BMW Acknowledges Rival Zetsche’s Retirement Humorously

Mercedes doesn't wait long to respond via Twitter.

by on May.24, 2019

"Dieter Zetsche" drives off into retirement from Mercedes-Benz and Daimler — in his BMW i8 electric sports car.

Dieter Zetsche’s retirement from Daimler AG churned up a lot of memories for industry observers and, perhaps more importantly, competitors.

Often competitors will acknowledge notable retirements, and BMW, the primary foil for Mercedes-Benz, did just that with a short video congratulating “Dr. Z” for moving on to the next phase of his life and his contributions to the industry.

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However, the Bavarian automaker couldn’t resist having a little bit of fun with . Read the rest of this entry »

Zetsche Takes Well-Earned Bow as He Leaves Daimler

Dr. Z could be back in a couple years though.

by on May.24, 2019

Dieter Zetsche leaves the podium at his final Daimler shareholders meeting with a simple wave.

Just like that it was over.

By the time, the annual Daimler AG shareholders meeting wrapped up Wednesday evening, Dieter Zetsche’s long, remarkable career with the German automaker had come to an end.

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Unlike his high-profile contemporaries in the car business, Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Renault chieftain, whose career ended ignominiously with an arrest in Japan last November, and Sergio Marchionne, who died last summer after keeping a deadly illness a secret, Zetsche even got to take a bow at the annual meeting to sustained applause from Daimler shareholders. Read the rest of this entry »

Nothing Mild About Mercedes’ First Mild Hybrid, the GLE 580 4Matic

Gas-electric model rivals AMG version of the midsize SUV.

by on May.24, 2019

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 4Matic gets a big boost out of its 48-volt assist system.

Mercedes-Benz is getting serious about electrification, as it demonstrated earlier this month by launching sales of its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, the EQC.

The German automaker plans to introduce at least 10 BEVs in the coming years, as well as an assortment of plug-in and conventional hybrids. To that list of electrified options you now can add the first mild hybrid, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 4Matic.

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Mild hybrids typically come with small lithium-ion battery packs powering a relatively low-power electrical architecture. Even at 48-volts, however, the technology can be quite useful. In the case of the GLE 580, it powers the new active suspension system, as well as the Stop/Start integrated starter/generator, or ISG. But the biggest surprise is that it adds a performance boost that, at least briefly, lets the new variant outperform the AMG 53 version of the midsize SUV.

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Half of States Wasting $3B Volkswagen Fine Paid for Dieselgate

Some are using the funds for diesel-based projects.

by on May.23, 2019

Volkswagen paid $3 billion for states to use for "clean" transportation projects.

Part of Volkswagen AG’s punishment for rigging its diesel engines to pass U.S. emissions tests, involved about $3 billion designed to foster clean transportation, such as improving electric vehicle infrastructure.

However, a new study by the United States Public Interest Research Group, reveals that the a significant number of states that received funding aren’t using the funds as intended with some states, ironically, using the money for diesel-based projects.

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The group gave 15 states a C grade or better when it comes to policies that can increase access to clean transportation, including electric vehicle charging and electric bus fleets. Fourteen states, along with Puerto Rico, received failing scores.   Read the rest of this entry »

First Drive: 2019 Audi e-tron

Audi plugs in with its first long-range battery-electric vehicle.

by on May.23, 2019

Audi's first electric vehicle, the 2019 e-tron, is almost indistinguishable from a regular sport-utility.

It may be the middle of May but it feels a lot more like the dead of winter as we race up the narrow, winding road to California’s Lake Tahoe ski resort. As we approach the 7,000-foot mark the winds swirl the freshly falling snow across the landscape.

Considering we’ve already traveled almost 80 miles, this would be a recipe for trouble were we driving a first-generation battery-electric vehicle. But that, the harsh weather, as well as the steep climb to Lake Tahoe, don’t begin to phase the new 2019 Audi e-tron we’re driving for the first time.

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While Audi has toyed with a variety of clean-car technologies, including natural gas, hybrids and plug-ins, during the past decade, the e-tron is its first pure battery-electric vehicle – though it won’t be the last, the automaker confirming a total of four models, including the e-tron Sportback and striking e-tron GT that was one of the stars of the 2018 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Day Weekend Means More Traffic — And Good Deals

Zero percent financing deals coming back for holiday weekend.

by on May.23, 2019

Ford is looking to punch up sales of its F-150 full-size pickup by offering zero percent financing for 72 months.

With Memorial Day weekend coming, it’s no surprise to find out that experts are predicting that the roads will be packed with drivers trying to get from one family function to another. However, if some of those drivers are smart, they’re out taking advantage of new car deals.

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, this holiday weekend often sees dealers looking to move excess inventory and since new vehicle sales have been sluggish compared with last year, dealer lots may be swollen with vehicles, according to

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New vehicle inventory hit 4.06 million units in April 2019, marking the third month in a row this year that the industry saw inventory levels above 4 million. Additionally, the average days to turn (DTT) for new vehicles increased to 75 days for the industry in April 2019, a 6% jump compared to last year, the website noted. Read the rest of this entry »

First US Plant Turning Plastic Waste to Fuel Breaks Ground in Indiana

Facility will divert 100,000 tons of plastic from landfills annually.

by on May.23, 2019

A rendering of the Brightmark Energy plastics-to-fuel plant going up in Ashley, Indiana.

Nearly 30 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year winds up in landfills, with plenty of waste also washing out to sea where vast areas of the ocean are now covered with plastic trash. But a new plant in Northeast Indiana aims to help address that problem.

Brightmark Energy is today breaking ground on what is billed as the first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel facility in the town of Ashley, about a three hour drive from Chicago. Once it gets up to speed, the plant will be able to process 100,000 tons of plastic waste, much of it traditionally non-recyclable, transforming it into diesel, naptha and commercial-grade wax.

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“This sustainable technology directly addresses an acute problem facing our nation,” said Bob Powell, CEO of San Francisco-based Brightmark Energy, noting that 91% of the 33 million tons of plastic produced in the U.S. each year is not recycled.

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Daimler Says Diesel Ain’t Dead Yet

Growth of electric vehicles doesn't mean diesels are done.

by on May.23, 2019

Daimler's Dieter Zetsche said that the company's ambitious EV plans don't mean it's abandoning diesels.

Even as it moves to add electric vehicles to broad portfolio cars and trucks, diesel engines will continue to play an important role meeting the needs of customers, Daimler executives told shareholders during the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berlin.

Dieter Zetsche, the outgoing chief executive officer, said the changes to product lines of both Mercedes-Benz Cars and Daimler Trucks will underscore the shift toward electrification. “We mean business when talk about electrification,” Zetsche said.

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“For example, our passenger car portfolio now includes more than 40 attractive models. This year alone will more than a dozen new ones. Our position has never before been as broad or as strong at vans, trucks and buses as well - in all regions of the world. Read the rest of this entry »

US Postal Service Using Autonomous Trucks to Haul Mail

USPS partners with TuSimple to deliver mail.

by on May.22, 2019

The United States Postal Service is partnering with TuSimple, using the company's autonomous trucks to haul mail across three states in a two-week trial.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds — however, poor lane markers might be problematic for the United States Post Office’s latest “courier.”

The USPS entered into an agreement with TuSimple to use the San Diego-based company’s autonomous trucks on a two-week trial to deliver mail between postal centers in the southwest United States.

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The self-driving trucks, which will have a safety driver behind the wheel and an engineer in the passenger seat, will haul mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas. The program is designed to see if autonomous technology could improve delivery times and lower costs.  Read the rest of this entry »

Uber, Lyft Drivers Have Poor Recall Repair Record

Taxis and other for-hire vehicles just as bad.

by on May.22, 2019

A new study shows that Lyft and Uber vehicle owners have terrible records when its to getting recall repairs completed.

Less than a week ago, the world discovered that Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing service vehicles are the dirtiest ways to get someone to drive you somewhere. Now it may also be that they are the least safe, according to a new study.

Consumer Reports claims that one out of six Uber and Lyft drivers in the New York City and Seattle areas are driving vehicles with outstanding recalls. However, unlike the search for a more sanitary ride, taxis may not be a better option.

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The magazine says that nearly a quarter of all for-hire vehicles in the Big Apple also need to have their vehicles brought in to address a recall of some sort. Recalls can range from something as simple as a faulty light or sensor to – as we’ve seen recently – more dangerous problems such faulty airbags, engine fires and seat-belt problems. Read the rest of this entry »

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