Tag Archives: Automotive

  • 0

Boeing confirms alert system malfunction in 737 Max 8

Tags : 

{summary}

In the grand scheme of deadly airline problems, Boeing’s latest crash debacles rate high on the list. Whenever an airplane crash occurs, there’s wild speculation concerning who and what to blame, and such is the case in the instances of downed Boeing 737 Max 8s.

We first heard of the Boeing 737 Max 8 troubles when a plane went down in Indonesia, killing 189. Then, months later, in Ethiopia, the same plane model killed 157 people in another crash.

As if 346 dead is not enough cause for alarm, take this weekend’s news. In Jacksonville, Florida, a previous model of the 737 slid off the runway into a river.

While it is too soon to determine the cause of difficulties in Florida, the company has come forward admitting to a safety feature malfunction that could have caused the high-profile, high-fatality crashes.

737 Max 8 software includes an alert system that informs pilots about problems and malfunctions in-flight. The problem is that an important alert light feature was sold to Boeing customers as “optional.” Now, Boeing has issued a statement acknowledging the missing light, which is linked to the Angle of Attack (AOA) alert system.

The issue here is whether or not Boeing’s decision to list the light as an optional feature that customers would have to purchase as an add-on is to blame for faulty crashes. It has been reported that the company has had knowledge of the light feature issue for at least one year.

As previously stated, the company acknowledges that this safety feature was listed as optional; however, it denies that it’s a direct cause of the plane crashes.

When activated, the sensor light informs the pilot of discrepancies in the AOA reading, according to Business Insider: “…the company said that AOA indicator and AOA disagree alert were not crucial safety requirements to the 737 Max, and that there were other indicators which identified the plane’s speed, altitude, and engine performance which should have allowed flight crews to safely operate the aircraft.”

Just as more news emerges about missing sensor lights, more Boeing safety news circulates. Before the recent plane crashes, Boeing was changing its quality control plan in a program it has launched called “QA Transformation.”

This plan seeks to restructure how product quality inspections are handled, and controversially includes replacing 900 inspectors with machines that can supposedly do a better job than their human counterparts. At least 451 inspector positions are up for transfers, with another 450 to follow next year.

Boeing employees’ union, Seattle-area Machinists Union Local 751, has responded to the QA Transformation initiative with its own strategy: a Verification Optimization Plan, won in bargaining: “Our VO site reps will be reviewing data for every area Boeing has already or plans to remove inspections. They will perform spot checks in areas where inspections have been or propose to be removed. If, due to verification optimization, quality degrades, our VO site reps will use that information to propose reinstating inspection in those areas.”

The message here is clear: the crashes indicate that just as Boeing should be taking inspections more seriously, the company is moving forward with a new experimental inspections model that has the machinist union nervous enough to institute its own inspection program.

Overall, Boeing has already paid $1 billion since its 737 Max 8 model has been grounded. Some experts have predicted that the world’s most common aircraft may not be back in the sky until October, leaving analysts speculating that this cut in deliveries could cost the company upwards of $10 billion.

Cash shortfalls and the added reputation of a shoddy inspections overhaul pose an uphill battle for Boeing. Meanwhile, the company also faces wrongful death lawsuits from families of recently deceased crash victims.

These lawsuits allege that Boeing rushed certification of its 737 Max 8 model since the company has a cozy relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): “…the FAA has been captured by the industry it is supposed to regulate. Industry lobbying focused on elevating corporate profits over passenger safety does not promote certification of safe airplanes.”

The FAA has received safety complaints about the 737 Max 8 from at least four different whistleblowers. Now, it struggles to regain an independent image as investigations into Boeing’s mishaps continue.

Share This:


  • 0

Istanbul Airport’s great move completed

Tags : 

{summary}

The story of one of the world’s biggest airport projects took a huge step forward this month as the transfer of operations to the new Istanbul Airport was completed over a two-day period without any major problems.

Set to become the world’s largest airport, the new site north of Istanbul opened on Oct. 29 last year to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. Since then, Turkish Airlines has operated a small number of daily departures from the facility ahead of the complete transfer this month.

Originally planned for December, the full transfer was set back by operational delays. However, the move has been hailed a complete success by all those involved, with 1,800 personnel and 47,300 tonnes of equipment transferred in 33 hours over April 5-6.

This was 12 hours under the target set for the move, which aimed to have minimum disruption to the airline’s schedules or its passengers.

The move also saw hundreds of aircraft, carrying many personnel, taking off in succession for the short flight from the old to the new airports.

Atatürk Airport has continued to act as the main hub for Turkish Airlines and the majority of other carriers serving Istanbul, but with the move has now been closed to airline traffic and will ultimately be redeveloped.

With the phenomenal growth of the national carrier, which now serves more countries than any other airline, this original airport had become increasingly crowded and constrained, with passengers forced to use remote gates and wait in lengthy lines for security and immigration. It was also one of Europe’s worst for delays and cancellations.

The new airport features the world’s largest airport terminal, built with space and passenger comfort in mind. It includes five piers, A, B, D, F and G, and has a capacity of 90 million passengers per year. Additional remote piers will eventually bring its capacity to 200 million passengers.

Image credit: Istanbul Airport/iGA

There are two runways operational at present, with a further four under staged construction as the airport grows. A new Metro link will also connect the airport with central Istanbul from 2020.

An early visitor to the new terminal was travel expert Ben Schlappig, who commented, “Make no mistake about it, the new terminal is beautiful, as you’d expect. The airport has really high ceilings and breath-taking design.”

However, from a functionality standpoint, he added: “This is the world’s biggest terminal, and there’s not a train system connecting any of the gates. You have to navigate all 15.5 million square feet by foot, or using the moving sidewalks, of which there aren’t even enough.”

While some of Turkish Airlines’ flights still operate from the secondary Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul, it is planned that ultimately all flights will operate from the new airport.

Turkish is putting its hopes in this new home, allowing them to continue growing into one of the world’s largest carriers. It is understandably proud of its new home and the achievement in successfully transitioning.

The captain of one of the crew transport flights from Atatürk to the new airport told those on board: “We no longer fit into the place we were born. Now we’re moving to the world’s biggest airport together. Welcome to Istanbul Airport — our new home.”

The first flight from the new Istanbul Airport following the “Great Move” was, like at Atatürk 86 years ago, to the Turkish capital at Ankara.

With the transition of operations to the new Istanbul Airport also comes a transition in IATA airport codes. The new airport inherits the IST code from Atatürk, which itself now becomes ISL.

Share This:


  • 0

The best museums for planes, trains and automobiles

Tags : 

{summary}

America has a long and proud history of being at the forefront of transportation technology. Examples include the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight, Henry Ford’s Model T, the Transcontinental Railroad, the Panama Canal, and, of course, the first lunar landing.

The movement of people and commerce has been integral to our country’s development and history from the beginning. A diverse transportation system utilizing land, sea and air evolved, connecting all points of the compass, shipping supply to meet demand, and connecting farms to urban tables and Mother Earth to outer space.

Thankfully, the rich, colorful history of transportation in America has been preserved at a number of fine museums across the country. Read on to learn about eight of them that are well worth a visit.

California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, California

California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) is the nation’s largest train museum, and it serves as a world-class tribute to the role of the “iron horse” in connecting California to the rest of the country.

Prime among its exhibits, displayed both indoors and outdoors, are 19 meticulously restored steam locomotives, plus dozens of vintage passenger and freight cars, some dating to the 1860s, that help visitors understand how railroads shaped the West.

A current exhibit features a high-speed train simulator that allows guests to experience the sensation of piloting a modern high-speed train. A variety of excursion train rides are available to the public year-round. www.csrmf.org, 916-323-9280.

Maritime Museum of San Diego, San Diego, California

Fun and informative for kids and adults alike, this waterfront museum is the focal point on San Diego’s historic Embarcadero promenade. Comprised of a number of painstakingly restored historic ships, it enjoys a worldwide reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels.

Among its collection is the world’s oldest active sailing vessel, the 1863 Star of India and the 1898 Berkeley, the first propeller-driven steam ferry on the West Coast. Both are State and National Historic Landmarks.

The Maritime Museum of San Diego hosts a number of special exhibits, events and sailings aimed at engaging visitors through bringing the histories of its ship to life. www.sdmaritime.org, 619-234-9153.

Courtesy National Automobile Museum

National Automobile Museum, Reno, Nevada

This museum is an absolute must-see for auto enthusiasts. The 100,000-square-foot building in Reno houses one of the largest and finest collections of antique automobiles to be found anywhere.

It displays a significant portion of the late gaming pioneer Bill Harrah’s collection of 1,400 vehicles. Cars are grouped by age in street settings appropriate to their time. Real-life backdrops such as Burma Shave signs and vintage gas stations add to the atmosphere.

Classic cars make up most of the collection but there are rare prototypes and unusual one-of-a-kinds, along with cars either featured in films or owned by celebrities — such as John Wayne’s Corvette and a Caddy once owned by Elvis Presley. Reasonable entry fees are a plus. www.automuseum.org, 775-333-9300.

Trainland U.S.A., Colfax, Iowa

Today’s kids are geared to video games, but those who visit Iowa’s Trainland U.S.A. quickly become converts to old-fashioned toy trains.

“Many youngsters come in wide-eyed and can be halfway down the aisle before their parents get in the door,” says Judy Atwood, who has run the model train museum with her husband Red for the past 36 years.

Designed to depict the development of railroads across the United States, it features 2,600 square feet of display space, coursed by nearly a mile of HO gauge track. At any given time, up to 25 vintage locomotives, including turn-of-the-century steam engines hauling freight and 1950s diesels pulling streamliners, can be seen in action at this family-friendly attraction. www.trainlandusa.com, 515-674-3813.

Courtesy National Museum of the United States Air Force

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton, Ohio

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is home to this amazing complex that serves as the official museum of the United States Air Force. It also ranks as the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world.

With more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display, it’s a major tourist attraction, drawing more than a million visitors a year. The museum’s collection includes many rare aircraft of historical and/or technological importance. Among them is the only surviving North American XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, one of four remaining Convair B-36 Peacemakers and the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki during the last days of World War II.

At home here, too, are several presidential aircraft, including those used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. www.nationalmuseum.af.mil, 937-25-3286.

Virginia Museum of Transportation, Roanoke, Virginia

Originally formed in 1963 as a partnership of the Norfolk & Western Railway and the city of Roanoke, this excellent museum houses more than 2,500 objects showcasing Virginia’s rich history of rail, air and road transportation.

While all modes of transportation are represented, the museum focuses on Roanoke’s railroad heritage. Its collection includes more than 50 pieces of rolling stock — locomotives and other rail cars — including the largest array of diesel locomotives in the South.

The star of the show is No. 611 — an impressive Class J passenger steam locomotive from the 1940s — that was capable of pulling 15 cars at speeds up to 110 mph. Road-related exhibits present a history of transportation ranging from horse-drawn vehicles to cars, truck and buses from every decade of the 20th century. www.vmt.org, 540-342-5670.

Courtesy National Air and Space Museum

National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC

Since opening on the National Mall in 1976, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has become the hub of all things flight. The museum (along with its second location, the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia) contains the most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts (more than 60,000 objects) in the world. It draws almost 6 million visitors annually.

A massive renovation of the museum’s exhibits will be taking place during the next several years, but the museum will remain open throughout the project, with phased closings/openings of galleries.

Museum favorites will remain on display during the renovation including the 1903 Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, the Bell X-1, North American X-15 and the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia. In addition to its exhibits, the museum features an IMAX theater and a planetarium. www.airandspace.si.edu, 202-633-2214.

Tallahassee Automobile Museum, Tallahassee, Florida

Although it’s not among the nation’s best-known automobile museums, this Florida repository of vehicles both antique and unique is a dandy. Employing a solar-powered two-story, 100,000-square-foot showroom, it currently displays more than 160 wildly diverse vehicles and a vast collection of Americana.

It’s an eclectic hoard that ranges from typewriters to telephones and cash registers to the country’s largest collection of Case knives. Special, too, is a stunning collection of Steinway pianos — said by the company to be the “finest private collection of Steinways in the world.”

It’s the exotic autos, however, that draw the crowds. They range from an 1894 Duryea, one of the first autos manufactured in the U.S., to a fleet of modern muscle cars. The museum also displays a trio of original Batmobiles, including the cars seen in the movies “Batman Returns” and “Batman Forever.” www.tacm.com, 850-942-0137.

Share This:


  • 0

What’s next for plane manufacturing after Boeing 737 Max 8 fallout?

Tags : 

{summary}

Airplane safety statistics remind us accidents are extremely uncommon. 2018 saw a slight increase from 2017 in plane crash deaths globally. According to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN): “The ASN recorded a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents in 2018, leading to 556 deaths, compared with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost in 2017, the safest year in aviation history.”

Then on March 10, a Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed in Ethiopia, killing 157 people. This happened only months after the same type of plane went down in Indonesia, killing 189 people. This leaves much cause for discussion regarding Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) complicity in the accidents.

Was the 737 Max 8 rushed to market, resulting in hundreds of deaths? Crash victims’ families are filing lawsuits while the Justice Department probes the 737’s FAA certification, given the model’s deadly faults.

The plane manufacturing world has been rocked, possibly causing “the first decline of corporate earnings since 2016,” according to Reuters.

The official word is that pilot error is not the cause of the Ethiopian crash, so Boeing must recognize its manufacturing culpability. Boeing’s CEO has apologized for the crashes while rumors circulate the model’s anti-stall system software’s “faulty sensor readings” is to blame.

The FAA’s response was to ground its 737 Max 8 planes until further investigation. Boeing’s usual 737 Max 8 production has been cut by 20 percent, negatively impacting the aviation world.

For example, American Airlines has cancelled 90 flights through June 5. Southwest Airlines also flies these grounded planes, and its current plan to retire a fleet of old planes might be delayed due to recent events. The company just announced a week delay in its 737 pullout.

While production is scaled back, it looks as if some parts production will continue, impacting workers less, according to Moneycontrol.com: “two main suppliers of Boeing, CFM International and Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc, indicated that they would continue their operations at record pace regardless of Boeing’s plans.”

Renton, Washington; and Wichita, Kansas, are two manufacturing cities with Boeing-related workforces. Renton is Boeing’s main production hub, while Wichita houses Spirit AeroSystems, which manufactures shipset parts.

Spirit AeroSystems has stated that it will continue to produce its usual number of 52 shipsets for later use in the 737 Max 8 planes. General Electric makes Boeing LEAP jet engines, and also reports it will maintain its usual production plan of 5 percent overall engine sales to Boeing.

The prevailing assumption is that parts suppliers, all the way down to factory workers, will not face layoffs since routine production levels are maintained.

Some Boeing suppliers even anticipate potential benefits from the 737 groundings. Heico Corporation, for example, supplies engine parts. If older plane models are flying due to the 737 Max 8’s grounding, they will need parts, maintenance, and servicing — thus increasing demand in some areas.

But there may not be a silver lining on this cloud. One recent editorial in Bloomberg challenges suppliers plans to maintain production levels without losing money: “The longer the grounding lasts, the more unlikely it is that suppliers will emerge from this debacle unscathed. They risk losing revenue from lower demand and cash-flow hits should their investments go unneeded.”

Prior to the March 10 Ethiopia crash, Boeing planned to increase 737 production levels. Machinist unions were already irked by recent “quality transformation” changes that automate manufacturing — with “precision machining” and “robotic riveting” — and streamline quality assurance processes. Quality inspections, conducted by skilled shop floor machinists, may be reduced in the process.

Machinists Union District 751 has requested workers describe incidents where they were discouraged from reporting assembly line problems.

The union acknowledges “current employment levels will be maintained” despite production setbacks. Pilots’ and flight attendants’ unions have voiced concerns about the 737 Max 8 planes’ overall safety.

The recent crash has more people listening, watching, waiting — and perhaps changing those early summer vacation plans, too.

Share This:


  • 0

Travel2020: Reimagining the airline seat of the future

Tags : 

{summary}

Small may not be so beautiful for airline passengers. That is, if current concepts in economy seat design get a foothold in the airline industry.

The airline seat of the future may not be a seat at all. In fact, if Italian seat designer Aviointerior has its way, it may be more of a, well, perch. While it may not be the first time such concepts have been proposed, perhaps the scary part is that this concept of stand-up airline seating keeps coming back to live another day.

The latest version has passengers propped up on bicyclelike seat, with surrounding seats blocking the passenger into a clean and cozy fit. The model is the Skyrider 3.0, an improvement, they say, on the Skyrider 2.0 that debuted last year at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Germany.

According to CNN reports, the design company stresses that this concept is not about creating a “cattle class,” perhaps a notch below basic economy, and cramming in as many passengers in as possible.

“The message is, we do not want to put thousands of people in the cabin, we want to offer a multi-class configuration, which is nowadays impossible if you want to reach the maximum load of passengers,” Gaetano Perugini, engineering adviser at Aviointeriors, told CNN.

However, the Skyrider seat offers much less space than the average economy seat — just 23 inches — so airlines could, indeed, create a cattle car economy class. Current comparable measures in airline economy class seats run from 29 to 32 inches.

“So that means that in the same cabin, you will have standard economy, premium economy or business class and ultra-basic economy — which is an innovation for the airline and the passenger,” Perugini said. “This is the true reason for the Skyrider.”

The design was first proposed back in 2010, but had some structural issues that prevented it from taking off. Indeed, Ryanair proposed a type of vertical seat in 2010 that never made it off the drawing room floor, although some 42% of those polled said they would book the seat if it were at half-rate.

The design would have allowed the airline to cram an extra 40 or 50 passengers into the cabin. Similarly, Airbus came out with a patent for a saddle of sorts in 2014, which became the target of jokes but never made it into the cabins. The current model, as with the others, does not bode well for every body type, perhaps any body type.

“If you read the specification of the A380 or the A320 — or the A321 or the 737, you read that it’s not allowed to be installed at a pitch of less than 28 inches,” the engineer explained in the report.

The seats look similar to a bicycle seat but with back support. But like other designs before it, this “ultra-basic economy” is getting a lot of stares but not picking up a lot of interest.

Even more recently, something called “the Move” was introduced by London design firm, LAYER. The seat looked more like lawn furniture you might find under an awning than a prototype of what the airline seat of the future should be. However, this seat debut had much more to it than form. It actually behaves like a robot of sorts with sophisticated systems of technology woven into seemingly simple fabric.

Image credit: LAYER

Designed for Airbus use on short- and medium-haul flights, the seat design is enabled with smart sensors that allow passengers to control their seat settings via an app on their phone. Flyers will be able to work with seat temperatures and find the sweet spot for back support as sensors calculate their height and girth.

The Move, via a downloaded app, will “communicate” with occupants, telling them when to hydrate and when to stretch. The seat will even offer a massage setting.

“Throughout the journey, the Move seat automatically adjusts based on passenger weight, size and movement to maintain optimal ergonomic comfort,” said LAYER founder Benjamin Hubert in a press release. “This is made possible by passing current through the conductive yarn to vary the seat tension.”

The Move was 18 months in the making, thanks to a partnership between Airbus and LAYER. The prototype presents a lightweight perforated composite frame with a knitted, one-piece sling seat suspended over it. The digitally knitted seat cover weaves into a smart textile with integrated conductive yarns of various densities that offer different levels of support.

The seats do not recline, rather, they “mold.” Passengers can choose from four different “seat modes,” that wrap and adjust to the passenger’s shape without infringing on the personal space of other flyers. The Move app can respond to positioning needs, such what is needed for dining and what is needed for sleep.

The seat can tell if the passenger leaves the seat, or has left something behind in the seat back pocket. The tray table, stored vertically, is height-adjustable and can be fully extended or folded in half for more seat space.

“All too often, new concepts for flying are focused on innovation in business class,” Hubert said. “We were excited to take on this project with Airbus to find ways to improve and add value to the economy class experience — for both the passenger and the airline.”

While we do not know whether economy cabins of the future will look more like buses with poles and dangling straps to grab, a compendium of customized integrated technology to dazzle customers but mostly confuse, or a surprisingly comfortable and relaxing appointment that will make flying all the more pleasant … the jury is out — way out — at present.

Share This:


  • 0

Tax credits, jobs slashed as GM adds new electric SUV plant

Tags : 

{summary}

Auto giant General Motors has announced it will begin manufacturing a new electric vehicle (EV), with the news coming shortly after previously reported plant closures took effect. Meanwhile, the IRS has confirmed that an electric car subsidy is now being phased out.

Last November, GM signaled 14,700 layoffs by 2019, as it restructures towards more ecologically sound EV manufacturing. This has been a thorn in the side of the Trump administration’s spotlight on Rust Belt manufacturing jobs, as disparities between job statistics and real-world losses are highlighted. Despite monthly reports, the U.S. manufacturing sector faces attrition that can’t be obscured by political machinations, and the GM controversy proves this.

In late March, Trump criticized GM for shuttering its Lordstown, Ohio, factory, causing the loss of 5,400 jobs in the process. But such righteousness falls flat in the face of federal tax credit changes. On April 1, an Obama-era federal EV tax credit was reduced from $7,500 to $3,750 — a harsh April Fool’s Day for anyone who thought they could rely on EV market stability.

The stated rationale behind this change is that GM has already hit the 200,000-vehicle limit to qualify for the credit. But recent legislation that extends a “number of alternative fuel tax credits” did not extend the EV manufacturing limit. This is a political move at a time when new credit-extending legislation, backed by automakers like GM and Tesla, addresses other manufacturing areas.

Tesla is another recipient of the now-expired tax credit, and the company reports much slower sales due to this change.

Amidst job losses and politicized tax maneuverings, there’s still more GM news. The company has just announced a new EV model to complement its Chevy Bolt EV. This vehicle will be a crossover SUV under the Cadillac brand, the first of 20 new EV’s in the works for the company by 2023.

Michigan is the fortunate recipient of this new EV’s manufacturing plant: a $300 million investment at Orion Township will add 400 new jobs. Part of the company’s green energy restructuring project, it also abides by new manufacturing provisions under the yet-to-be-passed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Supposedly, GM is investing $1.8 billion overall in new operations in six states.

Speaking of investments, what about the workers? The United Auto Workers (UAW) will negotiate a new contract with GM later this year. When President Trump visited Ohio in March, he blasted the union for job losses and demanded the Lordstown facility be reopened.

The UAW’s vice president, Terry Dittes, has acknowledged GM’s investment in Michigan, even as jobs are lost elsewhere: “The great workforce at Lake Orion understands that today’s announcement will provide over 400 new jobs for a General Motors product of the future built by UAW Local 5960 members for years to come right here in Michigan. Today’s GM commitment of $300 million to build this electric vehicle, with our UAW members, is a good start on GM’s investment toward keeping future manufacturing jobs here in America.”

Meanwhile, struggling GM workers are receiving sympathetic press. In late March, workers built the last Chevy Cruze after committing to $118 million in annual concessions in mid-2017. Now GM blames falling Cruze sales for layoffs, while workers are left scrambling for unemployment benefits, possible relocations and reassignments, or new employment altogether.

Dittes has emphatically stated that the UAW will “negotiate hard” for the Lordstown plant to stay open. The closure impacts 1,400 workers and “thousands more indirect jobs in the surrounding area in northeast Ohio, a key swing state in presidential elections,” according to Bloomberg

Key considerations in the upcoming months include how the company withstands the federal tax credit rollback, which will have a definite impact on manufacturing demands, along with simultaneous plant closures; new openings; presidential politics; international developments like Brexit; and tense union negotiations.

Many GM workers have been dedicated employees for decades. This is why the UAW filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio to ensure workers’ contractual rights with GM at plants in Lordstown and Baltimore. The company’s Hamtramck, Michigan, plant closure has also drawn serious resistance, as community protests include many Detroit area local union and Moratorium Now members.

No matter how these lawsuits and protests turn out, the changing world of auto manufacturing is under immense scrutiny.

How do large companies transition to green manufacturing practices and products while maintaining a stable workforce? All eyes are on GM: a notable corporate canary in the coal mine economy.

Share This:


  • 0

EV sales reach record numbers, electricity providers move to meet demand

Tags : 

{summary}

U.S.-based sales of electric vehicles increased more than 72 percent in 2018 from the previous year, with the class of autos moving more than 354,000 such vehicles.

Tesla was the strongest performer. Sales of the manufacturer’s three battery-powered models were reported Jan. 3, totaling more than 191,000 vehicles in 2018, compared with 50,000 in 2017. Tesla sold 139,782 Model 3s in 2018, compared with 1,764 in 2017. The Model 3 is the top selling EV in the US.

According to InsideEVs, 2018 sales figures show that Tesla’s battery powered Model X sold 26,100 units and its Model S sold 25,745 units.

Toyota ranked second in terms of sales in 2018, with the Prius Prime selling 27,595 vehicles in the U.S. Honda’s Clarity plug-in hybrid sold 18,211 units in 2018. GM’s hybrid, the Chevrolet Volt, sold 18,306 units in 2018. Despite these figures, or possibly because of them, in November 2018, GM said it would close down the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly facility where the Volt has been built since late 2010 and that the model was to be discontinued Mar. 1, 2019.

GM is moving forward with its pure battery-powered vehicle, the Bolt. In 2018, GM sold 18,019 Bolts, ranking seventh in the U.S. In 2017, the Bolt was the second most popular EV, behind only the Tesla Model S, with sales of 23,297 units.

In other encouraging news for the EV market, the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation said that the transition to electric vehicles is well underway with “more than 1 million EVs on US roads as of October 2018.” The report’s authors said automakers were responding to customer demand. Thus, both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are “increasingly cost-competitive with internal combustion engines.”

The electric vehicle sales appear in record territory and electricity companies are working to move the EV infrastructure system forward to meet demand. The organization said it estimates that by 2030 there will about 19 million on U.S. roadways or about 7 percent of all vehicles, which it said totals about 260 million by that time.

By the end of the end of the next decade, almost 10 million charge ports will be required to need the rise demand. “This level of increase in power demand will prove important to US utilities who are concerned with flattening demand for their power,” S&P Global Platts said.

“Utilities are making big pushes to install chargers for EVs,” Zane McDonald, Platts Analytics’ senior transportation technology analyst, said. “They are installing the wires to stimulate this extra demand.”

Worldwide, the current sales of plug-in EV sales totaled 1.7 million units, up nearly 40 percent from 2017 at 1.2 million cars sold. In fact, Tesla, long known for its headlines about operating at a loss, finally announced that it was profitable.

The rise in EV car sales may be related to federal incentives in the form of a $7,500 tax credit. That credit will drop to $3,500 in 2019 and to zero in 2020. Sales of EVs are not expected to remain as strong as seen in 2018, though, on fears that the U.S. may be entering an economic slowdown.

Share This:


  • 0

Why are on-the-job deaths of large-truck drivers on the rise?

Tags : 

The number of large-truck drivers who died in a traffic fatality reached a record level in 2017 — the last year with complete data available. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large-truck occupant fatalities in multiple-vehicle crashes increased by 28.5 percent from 2016. Large-truck occupant fatalities in single-vehicle crashes increased by 8.7 percent from 2016.

Read More

Share This:


  • 0

Boutique airports, airlines are on the rise

Tags : 

In a world defined by stiff global competition, heightened user experiences, and demanding social media presences, the bigger is better mindset has been ruling for some time. But some regional airports and smaller airlines have been quietly rewriting this messaging.

Read More

Share This:


  • 0

The mad dash to quell drivers’ fears about autonomous vehicle safety

Tags : 

Apparently, in an attempt to ward off the Skynet-led techno-apocalypse, people in the American Southwest are attacking self-driving cars. While this sounds insane, in light of recent incidents where autonomous vehicles have led to the injury and even death of citizens, it makes sense in a sort of morbid way.

Read More

Share This: