More and more fuel-efficient vehicles are coming our way. Ford is planning an expansion of their EV offerings. By 2020 the company plans to introduce 13 EV or hybrid vehicles, including a hybrid F-150 truck and Mustang. They are also planning a fully electric SUV with 300 miles of range. Also in the plans are a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid taxi and two electrified police cars.
Landi Renzo USA has announced the industry’s first natural gas EPA certification for the 2017MY Ford 6.8L V-10 Heavy Duty (HLDRE06.8B10) engine. The engines are used in the E-series trucks, including the E-450 Cutaway. The company, a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) is pursuing the highly coveted CARB certification and anticipates an announcement in the coming weeks.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has given approval to Green Power Motor Co. Inc. for its EV550 45-foot, all-electric, double-decker bus. The vehicle is confirmed as eligible for Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) funds, although the funds are currently depleted. If funding is added, the vehicle is eligible for incentive funds of $95,000 for each vehicle sold in California and an additional $15,000 for a bus deployed in a disadvantaged community. The vehicles seat 100 passengers and the bus length is 45 feet. Per GreenPower, the seating is double that of a traditional 40-foot transit bus.
Autonomous vehicles are being testing on US vehicles, but not everyone feels the vehicles are ready for prime time. Gill Pratt, the head of Toyota’s recently formed Toyota Research Institute which oversees the company’s self-driving development program, feels it’s going to take longer than proponents claim for full autonomy and it will take even longer for driverless vehicles. While automakers will be selling autonomous vehilces to the public, a driver will be necessary in case something goes wrong. The outgoing administrator of NHTSA feels cybersecurity is “perhaps the single-biggest issue” faced by the auto industry.
Not all plug-in hybrids are offered in all markets. Hyundai is going to buck the trend and offer their Sonata Plug-In Hybrid mid-size sedan and Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid everywhere in the US. Some states may require a special order. The Ioniq Plug-in version is going to actively marketed in 10 states only – those that share California’s emissions standard, but the orders can be made across the US. A hybrid version as well as battery-electric will be available.