The most populous state in the nation plans to outlaw the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2035, following the lead of France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and several other countries.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” says California Gov. Gavin Newsom who issued an executive order in late September directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to draft new rules. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe... Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air.”
Newsom and several climatologists have blamed global warming for extreme weather, including the wildfires ravaging much of Oregon and California in September and October.
CARB is arguably the most powerful regulatory body in the U.S., just behind the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). For decades, CARB has set California fuel economy standards that are higher than the EPA’s, and more than a dozen states follow CARB’s rules. More than half of U.S. drivers are effectively subject to CARB’s mandates.
CARB sets those rules using a waiver from the EPA, however, President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed more lenient fuel economy mandates that call for eliminating California’s ability to set its own standards. California and other states are challenging Trump’s proposed rules in what is already a protracted legal fight.
CARB officials say banning gasoline-powered cars would cut greenhouse gas emissions 35% and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions 80%. Newsom’s order mandates zero-emissions cars but says commercial trucks should be fossil-fuel-free by 2045, where feasible.
The state’s auto dealers immediately questioned the feasibility of making consumer and commercial markets all electric within the next 15-to-25 years. Dealers note that while California leads the nation in EV sales, they make up less than 10% of overall sales in the state, and “adoption is limited to the wealthy.”
Advances in battery chemistries and power electronics are lowering EV costs, but those vehicles remain more expensive than gasoline-powered models, creating other barriers to the transition, dealers groups say.
Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, notes Newsom’s order bypasses the state’s legislature, depriving interested parties from debating a massive policy change.
“While we support the state’s goals to combat climate change, there are many questions and factors that need to be thoughtfully considered and addressed before implementing such a mandate on consumers,” Maas says.
The move to ban gasoline-powered cars started in European cities where climate change and localized pollution were driving issues. In 2015, cities in The Netherlands announced bans by 2030, and the movement accelerated when Paris, France, announced a ban by 2025 the following year. Since then, more than a dozen countries have announced bans with most starting in 2030. Norway’s ban starts in 2025, and that Scandinavian nation has become a leading buyer of EVs since announcing a ban in 2017. https://ww2.arb.ca.gov
PixelPaint uses an inkjet head to eliminate overspray and enable two-tone paint or custom designs in one pass, eliminating masking and de-masking. The system is 50% faster and more sustainable than the standard method of running vehicles through paint shops multiple times to add colors or designs.
PixelPaint incorporates an inkjet head, dosing control package, and RobotStudio programming software for two-tone and decorative painting applications.
It’s available as a cell using two ABB IRB 5500 robots. The non-overspray technology prints paint directly on to a target area using the printing nozzle head instead of spraying with a conventional atomizer, resulting in 100% transfer efficiency.
ABB Robotics Systems https://global.abb/group/en
All-metal hot zone furnace
The first-of-its-kind Mentor all-metal hot zone furnace model has a 12" x 12" x 18" working zone. The furnace increases capacity for processing sensitive materials such as PH stainless, nickel-based superalloys, titanium, and ferritic/austenitic stainless steels, yet focuses on smaller lots and one-off items. Users are able to reap the benefits of an all-metal furnace while minimizing overall cost.
Solar Atmospheres https://solaratm.com
In 1970, as the Clean Air Act established the first federal regulations on car and industry emissions, students and faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Caltech organized the Clean Air Car Race – a 3,600 mile marathon from MIT to Caltech – while meeting stringent emissions standards.
“It was an untidy operation that took a heck of a lot of managing,” recalls MIT mechanical engineering professor John Heywood. “It amazed me just how talented and motivated the young people were who organized the race.”
In 1968, MIT and Caltech held an electric car race with MIT’s car heading west toward California, and Caltech’s car heading east. MIT’s car broke down in Arizona, allowing Caltech to win.
Students began to talk of a rematch, and Robert McGregor, the only graduate student, became the de facto leader and was named organizing committee chair for what became the Clean Air Car Race.
The race, open to any college, quickly gained the attention of the National Air Pollution Control Administration, the EPA’s predecessor.
“The federal government was very interested in supporting these upstart students who wanted to show the auto industry that we could actually build a vehicle with the emission controls that could achieve the future standards,” McGregor says.
General Motors provided teams with vehicles to modify for the race or as transports. Ford Motor Co. loaned its mobile laboratory to test emissions in Cambridge and Pasadena.
About 50 universities and a few high schools entered. Most vehicles were modified internal combustion engine cars, but some teams fielded electric vehicles (EVs) powered by massive batteries, hybrid propulsion, and one powered by a gas turbine.
Most entrants crossed the finish line. MIT’s gas turbine car melted the finish line banner with a blast of hot gas. Detroit’s Wayne State University won with a gasoline-engine car that used a tightly controlled fuel-injection system.
“Having a bunch of college kids do something seemingly of their own initiative and trying new creative things really helped show Detroit the way,” Heywood says.
Race participants testified before Congress and state legislatures, explaining that emissions rules were feasible.
Fifty years later, McGregor says the race’s competitive engineering model is still galvanizing young students into action. Student competitive race programs have advanced solar-powered cars, EVs, and more fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology http://web.mit.edu
General Motors (GM) and Honda plan to co-develop cars and trucks in North America, sharing design and engineering costs of new vehicles and potentially building Hondas in Chevy plants and vice versa.
The partnership agreement expands a deal reached in April for Honda to sell two electric vehicles (EVs) designed and built by GM. The automakers have collaborated in the past on hydrogen fuel cells and autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies, but the scope of the new agreement is far more encompassing.
In some vehicle segments, the automakers will share platforms – the underlying architecture that underpins a Honda Accord sedan and a CR-V crossover. Co-development talks have already begun with engineering sharing set to start in early 2021.
“This alliance will help both companies accelerate investment in future mobility innovation by freeing up additional resources. Given our strong track record of collaboration, the companies would realize significant synergies in the development of today’s vehicle portfolio,” says GM President Mark Reuss.
Seiji Kuraishi, executive vice president of Honda Motor Co., says the GM deal should substantially lower costs in North America, freeing up cash to invest in EVs, AVs, and other future vehicles.
“Combining the strengths of each company, and by carefully determining what we will do on our own and what we will do in collaboration, we will strive to build a win-win relationship to create new value for our customers,” Kuraishi says.
The companies expect cost savings to come from shared vehicle platforms and propulsion systems, joint purchasing, potential manufacturing efficiencies, and other collaboration efforts. https://www.gm.com; https://www.honda.com
Mazda, Toyota expand Alabama JV
Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, (MTM), a joint venture (JV) between the two automakers, is adding more equipment and space, bringing the companies’ initial $1.6 billion investment to $2.3 billion. The automakers expect to hire about 4,000 people.
The investment accommodates production-line enhancements to improve manufacturing processes supporting the Mazda vehicle and design changes to the yet to be announced Toyota SUV, with both being produced at the plant.
The facility will have the capacity to manufacture up to 300,000 vehicles per year, split evenly between Toyota and Mazda. MTM has hired approximately 600 employees to date and plans to resume accepting applications for production positions later in 2020 for a 2021 production start. https://www.mazda.com; https://www.toyota.com