GM VP GLOBAL DESIGN ED WELBURN (Detroit is Back Series)



To re-enter the stock market with the largest IPO ever is a feat, due in no small part to the quality of products GM has under its shed. Now streamlined to 4 brands and still maintaining its global footprint, resources are now more efficiently allocated to stunning results with class leaders like the Cadillac CTS Coupe, Buick LaCrosse, Chevy Volt, GMC Terrain, and more. Ed Welburn’s footprint and fingerprints are all over the new blueprint for success. Product, product, product.
Ed Welburn was hired as Global Design Chief in March 2005 and with the 3-5 year development cycle for automobiles, you can attribute his stewardship to a total reformation of build quality, design interpretation, fit and finish, and technology innovation. With 10 design centers in 8 countries around the world and 1500 engineers at his disposal you get the China studio’s Lacrosse, the Warren studio’s Volt or the German studio’s Regal. We got a tour along with a moment of Ed’s precious time and spoke about all things GM. I’m Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design and we’re here at the Detroit Auto Show, fascinating show. Every year is a great show but particularly this one’s got a very different kind of vibe, very different kind of edge to it. And we’re here with the Cadillac Converj. Cadillac Converj takes all of the style, all of the elegance, all of the dramatic presence of Cadillac design and marries it with the electric technology from the Volt. So this allows you to have a very elegant, very upscale, luxurious vehicle and have a guilt-free vehicle as well. And that’s what luxury is all about.

So do you think this car will make it into production?

It’s purely a concept. We haven’t talked about production with the vehicle. It is based on a lot of the Volt technology. Uh when I develop a vehicle I really want it to be a well thought at vehicle with production in mind down the road but it is a concept. It’s got all the hard edges that Cadillacs have. It’s got that real attitude, that real gesture in the theme that all Cadillacs, great Cadillac design should have. The front end, it’s got a strong, you know, with this car you don’t need a grille because of the technology that’s in it but we have a strong shield that gives you the look and the power of a Cadillac front end, very strong vertical headlamps, vertical taillamps and taillamps that even have a hint of a Cadillac fin.

It’s a little bit different than the Sixteen Signature too that it’s carried on, just slightly twist on it.

It’s built on the design philosophy that we showed in the Cadillac Sixteen, the Cadillac ?CN?, brought to production with the CTS. Now the new Cadillac SRX has got it as well and we’ve continued to progress that design language through the whole development of the vehicle.

So Ed, tell us about this SRX cause I remember last year we had talked about the Provoq that kind of brought the des-...

It was kind of a prelude for the uh SRX now. The production veh-, we’ve got the production vehicle here and it has really come a long way from where last generation SRX is, slightly smaller in overall length, actually a bit wider, you know, so it’s got a wide stance, uh short overall length so it really has got great handling capabilities on the street and available front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Great interior as well interior that was very much inspired by CTS now with some new refinements new features that have brought that kind of energy, that kind of design execution.

Can you show us some of the um, interior?

So, any rate, you know this design really borrows a lot from the CTS as far as design vocabulary. Of course, you know all Cadillacs will have a lot of the shared vision for the design. You know it’s got a new cluster that is really, the layout of the cluster is fantastic. It’s easy to read, well, well-executed cluster, every feature, all the refinements, the great integration of materials the nice wood integration with all the other leathers throughout the interior.

So this also has the same powertrains as the CTS?

Um, there are two different V6 engines in this vehicle, powertrain’s a bit different, configuration’s different. You know, CTS is rear-wheel drive with optional all-wheel drive. This is front drive with an optional all-wheel drive system. Sits a bit higher than CTS. It’s just great entry-egress, getting in and out of the car is quite easy and this is two-row whereas the last generation of SRX was a three-row vehicle.

How about the wagon?

The wag- I like the wagons based on the CTS sedan. From the rear door forward it’s the same car as the sedan but in the rear portion we’ve given it, I think, a very special profile. Let’s come around to the back of the car, the fact that it’s got a strong crease line, Cadillac crease. We call it the crease of the pants that’s in the tailgate. Strong vertical tail lamps. You know Cadillacs, all great Cadillacs have strong vertical tail lamps and that’s true for this car as well...Uh what can I say about the V, I love it. It’s my daily driver. I drive a CTS-V. I mean it takes all of that refinement, great styling from the regular CTS and just takes it up a notch or two with a stronger front-end design with the...I don’t know a grille design that has been used on all V-series cars and the grille texture is a mesh that has been used on other V’s and it’s here as well.

But you out-perform every other, even the luxury Euros and the Japanese manufacturers on performance with your vehicle.

Well, you know, this car with 556 horsepower set a record at the Nürburgring. I mean, it is the fastest, was the fastest production sedan on the Nürburgring circuit and that is a track that is kind of the measure for performance cars because it’s not just going around an oval, not just in a straight line but it is a very demanding, uh, racetrack road course which brings in every type of condition that you might wanna go through on a race track and this car set the record, faster than anything from Europe or from uh, Asia.

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Hyundai's first all-EV factory in the US will be in Georgia

Hyundai is betting big on American electric vehicle sales. The automaker has struck a deal with Georgia to build its first dedicated EV factory in the US. The 2,923-acre plant near Savannah will make cars and batteries when production is projected to start in the first half of 2025. Construction starts in early 2023. The company expects to manufacture 300,000 EVs per year at the facility, covering a "wide range" of models.

Multiple factors led to the location choice. Hyundai pointed to "favorable business conditions" that included speedy market access, a large talent pool and an existing network that includes Kia's main manufacturing hub as well as suppliers. Unnamed incentives play a part, according to Savannah Morning News. However, it's also a prime spot for transportation. The factory is less than 31 miles from Savannah's port, which is the largest container stopover in the US and has two railway facilities at its disposal. Add the proximity of two major highways (the I-95 and I-16) and it will be easy for Hyundai to receive supplies and ship finished EVs.

Not surprisingly, both Georgia and Hyundai are touting economic benefits. They estimate the investment to be worth $5.54 billion, with Governor Brian Kemp claiming it will be the "largest project" in state history. Hyundai further claimed the plant would create 8,100 jobs, although it's not clear how many of those are full-time, permanent roles.

The annual production level won't be quite as strong as Hyundai's conventional manufacturing output. The company's Montgomery, Alabama plant can make up to 399,500 vehicles per year. This represents a major commitment to EVs, however, and suggests Hyundai is racing to compete with Tesla, Rivian, Volkswagen and other brands expanding their electric car production in the country.

The FCC has a plan to boost rural broadband download speeds to 100 Mbps

The Federal Communications Commission is aiming to boost rural broadband internet speeds through proposed changes to the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program. The target is to improve minimum download and upload speeds to 100/20 Mbps in areas served by carriers that receive A-CAM support. The current baseline is 25/3 Mbps.

The A-CAM Broadband Coalition proposed the creation of an Enhanced A-CAM program. The goal is to improve broadband speeds to the levels specified in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) while avoiding the duplication of efforts across various federal programs.

The notice of proposed rulemaking, which commissioners approved, seeks comment on how the FCC could bolster A-CAM support under an enhanced program and whether the current A-CAM framework even still makes sense. It's also seeking comment on how to align the Enhanced A-CAM program with Congressional goals and programs at other agencies.

"With additional funding and an expansion of the length of time under which electing carriers would receive support, these carriers would increase deployment speeds up to 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload in some of the most challenging and expensive areas to serve in the country," Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said in a statement. "[Some] consumers served by A-CAM carriers could see a four-fold, 10-fold or even 20-fold increase in their speeds."

Last week, using funding allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden administration launched a $45 billion project to bring all Americans online by 2030 and eliminate the digital divide. Officials have also teamed up with internet providers to subsidize the cost of broadband for low-income households.

Amazon’s upcoming tablets will include a more modern Fire OS 8

Amazon’s new Fire 7 tablets — due to arrive this summer — will be equipped with improved software. According to a report on AFTV News. tablets will come with Fire OS 8, an entirely new version of the Fire operating system that is based on Android 11. Given that Google no longer releases security patches or updates for Android 9, this will be welcome news for Fire tablet owners.

As Liliputing points out, most of what Fire OS 8 changes bring to the table seem to be under-the-hood security updates. But users can expect a new system-wide dark mode, which might make browsing your tablet late at night a bit easier on the eyes. The new OS will also support HEIF or (High Efficiency Image File) format images, an update to JPEGs that most Apple and Android smartphones have supported since 2018. 

Fire apps will also now be able access your device’s location while running in the background, but you'll need to give permission first. The update also includes a new set of privacy controls, including one-time permissions on location tracking. For a more nuanced breakdown of what to expect in Fire OS 8, check out Amazon’s updated developer guide.

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