AD #3575 – Sulfur Batteries the Next Big Thing?; 2024 F-150 Has 2,500 Fewer Parts; Great Wall & BYD Fight in Public

May 25th, 2023 at 11:56am

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Listen to “AD #3575 – Sulfur Batteries the Next Big Thing?; 2024 F-150 Has 2,500 Fewer Parts; Great Wall and BYD Fight in Public” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 9:54

0:00 Is This the Battery Breakthrough We’ve Been Waiting For?
1:31 California Sets the Stage to Ban ICEs in 2035
2:41 Great Wall Accuses BYD of Exceeding Emissions
3:43 2024 F-150 Has 2,500 Fewer Parts
5:22 Iconic Caterham Going Electric
6:35 Lordstown’s Hail-Mary Stock Split
7:28 Yep, We Sure Do Like That Car

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31 Comments to “AD #3575 – Sulfur Batteries the Next Big Thing?; 2024 F-150 Has 2,500 Fewer Parts; Great Wall & BYD Fight in Public”

  1. Lambo2015 Says:

    Does anyone else see the irony in a sulfur-based battery that would get its sulfur as a by-product of oil refining? I mean I know we will not get away from using oil completely but I just found it somewhat ironic.

  2. GM Veteran Says:

    Reducing build combinations to save money, be more efficient in production and improve quality is something GM did in the late 80′s. That is when option packages really came into vogue. Before that, I recall them saying that there were over a million ways you could build a Cutlass Supreme, even though they were only selling about 100,000 a year at that time. Most customers will be fine with the change and it should save Ford a ton of money. Very surprising that they had not already done this!

  3. GM Veteran Says:

    The 2,500 parts headline is a shocker. That is a lot of items to take out while still delivering a vehicle with the same look and utility as before. Pretty impressive effort at Ford!

  4. Dford Says:

    @1, yes, that was the exact same first thought I had!

  5. GM Veteran Says:

    I just have to say, the change in the Baojun logo is not a step forward. The old one looks much more refined and interesting. I am sure it cost more to produce, but the new one looks like a highway sign logo.

  6. Lambo2015 Says:

    California legislators are really dumb. Do they really think automakers are going to tweak their ICE engines each year to achieve a moving emissions target that changes each year? No they know an engine will be used; say 6 years they will target the most stringent requirement at the end of the 6 years. Which will add much more cost to vehicles now. Typical models have a 4 year span they should be changing emissions requirements at a minimum of 4-year increments.

  7. GM Veteran Says:

    @1, there are plenty of other sources of sulfur. That is just the most interesting and ironic one for this particular application.

  8. Lambo2015 Says:

    6 I meant maximum of 4 years

    Ford has always operated in a inefficient manner when it came to design. They operated the passenger car and truck divisions like two separate companies and often times Truck would design a component that was already being used in the pass car group but with 1-dimension different. Creating a whole new part and tooling. Reducing the complexity of their vehicles is only half the battle but should save them a bunch.

  9. Dford Says:

    That Caterham looks like an awful lot of fun to drive! The 20 minutes of driving isn’t wonderful, but since it was “on the track” maybe they weren’t telling us the speeds remained over 100+ mph. I’d be okay with that.

  10. Lex Says:

    The Number of Build Combinations, Complexity and Parts is just mind boggling! There should only be three trim levels per any vehicle, Base, Premium and Limited. No Wonder the OEM’s are having such issues down sizing and streamlining manufacturing.

    If a customer or dealership wants a specific or custom built version of a vehicle(s) it should be done as a “Special Order” through the factory.

    I believe the majority of automotive buyers could be very satisfied with one of the three trim levels which I mentioned above. This would reduce build complexity, improve build quality and reduce manufacturing cost.

    I dislike the fact that Tesla only offers Black or White seat coverings in their vehicles. This is probably one reason their profit margins are higher than the automotive industry average.

  11. George Ricci Says:

    “Automakers want to become more vertically integrated and bring more work in-house.” For software it makes a lot of sense to do it internally, it gives you complete control, but you need employees with that job skill. In the IT world there is this constant battle of do it internal and staff up or farm it out for what executives and high racking managers think/believe will save money. In my experience its bad news to farm it out. You lose some control and the product is inferior to what can be done internally. Your internal employees know more about what is need, they care more about the product, and they have more skin in the game.

    For hardware isn’t it going to be more problematic for GM, Ford, and Stellantis? Since they are union shops, the more work they bring in house, means more union labor, which is more expensive.

  12. Lambo2015 Says:

    10 I agree that the complexity is much easier to cut as so many options are standard features anymore. You expect to get power windows locks and AC, automatic and a touch screen radio with blue-tooth on even the most basic of vehicles anymore. Offer a medium trim with your heated power seats some sensors and cameras better speakers and then your high trim with moon roofs, cooled seats, driving or parking assist etc.. Then maybe one more platinum addition where you get all and maybe some exclusive options like trim specific interior colors or materials. Special wheels that kind of stuff.
    But like you stated some options can be installed at the dealership and they should reduce those choices from the factory and make them dealer add-ons.

  13. kevin A Says:

    Sulfur should not be going to landfill. It is easily converted into fertilizer for agriculture.

  14. Albemarle Says:

    I expect that corporate culture is different in China. Much younger, it probably doesn’t have the ‘play nice’ public culture that exists in western countries between competitors. Remember the shock when Chevrolet went directly after Ford with a metal toolbox thrown into their aluminum bed?
    Also, we don’t know if they had already informed the Chinese government and were told to myob as BYD is such a Chinese icon.

  15. George Ricci Says:

    On the topic of reducing the number of build combinations to save money. You can go too far and shoot yourself in the foot. I will use the Honda Ridgeline as example. Everyone now is all wheel drive and 3 of the 4 trim levels force you to have a sunroof. All wheel drive and the sunroof add $3,000 to cost of the vehicle. I can go any of the Ridgeline competitors and buy a fairly loaded truck without being forced to buy things I don’t need and save lot of money. This is one of the reason the Ridgeline doesn’t sell very well.

  16. Dave Says:

    Huge piles of sulfur at the Port of Vancouver for export I believe for fertilizer, a lot comes from sour gas plants takes sulfur out to make it “sweet” natural gas, small quantities uneconomic to handle hence landfilled?

  17. Danny Turnpaugh Says:

    OH Great, you will have the same interior color as 50,000 other GM pickup trucks, all seats will be the same and the packages will include options that are most profitable to the manufacturers and not everyone will want like in the 80’s the GM luggage rack on the trunk lid that could only hold about 50 pounds.

  18. XA351GT Says:

    Anyone want to bet that cutting out all those parts won’t drop the price at all ? You’ll just be paying more to get less. #8 That goes for Ford cars as well. model to model there would be little that transferred from one to another. example is bell housings each Ford engine back in the day had a different pattern . So if you wanted to swap a trans especially a AT you’d have to find the right one . Meanwhile Chevy made every bell housing from a straight 6 to a 454 V8 the same MT or AT . It drove me nuts to get parts . The reason why hot rodding Chevys was much cheaper than a Ford

  19. Roger T Says:

    Regarding Great Wall public badgering their competitor – I wonder if they already tried the back door approach you mention Sean, with no interest. Perhaps appealing to public dismay is the way to go instead of criticizing the Chinese government, that’s what I’d choose to do too.

    #6 – the annual reduction is the target average, i.e. gradual changes for every new model, and launch or increase sales of low emission vehicles or EVs.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2,10,17 etc.

    Car companies dealt with millions of build combinations, back when technology we now have barely existed, to make keeping track of things easier. Why is a few hundred combinations now too many?

    In the mid ’60s, you had a choice of about 20 paint colors, 8 interior colors, 6 or 7 engines, a few rear axle ratios, with or without door edge guards, and much more, both mechanical and cosmetic. Already, you have to get options packages with stuff you don’t want, and a choice of either grey or grey for the interior of many vehicles. Ordering a car in the ’50s to ’70s was great fun, going through the choices. Now, there’s little to choose from, except black, white, or which shade of grey paint.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 I recently read about the upcoming new Chevy Colorado, and 4wd will be mandatory with 3 of 5 trim levels. The 4WD adds to the price and hurts mpg, and few need it. Also, the extended cab will be gone. Toyota will be the only choice for those wanting a “mid-size” pickup with a box longer than 4-5 feet.

  22. Merv Says:

    Fall 1956. Our family showed up for church, in our new 57 Fairlane with white walls. Quite a big deal back then

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 We had whitewalls on a ’55 Dodge, but they didn’t stay white very long. You needed to scrub them constantly to keep them white.

  24. wmb Says:

    I would be surprised if this “revelation” complexity, is as a result of the chip /material shortage and the build up of BEVs at Ford. Farley had already said that they were taking out a lot of complexity in the current generations of the Mach-E and Lightning. So it only makes since that they would apply this way of thinking on the next gen F-150 and it’s variations. Yet, I think a much of the complexity I a particularly model may have more to do with just trim. Vehicles built to operate in different markets in the US, for example, may have different packages that cater to that market. I remember purchasing a compact sedan, that came with a winter package, i.e., I live in Michigan! While my thought a the time was that it amounted to just floor mats and puddle lamps on the side mirrors. But, maybe it also meant a different calibration to the tracks or so other subsystem in the vehicle? The fact that Ford could pull that much out and offer essentially the same vehicle as they did with all that extra hard and software, is, as someone else said, mind blowing!

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The car compananies will be helping the environment by removing all choice, so there will be no reason to buy a new one, if your current one still runs. Average lifetime willbe even longer.

  26. Sean Wagner Says:

    6 Lambo – Couldn’t it be that regulators propose to shift the vehicle mix towards less total emissions?

    While I support limited incentives and sensible regulations for EVs and comparable vehicles, especially to support rapidly building critical mass, there is a thing as being too intrusive, never mind micromanagement.

    We’re moving in the right direction, after all. And notably, for the first time ever, quote (source FT):
    “Solar power was the ‘star of global energy investments’ with total spending expected to top $1bn a day, exceeding spending on oil production, said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA “

  27. Sean Wagner Says:

    Kit, I don’t think fuel consumption matters enormously to most people, provided it remains in a competitive range, and doesn’t deviate too much from expectations.

    It’s also one of the reasons I like the idea of useful hybrids (made possible by plummeting battery costs): electric power delivers a superior driving experience.

    Never mind the present impossibility of completely replacing ‘fuels’.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27 True, fuel consumption doesn’t seem to matter much to most Americans, given the vehicle mix on the road. As far as 4WD, I don’t want it because it adds to vehicle cost and complexity, even if it hurts fuel economy only a small amount.

    I’m still impressed with how well the basic, scaled up Prius powertrain Toyota hybrids work. I just drove 1100 miles from Florida to Indiana, mostly ~80 mph in my FWD Highlander hybrid, and averaged 33+ mpg. It’s even better, probably getting twice the mpg of similar size non-hybrids, getting high 30s in a mix of short trip, and lower speed highway. If only they made a station wagon with the same powertrain, which would be less draggy and lighter, and getting even better mpg while driving better and being quicker.


    11) Most problematic with mechanical hardware vertical integration is cost. All the tooling, validation, and development cost have to be paid immediately if the OEM goes this way. If you have a supplier do certain products, then tooling and validation/development costs are paid for by the supplier and the OEM pays it back in the piece price of the part. That in effect gives the OEM an interest free loan of several billion dollars. Also, as you mention, if they cancel a certain product they don’t have to worry about what to do with any of the workers that support that product as it is the suppliers problem.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Checking the build and price for the Toyota Sienna van, I find that there is no interior color choice at all for the lowest, LE trim level. It’s grey (cloth). For the next one up, XLE, there is of grey or “chateau,” which is beige. It’s vinyl. Should you need to buy a Bentley or Rolls-Royce to get what you could get in a Ford, Chevy, or Plymouth in 1965, real choice of paint and interior colors?

    Even in 1989 you had color choice in mainstream vehicles. My ’89 Caravan has a blue interior, and I’m pretty sure red was available, along with black, grey, and beige.


    30) Grey and Beige and sometimes black seems to be the only “choice” people get these days. There are a few cars where white is an option and those cars stand out just because the interior color isn’t grey, beige, black. I miss the vibrant hues of yesteryear. People were just more open to different vibrant colors and patterns back then. They were just more fun back then. Could you believe GM once approved of the seat patterns in the 1993 Camaro Indy pace car? They would never even remotely think of approving such a seat pattern today.