Elon has said that Tesla’s “Full Self Driving” (it’s not) tech will be getting upgraded for city use, a kind of dark comedy as video of Teslas on Autopilot threatening to run over pedestrians got taken down.
The National Transportation Safety Board is not particularly keen on this development, as the Wall Street Journal reports:
Jennifer Homendy, the new head of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Tesla shouldn’t roll out the city-driving tool before addressing what the agency views as safety deficiencies in the company’s technology. The NTSB, which investigates crashes and issues safety recommendations though it has no regulatory authority, has urged Tesla to clamp down on how drivers are able to use the company’s driver-assistance tools.
“Basic safety issues have to be addressed before they’re then expanding it to other city streets and other areas,” she said in an interview. Ms. Homendy also expressed concern about how Tesla software is tested on public roadways.
Ms. Homendy called Tesla’s use of the term Full Self-Driving “misleading and irresponsible,” adding that people pay more attention to marketing than to warnings in car manuals or on a company’s website. In Tesla’s case, she said, “It has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology.”
I, too, am concerned about sharing the road with untrained drivers beta-testing Tesla tech around me without my consent. It’s almost like other arms of the federal government with regulatory power should do something.
U.S. auto safety investigators have opened a new probe into 30 million vehicles built by nearly two dozen automakers with potentially defective Takata airbag inflators, a government document seen by Reuters on Sunday showed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday opened an engineering analysis into an estimated 30 million U.S. vehicles from the 2001 through 2019 model years. Automakers were alerted to the investigation, which is not yet public.
The new investigation includes vehicles assembled by Honda Motor Co., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors, Subaru, Tesla Inc., Ferrari, Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Daimler, BMW, Chrysler (now part of Stellantis), Porsche Cars, Jaguar Land Rover (owned by Tata Motors) and others.
The lovable Honda e was developed with American sales in mind, and we nearly got the electric hatchback. Honda is now talking up EV sales in the U.S., and you might think this would be e-related news, but nah. It’s a bland-looking crossover thing. From Automotive News:
American Honda is setting a target of 70,000 in annual sales for the Prologue crossover that it will launch in 2024 on a platform developed by General Motors.
And as the Japanese company develops its own EV platform throughout the decade, Honda expects to reach half a million EV sales in North America by 2030 on its way to becoming an entirely zero-emissions automaker by 2040, the company said Monday.
“Launching our first volume BEV in 2024 is the start of an exciting new direction for Honda,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of national operations at American Honda. “We are working with our dealers to plan the transition from sales of primarily gasoline-powered vehicles to selling 100 percent electric vehicles by 2040.”
Honda, do the right thing. E it up.
There is some trickle-down car news from China, in that real estate mega-company Evergrande is in the process of imploding. The ramifications car-wise is that the company wanted to be hip and make EVs, and now that program may get orphaned. Here’s Bloomberg’s rundown:
Evergrande warned investors last week that it had made “no material progress” in efforts to sell stakes in the electric-car unit, which had once been among its most valuable assets before a slump that’s seen more than $80 billion wiped from its market capitalization since April.
Even after pouring about 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) into car development, Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group has encountered repeated setbacks. The firm said last month it may have to delay the start of manufacturing again if it can’t find new funding, having previously missed targets to begin some trial production by last September.
Losses in the first six months of 2021 were 4.8 billion yuan, and that’s not the only thing worrying auto sector veterans. A lineup of nine different models displayed in April looked ambitious even for a established manufacturer, as did a forecast to be delivering 5 million cars a year by 2035. Workers have been encouraged to promote the sale of apartments — the parent company is a real-estate developer — and managerial-level staff have had bonuses linked to that task.
A lesson the car world learned from Lotus more than a few years ago is that things that look too good to be true, are.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Tencent are among the international funds investing $450m in Indian online used-vehicle seller Cars24 as the global chip shortage forces manufacturers to cut production of new vehicles in one of the world’s largest markets.
Yuri Milner’s DST Global and the US’s Falcon Edge are also investing in a round that values the six-year-old company at almost $2bn, doubling its valuation in less than a year.
The market for new cars in India, the world’s fifth-largest, has been roiled by production issues during the pandemic. Investors say this is creating opportunities for second-hand vehicles, particularly the relatively young online market. Cars24 is India’s largest website for used vehicles.
I find all this news generally interesting in that it’s another case of American car problems (we are struggling to get new cars, and used prices are going out of control) are not exclusive to the States and part of a larger global atmosphere. We are not an island!
I co-drove in a rally again and ended up second in class this weekend, which was fun. I suppose I should blog it.