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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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…)

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…)

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.

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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…)

One of Nine Pickups Earns Top Rating in IIHS Crash Tests

Nearly half of the trucks rated marginal or poor.

by on Mar.21, 2019

Ford's F-150 was one of the best performers in the latest IIHS pickup crash tests.

Pickup buyers concerned about safety might be surprised by the results of the latest IIHS crash results that found over half of the nine models scored poorly in at least one of the key tests,  four earning marginal or poor ratings overall.

Of the trucks the IIHS examined, only two earned good ratings, the Ford F-150 and Nissan Titan. And just one 2019 model, the Honda Ridgeline, earned the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick award – but only when equipped with optional headlights and forward collision prevention technology.

Safety News!

“As a group,” said David Zuby, the chief research officer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “the pickup class still has a lot of work to do.”

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Ford Investing $900M in Second EV Plant, AV Facility in Michigan

New operation set to open in 2023, add 900 workers.

by on Mar.20, 2019

Ford is planning to use its underutilized plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, to build electric vehicles starting in 2023.

Ford Motor Co. will invest $900 million in two Detroit-area facilities meant to focus on the cars of the future.

The bulk of the investment, about $850 million, will go to Ford’s now under-utilized Flat Rock facility that will become the automaker’s second source for pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, in the process creating 900 new jobs. The rest will fund what the automaker is describing as an “Autonomous Vehicle center,” where conventional vehicles will be modified to operate hands-free and even entirely without a driver.

Product News!

Ford was one of the earliest of the automakers to focus on battery-based powertrain technology, though it won’t bring out its first long-range all-electric model until next year, a “Mustang-inspired” SUV expected to take aim at the new Tesla Model Y. It will be produced at Ford’s first battery-electric vehicle plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Dodge Challenger SXT AWD

Brand produces a modern-day classic.

by on Mar.19, 2019

The 2019 Dodge Challenger SXT is part of the group of muscle cars that have led to the renaissance of the segment.

Muscle cars have a durable appeal that survived the shift to Asian and European imports despite the reputation for quality problems that seemed to hover over American-made cars for years and even the ongoing shift away from passenger cars generally to utility vehicles and light trucks.

Moreover, in an era when electric and autonomous vehicles are threatening to remake the automotive landscape, American muscle cars have gone through something of a renaissance with the re-emergence of cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro, huge upgrades to the Ford Mustang and the splashy revival of Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger.

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Even with its lonely two doors, the Challenger, with its eye-catching exterior design and powerful V8 engine, could well be the epitome of the muscle-car revival. But the rebirth not only includes a sleek, sophisticated remake of the of the exterior sheet metal and a more efficient version of the traditional V8 but also a complete overhaul of the running gear that makes the ride and handling much better.   (more…)

SEC Says Musk’s Response to Lawsuit “Borders on the Ridiculous”

Regulators tell court Tesla CEO failed to clear a single tweet with automaker per settlement.

by on Mar.19, 2019

Tesla CEO Elon Musk shown during last week's unveiling of the new Model Y.

Federal regulators have shot back at Tesla CEO Elon Musk in their battle over a contempt-of-court lawsuit, claiming the 47-year-old executive’s legal argument “borders on the ridiculous.”

The case stems from a tweet Musk filed last month declaring that Tesla would produce 500,000 vehicles this year. The Securities and Exchange Commission considered that “material” guidance which, under terms of a separate case last year, required the CEO to first get the approval of the company. But, the SEC said in a new filing, Musk has not cleared a single tweet with Tesla as he had agreed to.

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The lawsuit is being heard by U.S. Judge Alison Nathan who could hold Musk in contempt and levy fine or other forms of punishment. The Tesla executive was already forced to relinquish his post as chairman and could now be removed as the automaker’s chief executive officer.

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Aiming to Launch Tesla Model Y Challenger in 2021, Fisker Searching for Plant Site

Electric SUV planned at "below $40,000."

by on Mar.18, 2019

The Fisker SUV will adopt an SUV style and offer more interior space than the typical ute by placing key components under the floorboard.

Long-time automotive designer and entrepreneur Henrik Fisker is readying a challenger to the upcoming Tesla Model Y that will be ready for production during the second half of 2021 at a price of “below $40,000.”

With a range estimated at “around” 300 miles, Fisker Inc. plans to produce it at a factory in the U.S. and is currently searching for a plant site in one of eight states, the Danish-born executive told TheDetroitBureau.com in an exclusive interview. The company is putting an emphasis on acquiring an existing factory, preferably one of the many abandoned auto plants around the U.S.

Beyond the Headlines!

“We hope to pick a site within the next eight to 10 weeks,” Fisker said, noting that a Midwest site with ready access to existing suppliers is high on the priority list, though the final choice would also be impacted by available incentives.

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