Category: News Blog

By on March 1, 2021

Several weeks ago, Tesla officially announced planned updates to the Model S and Model X as part of a comprehensive refresh. The vehicles would be getting more interior screens, improved software, and a top-of-the-line “Plaid” trim. Customers are also supposed to be given the option of purchasing a butterfly-shaped steering rig — which was quite the surprise.

While the system works well on airplanes and dedicated racing vehicles, using a yoke to navigate smoothly around town is an exercise in futility. Their design may make it easy to make mid-corner adjustments at high speeds, but they lack the ability to make a complete rotation with any fluidity. As such, many believed Tesla would tone things down from conceptual renderings and the steering wheel would be a yoke in name only. But they appear to have been mistaken. Over the weekend, a Twitter user started leaking shots of a prototype Model S sporting the rectangular steering… uh… wheel?  Read More >

By on March 1, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is the premier offering from Spyker Cars, a deceased Dutch firm that was reborn at the turn of the century. Spyker made sure not to cut any corners with their all-new car.

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By on March 1, 2021

As much as we like to chide domestic automakers for abandoning traditional cars for the juicier margins of crossover vehicles, they haven’t done away with them entirely. Cadillac even went so far as to introduce Blackwing variants of the CT4-V and the CT5-V in 2021, something many claimed was necessary after the V-Series lost some of its mightiness when the new models arrived. Apparently, General Motors wants its luxury division to keep it up with the Blackwing models while it continues to expand the V-Series lineup.

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By on February 27, 2021

volvo emblem logo grille

Despite having already having Volvo Cars as one of its many subsidiaries, China’s Geely signaled roughly a year ago that it wanted to merge with the brand as part of its strategy to expand globally. Plans changed on this week when the company announced that the duo will be retaining their independent corporate structures, though they will continue working on a joint development program for electric vehicles.

This means more backing for the Lynk & Co. brand, a technology-focused joint venture Geely launched with Volvo in 2016. Lynk is hoping to bridge the gap between traditional vehicle sales and subscription-based models, while also pioneering telematics and other connected services that look like an invasion of privacy to some and a technological breakthrough to others. Regardless, the industry as a whole seems convinced this represents the evolution of the automobile and a stable source of revenue for companies capable of monetizing large amounts of data — often with the help of the world’s largest technology firms.  Read More >

By on February 26, 2021

Pennzoil

Pennzoil has announced it will offer carbon neutral passenger car lubricants in North America, starting with their Platinum line of full synthetic motor oils. This is a quantum leap forward for parent corporation Shell to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.

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By on February 26, 2021

The outside firm Nikola hired to conduct the internal investigation looking into the validity of claims made by ousted founder Trevor Milton has reached a conclusion. Milton does appear to have been fabricating the status of the company’s technology and how far along its prototypes were. But Nikola wasn’t helping and ended up being implicated in a few falsehoods of its own.

Some wealthy individual lying to a sea of people for the sake of making money is hardly news, however. The entire world runs on politicians and business people going back on promises made months earlier and clarifying statements that never seem to illuminate anything. What makes Milton’s offense so bad is that he seems to have used the power of lying to mislead investors who might have otherwise made money. Nikola shares never truly recovered from the exposé published by Hindenburg Research as part of its plan to short the company, and those who never bothered to question the legitimacy of its technical claims before investing are suddenly very interested in knowing everything about the business.

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By on February 26, 2021

Did you ever wonder which vehicle is credited with being the very first personal luxury car? Wonder no more, as it’s today’s Rare Ride, the Muntz Jet.

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By on February 25, 2021

fca
Jeep is laying off 150 workers that would have otherwise been employed at its Belvidere Assembly Plant, which actually produces the Jeep Cherokee instead of the long defunct, full-size Plymouth. Based on the timing, this decision appears to have something to do with the FCA-PSA Group merger that formed Stellantis.

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By on February 25, 2021

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has revealed its new mail truck after a 6-year competition, selecting the duck-billed option from Wisconsin-based defense contractor Oshkosh. Its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) will officially replace the Grumman Long Life Vehicle (LLV) starting in 2023. Though the LLV spent the last 20 years being gradually supplanted by anything large enough to haul a bag of mail, it’s technically the last vehicle commissioned for use by the USPS.

Sadly, the postal service’s decision also represents a major loss for Ohio-based Workhorse. Its battery electric W-15 seemed to represent the government’s greener ambitions and was capable of 80-mile journeys before a gasoline-powered range extender kicks on. While a smart design, we think the manufacturer would have been better served by having ties to the military, like Oshkosh and Grumman. Workhorse’s share price has been falling ever since news broke that the USPS wouldn’t be needing its services, however analysts are under the impression that it will eventually rebound.

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By on February 25, 2021

NASCAR

NASCAR’s inaugural run at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas will take place May 21-23, and Speedway Motorsports, the event organizer, announced their entitlement partners today.

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By on February 25, 2021

Ford badge emblem logo

On Wednesday, Ford CEO Jim Farley told attendees of the Wolfe Research Auto Conference that the United States needs to start building batteries for the industry’s planned deluge of electric vehicles now that semiconductor shortages have revealed the dangers of needing to source essential components from the other side of the planet.

Farley is likely correct in stating that America really should be able to supply itself, and not just in regard to semiconductor chips. Pandemic-related lockdowns crippled countless industries by upsetting the balance of supply lines. Halfway through 2020, farmers were dumping millions of gallons of milk per day and plowing up fields of eatable vegetables as restaurants were shutdown; factories were idled as part shortages became commonplace; cleaning supplies and disinfectants became impossible to find.

But it’s hard to translate that into sympathy for Ford because, while all of the above was happening, the automaker’s leadership was saying that there was no good reason to manufacture its own batteries.

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By on February 24, 2021

Defender

The Land Rover Defender, absent from the U.S. for a quarter of a century, has made its return in both a 90 and 110 super size. Available from 296 HP mild to 518 HP wild, there’s one available in just about any configuration you’d want.

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By on February 24, 2021

We recently published an article about Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 5 EV and closed by suggesting it might be desirable that North America wouldn’t be the first to get them. If you read our post about the automaker’s current situation with supplier LG Chem, you may have already been able to guess why we feel this way. The manufacturer is looking down the barrel of an expensive recall relating to battery fires and EVs have a propensity to experience botched product launches. Considering the newness of the technology, some of that is to be expected. But that may not be the whole story.

News has begun circulating that Hyundai and Kia would begin sourcing more products from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and Korea’s SK Innovation. We’ve likewise seen reports coming out of Korea stating that the automaker had decided to install SK batteries in the Ioniq 5, presumably because the units it has already sold to Hyundai haven’t been implicated in any fire-related recalls.

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By on February 24, 2021

Today’s Rare Ride is a custom-built version of an already-exclusive car. Originally a large sedan, Xenatec’s 57 S coupe was built only in the single digits.

And this particular example was ordered by a dictator.

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By on February 24, 2021

Hyundai will be recalling 82,000 electric vehicles sold around the world due to a presumed fire risk and its getting a little ugly, though that’s nothing new for the industry. Reports of the brand’s Kona Electric going up in flames (often while charging) started springing up in 2019, causing the manufacturer to call them back for a software update that was supposed to remedy the issue. But South Korean officials decided more needed to be done after one of the fixed vehicles caught fire in January. An investigation was launched and now Hyundai is on the hook for a 1 trillion won ($900 million USD) recall — including the nearly 40 billion won was spent on the initial software solution.

But how much of the blame does Hyundai really deserve when other manufacturers are having similar issues with their electric cars? Couldn’t the supplier be somewhat responsible? Absolutely not, explains battery supplier LG Chem.

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