Archive for September, 2018

Better Headlights Could Save Pedestrians’ Lives

NTSB also wants improve brakes and highway infrastructure.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Using European-style laser headlights could reduce accidents and improve overall driver safety.

Federal safety regulators want to throw some light on a deadly subject.

The National Transportation Safety Board has outlined a three-pronged approach to dealing with the rapid rise in pedestrian fatalities, starting with improvements in vehicle headlights that would help motorists steer clear of a dangerous situation in the first place. At a Tuesday hearing, the NTSB also said manufacturers need to improve vehicle brakes, while improvements in local roadways could also keep pedestrians out of harm’s way.

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“We’ve got to end this tragic problem on our nation’s roadways,” NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said Tuesday during a Washington board meeting that looked into recommendations made by the agency’s staff. (more…)

CAFE Standards Hearing Hits Metro Detroit

Automakers tell Trump to keep CAFE unchanged from Obama standards.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Jim Hackett, Ford president and CEO, said last week that his company was in favor of keeping the Obama administration fuel economy standards.

The public hearings on the Trump administration’s proposal to roll back corporate average fuel economy standards, or CAFE, headed to the Detroit area after officials spent a day in California getting blasted for the new standards.

The first hearing was held in Fresno, California, and saw a mix of local and state politicians as well as environmental groups take the administration to task for scaling the back the fuel economy standards to current levels until 2026 rather than keeping the 54.5 mpg standard expected for 2025.

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“California will take whatever actions are needed to protect our people and follow the law,” Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, testified at the hearing in central California, which has some of the nation’s worst air pollution. (more…)

Mercedes-AMG Project One Hypercar Caught Track Testing

Virtual testing can only take you so far.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Much of the initial development work for the Mercedes-AMG Project One was done digitally.

There’s a race underway to see who can do the better, faster job of putting Formula One technology on the road, and Daimler AG wants us to know it’s getting close, providing a handful of images showing off a prototype of the new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar undergoing track testing.

Which track? Could it be the legendary Nurburgring? That’s a reasonable guess considering it isn’t all that far away from the company’s Stuttgart headquarters but, for now, the automaker is only hinting that prototypes are being driven on “closed-off test grounds. However, because of their characteristic F1 sound they are hard to keep from the public.”

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The Project One, which actually looks more like a Le Mans prototype than a Formula One racer, has been generating buzz for several years, though we only got a look at a complete mock-up at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

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BMW Cuts Earnings Outlook for 2018

Mobility investments and currency fluctuations hurting bottom line.

by on Sep.25, 2018

BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the company's 2018 financial results will be impacted negatively by investments in mobility programs and currency fluctuations.

The BMW Group cut its guidance for the current financial year, noting it had expected 2018 to be a challenging year, due in part to additional upfront investments of around one billion euros on mobility programs that will mature in future years.

In addition, currency headwinds in the mid-to-high three-digit million-euro range compared with 2017 will negatively impact the company’s bottom line, BMW said in its update to investors.

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In the Automotive Segment, revenues are now forecast to be slightly lower than the previous year, compared with the previous expectation of slight year-on-year increase. (more…)

Tesla Bringing Electric Vehicles to the People – Literally

Company building car carriers due to shortages.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company is building its own car carriers because there is an extreme shortage right now.

Tesla is simply swapping rings of hell it seems these days. After characterizing the building of the Model 3 “production hell,” CEO Elon Musk now faces a new dilemma: Delivering the Model 3.

However, he’s got a two-pronged attack to resolve that problem.

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First, after finding no car carriers available to deliver the new “entry-level” model, Musk approved plans to build car carriers to transport new Model 3 sedans to Tesla locations. (more…)

Mercedes Bringing Array of New Models to Paris Show

New B-Class will be accompanied by GLE ute, all-electric EQC and hot-hatch A35.

by on Sep.24, 2018

While a number of major automakers will skip Paris this year, Mercedes has four big announcements.

This is expected to be a relatively quiet year at the biennial Paris Motor Show, an array of manufacturers including BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo sitting it out.

But you likely wouldn’t notice if you wandered into the Mercedes-Benz exhibit. The German maker intends to take advantage of that industry shake-out by unveiling an array of its own new products including the completely redesigned B-Class the next-generation GLE, an all-new battery-electric EQC and the hot-hatch version of its smallest product line, the A35.

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We’ve gotten a first look at a few of these new models, notably the first truly long-range Mercedes, the EQC, but all will be making their public debuts in the City of Lights early next month. Here’s a bit more on all four of the major debuts the German marque will bring to Paris: (more…)

GM Expands Electric Vehicle Leadership Team

Bolt team leader Fletcher gets plum new role.

by on Sep.24, 2018

Pamela Fletcher, left, will now answer directly to GM CEO Mary Barra.

General Motors is expanding its commitment to its electric vehicle program by moving three top executives into new positions that should elevate the company’s electrification program.

Pamela Fletcher, GM’s vice president of global electric vehicle programs, is getting a new, higher ranking position on Oct. 1: Vice President of Innovation, according to the Detroit News. Fletcher, who once shepherded the development and production of the Chevrolet Bolt, will answer directly GM CEO Mary Barra.

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Fletcher’s been steadily moving up the ladder, moving into her current position last fall. She joins a growing list of women in high-responsibility, high-profile jobs at General Motors. (more…)

Porsche Dropping Diesels

First German automaker to abandon “oil-burners.”

by on Sep.24, 2018

Porsche is facing allegations it rigged some versions of the Cayenne to boost exhaust noise at the expense of higher emissions.

Porsche is set to become the first German automaker to completely abandon diesel engines, the sports carmaker has confirmed.

The move, confirmed by CEO Oliver Blume in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, comes in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal that has so far cost parent Volkswagen AG around $30 billion in fines, settlements and buybacks.

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“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” Blume told the German newspaper, explaining that the company wants to concentrate on “what we can do particularly well,” notably, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”

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The Beast is Loose: New Presidential Limo is on the Prowl

Over-sized Cadillac set to give Pres. Trump his first ride to UN.

by on Sep.24, 2018

The new version of "The Beast," the nickname for the presidential limo, roamed the streets for the first time in New York City.

There’s a beast on the prowl in Manhattan. Make that “The Beast,” the nickname that’s been used for years to describe the heavily fortified limousines used for U.S. presidents. An all-new version, a specially designed Cadillac, made its debut on the streets of New York City Sunday and will be put to work on its first official assignment chauffeuring President Donald Trump to the United Nations Tuesday.

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This marks the first time the president has gotten new wheels since President Barack Obama was inaugurated back in January 2009, and it’s the product of a $15.8 million contract that General Motors won back in 2014. (more…)

Merkel Pressing German Automakers for Diesel Pollution Solution

Companies scrambling to find a cleaner diesel.

by on Sep.24, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, is pressing German automakers for a solution for cleaner diesels.

With driving bans aimed at diesel engines looming in several German cities, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pressing German carmakers for help in coming up with ways to make vehicles cleaner while avoiding limits on traffic, averting a potential political crisis that could threaten her government.

The government, however, is yet to come up with a specific plan though it indicated some progress is being made after a high-level meeting in Berlin attended by Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess, Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche and BMW AG chief Harald Krüger, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer also took part in the deliberations at the Chancellery, according to German press accounts

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Scheuer indicated carmakers rejected expensive hardware retrofits of diesel vehicles that had been suggested for vehicles from the emission class Euro 5. Reports from German regulators have described the retrofits as “technically feasible and economically justifiable.”  (more…)