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0:23 Bipartisan Support for New EV Credits
1:15 Infiniti’s First Production EV
1:48 Pininfarina Battista Is Wicked Fast and Pricey
2:41 D.O.E. ID’s How to Get More Truck Drivers
3:47 Testing GM’s Carbon Fiber Pickup Bed
4:56 Some Communities Threatened by EVs
6:03 Tesla Plans to Drastically Cut Wiring in Its Vehicles
This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR NEW EV CREDITS
It looks like Tesla’s and General Motors’ lobbying efforts have paid off. A bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate yesterday to expand electric vehicle credits. Currently, once an automaker sells 200,000 electrified vehicles, the $7,500 credit phases out over 15 months. But the new bill would give each automaker a $7,000 tax credit for an additional 400,000 EVs, and phase out after nine months. It also extends the credit for fuel cell vehicles until 2028. This would be a big victory for GM and Tesla, who have already hit the 200,000-vehicle threshold. But there’s going to be plenty of opposition to the bill from the Trump Administration which wants to eliminate the EV tax credit altogether.
INFINITI’S FIRST PRODUCTION EV
Infiniti has been using recent auto shows to give a glimpse into its electric future and the new Qs Inspiration concept is a preview of its first production EV. The sedan rides on an all-new flexible architecture, which Infiniti says “enables a reinterpretation of traditional ‘three-box’ sedan design.” Note the raised body and seating position. The all-wheel drive Qs Inspiration will make its debut at the Shanghai auto show next week.
PININFARINA BATTISTA IS WICKED FAST AND PRICEY
And in other auto show news, the Pininfarina Battista will make its North American debut at the New York Auto Show next week. The electric supercar is powered by a 120-kWh battery and four electric motors, one at each wheel. That combination helps it produce an eye-popping 1,900 horsepower and nearly 1,700 lb-ft of torque. And it screams from 0 to 60 MPH in less than two seconds. But that won’t impact its range, which is estimated to be 300 miles. The Italian design house will hand build just 150 examples of the Battista and only 50 will make their way to North America, starting in late 2020. But it ain’t cheap, the Battista has a $2.5 million price tag.
D.O.E. ID’S HOW TO GET MORE TRUCK DRIVERS
Traffic jams keep getting worse as the population of people and cars continues to grow. According to the Department of Energy, Americans now face 1.2 billion hours of traffic jams every year. And that’s affecting the trucking industry. Trucks are wasting a lot of time sitting in traffic. The Energy Department believes that if we could use vehicle connectivity to reduce traffic jams, it could be the equivalent of adding 42,000 truck drivers. Right now, the U.S. faces a shortage of 50,000 truck drivers. So freeing up 42,000 drivers just by reducing traffic jams would almost take care of the problem.
Be sure to join us this afternoon for Autoline After Hours when we’ll have Masahiro Moro, the CEO of Mazda North America in the house. If you’ve got questions about where Mazda is headed, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then join us at 3 pm eastern time when we go live.
TESTING GM’S CARBON FIBER PICKUP BED
GM attacked Ford in a flurry of television ads, making fun of Ford’s use of an aluminum body and bed on the F-Series. Now, we’ll know if GM’s carbon fiber pickup bed that will be optional on the Denali version of the GMC Sierra can stand up to a truck buyer’s abuse. Production of the CarbonPro bed will start in June. GM put it through pretty rigorous tests, including drop, heat and corrosion tests. It even accelerated a snowmobile with metal studded tracks at full throttle with a 250-pound rider on the back to see how it would hold up. It only had minimal scratching. One of the obvious advantages of a carbon fiber bed is weight. It is roughly 60 pounds lighter. But other highlights include molded tracks for dirt and street bike tires and it also offers an additional cubic foot of cargo volume. If you’d like to learn more about the CarbonPro bed, we did an interview at this year’s Detroit auto show with Continental Structural Plastics, the supplier that developed it.
SOME COMMUNITIES THREATENED BY EVs
At some point in the next two decades, electric cars will hit a tipping point and sales will take off. Unless some communities get ready for that day, they’re going to get clobbered. A lot of communities rely on automotive factories for their tax base. These factories help pay for schools, police departments and a host of other services. But a lot of those factories make parts for piston engines, and their business will be threatened in the future. Factories that make pistons, and crankshafts and mufflers and radiators will do just fine for the next ten years. But in twenty years’ time they’re going to see a big fall off in their business as electric cars catch on. So the communities that rely on these factories better start figuring out right now how they’re going to deal with this. Because we usually don’t react until the factories start closing.
TESLA PLANS TO DRASTICALLY CUT WIRING IN ITS VEHICLES
On last week’s Autoline After Hours we were joined by Sandy Munro to talk about the Tesla Model 3. During that discussion he revealed that the company is planning to drastically reduce the amount of wiring in its vehicles and how it will make it work.
(The AAH preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.