“Drive,” She Said
It was another week and another batch of recalls for General Motors. On May 20, there were some 2.42-million cars and trucks getting the call, including 1,339,355 Buick Enclaves, Chevy Traverses, GMC Acadias (MY 2009 to 2014), and Saturn Outlooks (MY 2009 to 2010). Then there were 1,074,932 Chevy Malibus (MY 2004 to 2008) and Pontiac G6s (MY 2005 to 2008). In addition to which, there are 1,402 2015 Cadillac Escalades and Escalade ESVs and 58 2015 Chevy Silverado HDs and GMC Sierra HDs; in the case of these vehicles, the folks at GM are probably happy that the production is just ramping up so the numbers are small.
Then, in a move to help clarify the situation from a communications perspective, GM named a new senior vice president of Global Communications, Tony Cervone, who came to GM from Volkswagen Group of America, where he had executive vp of Communications, and before VW, he was with United Airlines.
But what’s interesting about Cervone is that before United he was at. . .General Motors.
Also last week, Hyundai announced that its Tucson Fuel Cell vehicles had started arriving in port in Southern California, where the vehicles will be leased to regular people. And what a lease deal it is. Put $2,999 down. Pay $499 per month for 36 months. And you get free maintenance. The dealer will pick-up your vehicle and leave a loaner. What’s more, you get free hydrogen. But (isn’t there always one), this is limited to SoCal, where there are three Hyundai dealers with the hydrogen-powered Tucsons.
Is hydrogen the future fuel. . .or is it simply way for OEMs to comply with the seemingly ever-increasing strictures imposed by the California Air Resources Board.
These and other topical topics are discussed by John McElroy of “Autoline,” Todd Lassa of Automobile, and me in this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”
And then it gets even more interesting.
Elliot Wilhelm, a man who admits his association with cars is pretty much limited to liking to drive them and his ability to add washer fluid to them, comes on set. What he lacks in auto knowledge he more than makes up for in his knowledge of movies: Wilhelm is the director of the Detroit Film Theater.
You should order this film
Because the special guest, Skyped in from Newport Beach, California, is Cory Welles, the woman who made the film 32 Hours 7 Minutes. Welles was in the back seat of a BMW M5 filming as it was piloted from Manhattan to the Santa Monica Pier by Alex Roy and David Maher as fast as they could drive. And during the 2,874 mile trek, they went damned fast, working to break the transcontinental record set in 1983 during the US Express, a record that is the title of the film.
That’s why Wilhelm.
Wilhelm, for example, explains why most movies focused on cars and driving tend to be not very good, and why Welles has managed to pull off something few do in her compelling documentary (yes, this is all real, and had something gone pear-shaped at 160 mph, it would have been all too real for Welles, Roy and Maher. (How did she deal with it? She tells us she simply trusted the drivers. Guts, Glory, Welles.)
I’ve written about 32 Hours 7 Minutes previously here. And months later I still find it to be remarkably compelling. This will probably be the case as well as I have any interest in storytelling and cars.
(While you may be disinterested in hearing McElroy, Lassa and me holding forth—yes, I would be surprised if that is the case, but there may be a few of you—if you have any interest in fast cars and real-life adventure, start the video at the 31-minute mark and see what Cory Welles and Elliot Wilhelm bring to the discussion.)
Hydrogen is not only the first element on the Periodic Table (so it gets Atomic Number 1), but it is also the simplest—one proton and one electron—and it is also the most abundant element in the universe.
If Honda is anything, it is an engine company.
The changing landscape requires not only new approaches to powertrains—but even new types of vehicles. Here’s how one supplier is addressing these changes.