This week’s automotive industry news reflects the changing face of the car industry – with cities across the world putting the squeeze on heavily polluting vehicles and the industry responding with greater investment in more planet-friendly options.
Ford sets its sights on hybrid success
The Ford Motor Company is investing heavily into its hybrid models for both the Ford and Lincoln brands, in a bid to eclipse Toyota’s success in the sector. At the same time, they’re simplifying their marketing and making it easier for customers to understand the hybrids models and their performance capabilities. Mark Greuber, consumer marketing manager for Ford, told Auto News this week “”We’re trying to be really transparent for our customers…in a way that speaks to their priorities instead of making it more like a science project.”
Ford is aiming to add 20 hybrid vehicles to its lineup by 2022, and is investing $11 billion dollars in the venture.
GM Cruise continues to attract investment
GM Cruise – the self-driving division of General Motors – has raised another $1.15 billion dollars in new equity – taking its total post-money investment to a staggering $19 billion. This latest influx of funds comes from a group of investors that includes Honda, SoftBank and T. Rowe Price Associates.
GM bought the Cruise operation in 2016 in a bid to kick its self-driving car capabilities into gear, and it looks like the investment is really paying off. Cruise has stated that it wants to launch some type of commercial self-driving service by the end of 2019. Cruise has grown from just 40 employees in San Francisco to over 1,000 today – with plans by Cruise CEO Dan Ammann to add another 1,000 people within a year.
Amsterdam will ban all combustion-engine cars and motorbikes from city center
It’s a trend being seen across the world – older petrol and diesel cars being banned from city centers – and Amsterdam is the latest city to take the plunge. It has pledged that all cars and motorbikes running on gas or diesel will be barred from the city center, starting in 2030. This move follows on from Madrid, Spain’s recent pollution-busting measures of banning all non-resident cars running on gas registered before the year 2000 and all diesel cars registered before 2006. Similarly, Paris, Oslo, and Mexico City also recently announced measures to restrict older vehicles from circulating in cities.
In all these cities hybrid and fully electric vehicles will be given free reign, adding extra incentive to car manufacturers to ramp up their efforts in the EV space.
The USA has been slower on the uptake to date – with New York one of the only cities that has implemented measures to date. NYC has banned all cars from circulating in Central Park and is creating pedestrian-only zones in some of its busiest areas, like Madison Square Park.
College students earn course credits for riding Harleys
It’s a dream come true for any bike enthusiast – the chance to earn college course credits in exchange for hopping on a hog. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has joined up with Harley-Davidson to offer a course in riding its 500 model bikes. Students must have a license before joining the course, and will leave with an elective credit and MSF completion card, that can be exchanged for a motorbike riding endorsement in many states.
Why start in Wisconsin? Milwaukee is the home of Harley-Davidson, and the iconic bikes have been built in the city since 1903.