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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up September 25-October 1, 2022



AUTO CENTRAL CHICAGO - October 2, 2022; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior editor Thom Cannell from The Auto Channel Michigan Bureau, compile The Auto Channel's "take" on this past week's automotive news, condensed into easy to digest news Nuggets.

LEARN MORE: Complete versions of today's news nuggets, along with thousands of pages of relevant news and opinions, information stored in a million-page library published and indexed on The Auto Channel during the past 25 years. Complete information can be found by copying a headline and inserting it into any Site Search Box.

Nutson's Automotive Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending October 1, 2022 Below are the past week's important, relevant, semi-secret, or snappy automotive news, opinions and insider back stories presented as expertly crafted easy-to-understand automotive universe news nuggets.

Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up September25-October 1, 2022

* This week was National Drive Electric Week--a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more.

The producers of the Chicago Auto Show invited us to the inaugural Chicago Drives Electric event for a comprehensive look at electrified vehicles and technology that’s driving the EV revolution. We had the opportunity to drive and compare EVs and PHEVs from a wide range of manufacturers including Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ford, Jeep, Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, Volkswagen, Volvo and more. We also joined panel discussions on the state of EVs today and a deep dive into charging technologies and infrastructure with industry leaders from companies including ComEd, Charge Enterprises,, Guidehouse Research, Powering Chicago and others. HERE

*U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris told South Korea’s prime minister that Washington will work to address Seoul’s concerns over recently enacted electric vehicle (EV) subsidies that could disadvantage Asian automakers. Additionally, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock urged the U.S. Treasury secretary to use “maximum flexibility” in implementing a revised tax credit for Americans buying electric vehicles, a perk that Hyundai stands to lose as the automaker invests billions of dollars to open its first American EV plant in the Democratic senator's home state of Georgia. The concern is that the revised tax credit President Biden signed last month as part of a sweeping climate and health law could place some automakers at a competitive disadvantage. That's because the new law says the federal credit of up to $7,500 only applies if the EVs and their batteries are manufactured in North America.

* Experian’s “Automotive Consumer Trends and Analysis” for Q2 reports that over the past 12 months, 23.5% of plug-in hybrid owners bought an EV, while 8.8% of gasoline-hybrid owners switched to an EV. Two years ago, those switch rates were 19.1% and 5.4% respectively. Electric vehicles have jumped to 5.7% of total U.S. vehicle registrations from 1.9% in 2020 as more models hit the market.  EV buyers are mostly affluent and mostly Gen Xers and Millennials. Experian identifies some of the main demographic groups buying EVs as “American Royalty,” “Couples with Clout,” “Philanthropic Sophisticates” and “Cosmopolitan Achievers.”

* Vermont is offering residents who own an older gas-powered vehicle $3,000 to surrender it in favor of an electric vehicle or an alternative mode of transportation. The incentive can be stacked with a $7,500 federal incentive to purchase an EV. Called Replace Your Ride, the program offers $3,000 to drivers who choose to surrender cars that are at least 10 years old and use fossil fuels. In an effort to remove the most polluting vehicles from the road, the old cars are scrapped, and drivers can put the money toward a new or used electric vehicle. 

* U.S. DoE factoid of the week: For Model Year 2022 (MY 2022), 17 electric vehicle (EV) models achieved 100 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) or higher. MPGe is a unit of measure used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to represent EV fuel economy in a common unit with gas-powered vehicles, where 33.7 kilowatt-hours of electricity are equal to the energy contained in one gallon of gasoline. Among those 17 models, there were a total of 37 unique configurations that achieved 100 MPGe or higher. The Tesla Model 3 in rear-wheel drive configuration achieved the highest rating for MY 2022 with 132 MPGe.

* The Biden administration said it has approved electric vehicle charging infrastructure plans for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline. The approval unlocks more than $1.5 billion in funding in 2022-23 to build EV chargers across roughly 75,000 miles of U.S. highway, including interstates and alternative fuel corridors, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Earlier this month, the agency said it had approved 35 of the 52 EV infrastructure deployment plans submitted by states, D.C. and Puerto Rico ahead of schedule under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program.

* With new-vehicle prices setting a new record and auto loan rates reaching a more-than-10-year high, new-vehicle affordability declined again in August, according to the Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index. The number of median weeks of income needed to purchase the average new vehicle in August increased to 42.6 weeks from an upwardly revised 42.2 weeks in July. The estimated typical monthly payment increased 1.4% to $743, which was another record high.

* Bloomberg just reported what The Auto Channel published back in Nov 2021, that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to keep gas-powered cars as a key part of its lineup, rejecting efforts by rivals to go fully electric amid concerns over how quickly consumers will embrace new technologies. While the world’s largest automaker will introduce more electric vehicles in the coming years, it will also offer a range of other options, including gasoline-electric hybrids, hydrogen- and traditional fossil fuel-powered models, according to Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda, who met with reporters. Battery-electric vehicles “are just going to take longer than the media would like us to believe,” Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder, told dealers gathered in Las Vegas. He pledged to offer the “widest possible” array of powertrains to propel cars cleanly. 

*Analysts at Cox Automotive warned that their data on U.S. new and used vehicle sales point to a sales slump. Cox cut its full-year forecasts for new and used vehicle sales. September U.S. auto sales, when confirmed next week, are expected to show a new-vehicle market mostly unchanged from previous months and still stuck in low gear. According to the Cox Automotive forecast, September U.S. new-vehicle sales are expected to finish near 1.10 million units, with a sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), of 13.3 million. Sales volume in September is expected to show an increase of nearly 8% over last year but finish down almost 4% compared to last month. With no notable inventory improvement forecast in the fourth quarter and waning new-vehicle demand, Cox Automotive has lowered its full-year forecast to 13.7 million units, down from 14.4 million. Sales in 2022 are projected to finish down more than 9% versus 2021 and at the lowest level in a decade.

* Ford took the wraps off the latest version of its Super Duty pickup. Powered by big diesel or gasoline engines, heavy-duty pickups such as the Super Duty do dirty work in oil fields and on construction sites. But many are sold to individuals who use them to tow large trailers. Presently, battery electric powertrains cannot provide the same towing capability and driving range for heavy-duty pickups as combustion powerplants. EPA data analysis reveals that CO2 emissions due to the market shift to light trucks (mainly pickups and most SUVs) is over five times greater than the emission reduction that EVs would have achieved on their own.

* Hyundai is going to offer a security kit to stem the raft of vehicle thefts popularized on social media. Hyundai's aftermarket security kit for owners of its vehicles targeted in a social media crime wave will cost $170 plus the cost of installation.

* Ballard Power Systems Inc., the fuel cell power company, announced an order from Switzerland-based Stadler Rail AG for the supply of six fuel cell engines. Ballard said the engines will be used to power the first hydrogen train in the U.S. The train, which will seat over 100 passengers, is expected to be in service in San Bernardino, Calif. in 2024. 

* According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, as of July 2022 there were 300 e-scooter systems serving 158 cities. That’s up from 215 systems and 93 cities in 2020. The e-scooter spread is much bigger than dockless bike systems (2020: 45 systems in 35 cities).

* Kia America is headed to the iconic Rebelle Rally for the third year in a row, this time with a 2023 Sportage X-Pro that has been modified to handle the harsh topography that makes up the 1,500-mile navigational challenge. Teammates Verena Mei (driver) and Tana White (navigator) return this year for redemption in the X-Cross class after placing second in the Sorento PHEV last year. The Rebelle Rally will take place October 6-15, 2022.

* Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is retiring from full-time racing and will turn his focus toward spending time with family. Johnson's future part-time schedule will include no more than 10 bucket-list events, but the 47-year-old has no idea what that schedule will look like. Johnson told The Associated Press he was excited to announce “I’ve got a blank sheet of paper, and we can now see what opportunities exist and start making a calendar.” Carvana has already told Johnson it will back whatever racing he pursues.

Stay safe. Be Well.