Mazda is going electric, Volkswagen already is, and marijuana. All that and more in The Morning Shift for June 17, 2021.
Mazda is trying to go premium. Mazda has the Holy Grail internal combustion engines. Mazda is also going electric, despite being a relatively small automaker with limited resources (as any Mazda public relations person will remind you). Mazda has been understandably hesitant to go in on EVs, though it appears that, with the assistance of Toyota, Mazda is now going in on EVs.
Mazda will introduce 13 electrified cars by about 2025, including full-electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid models,the automaker said in a statement on Thursday, and it aims to electrify all vehicles by 2030.
The rollout of three hybrids, five plug-in hybrids and three full-electric vehicles will start next year, focusing mainly on Europe, Japan, the United States, China and ASEAN markets, the company said in the statement.
The models will use Mazda’s Skyactiv multi-solution scalable architecture, and Toyota’s hybrid system will be incorporated into some.
Mazda also said it would develop a scalable platform specifically for EVs and planned for several models between 2025 and 2030.
The automaker will carry out EV development independently, while using basic technologies jointly created by Mazda, Toyota and Japanese supplier Denso, Senior Managing Executive Officer Ichiro Hirose, told reporters on Thursday.
I would call this incoherent panic except that Mazda’s overall strategy has been incoherent for a while now, with a desire to join the Lexuses and Acuras of the world but also a desire to remain the cheap roadster brand. This is not a knock on Mazda, mind you. I only wish it well.
Car companies would like the ability to deploy autonomous vehicles, or vehicles that are claimed to be autonomous with as little government regulation as possible, because regulation is a headache. The latest effort to lift some of that regulation has stalled in Congress.
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday again rejected attempts to lift regulations to allow for the deployment of thousands of autonomous vehicles as union groups and attorneys campaign against the legislative proposal.
The committee rebuffed the bid by Republican Senator John Thune to attach measures lifting regulations on autonomous vehicles to a $78 billion surface transportation bill after he sought last month to attach it in May to a bill on China tech policy.
Thune has proposed granting the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the power to grant exemptions for tens of thousands of self-driving vehicles per manufacturer from safety standards written with human drivers in mind.
The surface bill, which would boost funding for Amtrak and other transportation needs, was approved by the committee on a 25-3 vote.
Regulations are one of the few things outside of regular market forces that automakers actually respond to, which is the main reason why they are resisting them.
This seems to be because restrictions are still in place across much of the continent, and because of the global chip shortage. This is in contrast to the U.S., where automakers can’t make cars fast enough and the used market has gone bananas.
New-car registrations jumped 74% in May, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association said Thursday, helped by an easy comparison to a time when showrooms were closed across the region. While restrictions were still in place in certain markets last month, including France, other countries struggled even as rules were relaxed. Relative to May 2019, sales across Europe were down 25%.
“Underlying demand remains mostly weak,” researcher LMC Automotive said in a report earlier this week. Western Europe has showed “uninspiring improvement” while the U.S. has displayed “remarkable strength.”
In France, where dealers remained under partial lockdown until May 19, sales were up 46% from a year ago but down 27% from May 2019. The easing of rules could bode well for future months, Joe Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a report earlier this month.
Volkswagen has the ID.4 here, of course, a car which is expensive but solid but also maybe not good enough. VW is now making more noise about electric in the U.S., though in my mind the only real game-changing EV Volkswagen could produce is a cheap one, in the same way that the Bug was game-changing decades ago.
The U.S. administration has created a new proposition for EVs in the market, VW brand development chief Thomas Ulbrich told reporters in Munich.
VW is drafting plans “to realign to this in a massive way,” Ulbrich said. A final decision is set for later this year during the manufacturer’s annual investment review, and the updated U.S. electric-car strategy is currently “being worked out,” he said.
The ID.4 spearheads the global rollout of VW-branded electric cars after last year’s bumpy introduction of the ID.3 hatchback, which primarily targets European customers. VW is adding the ID.5 crossover later this year and the seven-seat ID.6 in China in the fall. Plans for a subcompact EV below the ID.3 priced at less than 25,000 euros have been pulled forward by two years to 2025.
Andreas Krueger, VW’s head of electric mobility, said the brand plans to make a mid-sized station wagon code-named AeroB in 2024 to broaden its lineup further. VW’s electric-car architecture for mass-market vehicles will be improved for battery ranges of as much as 700 kilometers (453 miles) and faster charging, he said. This improvements will include so-called bidirectional charging, allowing the vehicle battery to service as power storage and feed energy back into the grid.
Volkswagen, please make an ID.2 or even ID.1 and bring it to the U.S. You can take my money.
Hold the reefer madness takes, as crashes are only up marginally and there doesn’t seem to be an increase solely because of marijuana.
From Automotive News:
Studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute showed increases in crash rates with the legalization of recreational marijuana and retail sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, the organizations said in a release.
A separate IIHS study of injured drivers who visited three emergency rooms in California, Colorado and Oregon showed no increased crash risk associated with marijuana, except when combined with alcohol. This conclusion is consistent with a 2015 study by NHTSA.
The impacts of legalization and retail sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington resulted in a 6 percent increase in injury crash rates and a 4 percent increase in fatal crash rates compared with other Western states where marijuana was illegal at the time of the study.
Drunk driving is bad, and drunk driving while high is worse. Don’t drink and drive.
I remember watching this in our living room in Ohio, live on TV. I was nine years old and had no idea who O.J. Simpson was, aside from being that guy in The Naked Gun.