Archive for the ‘Fuel Economy’ Category

Gas Prices Continue Their Summer Ascent

California voters get chance to approve new gas taxes.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Gas prices continue to rise, on average, across the U.S. during the summer driving season.

A California proposition to require voter approval of fuel and vehicle taxes will be on the November ballot now that the secretary of state has certified the requisite number of petition signatures.

As drafted, Proposition 6 would apply retroactively to recently enacted taxes and put all future gas tax increases to voters California, which has the worst traffic congestion in the U.S. Approval of the proposition could reduce state revenue by as much as $5 billion annually, according a report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

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Gasoline prices in California are routinely the most expensive in the lower 48 states and currently top $3.66 per gallon, according to AAA. (more…)

Tesla Set to Move on New Plant in Shanghai, Announcing Deal Even as it Raises Chinese Prices

Battery-carmaker is 1st from U.S. to raise prices as trade war escalates.

by on Jul.10, 2018

Tesla's new Shanghai plant is expected to be at least as large as its factory in Fremont, California - and include battery production, as well.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Pres. Donald Trump’s trade war has claimed its first automotive victim, Tesla announcing it will raise prices on some models on sale in China by $20,000 or more to reflect the impact of new tariffs on American-made vehicles.

At the same time, CEO Elon Musk is on his way to China, numerous reports indicating Tesla is set to lock down a deal with authorities in Shanghai to set up the company’s first foreign assembly plant. Musk confirmed construction will begin in about three months and the facility will produce 500,000 vehicles annually once it is ramped up to full production.

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Despite the news about tariffs – which could depress sales in the world’s largest battery-car market in the near-term – investors appear to be buoyed by reports that Tesla will move forward on a Chinese assembly plant. Musk has also indicated that the automaker is working on plans to set up a second foreign plant somewhere in Europe.

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Nissan Admits to Second Round of Emissions, Mileage Tampering

Officials say 19 models affected in latest scandal.

by on Jul.09, 2018

Nissan's latest emissions and fuel economy testing scandal impacts the Note, the brand's top-selling vehicle in Japan.

For the second time in less than a year, Nissan Motor admitted to employees improperly measure exhaust emissions and fuel economy for 19 vehicle models sold in Japan.

Sample test environments for emissions and fuel economy in final vehicle inspections at most of its Japanese plants were not compliant with domestic standards, according to Nissan, which added the inspection reports were based on altered measurements.

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The measurements do not impact any vehicles shipped overseas, including the U.S., Nissan officials said. The company made a similar admission last October. Then it admitted that the practice had gone on for decades with uncertified inspectors signing off on the test results. (more…)

Gas Prices Highest in Four Years, Expected to Rise

Prices lower now than at Memorial Day.

by on Jul.03, 2018

The summer driving season is upon us and after a short decline in gas prices, they are expected to rise.

With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, the price of gasoline has declined slightly since the start of the summer driving season but is now expected to go higher as the price of crude oil begins to climb.

At $2.86 per gallon, gasoline prices are at their highest point for an Independence Day holiday in four years. However, for the nearly 40 million motorists expected to travel this week, they will find prices at the pump 11-cents cheaper than the past Memorial Day holiday.

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“The national gas price average has held fairly steady for the past 10 days, suggesting that U.S. demand is keeping pace with supply and stabilizing summer gas prices,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.  (more…)

Audi CEO Stadler Arrested as Germany Expands Diesel Emissions Probe

As many as 20 current, former Audi employees now under investigation.

by on Jun.18, 2018

German prosecutors have arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, though no charges have yet been filed.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been “provisionally” arrested, the luxury arm of Volkswagen AG confirmed Monday morning, as the German government probe into emissions rigging by VW and the Audi subsidiary continues to expand.

Nearly a dozen executives and managers from the vast Volkswagen Group empire have been indicted since the automaker was first charged in September 2015 with rigging various diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. Several have already been convicted in the U.S., though others have fled to Germany where they cannot be extradited. But as many as 20 others are now under suspicion as Germany moves forward with its own investigation, according to the Associated Press.

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“Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was provisionally arrested this morning,” VW’s largest luxury brand said in a statement Monday morning. It added that “the presumption of innocence remains in place for Mr. Stadler.”

(more…)

Volvo Hopes to Electrify Customers – and Investors

All-electric models now expected to generate half its sales by mid-2020s, with 1/3 self-driving.

by on Jun.08, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with the marque's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo took a lead in the push into electrification last year, announcing it would use some of battery-based drive system on all future products, whether mild, conventional or plug-in hybrids, or pure battery-electric. And, last January, it gave us a hint of what that first BEV would be with the debut of its 40.2 concept.

The production version will follow in 2019 and, if Volvo’s latest forecast is any indication, so will plenty of other all-electric models, as the Swedish automaker now says it wants them to generate half of its sales by mid-decade.

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The mid-term plan Volvo is laying out is nothing if not ambitious. It also predicts that half of the Chinese-owned automaker’s sales will come from self-driving vehicles, and that half of its volume will come through its Care by Volvo subscription service, rather than conventional sales and leasing. Oh, and add a goal of boosting volume – and profitability – to match other premium manufacturers.

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Kia Shows Off Latest Niro Model: the EV

New EV expected to compete with Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The Kia Niro EV made its public debut at the Busan Motor Show in South Korea.

Kia Motors is giving the public a look at what many in the media have already seen: the Niro EV. Introduced at the 2018 Busan auto show in South Korea, the new battery-electric Niro is a reminder that the mainstream EV market is getting more and more crowded.

The original concept was unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show with the production version being shown to the media in South Korea last month, helping to round out the Niro line-up, which already has gas-powered and hybrid models.

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“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally-sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV. It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving,” said Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corp. (more…)

Freightliner Takes Aim at Tesla with Two Big EV Semis and a New E-Mobility Center

Daimler’s U.S. truck division will put first 30 into field tests this year.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The new Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 semis.

Freightliner, the U.S.-based truck subsidiary of Daimler AG, is taking direct aim at Tesla with the debut of two new battery-powered semis that it plans to begin fleet testing later this year.

The eCascadia and eM2 join a range of smaller delivery trucks that Freightliner and other Daimler truck brands have been rolling out over the last couple years. A number of major freight and delivery companies, ranging from UPS to PepsiCo, have expressed interest in the clean, fuel-efficient technology. That has drawn a number of vehicle manufacturers into the emerging field, including Volvo AB and Volkswagen AG, as well as Freightliner and Tesla.

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Daimler also plans to set up a new Automated Research and Development Center near Freightliner’s headquarters in Portland, as well as a new E-Mobility Group to help share technologies among its various truck brands.

“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses,” Daimler Trucks chief Martin Daum said in a statement.

That was echoed in a comment by Roger Nielsen, the president of Daimler Trucks North America, that took a clear shot at Tesla, a company that has not only never built a truck before but which has had major trouble meeting production targets and quality goals for its passenger vehicles. But it also underscored the fact that Daimler is taking Tesla’s imminent arrival in the truck market as seriously is it is the California company’s electric passenger car line-up.

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FCA Planning to Plug In

After slow start, automaker reveals big plans for electrification.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The production version of this Maserati Alfieri concept will use an electrified drivetrain to launch from 0 to 60 in barely 2 seconds.

Sergio Marchionne isn’t much of a fan of battery power, or at least he hasn’t been until recently. When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched its first all-electric model, five years ago, the CEO actually urged motorists not to buy it, admitting FCA lost about $25,000 on every one of them.

But at the automaker’s “Capital Day,” in Milan on Friday, Marchionne and his management team were far more upbeat, announcing plans to add dozens of electrified vehicles – everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles – into the FCA line-up over the next give years.

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The economics still aren’t great, noted Mark Chernoby, the automaker’s head of technology compliance, but in an era of increasingly stringent emissions and mileage regulations, it’s the only real day to meet targets being set in markets as diverse as the U.S., Europe, China and Brazil. That’s all the more so as FCA continues to migrate from traditional sedans and coupes to the less efficient SUVs and CUVs that will overwhelmingly dominate its global line-up.

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