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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Polestar currently operates four showrooms in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, an electric performance car brand, will be opening 15 new sales locations in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Called Polestar Spaces, the showrooms are more in line with what Tesla offers and less like a traditional auto dealership.

Each Polestar Space features minimalist Scandinavian-like design, pulling together the heritage of the company with a modern sales environment. Each location is staffed by non-commissioned Polestar Specialists. Test drives can be coordinated on-site or at home.

In the next few months, locations in Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver, Seattle; South Florida; and Washington D.C. will open. Those new showrooms will be established in connection with established retailer groups in the area. Additional information regarding the D.C. and Florida locations is expected soon.

2021 Polestar 2 The fastback Polestar 2 is a head-turner. Photo courtesy of Polestar

The second-half of 2021 will welcome the opening of additional showrooms in Atlanta; Central and South New Jersey; Connecticut; Dallas; Detroit; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orange County, California.

Specific showroom details are available at Polestar.com/Spaces.

"In 2019 we stated our goal of servicing 85% of the addressable EV market within a year of the Polestar 2 launch," said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar in North America. "With these 2021 appointments, we will accomplish that and more- especially with our free pickup and delivery servicing within 150 miles of a brick-and-mortar Polestar location."

Polestar Spaces are already open in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and Manhattan, plus two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Corte Madera and Santa Clara).

The automaker currently offers the Polestar 2 for sale in the U.S. AutomotiveMap recently had the opportunity to test drive the car for review.

It was recently confirmed that the Polestar Precept concept is headed to production. The concept version of the car is noted for its sustainable materials and minimalist design.

Additionally, Polestar and Koenigsegg are working on a project.

Further markets for expansion will be announced later in 2021.

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The Volvo C40 Recharge is a couple-like version of the XC40.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Earlier this week, Volvo announced that it is going all-in on electric vehicles by 2030. Now it's showing off its latest model, a take on the XC40 Recharge - the 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge.

Taking a note from the Audi playbook, the C40 Recharge is a sloped roof version of the XC40 Recharge. It has sleeker design than its predecessor even though they both ride on the same platform. The face of the model shows off a new design path for Volvo and has headlights with state-of-the-art pixel technology, something also on the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

Volvo has given the car an electric powertrain that consists of two electric motors, one on the front axle and one at the back, which are powered by a 78-kilowatt-hour battery that can be charged to 80 percent in 40 minutes. It has an expected range of 260 miles.

2022 Volvo C40 Recharge

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

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The C40 Recharge offers a high seating position and is available in a large range of color ways. It is the first Volvo model to be completely leather-free. Volvo has given the model its infotainment system, which runs on Android technology. Apps such as Google Maps, Google Assistant, and the Google Play Store are built in. The tech allows for over-the-air updates.

Volvo will only sell the C40 Recharge online and it will come with a care package.

"The C40 Recharge represents the future of Volvo and shows where we are going," said Henrik Green, chief technology officer. "It is fully electric, offered online only with a convenient care package and will be available for quick delivery. Getting a new Volvo was never this attractive."

The XC40 was Volvo's first all-electric car. Volvo promises additional electric models are on their way in the coming years. The automaker predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of its global sales volume will consist of fully electric cars. The rest will be hybrids. To achieve this, Volvo is expected to lean heavily on the Asian and European markets where EVs are more popular with buyers due to government regulation.

The C40 Recharge will go in production this fall and will be built alongside the XC40 Recharge at the Volvo Cars manufacturing plant in Ghent, Belgium.

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