News – March
Volvo has won an order for 11 plug-in hybrid buses from the city of Namur in Belgium, the largest order to date for the company’s electrified buses. The buses will run on electric power within the city’s new zero-emissions zone. Volvo estimates the e-buses can be powered by electricity for up to 70% of operating time, and will deliver 60% lower energy consumption than a legacy diesel bus. The company states “Electric bus systems are cost-efficient solutions for cities to reduce the problems of poor air quality and noise. Together with ABB, Volvo has a complete and competitive offer for cities around the world that want to switch to a sustainable public transport system,” said Håkan Agnevall, President of Volvo Buses.
NHTSA is investigating brake failure complaints for the Ford F-150, 2013 and 2014 model years. The investigation is targeting about 420,000 of the vehicles. The problem specifically appears to involved F-150 models using the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, according to a new post on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. The same braking system is used on other F-150 models, but they are not being targeted for investigation. 33 complaints have been received, with some crashes reported. Exactly what is causing the problem is unclear, though the Associated Press reported some owners were told by mechanics that brake fluid was seen leaking from the vehicles’ master brake cylinder.A Google autonomous vehicle was involved in a collision that has been blamed directly on the vehicle and it could prove a setback for the technology. An investigation is still underway involving the February 14th incident, though Google has posted a blog note saying “We clearly bear some responsibility.” It occurred when a stopped autonomous prototype attempted to nudge into traffic striking a public transit bus moving at about 15 mph on a road near Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Volkswagen’s chairman for the passenger-car division says we shouldn’t be looking for Dieselgate to wrap up anytime soon. In fact, despite a looming deadline for regulators to approve or deny VW’s most recent proposed fix, this could drag out for months to come. Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess told a regional German newspaper that any settlement would not take weeks, but in fact months to come to fruition. This comes after Charles Breyer, the district judge overseeing the Department of Justice’s suit against the automaker, set a deadline of March 24 for any proposed remedy. The big question – what will the penalty be? Will VW face a huge fine or be forced to buy back vehicles?
Most Nissan Leaf owners will need to pay to keep their NissanConnectEV functionality running. Later this year an update will be required as the system runs on AT&T’s aging 2G cellular network, which will be discontinued at the end of 2016. The NissanConnectEV system will not run without the upgrade. A new telematics control unit will be required. For most owners, the switch won’t be free. Nissan will pay for the upgrade for 2015 Leaf owners. However, the company will only cover “a portion of the costs for parts and installation” for drivers of 2011-2014 models. Nissan expect to provide further details in late summer 2016.John Deere has introduced four Final Tier 4 G-Series skid steers (312GR, 314G, 316GR, 318G) and one compact track loader (317G). The models are suited for public works, material handling, construction, grounds maintenance landscape, parks and recreation and utility tasks. The five models include three vertical- and two radial-lift option and the G-Series machines feature an improvement in horsepower-to-weight ratios, according to the company. They have an optimized boom design that enables lift heights over 10 feet on the vertical-lift models and a 20 percent increase in breakout forces on the radial-lift models. Buyers can choose a machine with the option of a radial or vertical lift, depending on their job needs.