Toyota has a new recall for the new Tundra, Polestar sold more than twice as many cars through the first six months of 2022 compared to last year, and Nissan has serious thinking to do around the new Inflation Reduction Act electric vehicle tax credit. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Friday, September 2, 2022.
The skid control electronic control unit is believed to be the culprit behind parking brake issues in the 2022 Toyota Tundra, Lexus NX250 and NX350. About 85,000 pickups and SUVs are covered in this recall, in which Toyota says affected vehicles’ electronic parking brakes may not engage or disengage properly. As a result, there’s a risk of rollaway if the driver attempts to trigger the brake, but a software glitch prevents it from happening.
As all of this is handled electronically in the new Toyota and Lexus trucks, Toyota and Lexus will remedy the issue with software. Owners should be notified of the recall before the end of October, Automotive News reported Thursday afternoon, and fixes will be performed free of charge.
This is the second major recall to hit the new Tundra in two months; the first dealt with loose rear axle nuts, allowing the axle to remove itself from the rest of the vehicle over time. It’s all emblematic of the wonderful state of automotive manufacturing quality in recent years.
On Thursday the Volvo-spun-off electric vehicle manufacturer reported a 95 percent jump in revenue in the first half of 2022, amounting to $1 billion. 95 percent — why, that’s almost double! From Polestar:
Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, comments: “We made important progress in the first half of 2022 as we doubled revenues and volume, and successfully listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. In addition, we maintained strong momentum in our global order take and expect to deliver 50,000 cars to our customers this year, meeting our 2022 sales guidance. With several ground-breaking cars to come, Polestar is poised for a period of rapid growth.”
Of course, pretty much all that success can be owed to a single model — the Polestar 2, which the brand began delivering to customers in the U.S. and some other territories in late 2020. In the past six months, however, Polestar has expanded availability of the 2 to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.
This time last year, Polestar had shifted 9,510 new vehicles globally; now, it’s already reached 21,185. Expect continued jumps in revenue and sales when the company builds out the rest of its range with the Polestar 3 SUV and Polestar 5 sedan.
Alas, contrast Polestar’s welcome news with Volvo’s, which saw its August sales slip by 4.6 percent year-over-year. That’s not a huge deal; Volvo is an established brand after all, and the hit can mostly be blamed on COVID-related factory shutdowns and supply chain snags. Courtesy Reuters:
Sweden’s Volvo Cars saw its August sales fall by 4.6% year-on-year to 43,666 vehicles as the global semiconductor shortage and other disruptions continued to hurt deliveries, the Swedish car maker said in a statement.
Demand remained good, but the component shortages as well as power cuts and COVID-19 outbreaks in China interrupted output, the company said.
Volvo Cars on Thursday said it would temporarily close its plant in the Chinese city of Chengdu due to local coronavirus restrictions and that a second facility had also been affected by recent lockdowns.
Two of the 13 wagons you can still buy in this country are Volvos. In other words, the brand still remains on Jalopnik’s nice list.
If you want to know how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have had to adapt crash testing for electric vehicles, look no further than this insightful report from Automotive News. It explains how Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 305, which developed from previous standards about gasoline containment in accidents, is designed to limit exposure to voltage for occupants and first responders.
“One of the key requirements for 305 is energy storage, so your energy storage device during and after impact for the crash test has to be isolated,” [Hyundai Global Chief Safety Officer Brian] Latouf said. “You can’t have exposed voltage to occupants, to first responders, so you have to isolate your battery pack from the vehicle and from its propulsion system.”
At Hyundai, that means running the gamut of crash tests required for gasoline-powered vehicles but, for EVs, also keeping the battery separate from other components in the vehicle to prevent shock hazard during and after a crash, as required by the standard.
The NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program tests this in an amusing way:
Jennifer Morrison, manager of vehicle safety, compliance, planning and development at Mazda North American Operations, likened the compliance test for standard No. 305 to a rotisserie chicken.
“They put the vehicle for NCAP on kind of like a large rotisserie spit, and they rotate it at 90-degree intervals for five minutes each to see if anything falls out of it,” she explained.
The purpose, she added, is to ensure there is no electrolyte spillage, that the batteries are retained within the vehicle and that there is no short between the battery and the chassis.
“So far, the crash tests that have been done of the all-electric vehicles are showing that they’re doing really well with the current set of tests. ... Not having that heavy, mechanical engine up in front of our driver and passengers, there’s some benefits to that,” Morrison said. “You have an opportunity to rethink crash safety.”
These are just a couple of highlights, so if you’re interested in understanding the full picture of how EVs are tested relative to internal-combustion cars, I highly recommend checking out Auto News’ story.
One of the few EVs that you can still buy with a $7,500 federal tax credit is the made-in-Tennessee Nissan Leaf. On that basis, Nissan is doing well to satisfy the earliest and most critical requirement of the Inflation Reduction Act’s new credit criteria. But come 2024, those requirements will become more strenuous, and half of the minerals used in batteries will have to be extracted here in the U.S., or in a country with which the U.S. has a fair-trade agreement.
That means Nissan has to keep its eye on the prize and, to that end, the brand’s chief sustainability officer says it is still working on “understanding” the new law. Per Reuters:
“We believe that we need to further accelerate our efforts in electrification and localization, but we would like to take various measures based on a better understanding of the details,” said Joji Tagawa, chief sustainability officer.
The upcoming Ariya, a Nissan EV that Americans might actually buy, will be produced at the automaker’s Tochigi plant in Japan — so it won’t qualify for the Act’s credit.
Tagawa said Nissan needs to understand “intricate” details of the law including on procuring parts and rare metals for batteries as well as on vehicle assembly.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, a major Japanese auto lobby, said last month it was concerned about the law and would keep a close watch on developments.
Is it any wonder why representatives from the Japanese and South Korean governments met with U.S. personnel in Hawaii this week?
In my secret travels this week to drive a GReat new hot hatch (I can tell you more in like two weeks), I passed a TV at an airport playing a new Mitsubishi spot, that was using a song I haven’t heard since I was in college. First, I was simply amazed Mitsubishi was buying ad time again. But if the brand really wants to turn back the clock with some retro EDM jams, why not bring back the GOAT?