Listen to “AD #3021 – Karma Unveils New GS-6; Rimac Close to Buying Bugatti; New Rogue Disappoints in Crash Tests” on Spreaker.
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0:08 India Paves Way for Great Wall & GM Deal
0:46 British Gas Won’t Buy ICE Vehicles Ever Again
1:14 Vitesco Helps PHEVs Improve Emissions
3:25 Rimac Close to Buying Bugatti
4:03 NHTSA Downgrades Nissan Rogue in Passenger-Side Crash Test
4:59 Karma Unveils New GS-6
6:46 Mercedes Puts Big Trucks Through Winter Tests
7:22 Renault Partners with Faurecia On Fuel Cells
8:06 Why the Chip Shortage Won’t Get Solved Anytime Soon
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
INDIA PAVES WAY FOR GREAT WALL & GM DEAL
China and India don’t exactly get along these days. Their soldiers got into a fight on the border last year with fatalities on both sides. But things have simmered down somewhat, so India is cautiously opening the door to Chinese investment. That will probably give the green light for Chinese automaker Great Wall to buy GM’s former plants in India. Reuters reports that GM will get $250 to $300 million. And SAIC, China’s largest automaker, plans to invest more money in India. It already sells cars there under the MG brand.
BRITISH GAS WON’T BUY ICE VEHICLES EVER AGAIN
The UK’s largest energy provider, British Gas, says it will never buy another internal combustion engine vehicle again. And the first step of that commitment is ordering 2,000 electric Vivaro vans from Vauxhall. By 2025, British Gas plans to convert its entire 12,000 vehicle fleet to EVs. The UK is banning sales of new ICE vehicles by 2030.
VITESCO HELPS PHEVs IMPROVE EMISSIONS
Did you know that 80% of the emissions that spew out of an ICE engine happen in the first 2 to 3 minutes before the catalytic converter comes up to temperature? And a plug-in hybrid can have many cold-starts as the engine comes on and off at different times, meaning the converter may never really get a chance to properly heat up. The EPA and CARB are looking at applying this to their ratings of PHEVs, which is why we think this announcement from Vitesco Technologies, which is part of the supplier Continental, is so important. Using a new DC to DC converter with its electrically heated catalyst that can work with 12 and 48 volt systems, it’s able to heat the catalyst in seconds and provide up to 95% efficiency.
RIMAC CLOSE TO BUYING BUGATTI
Last September we heard reports that Volkswagen would sell Bugatti to supercar maker Rimac. Now, Porsche’s CEO expects that to happen in the first half of this year. Oliver Blume also added that the two brands are a “good technological fit.” But it sounds like the structure of the deal has been what’s put off the sale up to this point. Porsche already owns a 10% stake in Rimac, but will likely boost that to over 15%, so Rimac has the money to get the deal done. Plus it still gives the VW Group some say in the future direction of Bugatti.
NHTSA DOWNGRADES NISSAN ROGUE IN PASSENGER-SIDE CRASH TEST
New vehicles are usually much better than the outgoing model, but the new Nissan Rogue took a step backward in some crash ratings. NHTSA gave the model only 2 stars in the front passenger-side crash test, while its predecessor earned 4. Overall, the new Rogue earned 4 stars, which is the same as the old model. This rating applies to models built in Japan before the end of January. Nissan says it’s aware of the issue and made updates to models in both Japan and the ones made in Tennessee. The updated vehicles will be re-tested and results are expected in May. But Nissan seems to be struggling with crash protection. The current Sentra got 3 stars from NHTSA for front-passenger impact protection, while the IIHS also downgraded the new Titan in the same area.
KARMA UNVEILS NEW GS-6
It’s been a long time coming but Karma is close to rolling out its GS-6. That’s the refreshed, low-priced version of the Revero. It comes with either pure battery power, or as an extended range electric with an onboard ICE. Interestingly, the BEV, at nearly $82,000 is slightly cheaper than the EREV at nearly $86,000. The BEV comes with either an 85-kilowatt-hour battery that delivers about 230 miles of range, or a 105-kWh pack that delivers over 300 miles. The EREV has a 28-kWh battery with 60 miles of electric range. Karma plans to make 15,000 cars a year at its plant in California, but is looking for a second plant to make an SUV called the GX-1. We think it’s very likely that plant will be built in China, and maybe with Magna. So who’s going to buy these Karmas? Jost deVries, the VP of Sales and Marketing, says “We’re not focused on Tesla. That 2% already moved to an EV. We’re going after the other 98%.” Karma is targeting customers of the Mercedes E-Class, Lexus RX, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford F-150.
MERCEDES PUTS BIG TRUCKS THROUGH WINTER TESTS
There sure is a lot of interest in electric trucks and vans for commercial fleets, but how will they perform in cold weather? Mercedes put the electric versions of its Actros and Econic trucks through winter tests. Engineers were testing how well the truck’s batteries and electric powertrain handle the cold weather and both passed with flying colors. The eActros goes into production later this year and Mercedes says it will have better range, power and safety compared to the prototype. The eEconic, which is mainly used as a garbage truck, goes into production next year.
RENAULT PARTNERS WITH FAURECIA ON FUEL CELLS
It seems like every time we turn around another automaker is working on fuel cells. This time its Renault partnering with the supplier Faurecia for hydrogen storage systems for light commercial vehicles. This is also interesting because in a roundabout way, Renault and Peugeot are teaming up. Stellantis, which owns Peugeot, also has a 40% stake in Faurecia. If you’d like to learn more about the future of hydrogen vehicles, check out our recent Autoline This Week with Bryan Pivovar from the National Renewable Energy Lab. Bryan’s got great insight into the progress being made, but he’s also realistic about when it will happen.
WHY THE CHIP SHORTAGE WON’T GET SOLVED ANYTIME SOON
The chip shortage that is crippling automotive production worldwide will get resolved. But not anytime soon. On Autoline This Week we took a deep dive into what caused the shortage, the impact it’s having, and how automakers hope to solve it. Scott Craig from On Semiconductor, explains why it’s going to take months to get this resolved.
“I think that one of the things that will come out of this is an appreciation and a recognition that many of these chips take 500 to 700 process steps to manufacture. And you’re looking at 26 week lead times to produce one chip, in some cases more. And so that complexity adds to the frustration of an automotive company who says, ‘Why can’t I get back in line?’”
Who knew the lead time for chips took 6 months? And what can the auto industry do to fix the problem? There is a ton of good information in that show about this crisis, and you can watch it all on our website or on our YouTube channel.
But that wraps up today’s show, thank you for watching.
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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.