Feds detail EV tax credit rules, GM to axe CarPlay, Tesla Semi’s first recall


Feds’ new EV tax-credit rules are as strict as expected

Intake: The federal government on Friday unveiled its new tax-credit rules, deciding which EVs would get a tax break and which ones wouldn’t. The U.S. Treasury Department’s stricter rules will reduce or remove tax credits—which range up to $7500—for some zero-emission models but grant buyers another two weeks, until April 18. On that day, the new requirements take effect, and the Treasury Department publishes a list of eligible vehicles. The rules, which reward vehicles with batteries made in the U.S., are designed to wean the United States off its dependence on China for the materials needed to make EVs. The revised tax-credit rules are part of President Joe Biden’s effort to make 50 percent of U.S. new vehicle sales by 2030 EVs or plug-in hybrids, Reuters said.

Exhaust: Part of the EV tax credits, according to Reuters, require that 50 percent of the value of battery components be produced or assembled in North America to qualify for $3750 of the available credit and 40 percent of critical minerals sourced from the United States or a country with which it has a free-trade agreement. The Biden administration believes that over time the tax credit will result in more EVs sold as automakers scramble to revamp supply chains to meet critical mineral and battery component rules. It is not immediately clear when or how many EVs will lose tax credits or see them cut. — Steven Cole Smith

Baby Bugatti is getting its own little race series

The Little Car Company Baby Bugatti II at Prescott Hill
The Little Car Company

Intake: It might only be three-quarters the size of the real thing, but we already know that the Baby Bugatti II from The Little Car Company is 100 percent fun. Now the scaled-down classic, together with drivers both young and old, will be put through its paces at some of Britain’s most historic racing venues. The UK Bugatti Baby II Championship will see 20 adult-and-child teams compete against each other in a three-pronged sprint series that takes in Silverstone and the Prescott Hill Climb—home of the Bugatti Owners’ Club—as well as The Little Car Company’s home at Bicester Heritage, in Oxfordshire. To be eligible, young drivers must be between the ages of 10 and 14 years old, and, while there’s no upper limit for mum or dad there’s a maximum height of 6 feet, 2 inches. You don’t need to own one of the £50,000 cars ($62,000) as the £4950 ($6100) entry fee is worked out on an arrive-and-drive basis with a car and factory support included. Entrants will even be offered coaching from Bugatti development driver and speed record holder Andy Wallace, and although the all-electric Baby’s top speed is only around 40 mph, we’re sure it will feel at least 25 percent faster.

Exhaust: This new series marks the first time in almost a century that junior Bugattis have actually been raced. Ettore Bugatti built the first Baby for his five-year-old son Roland in 1926 but such was the response it soon went into production, with around 500 examples built between 1927 and 1936. These half-scale replicas of the Type 35 Grand Prix were sold new for 5000 francs, an equivalent of $3500 today, and only 100 or so are believed to still exist. As a result, originals have been known to sell for over $100,000 and we can’t imagine anyone daring to race one. — Nik Berg

Surprise OPEC oil cuts should mean, yep, higher gas prices

Close up senior man hands refueling
Xavier Lorenzo/Getty Images

Intake: The price of a gallon of gas, already inching upward because of the season, is set to climb higher. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers announced surprise cuts, totaling up to 1.15 million barrels per day from May until the end of the year, “a move that could raise prices worldwide,” according to the Associated Press. The production cuts alone could push U.S. gasoline prices up by roughly 26 cents per gallon, in addition to the usual increase that comes when refineries change the gasoline blend during the summer driving season, said Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners LLC. The normal seasonal increase is about 32 cents a gallon, according to the Energy Department. Iraq said it would reduce production by 211,000 barrels per day, the United Arab Emirates by 144,000, Kuwait by 128,000, Kazakhstan by 78,000, Algeria by 48,000 and Oman by 40,000. Our gas prices likely won’t reach the level they did one year ago, when the national average was about $4.50.

Exhaust: The cuts mean money in the pocket of Russian president Vladimir Putin, AP says, whose country will cut production by 500,000 barrels per day. All the countries involved are members of the so-called OPEC+ group of oil-exporting countries, which includes the original Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as well as Russia and other major producers. — SCS

GM to drop Apple Car Play and Android Auto

2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV exterior front three quarter with kayak

Intake: CNN is reporting that General Motors plans to phase out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, technologies that allow a driver to bypass the vehicle’s native infotainment system and instead mirror their smartphone’s display, via software designed by the cell-phone manufacturer. In lieu of CarPlay or Android Auto, future GM electric vehicle will shift to built-in infotainment systems developed with Google. CNN suggests GM’s decision to stop offering those systems in future electric vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer, could help the automaker capture more data on how consumers drive and charge EVs.

Exhaust: GM would benefit from focusing engineers and investment on one approach to more tightly connect in-vehicle infotainment and navigation with features such as assisted driving, Edward Kummer, GM chief digital officer, and Mike Hichme, executive director of digital cockpit experience, said in an interview. “We have a lot of new driver assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation,” Hichme told Reuters. “We don’t want to design these features in a way that are dependent on a person having a cellphone.” — SCS

Gas-sipping Golf on the way out

2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI 40th Anniversary Edition exterior rear three quarter driving

Intake: VW will not develop a new, ninth-generation Golf with a combustion engine after the current model reaches the end of its life cycle, according to Automotive News and its European sister publication Automobilwoche. The current, eighth-generation Golf will get a freshening next year. “That puts it in a great position until the end of the decade. Then we will have to see how the segment develops,” VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer told Automobilwoche. “If the world develops completely differently than expected by 2026 or 2027, then we can also launch a completely new vehicle again. But I don’t expect that to happen. So far, that’s not planned,” Schaefer said.

Exhaust: The Golf has been in production since 1974 and its name will be retained for a battery-electric vehicle. The internal-combustion-engine Golf’s exit won’t happen before 2028, Schäfer said, in concert with the arrival of the company’s new SSP electric platform. — SCS

Ford tuning out AM radios in ICE and EVs

2022 Mustang Mach-E Ice White Appearance Package logo

Intake: Ford plans to stop installing AM radio in new gas-powered and electric vehicles beginning in 2024, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pickup, the Detroit Free Press has confirmed. “We are transitioning from AM radio for most new and updated 2024 models,” Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told the Free Press. There have been multiple manufacturers who complain that AM frequencies cause problems for electric vehicles, and therefore they dropped AM, but Ford is killing AM even in combustion-engine vehicles, though it will stay on in commercial vehicles.

Exhaust: According to The Verge, Ford was joined by BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, Volkswagen, and Volvo in staking out the position that AM radio is incompatible with EVs, citing electromagnetic interference from the powertrain. Tesla made this same argument when it dropped AM radio from its vehicles back in 2018. This can be troubling, as AM is often the best source for emergency broadcasts. — SCS

Tesla Semi gets first recall

Tesla semi interior captain chair

Intake: The electric Tesla Semi truck, which began limited sales a few months ago, has its first recall, due to a supplier-sourced part. According to Electrek.co, the recall was announced on the NHTSA’s recall website, showing that the issue involves the parking brake and affects 35 vehicles. Apparently the electronic parking-brake module could fail to engage due to air leakage within the unit, leaving drivers unaware that it isn’t activated, possibly leading to a rollaway incident when the driver releases the service brake. This problem was identified as affecting 35 “Intellipark Valve Modules,” all from Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems.

Exhaust: Teslas detractors delight in posting photos of disabled Tesla trucks by the side of the road, but that wouldn’t be due to this parking-brake issue. Any all-new vehicle, especially one as ambitious as the Tesla Semi, is bound to suffer teething issues. — SCS


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    GM to drop Apple Car Play and Android Auto? Not sure this will do well with their customers who want these features.

    Ford tuning out AM radios in ICE and EVs? OK, don’t see why on non-EV cars to do this. Sounds like people don’t want to do the homework required to make it work.

    I guess it’s American car companies cutting features while raising prices day.

    AM transmitters may cause electromagnetic interference, but AM receivers? In my 40+ years of being a licensed radio amateur, I have never seen an AM receiver cause electromagnetic interference on a scale that would have any detriment to vehicle systems. Me thinks this is BS.

    So when GM pairs with Google, show me how to opt out. My car is the last place I want them tracking me. I can see no valid use to submit to this invasion of privacy.

    Dropping AM radio? It is obviously a conspiracy to cut people off from those right wing talk stations.
    Seriously though, whenever I have to endure a trip into NYC or through the NYC metro area, the AM stations (Newsradio 88 and 1010 WINS) provide the best and most frequent traffiic info. I would definitely miss that.

    I can’t have AM because it might affect an EV? Fix your EV. If Ford drops AM radio it looks like I bought my last new Ford. I’m not into music so FM doesn’t have much for me. Maybe they will give a permanent subscription for Sirius XM. Ford already won’t sell me a new truck because I want a super cab with leather seats. I tried. It’s either 4 door or cloth but not both.

    I think they’re dropping AM because the car’s electronics interfere with reception. But with the endless technical “miracles” they’re stuffing in, they can’t work around that??

    All your AM radio receiver does is listen for the radio signal, not transmit anything. Your EV electronics might mess with the AM radio signal, but not the other way around. No AM radio in a vehicle means being cut off from talk radio shows and “Emergency Broadcast” stations. Sounds like another liberal switcharoo, telling you what you “can” and “can not” listen to in your own car. If I have to, I will hang a AM transistor radio from my rear view mirror, just like the old days. But it won’t be in a new Ford

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