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Nutson' s Auto News Weeky Wrap-up May 21-27, 2023



Auto Central May 28, 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.

Nutson's Weekly Auto News Wrap-up Week May 21-27, 2023.

* In a surprising move, starting early next year, Ford EV customers will have access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to the over 10,000 DC fast-chargers that are already part of the BlueOval Charge Network. This will give Ford EV customers unprecedented access to fast-charging. Mustang Mach-E, F-150 Lightning and E-Transit customers will be able to access the Superchargers via an adapter and software integration along with activation and payment via FordPass or Ford Pro Intelligence. In 2025, Ford will offer next-generation electric vehicles with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector built-in, eliminating the need for an adapter to access Tesla Superchargers. The reliable Tesla Supercharger network has already established charging corridors across the U.S. and Canada.

* Editorial note: The US EV charging infrastructure is very lacking at this point in time. Charge stations in multi-unit dwellings are an industry concern. Many MUDs already have Tesla chargers. It's a good move by Ford to help prevent EV sales in general from possibly stalling. Of note, waiting lines at some popular Tesla chargers will most likely be longer.

* US DoE factoid of the week: Since 2007, the use of coal for electricity generation has generally been in decline, while the use of renewables has been on the rise. Electricity generation from nuclear had remained relatively flat over the last two decades but has experienced a slight decline in recent years. In 2022, net generation of electricity from renewables reached 0.91 billion megawatt-hours, topping both coal and nuclear (0.83 and 0.77 billion megawatt-hours, respectively). In 2022, renewables accounted for about 21% of all net generation of electricity.

* Joe White of Reutiers explains: Tesla is running a Memorial Day sale, cutting prices on vehicles in inventory by as much as $1,300, according to a Reuters analysis of the company's websites. The price cuts are one more sign – along with Musk’s talk of launching advertising - that Tesla has reached a point where demand is not keeping pace with supply. Tesla’s moves are also not a hopeful sign for Ford and other legacy automakers who want to sell their EVs without price haggling. It turns out consumers can still negotiate the price of an EV by simply not ordering the car.

* The electric vehicle ramp-up isn't so clear cut. Reuters notes, General Motors has been slow to launch its new generation of electric vehicles, and is killing its best-selling EV, the Chevy Bolt, at the end of this year. So how will GM hit its goal of having the capacity to build 1 million EVs in North America by 2025? Based on what analysts see now, they’re betting GM will not hit that target. The slow acceleration of GM’s North American battery factories have forecasters betting GM’s North American EV output will be closer to 600,000 by the middle of the decade. Shorter term, investors will be keeping score on whether GM can meet its goal of delivering 400,000 EVs by mid-2024. Through March 31 this year, GM delivered two Hummer EVs, 968 Cadillac Lyriqs and 19,700 Bolts.

* Meanwhile, it appears VIP and executive transport will move into the future. General Motors is bringing to market an all-electric Cadillac Escalade set to be called the Escalade IQ. The vehicle is one of three new EVs Cadillac plans to reveal later this year.

* KBB reports although electric vehicles and their new tax credits are receiving significant attention, it appears that consumers are still more interested in hybrid vehicles, as seen in the Q1 Kelley Blue Book Brand Watch report. Tesla’s Model Y and Ford Escape Hybrid made the Top 10 list for electrified vehicles, but Toyota models dominated.

* Driving an electric vehicle in Texas is soon to become more expensive. Governor Greg Abbott signed a law (SB 505) on May 13 instituting new fees for registering and owning EVs in the state. Under the bill, electric car owners will have to pay $400 upon registering their vehicle. Then, every subsequent year, EV drivers will have to shell out an additional $200. Both of those fees are on top of the cost of the standard annual registration renewal fees, which are $50.75 each year for most passenger cars and trucks. The fee is intended to offset that EV owners don't buy gasoline thus do not pay any tax for road use maintenance. The law exempts mopeds, motorcycles, and other non-car EVs, and goes into effect starting on September 1, 2023.

* Families looking for a safe, practical set of wheels for a recent high school graduate or other young driver can choose among 46 used vehicles and 16 new ones on this year’s teen vehicle list from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Consumer Reports (CR). What makes a good teen vehicle? First of all, it should be fairly sedate. Off the bat, IIHS and CR exclude sports cars and other vehicles with excessive horsepower. These vehicles make it too easy to speed and can tempt young drivers to show off. (In other words, no gasoline or battery powered cars with very quick acceleration capability.) Check out the list here:

* Ford CEO Jim Farley announced that the automaker is reversing its previous plan to remove AM radio from vehicles, both electric and gasoline-operated, in 2024. Broadcasters and elected officials have expressed concern about access to emergency broadcasts during crisis situations. According to a Forbes article, automakers, including BMW, Porsche, Audi, Volvo, Volkswagen, Volvo and Tesla, are phasing out AM radio with its electric vehicles.

* BMW unvelied its new 5 series sedans, including the electric i5. A new driver assist system allows a lane change by turning your eyes to the outside mirror. BMW will offer the 5-series in gas, fully-electric and plug-in hybrid versions. The top-of-the-line is now an electric, all-wheel drive car that hits 60 mph way too quickly. Electrify America and BMW of North America announced an agreement to provide first-time owners of the new all-electric BMW i5 with two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions. (Take note of the 30-minute chaging: It's enough time to add range to around 80% SOC.)

* Automotive News reports 11 individual have been charged with stealing cars from 26 dealerships in Ohio. The men are accused of thefts of Dodge Charger Hellcats, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawks and other models. One showroom was robbed three times.

* SEMA (formerly, the Specialty Equipment Market Association) has successfully lobbied Congress for the replica vehicle market. Approved earlier this year, it is now legal to purchase turnkey, factory-assembled replica vehicles, based on designs more than 25 years old. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has officially implemented the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act. Low-volume vehicle manufacturers will be able to build and sell up to 325 replica vehicles a year. New replica vehicles will be required to meet current model-year emissions regulations. All replica manufacturers must register with NHTSA, the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board in order to build and sell street-legal vehicles.

* The legendary street racer 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE dubbed “Black Ghost” sold for $975,000 at the Mecum auction in Indianapolis, fetching a total purchase price of $1,072,500 after fees. The historic Mopar that inspired one of the seven Dodge Last Call limited editions has a new family for the first time since Officer Godfrey Qualls purchased the muscle car in 1969.

* 2021 NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou earned his first career “500” pole, becoming the first Spaniard to take the top spot, with a four-lap average speed of 234.217 mph (2 minutes, 33.7037 seconds) in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda during the dramatic Firestone Fast Six session. He delivered Chip Ganassi Racing its third consecutive Indy 500 pole. CGR is the first team to win three straight Indy poles since Team Penske won four in a row from 1988-91. Palou at the same time set a new record with the fastest pole speed in the history of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

* Katherine Legge turned the fastest single qualifying lap (231.596 mph) and four-lap qualifying average (231.070) for a female driver in Indianapolis 500 history. The previous single-lap record was 230.201 by Simona De Silvestro in 2021; the previous four-lap record was 229.439 by Sarah Fisher in 2002.

* Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced plans to participate in the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1) from the 2026 season as a power unit supplier. Honda has agreed to enter into a works partnership with the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team to supply power units compliant with the new F1 power unit regulations which will take effect in the 2026 season. In pursuit of its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, starting from the 2026 season, F1 will implement new regulations with an engine/electric motor maximum power output ratio of 50/50. This will represent a significant increase in the deployment of electrical power compared to the current ratio, while use of a 100% sustainable fuel is also required.

Stay safe. Be Well. Happy Motoring.