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0:08 Geneva Auto Show Cancelled
0:48 Hyundai Halts Production at Korean Plant
1:12 Cruise Approved to Carry Passengers in CA
1:47 Indianapolis Cancels BYD Bus Order
2:44 Audi Developing Performance E-Tron Models
3:30 Citroen Unveils Tiny Ami EV
4:41 New Tech from Ford Protects 2-Wheel Riders
5:31 Corvette Design Critique
7:56 Lincoln Navigator Impressions
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GENEVA AUTO SHOW CANCELLED
The coronavirus has caused several automotive related events in China to be cancelled, including the Beijing Auto Show and the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix. And now the first big auto event outside of China has been called off. Switzerland has banned gatherings that will attract more than 1,000 people, so that means there won’t be a Geneva auto show. The ban is effective immediately and runs at least until March 15th, but Geneva organizers have told automakers that the show won’t happen. And we wouldn’t be surprised to see more events cancelled as the coronavirus spreads across the globe.
HYUNDAI HALTS PRODUCTION AT KOREAN PLANT
And in related news, Hyundai has shut down a factory in South Korea after one of its workers tested positive for the virus. The plant, which builds the Palisade, Tucson, Santa Fe and Genesis GV80, is being disinfected. Hyundai did not reveal when production would resume but hopefully it won’t be too long because those are important SUVs in its lineup.
CRUISE APPROVED TO CARRY PASSENGERS IN CA
Good news for GM’s self-driving unit Cruise, as it just took another step towards launching its autonomous ride-hailing service. The Detroit News reports, California okayed the company to carry passengers in its vehicles during tests on public roads in the state. A human still needs to be on board to take over if necessary. GM is the sixth company to get this approval but it’s the first traditional automaker to receive the go ahead. The automaker is also waiting for permission from NHTSA to operate its fleet of driverless taxis.
INDIANAPOLIS CANCELS BYD BUS ORDER
Talk about range anxiety. The city of Indianapolis is cancelling an order for electric buses from Chinese automaker BYD because they don’t deliver the range that was promised. Indygo, the bus transit company in Indianapolis, bought 13 electric buses with the stipulation that they had to travel 275 miles on a single charge even at zero degrees Fahrenheit. But the buses couldn’t do it, they fell short of their range once the temp dropped below 50 degrees. So Indygo cancelled its contract to buy 5 more electric buses and is going to buy diesel buses instead.
AUDI DEVELOPING PERFORMANCE E-TRON MODELS
Audi is developing performance S versions of its e-tron electric SUV. It features three electric motors, two are located on the rear axle, and combined all three provide 370 kW of power and 717 lb.-ft. of torque. That setup helps it move from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds. The standard e-tron will do it in 5.5 seconds. In normal driving, only the rear motors work. The front will switch on by itself if more power is needed, and if it detects grip is slipping. The e-tron S model is still in the prototype phase but Audi says It will be the first EV worldwide with three electric motors in mass production.
CITROEN UNVEILS TINY AMI EV
Citroen is going to offer a unique urban mobility solution. The Ami is an all-electric vehicle that can be used for short car sharing trips, rented long-term or purchased and will seat two people. For short trips the Ami can be had for .26 euro a minute, long-term rentals cost 20 euro a month for two years or it can be purchased for 6,000 euro. It has a top speed of 45 km/h or about 28 MPH and its 5.5 kWh battery returns up to 70 km or nearly 43.5 miles. The battery can be charged in 3 hours on 220-volts. The Ami is technically a light quadricycle so someone as young as 14 in France or 16 in other European countries can operate the vehicle without a license. You may remember the Ami One Concept shown last year, which is the styling inspiration for this vehicle. But I’m sure many of you also remember the equally goofy-looking, but loved Ami that was sold in the 60’s and 70’s.
NEW TECH FROM FORD PROTECTS 2-WHEEL RIDERS
Ford is trying to make the road safer for motorcyclists, bike and e-scooter riders. It developed a system, called Exit Warning, that uses existing sensors and technology to warn that someone is approaching or that the vehicle door is about to open. If the system thinks opening the door is not a good idea, it will sound an alarm to warn the vehicle occupants. It will also flash LEDs mounted on the mirror and additional ones on the inner door trim to warn anyone on the outside. Ford is even testing a feature that will prevent the door from opening fully if the system detects someone is there. But it can still be opened fully in an emergency. Ford says it will continue to test Exit Warning and conduct customer clinics in the coming months.
CORVETTE DESIGN CRITIQUE
I’ve seen a lot of comments about the styling of the new C8 Corvette and how it looks goofy from some angles. I’m not going to say I love the styling but I understand it. The Corvette’s DNA has always been about being a very good sports car that still has room to carry your golf clubs or groceries. And when stretching the body over that extra space I can see how some people would think it looks goofy. That being said, there’s is one styling aspect that I’m critical of and that’s the exhaust tips. Let me explain. There’s angular, almost triangular, elements all over the car, from the headlamp assemblies, to the side vents and even the rear taillights and not just the lights themselves but also the housings. To my eye, the square exhaust tips don’t fit into this design theme. But there is a reason for the shape. Here’s Kirk Bennion, the exterior design manager of the Corvette with the explanation.
Kirk Bennion, Exterior Design Manager, Corvette
“So the exhaust tip it is square in nature. In this particular instance, we sided with the side angle of this attitude to go with the tip, that was kind of our balance. Now the same tip, it’s the same part in each location. Where we we’re having, I would say the debate was, you can turn these, clock them 90 degrees and they’ll go in plain view and then you give up the side view. So they’re square in side view, So in this particular instance we decided to keep the angle in the side view and let them be staggered…And when you do a tip and it has to fit in four locations, you know across the back of the car, you end up trying a lot of different things to see what fits best there.”
It is nice to know there was thought behind the shape and placement of the exhaust tips. But I would have preferred if they did clock the exhaust tips because I think it fit in better with the overall design theme. What do you think?
And stay tuned because John will be up next with his impression of the new Lincoln Navigator.
LINCOLN NAVIGATOR IMPRESSIONS
We get a lot of test cars coming through the Autoline Garage and this week I’ve been spending time in a couple of Lincoln Navigators. Lincoln is going through an impressive renaissance and the Navigator epitomizes that turn around with an imposing presence both inside and out. Climbing aboard is like strolling into the lobby of a 5-star hotel. Not only is it cavernous, everything is opulently appointed, and it’s good to see that Lincoln’s designers were given a budget to show what they can really do. Even though the dashboard is jam packed with switches and buttons, I found everything pretty easy to figure out. And I was pleased to see that the touch screen reacted quickly with one light touch. This is a gargantuan vehicle and if you’re not used to driving something this large, it’s kind of like driving around in an apartment building. Even so, its twin turbo V6 kicks out 450 horsepower and the Navigator is surprisingly responsive. The EPA rates the four-wheel-drive version at 18 miles per gallon, and that’s about what I got. But if you only do city driving, or have a heavy foot, that will drop down to about 14 or 15 MPGs. Lincoln is not shy about trying to get as much pricing as it can with the Navigator. The Reserve model I drove tipped the scales at $91,000, while the beautiful Black Label model was over $103,000. Now before you choke on those numbers, keep in mind that Lincoln is selling them as fast as it can build them. And if customers are that eager to buy them, that means they’re not overpriced.
But that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching, have a great weekend and we’ll see you 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.