GM Lockport Components Plant to Build EV Stators

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on GM Lockport Components plant to Build EV Stators

Latest step in the EV sourcing wars underway at all automakers.

General Motors announced today plans to invest ~$154 million in its Western New York Lockport Components plant to renovate the facility and purchase and install new machinery and equipment used in the production of the stator module. Stators are key components in an electric motor. Electric motors will be used in a variety – currently 30 – of GM’s future Ultium Platform-based electric trucks and SUVs. Facility renovations begin immediately.

EV production – particularly final assembly is a huge concern for unions globally. “It’s pretty easy to build an EV since there are fewer components, and there are no EPA requirements or fluids,” Joe McCabe the CEO of AutoForecast Solutions told AutoInformed at a meeting of the International Motor Press Association earlier this week. Robots or non-skilled labor can do most of the work. (read AutoInformed on GM Cuts More Deals on Materials, Factories for EV Motors) Continue reading

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Cadillac V-Series Line Adds 2023 Escalade

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Cadillac V-Series Line Adds 2023 Escalade

Another nail in the US sedan coffin?

In what it hopes is a pre-emptive marketing move against competitors, Cadillac said today that its V-series line will be expanded to include Escalade in the spring of 2022. No interior shots were released. More information about the 2023 Cadillac Escalade V-Series, including full vehicle specs, will be released in spring 2022.

AutoInformed guesses that it will have the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine as the new CT5-V Blackwing. Installed there, it is rated at 668 horsepower and 649 lb.-ft. of torque. The existing Escalade is rated at 420 horsepower, 460 lb.-ft. torque. Next hunch – 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Continue reading

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Automated Driving – Mercedes to Work with Luminar on Lidar

Ken Zino of Auto Informed.com on Mercedes EQS All-Electric Sedan

By 2030, the subsidiary of Daimler – belatedly? – wants more than half the cars it sells to have electric drive systems – including all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, areas it has been slow to embrace.

Mercedes-Benz and Luminar Technologies today announced a partnership to accelerate development of future automated driving technologies for passenger cars through the use of Lidar. This is optical sensing used to determine the position, velocity, or other characteristics of distant objects by analysis of pulsed laser light reflected from their surfaces. It’s radar with light beams instead of radio waves. The goal is to industrialize and integrate Lidar into upcoming mass-production Mercedes-Benz vehicles. “By shortening development cycles and strengthening technology partnerships Mercedes-Benz seeks to ensure that its vehicles have the most up-to-date technologies,” the German automaker said. (Read AutoInformed on First Look: Mercedes EQS All-Electric Sedan)

With the so-called “DRIVE PILOT,” Mercedes-Benz will offer conditionally automated driving at SAE Level 3 where a driver does not need to monitor the driving situations constantly but must take back control when the system requests.) In December 2021 Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive manufacturer globally to secure an internationally valid system approval for conditionally automated driving (SAE Level 3) – marking a milestone in automotive development. The company’s DRIVE PILOT automated driving system will enter series production in the S-Class and EQS this year. (Read AutoInformed on Stellantis on SAE Level 3 Public Road Autonomous Driving; Dangerous Marketing Tower of Babble: The Actual Meaning and Real Performance of Driver Assist and Autonomous Vehicles) Continue reading

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SEMA – 2021 Strong Year for Specialty-Equipment Market

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on SEMI - 2021 Strong Year for Specialty-Equipment Market

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SEMA, Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn, has released its “Future Trends – January 2022” report today. It says 2021 was a strong year for the industry amid high demand, with many companies reporting record growth. The specialty-equipment market should continue to grow in 2022, but at more muted levels, before returning to more normal (pre-pandemic) growth for 2023 and beyond, said the trade organization. According to the report, nearly three-quarters (74%) of industry companies expect sales growth in 2022. Key effects for the industry will be consumer demand, supply-chain disruption, rising costs and automotive sales.

SEMA report also reflects the ongoing Biden economic recovery as 2021 was a strong year for the U.S. economy amid record demand and consumer spending. Currently, the automotive industry has 2.91 million employees, only 4% below employment levels from before the pandemic in February 2020, making the automotive industry one of the best recoveries of any sector in the economy. Continue reading

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Software – Honda Invests in US-based Helm.ai

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Software - Honda Invests in US-based Helm.ai

Xcelerator – Smartphone as brain of a motorcycle in 2020.

Honda Motor Company yesterday in Japan, or today in the US, announced that in December 2021 it  invested in U.S. (California)-based Helm.ai to “strengthen its software technology development in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision*1 technologies.”  Honda claimed that Helm.ai “has key strengths in the area of AI-based image recognition technologies advanced through unsupervised learning”*2.

Helm.ai is an artificial intelligence software startup company established in November 2016. Honda and Helm.ai have been working in together since 2019 through Honda Xcelerator*3, described as a global open innovation program of Honda. Continue reading

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Automobili Pininfarina Adds Dealers in North America

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Automobili Pininfarina Adds Dealers in North America

The Battista Anniversario made its world premiere appearance during Monterey Car Week last August.

Automobili Pininfarina has expanded its US presence with the appointment of two new retail partners – Newport Beach Automotive Group in Orange County and Lake Forest Sportscars in Chicago will be responsible for the sale of the new Battista* pure-electric hyper GT, which enters production in Italy this spring. Indian-owned** Automobili Pininfarina now has nine retail “partners” in North America. Automobili Pininfarina also established its legal entity – Automobili Pininfarina Americas (APA) – as the company to develop its brand and business in the US market. There are 16 other retailers worldwide – ten based in Europe and six in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

The pure-electric Battista hyper GT – the most powerful Italian car ever made – is in the final stages of its development with the first client deliveries set to commence in first half of 2022. With a total of 128 million interior combinations, the new hyper GT has complex levels of customization. Retailers will assist clients as they personalize the Battista to suit individual tastes. Price, oh, about ~$2.8 million. Continue reading

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GM Plans to Expand Fuel Cell Sales Beyond Vehicles

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on GM Plans to Expand Fuel Cell Sales Beyond Vehicles

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General Motors (NYSE: GM) said today that it continues to expand new commercial applications of its HYDROTEC fuel cell technology. These planned fuel-cell generators could eventually replace gas- and diesel-burning generators with fewer emissions at worksites, buildings, movie sets, data centers, outdoor concerts and festivals. They could also back up or temporarily replace grid-sourced electricity for residential and small commercial enterprises at times of power disruption. Each HYDROTEC-based power generator has zero-emissions electric power generation output ranging from 60 kilowatts to 600 kilowatts, along with low noise1 and heat signatures2.

“Our vision of an all-electric future is broader than just passenger vehicles or even transportation,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of the global HYDROTEC business. “Our energy platform expertise with Ultium vehicle architectures and propulsion components and HYDROTEC fuel cells can expand access to energy across many different industries and users, while helping to reduce emissions often associated with power generation,” said Freese. Continue reading

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Alpine 2021 – Year One Sales Increase on a Minuscule Base

Ken Zino of AutoInformed.com on Renault Sports Cars becomes Alpine

Alpine Sports Cars – A110 right and Megane RS.

Alpine grew in 2021 with 2659 vehicles sold over the year or 74% more than in 2020. In France, Alpine’s sales were up by 117% year-over-year. Alpine claims it is on track supporting the strategic plan announced a year ago when Alpine created a new business unit with the goal of boosting sales by using its image to sell internationally. (AutoInformed Renault Sport Cars Becomes Alpine Cars; )

The A110  remains key. The new A110 range presented in late 2021 will come to dealerships at the start of the year in the form of three models. Alpine’s first year in Formula 1 saw the brand reach podiums, including with its first victory in Hungary. Alpine claims it is  the automotive brand that is the most committed to motorsport, including the World Endurance Championship, rallies and customer competitions. Continue reading

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