This week is all about collaboration, with auto manufacturers sharing their expertise and coming together to make safety a priority. In addition the US public will soon get more choice of models when car shopping, which – while it means increased competition – hints at a healthy market.
Say “Bonjour” to French Cars Again
Peugeot’s cars could be returning to US soil for the first time since 1991. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Peugeot boss Carlos Tavares has indicated that plans to bring Peugeot’s range of vehicles to the USA are being accelerated. Instead of 2026 as originally planned, it seems that Tavares and Co will have a wide range of automobiles ready for sale on American soil by 2023. Electric cars and hybrids will be part of the offering as well as the ever-popular SUV.
Tavares also said that Peugeot is exploring ways to sell its wares without dealerships, but underlying the fact that potential customers will still be able to test drive different options. How this will work in practice remains to be seen.
Toyota Poised to Release the Secrets of its Hybrid Success
Toyota is set to allow competitors royalty-free access to its many hybrid vehicle patents. As the BBC reports, the car manufacturer is aiming to promote hybrids as a “bridge” between gas-fueled vehicles and fully electric cars. Access to its almost 24,000 different patents will be free for all until 2030. Toyota’s Prius – the first hybrid car to be built – has been a worldwide success, with over 13 million cars sold.
Toyota’s executive vice-president Shigeki Terashi said in a statement, “Based on the high volume of inquiries we receive about our vehicle electrification systems from companies that recognize a need to popularize hybrid and other electrified vehicle technologies, we believe that now is the time for cooperation.”
Carmakers Collaborate on Autonomous Vehicles
Ford, General Motors and Toyota are joining forces to develop a series of best practices for self-driving cars. At a meeting in Washington D.C. this past week the automobile manufacturers launched the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium, focused on developing safety standards and guidelines.
The consortium’s executive director Eric Straub told Auto News that the group plans to “share experiences and come to agreements […] around the way those technologies get deployed and get tested on the public roadway”. The first order of business will be to agree on common safety principles, something many in the auto trade, as well as members of the public, will no doubt welcome. He also suggested that the group could expand in future to include other carmakers.
UK and Europe to Set Automatic Speed Limits on all Cars
Following on from the recent announcement by Volvo that all of its cars will have limited top speeds by 2020, all new cars sold in the UK and the European Union may face limited top speeds by 2022. New legislation planned for the EU will usher in a number of additional measures designed at reducing the number of road deaths. These include automated emergency braking and improvements to truck design to help truck drivers see cyclists more easily.
Additionally, all cars will be fitted with data recorders – similar to the “black boxes” used by airplane manufacturers – to record crash data, helping investigators and scientists to gain valuable insight into why collisions happen and how they could be prevented.
As reported in the UK Guardian, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council said these measures could prevent “25,000 deaths within 15 years of coming into force.”