AD #2691 – Ford Updates European Models, NASA Tests First Electric Plane, Toyota Teaching Robots with VR

October 7th, 2019 at 11:38am

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Runtime: 6:30

0:07 UAW Strike Enters Third Week
0:27 Former UAW PR Directors Blast Leadership
1:27 Nissan Wants to Oust Ghosn Whistleblower
2:22 Volvo & Geely Merge Engine Operations
3:12 Ford Updates European Models
3:54 NASA Tests First Electric Plane
4:40 Dow Offers Parts for Battery Market
5:11 Toyota Teaching Robots with VR

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63 Comments to “AD #2691 – Ford Updates European Models, NASA Tests First Electric Plane, Toyota Teaching Robots with VR”

  1. Larry D. Says:

    A. Surprise-surprise, 0.5-0.7% US market share Volvo and Geely managed to be in the news again, for rearranging the chairs on the titanic. Who cares if this deal made VOlvo profitable, if VOldo is a SUBSIDIARY of Geely? It’s like GM pouring billions into Saturn back in the day, and making it profitable, at the expense of all its other divisions.

    B. Battery costs: many EV deniers here, especially “Joe”, have not realized (maybe because they never bothered to read the Bloomberg link I posted before) the HUGE progress in lowering battery costs.

    in the chart you can see battery costs plummeted from $1,150 per KWH in 2010 to less than $200 IN 2018. They KEEP falling, to $170 in 2019 and more in 2020. These are HUMONGOUS cost reductions.

  2. Larry D. Says:

    household robots, I am VERY interested in them and maybe 10-20 years from now I’ll get a couple. Their biggest benefit for me is the retaining of my PRIVACY, compared to have some person live in my place full time to help me and clean around. Plus they could well be entertaining.

  3. Wine Geek Says:

    Volvo merges engine operations – the problem is that all the products will have the same or slight variations on the same engine. Not much room for ingenuity when the bean counters take over.

  4. Phred Says:

    This NASA electric airplane is just an R&D exercise. To fly at 8000 feet or lower means you are in the lower ground effect weather and can not avoid it. That would be a bumpy ride and back to the 1930′s.

  5. ChuckGrenci Says:

    There was an article in my local paper that was reporting Volvo S-60 production from our South Carolina plant. They used 9 month production numbers: 17,712 sold with approx. (I can’t remember the exact number) of 12,500 sold in the U.S.

    The European Fords shown in today’s show look interesting, a little boring looking (especially the smaller of the two) but I wonder why they don’t try to sell the Galaxy in the U.S.; at least looks wise, it’s not too bad.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It sounds like Lotus will replace their current Toyota engines with Geely engines. I’d think potential buyers would like that even less than the reliable, but “not in the spirit” Toyota engines.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    1 I estimated the numbers from the graph, here are the more accurate ones in the text:

    ” Lithium-ion battery pack prices, which averaged $1,160 per kilowatt hour in 2010,

    reached $176 per kWh last year (2018)

    and could drop below $100 in 2024, according to BloombergNEF. “

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    NASA must be counting on the arrival of batteries with much higher energy density than current ones. If you replace the 50 gallons of gas, and the 618 pounds of rated payload with similar weight of lithium batteries, you have about 50-55 kWh of battery, enough for a take off, and maybe 10 minutes of flying.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 …and that’s with only a pilot, but no passengers or cargo.

  10. Bob Wilson Says:

    I’m more interested in a pooper scooper robot for our dog park with a poop tosser towards those who leave without picking up theirs.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5 The Galaxy might sell in the U.S., if minivans make a comeback. It is smaller than what are now sold as “minivans” in the US, but I think it is bigger than the Mazda 5 that didn’t sell very well in North America.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 That sounds like a great idea!

  13. Larry D. Says:

    8 For manned missions to Mars, where 99% of the rocket will be fuel, they should consider nuke propulsion.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    10 make sure it is a precision tosser

  15. Larry D. Says:

    The Tesla Xs on the road I see around here are almost all white, but last Fri I parked at my bank and there was a bright blue metallic one, a color which is the best for the Model 3 and one of the best for the S, immaculate exterior.

    The X defies classification. It sure is NOT an SUV, regardless how Musk markets it, it has too little ground clearance. It is also not a crossover, these are far boxier. It is really a new shape, I cannot think of one in the other 1,000 or so models by all makers, which comes close. From the angles I saw it (side and rear), it worked out perfectly.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 It’s an XXL hatchback. Maybe that’s why they call it Model X. I’ve only ever seen two of them, both white. I’ve seen a number of Model Ss, and recently 3s, but the X must not be appealing where I am. Isn’t it about the same price as the S, or only a little more?

  17. Ed Says:

    On electric planes, don’t necessarily need lots of batteries. Could be a small diesel or jet fuel turbo, running a generator. Sending power to the electric motors.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 If it uses diesels or turbines, it’s not an electric plane. Using a combustion engine powered generator would be a way to do longer range fixed prop multi-rotors, though.

  19. Frank M Says:

    Isn’t this week 4 of the strike?

  20. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Chuck – I thought the same thing about the Ford models, why not bring one of them to the U.S.? They’re sharp-looking. Just don’t do the same thing that they did to the C-MAX and make it hybrid only.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    16 Nobody would confuse it with a cheap hatch. It looks like a million bucks. Tesla’s design chief (Hans von Holzhausen or something) used to be Mazda’s, and has done an even better job at Tesla.

    “X” usually signifies an SUV, like BMW’s X1 3 5 and 7, not to mention the X4 and X6, and even Caddy’s SUVs have Xs if I remember well.

    But the real idea behind the naming of Teslas was the word “SEXY”. They used S for the S, X for the X, Y for the upcoming Y, and would have used E for the Model 3, but FORD threatened to sue over its rights, if any, to use the “E” on all its SUVs (Explorer, Expedition, Escape and the late Excursion), so they chose “3″ (which looks like a mirror image E anyway) instead.

    I add that “Model 3″ sounds too much like “Model T”, and Ford may have wished it let Tesla use the “E” in “SEXY”.

  22. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Larry #15 – I think we’re starting to see a number of new vehicle shapes in the industry. The Model X is one of them. I also think the Jaguar I-PACE fits into this new category as well. The BMW X2 also. And I feel like there are others that I’m forgetting about too.

  23. Larry D. Says:

    20 It would be more legitimate to call it a sleek, luxury MINIVAN. Its proportions and dimensions are far closer to that than… any tiny hatchback.

    Speaking of Hatchbacks I also saw a rare Cruze hatch a few weeks ago in our office lot, in a ridiculous 70s orange color.

    It did not look good, the current sleek, sportier than its predecessor, 4-door Cruze looks much better. Not a clean lines design.

    Another unusual thing is it was quite big, almost like a Wagon. Usually a hatch based on a sedan is much Shorter than the sedan, eg Civics, the sedan is almost 180 ” and the hatch 165 or, in my case 1991 it was 160 ” (4 meters) long.

  24. Albemarle Says:

    2. I think household robots would blab about everything like Alexa. A nice person would be far more loyal and discreet.

    4. Harbour Air in B.C. are working with a Seattle company to convert their fleet of single and two engine seaplane Otters to electric. They have an extensive business along the north west coast. Will be interesting to see how they do but they are smart people and they think it’s a workable plan on some of their routes.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20,23 The Galaxy, and similar S-Max are called MPVs in Europe, but are exactly what we call minivans, except that they are somewhat smaller than today’s Sienna, Pacifica, and Odyssey, and they have hinged, rather than sliding doors. I read that more than 95% of Galaxies sold in the UK are diesels, but I don’t know how recent that data is.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    24 It is the easiest of things to hit the remote and put the robot on MUTE. Seriously. Plus they never steal or get sick. try to find a ‘nice’ person. No human can be more loyal and discreet than a Robot. Not even your dog. You will still have no privacy. In 19th cent England they used to have the staff live “downstairs”, and they still were intrusive, gossips etc. You just are afraid of Technology.

  27. marshy Says:

    You could almost say that the Nasa plane is ‘propelling’ us into the future.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 No, people would not confuse a Model X with a cheap hatch, nor would they confuse a Panamera or A7 with a cheap hatch, because they are expensive hatches.

    23 A friend recently bough a Cruze hatch, and likes it. It is red, though, not orange.

    The current Civic hatch is a little, but not a lot shorter than the sedan, 178 vs 183 inches. The Corolla hatch is almost a foot shorter than the sedan.

  29. Sean McElroy Says:

    And dad joke of the week goes to… @marshy


    25) I rented a S-Max diesel when I was in Europe. It was not a bad vehicle overall. Sadly it looks like a minivan in real life. People in the USA just have an irrational hatred of things that look like a minivan.

  31. Albemarle Says:

    26. It’s not hard to find nice people; most people are decent and nice. I am very familiar and comfortable with technology, having had a career as a professional engineer. However, the lack of privacy that accompanies most products now is a real problem. Many don’t realize or want to consider that their lives are open books as they go around with phones and smart watches. Few people carefully groom their settings for privacy. They assume the best from a giant corporation. I prefer to assume the best from a person.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 I still like my 30 year old minivan, but newer vehicles drive better, and are a lot quieter.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 I guess I don’t care as much about “privacy” as most people, as long as no one empties my investment and bank accounts. I don’t really care if Jeff Bezos knows where I am at any given time, and I doubt that he cares where I am.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 A manual transmission diesel S-Max, like is sold everywhere in Europe, would be a very nice, and fuel efficient utility vehicle.

  35. JWH Says:

    #21 – Franz von Holzhausen – Prior to being at Mazda, Mr Holzhausen was at GM – We worked with him on the Solstice/Sky. Good person.

  36. Drew Says:

    The silhouette of the Tesla Model X is very familiar…. Pontiac Aztec… neither hatch nor ute. I think the Model 3 is following the same No Man’s Land design recipe.

  37. cwolf Says:

    I don’t mind mini-vans of any make; Family on my wife’s side have them and have been good for kids.
    What catches my attention is the rust on the lower rocker, just behind the slider that many seem plagued with. Not so many Honda’s, but Ford and Toyota’s.

  38. cwolf Says:

    I’ve had Fords/Linc. all my life. I sure wish they would put wider seats in their cars and small mini’s.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 My 30 year old Caravan doesn’t have any rust, but it’s had a sheltered life, being used only two years in the Indiana road salt.

  40. cwolf Says:

    39 I knew you had a Caravan and didn’t want to mention it for that reason. But around here, along the lake between Toledo and Cleveland, there are quite a few and.. boy… many sure are rust buckets. The road salt must eat the crap out of them, yet they still are running!

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 The newest of the ones that look like mine are almost 30 years old, but yeah, newer ones certainly rust in places where they use a lot of road salt. Probably some Caravans, like 3rd generation, 1996-2000, are a lot older than people might think, if not familiar with them.

  42. cwolf Says:

    While GM and the UAW continue to seek a middle ground, I find it peculiar for Autoline to keep saying it’s the unions fault for dragging this out simply to divert attention from the top leadership; Especially when many officials have begun to speak out and are working with the Feds. GM owns half of the responsibility. Just because GM execs make up to $20M/yr. plus stocks doesn’t make them candidates for Sainthood.

  43. cwolf Says:

    You’re absolutely right, Kit. I often mistake an older Caravan for a newer one, but the newest ones are much easier to spot. For a van, they aren’t that bad looking. Better looking than the Honda, but don’t tell my Aunt.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43 They don’t seem to be doing a very good job of selling the Pacifica hybrid. It’s a plug-in, with about 30 miles of electric range, but they don’t seem to mention that it gets about half again the mpg of Odyssey and Sienna in city driving, even if you never plug it in.

  45. cwolf Says:

    I didn’t know that. I have driven both the Odyssey and Sienna. I thought the distance from the driver to the windshield seemed a mile away. The dash was just too big. I felt uncomfortable.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve driven a Sienna, but not an Odyssey. The Sienna was huge, compared to my short WB 1st gen Caravan, but it was pretty quiet, and drove ok.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Harley electric bikes aren’t selling too great, so far. I’m not surprised. A brand whose typical buyer has the mufflers removed before taking delivery wouldn’t seem a likely sale, and younger people who want an electric motorcycle would likely want to save $12K, and get a Zero.

  48. Ctech Says:

    The Pacifica hybrid has a starting price north of $50,000. Even with the $7500 gov’t subsidy its pricey for a minivan. A hard sell unless you are looking for it.

  49. Ctech Says:

    The Tesla Model X is ugly.

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48 The Pacifica hybrid has a starting price of $40,245 MSRP, but dealers probably don’t stock them that way.

  51. Larry D. Says:

    36 I had a big laugh about this. YOUR post is the joke of the week, not marshy’s, IMO.

  52. Larry D. Says:

    49 No, it is a work of art. It is NOT a Pontiac Aztec. Despite the fact it is my least favorite of the 3 current Tesla models. I can see why 1,000 people every month shell out $100,000 +++ for it, something they do NOT do for ANY other automaker’s model, in such numbers!. Which should get you THINKING.

  53. Larry D. Says:

    42 Why are you protecting your disgustingly corrupt so-called “leaders”?? Why do you change the topic from their corruption and their obvious preference for the strike to continue instead of them being brought to JUSTICE, to the totally undeserved (but NOT corrupt) $20 mill a year salaries of the incompetent CEOs?

  54. Larry D. Says:

    42 PS what are you implying by saying the CEOS “are not saints either”? IT seems you obviously claim the CEOS are corrupt too. If you have any evidence, you should come forward. After Ghosn and his cronies, and the VW crowd, it would not surprise me one bit.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    52 Well, it’s a work of art for something marketed as an SUV.

  56. Larry D. Says:

    No, it’s a work of art without irrelevant qualifiers, and looks much better than some so-called “modern art” fools pay millions for, which hangs in museums. In contrast, the Aztec, which failed despite its very low price, is butt-ugly. And nobody with a straight face ever challenged that.

  57. Lambo2015 Says:

    Not sure why union members have not demanded a complete restructuring of the UAW leaders. I really thought the days of “Good Old Boys club” was over where the corruption could go unchecked like it has. Amazing.

    Robots could become a great help for the elderly but also open the door for another way hackers to take advantage of them.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56 Most Porsche 911s and E-type Jaguars, Merc 300SLs, and some cars of the “classic era” in the 30s are works of art. A Model X looks decent, but it is not a work of art, at least to most people.

  59. Larry D. Says:

    How about them apples, “Joe”?

  60. Larry D. Says:

    The NYT view of the strike. Not that I endorse any of it.

  61. Larry D. Says:

    Many, many cars are works of art. (even just from exterior styling). They do not have to be too expensive or too rare. Don’t confuse the two.

  62. cwolf Says:

    Now that the boil has come to a head, I hope both sides reach an agreement soon.
    Once the strike is over, the attention will be placed on cleaning the UAW house. If the workers voice their discontent for the top leadership and demand their removal, including change and transparency, maybe the UAW will have a future. For sure, the UAW forgot who they work for and represent. If the workers stay silent, it’s their fault what happens in the future.

  63. Marshy Says:

    You’re welcome.