For Electric Vehicle Makers, Winners and Losers in Climate Bill

Carmakers may need several years to revamp their supply chains to meet new rules, but the legislation is still seen as a win for electric vehicles.

#alliance-for-automotive-innovation, #automobiles, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #inflation-reduction-act-of-2022, #law-and-legislation, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #stabenow-debbie, #supply-chain, #tax-credits-deductions-and-exemptions, #tesla-motors-inc, #united-states-politics-and-government

It’s possible no electric vehicles will qualify for the new tax credit

Volkswagen is one of several automakers that are already assembling their EV battery packs locally. But the value of the materials that go into the pack will determine whether it qualifies for the revised clean vehicle tax credit.

Enlarge / Volkswagen is one of several automakers that are already assembling their EV battery packs locally. But the value of the materials that go into the pack will determine whether it qualifies for the revised clean vehicle tax credit. (credit: Volkswagen)

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passed the United States Senate on Sunday and heads to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily. It contains numerous changes to the tax code, meant in large part to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Among these is a revision to the existing tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles. As we detailed last week, the IRA introduces income caps for the tax credit, and it will only apply to sedans that cost less than $55,000 and other EVs that cost less than $80,000. The bill also drops the 200,000 vehicle-per-OEM cap on the tax credit, which would benefit both General Motors and Tesla.

At least it will if their EV batteries are mostly made within North America, with at least 40 percent of the materials used having been extracted and processed within North America or a country with a free trade agreement. Now, instead of being based on battery capacity, half the credit ($3,750) is tied to where the pack is made, and the other half its supply chain. And that will be a problem if you’re looking to buy an EV in 2023.

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#battery, #cars, #china, #ev-tax-credit, #ford, #general-motors, #inflation-reduction-act-of-2022, #lg-chem, #lithium-ion-battery, #sk-innovation, #stellantis, #tesla, #volkswagen

GM, EVgo, and Pilot will install 2,000 fast chargers at travel centers

The Cadillac Lyriq is one of a new range of EVs built by General Motors using a new common battery and motor platform.

Enlarge / The Cadillac Lyriq is one of a new range of EVs built by General Motors using a new common battery and motor platform. (credit: General Motors)

General Motors is in the process of transforming itself into an electrified automaker, as entire brands like Cadillac and Hummer switch their lineups to entirely electric vehicles. To help the process of EV adoption, the automaker is also investing in charging infrastructure around the country. On Thursday, it announced that it is working with the Pilot Company to install 2,000 DC fast chargers at Pilot and Flying J travel centers around the US.

The chargers will be operated by EVgo, which has already partnered with GM on a fast charger expansion program—initially 2,700 and now 3,250—to be completed by 2025.

The travel centers should have at least four charging machines each—GM and Pilot say that in total, they intend to place 2,000 chargers at up to 500 locations. And the companies say that many of the installations will have canopies to shield EV drivers from the elements and will be designed to work with EVs towing trailers.

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#battery-electric-vehicles, #cars, #charging-infrastructure, #dc-fast-charging, #electric-vehicle-charging, #ev, #evgo, #general-motors

Electric Car Sales Climb Sharply Despite Shortages

A scarcity of semiconductors and raw materials held back production, but buyers remain enthusiastic.

#automobiles, #batteries, #company-reports, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #honda-motor-co-ltd, #hyundai-motor-co, #kia-motors-corp, #nissan-motor-co, #stellantis-nv, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #volkswagen-ag

Not your grandpa’s ride—the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, tested

A Cadillac Lyriq parked in front of some of Utah's scenery.

Enlarge / The Cadillac Lyriq is the first expression of the classic American luxury brand’s future as an electric automaker. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

PARK CITY, UTAH—They say—accurately, in my opinion—that nothing focuses the mind like a deadline. I’m not sure what the amplification factor is when that deadline suddenly shrinks by nine months, as was the case for Cadillac’s new Lyriq, but the result is an extremely competent new battery-electric SUV.

As we’ve covered in the past, General Motors is at the start of an electrification plan that it hopes will mean no more tailpipe emissions from any of the group’s vehicles by 2035. The key to that is a family of batteries and electric motors (named Ultium) to be used across everything from big body-on-frame trucks to small crossovers. We’ve actually sampled a couple of early Ultium-based BEVs already—the bombastic Hummer EV truck and BrightDrop Zevo 600 delivery van. Both of those are rather niche applications, but the Lyriq is much more mainstream, given America’s love for the SUV.

At launch, the Lyriq is available in a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive configuration, with a twin-motor, all-wheel-drive version coming early in 2023. The RWD Lyriq uses a 340 hp (255 kW), 325 lb-ft (440 Nm) version of the Ultium Drive motor, which is powered by a 102 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cadillac, #cadillac-lyriq, #cars, #general-motors, #luxury-suvs, #ultium, #ultium-drive

We’ve driven GM and Lockheed Martin’s new Lunar Vehicle

Obviously when we say we've driven GM's new Lunar Vehicle we mean we've driven it in the simulator in Milford, Michigan.

Enlarge / Obviously when we say we’ve driven GM’s new Lunar Vehicle we mean we’ve driven it in the simulator in Milford, Michigan. (credit: Roberto Baldwin)

General Motors provided a flight from San Francisco to Detroit and back, plus a night in hotel so we could drive the Lunar Vehicle at GM’s simulator. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

MILFORD, MICH.—Over the radio, I’ve been instructed not to drive into the large crater near the south pole of the Moon. I had been circling the crest looking for a way in and as soon as mission control realized what I was about to do, it vetoed my heading. I turned away from the impact site and drove towards a hazy sun off in the distance determined to hit at least 25 km/h while battling the awkward effects of gravity one-sixth that of Earth.

General Motors and its partner Lockheed Martin are building a lunar rover without a NASA contract. They want to fly this vehicle to the Moon in support of the Artemis mission, because we’re going back to the Moon to drive and GM wants to be there first.

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#cars, #driving-simulator, #general-motors, #lockheed-martin, #lunar-vehicle

How Safe Are Systems Like Tesla’s Autopilot? No One Knows.

Automakers and technology companies say they are making driving safer, but verifying these claims is difficult.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #driverless-and-semiautonomous-vehicles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #musk-elon, #national-highway-traffic-safety-administration, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #roads-and-traffic, #tesla-motors-inc, #traffic-accidents-and-safety, #transportation-department-us

Buick revives the Electra as an electric SUV in 2024

Buick Wildcat EV concept front three-quarter.

Enlarge / This Buick Wildcat EV concept is not destined for production, but it is supposed to tell us something about how future Buick Electra EVs might look. Just squint and imagine it’s an SUV. (credit: Buick)

Good news, Buick fans. Rather than suffer the fate of former General Motors brands like Pontiac, Saturn, Oldsmobile (as well as Holden, Saab, Daewoo, etc), Buick is getting a revamp as it prepares for an all-EV lineup by 2030. These new Buick EVs will sport a famous name from Buick’s past as the brand revives the Electra name.

The first Buick Electra EV is due in 2024, and other than the fact that it will use GM’s family of Ultium batteries and drive motors, it’s not sharing too many specifics. But it has unveiled a new concept called the Wildcat EV that it says shows the brand’s new body language, including a low-mounted grille, turbine-look wheels, and tick-shaped light elements at the front and rear.

“The Wildcat EV concept represents the real design future for the brand,” said Global Buick and GMC Design Executive Director Sharon Gauci. “Buick has always been forward-looking and this expression is a glimpse of where we’re going, and the optimism we have for the limitless possibilities of an electric future.”

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#buick, #buick-electra, #cars, #general-motors, #ultium

GM’s Mary Barra Has a Plan to Win the Electric Vehicle Race

The General Motors chief says efficiencies, innovations and learning from mistakes will allow her company to become a leader in electric vehicles.

#automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #production, #tesla-motors-inc

The Hummer EV is an electric truck for people who think EVs are stupid

A white Hummer EV

Enlarge / The 2023 Hummer EV has gone from idea to production in just two years. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

PLEASANT VALLEY, Ariz.—The headline figures verge on the ridiculous: More than a megawatt of power. A curb weight so heavy that you’d need a special license to drive it in some countries. A lithium-ion battery that’s almost twice the capacity of anything else on the road. A zero to 60 mph time of just three seconds. And despite the worst efficiency of any electric vehicle we’ve driven to date, it still has more than 300 miles of range.

If all that sounds like overkill to you, or if you already think EVs are a good idea, you are not the target audience for GMC’s new Hummer EV.

Instead, GMC is positioning the Hummer EV as “an all-electric super truck with zero emissions and zero limits” (except perhaps a road’s weight rating). It’s meant to convert the electro-curious over from gasoline or diesel to electrons. So think “off-road re-creation Rivian R1T rival” rather than “blue-collar Ford F-150 Lightning fighter.”

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#cars, #electric-vehicles, #features, #general-motors, #gmc, #hummer-ev, #ultium

Affordable electric cars coming in 2027 from new GM/Honda project

The first EV to use GM's Ultium batteries is the Hummer EV, seen here. But from 2027, the cells will also power new, affordable EVs from Honda and GM brands.

Enlarge / The first EV to use GM’s Ultium batteries is the Hummer EV, seen here. But from 2027, the cells will also power new, affordable EVs from Honda and GM brands. (credit: General Motors)

On Tuesday, General Motors and Honda announced that the two companies are working together on a new range of affordable electric vehicles. The two OEMs will develop a new architecture that uses GM’s new Ultium battery platform for North America, South America, and China. Production of the first vehicles by both manufacturers should begin in 2027.

Honda and GM have been growing closer for some time now. In 2017, they set up a joint venture to mass produce hydrogen fuel cells, then the following year partnered up on autonomous driving technology through Cruise as well as on next-generation battery development.

In 2020 the two companies announced that Honda would design two new EVs for North America using GM’s Ultium batteries. Those two EVs are still in development, as is Honda’s EV collaboration with Sony—this announcement is in addition to those plans.

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#battery-electric-vehicles, #cars, #general-motors, #honda, #ultium

Tesla’s Sales Jumped in the First Quarter, Bucking Industry Trend Again

The electric carmaker maintained its momentum from last year even as larger automakers continue to struggle with parts shortages.

#automobiles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #shortages, #supply-chain, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp

PG&E will pilot bidirectional electric car charging in California

A woman charges an electric car

Enlarge / If you’re going to charge your car at home, why not also use it as a storage battery when it’s just parked there? (credit: Monty Rakusen/Getty Images)

Disaster preparedness is becoming a bit more mainstream as the effects of climate change and the fallibility of human institutions become more clear. The auto industry has followed this trend, with more than one pointing to the fact that an electric vehicle is essentially a giant backup battery that could power your home for a few days in the event of an emergency.

Now, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will begin testing bidirectional charging in California with new pilot programs announced this week at General Motors and Ford.

Bidirectional charging got its first big boost after the 2011 Tōhoku-Oki earthquake, and in 2017, Nissan told Ars that several thousand EV-to-grid installations had already been completed in Japan. But at the time, the company had no immediate plans to enable the function here in the US. Since then, Nissan has conducted other vehicle-to-grid experiments, such as powering a convenience store.

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#bidirectional-charging, #cars, #ford, #general-motors, #gm, #pacific-gas-and-electric, #pge, #vehicle-to-grid

Why Chatbots Are Becoming Smarter

Customer service chatbots may finally become more intelligent, more conversational and more helpful.

#aispecialreport2022, #anthem-inc, #artificial-intelligence, #computers-and-the-internet, #customer-relations, #general-motors, #international-business-machines-corporation, #text-messaging

Canada Border Blockades Leave Automakers Scrambling

Some companies are resorting to U.S.-Canada crossings hundreds of miles from the bridges that protesters have blocked.

#ambassador-bridge, #automobiles, #canada, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #general-motors, #ontario-canada, #politics-and-government, #shutdowns-institutional, #stellantis-nv, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states

How The Trucker Protests Are Snarling the Auto Industry

Blockades of U.S.-Canada border crossings could hurt the auto industry, factory workers and the economy, which are still recovering from pandemic disruptions.

#ambassador-bridge, #automobiles, #bridges-and-tunnels, #canada, #detroit-mich, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #honda-motor-co-ltd, #labor-and-jobs, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #michigan, #ontario-canada, #politics-and-government, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #shutdowns-institutional, #supply-chain, #toyota-motor-corp, #trucks-and-trucking, #unifor, #united-states-economy, #vaccination-and-immunization, #wages-and-salaries

Rivian Loses Its Shine as Investors Fret About Production Delays

The electric vehicle maker’s stock surged after a public offering last fall but has since plunged, in part because the company failed to meet its 2021 goals.

#amazon-com-inc, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #automobiles, #discrimination, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #georgia, #initial-public-offerings, #normal-ill, #production, #rivian-automotive-llc, #scaringe-r-j, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #stocks-and-bonds, #supply-chain, #tesla-motors-inc, #vans

Why This Could Be a Critical Year for Electric Cars

Booming in a depressed market, battery-powered vehicles are a plus for the climate but pose a big threat to carmakers and parts suppliers that are slow to change.

#automobiles, #batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #casesa-john-a, #center-for-automotive-research, #china, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #europe, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #infrastructure-investment-and-jobs-act-2021, #keogh-scott, #lithium-metal, #mercedes-benz, #musk-elon, #porsche-ag, #southern-states-us, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states, #volkswagen-ag

Conditions at a GM Plant in Mexico Spur a Labor Challenge

Mexican salaries are low, partly because of unions that collude with employers. Workers at a G.M. factory are challenging that system, testing the labor reforms in the reworked North American trade deal.

#general-motors, #labor-and-jobs, #mexico, #north-american-free-trade-agreement, #organized-labor

General Motors plans 8,000 hires this year in high-tech jobs.

The automaker will ramp up recruitment of engineers and other specialists to further its ambitions in electric and self-driving vehicles.

#automobiles, #driverless-and-semiautonomous-vehicles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #engineering-and-engineers, #general-motors, #hiring-and-promotion, #labor-and-jobs, #software

Can Anyone Satisfy Amazon’s Craving for Electric Vans?

The company has big plans to turn its delivery fleet green. But very few of the vehicles are made right now.

#amazon-com-inc, #automobiles, #canoo-inc, #carbon-dioxide, #delivery-services, #e-commerce, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #rivian-automotive-llc, #start-ups, #stellantis-nv, #vans

Why Tesla Soared as Other Automakers Struggled to Make Cars

The yawning disparity between the performance of the electric car company and established automakers last year reflects the technological change roiling the industry.

#automobiles, #batteries, #company-reports, #computers-and-the-internet, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #mercedes-benz, #musk-elon, #shortages, #shutdowns-institutional, #supply-chain, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #volkswagen-ag

GM readies Qualcomm-powered Ultra Cruise driver assistance for 2023 launch

A closer look at the hardware inside the Ultra Cruise computer.

Enlarge / A closer look at the hardware inside the Ultra Cruise computer. (credit: General Motors)

General Motors has partnered with Qualcomm to provide the computing power for its next-generation hands-free driver-assistance system. First announced in October 2021, the new system is called Ultra Cruise, and it one-ups the (already very competent) GM Super Cruise in terms of performance and operational design domain.

Whereas Super Cruise is limited to restricted access, divided-lane highways, Ultra Cruise will at first operate on more than 2 million miles of roads in the US and Canada. An Ultra Cruise-equipped car will sense its environment using a mix of lidar, optical cameras, and radar to generate a sensor-fused 360-degree view of the world around it. It will recognize and react to permanent traffic control devices like stop signs and traffic lights, and it will even handle left-turns, albeit with a little driver input.

Like Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise is a driver-assistance system (it falls under the SAE’s level 2), and the human driver is still responsible for providing situational awareness (with a driver-monitoring system making sure that’s happening).

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#adas, #cadillac, #cars, #driver-assist, #general-motors, #super-cruise, #ultra-cruise

Chevrolet readies a $30,000 Equinox EV crossover for 2023

General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra confirmed during her 2022 CES keynote address that Chevrolet will launch the Chevrolet Equinox EV in the 2024 model year.

Enlarge / General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra confirmed during her 2022 CES keynote address that Chevrolet will launch the Chevrolet Equinox EV in the 2024 model year.

Chevrolet’s headline news at CES this year was its forthcoming Silverado EV, a truck that—initially at least—will carry a lot of lithium ion, and a six-figure price tag to reflect that. When seen together with the bombastic Hummer EV, it’s easy to get the impression that General Motors’ product planners see the first wave of Ultium battery electric vehicles as just for the well-off.

But GM’s battery platform is modular, and while it can accommodate huge 200 kWh packs to give bluff-faced pickup trucks a potential 400 miles of range, you can also design a car around a six-module battery with 50 kWh. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s the pack we’ll find in another new electric Chevrolet—the Equinox EV—which goes on sale in fall 2023.

The Equinox EV got a brief mention in GM’s CES keynote, and the company isn’t sharing any more details on the crossover right now other than that fall 2023 arrival and the fact that the model will start “around $30,000.”

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#cars, #ces-2022, #chevrolet, #chevrolet-blazer-ev, #chevrolet-equinox-ev, #general-motors, #gm, #ultium, #ultium-drive

Chevrolet shows off the 2024 Silverado EV, its first electric pickup

A blue Silverado EV

Enlarge / This is Chevrolet’s first electric pickup, the Silverado EV. When it goes on sale in 2023, there will be two versions at first, a work truck and this fully loaded RST First Edition. (credit: Chevrolet)

On Wednesday, during General Motors’ Consumer Electronics Show keynote, the company unveiled its next electric vehicle. We’ve already seen models from a newly revived Hummer and a forthcoming Cadillac SUV, but now it’s Chevrolet’s turn. And it’s an important vehicle for the brand, as this is its first battery-electric pickup truck—the 2024 Silverado EV.

It will be exclusively made in a crew cab configuration, and yes, there’s a big frunk up front where you would normally find an internal combustion engine.

As you might expect, the Silverado EV makes use of GM’s new family of Ultium Drive motors and Ultium batteries, which means it runs on an 800 V electrical architecture. The trucks can pack up to 24 modules of cells, which translates to a whopping 200 kWh of lithium-ion. As a result, Chevy will be able to offer trucks with 400 miles (644 km) of range between charges when equipped with the biggest battery pack.

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#cars, #ces-2022, #chevrolet, #general-motors, #silverado-ev, #ultium, #ultium-drive

Walmart wants to buy 5,000 electric delivery vans from GM’s BrightDrop

A Brightdrop EV600 in Walmart colors outside a Walmart

Enlarge / A BrightDrop EV600 delivery van in Walmart’s livery. The retailer wants to buy 5,000 BrightDrop EVs in total. (credit: BrightDrop)

The electric delivery vehicle startup BrightDrop is on a roll. Set up by General Motors, BrightDrop leveraged the automaker’s investment in its new Ultium battery platform and Ultium Drive electric motors to bring the EV600 delivery van to market in just 20 months—faster than any other vehicle in GM history.

Last month, the company delivered the first five EV600 vans to FedEx, its first customer. Now, FedEx is increasing its order from 500 vans to 2,000 over “the next few years” and has plans to add up to 20,000 more in time.

Now, BrightDrop can add another marquee customer to its books. The retail giant Walmart has signed an agreement with BrightDrop for 5,000 vans, split between the bigger EV600 and smaller EV410 models. (The number indicates the van’s cargo storage in cubic feet.) Walmart will use the electric vans for its InHome delivery service.

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#brightdrop, #cars, #delivery-vehicles, #fedex, #general-motors, #ultium, #walmart

Toyota Topped G.M. in U.S. Car Sales in 2021

After struggling to produce cars because of a global computer chip shortage, automakers are trying to move quickly to making electric vehicles.

#automobiles, #company-reports, #computer-chips, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #japan, #shortages, #shutdowns-institutional, #stockpiling, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states

Supply Chain Problems Mean Buying a Car Sometimes Takes a Plane Ride

The limited supply of new and used vehicles is forcing some Americans to go to great lengths to find and buy them, including traveling to dealers hundreds of miles away.

#automobiles, #computer-chips, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #group-1-automotive-inc, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #shopping-and-retail, #shutdowns-institutional, #tesla-motors-inc, #united-states, #used-cars

How China’s CATL Became the Top Electric Car Battery Maker

Beijing gave CATL lavish subsidies, a captive market of buyers and soft regulatory treatment, helping it to control a crucial technology of the future.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #batteries, #bhr-partners, #biden-hunter, #byd-co-ltd, #china, #cobalt, #contemporary-amperex-technology-ltd, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #general-motors, #international-trade-and-world-market, #lithium-metal, #ningde-china, #qinghai-province-china, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #robin-zeng, #stocks-and-bonds

FedEx receives its first electric BrightDrop delivery vans

BrightDrop delivers five of 500 electric light commercial vehicles to FedEx, the first customer to receive the EV600s.

Enlarge / BrightDrop delivers five of 500 electric light commercial vehicles to FedEx, the first customer to receive the EV600s. (credit: FedEx)

At the beginning of the year, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that the company was starting a new business. It’s called BrightDrop, and it’s focused on providing electrified products for delivery and logistics businesses. At the time, we also learned that FedEx would be the first customer for BrightDrop’s EV600 electric van. Today, the shipping company accepted the first five (of 500) vehicles, which will start making deliveries in Los Angeles in 2022.

Like other GM brands, BrightDrop is using the automaker’s new 800 V Ultium battery packs and Ultium Drive motors in these new electric vehicles. The EV600 has a 250-mile range (402 km) and a capacity of 600 cubic feet (16,990 L).

“At FedEx, transforming our pickup and delivery fleet to electric vehicles is integral to achieving our ambitious sustainability goals announced earlier this year. This collaborative effort shows how businesses can take action to help usher in a lower-emissions future for all,” said Mitch Jackson, chief sustainability officer at FedEx.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #brightdrop, #cars, #electric-van, #fedex, #general-motors, #gm, #van

GM’s EV Efforts Reportedly Include a Bigger Michigan Presence

The company will make electric pickups at an existing plant and batteries at a factory built with a partner, a person with knowledge of the plan said.

#automobiles, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #general-motors, #labor-and-jobs, #lg-electronics, #production

Global Rivalries Are Miring the Clean Energy Revolution

The quest for Congo’s cobalt, which is vital for electric vehicles and the worldwide push against climate change, is caught in a cycle of exploitation, greed and gamesmanship.

#africa, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #archer-devon, #batteries, #bhr-partners, #biden-hunter, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #cobalt, #congo-democratic-republic-of-congo-kinshasa, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #freeport-mcmoran-oilgas-inc, #general-motors, #glencore-international-ag, #global-warming, #kabila-joseph, #mines-and-mining, #national-security-council, #obama-barack, #politics-and-government, #tesla-motors-inc, #trump-donald-j, #tshisekedi-felix, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

How Leather Seats in Luxury SUVs Fuel Amazon Deforestation

An examination of Brazil’s immense tannery industry shows how hides from illegally deforested ranches can easily reach the global marketplace. In the United States, much of the demand for Brazilian leather comes from automakers.

#agriculture-and-farming, #amazon-river-basin, #automobiles, #beef, #brazil, #cattle, #ford-motor-co, #forests-and-forestry, #general-motors, #global-warming, #international-trade-and-world-market, #jbs-sa, #land-use-policies, #leather-and-leather-goods, #marfrig-group, #meatpacking-plants-and-slaughterhouses, #ranches, #volkswagen-ag

America Isn’t Ready for the Electric-Vehicle Revolution

Its battery supply chain runs through China, and that’s not changing any time soon.

#batteries, #china, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #politics-and-government, #united-states

General Motors’ Third-Quarter Profit Hit Hard by Chip Shortage

The automakers said the profit outlook for the full year had improved, and higher car prices eased the impact of reduced production.

#automobiles, #company-reports, #computer-chips, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #shortages, #united-states-economy

Supply Chain Crisis Has New Car Buyers Turning to Backup Options

Amid a shortage of new cars, many buyers have been forced to kick the tires of overlooked models and brands.

#automobiles, #chevrolet-division-of-general-motors-corp, #e-commerce, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #hyundai-motor-co, #nissan-motor-co, #shopping-and-retail, #shortages, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #used-cars

The Chevrolet Bolt recall has begun; cars will get new battery packs

A colorful display for a hunk of metal and plastic about the size of two skateboards side-by-side.

Enlarge / This is the 60kWh battery pack found inside a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The front of the pack is to the right of the picture, and the hump to the left is the double-stacked modules that live under the rear seat. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Chevrolet was one of the first automakers to market with a long-range battery-electric vehicle, the Bolt EV. Unfortunately for the US automaker, it’s also now the first to have to issue a massive recall after manufacturing defects with the car’s lithium-ion battery cells were identified as the cause of a number of fires.

Chevrolet’s first fix was a software remedy, started in November 2020, before faulty manufacturing was recognized as the true culprit. Now the plan is relatively simple, if expensive: replace every Bolt EV’s battery pack with a new one, at a cost of more than $1.8 billion.

Those replacements have now begun, with Chevrolet contacting owners to let them know what’s going to happen.

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#bolt-recall, #cars, #chevrolet, #chevrolet-bolt-ev, #general-motors, #gm, #recall

GM’s next driver-assist system will be hands-free in “95% of situations”

Ultra Cruise will ultimately enable door-to-door hands-free driving on all public paved roads in the US and Canada, says the company.

Enlarge / Ultra Cruise will ultimately enable door-to-door hands-free driving on all public paved roads in the US and Canada, says the company. (credit: General Motors)

On Wednesday and Thursday, General Motors laid out its plan for the coming years to its investors. The company wants “a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” said Chair and CEO Mary Barra, explaining that GM’s investment in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology has given it an early start.

GM revealed that a new electric Silverado truck will be formally unveiled at CES in 2022, and a $30,000 Chevrolet electric crossover is also in development. Both of these models, as well as electric Buicks, GMCs, Hummer EVs, and Cadillacs, will use GM’s new family of Ultium batteries and Ultium Drive motors.

Some or all of those vehicles will be equipped with GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driver-assistance system, but the company soon plans to deploy an even more capable hands-free driver-assistance system. Called Ultra Cruise, it will eventually allow for “hands-free driving in 95 percent of all driving scenarios,” GM says.

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#adas, #advanced-driver-assistance-systems, #cars, #general-motors, #hands-free-driving, #super-cruise, #ultra-cruise

Tesla Reports Record Quarterly Deliveries Amid Chip Scarcity

The electric-car maker has weathered the global shortage of semiconductors better than more established rivals.

#automobiles, #company-reports, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #musk-elon, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp

General Motors, Honda and Toyota Sales Hit by Chip Shortages

Challenges in the global supply chain have held down production and depleted inventories.

#automobiles, #company-reports, #computer-chips, #consumer-behavior, #general-motors, #honda-motor-co-ltd, #shortages, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states

General Motors Reports 33% Drop in Quarterly Sales

The automaker said that demand was strong, but that supply continued to be constrained.

#automobiles, #company-reports, #computer-chips, #consumer-behavior, #general-motors, #shortages

High Octane and a Stick Shift: Standout Cars as an Era Starts to End

Hitting the road and track with Cadillac’s roaring Blackwings, a Porsche 911 GTS and the rare BMW M2 CS.

#antique-and-classic-cars, #automobiles, #bayerische-motorenwerke-ag, #cadillac-division-of-general-motors-corp, #engines, #general-motors, #luxury-goods-and-services, #porsche-ag

GM to replace battery modules in recalled Chevy Bolt EVs starting next month

General Motors said Monday it will replace battery modules in recalled Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV vehicles as soon as next month now that supplier LG Chem has restarted production of cells at two Michigan factories.

Replacement modules, which are made up of lithium-ion battery cells, will begin shipping to dealers as soon as mid-October, the company said. Chevy Bolt EV owners will be able to bring their vehicles to the dealership, where the old modules will be swapped out for new ones.

GM halted production of Chevy Bolt EV and EUVs in August due to a battery pack shortage related to the widespread safety recall of the two electric vehicles. The production downtime has been extended twice since then. Battery packs in EVs are comprised of modules.

The recall, which includes all Chevy Bolt EV and EUV models made since 2017, was issued after the automaker discovered two manufacturing defects in the battery cell — a torn anode tab and folded separator — that could increase the risk of fire. The fire risk prompted GM to recommend Bolt owners set the vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation, avoid depleting the battery below 70 miles of range and charge the vehicle more frequently. GM still recommends owners park their Bolt EV and EUVs outside immediately after charging and to not leave vehicles charging indoors overnight.

LG has new manufacturing processes in place and has worked with GM to improve its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward. GM said the battery supplier will institute these new processes in other facilities that supply cells to the automaker.

Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, noted in a statement that resuming battery module production is a first step. However, GM’s Chevy Bolt EV problem is not entirely solved. The company must complete the replacement process for all recalled Bolts and assuage owners that the vehicles are safe to charge and park.

GM is counting on new advanced diagnostic software package to help. The company said it will launch the software package, which will need to be installed by dealers, in the next 60 days. The diagnostic software is designed to detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance.

The software will alert customers of any anomalies, according to GM, which said customers will be able to return to a 100 percent state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete.

GM, which aims to add 30 new EVs to its global lineup by 2030, also must secure the battery cells it needs to power these vehicles. LG is its primary and longtime partner in this endeavor. Parks said GM will “continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply.

#automotive, #chevy-bolt-ev, #general-motors, #gm, #recall

GM extends Chevy Bolt EV production shutdown through mid-October

General Motors is extending the shutdown of its Orion Assembly Plant until at least mid-October as a result of a battery pack shortage related to the recently announced Chevy Bolt EV and EUV safety recall. Bloomberg first reported that the company intends to idle its plant through the week of October 11.

“These most recent scheduling adjustments are being driven by the continued parts shortages caused by semiconductor supply constraints from international markets experiencing COVID-related restrictions,” the company said in a statement. “We remain confident in our team’s ability to continue finding creative solutions to minimize the impact on our highest-demand and capacity constrained vehicles. Although the situation remains complex and very fluid, GM continues to prioritize full-size truck production which remains in high demand.”

Last week, GM announced the shutdown of the Michigan assembly plant, which began on August 23, would extend to September 20, but it’s clear that the company has not yet found a solution to the causes of delay. In the meantime, GM said it would continue to work with its battery supplier, LG Chem, to update its manufacturing processes and production schedules.

In July, the company began recalls for its Chevy Bolts due to fire risks, and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has recommended customers park their vehicles away from homes and other vehicles as a precaution.

Last week, GM said production on its full-size trucks and full-size SUVs would begin by this week, but chip shortages have also caused GM to announce slowing production at five other assembly plants in North America. Some, like the Fort Wayne Assembly and Silao Assembly plants, which produce the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 models, have already ramped up to full capacity as of September 13 after being briefly impacted by the global semiconductor shortage, GM said.

The Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant in Michigan, which builds the Chevrolet Traverse and the Buick Enclave, will add an additional week of downtime the week of September 27 and is expected to resume production the week of October 4. The plant has been shut down since July 19. Downtime for the Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac Black Wing have also been extended through the week of the 27th, as well as previously announced downtime for Cadillac CT4 and CT5 production. Production on the Camaro has been down since September 13, and on the CT4 and CT5 since May 10.

Production of the Equinox, Blazer and GMC Terrain have been pushed out through the week of October 11, as well, which are produced at the CAMI Assembly plant in Canada and San Luis Potosi Assembly and Ramos Assembly in Mexico. Production of the Blazer and Equinox have been down since August 23 and August 16, respectively.

Cadillac XT4 production, which has been down since February 8, will resume at Fairfax Assembly in Kansas next week. GM said production of the Chevrolet Malibu, which is also at Fairfax and has been down since February 8, will remain down through the week of October 25.

#automotive, #chevy-bolt, #evs, #general-motors, #transportation

GM invests in radar software startup Oculii as demand for automated driving features rise

Oculii, a software startup that aims to improve the spatial resolution of radar sensors by up to 100-fold, has scored a new investment from General Motors. The new funding, which the two companies say is in the millions, comes just months after Oculii closed a $55 million Series B.

Oculii and GM have already been working together “for some time now,” CEO Steven Hong told TechCrunch in a recent interview. While he declined to specify exactly how GM plans to use Oculii’s software, it could be used to bolster the capabilities of the automaker’s hands-free advanced driver assistance system known as Super Cruise. Hong added that the company is also working with a few other OEMs, including one on the cap table.

“When a company like GM says, this is great technology and this is something that we potentially want to use down the line, it makes the entire supply chain take notice and effectively work more closely with you to adopt the solution, the technology, into what they’re selling to the OEMs,” he said.

The startup has no intention of building hardware. Instead, Oculii wants to license software to radar companies. The startup claims it can take low-cost, commercially available radar sensors – sensors that weren’t designed for autonomous driving, but rather for limited scenarios like emergency breaking or parking assist – and use its AI software to enable more autonomous maneuvering, Hong said.

“We really believe that the way to deliver something that’s scalable is through software, because software fundamentally improves with data,” he said. “Software fundamentally improves with better hardware in each generation that’s released. Software fundamentally over time gets cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, much faster than hardware, for example.”

The news is certainly bullish for radar, a sensor that is generally used for assistive capabilities because of its imaging limitations. But if Oculii can actually improve the performance of radar, which tend to be much cheaper than lidar, it could mean massive cost savings for automakers.

Tesla, the largest electric vehicle maker by sales volume in the world, recently nixed radar sensors from its advanced driver assistance system, in favor of a “pure vision” approach that uses cameras and a supercomputer-powered neural network. Hong said that the radar Tesla eliminated was very low resolution, and “wasn’t really adding anything to their existing pipeline.”

But he doesn’t think the company would always necessarily count out radar, should the technology improve. “Fundamentally, each of these sensors improves [the] safety case and gets you closer and closer to 99.99999% reliability. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing, is getting as many nines of reliability as you can.”

#automotive, #autonomous-vehicles, #general-motors, #hardware, #lidar, #oculii, #radar, #recent-funding, #self-driving-cars, #startups, #transportation

Building a More Sustainable Car, From Headlamp to Tailpipe

Vehicle makers shy away from traditional materials that are hard to recycle, like leather and plastics, and look to repurpose alternatives that still convey quality.

#ab-volvo, #audi-division-of-volkswagen-ag, #automobiles, #bayerische-motorenwerke-ag, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #fiat-chrysler-automobiles-nv, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hummer-division-of-general-motors-corp, #luxury-goods-and-services, #polestar-performance-ab, #recycling-of-waste-materials

Cruise is buying solar energy from California farmers to power its electric, self-driving fleet

Cruise, the self-driving car company under General Motors, has launched a new initiative called Farm to Fleet that will allow the company to source solar power from farms in California’s Central Valley. The San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report the news that Cruise is directly purchasing renewable energy credits from Sundale Vineyards and Moonlight Companies to help power its fleet of all-electric autonomous vehicles in San Francisco.

Cruise recently secured a permit to shuttle passengers in its test vehicles in San Francisco without a human safety operator behind the wheel. The company is also ramping up its march to commercialization with a recent $5 billion line of credit from GM Financial to pay for hundreds of electric and autonomous Origin vehicles. While this partnership with California farmers is undoubtedly a boon to the state’s work in progressing renewable energies while also providing jobs and financial opportunities to local businesses, Cruise isn’t running a charity here.

The California Independent System Operator has been soliciting power producers across western United States to sell more megawatts to the state this summer in anticipation of heat waves that will boost electricity demand and potentially cause blackouts. Power supplies are lower than expected already due to droughts, outages and delays in bringing new energy generation sources to the grid, causing reduced hydroelectric generation. To ensure California’s grid can handle the massive increase in fleet size Cruise is planning, it seems that the company has no choice but to find creative ways to bolster the grid. Cruise, however, is holding firm that it’s got loftier goals than securing the energy from whatever sources available.

“This is entirely about us doing the right thing for our cities and communities and fundamentally transforming transportation for the better,” Ray Wert, a Cruise spokesperson, told TechCrunch.

With droughts continuing to plague California farmers, converting farmland to solar farms is a potential way to help the state meet its climate change targets, according to a report from environmental nonprofit Nature Conservancy. Which is why Cruise saw the logic in approaching Central Valley farmers now.

“Farm to Fleet is a vehicle to rapidly reduce urban transportation emissions while generating new revenue for California’s farmers leading in renewable energy,” said Rob Grant, Cruise’s vice president of social affairs and global impact, in a blog post.

Cruise is paying negotiated contract rates with the farms through its clean energy partner, BTR Energy. The company isn’t disclosing costs, but says it’s paying no more or less than what it would pay for using other forms of renewable energy credits (RECs). RECs are produced when a renewable energy source generates one megawatt-hour of electricity and passes it on to the grid. According to Cruise, Sundale has installed 2 megawatts of solar capacity to power their 200,000 square footage of cold storage, and Moonlight has installed a combined 3.9 MW of solar arrays and two battery storage system for its sorting and storage facilities. So when Cruise buys credits from these farms, it’s able to say that a specific amount of its electricity use came from a renewable source. RECs are unique and tracked, so it’s clear where they came from, what kind of energy they used and where they went. Cruise did not share how many RECs it plans to purchase from the farms, but says it will be enough to power its San Francisco fleet.

“While the solar power still flows through the same grid, Cruise purchases and then ultimately ‘retires’ the renewable energy credits generated by the solar panels at the farms,” said Wert. “Through data that we submit to the California Air Resources Board quarterly, we retire a number of RECs equivalent to the amount of electricity we used to charge our vehicles.”

Wert says using fully renewable power is actually profitable for Cruise in California due to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which is designed to decrease the carbon intensity of transportation fuels in the state and provide more low-carbon alternatives. Cruise owns and operates all of its own EV charging ports, so it’s able to generate credits based on the carbon intensity score of the electricity and amount of energy delivered. Cruise can then sell its credits to other companies seeking to reduce their footprints and comply with regulations. 

Aside from practicalities, Cruise is aiming to set a standard for the industry and create demand for renewable energy, thus incentivizing more people and businesses to create it. 

“Transportation is responsible for over 40% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is why we announced our Clean Mile Challenge in February, where we challenged the rest of the AV industry to report how many miles they’re driving on renewable energy every year,” said Wert. “We’re hoping that others follow our lead.”

#automotive, #autonomous-driving, #cruise, #general-motors, #self-driving, #solar-energy, #tc, #transportation

How G.M.’s First Turbo Engines Crashed and Burned

Oldsmobile and Chevrolet pioneered the technology for mass-market cars, but the turbos flopped — and took decades to gain acceptance.

#automobiles, #chevrolet-division-of-general-motors-corp, #engines, #general-motors, #saab-automobile-ab

G.M. Is Expanding the Chevrolet Bolt Recall

The recall now covers the car’s entire output, beginning with the 2017 version. The latest move, to add three model years, raises costs by $1 billion.

#automobile-safety-features-and-defects, #automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #batteries, #chevrolet-division-of-general-motors-corp, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #production, #recalls-and-bans-of-products

General Motors issues third recall for Chevrolet Bolt EVs, citing rare battery defects

General Motors is recalling even more Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to possible battery cell defects that could increase the risk of fire. This latest recall, announced by the automaker on Friday, marks the third time GM has issued the consumer notice for the Bolt.

The second recall, which was issued in July, covered 2017 to 2019 Bolt EVs. Now, GM is expanding that recall to include an additional 9,335 2019 model year Bolts, as well as 63,683 2020–2022 Bolt EV and EUV vehicles.

“In rare circumstances, the batteries supplied to GM for these vehicles may have two manufacturing defects – a torn anode tab and folded separator – present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire,” the company said in a news release. It added that it was working with its cell supplier, South Korea’s LG, regarding the issue.

This recall is expected to cost GM an additional $1 billion – that’s on top of the $800 million the company has already estimated for the prior recalls. Costs associated with fixing defective Bolt batteries made up the lion’s share of GM’s $1.3 billion in warranty expenses last quarter, the automaker said in an earnings call earlier this month.

GM is recommending that included Bolt drivers to a 90 percent state of charge limitation and avoid depleting the battery below a 70 mile range. The automaker also suggests parking the vehicle outside right after charging and not leaving the vehicle charging indoors overnight – likely due to the risk of fire. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration released its own recommendation to Bolt drivers to park their vehicles away from their homes to reduce fire risk.

#automotive, #chevrolet, #chevy-bolt, #chevy-bolt-euv, #electric-vehicles, #general-motors, #transportation