Mitsubishi Admits to Cheating Fuel Efficiency Testing, Who Isn’t These Days?

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The Verge– Japanese automaker Mitsubishi has admitted manipulating fuel economy data related to some 625,000 vehicles. The company announced the news at a press conference this morning, apologizing for the deception and saying it is investigating the employees involved. The manipulated data covers four vehicle models that fall under the Japanese category of kei car. This is a classification that covers minivans, trucks, and passenger cars, but is reserved for vehicles that meet economical fuel consumption standards and are consequently taxed at a lower rate.

The models affected include the eK Wagon and eK Space, manufactured and sold by Mitsubishi, and the Dayz and Dayz Roox, manufactured by Mitsubishi and supplied to Nissan for sale. According to Mitsubishi, it was Nissan’s in-house testers that discovered the discrepancy between the cars’ published fuel efficiency data, and their real-life results.

Mitsubishi today announced that they have been manipulating fuel economy data in their Japanese vehicles in a similar manner to which Volkswagen did with their vehicles back in late 2015. At this point, it should honestly surprise no one that these companies are actively faking this test data to push out cars that do not meet the stringent environmental standards set forth by the local governments. For those of you that do not know how the testing works, the companies have an agent come in and test the cars on a roller than simulates driving. What these companies like VW and Mitsubishi have done and have been presumably getting away with is that they have the car output less emissions when hooked up on these rollers. When driving on the road, the cars output more carbon emissions that are over the specified limits yet still pass the tests based on the faked results. It all boils down to a code implemented that actually changes the amount of emissions based on if the car is being tested or not. Savvy move if you ask me.

Regardless, Mitsubishi stock plummeted 15% the day after the news, and other car companies should be quick to take note. I know that most of these cars are not being sold in the US and this news should not affect most, but be weary that any company is liable for these type of emissions cheat codes. As the US government moves to increasingly stricter measures and a possible limiting of gasoline product, these companies will continue to find new ways to get their cars to the US market.  Don’t think your car manufacturer of choice is off the hook (unless you’re Ford or GM, then the government will take extra care of you to make sure this doesn’t happen).

-KJ

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Netherlands Set to Move Towards a Petrol and Diesel Ban by 2025

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The Guardian– Dutch politicians have voted through a motion calling on the country to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars starting in 2025.

The motion has only passed through the lower house of the Netherlands’ parliament, and would need to pass through the Dutch senate to become legally binding. But its success in a majority vote puts the earliest date yet on just when a major country might begin phasing out polluting transportation.

The leader of the PvdA, Diederik Samsom, says that the proposal would be feasible – and that the energy agreement wouldn’t conflict with it. “That agreement runs until 2023, we are free in what we do after that. We are ambitious, perhaps other parties are less so”, he said. Electric car sales in the Netherlands currently stand at just under 10%. 

Power moves from the Dutch here. We will see if this passes through Dutch Parliament, but banning all diesel and petrol is a great move for the Orange and a great move for the “Go Green” campaign. The United States is slowly catching on to the electric car craze, but countries like the Netherlands have been already moving forward for years. Although 10% of market share doesn’t seem like a lot of share, it is over ten times the US EV market share of 0.66% in 2015.

Moving forward, more and more countries will look to sever ties with the oil industry as lithium-ion batteries and solar panel technologies become cheaper to manufacturer. Combining this fact with Obama’s pledge for 1 million “advanced technology” vehicles on the road back in 2008 have rapidly developed EV technologies here in the US. Hopefully, by 2050 US can follow Netherlands into the diesel and petrol ban that will free us from many political issues in the Middle East and allow us to continue to reduce our carbon emissions. This step will evidently coincide with autonomous vehicle adoption which could reduce a US car accident death toll of over 32,000 people per year.

-KJ

NYC International Auto Show 2016: Quick Recap

AutoShow.jpgThe 2016 NYC International Auto Show wrapped up this past weekend from the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, New York. I was lucky enough to get a day off to head over to the convention center and tour some of the world’s newest and most luxurious vehicles. Although unexpectedly lacking in the EV department, these vehicles turned many heads and packed some sick new features (and many $$$ signs to go with it). I thought it would be great to rundown some of my favorite picks of the week in a few different categories to give you a feel of the power and the technology behind some of the hottest new cars in the market.

Most Horsepower (that you would never even need to use)

2017 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

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The new Hellcat is quite simply an animal. It packs a 6.2L supercharged four-cylinder V8 engine (probably the last few of its kind that will ever get to market). It also hits 707hp and gets about 650 lbs-ft of torque, making it one of the best engines in all of its class. The challenger itself is  a beautiful car with an unmistakable body, and this new model only enhances the Hellcat brand. With a hefty price tag of somewhere over $60,000 base, the car will probably not reach a large-scale audience. However, you can’t argue with the literal bang for your buck that you’ll get with the 2017 Cat.

Coolest new EV (Not named Tesla)

Mercedes Benz i3

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Since Tesla doesn’t partake in the NYC Auto Show, I had to go out and find another cool EV manufacturer on the floor. Although that is a relatively tough task these days, the new 2017 Mercedes Benz i3 may be able to compete with the recently announced Tesla Model 3 (at least in terms of brand name buying power). The new i3 is said to pack about 120 miles in range, which should be useful enough to be an every-day commuter for most consumers. At around $45,000 base, it will eventually lose out to the cheaper Model 3. However, Mercedes will have over a year head start and will certainly gain market share with its $68B market cap.  Something that worries me about the i3 is the limited capability of Mercedes to product Lithium batteries in the long-term. Tesla is currently building battery Gigafactories to combat this issue, which may help them in the future as the element becomes more scarce. That being said, be on the lookout for i3’s and their 65-mph top speed on the road long before Tesla even gets to the market in late 2017 to early 2018 (we all know Tesla runs on Elon Time).

Coolest Concept Car:

Toyota Mirai

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The Toyota Mirai and its hydrogen-fuel technology has stood tall for a few years now as the only real alternative to electrical vehicle technologies. Pronounced at this year’s show as “The World’s Most Greenest Car”, the Mirai is said to have an estimated 67-mpg highway. Running on hydrogen fuel, the car’s only real byproduct is H20. Although hydrogen is “cleaner” overall than electric to produce, it will be tough to gain mainstream acceptance for hydrogen refueling stations. With electric already dominating the new technology landscape, Toyota has a lot of catching up to do if they want this car to reach the masses. However, with their super-selling Prius in their back pocket, Toyota can afford to dream big. This Mirai is a concept that Toyota has been working on since I was a kid coming to these car shows in NYC, so I hope that one day we will be able to see the car on the mass-market.

Until next year (Maybe the last in the Jacob Javits Center??)

-KJ