Financial market ‘pause party’ makes Fed rate cut less likely

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Risk-taking has been the rage since the Federal Reserve quit hiking interest rates at the end of last year. U.S. stocks are back near record highs and investors are stockpiling the lowest-grade corporate bonds with only a smidgen of extra compensation for the added risk.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

That rebounding mood on Wall Street may be welcomed by a president that has been demanding the Fed cut rates after markets fell sharply last year, and complaining that even pausing at the current level is the wrong call.

But if anything the ‘pause party’ on Wall Street makes it even less likely that the U.S. central bank will cut rates. Recent positive news on retail sales and exports, which have eased concerns of a sharply slowing economy, makes the case for a rate cut even weaker.

Investors at least have gotten the message, and shifted from projecting a rate cut later this year to now putting the odds at only 50-50 that the Fed will move lower by early 2020.

Wall Street celebrates the Fed’s ‘pause here.jpg

The state of financial markets, say some analysts, is evidence the Fed’s rate increases last year were on point, allowing the economy to continue growing while keeping risks in check. A rate cut at this stage would only be courting problems.

“The argument for why they should keep the possibility of a rate hike on the table is because of financial stability,” Citi chief economist Catherine Mann said in remarks on Wednesday to a conference on financial stability at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.

After a decade of near zero interest rates, “moving toward a constellation of asset prices that embodies risks is critical for getting us to a more stable financial market,” she said, noting that both equity prices and low-grade bond yields show a market that remains too sanguine.

In their critiques of the Fed, U.S. President Donald Trump, White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow, and possible Fed nominee Stephen Moore have argued that lower rates would allow faster growth and be in line with Trump’s economic plans. They contend that, with the risk of inflation low, the central bank does not need to maintain ‘insurance’ against it by keeping rates where they are.

     Overlooked in that analysis are the financial stability concerns steadily integrated into Fed policymaking since the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis. Mann spoke at a conference named in honor of economist Hyman Minsky, who explored how financial excess can build during good times, and unwind in catastrophic fashion. The downturn a decade ago showed just how deeply that dynamic can scar the real economy.

     Financial stability isn’t a formal mandate for the Fed, which under congressional legislation is supposed to maintain the twin goals of maximum employment and stable prices. But since the crisis the central bank has concluded that keeping financial markets on an even keel is a necessary condition for achieving the other two aims.

    That doesn’t mean an end of volatility or a guarantee of profits, but rather that risks are properly priced and that the use of leverage – investments made with borrowed money – is kept within safe limits.

Keeping an eye on stock valuations here.jpg

     That’s a key reason why even policymakers focused on maintaining high levels of employment, like Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren, at times have taken on a hawkish tone in favor of rate increases. The worse outcome for workers, Rosengren and others have said, would be to let markets inflate too much, and crash again, even if that means risking a bit higher unemployment in the interim. 

Markets are currently “a little rich,” Rosengren said in recent remarks at Davidson College in North Carolina.

Though not enough to warrant a rate increase, he said, it does argue against a rate reduction. Overall, Fed officials including Chairman Jerome Powell say they feel financial risks are within a manageable range, something policymakers feel has been helped along by the rate increases to date.

The state of financial markets is “something that the Fed has to wrestle with,” Rosengren said. “It’s appropriate for interest rates to be paused right now.”

Corporate bond valuations look frothy here.jpg

Reporting by Howard Schneider and Trevor Hunnicut; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci

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Kia Motors’ sales of vehicles hit 8-mln units in U.S.

  • Kia Motors Corp., South Korea’s No. 2 carmaker, has sold more than 8 million automobiles in the United States since it first tapped the world’s top economy in 1992, industry data showed Sunday.
  • The smaller sister of Hyundai Motor Co. sold 55,814 cars in the U.S. in March.
  • The Sportage SUV, the longest-selling Kia model in the U.S., saw its accumulated sales reach 962,627 units in March after being release in 1994.

Original Article

Elon Musk, SEC get more time to solve spat over Tesla tweets

The fight dates back to Musk’s Aug. 7 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private.
The fight dates back to Musk’s Aug. 7 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private.

By Bob Van Voris and Matt Robinson

Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will have another week to resolve a legal fight over his tweeting habits after saying they’re making progress and need more time.

In a joint letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, Tesla Inc.’s top executive and the securities regulator said they haven’t been able to resolve a legal dispute over how Musk posts news about his electric-car company. The judge agreed and gave them until April 25.

The two sides had reached a settlement in October that required Musk to seek approval before tweeting any information about the company that investors might view as material. However in February, Musk tweeted — without having it reviewed — that Tesla would make 500,000 cars this year, then corrected himself that that was an annualized figure. The SEC asked the court to hold him in contempt for violating their deal over the post. And at the end of a hearing earlier this month, Nathan urged both sides to “put on your reasonableness pants” and work something out.

She ordered both to sit down for at least an hour and reach an agreement on how to amend their settlement, or risk her making a decision on whether to hold the billionaire CEO in contempt.

Hours after news of the extension, Musk continued to tweet, making sheep jokes with the Museum of English Rural Life and changing his profile picture to a ram. Shortly afterward he posted: “My Twitter is pretty much complete nonsense at this point,” before more tweets about memes and sheep.

In the runup to the decision on the delay, Musk defended his February tweet about the car production target, saying he was just repeating information that Tesla had already disclosed. The SEC disagreed, asking Nathan to find Musk in contempt and consider hefty fines as punishment. Nathan refused to make an immediate decision, saying both sides needed to eliminate ambiguities in the earlier settlement.

The fight dates back to Musk’s Aug. 7 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private, sending the shares surging. After an investigation, the SEC sued, saying Musk had misled investors. Musk and Tesla resolved the dispute by agreeing to each pay $20 million, without admitting wrongdoing.

Musk hasn’t let the current dispute rein in his tweeting, even while the two sides were working toward a revised deal. This past weekend, he repeated his February claim, responding to another Twitter user’s post with “Tesla will make over 500k cars in next 12 months.”

The case is United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. Musk, 18-cv-08865, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Top Automotive Industry News for Week of March 4 – March 10, 2019

Here is the most important news associated with the automotive industry
identified by the AEA for the week of March 4, 2019 – March 10, 2019.

We hope it helps you stay up to speed on the key developments in our
industry:

-Automotive Manufacturing News-


BMW: The Leading US Exporter of New Vehicles

(The Detroit Bureau)


Elon Musk Touts Plan For Tesla Model Y SUV's Debut In Sunday Twitter
Spree

(Forbes)


EPA: 2017 model year vehicle mileage increased slightly

(The Detroit News)


Ex-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn granted bail in Japan, but prosecutors
appeal decision

(USA Today)


Fiat Chrysler open to mergers, and PSA is looking for one

(autoblog)


GM gets $2.8M for energy savings at Flint plants

(The Detroit News)


Honda Leads the Pack in Fuel Economy, Emissions

(The Detroit Bureau)


Musk Twitter Fight Goes to Court Again on SEC Contempt Charge

(Bloomberg)


Nissan says its electric car has become the first to break 400,000 in
sales

(CNBC)


Tesla says new Superchargers let drivers fill up faster, 75 miles of
charge in 5 minutes

(CNBC)


The perfect storm engulfing the world’s top car manufacturers

(MarketWatch)


Toyota Has a Curious Justification for Not Selling Any EVs (Yet)

(Car and Driver)


Trump Administration Takes Credit for Fuel Economy, Emissions
Improvements

(The Detroit Bureau)


Volvo may not sell its Tesla rival electric car in the US over tariffs

(CNBC)


Volvo to limit its cars' top speed to 112 mph

(The Verge)

-Automotive Evolution News-


Continental AG: autonomous driving revenues won't be significant until
2030

(Reuters)


In EV market, fresh product and fresh doubts

(Automotive News)


Locking More Than the Doors as Cars Become Computers on Wheels

(The New York Times)


Uber Not Criminally Liable In Death Of Woman Hit By Self-Driving Car,
Prosecutor Says

(NPR)


Waymo Now Offering To Sell Its Short-Range Laser Lidar Sensors

(Forbes)

-Automotive Retail News-


Carvana continues its investment in Ohio

(Auto Remarketing)


New cars sales expected to stall, dinging the Detroit 3

(Detroit Free Press)


Poor February Auto Sales Confound Analysts

(The Detroit Bureau)


SAAR Falls to 18-Month Low After Slow February

(Auto Dealer Today)


Tesla's Online Model Confuses Industry Experts

(Forbes)

-Automotive Wholesale News-


Black Book Index softens for 3rd straight month

(Auto Remarketing)


Used Vehicle Values Hit 3-Month Skid

(Vehicle Remarketing)

-Automotive Enthusiast News-


25 hot cars at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show

(Business Insider)


The $12.5 Million Bugatti La Voiture Noire Is the World's Most
Expensive New Car

(Car and Driver)

-Automotive Servicing News-


Alfa Romeo recalls vehicles; cruise control can go haywire

(The Detroit News)

-General Business & Executive News-


AutoNation CEO passes torch, continues candid commentary

(Auto Remarketing)


AutoWeb Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Results

(Globe Newswire)


New CarMax center to create hundreds of jobs in Georgia

(Auto Remarketing)


truPayments Joins CDK Global Partner Program

(Auto Dealer Monthly)

-AEA Reminder-

Did we miss something? Let us know via our


Contact Us Page >>

. If you have specific important news going public soon that you would like
to share with your fellow AEA Members, submit your


PR Distribution Request >>


Have a great week,

Member Services

memberservices@automotiveexecutives.com

Automotive Executives Association


www.automotiveexecutives.com

Original Article

Tesla gets restraining order on short-seller who photographed employees

Tesla has hit one of its prominent Twitter critics and short-sellers of the company with a restraining order — the same person who recently spotted and photographed a Model 3 being filmed by Tesla ahead of a planned “autonomy investor day” on April 22nd. The company was granted the temporary restraining order by the Alameda County Superior Court in California on Friday, which was first spotted by PlainSite.org. It’s not clear if the restraining order has been served.

Tesla claims California resident Randeep Hothi “stalked, harassed, and endangered” three of its employees who were driving the Model 3 on a Bay Area highway this past week. The company says Hothi “pursued these employees on the public highway for about 35 minutes, variously driving ahead of, beside, and behind them, and swerving dangerously close to the vehicle.” Tesla claims Hothi even swerved close enough to the Model 3 that the car’s crash avoidance safety feature was triggered.

The carmaker also claims that, in February, Hothi struck one of its employees while trespassing and surveilling the company’s Fremont, California factory. It says Hothi didn’t stop and “fled the scene.”

Hothi has to stay at least 100 yards away from Tesla’s Fremont factory or the employees named in the restraining order. He also has to stay 10 yards away from any Tesla vehicle with manufacturer plates within five miles of the factory. The order is effective until May 7th, when a hearing is scheduled.

Neither Tesla nor Hothi responded to requests for comment.

Posting under the username @skabooshka, Hothi published images of the Model 3 on Twitter on Thursday. He noted there were cameras mounted to the rear and inside the car, and theorized that the Model 3 was being filmed for Monday’s event. He claimed he saw the car violate speed limits, and noted it performed simple tasks like lane changes, implying Tesla might misrepresent the footage at Monday’s event.

Hothi is, according to his Twitter account, one of many Tesla short-sellers. Short-sellers are people who bet money that a company’s stock price will go down. The ones who focus on Tesla have built a thriving community on Twitter, where they collaborate around the hashtag #TSLAQ to try and identify what they believe is fraudulent activity by the company and its CEO, Elon Musk.

Musk has a long history taunting people who short Tesla’s stock. He’s promised to “burn” them a number of times over the past few years, and he and his company even previously doxxed one of the most prominent anonymous short-sellers on Twitter, a user with the name @MontanaSkeptic. By filing for the restraining order on Friday, and including the information about @skabooshka’s Model 3 tweets, Musk’s company has again outed one of its most prominent short-sellers.

Tesla says Hothi’s actions go beyond photographing the Model 3 test. In its original petition for the restraining order, Tesla said Hothi “has a history of trespassing at Tesla’s facilities,” and that he “unlawfully” took photos and videos of those places and uploaded them to Twitter. Hothi and other Tesla short-sellers often post photos and videos of employee parking lots in an effort to estimate whether the company is operating at full production. They also photograph parking lots that Tesla uses to hold inventory, which they say offers insight into how much demand there is — or isn’t — for the company’s cars. Much of their crowdsourced research winds up on the website tslaq.org.

Shortly after PlainSite made the restraining order public, Musk replied to a 2018 tweet accusing Hothi as the person behind the @skabooshka account. That tweet links to a document on an image hosting site that accuses Hothi of attacking Tesla because his brother allegedly works for Volkswagen. “This is extremely messed up. @VW, what’s going on?” Musk wrote.

(Last August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musk emailed Volkswagen Group’s CEO asking if “a Volkswagen employee was criticizing Tesla on Twitter, using a fake name.” Musk told the Journal that “Diess replied saying it was the guy’s brother. That’s pretty much it.”)

“I will not rest. This is my promise,” the @skabooshka account posted Saturday evening. “Tesla is a zero. @elonmusk will go to prison.”

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1987 Self-Driving Technology — The Future Was Almost Ready Decades Ago?

Autonomous Vehicles

Published on April 20th, 2019 |
by Jesper Berggreen

1987 Self-Driving Technology — The Future Was Almost Ready Decades Ago?

April 20th, 2019 by Jesper Berggreen

Self-Driving Technology Time Machine — A Look At 1987 Status

Isn’t this funny: Here I am, happy about finally placing an order on a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, including the full self-driving package, and at the same time as I choose to flicker through a bunch of old Motor magazines from 1987 to find some mentions of my old 1987 Volvo 240 for a fun comparison, I stumble upon the highlight below.

Motor magazine 9/1987

Soon, The Car Will Drive Itself

Just after placing my order on the Model 3, CleanTechnica writer Maximilian Holland made us all aware of the conversation between MIT researcher Lex Fridman and Tesla CEO Elon Musk on self-driving evolution and artificial intelligence, which was nice, because any doubt I might have had on the sanity of my investment was washed away. I think this self driving thing is really about to happen.

Well, yeah, but in 1987, some people thought so too. Below is a shortened translate of the old article. Hilarious and slightly worrying at the same time — I mean, are we still fooling ourselves?

“In a few years, you can sleep or read while your car manages its way through traffic with guidance from roadside electronics. At the same time, an electronic map will make sure you reach your destination. Lean back, relax, and enjoy the scenery passing by.

To transport yourself by car can soon be a matter of pressing the button labeled Drive. State-of-the-art automobile technology promises to take over all driver functions as soon as 1995. An autonomous self-driving project was launched by Daimler-Benz and is based on the principle of the vehicle being controlled by roadside transmitters. Which means the driver can take a nap, read a newspaper, or even play solitaire card games while the car adjusts speed and steering. Even emergency braking is handled thanks to the built-in radar.”

So there you have it. Like reading a new CleanTechnica article, right? It seems like something we could have published last week apart from the notion that it was Daimler, not that new kid on the block, Tesla, getting ahead of everyone else.

My best guess is that the project in question was the Prometheus Project (1987–1995, which cost €749,000,000). The project culminated in 1995 when an autonomous Mercedes-Benz S-Class endured a 1,600 km (1,000 mile) trip from Munich to Copenhagen and back using computer vision to react in real-time traffic. The car achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h (109 mph) on the German Autobahn. It even managed lane changes to pass other cars. Despite being a research system without emphasis on long-distance reliability, it drove up to 158 kilometres (98 miles) without any human intervention. Impressive, even by today’s standards.

The article on hand also discusses a few rather unexpected features, like self-replacing headlight bulbs:

“The modern car will also do self-service. It will be able to replace a dead headlight bulb automatically and inform the driver to purchase a new one.”

Funny that this never became a thing. But then again, LEDs would have made the system obsolete anyway. But let’s not ignore the power of optimism. Behold this paragraph, especially keeping in mind the latest safety report from Tesla:

“The self-driving system is ready to be deployed as soon as all roadside transmitters are in place, but Daimler-Benz is not eager to let us know when they plan test drives. However, they have no doubt that this system will be much safer than a human driver.”

Indeed. Let’s not for one second forget the lives this technology, once implemented at full scale, will save. As Elon Musk puts it in the conversation with Lex Fridman: “Frankly, it’s pretty crazy letting people drive a two-tonne death machine manually.”

Feel free to use my referral code, or anybody else’s, to get some free Supercharging on a new Tesla: https://ts.la/jesper18367

About the Author

Jesper Berggreen Jesper had his perspective on the world expanded vastly after having attended primary school in rural Africa in the early 1980s. And while educated a computer programmer and laboratory technician, working with computers and lab-robots at the institute of forensic medicine in Aarhus, Denmark, he never forgets what life is like having nothing. Thus it became obvious for him that technological advancement is necessary for the prosperity of all humankind, sharing this one vessel we call planet earth. However, technology has to be smart, clean, sustainable, widely accessible, and democratic in order to change the world for the better. Writing about clean energy, electric transportation, energy poverty, and related issues, he gets the message through to anyone who wants to know better. Jesper is founder of Lifelike.dk.

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Dear Elon, I Have An Idea For Autopilot

Autonomous Vehicles

Published on April 21st, 2019 |
by Jennifer Sensiba

Dear Elon, I Have An Idea For Autopilot

April 21st, 2019 by Jennifer Sensiba

What follows is a letter about an idea I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years that could both reduce the impact of electric vehicles and make them go longer (both in terms of range and longevity).

Dear Elon Musk,

First off, thanks for doing what you do with Tesla and SpaceX. And all of the other efforts. If you’ve read some of my other articles, you know how I feel about all of that.

I wanted to share an idea I’ve been kicking around in my head for a couple of years. It could help reduce electricity usage when running Autopilot, which would obviously reduce the environmental impacts, but could also give much greater range. Less wear on the battery would give the vehicle a longer battery lifespan (especially for fleet AP cars, like for a ridesharing service). It also could help people reach their destinations faster by reducing the number of charging stops needed.

I know Tesla has open patents, so I feel comfortable sharing this idea openly like this. I know it will be used to help the maximum number of people who could be helped by it, and I’d love to see anybody implement these ideas as long as they don’t try to keep others from doing it.

I know your time is in high demand, so I’ll get straight to it before telling the story about how I arrived at this for the other readers. The short version is that I’ve been experimenting with different driving methods for decades, and I’ve tried to boil my driving down to some very simple sets of rules that could be automated.

In short, I propose implementing automated hypermiling. I’d call it Super Range Mode, but that’s not ultimately my call.

Super Range Mode Summary

Hypermiling could make for faster trips across “holes” in level 3 charging networks, for example.

When a user activates Super Range Mode, it could give them a slider. On the left end of the slider would be the most mild hypermiling, implementing minor things to increase range. On the far right, the power-saving strategies would be extreme. Most users wouldn’t drag the slider all the way right, but for emergencies, it could make the difference between arriving or getting a tow. In really big emergencies, like widespread power outages during disasters, it could save lives by avoiding strandings.

When a user lets go of the slider on a setting, the vehicle’s trip planner could estimate the time each setting would require so the user could pick the best balance between speed and efficiency for their needs. In some situations, there could be a setting that does enough hypermiling to eliminate charging stops more than it slows down by, which could get somebody to their destination faster.

For the mildest Super Range Mode setting, the vehicle just does things to optimize range without making any changes to speed. Air suspension (for vehicles equipped) would lower the car. For dual motor vehicles, the drive unit with higher gearing would get most of the power. Chill mode would be activated. Basically, Range Mode, but a little more extreme.

For the next stop on the slider, the trip planner searches for lower-speed routes the vehicle can take to save power while not deviating from typical speeds. The vehicle would try to take access roads, frontage roads, and rural routes where possible. In cities, the vehicle can choose lower speed routes with lower traffic for better average consumption. Finally, the trip planner can be geared toward arriving at Superchargers at a state of charge that allows the highest charging rates and avoids charging during the taper.

For the remaining slider positions going to the right, the program is relatively simple. Different slider positions correspond to different Wh/mile average consumption targets. The vehicle then achieves the goal consumption by allowing the speed to vary with terrain. When on level ground, the vehicle goes the maximum speed it can at that consumption rate, but only up to 5 MPH over the speed limit, and power is cut back at that point to hold that max speed (and save power).

When a downhill is encountered, the vehicle holds max speed, using regenerative braking only at speed limit + 5. Doing this allows for the vehicle to gather up more kinetic energy from gravity and save it as kinetic energy for the next uphill drive without suffering conversion losses that come with regenerative braking. On uphill portions, the vehicle allows the speed to drop to keep the desired consumption rate, but only to 5 MPH below the speed limit, at which point it allows for more power to not go too slow for safety.

Slider settings further and further to the right allow for lower average speeds, lower speeds on uphills, and higher speeds on downhills (up to speed limit +5). At the far end, the speeds would be very slow to the point where most wouldn’t want to risk it, but would still be available for emergency use with user warnings about going too far below average speeds.

Autopilot is probably smart enough to determine average surrounding vehicle speeds and determine the “flow of traffic” speed on a given road when there are other vehicles. This could be used to set safety limits on how slow or fast the vehicle can go to save power except in the furthest right slider position, which would warn the user that this is for emergency use only. None of this would really matter if there were no other traffic on the road, like one might see at 3 AM on a rural highway, but the AP could probably be trained to pull to the side for passing cars on two-lane roads, for safety.

Other Automated Hypermiling Ideas

Here are a few more ideas I have that are far less specific and would take more work to achieve. I’d love to be part of such an effort, but I’ll leave that up to you. The ideas are still free either way.

The vehicle knows what terrain is coming up based on the Trip Planner data. This data could be used for even more efficiency without sacrificing much time. For example, the vehicle would know that the downhill portion ends soon and goes back uphill, and could “cheat” a bit by allowing more speed than speed limit +5 momentarily to gather more kinetic energy for the coming climb. When going uphill and approaching the crest of the hill, the vehicle could momentarily allow more extreme speed drops in anticipation of the upcoming downhill that would quickly gain the speed back for “free.”

I don’t know how far ahead Autopilot “sees,” but I know from experience that it starts braking a lot later than I would. Hypermilers try to cut power earlier and coast for as long as possible when they know they’re going to have to stop. Autopilot could probably be trained to look ahead and coast more to save energy before applying regenerative braking.

Another thing the vehicle could do in low or no traffic is the “pulse and glide.” The vehicle could “pulse” up more speed at the electric motor’s sweet spot of best specific efficiency, and then cut power and coast for a few. In conjunction with terrain data, this could be highly effective.

Finally, it may be useful to hire some hypermilers to drive Tesla vehicles around and gather data for a fork of the Autopilot program that mimics the humans who are best at this. A neural net trained to mimic the best hypermilers could give that skill to everybody as needed, and probably work better than my Super Range Mode idea once it gets enough training.

One Last Idea: Attachable/Detachable Efficiency Accessories

An inflatable, transparent aero tail I’m going to build one of these days.

I know Tesla sells a few accessories for the vehicles, such as the carbon fiber spoiler for the Model 3. I’m particularly impressed with the way there are mounting jig/templates used to install them.

I know that people probably wouldn’t want to use funny looking add-on parts all the time, so suction cup and/or straps could be used to temporarily attach pieces to vehicles to increase highway efficiency to lower drag and decrease power usage. For example, a special spoiler made for efficiency rather than downforce could help. Detachable rear wheel well covers would be another plus. On the most extreme end, a hitch-mounted full boat tail could possibly bring a Tesla down well below 0.20 drag coefficients when installed, and maybe even provide extra cargo space for vacations.

How I Arrived At These Ideas

My college had an EV1 that they didn’t watch too closely. I learned a lot from that car.

This section is mostly aimed at making this article more interesting for readers, but if you have the time, I’d be honored to hear that you read it. I’ll try to make it fun and entertaining. 🙂

I grew up around a transmission shop. My dad mostly worked on transmissions for individuals and for fleet businesses. When I was too young for school, my dad converted one of the rooms off the side of the garage into a room for my sister and I to play and watch TV while my mom helped with the business in various ways. I learned a lot about how cars work, what makes them go, and what makes them not work.

Later, my dad got out of the automotive business, but we stayed a family of automotive enthusiasts. My grandfather and my dad also worked for years in car dealerships, so we are more familiar with the ins and outs of the business side of things than most. Even after everybody was doing other work, we still had cars and trucks all over in various stages of projects and, to my mom’s dismay, abandoned projects.

I don’t know why, really, but I got into small cars while the rest of the family was into trucks and SUVs. I don’t hate big vehicles, and I’m perfectly competent at driving them forward or backward, with and without trailers. I just have always liked smaller vehicles for fun. It just made more sense to get the power in a smaller package. Why not?

I was also not terribly happy with the idea that you had to choose between performance and efficiency. It just didn’t ever really compute for me. I had a lot of long talks with him about what makes cars get better mileage, what makes them faster, and what things could do both. I learned a lot about gear ratios, cams, intakes, exhaust, and many other things. We even talked about exotic engine designs and alternative fuels quite a bit. I remember once, when talking about electric vehicles, my dad said, “People think electric cars are slow, but I can tell you that there are electric motors that would snap your neck. The problem is batteries. You might be able to get from here to the store, maybe back if you’re lucky.”

At one point, I decided to build a late 70s Chevrolet Monza with a small block chevy and a 4 speed transmission with torque converter lockup and overdrive. The idea was to have a small, lighter vehicle with plenty of power, but optimized to get terrific highway mileage.

The Fiero I experimented with in high school and college.

But then, something caught my eye that would drive my dad nuts for years. One day, as a younger not-driving-yet teen, a really cool car passed us on the interstate. It was low to the ground, had popup headlights, and it was pretty obvious from the shape of it that the engine was behind the two-seat cabin. It was sleek, had a pretty cool spoiler, and said “PONTIAC” really big on the back tail lights, lit up like a neon sign. The econo-nerd in me and the “I like cool cars” part of me both reacted to it in the same way. I wanted one. My dad was able to tell me all about the vehicle. It had the same transmissions as front wheel drive GM cars, and was available with either the 2.5L “Iron Duke” engine or the 2.8L 60-degree V6.

Once I ended up getting one, I started all sorts of little experiments. I knew that mine had the 3-speed auto without overdrive, and that it would get better mileage at lower highway speeds. I experimented with different routes to high school (35 miles each way), different speeds, and different strategies. I had a custom exhaust built with far larger pipes and fewer restrictions. I changed the intake to pull outside air in much more directly. I even fixed up the EGR system, and saw that it gave better mileage. I tracked every tank religiously. I was typically getting 30 MPG, for a 1986 car.

Later, I had to switch vehicles to have room for family, but was pretty surprised how far things had gone from 1986 to 2003. The Cavalier I had was about as powerful as the Fiero I had before, but got almost 40 MPG on the highway. I ended up doing a lot more learning about more modern engine technology.

One of my more recent challenges. Average was 66 MPH, including city driving at beginning and end. Freeway speeds were 75-85.

Later, after college, I got another Fiero. This time, I was smart and got the 5 speed with overdrive. I had some money, so ended up doing a lot to it. Better exhaust, better intake, and I managed to get some manual control over the EGR system to get that car to give me almost 40 MPG. Life eventually took me in other directions, but I still kept that interest in clean auto technology.

More recently, I realized that the things I did as a teen and just after college were something that other nerds did. I learned about ecomodders, hypermilers, and other such things. With my past knowledge, I stumbled my way into the emerging world of electric vehicles. The only thing I could afford, though was a 2011 Nissan LEAF with a mostly trashed battery. Then, the challenge became range instead of MPG. Living near El Paso, the charging stations are few and far between. I did manage to do a lot of rideshare work with that car, and even would take it on some longer trips that it wasn’t supposed to be able to go on.

I’ve since switched cars a few times and now drive a 2018 LEAF, which I’ve pushed far beyond its rated range on a number of occasions manually doing the sort of driving I propose we now automate. The challenge continues, and I’m still learning new things every day.

I know I’m rambling on and on here, but the big point is that I’m finally starting to find what I was looking for as a kid. I’m hoping that I can keep on experimenting and pushing the limits like I always have. This is just one way to do it.

About the Author

Jennifer Sensiba Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals.

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Nidec Completes Acquisition of MS-Graessner GmbH & Co. KG and Its Group Companies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nidec Corporation
Tokyo Stock Exchange code: 6594
Contact:
Masahiro Nagayasu
General Manager
Investor Relations
+81-75-935-6140
ir@nidec.com

Released on September 3, 2018, in Kyoto, Japan

Nidec Completes Acquisition of MS-Graessner GmbH & Co. KG and
Its Group Companies


Nidec Corporation (TSE: 6594; OTC US: NJDCY) (the “Company” or “Nidec”) today announced that the Company has acquired 100% ownership of MS-Graessner GmbH & Co. KG and its group companies (collectively “Graessner”), a privately owned German company group from its owners on August 31, 2018 (the “Transaction”) through Nidec-Shimpo GmbH which is the Germany-based affiliate of Nidec’s subsidiary, Nidec-Shimpo Corporation (“Nidec-Shimpo”). Details are as follows:

1.Outline of Graessner
(1) Company Name: MS-Graessner GmbH & Co. KG and its group companies
(2) Headquarters: Dettenhausen, Baden-Württemberg Germany
(3) Foundation: 1955
(4) Directors: Michael Stadler: CEO, Managing Director
Thomas Merk: COO, Commercial Director
(5) Principal Places of Business:  Germany, Austria
(6) Principal Business: Manufacture and sale of gearboxes
(7) Employees: Approximately 166 (as of January 31,2018)
(8) Financials: Revenue: €21.8 million
Operating Profit: €2.1 million
Net Assets: €15.1 million
Total Assets: €26.2 million
(fiscal year ended December 31, 2017)


2.Purpose of the Transaction and Future Operation
The Company has been actively engaged in manufacture, sales and after-sales services associated with gearboxes through its subsidiary, Nidec-Shimpo.
Nidec-Shimpo’s main line of gearboxes are precision planetary reducersⅰ with a particular strength in the linear type reducers whose input and output shafts are aligned. These lines of products produced by Nidec-Shimpo are currently sold in Asia, mainly in Japan and China and the Americas.
Graessner exhibits a very strong capability in right-angle precision gearboxes whose input and output shafts are arranged at an angle of 90 degrees, particularly in hypoid reducersⅱ. Graessner’s current main market for these products is Europe, mainly Germany.
As a result of the Transaction, Nidec-Shimpo is now capable of offering more comprehensive precision gearbox solutions, both linear and angular types, and leveraging Graessner’s sales network to expand its sales in Europe which offers a large market for planetary gearboxes. In addition, Nidec-Shimpo plans to manufacture its newly developed strain wave gearboxesⅲ for robotic application in Graessner’s German factory and offer its products along with after-sales services to Graessner’s customers serving the robot industry.
Likewise, Graessner can sell its products through Nidec-Shimpo’s sales and after-sales service network in Asia and the Americas. Also, Graessner’s cost performance will be improved by leveraging Nidec-Shimpo’s manufacturing capabilities in Asia. The Company expects the Transaction will offer mutually beneficial opportunities to capture the rapidly growing robotic demand.
Nidec-Shimpo and Graessner have strong brands, high technological capabilities and solid customer bases. The Company believes that its financial strength and global presence will bolster these advantages, which will help the Company achieve the future growth. The Company will continue to serve customers who desire to achieve the highest standards of productivity.

———————————
ⅰ Gearbox with the gearing mechanism where the planetary gears rotate around the center axis at the same time that it revolves around the center gear.
ⅱ Type of spiral bevel gearbox that the gears' axes do not intersect and the gears’ geometry allows contact in multiple teeth allowing higher torque transmission.
ⅲ Gearbox mechanism where the main components are the cam, flexible bearing, flexible gear and internal gear which utilizes the differential movement between the oval flexible gear and the circular internal gear, applied in applications that require small size, light weight and high efficiency such as robotics applications.


3.Effect on Financial Performance for the Current Fiscal Year

The Transaction is expected to have no significant impact on the Company’s consolidated financial performance for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019. If necessary, the Company will make additional disclosures on a timely basis in accordance with the rules of the Tokyo Stock Exchange upon determination of further details.

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the intent, belief, strategy, plans or expectations of the Nidec Group or other parties. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or events and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those described in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, the risks to successfully integrating the acquired business with the Nidec Group, the anticipated benefits of the Transaction not being realized, changes in general economic conditions, shifts in technology or user preferences for particular technologies and changes in business and regulatory environments. The Nidec Group does not undertake any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained herein or the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements except as may be required by law.

Original Article

Nidec Decides Terms of Senior Unsecured Bonds Denominated in Euro

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nidec Corporation
Tokyo Stock Exchange code: 6594
Contact:
Masahiro Nagayasu
General Manager
Investor Relations
+81-75-935-6140
ir@nidec.com

Released on September 21, 2018, in Kyoto, Japan

Nidec Decides Terms of Senior Unsecured Bonds
Denominated in Euro

Nidec Corporation (TSE: 6594; OTC US: NJDCY) (the “Company”) today announced that it has decided the terms of inaugural senior unsecured bonds denominated in Euro (the "Bonds") in the overseas securities markets. The key terms of the Bonds are described below.

Euro-denominated senior unsecured bonds due 2021
1. Total principal amount €300 million
2. Term to maturity 3 years
3. Interest rate 0.487% per annum
4. Closing date September 27, 2018 (Pricing date: September 20, 2018)
5. Use of Proceeds Primarily for financing capital investments in Europe
6. Method of offering To be listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange’s Euro MTF Market.
7. Rating A3 from Moody's

This press release has been prepared for the sole purpose of publicly announcing the Company’s issuance of the Bonds, and not for the purpose of soliciting investment or engaging in any other similar activities within or outside Japan. This press release is not an offer of securities for sale in the United States. The Bonds referred to above have not been and will not be registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) or any relevant securities law of any state, and may not be offered or sold in the United States or to, or for the account or benefit of, U.S. persons (as such term is defined in Regulation S under the Securities Act) absent registration or an exemption from the registration requirements under the Securities Act. No public offering of the securities will be made in the United States or any other jurisdiction.

Original Article

Tuesday Morning Auto News, Apr 09, 2019

This edition of the Morning Auto News brought to you from a beach in Thailand

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