TTAC News Roundup: BMW Hunts a Tinderbox, Mercedes-Benz Wants to Stop Possibly Microwaving Cats, Toyota Taps Texans, and Hondas Are on a Roll

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ttac news roundup bmw hunts a tinderbox mercedes benz wants to stop possibly
There’s a single BMW X3 out there that could burst into flames at any moment.That, Mercedes-Benz offers EV charging with no wires or plugs, Toyota pours staff into Texas, and Honda wants its Civics to stand still … after the break!
BMW recalls one X3 to prevent a fireApparently, there is a 2017 BMW X3 xDrive 28i that left the factory with a defective electronic power steering control unit. The supplier seems to have neglected to make the necessary welds on the contact pins and the resistance could eventually create enough heat to cause a fire.This “thermal incident” can occur even when the vehicle is parked with the ignition off.The supplier notified BMW and the company has enacted a voluntary recall of the vehicle in question. How the supplier discovered the problem and why this only affects a single vehicle is a bit of a mystery. Let’s hope the owner is notified before they find a smoldering heap in their driveway or their garage burns down.
2017 Mercedes-Benz S550E is the first EV to offer wireless chargingThe 2017 Mercedes-Benz S550E is expected to add wireless charging to its long list of options when it receives a mid-cycle facelift next year. This technically makes the S550E the first plug-in hybrid that you don’t actually have to plug-in.According to Motor Trend, the technology is sourced from Qualcomm and functions similarly to the wireless charging devices used for smartphones and laptops.Owners will be able to install a pad on their parking spot that will align with a pad on the bottom of the vehicle when parked. The parking pad contains multiple coils capable of generating a magnetic field that recharges the vehicle over time.However, the field also generates heat in a similar way to a microwave. Anything that comes between the charging pad and the vehicle would suffer the same fate as a gas station burrito, minus being eaten. To sidestep people barbecuing their pets, vehicles will be equipped with sensors to detect if something is positioned within the charging field and shut the system down if need be.
Toyota hiring an extra 1,000 employees in TexasYesterday, Toyota announced that it will hire 1,000 staff members for its new U.S. base, still under construction, near Dallas.“We will be hiring more than 1,000 new team members across numerous functions, and our hope is that they will help us in Toyota’s mission to address mobility challenges for everyone, now and in the future,” said Jim Lentz, Toyota’s North America Chief Executive.The new HQ will occupy 100 acres of land and require more than 1,200 tons of limestone, twelve acres of glass, and seventeen thousand tons of steel to complete.
Honda recalls 350,000 Civics due to parking brake glitchAmerican Honda is recalling approximately 350,000 Civics from the 2016 model year to fix an issue with the vehicles’ electronic parking brake. This news comes one day after the very similar brake-related recall of 2016 and 2017 Prius models.The automaker explained the software controlling the vehicle stability control unit could prevent the parking brake from functioning when it is applied immediately after turning the vehicle ignition off. While no accidents or injuries have been reported, the EPB malfunction may cause a parked Civic to roll away and into whatever might be downhill from it.Honda will start notifying affected Civic owners in November and dealers will install a software update free of charge.[Images: Nathan Wert/ Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 3.0); OSX/ Wikimedia Commons; Mercedes Benz; Toyota; American Honda]
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  • NeilM NeilM on Oct 17, 2016

    Like drive by wire throttles, electrically operated parking brakes can enable other features. For instance the one on my Golf R optionally sets itself on park, while also providing anti-roll, anti-creep and hill-hold capabilities. These all work really well in actual use. On the minus side the parking brake works by incorporating an electric motor, toothed belt drive, gear reduction system and a screw jack into each rear brake caliper. Replacing the rear brake pads requires cycling the powered parking brake system using an electronic diagnostic tool. Should a new rear caliper ever be required it would be brutally expensive. The system is totally enclosed within the rear caliper housing, so with a bit of luck it should last.

  • Macmcmacmac Macmcmacmac on May 20, 2020

    Hmmm, weren't people freaking out about electromagnetic fields from CRTs and overhead power lines and hair dryers not too long ago? MB wireless charging, just ducky..

  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Ed That has to be a joke.