Here are the automotive news stories you might have missed this week.
1. NHTSA boss steps down.
Steven Cliff, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has stepped down to take a job as executive officer at the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Confirmed by the Senate in May, Cliff’s tenure is shockingly short.
Read more about the move here.
2. Ford Lightning flunks another towing test.
You might have heard about the Ford Lightning electric truck utterly failing a tow test a few weeks ago, and it’s happened again. This time Motor Trend found the pickup can’t make it far when pulling a load.
Find out more here.
3. Live kids used for Tesla safety test.
I posted not too long ago about how Ralph Nader and The Dawn Project have been characterizing Tesla’s Full Self-Driving as fundamentally unsafe. One of the tests The Dawn Project has used to “prove” this has been setting up a dummy child in the road to show the EV’s sensors won’t detect a real child. Well, a big Tesla supporter decided to debunk this using his Tesla and his kids. I’ve included the video because it sure is interesting on so many levels.
4. Toyota GR86 catches fire.
Car fires are sadly quite common but this one involving a Toyota GR86 is especially troubling. Really a rebadged Subaru BRZ, these little sport coupes seem to be experiencing a lot of mechanical trouble. This one caught fire after the dealer was repairing it for four months. Hopefully Toyota and authorities can get to the bottom of why.
Read more about it here.
5. White House Climate Advisor makes a disturbing statement on live TV.
If you know your history of communism in China, this clip from CNN where White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy talks about the county taking “a big leap forward” will send shivers down your spine. Maybe she didn’t make the connection, but plenty of people did. Someone in this kind of position should be more savvy and aware, but these are the people forming policy directly impacting the automotive industry for years to come.
6. Dodge electrifies its lineup.
It’s all over the mainstream news, so you’ve likely heard all about how Dodge unveiled its new all-electric muscle car. Only, that car is a concept and it drove no more than 5 mph during the reveal event. And Tim Kuniskis, head of the Dodge brand, shared zero specs or a rollout date for a production model. In other words for now this car appears to be a big question mark.
Dodge also unveiled the Dart crossover, which is just a lightly reskinned Alfa Romeo Tonale. The lineup includes a plug-in hybrid powertain. I predict these things will age like cheese sitting in the sun, as most cheap Italian vehicles do.
7. Chevy enters the super truck market.
Chevy got people talking with the unveiling of its Silverado ZR2 Bison, which is set to take on the Ford Raptor and Ram TRX. While the truck, which was developed alongside American Expedition Vehicles, comes with all kinds of trail-oriented modifications, the one thing it doesn’t have is some crazy-powerful engine, putting it at a disadvantage versus the Ford and Ram.
Check out the details here.
8. Faraday Future needs cash bad.
If you don’t remember electric car startup Faraday Future, you’re not the only one. After a disappointing reveal of its non-operational FF 91 years ago, the company has struggled to launch into the market. Now it’s looking to drum up $600 million in funding to keep gas in the tank or it might be yet another EV brand DOA.
Get the details here.