NISSAN BETS ON IN-HOUSE TECHNOLOGIES FOR NEXT-GENERATION BATTERY
Nissan Motor Co. is betting that experience pioneering lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles more than a decade ago will give it an upper hand in producing a new, yet still relatively unproven battery that some see as key to unlocking the future potential of EVs. Nissan is producing prototype solid-state battery cells – which replace the electrical current-conducting liquid found in conventional batteries with a solid substance – at a facility resembling a pop-up lab inside its research grounds near its Yokohama headquarters. The Japanese automaker plans to bring the new type of batteries to market by fiscal year 2028, readying a pilot plant for them ahead of that around 2024.
JEEP SAYS ITS NEW ELECTRIC WRANGLER SUV CONCEPT GOES 0-60 IN 2 SECONDS
Jeep has redesigned an all-electric concept version of its flagship Wrangler, as the brand pivots from gas guzzlers to zero-emissions EVs. The Jeep Wrangler Magneto 2.0 concept vehicle comes a year after the Stellantis brand unveiled the first version of the all-electric SUV. Concept vehicles are custom products typically built by automakers to gauge customer interest or showcase the future direction of a vehicle or brand.
INDUSTRY-WATCHERS SCALE BACK 2022 U.S. SALES FORECASTS
Citing continuing low-vehicle inventory, a couple of prominent forecasters cut their 2022 U.S. light-vehicle sales forecasts to 15.3 million from the 16-million range. “This is a seller’s market,” Chesbrough (pictured, below left) says at a webinar hosted by the American International Automobile Dealers Assn. He’s scaled back his 2022 U.S. light-vehicle forecast to 15.3 million, from 16 million. Meanwhile, the National Automobile Dealers Assn. has a 2022 U.S. light-vehicle sales forecast of 15.4 million. Patrick Manzi, NADA chief economist, says in a blog post he’s sticking with that number, but he acknowledges there is downside risk from “ongoing supply-chain issues, global conflicts and pandemic-related impacts.”
TOYOTA: OLD INVENTORY WAYS GONE
Toyota and Lexus dealers' lots might not ever be as full as they once were. Toyota Motor North America will aim to have 30 days of new vehicles on hand once automotive manufacturing returns to a more normal pace. That compares with its pre-pandemic target in the 40s, said Bob Carter, Toyota's North America sales chief. “I'm of the belief that after stabilization of the supply chain, I don't believe it will be necessary for us to go back to a 40- to 45-day strike zone,” he said during a media roundtable last week.
Source: Automotive News
POORLY TIME TRAFFIC LIGHTS ADD TO POLLUTION
Mass adoption of electric vehicles is proceeding slowly, but one way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today could be addressing poorly timed traffic lights, the traffic data analysis and controls firm Inrix claims.
The company is hawking an analytics tool it claims will allow traffic agencies to run their networks of stop lights more efficiently, potentially reducing emissions. Inrix claims a typical vehicle with a 3.0-liter internal-combustion engine generates two pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for every 10 minutes of idling. In cities with lots of stop-and-go traffic, that can add up quickly.
Well-timed signals can have a significant impact on emissions. In a city the size of Atlanta, 269,000 tons of CO2 emissions could be prevented, equivalent to the CO2 absorbed by a forest 3.3 times the size of Atlanta, according to Inrix.
In a city the size of Chicago, well-timed traffic signals could prevent up to 655,000 tons of CO2 emissions, and in a New York-sized metropolis they could prevent up to 14 million tons of CO2, Inrix claims.
Some cities do have smart traffic lights aimed at optimizing traffic flow and reducing vehicle idling time. Audi's traffic-light recognition system can interface with these traffic signals and tell drivers when a light is about to change. Other automaker's haven't followed Audi's lead in that area, although Honda has some good ideas with "green wave" tech that could save fuel.
And as we've long underscored, driving an EV—or a hybrid—will help mitigate some of the emissions effects of starting and stopping and urban congestion.
Source: Green Car Reports
ELECTRIC VEHICLES, NOT LUXURY CARS, DOMINATE THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW
The auto show, expected after two years of lockdowns to drive off into an irrelevant sunset, isn’t dead yet. Following the vibrant Munich auto show in the fall, the New York International Auto Show will open to the public on Friday, April 15, at Manhattan’s Javits Center and will run through April 24. Electric vehicles will command the spotlight’s primary glare this week in New York. Some of them will come from such obscure companies as INDI EV and ElectraMeccanica, but Detroit’s heavyweight pickups will hold top billing.
JEEP BETS DRIVERS WILL SHRUG OFF GAS PRICES WITH LONGER WAGONEER
Jeep announced plans for bigger versions of its upscale Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs, betting there’s still demand for super-sized vehicles at a time of soaring gas prices. The iconic American brand, owned by Stellantis NV, on Wednesday unveiled the Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L, each measuring a full foot longer than their standard-wheelbase siblings. The models will test consumers’ appetite for big, brawny combustion-engine cars at a time when much of the industry is transitioning to electric and hybrid vehicles.
TOYOTA SEES NO END TO STICKER SHOCK AMID TIGHT CAR INVENTORY
Car buyers who were hoping to see some relief from sticker shock have a long wait, and some shoppers may even balk at a new vehicle if prices keep rising next year as automakers look to manage their own inflationary problems. That’s the worry of Bob Carter, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American business. Carter said there is enough demand for carmakers to sell as many as 16.8 million vehicles in the U.S. this year, but due to shortages of key parts the industry will fall at least 1 million vehicles short. That alone will keep prices up.
CALIFORNIA PLAN AIMS TO TRIPLE SALE OF ELECTRIC CARS BY 2026
California wants electric vehicle sales to triple in the next four years to 35% of all new car purchases, an aggressive target set as part of the goal to phase out the sale of gas-powered cars by the middle of next decade. The California Air Resources Board’s proposal would slowly raise the sale of new cars that are electric, hydrogen-powered or plug-in hybrids to 100% by 2035. About 11% of all new passenger car sales nationally happen in California, giving the state significant influence over the auto market. Californians would still be allowed to drive gas-powered cars and sell used ones, meaning planet-warming emissions will still spew from the state’s roadways.
F-150 LIGHNING LAUNCH DATE SET
Ford Motor Co. will launch its F-150 Lightning electric pickup April 26, CEO Jim Farley said Wednesday on Twitter. The automaker plans an event that day at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan to celebrate the official start of production and first customer deliveries, which are expected soon afterward. "We will be celebrating the team behind this incredible vehicle and that F-150 Lightnings will be on their way to customers across America," spokeswoman Emma Bergg said in an email.
Source: Automotive News
Subscribe to our Automotive Weekly newsletter