July 29, 2021
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These Cars Are Out of Production and Discontinued for 2022
Bouchard Transportation’s Tugs and Barges Auctioned Off
Car chip shortage to abate, smartphones could be next: industry execs
New York Jets assistant coach dies following bicycle accident
Lightyear One Electric Sedan To Be Produced By Valmet Automotive
1 killed in collision between train, vehicle in Douglas County
Washington transportation crew clears Seattle homeless encampment after arrests connected to rock-throwing
Texas dashcam shows illegal immigrants pour out of smuggler’s car after pursuit
30% tax credit for electric bikes makes progress in US Senate
Automotive Hall of Fame to induct Jay Leno, industry leaders
Latest Post
These Cars Are Out of Production and Discontinued for 2022 Bouchard Transportation’s Tugs and Barges Auctioned Off Car chip shortage to abate, smartphones could be next: industry execs New York Jets assistant coach dies following bicycle accident Lightyear One Electric Sedan To Be Produced By Valmet Automotive 1 killed in collision between train, vehicle in Douglas County Washington transportation crew clears Seattle homeless encampment after arrests connected to rock-throwing Texas dashcam shows illegal immigrants pour out of smuggler’s car after pursuit 30% tax credit for electric bikes makes progress in US Senate Automotive Hall of Fame to induct Jay Leno, industry leaders
Jun
2021
16

Susan Collins floats unused aid, electric vehicle fees to fund $1.2T infrastructure bill

A bipartisan group of 10 senators wants to use unspent COVID-19 relief money and new fees on electric vehicles as two of the major ways to pay for their eight-year, $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said on Sunday.

The group outlined their plan on Thursday but provided few specifics. It would include $579 billion in new spending but limit it to core infrastructure like roads, bridges and broadband while setting aside social programs and a corporate tax hike favored by President Joe Biden.

It is the latest in a series of attempts to bridge an impasse on the issue between the White House and Republicans. Biden cut off negotiations with Senate Republicans last week, but the new bipartisan group quickly emerged from the sidelines of that deal. A group of 58 House members evenly divided between the parties has put forward its own $1.25 trillion proposal.

Collins, a Republican, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the group has coalesced behind three funding methods: the unused stimulus money, a user fee for electric vehicles that do not pay gas tax and a financing model similar to one used for sewer and water infrastructure.

“There won’t be a gas tax increase and we won’t be undoing the 2017 tax reform bill,” Collins said, referencing her party’s sweeping tax-cut package.

The group may index the gas tax to inflation, however. The tax has not been raised since 1993 and the idea has been raised by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, with some Democrats are open to it. But Biden has rejected the idea of raising taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 annually, which could also doom the electric vehicle fee.

It’s unclear if this proposal will gain any more traction than others that have failed so far, though it has moved beyond those proposals with five Democrats in the group including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who are moderate swing voters in the 50-50 chamber.

The tricky part is paying for such a plan in a way that will satisfy everyone. Biden, who trimmed his initial proposal from a staggering $2.2 trillion to $1.7 trillion prefers the corporate tax hike over user fees such as gas tax hikes and tolls that business groups have long argued for. U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District pointed to increased IRS enforcement as a potential way to fund infrastructure last week.

White House officials met on Thursday with Democratic senators working on a bipartisan agreement. “Some questions still need to be addressed, particularly around details of both policy and pay-fors,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.

Cabinet members and senior White House staff will “work with the Senate group to answer those questions as we consult with other Members in both the House and the Senate,” Bates said.

Bloomberg News writer Erik Wasson contributed to this report.

Jun
2021
16

Fee for miles driven? Hot lanes? Pennsylvania seeks transportation funding solutions

By Teresa Boeckel | York Daily Record

On a recent weekend, drivers stopped at a Pennsylvania Welcome Center, just north of the Maryland line, to take a break on their trips.

Cars and trucks whizzed by on Interstate 83. Peter and Jackie Speaks, who were on their way home to Harrisburg, said they recognize the challenge the state is facing with its deteriorating roads and bridges.

They’ve heard about plans for tolls to pay for work needed, but they don’t know if that’s the answer.

Jackie Speaks motioned to nearby tractor-trailers parked at the rest stop and mentioned how much harder new tolls would be for the industry.

President Joe Biden has proposed $621 billion for transportation in his federal infrastructure bill. It includes about $115 billion for road and bridge repairs nationally.

“Hopefully the (federal) infrastructure bill will be passed,” Peter Speaks said.

But even that’s not enough for the state’s needs.

Pennsylvania faces an $8.1 billion annual shortfall for interstates and bridges, and overall, the state has $9.3 billion in unmet needs across its state-maintained system, which includes highways, bridges, aviation, railroads, transit and ports. Without a significant increase in federal investment, PennDOT says, it has been forced to take money away from regional projects to help the interstate network.

The agency doesn’t know yet the details on how the infrastructure money would be distributed to Pennsylvania, but “any additional federal funds could help our limited state dollars go farther,” PennDOT said in a statement. It would help projects that already are in the works in the coming years.

Peter Speaks said it’s going to take funding from both the federal and state governments to meet the needs. He and Jackie Speaks think that increasing fees, such as for license and registration renewals, might be part of the answer.

Here’s a look at the different ways the state is looking at raising revenue to fund transportation:

Bridge tolling

Tolling bridges is one of the short-term solutions, which has already been shared with the public.

PennDOT has identified nine bridges around the state — eight that need to be replaced and one that requires rehabilitation — that could be candidates for tolling to help pay for the work.

The department would enter into a private-public partnership with a developer, which would arrange for private financing to design, construct, operate and maintain the structures, said Ken McClain, PennDOT’s alternative funding director.

PennDOT would collect tolls on each of the bridges to pay back the investment over a 30- to 35-year period.

It’s similar to a mortgage on a house, McClain said. The buyer borrows money and pays it back over time.

For commuters with E-ZPass, it would likely cost $1 or $2 in each direction to cross the bridges. A truck driver would likely pay between $4 and $6.

The plan, however, has drawn criticism from commuters, the trucking industry and legislators, saying it would hurt drivers and businesses.

The state Senate recently approved a bill that would stop PennDOT’s

Jun
2021
16

Authorities: Good Samaritans lift car off bicyclist

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Passersby managed to lift a car to free a pinned bicyclist following a crash south of Cedar Springs Tuesday morning, authorities say.

It happened around 10:40 a.m. on Indian Lakes Road at the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, between White Creek Avenue and Northland Drive in Algoma Township.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department said the bicyclist, a 30-year-old woman from Boston, Massachusetts, left the trail and moved on to the road, pulling into the path of an eastbound car that had the right of way. The driver tried to avoid hitting the cyclist, authorities say, but couldn’t. The vehicle ended up in the ditch with the cyclist underneath.

Good Samaritans managed to lift the car — a four-door compact — off the bicyclist.

She was taken to the hospital with lacerations to her head and leg pain.

Neither the driver of the car, a 69-year-old Cedar Springs woman, nor her passenger were injured.

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Jun
2021
16

A Self-Driving Bicycle Is Something To Marvel At

One of the most annoying things about bicycles is that they don’t stay up on their own, especially when they’re stationary. That’s why they come with stands, after all. That said, if you had plenty of advanced electronic and mechanical equipment fitted to one, you could do something about that, and that’s just what [稚晖君] did.

The video of the project comes without subtitles or any translation, but the gist of it is this. A reaction wheel is fitted to the seat tube, along with a motor which can turn the handlebars via a linkage attached to the head stem. There’s also a motor to drive the bicycle forward via a friction drive to the rear wheel. Combine these with an inertial measurement unit and suitable control system, and you have a bike that can balance while standing perfectly still.

The performance of the system is impressive, and is even able to hold the bike perfectly upright while balanced on a fence rail. Thanks to an onboard camera and LIDAR system, the bike can also drive itself around with no rider on board, which is quite a spooky image. Find a way to do the same while hiding the extra mechanics and you’d have one hell of a Halloween display.

Similar projects have been attempted in the past; we featured a self-balancing bike built as a university project back in the distant past of 2012. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Jumy Elerossë for the tip!]

Jun
2021
16

Apple hires former BMW executive for its rebooted car project

Apple Inc. has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts, according to people familiar with the situation.

The technology giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as CEO of Canoo Inc., a developer of self-driving electric vehicles. Before co-founding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years.

Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla Inc. and other carmakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.

Apple has become the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalization of more than $2 trillion, by selling iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs and services. With investors and customers clamoring for new products, the company has targeted cars and augmented-reality headsets. An Apple spokesperson confirmed Kranz’s hiring.

Apple began developing a vehicle in 2014 but shelved the effort around 2016 to focus on an autonomous platform it could sell to other companies or eventually use itself. Along the way, Apple poached several Tesla executives, who now help head up drive-train engineering, self-driving software and interiors and exteriors.

Last year, Apple gave oversight of the operation to John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and artificial intelligence and Field’s boss. Several months ago, Apple rebooted its efforts to develop a full-fledged electric car, but development remains in the early stages, so a launch is likely at least five years away.

Before hiring Kranz, Apple lost some key auto executives. Benjamin Lyon, Jaime Waydo and Dave Scott, who worked on engineering, safety systems and robotics, respectively, all departed in recent months. It’s unclear why the three left.

Following successful stints at BMW’s Mini division and teams working on sports cars and SUVs, Kranz was asked to run Project I, a battery-powered vehicle skunkworks started in 2008. It yielded the all-electric i3 compact and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car. The former was panned by design critics, and production was very limited on the latter.

Kranz left BMW in 2016 and soon became chief technology officer at Faraday Future, an electric vehicle startup based in Los Angeles. He stayed only three months, before co-founding Canoo. Both firms have struggled with their technology and ability to produce vehicles, while Canoo reportedly discussed selling itself to Apple and other companies.

Canoo went public in December after a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, called Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. Canoo last month said it was being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, becoming the third clean-energy auto startup to disclose a federal probe in the past year. Canoo plans to debut a minivan for