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March 5, 2018 News of the Day: President Trump Threatens to Impose Tariffs on Cars Imported from the EU, Volkswagen Shows Off its Future Flagship, the I.D. VIZZION in Geneva

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【Summary】March 5, 2018 News of the Day

Eric Walz    Mar 05, 2018 4:18 PM PT
March 5, 2018 News of the Day: President Trump Threatens to Impose Tariffs on Cars Imported from the EU, Volkswagen Shows Off its Future Flagship, the I.D. VIZZION in Geneva

President Trump Threatens to Impose Tariffs on Cars Imported from the EU

President Donald Trump has threatened to tax imported cars from the European Union as part of his increasingly vehement concerns over trade tariffs.

America is the largest export market for cars built in the EU. Statistics show that  £171 billion worth of cars were exported from the EU last year, with the U.S. the destination for 25% of them. Of those cars, more than 50 percent were exported by German automakers including models from Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz.

Trump's comments come as part of a wider focus on imported goods, including proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium. The move is part of his ‘America First' campaign, in which he has pledged to protect American interests and jobs. He has called existing trade deals that don't favor America as "very stupid".

In a Tweet posted by Trump, he wrote "If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a tax on their cars which freely pour into the US. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!"

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In a second Tweet he added: "Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!"

As well as widespread condemnation from car makers – who have pointed out that they manufacturer their most successful models in the U.S. already, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans directly and indirectly – Trump's comments have brought a mixed reaction from his political allies and opponents.

In addition, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau described tariffs as "absolutely unacceptable" and hinted that any tariff would be met with strong resistance and potentially retaliatory action. Brazil, Mexico and Japan have hinted at similar moves.

Volkswagen Shows Off its Future Flagship the ‘I.D. VIZZION' in Geneva

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GENEVA — Volkswagen has today given a glimpse of the individual mobility of the future on the eve of the Geneva International Motor Show. The full electric sedan will be the future flagship model of the I.D. family and will be ready by 2022.

VW claims the production car will be able to reach over 400 miles on a single charge thanks to a 111 kWh battery pack, which is is larger than Tesla's 85 kWh pack currently in the Model S. The VIZZION will use a 75 kW motor to power the front wheels, while a 150 kW motor will power the rear— providing about 300 horsepower.

In addition, it is prepared for fully autonomous driving. The I.D. VIZZION is part of Volkswagen's major product and technology offensive. By 2025, VW intends to sell at least 1 million electric cars per year and to become the market leader in e-mobility.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand said: "The I.D. VIZZION shows what our brand is capable of in terms of technology, design and quality. It is the most personal, most emotional and most individual Volkswagen of all times. And it also shows that, even in the electric, self-driving future, we will be using desirable, expressive and individual automobiles – and not just uniform tin boxes.

VW's Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB)

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The I.D. VIZZION is based on the newly developed modular electrification toolkit (MEB) and underscores the technological performance capabilities of this architecture. The MEB is a modular system for manufacturing electric vehicles. It will make the manufacture of electric vehicles more efficient, and potentially less expensive in the long term. The MEB will allow Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles with a more systematic focus and help meet the increasing demand for electric vehicles.

With the MEB, Volkswagen has developed a powerful tool that covers the entire range of individual mobility. By 2025, the Volkswagen Group will start production of more than 15 full electric models on the basis of the MEB. The first models are to be launched in 2020.

The interior of the I.D. VIZZION has the shape and materials of a mobile lounge. In addition, the radical simplification of operation makes for effortless mobility. Passengers can opt for entertainment, information, relaxation or work, in line with their personal wishes. The pure electric range of the model is up to 400 miles.

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"The I.D. VIZZION is our very realistic vision for a Volkswagen of the future. And we will be offering this model – by the latest in 2022 as the top sedan in the I.D. family with the innovative I.D. cockpit and a steering wheel", Volkswagen released in a statement.

The model will be prepared for fully autonomous driving. Step-by-step, it will relieve the driver of tasks – if the driver so wishes. With the I.D. VIZZION we are underlining Volkswagen's claim: we want to be among the leaders in shaping the individual mobility of the future.

Karma Revero Recalled By The NHTSA Over Faulty Side Airbags

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Karma Automotive has remained low-key for much of 2017. The company has a very small niche market for its Karma Revero, a luxury hybrid-electric car with a starting price of $131,000. However, the car has received scrutiny from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over defective airbags.

The NHTSA has announced the recall of nearly a hundred of the luxury plug-in hybrids, now known as the Karma Revero, due to an issue with its airbags.

According to the NHTSA, the side curtain airbags could detach from their inflators. That could prevent them from deploying properly in the event of a crash, thereby failing to comply with the "ejection mitigation" section of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

The problematic units, come from major airbag supplier Takata. However, the issue with the airbags has nothing to do with the unexpectedly detonating inflators—which triggered the largest automotive recall in history, which drove Takata into bankruptcy.

To fix this airbag issue, Karma Automotive is asking owners to bring their Reveros in to their local dealers to have new units installed with an additional clamp in place to secure the inflator. The process is set to begin on April 17.

China's Wanxiang Group launched Karma Automotive and the reborn Karma Revero after acquiring the assets of the defunct Fisker Automotive for nearly $150 million in 2014. The vehicle was initially launched in 2011 as the Fisker Karma and was developed by noted designer Henrik Fisker.

The Revero packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a pair of electric motors to deliver a combined 403 horsepower, reaching 0 to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, with a 240-mile total driving range certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Harley-Davidson Invests in Alta Motors, a California Electric Bike Company

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MILWAUKEE — Legendary U.S. motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson said last year it was working on a electric motorcycle, and now it appears that it's happening. The company has acquired part of a California company that's been making electric dirt bikes for eight years, and that it will collaborate with the company, Alta Motors, on Harley's future electric motorcycles.

"Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, in part, by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology," Harley CEO Matt Levatich said in a statement.

"Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EV and their objectives align closely with ours. We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles."

Harley says its first electric bike will be available for purchase in 2019.

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Another company, Logos Technologies of Fairfax, Va., has used an Alta Motors bike in its work to develop an electric motorcycle for the U.S. military.

The "SilentHawk," is designed to produce minimum engine noise for use by soldiers behind enemy lines.

Harley-Davidson might be using the name "Revelation" for the engine of its new electric motorcycle, according to a recent trademark application.

Although Harley is not confirming it, the company filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for the name "H-D Revelation," in a listing that includes electric drives for vehicles, engines for motorcycles and batteries for vehicles.

Other Harley-Davidson motorcycles have similar sounding names for the engines, such as "Evolution" for Sportsters and "Revolution X" for the Street 750.

Harley said it wouldn't bring an electric bike to market until the battery technology improved to allow for longer driving distances.

Harley Davidson already has competition for its upcoming electric bike.

Polaris Industries, the maker of Indian and Victory motorcycles, already has an electric street bike that puts the company ahead in the new category of two-wheeled, electrified machines. The Empulse TT, it looks like a high-performance sport bike—without the gasoline engine.

Alta Motors, based in northern California, has been making electric dirt bikes and enduro bikes since 2010. The company's Redshift MXR will travel about 60 miles on a battery charge that takes about 90 minutes to complete. This limited range is something the two partners will need to improve on for a street bike.

"We believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It's incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision and we're thrilled to collaborate with them," Alta Motors co-founder Marc Fenigst said in a statement.

Terms of the deal with Harley, announced on Thursday, were not made public yet.

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