Hyundai and Kia head to the moon, a Senate deal puts EV tax credit extension back on the table, four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel announces his retirement. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Hyundai And Kia Are Going To Space
In case the new Kia Sportage didn’t look extraterrestrial enough, Hyundai and Kia are seeking to develop “mobility solutions” to use on the moon. Hey, it’s a lot more realistic than Mars. In a statement issued on Thursday, Hyundai Motor Group elaborated on their plans to team up with a bunch of research institutes to do moon stuff.
“We have taken the first step towards transforming our vision for robotics and the concept of Metamobility into reality,” said Yong Wha Kim, Executive Vice President, and Head of R&D Planning & Coordination Center of Hyundai Motor and Kia. “We will expand the scope of human movement experience beyond traditional means of transport and beyond the bounds of Earth to further contribute to the progress of humankind and help create a better future.”
The signing ceremony held in Korea was attended by Chung Kook Park, President and Head of R&D Division of Hyundai Motor and Kia as well as top officials from the six research institutes: Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI); Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI); Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI); Korea Automotive Technology Institute (KATECH); Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT); and Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI).
With collaboration expected to start as early as August, the consultative body will define the concept of lunar exploration mobility and major core technologies while developing and reviewing specific strategies and implementation measures to operate on the moon. Hyundai Motor and Kia will support the consultative body with their smart mobility technologies.
So is this some sort of moon domination play? Well, not quite. Hyundai Motor Group intends on taking what it learns from building moon stuff and applying it to “mobility solutions” here on Earth. It’s certainly a bold strategy, so I’m curious to see what the eventual results look like.
Federal EV Tax Credits Get A Possible Extension
Well, I don’t think we saw this one coming. In a surprise moment of productivity, the U.S. Senate has pulled together a deal on a massive legislative package that, among other things, extends federal EV tax credits. Truthfully, I was shocked when Reuters reported this news because I thought tax credit extensions were as good as dead.
A Senate Democratic deal includes a new $4,000 tax credit for used electric vehicles and other new tax credits and grants for automakers to retool factories to build greener cars.
The deal struck between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin also includes an expansion of the existing $7,500 EV tax credit as well as a new $10 billion investment tax credit to build clean-technology manufacturing facilities, according to a summary from Schumer’s office.
The bill that Schumer and Manchin agreed to also includes $2 billion in cash grants to retool existing auto manufacturing facilities “to manufacture clean vehicles, ensuring that auto manufacturing jobs stay in the communities that depend on them.”
Aside from those being two names I never want to see on this site again, this bill seems pretty important. Not only does it avoid hanging USMCA partners out to dry like a prior proposal’s additional incentive for EVs made in unionized American plants did, a proposed $4,000 credit on used EVs seems like a pretty big deal. Now it’s just up to the House of Representatives to pass this bill before it may head for Presidential signing. Fingers crossed.
Bentley Pushes Back Its First EV
Bad news out of Crewe, Bentley’s first electric vehicle has been delayed from a 2025 start of production back to 2026. Automotive News Europe has some information from Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark regarding the delay, although no confirmation was given as to the delay’s cause.
Hallmark denied reports that software delays were responsible for the slip in timing for the car, which is part of Audi’s Artemis project.
The car – expected to be a coupe – will still be revealed in 2025 as planned, Hallmark said. The delay is a “matter of months,” he told Automotive News Europe.
While delaying important new product isn’t great news, there is a kernel of good news here. The development of Bentley’s electric vehicle is only the start of an ambitious plan to go all-electric by 2030.
Bentley plans to spend 2.5 billion pounds (3 billion euros) to electrify its range and overhaul its production facility in Crewe, England.
Hallmark said the money to pay for the transformation came from Bentley itself after the brand reversed years of weak financial results to post record profits of 389 million euros in 2021 on deliveries of 14,659 cars. He confirmed the 2030 target for an electric-only lineup.
If the 2030 target still seems to be on track, I reckon most things should be alright in Crewe. Electric powertrains’ low noise characteristics and incredible smoothness make them ideal for luxury vehicles, so I can’t wait to see how Bentley harnesses the smoothness and performance of electricity.
Sebastian Vettel Announces Retirement
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It’s always a bit sad when a champion retires, but everyone must hang up their hat at some point. Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement plans on Thursday through his newly-created Instagram account. According to the BBC, Vettel will bow out of Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season.
The 35-year-old said the decision had been “difficult” and that he had “spent a lot of time thinking about it”.
The German said he would “take more time to reflect on what I will focus on next” at the end of the year. He said spending more time with his family was a priority.
It’s safe to say that Vettel is a bit of a legend. Only three F1 drivers in history have more world driver’s championship titles than him, and only Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have won more races. While I’m a bit sad to see Vettel leave Formula 1, I can’t wait to see what he focuses on next. Spending more time with family is often a wonderful pursuit, [Editor’s Note: I’m going to qualify that this depends heavily on the specific family. Sebastian never met my uncle Morris. – JT] and Vettel deserves to relax after 14 years of full-time racing.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Thursday, everyone! The weekend is just around the corner. With time off work comes time for wrenching, and while I usually ask about your wrenching exploits on Fridays and Mondays, I’m putting a twist on things today. There are some cars that scare even experienced wrenchers, so I’d love to know what cars you wouldn’t touch with a 50-foot pole. Personally, most Audis are firmly in a no-go zone for me. I’ve seen timing guide replacement on a V8 S4 happen in real time and that’s definitely not something I’d like to do on my driveway. Add in all sorts of triple-square hardware on models like the B8 A4, and you can probably understand why I’m leery of most quattro-equipped wonders. Still, I’d do awful things to get my hands on a V10-equipped Audi S8 or megaspec A7 3.0T, so I guess you just can’t shake the crazy from car enthusiasts. How about you? What are your red flag cars?
Lead photo courtesy of Hyundai