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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

New Senior Personnel Departures at Ford Comes at Awkward Time

Key players in smart mobility push leave company even as Ford ramps up autonomous, electrification programs.

by on Mar.22, 2018

Musa Tariq, Ford's chief brand officer was hired away from Apple just 14 months ago.

Ford Motor Co. has been hit with another round of senior level departures, a development that not only continues the turmoil touched off by the ouster of CEO CEO Mark Fields last May but threatens to shake up the carmaker’s push into advanced mobility services.

Musa Tariq, the chief brand officer Ford lured away from Apple just 14 months ago, will be leaving the company, Ford has confirmed. And he’s not alone. Raj Rao, the CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, will also depart the automaker on May 1st.

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“Musa is a proven leader of brand transformation, having led similar work at some of the world’s most admired brands before coming to Ford, and he is a leader known for creativity and social media expertise,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “Over the last year, he has been helping to drive the same transformation at Ford.”


2019 Fusion to Be Ford’s “Most Technologically Sophisticated Sedan Ever”

But is the Fusion nameplate going to be around much longer?

by on Mar.20, 2018

The 2019 Ford Fusion Energi will boost its EV-mode range from 21 to 25 miles.

There’s been plenty of speculation in recent months about the long-term fate of the Ford Fusion but, at least for now, it will remain an anchor of the automaker’s sedan line-up and get some major new technologies for 2019.

The emphasis will be on safety, the 2019 Fusion introducing Ford’s new Co-Pilot360 driver assistance suite, company officials revealed during a background session ahead of the midsize model’s official debut at the New York International Auto Show next week. They also confirmed a big increase in EV-mode range for the plug-in hybrid version of the Fusion.

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“The 2019 Fusion will be the most technologically advanced Ford sedan ever,” said Corey Holter, Ford’s Car Group Marketing Manager, during a media briefing in Detroit on Tuesday.


GM Investing $100M in Tooling for Cruise AV, Autonomous Roof Racks

by on Mar.15, 2018

The Cruise AV will be built at the Orion Township, Michigan plant were GM builds the Chevy Bolt EV.

General Motors continues to put its money where its mouth is when it comes to autonomous vehicles, this time to the tune of $100 million.

The company is investing that cash in two Michigan facilities that will build its Cruise AV driverless car as well as the roof modules that contain all of the equipment needed to make the vehicle drive on its own, such as radar, LiDAR, cameras, etc.

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The new Cruise autonomous vehicles will be built at GM’s Orion Township assembly plant, north of Detroit. This makes sense as another self-driving vehicle produced by GM, the Bolt EV, is also built at the plant. (more…)

Waymo Lets Folks Peer Behind the Autonomous Curtain

CEO Krafcik promotes self-driving cars with videos at SXSW.

by on Mar.15, 2018

These girls commemorated their ride in Waymo's autonomous minivan with a selfie.

Surveys are showing that a majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of riding in an autonomous, or self-driving vehicle.

In fact, the most recent AAA study shows that 63% of Americans are reticent to get into an autonomous car. That number is down from 78% from the previous year.

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Although the numbers of nays are shrinking, its apparent that it’s going to require some heavy marketing on the part of automakers that are heavily investing in self-driving technology development, and Waymo CEO John Krafcik is helping to lead the charge. (more…)

Kia Bolsters Line-up With New Ceed and Rio GT

Rio gets GT tag for first time ever.

by on Mar.06, 2018

The new Kia Ceed not only gets a variety of engine, suspension and technology updates, it's name also gets an update.

Kia introduced the world to its new Ceed and Rio GT models at the Geneva Motor Show. The new versions received a variety of changes and additions, including the Ceed, which actually got a new name.

The Ceed was originally named cee’d when the Slovakian-built car hit the market more than a decade ago. However, the model’s name is actually Ceed, which is short for Community of Europe, with European Design.

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Really more of a statement of how aligned the vehicle is in the countries where its available than anything, but the new model – and its Sportswagon variant – are in its third generation now, having sold 1.28 million units since its introduction. (more…)

VW Confirms New I.D. Vizzion Concept Will Reach Showrooms “By 2022 at the Latest”

Electric sedan will eventually add full autonomy.

by on Mar.05, 2018

The Vizzion Concept is set to become the fourth model in the new Volkswagen I.D. sub-brand.

Volkswagen has rolled out the fourth in a series of concept vehicles meant to preview the all-electric I.D. family it will launch by the end of this decade and, as with earlier models like the Crozz and Buzz, you can expect to see the big I.D. Vizzion sedan roll into showrooms “by 2022 at the latest,” the automaker said, at the big sedan’s official Geneva Motor Show debut.

Something of a battery-electric replacement for the VW brand’s old flagship, the Phaeton, the I.D. Vizzion concept offers a range of cutting-edge technologies, as well as an interior that can be transformed into a mobile living room when operating in fully autonomous mode.

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“The I.D. VIZZION shows what our brand is capable of in terms of technology, design and quality,” said VW brand boss Herbert Diess, during a showcase of new products by the various marques operated by the parent Volkswagen Group. “ It is the most personal, most emotional and most individual Volkswagen of all times. And it also shows that, even in the electric, self-driving future, we will be using desirable, expressive and individual automobiles – and not just uniform tin boxes.”


Expert Calls for More Action to Head Off Climate Change

"I am more worried than I was a decade ago."

by on Mar.02, 2018

Lord Nicholas Stern, who wrote a report on the negative impact climate change has on the economy, says he's more concerned than ever.

The ultimate impact of climate change to the global economy has increased during the last decade, but technological advances in sectors such as the auto industry offer some hope for the future.

Lord Nicolas Stern told a conference on “Coping with Change: Global Warming and Decarbonization” sponsored by Venice International University and Alcantara, a supplier of high-tech fabric used in luxury automobiles that time to address the impact of climate change is growing short.

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“I am more worried than I was a decade ago,” said Stern, a professor of economics and government and chair of the Grantham Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. (more…)

California Okays Testing of Completely Driverless Vehicles

“Lives will be at stake,” warns consumer group.

by on Feb.27, 2018

Waymo is already testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and will soon add fully driverless ones.

Barely a week after Arizona regulators authorized Waymo to begin a drive-sharing service that will depend on completely driverless vehicles, California has given the green light to companies like the Google spinoff to begin operating driverless vehicles on its roads, as well.

But, for the moment at least, the Golden State is only authorizing companies like Google, Uber and General Motors to simply test vehicles that have no backup drivers onboard. It is not clear if or when it will allow them to begin commercial operation.

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Proponents say such tests are critical to prove the technology can operate safely and seamlessly on the same roads as human drivers, but not everyone is convinced the time is right. “It will be just like playing a video game, except lives will be at stake, said John Simpson, director of California-based non-profit group Consumer Watchdog. (more…)

Autonomous EVs Will Drive Ride-Share Costs by 50 Percent

BP economist predicts vehicles will run twice as much, leading to price drops.

by on Feb.22, 2018

BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale predicts that the prices of ride-sharing companies will fall 50% with the arrival of autonomous vehicles.

With the first wave of self-driving cars expected to reach the streets in the early 2020, the price of ride-sharing trips offered by Uber and Lyft could drop by half, according an estimate from one of Great Britain’s leading energy experts.

BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said at an International Petroleum Week conference in London that self-driving cars initially will be too expensive for normal people to buy and instead will be snapped up by commercial companies.

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“The vast majority of these will be purchased by commercial fleets offering mobility services, so think Uber or Lyft. The potential here — if you suddenly get an Uber or Lyft without paying for a driver — is that it leads to a significant fall in the cost. We estimate that could reduce the cost of that type of service by around 40% or 50%,” Dale said during his appearance at the conference. (more…)

EPA’s Pruitt Lets Polluting Diesel Trucks Glide Through Loophole

Gliders spew diesel pollutants at rate 43x more than new trucks.

by on Feb.15, 2018

A Fitzgerald employee mates an older diesel engine to a new truck body.

Less than a year after Volkswagen was hit for more than $4 billion in fines, penalties and fees related to the German maker’s noncompliant diesel engines, the Environmental Protection Agency is set to exempt U.S.-built “gliders” that spew emissions 13 times worse than all of VW’s diesels combined.

According to the New York Times, EPA Administration Scott Pruitt is not only set to approve the vehicles, he’s contemplating removing the cap on how many of them can be sold annually. The Obama administration was attempting to cap their production at 300 units annually.

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“Gliders” are trucks that use new truck bodies from Peterbilt, Freightliner and other manufacturers that are mated to rebuilt engines exempt from pollution standards. The resulting truck is cheaper, less expensive to maintain cheaper to repair and, in some instances, gets higher fuel economy than new trucks. (more…)