Tag: regulators

By on December 6, 2021

Lucid Group Inc. has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which is on the prowl for any documentation relating to its merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Known colloquially as “blank-check firms,” these organizations literally exist to be combined with existing companies as a way to pump the stock and spur investments.

But they’ve gotten a lot of negative attention following a glut of EV startups garnering impressively high valuations based on little more than a business proposal. Those seeking an example need look no further than Nikola Corp, which was outed as having grossly overpromised on its technological capabilities and production acumen after raking it in on the stock market. As a result, financial regulators have become increasingly skeptical of SPACs and want to make sure everything going on with Lucid is above board.  (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2021

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it is making its first ever whistleblower award. The U.S. regulatory body has decided to give over $24 million to a whistleblower providing information related to Hyundai Motor America and Kia Motors America. While not named by the NHTSA, it’s undoubtedly talking about Kim Gwang-ho — a South Korean engineer who flew to Washington in 2016 to squeal that his employer had been skirting safety regulations.

Armed with an internal report from Hyundai’s quality control team, Kim told the NHTSA the company was not taking sufficient action to address a presumed engine defect that increased the risk of crashes. It looks like the decision paid off for him, too. Hyundai Motor Group was struck with sizable regulatory penalties and Kim is now getting a huge payout from U.S. regulators right before the Department of Transportation proposes updated regulations pertaining to the automotive whistleblower program Congress created in 2015.  (Read More…)

By on August 16, 2021

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been keeping tabs on Tesla’s Autopilot for years, sometimes giving crashes involving the system a bit more attention than they otherwise would have. But the extra scrutiny seemed to dissipate as practically every automaker on the planet introduced their own advanced driving suites and Telsa seemed to preemptively adhere to fast-approaching government regulations (and industry norm) by introducing driver-monitoring cameras.

On Friday, the NHTSA returned to business as usual and announced it had opened a preliminary evaluation of Autopilot to determine if there were any problems with the system. The agency has claimed it received at least 11 verifiable crash reports since 2018 where a Tesla product struck at least one vehicle that was already at the scene of an accident. It’s sort of a weird metric but allegedly worthy of the NHTSA wanting to look into every model the company produced between 2014 and 2021. However, actually reading the report makes it sound like the agency is more preoccupied with how Tesla’s system engaged with drivers, rather than establishing the true effectiveness of Autopilot as a system.  (Read More…)

By on April 7, 2021

With environmental regulations being a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris platform, the administration’s newly installed Environmental Protection Agency head has signaled that changes are coming over the summer. However, before that can take place, Administrator Michael Regan said wants to make some big changes within the agency that he believes will bring it back to the way it operated before being restructured by the Trump administration.

In the meantime, the EPA will be actively revising the previous president’s relaxed fuel economy standard designed to give the industry some flexibility in terms of keeping larger vehicles and traditional powertrains on sale — something we’ve covered repeatedly as it ended up being the proverbial football in the highly political American gas war. Considering Mr. Regan’s history of praising California’s climate response and energy protocols, his allegiances in the conflict should be obvious. However, he has also suggested that the EPA needs to make decisions on what’s feasible, indicating he may not push for extreme measures. Though he has not drawn any lines in the sand when it comes to potential bans of internal combustion vehicles or stringent penalties for power plants and oil refineries.  (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2020

Tesla is recalling some 30,000 imported Model S and Model X vehicles in China over claimed defects in the suspension. According to China’s State Administration for Market Regulation, cars manufactured between September 2013 and January 2018 suffered from two distinct issues, with some vehicles having both.

But, almost as quickly as the story was brought to our attention, Tesla announced the accusations were baseless and the recall was being forced by the Chinese government. The group that’s being recalled accounts for most of the American-made EVs shipped to China by the brand. Since Tesla started manufacturing in Shanghai in 2020, U.S. exports have slowed to a trickle. The automaker seemed to hint that there may be political reasons behind the decision but stopped short of saying it wouldn’t comply with Chinese regulators.

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2020

Officially, the word is “manipulated.”

That’s what Porsche suspects, and the ominous presence in this plot is apparently calling from inside the house. According to a German newspaper, the automaker has launched an internal investigation into possible manipulation of its gasoline engines. (Read More…)

By on May 11, 2020

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The European Union’s antitrust regulators could easily allow the proposed $50 billion merger between Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group to sail onward unopposed… or decide to throw a wrench into the works.

Both companies started funneling the necessary applications to the European Commission back in February, but Monday brought word of a decision date: on or before June 17th. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

autonomous hardware

While the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) job isn’t to establish new regulations, it is obligated to enforce the country’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards while conducting crash investigations and making recommendations to other agencies on ways to improve vehicular safety.

Lately, that job involves telling the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency that does write those rules, to step up its game on autonomous vehicles.

Last week, the NTSB held a board meeting in Washington D.C. to determine the probable cause of a fatal collision between a self-driving Uber prototype and a pedestrian in March of 2018. While Uber took plenty of heat, the NHTSA also came under fire for prioritizing the advancement of advanced driving technologies over public safety. (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2019

Cummins, maker of the beastly 6.7-liter inline-six diesels found beneath the hoods of various Ram Heavy Duty pickups, claims it is looking into its emissions certification and compliance process.

In a statement released Monday, the decision to investigate the process came after “conversations” with the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board. Specifically, the probe targets the revamped engines used in Ram’s 2019 HD line, not the 5.0-liter V8 found in the Nissan Titan XD. (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2017

The handover of General Motors’ money-losing European division to France’s PSA Group seemed complete last July, but now the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars isn’t happy with the bag it’s holding.

PSA claims the acquisition of the Opel and Vauxhall brands left it on the hook for massive fines, all stemming from looming European emissions regulations and the not-so-squeaky-clean state of its new holdings. The automaker’s now seeking nearly $1 billion from GM — more than half of what it paid for the brands. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2017

uber volvo

In the midst of Uber Technologies’ corporate restructuring and cultivation of a squeaky-clean new image, the ride-hailing company was apparently hiding a dark secret. Striving for transparency, the company has now confessed that hackers stole the personal information of 57 million customers and drivers in October of 2016.

The coverup, apparently conducted by the firm’s chief security officer and another staff member, involved over $100,000 in payments to the hackers in the hopes to keep them quiet. The data lost included names, email addresses, and phone numbers of around 50 million Uber riders across the globe. Another 7 million drivers were also subjected to the digital attack, with over half a million of those losing their driver’s license numbers.  (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

uber volvo

Uber Technologies is about to be probed to a degree that would make even the most compliant alien abductee blush. The company is now looking at a minimum of five criminal investigations from the U.S. Justice Department regarding claims of bribes, illicit software usage, unfair marketing practices, corporate espionage, questionable pricing strategies, and theft of a competitor’s intellectual property.

The ride-hailing firm is also involved in dozens of lawsuits from from customers and employees — and one very public suit with autonomous research rival Waymo. But Uber’s skirting of the law was what made it so profitable to begin with. Its take-no-prisoners attitude may have been the thing that ultimately ousted founder and CEO Travis Kalanick and severely tarnished its corporate image, but it’s also an aspect that ensure its success. Still, nobody likes learning how the sausage is made and every look behind Uber’s curtain revealed another fresh horror the press couldn’t resist mentioning — including yours truly. (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2017

GM Assembly, Image: General Motors

General Motors’ safety practices are no longer under the watchful eye of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The three-year oversight period was part of a settlement GM reached with U.S. regulators back in May 2014, resulting from its failure to recall defective ignition switches attributed to 124 deaths and countless injuries.

While NHTSA’s role as General Motors’ personal watchdog ended last month, the automaker said it intends to continue meeting with the agency on a monthly basis to discuss potential defects. It also stated that the time spent with the regulator had been transformative, leading to a safer environment and more stringent quality control.  (Read More…)

By on June 6, 2017

CCS Charging pic

Government officials and automakers are accusing Volkswagen of twisting its emissions-cheating penance to its own advantage. As part of its sentence for equipping over half a million vehicles with defeat devices, the United States is forcing VW to spend billions of dollars on a decade-long program that promotes environmentally friendly transportation and green technologies. The company opted to invest a large part of those compulsory efforts into establishing an EV charging network within the U.S.

However, seven state attorneys generals have urged the Environmental Protection Agency to closely monitor Volkswagen’s course. They contend that such a network would give the company an unfair advantage in the forthcoming electric revolution, allowing VW to profit from its misconduct.  (Read More…)

By on December 8, 2016

porsche 550 rear emblem

European Union officials are threatening to sue four countries, including Germany and Britain, for permitting Volkswagen AG to sell vehicles that were designed to cheat on emissions tests. The union has faced growing criticism for taking a more laissez-faire approach to handling the issue while the United States forced the company to settle $15 billion in legal claims.

Meanwhile, German regulators are looking into whether Porsche intentionally manipulated fuel economy data on its vehicles — creating a potential subplot in Volkswagen’s never-ending emissions-cheating scandal.
(Read More…)

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