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EV obsession may catch UK automotive ‘sleeping at the wheel’, says Cambria boss

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Cambria Automobiles chief executive Mark Lavery has urged his car retail colleagues to lobby Government over an all-out push to Electric Vehicles (EV) which risks catching UK automotive “sleeping at the wheel”.

Lavery said that there was still time to prevent Government making a decision which would see an all-out ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) and hybrid vehicles as early as 2032, risking both the environment and “thousands” of  industry jobs.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ (OLEV) consultation over the proposals ends at midnight tonight (July 31), having been extended from an initial May deadline, and Lavery insisted that it was “not too late” to change what appeared to be a set course.

His comments came as the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) today called for hybrids to be excluded from any initial ban on new vehicles sales, and a phased approach be taken towards a zero emission sales target of 2040.

“At the moment, as an industry, we are sleeping at the wheel as the environmental lobbying groups dictate an all-out push for EVs at the exclusion of any other solution,” Lavery told AM in an interview this morning.

“The millions of tonnes of Cobalt that are being pulled out the ground in Africa, the Amnesty International investigation into child slavery in those mining processes, the fact that the Cobalt is shipped to China to be processed and turned into batteries in a coal-powered economy only to be shipped to developed Western countries so we can have zero tailpipe emissions in our towns and cities… All that seems to be overlooked in the pursuit of this one solution.”

EVs ‘not the only solution’

Lavery argued that 35g/km of permanent CO2 is embedded into the emissions of a pure electric vehicles as a result of the battery production, giving the pure electric car only a small emissions advantage over the latest versions of modern turbo-diesel engines.

Pure EVs contain between 10 to 12kg of Cobalt on average, he said, compared to a far lesser amount for zero emissions-capable hybrid vehicles.

The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid (PHEV) SUVLavery believes that Government must include hybrids and the use of cleaner synthetic fuels in a more gradual shift towards an all-out ban on vehicles which don’t offer zero emissions.

Hydrogen must also attract greater consideration in plans for the future, he added.

“Holistically, pure EVs are worse for the environment than many other solutions and yet the course appears to have been set,” he said.

Economic risks

​Lavery met with former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, at the AM100 group’s Grange Jaguar Land Rover at Woodford to voice his concerns about Government’s policy towards EV adoption.

Cambria Automobiles CEO Mark Lavery with Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green and Grange Woodford head of business Paul GreenbergIn its letter to MPs across the country – sent by general managers across the group’s businesses – Cambria also claimed that “thousands” of automotive industry jobs would be lost if Government pursues a rapid all-out shift to pure EVs.

It said: “If we prohibit the sale of hybrid vehicles we will lose thousands and thousands of jobs from our automotive industry manufacturer’s and supply chain like Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, McLaren, Rolls Royce, Bentley and at the same time arguably damaging the planet further because pure electric is not the only solution.

“Electric propulsion systems are only part of the solution. Hybrid, petrol and diesel propulsion systems are making dramatic improvements and where people were previously not plugging in their vehicles because of the inefficiency that would only allow the vehicle to travel 10 miles on pure electric travel, we are now in a position where most hybrids can do at least 30 miles on electric only charge.  

“This covers most people’s daily commute and is already changing behaviours with far more people plugging in the more efficient power units.”

As well as the environmental and economic risks posed by a shift to EVs at the exclusion of ICE and hybrid vehicles, Lavery said that he feared for the future of social mobility.

He said: “The simple fact is that fast-tracking this kind of technology also prices a lot of people out of the market.”

NFDA lobbying

The NFDA today detailed its response to the OLEV consultation, urging a slower pace to change, fiscal stimulation to boost alternative fuel vehicles’ (AFV) affordability and improved charging infrastructure. NFDA director, Sue Robinson, said: “Businesses and consumers must receive adequate support from the Government during this crucial transition to a zero-emission market.”

NFDA director, Sue RobinsonThe NFDA pointed out that the market for zero-emission vehicles is still in its infancy and any ICE phase-out date earlier than 2040, must be accompanied by a significant boost to the incentives on offer to consumers, retailers and manufacturers.

Robinson said: “We urge the Government to remove plug-in hybrids from the 2035 phase-out date as they represent a natural and ideal transition to zero-emission vehicles, especially for those who cannot yet afford a battery electric vehicle.

“The Government must continue to support businesses and consumers through well-targeted measures such as tax incentives and keeping the plug-in car and van grants at their current level.

“NFDA has regularly engaged with the Government on this issue and, following our response, we will continue to liaise with the relevant departments to best represent our members’ views.”

Source: https://www.am-online.com/news/dealer-news/2020/07/31/ev-obsession-has-uk-automotive-sleeping-at-the-wheel-says-cambria-boss

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Hyundai launches Ioniq as a standalone brand to exclusively make electric cars

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A new car brand has arrived, and it’s called Ioniq. Hyundai Motor Group is launching the new brand as another make in its portfolio that already includes Hyundai, Kia and Genesis. It’s technically IONIQ in all caps, but that’s the first and last time you’ll see us refer to it that way. The letters don’t serve as an acronym. The name is simply a word Hyundai used to first identify a development project that led to the creation of the Hyundai Ioniq model that is on sale today. That car comes in hybrid, PHEV and full electric versions.

Going forward, Ioniq in this context will refer to the standalone brand. Hyundai says the Ioniq brand will exclusively consist of battery electric cars. The press release says the creation of the brand is in response to “fast-growing market demand.” There are already three cars planned to appear under the Ioniq brand, too.

Over the next four years, Hyundai plans to launch the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 7. The naming scheme is simple, but could take a minute to acclimate to. Odd-numbered models will always be crossovers or SUVs, and even numbered models will be sedans. The first one coming in 2021 is the Ioniq 5. Hyundai says it’s a mid-size crossover based on the Hyundai 45 concept. We’ve already seen this car in spy photos out testing, assuming it would be a Hyundai. Turns out, it’s going to be an Ioniq. Hyundai says it’s going to take inspiration from the past but combine it with cutting-edge parametric pixels for a modern twist. It looks like a slightly lifted hatchback from the spy photos, so we’re excited to see this one revealed for real.

The Ioniq 6 is possibly even more exciting. Hyundai says it’s based on the Prophecy Concept, which we already knew was going to see production. The Ioniq 6 will be revealed sometime in 2022. Lastly, there’s the Ioniq 7 that is teased here for the first time with a huge bumper-width front light (Rivian-like) and dramatic side lights. It’s described as “a large SUV,” and it will see an unveiling in 2024. There are reportedly additional models already planned to follow these three, but they’re even further out. Hyundai says that all Ioniq vehicles will be built around a theme of “timeless value,” meaning that they’ll be inspired by past models but also act as a bridge to the future.

All of the Ioniq-branded cars will sit on Hyundai’s future E-GMP electric vehicle platform. Here’s what Hyundai has to say about it: “The EV-dedicated platform will allow Hyundai to reimagine the vehicle interior as a ‘smart living space’ with highly adjustable seats, wireless connectivity and unique features such as a glove box designed as drawers. The platform paradigm shift will extend into the user interfaces that will be simple, intuitive and ergonomically designed to help occupants feel at ease.”

It all feels very … future-y. That’s part of the point of creating the new brand, though. It’s a way for Hyundai to develop something that’s tangibly different than whatever electric Kias or electric Hyundais will be available in the future. Unfortunately, Hyundai doesn’t have any specs to share with us on the E-GMP platform yet. We’re told that it’ll support fast charging and “plentiful driving range” for the cars it’s used with, though.

In case you were wondering what the fate of the current Hyundai Ioniq is, it sounds like that model will carry on. Hyundai says it plans to differentiate the Ioniq model from the Ioniq brand by referring to the various versions of the model as the “Ioniq + Powertrain” as it does now (e.g. Ioniq Hybrid, Ioniq Plug-In, Ioniq Electric).

Even in a pandemic-ridden world, Hyundai has found a way to make a grand gesture for the launch of Ioniq. It has turned the famous London Eye into a giant “Q” using a fancy light up display (shown above). We just want to see the cars, so thankfully we’ll only have to wait until 2021 for the Ioniq 5.

Related video:

Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/09/ioniq-launches-as-brand-under-hyundai/

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Judge denies bail for men accused of sneaking Carlos Ghosn out of Japan

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BOSTON — Two American men wanted by Japan on charges that they helped sneak former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn out of the country in a box have again been denied release from a U.S. jail.

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani on Friday rejected a bid to free Michael Taylor, a 59-year-old U.S. Army Special Forces veteran, and his 27-year-old son, Peter Taylor, on bail while they fight their extradition to Japan. Talwani said a magistrate judge properly found the two men to be a risk of flight.

“While the Taylors may well seek to remain in the United States to fight extradition through available legal channels, they have also shown a blatant disregard for such safeguards in the context of the Japanese legal system and have not established sufficiently that if they find their extradition fight difficult, they will not flaunt the rules of release on bail and flee the country,” Talwani wrote.

An attorney for the Taylors declined to comment Saturday.

Their lawyers have said the men have no plans to flee and argue their health is at risk behind bars because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Taylors have been locked up in a Massachusetts jail since their arrest in May.

Authorities say the Taylors helped smuggle Ghosn out of the Japan on a private jet while he was on bail and awaiting trial on financial misconduct allegations. With former the Nissan boss hidden in a large box, the flight went first to Turkey, then to Lebanon, where Ghosn has citizenship but which has no extradition treaty with Japan.

Ghosn said he fled because he could not expect a fair trial, was subjected to unfair conditions in detention and was barred from meeting his wife under his bail conditions. Ghosn has denied allegations that he underreported his future income and committed a breach of trust by diverting Nissan money for his personal gain.

The Taylors have not denied helping Ghosn flee, but argue they can’t be extradited. Among other things, they say that “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan and, therefore, helping someone evade their bail conditions isn’t a crime either.

In a court filing on Friday, federal prosecutors urged Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell to rule that the men can be legally extradited. The U.S. Secretary of State will make the final decision on whether they will be handed over to Japan.

“The Taylors’ alleged plot to smuggle Ghosn out of Japan was one of the most brazen and well-orchestrated escape acts in recent history, involving a dizzying array of luxury hotel meetups, fake personas, bullet train travel, and the chartering of a private jet,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Hassink wrote.

An extradition hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 28.

Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/09/judge-declines-bail-carlos-ghosn-helpers/

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School buses are another coronavirus question mark

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — School districts nationwide puzzling over how to safely educate children during a pandemic have a more immediate challenge — getting 26 million bus-riding students there in the first place.

Few challenges are proving to be more daunting than figuring out how to maintain social distance on school buses. A wide array of strategies have emerged to reduce the health risks but nobody has found a silver bullet.

Should students with COVID-19 symptoms be isolated at the front of the school bus? Should bus seats be assigned? Should buses be loaded from the back? Should buses only carry a few students at a time?

“The transportation professionals are left with the issue of, OK, you’ve got little Billy at the bus stop. Mom’s not there and he’s got a temperature. That’s a dilemma,” said Steve Simmons, a bus safety expert who used to head pupil transportation for Columbus, Ohio, public schools. “We can’t answer those kinds of questions. I don’t think anybody can.”

Simmons, president of the National Association for Pupil Transportation, was part of team of industry and school officials who produced a 70-page report on ways to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Many schools have been surveying parents to determine how many students will take the bus and how many will be privately driven to school. Others are making decisions about bus capacity that involve a trade-off between safety and affordability.

The task force report warned that a 6-foot (2-meter) social distancing regulation “is not financially nor operationally feasible,” and that “current thinking” is that a 72-student capacity bus can accommodate 24 students, or more if family members sit together.

Some large districts will nonetheless “jam ’em in” the school bus, Simmons said, while other districts plan to stagger school start times or teach half the students in the morning and the rest in the afternoon, with two sets of bus runs.

School transportation plans are “just one of the many ways we’re seeing inequities playing out in this pandemic,” said Deborah Gordon Klehr, executive director of the Education Law Center in Philadelphia.

“Some districts are saying that they will cut back on the number of students offered transportation, or expect more parents to drive their students to school,” she said. “Students and families with fewer resources are going to be the ones hurt by this.”

Kim Blodgett quit her job as a fourth-grade teacher this year in order to drive her 5-year-old son to the Oklahoma School for the Deaf, concerned the twice-daily, 45-minute bus ride from their home in Norman was too risky.

“So many parents feel like they have no control over any of this that’s happened,” Blodgett said. “They have to work, they have to send their kids to school. They have to put their kids on that bus. It’s a horrible situation all the way around.”

Simmons said most bus drivers are old enough to put them at heightened risk for severe illness if they catch the virus. They will have to decide whether to continue driving — a job that typically does not pay much — or to stay home and prioritize their own safety, which could worsen a yearslong national school bus driver shortage.

Schools will have to decide what cleaning standards they want to set and whether to add sneeze guards or similar barriers among students and between students and bus drivers.

In Pennsylvania, the Transportation Department shot down a proposal to install plastic barriers around bus drivers, telling a school bus contractor there is not evidence it would make students or drivers safer. In New York, hand sanitizer isn’t even allowed on buses “due to its combustible composition and potential liability to the carrier or district,” according to guidance from the state’s school reopening task force.

The task force report said a survey of bus contractors found they were unanimously opposed to taking students’ temperatures, as some districts have considered. The contractors said drivers and bus monitors do not want to have to interpret health data, among other objections.

Getting on and off the bus is considered a time of heightened risk. Pennsylvania districts are considering assigned bus seating, making students fill empty buses from the back and emptying them from the front.

A suburban Philadelphia school district’s reopening plan states that students with symptoms should be placed in the front seat of the bus and brought to the school nurse. Another mandates that no students with symptoms will be sent on a bus or brought to school. Districts are designating rooms where sick or potentially sick children can be isolated until their parents can retrieve them.

Pottstown, Pennsylvania, schools have proposed keeping windows on its few buses open, a plan that will be difficult to carry out in winter. New York’s statewide recommendation is for windows to remain cracked if the outside temperature is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Public schools in Providence, Rhode Island, had considered making all students attend the schools that are located closest to their homes as a way to limit ridership, but officials withdrew that proposal after parents objected.

The Kentucky Education Department suggests schools institute “walking school buses,” a system used in at least two other states in which adults chaperone groups of students walking to and from school together, with designated bus stops and pickup times. Kentucky Education Department spokesperson Toni Konz Tatman said there has been no word yet of any districts giving the walking school buses a try.

Bus plans are expected to be tweaked over the first weeks and months of school, but if a major outbreak is linked to bus transportation, parents will have to decide whether to vote with their feet and go another route.

Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/09/school-bus-social-distancing-challenge/

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