The big picture

Electric vehicles are coming, but no one is sure how fast

Their adoption is one variable affecting the future of oil demand and carbon emissions.

Dec 19, 2019
Video: Transportation's looming overhaul

Changes in transportation are changing society at a level we haven’t seen in over 200 years.

Dec 4, 2019
Transportation's looming overhaul

"It’s a gamble based on what you think will happen, but if you don’t do anything, then for sure you’re out of business."

Oct 18, 2019

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DOT won't enforce cash refunds for flights canceled by coronavirus

Airline passengers walk at MSP. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation on Friday urged domestic and foreign airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Yes, but: The agency said it will not take enforcement action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits instead of a refund, provided that the airline promptly tells passengers they can get a refund, reminds its employees how refunds should be made, and updates its policies to make clear that it provides refunds.

Go deeperArrowApr 3, 2020 - Health

What we're driving: Genesis G70 RWD Sport

Genesis G70. Photo: Genesis

This week I'm driving the 2020 Genesis G70 RWD Sport, a compact performance sedan that should have BMW and Mercedes-Benz worried.

The big picture: Hyundai's new luxury brand is making a name for itself. While Genesis has only three sedan models to date — the G70, G80 and G90 — its first SUV, the GV80, debuted earlier this year in South Korea.

Ventilators: Not too little, but too late for many

On their first day, auto workers at GM learn how ventilators go together. Photo: GM

Sadly, it's clear the wartime mobilization effort to produce ventilators and medical supplies got started too late to help patients and medical personnel before the coronavirus peaks in some cities like New York. But those supplies will be available for the next wave of the pandemic.

Driving the news: American manufacturers are saying it will be months before they meet demand for high-quality masks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Safety analysis questioned in new emissions rules

Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Trump administration's final rules weakening Obama-era vehicle mileage and emissions standards through the mid-2020s include some surprising safety claims.

Driving the news: In what is shaping up to be a major legal battle with environmentalists, the federal government said it will require 1.5% annual increases in fuel efficiency through 2026 — far weaker than the 5% increases under the previous rules that the industry said it couldn't meet.

Coronavirus puts ambitious plans for self-driving cars on the shelf

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In two weeks, the coronavirus has brought the entire U.S. auto industry to a screeching halt. When it finally sputters back to life, many companies may be forced to change, defer — or even abandon — their ambitious plans for self-driving vehicles.

The big picture: Auto factories are shut down across North America to prevent the spread of the virus among workers, while stay-at-home orders have kept car shoppers away from showrooms. The resulting financial shock means carmakers have shifted their focus to survival, not investing in expensive technologies with no clear payoff.

GM and Honda team up to develop electric vehicles

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

General Motors and Honda will jointly develop two electric vehicles for Honda's product line that are slated for manufacture at GM's North American plants.

Why it matters: No company can go it alone when it comes to funding advanced technologies like electrification.

EPA and DOT to unveil new gas mileage and carbon emissions rules

Reproduced from EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Transportation Department and the EPA are scheduled to unveil final rules Tuesday that set vehicle mileage and carbon emissions requirements through model year 2026 — but the battle over these regulations is not over.

Why it matters: Transportation overtook electric power as the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions a few years ago, but the new rules are slated to be far weaker than the Obama-era requirements they're replacing.

Via raises $200 million from Fiat Chrysler owner Exor

Photo: Via

Via, a transportation software company best-known for its carpool service in New York City, has raised $200 million in Series E funding led by Exor, a holding company whose portfolio includes Fiat Chrysler. The company' valuation more than doubled since its last round to $2.25 billion.

Why it matters: It’s remarkable that the company was able to get this deal despite the coronavirus pandemic severely reducing demand for ride-hailing and public transit.

How America’s ventilator shortage became GM’s problem

GM and Ventec Life Systems are partnering to build ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Ventec

President Trump on Friday ordered General Motors to make ventilators to help coronavirus patients — something the automaker was already on track to do.

Why it matters: The United States was caught flat-footed by the surge in demand for medical supplies. If the federal government had enlisted manufacturers earlier, when the virus was beginning to spread throughout the world, GM and other manufacturers could already be producing thousands of ventilators per month.

Go deeperArrowMar 28, 2020 - Health

What we're driving: Lexus NX 300h hybrid

2020 Lexus NX300h. Photo: Lexus

This week, I'm driving a 2020 Lexus NX 300h hybrid, but I have nowhere to go.

The big picture: Michigan is under a stay-at-home order until April 13, and I've been so busy covering coronavirus news that I haven't had much time anyway.

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