Nissan’s Sunderland plant was hit when workers were “pinged” by the overzealous NHS app

UK COVID-19 test and trace app isolation alerts are on the verge of closing factories across the UK, Unite told Just Auto this week. Across the UK, reports poured in across multiple industries – particularly manufacturing – where significant numbers of workers had to be isolated at home after the National Health Service app told them they were dealing with a person affected by COVID-19 had been in contact. According to the union, the issue appeared to have hit the automotive sector particularly hard and yesterday (July 15) media speculation centered on up to 900 Nissan employees being forced to stay at home after being “peded” by the health app . We heard of a similar effect with BMW’s Rolls-Royce. “Production in certain areas of the plant has been adjusted as we manage a number of employees who need to self-isolate after close exposure to COVID-19,” Nissan said in a statement. Unite believed some sites were struggling to function as hundreds of employees were down at the same time, and one major engine supplier said the delays in the union’s orders were so severe that the work could potentially be permanently relocated to China. The English authorities say those who have received double vaccinations will no longer need to self-isolate after August 16, but there is now great pressure on the government to bring that date forward.

TomTom launched Virtual Horizon, which it claims to be the only map-based, all-in-one ADAS software from a single company that helps passenger and commercial vehicles predict the road ahead. The software for automobile manufacturers creates a connection between digital maps and ADAS functions so that vehicles can see beyond the range of their sensors. The supplier claims that the new product is designed to “democratize” ADAS by supporting vehicles without embedded navigation as well as the most technologically advanced automated vehicles. The software translates map data into “actionable” information for drivers and vehicles. For example, if there is a sharp turn on the road or a change in the speed limit, it warns drivers in non-automated vehicles to prepare for action, while the software in automated vehicles enables more informed and intelligent decision-making without the driver’s involvement.

BMW and Amazon have joined forces to provide researchers, startups and pioneering companies from the global quantum computing community with a challenge that is looking for solutions to specific industrial challenges. The “BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge” is carried out in cooperation with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The challenge encourages participants to develop innovative quantum algorithms and test their solutions on real quantum computing technologies. Quantum computing has the potential to solve challenging problems in the automotive sector in complex optimization, in materials research and – in the form of quantum machine learning – in automated driving.

Toyota and CaetanoBus, the Portuguese bus manufacturer, announced the co-branding of the battery electric city bus e.City Gold and the fuel cell electric bus H2.City Gold. Since 2019, TME has been integrating Toyota’s fuel cell technology into the hydrogen city buses manufactured by CaetanoBus, supplying fuel cell stacks, hydrogen tanks and other key components. In December 2020, Toyota Caetano Portugal (TCAP) became a direct shareholder in CaetanoBus to support the rapid expansion of its core business into the development and sale of zero-emission buses.

Uwe Hochgeschurtz, currently CEO of Renault Germany, Austria and Switzerland, was appointed CEO of the Opel brand on September 1, 2021 this week. Era of Electrification ”. The new boss will replace Michael Lohscheller, who “has decided to tackle a new challenge outside of Stellantis”. Hochgeschurtz reports directly to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. He began his automotive career with Ford in 1990, before moving to VW in 2001 and Renault in 2004.

Foxconn said it was speaking to state officials about building electric vehicles in Wisconsin, part of a major Apple supplier’s move to diversify income streams. Foxconn and Fisker said in May they had signed a vehicle assembly contract. They didn’t identify a location, but the Fisker CEO said Foxconn’s Wisconsin location was a possibility. Last April, Foxconn drastically reduced a planned $ 10 billion factory in Wisconsin, confirming its withdrawal from a project that former US President Donald Trump once called “the eighth wonder of the world” and was supposed to build state-of-the-art flat screens. A month earlier, Foxconn’s chairman said it could manufacture electric vehicles (EVs) at the Wisconsin site but could opt for Mexico and will make a decision this year.

China’s new car market declined a further 12.4% to 2.015 million units in June 2021, from 2.3 million in the same month last year, according to car and commercial vehicle wholesale data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) . This was the second straight monthly decline in the market that local analysts blamed for the ongoing semiconductor shortages that were affecting the production of some of the country’s top automakers. According to the association, total vehicle production fell by 16.5% last month compared to the previous year. Underlying vehicle demand in the country remained strong as the market had already recovered to pre-pandemic levels due to strong backlog and low interest rates.

Knorr-Bremse has discontinued the possible acquisition of a majority stake in Hella. After an analysis called “carefully analyzed” by the supplier, the management board determined that a possible transfer of key technologies and products to the company’s own product portfolio would not lead to the realization of the expected synergies. Knorr-Bremse continued to focus on organic growth and continued to look for opportunities to increase corporate value through acquisitions or partnerships. “We have always thought about opportunities for value-adding transactions with leading international companies, that’s why we looked at Hella,” said CEO Jan Mrosik. “However, we did not see the necessary synergies in the possible transfer of expertise, especially in the commercial vehicle sector. We have therefore determined that this acquisition would not create sufficient added value for our shareholders. ”

When Nissan launched its latest Qashqai in Europe, we spoke to Andrew Humberstone, Managing Director of Nissan Motors UK. The new Qashqai also brings the first use of Nissan’s ‘e-POWER’ propulsion system to Europe, sales of which are set to begin after those of the mild hybrid version. In order to meet the typical needs of European consumers and their daily drive, the e-POWER system for the new Qashqai has been upgraded with the world’s first gasoline engine with variable compression ratio from Nissan as a dedicated power generation unit. The result, according to Nissan, is a compact, high-performance electrified system that is also more efficient thanks to the high combustion efficiency of the engine. Sales start with the mild hybrid version, followed later by the e-POWER version.

The proliferation of electric vehicles over the past decade, combined with Tesla’s rise to prominence, has brought about a new wave of electric vehicle startups. As investors eager to spend the money to find the next Tesla, many innovative companies spring up, each claiming to be a revolution in the electric vehicle market. Canoo is another EV startup aiming to break some part of the market, but what makes it different from the rest?

As the quantities increase rapidly, the supply of precious metals for EV batteries becomes a long-term problem. Is there a solution to the abundance on the ocean floor?

In the latest guest article, written exclusively for Just Auto, Dato Madani Sahari, CEO of the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), outlines the importance of efforts to develop Malaysia’s advanced technology platforms alongside its human capital.

I wish you a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Associate Editor, Just Auto, GlobalData

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