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0:07 GM Gives the Bolt a Jolt
1:08 Tesla in Talks to Buy Batteries from LG Chem
1:25 Lithium Prices Down This Year
2:13 Plug-In Lincoln Aviator Impressions
3:53 Most Common Car Questions on Google
4:25 Porsche Shows Off Taycan Interior
5:16 Don’t Be a Lead Foot in These States
6:13 Flat Tire in Alaska
6:40 AIWAYS Road Trip Update
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This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
GM GIVES THE BOLT A JOLT
General Motors just achieved an improvement with the 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV that really bodes well for electric cars. By tweaking the chemistry in the battery cells, GM was able to get another 21 miles of driving range, without increasing the size of the battery. The car now offers 259 miles of total range, up from 238 miles before. That’s based on the EPA test cycle, which is the toughest test of any regulatory agency in the world. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, GM is not releasing any details of exactly how it changed the battery chemistry. The price of the Bolt stays the same, which stands at $37,495 including destination charges. Hopefully improvements like this will attract more buyers. In the first half of the year, GM only sold about 8,300 Bolts.
TESLA IN TALKS TO BUY BATTERIES FROM LG CHEM
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Tesla is going to buy batteries from LG Chem for its operations in China, in addition to buying them from Panasonic. Reuters also cites sources that Tesla is in talks with CATL, the largest battery supplier in China.
LITHIUM PRICES DOWN THIS YEAR
It wasn’t that long ago that some were worrying about the price of lithium going through the roof due to booming demand for lithium-ion batteries for EVs. That’s not a problem at the moment. In fact, lithium prices are crashing due to the slowdown in EV sales in China. Bloomberg reports that prices of lithium have fallen about 25% this year. Even so, lithium producers predict that demand will pick up again.
PLUG-IN LINCOLN AVIATOR IMPRESSIONS
Much like the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Lincoln doesn’t have a single badge with the word hybrid on the plug-in version of the Aviator. In fact, it doesn’t even have hybrid in its name, it’s just called the Grand Touring. The only give away is some blue inside the AVIATOR lettering on the side of the SUV and Lincoln badge in the front grille. But with nearly 500-horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque there’s a very noticeable amount more of get-up-and-go. While it has roughly 18 miles of pure EV range from a 13.6 kWh battery pack, the performance of the vehicle seems to be more of the focal point. You get two extra drive modes than are available in the gas-only version; a pure EV mode and a mode that will not use any battery power until you shut it off. In the pure EV mode on flat roads the Aviator would accelerate at an acceptable pace, but we tried it on an uphill section and the vehicle moved like a snail, not wanting to go past 35 MPH. Thankfully a message came up in the instrument cluster that indicated we could toggle over the right joystick on the steering wheel to kick the engine into action. So, you didn’t have to switch it out of the drive mode and could go right back into the electric-only mode once past the hilly section. The Aviator Grand Touring starts just under $70,000 and goes up to nearly 90-grand for a Black Label version.
MOST COMMON CAR QUESTIONS ON GOOGLE
The internet is a great way to get any question you may have answered. And new research from Click4Reg shows the most common car questions by monthly search volume people looked for on Google. By far and away the most common one is “How to jump a car?” followed by “How to buy a car?” and “How to change a car battery?” Most of the car questions people search for on Google revolve around the car buying process or common maintenance or repair jobs.
PORSCHE SHOWS OFF TAYCAN INTERIOR
We’ve seen the exterior of Porsche’s upcoming all-electric vehicle the Taycan and now the company is showing off its interior. The instrument cluster consists of a curved 16.8-inch display, which drivers can choose 4 display modes for. It has a 10.9-inch infotainment screen and an optional display for the passenger. And on top of that, the center console has an 8.4-inch touch panel with haptic feedback. The number of buttons and switches in the vehicle are minimal, instead most functions use touch controls or voice command. The Taycan makes its debut next month.
DON’T BE A LEAD FOOT IN THESE STATES
If you have a lead foot, you’ll want to check out this list from GoBankingRates before you go on your next road trip. It just ranked the most expensive states to get a speeding ticket in, by comparing the cost of a ticket for traveling 13 MPH over the posted speed limit for a first-time offender. Nevada is at the top of the list, a maximum fine could set you back $1,000 which is more than 3 times than any other state in the country. Next on the list is Alaska, Mississippi and New York, which will slap you with a $300 fine for speeding. But if you love putting the pedal to the metal, Oklahoma is the state you’ll want to be in. While going more than 35 MPH over the speed limit will get a $200 ticket, fines for going 20 MPH or less over the speed limit are under $35.
FLAT TIRE IN ALASKA
There are a lot of stupid things on Facebook, but there’s also some gems. We really like the posts from a guy named Kevin Hisel, who always has some kooky pictures with clever captions. Check out this picture he posted of a sled dog laying on his back in the snow. Kevin’s caption for this one is: “Flat tire in Alaska.” Hey, what can we say, at least it’s kind of automotive related.
AIWAYS ROAD TRIP UPDATE
We have an update on AIWAYS’ road trip from China to Germany to arrive just in time for the Frankfurt auto show. The electric SUV has traveled nearly 9,200-kilometers or about 5,700-miles and recently entered Europe for the first time, after crossing the Russian border with Finland. It’s taken a month to get this far, which comes out to roughly 184-miles a day. The AIWAYS team says a lack of public charging stations in Russia and higher energy demands in mountainous sections have been a real challenge. But that gave them the opportunity to optimize the vehicle’s charging logic to operate with a wide variety of charging outlets and varying voltages. The Frankfurt auto show kicks off on September 12th and the AIWAYS U5 goes on sale in Europe next year.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
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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.