It’s time for your mid-month auto news roundup with the Morning Carfee, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. New EV charger manufacturing rules, Ram recalls, Ford F-150 Lightning holdbacks, Hyundai and Kia software patches, Tesla opening its EV charging network — it’s been a busy few weeks, so let’s dive in. 

Biden Administration Issues New EV Charger Manufacturing Rules

For months, automakers chomped at the bit for news of EV charger manufacturing regulations the Biden Administration was working on. Finally, on February 15th, 2023, they received those long-awaited rules — rules that may cause some automakers to shift their manufacturing strategies. 

The Biden Administration debuted new EV charger manufacturing rules that would require automakers and charger manufacturers to build EV chargers in the United States, with 55% of their cost coming from U.S.-made components by 2024. That stands to impact automakers who manufacture the majority of their EV chargers outside of the U.S., forcing them to more manufacturing state-side.

Companies that fail to adopt the new EV manufacturing rules won’t be admitted to the Biden Administration’s national electric vehicle charger network. That network, which has $7.5 Billion of funding, will doubtless attract automakers looking to cut down on the cost of building and supplying EV chargers. 

Companies that want to enter the network must make chargers that use a “combined charging system” (CCS), standard payment options, a single method of I.D., and work 97% of the time. Tesla has already confirmed that it will incorporate the CCS and expand beyond its proprietary chargers.

Picture of two hands exchanging an ev charger and gas pump as new EV charger manufacturing rules come into play.

Ultimately, it’s all part of the Biden Administration’s plan to move more auto manufacturing back to the U.S. Last year, we wrote about the CHIPS Act, a similar piece of legislation aimed at ensuring manufacturers would produce more semiconductor chips in the U.S. 

This regulation also couples with various state-wide efforts to make EV chargers more widely available, like the thousands of EV chargers Hertz and Tesla intend to supply in the Denver, Colorado, area. 

Tesla Opens Its Chargers to EV Rivals

About… oh, three paragraphs ago, we mentioned how automakers would be jumping at a chance to secure some of the $7.5 Billion in funding the Biden Administration has allocated to its electric vehicle charging network. 

Tesla’s already there. The automaker announced that it would open part of its nationwide charging network to rival EV automakers to secure funding from the electric vehicle charging network. 

The move goes hand-in-hand with Tesla’s intent to move away from its proprietary chargers. In addition, incorporating Tesla chargers helps the Biden Administration jump-start its EV charging network, and gives the automaker a chance to become the face of public EV charging accessibility before other brands enter the space. 

Picture of EV chargers and a car charging at them.

Shoichiro Toyoda, Architect of Toyota’s U.S. Expansion, Dies at 97

On February 14th, Toyota announced that former President Shoichiro Toyoda had passed away from heart failure. From 1981 to 1992, Toyoda acted as Toyota’s President, overseeing the automaker’s expansion into the U.S. and the birth of Lexus as Toyota’s luxury brand. 

A PhD-educated engineer and Automotive Hall of Fame member, “Dr. Toyoda” — as he was known within the company — oversaw a boom in growth for the brand. Toyoda remained an active voice in the Toyota brand his whole life – he attended new vehicle launches well into his 80s and was instrumental in appointing Hiroshi Okuda and later Akio Toyoda as Presidents of Toyota. 

Stellantis Recalls Over 300,000 Ram HD Trucks

Ram-maker Stellanties announced it would recall 306,165 2021-2023 Ram HD pickups and chassis-cab trucks due to an intake heater grid relay fault. The automakers specified that relays on trucks with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine could overheat, potentially causing a fire — and that six reported fires led to the recall. 

While the automaker has ensured consumers that the chances of a fire occurring are “minimal,” it encourages truck drivers to park their cars outside for the time being. Stellantis announced it would begin notifying owners in March. Ram HD owners can also check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalls website to see if their vehicle is involved. 

Picture of a winding road in rolling hills at sunset.

Hyundai & Kia Roll Out Anti-Cybertheft Software Patches 

Many would argue that newer vehicles are as much software as hardware, and a recent social media trend revolving around Kia and Hyundai theft put that theory to the test. After awareness grew that 2015-2019 turn-key ignition Kias and Hyundais lacked sufficient security systems, videos of individuals Kia and Hyundai theft started going viral on platforms like TikTok. 

Automakers have known about the lack of security for turn-key Hyundais and Kias for years — some insurers refuse to cover the vehicles due to their high theft rate. Kia and Hyundai announced this week that millions of 2015-2019 Kia and Hyundai owners would receive a software update over the next few months that would make their cars substantially harder to steal. 

And there you have it! All the auto news you need to get caught up. Looking for more auto news, tips, and tricks? Stay tuned!

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