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0:08 President Trump Talks with GM’s Mary Barra
0:41 President Trump Fights California Over Emissions
1:24 Self Cleaning Sensors on Ford’s Autonomous Vehicles
2:34 New VW E-Up! Gets Larger Battery, Increased Range
3:17 VW Provides EV Kit for Classic Beetles
3:51 Jeep Renegade Plug-In Hybrid Set For 2020
4:54 GM to Integrate Google Into Next-Gen Infotainment
5:30 Karim Habib Appointed Head of Kia Design
5:43 Cadillac’s Deborah Wahl Promoted to GM CMO
This is Autoline Daily reporting on all aspects of the global automotive industry.
PRESIDENT TRUMP TALKS WITH GM’S MARY BARRA
GM CEO Mary Barra met with President Trump yesterday, but neither one is saying much about the meeting. Barra told reporters, “We had a productive and valuable meeting.” Let me translate. In diplomatic speak, that means they didn’t end up screaming at each other. Now let me speculate. Maybe GM agreed not to join Ford and other automakers who have cut a deal with California on fuel economy. And if GM did agree to that, maybe Trump agreed not to criticize GM on Twitter anymore.
PRESIDENT TRUMP FIGHTS CALIFORNIA OVER EMISSIONS
Speaking of President Trump, he’s stepping up his battle with California. The Detroit News reports that the Office of Management and Budget will submit a proposal called the “One National Program” that will prohibit states from setting their own gas mileage standards. The EPA also plans to revoke aspects of a Clean Air Act waiver that allows California to set its own emission standards. That would undo a California law which requires automakers to reduce emission levels by 40% by 2025. However, the plan would leave in place the state’s Low Emission Vehicles standards. And all this, will likely result in lengthy court battles.
SELF CLEANING SENSORS ON FORD’S AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
If autonomous cars are going to be used for ride hailing and package delivery they have to be on the road almost around the clock. So the sensors and cameras must be clean at all times. Even when big fat juicy bugs splatter on the lens. Ford is working on the problem. One solution funnels air through slots around the camera that creates an air curtain that blows bugs away from the lens. But bigger bugs can get through, so the system shoots a powerful blast of washer fluid to clean the sensor, then a puff of air dries it. Software algorithms determine when a lens needs to be cleaned. It’s being used on Ford’s third-generation autonomous vehicles, which are currently being tested in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Miami and Washington DC.
NEW VW E-UP! GETS LARGER BATTERY, INCREASED RANGE
Volkswagen is getting ready to introduce a new version of the electric e-up! Battery size was increased significantly. It’s going from 18.7 kWh to 32.3, which returns a driving range of 260 km or about 161-miles. A 61-kW electric motor helps move the e-up! to 100 km/h in about 12-seconds, which is pretty pokey. Despite the larger battery pack, the new car is less expensive than the outgoing model. It now costs about 21,000 euros. VW says it’s able to offer that low price because of high production volumes.
VW PROVIDES EV KIT FOR CLASSIC BEETLES
And one way it’s increasing production volume is by offering the e-up! as a conversion kit for classic Beetles. The components are supplied to VW’s partner eClassics which performs the conversion. You get a Beetle that can go 0 to 80km/h in about 8-seconds, which is pretty pokey. It will travel 200 kilometers or roughly 124-miles on a charge. VW is also working on an electric conversion for the Bus and says it could do a Porsche 356.
JEEP RENEGADE PLUG-IN HYBRID SET FOR 2020
We’ve got more info on the plug-in hybrid Jeep Renegade. It gets around 31 miles of all-electric range. It’s powered by a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine with an electric motor in the rear, giving it a 0-60mph time of 7 seconds, which is pretty decent, and a top speed of 80mph in all-electric mode. Combined power for the new plug-in is in the range of 190 to 240 horsepower depending on the trim level. Apart from increased torque from the battery, the Renegade Hybrid gets a new 7” LCD instrument cluster and a 8.4” Uconnect screen with features exclusive to the plug-in, such as power flow, driving history, charging times and eSave, which charges the battery from the engine.
GM TO INTEGRATE GOOGLE INTO NEXT-GEN INFOTAINMENT
Automakers tried to keep Google and Apple out of their cars, but one by one they seem to be throwing in the towel. GM is the latest. It’s working with Google on its next-gen infotainment system. GM will continue to use OnStar for service recommendations, vehicle health status and in-vehicle commerce but will use Google for a voice assistant, embedded navigation and in-vehicle applications. The first system with Google will launch in 2021 and will go across the board after that.
KARIM HABIB APPOINTED HEAD OF KIA DESIGN
We’ve got some executive promotions to report on. Kia appointed Karim Habib as Senior Vice President of Design. Prior to joining Kia he worked at INFINITI, BMW and Daimler.
CADILLAC’S DEBORAH WAHL PROMOTED TO GM CMO
And General Motors promoted Deborah Wahl to Global Chief Marketing Officer. She was previously the CMO for Cadillac. She has extensive marketing experience having worked at McDonald’s, Chrysler, Lexus, Toyota, Lincoln-Mercury, Mazda and Ford of Brazil. Amazingly GM has not had a CMO since 2012.
And with that we wrap up today’s report, thanks for watching and we’ll see you here again on Monday.
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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.