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EV/AV Report: October 26, 2020

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— In this week’s EV/AV Report,  FCA strikes a deal to build EVs and components in Canada, General Motors unveils the long-awaited Hummer electric vehicle, BMW patents a joystick steering wheel for use on future autonomous models.

Two down, one to go

Unifor members working at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in Brampton, Windsor, Mississauga, Montreal and Red Deer voted 78 percent to ratify a new three-year collective agreement earlier this week.

The contract agreement includes an investment of up to $1.58 billion for a state-of-the-art platform to build both plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles, which will launch in 2024 and add a third shift to the Windsor plant. 

The contract also includes a $50 million investment to bring multiple derivatives of the Dodge Charger and Challenger to the Brampton, Ont. plant. Production of the Chrysler 300 is also being extended at the Brampton facility.

The Etobicoke, Ont. casting plant also received a $14 million investment and a 22 percent increase in the hourly workforce. 

Unifor’s contract negotiations with General Motors will begin next week.

Hot for Hummer

General Motors (GM) generated buzz this week alongside the full debut of the revived Hummer on Oct. 19.

The new Hummer all-electric truck comes with huge capabilities⁠—such as ‘crabwalk’ and a 560-km (350-mile) range⁠—but also a hefty price tag of US$112,595 for the Edition 1 model. 

Just an hour after the vehicle’s launch, GM said that it had sold out⁠—or rather, ‘reserved’ out, as no actual sales and deliveries are to occur before the fall of 2021⁠⁠—of the Edition 1.  

The Edition 1 will be the only model available for the 2022 model year. It’ll be joined by a more affordable EV3X model starting at $99,995 approximately a year after the Edition 1’s production begins. It’ll feature a three-motor powertrain and adaptive suspension.

A new Hummer EV model, the Hummer EV2X, is expected to be unveiled in spring 2023. 

Feel like an (Auto)Pilot

BMW has patented a joystick to replace steering wheels in autonomous vehicles. 

In a German-filed patent, the BMW team said the development of “novel steering handles” was being considered, “with the aid of which a driver can steer the vehicle in a nonautomated driving mode that is still available.” 

According to the patent filing, this is a design application slated for autonomous vehicles that will travel on public roads. The image used by the automaker also shows that most of the controls drivers are familiar with are right there on the steering handle. 

While BMW has not announced which potentially incoming models will receive this new steering tool, there has been speculation that the patented steering system could join a variant of the i4 down the line.

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