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How Will The Green New Deal Change Transportation?

The Green New Deal (GND) is a resolution from U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, both Democrats. It highlights the need to take bold measures to mitigate the growing threat of climate change, plus the prevalent problem of income inequality.

Transportation is a major aspect of the GND. Here are some of the transportation-related topics it covers and the changes that might occur.

A Net-Zero Emissions Goal

An earlier version of the GND set a milestone of the United States achieving zero emissions for the transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors by 2030. However, the latest edition of the GND proposes getting to the point of net-zero emissions. That means greenhouse gas emissions still happen, but at levels short of what the atmosphere naturally gets rid of or stores.

The people working to implement the changes rolled back their initial vision after realizing the difficulty of zero emissions in certain cases, such as for air travel.

More Dependence on Different Forms of Getting Around

People in the United States who can afford them love the convenience cars provide. Whether they’re going on long-distance road trips or heading across town for groceries, they hop into those vehicles and go.

The Green New Deal hopes to change that behavior. It proposes a high-speed rail network that helps people reach their destinations without booking flights. Some individuals pointed out that it’s not possible to cease using planes, but the GND doesn’t aim to do that.

It discusses “… overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; clean, affordable and accessible public transit; and high-speed rail.”

BMW’s i line features high-tech electric vehicles that help change people’s ideas about future cars, and numerous other manufacturers have followed suit with models that don’t need fossil fuels to run.

Ocasio-Cortez also advocated for using bike lanes and public transit on Twitter in mid-2018, although the GND doesn’t specifically mention the former. In any case, this plan seeks to encourage Americans to travel in ways that may be unfamiliar now but could become commonplace and even convenient.

There’s a lot of work to do before reaching that stage, however.

Automobile Enhancements Are Ongoing

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast

Many people know the automobile industry takes continual steps toward progress in areas like fuel economy. For example, enhanced rolling resistance and better truck aerodynamics can cause such gains in long-haul vehicles. BMW, for example, intended to roll out more electric vehicles before the GND captured mainstream attention.

In early November 2018, BMW’s CEO said the brand aims to release five new all-electric vehicles by 2021. It also has other eco-friendly options in the works, such as plug-in hybrids. Those efforts align with what the GND hopes to do.

What About the Potential Downsides?

Some analysts chimed in to say that these transportation proposals are too far-reaching, especially in a short timeframe. Electric vehicles are far from mainstream adoption, only making up a tiny percentage of overall cars on the road. Moreover, although the prices have come down, they’re still not cheap and are likely out of reach for people in low-income brackets.

It’s also possible automakers would have to scale up their manufacturing efforts too quickly. Such rapid growth is undoubtedly difficult to manage.

Also, train travel works well for densely populated metropolitan areas, but not for residents in rural places. So, there are notable disadvantages for people in isolated towns that cannot afford electric vehicles — or cars of any type — and don’t have nearby rail networks to use.

Still in the Early Stages

In light of these possible pitfalls, people must keep in mind the “as much as is technologically feasible” line from the Green New Deal. It’s inevitable that some of the things proposed won’t work as well as advocates expect and could even be impossible.

On a positive note, perhaps the GND will encourage people to think about future improvements in the transportation sector with more open minds while being motivated by the time-based characteristic it brings.

How Close Is BMW to Creating Autonomous Vehicles?

There’s been a ton of buzz surrounding self-driving cars recently, both about BMW and the broader auto industry. It seems like we’re perpetually on the cusp of a world in which no one has to physically drive their own cars anymore. When will autonomous vehicles — and, more specifically, self-driving BMWs — really be ready?

The Five Levels of Autonomous Driving

Experts define five levels of autonomous driving, with each one being more advanced than the one before it. Level one includes driver assist technologies that help the driver but don’t take control over the car. In level five, the vehicle operates itself completely, and the people in the car are merely passengers.

Level one technologies are commonplace in today’s world, and all new BMW models have them. BMW Personal CoPilot driver assistance systems are examples of level one tech. These systems include Active Cruise Control with the Stop&Go function, which adjusts your distance to the car in front of you. The Collision and Pedestrian Warning system with City Brake Activation uses automatic braking to prevent collisions.

Some Beamers also have level two technologies. In this level, the car can take control, but the driver is still responsible for vehicle operation. These systems include BMW’s Steering and Lane Control Assistant, which includes Traffic Jam Assistant. Designed to make everyday driving easier, these systems can take over steering, in addition to automatically braking and accelerating. Another example is the remote-controlled parking function.

In keeping with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s autonomous vehicle testing guidelines, BMW is currently testing cars with level three and level four autonomy. It aims to introduce level three cars to the consumer marker by 2021. These vehicles would be able to drive autonomously for longer periods, but drivers would still need to be ready to take control quickly and would have to drive under some conditions.

BMW is also testing level four cars and has a fleet of around 40 of them in Munich and California. In level four, the vehicle drives autonomously the majority of the time, although the driver must still be able to take over.

BMW’s Current Efforts

With a research and development team of about 1,000 people, BMW is working continuously on its autonomous vehicle technologies. The company does much of its research and development work out of its Silicon Valley technology office. The company is also testing the vehicles in California and Munich.

The test vehicles are loaded with cameras, lidar systems and other sensors that allow them to capture data about their environment. This includes information about the motion of other vehicles, the presence of pedestrians and other hazards. Hardware located in the trunk of the cars process all this information and puts it into action.

BMW is working with several partners on its autonomous vehicle tech, including Intel Corp., which owns sensor maker Mobileye. BMW also works with German automotive parts maker Continental AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. BMW has said it’s open to working with other collaborators and is pursuing a nonexclusive platform for the development of self-driving technology.

The iNext Concept

The Vision iNext concept provides a glimpse into what the future of BMW vehicles may look like. The idea behind the iNext concept is to turn the vehicle into a “living space on wheels.” It’s designed to be a place where you can relax as if you were at home, while still having the option of the driving experience BMW is known for.

The driver has two options for what experience they want to have in this iNext concept vehicle. In Boost mode, the driver is in full control, and the steering wheel is easily accessible. In Ease mode, the car operates autonomously. The steering wheel retracts slightly, freeing up some space. The vehicle includes two interactive digital screens that display information, such as your speed and your proximity to other cars.

The company premiered the concept at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It plans to have a production version in its showrooms by 2021 in the form of a level-three, all-electric SUV from its “i” brand.

Today’s new BMWs already have some autonomous functionalities, but we’re still a relatively long way off from fully autonomous, level five vehicles. We need more technological advancements as well as substantial safety testing, and federal rules will need to evolve further before we can fully adopt self-driving vehicles. BMW, however, expects Beamers with level-three capabilities to hit showrooms by 2021.

BMW, along with the rest of the auto industry, is moving steadily toward an autonomous future.

How to Become a BMW Salesperson

So, you want to be a BMW salesperson. While the job can be challenging at times, it does have its perks — the chance to make a decent living and spend a significant portion of your day talking about BMWs.

The pay for car salespeople varies widely depending on where you work and how skilled you are at selling cars since a significant portion of your pay comes from commissions. According to payscale.com, the average pay is $41,768.

Most BMW salespeople, however, make between $89,000 and $171,000, according to glassdoor.com. On top of that, most automobile salespeople sell between 200 and 1,000 cars every year and average more than one each day.

Being a car salesperson isn’t for everyone though. You need to be great with people and have skills in sales and customer service. You also need to have knowledge of cars and financing options.

Plus, you have to be prepared to be on your feet all day and work long hours, weekends and some holidays. If you want to work at BMW, you should also have a passion for beamers.

If you think you’re up for the challenge though, being a BMW salesperson can be an excellent career. Here’s how to make it happen.

Gain Experience

You don’t need a college degree to become a BMW salesperson, but you should have completed high school. It can be helpful if you’ve completed some sort of commercial or technical professional training related to sales, marketing or a related field.

You could take a few classes at a local college or enroll in an online training program. If you hope to move into a management position, a bachelor’s degree in business may be helpful.

BMW also prefers that you have some sort of experience in sales or customer service. You might start in a retail, sales or customer service position unrelated to cars, or you could get a job at another car dealership before moving up to BMW. The dealership you apply to will also consider your personality, skill set and enthusiasm for BMW.

Apply to Become a Junior Salesperson

Once you feel you’re ready, you can apply to become a junior salesperson at BMW. Simply search BMW’s website for open positions or look in the classifieds section of your local newspaper.

Complete the BMW Training Program

If your application is accepted, BMW will automatically enroll you in its car salesperson training program. The program is modular and will adapt to your experience and skill level. It will take a maximum of 12 months to complete. The program consists of several phases:

  • The introductory training will teach you about the BMW brand, the product lines, the BMW technologies most crucial for sales and the steps of the sales process. This will take about one week.
  • The basics module takes about two weeks and involves learning the essential consultation techniques and putting them into practice. It concludes with an exam and oral test.
  • The advanced modules will help you to improve your existing skills as needed. You’ll look at real-life cases and work with BMW retail organizations.
  • The specializations modules will teach you additional skills depending on your department, the size of your dealership and other conditions.

Check License Requirements

Depending on the state you live in, you may need a license to become a car salesperson. Check the requirements for your home state.

In California, you need to submit an application and pay a fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In Colorado, you need to pass an exam in addition to submitting an application and paying a fee.

You can also choose to participate in voluntary certification programs through organizations such as the Society of Automotive Sales Professionals (SASP) and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Move Up

Once you complete the above requirements, you can become a BMW salesperson. If you do well and decide to stay in the field, you may eventually want to move up. Junior salespeople can eventually be promoted to more senior sales positions.

If you want to become a sales manager, you may need to go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in business if you don’t already have one. After some more time in the industry, you may even decide to start your own dealership or buy an existing one and run the whole operation.

The requirements to become a BMW salesperson aren’t extremely stringent, but the job can be demanding and requires a specific set of skills. If you find success in this field, you can have a rewarding career as a BMW salesperson.