News

Aug 2019

Fisker, Still on the Comeback Trail, Eyeing a Crossover, Pickup, and More EVs

Recent tweets from the founder of the luxury EV brand, Henrik Fisker, show us that the EMotion is not the only model in the works. And while the EMotion will be reserved for big spenders, coming in at $129,000, the forthcoming crossover EV is supposed to be near the $40,000 price point.

The crossover EV has moved beyond the concept stage, as Fisker announced the vehicle will be available in 2021. The preliminary stats come detail a +80 KWh lithium-ion battery pack delivering a 300-mile range. Similar to the Karma, the vehicle will be equipped with a solar roof. It has also been noted that aspects of the interior will be made with recycled materials. While interior shots have not been released yet, he’s got us intrigued.Fisker Crossover EV

In another tweet, the image of what appears to be a truck tailgate is shown. Furthering speculation that a Fisker pickup is on the way comes from the text that accompanies the image, in which Fisker states “ALL automotive segments have to be electrified! After our Fisker electric SUV, we have already decided on our next 2 EV’s on the same platform!”

This news shouldn’t be all that surprising, as the electric pickup market is set to explode in the coming years. Price, range, and towing capability will be huge factors in determining which automaker grabs ahold of the segment from the onset. While being first to market is great, consumers, knowing that many options are soon to follow, may be inclined to wait-and-see before making the move. Regardless, news that yet another player has joined the game is exciting news for all.

To receive frequent updates on the automaker’s future plans, Fisker’s twitter seems to be the best avenue:

Henrik Fisker Twitter

 

 

Jul 2019

Electric F-150 Prototype Proves it can Pull its Weight…Plus an Additional 1,245,000 Pounds

Ford Recently put their electric F-150 prototype to the test and proved that they’re serious about owning the forthcoming EV pickup market. In a display that boggles the mind, the prototype pulled ten double-decker rail cars loaded with 42 F-150s. The combined weight of the train and trucks? 1.25 million pounds. While you may not get the best range when towing at this rate, the fact that it’s even possible is amazing.

The electric F-150 is still some time away from making it to production, but marketing ploys like this give us the indication that we’re in for a treat once it does. Ford is set to release the first hybrid version of the best-selling truck in 2020 which will be followed by the EV “in the coming years,” as Ford puts it. The Blue Oval brand set their goal to have 40 electrified vehicles by 2022. We’re just hoping the F-150 is one of those 40, because even a two-year wait is two years too many.

Check out the video on YouTube here:

Electric F-150 Prototype Tows 1.25 Million Pounds

Jul 2019

Cadillac CT5 Pricing Puts Increasingly-Rare American Sedan Ahead of Competitors

Pricing information has been announced for the all-new compact sedan in the Cadillac CT5. The starting price of $37, 890 gives the CT5 a head start on the major competitors, who all sit above that starting MSRP. The CT5 comes standard as rear-wheel drive, though buyers can opt to upgrade to and all-wheel drive for $2,600 (for the base of Sport trim), or $3,090 on the Premium Luxury trim.

The base models of the BMW 3 Series ($41,245), Audi A4 ($40,195), and Lexus IS ($39,585) all start above the CT5 base asking price.

A 2.0L turbo-four comes standard on the CT5 and produces 237hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. There’s also an optional 335hp twin-turbo V6. And of course there’s a V-trim level, which is set to be equipped with a 355hp version of the same twin-turbo V6. The standard safety options include forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and automatic braking.

Cadillac’s replacement for their axed CTS and ATS sedans looks to be off to a good start. Time and sales stats will tell if this all-new compact luxury sedan can take a piece of the German-dominated segment.

Learn more about the CT5 on Cadillac’s official site:

Cadillac CT5 Official Website

Jul 2019

Government of Canada Introduces New Rules Regarding Safety Defect Recalls

The new rules help to increase the amount of details shared with owners in regards to the safety defect recalls that are being issued.

The expanded regulations will require manufacturers to provide complete details to the Minister of Transport, including a timetable of events, warranty claims, service reports, and a timeline for when the non-compliance notices will be sent to owners and dealerships.

In addition to this, companies must also clearly outline the safety defect recalls while also providing guidelines on any precautions to take prior to the issue being repaired.

Some of this information has been shared by most manufacturers in the past, but the new rules make it mandatory for all. The new rules are similar to the guidelines manufacturers are required to follow in the US.

According to a study, nearly 25% of owners never get recalls repaired. These new rules increase awareness of a given issue and aim to reduce this number, helping to increase the safety on the roadways.

A link to the official posting on the Government of Canada website is below:

Government of Canada Announcement

Jun 2019

Canada Announces New ELD Rule Requiring Third-Party Certification

Canada has finalized the updated electronic logging (ELD) device rule, which the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) claims will put Canada ahead of the US in regards to the safety and compliance guidelines that must be adhered to.

The ELD rule requires third-party device certification, something that is not required in the US. This third-party certification process helps to prevent tampering that may occur during self-certifications. No exact timeline was given, but officials have stated they hope to get the new rule in effect as quickly as possible.

By June 2021, third-party-certified ELDs will have to be used by all truck drivers currently required to maintain a logbook. This timeline was cut in half, as it was initially proposed as a four-year transition. The hours-of-service rules themselves will not be changed, they will now have to be recorded using an ELD.

Stephen Laskowski, CTA president, stated that “As we learned from the previous era of paper logbooks, the non-compliant segment of our industry, while a minority, have a history of finding workarounds of the rules. We must ensure that there are no gaps or opportunities to manipulate the technology and that compliance is the only option.”

Another step to ensure improved safety and adherence is the removal of the grandfather clause. This facet of the rule does not allow for existing automatic on-board devices to be used. Mike Millian, the head of the Private Motor Truck Council (PMTC) worries that this update may cause financial and logistical headaches for companies that implemented these devices in the recent past, so tracking how that plays out will be interesting.

He states that, “as a certifying body has yet to be determined, [these fleets] may have to wait to find out the status of their device, which reduces their lead time to plan a transition if their current device is not certified. That can be problematic and time-consuming if the device is integrated into back office systems.”

The CTA is taking the time and effort to meet with ELD suppliers to hash out the details. They are also working to create educational programs to help ensure everyone is on the same page as this moves forward and goes into effect. A major aspect still to be determined is who will provide these third-party certifications.

Jun 2019

Ford Issues Recalls for Multiple Models, Including F-150 and Explorer

Back in February of this year, Ford recalled 1.26 million US-based F-150 pickups that could experience an unexpected downshift to first gear. This recall impacted F-150s that are equipped with the 6-speed automatic transmission.

Today, Ford added an additional 123,000 F-150s to that total. These additional vehicles were added to the recall list after it was discovered that the 5L and 6.2L gas engines were not adequately repaired in a previous recall.

The bigger story from today comes in the form of the 1.2 million 2011-2017 model year Ford Explorers that are also being recalled for a different issue. The affected SUVs have a flaw that can result in the driver losing steering control of the vehicle due to the possibility of a rear suspension fracture, thus impacting the driver’s ability to steer the vehicle. In their release, Ford noted that vehicles frequently driving over rough terrain are more susceptible to experiencing this issue. No injuries related to this issue have been reported.

Much smaller recalls include:
-4,300 2009-2016 Econoline vans due to a potential welding flaw
-12,000 vehicles in Canada that may experience the loss of steering control. The vehicles impacted by this include:

2010-2017 Taurus
2009-2017 Flex
2009-2015 Lincoln MKX
2010-2017 Lincoln MKT

You can check to see if you VIN is impacted by this or any other recall by going to:

NHTSA Recall Check

Jun 2019

Collaborations Continue as Toyota, Subaru Team up to Develop an Electric Crossover and EV Platform

Automakers are heading into uncharted territory in an effort to stay ahead of the EV shift that seems to be inevitable. We’ve seen Ford, VW, Hyundai, and others all strike partnerships with EV companies to help fast-track their own vehicle development.

We can add yet another partnership to the list, as Toyota and Subaru are jointly working on developing a RAV4-sized EV, with each manufacturer set to have their own version of the model. They’re also said to be developing a general EV platform that will be utilized by each manufacturer for additional models. This platform is expected to be used for everything from small sedans to large SUVs going forward.

The mutually beneficial partnership will see Subaru lend their expertise on AWD capabilities, while Toyota will bring their knowledge of EV powertrains to the table. This being so, it goes without saying that their new crossover EVs will come with an AWD option.

The automakers jointly stated, “Subaru and Toyota believe that it is necessary to pursue a business model that goes beyond convention, crossing over industrial boundaries.”

May 2019

FCA Presents $35 Billion Merger Proposal to Renault

FCA and Renault

The deal would make the duo the third largest conglomerate in the global auto industry, falling in behind Toyota and Volkswagen. Latest reports say that Renault is reviewing the FCA proposal with interest.

Of course there are plenty of complications that would need to be ironed out before this deal can be completed.  A potential holdup could come in the form of Renault’s current association with Nissan, which although on shaky ground since the former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest last year, is still intact for the time being. There’s also the part about the French Government holding a 15% stake in Renault, which will greatly factor into the decision making process.

The partnership would be mutually beneficial for the two automakers that have fallen a bit behind their competitors. The main strengths of the FCA portfolio come in the form of trucks and SUVs. Their RAM and Jeep brands are entrenched in the US, but fall short when it comes to the European market. Conversely, Renault has no US presence, but has an established line of electric and fuel efficient engines, as well as a strong presence in non-US markets. Combining the two would seemingly sure-up some aspects of their offer

It has become more common for manufacturers to team up in mutually beneficial partnerships. We’ve seen this with Ford and VW, and even more recently, Ford and Rivian. From a consumer’s standpoint, these partnerships present exciting opportunities for new product offerings and quicker concept-to-market timelines.

If it were to happen, this merger would not be fast moving and it could still be well over a year until we see it finalized.

May 2019

GMC Reveals Updates to 2020 Sierra 1500

2020 GMC Sierra

It comes as no surprise that GMC is continuing use of the MultiPro for the 2020 Sierra model year. Upon its release, the tailgate was a huge hit and had other manufacturers scrambling to update theirs. Even after completely redesigning the Sierra for 2019, GMC comes back just a year later with some major updates. This continued progression is what we like to see.

The industry-fist carbon fiber bed, dubbed CarbonPro, is set to be an option for both 2019 and 2020 model years as well. However, GM will only produce 500 for 2019, mostly due to production constraints as they continue to adapt the process for the new parts. This option will also come with a hefty price tag, as it’s currently only available at the AT4 ($66k) and Denali ($70k) trim levels. We’re anticipating GM to offer this option on lower trim levels in the future, and potentially even other GM pickup models.

Technology updates are the status quo for new model releases. Regardless, they’re still worth mentioning. To start with, the 2020 Sierra can be equipped with adaptive cruise control, a first for the Sierra. Earlier this year we got a peek at the all-new HD Sierras which included a ProGrade Trailering System. This system is also available on the 1500s for 2020. It uses multiple cameras to give the drivers 15 different views of the trailer as well as the surrounding area. It even has transparent trailer view that uses cameras to allow for a virtual view through the trailer.

2020 GMC Sierra

Transparent Trailer View

The 10-speed automatic transmission is now available on the 5.3L V8 for the first time. And due to delays in the emission certification process, the new 3.0L Duramax I6 turbodiesel engine that was supposed to be for 2019 will not debut on the 2020 Sierra. When paired with the 10-speed transmission, the I6 produces 277hp and 460 lb.-feet of torque, even at a meager 1,500 rpms.

The 2019 Sierra is set to be produced with the CarbonPro bed this summer, while the 2020 model will go no sale later this year.

Apr 2019

Rivian Gets a $500 Million Boost From Ford Motor Co.

EV

The electric revolution continues as Rivian just announced a $500 million investment from Ford Motor Co.

This deal comes shortly after the news of Amazon investing $700 million in the start-up. It also comes on the heels of the breakdown of the planned investment from General Motors. Rivian currently has two production-ready models with the R1S SUV and the R1T pickup truck.

“This strategic partnership marks another key milestone in our drive to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility,” said RJ Scaringe, Rivian founder and CEO. “Ford has a long-standing commitment to sustainability, with Bill Ford being one of the industry’s earliest advocates, and we are excited to use our technology to get more electric vehicles on the road.”

Ford will utilize the Rivian platform to develop an EV of their own, potentially the F-150 that has been rumored. While no additional details have been provided by Ford, it’s a logical assumption that Rivian’s skateboard platform would pair with the proposed F-150. There’s also the chance that the Rivian platform could be utilized for Ford’s Mustang-based crossover EV.

Earlier this year, elecrek.co published an article detailing how there are currently several undercover F-150s on the Rivian platform being used as test mules. This deal could significantly speed up Ford’s EV product development timeline. Ford is also in ongoing discussions with Volkswagen regarding electric vehicle production.

Ford’s official release can be found here:

Ford Press Release