Automotive news roundup: Hyundai gifts new car to hurricane Harvey hero

Hyundai marks the 3-millionth Elantra sold in America by honoring a local hero in Houston.
Hyundai marks the 3-millionth Elantra sold in America by honoring a local hero in Houston. –Hyundai

Product releases aren’t the only ways that car manufacturers, both traditional and novel, make headlines. Throughout this week, the automotive news cycle focused as much on current events such as Porsche’s new Nurburgring lap record, as it did on preparation for things to come, including Mercedes-Benz’s $1-billion investment in its Tuscaloosa, Ala., plant.

What’s more, in the wakes of a series of devastating hurricanes, OEMs also have been in the news for their humanitarian efforts, just as NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson has. Here are three stories that made headlines throughout the automotive world this week:

Vacuum Manufacturer Dyson To Invest £2B To Build Electric Cars

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Dyson is applying the technical know-how it’s acquired from manufacturing its bagless vacuums and bladeless fans to build electric vehicles. The British tech firm announced Tuesday that it plans to put an EV on sale by 2020 that will use a next-generation solid state battery.

Company founder James Dyson claims the project has been in the works for two years, and already has 400 workers dedicated to it. What’s more, Dyson is opting not to partner with a traditional OEM. Instead, Dyson has pledged to invest £2 billion ($2.69 billion) toward the all-electric car.

Elon Musk Has Twitter Spat With Mercedes’ Parent Company Over EV Investment

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Elon Musk has long been vocal of his desire for more players in the EV market, claiming it aligns with Tesla’s mission to “accelerate the advent of sustainable transport.” But Sunday, his want of competition sparked a bit of controversy on Twitter.

The tech mogul replied to a tweet from USA TODAY about Mercedes-Benz’s $1-billon investment to produce its all-electric SUV in Alabama, and suggested that figure had one too few zeros for “a giant like Daimler/Mercedes.” His post caught Daimler’s eye, prompting the German company to send him a link to an announcement it made last year.

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Daimler’s statement from 2016 outlined its $10 billion investment — the exact sum Musk wanted — to establish its EQ (Electric Intelligence) sub-brand.

Hyundai Gives Hurricane Harvey Hero Car To Celebrate Three-Millionth Elantra Sold In US

Some automakers commemorate milestones simply by distributing press releases — but not Hyundai. The Korean manufacturer recently sold its three-millionth Elantra in the United States, and celebrated by gifting one to Hurricane Harvey first responder Henry Rogers.

Rogers is a paramedic field supervisor for Acadian Ambulance, and worked non-stop for 48 hours helping residents of the Houston area during Harvey, reportedly saving multiple people’s lives. What’s more, after that two-day stint, he returned home to Baytown, Texas, where he rescued his wife and dog from their flooded home.