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Tesla Cutting from the Bottom: Kills Model S 75

EV maker looking for more separation between Model S, Model 3

by on Jul.24, 2017

Tesla announced it was ending sales of the Model S 75. The maker is looking to put some distance between the Model S and Model 3.

As Tesla’s new addition to its line-up, the Model 3 is now hustling down the assembly line, the company made another change to its portfolio, cutting the Model S 75, which was the least expensive model the EV maker offered prior to the Model 3.

The rear-wheel drive Model S 75 started at $69,500, but now the least expensive Model S is the 75D, an all-wheel-drive version of the 75 that starts at $74,500.

EV News!

In addition to creating a bigger price gap between the two vehicles, it also means that the Model S family is only available in AWD. (more…)

Lyft Establishes Stand-Alone Autonomous Vehicle Unit

Ride-share company expands self-driving car plans.

by on Jul.21, 2017

Luc Vincent, Lyft's autonomous vehicle chief, announced the company's plans to establish a self-driving car unit. (Photo credit: Lyft)

The competition level between ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft just got ratcheted up another notch as Lyft announced plans to establish its own autonomous vehicle arm.

The move just adds to Uber’s ongoing problems that recently culminated in the departure of company founder and now former CEO Travis Kalanick, who was basically forced out by investors last month.

Come Along for the Ride!

Lyft, which counts General Motors among its substantive investor base, plans to have a self-driving car team staffed with hundreds of engineers by the end of next year. (more…)

Ford Gives Police a High-Performance Pursuit Machine

Automaker’s new offering lets cops go anywhere to get their man.

by on Jul.20, 2017

Ford unveiled its new F-150 Police Responder giving police officers the ability to nab bad guys no matter where they go.

Just a few months after giving police officers the ability to go farther in their interceptor units with the new Ford Fusion Hybrid Interceptor, the automaker is giving them the ability to go anywhere to track down those running from the long arm of the law.

Ford unveiled its new F-150 Police Responder model today. The newest addition to the line-up is designed to give law enforcement officers the ability to pursue criminals anywhere.

Safety News!

More Raptor Interceptor than Police Responder, the truck features a 3.5-liter EcoBoost putting out 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque allowing for speeds up to 100 mph and plenty of off-road performance in the event pursuits go off tarmac. (more…)

Takata’s ‘Fix’ for Explosive Airbags May Not Work

Automakers could be on the hook to recall all vehicles again.

by on Jul.19, 2017

Takata's most recent recall of 2.7 million airbags revealed that the replacement inflators may be defective too.

Is the automotive world ready for a repeat of the Takata recall? Perhaps it should be.

Recent recalls on now-bankrupt Takata airbag-equipped vehicles has revealed a startling possibility: the repaired vehicles may not actually be fixed and could be recalled again. In the U.S. alone, that means 60 million units.

Safety News!

When Takata offered up a solution to the problem in 2015, U.S. regulators said the company had just four years to make sure that it worked. The supplier added a drying agent to combat moisture that can set off the ammonium nitrate compound in an inflator. (more…)

Trump Administration Outlines Priorities for NAFTA Talks

Automakers nervous about potential steel tariffs.

by on Jul.18, 2017

The Trump administration outlined its list of priorities for the upcoming negotiations with Canada and Mexico over NAFTA.

The Trump administration fired its first salvo in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement by informing U.S. lawmakers it plans to shrink the trade imbalance between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico.

The 17-page document is the first look at the “agenda” for the talks, which are expected to get underway next month. The early look has some items that may seem like they’re going to make automakers happy.

Global Auto News!

One of the first items pushes the idea that none of the countries should manipulate their currently to gain an advantage on the exchange rate. Japan and China have been accused of this tactic in the past, however, this is not currently an issue with either Canada or Mexico. That said, the administration did receive some support for this measure. (more…)

Volkswagen Challenges Tesla Model 3 Before It Hits the Streets

German maker says its I.D. model will be much less expensive.

by on Jul.17, 2017

Volkswagen says when its I.D. hits the market in two years, it'll be cheaper than its primary competitor, the Tesla Model 3.

It hasn’t even hit a dealershi, er, retail store yet, but the Tesla Model 3 is already generating a strong response from future competitors, including Volkswagen which said its mass-market model, the I.D., will be priced lower than the Tesla entry.

Production on the Model 3 began last week, which is supposed to be Tesla’s entry-level model at a base price of $35,000. However, once a few additions are made, the costs quickly escalate past $40,000 and closer to $50K, claim VW executives.

Global Auto News!

The Golf-sized I.D. is expected to start at $27,000 and boast a range of 249 to 373 miles, depending upon different variables. It would come in at 168 horsepower. The Model 3 is expected to get about 215 miles to a full charge. (more…)

Big Bird Gets a New Chrysler Pacifica Minivan

Chrysler is newest sponsor for Sesame Street.

by on Jul.17, 2017

Chrysler is now an official sponsor of Sesame Street on PBS. In four ads, the characters talk about how to be safe in a car and the features of the Pacifica.

For decades if you asked any of the characters on Sesame Street, especially one fuzzy blue guy, what the letter “C” stood for the first answer would have been “cookie” or “COOOOOKKIIIEEEE!!!”

However, things have changed on what is perhaps the best known street in America: now “C” stands for “Chrysler.”

News You Can Trust!

Chrysler announced it is now a “Sesame Street” sponsor, which includes a commitment to supporting the show on PBS, original content on Chrysler’s digital platforms and if there are automotive gods, a story line that involves Oscar the Grouch and the new Dodge Demon. (more…)

Automakers Plead With China to Delay EV Mandates

Companies say timeline is too aggressive to be met.

by on Jul.14, 2017

Tesla is apparently closing in on a deal to build new cars in Shanghai.

On the surface, the recent push by the Chinese government to mandate the production of electric vehicles to help stimulate its economy while it also helps to clean the air in many of its highly populated cities seems like a boon to EV-producing automakers.

However, a group of those advantaged makers recently implored the Chinese government to back off its frenzied push for battery-electric vehicles because these companies are unable to meet the timelines in the new regulations.

The Last Word!

In a letter sent last month to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the makers asked China to delay and soften planned quotas for sales of electric and hybrid cars, saying its proposals will be impossible to meet and would severely disrupt their businesses, according to Reuters. (more…)

Honda Recalls 1.15 Million Accords due to Possible Engine Fires

Japanese automaker notes four vehicles have caught fire.

by on Jul.14, 2017

Honda is recalling 1.15 million Accords in the U.S. built between 2013 and 2016.

Honda is recalling more than 1 million Accords in the U.S. because a faulty battery sensor may cause a fire in the vehicle’s engine compartment. The action affects Accords produced between 2013 and 2016.

The Japanese automaker noted that four vehicles have reported fires resulting from the defect, but no injuries. The recall covers more than 1.5 million cars worldwide.

News You Can Trust!

The issue stems from a poor seal around the sensor that monitors the battery’s state of charge. If the seal is compromised, substances like road salt or water can short the sensor, potentially leading to a fire. (more…)

Autonomous Vehicle Development Gets Boost From FCC

More spectrum aid safety and self-driving technology growth.

by on Jul.13, 2017

Collision avoidance technology like Toyota's Radar Cruise Control moved a step closer to becoming standard equipment with the new FCC ruling.

The development of autonomous vehicles just got a boost with the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of a larger section of spectrum to be used by radar systems, which are integral to the growth of self-driving vehicles.

Prior to the latest approval, motor vehicles were confined to 1 GHz of spectrum for the introduction and development of collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control and, down the line, self-driving vehicles.

We Go Beyond the Headlines!

The ruling expands the band that vehicle radars can operate to 5 GHz of spectrum. This will improve lane departure warning, blind spot detection systems, automatic braking and pedestrian detection, the FCC said. (more…)