Collaboration

Honda, General Motors sign agreement to share vehicle platforms, co-develop vehicles

The Honda-GM agreement will allow for collaboration on a number of fronts.

Photo by Getty Images

On the heels of successful collaboration regarding the implementation of electric vehicle technologies, General Motors and Honda have announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding that will increase the level of partnership between the two companies.

This isn't the first time that Honda and GM are collaborating. They have been working together on a variety of projects for over 20 years, including the Cruise Origin.

"This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources. Given our strong track record of collaboration, the companies would realize significant synergies in the development of today's vehicle portfolio," said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors.

The agreement is seen as a step toward creating a North American automotive alliance in a vein similar vein to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. In that alliance, the three companies share a portion of the development, engineering, and production costs of vehicles and future technology. The scope of the proposed alliance includes vehicles that will be sold under each company's distinct brands as well as cooperation in purchasing, research and development, and connected services.

This proposed alliance would allow Honda and GM to collaborate on a variety of segments in North America that would share vehicle platforms and electrified and internal combustion propulsion systems. This could mean that we see a full-size Honda truck or a Chevrolet car with a Civic engine in the future.

Additionally, the alliance would allow for better market positioning for materials purchasing negotiations, logistics, and localization strategies.

"Through this new alliance with GM, we can achieve substantial cost efficiencies in North America that will enable us to invest in future mobility technology, while maintaining our own distinct and competitive product offerings. Combining the strengths of each company, and by carefully determining what we will do on our own and what we will do in collaboration, we will strive to build a win-win relationship to create new value for our customers. In this way, Honda will continue making steady progress in solidifying our existing business by realizing strong products, strong manufacturing capability and a strong business structure," said Seiji Kuraishi, executive vice president of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Co-development planning discussions will begin immediately, with engineering work beginning in early 2021.

The agreement builds on the electric vehicle platform sharing agreement the two automakers signed in April. In that agreement, Honda will work with GM to develop two new electric vehicles based on GM's global EV platform powered by Ultium batteries.

GM is already part of the Materials Marketplace, an initiative of the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development that works to identify ways to reuse or exchange undervalued materials through an online database and establish circular supply chains. This is designed to lengthen product life cycles and lower the environmental impact of many stages of the manufacturing and design process.

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Interesting backstory

Volkswagen Bus part inspired popular dog toy

The classic VW Bus inspired one of the most popular dog toys of all time.

Volkswagen

Product designs sometimes take inspiration from the places we expect the least. Moments of genius are driven by finding solutions to unique problems, and as it turns out, that's exactly how we ended up with KONG. The beefy, durable dog chew toy is modeled after a Volkswagen Bus part.

Joe Markham's shop Markham needed a dog for security, but he unexpectedly got a chew-crazy pet.Volkswagen

KONG's inventor, Joe Markham, adopted a German Shepherd to help with security at his auto repair shop in downtown Denver, CO. The dog, while a great addition to the shop, came with a few bad habits. The dog's most worrisome hobby was chewing, which he would do with almost anything he could find, especially rocks. As you might imagine, chewing on rocks is not good for the dog's teeth. Markham needed a durable chew toy, but nothing seemed to work, from animal bones to radiator hoses.

The solution came from an unlikely place: While working on a 1960sVW Type 2 Bus, Markham discovered that the rubber axle stop made a perfect chew toy. The dog had gotten ahold of the rubber stop, and while he was chewing viciously, neither the stop nor his teeth were damaged.

The discovery led Markham to spend the next six years experimenting with various rubbers, sizes, and shapes for his dog toy. After working with rubber experts in Germany, the design was finalized and the KONG was born. The shape for the toy ended up being very close to that of the axle stop. The funky, bulbous design meant that the toy wouldn't bounce like a ball, and would instead flop around randomly, which is similar to the way that small animals run away from predators.

VW Bus axle stop The axle stop from a VW Bus inspired KONG's shape.Volkswagen

It's worth noting that you should not intentionally let your dog chew on any part of your vehicle. Even unused automotive parts can contain chemicals and other harmful materials that could make your dog sick or worse. This isn't a pitch to buy a KONG, just a warning about the hazards of car parts being used as dog toys.

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New electric luxury vehicles

Three new Mercedes-Benz EVs we can't wait to see

Mercedes showed off its electric future at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is going electric, and though it only recently announced its firm plans to do so, it already seems that the German automaker is moving quickly toward that goal. At the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes showed off some of its upcoming electrified products. We've seen the EQS, a flagship electric sedan, but three newcomers made an appearance at the show.


Mercedes-Benz EQB EQB will be Mercedes' electric family SUV.Mercedes-Benz


EQB

EQB is the brand's family-sized SUV, offering seating for up to seven people. A long wheelbase of 111.3 inches and adjustable second-row seating allows more interior space for people and gear. Mercedes says the EQB will offer two powertrain configurations: The EQB 300 4MATIC will get 225 horsepower and the EQB 350 4MATIC will sport 288 horsepower. A front-wheel drive configuration will go on sale later and a long-range model will follow.


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG The EQG will eventually become the brand's electric off-roader.Mercedes-Benz


EQG

Concept EQG is a preview of the eventual electrification of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, its boxy, upper-crust off-roader. This concept is far closer to a design exercise than something we'll actually see in production, but it's an interesting demonstration, nonetheless. With 22-inch wheels, wild exterior lighting touches, and what the automaker says will be legendary off-road abilities, the EQG will be an exciting vehicle when it does make an appearance.


Mercedes-Benz EQE EQE will follow the EQS as a smaller, sportier electric sedan in 2022.Mercedes-Benz


EQE

EQE is the second car to use Mercedes' EVA2 electric architecture, following the EQS sedan. The car is currently scheduled for a staggered release in mid-2022 and will feature a more compact and sportier design than its predecessor. Mercedes says that the car will be available with either 19- or 21-inch wheels, and notes that its size is comparable to the current CLS coupe-sedan. The car offers an impressive range of up to 410 miles on a single charge from its 90kWh battery and special charging capabilities through the Mercedes me Charge network.

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