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Road Tales

By Vet-Advantage
May, 2016

Mainstream electric

General Motors recently introduced its Chevrolet Bolt at the Consumer Electronics Show in California – the automaker’s latest electric vehicle aimed in part at making inroads with the brand in California and urban areas. GM has positioned the Bolt – which reportedly has a range of 200 miles – as a mainstream electric vehicle that will further the automaker’s technological bona fides. GM has said in the past that the car would be priced roughly at $38,000 and cost owners around $30,000 after the federal $7,500 income-tax rebate for electric car purchases. The car features one-pedal driving mode and saved settings for multiple drivers controlled through their smartphones. GM has stated that looming uncertainty over the direction of fuel prices, and stringent U.S. regulations calling for auto makers to eventually sell vehicles together averaging nearly 55 miles a gallon, underpin the company’s bet on the Bolt. In addition, California requires automakers to sell
so-called zero-emissions vehicles.

 

Collision course

Federal auto safety officials in Detroit, Mich., recently indicated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agency is willing to allow auto manufacturers to detour U.S. motor vehicle laws and regulations, particularly for unproven robot cars. At press time, NHTSA was expected to announce an industry-government consortium aimed at putting safety breakthroughs into production faster than would happen through the traditional rule-making process. Not everyone was pleased with the prospect. Non-profit citizen organization Consumer Watchdog said it would be a “wrong turn.” Given the multiple instances of deadly defective cars, the number of recalls, the recent Volkswagen scandal and the recent report that Google’s robot cars have had hundreds of near misses, it’s imperative that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintain its responsibility to enforce auto safety through binding safety rules, notes Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog. Consumer Watchdog and other leading consumer safety advocates have formally petitioned NHTSA to issue a safety rule requiring auto companies to install new braking technologies as standard equipment. In addition, the consumer advocates caution that autonomous (driverless) vehicles pose unprecedented safety, privacy and ethical questions.

 

Safe phoning

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra will be compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™. Both smartphone integrations will be available on the 2017 Elantra’s seven-inch Display Audio touchscreen system, with rearview camera and Hyundai’s eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, which includes voice texting, access to music stored on the phone and third-party audio apps. CarPlay support is designed to enable drivers to make calls, get directions optimized for traffic conditions, listen to music and access messages. With CarPlay, Siri provides drivers an eyes-free experience by responding to requests through voice commands accessed through the steering wheel’s voice button. Using a Lightning connector, CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and current models running the iOS 7.1 or higher operating systems. (Elantra provides an available second USB port for charging.) Elantra is also compatible with Android Auto for seamless and intuitive operation of commonly used smartphone functions, including navigation with Google Maps™, streaming audio, voice-controlled search capabilities and over 40 approved smartphone apps. Android Auto is compatible with Android phones running Android 5.0, Lollipop or higher.

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