Listen to “AD #3346 – Tesla Autopilot More Dangerous Than Others; Gas Headed To $6/Gallon; Another Massive Recall At Ford” on Spreaker.
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0:08 Gas Headed To $6/Gallon
0:58 Lithium Prices to Drop. Or Not.
1:48 Another Massive Recall at Ford
2:31 Mustang Mach-E Recalled
3:48 Citroen Ami Ready for The Beach
4:13 Audi Designs Electric Rickshaw for India
5:02 Lynk & Co Drops Clay Models
6:45 Ford Puma Seats Get Blessing of Spinal Experts
7:20 Robo Chargers for EVs
7:57 Tesla Autopilot More Dangerous Than Others
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GAS HEADED TO $6/GALLON
Uh-oh. We sure hate to be the bearers of bad news but prices at the pump are going higher. Right now the average price of gasoline in the U.S. is just over $5 a gallon. But you better get ready for $6 a gallon as oil heads to $140 a barrel by the end of the year. And in Europe, gasoline and diesel already cost almost $8 a gallon. But here’s the funny part, and by funny we don’t mean “ha-ha,” we mean, “this is weird.” Traffic is just as heavy as it was before the pandemic. Despite sky high prices at the pump, people are driving just as much as they ever did. And this is true all over the world, from New York to London to Tokyo and Shanghai. And as long as demand stays high, prices at the pump are not going to simmer down.
LITHIUM PRICES TO DROP. OR NOT.
You’d think that all this would push more people into electric cars. And it is. But prices for EVs are going up as well, because of the skyrocketing cost of lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel. And now there’s a big argument in the commodities market over whether lithium prices will stay sky-high, or whether they’re about to crater. The investment companies Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse predict that as new sources of lithium come on stream, the price is going to drop. But lithium experts say that’s nonsense. They say prices may come down a bit, but not much. Bloomberg reports that if prices do not come down it’s going to cause the profit margins on electric cars to collapse and delay the adoption of EVs.
ANOTHER MASSIVE RECALL AT FORD
What’s going on at Ford? The company is really struggling with warranty and recall issues. It announced a recall of more than 2.9 million vehicles in the U.S. because of rollaway concerns. A damaged or missing shift cable bushing may prevent the vehicle from shifting into park, and the car may roll away. This includes Escapes, C-Maxs, Fusions, Transit Connects and Edges built between 2013 to 2021. Ford had a very similar roll-away recall back in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. This is the fifth recall Ford has issued over the problem since 2018.
MUSTANG MACH-E RECALLED
But it doesn’t stop there. Yesterday, Ford said it’s recalling 49,000 Mustang Mach-E’s in the U.S. because a part could overheat and lead to a potential loss of propulsion power. The company will fix it with a software update next month but dealers can’t deliver any new Mach-E’s until they get the fix. And today, Ford announced it is recalling more than 53,000 Ford Broncos from 2021 and 2022 because the passenger side rear door may be opened when the child safety lock is on. And last week NHTSA said it is investigating the SUV because of “catastrophic engine failures.”
CITROEN AMI READY FOR THE BEACH
Remember this beach buggy concept of the cute, little Citroen Ami? It was revealed in December of last year and must have proved popular enough that it’s now making a limited run based on that concept. Highlights include a unique body color, tube doors, canvas sunroof, roof spoiler and gold wheels. Only 50 examples will be made and sales kick off on June 21st.
AUDI DESIGNS ELECTRIC RICKSHAW FOR INDIA
Audi is known for its premium, luxury and sporty vehicles, so it might come as a surprise that it’s going to start testing rickshaws in India. But the reason for the test is to examine potential uses for second life batteries that are more demanding than a stationary storage system, which is how many second life batteries are used, but less demanding than a car. The batteries will come from e-tron test vehicles and Audi also developed solar charging stations, so they don’t have to use electricity that’s generated by burning coal. Another interesting aspect of its test is that it’s openly encouraging imitators. All the e-rickshaw data that is collected will be available on an open-source platform, so anyone could copy what it’s doing.
LYNK & CO DROPS CLAY MODELS
The speed of vehicle development has increased, so much so, we were surprised to learn that Lynk & Co’s new concept, called The Next Day, was made without a single clay model. Instead it was done with cast models and virtual reality. The vehicle is meant to show off the company’s future design direction. It’s a very angular, yet sporty design and reportedly features a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Suicide doors that also hinge slightly upward provide a large opening for passengers to enter the vehicle. The interior is highlighted by lounge seats, a steering wheel and display screen that retract when the vehicle is in autonomous mode and an AR Head Up Display that covers up a good portion of the windshield. For a quick reminder, Lynk & Co sells vehicles mainly in China, but also in Europe, and is owned by Geely.
FORD PUMA SEATS GET BLESSING OF SPINAL EXPERTS
While performance vehicles are fun to drive, the seats in those types of vehicles can be stiff and uncomfortable. That’s why Ford has developed an in-house 14-way adjustable seat that was approved by a top spinal health organization. The new seats are available on the ST versions of the Fiesta, Focus and Puma compact crossover in Europe. And Ford’s performance variants across the pond are pretty popular. ST and ST Line versions accounted for 44% of Fiesta, Focus and Puma sales in Europe last year.
ROBO CHARGERS FOR EVs
Instead of installing stationary EV chargers at parking lots or garages, a company called EV Safe Charge has developed a mobile robotic charger, called Ziggy, to offer on-demand charging as a service. You use an app to book a charge, which guides you to the parking facility. Ziggy will then automatically save a space for you and alert you where to meet it, once you do, you swap spots with Ziggy, which then parks behind your car. You then confirm activation and plug-in the charger and when it’s finished charging, the app will alert you.
TESLA AUTOPILOT MORE DANGEROUS THAN OTHERS
Tesla claims that customers using Autopilot get into far fewer crashes than other cars. But the Associated Press says NHTSA is about to release a report that shows they’re actually involved in proportionately more crashes. The AP was allowed to review data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that shows Tesla’s crash rate per 1,000 vehicles is substantially higher than crashes with cars from other automakers. NHTSA started investigating Autopilot when Teslas began crashing into emergency vehicles and other vehicles that were stopped on the side of the road. Even though Tesla says drivers have to remain alert and ready to take over at any moment, NHTSA says drivers may not be able to intervene quickly enough to avoid an accident. Some safety experts criticize Tesla because it does not use a driver monitoring system and relies only on vision for its system. NHTSA will release its data any day now.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for tuning in.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.