September 19, 2021
11 11 11 AM
Rekor Systems Announces Selection of Waycare Technologies by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for Pilot Program to Reduce State Traffic Congestion and Crashes
California homeless camp fire damages 2 bridges, disrupts public transportation
Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025
The Top 10 Automotive Concepts that automotive enthusiasts will be itching to see on the road!
Oregon Transportation Commission, wary of I-5 Rose Quarter project’s growing price tag, grants conditional approval
Woman dies after being hit by car in North Windham Friday night
Silk-FAW Continues To Poach Italy’s Automotive Talent, As Lamborghini’s Katia Bassi Joins As Managing Director
Transportation Department cracks down on airlines withholding refunds for canceled flights
Bear gets trapped in car, destroys interior
Cycling apparel company adding full-service bike repair to visitor center
Latest Post
Rekor Systems Announces Selection of Waycare Technologies by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for Pilot Program to Reduce State Traffic Congestion and Crashes California homeless camp fire damages 2 bridges, disrupts public transportation Austin finishes half of its bicycle network, expects to complete entire 400-mile system by 2025 The Top 10 Automotive Concepts that automotive enthusiasts will be itching to see on the road! Oregon Transportation Commission, wary of I-5 Rose Quarter project’s growing price tag, grants conditional approval Woman dies after being hit by car in North Windham Friday night Silk-FAW Continues To Poach Italy’s Automotive Talent, As Lamborghini’s Katia Bassi Joins As Managing Director Transportation Department cracks down on airlines withholding refunds for canceled flights Bear gets trapped in car, destroys interior Cycling apparel company adding full-service bike repair to visitor center
Sep
2021
11

Mercedes reveals electric luxury vehicles for on- and off-road

The Mercedes-Benz EQG concept SUV is an all-electric interpretation of the Mercedes G-class SUV. The SUV shares the G-class’s boxy shape. Engineers even copied the G-class’ jutting door handles and meticulously recreated the same “thunk” made by the G-class’ doors when they close. Instead of a spare tire mounted on the EQG’s tailgate, there’s a storage box that can hold a charging cable.

Mercedes plans to produce a vehicle based on this concept, and announced that it will even drive it through the same Austrian mountain off-road course where the internal combustion-powered G-class model is tested. Each wheel of the EQG is powered by its own electric motor, according to Mercedes, to allow for maximum four-wheel-drive control.

The Mercedes-Maybach EQS is an opulant large electric SUV.

Mercedes also revealed the Mercedes-Maybach EQS, a large luxury SUV intended mostly for on-road use. Mecedes-Maybach is the automaker’s ultra-luxury sub-brand with models and prices that compete against brands like Bentley.

Like the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, the Maybach EQS SUV has a glass panel that covers the entire dashboard giving the impression of a single enormous touchscreen. On the outside, it has a two-tone paint job, an option on Mercedes-Maybach models. As in the EQS electric sedan, the doors can open automatically as the driver approaches. Mercedes has announced it intends to put a large electric SUV, the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, into production in 2022. The Maybach SUV would be based on that.

The Mercedes-AMG EQS has specially designed high-performance electric motors.

The Mercedes-AMG EQS, also revealed Sunday, is a high-performance version of the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan. Mercedes-AMG is Mercedes’s high-performance sub-brand. Not just a concept car, this will be the first fully electric AMG production model.

It has two high-performance electric motors, one each for the front and back wheels, producing at total of 649 horsepower. Power output can briefly reach 751 horsepower using a special Race Start mode. The car’s electric motors were specially designed for high performance use performance demands, according to Mercedes.

Mercedes designers also created special sounds for what would otherwise be a largely silent driving experience. The sound, which is generated both inside and outside the vehicle, can vary depending on the driving mode, such as Comfort, Sport or Sport+. In Sport, it’s a gentle hum with an added jet-like overtone during acceleration. In Sport+ it takes on a subtle rumble suggestive of an internal combustion engine.

Aug
2021
27

Edmunds says goodbye to five discontinued vehicles for 2022

NYBZ950-954 are set for Time Release for Wednesday, Aug. 25 for 6 am EDT

Automakers are constantly introducing new models and nameplates to their lineups to meet consumer preferences and to keep their lineup fresh. With that comes the need to cycle older models out. These discontinuations aren’t promoted, and shoppers often don’t realize they’re gone until it’s too late. With this in mind, Edmunds’ experts highlighted five outgoing vehicles that will be gone after the 2021 model year.

While there are reasons behind each vehicle’s discontinuation, it’s possible you might want one before they’re sold out. They may not be easy to find given the current new vehicle shortage, so you may want to act sooner rather than later. The vehicles below are sorted by manufacturer’s suggested retail price from low to high and include the destination charge.

2021 VOLKSWAGEN GOLF

Hatchbacks have fallen out of favor with many shoppers over the years. The latest casualty for the class is one of its most well known: the Volkswagen Golf, which ends its long run in the U.S. after the 2021 model year. VW will still offer the Golf GTI and the Golf R, which return as fully redesigned 2022 models.

Find one of these remaining Golfs and you’ll get a small hatchback that’s practical and comfortable. But there are also signs that VW just didn’t have much interest in keeping this final-generation Golf competitive. Compared to other small hatchbacks, this Golf suffers from mediocre performance and a lack of technology features and advanced driver aids.

Starting MSRP: $24,190

2021 MAZDA 6

A number of sedans have been put to rest recently. But the Mazda 6′s passing is especially notable. The current generation debuted for the 2014 model year, though the 2021 car hardly shows its age considering its sleek styling, sharp handling and an optional turbocharged motor with power to spare.

That wasn’t enough to keep the Mazda 6 on the market, however. Shoppers are increasingly turning to crossover SUVs instead of smaller cars and sedans, and there wasn’t enough interest in the 6 to warrant Mazda’s continued investment. It’s unfortunate since the 6 is one of Edmunds’ highest-rated sedans. It’s worth seeking one out.

Starting MSRP: $25,470

2021 VOLVO V60

Station wagons are a niche vehicle that few automakers bother with in 2021. Volvo has been a wagon cheerleader longer than most, but it too is throwing in the towel on its small V60 and larger V90 wagons. Both models offer near-SUV practicality, attractive styling and appealing value.

Volvo doesn’t sell many V60s — just 385 V60s were sold in the first half of 2021 — but there’s a lot to like about this small wagon if you’re able to find one. And Volvo will continue to sell the V60 Cross Country, which is a V60 with a slightly higher ride height and a few SUV-like styling elements.

Starting MSRP: $42,045

2021 TOYOTA LAND CRUISER

Imagine a dinosaur that somehow survived to see the present day.

Aug
2021
26

Toyota Motor North America to lose 60,000 to 90,000 vehicles in North America production in August

The cutbacks at Toyota’s plants are the latest sign that the chip shortage will hang over the industry well into the second half of the year.

“Due to COVID-19 and unexpected events with our supply chain, Toyota is experiencing additional shortages that will affect production at most of our North American plants,” Toyota Motor North America said in a statement shared with Automotive News. “While the situation remains fluid and complex, our manufacturing and supply chain teams have worked diligently to develop countermeasures to minimize the impact on production. … We do not anticipate any impact to employment at this time.”

Toyota and Lexus dealers, who have been getting by for months working with some of the leanest inventories in an industry at historically low inventory levels, are about to see even that trickle of vehicles dry up.

In an email to dealers Tuesday from Southeast Toyota Distributors, the automaker’s largest U.S. distributor, that was shared with Automotive News, it counseled dealers to accurately report their sales so that they would get their appropriate allocation of available vehicles, a spokeswoman for the distributor confirmed. Southeast Toyota distributes Toyota vehicles to 177 dealerships across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas.

“Due to the uncertainty of future production dates, TMNA has provided guidance to exclude North American production weeks from tonight’s [mid-month] allocation,” the note said. “We will continue to assess the stability of future build weeks and will postpone allocating unbuilt production until we have a higher level of confidence in the supply chain.”

The note goes on to detail a revised allocation pool consisting of just 1,830 vehicles “solely comprised of confirmed [completely built units] production already in transit to our Vehicle Processing Centers.”

Toyota Motor North America began August with 139,600 vehicles in dealer inventory or on the way to dealers, with 26,900 of those being Lexus vehicles and the remainder wearing a Toyota badge, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center. That gave Lexus a 23-day supply and Toyota a 16-day supply of new vehicles to sell.

Toyota Motor North America sold 225,022 new vehicles in the U.S. in July, and 191,842 in August 2020. In the second quarter, it narrowly outsold General Motors on the domestic automaker’s home turf — 688,812 to 683,696.

Aug
2021
25

Fuel cell vehicles set for gains in China truck market

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are set to become a major player in China’s commercial truck market, predicts JPMorgan’s Elaine Wu.

“Currently, the fuel cell vehicles account for less than 5% of the commercial truck market in China and that could grow to about one-third of total market share in 2050,” Wu, head of Asia ex-Japan ESG and utilities research at the firm, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

Fuel cell electric vehicles run on electricity powered by hydrogen, which can can be used to store and deliver energy derived from other sources. Hydrogen is a clean fuel and when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water.

One reason why fuel cell vehicles are a “very good option” for the commercial truck market is due to their refueling time of only around 10 to 15 minutes, Wu said. They also have a travel range of around 800 kilometers, about 50% to 100% above lithium battery electric vehicles.

Major automakers such as Toyota, Honda and BMW are tapping into the hydrogen fuel cell market.

China is already pushing for the promotion of fuel cell vehicles, according to the JPMorgan analyst.

“The [Chinese] government is promoting something, what we call ‘city clusters’ so that there could be demonstrative cities telling successful stories of how fuel cell vehicles are implemented in various parts of the country,” Wu said.

“This is also a policy that we saw implemented about a decade ago, when the central government was trying to produce lithium battery electric vehicles. And we saw how successful that was.”

Beijing has said it would like 20% of new cars sold to be new energy vehicles by 2025. Competition is fierce in the domestic electric vehicle space, with Tesla competing against the likes of homegrown players such as Nio and Xpeng.

China’s climate goals

With China’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2060, hydrogen will likely play a role in heavy industry as a clean energy source, according to Wu.

“For this heavy industrial sector, high heat content is required and renewable power therefore is not a good option to fuel heavy industrial sector — but hydrogen is,” she said.

The analyst said China leads the world in hydrogen production, and accounts for a third of global output.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

“In the future, there could be promotion of green hydrogen production whereby renewable power is going to be used to produce hydrogen,” Wu added.

Hydrogen is currently produced from coal, and shifting to green production will only be possible if renewable power costs continue to decline, she added.

“What we’ve seen in the past 10 years is that the cost to produce solar power has dropped by 80% in China. The cost of wind power production has dropped by 40%,” she said. “If this trend continues — and we believe that it will due to technology advancement — so that means that green hydrogen will be possible in the future when these things come into play.”

Aug
2021
23

TSA extends mask mandate for public transportation vehicles, stations

Face coverings are required for passengers and operators while on properties, buses, trains or paratransit vehicles operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Denton County Transportation Authority and Trinity Metro. (Erick Pirayesh/Community Impact Newspaper)

The federal Transportation Security Administration announced Aug. 20 that it will continue its face mask requirement for travelers using all transportation networks through Jan. 18.

Face coverings are required for passengers and operators while on properties, buses, trains or paratransit vehicles operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Denton County Transportation Authority and Trinity Metro.

Passengers who refuse to wear a mask, unless exempted or excluded under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, will be in violation of federal law, and failure to comply will result in denial of boarding or removal, according to a DART news release. Those passengers may also be subject to federal penalties.

DART offers hand sanitizer on all its buses, light-rail vehicles and Dallas streetcars, while DCTA and Trinity Metro have installed dispensers in all vehicles and agency facilities.

This marks the second time TSA’s mask requirement has been extended since it was issued Jan. 31.

More information about DART’s safety precautions is available here. Additional information about DCTA’s response to COVID-19 is available here. Information about Trinity Metro’s response to the pandemic is available here.

Aug
2021
18

Hydrogen-powered vehicles: A realistic path to clean energy?

CANTON, Ohio — Each morning at a transit facility in Canton, Ohio, more than a dozen buses pull up to a fueling station before fanning out to their routes in this city south of Cleveland.

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, is increasingly viewed, along with electric vehicles, as one way to slow the environmentally destructive impact of the planet’s 1.2 billion vehicles, most of which burn gasoline and diesel fuel. Manufacturers of large trucks and commercial vehicles are beginning to embrace hydrogen fuel cell technologies as a way forward. So are makers of planes, trains and passenger vehicles.

Transportation is the single biggest U.S. contributor to climate change, which is why hydrogen power, in the long run, is seen as a potentially important way to help reduce carbon emissions.

To be sure, hydrogen remains far from a magic solution. For now, the hydrogen that is produced globally each year, mainly for refineries and fertilizer manufacturing, is made using natural gas or coal. That process pollutes the air, warming the planet rather than saving it. Indeed, a new study by researchers from Cornell and Stanford universities found that most hydrogen production emits carbon dioxide, which means that hydrogen-fueled transportation cannot yet be considered clean energy.

Yet proponents of hydrogen-powered transportation say that in the long run, hydrogen production is destined to become more environmentally safe. They envision a growing use of electricity from wind and solar energy, which can separate hydrogen and oxygen in water. As such renewable forms of energy gain broader use, hydrogen production should become a cleaner and less expensive process.

Within three years, General Motors, Navistar and the trucking firm J.B. Hunt plan to build fueling stations and run hydrogen trucks on several U.S. freeways. Toyota, Kenworth and the Port of Los Angeles have begun testing hydrogen trucks to haul goods from ships to warehouses.

Volvo Trucks, Daimler Trucks AG and other manufacturers have announced partnerships, too. The companies hope to commercialize their research, offering zero-emissions trucks that save money and meet stricter pollution regulations.

In Germany, a hydrogen-powered train began operating in 2018, and more are coming. French-based Airbus, the world’s largest manufacturer of airliners, is considering hydrogen as well.

“This is about the closest I’ve seen us get so far to that real turning point,” said Shawn Litster, a professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied hydrogen fuel cells for nearly two decades.

Hydrogen has long been a feedstock for the production of fertilizer, steel, petroleum, concrete and chemicals. It’s also been running vehicles for years: Around 35,000 forklifts in the United States, about

Aug
2021
9

Hello, Your Vehicle’s Factory Warranty Has Expired

Illustration by Derek BaconCar and Driver

From the September 2021 issue of Car and Driver.

Congratulations on buying a new car! You’ve waited your whole life for this, and it’s everything you’d hoped for. You’ve got the latest technology, the hottest styling, and more muscle than the tires can handle. There’s only one problem: Your vehicle’s warranty has expired.

It seems unbelievable, I know. You just bought that car last week. How could the warranty be expired? Well, warranties aren’t what they used to be. You know how back in the day, you’d buy a refrigerator, and it would last for 20 years, but now you’re lucky if you get 18 months out of the thing before the ice maker jams and the crisper drawer somehow starts actually cooking your food? Warranties are like that too. These new ones, they’re not like Lee Iacocca’s 7/70 plans. You get them home, they’re in effect for a while, but then they expire all willy-nilly. That’s why I’ve been calling you. And calling you. Glad you finally picked up, after I spoofed your doctor’s phone number. Don’t worry—you’re fine. But your warranty isn’t.

Fortunately, I’ve got a warranty that actually works. My entry-level plan is bumper to bumper, by which I mean it covers all the way from the left side to the right side of either your front or rear bumper. The choice is yours! I’ll be honest, though. That plan—all it covers is the actual bumper. And there’s a $1000 deductible. So I’d never suggest that one. I only bring it up since you need a warranty, on account of yours being expired. It’s the only one I have that’s even nearly as bad as yours.

What I would suggest, at a minimum, is our five-year, 60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. You might say, “Hey, that sounds exactly like the one my car already has!” But I assure you, there are major differences. Say you were driving down the road when Brood X, the 17-year apocalyptic plague of cicadas, descended on your car and a bunch of them got sucked past your air filter, which caused your radiator to explode. Happens all the time. Does your factory warranty cover that exact situation? Ours does. In fact, it covers only that situation. And sure, those cicadas are gone for now, but they’ll be back in 2038. And what’s your plan for that?

Even better than the 5/60 warranty is our 10-year, 10,000-mile warranty. You say that doesn’t make sense, but I’ll have you know the 10/10 is our bestseller. Who among us hasn’t lost their keys for two to six years, only to find them and realize that their warranty had expired? This warranty is great for key losers, collector-car owners, and pedestrians. And it covers everything, with very few exceptions.

For instance, headlights used to be inexpensive and easy to replace. Not anymore. With your new car’s LED headlights, swapping in a replacement lamp may require removing half the

Aug
2021
3

Massachusetts car shoppers being charged above sticker price for new vehicles

The old rules for new car prices have apparently been left in the dust, as a shortage of cars combined with record demand has customers feeling boxed in. In many cases, new cars are selling for well over the sticker price.With his lease ending this fall, Anthony DeMarco has been car shopping at North Shore car dealerships to explore his options, and he was floored with what the salesperson told him: the vehicle would cost well more than the sticker price on the window. DeMarco said the salesperson added $5,000 to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, also known as the sticker price. Like so many car shoppers, DeMarco is not used to paying the full sticker price. “I think what consumers are discovering right now, is the ‘S’ in MSRP stands for suggested,” Kevin Roberts with CarGurus.com says. Roberts says the current situation is as simple as supply and demand. With a global computer chip shortage hindering new car production and record demand during the pandemic, dealers can get the higher prices, and it is perfectly legal. “That is not an implicit price guarantee, it’s a suggested price from the manufacturer,” Roberts says.New cars selling for over the sticker price are just the latest quirk in an overheated car market. “It’s likely going to be a more difficult vehicle environment at least through the rest of this year,” Roberts says.

The old rules for new car prices have apparently been left in the dust, as a shortage of cars combined with record demand has customers feeling boxed in. In many cases, new cars are selling for well over the sticker price.

With his lease ending this fall, Anthony DeMarco has been car shopping at North Shore car dealerships to explore his options, and he was floored with what the salesperson told him: the vehicle would cost well more than the sticker price on the window.

DeMarco said the salesperson added $5,000 to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, also known as the sticker price.

Like so many car shoppers, DeMarco is not used to paying the full sticker price.

“I think what consumers are discovering right now, is the ‘S’ in MSRP stands for suggested,” Kevin Roberts with CarGurus.com says.

Roberts says the current situation is as simple as supply and demand.

With a global computer chip shortage hindering new car production and record demand during the pandemic, dealers can get the higher prices, and it is perfectly legal.

“That is not an implicit price guarantee, it’s a suggested price from the manufacturer,” Roberts says.

New cars selling for over the sticker price are just the latest quirk in an overheated car market.

“It’s likely going to be a more difficult vehicle environment at least through the rest of this year,” Roberts says.

Aug
2021
1

Biden wants U.S automakers to pledge 40% electric vehicles by 2030 -sources

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) – The White House has told U.S. automakers it wants them to back a voluntary pledge of at least 40% of new vehicles sales being electric by 2030 as it works to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, sources briefed on the matter said.

The administration is set as early as next week to roll out proposed revisions to vehicle emissions standards through 2026. Sources said a voluntary electric vehicle (EV) target could be as high as 50% but emphasized that no agreement with automakers has been reached and many details remain under discussion, including whether that pledge will include various types of gasoline-electric hybrids.

United Auto Workers spokesman (UAW) Brian Rothenberg said a published report was inaccurate “that we have agreed to 40% EVs by 2030. The UAW is still in discussions and has not reached agreement at this point.” The UAW has opposed EV mandates, warning it could put some jobs at risk.

This month, Stellantis (STLA.MI), parent company of Fiat Chrysler, said it was targeting over 40% of U.S. vehicles be low emission by 2030. Stellantis declined to comment on Thursday.

General Motors Co (GM.N) declined to comment on the talks. It has said it aspires to end sales of new U.S. gasoline-powered light duty vehicles by 2035. The White House declined to comment on the discussions.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) did not comment on the discussions but noted it has said it plans “at least 40% of our global vehicle volume being all-electric by 2030.”

The Biden administration has resisted calls from many Democrats to set a binding target for EV adoption or to follow California in setting 2035 as a date to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered light duty vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are reviewing former President Donald Trump’s March 2020 rollback of fuel economy standards. Trump required 1.5% annual increases in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5% yearly boosts set in 2012 by President Barack Obama’s administration.

Biden’s proposed rules, which would cover 2023-2026, are expected to be similar in overall vehicle emissions reductions to California’s 2019 deal with some automakers that aims to improve fuel economy 3.7% annually, sources told Reuters. The 2026 requirements are expected to exceed the Obama-era 5% annual improvements.

In March, a group of 71 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure that 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030.

The United States pledged at a global climate summit this year to reduce emissions 50% to 52% by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.

In April, a dozen governors from states including California, New York and Massachusetts, urged Biden to endorse banning new passenger gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2035.

Reporting by David Shepardson
Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Jul
2021
29

Towing company agrees to pay troops for illegally selling their vehicles

A Dallas towing company has agreed to pay $50,000 as part of an settlement reached with the Justice Department regarding allegations the company illegally sold five service members’ vehicles, Justice announced today.

Justice officials filed the initial complaint Sept. 28, 2020 alleging United Tows, LLC, auctioned off the vehicles without obtaining court orders, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. One vehicle belonged to now-Senior Airman Fassil Mekete, who was was attending Air Force basic training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, in 2017.

According to Justice officials, when Mekete found out his vehicle had been towed, he contacted United Tows and told them he was out of town on active duty. However, the owner told him she didn’t believe he was in the military; and the company sold his 1998 Toyota Corolla at auction. Before leaving for basic training, Mekete had received permission from the owner of a martial arts studio to leave his car and some personal belongings in the studio’s parking lot, since he no longer had a lease in Dallas.

A subsequent investigation revealed that United Tows allegedly illegally sold at least four other vehicles belonging to service members between Oct. 4, 2014 and April 26, 2019.

Under the proposed settlement, which was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, United Tows must pay Mekete $20,000. The settlement must be approved by the court.

The four other service members will share an additional $20,000 from United Tows, and the company will pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the U.S. Treasury.

Officials at United Tows, LLC and their attorneys didn’t immediately answer Military Times’ requests for comment. However, the proposed settlement states, “The parties agree that, to avoid costly and protracted litigation, the claims against Defendant should be resolved without further proceedings or an evidentiary hearing.”

United Tows “not only disregarded the legal rights of service members, it made hurtful and dismissive comments about a member’s military service,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in an announcement Friday.