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0:07 Gen Z Nicknames Cars More Than Baby Boomers Do
0:50 Tesla FSD Recall
1:49 Rivian Fights Battery Supplier Samsung
2:38 Porsche Improving Online Car Sales
4:06 Luxurious Toyota Tundra Review
6:13 AAA Tests Driver Monitoring Systems for Semi-Autonomous Driving
7:20 Magna Supplies eDrive System for VW Group’s MEB Platform
8:28 Best to Worst EV Charging Networks
9:14 India Wants Battery Swapping Too!
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GEN Z MORE LIKELY TO NICKNAME CAR
Hey, aren’t older people supposed to like their cars more than the little kiddos? There was once a time that was said about Millennials, but now we’re the biggest car buying group of any generation. And here’s an interesting data point we ran across in a WardsAuto interview with Ford Futurist Sheryl Connelly. She cites a survey that indicates 50% of Gen Z (age 18 to 24) give their vehicle a nickname, while only 20% of Baby Boomers (late-50’s to mid-70’s) do the same thing. We agree with Connelly who says “it’s an interesting difference,” but why do you think there’s such a big difference? And also let us know any nicknames for your car.
TESLA RECALLS FSD FOR NOT STOPPING AT STOP SIGNS
Tesla is under the gun over safety concerns involving its Full-Self-Driving system. And now it’s being forced to recall nearly 54,000 vehicles in the U.S. because FSD allows cars to roll through stop signs without coming to a full stop. NHTSA says Tesla agreed to perform an over-the-air update to disable that function, which only works when the vehicle is traveling below 5.6 MPH and no other cars, pedestrians or bicyclists are near the intersection. Tesla says it’s not aware of any warranty claims, crashes, injuries or fatalities involving the recall. Here’s our Autoline Insight. Too bad NHTSA is being so picky. Coming to a complete stop when there’s no need to, wastes battery power in EVs and wastes gasoline in ICEs. We think Tesla got it right. And besides, do any of you come to a complete stop when there’s no one around?
RIVIAN FIGHTS BATTERY SUPPLIER SAMSUNG
Rivian already delayed production of its truck and SUV with big battery packs. And now it’s arguing with its battery supplier, Samsung SDI. They were going to form a joint venture in the U.S. to produce battery cells, but the talks fell apart. The Elec reports that Rivian took longer than expected to ramp up production. That was one issue. And Rivian made demands that Samsung was unwilling to agree to. Rivian wanted Samsung to transfer its battery making technology, it wanted rights to inspect battery plants, and it didn’t guarantee how many batteries it would buy. So now Rivian is going to have to find a new partner. And we’ve got to believe there’s a lot more to this story that hasn’t come out yet.
PORSCHE IMPROVING ONLINE CAR SALES
COVID lockdowns really seemed to shine a light on the ease of online car sales and there’s a greater push than ever from traditional automakers to adopt the practice. For example, Porsche says it now has 26 markets around the world where its vehicles can be ordered online and 94% of dealers list their new and used vehicles in a digital marketplace. Last year around 5,800 Porsche vehicles were sold online, three times higher than 2020. What’s more, about 110,000 leads were generated online in 2021, an increase of 61%. But it’s still a slow transition for Porsche, at least right now. While it sold about 5,800 vehicles online, it delivered nearly 302,000 worldwide last year.
LUXURIOUS TOYOTA TUNDRA CAPSTONE REVIEW
Toyota got into the full size pickup segment in 1999. Even so, it really hasn’t cracked the code on how to compete with the BIG GUNS. Last year it sold 82,000 Tundras, compared to the 656,000 F-Series that Ford sold. So to try and boost sales, Toyota is expanding the lineup. This is the new, top-of-the-line, luxury trim called Capstone. Toyota is positioning this as a luxury vehicle. And that’s reflected in the price, the hybrid version starts at $73,500. That includes air suspension, acoustic glass, standard 22-inch wheels and a 10-inch head-up display. The interior is well appointed and has an upscale feel, however we feel it falls short of a Ram 1500, which to us, has the best interior of all the big pickups. The hybrid, called i-FORCE MAX, is a 3.5L V6 mated to a ten-speed automatic. Toyota’s other hybrids use a two electric motor set-up. However, for the first time, Toyota is using a single motor for the Tundra. That’s because it couldn’t get continuous full torque out of the two-motor system and we all know how important torque is for a big truck owner. The hybrid cranks out 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque. 4×2 models get an estimated 22 MPG combined while 4×4 models get one less. We got to drive the hybrid off-road in a TRD Pro and it was more than capable. Since a diesel is not offered, Toyota engineers worked to match the hybrid’s torque curve with a diesel, so it has good instant low-end torque, which was needed for the Airstream trailer we got to tow. Toyota says it expects the hybrid to make-up 25% of the Tundra mix. We really liked the truck, so we think that’s possible. Now we’ll just have to see if it has the right combination to boost sales.
AAA RATES DRIVER MONITORING SYSTEMS FOR SEMI-AUTONOMOUS DRIVING
Subaru and Cadillac are the best. Tesla and Hyundai are the worst. Those are the results of a study by the AAA of driver monitoring systems for semi-autonomous driving. The AAA tested a Subaru Forester, a Cadillac Escalade, a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Tesla Model 3 to see how well they kept drivers engaged. Both the Subaru and Cadillac use a camera to monitor what the driver is doing. Hyundai and Tesla only use steering wheel sensors. The AAA found that the camera-based systems alerted drivers 50 seconds sooner that they needed to pay attention to traffic and their surroundings. In fact it found that the camera systems kept drivers engaged five times more than the steering wheel systems.
MAGNA SUPPLIES EV MOTOR PACKAGE TO VW
Automakers like to make it sound like they make everything on their cars. But we know they rely heavily on suppliers for much of their innovation and technology. So it’s no surprise to learn that the secondary motors on the all wheel drive versions of VW’s ID.4 come from Magna and its joint venture partner HASCO. In fact, Magna and HASCO supply all of the secondary motors for Volkswagen Group’s all-wheel drive MEB models with power greater than 185kW. The package you see here includes the induction electric motor, an integrated single-speed gearbox, a high-voltage inverter and the corresponding software and controls. While Magna didn’t tell us about the cost, other sources tell Autoline that you can buy a package like this for less than the cost of a naturally-aspirated, 4-cylinder engine. And that doesn’t include the cost of the transmission or electronic controls for the engine. So, that gives you a bit of an idea of how much cheaper some EV components are compared to their internal combustion counterparts.
STUDY SAYS TESLA DOESN’T HAVE BEST CHARGING NETWORK
Who’s got the best EV charging network in the U.S.? Well, guess what? It’s not Tesla. That’s according to a study by Umlaut, the engineering firm that’s now part of Accenture. It randomly tested EV chargers in 7 states. And it tested them all, including Electrify America, Tesla, Charge Point, EVgo, Greenlots, Blink and EVconnect. And it ranked them in exactly that order. Umlaut tested the chargers, the charging apps from these companies, and whether the charging stations had nearby places to eat or use the bathroom. They used a Tesla Model 3 and a Mustang Mach E. And overall, it says public charging stations are getting better and better.
INDIA WANTS BATTERY SWAPPING SYSTEM
Speaking of EV charging, well sort of, Reuters reports that India will introduce a new policy for battery swapping in the country. It hopes the move will boost sales of electric vehicles, which will help India reach its goal to cut carbon emissions up to 35% by 2030. And the reasons it’s focused on battery swapping are because of space constraints in urban areas and an insufficient charging infrastructure. Several companies, including Honda, have shown and tested electric motorbikes and small vehicles, like tuk-tuks, with swappable battery systems.
And that’s a wrap for today. Thanks for joining us and we’ll be right back here again tomorrow.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.