In my last column I mentioned that the New Coronavirus would send a ripple through the automotive industry. It has done that and at press time we now see that it is sending ripples across all industries, all around the world. Indeed, at press time, it has just been declared a worldwide pandemic! This publication is due to hit the streets by April 1st. And it will be no joke by then. Good luck to all of you.
Electricity is a topic mentioned often in this column. Specifically, how it will be affecting our future automotive industry. Here is a little something from GM. We are all aware of how complex electrical systems have become in all cars. GM has developed an electrical architecture that includes over 1 million lines of code. It is currently in use in C8 Corvettes and others. By 2023 this plug & play type of architecture will be shared by all GM vehicles.
This leads us into GM’s “EV Day.” This was a special event for GM to announce their commitment to future electric vehicles. They announced that they believe in global warming and a renewable electrical grid. Their plan is to invest 20 billion dollars between now and 2025.
They seem to be most excited about the new battery they will be building which will include less Cobalt and more nickel. They call it the Ultium. They announced that they will be tripling the number of charging stations at all GM facilities. They announced the new Hummer EV coming in 2021. They announced their new Cadillac, Lyriq. However, at press time we are now hearing that production of that car will be delayed due to the coronavirus.
Some insiders felt that GM’s EV Day announcements were more lackluster than they had expected. After all, Tesla is already years ahead of them in this game. We will see.
Speaking of Tesla, the MuskFather has just announced the implementation of their Track Mode V.2. Word is this performance upgrade will lay siege to many race cars on road courses everywhere. Of course the one I have whimsically named the MuskFather is indeed Elon Musk. He may well become the most well-known man on the planet, the way he is going. I must admit, the more I look into this guy, the more impressed I become. I will have plenty more to say about him in future columns.
Announcing the Indy Autonomous Challenge. This will be a competition between leading University teams developing autonomous self-driving racecars. In 2021 they will compete at the Indianapolis Motor speedway. The prize will be $1000000. DARPA has a hand in this.
Now for news of the latest merger in the Motorsports industry. Race Winning Brands (RWB) has acquired Manley. They own JE Pistons, Diamond Pistons, Wiseco, K1 Technologies and Dart, among others. (RWB) is a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries LLC.
We will finish this column with news from the UK. A family driving in a Tesla Model X was saved from a 400 year old falling tree by the automatic braking feature. A family traveling in a Tesla Model X in the opposite direction on the same street was also saved from the same falling tree by their automatic braking feature.
It is what it is. Be safe everybody!
‘nuff said, Chuck Fasst #GearHeadsWorld