Toyota and Hino Heavy-Duty Fuel-Cell Electric Truck Verification Tests Start in the Spring of 2022 on Toyota Hino Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Truck

The hydrogen society draws closer each year.

Toyota says that tests to verify the feasibility of using fuel-cell electric trucks to reduce CO2 emissions in logistics will begin in the Spring of 2022. The Japanese automaker appears to have a lead on using fuel-cells in heavy trucks to address the harmful effects of global warming. Toyota and Hino are jointly developing heavy-duty FCETs, and Asahi Group, NLJ, Seino Transportation, Yamato Transport, and Toyota will perform the road trials in their logistics operations.

The goal is to accelerate the early commercial application of heavy-duty FCETs contributing to the development of a sustainable society. The air quality goals may be achieved, at least in part, by reducing CO2 emissions from heavy-duty FCETs, which account for approximately 70% of all CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles in Japan.
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CARB Alters and Adds Stationary Source Emissions Measurements to Improve Local Air Pollution and Health

Ken Zino of on CARB Reporting of Criteria Air Pollutants and Toxic Air Contaminants

Emissions inventory data is critical to understanding the sources of emissions that may contribute to adverse health risks.

The California Air Resources Board has approved “significant changes to the requirements for reporting emissions from stationary sources to help communities assess air pollution at a local level.” It’s the latest step in CARB’s long-standing commitment to further reduce emissions of pollutants that cause smog as well as toxic air pollutants in communities.* The additional data collected is also required to support multiple state and federal programs, including regional air quality planning, toxics risk reduction and strategies to reduce criteria pollutants.

Once fully implemented, the amendments aim to create a unified reporting mechanism resulting in the most comprehensive emissions inventory programs in the nation. They also established expanded and consistent reporting applicability criteria that determines which facilities need to report their emissions data, CARB said.
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Trump Covid Casualties – State Sales Tax Collections Dive


Ken Zino of on April 2020 Sales Tax Collection Down Because of Trump's policies

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The latest data from the US Census Bureau show that most states are losing tax revenue as the economy continues to show signs of a prolonged recession if not depression. This is April data, so it’s just the beginning of the lock-down. Since most states must balance their budgets by law this presents a giant problem for President elect Biden who is inheriting a giant problem and deficit from the Covid-19 denying and welfare for the rich policies of the defeated, vindictive president. Continue reading

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NHTSA Nixes GM Petition for Exclusion of Millions of Big Trucks and SUVs from Takata Airbag Recalls on deadly Takata airbag inflators

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The biggest recall* in US history just got bigger as NHTSA has ordered GM to replace Takata airbag inflators used in its full-size trucks and SUVs. In dispute were millions GM vehicles. In the U.S., there are now ~5.8 million vehicles involved in this recall. Globally, the number is about 7 million. (GMT900 full-size pickup and SUV platform used for the 2007 to 2014 model years.***)

GM said in a statement that “although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question. Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA’s position. However, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking the necessary steps.”
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Grim Survey – a Nation of Broke and Broken Shopkeepers?

Ken Zino on the Plight of small business under the vindictive and covid-denying Trump mis-administration

The health of small business under the vindictive and covid-denying Trump mis-administration is dire. Click to Enlarge.

Census Bureau data from its latest weekly pulse survey on small businesses are bleak. The survey came out just before Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin astounded the financial world last Friday by saying he would not extend after year end the Federal Reserve backing of  corporate credit and the Main Street and municipal lending programs. Mnuchin asked for the Fed to return the roughly $455 billion of unused capacity to the Treasury. Mnuchin is likely trying to stop President elect Biden’s next Treasury secretary extending relief to state and local governments. It will make it harder for small businesses to borrow. (see AI Federal Reserve President on Do Nothing Republicans – The Economy Goes Where The Virus Goes)

The Federal Reserve – in what AutoInformed says is the latest example of the ugly, vindictive politics of the defeated at the ballot box, impeached and lame-duck Trump – responded with a statement claiming it “would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the corona-virus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy.” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said earlier in the week  there was a need for the programs to continue. 
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Porsche Q3 in Black at €437 Million Because of VW

Ken Zino of on Porsche SE Q3 2020

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After the first nine months of the fiscal year 2020, Porsche Automobil Holding SE (Porsche SE), Stuttgart is making money again, albeit only at €437 million after tax (prior-year period: 3.52 billion euro). After the first six months of the fiscal year 2020, this figure had been negative at minus -€329 million.

Porsche SE’s positive result after tax basically comes from the profit from an investment accounted for at equity in Volkswagen AG of €505 million (prior-year period: €3.58 billion. Porsche Se is the largest holder of VW common stock). The business of the Volkswagen Group was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the first nine months of 2020 but made a recovery in the third quarter. Nonetheless both groups remain in difficult if not precarious financial positions. Continue reading

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Vijay Sankaran Rejects Information Officer Job at Ford

Ford Motor Company in a classic late Friday bad news  announcement ploy said late today that Vijay Sankaran will not rejoin the company, “citing personal reasons.” Ford has previously said that Sankaran, 47, had accepted an offer to become Ford’s chief software and information officer beginning this week, after serving seven years with TD Ameritrade. Sankaran, previously had served 12 years with Ford’s information technology team until 2013.  Ford will announce a permanent senior leader to oversee technology, software and data “in the near future.”
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GM’s Factory ZERO – First U.S. Plant to Install 5G

Ken Zino of on Cadillac Lyric EV

Cadillac Lyric – a serious run at German luxury SUVs that define the segment.

General Motors today said that Factory ZERO, aka Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, is the first automotive plant in the U.S. to install dedicated 5G fixed mobile network technology. Verizon’s 5G Ultra-Wideband service is operating now at Factory ZERO, with its claimed exponential increases in both bandwidth and speed supporting the ongoing transformation of the all-electric vehicle assembly plant as it prepares to begin producing EVs in 2021. (Cadillac LYRIC – Taking Back the Luxury EV Lead?)

A 5G Ultra-Wideband network has considerably faster download speeds and greater bandwidth than 4G networks. Factory ZERO is being completely retooled with a $2.2 billion investment, the largest ever for a GM manufacturing facility. Once fully operational, the plant will have more than 2,200 good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs. Hamtramck is huge with 4 million square feet of space. (see AIGM Doubles Down on EVs in Bid to Win Global Race) Continue reading

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GM Doubles Down on EVs in Bid to Win Global Race

Ken Zino of on GM's Growing EV Plan

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General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said today that the company will offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade. Forty percent of the company’s U.S. entries will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025. Barra also announced an increase in GM’s financial commitment to EVs and AVs today to $27 billion through 2025 – up from the $20 billion planned before the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of GM’s capital spending and product development team will be devoted to electric and electric-autonomous vehicle programs. (Cadillac LYRIC – Taking Back the Luxury EV Lead?  Honda, GM Ink MoU on North American Alliance!)

“Climate change is real, and we want to be part of the solution by putting everyone in an electric vehicle,” said Barra. “We are transitioning to an all-electric portfolio from a position of strength and we’re focused on growth. We can accelerate our EV plans because we are rapidly building a competitive advantage in batteries, software, vehicle integration, manufacturing and customer experience.”  Barra’s announcement is in line with President Biden as of 20 January 2021.

Ken Zino of on GM

Ken Zino of on GM making EVs the core product lines of the future.

GM is making EVs the core product lines of its future.

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JLR to Use Irish Smart City Hub for Self-Driving Tests?

Ken Zino of on JLR Autonomous Hub in Ireland

Brexit remains a problem of JLR.

Timing is everything. Amid the Brexit disaster, Jaguar Land Rover is working with global software, mobility and telecoms companies to create a smart city hub in Ireland. If this ever comes about on the scale envisioned, it will allow real-world testing of connected technology where self-driving vehicles share the streets with cars, pedestrians and cyclists. The testbed will be in the Limerick-Shannon metropolitan area at Shannon Free Zone, Shannon, Co. Clare. The future of Irish trade, political sovereignty and access to the EU is dependent on the resolution of Brexit. Jaguar Land Rover is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer.

Brexit talks were stopped yet again today (Thursday) when head European Union negotiator Michel Barnier announced a member of his team tested positive for COVID-19. Significant gaps in the auto industry’s ability to plan still exist, with a lack of clarity on the nature of the UK-EU’s future relationship hampering the efforts of almost nine in 10 firms to prepare according to a trade group. A disastrous ‘no deal’ outcome, or failure to achieve workable deal for auto, would mean £47 billion hit to UK sector over next five years – on top of ongoing coronavirus crisis costs, the auto industry claims. Ah, such is the price of blind ideologies who ignore real consequences, economists and political scientists. (see AutoInformed – SMMT – Final Plea for Zero-Tariff Trade Deal As Brexit Negotiations Near End) Continue reading

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Truck Wars – 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 470hp V8

Ken Zino of on 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 470hp V8

“This is the most powerful, quickest, most capable Jeep Wrangler we’ve ever built.”

Jeep has revealed its new 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 392, which is clearly the most powerful factory Wrangler yet with a 6.4-liter V8 engine, rated at 470 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. AutoInformed has not driven the V8 in these Covid infested times, but we won’t quibble with the stated zero to-60 mph ET of 4.5 seconds about ~40% faster than a V6 Wrangler Rubicon. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 goes on sale in the first quarter of 2021. (See AI on GMC 2021 Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition, First Look – Jeep Wrangler Rubicon V8 ConceptFord Bronco Sequel Appears with First-Ever Four-Door)

Whether this beast is the better choice for off-roading will likely be debated for some time. It has a 2-inch factory lift. True to the trend among performance truck makers, capability is there with larger approach and departure angles (approach, breakover and departure angles of 44.5, 22.6 and 37.5 degrees, respectively), more suspension articulation, and water traversing up to 32.5 inches. Marketing babble alert – a Tri-level Hydro-Guide air intake system can channel up to 15 gallons of water a minute away from engine.  A secondary air path built into the hood allows engine breathing up to top speed even if the hood scoop is completely clogged by mud, snow or debris.
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GMC 2021 Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition

Ken Zino of on 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition

“When customers are looking for a capable off-road truck, we know that they want improved vehicle height as well as additional protection.”

The profitable and relatively new performance pickup truck segment continues to expand with fresh offerings. Latest is the 2021 GMC Canyon AT4 Off-Road Performance Edition, an upsell/upgrade of the Canyon AT4. It is equipped for rugged off-road environments. The base Canyon AT4 debuted in January with 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, an off-road tuned suspension package with Advanced Hill Descent Control System and a four-wheel drive system with Eaton G80 Rear Automatic Locking Differential.
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Plug&Charge Pay on Mustang Mach-E, Porsche Taycan

Ken Zino of on Electrify America and Fast Charging Stations.

Electrify America is the largest DC fast charging network with 500 charging stations and +2,200 chargers.

Continuing a series of announcements that indicate the growing sophistication of electric vehicles,  Electrify America’s ultra-fast charging network now  has technology called Plug&Charge that allows EV drivers to begin a charge without reaching for their wallet or smartphone. After an online registration, drivers can automatically pay for charging by simply plugging in their EV. The charger communicates with the vehicle to identify, authenticate, authorize and bill the customer’s registered account for the charging session.

This technology is now available on all Electrify America chargers across the U.S. in advance of the anticipated arrival in the coming months of Plug&Chargecapable EVs, including the 2021 models of the Porsche Taycan, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Lucid Air. Continue reading

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Driver Phone Distraction During 41% of Daytime Trips

Ken Zino of on CMT’s DriveWell Technology

Big Brother run rampant or a socially beneficial use of data?

Driver distraction is a fast-growing problem that has proven difficult to quantify and contain, thanks to the lack of a consistent method of measurement and varying levels of enforcement across the U.S. According to a new report on phone use by Cambridge Mobile Telematics*. The data combined with CMT’s research and analysis offers” the most comprehensive overview of the state of phone distraction on our roads today,” CMT claims. Critics note that this is ”Big Brother” taken to a higher level. AutoInformed is in the early stages of testing the software on cars in use.

CMT claims (it specializes in smartphone telematics and driving behavioral analytics) that U.S. drivers were distracted by their phones during 41% of all daytime drives in 2019. Smart phone use has steadily risen over the last decade, so too has the issue of phone distraction behind the wheel, CMT observes. Continue reading

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Europe’s F-Series – All-Electric Ford E-Transit Revealed

Ken Zino of on Ford E-Transit

E-Transit reduces  cost of ownership by approximately 40% compared with internal combustion engine-equipped models because of lower maintenance expenses, Ford claims.

Ford today showed the new E-Transit van in the UK. It claims E-Transit will offer customers enhanced productivity enabled by its fully electric powertrain, software solutions, services and Pro Power Onboard options. The vehicle will eventually be produced for North American customers at the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri. It will likely be priced starting at about $45,000.

E-Transit, which starts arriving with European customers in early 2022, is part of Ford’s more than $11.5 billion global investment in electrification through 2022. The all-new, all-electric Mustang Mach-E will be in European dealerships from early next year and the fully electric F‑150 appears at North American dealers in mid-2022.
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