AS PRICES FALL, 2/3s OF GLOBAL CAR SALES COULD BE EVS BY 2030, STUDY SAYS
Spurred by falling battery prices, electric vehicles could hit price parity with fossil-fuel models in Europe in 2024 and the U.S. market in 2026, and account for two thirds of global car sales by 2030, according to new research. A report by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) on Thursday predicts battery costs should halve this decade, from $151 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2022 to between $60 and $90 per kWh, making EVs "for the first time as cheap to buy as petrol cars in every market by 2030 as well as cheaper to run."
UAW STRIKE COULD BUY GM TIME TO ADDRESS NAGGING EV ISSUES
General Motors is at greater risk than rivals Ford Motor and Stellantis of disruption to electric vehicle production from a prolonged UAW strike - though some analysts say that could also buy it time to repair nagging issues. While Ford and Stellantis are introducing several revamped combustion-engine models this fall, GM's immediate focus is on electric vehicles - with plans to launch or ramp up production of at least five new ones. They include all-electric companions to its full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, according to researcher GlobalData.
TOYOTA PLOTS SOLID-STATE BATTERY TIMELINE FOR FUTURE EVS
Toyota on Thursday provided an update on its battery development plans, including a more detailed roadmap for the rollout of solid-state batteries. The automaker has five next-generation battery designs, including both liquid and solid electrolytes. Toyota expects the solid-state batteries, which the company has been researching with Panasonic, to be "ready for commercial use" by 2027 or 2028, according to a company press release. This will be made possible by "technological advancements" that can extend battery life, a current weak point of solid-state batteries, Toyota said.
A first-generation solid-state design will allow for a DC fast-charge time of just 10 minutes for a 10%-80% charge and deliver up to 621 miles of range on the European WLTP testing cycle, according to Toyota. The automaker also confirmed that a second-generation design is in the works, to be introduced sometime after the 2027-2028 launch of the initial solid-state batteries. Toyota expects this version to bump WLTP range up to 745 miles. Prior to the launch of the solid-state batteries, Toyota will launch two liquid-electrolyte batteries. A "performance" lithium-ion battery will appear in 2026 boasting what Toyota says will be a 20% reduction in cost compared to the battery cells used in the current bZ4X. The DC fast-charge time will be 20 minutes or less for a 10-80% charge.
Toyota also claims a range of more than 497 miles (again, on the WLTP cycle) when the new lithium-ion battery is combined with planned weight reductions and aerodynamic improvements. The latter will be helped by a move to thinner battery packs, which reduce overall height and thus help improve a vehicle's coefficient of drag, according to Toyota. The automaker plans to reduce battery-pack heights from the 5.9 inches of the BZ4X packs to 4.7 inches—or even 3.9 inches for sports cars.
A "high performance" battery debuting in 2027 or 2028 will further increase WLTP range to 621 miles—matching the initial solid-state batteries—while decreasing cost by another 10%, according to Toyota. The automaker has said that affordability, not range, will be priorities in upcoming EVs, so this itself also seems to mark a turnaround.
However, Toyota is planning a "popularization" option using lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry. This will achieve a 20% range improvement over the bZ4X—which is EPA-rated at a maximum 252 miles—with a 40% cost reduction, according to Toyota. The automaker is also aiming for a 30-minute 10-80% DC fast-charging time. New battery tech will be introduced with next-generation EVs Toyota plans to begin launching in 2026, possibly including the future EV teased back in May. The automaker expects these new models to account for 1.7 million of the 3.5 million EVs it expects to sell by 2030. Prior to that, Toyota has confirmed a three-row electric SUV for U.S. assembly in 2025.
Source: Green Car Reports
VOLVO TO END DIESEL CAR PRODUCTION BY EARLY 2024
Volvo Cars said on Tuesday that it will end production of any remaining diesel models by early 2024 as it heads towards becoming an all-electric carmaker. Majority owned by China's Geely, Volvo has committed to going fully electric by 2030. While a majority of the cars Volvo sold in Europe were diesel as recently as 2019, in 2022 they made up just 8.9% of the Swedish carmaker's sales.
NEW LEXUS BRAND BOSS PLANS BIG EV OVERHAUL, BENCHMARKING TESLA
Japanese premium leader Lexus is rolling out some of its most fetching automotive designs, luxurious amenities and impressive technologies these days. But Lexus' newly appointed global boss says an even bigger transformation is on the way from 2026 as the brand leaps into next-generation electric vehicles. The road forward will be previewed next month when Lexus unwraps the first concept for those EVs at the Japan Mobility Show. Lexus will spearhead Toyota Motor Corp.'s next-generation EVs on its way to offering an electrified option for every vehicle in 2030, before going EV-only by 2035.
Source: Automotive News
MINIVANS DON'T ADEQUATELY PROTECT REAR-SEAT PASSENGERS: IIHS
Minivans fail to adequately protect rear-seat passengers, based on a new crash-test study performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released Tuesday.
The test simulates a head-on collision of two vehicles of similar weight traveling just below 40 mph, and measures the impact on a dummy seated behind the driver that replicates a small woman or 12-year-old child in the rear seat. None of the four minivans tested earned "Acceptable" or "Good" ratings, with the Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, Toyota Sienna earning "Marginal" ratings. The Honda Odyssey rated at "Poor." “Back seat safety is important for all vehicles, but it’s especially vital for those, like minivans, that customers are choosing specifically to transport their families,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement.
As part of the organization's updated front overlap test, the rear dummy gets tested for excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest, abdomen, or thigh. Chest injuries are a particular focus since they are the most common serious injury in the rear seat for adults. It also tests to see if the body "submarines" beneath the lap belt, or slides down and forward in the seat so the lap belt hits the chest or neck area in the event of crash. Launched this year to put a spotlight on rear-seat safety, the new test has flummoxed other automakers and vehicle segments, as well. Of the 13 midsize and three-row crossovers tested, only the Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Subaru Ascent, and Tesla Model Y earned "Good" ratings. Of the 15 small and compact crossovers tested, only the Ford Escape and Volvo XC40 earned "Good" ratings. Nine of the models tested rated at "Poor."
Results were similar for most sedans that were tested, with the exception of the 2023 Honda Accord. It was redesigned this year, and the IIHS typically informs automakers of changes to its testing a year or two in advance to give them a chance to respond. The Honda Odyssey was last redesigned in 2018, and is expected to be redesigned for 2025. The Accord and Pilot three-row SUV were redesigned this year and have earned top safety ratings from the IIHS.
The IIHS found that the Odyssey's dummy had elevated forces to the head and neck, and the head came too close to the front seatback. But all four minivans were lacking in rear-seat protection, while excelling at front-seat protection.
“The restraint systems in all four vehicles leave the second-row occupant vulnerable to chest injuries, either because of excessive belt forces or poor belt positioning,” Jessica Jermakian, IIHS vice president of vehicle research, said in a statement. “That’s concerning because those injuries can be life-threatening.”
The nonprofit agency funded by the insurance industry noted that only the Toyota Sienna has seat belt reminders for rear passengers. The updated test measures the safety of rear occupants at a time when crash safety has focused on front occupants. Not long ago, the rear seats were considered the safest place in a car. Much has changed on roadways since the original moderate overlap front crash test launched in 1995. In recent years, car cabins have incorporated more rigid crumple zones so there is less deformation from a front crash in the passenger cabin. More front airbags and advanced seat belts also have benefited front passengers. Since 2007, the risk of a fatal injury in a crash is 46% higher for belted rear passengers than belted front passengers, according to the IIHS.
The IIHS updates its tests as more automakers attain "Good" ratings, continually raising the safety bar for automakers to earn its coveted Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ honors. This year, the emphasis has broadened to include pedestrian safety as a direct result of record pedestrian fatalities, and in 2021 it toughened the criteria for its side-impact test.
CAR BUYING WAS FINALLY GETTING BETTER
The Auto Workers' Strike Will Make It Bad for Everyone Again.
Car buying was supposed to be getting better — but now the auto workers strike at Ford, GM, and Stellantis will be bad for everyone. After years of a pandemic-driven supply-and-demand car crunch that jacked up new and used vehicle prices and shrunk dealership supply, car buyers had just started to see a little respite. The UAW strike is likely to upend that.
Source: Business Insider
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