AD #2551 – VW Expands EV Plans, EPA Proposes Year-Round E-15 Sales, Infiniti Pulls Out of Western Europe

March 13th, 2019 at 11:38am

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Listen to “AD #2551 – VW Expands EV Plans, EPA Proposes Year-Round E-15 Sales, Infiniti Pulls Out of Western Europe” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 5:30

0:23 EPA Proposes Year-Round E-15 Sales
1:09 VW Expands EV Plans
2:25 Autoline Takes the Ice Plunge Challenge
3:09 Hyundai Sonata Rides on New Platform
3:58 Infiniti Pulls Out of Western Europe
4:22 GM’s Cruise Doubles Workforce
4:44 GM Donates 1st AV Bolt to Henry Ford Museum

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52 Comments to “AD #2551 – VW Expands EV Plans, EPA Proposes Year-Round E-15 Sales, Infiniti Pulls Out of Western Europe”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Since VW says that building its electric cars involves some 30 percent less effort than ones powered by an internal combustion engine, does that mean they will outsource all of the battery pack assembly? I’d think the assembly of thousands of cells into a pack would take a significant amount of “effort.”

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The bread photo is great. The van looks old. I wonder if the picture is old, or if that older vehicle is still in use.

  3. David Sprowl Says:

    What does VW know that Magna doesn’t? One states the EV’s are less to produce while on March 4th the other empathically touted the opposite. I suspect that the answers lie in the math- magicians that sometimes work in accounting.

  4. David Sprowl Says:

    clearly the driving was loafing…

  5. Barry T Says:

    I wonder if anyone knows the answer to my question of choice in gasoline blends… Is there a reason why they couldn’t blend at the pump and let the consumer choose the blend? I have different vehicles different ages different octane needs and I would enjoy that option. Best case for me would be 87 octane pure gasoline and add ethanol from there to the octane I want.

  6. David Sprowl Says:

    @5 I have a similar issue. I was told last summer that lawn equipment suffers from motor fuel blended with alcohol. I have access to only one station that does not blend at all. I suspect that the answer to your question relies on the needed space for an additional tank for OH storage. and then the equipment for the pumps to blend.

  7. Albemarle Says:

    I’m surprised that VW stopped at such a small bragging number. I’m sure by 2040 they will have produced over 100 electric models.

    I think VWs claim of needing fewer people to make them is to help them in their negotiations with unions. Batteries are universally manufactured by robots and the change from ICE cars is an opportunity to add automation and cut line workers.

    I think Magna’s insistence that EVs are not cheaper to assemble is a remark for OEMs than contract with Magna for assembly, like Jaguar with the iPace.

  8. Albemarle Says:

    5. No idea about blending. Here in Canada, regular and mid-grade often have 10% ethanol while premium has none. Go figure.

  9. Larry D. Says:

    1 Why not? Don’t ICE cars have dozens of very complex components that the old fashioned automaker buy from their suppliers? Automakers do not produce cars, they largely Assemble them.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 My lawn equipment consists of a 42 year old John Deere 210 lawn tractor, and an 8 year old Craftsman push mower. Both work fine with E10. I’m not sure I’d want to try E15, though, especially in the one that is 42 years old.

    As recently as about 15 years ago, I had a vehicle that would not like alcohol at all, a BMW R100 motorcycle, which had carburetor floats that would be damaged by alcohol.

  11. Larry D. Says:

    9 con’d if you want to make a fair comparison, you should not only include the cost, labor and time to make the batteries of the EVs but also the cost time and labor to make all these other parts ICE auto ‘makers’ buy from their suppliers and just install in the vehicle.

  12. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I think VW is buying battery packs (to their specification) from another source; that’s the only way they could claim 30% assembly saving but that is just my opinion. Look around the internet for battery disassembly’s and see for yourself the complexities involved.

    As long as E-15 is optional I don’t have a problem with it; if it replaces E-10 even more engines (marine outboard, small garden etc.) may be in jeopardy of damage. And as mentioned above at the pump; if there were one tank of straight ethanol, one tank of regular and one tank of premium all the blends could be achieved without too much trouble.

  13. Larry D. Says:

    Ethanol is utterly insignificant in today’s market, except perhaps for some tiny populated corn producing states in flyover country.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    The new Sonata is just like the old Sonata with the flares. A gimmick to attract attention until the comparison tests reveal that the Accord and the Camry are far superior choices.

    And the overhangs in the new model are still too long, esp the front one, the curse of the FWD…

  15. David Sprowl Says:

    @10 I had number of pieces of lawn equipment that suffers from varnish and clogging in the carbs. Last year I bought a new mower, not from a big box store but from a specialty retailer. Their suggestion to all their customers is to avoid fuel systems issues was to us alcohol free fuel. I will know how good that advice is shortly and again this winter.

  16. ChuckGrenci Says:

    And over at Autoweek (today’s offering), one story is: “Exactly how clean is you electric car?”. There is some inciteful information, and like some of us electric skeptics, food for our fodder. Also, VW’s announcement of increasing electric offerings from 50 to 70 models, I detect some ‘slight of hand’ by VW as a mis-direction of their diesel-gate shenanigans especially when their director states that their goal is to help save the Earth.

  17. Larry D. Says:

    “Valued at over $14.5 billion, Cruise plans to launch its autonomous taxi service by the end of the year.”

    Cruise is where half the Bolts sold go to die. In my book, it is not worth a wooden nickel. And it will not be the first time either that Detroit makers have squandered billions and billions and later had nothing to show for it. Big example, Ford buying all these losers with its Taurus Billions in the 80s, then wasting more billions to make the losers into less losing losers, then giving up and selling them for peanuts…

  18. David Sprowl Says:

    @13 not sure about that one. Ethanol helped solve the dieseling issue as well as helps keep emissions lower. The difficulty is that it also delivers less mileage due to the lack of energy density in straight ethanol.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    16 the big investment in EVs by VW was largely mandated by the penalties and settlement they had for Dieselgate. Especially building hundreds of superchargers in the US, I distinctly remember it as being part of VW’s penalty.

    As for the cleanliness of EVs, I am sure they are still far cleaner than ICE, but this is not the main reason many buy them. Most EV sales here are Teslas, not the other EVs like the Bolt and Leaf, and Teslas are known for their truly awe-inspiring performance. They are truly giant-slayers in comparison tests done by Top Gear etc. Most of Tesla buyers buy them to have a ton of fun, and at the same time being able to claim they are holier than thou because of far smaller emissions than any ICE.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 Currently, VW assembles their own engines, and probably many of their transmissions. If they bought them from suppliers, the in-house work would decrease substantially, maybe the 30% mentioned as happening with building electric cars. As far as the total labor to build an EV compared to an ICE car, who knows? Tesla has a lot of employees for the number of cars they build, but they probably do more in-house than most car companies, including making the batteries and assembling the packs. Of course, some of those employees also work in the stores, etc.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    18 I said in today’s market. It may have helped when oil was $150 or even $100, a number which, adjusted for inflation so we can compare apples to apples, will never see again in our lifetimes.

    In addition, it is extremely disturbing to waste Food to make a Fuel that few care about today, in view of World hunger and all that..

  22. David Sprowl Says:

    my take on electrics is that the switch has little to do with “save the earth” even though that is the sales pitch to the public. What it has more to do with is starving the middle east of funding to assist them from waging havoc. Electric cars, while fun to drive, do not begin to “clean” the air as they so far take far more energy to produce than they save.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 I guess having a 42 year old lawn tractor with the original carburetor and fuel pump, which has used E10 for more than half of it’s life, it will be hard to convince me that E10 is bad, except for some very old equipment, especially some old outboard motors with shellac covered cork carb floats.

    I have one item, a 40-some year old chain saw that I haven’t used in many years, that if I ever want to get running, I will try to find some E0. Those diaphragm carburetors are finicky anyway, and ones that old might not like E10.

  24. Larry D. Says:

    22 The biggest EV Market in the world is China, not the US. CHina sells twice the EVs the US does and has more than twice the # of charging stations (100,000+ vs 40,000 or so for the US).

    It is obvious that in the case of the biggest EV market in the world, the reason they support EVs so strongly in China is largely for their far smaller or zero emissions compared to ICE.

    The situation in CHina’s biggest cities had become intolerable, esp in Beijing, and if you are a top Party member living there, you obviously do not want your life cut short by the pollution. That is why to register a dirty car there you need $15,000, while to regisater an EV you pay $0.00! (in the six biggest chinese cities).

    It is similar to the CA here, half the EV sales are in CA, and pollution in the LA area in particular had a big part in it.

  25. Larry D. Says:

    Unrelated to the above, but with some auto content, I saw on DVD the latest spoof in the “Johnny English” series, borrowed it from our local Public library, and was very surprised that it was really good. The main character, Rowan Atkinson (aka Mr Bean) has a huge car collection in real life. In this movie, he plays an old fashioned spy who disregards the hybrids and chooses a red 80s Aston Vantage (not my favorite, and not as good looking as Bond’s) and later in the movie is chasing an i3 of all cars. I will not spoil the rest of it in case you want to see it. Usually the sequel or the third in the series, as this one, is not as good as the original, but this one is.

  26. David Sprowl Says:

    23 I hear ya… I know I’ve serviced small engine carbs more frequently over the last decade than I have in previous. I see the points both ways. I have found it easier one most times to just by new carbs and swap them out rather than clean and rebuild. 2 years ago I started my dad’s 20 year old tractor. Drained the fuel/varnish and cleaned up the carb. Started right up after that. I have 0 comparison on the no ethanol blend fuels as most of my equipment is new than yours.

  27. WineGeek Says:

    Many years ago I could buy gas at Sonoco where you could choose the octane and the pump blended to the octane you selected. Why couldn’t a similar system be used for ethanol?

  28. JWH Says:

    Issues with Ethanol in engines that sit for long times – While some people can be fortunate, I’ve also heard & seen many issues with carbureted engines (Fuel injection seems to have decreased issues). However, being somewhat paranoid, I’ve used Sta-Bil for many years, & switched to the marine version which is stated to help with ethanol. I add it prior to filling four 5 gallon containers so all lawn & garden units (including the generator, & motorcycle) have Sta-Bil (I don’t rely on my memory as to which engines have it. In addition, the last few years I fill the cans with ethanol free gas with the addition of Sta-Bil.

  29. Lambo2015 Says:

    The problem I have with Ethanol is that it draws moister. So for any ICE that sits for extended periods like a RV, Outboard, lawn mower, snow-blower and motorcycle the water content can be significant. At least for those of us that have winters and park those small engines for half the year.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    28,29 I have three road vehicles that normally sit unused for 7 months, from late October to late May. Two have fuel injection, an ’89 Dodge Caravan, and a 2003 Honda SilverWing. One has a carburetor, a 2011 Kawasaki KLR 650. With all of them, I just fill the gas tank full at a station about a half mile away, park it in the garage, and disconnect the battery. I usually run the carb of the KLR dry. I just disconnect the battery of the old lawn tractor, and leave the gas level wherever it is when I last used it.

    As far as ethanol drawing moisture, yeah it does, a little, but the moisture mixes with the E10, unless there is, somehow, a very large amount of moisture. From my experience, that is much better than having a puddle of water in the bottom of a gas tank, like can happen with E0.

    I have used Stabil, but not in years. Maybe I should, but what I’m doing has worked for about 25 years, so I probably won’t change.

  31. XA351GT Says:

    I want less Ethanol not more. That stuff is crap. I don’t understand the whole philosophy when it is supposed to reduce emissions ,but causes you to use more gas through it’s by-product of reduced mileage. Not mention the damage it does to rubber and aluminum. I almost burned my collector car to the ground when that garbage ate through rubber fuels that were less than 10 years old at the time. It was very expensive braided stainless covered hose that cost a small fortune when I had bought it only to have to replace it all with even more expensive plastic lined tubing. All for what ? so we can be right back where we atsrted ? I se this as nothing more than a way to sell more corn and gas. The only green involved is my money leaving my hand .

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Maybe it was too long ago for you to know, but did the seller of the braided stainless covered hose say what the hose was made of? Not all rubber is equal, as far as standing up to ethanol, or gasoline. Here is a useful chart of compatibilities.

  33. merv Says:

    that video clip on the Sonata was very interesting how they moved everything around and all that went with it

  34. Bob Wilson Says:

    In January 2013 I did a study of different ethanol grades in a 2003 Prius (see web link.) Lessons learned:

    1) higher ethanol improves maximum power, hill climb
    2) E85 is NOT priced to the wholesale price of ethanol and gas
    3) E50 works without a Check Engine light coming on
    4) Above E50, a harmless, Check Engine light comes on complaining of the spark advance but car engine performance is better
    5) Near freezing, higher ethanol levels may require two start attempts before the engine stays on

    I have no problem with higher ethanol ratios if PRICED relative to the wholesale prices. Today, the gasoline companies jack up ethanol prices above E10 to make it uneconomic. Straight gas is also too expensive. E10 is the only one that is price-performance based.

  35. XA351GT Says:

    Kit @32 It was installed on the car before they forced E10 down everyone’s throats. It was rated for all gasolines ,but Ethanol was introduced to the fuel when I installed it back in 2002.

  36. XA351GT Says:

    That should have read wasn’t introduced.

  37. Larry D. Says:

    Really, Caddy? Not only they are unrepentant and keep the meaningless alphanumeric names, but they top it with extra numbers which will NOT give you the displacement, nor even the HP, but the Torque, in Metric (in Nt-meters it is a far higher number than lb-ft) and rounded up a lot at that. So the measly 271 lbft of the XT6 (by comparison my 320E has over 400 lbft) translates to 367 Nt-m, and by poetic license they will inflate it to 400, which will also appear on the model name.

    Isn’t that special? (NO!)

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 Glad your car didn’t catch fire. That would have been really bad, with a rare, at least in the US, car like that.

    In general, I suspect the OEMs anticipate things like E10 better than aftermarket companies like the one that would have made your fuel line that failed. E10, called “gasahol” at first, was sold in the late ’70s because of the oil embargos. Maybe that is why John Deere did what was needed in 1977 to make my lawn tractor run all of these years on E10 without problems.

  39. Larry D. Says:

    it is only a few hours to the unveiling of the Tesla Model Y crossover. We already know it will not have the impractical doors of the X, will be 10% bigger and 10% more expensive than the 3, and will probably have 10% less range (but still above 200 miles) than the 3.

    However, if the 3 is any guide, it will be up to 2 years before the Y goes on sale.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 If car companies want to use numbers, they should be either “series,” like BMW and Audi, and/or displacement, like MB and BMW once used. Forget rounded hp numbers, or even worse, rounded torque numbers, as torque without rpm means nothing, as far as actual performance is concerned.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    38 According to electrek, the Model Y will have the weird doors.

  42. Larry D. Says:

    40 I believe it was Musk himself that wrote it will not have the ‘falcon’ doors of the X.

  43. Larry D. Says:

    If you read the full story in your link, you will confirm what I said in 38 and 41. No funny doors for the Y. Must keep the costs down, I guess.

    “…When first talking about making a crossover/small SUV version of Model 3 years ago, Musk mentioned plans for it to have Model X’s Falcon Wing doors, but he confirmed last week that those plans have been abandoned.”

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42 Yep, I didn’t read far enough to see that they had reconsidered the funny doors. That makes sense, as the falcon doors would add cost, reduce reliability, and probably no one asked for them. Now, Boeing needs to completely remove that “pilot aid” that no one asked for.

  45. Lambo2015 Says:

    Let the recent 737 groundings be a reminder of how autonomy can go wrong. In a recent article in The New York Times they point out that many pilots spend more time learning these automated systems than practicing hands on flying, so newer pilots are less comfortable taking the manual controls. We will have people that are as unfamiliar with driving as many new drivers are to manual transmission.

  46. Larry D. Says:

    36 I just got it. They use the Torque because with all the EVs that are coming out, displacement is meaningless for EVs, and they have a huge torque advantage over the ICEs.

  47. Larry D. Says:

    I said many times that EVs are the future. Today I read they are also the future of James Bond:

    “Do you expect me to torque?”

    “Nooooo, Mr Bond! I don’t expect you to talk. I expect you to die!”

  48. Kit Gerhart Says:

    45 But torque, alone, is meaningless, regardless of power source. It takes power to move things, and power is a function of torque and rpm.

  49. Larry D. Says:

    Wildlife sightings. Here a silverback 35k Tesla with a plate to match.

  50. Larry D. Says:

    47 In using the rounded up torque in Nt Mt, Caddy is concerned with marketing, not physics.

    BTW in 48 this was a Civic with a “35kTesla” vanity plate

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48 The link doesn’t work.

  52. Larry D. Says:

    The link is to a Tesla owners group in Facebook. I am a member so when I clicked on the link, I could see it. In any case it’s a stupid Civic. If I noticed it before I posted it, I’d abort the post.

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