Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Tesla Model 3: How Can Such a Good Car Be So Bad

Teardown of battery-electric vehicle reveals many surprises.

by on Apr.25, 2018

"You can see the gaps from the moon" on the body of a Tesla Model 3, according to Sandy Munro.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, think of it as two tales of a car, suggests Sandy Munro, head of the suburban Detroit competitive analysis firm, Munro and Associates. How can such a breakthrough vehicle also have so many problems, he asks, during a lengthy look at what’s under the skin of the Tesla Model 3.

Over the years, Munro’s firm has vivisected hundreds of automobiles, including a number of new battery-electric vehicles, such as the BMW i3 and Chevrolet Bolt EV. But few teardowns, he suggested, have been more eye-opening than Tesla’s first mainstream offering. In terms of its battery-based drivetrain technology, the Model 3 readily sets a benchmark, but it’s another matter entirely with many of the things an owner more readily sees, including a body with massive quality and fit-and-finish problems.

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“It’s the best of (cars) and the worst of (cars),” Munro said, during a special meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association held at his Auburn Hills facility. “Some stuff gets a six, on a scale of one to five, others a one.”

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Lexus Betting Big on All-New ES

Gen-7 sedan expected to remain key model in luxury line-up.

by on Apr.25, 2018

The seventh-generation 2019 Lexus ES.

For those who haven’t been watching, the 2019 Lexus line-up won’t have much in common with the model mix of just five years ago. Where sedans once dominated the brand’s product portfolio, crossovers like the new UX and NX, as well as the long-popular RX, have overwhelmed traditional Lexus sedans such as the LS and GS.

So, it might come as a surprise to see the big deal Lexus is making over the launch of the all-new 2019 ES sedan, going so far as to stage simultaneous previews in both Los Angeles and the Beijing Motor Show.

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“We’re acutely aware there’s a robust SUV market in the U.S., and Lexus is playing a part in that,” said Cooper Ericksen, the brand’s U.S. marketing chief, said during the L.A. ES unveiling. “We understand the importance of SUVs, but we also understand the importance of great sedans.”

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Teens Improving Some Areas of Distracted Driving, Studies Reveal

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

by on Apr.18, 2018

Teen drivers are still texting and driving at alarming rates, but those rates are coming down slightly.

If there is a “symbol” for distracted driving, it’s the texting-while-driving teenager barreling down the road. While crashes remain the single largest cause of death for teens, things are improving in some areas.

A recent American Automobile Association poll revealed that 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, while 35% of those polled admitted to still committing the act. That’s an improvement in terms of cutting down on that behavior.

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distracted driving is the cause of a quarter of all crashes, but that number jumps to 58% when teenagers are involved. It takes only three seconds for a driver’s attention to be diverted for a crash to occur – an issue that is exacerbated in teens who don’t have years of driving experience. (more…)

Toyota, Lexus Adding V2X Tech to Vehicles Starting 2021

Brands hope to accelerate development of technology.

by on Apr.16, 2018

Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said the company plans to equip Toyota and Lexus vehicles with V2X tech in 2021.

Though some vehicles already utilize V2X communication, Toyota and Lexus plan to advance the technology further by introducing it into their lineups beginning in 2021 and rolling out across their portfolios by the mid-2020s.

The company announced today that its Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) systems will use the technology to talk to other vehicles (V2V) and infrastructure (V2I) in hopes of cutting down on collisions, injuries and fatalities.

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“By allowing vehicles’ intelligent systems to collaborate more broadly and effectively through DSRC technology, we can help drivers realize a future with zero fatalities from crashes, better traffic flow and less congestion,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America (TMNA), in a statement. (more…)

FCA Continuing Diesel Settlement Talks with DOJ, CARB

Discussions centering on potential penalties for automaker.

by on Apr.11, 2018

The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is part of the group of vehicles that allegedly used a cheat device to beat emissions tests.

Despite repeatedly denying any wrongdoing, Fiat Chrysler is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board to reach a settlement about accusations it used illegal used software to beat diesel emissions tests.

The discussions, which according to multiple reports, are very far along, address allegations that FCA used the software, in a manner similar to Volkswagen’s diesel testing cheat device, for 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles – mostly light trucks – sold since 2014.

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According to Reuters, Ken Feinberg, an adviser in the process, at a federal court hearing in San Francisco revealed that government lawyers and Fiat Chrysler were swapping documents as part of the settlement process, which was moving “at a rather swift pace.” (more…)

Uber CEO Says Autonomous Testing Done Until NTSB Investigation Complete

Company reached a settlement with victim's family.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company wouldn't resume testing its self-driving cars until the NTSB was complete.

Uber is tackling one issue at a time after one of its autonomous test vehicle collided with and killed a pedestrian outside of Phoenix last month, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

He said right now the company is cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the event.

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“Right now our total effort is helping them out and we’ll figure out what we do afterward,” he said, adding that self-driving cars “ultimately will make the world much, much safer.” (more…)

Distracted Driving Problem? Nope, It’s an Epidemic, Study Shows

Two of three drivers with phones use them behind the wheel.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Distracted driving behavior may be much worse than government regulators have reported.

It’s not your imagination. In spite of concerted efforts by federal agencies and safety advocacy groups, Americans are spending more time than ever using their phones while behind the wheel.

According to a new study by Zendrive, a San Francisco-based startup that tracks phone use for auto insurers and ride-hailing fleets, two out of every three drivers uses their cell phones at least once during a trip in their vehicle.

Industry News!

This can be as simple as taking a phone call or as dangerous as texting. Zendrive monitored 4.5 million drivers from December through February, who travelled 7.1 billion miles, comparing the results with the year-earlier period. (more…)

East Coast Drivers Most Distracted Behind the Wheel

Miami is America's most "distracted" city, new study shows.

by on Apr.03, 2018

East Coast motorists are more likely to engage in distracted driving than those on the West Coast.

Distracted driving is a recognized problem – with nine deaths each day – and it is not limited to texting teens, but includes where are those drivers most likely to be traveling the roads, which appears mostly likely to be somewhere on the East Coast.

A new study shows that East Coast drivers are more likely to engage in some form of distracted driving than those on the West Coast. When broken down by city and state, Miami drivers top the list and New Jersey drivers hold the “state” title.

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Miami drivers were likely to use their phones once every four miles whereas Denver drivers, which finished at the bottom of the list, were likely to use their phones just once ever 6.25 miles. The aforementioned New Jersey drivers used their phones once ever 4.7 miles. Wyoming residents used theirs just once every 7 miles. (more…)

NY Auto Show’s Dozen Best

Our favorites from an extensive assortment of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

by on Apr.02, 2018

The turnstiles are spinning at the Javits Convention Center and for good reason. The 2018 New York International Auto Show is winning raves as the year’s most significant North American event, with dozens of significant debuts.

This year’s NAIAS covered plenty of ground: from long-range electric vehicles to high-powered performance cars – even some high-performance electric vehicles. Followers of automotive design will have plenty to talk about, too. The show underscores all the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry, even on the retail side, as more manufacturers announce new subscription programs.

Auto Show News!

Whether you’re heading down to the show or simply trying to check out from a distance the most significant, intriguing and unusual cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts on display, here’s a handy guide to our dozen favorites.

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Governor Suspends Uber Autonomous Testing in Arizona

Move follows fatal crash and questions about service’s self-driving technology.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the suspension of Uber's autonomous testing program.

In the wake of a fatal crash earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has suspended the permit allowing ride-sharing service Uber to test self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.

The move comes as state and public regulators try to find out why a Volvo SUV modified by Uber to drive with only a backup “operator” slammed into a 49-year-old pedestrian crossing a four-lane road on the evening of March 18 without even slowing or trying to swerve out of the way. The incident has raised broader concerns about autonomous technology – but also questions Arizona’s relatively laissez faire approach to testing such vehicles on public roads.

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“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey announced. (more…)

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