Audi continues to use dieselgate defeat devices. 127,000 cars affected

“Unbelievable!” exclaims Germany’s  BILD tabloid: More than two years after the dieselgate scandal became public, Volkswagen Group’s premium brand Audi still “produces and sells diesel cars with the illegal software.”  

According to the paper [German, paywall], Germany’s regulator KBA has found “illegal defeat devices” in V6 TDI diesel engines used in Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q5, SQ 5, SQ 5 plus and Q 7.  127 000 vehicles are affected, the paper writes.

Even more unbelievable: The illegal engines were launched end of 2015, AFTER the scandal became public. [Continue Reading]

Mitsubishi Electric’s AI camera promises price/performance breakthrough for autonomous cars

Hidetoshi Mishima (left) and his engineers (c) Bertel Schmitt

Today in Tokyo, Mitsubishi Electric announced a possible breakthrough on the rocky road to autonomous driving: An AI-powered camera that more than triples the detection range from 30 meters to more than 100.

Using Mitsubishi’s “Maisart” AI technology (it stands for “Mitsubishi Electric’s AI creates the State-of-the-ART in technology,” we were told with a straight face) the system could solve a conundrum that continues to plague the autonomous drive business: [Continue Reading]

BMW broke yet another sales record in a market that we are told is closed

BMW’s Kronschnabl presents yet another record year (c) Bertel Schmitt

Recently, Detroit’s previously strident rhetoric about the allegedly “closed market” Japan quieted down a bit. This after a series of articles with car importer after car importer showing that the “closed market” story is a blatant lie. Japan in fact has one of the world’s most open car markets, mostly due to American pressure. Zero percent tariff. 5,000 cars per year and model can be brought in with next to no paperwork. Try that in the U.S.A., where Detroit’s cash cow, the light utility vehicle, is protected by a 25 percent tariff, and a huge wall of other trade barriers.

Today, I could revisit the story, when Peter Kronschnabl, CEO of BMW Group Japan, presented his 2017 results, and yet another sales record.

[Continue Reading]

China NEV Weekly Episode 7: Las Vegas, Lifan, and LvChi

China NEV Weekly Episode 7

Happy New Year! No time to waste: we continue with a new episode of China NEV Weekly, bringing you the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. This week, we start in Las Vegas:
[Continue Reading]

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance most likely world’s largest automaker, Volkswagen to be 2nd

We interrupt our self-imposed Christmas holiday with the news that in all likelihood, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance will end the year as the world’s largest automaker group. Volkswagen Group most likely will come in second. [Continue Reading]

Toyota rolls out “BEVs in earnest.”

BEVs in earnest. Picture (c) Bertel Schmitt

The common narrative among the disruption-demographic is that large “legacy” automakers are asleep at their four wheels. The not-so-common version is: Step aside when they wake up. The step-aside moment was today, when world’s largest automaker Toyota laid out its electrification plans.

In a press conference at Toyota’s Megaweb in Tokyo, EVP Shigeki Terashi started out complaining to reporters that some of his limelight was stolen during Akio Toyoda’s announcement of a battery joint venture with Panasonic. Then he revealed that: [Continue Reading]

China NEV Weekly Episode 6: A bang and a Byton

China NEV Weekly

We continue with a new episode of China NEV Weekly, bringing you the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. This week with a bang, a Byton, and Ford’s new friend.

[Continue Reading]

That’s going to hurt Elon Musk: Battery-partner Panasonic romantically involved with Toyota

The happy couple meets the press. Picture (c) Bertel Schmitt

Tesla-chief Elon Musk should need a few extra Ambiens tonight after he hears the news from Tokyo. His Gigafactory battery partner Panasonic today announced some sort of engagement with the world’s largest automaker Toyota, with the goal of developing the best batteries for EVs, the type of batteries that definitely are not on the table in the domestic partnership between Tesla and Panasonic. Will it lead to a giga-divorce?

Officially, Toyota and Panasonic today announced a rather innocuous-sounding “agreement to begin studying the feasibility of a joint automotive prismatic battery business,” and Tesla’s propaganda arms undoubtedly will assure the faithful that nothing is to be feared from it, and that, should it unexpectedly lead to something, “Elon will have it first.”

If you went to today’s press conference on the matter, you went home thereafter with a totally different impression.  The presser was called with only four hours of notice, always a sign that something important is afoot. We were invited not to come to Toyota’s usual basement-bunker meeting room, but to the grand ballroom at Tokyo’s swank Conrad. Despite the tight timing, every seat was taken.  So enormous was the occasion, that Toyota even laid on a feature-length YouTube video.

[Continue Reading]