AD #3545 – U.S. Running Out of Space for New Plants; ATP Down for 1st Time in Nearly 2 Years; Ford Cars Drive Themselves Off the Assembly Line

April 13th, 2023 at 11:56am

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0:00 U.S. Running Out of Sites for New Plants
1:15 ATP Down for 1st Time in Nearly 2 Years
2:17 Mercedes Nearly Doubled EV Sales
3:32 Ford Expands BlueCruise to Europe
4:24 Ford Cars Drive Themselves Off the Assembly Line
5:29 New Zeekr X Meant to Take on Tesla
7:27 VW Improves Its EV Drive Unit
8:08 SUVs More Likely to Injure Bike Riders
9:07 Volvo Using Special Sun-Like LEDs

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35 Comments to “AD #3545 – U.S. Running Out of Space for New Plants; ATP Down for 1st Time in Nearly 2 Years; Ford Cars Drive Themselves Off the Assembly Line”

  1. kevin A Says:

    Sean, Didn’t Elon Musk say that EV plants would be only 40% of the size of an ICE factory of the same output? Why wouldn’t an old ICE site be useable? Isn’t there an ancient Packard site in Detroit that could be used? Could probably get that onefor free.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Has Buick City been redeveloped? It might be available.

  3. kevin A Says:

    Sean, Can you comment on how many years it would take for the ENTIRE US car fleet to go EV? My rough calculations suggest that even if ICEs were banned by 2035 it would still take 40 or more years for the number ICEs to get down to the ‘hobbyist only’ level.

  4. Lambo2015 Says:

    Well maybe EVs dont need “Mega-sites”. One of GM’s more recent built plants the Lansing Delta TWP plant (opened in 2006) is on 320 acres and that includes a lot of space around the plant. I thought EVs were less complicated and easier to assemble so should be able to be assembled in a smaller plant. Maybe they have the battery plant nearby and on a separate property. Either way there has to be plenty of places available. Just maybe not where they would like. Say in the heart of union territory. Or maybe they need to get a bit more creative with the plant design and consider multiple floors.

    That Zeekr is a decent looking SUV. Its pretty hard to do much more with the shape but I like the front end.

  5. Sean McElroy Says:

    @kevin A – The entire U.S. fleet will go fully electric when all long-haul trucks are electric. But that will require some sort of battery breakthrough (maybe swapping or chemistry) or an infrastructure for fuel cells getting fully built out. So, I don’t think it will happen until 2050. Even if you’re just talking passenger cars, the average vehicle on the road is over 12 years old. So, even if all cars produced today were electric, it would still take over 12 years before all ICEs were gone. And we know ICE production is going to continue.

  6. Ziggy Says:

    If you want to decrease the bicyclist injuries and death then have them ride against traffic so they can see when inattentive drivers are about to run into them and they can take defensive action, anyone who rides with traffic is at a distinct disadvantage to not be forewarned of careless drivers impeding into their space, regardless of what the law and rules obsessed commenters say.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 Now, car companies want to build only in anti-union territory.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6 NO NO NO. Bicyclists should ride WITH the traffic. My street in Florida is a prime example. It’s in a residential area. There are bike lanes, with a curb. The speed limit is 25 mpg, and drivers rarely go over 30. If a car is going 25 and a bike going a “moderate” speed of 10 is rear ended, that’s a 15 mph collision. If the bike is going the wrong way, it’s a 35 mph collision. With the curb, the bike rider going the wrong way is not likely to be able to “ride out of the way” of a vehicle coming his/her way.

    Another issue with bikes going the wrong way, is that most drivers look to the left when turning right from a stop sign. They don’t look left for traffic going the wrong way.

  9. BobK Says:

    6 & 8 The real issue is that bikes & motorized vehicles are trying to share the same space. A 200lb bike & rider have virtually no chance against a 4000+lb vehicle no matter what direction one or the other is going.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 Yep, true, the bike rider will lose in any crash with a car or truck, as will a motorcyclist. Still, I’d rather have a 15 mph crash than a 35 mph crash if I’m on a bike, pedal or motorized.

  11. XA351GT Says:

    If they are talking about bicyclists I know a great way to keep them safe. Stay off the highways , especially if you are going to ignore every road rule . There are thousands of miles of bike trails that barely get used because these TOUR de Frane wannabees have to ride on congested roads at rush hour. It is a major problem where I live. We have narrow rural blind curve and no shoulder roads and these spandex wearing geniuses have to clog the road when everyone is trying to get home with a low Sun in the air and wonder why they get run into and over.

  12. Lambo2015 Says:

    6, 11 In most states it’s against the law to ride against the flow of traffic including Canada. It’s also illegal to ride on a Hwy those are designated for motorized vehicles only and typically have a minimum speed of 45 which can be achieved on a bike but it’s still not motorized.
    Also when riding against traffic as Kit pointed out the impact is greater because your approaching each other which also means you have less time to react.
    Also the bicyclists are unable to see the road signs they expected to follow because they’ll be looking at the back of them.
    At night a cyclist will be looking directly into headlights and many newer cars are designed to lightup the ditch side of the car it would be even worse.
    Statistically it is worse to ride against traffic.

  13. johno Says:

    the zeeker and other cars with the angle on the side and odd paint looks like it was hit

  14. wmb Says:

    It’s not just drivers that maybe be distracted, but I’ve seen motorcyclists, bike riders AND pedestrians distracted and going into vehicle traffic! It just seems to me that emergency braking should be standard on all automotive vehicles, with sensors that ‘see’ around the vehicle on all sides. This way it can spot cyclists and pedestrians on the sides of vehicles as well.

  15. merv Says:

    cars driving themselves.Get dropped off at work/home, car goes for a recharge,detail or service,comes back all ready to go.

  16. wmb Says:

    …I mean if Hyundai can do a sensor to keep the passenger doors locked/closed on the driverside, keep keep them from opening the door when there is on coming traffic, couldn’t the same thing be done to apply the brakes to keep from turning into a pedestrian or cyclist?

  17. mpm Says:

    I think the Zeekr wheel designers have been spying on the Prius guys – or vice versa.

  18. GM Veteran Says:

    Ironically, the EU has been forcing automakers there to raise the level of the front of the car because that improves the odds of survival and reduces injuries for pedestrians that get hit. That is why the grilles on Audis and BMWs have been getting so much taller. Otherwise the grille would look odd on a taller front fascia.

    I guess the opposite is true for bicyclists. I think the sensors others mentioned are a good idea because there is no height solution that works for all situations.

  19. Ziggy Says:

    8,12 Better to have no collision at all by being able to see an inattentive driver and taking defensive action than to have a 15 mph collision in the rear of the bike because you can’t see the car coming for you. Being run over at 15 mph is way worse than not being run over at all. An ounce of prevention is worth way more than a pound of cure, even at 15 mph.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 I’d rather have a 15 mph impact than 35 mph, or have me head run over after crashing when trying to jump the curb. I’ll try to find some data, but the last I saw, you are much more likely to be injured or dead when riding the wrong way.

    Yes, it depends. If there is no curb and a wide shoulder, you might be able to “escape,” but you still need to stop if someone is turning right if you are going the wrong way.

  21. MJB Says:

    11. I must agree.

    I’m not a pure cyclist, so I can only guess that the thrill of peddling around in the street is similar to that of a motorcyclist – ‘being one with the road’. But for the love of life and limb – get yourselves onto a protected bike trail already!! Because it seems when a cyclist gets hit, it’s typically due to driver error.

    Riding in the street means putting your life in the hands of each driver that passes you by.
    And them ain’t good odds!! Especially with today’s distracted drivers.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11,21 As with motorcycles, some people use bicycles for actual transportation. You can’t use only bike trails.

  23. MJB Says:

    22. Well, outside of pedestrian-heavy inner cities (Manhattan, downtown Chicago, etc.) the sidewalks are a very safe place to bike. I do it all the time (for leisure).

  24. JoeS Says:

    Please consider all those who use multi-purpose paths before you insist all bike riders should be on trails or sidewalks. People walking their dog can’t have riders passing them at 20 mph. My wife and I ride a tandem bike and our average speed on most rides is between 16 & 18 mph. Please note we are in our 60s and used to be much faster. Most of our our road riding was rural with bike tour groups. We are doing less road riding these days because of distracted drivers, but some areas we just can’t ride on the paths with bad sight lines and numerous dog walkers (we are also one of those dog walkers).

  25. JoeS Says:

    Please consider all those who use multi-purpose paths before you insist all bike riders should be on trails or sidewalks. People walking their dog can’t have riders passing them at 20 mph. My wife and I ride a tandem bike and our average speed on most rides is between 16 & 18 mph. Please note we are in our 60s and used to be much faster. Most of our our road riding was rural with bike tour groups. We are doing less road riding these days because of distracted drivers, but some areas we just can’t ride on the paths with bad sight lines and numerous dog walkers (we are also one of those dog walkers).

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    23 Safer, and illegal in many places.

  27. MJB Says:

    24 & 26 In the end, there seems to be no one-size-fits-all solution here. Rural roads are definitely more well-suited to bicycling on the road. But high traffic areas (everyplace around me) are questionable at best.

  28. Lambo2015 Says:

    19 Ziggy if you would rather not get hit at all then statistically you are better off riding with traffic, and it is the law. So if you do get hit riding against traffic you could be at fault and cited adding insult to injury.
    Its not much different than riding a motorcycle, scooter or moped. Can you imagine riding one of those against traffic?

    Years ago I had a collision with a kid on a bike. A few kids found a part of the sidewalk that had been pushed up by tree roots and were using it as a ramp. I didnt know all this until later but I was on a 4 lane road with a center left turn lane. Traffic cleared I didn’t see the kid on the bike behind me to my left and I made my turn and as I was crossing the sidewalk he slammed into the side of my car. Mainly because he was trying to get as much speed as possible. People came out started saying I hit him and encouraging the kids to call the police. Even lying saying they saw me hit him. I started to get worried as I didn’t hit him he actually ran into me. The kids knew they were screwing around and just wanted to leave. The kid wasn’t hurt other than a few scrapes so luckily everyone just agreed to leave. But for a minute I was pretty worried. So following the traffic laws is important and I feel like if you don’t and get hit its your own fault. Traffic can be bad enough with bad drivers add in ones that want to do their own thing and it gets worse.

    Speaking of bad drivers my county is holding a traffic circle training course as more and more of them are popping up and so many people do not know how to properly navigate them. I saw it on FB and thought that its pretty well needed.

  29. Jim Head Says:

    It’s not green energy if its built on a green site. They are abandoning current factory sites and bulldozing forests to build “green” cell or assembly factories. How ironic.


    28) We have had round-a-bouts for at least 10 years. People still don’t really understand how they work. Some think if you just blow throw the yield sign and enter the circle at warp speed you win. Others think you should stop in the circle. Most don’t understand traffic circle lane discipline. Nobody knows you are supposed to signal which exit you are using. Over time it will improve, but you would think after 10 years people would have gotten used to them. But here we are.

    The number of accidents in the circles have reduced over the past 10 years, so there has been improvement. We are not really at full understanding just yet.

  31. Ukendoit Says:

    As an avid cyclist, I am familiar with most of the traffic laws and also try to get most of my training done on dedicated trails and bike paths. I do have lots of friends though that use their bikes as transportation with the purpose of staying in shape, saving gas, and getting from point A to point B. As mentioned by others, the law states we can not ride our bikes on the sidewalk, and have to be in the traffic lane, and there is often not a “trail” going from A to
    B. Usually, there is enough room on the shoulder for riding and not impeding traffic, but although I have done it a few short times, I don’t trust all those distracted drivers and wouldn’t normally put my life on the line like that.
    Luckily, there has been a push around here lately to install multi-purpose sidewalks, which are legal to ride bikes on. Being wide enough for pedestrian and bikes, and going along the actual roadways so you can get to actual locations/destinations rather than just in recreational areas, it is the best of both worlds. On top of that, there are few enough fit, active people around here that the multi-use paths are not at all crowded! Recreational walkers usually go to the track at the parks, recreational bikers have the decommissioned, paved rail line paths, Which leaves the wide multi-use roadside paths available for dedicated runners and riders.

  32. XA351GT Says:

    @ 12 to be clear I am NOT for bikes riding against traffic, I’m for them not being on roads at all unless there is a dedicated bike lane or trail . Here is PA it is the LAW for me as a vehicle operator to give a bike rider 4 feet of clearance . This is impossible when most refuse to ride single file ( the law) , even when riding alone either ride right down the middle of the lane or towards the centerline. How am I supposed to give them 4 feet when they do that without leaving the road to do so ? I think IF you are insistent on riding on the highway you should have to license, inspect insure and register the same as motor vehicle and when you break a traffic law it should go against your license . Maybe then these leisure riders would use the places that have been built and paid for by tax dollars so they can enjoy themselves safely without risking themselves or anyone else’s safety.

  33. XA351GT Says:

    @ 30 You mean that isn’t what YIELD means. Vehicles entering the highways here seem to think it means speed up they’ll move for you.

  34. XA351GT Says:

    @ 27 see my response @ #32 Rural roads are most definitely NOT the place for these riders . I would like to see you try to safely get around 10-15 riders on my roads . They are narrow and have no shoulders and are one blind curve behind the next.

  35. Wine Geek Says:

    Hey Sean was that site selection specialist a commission compensated salesman? There has to be a reasonable number of potential sites. Why don’t the care companies make the investment to take down the old factories and use that land for something other than empty eyesores. The cost of demolition probably would cost less than the acquisition of a new 1,000 acre site with no utilities.