Ford recalls 462,000 SUVs over rearview camera issue

Ford has issued a recall for 462,000 vehicles worldwide over the possibility that their rearview cameras could suffer from faulty video output. According to the Associated Press and Reuters, the recall covers some 2020 to 2023 model Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators, as well as a bunch of 2020 to 2022 model Lincoln Corsairs. The affected vehicles come with 360-degree cameras that display live view footage on the in-car entertainment touchscreen console. The majority of the affected cars — over 382,000 — are in the US. 

According to a document (PDF) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency contacted Ford in late 2021 about allegations that the live view camera was showing a blue image instead of what was happening outside. That came after an earlier recall in 2021 for the same problem. Ford worked with suppliers to analyze those reports, but it wasn't until December 2022 that the automaker was able to replicate the issue in the laboratory and in-vehicle, which is most likely why Ford has only issued a recall now. 

Apparently, 2,115 warranty reports had been submitted about this issue as of November 30th, 2022. Also, the automaker is aware of 17 minor accidents that allegedly occurred due to the vehicles' rear camera blue screen problem, but it hasn't heard of any injuries. Reuters said even the vehicles that were recalled in 2021 are part of this recall, so dealers can also update their image processing module software.

Ford recalls 462,000 SUVs over rearview camera issue

Ford has issued a recall for 462,000 vehicles worldwide over the possibility that their rearview cameras could suffer from faulty video output. According to the Associated Press and Reuters, the recall covers some 2020 to 2023 model Ford Explorers and Lincoln Aviators, as well as a bunch of 2020 to 2022 model Lincoln Corsairs. The affected vehicles come with 360-degree cameras that display live view footage on the in-car entertainment touchscreen console. The majority of the affected cars — over 382,000 — are in the US. 

According to a document (PDF) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency contacted Ford in late 2021 about allegations that the live view camera was showing a blue image instead of what was happening outside. That came after an earlier recall in 2021 for the same problem. Ford worked with suppliers to analyze those reports, but it wasn't until December 2022 that the automaker was able to replicate the issue in the laboratory and in-vehicle, which is most likely why Ford has only issued a recall now. 

Apparently, 2,115 warranty reports had been submitted about this issue as of November 30th, 2022. Also, the automaker is aware of 17 minor accidents that allegedly occurred due to the vehicles' rear camera blue screen problem, but it hasn't heard of any injuries. Reuters said even the vehicles that were recalled in 2021 are part of this recall, so dealers can also update their image processing module software.

Mercedes is the first certified Level-3-autonomy car company in the US

At CES earlier this January, Mercedes announced that it would become the first car company to achieve certification from the SAE for a Level 3 driver assist system. That became official on Thursday when the automaker confirmed its Drive Pilot ADAS (automated driver assist system) now complies with the requirements of Nevada Chapter 482A, which governs the use of autonomous vehicle technology on the state's roads. That makes Drive Pilot the only legal Level 3 system in the US for the moment.

"An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning," Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA, said in Thursday's press statement. "It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the US market."

Level 3 capabilities, as defined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), would enable the vehicle to handle "all aspects of the driving" when engaged but still need the driver attentive enough to promptly take control if necessary. That's a big step up from the Level 2 systems we see today such as Tesla's "Full Self-Driving," Ford's Blue Cruise, and GM's Super Cruise. All of those are essentially extra-capable highway cruise controls where the driver must maintain their attention on driving, typically keeping their hands on or at least near the wheel, and be responsible for what the ADAS is doing while it's doing it. That's a far cry from the Knight Rider-esque ADAS outlook Tesla is selling and what Level 2 autonomy is actually capable of.

Mercedes' Drive Pilot system can, "on suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density," according to the company, take over the bumper-to-bumper crawling duties up to 40 MPH without the driver needing to keep their hands on the wheel. When engaged, the system handles lane-keeping duties, stays with the flow of traffic, navigates to destinations programmed into the Nav system, and will even react to "unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently, e.g. by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers."

To perform these feats, the Drive Pilot system relies on a suite of sensors embedded throughout the vehicle including visual cameras, LiDAR arrays, radar and ultrasound sensors, and audio mics to keep an ear out for approaching emergency vehicles. The system even compares its onboard sensor data with what it is receiving from its GPS to ensure it knows exactly where on the road it actually is. 

Drive Pilot is only available on the 2024 S-Class and EQS Sedan for now. Those are already in production and the first cars should reach the Vegas strip in the second half of this year. 

Mercedes is the first certified Level-3-autonomy car company in the US

At CES earlier this January, Mercedes announced that it would become the first car company to achieve certification from the SAE for a Level 3 driver assist system. That became official on Thursday when the automaker confirmed its Drive Pilot ADAS (automated driver assist system) now complies with the requirements of Nevada Chapter 482A, which governs the use of autonomous vehicle technology on the state's roads. That makes Drive Pilot the only legal Level 3 system in the US for the moment.

"An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning," Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA, said in Thursday's press statement. "It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the US market."

Level 3 capabilities, as defined by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), would enable the vehicle to handle "all aspects of the driving" when engaged but still need the driver attentive enough to promptly take control if necessary. That's a big step up from the Level 2 systems we see today such as Tesla's "Full Self-Driving," Ford's Blue Cruise, and GM's Super Cruise. All of those are essentially extra-capable highway cruise controls where the driver must maintain their attention on driving, typically keeping their hands on or at least near the wheel, and be responsible for what the ADAS is doing while it's doing it. That's a far cry from the Knight Rider-esque ADAS outlook Tesla is selling and what Level 2 autonomy is actually capable of.

Mercedes' Drive Pilot system can, "on suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density," according to the company, take over the bumper-to-bumper crawling duties up to 40 MPH without the driver needing to keep their hands on the wheel. When engaged, the system handles lane-keeping duties, stays with the flow of traffic, navigates to destinations programmed into the Nav system, and will even react to "unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently, e.g. by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers."

To perform these feats, the Drive Pilot system relies on a suite of sensors embedded throughout the vehicle including visual cameras, LiDAR arrays, radar and ultrasound sensors, and audio mics to keep an ear out for approaching emergency vehicles. The system even compares its onboard sensor data with what it is receiving from its GPS to ensure it knows exactly where on the road it actually is. 

Drive Pilot is only available on the 2024 S-Class and EQS Sedan for now. Those are already in production and the first cars should reach the Vegas strip in the second half of this year. 

NYC wants all Uber and Lyft cars to be electric by 2030

It might not be long before every ridesharing car in New York City is electric. Mayor Eric Adams has outlined an agenda that will require "high-volume for-hire" vehicles at Uber, Lyft and similar companies to be zero-emissions by 2030. There will be "no new costs" for drivers, the administration says. The initiative would build on the city's plans to electrify its own fleet.

Adams didn't detail how this transition would take place. The Vergenotes that the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which already regulates NYC ridesharing, would likely be responsible for implementing the EV strategy.

At least some companies are already onboard with the idea. Uber "applaud[s]" Adams' plan, according to a statement, while Lyft says it's "excited" to work with the city. It's not a difficult target for them, however. Uber and Lyft were already planning to go completely electric by 2030. They also have programs in place to encourage EV adoption across the US, such as Uber's rentals through Hertz as well as Lyft's incentives. Pressure elsewhere might also leave services with little choice. California will require that most ride-hailing cars are EVs by 2030, for instance.

Drivers may face challenges, however. EVs are currently more expensive than their combustion engine counterparts, and workers may have trouble affording them even if the maintenance costs are ultimately lower. EV prices are declining, but it may be a while yet before they're truly affordable to a driver base struggling to improve pay.

There's also the question of infrastructure. A 2022 study led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that NYC would need over 1,000 150kW fast charging stations to adequately power 20,000 rideshare and taxi cars, even if 15 percent of drivers could top up overnight. The mayor's proposal would electrify "100,000-plus" rides — the city may need a major investment in charging facilities to make the switch.

NYC wants all Uber and Lyft cars to be electric by 2030

It might not be long before every ridesharing car in New York City is electric. Mayor Eric Adams has outlined an agenda that will require "high-volume for-hire" vehicles at Uber, Lyft and similar companies to be zero-emissions by 2030. There will be "no new costs" for drivers, the administration says. The initiative would build on the city's plans to electrify its own fleet.

Adams didn't detail how this transition would take place. The Vergenotes that the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which already regulates NYC ridesharing, would likely be responsible for implementing the EV strategy.

At least some companies are already onboard with the idea. Uber "applaud[s]" Adams' plan, according to a statement, while Lyft says it's "excited" to work with the city. It's not a difficult target for them, however. Uber and Lyft were already planning to go completely electric by 2030. They also have programs in place to encourage EV adoption across the US, such as Uber's rentals through Hertz as well as Lyft's incentives. Pressure elsewhere might also leave services with little choice. California will require that most ride-hailing cars are EVs by 2030, for instance.

Drivers may face challenges, however. EVs are currently more expensive than their combustion engine counterparts, and workers may have trouble affording them even if the maintenance costs are ultimately lower. EV prices are declining, but it may be a while yet before they're truly affordable to a driver base struggling to improve pay.

There's also the question of infrastructure. A 2022 study led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that NYC would need over 1,000 150kW fast charging stations to adequately power 20,000 rideshare and taxi cars, even if 15 percent of drivers could top up overnight. The mayor's proposal would electrify "100,000-plus" rides — the city may need a major investment in charging facilities to make the switch.

Tesla Cybertruck won’t enter mass production until 2024

You might not want to count on getting a Cybertruck this year despite promises to the contrary. During a conference call discussing Tesla's latest earnings, company chief Elon Musk said mass production of the electric pickup won't begin until 2024. He still expects manufacturing to kick off "sometime this summer," but warned that output would be "very slow" early on. Tesla is still in the midst of installing assembly equipment.

Tesla unveiled the Cybertruck in 2019, but has delayed its release multiple times. The company also warned that the final specs and pricing will change. The EV was originally supposed to start at $39,900 in its single-motor configuration and climb to nearly $70,000 for the tri-motor version. While the automaker is still taking deposits, it's no longer promising specific configurations. The pandemic, a rough economy, longstanding supply chain issues and design tweaks are all expected to influence what you can ultimately buy.

This isn't a new problem for Tesla. Production of the Model 3 started in July 2017, but was very limited until mid-2018 as the company struggled to clear factory bottlenecks. The Cybertruck poses unique challenges, however. Its signature cold-rolled steel body is said to be extra-tough, but also requires manufacturing techniques not normally used for cars. Most production is expected to take place at the Giga Texas factory near Austin, which formally opened last April.

The revised timeline may create problems. The Cybertruck is already entering a fiercer competitive landscape that includes the Ford F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T. By the time Tesla's production is in full swing, it will likely have to take on the Ram 1500 EV and Chevy Silverado EV as well as more affordable versions of existing trucks. An electric pickup is no longer the novelty it was four years ago, and it's not clear if the finished Cybertruck will offer major advantages over its rivals.

Tesla Cybertruck won’t enter mass production until 2024

You might not want to count on getting a Cybertruck this year despite promises to the contrary. During a conference call discussing Tesla's latest earnings, company chief Elon Musk said mass production of the electric pickup won't begin until 2024. He still expects manufacturing to kick off "sometime this summer," but warned that output would be "very slow" early on. Tesla is still in the midst of installing assembly equipment.

Tesla unveiled the Cybertruck in 2019, but has delayed its release multiple times. The company also warned that the final specs and pricing will change. The EV was originally supposed to start at $39,900 in its single-motor configuration and climb to nearly $70,000 for the tri-motor version. While the automaker is still taking deposits, it's no longer promising specific configurations. The pandemic, a rough economy, longstanding supply chain issues and design tweaks are all expected to influence what you can ultimately buy.

This isn't a new problem for Tesla. Production of the Model 3 started in July 2017, but was very limited until mid-2018 as the company struggled to clear factory bottlenecks. The Cybertruck poses unique challenges, however. Its signature cold-rolled steel body is said to be extra-tough, but also requires manufacturing techniques not normally used for cars. Most production is expected to take place at the Giga Texas factory near Austin, which formally opened last April.

The revised timeline may create problems. The Cybertruck is already entering a fiercer competitive landscape that includes the Ford F-150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T. By the time Tesla's production is in full swing, it will likely have to take on the Ram 1500 EV and Chevy Silverado EV as well as more affordable versions of existing trucks. An electric pickup is no longer the novelty it was four years ago, and it's not clear if the finished Cybertruck will offer major advantages over its rivals.

GM is considering a small, low-priced electric pickup truck

GM might make an electric truck for those who think the GMC Hummer and Chevy Silverado are simply too huge. As Autoblognotes, the industry journal Automotive Newshas seen a prototype small electric pickup at a GM-organized workshop. The EV would reportedly make even the hybrid Ford Maverick seem enormous with two doors, a low-slung profile and a bed 4ft to 4.5ft long. It would start below $30,000, making it a bargain compared to the $39,900 Silverado.

The design isn't guaranteed to enter production, and it's not even clear which GM brand would carry the pickup if it moves forward. Affordable EV design director Michael Pevovar told Automotive News the company creates prototypes like these to "get a reaction" and either improve the result or scrap it. If the prototype is too small but otherwise well-received, GM could use another platform to make it larger.

There are incentives for GM to go ahead. The small pickup market is relatively hot at the moment. Autoblog points out that the was Maverick outselling the larger Ranger and the Expedition SUV as of last summer, while Hyundai's Santa Cruz (more of an El Camino revival than a classic truck) outperformed the Accent compact and Venue mini-SUV. GM would not only have something to offer in the category, but could stand out as the only brand with an all-electric model.

As it is, there's a rush to produce more affordable EVs. Chevy's own Equinox EV is expected to start around $30,000, while Tesla and other brands are also pursuing lower-priced vehicles in the years ahead. A lower-priced pickup would help GM's EVs reach a much wider audience, not to mention help meet expectations of a profitable electric division in 2025.

GM is considering a small, low-priced electric pickup truck

GM might make an electric truck for those who think the GMC Hummer and Chevy Silverado are simply too huge. As Autoblognotes, the industry journal Automotive Newshas seen a prototype small electric pickup at a GM-organized workshop. The EV would reportedly make even the hybrid Ford Maverick seem enormous with two doors, a low-slung profile and a bed 4ft to 4.5ft long. It would start below $30,000, making it a bargain compared to the $39,900 Silverado.

The design isn't guaranteed to enter production, and it's not even clear which GM brand would carry the pickup if it moves forward. Affordable EV design director Michael Pevovar told Automotive News the company creates prototypes like these to "get a reaction" and either improve the result or scrap it. If the prototype is too small but otherwise well-received, GM could use another platform to make it larger.

There are incentives for GM to go ahead. The small pickup market is relatively hot at the moment. Autoblog points out that the was Maverick outselling the larger Ranger and the Expedition SUV as of last summer, while Hyundai's Santa Cruz (more of an El Camino revival than a classic truck) outperformed the Accent compact and Venue mini-SUV. GM would not only have something to offer in the category, but could stand out as the only brand with an all-electric model.

As it is, there's a rush to produce more affordable EVs. Chevy's own Equinox EV is expected to start around $30,000, while Tesla and other brands are also pursuing lower-priced vehicles in the years ahead. A lower-priced pickup would help GM's EVs reach a much wider audience, not to mention help meet expectations of a profitable electric division in 2025.