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Nutson's Weekly Auto News Round-up - February 19-25, 2023



Auto Central February 26, 2023; 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.

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.

Weekly Auto News Wrap-up Week Ending February 19-25, 2023.

* Winter Storm Olive made headline news as it wreaked havoc across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest this week bringing high winds, heavy snow, and freezing rain. Millions were left without electric power needed to warm their homes and stay connected on the internet, reminding us how dependent we are on the electric grid. What wasn't in the news is the fact that electic vehicle owners could not charge their vehicles. Of course, you also couldn't buy gasoline with no electricity to power the pumps. What will the future bring?

* New-vehicle sales in February are forecast to show a modest gain when announced next week, an improvement over last February’s supply-constrained market. Sales are expected to increase nearly 4% from last year and last month – a true volume gain by comparison since there are 24 selling days in each month. However, the February 2023 auto sales pace, or seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), is expected to reach 14.4 million, a decline from January’s surprisingly strong 15.7 million level. With elevated auto loan rates and persistent inflation, a sales pace decline from January was expected.

* Electric vehicles now include larger trucks like the Ford-150 Lightning, Chevrolet Siverado EV and Ram 1500 Rev, but MIT Trancik Lab data shows that larger EVs provide diminishing climate benefits. Heavier EVs generally require more electricity to charge and may have a similar emissions impact to smaller gas-powered cars, although Ford spokesperson Artealia Gilliard notes that emissions savings will improve as the grid is decarbonized. Just How Good for the Planet Is That Big Electric Pickup Truck? See Also; Electric Vehicles Solution Or Diversion?

* US DoE factoid of the week: According to Argonne National Laboratory, most battery cells and battery packs in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) sold in the United States from 2010 to 2021 were domestically produced. In terms of total energy capacity in gigawatt-hours (GWh), 57% of battery cells and 84% of battery packs were produced in the United States. The three largest foreign suppliers in cell production were Japan, South Korea and Poland. Japan, Germany, and South Korea were the largest foreign suppliers of battery packs.

* Reuters brought to our attention a new study by Deloitte on the topic of the future of automotive mobility to 2035. One finding is about 57% of Europeans and 55% of U.S. consumers surveyed expressed concerns about the resale value of EVs “likely due to rapidly evolving EV and battery technologies,” Deloitte found. Among other findings of Deloitte’s wide-ranging study: Only 15% of Americans 55 and older said they would consider giving up owning a car. But 38% of those 18 to 34 said they would. Yes, 38% of Millenials.

* SangYup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai and Genesis Global Design Center, is the 2023 World Car Person of the Year, according to the World Car Awards (WCA) jury panel representing over 100 industry experts and journalists. This is the second consecutive win for the Hyundai Motor Group, as the automaker's chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke walked away with the achievement last year.

* Our friends at The Detroit Bureau report another Tesla driver died over last weekend, this time in California. The collision occurred when a Tesla rammed a fire truck parked across two freeway lanes to protect first responders who were preparing to tow a disabled vehicle. Authorities do not yet know if the driver had Autopilot or Full Self Driving (FSD) engaged. A passenger in the Tesla was also injured in the collision. This collision comes in the wake of a controversial recall of almost 363,000 Tesla vehicles equipped with the company’s Full Self-Driving beta software. The company agreed to an over-the-air update under pressure from NHTSA. PS- no Tesla is self driving.

* The 65th running of "The Great American Race" was the longest in history. In double overtime and under caution, after 212 laps and 530 miles, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr driving the JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet got the win. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's biggest race of the season, its 75th.

* NASCAR is doing some testing and considering to add exhaust header mufflers for races in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. Six Cup Series teams were invited to partake in a trial at Phoenix Raceway. NASCAR anticipates the mufflers will reduce their noise volume by six to 10 decibels, or by as much as half. However, they wil still be loud and hearing protection will still be needed for trackside fans.

Stay safe. Be Well.