NHTSA has opened an investigation into brake failures on 2013 and 2014 model year Ford F-150 pickups. 33 owners have reported a complete loss of braking ability, with 4 owners reporting accidents. Some owners stated that inspections at dealership found that the brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir had emptied into the brake booster.
Another diesel scandal has been settled with the EPA and DOJ, this time with Detroit Diesel. The company was alleged to have sold school bus and locomotive engines in 2010 that violated the Clean Air Act. The company will replace or repower the locomotive and per the consent decree Detroit Diesel will have to replace the school buses, offering “an average financial incentive of no more than 75% of the fair market value of a Class 6 through 8 school bus to replace qualifying school buses powered by diesel engines from Model Year 1997 or earlier with New Buses”.
Ford is expanding their light bar offering for the Police Interceptor Utility with a rear spoiler traffic warning light. Like the front visor “no-profile” light bar, there is no reduction in visibility, unlike with aftermarket products. The light bar alerts other drivers of emergency situations, but the profile also provides the vehicle with a “stealth mode”. The light bar can be ordered as an option on the 2017 model and is covered by a limited factory warranty.
Autonomous vehicles are coming to roads across America, but not all states and cities are willing to welcome the vehicles without regulations. California limits the amount of autonomy a vehicle can exercise. The state mandates that a driver must sit in the driver’s seat and must be ready to take control of the vehicle if needed. Additionally, autonomous vehicles are banned from commercial use. Aldermen in Chicago have introduced a bill banning driverless vehicles in the city. It’s clear that there needs to be extensive discuss at city and state levels as to how the vehicles are going to be legislated nationally.
Analysis of the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2016 shows that by 2025, full zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and transitional ZEVs will make up 6% of national light-duty vehicle sales and about 2% of the total light-duty vehicle stock. Much of this is driven by California’s adoption of a ZEV program, that has also been adopted by 9 other states – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Oregon. Part of the growth is being pushed by California’s program, which requires manufacturers to earn credits for alt-fuel vehicles base on a percentage of their sales in California. The size of the state’s economy could push the manufacturers to adopt new national standards.