Hyundai plans to keep making combustion engines, Mercedes is open to future V8 production, Cruise doesn’t think its robotaxis will ever be fully autonomous. 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 To Continue ICE Development
Albert Biermann may have retired from his post at Hyundai, but he still advises the Korean company in a technical role. In an interview with Australian motoring outlet CarExpert, Biermann said that Hyundai remains committed to internal combustion.
“We are continuing for next emission levels [in internal combustion development]. We have no other choices. I mean, we are not giving up on combustion engines, right, we are global player,” he said.
“And there is no infrastructure available for EVs for quite some time in several regions.”
Quite the pragmatic approach. The simple fact is that it’ll be an unimaginably long time before every single new car sold in the world is electric. Since the general Western deadline of 2035 is a full 13 years away, we’re likely talking decades before everything goes all green. Of course, new Euro 7 emissions standards won’t make homologating future combustion-powered cars easy, but it will eventually be done.
Mercedes Might Keep The V8 Past 2030
In an interview with Australian outlet CarSales, Mercedes-Benz vice president for vehicle development Joerg Bartels indicated that Mercedes is leaving the door open for future V8 sales.
“In the end it has to fulfil our overall CO2 strategy, and we have a clear path on that one: being CO2 neutral at the end of the ’30s, by 2039. And from 2030 we just want to be pure electric,” he explained.
“But if there’s still a customer demand [for petrol V8s] in some regions, and it’s still part of our offering, why should we stop it?”
Exactly, why stop offering V8s? The fact of the matter is that combustion engines will remain useful in performance cars for quite a while. After all, weight is the enemy of performance and current battery packs are quite heavy. So long as market conditions allow, I say keep the V8s in niche applications.
The Chicago Skyway May Soon Be Partly Australian
It seems like there’s a lot of news involving Australia today, but bear with me for one more piece. Bloomberg reports that Australian company Atlas Arteria Ltd. plans to invest in a big chunk of the Chicago Skyway.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and OMERS Infrastructure sold their respective one-third stakes in the 12.5 kilometer (7.8 mile) road linking downtown Chicago to its south-eastern suburbs. The deal forms a venture with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which will retain a one-third interest, according to a statement Tuesday.
While an American toll road being partially-owned by other countries isn’t strange, it’s a little odder knowing the move goes against the wishes of Atlas Arteria Ltd.’s biggest stakeholder.
The acquisition was announced despite a strongly-worded statement Monday from Atlas Arteria’s biggest shareholder IFM Investors, following confirmation of the talks. It said the deal could be potentially “dilutive to distributions” and that those concerns were shared by other major shareholders.
“We are disappointed with the decision by Atlas Arteria to proceed with the acquisition of Chicago Skyway,” an IFM spokesperson said via text message. “As a major shareholder, we are considering our options.”
Of course, this deal is contingent on approval by the City of Chicago, among other things. It’s not quite set in stone, but it raises some questions on who actually owns certain pieces of infrastructure and what’s next for Atlas Arteria.
Cruise CEO Thinks Its Autonomous Vehicles Might Never Be Truly Autonomous
Care to hear something funny? Not “haha” funny, more “The future is going to be so stupid” funny. Reuters reports that GM autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise plans to never have truly autonomous vehicles.
“Well, my question would be, ‘Why?'” said Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise, a unit of General Motors, when asked if he could see a point where remote human overseers should be removed from operations.
“I can provide my customers peace of mind knowing there is always a human there to help if needed,” Vogt said. “I don’t know why I’d ever want to get rid of that.”
It’s very clear that the goal here isn’t autonomy, it’s increased margins. Imagine ride-hailing services with significantly reduced driver overhead. Instead of one driver per vehicle, one controller will oversee a group of vehicles in what I can only imagine to be a call center for autonomous vehicles. Maybe put the call center in a place with a low cost of living so that workers aren’t paid Los Angeles or New York rates. It’s great for corporate profits, but what will gig workers do if this supervised autonomous ride-hailing future pans out?
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Tuesday, which means I’ll be off to the Detroit Auto Show very, very soon. With automakers frequently choosing to unveil cars outside of auto shows to avoid fighting for coverage, what role will auto shows play in the future? If OEM auto show spending continues to dwindle, it could deprive people who like cars of the opportunity to check out the latest and greatest. Those are my thoughts, I’m interested to hear yours.
Lead photo credit: Hyundai