A crash that caused an Uber self-driving SUV to flip onto its side in a Phoenix suburb serves as a stark reminder of the challenges surrounding autonomous vehicles in Arizona, a state that has gone all-in to entice the company by promising minimal government regulation. That night’s crash was blamed on the driver of an oncoming SUV that turned left in front of the Uber vehicle carrying two test drivers and no passengers. There were no serious injuries and the driver of the other car was cited for a moving violation.
Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has bought a 5% stake in electric car and solar firm Tesla Inc., according to a regulatory filing submitted. The $1.8-billion investment gives one of China’s most valuable companies another foothold in a growing industry and provides Elon Musk’s Tesla a much-needed infusion of cash as it prepares to introduce its first mass-market sedan, the Model 3. Tencent now owns 8.17 million shares of Palo Alto-based Tesla, making it the company’s fifth-largest shareholder, according to Nasdaq.
Troubled electric car maker Faraday Future continues to slim down its grand plans. The Gardena-based company plans to build a technology-loaded luxury electric sedan called the FF 91. But cash flow has been a big problem. The company said Monday that it’s ending negotiations with the Bay Area city of Vallejo to buy land for an automobile assembly plant.
Ford Motor Co. will invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan factories to prepare for production of the all-new Ford Ranger and Bronco, and to support the company’s expansion into mobility. The investments represent two strategies going forward: a traditional game plan that looks to create new models of high-demand trucks and SUVs; and a more forward-looking investment in the self-driving and connected vehicles that Ford and other companies are betting will drive the future. The Dearborn-based automaker will invest $850 million to retool its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne for truck and SUV production; $150 million in its Romeo Engine Plant to expand capacity for several vehicles; and $200 million to build a data center at the company’s Flat Rock Assembly Plant that will handle information generated by the robotic cars of the future.
Uber says it is resuming its self-driving car program in Arizona and Pittsburgh after it was suspended following a crash over the weekend. The company had also grounded self-driving cars in San Francisco over the weekend but they resumed operating earlier on Monday. The difference between the California program versus the ones in Arizona and Pennsylvania is that California does not allow passengers to ride in the vehicles.
Honda was green before green cars were cool, but the automaker gets less credit than latecomers to environmental awareness. Over the next few weeks, Honda will launch a new bid to be considered one of the auto industry’s leaders in environmental technology and alternative energy. The first step is a slick and luxurious car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell: The Accord-sized Clarity sedan.
Just weeks after President Donald Trump signaled he's ready to roll back tough federal vehicle fuel standards, California affirmed that it won't budge an inch on its own tough standards. The California Air Resources Board reaffirmed its own set of regulatory standards for the automotive industry, setting it and 12 other mostly East and West Coast states that follow its lead on a different path than the rest of the nation. The 16-member board of California regulators voted unanimously to reaffirm its existing standards for model years 2022-25 for zero emission vehicle sales and greenhouse gas emissions in California despite pleas from the industry for changes.
Dozens of U.S. cities are willing to buy $10 billion of electric cars and trucks to show skeptical automakers there’s demand for low-emission vehicles, just as President Donald Trump seeks to review pollution standards the industry opposes.
Thirty cities including New York and Chicago jointly asked automakers for the cost and feasibility of providing 114,000 electric vehicles, including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is coordinating the effort. That would be comparable to about 72 percent of total U.S. plug-in sales last year.
Oliver Schmidt, the Volkswagen executive incarcerated since January when he tried to return to his native Germany after a Florida vacation, will remain in custody until his trial early next year for 11 felonies tied to the company’s emissions violations, a federal judge said. Schmidt, 48, appeared before Judge Sean Cox in U.S. District Court in Detroit for a hearing on his motion to be released on bond pending his trial. He has been behind bars since he was arrested Jan. 7 at Miami International Airport and charged for his alleged role in Volkswagen’s ongoing diesel emissions scandal.
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