LAPD opts for BMW i3 squad cars, not California-built Tesla models

Departments - Regulations

July 8, 2016

BMW of North America has won its bid to supply the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) with 100 electric BMW i3 vehicles for use in the department’s transportation fleet. The department had also been testing pricier Tesla Model S vehicles built in Northern California.

“We should be thinking green in everything we do, and these new electric vehicles show how local government can lead,” says Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The BMW i3 police cars went into service this spring as part of the department’s non-emergency fleet vehicles. The BMW i3s will be used throughout the department as transportation vehicles for officers and in community outreach initiatives.

BMW’s software data system will integrate with the LAPD’s fleet management system, allowing the department to electronically receive critical vehicle data needed to effectively track its fleet. BMW is also designing a web tool that will allow the department to track their fleet in near real-time, contributing to improved deployment, utilization, and efficient charging of the electric support vehicles.

Greenlots, a global provider of open standards-based distributed energy resource solutions, will supply 100 Level 2 chargers and four DC fast chargers to the LAPD.

Obama administration reviewing proposed commercial truck emissions, fuel economy rules

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has received proposed Phase 2 rules, setting fuel economy and emissions standards for commercial vehicles. The trucking industry has been cautiously supportive of the rules, which would phase in between the 2021 and 2027 models years.

The proposal calls for as much as a 24% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2027, at an estimated cost of as much as $12,000 per vehicle. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies began the rulemaking process in early 2014, and agencies heard opinions during nearly three months of hearings last year.

The proposed rules don’t state how truck producers will comply with new regulations, but they recommend a wide range of technologies including natural gas-burning engines, low rolling-resistance tires, aerodynamic improvements, and hybrid powertrains.

The OMB has 60 days to review the rules, though it can seek extensions. The final rule could be approved as early as August.

NHTSA requests crash warning system reviews from commercial truck drivers

In advance of possible new requirements for sensor-based safety systems that could warn drivers of impending accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting surveys of commercial truck drivers in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. The surveys are part of a 2015 NHTSA initiative to reduce truck accidents.

“Crash warning systems (CWSs) for commercial motor vehicles have been available for more than 20 years. CWSs can include features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings, and use a variety of sensor technologies (e.g., radar) to determine the crash risk of a collision. CWSs are designed to warn the driver to take action to avoid or mitigate a potential crash,” NHTSA officials say in federal filings. “There are also differences in how suppliers present collision warnings, including the design of visual displays and auditory alerts… While CWS implementations change and evolve, it is likely that certain warning interfaces are more effective than others during crash-imminent situations. This research seeks to examine the impact of CWSs as they pertain to commercial motor vehicle safety.”

NHTSA officials hope to interview 60 drivers with Class A commercial driver’s licenses about their experiences with CWSs. Officials hope to complete the surveys in July.

Corning dividion to pay $66.5M for catalytic converter material price fixing

Corning Inc.’s Corning Intl. Kabushiki Kaisha has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $66.5 million criminal fine for conspiring to fix prices, rig bids, and allocate the market for ceramic substrates used in catalytic converters supplied to automobile manufacturers.

In a felony charge filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Corning International K.K., based in Tokyo, says it conspired to fix prices from 1999 until 2011. Customers included Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda Motor Co. Ltd., and some of their subsidiaries, affiliates, and suppliers in the United States.

“Corning Intl. K.K.’s conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices brought the company increased revenues at a cost to auto manufacturers, suppliers, and ultimately, consumers,” says Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios of the FBI’s Detroit Division. “Attempts to thwart the free market system are damaging to our economy, and thereby its consumers, and will be actively investigated and prosecuted.”

Including Corning Intl. K.K., 40 companies have been charged in connection with this investigation and have agreed to pay more than $2.7 billion in criminal fines. In addition, 59 individuals have been charged, including a former executive of Corning Intl. K.K. On May 11, 2016, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment against Nobuhiko Niwa, a Japanese national, for his role in the conspiracy.

“Corning Intl. K.K. spent more than a decade colluding on sales,” says Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “But they have now been held accountable for the competitive harm they caused.”