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Representatives Introduce DOD Bill to Promote the Use of ZEVs

Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39) and Francis Rooney (R-FL-19) have introduced the Department of Defense (DOD) Non-Tactical Vehicle Reduced Petroleum Consumption Act.  This bill directs the DOD to replace such vehicles, from passenger cars to construction vehicles like bulldozers and forklifts, as they age with zero-emission vehicles. The gradual procurement process minimizes extraneous costs […]

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Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39) and Francis Rooney (R-FL-19) have introduced the Department of Defense (DOD) Non-Tactical Vehicle Reduced Petroleum Consumption Act.

This bill directs the DOD to replace such vehicles, from passenger cars to construction vehicles like bulldozers and forklifts, as they age with zero-emission vehicles. The gradual procurement process minimizes extraneous costs to the department and allows for the acquisition of electric vehicle charging stations on military installations in the U.S. and its territories. Such steps lessen DOD’s reliance on petroleum, thereby reducing fuel costs and improving non-tactical vehicle efficiency, while also shrinking the department’s overall carbon footprint and negative impact on the environment. 

“The DOD is the largest consumer of fuel in the country and maintains a sizable fleet of non-tactical vehicles on installations across the U.S. and its territories. While DOD has made progress in decreasing its petroleum fuel consumption, more can be done to reduce costs, improve efficiency and resilience to fuel shocks, and limit negative environmental impacts,” says Cisneros.

“I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Rep. Rooney that will significantly reduce the DOD’s reliance on petroleum. Replacing older vehicles with those that are zero-emission, like electric vehicles, will save money, improve efficiency and resilience, and reduce the Department’s overall carbon footprint. We need to invest in 21st Century technology today in order to prevent the damaging effects of climate change on our future,” he adds.

In FY2017, the department achieved a 34.5% reduction from FY2005 levels. This bill would set a goal of a 50% reduction, compared to a FY2005 baseline, by Oct. 1, 2030. 

To read the full list of provisions included in the Non-Tactical Vehicle Reduced Petroleum Consumption Act, click here.

Photo: DOD’s landing page

Source: https://ngtnews.com/representatives-introduce-dod-bill-to-promote-the-use-of-zevs

Automotive

VW’s Traton Group strikes a deal with TuSimple to develop autonomous trucks

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The Traton Group, Volkswagen AG’s heavy-truck business, has taken a minority stake in TuSimple as part of an agreement between the two companies to develop self-driving trucks.

Neither company disclosed the financial terms of the partnership or the percentage of the minority stake. Traton did make a direct capital investment into TuSimple, according to one unnamed source familiar with the deal. It’s unclear if it also included in-kind contributions.

Traton’s investment is not part of TuSimple’s recent effort to raise $250 million in a Series E round. raton Group does have an option to participate in the round.

The two companies outlined Wednesday plans to launch a development program that will use Traton’s Scania trucks equipped with TuSimple’s automated vehicle technology. The companies said testing will begin with a route between Södertälje to Jönköping in Sweden. The trucking manufacturer ultimately wants to test driverless truck fleets on roads throughout Sweden, Germany and other countries.

The companies didn’t provide details on the scope of the program or timelines, beyond plans to “work closely” to develop Level 4 autonomous systems for trucks of the Traton brands. Specifically, Traton said the aim is for these trucks to have Level 4 capabilities, which they define as being able to “achieve full automation without human intervention under defined driving conditions and applied in all markets.”

Traton said this could serve as a means of counteracting the increasing lack of drivers in the medium term. The first cases of deployment could be conducted outside of the specially demarcated areas, particularly for highly frequented hub-to-hub routes, Traton said in its announcement.

The partnership will expand TuSimple’s autonomous vehicle operations beyond the U.S. and China to Europe. The startup, which is backed by Sina, Nvidia, UPS and Tier 1 supplier Mando Corporation, operates a fleet of 40 self-driving trucks in the U.S. that are used for testing and to carry freight between Arizona and Texas. The company, which launched in 2015 and has operations in China, San Diego and Tucson, Arizona.

The partnership also tightens the connection between Traton, TuSimple and Navistar. In July, TuSimple announced plans to develop and begin producing autonomous semi trucks by 2024 in partnership with Navistar. The plan is to move away from retrofitting the Navistar International commercial trucks that TuSimple currently uses and instead develop semi trucks specifically designed for autonomous operations. The strategic partnership included Navistar taking an undisclosed stake in startup TuSimple.

Meanwhile, Traton holds a 16.6% stake in Navistar, which it acquired by buying $256 million worth of shares in September 2016. The two companies could end up getting closer. In January, Traton made an unsolicited bid to buy the remaining Navistar stock that it doesn’t own for $35 share. Traton upped its offer this month to $43 a share, or about $3.9 billion, Bloomberg reported earlier this monthh.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/09/23/vws-traton-group-strikes-a-deal-with-tusimple-to-develop-autonomous-trucks/

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2022 Tesla Model S Plaid coming with three motors and more than 1,100 horsepower

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Remember those modified Tesla Model S prototypes lurking around the Nürburgring last year? They looked significantly more mean than your typical Model S Performance. And now we know they didn’t just look mean. The company announced during its “Battery Day” presentation that it will launch the Model S Plaid at the end of next year with some truly incredible numbers.

Unlike other Model S sedans, the Plaid gets three motors. The exact layout wasn’t given, but we would expect dual motors at the rear for torque vectoring. We do know that all three motors make a lot of power, more than 1,100 horses. The company estimates that the Plaid will be able to do 0-60 in under 2 seconds, and the quarter-mile in under 9 seconds. Furthermore, the company has done testing at Laguna Seca, and the current fast time with the car is 1 minute 30.3 seconds. During the presentation, it was suggested they could shave off another 3 seconds. That would make it about as fast as the current production car record holder, the McLaren Senna, which lapped the track in the hands of Motor Trend in 1 minute 27.62 seconds. As for the Nürburgring, Tesla hasn’t said anything yet. Besides outright power, Tesla says the Plaid will have an electric range of more than 520 miles.

Some of these claims are, surely not coincidentally, a close match to claims Lucid is making about its Air sedan, especially the “quicker than quick” three-motor version that was teased out earlier in the day. The Air shown in the video apparently has done the quarter-mile in 9.62 — and aims to do better — and three Lucid motors are capable of 670 horsepower per, meaning the car could theoretically sport over 2,000 horsepower.

The trailer Tesla showed didn’t reveal much about what the Model S Plaid looks like. What we could see showed a big rear spoiler, like what we saw on prototypes last year. The fenders might be a bit wider, and there may still be a bit of diffuser leftover from the prototypes. But in the glimpses we could see, it seems slightly less intense than what we’ve previously seen.

The first Plaids will be delivered late next year, but you can put in your order for one right now. Not surprisingly, the Model S Plaid is not cheap. It costs $139,990, or $141,190 with destination charge. That’s about $50,000 more than a Model S Performance. That price also splits the difference of the 522-horsepower Porsche Taycan 4S that starts at $105,150, and the 670-horsepower Taycan Turbo that starts at $152,250.

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Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/09/22/2022-tesla-model-s-plaid-announced/

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2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line revealed with subtly aggressive design

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We’ve known for a while that there would be a 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line. We’ve even driven it. But only now are we finally seeing the hopped up midsize sedan. And it looks fine.

Don’t get us wrong, it’s still as handsome as any of the other Sonatas. The sedan in general is a gorgeous car with killer details, such as its trick daytime running lights. But the N Line doesn’t look that much more aggressive than the Sonatas in every other trim from SEL to Limited.

The front fascia has reworked grilles, with the outboard ones a bit larger and the lower one smaller. Those outboard grilles have the pointing chevron design that appeared on the Elantra N Line. The main grille has a very similar mesh insert to the SEL-and-up Sonatas. The side skirts appear to be slightly deeper, and the rear bumper has more of the diffuser section painted black, but otherwise features the same exhaust tips and diffuser fins as the other Sonatas. The N Line also gets unique 19-inch wheels.

The interior has more substantial changes. Most notable are the sporty seats in a unique gray fabric upholstery. They feature embroidered N logos, red piping and red stitching. The rest of the interior’s brightwork is replaced with dark chrome accents. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped and N-badged.

Oddly, Hyundai didn’t provide final specifications for the Sonata N Line. We do have preliminary specs from our first drive several months ago, though. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder making around 290 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Sonata N Line also gets a variety of handling upgrades, though we don’t have specifics on those changes. Final pricing and availability are also unknown, though the car is expected to go on sale by the end of the year.

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Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/09/22/2021-hyundai-sonata-n-line-reveal/

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