What’s News: GM to spend $2 billion

GM will spend $2.2 billion to build electric and autonomous vehicles at Detroit plant

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Last week, GM-subsidiary Cruise unveiled the Origin, its first self-driving car without a steering wheel or pedals. At the time, the company’s CEO Dan Ammann promised to reveal production details in the days to come. Well, today’s the day, with GM announcing plans to spend $2.2 billion to retrofit its Detroit-Hamtramck plant for the production of autonomous and electric vehicles.

In addition to the Origin, the facility will also produce all-electric SUVs and pickup trucks. The automaker plans to release 20 electric nameplates by 2023, the first of which will be an electric truck slated to go into production in 2021. This will be followed “soon after” by the Cruise Origin, a shared, electric, self-driving vehicle unveiled in San Francisco last week. Detroit-Hamtramck will be GM’s first “fully-dedicated” electric vehicle assembly plant, the company said. (The news was first reported by The Detroit News last week.)

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What’s News: Toyota Recall

Toyota recalls 3.4 million vehicles worldwide, says air bags may not deploy

The recall includes 2.9 million vehicles in the U.S., and covers 2011-2019 Corolla, 2011-2013 Matrix, 2012-2018 Avalon and 2013-2018 Avalon Hybrid vehicles.

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The vehicles may have an electronic control unit that does not have adequate protection against electrical noise that can occur in crashes, which could lead to incomplete or non-deployment of the air bags. It could also impede the operation of seat-belt pre-tensioners.

In April, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expanded a probe into 12.3 million potentially defective air bags covering a number of automakers, including the vehicles Toyota is recalling.

What’s News: Sony E-car?

Will we get the chance to drive the EV in Gran Turismo Sport?

We usually associate the Sony brand with the Walkman music player, the Vaio laptops, Bravia TVs or the PlayStation gaming console. While the tech giant does have a bunch of new products to show at CES this year from its typical area of expertise, the Tokyo-based company is also displaying something only very few expected – a car. It’s called the Vision-S and takes the shape of a sleek EV with a highly advanced autonomous driving system and a design that might make you think of a mashup between a Porsche Taycan and a Lucid Air.

Created primarily to showcase what Sony can bring to the table in terms of automotive technologies, the showcar has been developed in collaboration with big names such as Nvidia, Continental, Bosch, ZF, and Qualcomm. The zero-emissions sedan is equipped with no fewer than 33 sensors to detect people and objects not just outside of the car, but also inside that modern four-seat cabin with individual rear seats and giant glass roof.

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What’s News: new car seat law in WA State

OLYMPIA — In less than a week, some kids may need to remain in booster seats well into middle school.
Governor Jay Inslee approved updated regulations on car and booster seat use, which go into effect Jan. 1.
KOMO-TV reports the new rules require children older than 4 years old but shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches and who have outgrown their child harness seat to use a booster seat. That means most kids will need a booster seat until 10 to 12 years old.

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What’s News: Ford to add 3K Detroit jobs

  • Ford Motor Co. is adding 3,000 jobs at two factories in the Detroit area and investing $1.45 billion to build new pickup trucks, SUVs, and electric and autonomous vehicles.
  • The company said Tuesday that about $750 million will go the Michigan Assembly Plant in the Detroit suburb of Wayne, where 2,700 jobs will be added during the next three years.
  • Another $700 million will be invested in the truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, where 300 new jobs will be added.

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What’s News: Lego takes on Tesla cybertruck?

Cybertruck-Legotruck

Lego seems to have been inspired by recent events to bring its own vision fo the truck of the future to the world – behold this bold design statement in all its glory. Clearly, Lego is having a go at Elon Musk and the Tesla Cybertruck that he unveiled last week – which was… divisive in its reception, to say the least.

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What’s News: Mustang Mach-E Reveal

While Sean O’Kane of the Verge says of the reveal…

Ford’s newly revealed electric Mustang SUV, the Mach-E, is quickly becoming one of the more buzzed-about car reveals of the last few years. But while the new EV looked competent at its LA Auto Show debut, the company pretty much whiffed on one really important part of the Mustang Mach-E: the software.

Frugal Moogal told Clean Technicathe reveal felt scripted in comparison to the Tesla way of revealing a car.

O’Kane felt the Sync 4 software, “was so buggy that the handlers hovering around the car kept stopping people from tapping the screen.

Moogal writes…”As they are describing the car, I’m struck again by the fact that I expect that this is the first real challenger to anything that Tesla is doing.

Will the buggy software be fixed by the next reveal in L.A.? Will it give Tesla a run for it’s money?The car is due on showroom floors by late 2020 so we will soon know answers.

What’s News: Ford & Tesla Tussle

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The atmosphere is getting positively electric.

Ford Motor Co. on Sunday finally lifted the curtain on its first battery-powered sport-utility vehicle, in a debut that’s poised to usher in a new era of fierce competition among automobile makers vying for the electric-car crown.

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And, most notably, Ford’s hotly anticipated launch of the Mustang Mach-E could be a big problem for industry darling Tesla TSLA+0.72%  .

What’s News: Ford to discontinue Flex

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  • Ford Motor is eliminating the Ford Flex in its redo of the vehicle lineup through 2020
  • Ford is shifting toward trucks and SUVs where it’s more dominate in the market.
  • This will eliminate about 450 employees at Ford’s Oakville Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada.
  • Also discontinued this month, the Lincoln MKT — a crossover built at the plant.

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What’s News: Gen Y & Micromobility

Micromobility

FOR URBAN MILLENNIALS, MICROMOBILITY WILL BE THE KEY TRANSIT CHOICE OF THE FUTURE

Gen Y has been pivotal in the trend of resurgence in America’s urban areas. Not only do they have a significant preference for city living, they are also 21% more likely to buy their homes near city centers than Gen Xers. For the cohorts aged 25-34 and 35-44, the critical factor in that decision is access to transit, according to a Journal of Regional Science study.

Given that millennials make up America’s largest-ever generation, that is positive news for the sector of the transportation industry most primed to capture the future urban market: micromobility.

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Micromobility services — including ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Lyft, bike-share programs like New York City’s Citi Bike, and electric-scooter rental services like Bird and Lime — have grown rapidly in recent years. Today, there are more than 85,000 e-scooters available for rent in 100 cities across the US, with more than 38.5M trips made in 2018 alone. As a whole, the micromobility sector is expected to be worth up to $300B by 2030.