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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up October 23-29, 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 Weekly Auto News Wrap-up - Week Ending October 29, 2022

Here are Larry's picks among 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.

* October U.S. auto sales, when confirmed next week, are expected to show an increased selling pace compared to last month and last year. According to the Cox Automotive forecast, October’s U.S. new-vehicle sales volume is expected to rise over 4% from last year and finish with 1.11 million units sold, delivering a sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), for October of 14.3 million. A sales pace of 14.3 million would be the fastest pace since April and a nice uptick from September’s 13.5 million level, likely reflecting greater product availability at some dealers.

* Worried about the stress on our electric grid from EVs? Here's a way it will be helped. Electrify America opened the first megawatt-level battery energy storage system (BESS) for EV charging stations in Baker, California, offering a significant supplement of power boosted by a solar canopy. The goal of such storage systems is to reduce stress on the grid and manage energy costs when local utilities limit the amount of power a station can offer. It also permits a station to generate and store its own solar power.

* Zero-emission vehicles made up nearly 18% of all new car sales in California in 2022 according to information provided by the Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Energy Commission. Of all zero-emission vehicles sold in the U.S. 42% were sold in Caligornia. California has 79,000 public and shared private electric vehicle chargers.

* The Inflation Reduction Act limited the electric vehicle $7,500 consumer tax credit to vehicles built in North America. The European Union and South Korea have been lobbying to provide flexibility on the restrictions. The Detroit News reported "Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is throwing cold water on expectations that the agency will provide relief to foreign automakers lobbying against stringent limits on a popular electric-vehicle tax credit."...“the legislation is what it is,” Yellen told reporters. “We have to implement the law that was written.” However, now the U.S. and the EU have set up a task force that will work toward resolving the dispute over EV batteries. The EU says the new policy is discriminatory agains manufcturers in the 27-nation bloc and break World Trade Organization rules.

* Automotive News reports the European Union reached a deal to effectively ban new combustion-engine cars from 2035, a move that will reshape transportation and mark a significant step on the path to reduce carbon emissions. The EU's three key institutions -- its executive arm, the parliament and member states -- agreed to a deal on this week that will require automakers to reach a zero-emission target by 2035. The decision means that new gasoline and diesel cars will not be registered for use on the region's roads after 2035. It will speed up the switch to full-electric vehicles.

* The Detroit News reports that heavy duty pickup trucks are likely to be last in the push towards electrification. Auto manufacturers are still producing pickup trucks with internal combustion engines instead of electrification which presents challenges for towing and range. "This will be the dead last segment that it's going to happen to because it is the most demanding and would be the most taxing on the electrical system," said Ivan Drury, director of insights for Edmunds.

* To wit, the all-new 2023 F-Series Super Duty is unrivaled among heavy-duty pickup trucks with the best towing available for every trailer type and maximum available towing of 40,000 pounds, best-in-class maximum available payload of 8,000 pounds, and 500 horsepower and 1,200 lb.-ft. of torque from the new high-output 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel.

* Ford unveiled the new 2023 Ford Escape compact crossover UV that’s focused on style, technology and efficiency. Improvements include: Refreshed exterior and interior styling including a new ST-Line; Cloud connectivity and a 13.2-inch center-stack screen; and, Enhanced suite of Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology.

* While the automotive industry is moving toward SAE Level 4 autonomous driving, getting those systems to be completely reliable "might be a long journey," says Infineon Technologies' Peter Schaefer, with VinAI's Annie Lien adding that it won't be until after 2030 that L4 is widely adopted. "We're going to be in Level 2 for quite a bit," Lien says, noting, "We're going to [have] drivers in the car for a long time."

* Along the same lines, Intel’s Mobileye self-driving car tech unit launched its IPO, raising $861 million at $21 a share. That's good news since that share price is better than the company had guided ahead of the sale. But the bad news is the valuation is well south of the $50 billion Intel and its bankers once anticipated. Mobileye’s markdown reflects diminished expectations for fully autonomous vehicles. And then, Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle startup that burst on the scene in 2017 stacked with a $1 billion investment, is shutting down. It's being absorbed into its two main backers, Ford and VW. Ford CEO Jim Farley has said: "Fully autonomous vehicles at scale are a long way off."

* Newsweek magazine's second annual Newsweek Auto Awards were announced. Newsweek's Auto Disruptors Awards honor the boldest thinkers in the automotive industry. The six awards span the breadth of the autos world from engineering to manufacturing and leadership. Watch the video with the news here:

* Reuters reports that Tesla is facing a criminal probe in the U.S. over its self-driving claims. The U.S. Department of Justice launched the previously undisclosed probe last year following more than a dozen crashes, some fatal. The Tesla technology is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes but its features “do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the company says on its website.

* KIA America is recalling 71,000 2008-2009 model year Sportage vehicles in the U.S. previously recalled in 2016 for fire risks and is advising owners to park outside until repairs are completed. Kia said the recall fix is currently under development that will address the risk of a fire originating from around the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit that could occur while parked or driving.

* General Motors is issuing recalls for its 2022 Hummer EVs and its BrightDrop EV600 electric van due to a battery pack sealing problem. The automaker recalled 735 examples of the Hummer and 89 examples of the van because "the high voltage battery pack enclosure in some of these vehicles may not have been properly sealed," according to a report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

* In the world of Red Bull Formula 1, Red Bull owner and co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz has died, the company's Formula One team confirmed. He was 78. Max Verstappen won the U.S. Grand Prix and dedicated his win to Mateschitz. Verstappen's win secured the constructors' championship for Red Bull, ending an eight-year winning streak for Mercedes. Red Bull has won four constructors' championships (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and six drivers' titles. Verstappen now equals the record for most wins in a single season, joining Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel at 13. And....The FIA has confirmed that the Red Bull Formula 1 team eclipsed the sport's $145 million spending cap in 2021 and fined them $7 million. Red Bull overspent by 41.8 million on items unrelated to the teams performance.

* Audi has confirmed it will enter Formula One by taking a stake in the Sauber team that will become the car manufacturer’s works entry in 2026. Sauber currently races under the Alfa Romeo brand using Ferrari engines. It will continue to use their power units when it is expected to revert to the Sauber name for 2024 and 2025 before becoming the Audi factory team and using Audi engines on its entry into the sport.

* NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart will make his drag racing debut this weekend at the NHRA Nevada Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stewart will compete for McPhillips Racing in a Top Alcohol dragster -- the equivalent of NASCAR's second-tier Xfinity Series. Stewart is guaranteed a minimum of four passes beginning with Q1 and Q2 on Friday, Q3 on Saturday and at least the first round of eliminations Sunday. Although he has a Top Fuel license -- earned over two multiday sessions at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School and a handful of tests over the past two years -- the 51-year-old felt Top Alcohol was a smarter entry point. The three-time NASCAR champion, one-time IndyCar champion and USAC triple crown winner is in his first season of NHRA ownership. Tony Stewart Racing fields a Top Fuel dragster for his wife, Leah Pruett, and a Funny Car for Matt Hagan. Both drivers have qualified for NHRA's Countdown to the Championship.

* The Detroit Bureau reports during a background briefing outlining Dodge’s plans for SEMA this week, Kuniskis revealed that the plan was to come up with a final model that would put the legendary Hellcat edition to shame. “But we ran into some problems,” Kuniskis explained. To be more precise, the modified V-8 has been blowing up when pushed to the limits in the Dodge test lab. We’re not talking about a minor breakdown. Apparently, the engines really have been blowing up. The automaker’s protocol requires every new engine clock dozens, even 100s, of hours running flat out on the dyno before it’s certified for sale. And with a fix yet to be developed, Dodge decided it would wait a bit before showing off what it had billed as the most dramatic of the Last Call special edition series of seven limited-run Charger and Challenger models.

Stay safe. Be Well.

Editor's Note: No such thing as "Fossil Fuel" the description is a lie created by a Big OIL marketing executive. Petroleum is actually ABIOTIC (a·bi·ot·ic) Phyical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms: devoid of life; sterile...but "Fossil Fuel" sure sounds sexier and is primed for price gouging.