Ford Motor Co. would like the U.S. government to sponsor an automotive stimulus program to help the industry get back on its feet after the coronavirus crisis abates. “We think some level of stimulus somewhere on the other side of this would help not only the auto industry and our dealers, which are a huge part of our overall economy, but will help the customers as well,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said in a phone interview. “We’re in discussions about what would be the most appropriate.”
If you’ve ever taken a highway trip with an electric car, you understand that moving along even close to the flow of traffic can really put a dent in how much range you get from a full charge. Getting anything approaching the EPA range rating in most models takes mild weather and hugging the right lane. Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson told Green Car Reports earlier this year that its upcoming Lucid Air electric sedan will achieve not just a 400-mile EPA range rating but 400 miles at highway speed—a number that no other current electric car can reasonably today meet, including the Tesla Model S.
The report chronicles the drive of a technical fellow and senior engineer as they pull away from Lucid’s Newark, California headquarters and on one charge took Highway 1 past Big Sur—stopping in San Luis Obispo, where its chase truck had to be filled up with $80 of gas—and then all the way to the Santa Monica pier. Then, after a full charge they drove through Hollywood and Beverly Hills (where the company plans to open a Lucid Studio this summer) and headed back toward the Bay Area along I-5—including the Grapevine, a stretch of I-5 that climbs north of Los Angeles to the 4,144-foot Tejon Pass, followed by plenty of 70-mph cruising.
Lucid, perhaps playing it straight as there won’t be any EPA range rating for many months, doesn’t claim any actual range number out of the test. But it definitely teases something good when, for a final stretch, Rawlinson and drive unit test and validation manager Wesley Brandon join in a different car as the two prototypes make a parade lap of sorts around the San Francisco Bay. “This is close to a thousand miles in one trip now,” Rawlinson notes—a tease that the range in each direction was well over the 400-mile goal. After seeing/hearing this, Green Car Reports punted a few questions over to Lucid. Perhaps first and foremost, Lucid confirmed that it maintained the posted speed limit for the duration of the trip. The car that was tested was one of Lucid’s pre-production prototypes, running the same motor, inverter, and battery pack—at around 110 kwh, with LG Chem 2170-format cylindrical cells—that is to be used for the production car. The drag coefficient was also confirmed to be the same.
Lucid confessed that the weight of the tested Air was slightly less than it will be in the production car, because of interior features missing; but it’s since added ballasts to subsequent tests and with software tuning it’s still netting more than 400 miles per charge.
Which brings us to the present. “While the range tests have been halted for now, our engineers continue to collaborate remotely until we can safely return to work, and they look forward to the continuation of this process,” summed spokesman Andrew Hussey. This first range run was in February, and Lucid followed this drive with what it described as dozens of trips as engineers fine-tuned the Air around the idea of “smart range”—the idea that “it challenges long-distance driving with efficiency rather than ever-larger battery packs.”
A year from now, don’t be surprised to see Air owners accepting the challenge, and taking the same kind of highway trip this Lucid crew did—one that few if any EVs can do in the same way.
Source: Green Car Report
General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. announced an agreement Thursday to jointly develop two new electric vehicles for Honda that will be based on GM’s global electric-vehicle platform that's powered by the Detroit automaker's Ultium battery system. The companies said the new electric cars will be built at GM plants in North America, with sales in the United States and Canadian markets expected to begin in 2024. The announcement is the latest result of a partnership between GM and Honda on electrification and fuel-cell battery technologies that stretches back to 2013.
Source: The Detroit News
Ontario dealerships were closed until further notice Monday, by order of the provincial government. They had to be closed by 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 4. Most dealerships aren’t open on Sundays. Showrooms and new-vehicle sales are no longer considered essential services amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has crippled much of the world’s economy. Service bays and parts departments can remain open, but parts can be provided to consumers only through an alternative method of sale, such as curb side pick-up or delivery, except in exceptional circumstances.
Several automakers and captive lenders have taken steps to extend warranties and lease agreements as most Canadians remain under stay-at-home orders in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.
The Trillium Automobile Dealers’ Association was unavailable for immediate comment Monday morning.
Quebec deemed new-vehicle sales and showrooms non-essential March 23 and they remained closed, however online sales are permissible in the province. Service departments are limited to performing “emergency” repairs. “As the government has specified, the online sale of vehicles is also permitted for those who must change vehicles during this period. No stage of the sale will allow a physical meeting between the customers and the employees of the concession,” La Corporation des concessionnaires d’automobiles du Quebec said in a statement.
Dealerships in B.C. are not required to be closed, but if they're open, they must follow all social distancing and other health measures recommended by the province. "Most are doing sales transactions and service bookings online, with sanitary deliveries and enhanced cleaning measures to protect both staff and customers," said Blair Qualey, head of the New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia.
Source: Automotive News Canada
Mexican auto industry group AMIA said on Monday that 90 days is not enough time for the sector to adapt its supply chains to meet the rules of origin requirements in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which could take effect on July 1. AMIA has urged authorities to postpone until January 2021 the start of the sectoral rules in the trade pact that will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. It argued that there is still a lack of clarity about the content rules and said the coronavirus has made it even more challenging to comply.
Deutsche Bank’s Emmanuel Rosner downgraded General Motors Co. for the first time since he initiated coverage on the automaker more than a year ago, warning the carmaker will run low on cash if production shutdowns continue for months. GM and Ford Motor Co. have only 15 to 17 weeks of liquidity to ride out current conditions before they hit the minimum levels of cash they need to run their business, Rosner said in a report Tuesday. He cut his rating on GM to hold and lowered his price target to $25 from $41.
J.D. Power estimates that from March to July, 1.8 million lease customers are scheduled to turn in their keys. For U.S. dealerships this usually is a reliable source of return customers. But this spring, it's unlikely dealerships will be able to take advantage of those expiring contracts and put customers into a new vehicle because some states are banning auto sales. Because of this, thousands of customers will continue their leases, availing themselves of generous automaker-backed extensions. Others will drop cars off at dealerships without replacing them perhaps because they are working from home and don't need a vehicle or they have lost their job and don't have the need or money for a new one.
Source: Automotive News
Data about online shopping activity has given industry observers some optimism about how the auto market might bounce back. "We see there being plenty of demand" when business returns to normal, Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, said on a conference call Tuesday. "Through the latest week, retail sales nationwide are down about two-thirds relative to the same week last year," Smoke said. "But on the shopping side, we're closer to 11 or 12 percent down, meaning that there's still traffic. There's still consumers engaging for both new and used vehicles."
It could take three years or more to return to the 17-million-unit level of new vehicle sales that prevailed prior the recession precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has locked down the U.S. economy for an indefinite period. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimated new light-vehicle will drop to between 13 million and 13.5 million units for the year – down from an original 2020 sales forecast of 16.8 million units and substantially below the 17.1 million units sold in 2019.
Source: The Detroit Bureau
The Norwegian Automobile Federation put 20 EVs head to head in freezing temperatures.
The Norwegian Automobile Federation did a controlled, back-to-back (to back, 20 times) test of the most popular EVs in Norway as of January 2020 and came up with some expected results, and some unexpected ones, as well. The expected part is that EVs lose an average of about 20% of their stated range at temperatures near zero Celsius. The unexpected part is that most will run full speed until the very last mile and that if an EV completely dies, you might be able to squeeze out a few more emergency miles in the automotive equivalent of taking out the remote control batteries, rolling them around and reinstalling them. First, the test. NAF took 20 EVs including the Tesla Model S, 3 and X; Kia Niro and Soul EVs; Hyundai Kona Electric; Jaguar i-Pace; Opel Ampera-e (our Chevy Bolt); Mercedes-Benz EQC; two Audi e-trons; two Nissan Leafs; Renault Zoe; Hyundai Ioniq; BMW i3; SEAT Mii Electric; Skoda Citigo e; and the Volkswagen e-up! and e-Golf.
According to the NAF, “The test focused on range, consumption and charging time. To test all the cars equally, the test drive was performed without preheating of neither cabin nor battery. All cars drove the same route on the same day, with similar style of driving and climate control settings. “The test route consisted of city driving, highways and country roads in speeds from 60 kmh (37 mph) to 110 kmh (68 mph). All the cars had one climb through a mountain pass. The longest running cars climbed two mountain passes.”
The cars were all charged overnight indoors and were started cold. The drivers were ordinary people and were instructed to follow the speed limit. The cars were driven in eco mode, with the heater on 70 degrees and the seat heaters on the lowest setting. The drivers were also instructed to use regeneration “actively.”
Winter Range Test 1.
The average in the test was an 18.5% decrease in stated range over the course of the punishing test. The Tesla Model S had the longest stated range and went the farthest, but it only hit 74% of its stated range (on the European WLTP cycle) of 610 km (379 miles). Of note is that, since the Model S went the farthest, it also was the only vehicle to drive in deep, new snow, which also shortened the range. The Ampera-e was the only one that was farther off (70%) with a stated range of 423 km (262 miles) and an actual winter range of 297 km (184 miles).
The Hyundai Kona came the closest to its stated range of 449 km (278 miles), missing the target by just 7%. The Hyundai Ioniq lost about 10%; the bigger-battery Audi e-tron 55 lost about 15%. Check out the full charts below and above.
Winter Range Test 2.
As for charging, the cars were driven two hours on the highway and then straight to the charging station without waiting in line. All were charged from less than 10% to 80%. Check out the charging graph here.
The Audi e-tron 55 did well again in this test, taking just 27 minutes to get to 80%. The Model 3 took 35 minutes. The worst in the charging test were again the Opel Ampera-e, which took more than 90 minutes, and the Renault Zoe (75 minutes). Granted, some of these charge with small kW chargers; others, like Audi, use the bigger kW chargers. Freezing weather affects charge speed, as well.
Finally, NAF notes that all of the EVs give plenty of warning before running out of juice and that most “maintain speed until the last few kilometers.” In some cars, the heater shuts down. The outfit also found that if you shut a dead car down for 45 minutes or so, you can squeeze a few more miles out of it, possibly enough to get to your home or a charging station. We’d recommend that technique for emergencies only.
This is the most exhaustive test we’ve seen so far, and though many of these cars are European-only models, the same results could be expected for EV owners in the northern United States. This will all get better in time, through chemistry, hardware and charger upgrades, but it’s good to keep in mind nonetheless.
Source: The Green Car Report
Subscribe to our Automotive Weekly newsletter