COVID-19

First General Motors-Ventec ventilators ready for delivery

General Motors has a contract to produce 30,000 ventilators.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

The partnership between General Motors and Ventec Life System to manufacture ventilators in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing the first fruits of its labors. Today marks the start of mass production of the Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilator at GM's Kokomo plant.

Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic," said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. "Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work."

General Motors Ventec ventilators GM is hiring 1,000 employees to manufacture the equipment. Photo courtesy of General Motors

On March 17, General Motors and Ventec executive held their first conference call to explore the possibility of GM helping to increase Ventec's production. Three days later, GM had engaged its global supply base and within 72 hours they had developed plans to source all the material necessary to create the products.

More than 1,000 manufacturing team members are in the process of being hired to produce the product.

The Kokomo plant was readied for production starting March 25 and on April 8 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded GM a contract to build 30,000 Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilators under the Defense Production Act.

"Until there is a vaccine, critical care ventilators give medical professionals the tools they need to fight this pandemic and save lives," said Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple. "This partnership is an historic effort and a great reminder of what can be accomplished with the power of American innovation and American manufacturing skill uniting together around a singular mission to save lives."

According to the companies, more than 600 ventilators will be shipped this month, almost half the order will be filled by the end of June, and the full order will be completed by the end of August. GM has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed.

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Ultium Charge 360 is described as a holistic approach to electric vehicle ownership.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors, like Ford, is working to help make charging easier for their electric vehicle owners. The introduction of the Ultium Charge 360, which takes its name from the Ultium battery pack that is going to be used to charge GM vehicles moving forward, combines information regarding charging networks, GM vehicle mobile apps, and other products and services.

"GM agrees with the customer need for a robust charging experience that makes the transition to an EV seamless and helps drive mass adoption," said Travis Hester, GM's chief EV officer. "As we launch 30 EVs globally by the end of 2025, Ultium Charge 360 simplifies and improves the at-home charging experience and the public charging experience – whether it's community-based or road-trip charging."

Ultium Charge 360 smartphone Ultium Charge 360 allows users to find a charging station near them.Photo courtesy of General Motors

Ultium Charge 360 offers:

  • Access to Charging - GM will continue to work with a variety of third parties, including charge point operators, electric utilities and government agencies to make home, workplace, public and fleet charging ubiquitous for customers.
  • Mobile Apps - GM will continue to update the GM vehicle mobile apps to provide an even more intuitive mobile experience that makes navigating to a charging station, plugging into a charger and paying for charging simple.
  • Products and Services - To help ensure the transition to an EV is seamless, GM is working to offer EV owners charging accessories and installation services tailored to their lifestyle. For example, GM will cover standard installation of Level 2 charging capability for eligible customers who purchase or lease a 2022 Bolt EUV or Bolt EV in collaboration with Qmerit.

GM is also making progress on its EV infrastructure strategy. The company previously announced plans to install 3,500 charging stations at company facilities.

Thanks to agreements between GM and seven major charging providers (Blink Charging, ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo, FLO, Greenlots and SemaConnect) GM vehicle suers will be able to see real-time information from nearly 60,000 charging plugs throughout the U.S. and Canada, find stations along a route, and initiate and pay for charging.

Nine months following the announcement to add 2,700 fast chargers in cities and suburbs by the end of 2025, GM and EVgo have opened its first sites in Washington, California, and Florida. Each site is capable of delivering up to 350 kilowatts and averages four chargers per site. GM and EVgo are on track to have approximately 500 fast charging stalls live by the end of 2021.

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The Lamborghini Huracan EVO RWD is a fresh addition to the supercar company's lineup.

Photo by Jordan Golson

There's something about a supercar that is deeply enthralling. This is particularly true when that supercar is a Lamborghini Huracán painted in an outrageous matte purple called Viola Mel.

There's much more to a supercar than the price, but let's get that out of the way up front: My test car stickers for an honestly-quite-reasonable $278,516 after it was fitted with $66,250 worth of optional extras and an eye-watering $3,695 destination charge.

Much like the Rolls-Royce Ghost previously reviewed last week, the question of whether its "worth it" is entirely up to the potential buyer. Specifically whether or not they a: want a Lamborghini Huracán EVO RWD; and b: have $278,516 to spend on a wildly impractical 610-horsepower sports car. If the answers to both are true, then yes, it's worth it.

The car's Viola Mel color attracts a lot of attention.Photo by Jordan Golson

But first, the basics: Getting in the Huracán isn't easy. And I don't just mean coming up with a house worth of cash to buy one — I mean literally climbing in. I had to teach a few people how to do it and it goes something like this: Open door; put one foot inside the footwell; set butt on the door sill; slide butt into seat; bring other foot into footwell; close door. To leave, reverse it.

It's not an elegant process and doing it in anything remotely approaching a dignified manner is tricky. But, if you do it right, your car will be painted in that Viola Mel color and folks won't be paying any attention to your haphazard attempts to not fall over when exiting the car because they'll be too busy falling in love with the paint. That's a $16,500 paint job by the way, courtesy of Lamborghini's Ad Personam customization program and words fail when trying to describe how good it looks in person.

It looks so magnificent that people think it's fake. I brought it to the weekly South OC Cars and Coffee event — ostensibly it's an impromptu car show for all manner of car enthusiasts, but an awful lot of Lambo drivers show up to show off. There were at least ten Huracáns in attendance, including a spyder in what a Porsche enthusiast would call Miami Blue — but none garnered as much attention as the Viola Mel.

Storage space is at a premium.Photo by Jordan Golson

This is what owning a supercar (or borrowing one for the weekend, in my case) is all about. Except the paint job was so outrageously unique that nearly everyone thought it was a really good wrap, or temporary vinyl covering. It costs a lot of money to have Lamborghini paint their car in such a way that it convinces people that you put a wrap on your car. And then you get to explain that no, it's not a wrap, it's paint and here let me show you this sticker under the hood that proves it's an original factory paint job. There aren't many cars that could get me going about the paint for hundreds of words, but here we are.

This was my second Huracán, and the first was wildly uncomfortable. A friend that I gave a ride to still talks about how awful it was, and that was five years ago. I wasn't sure if it was because of the car or because of the seats — but it was a little bit of both. That one had the most hardcore racing seats Lambo offers fitted to it, while this one has the mid-tier Sport Seat ($7,500). They're fairly comfortable, as sports car seats go, and are manually adjustable which is good for racing but I might skip them and get the "base" comfort seats instead unless you're going racing, in which case go for the uncomfortable race chairs.

Enough about the look; now on to that 610-horsepower V10. I'm not usually one to get emotional about the good old days, but there is something really special about a giant naturally aspirated engine that's going to be lost from the world soon due to new engine and fuel economy regulations, not to mention the advancement of technology.

The engine fires up with a ferocious bark that rattles the soul like a bolt of lightning and happily revs to terrifying heights with the slightest twitch of the throttle. The start button, hidden beneath an absurdly wonderful red missile-launcher-esque protective cover, might as well inject dopamine directly into your brain in such prodigious amounts as to make you forget about the pandemic, the fact that Trump isn't President or that he ever was (your choice), and that Tom Brady has seven Super Bowl rings and you don't.

And that's before you aim that Viola Mel nose at the nearest interstate on-ramp and punch it, Chewie.

Troubles forgotten. Smile affixed. Life ain't so bad.

At least until you have to slow down because you're well into triple digits and you haven't even merged onto the highway yet. Still. It's a good day.

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