New Bill Aims to Boost America's EV Adoption

Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced new legislation on Wednesday in a bid to improve the uptake of electric vehicles in the United States. The bill, known as the USA Electrify Forward Act, would appropriate $2 billion annually for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program between 2021 and 2035.

Dingell cited a May 2019 AAA survey that reported just 16 percent of Americans as saying they would consider an electric vehicle for their next automotive purchase, claiming something needs to be done address EV pricing, repair costs, and range. The primary focus of the bill is to help in the development and manufacturing of advanced battery technologies and anything else that might help get more Americans into EVs.

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UAW Prez Rory Gamble, Aka Mr. Clean, Under Federal Investigation

UAW President Rory Gamble, who took the helm of a scandal-rocked union following the resignation of former prez Gary Jones late last year, is reportedly under federal investigation himself.

Gamble embarked on a wide-ranging clean-up operation soon after taking the job in the hopes of avoiding federal oversight, while at the same time charting a bribery- and corruption-free path forward for the union. The investigation’s scope is a broad one, peering beneath every stone, and Gamble claims this particular probe is par for the course.

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Japan Issues Arrest Warrant for Mrs. Ghosn; Carlos Prepares Press Conference

Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife Carole on Tuesday for allegedly lying during testimony. While Japanese authorities have also speculated that she may have helped orchestrate the movie-like escape of her husband from the island nation, something Mr. Ghosn proactively denied, she’s only officially charged with perjury.

The warrant accuses Carole Ghosn of having falsely denied knowing or meeting individuals tied to the company who received payments from Nissan Motor before funneling a portion of those funds to a firm owned by her husband — which is one of the reasons why he was arrested in the first place.

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NHTSA Investigating Another Tesla Crash

Barely two weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last opened an investigation into a Tesla crash, the federal agency is once again probing a collision involving a Tesla vehicle — this one a fatal incident.

The agency announced this week that a December 29th crash in Gardena, California that killed two occupants of a 2006 Honda Civic will fall under its purview.

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U.S. Fuel Rollback Earns Pushback From Scientific Advisory Board

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is once again applying pressure on the Trump administration’s proposed fuel economy rollback. Similar to the complaints issued by a coalition of scientists back in March of 2018, the board expressed concerns that significant weaknesses exist in the analysis underpinning the plan that should be addressed before any rules are made final. A draft report was circulated earlier in the week, with the SAB scheduling a public meeting meeting on January 17th.

will benefit all Americans by improving the U.S. fleet’s fuel economy, reducing air pollution, and making new vehicles more affordable for all Americans.”

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French Tax on Inefficient Vehicles Riles Automakers

Next year, the European Union plans to adopt aggressive new rules that would see automakers fined if their total annual vehicle sales exceed predetermined carbon limits. Obviously automakers aren’t thrilled with the new fines and higher emission mandates, but France is facing additional criticism for its decision to take things a step further.

France’s parliament has adopted a new law penalizing cars that emit carbon dioxide above a certain threshold while still adhering to EU regulations. Vehicles failing to adhere to the French rules will be subject to a 20,000 euros ($22,240) tax in 2020, nearly twice the current fine. Meanwhile, the country is mulling the possibility of culling EV incentives — an odd move, considering its aim to transition its populace to zero-emission vehicles.

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GM Still Pushing Cars Without Steering Wheels, Talking With NHTSA

Remember when General Motors talked about delivering an autonomous vehicle, sans steering wheel or pedals, and how the Department of Transportation said Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards basically made it impossible? Well, GM hasn’t given up the fight to disassociate drivers from driving.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started talks with GM over the automaker’s petition to deploy a limited number of self-driving vehicles on American roads last Friday. Acting NHTSA Administrator James Owens told Reuters that the petition (issued in 2018) is currently under review.

“I expect we’re going to be able to move forward with these petitions soon — as soon as we can,” Owens said, suggesting a final decision would be made in 2020. “This will be a big deal because this will be the first such action that will be taken.”

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Congress Says Nay to Expanding EV Tax Credits

Prior to Congress taking the rest of the month off to relax and presumably gear up for an impeachment trial, they first had to settle their year-end tax package. Automakers were hoping that would include an extension of electric vehicle tax credits, but it was a doomed proposition.

An extension was initially included in the bipartisan Driving America Forward Act, which manifested this spring, before being incorporated into the Democrat-friendly GREEN Act (Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now). That got it through the House but not the Republican-controlled Senate, which wasn’t interested.

While the current $7,500 EV tax credit remains in place, Tesla and General Motors have both reached their 200,000-vehicle quota. Naturally, they (and other automakers) lobbied for an expansion, one which would have seen a $7,000 credit kept in place until a manufacturer sold 600,000 electric automobiles. Several Republican lawmakers openly shared their distaste for the plan, though few more openly than Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, who had an opposing bill — called the Fairness for Every Driver Act — interested in reducing subsidies on the grounds that EV credits have already done enough.

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House Passes USMCA Trade Deal, Replacing NAFTA

The House of Representatives approved a new North American trade deal on Thursday, causing many to breathe a sigh of relief. The House vote sends the measure to the Senate, with the probable outcome of it being pushed through.

When is another matter, however, as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the measure would likely be taken up after an impeachment trial. That means we’ll be waiting until 2020. Still, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) is one step closer to replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Barring a governmental curveball, the automotive industry now knows what to expect.

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Amid Emissions Clampdown, Brits Face Reduced Access to 34 MPG Mazda

The roadster news just keeps getting worse for British drivers. As hyper-stringent Euro 6 emission standards come into effect in the new year, drivers in the UK will have a harder time getting their hands on a vehicle we all know and love on this side of the Atlantic.

That vehicle is the Mazda MX-5. Available with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder on this side of the pond, Brits can have theirs in two flavors: 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter. Come 2020, the automaker will do its best to dissuade buyers from choosing the larger mill.

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With New Factory Coming Online, Tesla Looks to Slash Prices in China

The country’s new car market might be in a state of turmoil, but Tesla’s plans for China haven’t changed. It still wants to capture a big chunk of the country’s “new energy” vehicle market, and the creation of a wholly owned assembly plant, plus a range of local suppliers, makes the company’s goal a near certainty.

As it struggles to ramp up production at its Shanghai facility, Tesla plans to go on a price-slashing spree in 2020, a report claims.

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QOTD: Alfa Romeo's Time Come Due?

An article posted yesterday on these renowned pages really got me thinking about how certain brands seem to not have much of a future in the automotive landscape of 2020 — and beyond. If you didn’t click the link there, you may be wondering which brand I’m presently speaking of. It is of course Alfa Romeo.

Let’s do some Italian-style pondering.

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A New Twist: California Bans Gov. Purchasing of Most Auto Brands

Just when you thought the gas war couldn’t get any wilder, California has announced it will ban the purchase of any vehicle manufactured by a company that doesn’t explicitly recognize the state’s ability to set its own emission regulations.

Starting in January, California plans to purchase any-and-all government fleet vehicles from only Ford, Honda, BMW, and Volkswagen Group — companies that backed a voluntary agreement to adhere to the state’s emission rules over the summer. The pact is now the subject of a federal antitrust probe.

Any automaker publicly supporting a single national standard (or having recently expressed support for the Trump administration’s fuel rollback proposal) will be deemed ineligible for fleet consideration. “Car makers that have chosen to be on the wrong side of history will be on the losing end of California’s buying power,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

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UK City Signs Off on Diesel Ban, Leaving Thousands With Second-class Cars

It’s not just the increased taxation on diesel fuel that’s prompting Europeans to throw in the towel on compression ignition. Look to local lawmakers for Reason Number One why diesel, which just a few years ago comprised the majority of new car sales in the UK, is suddenly less popular than this writer was in high school.

Following similar moves by select German cities and other jurisdictions, the UK city of Bristol has become the first municipality in that country to approve a diesel ban, with fines set to be levelled against anyone caught entering the city with a non-spark engine. Amazingly, this motley crew of second-class vehicles includes transit buses.

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States Begin Dealing With Driving Data, Right-to-Repair Laws

In reading this website, you’ve no doubt come across paranoid rants about automotive companies vacuuming up your personal data as connected cars become the norm — often written by yours truly. Frequently bleak, they address a multitude of concerns we believe will only get worse before they can get better.

A large part of that has to do with automakers seeing the potential of leveraging customer data, like so many tech companies have before them. But elected (and unelected) officials also seem to have a loose grasp of the technology and its potential ramifications. When the Department of Transportation initially approved self-driving vehicles for public testing, the guidelines were loose and largely dependent upon self-reporting — few wanted to stand in the way of developing systems that might someday save lives.

However, manufacturers are now beginning to issue over-the-air updates, perpetual internet connectivity, gamification, and in-car marketplaces (complete with advertisements). While the new technology has opened up new doors for customer experiences and corporate revenue, it’s accelerating at a pace that’s difficult to track. As a result, lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are starting to get antsy. The former hopes to address how data will be handled in accordance with the state’s right-to-repair laws. The latter is more directly concerned with privacy.

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  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.
  • ToolGuy "The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon, and Harrow have likewise announced plans to take legal action to force a possible judicial review..."But: "In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire... Hurricanes hardly happen."