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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

GM Is Going to Build eBikes – and Wants the Public to Come Up With a Name

Winner will get $10,000.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.02, 2018

One of General Motors' two electric bikes is a distinctively styled compact version.

The word, “mobility” is showing up in transportation circles a lot these days, and expectations are that the public will have plenty of alternative ways to get around in the years ahead, everything from electric scooters to ride-sharing services.

That’s led General Motors to invest billions in a variety of different transportation alternatives, including car-sharing service Maven and it autonomous Cruise Automation subsidiary. Now, the Detroit automaker says, it will be getting into the bicycle business. Make that electric bikes, two of which it unveiled on Friday.

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It wants to start selling them next year but it has a rather significant problem: no name. So, it is asking the public to come up with a moniker for the new brand and will give the participant who submits the winning choice $10,000, with nine runners-up getting $1,000 each.

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Honda Aligns With GM on Fuel Economy Rules

Japanese automaker pushes Trump administration to compromise.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.01, 2018

Honda is aligning with General Motors in calling for tougher, but unified fuel economy standards in the U.S.

Honda has joined General Motors on calling the EPA to abandon its proposed fuel-economy rollback and is asking federal officials to negotiate with states like California to offer a single, comprehensive update to federal fuel-economy standards.

“Despite continued development of exciting new automotive technologies, the long-term achievements of this industry will depend as much on policies as on powertrains,” Honda noted in its response to the Trump administration.

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“The regulatory framework and policy levers will define the landscape in which our industry operates and competes. Managing this transition thoughtfully is of paramount importance to industry and society alike,” Honda continued regarding the administration’s proposal to freeze the fuel economy standards at 2021 levels and end California’s ability to set its own rules on fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)

Faraday Future “Effectively Insolvent,” Says Co-Founder

Battery-carmaker confirms second round of job cuts.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.31, 2018

Nick Sampson, (r), one of the Faraday Future founders, is shown with investor Jia Yueting, (l) at the debut of the FF91 concept in January 2016.

The California-based battery-car company Faraday Future is “effectively insolvent,” according to co-founder Nick Sampson who resigned on Tuesday.

His departure comes as the once-promising company prepares for a second round of mass layoffs, a Faraday spokesman advised TheDetroitBureau.com late Tuesday evening. Faraday had already laid off a sizable number of its approximately 1,300 employees last week as it struggled to find enough cash to continue operating.

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“There is a furlough pending,” said spokesman Jacob Brown, adding that Faraday needs to take “drastic measures, but the executive team wants to keep the company running.”

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GM Setting its Own Course for Emissions Standards

Call for California-like plan different from other automakers.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.29, 2018

General Motors is breaking from the automotive pack with its call for an national emissions policy similar to California's.

General Motors call to use California’s Zero Emission Standard in all 50 states is setting up a potential conflict with the other carmakers.

GM is asking the Environmental Protection Agency for a new fuel-economy standard that would take the California’s Zero Emission Standard for EVs the rule for all 50 states and steer millions of new consumers into electric vehicles — a position very different that of the Trump administration, which has made no secret of its desire to obliterate the California ZEV mandate.

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Meanwhile, the Auto Alliance, in a statement issued the same day as GM’s surprise announcement, praised the Trump administration for offering to modify the fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. (more…)

German Automakers Face 50:50 Chance of Collapse, VW CEO Warns

Herbert Diess warns battery-cars could cost jobs – and may not be as clean as promised.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.16, 2018

VW boss Herbert Diess, left,helps unveil the VW BUDD-e and eGolf Touch electric concepts.

When the U.S. economy collapsed a decade ago two of the three Detroit-based automakers plunged into bankruptcy, surviving only with the help of a massive federal bailout – and that’s the fate that could be facing the German auto industry, as well, the CEO of Volkswagen warned today.

The country’s powerful auto industry faces a 50:50 chance of suffering the same fate that nearly destroyed Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers, Herbert Diess said during a supplier conference in Wolkfsburg VW’s home town.

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“From today’s point of view the chances are perhaps 50-50 that the German auto industry will still belong among the global elite in 10 years’ time,” said Diess, who was appointed VW’s chief executive earlier this year, following a senior management shake-up.

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New Chevy Silverado Turbo-Four Nabs Top Mileage Rating

For many truck buyers, mileage matters as much as payload, towing.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.10, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will get up to 20 mpg in the city with the new turbo-four engine.

Who says pickup buyers only focus on power, payload and towing capacity? Operating costs are, for many customers – and especially those operating truck fleets – one of the most important factors they consider when choosing what model to buy.

That includes service and repairs, of course, but fuel costs are one of the biggest concerns, which is a key reason why automakers have been offering buyers a growing range of alternatives to the classic, big displacement V-8s that long dominated the full-size pickup segment.

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Chevrolet is hoping it will score a hit with potential buyers with the new, 2.7-liter turbocharged engine it is adding to its powertrain option list for the all-new 2019 Silverado. While not quite up to the numbers delivered by some of the diesel engines now available in the full-size segment, Chevy’s turbo-four nabs a tie as the most fuel-efficient gas engine available for U.S. buyers.

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GM Lauded by EPA for Commitment to Renewable Energy

Arlington Assembly plant makes top 100 list.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.10, 2018

GM's Arlington, Texas plant is one of the most environmentally friendly in the country.

General Motors’ Arlington Assembly plant has earned a spot on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Top 100 List of the largest users of green power.

The Arlington plant ranks 76 on list, earning the recognition of the Green Power Partnership effort to power all its global facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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“Receiving this recognition from the EPA is a true honor for the men and women at Arlington Assembly and UAW Local 276,” said Lamar Rucker, plant executive director at Arlington Assembly. “We take great pride in responsibly building world-class vehicles for our customers around the globe,” he said. (more…)

Trump Set to Allow Year-Round Sale of E15 Fuel

President appears to be catering to corn farmers.

by Michael Strong on Oct.09, 2018

President Donald Trump is expected to lift the summer time sales ban on E15 gasoline, allowing year-round sales.

President Donald Trump is looking to make farmers happy, corn farmers anyway, with plans to remove the ethanol restriction on gasoline and allow E15 blends to be sold year-round.

Currently, the blend is banned between June 1 and Sept. 15 each year because of concerns that the special blend combines with the higher summer temps to produce smog. Advocates for ethanol claim the charge is unfounded.

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E15 contains 15% ethanol while most gasolines are already made up of 10% ethanol.  (more…)

Porsche Dropping Diesels

First German automaker to abandon “oil-burners.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein 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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German Automakers Enduring More Diesel Scrutiny

Government regulators continue investigation of companies.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.19, 2018

An Audi A3 TDI Sportback, one of the vehicles that was equipped with a rigged diesel engine.

German automakers are facing more headaches and potentially huge fines as the fallout from the “Dieselgate” scandal continues to seep through the legal and regulatory system in Europe and North America.

Antitrust regulators from the European Union are investigating if major German automakers, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen AG conspired to limit the rollout of emission technology used on diesel-powered vehicles heavily promoted by the three automakers.

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In the latest twist to the three-year-old “Dieselgate” scandal, the European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation this week. The investigation comes a year after it raided the companies and two years after it slapped a record 2.93 billion euro ($3.4 billion) fine on a group of truck makers, including Daimler, for fixing prices and delaying the adoption of cleaner engine technology, according to Reuters. (more…)