Wheels: Buses, Delivery Vans and Garbage Trucks Are the Electric Vehicles Next Door


Wheels

Low-speed torque and whisper-quiet operation make electric vehicles an attractive alternative for commercial uses, and the incognito answer to Teslas and Bolts.

A 60-foot electric bus used by the Antelope Valley Transit Authority in Los Angeles County. The agency is aiming to deploy an all-electric fleet by the end of the year.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

As American car buyers cautiously dip their toes into the world of electric vehicles, pondering issues such as cost, charging times and driving range, big businesses and some government agencies are going in head first.

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority, which serves some 450,000 residents in parts of Los Angeles County, wants to be the first transit agency with an all-electric bus fleet. It hopes to ditch all its diesel vehicles by the end of the year and replace them with 80 fully electric versions.

Reducing pollutants is a high priority for Antelope Valley, which includes the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster, because the area has the highest rate of asthma and deaths from respiratory diseases in the county, according to the county health department. “This switch-over makes sense for the environment,” said Len Engel, the transit authority’s executive director.

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Len Engel, the authority’s executive director, said he expected to save $1 million per year in fuel costs alone.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

The same factors that appeal to consumers make an electric vehicle a good fit for commercial applications. Electric motors offer the low-speed torque such vehicles need, without the roar or exhaust of their diesel counterparts. And while range anxiety could be a concern for the typical car buyer, operators of buses and similar vehicles tend to stay close to home, needing a range of 100 miles or less.

Even as Tesla has promised to apply its passenger-car experience to long-haul trucking, a host of companies are already offering fully electric commercial vehicles to governments and private industries that are looking to turn mail trucks and garbage haulers into vehicles of the future.

McKinsey & Company, the management consulting group, forecasts that electric light- and medium-duty trucks — a group that includes pickups, flatbeds and some trash haulers — could achieve between 8 percent and 34 percent sales penetration by 2030. The wide range depends on market conditions: Fleet owners need parity in the total cost of ownership between a traditional diesel-powered vehicle and an electric one. And municipal air-quality regulations may spur or slow down the adoption of electric commercial fleets.

“Our latest perspective is that U.S. break-even for long haul could be between 2025 and 2030,” said Russell Hensley, one of the report’s authors.

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Inside an Antelope Valley bus. The buses are being built by a Chinese company, BYD.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times
A new Antelope Valley electric bus.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times
One of the diesel buses the agency is phasing out.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

The company is building the buses in Lancaster, and has also supplied electric buses to the University of California; Eugene, Ore.; and more. Low operating costs are a main selling point.

“Fuel and maintenance are one-third that of typical equivalent diesel vehicles,” said George Miller, BYD America’s senior sales manager for fleets.

A Thor Trucks electric semi. The company said it hoped to begin selling the model next year.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

The company has demonstrated its electric garbage trucks to City of Los Angeles sanitation officials and has a deal to sell 20 articulated buses to the operator of Los Angeles International Airport, Mr. Miller said.

While maintenance and energy costs are lower, initial purchase prices are not. BYD’s garbage truck costs $300,000, while its 40-foot bus is about $150,000 more than its diesel equivalent.

BYD is counting on rebates to cut those costs. In California, that could amount to a price reduction between $50,000 and $75,000, thanks to money available from the state’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project.

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority is receiving $46 million in state and federal funding to help buy its 80 electric buses. While some of its buses run consecutive multiple routes as far as 558 miles a day, they can be charged wirelessly whenever a route is finished, adding 20 miles of range every 10 minutes. Mr. Engel said he expected the authority to save $1 million per year in fuel costs alone.

Inside a Thor Trucks semi. The company is aiming for customers seeking short-haul heavy vehicles, such as trucks that might need to drive from a port to a warehouse.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times
A $150,000 version would offer a range of 100 miles, and a $250,000 version would be good for 300 miles.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

Other companies are running commercial electric vehicle demonstration projects and gearing up for production.

Tesla says it will make its Tesla Semi electric truck next year, with prices beginning at $150,000. And Thor Trucks, based in Los Angeles, also plans to offer an electric semi truck next year. It expects to charge $150,000 for a version with a 100-mile range, and $250,000 for a 300-mile version.

Thor is aiming for customers seeking short-haul heavy vehicles, such as trucks that might need to drive from a port to a warehouse. Those kinds of short-haul trips generate a great deal of air pollution when diesel trucks are used. But big batteries aren’t the only solution.

Siemens, the German technology company, recently conducted a one-mile eHighway demonstration at the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports using trucks that drew power from overhead wires, much the way trains and streetcars are powered.

Bus assembly at the BYD plant in Lancaster, Calif. The company’s electric vehicles range from forklifts to semi trucks.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

Overhead power eliminates the need for huge batteries and recharging time. When a truck must pass another vehicle, it disconnects from the wiring system, temporarily using a small battery before reconnecting to the wires.

“Over a 100,000-mile distance, we’d save $20,000 in fuel and maintenance,” said Andreas Thon, a Siemens Mobility vice president in charge of the project.

The company is proposing to bring such a system to the entire length of the 710 Freeway, a major corridor jammed with trucks between the bustling Los Angeles ports to the city’s rail yards and beyond. It is a stretch of highway that has been called the “diesel death zone.”

Matt Miyasato, deputy executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the public agency in charge of controlling air pollution for that area, said there were “too many variables” for such an approach to be viable at the moment. But the idea is promising.

“If the Siemens test could be scaled up,” he said, “we’d have a zero-emissions corridor.”

BYD has a deal to sell 20 buses to the operator of Los Angeles International Airport.CreditRozette Rago for The New York Times

Ford Aims to Revive a Detroit Train Station, and Itself


By renovating a symbol of the city’s decline, the company hopes to create a magnet for the talent needed to prevail in the next automotive era.

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The historic Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, mostly unused since the last train departed in 1988, is being bought and renovated by Ford Motor.CreditNick Hagen for The New York Times

DETROIT — For the past year, Ford Motor has been working on a plan to reinvigorate its operations and jump-start profit growth. Now, as that strategy is just being put into place, the automaker is taking on another big renovation project: the city of Detroit and the hulking remains of its dilapidated train station.

Ford has purchased the Michigan Central Station, the abandoned and graffiti-covered 18-story office tower and train station that looms over the Corktown neighborhood. With its smashed and darkened windows, the station had long stood as the most recognizable symbol of Detroit’s decades of decline.

Ford sees the move as part of the race for supremacy in the next automotive era.

“To me this is about inventing the future,” William C. Ford Jr., the company’s chairman and a great-grandson of the automaker’s founder, said in an interview.

Ford wants the station, after reopening in about four years, to be a lure for young professionals who now gravitate toward high-tech hubs like Silicon Valley. “To me this is about inventing the future,” William C. Ford Jr., the company’s chairman, said.CreditSean Proctor for The New York Times

The company expects the renovated station, where the last train departed in 1988, to reopen in about four years. It is intended to be the centerpiece of a new urban campus that will focus on the developing businesses that use self-driving cars, like ride-hailing services and delivery companies.

“It’s so much more than just the restoration of an iconic building,” Mr. Ford said while pointing out features of the station’s crumbling interior, including its ticket windows and a vast, open-air space that he envisions as a glassed-in atrium.

The once-grand depot was built in 1913 and features a soaring grand hall conceived by the architects who created Grand Central Terminal in New York. In the days before air travel, it provided a dramatic welcome to visitors arriving from New York, Chicago, Washington and elsewhere.

Corktown, west of downtown, was once a lively neighborhood settled by Irish immigrants. The area has popular dining spots, including the Mercury Burger Bar, but many empty lots and vacant buildings.CreditNick Hagen for The New York Times

As residents and employers fled Detroit over the years, however, train traffic dwindled and then ceased, and the station became a target of vandals, graffiti artists and photographers looking to capture images of urban decay. It has served as the backdrop for dystopian scenes in music videos and Hollywood movies, including “Transformers” and “Batman vs. Superman,” and has been used occasionally as an event space.

Ford has already bought other properties in the area and has moved about 200 employees into a building that was once a pantyhose factory. Mr. Ford said he hoped the Corktown campus would be part of a technology hotbed attracting start-ups, investors and other companies working on autonomous vehicles. To the west, it would include Ford’s main engineering center in Dearborn, and beyond it Ann Arbor, less than an hour away, where the University of Michigan is leading the development of two testing grounds for self-driving vehicles.

Ford thinks the Detroit presence in particular will attract young professionals who now gravitate toward Silicon Valley and other high-tech hubs, and typically steer clear of established companies whose corporate ways they see as sterile and rigid. It’s the same thinking that prompted McDonald’s to move to Chicago from the city’s suburbs, and General Electric to relocate to Boston from Fairfield, Conn.

“Our goal is to have the autonomous vehicle invented and proved out here, and to attract the entrepreneurs and young businesses that will enable that, so we really will be able to create the mobility corridor of the next 50 years,” Mr. Ford said.

A rendering of Michigan Central Station after its renovation.CreditFord

Ford is taking on the train station project when it still has plenty of work to do on itself. Just a few years ago, Ford was the healthiest of the three Detroit automakers, but it struggled to map out a clear strategy on electric vehicles, self-driving cars and other new technologies. It was also slow to add trucks and sport-utility vehicles to its model line as Americans were flocking to bigger, roomier vehicles.

Last year, with profits slumping and its stock price lagging, the company replaced its chief executive, Mark Fields, with Jim Hackett, a former head of the office-furniture maker Steelcase.

“I brought Jim in a year ago because I felt we needed to accelerate our pace of decision-making and start placing big bets in certain areas and needed to invent the future,” Mr. Ford said.

Parts of the interior being prepared for events Ford is putting on after acquiring the building.CreditNick Hagen for The New York Times
“Whenever you get into a renovation, you don’t know what you don’t know,” Mr. Ford said.CreditNick Hagen for The New York Times
In Detroit’s midcentury heyday, the station bustled with activity. Leaving for basic training after their military induction in 1943, men said farewell to their families.CreditBettmann/Getty Images

Ford bought the building for an undisclosed price from the family of Manuel J. Moroun, whose holdings include the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

Mr. Ford said perhaps as many as 2,500 Ford employees would work at the Corktown campus anchored by the train station.

He declined to say how much Ford expected the renovation to cost and acknowledged that the final sum could rise above current estimates. “Whenever you get into a renovation, you don’t know what you don’t know,” he said.

But with economic incentives from the State of Michigan — expected to be detailed at an event with state and city officials at the station on Tuesday — the cost of the renovation “actually looks very favorable,” Mr. Ford said.

As Ford was building a Team Edison to focus on new businesses related to autonomous vehicles, Mr. Ford and company executives concluded that they would need a new location apart from Dearborn to house the group. It had to be an urban location where Generation Y professionals would want to work, and where self-driving cars would need to operate. During the search for such a location, Mr. Ford said, the potential of the train station and the possible impact on Detroit stood out.

Even before buying the train station, Ford had purchased other properties in the area. It has 200 employees in a building that was once a pantyhose factory.CreditNick Hagen for The New York Times
With its debris and graffiti, the train station long stood as the most recognizable symbol of Detroit’s decades of decline.CreditNick Hagen for The New York Times

“This is a really big, transformational event in the city’s revitalization,” said Sandy K. Baruah, chief executive of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “It’s going to pull development of the city westward, and to have a global investor in Detroit is really a green light to outside investors.”

While Ford’s commitment to Corktown is a potential milestone, the city still faces many challenges. Its school system is troubled, public transportation into and inside Detroit is scant, and many neighborhoods remain blighted, with some 20,000 abandoned homes.

“I don’t want to pretend that there aren’t some heavy lifts ahead of us,” Mr. Baruah said.

For now, though, Ford’s plan to renovate the station suggests that Detroit is on the rise.

Elon Musk Rejects ‘Boring, Bonehead Questions,’ and Tesla’s Stock Slides


Conference calls after earnings reports are released tend to be clubby affairs where analysts gently probe executives for details to adjust their profit and revenue estimates up and down for coming quarters.

But Tesla’s call Wednesday contained considerable fireworks. Mr. Musk cut off an analyst asking about the company’s need to raise additional money from investors.

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Elon Musk, the Tesla chief executive, introduced the company’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3, at an event in 2017 at its factory in Fremont, Calif. On Wednesday, Mr. Musk batted away an analyst’s question about Model 3 orders.

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Alexandria Sage/Reuters

“So where specifically will you be in terms of capital requirements?” asked Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst covering Tesla for Sanford C. Bernstein.

“Excuse me,” Mr. Musk responded. “Next. Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next?”

Another analyst then tried to ask about orders for the Model 3, the mass-market Tesla vehicle seen as crucial to the company’s future.

“We’re going to go to YouTube,” Mr. Musk answered. “Sorry. These questions are so dry. They’re killing me.”

He then turned a large portion of the call over to a series of questions from Galileo Russell, who hosts a “financial talk show geared towards millennials” on YouTube, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Mr. Russell had asked on Twitter before the call if he could pose a question on behalf of individual investors, and Mr. Musk had agreed.

Over the last five years, Tesla has at times been one of the hottest stocks in the market and was widely owned by both individual investors and technology enthusiasts, as well as institutional investors excited about the long-term business prospects for the company.

Since 2013, its shares are up more than 700 percent, dwarfing the gain of more than 80 percent for the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. But since peaking in September 2017, the shares have slumped by more than 20 percent, as concern has grown about ongoing production problems for the Model 3, and the prodigious amount of cash the company is burning through.

Many expect that its need for cash will require the company to turn to capital markets to raise more capital. In light of that, some analysts have suggested that Mr. Musk’s attitude toward Wall Street could be self-defeating.

“The analysts on the call represent the providers of capital that Tesla has throughout its history depended upon,” wrote Adam Jonas, who covers Tesla for Morgan Stanley.

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Why Elon Musk Shouldn’t Blow Off Wall Street: DealBook Briefing


Liam Denning of Bloomberg Opinion wrote, “Folks, this is not a good sign.” Rebecca Lindland of Kelley Blue Book told CNBC, “Elon, you’ve got to grow up.” And Peter Eavis tweeted this:

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What Tesla actually reported: Another loss, and a pledge to reduce its cash burn.

Our question: If Tesla asks Wall Street for money again, what will the answer be?

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Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Amie Tsang in London.

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Cambridge Analytica’s office in London.

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Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Cambridge Analytica goes down, but a sequel is in the works

Customers fled after the Facebook controversy, forcing the consultancy to file for bankruptcy protection. But there’s a new company, Emerdata, that could essentially be Cambridge Analytica 2.0, according to the NYT.

A scene from the insolvency, from Melanie Ehrenkranz of Gizmodo:

Screenshots from the company’s internal chat service obtained by Gizmodo show a darkly comic mood in anticipation of the call. One employee shared bleakly titled Spotify playlists in Slack featuring songs like “High and Dry” by Radiohead, “The End” by The Doors, and “Help!” by The Beatles.

Our picks? “Closing Time” by Semisonic and “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” by R.E.M.

Elsewhere in tech: Facebook fired an employee who bragged on Tinder about access to user information. Investors weren’t impressed by Spotify’s first financial report as a public company. Mark Pincus, Zynga’s founder, cut his voting power at the game maker — making it easier to sell. A senator asked Uber to waive its arbitration clause for women who say its drivers sexually assaulted them. Meituan Dianping, a Chinese food delivery and e-commerce company backed by Tencent, is investigating reports of a data breach.

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President Trump signed a memorandum on Chinese trade in March.

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Doug Mills/The New York Times

The U.S. turns up the heat in its trade fight with China

The latest threat: a ban on government agencies and their contractors buying equipment from companies like Huawei and ZTE. Both companies’ phones are now banned from sale on U.S. military bases worldwide. (Meanwhile, President Xi Jinping’s tightening grip on his country’s tech giants may hurt their global competitiveness.)

Some members of this week’s U.S. delegation to China are striking a tough tone. Peter Navarro, a hard-line trade adviser, told the NYT, “The discussions will take place in Beijing; the decisions will take place in Washington.”

One problem: That delegation is split over how to negotiate, and even what to ask for. And Beijing has continued counter-ounching, including by apparently halting purchases of U.S. soybeans.

Elsewhere in trade: The U.S. and Brazil disagree over whether they have a tariff deal.

He said it: “Free trade is now under assault,” Stanley Druckenmiller writes in a WSJ op-ed that says the Trump administration is similar to its predecessor when it comes to economic policy.

The political flyaround

• Rudy Giuliani said that President Trump reimbursed Michael Cohen the $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels, contradicting both men. Summer Zervos, a former “Apprentice” contestant who has accused Mr. Trump of sexual assault, has subpoenaed recordings of the show.

• Ty Cobb is out of the White House’s special counsel legal team; Emmet Flood, who helped fight the Clinton impeachment, is in. Donald Trump sided with House Republicans over his own Justice Department when it comes to the Russia investigation.

• The Fed held interest rates steady yesterday, showing little worry about an uptick in inflation. (NYT)

• A former lobbyist for foreign governments helped plan an Australia trip, later canceled, for Scott Pruitt, and sought to disguise his role. (NYT)

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via Reuters

China’s biggest unicorn heads to the public markets

Xiaomi, one of the world’s biggest smartphone makers, has filed to go public in Hong Kong. It’s expected to raise about $10 billion at a market valuation of $80 billion or more, according Cate Cadell and Julie Zhu of Reuters, who say it’s China’s biggest tech I.P.O. since Alibaba — a huge win for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Your Xiaomi cribsheet: Much of its growth has come outside China, particularly in India. But the gross profit margins on its devices are just about 8.8 percent. (The latest iPhones’ margins: an estimated 60 percent.)

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Marcelo Claure with John Legere of T-Mobile.

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Richard Drew/Associated Press

The deals flyaround

• Marcelo Claure stepped aside as Sprint’s C.E.O. to become its executive chairman and the C.O.O. of its parent company, SoftBank of Japan. But it’s still him, not SoftBank’s Masa Son, leading the push for regulatory approval of the T-Mobile deal. And SoftBank’s talks to invest in Swiss Re reportedly stalled.

• “Never think about mergers and acquisitions as a way to solve a problem,” Bernardo Hees, the C.E.O. of Burger King, told Corner Office. (NYT)

• Richard Branson is reportedly setting up his first private equity fund. (FT)

• Apollo Global Management reportedly approached Xerox as a potential buyer, casting further doubt on its Fujifilm deal. (Reuters)

• Today in activism: Elliott Management wants compensation from the South Korea over its fight with Samsung C&T. The London-based activist fund Amber Group is pushing for changes at the French media company Lagardère Group.

• The $702 million worth of bonds that WeWork sold last week have dropped in price to as low as 95.25 cents on the dollar, which may make future borrowing harder.

• How the merger of the parent companies of Crock-Pots and Sharpies went wrong. (WSJ)

• Motivate, which runs Citi Bike and other bike-sharing programs, has held talks to sell itself to Lyft. (The Information)

• Zola, a wedding registry start-up, has raised $100 million from investors led by Comcast Ventures and Goldman Sachs. (Bloomberg)

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Telegram’s co-founder, Pavel Durov.

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Tatan Syuflana/Associated Press

Telegram called off its I.C.O. That’s not a bad thing.

The secure messaging service — under pressure from authoritarian governments like Russia and Iran — has reportedly scrapped the token sale after raising $1.7 billion from less than 200 private investors. Paul Vigna of the WSJ suggests another reason:

A deal open to any investors, rather than just wealthier, accredited ones, could open up the company’s executives to more scrutiny, a timely concern given the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent focus on I.C.O.s.

Elsewhere in cryptocurrencies: Goldman Sachs is setting up the first Bitcoin trading desk at a Wall Street bank. A verbal fight over the future of digital money broke out at the Milken Institute Global Conference. Speaking of which …

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Michael Milken

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Mike Blake/Reuters

The Milken Institute Global Conference wrap-up

Everyone was optimistic, with one executive declaring that “the rules of economic cycles may no longer apply.” But many hedge fund managers are more concerned with survival. Others worry that it will be harder to coordinate a global response to the next geopolitical crisis.

Revolving door

• Subway Restaurants’s C.E.O., Suzanne Greco, is stepping down. (Bloomberg)

• Standard Chartered has reportedly hired Richard Horrocks-Taylor, most recently RBC Capital Markets’s head of European metals and mining investment banking. (FT)

• BlackRock has hired Steve Lessar and Konnin Tam from Goldman Sachs to bolster its business investing in private equity firms. (Bloomberg)

The speed read

• A former employee’s lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein could open the door to criminal charges. (NYT)

• The two black men arrested in a Starbucks settled with Philadelphia for $1 each and $200,000 to help young entrepreneurs. (NYT)

• Meet Jamie Martin, the man who sniffs out fakes for Sotheby’s. (NYT)

• Inside the world’s most elite traders’ club. A Brevan Howard founder’s new investment firm manages more money now than his old one.

• Blackstone profited by selling to Chinese deal-makers. Now it’s poised to buy those assets back. (Bloomberg)

• Deutsche Bank agreed to pay a former executive, Colin Fan, about $6 million to settle a lawsuit over withheld bonuses. (WSJ)

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We’d love your feedback. Please email thoughts and suggestions to bizday@nytimes.com.

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Profile: ‘In Italy, There Was the Pope and Then There Was Enzo Ferrari’


Ferrari is often remembered solely as cold and calculating, with his trademark trench coat and dark sunglasses. But Mr. Dal Monte wants readers to see the genius that Ferrari possessed. Yes, he was stubborn, but he was driven and determined to be successful. He used his charm and intelligence to get others to invest in him, said Mr. Dal Monte, who saw these qualities in Ferrari’s personal correspondence and his relationship with his sons, Alfredo “Dino,” who died in 1956 at the age of 24 from muscular dystrophy, and Piero, who was born out of wedlock to Ferrari’s longtime mistress, Lina Lardi. (Ferrari’s wife, Laura, suffered severe depression her entire life, and though he had affairs with other women they remained married until she died in 1978. Ferrari never remarried and died in 1988.)

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Enzo Ferrari started out as a racecar driver.

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David Bull Publishing

“In Italy, there was the Pope and then there was Enzo,” Mr. Dal Monte said as we drove north on New York Route 22, which hugs the state’s border with Connecticut and offers amazing views of the Kensico Reservoir. The GTB’s V12 engine screams with sophisticated mellifluous authority as revs climb, but Mr. Dal Monte is used to speaking over mechanical commotion.

“When I was in middle school I became fascinated with Enzo.” He remembers as a teenager in the late 1970s, taking an hourlong train ride from his hometown in Cremona to Modena early one morning with his brother, just to catch a glimpse of Ferrari having his morning shave at a barbershop. Ferrari stared out at them staring in at him, and smiled.

“Even then he was the Grand Old Man, not just of motor racing, but also of the country. You could hear him call in on some of the early TV automotive racing shows and discuss to the point of shouting with the talk show host in order to defend his cars and his drivers — more the cars than the drivers, actually.”

Mr. Dal Monte has always loved sports cars, but his fascination with Ferrari goes beyond that. “It was his lifelong struggle to succeed, to become someone, to beat the odds, to go down in history that intrigued me” he said.

What the book doesn’t capture is the circuitous route Mr. Dal Monte took going from Cremona to wrangling reporters in America, the world’s largest market for Ferrari, or how he came to write this comprehensive book.

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Enzo Ferrari in his signature trench coat and sunglasses talking to journalists during a press conference in 1966.

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David Bull Publishing

Mr. Dal Monte said it all goes back to his second great love (after cars and Ferrari) all things American. When he was a senior in high school, he spent a year as an exchange student in Kentucky and later attended the University of Kentucky, majoring in United States history while writing for the student newspaper, “The Kentucky Kernel.”

Though his first impulse was to become a journalist after graduating from college, when he returned to Italy, he was offered a plum job as a top executive in Peugeot’s Italian press office. Mr. Dal Monte said that his fluency in English and his knowledge of American culture helped him professionally at an early age and eventually got him the job at Ferrari.

Mr. Dal Monte had met Antonio Ghini, Ferrari’s spokesman in Italy, while visiting the company’s archives to research his first book about Formula One racing, which came out in Italy in 1999. In spring 2001, Mr. Dal Monte remembers Mr. Ghini asked him, “‘How would you like to go back home? How would you like to go back for Ferrari?’ And what do you think my reply was? ‘When can I start?’”

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Enzo Ferrari, left, in 1966, talking to Giovanni Canestrini, who was known as the dean of automotive journalists in Italy.

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David Bull Publishing

His duties grew to include overseeing the American relaunch of the Maserati brand, owned by this time, like Ferrari, by Fiat. But more the historian and journalist at heart than a marketing man, Mr. Dal Monte liked writing. His position with Maserati, which brought him back to Italy, gave him access to a wide range of primary materials. “One of the greatest assets in my research was the Alfa Romeo archives in Arese, near Milan.” There he found Enzo Ferrari’s personnel file from when Ferrari managed the company’s race team. These files documented Ferrari’s importance to Alfa Romeo, the great Italian racing power.

Mr. Dal Monte’s sense of history, however, was not solely grounded in dusty file folders and old racing scorecards. In addition to archival research, he moved to Modena, where Ferrari remains based, a working city that to this day also serves as a living shrine to the man and his automobiles. There he met and befriended many figures from Ferrari’s life over the course of the eight years it took him to write this book.

Still, “American politics is my real passion, and American history,” Mr. Dal Monte confessed. In Italy, his book is titled “Ferrari Rex,” a reference to Edmund Morris’s three-part well-regarded biography of Teddy Roosevelt, “Theodore Rex.” “My aim was high, to do for Ferrari what Morris did for Roosevelt.”

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Amazon Tries a New Delivery Spot: Your Car


The new in-car delivery service, which will be available in 37 cities and surrounding areas, is a variation of Amazon Key.

For in-car delivery to work, customers must have a 2015 or later Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle with an active account with OnStar, the roadside assistance and navigation service from General Motors. Car owners with 2015 or newer Volvos with a similar service, On Call, can also receive in-car deliveries from Amazon.

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After dropping off the package inside, the courier can close the trunk and consider the delivery complete.

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Matt Edge for The New York Times

Couriers can use those assistance services to find the cars through satellite location-tracking and unlock the trunk.

Amazon said the service will be expanded to other carmakers over time. The company conducted a small pilot test of in-car delivery in Germany in partnership with Audi and DHL several years ago.

The company says its systems will allow couriers to unlock vehicles only once for each scheduled delivery, to prevent unauthorized access. Still, the service will require a hefty amount of trust that a courier won’t swipe any valuables. The in-car service requires fewer protections than Amazon’s in-home delivery service, which requires customers to have an internet-connected front door lock and security camera to deter any shenanigans by a courier once they’re inside.

“We believe in offering customers choices,” said Rohit Shrivastava, general manager of Amazon Key. “This product may not be for everyone.”

Although statistics on the prevalence of package theft are elusive, police departments across the country say it has become commonplace, especially as internet shopping has become mainstream behavior. Package thieves have even earned a snappy moniker, “porch pirates.”

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said Amazon has for years been ferociously tackling every obstacle it can identify to customers buying more goods online. “This goes back to one-click ordering,” he said. “The company knows that the less friction you have, the better.”

Customers won’t be able to get in-car deliveries if they park inside gated and underground parking garages where satellite signals often can’t penetrate. The service seems aimed especially at people who leave their vehicles in the lots of large, easily accessible suburban office parks.

Car owners, who are frequently discouraged from leaving valuables in their vehicles, may rightly be concerned receiving an Amazon package to their cars when they’re not present could make them a target. Amazon said customers shouldn’t worry — it will take care of a broken window or lock that happens as a result of a delivery to a car.

“If the damage is caused by a delivery and a customer calls, we will make sure it’s right,” Mr. Shrivastava said.

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Ford Changed Leaders, Looking for a Lift. It’s Still Looking.


Just two years ago, Ford was cruising at high speed. Mr. Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields, guided the company to record earnings in 2015 — nearly $11 billion in pretax profit. Brimming with confidence, Mr. Fields approved several ambitious projects. He set off a hiring spree to stock up on software developers, engineers and other executives — talent that he believed Ford would need to compete as electric and self-driving cars reshape the auto industry.

Ford laid out a billion-dollar plan to remake its Dearborn, Mich., locations into a high-tech, Silicon Valley-like campus. The company invested in ride-sharing and other start-ups in a bid to turn itself into a “mobility” company. Mr. Fields and Ford’s chairman, William C. Ford Jr., called on a director — Mr. Hackett — to join the management ranks and run the mobility activities. It also introduced a $400,000 super sports car, the Ford GT.

But when Mr. Fields couldn’t move fast enough to head off slippage in Ford’s profits, the board dismissed him last May and handed the reins to Mr. Hackett, a former chief executive of Steelcase who is credited with turning around the office-furniture maker. And analysts question whether the vestiges of the Fields strategy will ever pay off.

The headquarters makeover might make Ford a more enticing place to work years down the road, but won’t generate the revenue growth the company needs now. The mobility businesses aren’t making money yet. And while the GT sports car turns heads, Ford is selling only 250 a year. “You have to ask the question: Is it really getting you showroom traffic?” said Brian Johnson of Barclays Capital.

Can Ford Turn Itself Into a Tech Company?

Its very name was synonymous with the 20th-century economy. Now it’s trying to catch up with Silicon Valley on self-driving cars.


Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup truck, introduced in late 2014, has been a strong seller and a big generator of profits. But other parts of its core business have been sputtering. As American consumers gravitated away from cars and toward trucks, S.U.V.s and roomy but fuel-efficient S.U.V. cousins known as crossovers, Ford began losing money on cars and allowed its S.U.V. and crossover lineup to age. The current Explorer S.U.V. was introduced in 2010, and the Escape in 2012. Competing models from Toyota, Honda, G.M. and others have since been redesigned and feature newer technology.

“What they should have done is invest in the new crossovers in 2015 and 2016,” said David Whiston, an analyst at Morningstar. Crossovers, he noted, now make up a third of the American car market.

Ford also decided to drop its small pickup, the Ranger. But it is now scrambling to introduce a redesigned version of the Ranger after realizing it was losing sales of small pickups to competitors.

Mr. Hackett and his executive team have presented overviews of his vision for Ford on Wall Street and elsewhere on several occasions. At an event in March, they promised to introduce a slew of new S.U.V.s, including high-performance and off-road models. But his presentations haven’t generated much enthusiasm with investors. Ford’s stock is trading at about $11, slightly below where it stood a year ago.

Mr. Whiston said he was willing to wait for Mr. Hackett to present a comprehensive plan. But he added, “It is strange that it’s been almost a year and we don’t have any concrete details.”

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The Week Ahead: Tech Companies Report Earnings and Economic Growth Data Is Released


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An Amazon warehouse in Florence, N.J. Amazon, a frequent target of President Trump, is one of several big tech companies that will report earnings this week.

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Bryan Anselm for The New York Times

Here’s what to expect in the week ahead:

TECHNOLOGY

Some of biggest tech companies report earnings.

Five of the best known companies in technology will report their earnings this week, including Twitter, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Two of the tech giants that will share their financial results have been under political assault, but for very different reasons. Facebook has come under scrutiny by Congress and regulators for its data practices and role in the spread of misinformation, while Amazon has become a punching bag for President Trump, who has attacked it for not collecting enough taxes and its relationship with the United States Postal Service. It’s not clear whether the financial results of either company were affected, but the attacks have nonetheless spooked investors in the past. Nick Wingfield

British panel hears testimony on Cambridge Analytica.

The researcher at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal will testify on Tuesday before a British panel investigating fake news and the use of social media in the weeks before the country voted to leave the European Union. The University of Cambridge researcher, Aleksandr Kogan, has been accused of improperly gathering personal data on millions of Facebook’s users and sharing the information with the voter-targeting firm Cambridge Analytica. On Thursday, the same panel, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, will hear from Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer. Mr. Schroepfer can expect to hear about the frustration of committee members who have wanted Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to testify rather than lower-ranking executives. The committee has little legislative authority, but is working on a much-anticipated report that aims to shed light on the ways that political campaigns have manipulated social media to win over voters. Adam Satariano

TRADE

European leaders will discuss trade with Trump.

President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte, will arrive in Washington early this week for a state visit, and they will be followed closely by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Friday. Their discussions with Mr. Trump are likely to center on global security concerns but also on his administration’s aggressive trade agenda, as an important trade deadline looms. On May 1, the exemptions that the United States granted several countries from steel and aluminum tariffs are set to expire, meaning the European Union and other close allies would to pay a steep premium to send metal into the United States. The Trump administration is hoping to use the tariffs as leverage in a trade negotiation, but European leaders have said they would not be bullied into concessions. Ana Swanson

AUTO INDUSTRY

Detroit automakers report earnings.

The three Detroit automakers all report first-quarter earnings this week, and most of the attention will focus on the struggling Ford Motor, which replaced its chief executive a year ago. Ford brought in Jim Hackett last May to reinvigorate earnings, cut costs and sharpen its strategy, but after 11 months on the job he’s offered few specifics on a turnaround plan. At least some details on cost-cutting are expected when Ford reports on Wednesday. General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles both present their results on Thursday, and are expected to show solid performances, thanks to sales of high-margin trucks and sport-utility vehicles. Neal E. Boudette

ECONOMY

Stimulus is on the European Central Bank’s agenda.

Have signs of a slowdown in Europe pushed back the European Central Bank’s timetable for ending its emergency stimulus measures? That will most likely be the chief question when Mario Draghi, the central bank’s president, holds a news conference on Thursday after a meeting of the bank’s Governing Council. The central bank is not expected to make any changes to its monetary policy at the meeting. But it will probably discuss whether a downturn in some economic indicators signals a slowdown or is just the result of one-time factors, including an especially brutal flu season that kept many workers off the job. Jack Ewing

BANKING

Deutsche Bank’s C.E.O. makes his debut on earnings call.

Christian Sewing, the new chief executive of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest lender, will take part in its first-quarter earnings report on Thursday. Mr. Sewing (pronounced “saving”), who was named to replace John Cryan this month amid chronic losses at the bank, will face investors and analysts in an early morning conference call. They will most likely interrogate Mr. Sewing about the bank’s strategy, which some investors complain is amorphous and unconvincing. Jack Ewing

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Overseer Faults Volkswagen’s Reform Efforts Since Emissions Scandal


Herbert Diess, who was named chief executive of Volkswagen earlier this month, delivered a stern lecture to top managers last week, complaining that the company generates too many scandals and must become more ethical.

“Ethics, integrity and compliance are core for him as a necessary foundation for our future business,” Peik von Bestenbostel, Volkswagen’s vice president for global group communications, said in an email on Sunday in which he confirmed Mr. Diess’s remarks.

Mr. von Bestenbostel said that the objectives outlined in the report by Mr. Thompson are valid and “will help to change Volkswagen in the right direction.”

Mr. Diess replaced Matthias Müller, who had prevented a collapse in Volkswagen sales in the wake of the scandal but struggled to remove the cloud it cast over the company’s reputation. A former BMW executive, Mr. Diess began working at Volkswagen only a few months before the emissions cheating became public and is less tainted by it.

Mr. Diess is likely to be less restrained by personal connections to Volkswagen managers or other employees linked to the emissions wrongdoing. Mr. Müller spent his entire career at Volkswagen or its divisions and had worked closely with some of the people suspected of playing a leading role.

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Herbert Diess, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Mr. Diess, who was just named chief executive of Volkswagen, delivered a stern lecture on ethics last week to top managers.

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Tony Ding/Associated Press

Despite promises to reform, Volkswagen remains dominated by longtime insiders, and there have been few visible legal or disciplinary consequences for people involved in the emissions cheating. Volkswagen did not keep a promise to publish an internal report on the causes of the scandal prepared by the Jones Day law firm.

As he tries to take a tougher approach, Mr. Diess is also likely to face resistance to change within the sprawling Volkswagen empire, which is famous for its insular, hierarchical corporate culture.

Mr. Thompson is one year into a three-year assignment that was part of Volkswagen’s guilty plea last year to United States Justice Department charges that included obstruction of justice and conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Volkswagen promised to take steps to prevent the same kind of thing from happening again.

Mr. Thompson’s job is to make sure that Volkswagen complies, and the report he submitted this month to the Justice Department is the first of three annual assessments.

Since being appointed the Volkswagen monitor in April 2017, Mr. Thompson has avoided the limelight but, as the report indicates, he has made his presence known at the company’s Wolfsburg headquarters. Though based in Atlanta, Mr. Thompson has an office in the same building as members of the management board and has made an effort to learn German.

Mr. Thompson has substantial leverage over the company. If he concluded that Volkswagen was violating the terms of the plea agreement, it could be voided and the company would land back in court.

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Matthias Müller was replaced as chief executive of Volkswagen earlier this month. He prevented a collapse in Volkswagen sales in the wake of the scandal but struggled to remove the cloud it cast over the company’s reputation.

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John Macdougall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Among other things, Mr. Thompson has been urging Volkswagen to create a more effective whistleblower system to allow employees to report suspected wrongdoing without endangering their careers. He has also been pressing the company to improve its systems for vetting vehicle software.

The emissions scandal occurred after a group of employees, including some who reported to top management, devised software that caused diesel engines to emit less nitrogen oxide pollution when the engine computer detected that the car was being tested.

The software was installed in 11 million cars over almost a decade, but as far as is known no employees reported its existence to the authorities until shortly before the company confessed in September 2015.

During a long career, Mr. Thompson has worked in both government and private industry, including stints as a federal prosecutor in Georgia and general counsel of PepsiCo. In 1991, Mr. Thompson advised Clarence Thomas in his battle to win nomination to the Supreme Court in the face of sexual harassment accusations.

Though Mr. Thompson is a Republican, he has been sharply critical of Donald Trump. He was among former high-ranking government officials who published a letter during the presidential campaign in 2016 that said that Mr. Trump “would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

The letter also said that “Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.”

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Central Park’s Scenic Drives Will Soon Be Car-Free


Groups such as the Central Park Conservancy and the New York Road Runners celebrated the decision for the benefit it will have for runners and bicyclists in the park as well as for the environment. Last year, 42 million people visited Central Park.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio in the park on Friday. “This park was not built for automobiles,” he said, “It was built for people.”

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Edu Bayer for The New York Times

“What we are saying is that the street doesn’t belong only to drivers, it belongs to all of us,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan.

The evolution of Central Park’s drives has been decades in the making. In 1966, Mayor John V. Lindsay first announced that Central Park would be closed to cars on Sundays. The next year, Saturdays were added. In 2015, Mr. de Blasio banned cars on Central Park drives north of 72nd Street, which had been open during certain hours of the morning and afternoon rush. In January, Mr. de Blasio also permanently banned cars from Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Christopher Nolan, chief operating officer for the Central Park Conservancy, said there has been a steady shift in the notion of the car’s role in urban life.

“People have a focus on urban life that’s not dependent on the car,” Mr. Nolan said. “You come to the park to escape the city. By letting the cars in, you perforate the edge of the park and let the city in.”

As the city has closed more and more of Central Park to cars, drivers have adjusted, said Polly Trottenberg, the city’s transportation commissioner.

West Drive, for example, located between 72nd Street and the Seventh Avenue exit and open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays, is used by 1,050 vehicles per day, according to the Department of Transportation. East Drive, between Sixth Avenue and 72 Street, is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and is used by 3,400 vehicles per day.

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Horse-drawn carriages will be allowed to continue in the park. The mayor has not banned them, despite pledging to do so years ago.

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Edu Bayer for The New York Times

The impact on surrounding streets is expected to be minimal, Ms. Trottenberg said. New York Police Department traffic agents will be at intersections to help ease the transition.

“It takes a few weeks, but people find new routes and blend into the grid,” Ms. Trottenberg said. “Particularly here in Manhattan, there are a lot of different routes people can take.”

Pedicabs and horse-drawn carriages will also be allowed to continue in the park. Mr. de Blasio pledged to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry on the first day of his administration. Three months into his second term, he has been unable to do so.

As city officials, bicyclists and joggers celebrated the news, Mory Kaba, 56, a cabdriver for the last decade, said he wasn’t looking forward to the change.

“You run from the traffic by going through the park,” Mr. Kaba said Friday while waiting for a fare in front of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

He said he uses the Central Park loop at least three times per day, though he had been expecting the full closure after the drives above 72nd Street were closed in 2015.

“I don’t make money sitting in traffic,” Mr. Kaba said, his cab inching toward the front of the line. “But what can I do?”

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