EVs in US not such a Smart move - the week

By Graeme Roberts | 15 December 2017

Smart EV-only policy in the US doesnt seem to be working out too well, according to our analyst

Smart EV-only policy in the US doesn't seem to be working out too well, according to our analyst

Going all-electric in the US does not appear to have worked too well for Smart, as we noted in this article. "Might the initial results of a strategy which has been Smart US dropping its petrol-powered Fortwo range hold a warning for others? In November, the brand was not only outsold by Lamborghini but Rolls-Royce was the only make which delivered fewer cars." As automakers dive headlong into 'e-mobility', does a cautionary tale lie therein?"

Over at GM, some sense on the latest 'megatrends' from CEO Mary Barra. Although GM is taking steps to reap the benefits of greater electrification and use of driverless vehicle technologies in the future, she also stresses that the traditional 'owner-driver' model will be around for a 'very long time'. Speaking at an Automotive Press Association event in Detroit, Barra said that GM sees new mobility models as 'additive' and with the potential to grow and be 'quite substantial'. However, she also said the core 'owner-driver model will be there for a very long time'. Hurrah.

Big news in Morocco where OEM/supplier deals look set to create 11,500 jobs. The major announcement – presided over by King Mohammed VI in Casablanca – is further proof of the Maghrebian country's attraction for overseas manufacturers and follows hot on the heels of BYD's unveiling of plans to construct an initial 15km SkyRail as part of a transportation offer. A total of 26 significant projects were revealed in the Royal Palace of Casablanca as part of Morocco's Industrial Acceleration Plan, with hundreds of guests and senior politicians attesting to the importance of the event.

Denso said it had developed a thin-film transistor (TFT), liquid-crystal head-up display (HUD) that is the world's largest automotive head-up display with a near 24-inch projection. The product is in the 2018 Lexus LS. The new HUD projects a virtual screen approximately three metres ahead of the driver, enabling the driver to more intuitively access key information about the vehicle and its surroundings without changing direction of gaze. The technology displays not only basic information, such as speed limits and the vehicle's driving speed, but also the locations of pedestrians through external sensors. It also provides lane guidance assistance by using an automotive navigation system featuring an arrow indicating the appropriate lane to follow at junctions and intersections.

Lexus parent Toyota has reshuffled European management for 2018, Faurecia is investing in a US startup and Ford UK has modified its scrappage scheme to avoid loud squawking from classic car nuts like me. The backstory to this was the outcry when it looked like a mint Standard was going to be crushed. After some horse trading (it won't see the road again), it was saved.

We have an interview with the developers of the compression ignition Nautilus engine and analysis of future VW SUVs and EVs. And yours truly drove an actual vehicle for once - JLR's Range Rover Evoque with the new Ingenium petrol engine. It's a cracker.

Final 'week' from me for 2018 - have a great Christmas and New Year. I hit the ground rolling in January - straight from holiday to CES as a guest of Kia. Can't wait.

Have a nice weekend, too.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com