News Roundup: Production slowdows, traffic slowdowns, Hot Hatch Crossover, More
This week in the news, GM and Toyota slow production for two very different reasons and Winnipeg looks at slowing down drivers and making life easier for cyclists. Meanwhile, at GM a new virtual charging network is born while Ford helps your F-150 weigh-in, Ontario combats street racing, and Hyundai adds an N crossover.
GM’s Ingersoll, ON, assembly plant recently got news that the automaker was planning to build its EV600 electric delivery van there. For now, though, the plant continues to sit idle thanks to the global semiconductor shortage. The closure first started in February, and now Automotive News reports that it will be closed until at least the week of June 28th. The plant, with more than 2,000 hourly workers, normally builds the Chevrolet Equinox for three shifts each day. Toyota’s operations in Ontario were also temporarily halted as major supplier Toyotetsu’s location in Simcoe, ON, closed on the 28th after eight employees tested positive for COVID-19 per Toyotetsu’s Facebook account. No re-opening date has yet been announced.
The City of Winnipeg is looking at a new pilot project set to start this summer that will lower speed limits to 30 km/h on some urban streets that are also greenways and popular cycling routes. “What greenways are, or what they’re meant to be, are places where people are encouraged to cycle to avoid the heavier traffic streets,” Councillor Matt Allard told CTV News. Allard said that each person who walks or cycles means fewer cars and less congestion for road users. The move to slow vehicles to cycling speed is expected to increase safety and encourage more active transportation. Other traffic calming measures will be installed on the same streets to help enforce the limits.
General Motors has announced a new one-stop charging program called Ultium Charge 360. To create the network, GM has signed charger roaming agreements with multiple charge system operators and GM’s EV customers will be able to see real-time information from nearly 5,000 charging plugs in Canada. From a mobile app, users will be able to initiate and pay for charging on all networked stations with a single account. GM says it will also work to update vehicle and mobile apps to continue to make the charging experience easier and more intuitive for customers.
Ford is helping you take a load off, or at least put the right load on with its new Onboard Scales system for the 2021 F-150. It uses sensors in the truck to measure the payload you’ve added to the bed, and then shows you how close you are to being full on the infotainment system, in Ford’s phone app, and with light-up LED indicators in the taillights. The system is programmed for each truck, so it knows the correct maximum weight for your particular pickup with no work from you. Along with that feature comes Smart Hitch, which measures the tongue weight of a trailer and helps you distribute the trailer weight correctly and make sure your load is optimally balanced to make it easier to tow safely.
The Ontario government has introduced new legislation that it says will “combat high-risk driving and improve road safety.” Called the Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, it would increase roadside license suspensions and vehicle impoundments for stunting to 30 days and 14 days for a first offence. It would also raise post-conviction license suspensions, lower the threshold for stunt driving on roads signed for under 80 km/h, and add a default speed limit on some highways. Other road user protections include photo enforcement of drivers passing streetcars, better tracking of cyclist “dooring” collisions, and it would include new truck safety standards, highway worker protections, and add towing oversight and licensing.
Hyundai’s latest Kona is the 2022 Kona N. A high-performance version of the little crossover that offers a 2.0L turbo-four making 276 hp. It will drive the front wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and has an N Grin Shift mode that speeds up shifting and temporarily increases maximum power. The N will also get an electronic limited-slip differential, launch control, and will include extensive changes inside and out to match the sporting look and feel of Hyundai’s other N models. Expect the model on sale here later this year.