The Truth About Cars » Infrastructure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Infrastructure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/infrastructure/ Detroit 2015: Honda FCV Concept Ready For North American Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/detroit-2015-honda-fcv-concept-ready-north-american-debut/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962370 With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut […]

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Honda_FCV_CONCEPT(1)

With the FCX Clarity now out of the picture, Honda is looking forward to the FCV’s replacement, a preview of which is set to bow at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

The Honda FCV Concept will be making its North American debut under the lights of Cobo Hall in January, having made its world debut last month in Japan. The concept is meant to show the evolution of the automaker’s plans for a new FCV, first seen with the FCEV Concept that bowed during the 2013 LA Auto Show.

As for when the production version of Honda’s next hydrogen vehicle will enter showrooms, the FCV will arrive in Japan March 2016, then land in the United States later on.

Once across the Pacific, the FCV will have quite a few locations to refuel, thanks to a $13.8 million investment deal between Honda and FirstElement Fuel to build more hydrogen refueling stations in California.

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Sandia Labs: Underground Geologic Formations Hold Future Of Hydrogen Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/sandia-labs-underground-geologic-formations-hold-future-hydrogen-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/sandia-labs-underground-geologic-formations-hold-future-hydrogen-storage/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958345 Part of hydrogen becoming a viable energy option in the United States is infrastructure, which isn’t much at present. Should business pick up, however, hydrogen would need to be stored as cheaply as possible to facilitate greater adoption. Sandia Labs suggests storing hydrogen in salt and other underground geologic formations over above-ground tanks, as the […]

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salt mine

Part of hydrogen becoming a viable energy option in the United States is infrastructure, which isn’t much at present. Should business pick up, however, hydrogen would need to be stored as cheaply as possible to facilitate greater adoption.

Sandia Labs suggests storing hydrogen in salt and other underground geologic formations over above-ground tanks, as the latter costs three to five times more than simply tossing the gas down a cavern. Volume also plays a role, as underground structures are quite roomy over a pressurized tank near a fueling station, and such structures can be linked to electrical grids through electrolyzer systems, as well.

For this idea to be a success, the laboratory looked at salt caverns in four locations to determine permeability amid peak summer demand. It found that 10 percent above average demand over 120 days would be best. Further, salt was chosen over other geological formations in the first place, as the mineral is best at keeping hydrogen molecules from leaking out.

The main limitation is quantity: there are few salt formations in the U.S. to store the fuel. Thus, other options will need to be considered for a comprehensive national hydrogen reserve to happen.

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Toyota Increasing Mirai Production To Meet Strengthening Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957394 Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect. Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate […]

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Toyota Mirai in Red

Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect.

Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate and public-sector demand, which is likely to exceed the 700 units currently planned for assembly by the FCV’s showroom debut December 15.

The investment will allow for increased fuel stack and hydrogen tank production at its main factory in Toyota City, with upgrades planned at a nearby facility where final assembly of the Mirai is conducted. In turn, the move could spur on related investments in infrastructure and other products by interested companies.

Toyota expects to sell 400 Mirais in its home market by the end of 2015, with 3,000-plus moved in the United States by the same period in 2017, and around 50 to 100 in Europe in 2016. Exports to the U.S. and Europe are set to begin next summer.

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Fuel Prices To Hit $2.55 By Christmas With Help From OPEC http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/fuel-prices-hit-2-55-christmas-help-opec/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 13:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954473 Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC. CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend […]

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Gas Prices Circa December 2014

Is your wallet feeling heavier these days, despite all of the blackened Thanksgivings and cybernetic Mondays meant to liberate you from your money? It’s about to become more so, thanks to an early Christmas present from OPEC.

CNBC reports OPEC decided in its meeting last week not to cut back oil production, preferring to defend its piece of the petroleum pie from shale drillers in the United States, whose efforts added 1 million barrels/day to the nation’s oil production in less than a year.

In turn, prices for West Texas Intermediate fell to $66.15/barrel, while fuel prices averaged $2.79/gallon over Thanksgiving, the lowest average since the same time in 2009. The price is expected to fall further, per Lipow Oil Associates president Andrew Lipow, who expects the average to hit between $2.55 and $2.60 per gallon nationwide by Christmas.

However, if OPEC hoped to thwart U.S. production — currently at 9 million barrels per day, a rate not seen since 1986 — the organization may be in for a shock. Lipow explains:

I expect oil production is going to continue to increase in the U.S. over the next three to four months as shale oil and Gulf of Mexico projects that are underway get completed.

Meanwhile, production at existing wells would be cut back as exploration and production companies look to refocus their budgets toward the most productive sites.

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Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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2016-toyota-mirai-6-1

Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Honda UK Launches First Commercial Solar Hydrogen Facility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944001 In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England. SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas […]

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In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England.

SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas from water via the sun’s heat. The first customers will be limited to a pair of forklifts and a commercial fleet on the grounds of Honda’s Swindon production plant, as well as an education center next door.

The hydrogen will be delivered through 300-meter long pipes to a refueling point inside the factory, where two Briggs lithium-ion/hydrogen hybrid forklifts will replenish their tanks as needed. The fueling process is expected to take five minutes, each full tank generating 5.5 hours of run time.

Honda hopes the new facility, parts of which were already in operation since 2011, “will be a benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow” as well as reinforce the United Kingdom’s potential among automakers as a place to contribute to the new hydrogen future with vehicles and infrastructure.

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NYC Lowers Speed Limit To 25 MPH For Safety Reasons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nyc-lowers-speed-limit-25-mph-safety-reasons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nyc-lowers-speed-limit-25-mph-safety-reasons/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943969 Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel. WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of […]

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NYC 25 MPH Limit Legislation

Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel.

WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of approximately 3,000 signs going up at “key gateways to the city,” per NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. An NYC DOT representative added that the stop lights would be recalibrated to reflect the new change.

The move comes on the order of Mayor Bill de Blasio — inspired by pedestrian fatalities linked to speeding — and is part of his “Vision Zero” plan aimed at reducing traffic deaths. Trottenberg stated the reduction would “cut in half” the chances an accident would be fatal, citing research to back up her claim.

While some of the city’s denizens applaud the move, others believe the 25-mph limit is a money grab — $150 ticket if pulled over, $50 if caught by automated law enforcement — and doesn’t change much in the way people drive as it is.

The last time 25 mph was the law was 50 years ago, when the New York Legislature raised it to 30 mph.

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B&B Reject Red-Light Cameras In Three States On Election Night http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/bb-reject-red-light-cameras-three-states-election-night/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/bb-reject-red-light-cameras-three-states-election-night/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941769 Tuesday, the B&B made their voice known on the issues affecting them, including a set of referendums on the infamous red-light traffic camera. Autoblog reports voters in Cleveland and Maple Heights, Ohio, St. Charles County, Mo., and Sierra Vista, Ariz. overwhelmingly rejected the cameras on the basis that their use did more for the bottom […]

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red stop light camera

Tuesday, the B&B made their voice known on the issues affecting them, including a set of referendums on the infamous red-light traffic camera.

Autoblog reports voters in Cleveland and Maple Heights, Ohio, St. Charles County, Mo., and Sierra Vista, Ariz. overwhelmingly rejected the cameras on the basis that their use did more for the bottom line of the manufacturers than the safety of those under the electric eye.

In Cleveland, 78 percent voted to ban cameras unless law enforcement was present, while 75 percent of Sierra Vista voters ditched the technology on the outskirts of town. Meanwhile, 76 percent of voters in Maple Heights and 72 percent in St. Charles voted to ban the cameras outright.

On the other side of the issue, AAA says it’s all for the cameras, just not how they’re usually implemented. Representative Michael Green explained that while the goal of the cameras was to deter, “not to give tickets,” he could understand where implementation in certain places, such as Washington, D.C., had faltered in favor of revenue-generation and lack of transparency.

That said, usage of the cameras are falling by the wayside as is, thanks to speed cameras taking their place on the automated enforcement chain.

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Daimler, Volkswagen Urge Independence From Google Data Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/daimler-volkswagen-urge-independence-google-data-platform/#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=939705 Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.” Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s […]

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Google-Android-KitKat

Google knows what you’re thinking. If you decide to search for brown diesel manual station wagons that bring out your inner American, Google will auto-complete that very phrase as one of its suggested searches as soon as you type out the word “bro.”

Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG aren’t too thrilled with this electric eye’s ability, urging its fellow automakers to develop automotive data platforms that would secure sensitive customer information from the Mountain View, Calif. tech giant.

According to Bloomberg, VW boss Martin Winterkorn says that while his company seeks a connection with Google’s data systems, it still wants to have dominion over its own vehicles, citing “potential conflict” rising from making consumer data available to Google. Daimler’s CEO Dieter Zetsche stated similar concerns with Google:

Google tries to accompany people throughout their day, to generate data and then use that data for economic gain. It’s at that point where a conflict with Google seems pre-programmed. That’s where we need to negotiate.

Zetsche also found the discussion of in-house data systems among automakers like his company and Volkswagen encouraging, proclaiming the move would maintain independence against the rising tide of “third parties,” such as Google’s Android Auto, Apple’s CarPlay and BlackBerry’s QNX OS, as it would “boost” Daimler’s position “when working with Google.”

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GM Invests $63M Into Lansing Delta Township Expansion http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-invests-63m-lansing-delta-township-expansion/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/gm-invests-63m-lansing-delta-township-expansion/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 10:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938809 General Motors is gearing up to spend $63 million on expanding its Lansing Delta Township plant — home of the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse — as part of an overall $300 million improvement plan involving the automaker’s Michigan properties. The expansion will add 263,000 square feet in total to the 3.4 million […]

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2011 GMC Acadia Denali

General Motors is gearing up to spend $63 million on expanding its Lansing Delta Township plant — home of the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse — as part of an overall $300 million improvement plan involving the automaker’s Michigan properties.

The expansion will add 263,000 square feet in total to the 3.4 million square-foot plant, which first opened in 2006. The footage will be split into three pieces, with over 181,000 square feet going to the body shop to accommodate new robots and lean flexible tooling; 54,000 square feet to the paint shop for usage of improved body sealers and coatings; and 28,000 square feet for general assembly.

The investment is the second put into the plant since opening; Lansing Delta received $37 million in 2010 for tooling and equipment “to enhance the plant’s manufacturing capabilities.”

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Ethanol Advocates Conduct Pre-Election Ad Campaign Blitz http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/ethanol-advocates-conduct-pre-election-ad-campaign-blitz/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=936970 In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years. Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken. AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the […]

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Ethanol Pump

In less than a week, the B&B will head out to the polls to decide the direction the United States will take for the next two years.

Big Ethanol, too, is interested in the direction taken.

AutoblogGreen reports Fuels America, an advocate for the fuel source, is conducting a major advertising campaign to persuade the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency not to make cuts into the Renewable Fuels Standard, the mandate that makes E85, E10 and every other blend possible.

The blitz — which kicked-off last week — is being carried through Beltway media such as Politico, RollCall and WTOP-FM, and will continue until November 5.

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NYC Taxi Association Take Taxi Of Tomorrow Fight To Albany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nyc-taxi-association-take-taxi-tomorrow-fight-albany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nyc-taxi-association-take-taxi-tomorrow-fight-albany/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935650 Clutching dearly onto their fleet of Panthers, New York’s taxi industry is heading up to Albany to contest the $1 billion plan to replace their vehicles with Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” NV200. Bloomberg reports the Greater New York Taxi Association will contest the appellate court ruling made this summer that declared the program — meant […]

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Nissan NV200 Taxi of Tomorrow

Clutching dearly onto their fleet of Panthers, New York’s taxi industry is heading up to Albany to contest the $1 billion plan to replace their vehicles with Nissan’s “Taxi of Tomorrow” NV200.

Bloomberg reports the Greater New York Taxi Association will contest the appellate court ruling made this summer that declared the program — meant to bring 15,000 of the new taxis to the streets of Manhattan over the next 10 years — was flawed from the start:

The Taxi of Tomorrow as planned forces owners to purchase a single foreign-made vehicle, which is neither fuel-efficient nor wheelchair accessible.

The lawsuit process began in 2012, after the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission chose the NV200 as its new champion, and mandated all medallion owners to buy the vans to replace their Ford Crown Victorias at $29,700 a pop. The plan was blocked twice prior to the June 2014 ruling in favor, once for the lack of hybrid models, and again for overreach by the commission.

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Auto Industry Groups Join Forces To Secure Vehicle Communications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/auto-industry-groups-join-forces-secure-vehicle-communications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/auto-industry-groups-join-forces-secure-vehicle-communications/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935578 A pair of auto manufacturer groups are coming together to form a consortium meant to prevent crackers — the correct term for those whose goal is to give computer security a good thrashing — from busting up a given vehicle’s communication system, one that has the blessing of the federal government. Automotive News reports the […]

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Cowboy Bebop At His Computer... Not
A pair of auto manufacturer groups are coming together to form a consortium meant to prevent crackers — the correct term for those whose goal is to give computer security a good thrashing — from busting up a given vehicle’s communication system, one that has the blessing of the federal government.

Automotive News reports the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers want to help automakers establish firewalls for V2V — vehicle-to-vehicle — and vehicle-to-cloud communications, with the intent for them to share information of a given vulnerability for quick neutralization.

The CEOs of both industry groups sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this summer, proclaiming their joint support of the “mechanism for sharing vehicle cyber-security information, threats, warnings and incidents among industry stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, former agency head David Strickland, doing consulting work for one of the participants of the new consortium, says the group will be called the Information Sharing Advisory Center — a.k.a. Auto-ISAC — when it comes online a year or so from now.

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Daimler Expanding Sprinter Production To North America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/daimler-expanding-sprinter-production-north-america/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934770 When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America. Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the […]

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When Daimler begins production of its next-gen Sprinter, quite a few of the vans will be leaving an assembly line somewhere in North America.

Automotive News reports the partial shift in production will help the automaker “cover the growing demand for large vans in the North American market economically” by producing them locally “in the NAFTA region,” according to Mercedes’ head of vans, Volker Mornhinweg.

Presently, the U.S.-bound Sprinters are made in Dusseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, Germany, then sent over in CKD form to Ladson, S.C. for reassembly. Around 23,000 Sprinters were sent in this manner to U.S. customers in 2013, the sales second only to Germany.

As for where the new plant will be built, Mornhinweg says the exact location would be chosen in the coming months, with sites in the U.S., Canada and Mexico being examined.

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Jaguar Land Rover Evaluating Locales For North American Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/jaguar-land-rover-evaluating-locales-north-american-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/jaguar-land-rover-evaluating-locales-north-american-plant/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934122 The United Auto Workers may soon need to add another transplant to convert as part of its Southern strategy: Jaguar Land Rover is considering setting up shop in the Southeastern United States as part of its global expansion plans. Autoblog reports the automaker is looking over potential real estate for a new North American factory, […]

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The United Auto Workers may soon need to add another transplant to convert as part of its Southern strategy: Jaguar Land Rover is considering setting up shop in the Southeastern United States as part of its global expansion plans.

Autoblog reports the automaker is looking over potential real estate for a new North American factory, honing in upon right-to-work states in the South such as South Carolina, where BMW already has a presence in Spartanburg assembling the X Series. The future plant would have a total capacity of 200,000 units produced per year.

Elsewhere, JLR welcomed all to its new factory in Changsu, China, where the real Evoque — as opposed to the “If you like Mrs. Beckham’s crossover, you’ll love ours” Landwind E32 — will roll off the line, with the new Discovery Sport to follow. Brazil will join the party with its own factory in 2016.

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Mercedes Turns Former Naval Base Into Autonomous Testing Ground http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mercedes-turns-former-naval-base-autonomous-testing-ground/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/mercedes-turns-former-naval-base-autonomous-testing-ground/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=933802 With the highway mostly conquered, autonomous vehicles now must navigate the cities through which they would otherwise pass by, a challenge unto itself with few proving grounds available for research. Mercedes-Benz, however, happened upon a solution not too far from its R&D base in Sunnyvale, Calif. Automotive News reports the automaker is testing its autonomous […]

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With the highway mostly conquered, autonomous vehicles now must navigate the cities through which they would otherwise pass by, a challenge unto itself with few proving grounds available for research.

Mercedes-Benz, however, happened upon a solution not too far from its R&D base in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Automotive News reports the automaker is testing its autonomous vehicles at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, a military base decommissioned in 2005 that may be redeveloped in the future.

Until then, Concord will be used as a “starter city” for autonomous city driving and navigation research and development. The strategy allows Mercedes “to run simulation tests with self-driving vehicles in a secure way, including specific hazardous situations,” per the brand’s head of autonomous driving, Axel Gern.

As for why Concord and similar spaces, such as the NASA facility Google uses to test its commuter pod, are in play over actual cities, Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski says “existing proving grounds are not challenging enough,” while real-life testing is “too challenging at this point.” Further, both spaces are owned by the federal government, bestowing researchers the opportunity to test their theories without the California legislature dictating otherwise.

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Automakers, Utilities Collaborate On Plug-In Cloud Charging Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/automakers-utilities-collaborate-plug-cloud-charging-technology/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932394 A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing. Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along […]

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Ford Focus EV Cloud Charging

A group of eight automakers are collaborating with 15 utility companies in the United States to give PHEVs and EVs the ability to communicate with the latter party and the grid through cloud computing.

Edmunds reports the group of eight — BMW, Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi — along with the 15 companies, Sumitomo Electric Industries and the Electric Power Research Institute, are developing a platform that would use the cloud to better manage energy usage and grid efficiency “while still meeting the needs” of PHEV and EV owners. The platform is called the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform.

OVGI would operate as follows: an owner would plug their car in as usual, then set a time for when the vehicle would be back on the road. The utility company could then send a message to the car to stop charging during peak power use, or, if doing so would hinder the vehicle’s ability to get back on the road, allow the vehicle to continue charging until it was ready to go.

In turn, the companies could offer their customers incentives to offer their plug-ins to the grid through lower rates on electricity usage. Customers can opt-out, charge elsewhere, or have the vehicle ignore the request.

The first OVGI test is occurring this week at Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s Customer Service Center, where the tech will be demonstrated before federal, state, automotive and utility representatives and officials.

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Tesla’s First Battery Swap Station Opening Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/teslas-first-battery-swap-station-opening-soon/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932362 While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping. SlashGear […]

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Tesla Supercharger

While Tesla owners — and owners of all EVs, for that matter — may be waiting a couple of years before titanium oxide anodes bring battery charging levels down to the 3- to 5-minute fueling times found at a given gas station, CEO Elon Musk has another option for them to consider: Battery-pack swapping.

SlashGear reports the first swapping station will come online within the next few months, offering S and X owners the option of allowing robots to swap a drained pack for a fully charged unit from underneath the car within 90 seconds. Not only is this method faster than refueling at the local ARCO, but it blows away the Supercharger’s 30-minute charging time, as well.

The pack swap would also enable owners to retrieve their original packs later on, or, should retrieval become inconvenient, pay the difference for the new pack. Critics note this could lead to supply problems, where some stations have batteries waiting for their owners to return, while others run short of new packs.

The first station will open somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, though further details were scant.

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EU Withdraws 2020 Electric, Hydrogen Infrastructure Quota http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/eu-withdraws-2020-electric-hydrogen-infrastructure-quota/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/eu-withdraws-2020-electric-hydrogen-infrastructure-quota/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930818 The European Union is withdrawing a mandated quota of EV and hydrogen refueling stations that are to be installed in member states by 2020. Instead, the governing body is asking each member install an “appropriate number” of publically accessible EV stations by the start of the new decade, with hydrogen due by 2025 for those […]

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The European Union is withdrawing a mandated quota of EV and hydrogen refueling stations that are to be installed in member states by 2020. Instead, the governing body is asking each member install an “appropriate number” of publically accessible EV stations by the start of the new decade, with hydrogen due by 2025 for those who choose to develop the resource.

Auto Express reports the United Kingdom — as one example — would have fallen 64,000 units short of 122,000 units by 2020, but can now focus instead on its own £9 million ($14.4 million USD) infrastructure program, which will put over 200 electric stations online by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, campaign group Transport & Environment clean vehicles manager Greg Archer lamented the change in the mandate, placing the blame on the member states who “could not accept binding committments for low-carbon charging infrastructure”:

Europe can and should do better and initiate a comprehensive strategy on e-mobility. This continent needs to join the race for clean innovation, cut its €300 billion oil import bill and reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible.

The Clean Power for Transport mandate will go into effect by the end of October.

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Google’s Autonomous Car Drives Sans Passenger, Hides Behind Security http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/googles-autonomous-car-drives-sans-passenger-hides-behind-security/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/googles-autonomous-car-drives-sans-passenger-hides-behind-security/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=927994 Remember when Google wanted to keep its autonomous-car crash interventions under wraps? The tech giant is now keeping some of its testing private, as well, as its cars are driving around with no human aboard. According to Forbes, onlookers at a park near Google’s Mountain View, Calif. caught sight of the company’s car sans passengers, […]

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Remember when Google wanted to keep its autonomous-car crash interventions under wraps? The tech giant is now keeping some of its testing private, as well, as its cars are driving around with no human aboard.

According to Forbes, onlookers at a park near Google’s Mountain View, Calif. caught sight of the company’s car sans passengers, but were ushered aside by security so as no hard evidence of testing could be posted online.

As for why the commuter pod was tooling around with no soul to keep tabs on its progress, a likely idea, according to writer Mark Rogowsky, is an autonomous taxi being used by transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft whenever the car’s owner isn’t using it. A report by Morgan Stanley cited by Rogowsky states that a car is used for only 52 minutes per day, sitting idle the rest of the time. Were a vehicle to be put into service by a TNC, it would see more road time, providing more transportation options in so doing.

Though Google isn’t in a rush to bring a product online tomorrow, automakers like General Motors, Mercedes and Tesla will press ahead with partial-autonomy tech, which could arrive as soon as 2016. Meanwhile, the main piece in the puzzle — a 360-degree laser — continues to fall in price, recently dropping from $85,000 to $7,999. Rogowsky believes another 80 percent to 90 percent price cut will come in the near-future, helping to reduce the overall cost of autonomy.

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First 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues Leave South Korea For NAFTA Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/first-4000-2015-nissan-rogues-leave-south-korea-nafta-market/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921241 Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012. Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units […]

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Right now, 4,000 2015 Nissan Rogues are on their way from South Korea to North America, supplementing production of the crossover in Smyrna, Tenn. as part of an agreement signed between Renault Group, Nissan and Renault Samsung Motors in 2012.

Just-Auto reports the Rogues were assembled in RSM’s Busan, South Korea facility, where 80,000 units per year will head for the container port to the NAFTA market over the next five years. The figure will contribute to a total of 500,000+ units annually, spread out over nine plants around the world.

The export plan isn’t only a win for RSM –securing a stable production volume of 30 percent of what can be built in Busan — but for consumers on the West Coast who would like to have a Rogue in their parking space, but must wait due to a volume shortage.

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California Planning EV Charging-Friendly Building Codes For 2015 – 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921193 Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port. The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 […]

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Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port.

The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 and 2016, mandating new housing and parking lots must at least have “the conduit and electrical system calculations required to prepare for charging stations.” This would not only knock down installation costs — current installations require extensive work as far as wiring and upgrades are concerned, with a price tag to match — but could help spur greater adoption of electric cars and motorcycles.

Though installation would be made easier with the standards in consideration, charging could still be a pain. In a study b the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, grid operator California ISO proclaimed the grid could handle the increase in load so long as the ports are limited to 40 amp charging capacity. The fear is that were the amps to be doubled without upgrades to local transformers, the grid could overload.

The trade-off in limiting amps to maintain grid integrity is longer charging times, which could be made longer when longer-range EVs and their 60-plus kWh packs arrive sometime in 2017. The Long Tail Pipe says 40 amp would deliver times of 10 hours or greater to bring the packs to full. Though the study suggests 120-volt charging, the draft building code makes no mention of using that particular method.

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US Average Gas Price Per Gallon Falling To $3.15 By Year-End http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/us-average-gas-price-per-gallon-falling-3-15-year-end/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/us-average-gas-price-per-gallon-falling-3-15-year-end/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917594 Once upon a time, a gallon of regular could be had for under $3. Then, prices climbed as reduced production and geopolitical uncertainty played their respective roles. However, 2014 could feel like 2010 again as prices tumble back down to $3/gallon. A report issued by GasBuddy last week forecasts that the average national price for […]

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Low Gas Prices Circa 2012

Once upon a time, a gallon of regular could be had for under $3. Then, prices climbed as reduced production and geopolitical uncertainty played their respective roles. However, 2014 could feel like 2010 again as prices tumble back down to $3/gallon.

A report issued by GasBuddy last week forecasts that the average national price for a gallon of regular could fall between $3.15 and $3.25 by the end of the year, with 30 states expected to pump gas for prices below $3/gallon during the period.

The report bases its forecast on three factors: the transition from summer to winter-blend gasoline, the latter easier to produce by refiners; lower crude prices per barrel, led in part by boosted production in areas such as Alberta and North Dakota; and a combination of overall lower consumption over the autumn and winter months, more fuel-efficient vehicles on the road, and fewer younger drivers hitting the road.

Right now, 17 states in the South, East Coast and Great Plains already have stations delivering gas at $3 or less per gallon, with the Springfield, Mo. Metropolitan Statistical Area holding the lowest average at $3.005/gallon. Meanwhile, the West Coast will likely keep the highest prices per gallon during the period, though said prices will see the most severe drops through November and December.

Finally, though 2010 is considered a convenient reference point, GasBuddy states this season’s average won’t match that year’s low point, when the average price/gallon was $2.828.

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Real-Time Data May Lead To Greater Automated Law Enforcement http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/real-time-data-may-lead-greater-automated-law-enforcement/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/real-time-data-may-lead-greater-automated-law-enforcement/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=917562 Presently, V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) technologies are meant to allow a vehicle so-equipped to better navigate its surroundings, and to exchange data with other vehicles like it. If law enforcement has its way, however, the red and blue lights in the rearview mirror could soon give way to the electric […]

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Presently, V2V (vehicle to vehicle) and V2I (vehicle to infrastructure) technologies are meant to allow a vehicle so-equipped to better navigate its surroundings, and to exchange data with other vehicles like it. If law enforcement has its way, however, the red and blue lights in the rearview mirror could soon give way to the electric eye of automated enforcement.

Autoblog reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledges as much in the agency’s report on the technologies. Though the current framework isn’t meant for law enforcement, and data transmitted by current intelligent transport systems don’t provide enough to link speeding calculations to drivers, deputy administrator David Friedman says the possibility is there:

I know there is potential for law enforcement to optimize some of these things, but if we go too far, too fast in that direction, it could create some consumer backlash that could hurt its adoption. The technology is there, but our initial design is not focused on that.

Of course, automated enforcement wouldn’t obtain its information from ITS data alone, as it would augment a whole assortment of tools meant to nail speeders. Phoenix-based RedFlex is developing a camera network that would measure one’s speed between two points, while Colorado-based Laser Technology Inc. is building a dual laser/camera system that will both calculate speed and record video of the offender.

That said, the allure of real-time data may prove too great to contain on the enforcement front, putting the onus on the consumer to maintain vigilance in keeping data private, as National Motorists Association communications director John Bowman explains:

I hope people start to take notice of this stuff. We’re essentially tracked everywhere we go in almost everything we do. If people don’t push back against it like they’ve started to do with red-light cameras, I just think people will be surprised when they wake up one day and realize they have no privacy left.

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Toyota Camry To Have Aluminum Hoods By 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-camry-aluminum-hoods-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/toyota-camry-aluminum-hoods-2018/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=916882 As Ford prepares to stake its future on an aluminum F-150, Toyota is looking to do the same for at least a single part on its best-selling vehicle. Automotive News reports the automaker will begin stamping aluminum hoods for the Camry in 2018, introducing the metal to its customers in North America with the hood […]

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As Ford prepares to stake its future on an aluminum F-150, Toyota is looking to do the same for at least a single part on its best-selling vehicle.

Automotive News reports the automaker will begin stamping aluminum hoods for the Camry in 2018, introducing the metal to its customers in North America with the hood and liftgate of the Lexus RX 350 in 2015. The move is part of an overall plan “to use aluminum on future vehicles for hood, closures and parts for lightweighting,” according to representative Jana Hartline, who adds the automaker will “increase usage of mix metals and resin materials to enhance lightweighting efforts.”

The plan will be enacted through a joint venture between its trading company, Toyota Tsusho Corp., and Kobe Steel, with Toyota being one of the JV’s first clients. The venture aims to produce 100,000 tons of aluminum sheet annually, and plans to build its operation near producer Wise Alloys of Muscle Shoals, Ala. to help tackle constraints resulting from the increased popularity — a result of tightening CAFE regulations — of the metal.

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