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California Answers VW’s $800M Dieselgate Settlement To Build ZEV Infrastructure

The California Air Resources Board this week issued a letter to Volkswagen Group asking it to provide more details on the zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure it plans to implement across the United States between 2018 and 2020.

CARB’s concern is over VW’s $800 million commitment to California to build out ZEV-related investments over 10 years as part of a multi-billion dollar settlement with it and the U.S. EPA over diesel emissions cheating.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Nationwide EV Charging Plans

The CARB letter dated May 24 came almost a month after CARB had said to expect it, and asked for a supplementary document describing the long-term vision for the ZEV plan – dubbed “Electrify America” by VW.

The environmental watchdog is looking for those at VW’s ZEV Investment Plan (ZIP) arm to provide it with detailed information on its ZEV investments and an estimated schedule for implementing each investment. It says the info should consist of Electrify America’s long-term goals for ZEV investment in California, how developing infrastructure in major metropolitan areas first and extending to rural regions will progress and how ZIP spending will affect disadvantaged/underserved communities.

In addition, the document also asks for more details on ZIP’s potential future investment in hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure. CARB wants ZIP to address potential investment in hydrogen fueling stations over the 10-year period, heavy-duty hydrogen projects such as freight fleet or shuttle programs and the potential for gas-station like plazas that include both EV charging and hydrogen refueling stations. CARB is also looking for VW to provide it with a description of Electrify America’s structure and proposed business model and a commitment from the automaker to keep it consistently updated with its ZEV investments and other projects.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Tesla-like EV Charging Plans

“The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is eager to move forward with the first phase of investments in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education, and public access agreed to in the 2.0 liter Partial Consent Decree (Consent Decree),” the document reads.

The “Electrify America” spending plan is apart of VW’s “dieselgate” scandal finalized last year with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Through the Electrify America subsidiary, VW will spend $500 million in four consecutive 30-month periods for 10 years propping up EV charging stations all over the U.S. It will also spend $44 million implementing “Green City initiatives” such as EV taxi and delivery fleets and about $55 million promoting public awareness of alternative energy vehicles.

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Worker Safety Group Says Tesla Plant Injuries Higher Than Industry Average

A worker safety advocacy group says that injuries at Tesla’s Fremont, Calif.-based plant are much higher than the industry average.

The findings by Worksafe looked at the years 2014 and 2015, with a preliminary study of 2016 data finding injury reports to be on a similar track. The advocacy group studied reports filed the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Comparison to 2016 data is an estimate, as official industry-wide data won’t isn’t yet available.

Tesla has been under mounting pressure over unionizing its Fremont plant. That coincides with the facility being expanded to prepare for the 500,000 vehicles manufactured per year mark after the Model 3 launch later this year.

In the report, Worksafe found injury rates 31 percent higher at Tesla that the U.S. average in 2015, with an incidence rate of 8.8 per 100 workers versus 6.7 per 100 as the industry average. Preliminary findings for 2016 are at 8.1 injuries per worker.

The days away, restricted duty (DART rate) at the Fremont plant was double the industry rate in 2015, according to the report.

Worker safety has been previously raised as a pressing issue. Earlier this month, Tesla posted on its blog that it has seen improvements to its safety record, and warnings over worker safety there has been part of the United Auto Worker’s campaign to unionize workers.

Tesla said the same about the Worksafe study findings.

“We may have had some challenges in the past as we were learning how to become a car company, but what matters is the future and with the changes we’ve made, we now have the lowest injury rate in the industry by far,” a Tesla spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“Our goal is to have as close to zero injuries as humanly possible and to become the safest factory in the auto industry.”

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Proposes Doubling Fremont Plant to Meet Capacity

The Fremont plant will soon become much larger and more labor intensive to increase production to 500,000 Tesla vehicles a year.

In December, the company received approval from the city of Fremont to nearly double the size of the plant. About 4.6 million square feet will be added and will be spread across 11 new buildings.

The city expects the new manufacturing space will eventually an additional 3,100 workers to Tesla’s payroll at the factory.

The UAW would love to see them all become union members.

The Verge

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Volkswagen Shows Electrified Golf GTI Concepts

VW apprentices have created the first electrified Volkswagen GTI.

Called the Volkswagen Golf GTI First Decade, it combines a 404-horsepower gasoline engine driving the front wheels with a 48-volt electric motor powering the rear. The electric motor has a maximum output of 16 hp and the two drive systems can be used separately or together. That means it can be operated conventionally in front-wheel drive, or pure electric with rear-wheel drive, or combined for an all-wheel-drive setup.

There are two batteries in the rear of the vehicle that can be charged through regenerative braking, which means the Golf GTI First Decade is capable of driving short distances in all-electric mode or in stop-and-go traffic.

On the outside, the electrified Golf GTI features Atlantic Blue Metallic paint, while the doors and rear side panels feature large areas of foil in contrasting Satin Ocean Shimmer. Other accents include glossy blue chrome foil racing stripes, high-gloss black honeycomb radiator grille, Clubsport rear spoiler and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Inside the cabin, there are handmade sport seats featuring titanium black nappa leather with Alcantara. The driver’s seat can be adjusted using an app on a smartphone or tablet, while the punched Alcantara sections have a blue background and the central section is decorated by an embroidered “10” at the top. There’s also a high-end audio system with 1,690 watts from 11 speakers and a subwoofer.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen’s I.D. Crozz Crossover EV Concept Revealed In Shanghai

Also premiering is the Volkswagen Golf GTE Estate impulsE from Zwickau, created by apprentices from Volkswagen Sachsen. The 14 apprentices from the Zwickau vehicle plant, the Chemnitz engine plant and the Transparent Factory in Dresden focused on e-mobility together with their mentors. The result is a show car with a prototype battery with a capacity increased from 8.8 kWh to 16.8 kWh. As a result, it has double the range.

The exterior of the electrified wagon features a five-tone matte paintwork in Oryx White, Apassionata Blue, Anthracite, Hallmark, and St. James Red. The hood also has ventilation slats, while the exterior color scheme carries inside with decorative trim pieces painted on the steering wheel, center console, gear selector gate, and door trim. There are also leather and Alcantara bucket seats with decorative blue stitching.

“During the creation of their dream GTI, our apprentices learn about the complexity and future challenges of automobile production. They gain further experience in the use of digital technologies, the application of system technology and electro-mobility,” says Peter Christ, Head of Automotive Technology Training in Wolfsburg. “This is why we choose our strongest talents and offer them the opportunity to learn from experienced instructors and experts from the entire company at an early stage.

This article originally appeared at AutoGuide.com









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Tesla Model 3 Specs Unveiled In Leaked Product Sheet

Specifications for the upcoming Tesla Model 3 sedan have been unveiled through a leaked product sheet from an apparent inside source.

The product sheet (below), which was posted on Model 3 Owners Club forum, compares the Model 3’s performance parameters and features with those of the Model S. The base Model 3’s range will sit at 215 miles (compared to 249 miles for the entry-level Model S 75) and it will sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds (compared to 5.0 seconds flat in the Model S 75).

The Model 3’s dimensions were also made public in the product sheet, with the wheelbase measuring 184.8 inches and the total cargo volume sitting at 14 cubic feet – counting both the rear trunk and front “frunk.”

By comparison, the Model S has a 196 inch wheelbase and carries a cargo volume of 30 cubic feet. The Model S can also carry seven passengers if the rear-facing jump seats are used, whereas the Model 3 will be limited to just 5 persons max.

SEE ALSO:

InsideEVs

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CA electric-car sales, rebates rise; Tesla safety ratings; Model 3 info; what Trump won't say: Today's Car News

2018 GMC Yukon DenaliToday, two words Trump won’t say, soaring electric-car sales in California, some perspective on hydrogen fuel cells, and a couple of details on the Tesla Model 3. All this and more on Green Car Reports. We still don’t know most of the specifications for the Tesla Model 3 that the company says will enter production this year, but now at least its…

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Tesla Regains Some Approval From Consumer Reports For Restoring Low-Speed Emergency Braking

Consumer Reports has raised Tesla’s safety scores but expects to see improvements made at highway speeds.

The product review magazine has restored some of the points taken away in April from the Tesla Model S and Model X over the automatic emergency braking (AEB) system being removed as a standard feature on these vehicles in October 2016.

Some of the points were restored after Tesla issued a software upgrade restoring AEB in the affected vehicles soon after the report was published. Consumer Reports observes that some customers had been waiting as long as six months for it to happen.

Winning back all the restored rating points and improved Overall Scores for the Model S and Model X will need to have AEB working at higher speeds. The publication wants to see AEB issued as a standard offering up to high speeds, and that it’s a crucial safety feature known for preventing crashes.

Tesla had committed to sending out the improvement through software upgrades on April 21 of this year. The company started transmitting the over-the-air updates on April 26. The publication’s testing team received their Model S update the next day.

The activated AEB only works up to 28 mph – a wide gap from the earlier version of AEB that could go up to 90 mph. That was a realistic range for Tesla drivers known for gunning the torque power from their Model S or Model X.

The testing team made contact with Tesla owners to see if the low-speed AEB was being received in their vehicles. Most owners with new models had received the updates within a week of the April 26 announcement.

Yet some of the owners who’d purchased their Tesla without the option of full self-driving capability had received updates that did not include AEB. It took even longer for them to receive the update.

CR reported that it took close to a month for Tesla to finally deliver the partial updates. After Tesla owners reported receiving their updates, the magazine restored the partial points.

On April 26, the electric carmaker said that AEB would eventually bring the safety system up to highway speeds. The company didn’t say when it would happen or respond to inquiries about it.

The AEB system originally had given Tesla points that put the Model S at the top rating in the ultra-luxury vehicle category; that ad been knocked down after the rating drop was issued in April. The Model X was near the bottom of the luxury midsized sport-utility category after the points were taken away.

SEE ALSO:  Tesla Reinstates Auto Braking After Consumer Reports Downgrade

The absence of AEB first became an issue on October 19, 2016, when CEO Elon Musk said the automaker would be equipping all of its vehicles with fully autonomous features on all new vehicles produced starting later that month. It would still need supporting software and approval by safety regulators before being activated in Tesla vehicles, he said.

Musk acknowledged that the new hardware would mean that some basic safety features would be missing for a while. The software would have to be rewritten and validated, he said.

The Consumer Report test team had purchased a Model S 60D on Dec. 12 and found that the AEB wasn’t functioning like it had in the previous version. It was equipped with the second-generation Autopilot hardware.

That finding led to a back-and-forth tiff with Tesla that the carmaker has been working on cleaning up.

Consumer Reports

 

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