Good Morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: VW’s Plan For Fixing All Those Cars Is Due Tomorrow
Like anyone with a looming deadline, it looks like Volkswagen is riding right up to the wire to submit their recall/repair plan to the California Air Resources board. The deadline is Friday, and both CARB and the EPA have to approve their plan. In a press conference at the LA Auto Show, VW of America CEO Michael Horn said, according to Automotive News,
“I am personally hopeful that we will be able to announce something soon about the remedies that we have identified and which we are discussing with the agencies in the upcoming days.”
Well, you better, Mike. (taps watch)
Also interesting in the article:
Horn said about 120,000 customers have signed up for the goodwill program so far, which offers eligible 2.0-liter TDI owners a $500 prepaid Visa card, $500 in dealership credit and three years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
VW has said three generations of 2.0-liter diesel engines containing the illegal software will each require different repairs. About 325,000 of the vehicles using the first generation of VW’s 2.0-liter diesel will require software and hardware changes, Horn told a panel of U.S. lawmakers on Oct. 8. Those changes could be extensive.
About 67,000 newer vehicles with third-generation diesels meet emissions standards and can be made compliant with a software update alone, Horn told lawmakers.
The roughly 90,000 2012-14 Passats using the second-generation 2.0-liter diesel will need a software update, but it’s unclear if they will need hardware changes also.
That’s a lot of cars. And it looks like about a quarter of the affected people have accepted the gift card deal so far.
2nd Gear: Mercedes-Benz Is Turning Used Car Batteries Into Energy Storage Systems
Hopping into competition with Tesla and their Powerwall, Daimler AG (the parent of Mercedes-Benz) is taking used lithium-ion batteries from its electric cars and plug-in hybrids, packaging them in groups of 1000, and using that for industrial-grade energy storage solutions.
The first 13 million watt-hour setup is expected to be used in Lünen, Germany next year. According to Computerworld:
The reuse of the batteries will not only keep them out of landfills, but will help reduce costs in the EV marketplace by adding an additional revenue stream.
“With their 2nd-use battery storage project in Lünen, the four partners are proving that the lifecycle of a plug-in or electric vehicle battery does not end after its automotive application,” Daimler said in a statement.
Depending on the vehicle, Daimler AG guarantees its electric vehicle batteries will have a life of up to 10 years with at least 80% efficiency. However, battery systems are still fully operational after that point, as the low levels of power loss are of minor importance when used in stationary storage.
It is estimated that the unit can operate efficiently in a stationary application for at least another 10 years, Daimler said.
Tesla also offers an industrial-grade similar solution, called Powerpack, and Daimler claims their setup will be “cost competitive” with Tesla. Daimler has no plans for home-based energy storage systems at this time, so if you want one, you better start buying up wrecked Smart EVs and Mercedes B-Class electric cars.
3rd Gear: It’s not all an apology — Audi says gift cards will help them know who has a dirty diesel
As many suspected, Volkswagen’s gift card program wasn’t just because VW felt so bad and wanted to make it up to you, baby. They also want to keep track of you. As Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Bloomberg at the LA Auto Show,
“Additionally, this goodwill package gives us a chance to locate many of the affected vehicles and their owners. By getting people to raise their hand and engage now, we can be as effective as possible once we have the remedy.”
So if you have a TDI and really, really don’t want to get it fixed, don’t accept any presents from VW.
4th Gear: Fortune Thinks Apple Will Buy Tesla
Really, they predict it right here. Apple has said they want to hit a 2019 ‘ship date’ for their electric car, whatever that turns out to be, and Fortune thinks the best way they can achieve that is to buy Tesla.
I mean, sure, if they did buy them, they’d be building cars, since Tesla is already building cars. But I’m still not sure I see things shaking out that way. I like my idea better.
5th Gear: We’re Still At The LA Auto Show!
They didn’t kick us out yet, even though I’m pretty sure Raph peed in a Kia Sedona. Check this tag for all the exciting new car news.
Reverse: Ford Discontinues The Edsel
Yep, on November 19, 1959, Ford finally pulled the plug on the Edsel. They were sold into the 1960 model year, minus the infamous ‘horse collar’ grille, but it wasn’t enough. The car that still defines an automotive flop was dead.
They should have called it the Utopian Turtletop after all.