Drivers looking for new vehicles might want to buy now rather than wait for summer sales that might not happen, experts and dealers say, as a global microchip shortage squeezes inventory levels. U.S. sales reported Thursday for the first three months of 2021 show robust consumer demand for new vehicles compared to last year's pandemic-struck year. General Motors Co. delivered 4% more vehicles with all brands except Chevrolet seeing a boost. Ford Motor Co. sales were up 1%, and transactions of new Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat and other vehicles now under the Stellantis NV umbrella rose 5%. Several foreign automakers saw double-digit increases.
Source: The Detroit News
Honda and its luxury brand Acura are recalling nearly every 2019 model and many 2020 models to replace a faulty fuel pump, the automakers announced this week. A defective impeller in the fuel pump could cause the affected vehicles to lose power or stall, thereby increasing the risk of a crash. Honda reported no known crashes or injuries to the NHTSA.
The recall encompasses 628,124 vehicles across the 2018-2020 model year lineup in both the Acura and Honda brands. The only vehicles of those model years not affected were the low volume Acura NSX supercar and the limited-release Honda Clarity fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Owners can expect notification as early as late May, and dealers will replace the fuel pump free of charge. To check the status of your car, visit Acura's recall site or Honda's recall site or by calling 888-234-2138 during business hours.
2019-2020 MDX Hybrid
2019 Accord Hybrid
2019 Civic Coupe and Si Coupe
2019-2020 Civic Hatchback
2019 Civic Sedan and Si Sedan
2019 Civic Type R
Source: The Car Connection
The idea of using coordinated electric-car charging to stabilize the grid has been discussed for years, but is still in early stages of development. California regulators now hope to bring so-called "vehicle-to-grid" (V2G) technology into focus.
V2G requires cars that can discharge power back into the grid, something that isn't widely available, but the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is expected to issue a decision calling for discussion of the feasibility of V2G, according to E&E News. The potential benefit of V2G is the ability to "balance" the grid by using fleets of electric cars to absorb excess electricity during periods of low demand, and discharge it during periods of high demand. This allows grid infrastructure to operate at a more stable pace, which saves wear and tear, and allows EVs to supplement power plants or renewable-energy sources when demand is especially high.
That could help head off the rolling blackouts California experienced last summer, which forced utilities to use diesel generators to keep the power on. It's one of the scenarios the CPUC plans to highlight at a workshop on V2G tech.
V2G isn't ready for commercialization, however. The CPUC is simply looking at how the technology could fit into its regulatory framework, as well as existing grid infrastructure. The question is whether this will move things forward appreciably beyond previous V2G studies.
Two California utilities have studied V2G. Southern California Edison (SCE) announced plans for a demonstration project last year, while Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced last month it's working with BMW on a study involving actual EV owners.
In a pilot program that wrapped up in 2017, the two companies coordinated the timing of charging for some BMW i3 electric cars to lessen the strain on the grid. About 100 i3 owners in the San Francisco Bay Area were enrolled in the program, which ran for 18 months. PG&E and BMW just announced a next-step study of smart-charging systems and EV drivers—essentially seeing what difference it might make to simply change the time that EV owners charge, to smooth the grid load.
While clear regulations and utility cooperation are key elements of a workable V2G system, cars also need the hardware to discharge power back into the grid.
Audi and Volkswagen are testing bi-directional charging hardware in EVs, and Hyundai has said this will be a feature of its new E-GMP modular EV platform. The Nissan Leaf has also had this ability engineered into it—with additional hardware—but right now most of the electric cars on United States roads don't have that capability.
Source: Green Car Reports
Consumers looking to buy the new GMC Hummer EV pickup or SUV will be doing it online with minimal dealer involvement, directly from General Motors, for at least the next two years. After that, the retail shopping experience will "evolve" as GM rolls out more electric vehicles. The vehicles will make it to GMC dealership showrooms eventually, but even then, the buying process will change, said Phil Brook, vice president of marketing for Buick and GMC.
Source: Detroit Free Press
President Biden’s ambitious plan to jump-start the U.S. electric vehicle market faces a roadblock: a weak supply chain that is making it difficult for American automakers to get enough batteries to scale up production. And that shortage could get worse, depending on whether Biden intervenes this week in a dispute between two top South Korean manufacturers over moves by one to open a battery plant in Georgia to serve the U.S. market. Hanging in the balance are plans by Volkswagen and Ford to roll out about 340,000 new electric vehicles over the next several years.
Source: The Washington Post
The Biden administration is on track to propose by the end of July new limits on the emission of greenhouse gases from automobiles that are strong enough to meet “the urgency of the climate crisis,” according to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “We need to go as far as we can to meet the demands of the day,” Regan said in an exclusive interview Tuesday with Bloomberg News. “The science indicates we have a short window in time to reverse the path that we’re on and mitigate against certain climate impacts.”
Porsche is seeking to strengthen ties with battery specialists to expand on its technology edge that’s helped turn the Taycan electric car into a sales success. The sports-car maker is in talks to set up more collaborations with battery developers, including Germany’s Custom Cells GmbH, Volkswagen AG’s most profitable division said Tuesday in a statement. Porsche is spending 15 billion euros ($18 billion) over five years on boosting electric mobility and digital services.
Modern cars go wrong, that's just a fact of life. Whether it's a high-end supercar or a mass-produced family car, things happens and that's okay. Porsche has just realised it has a few issues with the 911, 718 Cayman and Boxster and are addressing them immediately.
Firstly, the issue concerning the 911 isn't too major. It was thought to be a screw connection on the rear upper control arm that may not have been correctly tightened, but this isn't the case and it has instead been identified as a software failure of the screwdriver on the assembly line. Thankfully, this has already been corrected, meaning only seven units have been affected, which include the 2019 Speedster and 2020 models of the Carrera S, 4S Coupes and the Carrera S Cabriolet. This recall is set to be on May 23rd.
As for the 718 Cayman and Boxster, it is a slightly bigger issue. A second recall was announced by the NHTSA which affects more vehicles, with 190 units estimated to be affected including the 718 Cayman GTS 4.0, the GT4, and then the Boxster GTS 4.0 and Spyder. The issue here is to do with the engine's connecting rods, which may loosen as they were not made according to specification. This recall is also expected to begin on May 23rd.
U.S. exports of vehicles and parts dropped in February to the lowest level in eight months, underscoring the negative impact the global semiconductor shortage is having on auto production. That’s according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday, which also showed the U.S. trade deficit widened to a record high as a 2.6% decline in exports outweighed a slight drop in imports. Automakers shut down plants and slashed production early in the pandemic while demand plummeted, but imports and exports of autos started to pick up again in July as factories reopened and buyer interest accelerated.
In a tightening horse race, Mercedes-Benz returned to the front in luxury segment sales for the first quarter, powered by strong demand for its luxury crossovers. But its lead has narrowed from a year earlier. In the first quarter of 2020, Mercedes was in first place with a comfortable 11,400-vehicle distance from the segment's third-place challenger, Lexus. But for the first quarter of 2021, Lexus was within 4,003 sales of Mercedes. And BMW, now No. 3 in the race, was just 2,820 vehicles behind Lexus. And if last year was any indicator, 2021 could be another dramatic race. Despite that roomy first-quarter position a year ago, Mercedes ended 2020 in third place behind BMW and Lexus.
Source: Automotive News
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