By Jeff Sanford
Toronto, Ontario -- September 29, 2016 -- This week we look into a football player who paid his repair bill in change, a shop in Poland that is still using a Commodore 64 and Volkswagen's bold plan for electric vehicles.
- Gizmodo has a report of an ancient Commodore 64 that is still running in a car repair shop in Gdansk, Poland. As the story notes the, “Commodore 64 released 34 years ago that clocked in at 1 MHz and had 64 kilobytes of RAM. It came out in 1982, was discontinued in 1994.” And this one is still in use, running as it did when it was new.
- A story in the National Post wonders if we're giving away too much privacy with connected cars. The massive amounts of data about to be produced by cars that talk to both each other and the Internet will generate oceans of data. We'll probably take the convenience open data will create over any privacy concern.
- According to a legend of the mining industry, copper and platinum are key metals for the future of the auto industry. Last week we reported in this space that lithium is taking off in price as people realize massive amounts of this metal will be needed to build electric cars. The Globe & Mail reports that mining magnate Robert Friedland said that the current “frenzy” in lithium will “end badly.” The real opportunities are in copper and platinum. “'I’m not here to depress the gold bugs in the room, but to get you excited about copper and other metals that we need in our new society,” Friedland was quoted as saying. He points out that fuel cells, “which employ a platinum catalyst to combine hydrogen and oxygen, are likely to become one of the chosen technologies, especially for large vehicles that must be able to travel long distances ... This is seriously important to the precious-metals business.' A typical fuel-cell-powered car might use an ounce of platinum ... the next generation of cars such as the Tesla Model 3 will also require large amounts of copper because of the metal’s use in high-efficiency induction motors, he predicted.”
- Software developer Estify has just raised $6.3 million that will be used to create a new autobody estimating software package. The Series A funding comes from Romulus Capital. The company had raised $1.5M in seed funding in 2014.
- California Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert paid a Charlotte-area body shop $3,900 for repairs to his vehicle ... in coins. Tolbert took to social media to complain about the shop, claiming that he “was quoted a price and a 10-day completion time frame, but after 2 1/2 months later, the repairs were still not done, and the shop upped the price form the original quote.” In response, and in a bid get the story right, the shop responded with a Facebook post that said in part, "From the beginning, he attempted to get us to do work for free because he is 'Mike Tolbert.' So today, I am disappointed that it came to this, I had to call the police on Mike Tolbert. He and his buddy threatened me. CMPD actually banned him from the property today. They forced him to pay his bill before leaving though.”
- Volkswagen AG is “laying out a bold plan to bring electric vehicles to the masses with dozens of new models and unprecedented driving ranges, challenging other carmakers to keep pace a year after the emissions scandal rocked the German automaker,” according to a story on Bloomberg. Automakers are gathering in Paris for the auto show there. The company will unveil its “I.D. concept car, a battery-powered hatchback that boasts a range almost twice as far as Tesla Motors Inc.’s Model 3 sedan.” VW is comparing the hatchback, “to groundbreaking models such as the iconic Beetle, which put it on the map around the world, and the Golf compact that propelled the manufacturer to the top of the European auto industry in the 1980s ... The September 2015 revelation of diesel-emissions manipulation forced VW to change course ... Volkswagen now plans to bring out 30 battery-powered cars by 2025, with the Audi luxury division targeting three by 2020. The strategy, the most aggressive in the industry, includes a target of selling as many as 3 million electric autos a year.”
- A press release from 3M notes that the company has prevailed in patent infringement action against a company, China-Based Qingdao Summit Industrial. According to the release, “A District Court of Frankfurt, Germany, has ordered a preliminary injunction against China-based Qingdao Summit Industrial for infringement of the German portion of 3M's European patent [related] to 3M’s PPM technology that enables the efficient mixing and spraying of coatings for automotive collision repair ... The court order prohibits the offer and sale of Summit's infringing paint spray gun cup sets in Germany with immediate effect and directs Summit to reimburse 3M for its litigation costs.
- Service King was named one of the “best places to work” in Dallas-Fort Worth for 2016, according to the results of a yearly survey conducted by the Dallas Business Journal. Service King was founded in the area in 1976. It is now partly owned by the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System.
- Well-known Toronto auto dealer Pfaff recently held a track day featuring an ultra-rare Zonda R. The car is made by Italian firm Pagani. They were only produced between 1999 and 2011 and there are only 135 in the world. Check out some video in the player below: