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Tesla Updating Software After Latest Battery Fire

Two recent incidents raise new concerns about EV safety.

by on May.16, 2019

A security camera caught images of a Tesla spontaneously catching fire in a Hong Kong garage.

Responding to the latest in a series of fires involving its electric vehicles’ battery packs, Tesla will updated its digital control software.

The move comes in the wake of a pair of fires in China, a critical market for the manufacturer, both involving parked vehicles. Since the original Tesla Model S was introduced, the company’s products have been involved in more than a dozen vehicle fires.

Electrifying News!

“As we continue our investigation of the root cause, out of an abundance of caution, we are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity.” Tesla said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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“You Want to Be There” When the EV Market Takes Off, Ford CEO Hackett Tells Shareholders

The upcoming “Mustang-inspired,” all-electric SUV will “reconceptualize’ the way cars are designed.

by on May.09, 2019

Ford is counting on its "Mustang-inspired," long-range electric SUV, codenamed Mach1, to help it plug into the emerging BEV market.

Ford Motor Co. will launch its “Mustang-inspired,” crossover later this year, its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, and CEO Jim Hackett told shareholders that while the EV market has been slow to build momentum, “When it happens you want to be there.”

Hackett focused a lot of his energy on describing the automaker’s electrification plans during Ford’s first “virtual” shareholders meeting on Thursday, clearly hoping to build support for a program in which it plans to invest $11 billion by 2022, more than double what Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields, had committed to spend by 2020. All told, Ford has laid out plans to roll out 40 hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

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Insight!

The question is whether there will be a market for those vehicles, especially when considering the generally tepid response for earlier Ford battery-based models like the C-Max Energi, a PHEV, and the Ford Focus Electric, a BEV. (more…)

Barely One in Six Americans “Likely” to Buy an EV Next Time They’re in the Market

New AAA study finds millions more might enter market – if gas prices top $5/gallon.

by on May.09, 2019

The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the winners of AAA's annual Top Green Vehicle Award.

Less than one in six Americans say they’d give serious consideration to buying an all-electric vehicle next time they’re in the market for a new car, truck or crossover, according to a new AAA study, a finding that could spell trouble for the automakers ready to launch dozens of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, over the next several years.

The good news for the industry is that as many as 40 million Americans say they’d at least consider the merits of an all-electric model. But, according to the study released today, U.S. motorists remain confused about both the benefits and limitations of battery-cars.

Green Car News!

“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”

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New Corvette Stalling Sales of the New Corvette

Fans waiting for the mid-engine C8, slowing C7 sales.

by on May.06, 2019

General Motors is adding a second shift and more than 400 hourly jobs at its Bowling Green (Kentucky) Assembly plant in preparation for the C8 Corvette.

The new Corvette is the best ever — and no one wants one.

Well, perhaps not no one, but with the news confirming that the eighth-generation, mid-engine ’Vette is due to arrive later this year, sale of the America’s sports car are fading even faster than they have for the past few years.

Beyond the Headlines!

Corvette sales hit their high-water mark at about 37,000 in the U.S. in 2006. (more…)

Electrifying America

Volkswagen-funded start-up is rolling out a nationwide network of quick-chargers -- and cutting prices 20%.

by on May.06, 2019

A Chevrolet Bolt is plugged into an Electrify America charger at EA's suburban DC tech center.

Volkswagen plans to spend $50 billion on battery-electric vehicles while General Motors’ CEO says the automaker is on a “path” to go fully electric. Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and, of course, Tesla, by mid-decade, these and other manufacturers expect to have more than 200 electric vehicles on the market.

But just because you build them doesn’t mean buyers will come, industry analysts warn, pointing to a variety of obstacles to mass acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, including range and cost. But one of the biggest concerns is the lack of a viable charging infrastructure that would allow electric vehicle owners to travel as freely as do owners of conventional gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

Electrification News!

That is beginning to change as charging stations, especially “Level 3” fast chargers begin to pop up across the countryside. And, ironically, that roll-out owes a fair share of credit to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Out of the roughly $30 billion the automaker has so far paid out in terms of fines and settlements, $2 billion is funding Electrify America, a start-up helping promote the adoption of plug-based vehicles, in large part by setting up the fastest-growing public charging network in the U.S.

EA is taking another step to increase the appeal of running on battery-power, on Monday announcing plans to cut the cost of charging at one of its stations by 20 percent.

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GM Updates Chevy Camaro’s Appearance for 2020 Model

New look design to spur lagging sales.

by on May.06, 2019

The 2020 Camaro SS sports an updated new front fascia derived from the 2019 SEMA concept car.

Chevrolet is planning to change up the appearance of the 2020 Camaro due out next fall with a new front-end appearance for the SS model as well as a new LT1 V-8 performance model at a relatively modest price.

Other changes promised for 2020 include a making a 10-speed-automatic transmission available with the 3.6-liter V6 used in the 2020 Camaro line-up.

Product News!

“Customers spoke, and we listened,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet passenger car and crossover marketing. “The overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Shock’s stylized design helped prompt its transition from concept to production.” (more…)

Nissan Adds Another Nail to Convertible Coffin with Plans to Kill 370Z Roadster

Choice of ragtops growing increasingly thin.

by on May.02, 2019

Nissan will still offer the Z Roadster overseas, but it's dropping the ragtop in the U.S. due to slow sales.

Nissan is pulling the plug on its 370Z Roadster at the end of the 2019 model-year, the Japanese automaker has confirmed, marking the end of one of the brand’s most iconic offerings.

The good news for roadster fans is that the coupe version of the sports car will remain in production indefinitely – which doesn’t mean it will last forever, just that there are no current plans to once again remove it from the line-up.

Product News!

The 370Z Roadster joined the Z Coupe after it was returned to the Nissan family in 2009, part of the automaker’s turnaround program. Its demise comes as automakers rethink their passenger car strategies and, in particular, cull their slow-selling convertible offerings.

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GM Ponders $1B Investment in Missouri Plant

Automaker reportedly meeting with governor about incentives.

by on May.02, 2019

GM may invest as much as $1 billion into its Wentzville, Missouri plant that produces midsize trucks and full-size vans.

General Motors is apparently preparing for a major investment at its big truck assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, according to media reports from St. Louis.

GM officials are expected to meet with Missouri Governor Mike Parson to discuss what is described as a $1 billion expansion project at Wentzville, which currently employs 3,800 hourly and salaried employees, St Louis Today reported.

Plant News!

No details about the expansion have been disclosed but GM is expected to request a package of incentives from the state of Missouri to help pay for job training and retooling the plant, which is located about 40 miles from St. Louis. (more…)

GM CEO Barra Confirms Plans for Electric Pickup

Could target competitors from Ford, Rivian, Tesla.

by on Apr.30, 2019

GM claims it "future-proofed" the current Silverado to accept electrified drivetrain options.

General Motors will build an all-electric pickup, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday, confirming a report that first appeared in TheDetroitBureau.com in February.

The executive declined to provide details about the project, but the news took few industry observers by surprise considering that Ford and Tesla have also announced plans to build all-electric trucks, as has Detroit-based start-up Rivian.

Electrifying News!

GM “will not cede our leadership” in the truck segment, Barra said during a conference call with industry analysts and media to discuss the automaker’s first-quarter earnings.

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Strong Sales of Pricey Pickups Help GM Beat Earnings Estimate

But sliding U.S. market share worries investors.

by on Apr.30, 2019

GM CEO Mary Barra shown in March announcing a major investment in battery-car production.

Cost-cutting and pricey pickups. That was the formula for General Motors as it managed to beat Wall Street’s earnings expectations for the first quarter of 2019 with adjusted earnings of $1.41 a share, 30 cents better than the consensus forecast.

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy investors who have been driving down GM shares in morning trading, the market appearing to react to weak sales and the automaker’s home market share decline from 16.9% during the fourth quarter of 2018 to 15.6% during the most recent three-month period.

Earnings News!

“GM’s first-quarter operating results were in line with expectations we shared in January,” CEO and Chairman Mary Barra said during a conference call with analysts and the media Tuesday morning. “My confidence in the year ahead remains strong, driven by our all-new full-size truck launch and our ongoing business transformation.”

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