Electric Vehicles

Volvo implementing blockchain to help trace lifespan of cobalt used in batteries

Volvo has announced plans to use blockchain to help trace the life path of the cobalt it uses in its electrified vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Cars

Cobalt production is on the rise to support the growing needs of the automotive industry as automakers set electrified vehicle adoption targets worldwide. The calls for the adoption of sustainable business practices are growing larger as well, with Volvo announcing last week that it will lower its carbon footprint by 40 percent.

Volvo Cars will become the first automaker to implement global traceability of cobalt used in its batteries by applying blockchain technology. The technology will allow for transparency when it comes to sharing reliable data on the supply chain of the materials that cannot be simply altered undetected for profit.

"We have always been committed to an ethical supply chain for our raw materials," said Martina Buchhauser, head of procurement at Volvo Cars. "With blockchain technology we can take the next step towards ensuring full traceability of our supply chain and minimising any related risks, in close collaboration with our suppliers."

The Swedish automaker gets its batteries from CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea, who have also agreed to be part of this tracking program when it kicks off later this year.

Technology firms Circulor and Oracle will operate the blockchain technology in CATL's supply chain following successful testing during a pilot program over the summer. The Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, RCS Global, and IBM are rolling out the technology in LG Chem's supply chain.

In the case of cobalt, blockchain will record the material's origin, attributes including weight and size, chain of custody, and supplier behavior.

The agreements regarding blockchain technology between Volvo Cars, CATL, and LG Chem cover the supply of batteries over the coming decade for next generation Volvo and Polestar models.

What is blockchain? A blockchain is a digital ledger that includes records linked to each other via cryptography. When used in the constrains of supply chains, the technology is used to create records of transactions which cannot be altered. It also sets a standard for what data can be recorded. Blockchain allows participants to verify and audit transactions independently.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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Insurance company Hagerty compiled a list of cars it thinks will climb in value and price.

Hagerty

Vehicle prices have grown across the board this year, but collector car prices have been on the move for years. The world of online car auctions and car shows such as Radwood have driven attention to obscure and otherwise unknown cars, pushing their prices. Insurance and overall automotive lifestyle company Hagerty is stepping in to help. It complied a list of vehicles that it believes are currently a good value and have potential to climb. The Hagerty Bull Market List covers ten vehicles of all types.

Hagerty’s list is expansive, covering several vehicle types, prices, and time periods. The list features vehicles built between 1963 and 2012, and is designed to nudge people into buying cars before they become unattainable. This is especially important now, as online auction sites have moved the markets for some previously obscure cars well past the point of reason.

The Bull Market List isn’t intended to give you an inside track on car values so that you can flip them for quick profit. Instead, the list should give you the push you need if you’re already on the fence about buying a car to keep and drive a cool vehicle. Hagerty wants people to buy the cars and have the ability to pass them on to other enthusiasts without charging exorbitant prices.

The Bull Market List includes (with excellent condition pricing):

  • 1965-1970 Cadillac DeVille ($28,800)
  • 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino ($365,800)
  • 1983-1997 Land Rover Defender ($61,400)
  • 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 ($17,600)
  • 1962-1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL ($80,500)
  • 1963-1967 Pontiac GTO ($100,200)
  • 1992-1995 Porsche 968 ($38,000)
  • 1985-1995 Suzuki Samurai ($10,200)
  • 2008-2012 Tesla Roadster Sport ($97,000)
  • 1975-1993 Volvo 245 ($15,800)

If you’re considering one of the vehicles on the list and have the means, it’s a good idea to act in the near future. Vehicle prices are rising due to supply chain shortages to the point that even older cars are climbing. That, plus the effects of online car auctions, have made it hard to find a good value car.

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