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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Electric vehicle production

GM outlines huge investment in new EV production

The $7 billion number is GM's largest single investment to date.

General Motors

Automakers are not shy about their plans to electrify their vehicle lineups. In fact, it's just the opposite, as most can't wait to release a media kit that sings the virtues of moving toward electrification and outlines their commitments to investing billions to make the move a reality. General Motors has been more active than most, building new facilities and revamping existing factories to handle new-age EV manufacturing. Today, the auto giant announced a further investment to build a new plant and overhaul the Orion Township facility in Michigan. The move creates thousands of jobs and positions GM as an early powerhouse in the EV race.

GM EV investment. GM says its new and existing facilities will create and retain thousands of jobs.General Motors

The $7 billion investment is slated for four Michigan manufacturing facilities. GM says the move will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 existing positions, and notes that the amount represents the single largest investment in company history. A new Ultium Cells battery plant in Lansing is part of the deal, along with the conversion of the GM assembly planting Orion Township. Orion will eventually house production of the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra, making it the second of GM's facilities dedicated to building electric pickup trucks.

The Orion and Ultium Cells Lansing facilities will help GM boost its total full-size electric truck production to 600,000 units per year when both Factory Zero and Orion are in full swing. Though Ford sells more full-size trucks than Chevy or GMC individually, GM notes that the two combined move more trucks per year than The Blue Oval. The two plants join General Motors' existing EV-ready facilities that include Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck, Spring Hill Assemble in Tennessee, CAMI in Ontario, and the Ramos Arizpe Assembly facility in Mexico.

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New luxury car

BMW sends its V12 engine off in style

BMW will build its final V12 engine this June.

BMW

Most automakers are focused on building EVs and extracting the best fuel economy from gas engines possible, so it’s not surprising to hear that BMW is pulling the plug on one of its biggest and most iconic engines. In June 2022, BMW will build its very last V12 engine for use in a super-limited-production special edition 7 Series model. The ultra-rare cars will carry a starting price of $200,995.

BMW 760i xDrive The last V12 will power a very special (and very expensive) 7 Series car.BMW

Only twelve lucky customers will have the option to nab a V12-powered BMW, which will be called the M760i xDrive. Displacing 6.6 liters, the twin-turbocharged beast produces a massive 601 horsepower. An eight-speed sport automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. BMW says the powertrain is strong enough to push the hefty 7 Series car to 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.6 seconds.

The final-run cars will feature little more than a special “V12” badge at the rear to differentiate them from standard 7 Series models. Inside, the car features a serialized plaque with the car’s production number out of the 12 units planned. The engine itself features a nameplate with “The Final V12.”

Beyond the badges, BMW’s 12-cylinder last-hurrah will come standard with 20-inch M double-spoke wheels, a choice of any available BMW full Merino leather color, M Sport brakes with black or blue calipers, a panoramic LED roof, remote control parking, a Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system, and adaptive LED headlights.

BMW 760i xDrive Only 12 of the cars will be built, with a starting price of more than $200,000.BMW

Though it hasn’t been BMW’s most popular engine over the years, the V12 has been a part of the automaker’s catalog for 35 years. The first 12-cylinder engine showed up in 1987, producing 295 horsepower in the original 750iL sedan.

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