From carbon-offsetting for Porsche owners to the gas-guzzling Mustang, this week’s news reflects the two sides of the car industry – a growing awareness of environmental issues and a long-standing desire to drive bigger, better, faster.
Fiat-Chrysler happy to go it alone
Earlier this summer we reported on the news that a proposed merger between Fiat-Chrysler and Renault was on the cards. Now, Mike Manley – the CEO of Fiat-Chrysler – has cast doubt on the move in a Q&A with reporters earlier this week. As reported by Reuters, Manley told journalists that while the company is open to merger talks, they are also happy to continue with the status quo, saying “Strategically, we have a solid future and clear plans that are being invested in and are underway now.” He also suggested the company would be happy to entertain approaches from other companies too, saying “To say are they the only opportunity, the answer to that question would be a definitive ‘No’”. F-C already has a commercial partnership with Renault rival Peugeot, and it remains to be seen whether the Renault deal will be revived or not.
The most powerful Mustang ever will soon be on sale
Last week in Detroit Ford revealed the most powerful ever street-legal Mustang – and it’s set to go on sale this fall. Yahoo News reports that the 5.2-liter supercharged V8 vehicle will deliver 760 horsepower. The Shelby GT500 goes from 0-60 in around 3.5 seconds, but Ford promises that the car will also deliver on the daily commute with a new 7-speed gearbox for an smooth ride on the road or the track.
Porsche offers carbon offsetting to drivers
From cars to airplanes, our most common modes of transport are under increasing scrutiny for their environmental footprint. While some carmaking firms already donate a portion of their profits to carbon offsetting schemes, Porsche is going one further, allowing individual car owners to pay to offset their emissions. As CNET reports, this past week the company launched Porsche Impact in the US, an online tool that lets Porsche owners measure then offset the annual carbon emissions of the car they drive with a financial donation to a carbon offset project. There are currently four different projects to choose from – to protect forests in Zimbabwe, increase solar power options in South America, improve air quality in Vietnam, or protecting old-growth forest in Alaska.
Trade war continues in East Asia
Sales of Japanese vehicles have slumped in South Korea as a trade war intensifies between the two countries. The BBC reports that Honda’s sales in South Korea are down 34% while Toyota sales are down 32%. The poor results come after Japan tightened export rules on goods destined for the country and South Korean residents have been boycotting Japanese goods in retaliation.
The first electric “gas station” could open soon
Electrify America (Volkswagen owned) and San Francisco startup Stable are working on an EV charging setup that does not require humans to operate, Tech Crunch reports. Designed to work with the increasing number of driverless vehicles on the roads as well as the growth in the number of corporate fleets turning to emission-free cars, the system uses an autonomous robot arm to operate the charging cables. The robot tech comes from the Stable side, while the charging capability is the specialism of Electrify America, set up by Volkswagen in the wake of the emissions scandal. The charging site is slated to open in San Francisco in early 2020. CEO Rohan Puri told Tech Crunch, that the aim is to “reinvent the gas station for this new era of transportation, which will be fleet-dominant and electric.”