Future cars Austria to support purchase of electric cars with 5,000 eur from July

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VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria will boost financial incentives for buying battery-powered cars and bicycles, and triple grants for charging points from July in its efforts to fight global warming, the economy minister said on Monday.

Electric car buyers will get 5,000 euros ($5,640) in support from Wednesday, up from 3,000 euros, Leonore Gewessler told a news conference.

The increase is the result of a joint effort with the car industry, which will contribute 2,000 euros to the subsidy, she said.

The minister also announced a tripling of support for charging points to 600 euros for home charging stations or intelligent charging cables, and 1,800 euros for charging points in multi-occupancy buildings.

Austria currently has around 5,500 charge points and wants to increase that number as quickly as possible, she said.

Nearly 33,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were registered in Austria by the end of May, just 0.7% of the total number of cars, according to Statistik Austria. Around two thirds of the EVs are commercial vehicles.

Up to 1,200 euros will also be provided to support the purchase of e-bikes, the minister said. Up to 700 euros will be provided by the state and the rest by the distributor.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Mark Potter

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Future cars Some Disneyland workers protest reopening plans amid pandemic

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (Reuters) – Workers at California’s Disneyland Resort protested from their cars on Saturday, arguing that the Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) has not agreed to adequate protections for employees when the destination reopens to the public amid a pandemic.

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Coalition of Resort Labor Unions representing Disney cast members stage a car caravan outside Disneyland California, calling for higher safety standards for Disneyland to reopen during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Anaheim, California, U.S., June 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The company had planned to welcome guests back to Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure starting July 17 but delayed the restart date indefinitely.

Disney said this week that it would set a new opening date after the state issues guidelines on how theme parks can return to business safely amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

On Saturday, about 200 cars formed a caravan outside the resort in the protest staged by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, a group of 11 unions that represent 17,000 Disneyland workers.

The unions have called on the company to commit to providing onsite testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“When Disney does reopen, we want it to be as safe as possible for cast members, for the guests, and for the families that cast members have to go back to,” said Maria Hernandez, a union member who attended the rally.

Disney said in a Saturday statement that it has reached agreements on coronavirus protections with 20 union affiliates that include additional sick pay, face coverings for guests and cast members, and reduced park capacity.

In a letter to unions earlier this week, a Disney representative said existing COVID-19 testing was not recommended by U.S. health authorities for routine screening.

Instead, health officials recommend focusing on physical distancing, face coverings, hand washing and sanitization, the letter said.

Disney began shutting its theme parks in January as the coronavirus spread. It has reopened parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong to a limited number of guests. The company plans to open Walt Disney World in Florida on July 11.

Reporting by Mike Blake in Anaheim, California; Writing by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Future cars Some Disneyland workers protest reopening plans amid pandemic

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ANAHEIM, Calif., June 26 (Reuters) – Workers at California’s Disneyland Resort protested from their cars on Saturday, arguing that the Walt Disney Co has not agreed to adequate protections for employees when the destination reopens to the public amid a pandemic.

The company had planned to welcome guests back to Disneyland and neighboring California Adventure starting July 17 but delayed the restart date indefinitely.

Disney said this week that it would set a new opening date after the state issues guidelines on how theme parks can return to business safely amid the global coronavirus outbreak. That is not expected until after July 4, the company said.

On Saturday, about 200 cars formed a caravan outside the resort in the protest staged by the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, a group of 11 unions that represent 17,000 Disneyland workers.

The unions have called on the company to commit to providing onsite testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“When Disney does reopen, we want it to be as safe as possible for cast members, for the guests, and for the families that cast members have to go back to,” said Maria Hernandez, a union member who attended the rally.

Disney did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Saturday. In a letter to unions earlier this week, a Disney representative said existing COVID-19 testing was not recommended by U.S. health authorities for routine screening.

Instead, health officials recommend focusing on physical distancing, face coverings, hand washing and sanitization, the letter said.

The company has reached an agreement on coronavirus protections with other Disneyland unions that represent 11,000 workers. Those agreements include “enhanced safety protocols that will allow us to responsibly reopen,” the company said.

Disney began shutting its theme parks in January as the coronavirus spread. It has reopened parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong to a limited number of guests. The company plans to open Walt Disney World in Florida on July 11. (Reporting by Mike Blake in Anaheim, California; Writing by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Future cars Bear Breaks Into 10 Cars

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Police are investigating multiple incidents of damage to cars after a bear broke into several vehicles.

On Tuesday, shortly before 10: 00 p.m. the Haliburton Highlands OPP were called to investigate car entries in the area of Kennaway Road and Dudley Road in Haliburton. 

Police say a bear with an interesting talent of opening unlocked car doors, had opened more than 10 vehicles over the previous nights. According to police, many of the vehicles were significantly damaged.

Police are requesting residents keep their car doors locked and make certain there is nothing inside their vehicles that could be food for a hungry bear.

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Future cars Waymo inks deal with Volvo to develop self-driving electric cars

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(Reuters)Waymo and the Volvo Cars Group have agreed to develop a self-driving electric vehicle designed for ride-hailing use, as part of a new global partnership, the companies said on Thursday.

Waymo, a unit of Silicon Valley’s Alphabet, said it will be the exclusive global partner for Volvo Cars for developing self-driving vehicles capable of operating safely without routine driver intervention. Waymo will focus on the artificial intelligence for the software “driver.” Volvo will design and manufacture the vehicles. The companies said Waymo will work with Volvo’s global brands, including Polestar and Lynk & Co.

Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, has a separate agreement to deliver vehicles to ride-hailing company Uber that Uber will equip to operate as self-driving vehicles. Volvo Cars is continuing to deliver vehicles to Uber.

Uber’s development of self-driving vehicle technology was disrupted after a self-driving Volvo SUV operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018. More recently, Uber has been slashing costs and staff to offset revenue lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said Uber is open to using competitors’ technology.

The Waymo-Volvo deal marks a return by Waymo to its early goal of rethinking how cars that can pilot themselves should look. Since retiring its Firefly self-driving car in 2017, Waymo has retrofitted its software and sensors into conventional vehicles such as Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

Rival Cruise, majority-owned by General Motors, last year unveiled a prototype for an electric, self-driving people carrier called the Cruise Origin.

Waymo and Volvo did not say when or where they expect to launch their new ride-hailing vehicle.

Waymo said it will continue working with Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar Land Rover and the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance.

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Future cars Tesla included in J.D. Power survey for the first time, and it’s bad

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plz fix? —

Tesla had 250 problems per 100 cars according to the 2020 Initial Quality survey.


Future cars A frowny face has been photoshopped onto a Tesla speeding down a road.

On Wednesday, J.D. Power has just released its Initial Quality Survey for 2020. Conducted annually for the past 34 years, the survey queries buyers of new cars of that model year to find out what, if any, problems they encountered within the first 90 days of ownership. Each brand is then ranked on the number of problems it experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100).

2020 is the first year that Tesla has been included in the survey, and as readers of our recent story on Model Y problems might have guessed, things don’t look great for the California-based electric car company. Meanwhile, things look very good for Dodge, which shares the top spot with Kia.

According to J.D. Power’s survey, Tesla’s initial quality score is 250 PP100, a feat which makes even Audi and Land Rover seem reliable by comparison. Although to be entirely accurate, Tesla isn’t officially ranked last, because the brand won’t allow J.D. Power to survey its customers in 15 states where OEM permission is apparently required. “However, we were able to collect a large enough sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states and, from that base, we calculated Tesla’s score,” said Doug Betts, president of the automotive division at J.D. Power.

Future cars Domestics good, luxury cars bad?

J.D. Power

Things look better for the other domestic automakers. Dodge achieved a score of 136 PP100, matching Kia. Chevrolet and Ram are in joint third place, with 141 PP100, and Buick, GMC, and Cadillac all scored better than the industry average of 166 PP100. And the most reliable individual MY2020 vehicle was the Chevrolet Sonic, which scored 103 PP100.

Conversely, luxury imports fare poorly on this survey, which got responses from a total of 87,282 buyers and leasers of MY2020 vehicles, conducted between February and May of this year. Only Genesis (124 PP100), Lexus (152 PP100), and the aforementioned Cadillac (162 PP100) were better than average. Meanwhile, the bottom five (excluding Tesla) were Jaguar (190 PP100), Mercedes-Benz (202 PP100), Volvo (210 PP100), Audi (225 PP100), and Land Rover (228 PP100).

Still, an average of 1.66 problems per new car across the industry sounds pretty bad. But J.D. Power says that’s more a function of a redesigned survey this year, which gives people a more granular way to report the issues their new vehicle has experienced.

It now asks 223 questions, split into nine categories: including infotainment, features, controls and displays, exterior, interior, powertrain, seats, driving experience, climate, and (new for 2020) driving assistance. Ars readers may not be surprised to discover that the most troublesome of these categories was infotainment, which accounted for almost a quarter of all problems. Top complaints here were voice recognition, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, touchscreens, onboard navigation, and Bluetooth issues.

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Future cars A Survey of New Cars Finds More Tech Means More Problems

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More tech, more problems. That could describe many situations in which the universe finds itself these days. In this case, it’s the takeaway from this year’s edition of the vehicle quality survey from the market analytics company JD Power, the first to rank the quality of Tesla’s vehicles.

The report, based on more than 87,000 surveys from owners of 2020 model vehicles in the first three months of ownership, found many more problems than last year’s edition—an average of 166 per 100 vehicles, compared with 93 per 100 vehicles in 2019. Doug Betts, the president of JD Power’s automotive division and a former Apple executive, says the figures aren’t comparable, because JD Power changed the questions to ask car owners about newer features like touch-free trunk sensors and specific aspects of their infotainment systems. The more features and tech packed into a vehicle, “the more opportunities for problems, certainly,” Betts says.

Betts points to that dynamic to explain why premium car brands have done relatively poorly on JD Power’s initial quality survey in recent years. Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, took the number two spot in the brand rankings with 142 problems per 100 vehicles. After that, only Lexus (159 problems per 100 vehicles) and Cadillac (162 problems per 100 vehicles) beat the industry average of 166 problems per 100 vehicles. Luxury vehicles aren’t less safe than their mass market brethren. In fact, all of today’s cars have fewer scary defects than they did a few decades ago. But because premium car owners pay more money for more stuff, they may be more likely to report problems when that stuff doesn’t work.

Owners are having issues with glitchy and hard-to-use infotainment systems, an area in which automotive companies have not always excelled. People find navigating the menus mysterious; they complain about the poor quality of built-in voice recognition systems; they can’t connect their phones via Bluetooth. They even have trouble connecting with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, which integrate users’ phone operating systems with their vehicle display and are meant to bring intuitive, Silicon Valley-level user interfaces into your car.

Overall, Fiat-Chrysler’s Dodge brand tied with Korea’s Kia for the quality gold, with 136 problems per 100 vehicles. Chevrolet, Ram, Buick, GMC, Jeep, and Cadillac also ranked above the industry average, making for Detroit automakers’ best performance since JD Power started its quality survey 34 years ago. Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Audi, and Land Rover did the worst.

Another poor performer was Tesla, which made its first appearance in the quality survey with 250 problems per 100 vehicles. But the number comes with heavy asterisks. In 15 states, vehicle manufacturers have to give companies like JD Power permission to collect info on their customers. Most other carmakers grant this permission—but not Tesla. As a result, the survey doesn’t include info from some of the electric carmaker’s biggest markets, like California and New York. Still, JD Power says it was able to gather enough responses from other states to extrapolate a quality rating for Tesla, while trying to take into account that some states’ car owners tend to be more positive about their vehicles than others.

Tesla owners—who tend to be superfans of the electric-car maker’s mission and approach to tech—have sometimes been critical of the company’s approach to quality. The JD Power survey picked up on some of those issues, with owners reporting defects related to body parts fitting together, rattling noises, and vehicle paint. “The interesting thing is that Tesla’s number is high in what I would call the ‘blocking and tackling’ of making cars,” Betts says. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.


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Future cars How to Add a CarPlay Wallpaper in iOS 14

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Future cars Illustration for article titled How to Add a CarPlay Wallpaper in iOS 14

Image: Apple

One of the new features coming in iOS 14 is the ability to customize your car’s CarPlay interface with one of several new wallpapers. If you don’t know, CarPlay lets you control your car’s stereo and other connected smart car accessories with Siri voice commands, and this version of iOS marks the first time users will be able to adjust CarPlay’s look to a significant degree.

Before you can try out one of these new wallpapers, you’ll need to connect your iPhone to your car and set up CarPlay (if you haven’t already.) This process will be different for every car, but it’s as easy as connecting your phone via USB (or a fancier wireless connection) to a CarPlay-supported vehicle. After that:

  1. Open your iPhone’s Settings and go to General > CarPlay.

  2. Tap “Available Cars.”
  3. Select your car from the list to enable CarPlay.

Now to zhuzh up CarPlay with one of those fancy new wallpapers. To reiterate, these wallpapers are only available in iOS 14, which is still in beta. You can install the iOS 14 preview now to check it out early, or you can wait for the final, stable version to roll out publicly, likely in the fall. Either way, once you’re running iOS 14, here’s how to add a CarPlay wallpaper:

  1. Make sure your iPhone is connected and CarPlay is turned on.
  2. Open “Settings” in your car’s CarPlay interface (not your iPhone’s)
  3. Tap “Wallpaper.” Scroll through the list of available wallpapers. You can tap on one to preview it.
  4. If you like the way it looks, tap “Confirm” to apply the background.

Obviously, don’t make these changes while you’re driving.

9to5Mac has a helpful screenshot gallery of all the new CarPlay wallpapers if you want to get an early look. That way you can add the one you want most right away.

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Amid a tipping backlash, some travelers are going the other way and tipping over 20%

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Charlie Sheen pledges a $1000 tip to the waiter who was slighted by Philadelphia Eagles running back, LeSean McCoy.
Video provided by Buzz60

Ryan Patterson is an over-tipper. He routinely adds a 25% gratuity to his restaurant bill, “and sometimes as much as 50%, depending on the level of effort expended.”

Why so much? Patterson, a web publisher from Austin, Texas, remembers the days before his success. 

“I know how difficult and thankless that kind of work is,” he says. “I also know what a morale boost it can be to receive a great tip. The way I look a it, an extra few dollars is not something I will even miss, but it might make a huge difference for the person receiving the tip.”

Patterson is part of a small group of travelers bucking the tipping backlash. Instead of tipping less – or not at all – they are tipping more. Their reasons are just as valid as those of the never-tippers. But at the end of your meal or cruise, the question still lingers: Did I tip too much? 

Is tipping on the way out?  Here’s why more travelers are joining the ‘do not tip’ movement

Why should you overtip?

The most common reason to tip that you used to work in the service industry. That’s why Becky Beach, a small business owner from Arlington, Texas, tips between 25% and 30%. 

“When I was in college, I worked as a server, so know how hard it is,” she says. “I remember how bad I felt when I did not get tipped. It really hurts the self-esteem and finances of a server if you don’t tip at all. Servers are not paid very much and rely on tips.”

Melissa Chiou, a content producer from Washington, D.C., also used to wait tables. That’s why she now overtips. 

“I grew up working in my family’s restaurant and understand the sacrifice and toll it takes to run a business,” she says. “It’s not an easy job.”

She also says overtipping is a great way to support small businesses.

“I especially feel very strongly about supporting small businesses and will do everything I can to help them,” she adds. “It will be a sad day if our economy is overrun by nothing but corporate chains.”

Some overtippers say they’re not tipping too much.

“I object to the term overtipper,” says William Oei, who works for a federal agency in San Francisco. “I tip 20% across the board, even in Chinese family restaurants which rarely see more than 10%. I believe others are undertipping.”

He and other travelers say tipping 20% or more is a way of showing their appreciation for the housekeepers, tour guides and servers who attend to their needs while they travel. In other words, it’s just the right thing to do.

Are you tipping too much?

In the view of overtippers – sorry, William – it’s impossible to tip too much. The lowest tip they’d leave is 20%, but some never leave less than 25%. It’s not uncommon to see gratuities of between 30% and 50% from these travelers. If you leave tips like that, then you can safely consider yourself in the overtipper category.

“Is there such a thing as being too generous?” says Samantha Lambert, the director of human resources for a media company in New York. “Totally.”

She recalls many evenings when she tipped her bartender far more than 20%. She says during the “Tip the Bill” challenge on social media a few years ago, she got carried away a time or two. 

“Just like buyer’s remorse, there is certainly tipping remorse,” she says. “I have checked my account after a night of drinking and had a very depressing side effect – the overdraft!”

Overtipping proponents say a generous gratuity is a great way to appreciate underpaid service workers like servers and bellhops, but that you shouldn’t put your personal finances on the line. If you can’t afford to tip, get takeout or skip the tour.

In other words, you can tip too much.

So should you never tip – or overtip?

Look, tipping is as confusing as ever. While some travelers say they’ll never tip, others are doubling down. My views on the topic have evolved. In one of my first USA TODAY columns back in 2013, I advocated for a 25% tip. But since then, tip jars have appeared everywhere and wherever you go, there seems to be an expectation of a gratuity

The problem is simple: If there’s an expectation of a tip – or an overtip – then what’s the real cost of the meal or hotel room? In a sense, isn’t tipping giving a business permission to misrepresent its prices? 

That creates a budgeting problem for travelers and it doesn’t sit right with many honest customers, who assume that the rate you’re quoted should be the rate you pay.

I respect the overtippers. They’re trying to solve the problem of low service worker wages by throwing money at it. But there has to be a better way.

The biggest overtippers

Comedian Amy Schumer reportedly left a $500 tip on a $49 tab at Peter’s Clam Bar in Island Park, New York, in 2015. Schumer, herself a former server, found out her server was working two jobs to fund his education.

In 2013, a grateful customer reportedly tipped Indianapolis server CeCe Bruce a whopping $446 on a $5.97 tab at a Steak ‘n Shake. Her reaction? “Oh my gosh,” she says. “I’m not taking that!’ The guest insisted, and eventually she did.

A group of friends celebrating the life of a friend at an Outback Steakhouse in Clarksville, Indiana, tipped their server $500 back in 2012. The server, Cassie Smith, was shocked and grateful. “I’ll never forget it,” she said.

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