TOLEDO, Ohio — General Motors said on Friday it will invest $760 million at its Toledo, Ohio, factory to build drive units for electric trucks, the automaker’s first U.S. powertrain facility repurposed for EV-related production.
Th largest U.S. automaker currently builds GM’s six-speed, eight-speed and 10-speed rear-wheel drive and nine-speed front-wheel drive transmissions in a variety of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac at its 2.82-million-square-foot Toledo, Ohio, transmission plant that it has renamed Toledo Propulsion Systems.
Congress in August approved significant financial incentives for automakers to convert plants producing parts for gasoline-pore vehicles to electric models.
An auto trade group noted the bill sets aside “more than $15.5 billion in incentives and grants to ensure the United States is building automotive supply chains and a globally competitive battery manufacturing platform.”
“Once the plant is converted, it will produce GM’s family of EV drive units, which convert electric power from the battery pack to mechanical motion at the wheels,” GM said, adding the plant will produce transmission products while building drive units simultaneously during GM’s EV transition.
The Toledo facility employs about 1,500 people. Many autoworkers have expressed concerns about the shift to EVs and if it would impact current auto employment.
Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president, said GM is looking for ways to increase EV capacity beyond its current goal of being able to build 1 million EVs in North America by 2025.
But hitting that target “would be outstanding. To do better would be astronomical,” Johnson said.
GM said last year it would increase its EV and autonomous vehicle investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, a 75 percent increase as it vows to stop selling gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
GM and LG Energy Solution said last month they are considering a site in Indiana for a fourth U.S. battery cell manufacturing plant for the companies’ Ultium joint venture expected to cost about $2.4 billion.
The U.S. Energy Department said in July said it plans to loan Ultium $2.5 billion to help finance construction of new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities.
Last week, GM said it would invest $491 million at its Marion, Ind., metal stamping operations to prepare the facility to produce a variety of steel and aluminum stamped parts for future products, including electric vehicles.
If there has been one car in the Roadkill fleet that absolutely never fails to fail, it’s the 1971 Datsun 240z rust bucket known as the Rotsun. From the beginning, the Rotsun has let Freiburger and Finnegan down over and over, whether it be at autocross events, drag races, shootouts, or even 24 Hours of Lemons. However, it’s the one car the guys can never quite give up on even though it’s fulling deserving of desertion. Over the years it’s had a variation of power plants, it’s latest being a junkyard turbocharged 5.0 Liter V8 pulled from a fox body Mustang. Now on this episode of Roadkill, Freiburger and Finnegan attempt to get the Rotsun back up and running after years of neglect, by finally fixing its independent rear suspension issues and attempting to drive it to SEMA. Will the Rotsun fail to fail? Will it break more axles or will the axles break the guys?
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Some automakers have turned to all-wheel steering steering to make vehicles more maneuverable, but Ford is looking to patent an alternative solution.
A patent application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) describes a way to reduce turning radius on future vehicles by varying torque to individual wheels.
Ford turn-assist mode patent image
In the proposed system, an onboard controller would monitor factors like steering angle and wheel speed to determine if turning-radius reduction will be helpful. This is referred to as “turn-assist mode” in the application.
When activated, this mode reduces torque to the inside rear wheel, generating added yaw, or sideways movement. It then applies more torque to both front wheels to help balance out that yaw and pull the vehicle out of the turn. That sounds a bit like the torque-vectoring systems already used in some production cars to improve handling, but specifically aimed at decreasing turning radius.
Ford turn-assist mode patent image
The torque reduction for the inside rear wheel could be achieved via braking, so this system could be used in front-wheel drive vehicles without driven rear axles, Ford noted in the application. In all-wheel-drive applications, the rear axle could also be disconnected from the front axle in turn-assist mode, the application suggests.
As with all patent applications, it’s unclear if Ford will put torque-based turn assist into production. But this isn’t the first application for a patent of this category from the automaker; earlier this year it filed for a tank turn feature, and it has filed others describing the use of four-wheel-steering to turn the front and rear wheels in opposite directions for an off-roading crawling feature. These in turn seem to build on a four-wheel-steering patent application published in 2019.
General Motors is getting into the business of grocery store carts, but not the usual kind with that one squeaky, wobbly wheel.
GM’s BrightDrop unit has signed Kroger, the nation’s largest supermarket chain, to be the first customer for its new temperature-controlled Trace Grocery “eCart” for online order fulfillment starting later this year.
BrightDrop, which GM formed in 2021 to make electric delivery vans, conducted a pilot with Kroger in Kentucky, where it said the grocer experienced “a noticeable improvement in the customer and associate experience.”
“COVID has driven a dramatic increase in online grocery shopping, and fulfilling these orders profitably has become a major challenge for retailers of all sizes. With the Trace Grocery, we saw an opportunity to help companies like Kroger tackle these challenges head on,” BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz said in a statement. “As online shopping continues to grow, BrightDrop is committed to developing innovative solutions to help our customers keep pace. The Trace Grocery is a perfect example of this.”
The unit, built on BrightDrop’s Trace platform for last-mile delivery, allows employees to put items directly into its nine compartments and park it at the curb outside for customers to access their order. It digitally verifies a customer’s identity, so an employee does not need to be involved in the pickup process.
BrightDrop says the Trace Grocery keeps items at food-safe temperatures for up to four hours, has an electric motor that moves the unit at up to 3 mph to match an operator’s walking speed, can hold up to 350 pounds of groceries and is weatherproof. It plans to deploy the unit on a larger scale in 2024.
CHECK OUT THIS PATROL FOR SALE ON CARS & BIDS!
Nissan Patrol review! The Nissan Patrol isn’t as well-known as some other cool off-roader SUVs, but it’s still cool — and very special. Today I’m reviewing this 1984 Nissan Patrol, and I’ll show you all the quirks and features of this cool, old-school SUV. I’m also going to show you what the Patrol is like on the road, as I’ll be driving it and I will review the Patrol’s driving experience.
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