Ford stops building F-150 Lightnings, Tesla lets other EVs use its chargers, new-car prices high as ever


Ford stops building F-150 Lightnings, battery suspect

Intake: Ford stopped production and shipment of its Lightning electric pickup earlier this week over a potential battery issue after a truck “displayed a possible problem as part of the company’s pre-delivery quality inspections,” a Ford spokesperson said, according to Automotive News. The nature of the problem was not disclosed, but apparently, it was not serious enough for Ford to halt sales of Lightnings that were already on dealer lots. No timeline was given for the resumption of production or shipments.

Exhaust: Ford has been plagued with a rash of recalls, and CEO Jim Farley has pledged to improve the quality of Ford products. This could be a reaction to that mandate, to catch potential issues before they reach the consumer. The Lightning has been a major hit for Ford, with dealers and customers waiting on its delivery. — Steven Cole Smith

Nissan recalling over 460,000 vehicles for emblem danger

2010 Nissan Frontier Off-Road driving action

Intake: Nissan is recalling 463,472 vehicles, including more than 400,000 in the U.S., because the emblem on the driver’s side airbag that says “NISSAN” could detach when the airbag deploys, and possibly injure an occupant. The recall covers certain 2008–11 Titan, Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder, and Armada vehicles, and some 2008–09 Quest minivans. The recall includes 404,690 vehicles in the U.S., 17,214 in Canada, and 6,471 in Mexico. The resin emblem on the driver’s side airbag covers may have “reduced durability” due to variations in the production process of the emblem. A fix is still under development.

Exhaust: This is a new one—a flying emblem. Nissan said it is aware of four possible injuries related to the emblem detachment. If you have a loose or cracked emblem on an affected vehicle, we’d contact a Nissan dealer now and not wait for the official recall notice to arrive. — SCS

Tesla will open a portion of U.S. charging network to all EVs

Tesla Supercharger Lots California

Intake: Tesla will open a portion of its vast system of EV chargers to competitor electric vehicles as part of a $7.5 billion federal program aimed at curbing the nation’s carbon emissions, according to a new report from Automotive News. By the end of 2024, that means that 3500 new and existing superchargers along highway corridors and 4000 slower chargers at other lower-traffic locations will be made available to all brands electric vehicles in need of a top-up. Tesla currently has 17,711 superchargers nationwide, which accounts for about 60 percent of the total number of U.S. superchargers that can add significant chunks of range in a short amount of time. Opening the chargers to other brands of EVs will require the Tesla chargers to be modified to the dominant U.S. standard for charging connectors, known as the ‘Combined Charging System’ or CCS, to qualify for a government subsidy that will come from the $7.5B program.

Exhaust: For a government that wants to reach 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, this is a big win. It’s also a big deal if you have or will soon have an electric vehicle made by someone other than Tesla. While the move will erode Tesla’s competitive advantage some—the automaker has far and away the best charging infrastructure currently—there are still more than 10,000 chargers that should remain exclusive to Tesla, judging by the figures above. Ultimately, chargers will need to become as universal as gas pump nozzles to scale up the effectiveness of the nation’s charging infrastructure to a level that will allow us to reach the electric targets set in place by automakers and policymakers alike. This is a move in the right direction. — Nathan Petroelje

Ford patents a dual-motor live axle using hub motors

Ford hub motor live axle patent
US Patent Office

Intake: A patent filing from Ford that was published on February 9th reveals details of a new EV powertrain design that features hub motors coupled with one or more clutches to create a live axle. Hub motors are hardly new—Lordstown’s Endurance pickup uses this setup—but the design to be able to link them is something we have not previously seen. According to the patent description, the clutches would be electronically controlled and would be tunable for various situations.

Exhaust: The use case is not clear from the patent filing, but from where we sit, this looks to be off-road focused. Live axles excel in that type of environment and with the use of hub motors it would be possible to have the best of both worlds: a locker that turns both tires at exactly the same speed, and an open differential that allows for the fun party trick type stunts that require turning multiple wheels is different directions and speeds. Of course, just because Ford patented the idea does not mean we will ever see it in production, but this is an interesting design that seems to have real potential. — Kyle Smith

Car prices continue to soar as automakers pinch output

genesis first standalone dealership louisiana united states lafayette
Genesis | Jay Faugot

Intake: It seems like we’re running a story like this once a quarter, but alas: Car prices are still sky-high, and showing no signs of coming down from record heights anytime soon. According to Kelley Blue Book owner Cox Automotive, the average monthly payment for a new car has reached $777, a new record and nearly double the average monthly payment figure from as recent as 2019. That figure is nearly one-sixth of the median after-tax income for U.S. households, and that’s not good. Prices are up in the U.S., but they’re also up around the world, according to Automotive News. The root cause of these astronomical prices, at least in part, is that the automakers are clamping down on production to keep inventory low and price tags hefty. Inventory fell off a cliff during the pandemic because of supply chain woes, but those issues are showing signs of easing now, it appears. But the automakers, newly smitten with those big margins, have all vowed to keep production numbers in check.

Exhaust: With interest rates on the rise, a new car is rapidly approaching the domains of home ownership and college education as something for only the rich to enjoy. The shift to electric vehicles, which are, on average, more expensive than their gas-burning counterparts is only going to exacerbate the issue. And things aren’t much better in the used car market, where the average monthly payment climbed to $544, according to Cox Automotive. Something’s gotta give soon. — Nathan Petroelje

Delight in a 20-year recap of Dayonta’s most famous command

Intake: NASCARman, a writer for the valuable website, has posted a quick video of every person, or in some case persons, to give the “start your engines” command at the Daytona 500.  A couple of notables: Actor Matthew McConaughey’s 2005 “Awright, awright, awright!” command, preceded by a very somber President Bush in 2004 and then a not-so-somber President Trump in 2020. Interesting to note: The “Gentlemen, start your engines” morphed into “Lady and gentlemen, start your engines” in 2012, when Danica Patrick joined the field and Ford team owner Leonard Wood gave the command. Once she retired, Trump returned to the “Gentlemen…”

Exhaust: Five NASCAR Hall of Famers and four future Hall of Famers (Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano) will collectively give the command to fire engines for the race on Sunday, which is, incidentally, the 25th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s lone victory. — SCS

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    Who is paying for the 500,000 charging stations and electricity to charge the car? Bend over gas powered car owners, the government is going to give it to you to pay for it all.

    If Hagerty has to cover EVs, they should be publishing articles about the ones that were popular over a century ago, before the electric starter made electric cars obsolete.

    Hagerty needs to cover the EVs. The two top selling cars in California in 2022 were both EVs. It’s coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

    I agree with Lanny. Has this bill passed yet?
    Also is Hagerty a left – leaning company or is it just the writer?

    I just bought my car and secured a decent rate at the credit union. It only took a year+ of waiting for the car. Unless I’m changing my “toy” in the near future I don’t want to deal with buying a car for at least 5-10 years given this lousy market.

    Not buying anything new. Love my 2006 Trialblazer SS and am keeping her out of the salt here in VT. Not really in a position to buy anything “new” and don’t want to. See the prices at auction for any older cars or trucks w/o all the electric gizmos? Point made and said…Dr. John

    Don’t put your life in the hands of a chip. Or technology that is so backward and dangerous that it doesn’t recognize a human changing its mind suddenly in the middle of an intersection. Wait for a fully matured product. Anything ahead of that event is BS.

    California charges a yearly road use tax via registration fees to EV owners to offset what those owners are not paying in gasoline taxes. It’s a fixed amount starting at about $100 and can go up to $175 or more based on the vehicle’s value. It’s not based on actual road system usage. So if an EV driver uses their vehicle less than that of the driver of an ICE powered vehicle, then the EV driver may actually be paying more than their fair share to maintain roads.

    One thing is certain, if humans want to keep our planet habitable for our kids and their kids and their kids, we need to find a better solution than burning fossil fuels for getting ourselves around. EVs may not be the only or ultimate answer, but they are a step in the right direction.

    Anything but certain! The environmental impact of electric is not that dissimilar to a gas/diesel powered vehicle and the cost is drastically higher. A lot of miles to get a return on investment.

    The California gas tax is 53.9 cents per gallon. The average American drives 14,236 miles per year. So, the California gas tax will cost $308 for the average ICE driver. There’s no way a $100 or $175 registration fee covers what EV drivers are costing us in lost revenue on the gas tax and wear & tear on our roads & highways.
    EVs cause about 25% more wear and tear on roads due to the higher weight and torque of EVs. That factored in, there should be a per kwh tax of about 2 cents per kwh on all levels of charging. While taxing charging is easy at public stations, it will be a challenge for home charging. Luckily, EVs usually are tech heavy and can easily be set up to allow for accurate & passive taxing while you home charge.
    Older EVs may require an annual inspection to audit annual charging amounts. Either way the tax man is coming for EVs sooner or later.

    I was wondering when Tesla charging stations would have to bend to let other ev car makers use there stations. Yes it will be the gas tax for the roads, but why do we pay $5.7 billion dollar tab ,for most average American will never use, or could afford. Where is our choice that the government spend “our” money to pay this??

    I think it’s great to have lot’s of choice when buying cars…ICE, EV, Hydrogen, etc. I also believe we need to curb Earth’s rising temperature as much as we can. However, until we get the whole world (including China and India) to stop burning coal for electricity (long time coming), all the effort and expense the U.S. and Europe puts forth won’t stop the raise in temperature by very much at all.

    I would love to hear the specific science behind how EVs will affect the earth’s temperature. The energy required to move you from point A to point B doesn’t change based on the vehicle. The energy required to build an EV is equivalent to or greater than an ICE vehicle. So, temperature goes up either way. It’s really just a different choice that select people are trying to make mandatory. In terms of generation, all we did was move from coal to NG. Wind and solar have more than doubled capacity in the past 2 decades yet only moved from 7% to 11% of our total consumption. As EVs proliferate the demand for electricity will continue to grow. “Renewables” can’t keep up, it’s simple math. A balanced energy portfolio is arguably the best solution but doesn’t fit social justice commentary. NOW, back to cars. Your save the world notions are for other publications.

    Years ago a car mag speculated that Musk’s endgame was nothing to do with selling Tesla cars at all –it was the charging infrastructure. Selling out that infrastructure at this time will be looked back upon as a sublime business move in the master plan. Paying to access a network that should have been legislated to have a USA standard interface all along…

    As far as EV’s saving the world we have a long way to go for that math to make sense. Volvo’s own study last year put some alarming real numbers into the mix: 7 years for their EV to hit the zero emission point vs. their ICE due to the much larger pollution footprint in EV being born. EV expected to last 10 years (less than current US fleet cycle which was approaching 12 years pre-pandemic). If you are just looking at tailpipes, sure right now EV is better. Big picture is converting ICE to propane and making them last longer would be a much faster pollution saving (33% per vehicle) and more effective per dollar spent.

    A climate change paper I was looking at a while back basically said if human activity ceased right now it would only change what is happening by 50%, which they expressed as being 60 years from now instead of 30. Not sure how accurate that paper was (and my summary is extremely brief) but makes me wonder at least…

    “But the automakers, newly smitten with those big margins, have all vowed to keep production numbers in check.”Y

    Last time I checked, that was called “collusion” and “anti-competitive business practices,” both of which are illegal. Where is the FTC, CFPB, DOT, Commerce Dept, and others in looking out for our interests?

    Oh yeah, they’re out making sure the oil companies aren’t colluding to fix their prices against us by raising and lowering them in lockstep unison….

    I don’t see it lasting. Like OPEC, each will be itching to increase production to maximize the profits of these higher margins and gradually they’ll all cave to not be left out.

    How much of the EV ‘infrastructure’ is made in china? How much land are we going to let china buy, how many defunct GM plants will we let chinese companies buy in the spirit of EV development and battery production?
    What would happen to the U.S. if China said, “No we’re not lending you any more money, and either give us 50,000 acres of govt. land or start paying back $50 million per day in interest. We’re toast. Hagerty should cover all sides and risks of the EV revolution and China eating our lunch.

    I question the whole charging business. We supposedly have a “fragile” electrical grid, and how is that going to support 500,000 charging stations for EVs??? Is each charging station going to have its own windmill or solar panes system to provide the power needed? Regarding the issue of fuel, in 1958 when I was a high school student, there was a fella from Cal Tech (as I remember) that came and lectured our science class, and “prophesied” that we would run out of oil in 1983! So much for “science”. I put the same thoughts on the current “climate science”. Looks to me like it’s like nothing more than about $$.

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