Smog Alert

California moves to ban sales of diesel trucks by 2024

Toyota and Kenworth have joined together to develop fuel cell electric heavy-duty trucks.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

California has a smog problem. Not all of California, but where it's worst (SoCal and the San Joaquin Valley), it's really bad. The California Air Resources Board (CARB), the clean-air agency for the State of California, thinks it has a solution. Their mandate will markedly change the trucking industry.

CARB has adopted a rule that requires truck manufacturers to transition from diesel trucks and vans to electric zero-emission trucks beginning in 2024. They've also mandated that all new trucks purchased in the state be electric by 2045.

Hyundai FCEV concept Hydrogen fuel cells power a number of Hyundai concept vehicles that the company is bringing to production.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

Specifically, CARB calls out diesel as being "dirty" though the press release concerning the action fails to mention the environmental and human impact of the adoption of electric vehicles.

CARB's move is especially aimed at lowering the smog level. According to their research, "trucks are the largest single source of air pollution from vehicles, responsible for 70 percent of the smog-causing pollution and 80 percent of carcinogenic diesel soot even though they number only 2 million among the 30 million registered vehicles in the state."

In recent years, Hyundai, Toyota, and other manufacturers have been pushing hydrogen-fueled trucks as a smog solution. The companies have even gone so far as to promoted a "hydrogen highway" connecting ports and the areas around them. It is not immediately clear how this new decision will impact development or growth of those plans.

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen to power their electric motor(s) propelling them down the road. In effect, they are electric vehicles (EVs). Typically, these models are noted as FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) to differentiate them from BEVs (battery electric vehicles) - electric vehicles that run on battery power, like the Chevrolet Bolt EV or Tesla Model 3.

2020 Hyundai commercial truck hydrogen Hyundai revealed its vision of the future of commercial trucking at the NACV Show in Atlanta last year.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Company

It is also not immediately apparent if this measure includes all diesel trucks, like Chevrolet Silverados with a Duramax engine or Ford F-150s powered by a Power Stroke V8.

This action is the first of many being considered by CARB. They will take a closer look at two additional related proposals in the coming months. The first would set a new limit on NOx (oxides of nitrogen) while the other would require that new trucks that still use fossil fuels include the most effective exhaust control technology during the transition to electric trucks.

There is also a proposal on the table that would required larger fleets in the state to transition to electric trucks year over year.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The first all-electric Karma Automotive model is set to debut next year.

Photo courtesy of Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive is promising to debut its first all-electric car in 2021. To understand how we got here, it's important to look back a decade.

Fisker Automotive was founded by heralded car designer Henrik Fisker in 2007. For a brief moment in history, it produced the Fisker Karma, one of the world's first production luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The first Karma was delivered in 2011 but by 2014, the company was staring down liquidation.

That year, Fisker Automotive's Karma vehicle design, tooling, and manufacturing facility were purchased by Wanxiang Group, the largest China-based automotive components company by revenue. Henrik Fisker retried the Fisker trademarks and rights to the Fisker brand. He went on to launch Fisker Inc., a separate company that has big plans for all-electric vehicles, in 2016. Wanxiang Group renamed its vehicle company Karma Automotive.

And now here we are.

Karma Automotive has released an image of the GS as a teaser.

Karma Automotive says that the 2021 debut will be the first public step in a full line, which includes electrification options and leans on technological advancements to set itself apart. The GS Series model will be Karma's first-ever battery electric luxury sedan.

The new models will retain much of the same design as the Revero.

"We are pleased to announce that Karma will now offer our first all-electric vehicle next year as part of the GS series," said Dr. Lance Zhou, Karma's CEO. "Cost reductions in the BOM, streamlining our supply chain and standardized production methods also allowed for a new, more attainable pricing structure for the GS lineup allowing for higher market penetration, opening up the market to a larger group of entry level luxury buyers."

Though its looks, range, pricing, and options aren't yet public knowledge, customers can currently reserve their model at http://www.karmaautomotive.com/reserve. All reservations require a fully-refundable $100 deposit.

For years Chinese brands have been looking to break into the U.S. market without much success. Though there are a growing number of Karma dealerships in the U.S., sales of the vehicles are few and far between.

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The 2021 Ford F-150 will come in a hybrid variant

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

If Ford is making anything clear these days, it’s that the future all-electric F-150 won’t just just a mundane street car. The future model will be capable of achieving the same feats as the rest of the company’s family of full-size pickup trucks, if not with more gusto than its relatives.

Ford has confirmed that the battery-electric (BEV) F-150 will be on sale in just a few years. To get to that point, there’s a lot of work that isn’t just going into product development, but also into facilities development. Demand for the F-150 BEV is expected to be high and Ford’s Rouge Complex can’t absorb it as the plant stands now.

Ford Rouge Complex The Ford plant in Dearborn will be the home of the F-150 electric truck.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The company will invest $700 million in the Dearborn, Michigan plant to include a new high-tech manufacturing home for the model. The investment will add 300 jobs. This $700 million is on top of the $1.45 billion that Ford is spending to equip its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to produce the Ranger and Bronco.

"We are proud to once again build and innovate for the future here at the Rouge with the debut of our all-new F-150 and the construction of a modern new manufacturing center to build the first-ever all-electric F-150," said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company. "This year's COVID-19 crisis made it clear why it is so important for companies like Ford to help keep our U.S. manufacturing base strong and help our country get back to work."

The all-electric Ford F-150 is expected to come to market in mid-2022. The redesigned 2021 F-150 will come to market later this year and include a new hybrid powertrain option dubbed the F-150 PowerBoost.

Recently, the company captured video of the F-1500 BEV testing in the wild.

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