The news is full of automotive activity. The source for many of these stories is Hagerty Media. Hagerty is the insurer of my classic convertible, and they are doing an excellent job covering the automotive industry.
Did you hear that Ford halted production of the F-150 Lightning due to a battery fire that destroyed two trucks? Fires will continue to be a development and, likely, safety problem on electrics in the coming years, I’m sure.
Cadillac plans to introduce three new electric vehicles in 2024. It appears the models will be an electrified version of the Escalade as well as a smaller and larger crossover utility vehicle (CUV). The three will join the Lyriq and the Celestiq, which is the $300,000 fastback sedan slated for production this year.
Tesla received the “Overall Loyalty to Make” award in 2022, and GM received the “Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer” award. It was the first time Tesla beat out Ford for the award.
The United States Post Office awarded a contract to purchase 9,250 Ford E-Transit battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The vans will be built in Kansas, and delivery will begin in December. Due to an urgent need for vehicles, another 9,250 ICE vehicles are also being purchased.
Image courtesy of USPS
Any idea which electric vehicles have the longest range? Here’s a list of the top-10 and their ranges in miles for quick reference. The rank in sales followed by the units sold is included after the mileage range (when applicable):
- Lucid Air: 516 miles
- Tesla Model S: 405 miles; #3/176,000
- Tesla Model X: 348 miles; #5/66,700
- Mercedes EQ (EQS450 sedan): 340 miles
- Tesla Model Y: 330 miles; #1/252,000
- Rivian R1T: 328 miles
- BMW iX: 324 miles
- Rivian R1S: 321 miles
- Ford F-150 Lightning: 320 miles; #10/15,600
- BMW i7: 318 miles
On January 17, the 70th anniversary of the Corvette’s 1953 unveiling, GM revealed the first electric-hybrid Corvette. It looks like a very competent machine.
Rivian missed its 2022 production target of 25,000 vehicles by 700, primarily due to supply-chain problems.
S&P Global Mobility has weighed in on charger infrastructure. Here’s their forecast: “The transition to a vehicle market dominated with electric vehicles (EVs) will take years to fully develop. With the transition comes a need to evolve the public vehicle-charging network, and today’s charging infrastructure is insufficient to support a drastic increase in the number of EVs in operation. Even when home-charging is taken into account, to properly match forecasted sales demand, the United States will need to see the number of EV chargers quadruple between 2022 and 2025 and grow more than eight-fold by 2030.”
Food for thought: I read recently that if the battery pack in a BEV gets damaged, the car would likely be totaled.
Tesla applied for a patent on a new “ultra-hard” steel alloy, which they plan to use in the Cybertruck electric pickup.
Ford Motor Company is recalling certain 2023 F-150, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles due to heat-treatment issues. The front-axle pinion may not have been heat treated, which can cause it to fracture in-service.
BMW has partnered with Rio Tinto for the supply of “responsibly sourced aluminum” to BMW’s Spartanburg, S.C., production plant. The aluminum will be produced using ELYSIS™, which is the world’s first carbon-free smelting technology. With this smelting process, aluminum metal is manufactured without direct CO2, emitting only pure oxygen. Emissions of CO2 are reduced by 70% for the process.
In order to extend their range by making their cars lighter, Lucid Air is one of the first car manufacturers in the world to use hot-formed, high-strength aluminum components. Development and testing occurred in Sweden and Germany, but plans are to start manufacturing components near Lucid’s facility in Casa Grande, Ariz.
A new aluminum casting technique, under vacuum conditions, has been developed by Norwegian aluminum producer Hydro. It is being used to produce aluminum bolts for automotive suspension components. Like BMW, Mercedes has signed an agreement with Hydro for aluminum with a 70% smaller carbon footprint. With all-electric Mercedes vehicles containing almost 1 ton of aluminum, the efficiency of aluminum production gains importance.
Lordstown Motors recently documented a braking defect in their BEV pickup, the Endurance. Apparently, a heat-treatment problem of a washer can result in brake degradation over time.
ID. Buzz courtesy of volkswagen-newsroom.com
As part of a cost-reduction plan, GM will be offering buyouts to most salaried employees and global executives. Being careful to not label the move as layoffs, costs to execute the plan are estimated to be up to $1.5 billion.
In other GM news, it was announced that four plants will share a $918 million cap-ex plan. Investment will be mainly for the production launch of a new, small-block V-8 engine, but it will also be used to increase output of GM’s BEV products. The new V-8 will be the sixth generation of that engine series and the first update since 2013. GM did not offer design details for the new aluminum engine but noted that it will be installed in full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.
Ford Motor Company is building its first new plant in 53 years near Memphis. The $5.6 billion plant will begin manufacturing electric pickup trucks and the batteries that power them in three years. Predictions are that 6,000 workers will be needed to manufacture about 350,000 F-Series plug-in trucks.
Nissan is considering replacing their full-size Titan pickup with a smaller all-electric version. If Nissan is the first to market with a smaller electric pickup, they may have a competitive advantage over Ford, Chevy and Ram, which have full-size electric trucks in the works.
In 2022, Toyota defended their title as the world’s top-selling automaker. Volkswagen Group was ranked second.
The Volkswagen Group plans to introduce more than 25 new BEV models through 2030 in North America. Assembly of the all-electric ID.4 compact SUV has ramped up in Chattanooga, Tenn. Were you aware that Volkswagen holds the rights to produce the Scout, formerly an International Harvester product? VW acquired Navistar, International’s successor company, in 2021. Scout Motors Inc. has committed to building its first manufacturing plant near Columbia, S.C. The $2 billion investment will create “4,000 or more permanent jobs” and start up in 2026. The plant expects to produce 200,000 BEVs and SUVs at full capacity.
The German Association of the Automotive Industry is predicting that the ongoing shortage of semiconductors could lead to a global vehicle production drop of 20% by 2026. This equates to around 18 million vehicles.
We learned that Apple filed a patent application for a self-adjusting headlight. Sounds like they might be in the car-making business now. You heard it here first!
Check out May’s podcast for more auto-specific news.
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