The 2021 Ford Bronco is happening, so is a hydrogen Land Rover prototype, and Zeekr. That and more in The Morning Shift for June 15, 2021.
1st Gear: The Ford Bronco Is Coming Soon To A Dealership Near You
Ford announced on Tuesday that production of the 2021 Ford Bronco is in full swing, with the first Ford Broncos making their way to dealerships across the country. Ford will hope that its launch of the new Ford Bronco is relatively pain-free, given the trouble it has had with recent launches.
It’s probably also fair to say that Ford’s launch troubles have not appeared to hurt sales. Further, since the Bronco is intended to take direct aim at the Jeep Wrangler, I’m not sure Ford needs to be perfect either given Jeep’s mediocre dependability record.
Anyway, everyone at Ford is very excited. From Ford’s release:
After 25 years, the Built Wild and always 4×4 SUV is rolling off the line at the Michigan Assembly Plant, which underwent a $750 million upgrade and added 2,700 jobs to get the job done. The all-new two-door and first-ever four-door Bronco models are now on the way to Ford dealerships nationwide.
More than 125,000 Broncos orders have been placed, with a total of more than 190,000 reservations in the U.S. and Canada to date, plus Bronco Nation debates are already fiery and Bronco Roadeo off-road adventure playgrounds are ready to roll.
“We know the fans have been waiting for the Bronco – and we’re so excited to bring it back,” said Suzy Deering, Ford chief marketing officer. “And this Bronco is better than ever. We’re staying authentic to Bronco’s goes-over-any-terrain heritage and have leveraged the brand’s Built Wild innovative design, durability and advanced off-road capability to get the most out of every adventure in the wild.”
I went to Bronco Nation just now to check in and this was the first post I saw on the homepage:
Yes, nature is healing.
2nd Gear: The European Union And The U.S. Are Done (For Now) Fighting Over Airbus And Boeing
The EU and the U.S. have had a long-running feud over the airplane makers that dates to the George W. Bush administration. This is the kind of high-level trade dispute that is complex and possibly impossible to understand, though I’m taking this as a sign that, after the trade wars of the Trump administration, cooler heads are beginning to prevail.
From The New York Times:
European officials said that two days of negotiations in Brussels between Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative, and Valdis Dombrovskis, the E.U. trade commissioner, had finally produced an agreement that member countries approved overnight.
In a briefing for reporters, Ms. Tai said that both sides had agreed to extend a suspension of tariffs for another five years while working together to counter China’s investment in the aircraft sector.
But she said the agreement set limits on the subsidies that the European Union would be allowed to provide to Airbus, and she warned that the United States would reimpose billions of dollars in tariffs if subsidies by European Union countries crossed a “red line.”
“These tariffs will remain suspended, so long as E.U. support for Airbus is consistent with the terms of this agreement,” she said. “Should E.U. support cross the red line, and U.S. producers are not able to compete fairly and on a level playing field, the United States retains the flexibility to reactivate the tariffs that are being suspended.”
The agreement means that significant punitive tariffs estimated at $11.5 billion, on a wide range of products including wine, tractors, spirits, molasses and cheese, will continue to be suspended after both sides had agreed to do so in March while they tried to settle the dispute.
The NYT goes on to note that the EU and the U.S. are still negotiating over steel tariffs, relevant to this website because they resulted in tariffs on Harley-Davidson in Europe. Harley will never say it, but I’m sure it was very relieved when Trump lost.
3rd Gear: Land Rover Will Start Testing Some Kind Of Hydrogen Land Rover This Year
Most industry people foresee dark things for the future of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in large part because hydrogen has no infrastructure and is energy-intensive to produce, though some automakers have forged ahead, betting that technological advances might change the equation. Hydrogen fuel cell tech is also probably the only hope for long-haul trucking to ever go full EV.
Which is all a big wind-up to say that Land Rover announced Tuesday that it would test an FCEV Defender this year, in part supported by the U.K. government.
Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced engineering project, known as Project Zeus, is part funded by the UK government-backed Advanced Propulsion Center, and will allow engineers to understand how a hydrogen powertrain can be optimized to deliver the performance and capability expected by its customers: from range to refuelling, and towing to off-road ability.
The zero tailpipe emission prototype New Defender FCEV will begin testing towards the end of 2021 in the UK to verify key attributes such as off-road capability and fuel consumption.
To deliver Project Zeus, Jaguar Land Rover has teamed up with world class R&D partners, including Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems and the UK Battery Industrialization Center (UKBIC) to research, develop and create the prototype FCEV.
Ralph Clague, Head of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells for Jaguar Land Rover, said, “We know hydrogen has a role to play in the future powertrain mix across the whole transport industry, and alongside battery electric vehicles, it offers another zero tailpipe emission solution for the specific capabilities and requirements of Jaguar Land Rover’s world class line-up of vehicles. The work done alongside our partners in Project Zeus will help us on our journey to become a net zero carbon business by 2039, as we prepare for the next generation of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles.”
I think a lot of people continue to underrate hydrogen fuel cell tech but it sure seems like still a long ways away.
4th Gear: Zeekr Claims To Have Sold Out For The Year
Zeekr is Geely’s response in China to Tesla and Nio. While Geely’s successful stewardship of Volvo is not to be discounted, it remains to be seen how serious of a challenge Zeekr is. With that in mind, take Zeekr’s announcement on Tuesday that it has sold out of its cars for the year with a grain of salt.
Zeekr, a new premium electric vehicle (EV) brand launched this year by Geely (GEELY.UL), has sold out of deliveries for this year, Chief Executive An Conghui said on Tuesday.
Executives said that Zeekr would use a direct sales model to manage pricing and inventory. The brand plans to open more than 100 stores this year. Geely is making Zeekr 001 cars in China’s eastern city of Ningbo.
Zeekr has a great name, I’ll give it that.
5th Gear: GM Has A Big Recall Related To Airbags
General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in certain 2021 model year Buick Envision vehicles; Cadillac CT4, CT5, Escalade, and Escalade ESV vehicles; Chevrolet Corvette, Suburban, and Tahoe vehicles; and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL vehicles. A software problem exists in certain of these vehicles which would cause a sensing diagnostic module (SDM) communications fault to illuminate the airbag malfunction indicator lamp, but only on alternating ignition cycles. As a result, an SDM communications fault would not consistently illuminate the airbag light on every ignition cycle to indicate a problem to the driver.
The remedy seems pretty low-lift.
GM will update the software in the vehicles’ serial data gateway module. Owners who have accepted applicable terms and conditions will have the opportunity to accept these software changes using wireless over-the-air (OTA) technology without having to bring their vehicle to a dealership. Alternatively, owners may schedule to have the updates performed at a GM dealer.
The fire on the General Slocum is a reminder that so much of transportation history is trial and error, with humans as guinea pigs.
At about 9 a.m., the dangerously overcrowded boat left its dock in Manhattan with Captain William Van Schaik in charge. As the boat passed 83rd Street, accounts indicate that a child spotted a fire in a storeroom and reported it to Captain Van Schaik. Reportedly the captain responded, “Shut up and mind your own business.” But as the smoke became more obvious, crew members were sent to investigate. By this time, the storeroom, filled with a combination of oil and excelsior (wood shavings used for packing), was blazing out of control. The onboard fire hose, which had never been used, tested or inspected, did not work.
At this point, other factors also combined to exacerbate the situation. The lifeboats were so firmly tied to the steamer that they could not be released. The life preservers had not been filled with cork, but a non-buoyant material that made them weighty. The children who used them sank to the bottom of the river. Other children were trampled to death in the panic. More people were killed when the raging fire collapsed some of the decks, plunging them into the fire.
Neutral: How Are You?
It sure sounds like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will, this week, lift most of the pandemic restrictions here, after the state surpassed the 70 percent threshold of adults getting at least one dose of the vaccine. Also, over the weekend some guy accused me of taking up two parking spots on the street (I was not taking up two parking spots). New York is back, baby.