Jeep plans more electrified options, Ford and Rivian want expedited battery material mining permits, a multi-vehicle crash spilled 300,000 tomatoes across a freeway. 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.
Jeep Will Announce More Electrification Plans On September 8th
Sure, we’re going to maybe get an electric Dodge Charger and an electrified Dodge Hornet. Eventually, all of the Stellantis brands will offer something electric. They may be great! But the only successful electric brand from the company formerly known as DaimlerChryslerCerburusFiatChryslerHomeDepotGasStationTV is Jeep. Seriously! One could argue it’s the only successful brand at all from Stellantis.
Toyota was the leader in plug-in hybrids (PHEV) for many years and the RAV4 Prime is the vehicle you buy if you want a good, efficient hybrid all-rounder. And then Jeep came out with the Jeep Wrangler 4XE and absolutely smoked it. Jeep followed that up with the Grand Cherokee 4Xe in North America, and 4Xe versions of the Renegade and Compass for markets outside of America.
What’s next? Jeep teased even more plans. We’ll find out soon but, given that America loves Jeeps, there’s no better brand to lead the company’s EV plans than the one seven slats in the front.
Tune in as we enter a new era of electrification 9.8.22#Jeep4xeDay #4xe #EV pic.twitter.com/gu9yqg5The
— Jeep (@Jeep) August 31, 2022
Ford And Rivian Want Easier Access To American Battery Materials
Speaking of EVs. While the Inflation Reduction Act has clear stipulations on battery material sourcing, it could be years before a stable domestic battery material supply chain is established. In an effort to speed things up a touch, Automotive News reports that Ford and Rivian want the U.S. government to expedite mining permits for EV battery materials.
In comments submitted Tuesday to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Ford said the permitting process for mining projects that support high-capacity battery manufacturing “should be no longer than three years.”
“Today’s lengthy, costly and inefficient permitting process makes it difficult for American businesses to invest in the extraction and processing of critical minerals in the United States,” Chris Smith, Ford’s chief government affairs officer, said in a letter to the department.
Current U.S. permitting requirements for critical mineral production can take up to 10 years, he said. “In contrast, Canada and Australia have adopted mineral permitting policies that enable producers to complete the process in two to three years, while maintaining stringent environmental standards.”
A lead time of up to a decade to grant mining permits would put America’s plan for home-sourced battery materials on the back foot. While it’s definitely possible to source battery materials from friendly countries like Canada, a steady stream of American-sourced battery materials would ensure domestic supply chain security and likely create jobs.
GM And LG Start Ultium Battery Production In Ohio
Speaking of making batteries, The Detroit Free Press reports that GM and LG have started making batteries in their Ohio-based Ultium battery plant.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine toured the $2.3 billion Ultium plant in Warren on Wednesday to see the battery cell manufacturing process first hand, Ultium spokeswoman Brooke Waid said. The plant, which employs about 800, is adjacent to GM’s former Lordstown Assembly plant. GM closed that plant and sold it to Lordstown Motors in 2019.
In a media statement, Ultium said it “continues to remain focused on training as it prepares to ramp up.” Once at full production, the plant expects to have created 1,300 new high-tech jobs.
As the name suggests, this Ultium plant manufactures batteries for the Ultium-powered vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV. While an expected 1,300 new jobs is good news, the United Auto Workers union is reportedly running into some opposition in its attempt to unionize the plant.
In a memo obtained by the Free Press in June, Terry Dittes, UAW vice president and director of the GM Department, said the union had just started organizing at Ultium Cells, but the company’s leaders have denied the union the use of a “card check” process to organize.
A card check is otherwise known as a majority sign-up, and it often expedites unionization. If at least 30 percent of employees sign an authorization form, that form gets sent to the National Labor Relations Board for verification, and a secret ballot is arranged should verification prove successful. There are a handful of exceptions, but a card check is generally a simpler method of organization than attempting to unionize exclusively by ballot. Unionizing may be worthwhile given its historical benefits for auto workers, and battery plant employees should be allowed to unionize and enjoy the same benefits as assembly plant employees if they wish to.
Multi-Vehicle Crash Spills 300,000 Tomatoes
No, that’s not a typo. USA Today reports that a truck carrying tomatoes collided with another vehicle on Monday, spilling 300,000 of the fruits onto the highway.
Highway Patrol officer Jason Tyhurst said the wreck happened at 5 a.m. along Interstate 80 west in Vacaville, about 35 miles west of Sacramento and 55 miles north of San Francisco.
Tyhurst told USA TODAY a truck carrying 50,000 pounds of tomatoes collided with a vehicle and swerved, striking another vehicle before driving into the center median.
The force was so strong it spilled about three-quarters of the load onto the highway, Tyhurst said. Passing vehicles ground them into a slimy pulp.
If a coating of slimy pulp all over a road sounds extremely slippery, you’d be right. USA Today reports that seven vehicles in total were involved in the crash, with three people suffering minor injuries and one ending up in hospital with a broken leg. Cleanup reportedly took several hours, with both eastbound and westbound lanes of Interstate 80 shut down. While it’s unlikely you’ll run across spilled tomatoes on the roads, this incident serves as a reminder to leave plenty of following distance as road conditions can change at any time.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Thursday, everyone. Friday is right around the corner. While everyone remembers their first car, our first cars weren’t always our first picks. I’d love to know what car was almost your first car and why it didn’t work out. Believe it or not, I almost dragged home a first-generation Mazda RX-7 as my first car but didn’t really have the space.
Lead photo credit: Jeep
I drove past that tomato truck wreck on my way to work, and was delayed about 45 minutes because of it. There is still a huge pile of tomatoes in the median where the wreck happened, which I’m guessing will still be there around this time next year. I actually drove tomato trucks for a summer for the same company whose truck crashed there and wasn’t surprised one bit. There are special exemptions in the law for hauling agricultural produce, so drivers of trucks like that are allowed to work 16 hours a day for 30 days straight and seven days on, one day off after that. Drivers sleep in temporary classroom buildings that have been turned into refrigerated bunkhouses at the tomato processing plant. My shift was from noon to 4am and I was frequently semi-delirious from about 10pm on. These trucks are all doubles, and I had my rear trailer rip itself away and go flying into a field one afternoon. The CHP officer who showed up with a shovel to help clean the road made lots of “wow that’s a whole lot of ketchup” jokes. A few days earlier another one of my company’s trucks crashed in the same spot where a lettuce truck had crashed the day before: world’s biggest accidental salad!
If I’m assuming that I would have gotten the hand me down beater my mom drove regardless of what she actually bought, my almost first car would be a 1990 Toyota Corolla, and that didn’t happen because California sellers of Toyotas at the time think their shit don’t stink and won’t budge on price.
As for the first car I would have almost bought with my own money, that was a 2003 Toyota Matrix XRS, and again because California sellers of Toyotas think their shit don’t stink, I walked.
Jeep is Stellantis’ only successful brand? Have we not heard of Ram at all?! Not only outselling Ford and GM for the last decade in overall truck sales, but 4 NA Truck of the Year Awards in a row? (2019-2021, Ram 1500 DT; 2022 Ram 2500 DJ) If that’s not success I’m not sure what your baseline is.
I cannot wait for the EV Wrangler with a starting price of 75k.
Reading comments about first cars…
First was 1955 Porsche Speedster 1500 normal. Did not drive until 1st year of college. Speedster was 10 years old at the time and took me through college, first job, and SCCA driver’s school and racing.
I brought home to test drive.. a 06 Cavalier… and I realized how stupid I looked and or felt in this thing. My head is huge and I got giant feet. The Cavalier.. was pretty new… but I wound up buying a 92 Accord with 159k on it for about 2g.
The semi spilling tomatoes reminded me of a little town in Spain -Buñol – where Tomatina is held. Basically, everyone closes their shutters, and the worlds largest food-fight is held using 10s of thousands of pounds of tomatoes. I’ve never made a bucket list, but would be on one if I did.
There was a guy down the street from me selling a very shiny and very black Grand National for $8k. Man, I wanted that thing. Instead, I got a Saturn SL1, which my sister promptly drove into a tree as soon as she got her own license.
Oi, I’m probably forgetting some as this was about 30 years ago. I started shopping with my landscaping money when I was 14.
’67 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style end-loader hearse. Wouldn’t start, though also heavy rust. Owner looked like a younger David Gilmour.
’75 Cadillac MM landau end-loader hearse in rose metallic with matching vinyl roof (it was pink!). Engine had rod knock.
’59(?) Borgward Isabella. I can’t remember what happened with that. Probably rust—my nemesis.
’61(?) Volvo PV544. Major rust. 40-something woman selling it put her hand on my thigh during the test drive. I don’t think her hand actually slipped off the shifter, but eh.
’56 Cadillac Series 62. Rust, wouldn’t start, infested with wasps.
’55 Chevrolet 210 Sedan I6 (very good condition—nobody wanted I6 sedans back then). Sold before I could get it.
’67 Volvo 144 (mint). Sold on my way there with the cash.
’71(?) Saab Sonett III. Rust. A lot of rust. It was basically a fiberglass body floating in space.
’75 Mercedes-Benz 280C (very good condition). Sold before I could get it.
My first car was my parents’ 1984 Buick Century. Turd brown with a turd brown vinyl roof and turd brown interior. It had defective power steering that my parents never bothered getting fixed when it was recalled because it was their only car and the dealership wouldn’t provide a loaner because they bought it used, and loaners were only for new car customers. We later figured out that the vinyl roof was aftermarket because that wasn’t an option on that car. The roof also leaked at the edge of the windshield, so on rainy days, it rained inside the car as well. I kept garbage bags in the car to cover the seats if I knew it was going to rain. It was really fun on the extra hot days in the summertime when all that moisture in the car would turn the interior into a sauna. I fixed the leaky roof by buying turd brown duct tape and duct taping the entire roof. I made the mistake of starting from the front, because the next owner of the car (my cousin) reported that the overlaps in the tape caught in the wind and started peeling back.
The first car I bought on my own was a Mitsubishi Mighty Max, which was not mighty. It could barely get out of its own way. It had a radiator from a Dodge Caravan that someone custom mounted in there. The engine ended up blowing at 106,000 miles and my dad towed it to the junkyard.
My almost first car? 1970 Jaguar XKE Roadster in buttery color they call Primrose Yellow. I was convinced it was just a bit overpriced, and that I’d find another for what I wanted to pay in a “better” color, too. I never did, and I still think about it often. And I’d rather have one in Primrose Yellow than any other Jaguar color. I’m a cheapskate by nature, but making this mistake has helped me avoid many similar mistakes since then.
The actual first car that I bought with my own money was a Mercury Montego with a Ford 351 Cleveland V8. I needed transportation badly, and although it ran badly, it was almost free.
1967 Triumph Spitfire was the first car that I bought purely because wanted to buy it. I wanted a TR250 (or a TR3a), but the asking price for the Spitfire was just over half what I was willing to pay and decent examples of the others were more than I had at the time.
What should have been my first new car purchase was a first year Mazda Miata, but they delayed the release twice. I ended up buying something else because I needed a reliable car in a hurry and wanted a factory warranty because at the time, I had bad experiences with used cars.
Also, the tomato thing makes me think of Harry Chapin…
Hope Jeep improves the PHEV Wrangler a little more, just 30 miles instead of the ‘about’ 20 would be great.
Also agree with Rootwyrm on the mining deal, they’re wanting to add a lithium mine in the Charlotte region now, and the citizens are fighting it, but of course it’s a more rural area with lower income so the industry and state people are rolling right in saying how great it will be, just like how great the Duke Energy coal ash spill into the waterways was. Wait I’m hearing those are bad things? Someone should be watching over this stuff!
For first car, let’s go with first car I actually bought first, as first 2 were provided or lent so couldn’t really complain. Could’ve had a nice S10 pickup, shady dealer steered me towards a 1990 Sunbird 2-door. With all that horsepower just sweating out the valve cover gasket. At least it got decent mpg which was not really a thing we cared about in the 90s. Barring any accidents that S10 would’ve probably been much more useful all around.