On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a planned rollback of the manufacturing foreign ownership limits first set forth in the 1990s, which require that manufacturing operations in China be at least 50% Chinese owned. Specifically, China will begin by eliminating this ownership requirement for electric vehicle production and gradually roll back the requirements for all other automobiles as well as airplane manufacturing and shipbuilding until all limits are lifted in 2022. This move, coupled with China’s aggressive 10% electric vehicle mandate starting in 2019, emphasizes the concerted efforts being taken by the Chinese government to dominate the future global electric vehicle manufacturing industry.
Back in November 2017 we discussed the “last mile” issue facing cities and urban planners around the globe. At that time we noted that “… transit options often fail at providing a solution of getting people to their final destination with relative ease.” We noted the benefit of Vehicle-to-Vehicle and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communication systems as a way to better coordinate transit infrastructure systems. But, even those options won’t solve all the ailments of urban transportation. Realizing this, many transit authorities and mobility companies are looking towards bike sharing as a new tool in the fight against urban congestion.
Just two months ago, we wrote about how Autonomous Vehicles and Ride Sharing Will Reshape Our Buildings, Our Cities, and Our Lives. We explained that “[w]hile current developments require parking space to accommodate commuters, the future might make these spaces obsolete.” Chicago is experiencing that on a grand scale with the loss of surface parking lots, a staple of the city, especially in the business center, the Loop, and the areas into which that business center has expanded, River North, River West, West Loop, South Loop, Gold Coast, etc. (Chicago loves to carve as many marketable neighborhood names as possible into a small area).
The Trump Administration has taken steps to roll back Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions standards applicable to most automobiles in the United States. On April 2nd Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced plans to roll back an Obama Administration determination that left the Midterm Evaluation standards in place for the 2022-2025 GHG emission limits for light-duty vehicles. The Midterm Evaluation standards, finalized in 2012, had imposed heightened requirements for fuel efficiency in automobiles.
On March 23rd, automotive companies that rely on imported steel and aluminum were confronted with new special tariffs of 25 percent on all imports of steel and tariffs of ten percent on all imports of aluminum, with temporary exclusions for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the member countries of the European Union, and South Korea. Even automotive companies that solely or largely source from domestic steel companies have discovered that steel prices were sharply rising to reflect the new curbs on imports.