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Nutson's Weekly Automotive News Wrap-up December 3-9, 2023



Auto Central December 10, 2023; Every Sunday Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy and Auto Channel Executive Producer, with able assistance from senior Detroit 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. for Nutson's Auto News Weekly Wrap-up December 3-9, 2023.

* EV Real Range Revealed By Consumer Reports: The advertised ranges of many electric vehicles can vary a lot from the number of miles they can actually cover on a highway road trip, new testing by Consumer Reports shows. EVs, unlike gas-powered cars, tend to be less efficient on highways than in cities. To find out how much range EV models actually get in highway driving conditions, CR put 22 of the most popular new EVs through a new highway-speed range test, driving fully charged vehicles at a steady speed of 70 mph until they ran out of charge. Check out this valuable information.

* EV Repair Cost Surprise: The Wall Street Journal reports that electric vehicle owners are finding a surprising downside to their new vehicle. They tend to be expensive to repair. For EVs, repairs after a collision can cost thousands of dollars more than their gasoline-powered counterparts because the fixes tend to require more replacement parts, the vehicles are more complicated and fewer people do such repairs. Last year, repairing an EV after a crash cost an average of $6,587 compared with $4,215 for all vehicles, according to CCC Intelligent Solutions, a company that processes insurance claims for auto repairs in the US. It is expected that over time these repair issues will ease.

* Honest Actual Miles Concerning: Odometer rollback is on the rise. Consumers may think that odometers in the digital age are less of a target for fraud – but they’d be wrong. For cheaters, it’s never been easier – or cheaper – to remove thousands of miles from a car’s history in one fell swoop. Carfax research indicates that more than 2.1 million vehicles on the road have rolled-back odometers, a 7% increase from the previous year – and up 14% over the last 2 years. Odometer Rollback Is On The Rise

* NYC Sets Charges For Manhattan Driving: New York City’s plan to charge motorists driving into Manhattan’s central business district inched forward as a proposed tolling structure received an initial approval from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The MTA’s governing board voted nine to one to allow the tolling program to move forward. The agency, which operates the city’s subways, buses and commuter rail trains, is implementing the congestion pricing tolling plan. Passenger cars with an E-ZPass will pay $15 during peak periods, while trucks pay $24 to $36. New York City will be the first city in the country to implement congestion pricing.

* EU Slows EV Chargers: Joe White writing for Reuters says, European Union regulators want to push combustion vehicles off the market over the next decade. But first they will need to dismantle regulatory roadblocks that are slowing expansion of EV charging networks, Reuters colleague Julia Payne reports. Installing new chargers in Spain can take one to two years, according to Repsol, a charging network operator. In Germany, it can take months to get the permits required for new charging stations. BP, the oil company making a big move into EV charging, said it has to deal with 800 different grid companies in Germany alone.

* No Fast Fast Charging: US DoE factoid of the week: EV charging at paid DC Fast Charging stations averaged 42 minutes per session. An analysis of data collected from a study of electric vehicle (EV) owners shows fast charging statistics over a three-year period from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2023, and includes a total of about 2.4 million sessions. The average length of time for a paid fast charging session was 42 minutes, consuming an average of 22 kWh of energy. Free fast charging sessions nearly doubled those numbers at 1 hour and 18 minutes and 42 kWh of electricity consumed.

* EV Sales Pass Million Mark: Year-to-date US EV sales have surpassed 1 million – the first time EV sales exceeded that threshold in a single sales year. The National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) reports that through 11 months of 2023, BEV sales totaled 1,007,984 – an increase of 50.7% year-over-year. BEVs sold by franchised dealerships represented 39.7% of all the new BEVs sold so far this year.

* GM Takes Charging Into Own Hands: Pilot Travel Centers, General Motors and EVgo announced the opening of the first 17 locations of their previously announced national electric vehicle fast charging network. Now available in 13 states, the network features an elevated charging experience, providing EV travelers access to the same amenities offered at existing Pilot and Flying J travel center locations. By the end of 2023, it is expected that at least 25 Pilot and Flying J travel centers will feature EV fast charging, with approximately 200 locations targeted by the end of 2024. The network features: Multiple fast charging stalls at each site, with chargers capable of delivering up to 350kW. Canopies to help protect drivers from the elements during charging. Pull-through charging stalls to accommodate EV towing. Centrally located chargers in well-lit areas, monitored around-the-clock by onsite staff. Access to restrooms, food and beverage options, and free Wi-Fi. Plug and Charge compatibility for a streamlined charging experience.

* Car and Driver has announced its 10Best Awards for 2024:. The 10Best Cars can be found here: The 10Best Trucks and SUVs are here:

*MotorTrend Named 2024 Chevrolet Colorado: MotorTrend Truck of the Year. The Chevrolet Colorado’s strong value proposition, impressive off-road capability across the range, tough good looks, strong feature content, and broad versatility earned the truck MotorTrend’s Golden Calipers. The Chevrolet Colorado was judged the 2024 Truck of the Year by excelling in each of MotorTrend’s six key criteria: safety, efficiency, value, advancement in design, engineering excellence, and performance of intended function.

* 2024 Best Buy Awards: Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, announced the winners of the 2024 Best Buy Awards. The 10th annual Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards highlight the standout cars, trucks, and SUVs they recommend for the most shoppers across a variety of segments. The award categories have evolved over the years to adapt to the dynamic automotive landscape and this year the 2024 Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards include 14 categories with the highest accolade of Best New Model awarded to the 2024 Toyota Prius.

* It'sa Coming Backa: The Fiat 500e is returning to the US. Stellantis NV's first battery-electric vehicle available for retail customers across North America goes on sale in the first quarter of 2024 with a starting price of $32,500 plus a $1,595 destination fee. The 500e has an EPA-certified estimated driving range rating of 149 miles from a 42 kilowatt-hour battery. A Level 2 charger can bring it up to a full battery in 4 hours and 15 minutes, while a DC FastCharger can do the job in 35 minutes. The new 500e is built on an EV-dedicated platform. It's also wider and longer. It produces 118 horsepower, 162 pound-feet of torque and can reach 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. By its description it appears to be a perfect city car.

* Ford Model Looses Full Tax Credit: Ford’s Mustang Mach-E will no longer be eligible for a full $7,500 U.S. government tax credit after Jan. 1, when stricter rules on domestic content kick in. Tesla has already warned that U.S. subsidies could be cut next year for buyers of its Model 3 and Model Y EVs.

*Cybertruck Edgey: Reuters reports the angular, hard-edged design of the Cybertruck gives Tesla’s newest model a menacing vibe. Now safety experts are raising alarms that the bullet-proof, stainless steel Cybertruck poses a threat to pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles in collisions, Reuters colleagues Hyunjoo Jin and Akash Sriram report. U.S. safety regulators and the insurance-industry backed Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have yet to crash test the Cybertruck. But based on videos of crash tests and other information released by Tesla and people who have had access to the Cybertruck, a half-dozen vehicle safety experts said they are concerned that the stiff, stainless steel skin and heavy frame of the vehicle pose an outsized risk. The Cybertruck is the most attention-grabbing example of a broader trend toward heavy, tall trucks in the U.S. auto industry that has raised alarms from safety advocates. Elon Musk said in a social media post that he is “highly confident” the Cybertruck will be safer than other trucks for occupants and pedestrians. U.S. automakers can self-certify that their vehicles meet safety standards. Federal crash tests usually aren’t completed until after vehicles go on sale. A senior Tesla executive told Britain’s Top Gear that Europe’s strict pedestrian protection rules will make it hard to sell the Cybertruck there.

*AWD Bike: From SAE we read: All-wheel drive for motorcycles is not a new idea – but motorcycle expert Yamaha now looks to extend the concept to the bicycle world. Yamaha revealed in mid-October leading up to the 2023 Tokyo Mobility Show a 2WD concept bicycle called the Y-O1W AWD. It is targeted at the expanding “gravel bike” segment, featuring models more offroad-capable than a conventional road bicycle but less dirt- and trail-ready than a full-blown mountain bike. For electric mountain bikes (eMTBs), the company also intends to reveal a prototype electric power-steering (EPS) system.

*Family Time Out For NHRA Champ: Leah Pruett will step away from the NHRA drag racing series in 2024 to focus on starting a family with Tony Stewart. Her NASCAR Hall of Fame husband will replace her next season in the Top Fuel dragster that Pruett drove to a career-best third-place finish in the NHRA standings this year. Pruett won two races this season in the Dodge Top Fuel dragster driving for Tony Stewart Racing, which won the Funny Car championship with Matt Hagan. Pruett has 12 career Top Fuel victories. Stewart ran the full NHRA season in 2023 in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. Pruett and Stewart married just over two years ago. Pruett turns 36 in May, six days after Stewart will celebrate his 53rd birthday.

Stay safe. Be Well.