GM says new batteries are in production for the troubled Chevy Bolts, a man named Manley has a new job, and there’s a new Ford Expedition. All that and more in The Morning Shift for September 21, 2021.
The Chevy Bolt fire thing has really been unfortunate for GM, in a time in which it is trying to make a swift transition to EVs. In one way, however, I can imagine this episode helping GM, if it can pivot to its Ultium batteries and say, don’t worry, the good batteries from the future are here instead of those bad old ones.
That’s in the long-term, though. In the short-term, this is nothing more than an ongoing embarrassment. On Monday, GM said battery production had resumed at LG plants in Michigan. It said that battery replacements in Bolts would begin next month.
LG has implemented new manufacturing processes and has worked with GM to review and enhance its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward. LG will institute these new processes in other facilities that will provide cells to GM in the future.
Prioritized battery replacement
GM will continue to prioritize Chevy Bolt EV and EUV customers whose batteries were manufactured during specific build timeframes where GM believes battery defects appear to be clustered. The company has established a notification process that will inform affected customers when their replacement modules will be available.
The new batteries will include an extended battery 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty (or 8-year/160,000 km limited warranty in Canada1).
New advanced diagnostic software
Within approximately 60 days, GM will begin launching a new advanced diagnostic software package that will increase the available battery charging parameters over existing guidance.
The diagnostic software will be designed to detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance; alerting customers of any anomalies; and prioritizing damaged battery modules for replacement. It is GM’s intent that further diagnostic software will allow customers to return to a 100 percent state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete.
This new software, which will be provided to all Bolt EV and EUV owners, requires dealer installation. Owners will be able to start to schedule installation at their Chevy EV dealer in approximately 60 days.
I’m sure that GM wants this to be over post-haste, and more than usual, given that each new update on the Bolt is a new reminder about just how long this has gone on.
This is not a new generation, as the Expedition is still in its fourth generation, introduced in 2017. It is, however, what the industry calls a “refresh,” which is what automakers do when they want to do something less than a new generation but something more than merely a new model year. You won’t believe it, but Ford says this new Expedition is the best Expedition ever.
The new Expedition elevates itself above competitors with new class-exclusive features, plus new capabilities and technologies, including:
- First Timberline series elevates the Expedition above the Jeep® Wagoneer with best available ground clearance in its class of 10.6 inches6 (versus a maximum 10 inches for Jeep Wagoneer), F-150 Raptor underbody protection and best available power in its class1
- Expedition Timberline SUV model weighs 4% less than Jeep Wagoneer SUV and boasts a better power-to-weight ratio, as Ford’s high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine tops the Jeep Wagoneer SUV 5.7-liter V8 engine with 48 additional horsepower and 106 more lb.-ft. of torque5
- Stealth Edition Performance Package delivers 85 more horsepower and 127 lb.-ft. more torque5 than Chevrolet Tahoe® RST SUV with its 5.3-liter V8 engine
Expedition SUV equipped with a 3.5-liter GTDI 4x2 has a maximum towing capability of 9,300 pounds, 900 more pounds than the two-wheel-drive Chevrolet Tahoe SUV with 5.3-liter V8 engine, at 8,400 pounds.7
With these expanded offerings, the new Ford Expedition SUV is poised to attract new customers who are more culturally diverse than the full-size SUV category has seen in past years, including more women seeking family adventures to balance the stress of their overprogrammed lives.
This expanded lineup brings more personality and design distinction for each series – from Expedition XL to the premium Expedition Platinum, as well as the new Stealth Edition Performance Package and Timberline model – including bolder styling with standard LED headlamps, updated taillamps and new wheel choices. Also, a new twin-spar mesh grille and fog lamps with chrome accents have been added to the Platinum.
Now, you could take a line like “women seeking family adventures to balance the stress of their overprogrammed lives” and have a laugh, given that it sounds like something from a press release from the ‘80s, but also I fully believe Ford has conducted gobs of market research to support it. Or, perhaps, you could interpret it as an acknowledgment of the sad state of fathers in America, in that moms still do almost all the heavy lifting. All I know is, if there is a woman in your life and she is “overprogrammed,” a wise move would be to not task her with buying a car, much less planning the next “family adventure.”
Tesla is holding an event there to let the public see its factory in person. It sounds like an attempt to assuage local concerns that the factory is bad for the environment. I’m sure someone told them this is a good idea.
From Automotive News:
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that he will be present at what he called a “county fair” on Oct. 9.
Citizens of Brandenburg and Berlin will be allowed to explore the factory site and look inside.
Visitors can “visit on-site booths and join various activities,” and will also have the chance to take rides in a Model Y, Tesla said. There will also be food trucks on the site.
People interested in attending the event from 10 a.m. local time to 7 p.m. can pre-register online until Sept. 30, Tesla said.
“Due to capacity constraints, tickets are not guaranteed,” the company wrote. If the event is at capacity, the automaker will prioritize visitors with an address in Berlin or Brandenburg.
Tesla plans to send out tickets by October. Because attendance is expected to be high, the company has asked visitors to use public transport to travel to the factory. Shuttle buses will be organized to move visitors to the event and Tesla says it will take place regardless of weather conditions.
Getting on a shuttle bus to go to a Tesla county fair, classic way to spend one’s Saturday.
As we noted a few weeks back, a lawsuit is an option in Europe for non-governmental organizations that want to try to force automakers into going green sooner. An NGO called Deutsche Umwelthilfe is now actually suing BMW and Daimler, Reuters reports, because Deutsche Umwelthilfe is not pleased with how quickly (rather, how slowly) BMW and Daimler have phased out internal combustion engines. Reuters also makes the whole thing seem almost like a hostage situation.
The NGO, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, confirmed to Reuters that the lawsuits had been filed on Monday evening.
In letters to the firms in early September, the companies were given until September 20 to agree to the NGO’s demands, which also included limiting production of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars ahead of 2030.
Neither of the companies has so far set an end date for ICE car production.
BMW and Daimler confirmed to Reuters on Monday that they had not accepted the NGO’s demands.
Mike Manley was previously CEO of Fiat Chrysler, a role he assumed as Sergio Marchionne’s health failed. Then Peugeot and FCA merged, and Manley became head of Americas for Stellantis. Today, it was announced that Manley leaving Stellantis and is now CEO of AutoNation, the U.S.’s biggest auto retailer.
It seems as amicable as these things get, with both companies offering press releases and positive quotes from executives about how happy everyone is. From Stellantis’s:
Mark Stewart, chief operating officer, North America, and Antonio Filosa, chief operating officer, Latin America, and the Top Executive Team members with responsibility for the North American and Latin American regions will henceforward report directly to Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares.
Carlos Tavares said:
“It’s been my privilege to know Mike first as a competitor, then as a partner and colleague in the creation of Stellantis, but most importantly, always as a friend. From the very earliest days of our discussions, we shared a truly common vision, belief and commitment and it’s on these solid foundations, built over the past several years, that Stellantis has delivered its impressive early results. So, while I’m personally sorry to no longer have Mike as a colleague, I’m equally delighted for his new CEO role and glad that he will be joining the board of the Stellantis Foundation.”
Mike Manley commented:
“After 20 incredible, challenging and enjoyable years, and with Stellantis performing so strongly under Carlos’ leadership, the time feels right for me to open a new chapter. Working with Carlos to create this extraordinary company, with the constant support of our shareholders, has been a huge privilege both professionally and personally. I’m so proud of our Stellantis teams for their extraordinary work and I wish Carlos and them every success as they continue their great adventure. Finally, I am very honoured to have been asked to join the Stellantis Foundation board.”
John Elkann added:
“I’d like to thank Mike for all that he has done over his 20 years with us. His time as the head of Jeep® was transformational for that flagship brand and then as the CEO of FCA, he led the company to record results through some of its most challenging moments. Working closely with Carlos, he was instrumental in the creation and successful launch of Stellantis. We wish him all the very best in his new role.”
I visited a friend last week who daily drives a Chevy Volt and uses a trickle charger to charge it overnight in his driveway. He has few complaints.