Ford announces 2,000 scrappage scheme for pre-2010 cars – BBC News

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Ford is the latest car company to launch an incentive for UK consumers to trade in cars over seven years old, by offering £2,000 off some new models.

Unlike schemes by BMW and Mercedes, which are only for diesels, Ford will also accept petrol cars.

Ford said all of the part-exchanged vehicles will be scrapped, having an immediate effect on air quality.

Campaigners said it was a step in the right direction but the government had to do more.

‘Part of a journey’

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Andy Barratt, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, said its scrappage scheme “is part of a journey” to improve air quality.

“We have some pretty large incentives here, up to £7,000 if you have a commercial transit vehicle,” he said.

“We’re the only scheme open to commercials. It is part of a journey.

“Air quality is a much bigger debate and getting older vehicles off the road is part of that.

“New technology, such as plug-in hybrids etc, are all part of that longer journey we need to work together.”

He denied it was simply a ploy to sell more cars.

Transitional phase

Consumers will be given £2,000 off new Ford models ranging in price from about £12,000 to more than £20,000.

Ford said that by combining the scrappage incentive with other standard offers, customers could receive up to £4,000 off a car or £7,000 off the cost of a van.

Under Ford’s scheme old cars, from any manufacturer, can be exchanged until the end of December.

The cars that can be traded in include any built to emissions standards that applied before 2010.

Vauxhall ran a similar scrappage scheme earlier this year, as well as in 2015 and 2016.

James Baggott, editor-in-chief of Car Dealer magazine, speaking on “Wake Up to Money” on BBC Radio 5 Live, said the scheme was good for Ford, for consumers and the environment because it meant the worst polluting cars were being removed from roads.

“It means people can swap one of these old, dirty diesels, which is going to be worth less than the £2,000 that they (Ford) are giving them in part exchange for it.

“They can buy a new Fiesta for I think around £10,700. That’s actually a good deal,” he added.

‘Cleaner electric’

Mr Baggott said new diesel engines were “extremely clean” compared with their older counterparts, so even just upgrading a diesel vehicle would help towards better air quality.

But he said this was a transitional phase: “We need to look to the future, to electric cars, hybrid cars, fuel cell cars. They are what we need to be looking towards.

“I would like to see schemes like this incentivising customers to buy cleaner electric vehicles.”

Peter Campbell, motor industry correspondent for the Financial Times, said greener options were still limited.

“Almost no-one on the market right now has an affordable electric car that can drive a decent range using its batteries before needing recharging.

“These cars are coming and will come in the next five years and all the carmakers have to meet these emission targets that are coming into force in 2021.

“What many people will do is use this to buy smaller cars, and to be fair to Ford, the new cars they’re selling – the new diesels, the new petrol – are orders of magnitude cleaner than the ones bought in 2009.”

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Overall strategy

The government’s clean air strategy announced in July did not include a scrappage scheme, although it proposed a consultation on it later in the year.

Instead, it said new diesel and petrol cars would be banned from 2040.

It made the announcement after losing a case against environmental law campaigners Client Earth over breaches in EU emissions standards.

Client Earth lawyer Anna Heslop welcomed Ford’s scheme but said it could not make up for lack of action by the government.

“It seems the motor industry is finally waking up to the damage dirty diesels are doing to our lungs as well as their own reputation.

“What we need is a thought-through, coherent strategy from government to help people to move to cleaner and more sustainable technology.

“At the moment, there are pockets of small, short-term actions here and there, but nothing like the joined-up thinking we need to solve this problem,” she added.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, agreed there needed to be an overall strategy.

“The problem with a scrappage scheme aimed at air quality, is that it really needs to be targeted at the vehicles that are driving around the most, in areas where air quality is a problem,” he said.

“Things like buses and trucks are particularly important and so are commercial vehicles too.”


Analysis: Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent

No-one could accuse the car industry of rushing to solve air pollution.

Manufacturers have long been accused of dragging their heels over plans to tighten the legal emissions test.

And for years, they happily sold cars that they knew were far more polluting on real roads than in the official lab test.

But companies are now taking the initiative with old car scrappage schemes.

Ford is the latest to offer a plan, and their version insists that the older, polluting car is destroyed rather than resold.

But the offer is only open until the end of December.

And let’s be frank, it is also an attempt to boost sales which have been flagging across the industry for the past four months.

It’s hard to see it making a big dent in the dirty air problem.


Ford, BMW, Vauxhall and Mercedes sell around one million cars in the UK.

The scrappage schemes will help support sales at a time when demand for new cars is beginning to show signs of a sustained drop for the first time in around six years.

In July, new car registrations fell for the fourth consecutive month in a row, hit by a number of factors including uncertainty over Brexit, and lack of clarity over future government plans around new levies on diesel models.

The UK’s last government-backed scrappage scheme came in the wake of the financial crisis and ran for nearly a year from mid-2009, helping to support the car sector which had been hit by nose-diving sales.

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Read more: www.bbc.co.uk

Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world | Tim Hollo

For months, politicians and fossil fuel industry have lied about the viability of renewables. Now Teslas big battery in South Australia will prove them wrong

Elon Musks agreement to build the worlds largest battery for South Australia isnt only an extraordinary technological breakthrough that signs coals death warrant. Its potentially a game changer in the way we do politics, reinserting the importance of basic reality into a debate which has been bereft of it for too long.

Theres been a lot written in recent years on the idea that we are living in a post-truth world. Climate writer David Roberts brought it to my attention around 2010, when I was grappling with the idea that dinosaur political leaders and rent-seeking corporates not only werent telling the truth about climate change and energy: they were actively dismissive and destructive of the very idea of truth.

While we got a taste for it in Australia under Tony dont believe anything I havent written down Abbotts government, the idea sprang into the global mainstream last year with Donald Trumps electoral campaign and the Brexit bus.

It seemed that truth no longer mattered. Facts were not just unimportant, but barriers to be smashed through with rhetoric. Demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that a legislator was lying no longer had any impact. Even when people agreed that he( usually) was lying, they still supported him, because he activated a frame or a value that drove their political decision-making.

At the same time, political scientist Brendan Nyhan conducted fascinating and depressing research on what he called the backfire effect. Although this research isnt conclusive, he showed that using facts to try to reversal strongly held political views such as on climate change, vaccination, gun control was worse than useless, generally objective up emphasising existing views rather than altering them. He also showed that these tribally-based political opinions trumped( and I use that term advisedly) our ability to do maths. We can read graph really well. Except when they contradict our political positions. Nyhan depicted a clear propensity for people with high numeracy skills to misread graphs about gun control or climate change, even when theyd merely correctly read the same graph about soap.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Tom Brady Has Had Way More Hairstyles Than Super Bowl Wins

We don’t always think of football players in terms of their hairstyles. Some players, however, really do make statements with their hair, either sticking to a signature style, like the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. or former Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu (who even starred in a shampoo commercial), or switching things up over the years, like New England Patriots golden boy Tom Brady

The star quarterback plays in his eighth Super Bowl on Sunday. But Brady, whose team won in five of his first seven appearances in the big game, has had way more hairstyle changes than Super Bowl wins. Take a look at our favorite photos below.

  • 2002
    Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images
    During his team’s practice at a local university campus in New Orleans on Jan. 31, 2002.

  • 2002
    John Mottern/Getty Images
    Showing frustration after failing to make a two point conversion in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Oct. 27, 2002.

  • 2002
    John Mottern/Getty Images
    Celebrating after the New England Patriots beat the Oakland Raiders during overtime in their playoff game Jan. 19, 2002, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

  • 2002
    Stan Honda/Getty Images
    Holding the Most Valuable Player award for Super Bowl XXVI in February 2002 in New Orleans.

  • 2003
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images
    On media day, Jan. 26, 2003, before Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers in Houston.

  • 2004
    Kevin Winter via Getty Images
    Attending the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “I, Robot” at the Village Theater on July 7, 2004, in Los Angeles.

  • 2005
    Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images
    Playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC championship game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

  • 2005
    MCT via Getty Images
    At a post-game news conference after the Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-27 to win the AFC championship on Jan. 23, 2005, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

  • 2005
    Jodi Hilton/Getty Images
    Waving to crowds along Boylston Street during the team’s victory parade on Feb. 8, 2005, in Boston. The Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX.

  • 2005
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
    Competing in the 2005 Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Feb. 13, 2005.

  • 2005
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
    Speaking with the media during at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, on Feb. 1, 2005.

  • 2005
    Donna Connor/Getty Images
    Photographed with Donald Trump in 2005 at the Floyd Mayweather vs. Arturo Gatti WBC Lightweight Title Fight.

  • 2005
    Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
    At the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year party on Dec. 6, 2005.

  • 2006
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images
    During an AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 14, 2006, in Denver.

  • 2006
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images
    Making an appearance with past Super Bowl MVPs at the halftime of Super Bowl XL between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ford Field on Feb. 5, 2006, in Detroit.

  • 2006
    Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
    With former girlfriend Bridget Moynahan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit Gala for “Anglomania” on May 1, 2006, in New York City.

  • 2007
    Sporting News Archive via Getty Images
    At Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in 2007.

  • 2007
    Elsa via Getty Images
    Playing against the Redskins on Oct. 28, 2007, in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

  • 2007
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images
    During a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 1, 2007, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

  • 2007
    Rob Tringali/Sportschrome via Getty Images
    During a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 9, 2007, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

  • 2008
    Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
    Pictured with Fern Mallis and Eli Manning at the Ermenegildo Zegna Store Opening Cocktail Party for The Robin Hood Foundation at the Ermenegildo Zegna Store 5th Ave on March 11, 2008, in New York City.

  • 2008
    Amy Sussman/Getty Images
    With Gisele Bundchen, now his wife, at the opening of the Ermenegildo Zegna Global Store on 5th Avenue on March 11, 2008, in New York City.

  • 2008
    James Devaney/Getty Images
    Seen out in New York City on Jan. 22, 2008.

  • 2008
    Harry How/Getty Images
    Before taking on the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008, at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

  • 2008
    Gary Gershoff/Getty Images
    At the Audi Forum at 47th Street and Park Avenue on March 19, 2008, in New York City.

  • 2008
    Marcel Thomas/Getty Images
    With Bundchen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala for “Superheroes: Fashion & Fantasy” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2008, in New York City.

  • 2008
    Steve Jennings/Getty Images
    At Hyannis Port on May 17, 2008. 

  • 2009
    Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
    With Bundchen at “The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion” Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2009, in New York City.

  • 2010
    Chris Condon/Getty Images
    Carrying a football off the 18th green during the third round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Feb. 13, 2010, in Pebble Beach, California.

  • 2010
    Jeff Gentner/Getty Images
    With Joey Fatone at the Barnstable Brown at the 136th Kentucky Derby on April 30, 2010, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Small SUVs Will Hog the Spotlight at the New York Auto Show

Cars

Small SUVs Will Hog the Spotlight at the New York Auto Show

Now is a pivotal time for plug-in technologies in America’s most crucial segment.

Cadillac has long wanted to own New York as its spiritual home

It’s fitting, therefore, that next week’s New York International Auto Show will host the brand’s biggest effort to shine this year. Cadillac will unveil the XT4 Tuesday, March 27 at an exclusive pre-show party. The tiny crossover will share the same platform as the Chevrolet Malibu and will be among the first to utilize Cadillac’s forthcoming hybrid and electric technologies. 

The XT4 will undoubtedly make a splash. The glitzier brands that would normally steal Caddy’s thunder—Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, McLaren and even Volvo’s new Polestar, among others—showed everything they’ve got weeks ago at the Geneva Motor Show.

Bloomberg Intelligence

This means that Cadillac, Acura, Lincoln and Lexus will have a chance to make a real impression in New York. As in years past, manufacturers will make their marks with compact, luxury SUVs. This year, however, the case can be made that the NYAS will offer a pivotal moment for the hybrid and electric versions in that lucrative segment. Acura will show a redesigned RDX. Lincoln will flaunt an Aviator, mostly likely in hybrid form. Lexus will introduce to the UX to the U.S. Volkswagen will show a new 5-passenger SUV.

“The world is interested in new, small SUVs, and you will see plenty of plug-in hybrid versions,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, the executive editor for Cars.com. The challenge for brands such as Cadillac and Lexus, he said, will be playing catch-up to other brands that have long produced quality products

“With more competition, there’s less room for error, and Cadillac and Lexus haven’t had a hit in a while,” Wiesenfelder said. 

For the new Toyota Rav4 SUV, expect a sportier design, better mileage on its hybrid system and enough trim options to boggle even the most diligent car shopper.
Source: Toyota

Cadillac and other domestic manufacturers will have to contend with Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace and BMW’s X4, X2, and X3 SUVs. If any of those have a hybrid component as well, the segment will be stuffed. (On the other side of the spectrum, props go to Mercedes-Benz. The brand will bring its iconic gas guzzler, the AMG G63, aka the G Wagon, to the U.S. for the first time.)

Hyundai will zip into New York with an all-electric version of its Kona SUV.  In European tests, the larger of its two battery packs was good for almost 300 miles of range. That’s Tesla territory. The electric version is also likely to make more horsepower and torque than the gas-powered Kona currently available in the States. 

The real star of the show will likely be Toyota’s all-new RAV4 SUV. In 2017, a long-in-the-tooth RAV4 still outsold every vehicle in America, save for a few pickups. In short, there’s not much for Toyota to gain when it unveils the new version of its compact cash machine next week, but there’s plenty to lose. Expect a sportier design, better mileage on its hybrid system and enough trim options to confound even the most diligent car shopper.

The 2018 Subaru Forester. The company will show in New York an updated version that’s expected to have signature, unique styling, more power and better fuel efficiency. 
Source: Subaru

Also on tap in the everyman SUV space is a new Forester from SubaruThe vehicle is almost as popular as its sibling, the Outback, and remarkably similar in size, shape and specs. Now that the company has a legitimate SUV, look for Subaru to give the Forester more of its own identity.

Those wandering over to the Nissan stand will find crowds of people who actually need to buy a car, rather than seed an Instagram feed. The marque will unveil an all new Altima sedan, a dad-jeans car if there ever was one; then again, there are a lot of dads. Americans bought more Altimas than Audis last year—nearly 255,000 in all. Sober shoppers can expect racier lines and possibly, all-wheel drive, a rare feature in a family sedan.  

Perhaps the week’s biggest wild card will come from Kia, which plans to unveil a new iteration of its K900 super sedan. You may recall this car from a Lebron James endorsement and a Super Bowl ad. It was the Korean company’s play for the 1 percent—or at least the 5 percent—and it flopped spectacularly. Kia rebounded with the Stinger GT sport sedan, which does a very capable impression of its German rivals.

An auto show wouldn’t be complete without a concept car or two. Genesis will show one that’s rumored to be a plug-in hybrid. 

The Porsche 991 GT3 RS automobile sits on display on the opening day of the 88th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva on March 6, 2018. The show in New York will mark the vehicle’s introduction to audiences in North America.   
Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg

No car show would be complete without some bling: Porsche will show the new 911 GT3 RS with “Weissach Package”; Audi will show an as-yet unnamed “sport vehicle”; and Jaguar will debut a “high-performance” model that the brand has left rather undefined before its Tuesday debut. Even Cadillac will show a CT6 V-Sport—a performance-tuned version of the sedan, similar to an AMG from Mercedes-Benz or BMW's M cars.

These will attract attention and applause from marque devotees. They’ll be sexy and fast. Still, these days, tiny SUVs have them all beat.

Read more: www.bloomberg.com

Elon Musk tells Tesla planning ‘thorough reorganization’

Number of third-party contractors has really gotten out of control as car company has faced questions about its production schedule

Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, told employees on Monday the company was undergoing a “thorough reorganization” as it contends with questions over its production schedule and two crashes involving its electric self-driving cars.

Musk said in an email that as part of the reorganization the company was “flattening the management structure to improve communication, combining functions where sensible and trimming activities that are not vital to the success of our mission”. Tesla confirmed the veracity of the email, which was disclosed by the Wall Street Journal.

On an earnings call earlier this month, Musk said the company was “going to conduct sort of a reorganization restructuring of the company … this month and make sure we’re well set up to achieve that goal”.

He added: “The number of sort of third-party contracting companies that we’re using has really gotten out of control, so we’re going to scrub the barnacles on that front. It’s pretty crazy. You’ve got barnacles on barnacles. So there’s going to be a lot of barnacle removal.”

Tesla will still hire “to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development”, Musk wrote in the email.

Investors gave a rare rebuke to Musk after he cut off analysts on the earnings call who asked about profit potential, sending shares down 5% despite promises that production of the troubled Model 3 was on track.

In the latest of two reported crashes that have drawn attention, a Tesla Model S sedan was traveling at 60mph on Friday night when it hit a fire truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan, Utah, about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City, police said on Monday.

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, Keith Holloway, said “at this point it doesn’t appear that NTSB is investigating”. The Tesla driver suffered a broken ankle and was taken to a hospital while the firefighter was not injured, police said. Witnesses said the Tesla did not brake, police said, adding it was unknown if the autopilot feature was engaged.

“Tesla has not yet received any data from the car and thus does not know the facts of what occurred, including whether autopilot was engaged,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

The NTSB said last week it was investigating a Tesla accident in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on 8 May that killed two teenagers and injured another. It is the agency’s fourth active investigation into crashes involving the company’s electric vehicles.

Autopilot, a form of advanced cruise control, handles some driving tasks and warns those behind the wheel they are always responsible for the vehicle’s operation, Tesla has said. On 2 May, a US traffic safety regulator contradicted Tesla’s claim that the agency had found that its autopilot technology significantly reduced crashes.

Tesla shares dipped 0.3% to $300.20 on Monday.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The Walking Dead Returns, Both to TV and Relevance

Late in the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead comes the kind of scene that fansand ex-fansare all too familiar with: two characters off by themselves, sure to become zombie food. But this time, as Aaron and Rick search an abandoned boat, the snapping, shuffling noises don’t mean our heroes are surrounded by an impossible villain. This time, Rick doesn’t flash his well-worn, brow-heavy scowl. Instead, he does something viewers haven’t seen him do in quite a while: He smiles.

The Walking Dead, it seems, is back. It’s back in its usual Sunday-night perch, sure, but it also seems to have regained its urgencymaybe even its relevance.

Rick Grimes couldn’t have gotten his groove backat a bettertime. The first half of Season 7 last year, with its premiereso brutal that Dave Chappelle lampooned it on Saturday Night Live, opened with a concussive blow, and the rest of the episodesjust heightened the sense of sickening disorientation. And while that’s what showrunner Scott M. Gimple was likely shooting for in (mostly) sticking to one of the comic book’s most heartbreaking arcs, something about the showjust felt…off.
 
You can argue the merits of killing off beloved characters, but the martyrs of Season 7 certainly deserved more in their final episodes. We, as viewers, deserved more. We deserved to see the blossoming relationship between Sasha and the gloriously profane, cigar-chomping Abraham Ford. Instead we got what seemed to be a rushed and seemingly arbitrary hookup that left longtime viewers confused. We deserved to see daddy-to-be Glenn reprising his old role as “runner” to grab supplies for his baby’s nursery, or his and Maggie’s first-time-parent jitters. Instead, we got a heartbreaking death that was glossed over in favor of gore and shock. (RIP, Glennyou were too pure for this world.)And that’s not even mentioning a half-season of Daryl’s greased-up tracksuit antics, none of which inspired sympathy for a man who had seen one friend die, inadvertently caused the death of another, and been separatedseemingly foreverfrom both a shower and his BBF (best bro forever)Rick Grimes.
 
Judging from last night’s events, the second half of Season 7 seems to be heading towards the “All Out War” arc of the comic book series, and I am ready. Mostly becauseand I don’t know if you know thisthe Saviors are dicks. The midseason premiere seems to pick up almost directly where the previous episode left off, with Rick and his team turning to the Hilltop for aid and support from its leader, Gregory, a.k.a. the lovechild of Lucius Malfoy and the sexist day shift manager of a Home Depot.

Gregory is, to be clinical about it, the actual worst. He’s not even the interesting kind of evil, like Negan; he’s a banal, just-following-orders bureaucrat who somehow manages to use the phrase, “that’s above my paygrade” without shame. After a mini-tantrum over being forced to take in “refugees” Sasha and Maggie (#resonant), he finally turns The Gang downnot that his word is good for much these days. Official prediction: Maggie “I did not come to play with you hoes” Greene-Rhee will be making a play for Hilltop leadership before the end of this season.

Outside, Enid has gathered a group of well-meaning Hilltop citizens together, Stripes-style, for her two pseudo-moms, Sasha and Maggie. It’s a good gesture and a show of how much people trust Maggie over Gregory, but even with all of Alexandria and a handful of Hilltop folk, The Gang (is it just me calling them that? Seriously?) is seriously lacking bodies. Nevertheless, the display manages to shake a smile out of Carl, who I was honestly starting to worry about; that kid was one surly thousand-yard stare away from becoming a My Chemical Romance song.Despite their setbacks, their dedication is enough to convince Jesus that it might be time to introduce Rick to Shiva, King Ezekiel, and Ezekiel’s hypeman, Jerry.

Unfortunately, King Ezekiel is a man with a lot on his plate: He worries about his people, about the Saviors, about whether or not Carol like-likes him. He’s sympathetic, but can offer little more than letting Daryl hide out in the Kingdombut we’ll get back to that in a sec. Nevertheless, the ensuing disappointed grumbles from Rick’s team leaves us with what has to be the best line of the episode, courtesy of Rosita: “We had sex with the same dead guy. It doesn’t make us friends.”

Gene Page/AMC

Meanwhile, Negan, who is what I imagine would happen if Fall Out Boy’s “I Don’t Care” was a person, has noticed that his pet redneck has escaped and sends his right-hand man and former bowling-alley pervert Simon to turn Alexandria upside down. As expected, Daryl is nowhere to be found thanks to King Ezekiel’s offer of asylumbut neither is Father Gabriel, who appears to have taken off with all of Alexandria’s supplies. Before leaving, however, the snitch-turned-friend scrawled a vague nautical-themed clue inside the inventory book, which seems to lead Rick and Aaron straight up Shit Creek or does it?

Even at a supersized 90 minutes, the midseason premiere introduces a staggering number of plotlines, characters and relationships, but the pay-off is clear: What in less experienced hands could feel like a collection of futile videogame sidequestsand, in fact, hasinstead shows a return to what made past seasons so great. The Walking Dead has never been about zombies. It’s about what happens to humanity when the thin veneer of society falls away. It’s about the deeply human need to connect with other humans, even when nothing else is left.

But whenever the writers want to have Maggie punch Negan in his ascot-ed throat and free all his wives Furiosa-style, I would also very much want to see that. Just a thought.

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Chevy and GMC announce new hybrid pickups for 2016

General Motors is electrifying its pickups.

A limited number of Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras fitted with a mild hybrid system will be offered in California in 2016, with their production and availability to be adjusted in 2017 to meet demand.

The announcement was a surprise, and puts GM ahead of Ford and Ram, which both plan to introduce hybrid pickups within a few years.

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Volvo to target luxury buyers with self-driving car coming in 5 years

High-end vehicle, chauffeur included? You can see why it makes sense that Volvo would target the luxury end of the market with its upcoming self-driving car. Volvo announced plans to field a vehicle by 2021, thanks in part to a $300 million deal with Volvo that will let it leverage some of their work, but now we have some more details, including the vehicles high-end approach.

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told reporters at todays Global Mobility Leadership Forum in Detroit that the autopilot function will be an upmarket option that comes with a price tag of somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000, Bloomberg reports. The car it ships with will include a steering wheel but only in case the owner opts to debase themselves by actually driving it in the style of the plebeians of the prior age.

But steering wheel or no, Samuelsson says this will be a fully autonomous car, meaning those inside the vehicle can go ahead and kick back and watch a movie or whatever, per Bloomberg.

Volvos approach is basically par for the course in terms of how new features make their way to consumer cars; start at the rarefied top, and then gradually flow down through the line first as options, then as included features at various trim levels, and finally becoming basically a universal standard.

Where it doesnt make par is when compared to the approach to autonomous cars seemingly favored by other carmakers Ford is looking to introduce self-driving first in fleets of taxi-style vehicles, and it sounds like GM is planning to do the same. Volvo looking at offering this feature first on vehicles sold to individual drivers for personal ownership is then out-of-step with some of its biggest rivals. Hopefully that means well see both types of approaches to autonomous vehicle hit the road at roughly the same time.

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Trump Will Cite Cost and Safety for Auto Emissions Rollback

Trump Will Cite Cost and Safety for Auto Emissions Rollback

  • Environmental Protection Agency to begin effort in coming days
  • EPA will echo automakers’ argument standards are too costly

The Trump administration will argue that the high cost of meeting Obama-era fuel economy standards discourages motorists from trading in less-efficient vehicles, as it sets about weakening the rules, said people familiar with the discussions.

The Environmental Protection Agency already has concluded that the requirements, aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions, are too aggressive and need to be revised, Bloomberg News reported on March 23. Agency officials briefed California regulators on their conclusion earlier this week, even as they put the final touches on a document justifying the decision, said the people, who asked not to be named describing internal administration actions.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is expected to formally announce the move next week during an event at Pohanka Chevrolet in Chantilly, Virginia, two people said. The dealership is part of the Pohanka Automotive Group led by Geoffrey Pohanka, a member of the board of directors of the National Automobile Dealer Association, the primary trade association for franchised new dealerships in the U.S.

The EPA’s so-called final determination will be a necessary first step for the current administration’s plans to begin dialing back the Obama-era rules, which aimed to slash carbon emissions from cars and light trucks by boosting fuel economy to a fleet average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.

OMB Review

The White House Office of Management and Budget has been reviewing the EPA’s drafted final determination with negotiations intensifying ahead of an April 1 deadline.

A draft of the EPA’s determination was sent to the White House on March 23 and is undergoing inter-agency review, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in an emailed statement. “A final determination will be signed by April 1, 2018, consistent with the original timeline,” she said.

Although the document’s details are still evolving, the EPA is set to amplify automakers’ arguments that market conditions have shifted since the rules were brokered under former President Barack Obama’s administration. In particular, the agency is expected to repeat carmakers’ assertions that sustained low gasoline prices have fueled a shift in consumer preferences toward SUVs, pickups and other light trucks — and away from more efficient passenger cars and fuel-efficient hybrids.

CAFE Standards

The EPA is also expected to argue that because the standards translate to higher-cost automobiles, they broadly delay the turnover of the vehicle fleet, keeping less-safe, less-efficient cars on the road longer.

In a March 13 interview with Bloomberg News, Pruitt foreshadowed that argument. He said the government shouldn’t set Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, known as CAFE, artificially high so that they drive the production of “electric vehicles that people aren’t buying.”

“The whole purpose of CAFE standards is to make cars more efficient that people are actually buying,” Pruitt said. “And if you just come in and try to drive this to a point where the auto sector in Detroit just makes cars that people don’t want to purchase, then people are staying in older cars, and the emission levels are worse, which defeats the overall purpose of what we’re trying to achieve.”

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