VW says the next generation of gasoline-engined cars will be its last
Volkswagen expects the era of the combustion car to fade away after it rolls out its next-generation gasoline and diesel cars beginning in 2026.
Traditional automakers are under increasing pressure from regulators to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to combat climate change, prompting Volkswagen to pursue a radical shift to electric vehicles.
"Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren't CO2-neutral," Michael Jost, strategy chief for Volkswagen's namesake brand, said Tuesday at an industry conference near the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
"We're gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum."
The world's largest automaker has started to introduce its first wave of electric cars, including next year's Porsche Taycan. The rollout across its stable of 12 automotive brands is forecast to comprise about 15 million vehicles, as the company earmarks $50 billion over the next five years to spend on its transformation to self-driving, electric cars.
Production of the VW brand's I.D. Neo hatchback will start in 12 months in Germany, followed by other models from the I.D. line assembled at two sites in China as of 2020. VW plans to launch fully or partly electric versions across its lineup of more than 300 cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes by 2030.
VW will continue to modify its combustion engine technology after the new platform is introduced next decade. After 2050, there may still be some gasoline and diesel models in regions where there is insufficient charging infrastructure, according to Jost
Problems with diesel pollution in cities can be resolved with cleaner engines, but the much bigger threat in the long run is CO2 emissions, which contribute to global warming, the VW executive said.
The German manufacturer is "fully committed" to the goals outlined in the Paris climate accord, which calls for accelerating the rollout of vehicles that lower or eliminate harmful emissions, he said at an industry conference organized by daily Handelsblatt.
The gradual exit of combustion engines marks a sea change for Volkswagen, which became the poster child of car pollution after it admitted to cheating on emissions tests in a scandal involving 11 million vehicles worldwide.
"Yes, we have a clear responsibility here," Jost said. "We made mistakes."
British Columbia plans to end non-electric car sales by 2040
VANCOUVER, B.C. - British Columbia's premier said on Tuesday his government will introduce legislation next year that will require all new light-duty cars and trucks sold in the province by 2040 to be electric or zero-emission vehicles.
Premier John Horgan said the province will phase in the sales targets, which apply only to new vehicles. They would start at 10 percent by 2025, rising to 30 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040.
To support the plan, British Columbia would expand its fast-charging network and spend an additional $20 million Canadian ($15 million U.S.) this year on incentives for consumers who buy electric vehicles.
"We need to make clean energy vehicles more affordable, available and convenient," Horgan said in a statement. He noted the targets were part of a long-term plan to achieve ambitious carbon emission reduction goals.
British Columbia offers credits of up to C$5000 for the purchase or lease of new battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, and C$6000 for new hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. It plans to expand the incentive program over time.
The province follows Quebec, which passed legislation in 2016 targeting 15.5 percent of sales and leases be zero emission vehicles by 2020. A number of U.S. states, including California, have similar laws designed to increase the supply and sales of plug-in electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle sales are booming in Canada, more than doubling in the second quarter of 2018 compared with the same period of 2017, according to clean-tech data firm FleetCarma. But demand is still far lower than for conventional vehicles.
Tesla's Model 3 is the most popular electric car in Canada, followed by Nissan's Leaf and General Motors' Chevy Bolt.
The International Energy Agency said last week that electric vehicles and more efficient fuel technology will cut transportation demand for oil by 2040 more than previously expected.
Ford, Walmart to collaborate on designing automated-vehicle delivery
The project is the latest to grow out of Ford's broader effort to develop businesses that could use automated delivery vehicles. Ford was working with San Francisco-based Postmates already to develop delivery services that could employ automated vehicles.
The Walmart pilot, which will take place in the Miami area, initially will use human-driven vehicles operated to simulate how a self-driving vehicle would behave, Ford said. Ford has said it expects to launch commercial production of automated vehicles by 2021.
The new pilot project will offer customers delivery by Postmates of goods ordered at Walmart stores. Brian Wolf, an executive of Ford's autonomous vehicle unit, wrote in a blog post that the companies will work over the next "couple of months" to figure out what goods can be delivered successfully, especially perishable groceries.
"Before self-driving cars can go mainstream, we must get a better sense of how people want to interact with them," Tom Ward, Walmart senior vice president for digital operations, said in a statement on Thursday.
That could require new designs or equipment for vehicles, Wolf wrote. Among the challenges Ford has said it is working on is designing on-board storage systems that are easy for customers to open to retrieve a pizza or a package.
Postmates, according to its website, operates in 385 U.S. cities, as well as Mexico. It offers delivery from brick-and-mortar restaurants and stores.
Walmart is competing with online retailer Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and other rivals to cut the cost of delivering goods over what industry executives call "the last mile" to customers who order online.
Replacing human delivery van drivers with robotic systems could reduce last-mile delivery costs. But the technology is still expensive, and the industry is still waiting for regulations that could help protect automated vehicle owners or manufacturers from liability claims.
Ford is in discussions with German automaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) about a possible investment in its self-driving vehicle unit, people familiar with the situation said. No deal has been announced.Ford has emphasized commercial uses of autonomous vehicle technology, such as goods delivery, in contrast to rival General Motors Co (GM.N), which is working to build a robot taxi service at its GM Cruise unit.
In July, Ford said it would create a new business unit, Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, to house its self-driving vehicle operations. The automaker said it would invest a total of $4 billion in the unit through 2023.
CARPROOF has officially rebranded its name to CARFAX Canada.
News of the name change was announced in the spring, when the company launched the rebranding process to better align with its U.S. counterpart, CARFAX.
"CARFAX Canada will continue to provide the same robust history and valuation information that dealers and consumers have come to expect from us," said Shawn Vording, Vice President of Automotive Sales at CARFAX Canada.
He adds: "We're excited to leverage the CARFAX brand because it better positions us to provide enhanced products and services to Canadians in the future, building on our extensive history of helping people make informed decisions about used cars."
Overall, the vehicle history, appraisal and valuation company is meant to help leverage the strength of the U.S. CARFAX brand so that more Canadians feel comfortable in buying and selling used vehicles in the country.
Hyundai and Kia Developing Solar Panel Roofs for Electric, Internal Combustion Engines
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors announced in a press release Wednesday that they are working together on solar charging technologyfor integration into hybrid, electric, and internal combustion vehicles. Hyundai plans to roll out this feature in three generations, with the first coming in 2019. The technology will improve fuel economy and range on equipped cars, reducing emissions in the process.
"It is an exciting development for us, designing a technology for vehicle owners to help them shift from being energy users to being energy producers," said Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice president of the engineering and design division of Hyundai Motor Group.
Generation one will be made for PHEVs, the second generation of tech will be made for internal combustion engines, and the third generation will be made for EVs.
The first generation of the technology will be "created out of a structure of silicon solar panels that are integrated into a standard car roof," described Hyundai. As the hybrid car is parked, this roof will have the ability to charge 30 percent to 60 percent of its battery during the course of a day, depending on current weather conditions.
Generation two will be a semi-transparent solar panel embedded into the panoramic sunroof of internal combustion engine vehicles. This system is meant to charge the car's 12-volt battery. The addition of solar panels will allow the car to rely less on the typical alternator charging system, taking stress off of the engine and improving fuel efficiency as a result.
In its release, Hyundai Motor Group doesn't have much to say about the third generation of the technology, other than it "is currently in testing," and it will be applied to the roofs and hoods of future EVs to provide them with a source of clean energy.
"In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicles. The solar roof is the first of these technologies, and will mean that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively," stated Park.
In the fight to reduce emissions, it's imperative not only for companies to manufacture more efficient cars, but also to power them through renewable sources, such as hydrogen cells, wind power, and solar energy. If the third generation of this technology makes it into production, it could put Hyundai and Kia a step closer to creating a true zero-emissions vehicle.
Maven to Expand Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing to 10 US Cities by December
General Motors' Maven division is expanding a service that lets owners and lessees rent out their cars, Airbnb style. The so-called "peer-to-peer" car-sharing service launched in beta form in Chicago, Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, earlier this year. According to GM, it will also be available in Baltimore, Boston, Jersey City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2018.
Maven's peer-to-peer car-sharing service lets people rent out their cars by the hour or by the day, and charge users for the privilege. Owners set their own rates within a range determined by Maven, which also takes a cut from each rental. Maven previously said owners could earn hundreds of dollars per month, but the actual amount depends on how much the car is rented out, and how much the owner charges.
Owners can rent out any vehicles from GM's four brands, as long as they are 2015 or newer models, don't have manual transmissions, and don't have uncompleted recall repairs. Both drivers and renters must also go through a vetting process before being allowed to use the service, and GM backs rentals with a $1 million liability insurance policy.
Other services like Turo and Getaround are working the peer-to-peer car sharing angle, but Turo's fights with the City of San Francisco and Utah rental companies show that the concept may face significant opposition from regulators and existing businesses.
Peer-to-peer car sharing will operate alongside Maven's existing services. Maven offers traditional car-sharing using a fleet of vehicles owned by GM, as well as a service that rents cars to drivers working for Uber, Lyft, and other so-called "Gig Economy" companies. Maven claims to have booked over 186,000 reservations, with more than 338 million miles driven.
Kijiji will debut standalone auto-shopping platform
Canadian classifieds site Kijiji has announced a new standalone car-shopping platform: Kijiji Autos.
The platform is separate from the company's existing automotive business (a space it has been in since 2005) and is an all-new automotive research and shopping destination with its own website and app.
"Our goal at Kijiji has always been to help Canadians make connections and to find what they need within their community," Kijiji general manager Matthew McKenzie said in a news release.
"Cars and trucks has always been one of the top categories on Kijiji and we've enabled countless Canadians to buy or sell vehicles for more than a decade," he said. "Through developing a new digital destination, we want to further help in the car buying journey."
McKenzie added: "We recognize that for some, car shopping is really fun, while for others it can be a lot of work.
"Whether you're a less experienced shopper who needs more information and guidance during the car-shopping process, or a car lover who knows what you want and simply want to find it faster, we want Kijiji Autos to help you find to the vehicle for you, through an easy-to-use, transparent and enjoyable user experience."
Sharing more details about the new platform, the company - which is part of the eBay Classifieds Group - said Kijiji Autos is designed to provide an easier, intuitive shopping experience focusing entirely on autos. It will include vehicle recommendations and various search/browse filters.
Kijiji Autos also has plans for features to help promote transparency: dealer ratings/reviews and pre-owned price analysis tool.
"The autos industry has rapidly changed over the last few years and we've worked tirelessly to elevate the brand, develop the right product and partnerships, and assemble the best talent," Kijiji director of autos Leanne Kripp said in a news release. "We constantly ask for feedback from our community of users and dealer partners, and that feedback is what's driven the evolution of our brand.
"What we heard was clear - Canadians want a better car shopping experience. Building on the success and learnings from our eCG family, we felt this was the right moment to do something disruptive in Canada. We're confident that Kijiji Autos will provide a more thoughtful experience for Canadian car shoppers, our dealer partners and private sellers," she said.
Kripp added: "We know that by making it easier for Canadians to shop, we are also making it easier for Canadians to sell. By leveraging the 16.8 (million) monthly users on Kijiji and investing in the growth of the car-focused audience that can exist on Kijiji Autos, we can connect the full spectrum of car shoppers - low-, mid- and high-funnel automotive seekers - to dealers and sellers, creating more opportunities for buyers and sellers to transact successfully in their communities."
MERCEDES-BENZ, GEELY CONSIDERING JOINT RIDE-HAILING SERVICE
Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz and Smart, is reportedly considering starting a 50-50 joint-venture ride-hailing service with Chinese carmaker Geely.
Sources have told Bloomberg the ride-hailing system would be for the Chinese market.
Daimler is reportedly considering using vehicles from its Denza electric car brand, which itself is a joint venture with BYD and produces EVs based on the first-generation B-Class.
Should the joint venture go ahead, the automakers face an uphill battle to gain significant market share from Didi Chuxing. Although dominant in China, the company is currently under regulatory pressure and is spending big to gain market share in other countries.
Li Shufu, founder and chairman of Geely, acquired a 9.69 per cent stake in Daimler in February this year, making him the largest single shareholder in the German automaker.
Daimler, like some other automakers, has already begun to diversify into mobility services, and currently operates the MyTaxi ride-hailing app, ViaVan ride-pooling service, and Car2Go short-term car hire platform.
Honda invests $2.75B to build driverless car with GM Cruise
Honda Motor Co.'s alliance with General Motors Co.'s self-driving unit creates a formidable trans-Pacific player to develop and build an autonomous vehicle, powered by a $2.75 billion investment from the Japanese automaker.
The tie-up announced Wednesday leapfrogs the smaller Honda from the back of the pack in the race to deploy autonomous vehicles to the market. And it signals a vote of confidence in the self-driving technology developed by GM Cruise LLC, the Detroit automaker's autonomous-vehicle unit.
"For Honda to contribute that amount of money really elevates GM's efforts," said Mike Ramsey, an automotive analyst for research firm Gartner Inc. "This also gives you a sense of how hard it is to develop this technology and these vehicles on your own. GM clearly was willing to do this, and wouldn't do it if they didn't see a true benefit in sharing the cost with another major automaker."
In addition to its expertise in automotive interiors and engineering, Honda is bringing a significant financial investment to the table. It first will make a $750 million equity investment in GM Cruise to take a 5.7 percent stake in the GM division, which has helped the Detroit automaker become a leader in self-driving systems development.
The Japanese automaker also will contribute about $2 billion over 12 years to fund and develop a "purpose-built" autonomous vehicle for Cruise that can serve a variety of uses for global deployment.
Honda had been in talks with Waymo, the self-driving project of Google parent Alphabet Inc., since 2016. As recently as April, Waymo stated that a deal to work with Honda on a delivery-based service was "coming soon."
But Honda executive vice president Seiji Kuraishitold reporters Wednesday that its partnership with GM Cruise was "exclusive."
"We are going forward by leveraging each other's strengths, and would like to expand (in) this business field," he said through an interpreter.
The three-way partnership between Honda, GM and its self-driving unit is designed to equip GM Cruise with "the world's best design, engineering and technology resources to further establish them as a leader in AV technology with global reach and the ability to deploy at scale," CEO Mary Barra said at the company's technical and engineering hub in Warren.
GM and Honda have been working together on fuel-cell technology since 2013, a partnership that was strengthened last year when GM and Honda equally split $85 million in investment to create Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC - the auto industry's first joint-venture for fuel-cell manufacturing - at GM's battery-pack assembly plant in Brownstown Township.
The two automakers expanded their partnership on zero-emissions vehicles earlier this year with an agreement to jointly develop battery cells and modules. In the deal announced Wednesday, the companies will work together to build an autonomous vehicle to be manufactured by GM, not Honda.
Most of the funding provided by Honda will go toward development of that vehicle, with some contribution to develop new market opportunities at Cruise. The partnership will allow GM and Honda to deploy autonomous vehicles across the world, leveraging the geographic footprints of both automakers, GM President Dan Ammann said.
The project with Honda is separate from GM's launch of a driverless ride-service next year, and is focused on building what Ammann called "the next evolution in the future of transportation."
GM already is building test versions of its driverless Cruise AV, based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV, at its Orion Assembly Plant. The roof modules for the vehicles are built at GM's Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant. GM plans to build its production version of the Cruise AV, without a steering wheel or control pedals, at the two plants next year.
"One of the things that is underappreciated in this industry is going from a prototype vehicle that is covered in sensors and computers to one that can be produced on an assembly line," Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt told The Detroit News. "It is no easy task, especially if you want to do that in volume."
But with Honda at the table, that process is expected to move a little faster: "We will be able to take all the things we've learned from (working with GM) and apply them to the vehicle we're building together with Honda," Vogt said. "It shortens the timeline to go from the initial vehicle to a really great one like the one we're envisioning."
The two automakers are aiming to build a driverless car from the ground up, designed from the start to ferry people and things without the need for a driver. GM engineers will work on the base architecture of the autonomous vehicle, with Honda engineers and the Cruise team joining in for its overall development, including testing to ensure safety.
That vehicle might include a tricked-out interior with a TV, mini bar and lay-flat seats, as Vogt wrote in a Wednesday blog post, but it will also likely be engineered to practically operate in Cruise's network.
Vogt told The News that Honda's "talents in building space-efficient vehicles" fit well into GM's ultimate goal of a world without congestion, fossil-fuel emissions or crashes. The two automakers also have complementary global footprints, with Honda offering GM a gateway into the Japanese market.
"If you think about … the geographic reach of Honda and how it overlaps - or doesn't overlap - with the geographic reach of General Motors, that will perhaps give you a perspective on some of the things we might be thinking about," Ammann told investors on a conference call.
Honda's total $2.75 billion investment comes after Japanese investment-firm SoftBank Investment Advisers invested $2.25 billion in Cruise earlier this year, bringing the valuation of GM's autonomous vehicle unit to $14.6 billion.
GM plans to launch its driverless fleet of its Bolt-based Cruise AVs in a yet-to-be-named city in 2019. The Detroit automaker submitted earlier this year its federal safety proposal to put a driverless vehicle with no steering wheel, gas pedal or brake pedal on public roads. GM's efforts to deploy autonomous vehicles accelerated after its acquisition of Cruise Automation in 2016, earning the Detroit automaker credibility with industry observers and investors.
Ammann said GM's 2019 driverless-fleet launch is still "the target," but did not offer updates on the timetable.
"We are moving as fast as we can to deploy this technology," he said. "Adding the resources is only going to move us further and faster."