Week In Review: Towing Wars, Sinkholes, and Fires

By | February 15, 2014
Like you, we're gearing up for the three-day weekend, and while Valentine's Day preparations may have dragged you away from reading our wonderful prose on the latest in the automotive industry, we've highlighted the week's best for you to peruse at your leisure. This week brought us the end of the towing war between Toyota and the Detroit 3, along with Porsche's announcement that it will top 200,000 units sold worldwide two years earlier than predicted. Added to that, sinkholes swallowed up eight Corvette models, while Toyota was busy testing out wireless charging stations and Tesla was busy putting out some fires. Check out the stories below to catch up on what you missed during the week.

Monday, February 10

This week kicked off with the end of the towing war that was waging between Toyota and the Detroit 3. Ford finally announced that for its 2015 F-150, it would adopt the SAE J2807 towing standard. Since its inception in 2009, Toyota has been using the standard to rate its trucks, while Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler decided to ignore it. Nissan has also started to use the standard on all redesigned models, and will continue to use the standard. Mike Levine, Ford spokesman told Automotive News that "As a founding member of the SAE trailer towing committee, we will meet the SAE trailer towing standards." Finally.

Tuesday, February 11

Porsche has announced that it will exceed 200,000 units worldwide two years earlier than originally planned, thanks to the projected sales of the 2015 Macan compact crossover that will hit dealers later this year. Porsche has become more mainstream over the past few years with more family-friendly vehicles like the Panamera and Cayenne, and although some enthusiasts may be cringing at this, it's good news for the automaker. The new Porsche Macan will compete against the likes of the BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Audi Q5. There are still plenty of exclusive vehicles in the Porsche lineup, including the $845,000 918 Hybrid supercar, but we like the direction the automaker is headed.

Wednesday, February 12

In a sad turn of events, a sinkhole opened up in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky., swallowing eight prized Corvette models. Luckily, of the vehicles damaged, none were on loan from an individual collection. However, General Motors had supplied two of the eight that fell nearly 30 feet below the showroom floor. For the time being, the museum will be closed to the public as the scene is investigated and structural engineers assess the damage and stability of surrounding areas. All repairs will be completed as soon as possible, as to not interrupt any of the scheduled events for the near future, including the 20th Anniversary celebration, the Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park, and the National Corvette Caravan that's held annually from August 27-30.

Thursday, February 13

Charging an electric vehicle can take hours and hours, and dealing with plugs can be a hassle. Toyota is aware of this and has been researching a new wireless charging system with hopes of bringing it to the market. Owners will simply park their vehicles on a coil set that will be installed in the ground. Thanks to the car's Intelligent Parking Assist feature, the vehicle will be able to line up perfectly with the charging station. But how does the new charging system work? The system works through the magnetic resonance created by the changes in the magnetic field intensity between the coils in the ground and those in the car. If all goes well, charging will only take up to 90 minutes, letting you get on with your day without having to worry your car will run out of juice.

Friday, February 14

Once again, Tesla is in the news for battery fires. This time, a fire started in a garage in Toronto, Canada after a drive. The vehicle was not charging when the fire started, prompting some serious questions about the safety of the Model S battery. However, in a statement made by the electric automaker, it still has "the best safety track record of any vehicle in the world." Those are some big claims, and with the NHTSA investigating past fires, it's only a matter of time before those results come in and show the truth. Employees of Tesla went to the owner's home and offered to pay for any damages and inconvenience, but according to a report from Business Insider, "the owner declined."