AD #2650 – Mahindra Could Buy Old GM Plant, Knee Airbags Provide Little Benefit, BMW EV Partnership Hits Snag

August 8th, 2019 at 11:39am

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Listen to “AD #2650 – Mahindra Could Buy Old GM Plant, Knee Airbags Provide Little Benefit, BMW EV Partnership Hits Snag” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 6:08

0:07 Mahindra Could Buy Old GM Plant
1:01 GM to Cut Equinox Production
1:51 IIHS Says Knee Airbags Provide Little Benefit
2:33 Ford to Pay Owners of MyFord Touch
3:54 BMW & Great Wall EV Partnership Hits Snag
4:26 Daimler Making 2nd-Life Battery Storage System
4:42 Nikola Awarded Grant for Fuel Cell Technology
5:17 Daimler Teaching Big Trucks to Make Payments

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40 Comments to “AD #2650 – Mahindra Could Buy Old GM Plant, Knee Airbags Provide Little Benefit, BMW EV Partnership Hits Snag”

  1. Larry D. Says:

    “Nikola says it has more than 14,000 orders for its Class 8 truck”

    And if anybody believes that more than 100 of them will ever be built, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

    These are FUEL CELL Trucks that do 500 and 1000 miles every day. Not 2,000 miles a YEAR. What is their RANGE? WHERE will they refuel? Where is the infrastructure? Have these people gone MAD?

  2. Larry D. Says:

    The fact that junkmaker Mahindra with the very poor US business record (unethically had dealers waste millions for an alleged product and never delivered it) is a Finalist in the Post Office Truck racket is very disturbing, and shows the obvious poor quality of the contestants. A huge opportunity lost to have the next gen PO Trucks be an intelligent HYBRID design, given that these trucks idle for HOURS on end every day of the week.

  3. Phred Says:

    The news on the new Post Office Truck competition needs more information as to who are the bidding consortium s for the “Built in the USA” contract. The news of a potential reopening of a closed factory in the Auto City Area” is welcome news.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Isn’t Buick City mostly ruins, after being abandoned for 20 years? I guess Mahindra is just wanting some land up there.

  5. cwolf Says:

    Having Nikola trucks on the interstate is a good thing; That would be 14,000 fewer polluters on the roads. I’m sure Nikola and the buyers can figure out how/where to place fueling stations along their routes before they arrive in 2022 or they wouldn’t be ordered in the first place. eh?
    My father ran a post office fleet. Considering the continuous use/abuse, they performed the task beyond the 7 years of production.
    It is premature to say the 5 contestants will submit something of poor quality; after all, there are guidelines. Grumman/GM, Karsen/Morgan/Olsen have American backers. Another is Oshkosh/Ford.AM General(Humvee)/VT Hackney offer an electric but the Chinese may have a finger in the deal using Volvo interior parts.
    Larry, from your own words; You’re putting the cart in front of the horse to state any of these manufactures means poor quality.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    2 The Mahindra prototypes are mild hybrid, and the VT Hackney, according to one article I saw, is battery electric. Given that the target price is $25-35K, the battery electric is clearly “out,” given today’s battery prices. They’d probably need near 100 mile “no matter what” range, with a big, boxy body, which would mean a lot of batteries.

    At that price point, I don’t see how any of these vehicles would happen, except maybe the one based on the existing Ford Transit. Even that seems a real stretch, since an “off the shelf” transit van starts at ~$36K. If modified versions of Transit Connect or Promaster City would work, they might be able to keep the price in that range.

  7. GM Veteran Says:

    The prototypes from VT Hackney are from a partnership with electric truck maker Workhorse in Ohio. I have read about the USPS truck specs and bid extensively and do not recall a $25-35k target price. The total contract is worth about $6.2 billion, but includes parts and repairs for 20 years. All of the prototypes from the five participating companies are either hybrids or pure electric with the option of a range extending engine (the Workhorse entry). The Post Office is supposed to award the contract before the end of 2019.

    On Nikola, Larry should do some research before popping off. The Nikola plan is very thorough and has several backers with very deep pockets. Some very large international corporations have placed large orders and their order backlog far exceeds the Tesla Semi order bank. Nikola had collected deposits but then returned them as a bit of a jab at Elon Musk, saying they did not need their customer’s money to develop their products. They will sell two versions of their semi in North America and one specially developed for Europe. This is a very impressive company with cutting edge products.

  8. GM Veteran Says:

    Answers to all of Larry’s QUESTIONS and clarifications of his wrong ASSUMPTIONS can be found at nikolamotor.com

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 This article mentions the $25-35K target price.

    https://www.trucks.com/2019/02/04/postal-service-wrapping-testing-mail-truck-prototypes/

    The $6.3B contract amount divided by the 180,000 vehicles they want to buy is $35K. If that includes parts and service for 20 years, they’d be getting the trucks almost for free.

  10. XA351GT Says:

    Most if not all major trucking companies have refueling capability at their depots , So having a Hydrogen filling station put in there wouldn’t be a big issue.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 Like the battery electric trucks, I suspect any fuel cell trucks would be for local, short distance runs, and be fueled from the local depot. I suspect use of battery electric and hydrogen powered over-the-road trucks is a long way off.

  12. GM Veteran Says:

    Kit, the website details how they plan to set up a hydrogen refueling network in conjunction with major truck stops. These are battery powered semis, with a fuel cell to recharge the batteries enroute as needed. They have very impressive range and will work nicely for long distance hauls. Nikola is not just planning to produce trucks, but provide a complete transportation solution using electric power rather than diesel. The power, torque and range stats all exceed those of current day diesel rigs. I wish I could buy stock in this company but they have all of the private investment they need. Their assembly plant is now under construction just outside of Phoenix.

  13. Larry D. Says:

    5, 7 OK which one of you two geniuses wants that bridge in brooklyn more badly?

    PS you answered none of my questions.

    1. SHOW ME THE FC INFRASTRUCTURE. Where will these mythological 14,000 trucks REFUEL?

    2. If you have a clue, why don’t you tell me what their Range will be?

    Looks like a LOT of greedy and naive fools will lose a LOT of billions AGAIN.

    Oh, and the utterly pathetic copycat name of the company alone shows how LAME they are. They had no imagagination to come up with something NEW, so they stole TESLA’s first name. LAUGHABLE.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    6 I guess Mahindra paid lip service to the hybrid requirement by using a next-to-nothing mild system. With the ton of idling most Postal Trucks do, it should be a full hybrid, if not a plug-in. And I have no hope it will be a decently efficient design, even if they get help from one of the serious automakers. Do you know if they will develop the hybrid in-house or did they buy it from Toyota?

  15. Larry D. Says:

    10 Class 8 trucks do not drive a few miles from their depots, but Cross-COuntry all the time. They need a serious refueling infrastructure that will cost an arm and a leg and nobody else will4use it, as all other electrics are BEVs. (400,000 of them were sold last year ALONE, while NONE of the 14,000 FOOL’S CELLS have materialized yet.

    Fuel Cells has been a billion $ debacle for the fools in Detroit, since the 90s. Then they used to say every year, fuel cells are just 10 years away, but later they changed their tune and said they are TWENTY years away. Good job, fools…

  16. Larry D. Says:

    8 hahahha I have struck a nerve, eh? Did you waste any time working for these fools? And how come you cannot even post a WORKING LINK, GM Genius?

    Or SIMPLY state the answers to my questions, since you pretend to know them, Dr. Weisenheimer?

    it is only TWO NUMBERS, it would take only SECONDS for you to write, IF you had a clue. AND then,like most here, post a WORKING LINK. so we can verify the details.

  17. Larry D. Says:

    ” the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the Phoenix company a $1.7 million grant to advance its research”

    I just wasted my time. The “big news” was that they got this puny, tiny $0.0017 billion grant???? Are you serious? Stop the Presses. This is so laughably tiny, it is small even for UNIVERSITY RESEARCH, let alone for serious production.

    I wonder why a company Swimming in BILLIONS of fool’s (investor’s) money would go into all the trouble to do all the paperwork to get a PUNY tiny insignificAnt little grant. IF they were so big and strong, they shoulda used their PETTY CASH.

    End of Discussion.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 I read somewhere that the Mahindra trucks would use GM 2.5 (no, not the old iron duke) engines, so it sounds like the mild hybrid system would probably be GM’s eAssist. I’ll try to re-find the article that mentioned using GM engines.

    Still, the numbers for the whole thing don’t add up, if the article I linked in #9 is at all correct. At $35K per truck, for big, apparently Ford Transit size vans, there is no way they can be strong hybrids, or, especially, battery electric.

    For some applications, like delivering mail in subdivisions with a stop every 75-100 feet, serious hybrids, or pure EVs, would be great. Where I am in Florida, it would matter less, where they shut the engine off while putting mail in boxes for 35 apartments. Still, hybrids or EVs would be good in that type of service.

    In the end, though, I suspect we will be hearing some news about the whole thing, because, yeah, the numbers don’t add up. Maybe they will use near-stock Transit or Promaster vans, which would be in the price range they are talking about. RHD version of both are already made for other markets. If they want more “custom” vehicles, they could use smaller, and cheaper Transit Connect or Promaster City, and have money left over to customize them for the postal service. In either case, unless they spend more money than they are talking about, the vehicles will not have “exotic” powertrains.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    This is almost two years old, but it could be relevant (or not).

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/10/nhtsa-document-previews-mahindra-usps-vehicle-prototype/

  20. Sean McElroy Says:

    Just when I thought that just maybe you all could be civil, but no, we’re back to the same crap. Grow Up!

  21. Sean McElroy Says:

    Some of you are inches away from being booted from our comments section.

  22. Drew Says:

    Sean, the auto industry adopted the metric system decades ago for product design. Perhaps some people are millimeters away from being booted.

    Everyone, please take a deep breath and giggle.

  23. Gary Susie Says:

    thanks Sean.

  24. Larry D. Says:

    18, 19

    Re the old article, I wonder why they have the photo of a baby Chevy Avalanche 4-door pickup instead of a USPS delivery van.

    This being a major contract for a fleet sale, 6 bill and change, the bidders would ask for a much lower price than the retail prices you mention.

    Also, isn’t $35 k over 20 years a bit too steep for just the maintenance and repairs for those vehicles?

  25. Larry D. Says:

    20, 21 Sean, I guess I am really allergic to Mahindra, given their previous ‘record’ in the US and how they treated their dealers. In short, I sure do not trust them, and neither should GM. I also do not believe they have a chance in hell of ever making it in the demanding US market, when far better makers, and so many of them, failed. If they get the USPS Contract, it will make it even worse for the billion-$ losing USPS.

    I am also allergic to fuel cells, it has been a huge ripoff so far, 30 years, with nothing to show for it. I am surprised Toyota still invests in it, maybe they want to have all their bases covered.

  26. Carl Says:

    I feel a serious look at incident reports would show that far more people are injured by an airbag than the number of lives that might have been saved. Remember airbags were designed to help unbuckled passengers in an accident. I’ve read far to many reports of front seat occupants being injured, up to and including decapitation by an airbag being deployed. I would welcome the option of being able to deactivate these devices in my vehicles.

  27. Ed Says:

    Re the mail trucks, with the mailing volume, from email and electronic billing , the old fleet should be greatly reduced. I had seen an online review of the vehicle on tfl truck comparing to Polaris . The model there was a small diesel with manual trans. It did not fare well off road in comparison, however in town on regular streets could be adequate. Maybe the 12 v battery could make it a “partial hybrid” if the engine died or ran out of gas , just cranking it might get you a mile! Ha ha

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 The “baby Avalanche” is probably a Colorado, like uses that engine, at least a few of them. Most Colorados have the V6.

    As far as maintenance over 20 years, I don’t know. The vehicles do a lot of starts and stops, with a lot of transmission shifts and using the brakes a lot, but I’d think today’s engines shouldn’t need that much maintenance. I have no idea how many miles the current LLVs have, but I suspect a lot of maintenance has been done over the years.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Sending letters and paying bills by mail is almost obsolete, but the postal service delivers a lot of packages. I contribute to it.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It cost about $3600 each to keep the LLVs going in 2009. Maybe it was less when they were newer.

    https://www.uspsoig.gov/tags/llv

  31. Lambo2015 Says:

    Who mails anything using usps. I can’t remember the last time I even bought stamps. In fact I think the last time I went to mail something the price of stamps had changed. It’s mostly flyers and junk mail for me. Get rid of the junk mail and they could go to delivering by bike.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 I donate to some organizations, sometimes by mail, but more often on-line.

    On the other hand, I receive packages from USPS fairly often. As some of the articles have mentioned here, there is more bulk delivered by USPS than in the past, just fewer letters. Delivering by bike would not work at all, unless the bikes can tow big trailers.

  33. Rickw Says:

    31. Lambo, We still use use the USPS for a lot of things and still buy stamps now and then. Anytime I need to ship a package I USPS because they are close to me.
    Granted it is much less than years ago.
    My wife refuses to pay bills over the internet, so she goes through the same amount od stamps that she ever did.
    I have my half of the bills to pay and I pay everything electronically even after my account was Hy-Jacked several years ago and my checking account emptied out when I wasn’t watching.

    The fraud dept at the bank did no research and just refilled my account with $$$ and changed the account number for me.

    I, on the other hand had done some research and found the thief in one of those obscure small countries in Europe. I forget where it was now.
    But, because that happened to me then and since I was one of people that had their data lost by Equifax last year, she won’t ever use the computer to pay bills or buy anything on-line.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    30 that’s horrendous. Esp since the USPS does not pay retail ripoff maintenance and repair prices but they should have their own shops. When we are charged $110 an hour labor (ten times the min wage), the mechanic barely sees a third of that.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Toyota Estima hybrid would be a good starting point for a mail delivery vehicle. It would probably triple the mpg of the current LLVs, should be very reliable, and is available with 4wd, for the snow belt. It starts out as RHD, as the postal service needs for curbside delivery.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Previa#Estima_Hybrid

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 I couldn’t find what the trouble areas are, but after 30 years of 6-8 hour a day use, I suspect about everything goes wrong. The GM “iron duke” was never very good, and the two I had used some oil, even when new. Since they only held 3 quarts of oil, at least in the front drive cars, I wonder if they get run out of oil in the mail trucks. Also, I suspect a lot of non-powertrain problems come up.

  37. Lambo2015 Says:

    32 Kit I was kidding. However my previous home was in a part of town where the mail carrier parked their truck down the street and with a big bad on their shoulder hand delivered to each home as the mailboxes were on the house, or used mail slots in the front door.
    My point was just cut out the junk mail and I’m guessing that would cut out 80% of what they deliver.
    All my bills that are constantly the same are set up electronically. The ones like utilities that vary each month are the only ones that come in the mail and they offer to do it electronically but I don’t allow any institution to pull from my account. (they always screw up and take months to fix) I push all payments but could get notification via email and I suspect within a few short years most people myself included will not need to get any snail mail.
    They should be quoting drones to deliver the mail..

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36 I’ve had all of my recurring bills, utilities and others, on autopay for years. I use a credit card for ones that allow it without charging extra, since I get 1% cash back on all charges. Some of the bills, including electricity and condo association pull from a checking account. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’ve never had any trouble with it, even with cell phone companies.

    I get way too much junk mail, but the weight and volume of packages I receive by mail is probably greater than the total of the junk mail.

  39. Larry D. Says:

    36 after 20 years, the resale value of these high-mile trucks should be next to nothing, much less than the $3,600 in maint and repairs. I suspect that for some irrational reason ( no new mail trucks for sale? no budget specifically for new mail trucks, or just plain economic illiteracy), they keep these dinosaurs even though every year they pay more to fix them than what the vehicle is worth.

    No wonder the USPS bleeds billions every year and it an iconic example of a mismanaged business.

  40. Larry D. Says:

    38 I have everything in the US and 99% overseas on autopay (the rest is not possible to automate). I have an old colleague and friend since the 80s in Berlin, Germany who always sends us his annual update on Xmas, and even though for the last 20 years it has clearly been a computer file, he insists on mailing it. I explained to him he should have a mailing list and email it to all of us at once and save a ton of time and $, but he refuses. TOo traditional. Ironically he taught computer aided design. But he is a guy born in 1933. in 2017 he fell from his roof, spent six weeks in the hospital and thought he was totally fixed, but in 2018 he had balance problems.