COVID-19

GM's tradespeople switching from crafting show cars to creating healthcare equipment

General Motors has activated its skilled tradespeople to create personal protective equipment, like gowns that can be used in hospitals.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Teams made up of metal, paint, trim, wood, mold, and plaster tradespeople at General Motors typically spend their days creating unique one-off vehicles like show cars. Now, they're spending their time assembling protective gowns and aerosol boxes at the Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan as part of the automaker's response to the COVID-1 9 pandemic.

"Our team members are experts at solving problems on the fly and creating things from scratch," said Hart. "The dedication, abilities and spirit of collaboration from our skilled tradespeople has been humbling. They are working longer hours than ever on a voluntary basis to fulfill urgent requests from doctors, nurses and other professionals on the front lines."

GM employees are designing personal protective equipment. Photo courtesy of General Motors

Workers from GM's color and trim departments have sewed samples of protective gowns made from old car covers that were distributed to local hospitals for evaluation. The final version of the gowns, which have been approved for use, have been made from Tyvek supplied by the Henry Ford Health System. They're lightweight (approximately two ounces), breathable, and protective.

While GM is designing gowns in-house, Ford has worked with its airbag supplier Joyson Safety Systems to create reusable gowns made from the material that is used to make Ford's airbags. Production of the personal protective equipment is anticipated to scale up to 100,000 gowns for the week of April 19. By July 4, Joyson Safety Systems will be able to cut and sew 1.3 million gowns, which are self-tested to federal standards and are washable up to 50 times.

Volkswagen is working with supplier Faurecia to produce masks and gowns for front-line workers. Faurecia is now able to make an estimated 250,000 masks and 50,000 gowns per week. Volkswagen earmarked the first run of the products to New York State's COVID-19 response efforts.

Last week, GM announced that its first ventilators, co-produced with Ventec Life System, were ready for shipment and in late March the company detailed its process of face mask design and production.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

If you've got a reservation, you can now order your 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In a memo to dealers, Ford has announced that it is lowering the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of its 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, the long-awaited all-electric crossover.

According to a post on the Mach-E forum, the price of the Mustang Mach-E will be $1,000 to $3,000 than initially promoted. The memo states that the Mustang Mach-E Premium will be $3,000 lower than initially anticipated with the all-wheel drive version dropping to $50,800 and rear-wheel drive model now coming in at $48,100.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E The Ford Mustang Mach-E will begin arriving at dealership lots soon. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Mach-E First Edition, a sold-out top-of-the-line model, will get a $1,000 price deduction. That same drop applies to the Mach-E Select, the base model. That base model has a 230-mile range. Higher price point versions of the Mach-E can achieve up to 300 miles of range.

The price of each vehicle includes a $1,100 delivery charge. Customers are eligible to receive a $7,500 federal tax credit with purchase.

Pricing will apply to all models that have been ordered since the Mach-E was unveiled at the 2019 L.A. Auto Show. The first deliveries of the crossover are expected to arrive in customer hands later this year.

How does the new price compare? The freshly-unveiled Volkswagen ID.4 will start at $41,990 including the cost of delivery, making it about $2,000 less than the new price of the Mach-E Select, which comes in at $43,995 for front-wheel drive models and $46,695 for all-wheel drive variants. The ID.4 will get up to 250 miles on a single charge.

The Tesla Model Y comes in at $49,990 but has more range than the Mustang Mach-E at 316 miles on a single charge and comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Ford and Volkswagen vehicles will rely on private charging opportunities. Both companies have recently announced partnerships with Electrify America, which has two cross-country charging routes available and is working to rapidly install charging stations at private enterprises and in public spaces nationwide.

Volkswagen ID.4 buyers get three years of free charging with purchase. Mustang Mach-E owners get 250-kilowatt-hours of free charging when they buy a Mach-E.

Tesla has a fully built-out electric vehicle charging infrastructure that allows for fast charging of the Model Y. With that capability it can relain 158 miles of charge in just 15 minutes while at a Supercharger. There are 17,000 Superchargers worldwide and six new locations open each week according to the Tesla website.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is the company's first long-range electric vehicle for the U.S. market.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The long-teased Volkswagen ID.4 has arrived. Volkswagen will make the battery electric vehicle (BEV) its first long-range model sold in the U.S. The model will be made in the U.S.A at VW's Chattanooga plant and go on sale in early 2021.

"The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "It drives like a GTI, it has the packaging of a Tiguan and the purpose of the Beetle. All the best things about VW in one package."

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Platform and battery design

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

With a serviceable body design, the highlights of the ID.4 reside in the details. Its battery pack consists of 288 pouch cells in 12 modules. The pack resides under the vehicle's center and doesn't intrude on passenger space. The battery pack is attached to the car via an aluminum hold and connects with an electric motor at the rear.

VW will offer the ID.4 with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery at launch. The power source is capable of achieving 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet for torque, which are good numbers for its vehicle size, though some of that may be undercut by the heaviness of the vehicle - the weight information is still forthcoming from the company.

The ID.4 82kWh RWD 1st Edition models will have a range of 250 miles. A more powerful all-wheel-drive variant with 302 horsepower will go on sale later in 2021.

Each ID.4 that is purchased comes with three years of free charging capability via Electrify America infrastructure. The ID.4 can be charged with both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) fast-charging capability. The onboard 11-kilowatt charger allows for charging the battery 33 miles in about an hour and charges to full in around 7.5 hours on a Level 2 charger. At a DC fast-charging station, with 125 kilowatt charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is touting the vehicle's nimble drivability. VW knows a thing or two about five-door vehicle nimbleness. They're the makers of the Golf GTI, one of the most beloved hot hatches on the planet.

As for dimensions, the ID.4 is 4.6 inches smaller and shorter than the Tiguan, and has a shorter wheelbase. Despite this, the passenger space of the model is similar to the Tiguan. It has cargo space similar in size to the Mazda CX-5.

The ID.4 will available in six exterior colors—Glacier White Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Moonstone Grey, Scale Silver Metallic, Blue Dusk Metallic and King's Red Metallic. All models come with a body color roof, black roof rails, and 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

The Statement package adds a panoramic fixed-glass roof, premium LED projector headlights with Volkswagen's Adaptive Front-lighting System, and power-folding side mirrors with puddle lamp signature. The Gradient package (sold on top of the Statement package) upgrades to 20-inch wheels, black roof, and silver roof rails and accents.

A 5.3-inch digital instrument display replaces the traditional instrument cluster in front of the driver. It's operated with touch-sensitive controls on the car's leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel. There is no gearshift because an electric vehicle does not require gears. Instead, the vehicle shifts to drive using a rocker switch on the dashboard.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Interior

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Piano Black material is featured on the steering wheel, steering column, door controls, and display housings. The car's standard cloth seats are finished in black cloth on entry models and Lunar Gray or Galaxy Black leatherette on models with the Statement package. Entry ID.4 models feature six-way adjustable seats with power recline, while the Statement package adds 12-way power seats, with massage lumbar and memory, as well as 30-color ambient lighting.

The roster of standard features includes rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone Climatronic climate control, and KESSY keyless access, heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors and washer nozzles, wireless mobile charging, wireless App-Connect, and Volkswagen Car-Net with in-car WiFi capability, and, on all-wheel-drive models, a heated windshield. The Statement package adds satellite radio, an adjustable trunk floor, and a power tailgate with Easy Open & Close.

Pricing for the ID.4 starts at $39,995, for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro, before a potential federal tax credit of up to $7,500 is applied. Volkswagen Credit will offer qualified customers a monthly lease payment $379 per month with $3,579 due at signing for a 36-month lease with a 10,000-miles per year limit.

Starting later in 2021, the ID.4 AWD Pro ($43,675) will be available. These models can be additionally outfitted with two packages—Statement ($4,500), and Gradient ($1,500). The ID.4 launches with a limited-run ID.4 1st Edition ($43,995).

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