TTAC News Round-up: Infamous GM Engineer Speaks, You Only Get One With Dinner, and Hydrogen's Hedged Bet

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole
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The man in the middle of GM’s faulty ignition switch has finally spoken, and the word “mistake” came up at least twice.

That, does anyone have the number for Google, GM and Honda may join forces, and take a cab … after the break!

Former GM engineer says ‘mistakes were made’ in faulty switch

The engineer at the center of a massive recall, hundreds of lawsuits and 124 deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch that could turn off said Friday in videotaped testimony that he “made mistakes in development of that part,” according to Reuters ( via Automotive News).

Ray DeGiorgio worked for GM for 23 years and helped develop a faulty ignition switch that could turn off and disable safety systems in millions of cars. Five years later, when officials recognized the part’s failure, DeGiorgio’s signed off on a change to the part — but not the part number — to address the problem. Lawyers have said that not changing the part number is evidence of a cover-up by GM.

DeGiorgio hasn’t spoken much publicly (he once told the New York Times in his driveway that he “ didn’t lie, cheat or steal”) and his deposition will be key in the first of many lawsuits against GM.

ttac news round up infamous gm engineer speaks you only get one with dinner and

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: We haven’t forgotten about self-driving cars, guys

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ head of safety said Friday that the automaker is committed to developing autonomous drive technology, despite being seemingly dead last behind Ford and General Motors, who’ve announced several self-driving advancements.

Our engineers are actively exploring autonomous-vehicle technology and its implications. For strategic reasons, we don’t discuss future product plans. However, we currently offer several automated driver-assist features, such as our sensor-fusion forward collision warning systems. These activities help demonstrate our commitment to advancing the development of autonomous-vehicle technology.

Or, “Does anyone have the number for Google?”

Michael Dahl’s statement is related to a 52-week low for FCA stock, which has been battered recently because of a lawsuit and investors’ worries that the company can’t keep up with others in autonomous technology.

Honda, GM may consider joint fuel cell plant

Honda and General Motors may jointly build a fuel cell plant to cut costs and make available sooner alternative fuel cell cars, according to Reuters ( via Automotive News).

The incredibly small market for hydrogen-powered cars has meant automakers such as Toyota, BMW, Daimler and Nissan have hesitated in developing a fuel cell plant on their own. Hydrogen-powered cars are most popular in Japan — where GM is not — and have a very small presence in California, mostly due to lack of infrastructure to fuel them.

Feds want states to lower BAC to .05

The National Transportation Safety Board said it wants states to lower their blood-alcohol content limits from .08 to .05 to help cut back on fatal crashes where alcohol is involved.

According to the safety administration, the risk of a fatal crash has more than doubled by the time a person becomes legally drunk, and lowering the BAC threshold could reduce the number of people killed on roadways.

The proposal is part of a larger push by the agency to reduce the number of impaired drivers on the roads.

While all states use the .08 BAC as the legal limit many states vary in enforcement, threshold for enhancers, repeat offenders and adoption of an interlock device — which we’ve talked about a lot here.

According to NBC, when Australia dropped its BAC from .08 to .05, provinces reported a 5 to 18 percent drop in fatal crashes.

Automakers join in safety pact

Eighteen automakers — every major automaker that operates in the U.S. — joined a voluntary safety pact Friday to focus on better vehicle safety, improved access to early warning data and increased cybersecurity in cars, according to Reuters.

The broad consensus was made after another busy year for vehicle recalls and fines, and an increasing focus by federal regulators on car safety and automakers’ responsibility for their cars.

Critics of the pact said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should have held their discussions in public with input from outsiders.

“From seatbelts to catalytic converters to airbags to fuel economy standards, automakers have proven time and time again that they do nothing voluntarily,” Democratic Sens. Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

[Images: Dodge, GM]

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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  • DenverMike DenverMike on Jan 16, 2016

    The DUI "industry" is still huge, but hurting. But do you really think they don't have lobbyists in DC? Without looking it up, DUI arrests and DUI related deaths and injuries have to be at an all time low. It's the states that want/need more DUI money, along with private prisons, all wanting the Feds to look like the bad guy And it's all straight-up "business" for everyone involved in DUIs. My handyman got a DUI and they kicked him out of the drunk tank the next morning, free on his own recognizance. Yeah, no bail! They must have ran his credit score. A no account, complete deadbeat. A liability in the DUI game. 15 old misdemeanor warrants at the time too. $100,000+ worth! Driving on a suspended's, failure's to appear, etc. They instantly kick him out, every time he's arrested and he never shows up for court dates. With nothing to lose, they can't make any money off of him. With lowered DUI rates, the industry has to be missing out on billions of dollars yearly or monthly, and are not helped by increased marijuana use and prescribed opiates/anti-depression meds. Yes the Fed want to make us all safer, but have to also want more DUI money landing on poor, broke and bankrupt states, with more crashes landing an easier DUI conviction

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 17, 2016

      It's interesting how the alternative fuel community is quite divided on this issue (just like the Republicans). As an EV driver who is 'between EVs' for the time being, I side with the EV fans who criticize the H2 efforts. There isn't - and won't be - any infrastructure, and the energy equation is not even close for FC vehicles. Toyota, Hyundai, and friends expected the states to pay for fueling stations, but that's not going to happen. Not to mention the higher complexity of FC vehicles, safety questions, and higher cost to buy. It's really just a political boondoggle, and I predict the Mirai will go down as Toyota's greatest flop. There are 14 H2 stations in the entire US, which is up from 9 a couple years ago. If Tesla had built the Supercharger network at that rate, they'd be out of business by now. At the moment, this map indicates 247 Tesla Superchargers in the US:

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.