‘Tis the Season
It’s road salt season in the parts of the United States that experience winter. That’s bad news for everyone who worries about keeping their car rust-free, but particularly for the owners of certain vehicles built by Honda. The company has recalled 430,000 cars due to a risk that the front drive shaft could be significantly corroded by road salt. Honda also recalled some vehicles for faulty window switches that could cause fires, and others for problems with the software that controls certain warning lights and electrical functions.
This Week in Sheetmetal
Hennessey made its debut as a true automaker (as opposed to a tuner) when it unveiled the $2.1 million Venom F5. They’re only building 24, so you’ll probably never lay eyes on one. But Hennessey says the car will have 1817 horsepower and a top speed of 311 mph, so if you do see one coming, get out of the way.
Mercedes shared production timelines and heavily disguised images of five of its forthcoming electric vehicles. The EQS, EQA, EQB, and EQE are all slated to enter production in 2021, with the EQE SUV to follow in 2022.
Chevy gave us the first glimpse of the Bolt EUV (which is a new vehicle, and not a re-branding of the Bolt we already know and like). The new Bolt will hit dealerships by the end of next year and—we now know—will feature a sequential turn signal and GM’s Super Cruise self-driving suite.
EV startup Canoo showed us two of its three planned delivery vans, slated for sale in 2022. The vans are strange-looking but will have 450 cubic feet of cargo space and around 230 miles of range. Amazon-owned Zoox, also a member of the Pod Cars Are The Future club, showed a prototype of its EV robotaxi this week but didn’t make any promises on a production date.
President-elect Joe Biden announced his picks for several key cabinet and administrative positions this week. Particularly relevant to us are his choices of former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg for Transportation secretary, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm for Energy secretary, and Michael Regan, a North Carolina regulator, for head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The choices signal an intent to focus on big infrastructure projects and renewable energy. Granholm and Regan both have plenty of work experience relevant to their proposed roles. Buttigieg’s nomination is more of a head-scratcher, but fortunately for him the only non-negotiable qualification for a cabinet position is the ability to convince 51 senators to vote for you.
The undeniable success of Tesla’s Model 3 may be having an adverse effect on sales of the company’s more expensive offerings. Tesla will shut down the production lines of its Model S and Model X for 18 days from December 24 to January 11. The company didn’t say why production would pause, but low demand is often a safe assumption. Workers will be paid for part of the furlough but not for all of it, and are invited to “volunteer” in other parts of the business while the lines are stopped. How’s that for worker appreciation?
This week brought some excellent car writing in The New Yorker, of all places, with an excerpt from Bruce McCall’s new book How Did I Get Here? Once you’re done with that, check out some more Bruce McCall from our own archives.
The challenge presented by vaccinating the public against coronavirus doesn’t stop with developing an effective shot. Now, the transportation industry is faced with facilitating the delivery of millions of vaccine doses every week, each of which must be cared for as if lives depend on it (because they do) and kept at very low temperatures the entire time. Read about how the Pfizer vaccine is getting from the factory to a shoulder near you in the Wall Street Journal.
For something a little lighter, check out this car commercial parody from last week’s Saturday Night Live. And allow this to serve as a friendly reminder that buying someone a monthly payment for Christmas is not as romantic as it seems on TV.
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