the appeal of electric vehicles is recharging, but Oslo, Norway will be the world’s first city to mitigate that problem as it will install wireless charging systems for taxi cabs.

The city is requiring all of its taxis be zero-emission vehicles by 2023 while Norway is requiring all new vehicles sold in the country be the same by 2025. The new induction-based chargers aim to make recharging quick and easy, according to Finnish utility Fortum.

The Last Word!

“The future is electric, and it is already here, right now. Wireless charging is a potential game changer,” said Sture Portvik, Oslo’s electro mobility manager, in a statement. “From 2023 onward, all taxis in Oslo will be zero emission.  (more…)

Used Car Sales Tracking at Record Pace as New Car Sales Fade

Higher prices on new vehicles, large number of off-lease cars spur move.

by on Mar.22, 2019

Used vehicle sales are on the rise and appear likely to set a new record again in 2019.

New car sales are on a very slow decline in the U.S., part of that decline is the appeal of used vehicles which are expected to hit a record of more than 41 million units in 2019, after setting a new record last year of 40.2 million.

What’s driving trend? Increased prices on new cars is making them less appealing, plus the interest rate hikes are pushing folks out of the new car market. However, they can certainly afford a used vehicle that comes with a much lower price tag that offsets the higher interest rates charged for used over new cars.

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On top of all that, according to Edmunds.com analysts, the industry is expecting a record number of lease returns this year will give shoppers more options than ever in the used market. (more…)

GM Investing $300M in Detroit-Area Plant for New EVs

Barra declines to reveal contents of Trump phone call.

by on Mar.22, 2019

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra discusses the addition of 400 new jobs at the plant in Orion, Michigan.

General Motors continues its push toward an electric future by investing $300 million in a metro Detroit assembly plant to build a new Chevrolet battery-electric vehicle. The new investment also means 400 new jobs at the site.

The project is part of a broader, $1.8 billion U.S. investment program, CEO Mary Barra revealed Friday morning. The announcement comes just two days after President Donald Trump fired the latest in a series of broadsides at the automaker over its plan to close four U.S plants, including two assembly lines.

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“We are excited to bring these jobs and this investment to the U.S.,” Barra said in prepared remarks. (more…)

Former UAW VP Jewell Expected to Plead Guilty

Six others have already been found guilty.

by on Mar.22, 2019

Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell is expected to plead guilty in federal court next month.

Former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell is expected to U.S. District Court early next month to plead guilty on charges of violating federal labor law and could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Jewell, who abruptly quit his UAW post in December 2017, months before he was scheduled to leave office, is the second top union official implicated in the ongoing investigation. He accepted more than $40,000 in travel and gifts.

Union News!

Federal prosecutors are investigating a scam in which the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executive responsible for relations with the UAW used money designated for training UAW workers for lavish parties and gifts.  (more…)

Porsche’s New Cayenne Coupe is Pretty – and Pretty Powerful

Newest SUV makes 541 hp and hits 60 in 3.7 seconds.

by on Mar.22, 2019

Porsche is letting the Cayenne lead a new product segment once again with the 2020 Cayenne Coupe.

There were plenty of skeptics when Porsche announced plans to build a sport-utility vehicle barely two decades back. No one’s laughing now, as SUVs now make up the biggest selling – and most profitable part of the Porsche line-up.

So, there should be no surprise that the Schwabian marque is looking to expand that line-up. It recently announced plans for an all-electric crossover, but the next ute in the line-up will be a coupe version of the original Porsche Cayenne.

Product News!

Like other recent German “coupes,” this one doesn’t require you to sacrifice convenience. Think of more as a “coupe-like” version of the Cayenne, with a steeply raked roof and four doors. Whatever you call it, the appearance is striking and, arguably, less awkward than some of the other recent “coupe” SUVs. (more…)

Tesla Sues Former Employees for Theft of Autopilot Code, Trade Secrets

Engineer swiped info before leaving to join Chinese company.

by on Mar.21, 2019

Tesla is now fending off corporate espionage from competitors like Zoox and Xiopeng by filing suits against employees for stealing corporate secrets.

Just days after bragging about the company’s plans in China, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is suing former employees for stealing from the EV maker as they left to join Chinese automakers Zoox and Xiopeng Motors.

The company filed two suits against separate sets of former employees in California. In the case of Zoox, automaker claims that four former employees stole “proprietary information and trade secrets to help Zoox leapfrog past years of work needed to develop and run its own warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations.”

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Scott Turner, Sydney Cooper, Christian Dement, and Craigh Emigh “absconded with select proprietary Tesla documents useful to their new employer,” according to the filing. Additionally, one of the four used the info to recruit other Tesla employees.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW X7

Bavaria’s big boy offers Euro alternative to Escalade, Navigator – as well as 7-Series.

by on Mar.21, 2019

The 2019 BMW X7 shown here in Euro trim heading off into the sunset.

Laissez les bon temps rouler…let the good times roll. And since I’m heading to New Orleans, it’s nice to be rolling that way in the new 2019 BMW X7.

The German automaker was one of the first to get serious about building luxury SUVs with the 1999 launch of the original X5. And as the global market has steadily shifted from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, it has steadily expanded the range of what the Bavarian marque prefers to call “Sport Activity Vehicles.” The X7 is the latest and most lavish entry, essentially a two-box alternative to the brand’s familiar flagship, the 7-Series.

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To see if it’s really up to the challenge I headed down to Tallahassee to pick up one of the Bavarian brutes, beginning a day-long drive across the Florida Panhandle, through Alabama and Mississippi and wrapping up in the Cajun State, just in time for the start of the annual Mardi Gras.

(more…)

Volvo Using Cameras to Prevent Distracted, Drunk Driving

Move comes after plans to keep top speed to 112 mph.

by on Mar.21, 2019

Volvo plans to use in-car cameras and other sensors to help prevent drunk and distracted driving crashes.

Volvo Cars is looking to finish what it loosely describes as a safety “triangle” by using in-car cameras and other sensors to prevent crashes and fatalies due to drunk or distracted drivers by 2021.

Last month, the company introduced the first “side” of the triangle by limiting the top speed of its non-Polestar vehicles to 112 mph. Now by ensuring whomever is behind the wheel is capable of making appropriate decisions, Volvo believes it is significantly closer to its goal of zero traffic deaths.

Safety News!

“When it comes to safety, our aim is to avoid accidents altogether rather than limit the impact when an accident is imminent and unavoidable,” said Henrik Green, senior vice president, Research & Development at Volvo Cars. “In this case, cameras will monitor for behavior that may lead to serious injury or death.” (more…)

Ford Replacing CFO Shanks with Amazon Veteran

Numerous other changes announced by Detroit automaker.

by on Mar.21, 2019

A 42-year Ford veteran, CFO Bob Shanks had previously signaled his plan to retire.

Ford veteran Bob Shanks is stepping down, with his replacement as chief financial officer coming in from the online community.

The well-regarded Shanks, who spent 42 years at the Detroit automaker, will hand over the ledger to Tim Stone who has been serving as CFO of social media venture Snap. The 52-year-old Stone previously spent two decades at Amazon.

Breaking News!

“Bob will leave a remarkable 42-year legacy at Ford,” the automaker’s CEO Jim Hackett said. “As a CFO, he’s been relentless in driving for results and pushing the company to greater heights. Bob’s leadership was integral to Ford’s comeback during the great recession, and he has been an invaluable partner as we transform Ford to succeed in the next era.”

(more…)

Increase in E-Commerce Hasn’t Disrupted Driving Patterns

Amazon's impact less than expected, study suggests.

by on Mar.21, 2019

The rise of Amazon and other e-commerce outlets has had little impact on the amount of driving Americans do, according to a new study.

Amazon has disrupted shopping patterns and habits across the United States and changed the face of American towns and cities by leaving stores vacant and many suburban shopping centers virtually deserted.

But the impact of e-commerce has had only minimal amount of impact on the amount of travel connected to shopping, according to a new study by Michael Sivak, the managing director of Sivak Applied Research and the former director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at the University of Michigan.

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In his new study, Sivak said his analysis did not detect any statistically significant changes from 2007 to 2017 in the amount of travel in connection with purchasing goods and services or in the percentage of persons traveling in connection with these activities. (more…)