Category Archives: Automobile Industry

Printed Solar Panels to be tested in Tesla

In an effort to increase awareness about climate change, scientists in Australia are busy experimenting with printed solar panels. The team from the University of Newcastle is getting the newly invented panels ready for a 15,100-km (9,400-mile) trip in a Tesla electric car which will begin in September.

Charge Around Australia is a project that plans to power a Tesla vehicle using 18 of these special solar panels. With each plastic panel measuring 18 meters (59 feet) long, they are meant to be rolled out on the ground to absorb sunlight in order to charge. Created from laminated PET plastic, the printed solar is lightweight and costs less than $10 per square meter.

According to Paul Dastoor, the developer of the panels and coordinator of the project, the plan is twofold: the first purpose is to check the durability of the plastic panels and the second is to test the possibility of using the panels for other purposes in the future. He explained, “This is actually an ideal test bed to give us information about how we would go about using and powering technology in other remote locations, for example, in space.”

The 84-day journey is sure to raise interest in the effects of climate change. The team’s findings will have significant impact in the use of sustainable energy and solutions for the security of our planet.

Honda and Sony Collaborate to Build EVs

In an exciting revelation, Honda and Sony have just announced plans to partner up and develop electric cars. The two Japanese companies have not yet announced the name of their upcoming entity. The vehicles will be manufactured in Honda’s facilities and Sony will provide the mobility service platform. Their goal is to team together this year and begin selling the first car in 2025.

While the joint venture is unique, the announcement is not entirely surprising, as there has been an international push for zero emission vehicles as well as systems that provide more advanced features. This gives tech companies like Sony an opportunity to enter the automobile market. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida reiterated the vision, remarking: “In the joint venture, we would like to lead the mobility evolution by combining our technology and experience with Honda’s long experience in mobility development and vehicle body manufacturing technologies.” When asked about the possibility of others joining the partnership, Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe responded, “In the future, we would like to expand our business with an open mindset,” while adding that the focus remains on building the electric car model for now.

Toyota Not Worried About Competition from Tesla

Toyota executives answered questions about their plans for the development of the company to better compete in the electric vehicle market, with a special concern aimed at Tesla Motors.

President Akio Toyoda responded to Tesla’s valuation, set at about $400 billion, was unrealistically high; larger than all of Japan’s 7 car makers put together.

In addition, Toyoda said that his company can learn something from Tesla’s success with investors. He said Tesla’s business model could teach Toyota a great deal, especially about revenue for electric vehicles, regulatory credits, software, and renewable energy products.

But not everything was praise for the upstart American company.

Toyoda used the example of a restaurant to compare Tesla to Toyota. Whereas Tesla is like a restaurant that is still trying to sell its recipes, Toyota is a restaurant that is already attracting and serving many loyal customers.

“I am hesitant to say this — Tesla’s business, if you want to use the analogy, is like that of a kitchen and a chef,” Toyoda said.

“They have not created a real business in the real world yet. They are trying to trade recipes. The chef is saying ‘Our recipe is going to become the standard of the world in the future!’ At Toyota, we have a real kitchen and a real chef too and are creating the dishes already. There are customers, who are very picky about what they like to eat, sitting in front of us, and eating our dishes already.”

Toyoda told his investors that his company manufactures and sells many more and a broader variety of cars than Tesla, the number is about 100 million cars on the world’s roads. The outlook for 2021 is for Toyota to sell about 7.5 million vehicles. Compare that to Tesla’s forecast to sell about half a million electric vehicles in 2020.

Toyota announced a joint venture last year with one of Tesla’s fiercest competitors, former battery producer and now electric car producer BYD China. Despite profit decline last quarter, Toyota has registered a 3% higher sales recovery and the general auto industry, which is still recovering from depressed sales due to the pandemic in China during the first six months of 2020.

Mustang Mach E Electrifying Ford’s 2020 Offerings

The Mustang Mach E, Ford’s newly unveiled electric car, is an SUV with a lot riding on its struts.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 coupe. Photo courtesy of sv1ambo

The Future in Now
Ford Motor Company is betting big that its redesigned, futuristic, sporty, high-performance electric car will sell a lot better than their more utilitarian (read boring) electric cars like the battery-run Focus compact car.


Name that Car
When you think “Mach E” consumers should immediately think about “Mach 1” versions of the Mustang sports car, offered by Ford at different times through the years.


Money is No Object?

Ford is going to sell the Mach E at a base price of $43,000. Buyers will be able to choose from three variants of the car: Select, Premium and First Edition. Next year Ford is promising a “California Route 1” version and a bit later they are hoping to introduce a high-performance GT model.


Batteries are Included
Ford announced that the Mach E battery will go for 230 miles before needing a charge. Extended range models are aiming for 300 miles per charge. This compares well with competitor Tesla’s Model Y sport utility, which has a 300-mile range for its rear-drive versions, and a bit less for its al-wheel drive performance models.


Speed Racer?

Ford’s goal is to get the Mach E from 0 to 60mph even faster than the least expensive Porsche Macan SUV. The GT version of the Mach E is aiming for an acceleration target of the “mid-3-second” range. This compares favorably with the Porsche 911, according to Ford.


Full-Screen Dashboard
The Mach will come equipped with a 15.5-inch screen. Tesla’s Model 3 comes with a 15-inch screen. The screen will offer a new generation of its Sync infotainment software that gets its updates through the air, just like a Tesla.


Its Great. When Can I Get Mine?
Consumers can already place their orders. Beginning on November 17, 2019, customers just need to hand over $500 as a deposit to secure their order. The cars should begin arriving by the end of next year.

GM Say Tariffs are Bad for Business and Bad for People

General Motors explained to the US Commerce Department that broad tariffs such as the

Fábrica de General Motors en Rosario. Photo courtesy Baglieto.

kind the Trump administration is threatening to impose, could “lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad for this iconic American Company, and risk is less-not more- U.S. jobs.” GM is the country’s largest automaker.

Back in May the Trump administration started an investigation to see if imported vehicles are a threat to U.S. national security. President Trump as many times stated that he would be happy to place a 20 percent import tariff on vehicles.

GM produces some of its cars overseas now for the U.S. market, including in Canada and Mexico. GM warned that tariffs could dampen sales and raise prices. Even if the company decided not to pass on their higher costs to consumers, this “could still lead to less investment, fewer jobs and lower wages for our employees. The carry-on effect of less investment and a smaller workforce could delay breakthrough technologies,” GM said.

The company employees about 110,000 people throughout the United States in 47 manufacturing plants. It purchases tens of billions of dollars’ worth of car parts from US suppliers annually. They have invested more than $22 billion in US manufacturing infrastructure since 2009.

The overbroad and steep application of import tariffs on our trading partners risks isolating U.S. businesses like GM from the global market that helps to preserve and grow our strength here at home,” GM said.

Also filing comments in opposition to the Tariffs was Toyota Motor Corp. They said that tariffs would, “threaten U.S. manufacturing, jobs, exports, and economic prosperity.”