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Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Has the Era of Flying Cars and Cabs Finally Arrived?

A fantasy since Henry Ford’s Flying Flivver.

by on Apr.24, 2017

The Aeromobil Flying Car is shown here with its wings open and ready for take-off.

It’s long been the stuff of flying fiction, a fantasy that confounded even automotive pioneer Henry Ford, but a Slovakian start-up company says it is now taking orders for what could become the world’s first flying car – if it meets its delivery target of 2020.

Another European start-up, meanwhile, is pitching its own new craft as the world’s first flying taxi, a five-seater that can hover like a drone and fly like a jet.

Flight of Fancy!

Slovakia’s AeroMobil and Germany’s Lilium are just two of the many companies now working up ways to combine the best aspects of the automobile and the airplane. They include a number of start-ups as well as more traditional manufacturers like Airbus which is hoping to start testing a prototype of its own, single-seat flying car sometime this year.

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Waymo Levels New Charges Against Uber

Google subsidiary suggesting Uber autonomous system will be identical to Waymo's.

by on Apr.24, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's company has been hit with a new set of allegations by Waymo.

Uber faces additional charges by Waymo, Google’s autonomous car subsidiary, which has accused the San Francisco-based ride hailing of stealing intellectual property.

In new court filings last week, Waymo claimed that Uber has been developing a secret, secondary self-driving technology that copies digit-for-digit Waymo’s autonomous driving designs.

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In addition, the new complaint from Waymo also claims Uber intentionally concealed this project from the U.S. District Court judge assigned to the case after the Google subsidiary filed its original suit back in February. (more…)

GM Hustling to Get First All-Electric Car on Road in China

Government accelerating EV mandates causing automakers to hurry.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Matt Tsien, who heads up GM China, said the company will have an all-electric vehicle on Chinese roads within two years.

General Motors will have a pure electric vehicle on the road in China within two years and eight more will follow by 2020. The automaker is jump starting its efforts to keep pace with the Chinese government’s accelerating demand for EVs.

Matt Tsien, head of GM China, unveiled the plan during a press conference at the Shanghai auto show. He said GM expects annual sales of 150,000 electric and hybrid cars in China by 2020 and possibly in excess of 500,000 by 2025.

The Last Word!

“In the next several years, out to 2020, we expect to launch at least 10 new energy vehicles into the marketplace,” said Tsien, using the government’s term for electric and hybrid vehicles. “We have a pipeline that is going to materialize, that’s going to put us in a very good position from a fuel economy requirement perspective.” (more…)

Tesla CEO Musk Flies to Germany to Help Avert Strike

EV maker’s founder appeals to workers, bolsters compensation.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Tesla CEO Elon Musk went to Germany to speak with workers at the company's engineering subsidiary to avert a strike.

Ensuring the introduction of the Model 3 on time this summer must be important to Tesla CEO Elon Musk — he’s flown to Germany to speak directly with employees at the company’s engineering subsidiary in hopes of heading off a strike that could make it impossible to meet the car’s deadline this summer.

While Tesla’s hourly workers in the U.S. are non-union, the 700 employees of Tesla Grohmann Automation belong to IG Metall. The workers have two primary concerns: salaries and layoffs.

Tech News!

According to Electrek, the workers are unhappy that they are paid 30% less than the union scale calls for. Tesla’s offered a nearly $300 a month bump in pay, although that would still leave them a bit short of their target number. (more…)

Judge Approves $2.8 bil VW Criminal Penalty

Largest criminal fine in U.S. history.

by on Apr.21, 2017

"A very serious and troubling case involving an iconic automobile company," said Judge Sean Cox.

A federal judge in Detroit Friday signed off on what could be one of the last big developments in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, ordering the German maker to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty negotiated as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department last January.

The ruling now brings to around $30 billion the costs VW will incur after being caught rigging two of its diesel engines to illegal pass U.S. emissions tests – a figure that includes the price of buying back almost 500,000 vehicles sold in the country. Meanwhile, seven current and former Volkswagen employees have been charged with crimes connected to the scandal, while an investigation continues in Germany.

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“I just can’t believe that VW is in this situation that it finds itself in today,” said Judge Sean Cox, calling it a “very serious and troubling case involving an iconic automobile company.”

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Ford Continues Tinkering With Bamboo in Vehicles

Super strong, light weight and quickly renewable among advantages.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Center, shows the strength of bamboo.

Facing constant pressure to make vehicles of any kind lighter and more efficient, carmakers are constantly experimenting with a variety of natural materials that help reduce a vehicle’s overall weight or even just to dress up its interior.

Thus, Ford Motor Co. engineers in China have been experimenting with using bamboo, a fast-growing natural material that’s been used for everything from furniture, flooring, storage containers and housing as well ships, carts and weapons, in the construction of new vehicles. Bamboo is also plentiful in the heart of the world’s largest new vehicle market – China.

News You Can Trust!

“Bamboo is amazing,” said Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Center. “It’s strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia.” (more…)

Volvo Autonomous Driving Software Venture With Autoliv Comes to Life

Zenuity will license software to customers.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Jan Carlson, chairman, CEO of Autoliv with Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

Zenuity, a 50/50 joint venture between Volvo Cars and Autoliv Inc., has begun operations, developing leading advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving technologies.

“Volvo Cars combined its know-how with Autoliv’s to create a world leader in autonomous driving safety systems. With Zenuity starting operations we move a step closer to delivering this exciting technology,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars.

Global Auto News!

Autoliv is perhaps best known as an airbag supplier, and in recent times, for being the company jumping into help Takata produce replacement kits to replace the Japanese suppliers faulty airbags that have killed nearly a dozen people in the U.S. (more…)

Volvo to Build its 1st EV in China

Will share same CMA architecture as next-gen XC50.

by on Apr.20, 2017

A platform to built upon: the electrified CMA architecture that will be used for Volvo's 1st EV.

While electric drive systems are powering a significant share of the new models on display at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show, Volvo is showing off a new platform – the one it use for the Swedish-based brand’s first fully electric vehicle which, officials revealed, will go on sale in 2019.

Volvo has been an aggressive proponent of clean powertrain technology – the most powerful drivetrain it currently offers is the plug-in T8 found on models like the big XC90 SUV and S90 sedan. But it is getting ready to market a battery-electric model that will meet tough new emissions and mileages standards in the U.S., China, Europe and Japan.

Global Auto News!

And it will be produced in China, at least initially, the automaker said during the Shanghai Motor Show press preview – though other models using electric propulsion are expected to be built in Europe and, most likely, at the new assembly plant Volvo is setting up near Charleston, South Carolina.

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Tesla Recalling 53,000 Vehicles Due to Brake Problem

EV maker repairing Model S and Model X cars.

by on Apr.20, 2017

The Model X part of a large recall of Model X and S cars due to a brake problem.

Tesla is riding a streak of bad news. The California-based EV maker announced a recall of 53,000 of its Model S and Model X cars due to an issue with the parking brake.

It’s the largest recall in the young company’s history.

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The total may not seem so large compared to recent actions by other automakers, but the company only produced about 83,000 vehicles in 2016. (more…)

Chevrolet Finds New Road Cruiser in Shanghai with FNR-X Concept

“Clear masculine lines” and some cutting-edge technologies.

by on Apr.20, 2017

Officials says that the FNR-X isn't a sure thing for China, but at the Shanghai Motor Show purely to gauge interest.

Chevrolet is taking its current tagline, “Find New Roads” to new extremes – at least in China – with the second in a series of concept vehicles debuting this week at the Shanghai Motor Show.

The latest one, using shorthand, is the FNR-X, a concept version of what could be a radical take on a plug-in crossover-utility vehicle. Initial impressions suggests it would go into the emerging market for downsized utes like the Toyota C-HR and Honda HR-V.

Global Auto News!

The FNR-X adopts a “powerful, attractive design language,” with “clear, masculine lines,” says Chevy, including an aggressive nose that could have been lifted off the Camaro, a high beltline and a floating roof. But the most eye-catching feature is the concept’s use of rear suicide doors, minus the traditional B-pillars, providing easy and dramatic access to its interior. (more…)