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0:07 UAW Strike Hits Canada
0:34 SEAT Using Municipal Waste for Biofuel
1:18 Germany to Charge for Carbon Emissions
2:49 Honda Unveils CR-V Hybrid
3:50 Tesla Model 3 Earns Top Safety Pick
4:27 Ford Offers Off-Road Kit for Its Trucks
5:20 Ford Escape Hybrid Impressions
This is Autoline Daily reporting on all aspects of the global automotive industry.
UAW STRIKE HITS CANADA
General Motors workers in Canada are now feeling the effects of the UAW strike. The company is facing a parts shortage because of the strike and as a result, is temporarily laying off 1,200 workers at its Oshawa plant in Ontario. Production of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, are being halted. The UAW and GM are still holding talks but so far no progress has been made.
MUNICIPAL WASTE USED FOR BIOFUEL
Spanish automaker SEAT is gearing up to test biofuel created from municipal waste in its vehicles. It’s part of the Life Landfill Biofuel project which will run 4 years and has a budget of 4.6 million euros, of which, the European Commission will fund 55%. By 2035, the amount of municipal waste that can be dumped in landfills in Europe will be limited to 10%. So this new project is one way to put that excess waste to good use. Not only will it help reduce emissions but converting waste to biofuel represents a big business opportunity since there are close to half a million landfills in Europe.
GERMANY TO CHARGE FOR CARBON EMISSIONS
And speaking of improving emissions in Europe, Germany is planning to impose a cap and trade system on carbon emissions from the heating and transport sectors. Bloomberg reports that oil companies will be required to buy allowances that cost between 30 and 50 euros for each ton of carbon dioxide their fuels emit and that cost will be passed on to drivers. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the hope is consumers will adopt more fuel efficient cars or even electric vehicles. Germany is on track to miss emission targets set under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the country is woefully short of its goal of having 6 million electric cars on its roads by 2030, currently there are around 480,000 electrified vehicles in Germany.
HONDA UNVEILS CR-V HYBRID
Honda is going to amp up its electrification efforts. It wants hybrids to account for 50% of its U.S. sales by 2030, and for BEVs to account for 15%. Yesterday it unveiled the hybrid version of the CR-V, which will be made in Indiana. Unfortunately it did not announce fuel economy numbers or prices, but the two motor hybrid will produce 212 horsepower and 232 pound feet of torque. That’s 22 more horses and 53 more pound feet than the gasoline-only version. And while it did not provide figures, Honda says it will offer more EV range than other hybrids. When most hybrids launch from a stop, the engine usually kicks in around 5 miles an hour or so. Honda’s head of automotive operations, Art St. Cyr, hints that with the CR-V hybrid, the engine may not kick in until around 20 or 30 miles an hour.
MODEL 3 EARNS TOP SAFETY PICK
Tesla has been praised for how solid the structures of its vehicles are and now it can put another feather in its safety cap. The IIHS tested the Model 3 and it earned the highest Top Safety Pick+ from the institute. The electric sedan earned ‘good’ ratings across the board for crashworthiness, a ‘superior’ rating for its standard front crash prevention system and a ‘good’ rating for its headlights. It joins the Audi e-tron and Hyundai Nexo as another alternatively powered vehicle to earn the award based on its standard equipment.
FORD OFFERS OFF-ROAD KIT FOR ITS TRUCKS
Pickup buyers love to customize their trucks and now Ford is offering a suspension lift kit for the Ranger and F-150. It includes new FOX shocks with coilover springs in the front and new upper spring mounts. The kit lifts the front of the trucks about 2-inches and levels them from front to rear. Ford calls it an off-road leveling kit that improves capabilities with better approach and breakover angles, but we bet there will be plenty of Ranger and F-150 owners that are willing to shell out the $1,500 the kits costs before installation to give their truck a more rugged look.
FORD ESCAPE HYBRID IMPRESSIONS
Earlier this week, we shared our impressions of the gasoline-powered versions of the new Ford Escape, which you can see in Tuesday’s show, but now we can finally tell you about the hybrid. First, some details about the powertrain. It features a 2.5L engine and an electronic CVT combined with a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery, which is one-third the size of the battery in the old Escape Hybrid. It felt a bit more sluggish than 1.5L 3-cylinder gas engine, even though it has more power, but it does have enough oomph to pass slower vehicles out on the road. Ford hasn’t revealed fuel economy numbers but we we’re averaging in the mid-40s according to its display and that was with us not trying to eke out the best number. Front-wheel-drive models have an EPA estimated range of more than 550 miles. The Escape Hybrid has a base price of $28,255 and is available now. There’s a plug-in version too but that won’t be available until next spring.
Are robots really going to take over all manufacturing jobs? That will be one of the topics on today’s Autoline After Hours when Mike Cicco, the CEO of FANUC America comes on the show. Drew Winter from Wards and Mike Austin from Hemmings Motor News will also join us. So be sure to tune in this afternoon at 3PM eastern time.
But that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching and we’ll see you again tomorrow.
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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.