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SAE Panel Lays Out Framework for Arrival of Autonomous Vehicles

Executives cite connectivity, more players as key to growth.

by on Apr.23, 2015

Tesla's Model S will be one of the first examples of vehicles using autonomous vehicle technology on the road this summer.

Pandora’s Box is now officially open.

The emergence of self-driving vehicles as a major force in the automotive industry was underscored this week during the Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit, where the topic of self-driving easily eclipsed fuel-efficiency as the major topic of discussion.

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Seval Oz, chief executive officer of Intelligent Transportation Systems at Continental AG, said two of the factors that are driving the autonomous car revolution are exponential growth of wireless connectivity in cars and the demand by other companies for the attention of drivers and passengers, who spend upwards of two hours in a vehicle during the daily commute. (more…)

Chrysler Will Lose $10,000 on Every Fiat 500e, Marchionne Warns

“We need to innovate,” CEO tells automotive engineers.

by on Apr.19, 2013

Fiat plans to sell only a few 100 of its 500e battery cars in California -- at a significant loss.

Chrysler Group will lose a substantial amount of money on every battery powered Fiat 500 that it plans to sell in the state of California, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne warned during a speech in Detroit Thursday night.

Marchionne said the new Fiat 500e is technically very impressive, having posted some of the best fuel-economy figures yet for a vehicle with an alternative powertrain. But the potential losses on the project will likely be equally notable.

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“We will lose $10,000 per vehicle. Doing that on a large scale would industrial masochism,” noted Marchionne, who also took an oblique swipe at California regulators, particularly the California Air Resources Board, or CARB.

(more…)

A Hummer that Gets 100 MPG?

An electric motor and a small gasoline engine recharging the batteries makes the claim possible.

by on Apr.20, 2009

The Governator Visits the FEV booth at SAE to check out a prototype Hummer H3 plug-in hybrid averaging over 100 mpg.

The Governator Visits the FEV booth at SAE to check out a prototype Hummer H3 plug-in hybrid.

FEV Incorporated, a leading developer of advanced powertrain and vehicle technologies, has teamed up Utah-based Raser Technologies to develop the H3 ReEV, the first vehicle equipped with Raser’s “range-extended” electric vehicle technology.

“Our goal in exhibiting this particular vehicle is to demonstrate that electric vehicle technology is a viable solution for a variety of vehicle platforms,” said Gary Rogers, FEV, Inc. president and CEO at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit. “Needs of consumers will continue to vary, and the Hummer range-extended electric vehicle shows that fuel economy does not necessarily mean sacrificing power and utility.”

An H3 powered by Raser’s plug-in hybrid E-REV or Extended-Range Electric Vehicle gets 100 miles per gallon, according to Jim Spellman, Raser vice president of Business Development. The vehicle was billed as strictly a concept, so no billing information was given. Critics of  EVs say they are not saleable without expensive taxpayer subsidies. (more…)

A Republican Who Likes Detroit?

California governor backs federal aid for automakers.

by on Apr.20, 2009

The "Governator" declares Detroit "will be back" during appearance at 2009 SAE World Congress, in Detroit.  Photo Credit: Len Katz

The "Governator" declares Detroit "will be back" during an appearance at the 2009 SAE World Congress in Detroit. Photo Credit: Len Katz

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger opened the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit on Monday morning with a rousing endorsement of the American car industry.

Schwarzenegger, who has been a frequent critic of Detroit’s carmakers over the years, also stressed the federal government should definitely step in to help the American carmakers. He also offered to do a commercial, for free, touting American carmakers once they are on the road to recovery.

“Detroit is going to be back and Detroit is a leading force in the car industry and worldwide,” Schwarzenegger said as he opened the SAE’s annual convention in Detroit.

“Right now, they are going through some painful times. For anyone who says, ‘Leave them here, don’t help them’ is a huge amount of nonsense talk because of the fact of the matter is we all need to help Detroit,” he said.

“The government should provide money to help the automakers in research and development, but it also can no longer can keep changing their policies,” Schwarzenegger said. “We need a vision for energy, a vision for our cars, a vision for greenhouse gases and a vision for tailpipe emissions. In all this time we have not had those visions.”

“I do want to help the auto industry get back on its feet and I do want to do my share,” said Schwarzenegger, who said he was a fan of Detroit’s carmakers. He believes carmakers can overcome their current difficulties, adding that he most definitely favored the decision to offer Detroit financial assistance.

However, the governor also reserved the right to criticize the carmakers – which he has done repeatedly, including some harsh comments made just last weekend.  Much of his criticism has concerned the need for speeding up the move towards green technology, and during his Detroit appearance, Schwarzenegger said he was delighted to see automakers move toward developing new alternative technologies, including battery-electric vehicles, hydrogen-fueled cars and hybrids. “They’re really not that far behind,” he said. (more…)