Nutson's Weekly Auto News Nuggets - Week Ending August 10, 2019
Auto News Nuggets: ZF Says Real Autonomous Ain't So Easy; GM Still Believes In EV; Tesla Trouble; Dodge Horsepower Crook-Magnet; No Cars In Jakarta; 6.6-liter Duramax Harmed By Thin American Diesel Fuel; MyFord MyLincon Entertainment System Lawsuit; GM Ignition Lawsuit; Ford Recalls; Ford Leads Horsepower War; Congrats John Force; Go-Fast Hybrid and EV Race-cars; McClaren Back Home Again In Indiana
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Nutson's Automotive News Review - Week Ending August 10, 2019; Important and Interesting automotive news and back stories in expert-created easy to digest news nuggets.
*At the 2019 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan this week in a presentation by ZF it was said that automakers are finding the pursuit of fully autonomous Level 5 self-driving vehicles to be more expensive and technically complex than expected, Farid Khairallah, portfolio director of safety domain control units for German supplier ZF. Level 5 vehicles are fully autonomous with no pedals or steering wheel. He said Level 2 self-driving technology, in which the vehicle can steer and stop itself but requires a driver to be seated behind the steering wheel, is more achievable for most automakers. For a Level 5 vehicle to be 100 percent safe 100 percent of the time, it will need 1 million times more computer processing power than today's vehicles...that could make a vehicle prohibitively expensive and technically unwieldy.
* It's often said that high price and limited range are the key drawbacks to buying an elective vehicle. What's not said is we have a very poor charging infrastructure causing interested buyers to be discouraged because the "refueling" is too cumbersome, time consuming and inconvenient. To help with this issue GM has partnered with Bechtel Corp., a construction company, to form a joint venture, but officials confirmed the duo are looking for investors to fund the construction and installation of chargers for use with the Chevy Bolt as well as GM’s future vehicles. Nissan has partnered with EVgo for the installation of 200 new fast-chargers across the country. Electrify America, a company created by VW, is set to spend $500 million to create a network of chargers across the country.
* Driverless cars have rolled into New York City. But don’t expect to see them traveling down Fifth Avenue anytime soon. The cars have been corralled behind the gates of the sprawling Brooklyn Navy Yard — away from city streets teeming with cars, bikes and pedestrians. The cars will shuttle people around a loop that is just over one mile at the yard, a 300-acre, privately operated manufacturing and technology hub. They will run seven days a week to meet passengers going to and from a recently opened ferry landing. And this is how we will see driverless cars used....not on public roads for a long, long time.
* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demanded that Tesla "cease and desist" making a claim that the Model 3 sedan "achieved the lowest probability of injury of any vehicle tested" by the agency, issued subpoenas to Tesla for information on crashes and asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the propriety of Tesla's safety claims, according to documents disclosed on the website Plainsite and first reported by Bloomberg.
* Two large cars known for their powerful engines — the Dodge Charger HEMI and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat — top the Highway Loss Data Institute’s list of vehicles most likely to be stolen. Both vehicles have claim rates for whole-vehicle theft that are more than 5 times the average for 2016-18 models, as does the Infiniti Q50, a midsize luxury sedan. Nearly all 20 models with the highest theft rates are either vehicles with big engines, luxury vehicles or pickups. The car that tops the list of least stolen vehicles is also a midsize luxury sedan, the two-wheel-drive BMW 3 series.
* Reuters reports that another big city is trying to limit driving. Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, put new restrictions on the use of private cars in the city in an effort to ease severe air pollution. Around the world, cities are taking the lead in restricting internal combustion automobiles, presenting a challenge to automakers who prefer national regulation, or no regulation at all.
* GM has been hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging it equipped 2011-2016 GMC and Chevrolet diesel trucks with 6.6-liter Duramax engines that are not compatible with American diesel fuel. The lawsuit alleges GM sold "hundreds of thousands" of diesels with high-pressure fuel injection pumps designed by German auto supplier Bosch that pumped metal shavings into the fuel injection system and damaged the fuel system and engines. The lawsuit alleges that because American diesel fuel is thinner than European diesel and provides less lubrication.
* Ford will compensates over 360,000 owners of vehicles equipped with early versions of the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch infotainment systems from a $17 million fund to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by motorists who complained about the software's alleged shortcomings. The motorists purchased or leased a vehicle equipped with the aforementioned infotainment systems between 2010 and August 2013.
* The Detroit Bureau reports that owners of GM vehicles with faulty ignition switches seeking compensation for the drop in value of those vehicles lost an important court battle after the judge in the case denied their request for monetary damages. The vehicles, which were part of what was then the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, had faulty ignition switches that could, under certain circumstances, cause the vehicle to lose power. GM recalled more than 2.6 million vehicles since 2014 due to the ignition switches.
* Ford is recalling more than 14,000 of its 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator vehicles in the U.S. and Canada that are at risk of moving unintentionally due to potentially missing a federally required manual park-release cover. Ford said the affected vehicles may also have instrument clusters that are in factory mode, which disables warning alerts and chimes, and does not display gear positions to let drivers know which gear is selected.
* More on the American horsepower wars, this time from Ford. Achieving 0-100-0 in 10.6 seconds, the 2020 Shelby GT500 is the most powerful street-legal Ford ever built with its 760-horsepower engine, ultra-quick Tremec 7-speed dual-clutch transmission and the largest front brakes of any domestic sports coupe.
* Long-time NHRA nitro Funny Car driver John Force, age 70, reached a new record winning his 150th Funny Car race, which took place in his 700th Funny Car event. Force beat Ron Capps in the finals of the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Kent, Wash., with a 3.971-second run to Capp’s 4.018.
* In other motorsports news, Hyundai will preview an all-electric race car at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. And, Honda says it will return to next year’s IndyCar series with a hybrid-powered racer delivering “more than 900 horsepower.” Earlier this month, IndyCar announced that it will switch to hybrid technology with the launch of the 2022 series. Both Honda and Chevrolet will join in on the switch. IndyCar actually is late into hybridization. Both Formula One with its kinetic energy recovery system, or KERS system, and the Le Mans endurance race series run hybrids.
* McLaren, which sold more cars in the U.S. last year than any other market, is returning to full-time IndyCar competition in 2020 for the first time since 1979. McLaren will handle technical expertise, commercial experience and marketing for team Arrow McLaren Racing in North America's top open-wheel racing circuit.