Simanaitis Says

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THESE DAYS, MORE THAN A DECADE INTO MY blissful retirement fun of SimanaitisSays and GMax time gobbling, I look to the authoritative Automotive News for tidbits, not for incremental details of following this industry. Here in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow are several gleaned from the past month or so.

Battery Scratched = Totaled EV? Automotive News, March 27, 2023, shares a Reuters item citing “For many electric vehicles, there is no way to repair or assess even slightly damaged battery packs after accidents, forcing insurance companies to write off cars with few miles—leading to higher premiums and undercutting gains from going electric.” 

One researcher noted, “We are buying electric cars for sustainability. But an EV isn’t very sustainable if you’ve got to throw the battery away after a minor collision.” 

Automotive News reports, “While some automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have said they have made battery packs easier to repair, Tesla has taken the opposite tack with its Model Y, whose new structural battery pack has been described by experts as having ‘zero repairability.’ ”

Burns, Borroni-Bird, and Mitchell’s Mix Verified. In their Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Mobility for the 21st Century, Bill Mitchell, Chris Borroni-Bird, and Larry Burns put FCEVs (fuel cell electrics) at the upper-right extreme of size and distance—where heavy trucks reside.

Image from Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Mobility for the 21st Century.

Automotive News, May 1, 2023, and May 8, 2023, reports on Class 8 trucks being developed by Toyota and Kenworth and by Hyundai, respectively. 

Kenworth/Toyota. Each prototype Kenworth is powered by a pair of fuel-cell stacks derived from Toyota’s Mirai sedan. Ten of these Class 8 trucks are plying “drayage routes from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to inland Southern California destinations.” 

This Class 8 propulsion unit is derived from two fuel-cell stacks of the Toyota Mirai. This and the following image from Automotive News, May 1, 2023.

Chris Rovik, executive program manager in Toyota Motor North America’s advanced mobility division, says, “We believe hydrogen will play a significant role in the emissions reduction of heavy-duty transport while not sacrificing the distance, power or refueling times needed to keep these fleet and individual operators running.”

Hyundai. “Leveraging its experience offering fuel cell passenger vehicles,” Automotive News writes in May 8, 2023, “Hyundai unveiled the production version of its Xcient Fuel Cell Class 8 truck last week at the ACT Expo here.” 

Image from Automotive News, May 8, 2023.

“Hyundai,” Automotive News reports, “launched its first Xcient in 2020 in Switzerland, hauling goods for several large retailers. It now operates in Germany, Israel, South Korea, and New Zealand, accumulating more than 4 million operating miles.”

Hyundai will deploy 30 of the trucks in Northern California this year as part of a public-private project developing a refueling station in Oakland. 

Automotive News observes, “The trucking industry sees hydrogen technology as potentially outperforming battery-electric options for long-haul freight.” Heavy battery weight and long recharge times are seen as BEV shortcomings. 

Tomorrow in Part 2, tidbits gleaned from Automotive News describe Japanese masking and EVs, British parking garages, and an F1 team contributing to mass-market propulsion. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2023 


  1. Mike B
    May 11, 2023

    I resemble that scratched battery remark. Ran over a big tire tread chunk on the freeway. Dented the battery case of my Bolt. No errors, codes, or other indications of a problem, but there was that dent. Insurance was going to replace the battery (which the dealer said was necessary – batteries are never repaired even if it’s technically feasible – but when the order was placed GM doubled the price from what was listed in the parts catalog and offered no projected delivery date. Insurance did what came naturally, and I ended up finding another (used) Bolt to replace it.

    Saw that Toyota truck FC module elsewhere. Does that mean Nikola might be back? Also, saw one of those Tesla-Pepsi semis the other day; odd-looking in the mirror, but it was trundling along, the only semi on the freeway doing the 55 speed limit, so it was an excellent road boulder (other trucks were mostly doing 65+).

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