Tabless batteries and a Plaid trim level of the Model S made the biggest news at Tesla’s much-hyped “Battery Day.”
Batteries that last longer, cost less, and have more power will help drive EV adoption, and the new 4680 tabless battery cells, which are cylindrical and larger, are claimed to provide five times as much energy as before, with six times the power and up to 16 percent more range. Tesla says production on these batteries has already begun.
The New York Times, or one writer paid by the New York Times (one journalist’s take or analysis or opinion doesn’t represent the entire paper, you know), had a piece out a couple days ago claiming the dawn of the EV age is now.
Somehow, I missed this article until now. But let’s a look at its assertions, shall we, and see what is and is not accurate?
We wrote last week about rumors that Ford was testing a Bronco with the Sasquatch Package and a manual transmission. That was remarkable because Ford initially said the off-road-performance package would only be available on automatic transmission vehicles.
Which, of course, caused enthusiasts to howl. Especially on Twitter.
We’re as tired of teasers as you likely are, but Ford nevertheless slipped one into its other news from earlier this week.
Matt noted that Ford claimed the truck would be cheaper to own than the gas model, and that it would be produced in Michigan as part of a major investment, but what else do we know about it?
We recently wrote about the upcoming Volkswagen compact SUV that the company has been teasing ahead of an October debut.
Now we have a name, if not much else. Well, we do know at least one other thing – it will be unveiled (virtually, we presume) on October 13.
Oh, and one other thing – it will be built specifically for the North American market.
Ford’s Ranger is getting some serious off-road goods for 2021.
No, we don’t mean the Ford Ranger Raptor is finally coming Stateside, although most of us here in TTAC-land would love that. Nah, today we’re talking about a Tremor off-road package for the 2021 Ford Ranger.
You may have spotted a crop of recent headlines and briefly thought that Mitsubishi has designs on returning to the sports car market.
Sorry to burst that particular bubble.
However, if, like me, you spent at least a portion of the 1990s daydreaming about the 3000GT, a report from Motor1 suggests that you might have reason to dream. Well, only if the automaker listens to outsiders who have talent and enthusiasm but not an employee ID.
Slides from an Acura dealer webinar have leaked onto the Internet, and Acura fans, take note.
While almost anything on Reddit needs to be approached with a reasonably skeptical eye – do you really think all those posts on r/relationships are real? – there are a few news nuggets to mine here.
Connectivity is one of those special buzzwords used across most industries, whether it be for a virtual meeting app, a washing machine, or a car. All companies seem to think we need more of it. Today we want to know — are you a fan of cars that come equipped with over-the-air update connectivity?
It’s big and it sells very well, but the upcoming Chevrolet Traverse is having something of an identity issue. Unveiled in top-trim form last month, the refreshed version of the second-generation Traverse was expected to go on sale late this year as a 2021 model.
Fast-forward a few weeks and that plan’s off the table.
Silly naming convention aside – what’s with the misplace period and the dual z’s/zeds, Volkswagen? – the Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion Concept is meant to preview something sleek.
A drag coefficient of 0.24 is nothing to sneeze at, indeed. Had my crappy CAD designs gotten that sort of number in eighth grade, perhaps I’ve have earned an A and would be designing cars instead of writing about them.
Yesterday, TTAC reported on a leaked video (quickly confirmed by Ford) that showed an all-new “Mustang-inspired” model due for debut in November. A sleek, four-door CUV appears on the screen. Highlighted in silhouette, its design represents so many familiar Mustang cues. It’s the Mustang of the future, and it’s a future that will be electric and have four doors.
Between 1953 and a few weeks ago, the Chevrolet Corvette stuck to a very specific formula: Engine at the front, driven wheels at the back. With the debut of the 2020 C8 Corvette, all of that changed. Today we want to find out what you think about the metamorphosis of an iconic sports car nameplate.
The news of Nissan’s recent financial trouble brought attention right where it needs to be: on lackluster product. In our most recent reporting regarding Nissan’s sales woes, I was asked in the comments whether I had any ideas for improvement. Well that got me thinking (and worked up), and it turns out I do have ideas, and they fall into three major categories.
A Mazda inline-six cylinder engine developed for a rear wheel-drive-based platform has been industry knowledge since news broke in May. But new reporting from Best Car in Japan confirm that Toyota/Lexus and Mazda will share that rear wheel-drive platform and inline-six engine.
Mazda’s inline-six engine development will include Skyativ-X (gasoline) and Skyativ-D (diesel) variants, mounted longitudinally. Additionally, a 48-volt mild-hybrid electrical system and all-wheel-drive variants will be offered. The question is what this has to do with Toyota.
The unlikely alliance between BMW and Daimler, solidified earlier this year, is in the opening stages of producing something tangible. The duo are already said to be working on a joint platform for electric vehicles, which the German business publication Manager Magazin claims will underpin a new EV from BMW.
Called the i2, the battery-powered subcompact is to be slotted beneath BMW’s existing i3. While rumored to be similar in size, the i2 will abandon the i3’s carbon fiber body in an attempt to minimize costs and broaden appeal. Daimler would follow by producing its own version, likely using Mercedes-Benz’s EQ sub-brand.
Earlier this year, Mazda showed off its all-new 3 sedan in Los Angeles. The new compact’s intent is to impress a revised, upscale image on the brand. While the 3 delivered in quality, overall refinement, and driving enjoyment, it managed only middling marks with regard to power.
Now, Mazda has upped its game with a more stylish hatchback variant and the additional capability of an all-wheel drive system. But do style and substance mesh in the more expensive hatchback? We went back to California to find out.
Following reports that the Fiat 500 would see the inclusion of a new all-electric powertrain in 2020, Fiat Chrysler has confirmed the model will actually become a dedicated EV — foregoing internal combustion entirely.
While the vehicle’s overall dimensions are to be retained, FCA chief marketing officer Olivier François said the small car would place additional emphasis on attainable urban luxury and electrification.
“Premium is the way we will go with the EV 500,” he told AutoExpress in a recent interview. “A new 500, totally renewed. A new object. Totally electric. It’s kind of an urban Tesla, with beautiful style. Italianess, dolce vita in an electric car. It’s the polar opposite of Centoventi.”
Automakers across the globe are readying teaser images for models they intend to debut at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show next month. For Subaru, that means the latest addition to its Viziv line of concept vehicles.
While initial Viziv concepts were highly conceptual designs, the line has gradually evolved to deliver models more in line with Subaru’s production vehicles. The 2016 Viziv-7 ultimately led to the creation of the Ascent and both the 2017 Viziv Performance Concept and 2018 Tourer Concept appear to directly foreshadow future incarnations of the WRX. But the new concept is an unknown quantity.
On Monday, Matthew Guy asked all of you to nominate vehicles that were ahead of their time. Those rare occasions where vehicles anticipated the desires of consumers, even before said desires were fully formed. Today, we flip it around and talk about [s]Hall and Oates lyrics[/s] vehicles which were out of touch or behind the times, even when new.
Mitsubishi is too busy turning the brand around to bother trickling out newsworthy content to the media. Much of what you read in the press relates to how the brand is doing as the newest addition to the Renault-Nissan Alliance, hot takes regarding its marketing decisions, and the occasional update from auto executives on future products. For the most part, the latter issue can be paraphrased into “more utility models as soon as we can get them to you,” though the company does have limited aspirations for a new sedan and pickup.
However, crossovers come first at Mitsubishi. On Tuesday, the brand put out the initial teaser for its Engelberg Tourer Concept — an ultra-modern CUV with off-road ambitions headed for a debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.
We travelled to the small and traffic-free city of Los Angeles last week to check out the newly revamped 2019 Mazda 3, the first product launched under the automaker’s equally new premium philosophy. The next-gen compact apparently heralds the introduction of other higher-end models.
So, is this all-important foundational compact car any good? Let’s find out.
Are the 66,716 Americans who helped take the venerable Dodge Challenger to a new sales record in 2018 just Luddites, rebelling against a rising tide of electrification and autonomy? Maybe, but the era of a Challenger line powered solely by gasoline is drawing to a close.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley addressed the muscle car’s future at this week’s Detroit auto show, admitting that, at some point, the Challenger needs to grow greener. That means venturing into the unsexy world of electrification — an unthinkable act for some American muscle purists.
Numerous observers walked away from the North American Auto Show, and more specifically Cadillac’s NAIAS Eve unveiling event, wondering whether electric crossovers are even more homogenous looking than their internal combustion brethren.
So, when Ford’s North American president, Kumar Galhotra, claims a Lincoln vehicle born of the Ford Mach E (or some similar name) will carry on the brand’s tradition of “quiet luxury,” one wonders how a vehicle without the need for a traditional grille will avoid getting lost in a sea of anonymity.
As it prepares to launch a battery electric crossover, likely named Mach E, in 2020, Ford’s product boss told Blue Oval fans — and nervous investors — that the company isn’t in the habit of losing money with its products. As such, the upcoming Mustang-inspired crossover, like Ford’s other planned EVs, won’t be Fiat 500e-like money drain.
That’s one of the company’s promises, and here’s another: an electric F-150 and Transit.
Cooperation and borrowing between auto manufacturers is nothing new, and it isn’t always a bad thing. For example, look what happened in the 1980s when Lincoln borrowed a BMW inline-six turbodiesel for its Continental Mark VII luxury coupe. Oh, maybe that’s not the best example. But two events this week have led to a couple of new examples for us to ponder.
How do you think these cooperative automotive projects will fare?
Volkswagen spent the past year and change hinting that its Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant could become ground zero for an electric American product offensive, and guess what? That’s exactly what VW plans to do.
In a not-at-all surprising announcement, the German automaker said it plans to build electric vehicles at its only American plant, which just happens to have plenty of excess capacity. Backing up this promise is $800 million, which, in addition to funding the necessary tooling, should lead to the creation of 1,000 new jobs.
Everyone else is doing it. And, if lawmakers on this side of the Atlantic start going the way of their European counterparts, traditional American luxury will need a shot of cleanliness. Even if they don’t, a fickle U.S. public might suddenly fall in love with the green lifestyle and give a big middle finger to internal combustion road cruisers.
Not wanting to be left without a savior in this future scenario, and needing some electric American prestige to sell to discerning Chinese buyers, Cadillac unveiled this piece of emissions-free hardware on the eve of the North American International Auto Show. It’s not vaporware, General Motors insists.
Late last year, Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz suggested the automaker, after taking stock of its inventory, might cut some struggling product from its store shelves. It now seems on the verge of adding a new one.
Bound for a Detroit debut, the company’s Lexus LC Convertible Concept is not a way-out pipe dream unveiled by an automaker hoping to generate buzz with an inch-deep piece of vaporware. Instead, it is simply the division’s high-zoot LC coupe, sans roof. And all of the wording surrounding the car screams that production is nearly inevitable — so long as the public responds favorably.
Remember the Cadillac ELR? Your author saw a single, solitary unit in the wild once, and there’s a good chance a journalist was behind the wheel. Not long for this world, the plug-in hybrid Caddy coupe gave way to the stately (but equally low-volume) CT6 Plug-in, whose death was revealed shortly before that of the sedan itself.
Not to be deterred from its goal of advancing electrification, or at least competing against glitzy foreign rivals, General Motors has announced the brand will once again pick up the green torch.
The sky’s apparently the limit when it comes to the variety of vehicles that might emerge from Volkswagen’s dedicated MEB electric architecture. While the automaker’s looming EV onslaught already contains a hatchback, crossover, microbus, panel van, and possible luxury sedan, VW feels something’s missing: a tough, off-road ute.
One VW exec is pushing hard to give electric vehicles a brawnier image.
Once the Fiesta drains from North American Ford lots following its May 2019 discontinuation, it’s up to the company’s subcompact EcoSport crossover to draw entry-level buyers into the Blue Oval fold.
Imported from India, the second-generation EcoSport, which first arrived on these shores at the dawn of 2018, kicked off for the 2013 model year overseas, making the EcoSport anything but all-new. Luckily, there’s a replacement in the works.
“I thought the sun rose in your eyes, and the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave … to the dark … and the endless skies, my love,” sang Roberta Flack in the heady and decadent early ’70s. Suffice it to say this writer didn’t feel the earth move in his hand upon gazing at the Infiniti QX Inspiration, not did his heart tremble like a captive bird.
The QX Inspiration, like the Q Inspiration concept of 2018, heralds Infiniti’s electric — or at least electrified — future, and it’s a future without a face.
Rumors and Omissions: Chrysler's Product Future Remains Hazy, but Might Not Be As Threadbare As You Think
The once-mighty Chrysler brand is not a purveyor of niche sports cars, so its two-vehicle lineup continues to draw attention to itself. To call its lineup sparse would be an understatement. Still, despite a change in its priorities (sparked by the ascension of Jeep and Ram), Fiat Chrysler’s not giving up on the 93-year-old brand.
It would be weird to hop on the Chrysler Freeway in Detroit, head to Auburn Hills, pass by the Walter P. Chrysler Museum on the way, then head to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles headquarters at 1000 Chrysler Drive if the Chrysler brand didn’t exist.
While 2018 brought us news of a new (and fairly wild) Chrysler product, it also pushed two anticipated models into the Maybe Not Zone while throwing away another model’s future. Is there any hope of a Chrysler lineup that’s not a two-car parade? Apparently, there is.
Luckily for no one, the addition of electric model ranges to various OEM portfolios will only make today’s alphanumeric naming situation worse, including at Nissan. Mercedes-Benz and BMW deserve honorable mentions in this naming crime, but it’s really an industry-wide problem.
That brings us to this tidbit: the names IMQ and IMS, which just appeared in a trademark application. Until now, we’ve only heard about the Nissan IMX, which fails the name-recognition test compared to more more well-known monikers like CRX, MDX, and, um, DMX. The sought-after names point to two future vehicles, both of which might accompany the IMX electric crossover into production.
Despite representing one of the great automotive rivalries, Daimler and BMW aren’t immune from the need to seek out cost savings in a rapidly evolving landscape. The two automakers have already teamed up on matters like components purchasing, and last year combined their respective car-sharing ventures.
However, sources close to the companies claim Daimler and Bimmer want to take it further, potentially sharing vehicle platforms and electric vehicle batteries.
We know, we know — you just wrapped up a lengthy and animated conversation about Buick with your coworkers, and you’re all Buicked out. Well, here’s something extra to chew on.
General Motors has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use of the name “Enspire” on motor vehicles. No, this doesn’t concern Chevrolet or Cadillac or GMC, that’s for sure. It does, however, concern Buick, as Enspire is the name given to a concept vehicle revealed last spring in China. But what would a production Enspire look like?
Hoping to generate some buzz ahead of its reveal, Land Rover released an incomplete, low-resolution side-on image of the upcoming, reborn Defender on Tuesday. The model, which disappeared from European dealers after its aging body was declared a danger to modern pedestrians, will return next year as a 2020 model. Apparently, it will hold on to its beloved boxy shape, as anything less would inspire French-style street protests on United Kingdom carriageways.
Also, unlike the last Defender, this one’s coming to America.
Customers won’t get a chance to buy an Audi E-tron SUV until next year, but, if money’s tight, they might want to hold off for a while. The German brand’s first electric utility vehicle (seen above) arrives in the second quarter of 2019, carrying a base price of $74,800 — at least once the launch editions clear out. More E-trons will follow, including a Sportback version of the SUV and a top-flight GT sports sedan.
Green, but still requiring plenty of green to plunk one in your driveway. Audi apparently has a solution for budget-minded premium EV shoppers, and it plans to make it happen with help from Volkswagen.
If you’re enamored by the thought of a high-torque, compression ignition Hyundai crossover, dream on. After promising a diesel version of its new-for-2019 Santa Fe, which began arriving at dealers this past summer, Hyundai has announced a diesel is off the table.
The automaker admitted as much to Green Car Reports following a plant tour in Seoul. Apparently, Hyundai feels Americans just aren’t interested. With the diesel’s stillbirth comes another change for the revamped crossover: the removal of its third-row option.
We’ve heard rumblings about Ford’s plan to bestow a small, unibody pickup on North American customers before, but now there’s photographic evidence.
Images published by Ford Authority show what appears to be a van tooling around the automaker’s Dearborn campus, but is actually a compact pickup wearing an entire tent of camouflage. A telltale trademark filing and reports over the summer are now starting to bear fruit.
So many of us want this to be more than just a sick tease that results in nothing new on the showroom floor. Would we buy it even if it wasn’t? That’s debatable.
Regardless, all we have now is the tease, plus plenty of clues. Posted Thursday afternoon to Lincoln Motor Company’s social media accounts, an image of suicide doors — a feature that graced Lincoln Continental sedans from 1961 to 1969 — has appeared, along with a cryptic message.
Maybe the writing’s on the wall for the midsize car; many would agree it is. And, perhaps Volkswagen feels this will be the last Passat. Whatever the motivation, the German automaker isn’t putting maximum effort into the next-generation model, due out for the 2020 model year.
While the brand’s upcoming sedan will receive a much-needed styling revamp and new content, the bones beneath it won’t change, nor will the hood conceal the latest in electrified wizardry.
It’s no wonder the Cadillac brand is having a rocky time of late — the marque fields only two crossovers, and one of those, the XT4, only reached lots at the end of September. Having pledged to return its headquarters to its ancestral homeland of Detroit, Cadillac also plans to unveil a new vehicle there in January.
The XT6, not to be confused with the marked-for-death CT6 sedan, will bow at NAIAS 2019, the automaker has stated. With this vehicle, Cadillac gains considerable coverage of the light truck field.
Two senators in Ohio, home to the unfortunate Lordstown Assembly plant, want answers from General Motors. Following the automaker’s announcement that it will withdraw the plant’s sole product — the Chevrolet Cruze — in March of 2019, leaving the factory’s remaining 1,500 workers out of a job, politicians on both sides of the border want to know what GM’s plans for electric and autonomous mobility mean for their constituents.
If GM’s truly planning on springing a wave of electric vehicles on American buyers, Congress wants assurances that American workers will build them.
Any measure of change to the 911 reliably sends Porsche purists into a tailspin worthy of the car’s legendary snap-oversteer thirty years ago. It has been suggested that the 911 was the leading cause of death of doctors, lawyers, and – erm – entrepreneurs in the ‘70s and ‘80s than anything else, including cocaine.
Those diabolically catastrophic handling traits have long been exorcised, of course, along with air cooling and church pew seating. With each change, anoraks have wailed into their Porsche Design espresso cups.
What will be said about a hybrid 911? Well, according to one source, they’ll at least be able to say it’s the most powerful 911 ever made.
Jack Hollis, Toyota North America’s general manager, was quite forthcoming during a roundtable discussion at the L.A. Auto Show. After unveiling the brand’s upcoming all-wheel drive Toyota Prius and hybrid Corolla sedan, he speculated on what else might be coming down the product pipe.
We already know that Toyota wants to TRD-ify as many models as possible (the Camry and Avalon aren’t an end point, apparently), but AWD and hybrid power serve the purposes of practicality, not style. There’s more reason to desire a vehicle that sips gas or blasts through snowbanks with aplomb.
That’s why an AWD, hybrid Corolla isn’t off the table. Upon hearing this, this writer’s mind drifted to the new-for-2019 Corolla Hatch and a small crossover that, strangely, isn’t offered with AWD. What would a would-be C-HR buyer be giving up if Toyota went ahead and electrified the rear axle of the Corolla Hatch?
It seems to be a prime week for frightening headlight arrangements. Following all hands being turned to stone after casting their eyes upon the LT-trimmed 2020 Silverado HD, we learn this Italdesign creation will be entering production next year.
Dubbed the “Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign,” it’s obviously based upon the R35 GT-R. In addition to its alarming front fascia, the company has also upped the power ante to 710 horses.
And, oh yeah – it’ll set you back a cool million.
Earlier this year, the Blue Oval raised the ire of die-hard fans when it was rumoured the company would use the Mach 1 name on an upcoming electrified vehicle. Ford might be making some odd decisions lately, like refusing to bring the Ranger Raptor to America, but they’re not completely tone deaf.
Which helps explain a patent filing uncovered earlier this week. In it, Ford seeks to trademark the name “ Mach E.”
The Camry and Avalon TRD sedans that appeared this month won’t be the last new Toyota variants worked over by the automaker’s racing arm. Toyota has a product offensive on the way and, while the effort will mainly be to update existing models, many of those vehicles stand to gain new sporting iterations — and drive wheels.
Toyota would prefer to TRD and AWD all the things.
By a wide margin, the most important automotive-related news this week has been General Motors’ impending closure of five manufacturing facilities across North America. Accompanying the closures are losses of thousands of jobs and the discontinuation of six passenger car models over the next year or so.
Who’s to blame here?
Earlier this year your humble scribe was in the Detroit suburbs to drive a whole bunch of Maserati and Alfa Romeo product at an event that was separate from and yet still part of Fiat Chrysler’s annual What’s New media-drive event.
That sounds contradictory, so let me explain. The two Italian luxury brands were showcased separately from the others, with a separate dinner and a separate drive. The drive took place not at Chrysler’s venerable proving grounds in Chelsea, but across the metro area in Pontiac, at a small private racetrack. The focus of that day was almost exclusively on Alfa and Maserati products.
It was clear that FCA was trying to bring the brands further into the corporate fold, while also associating them more closely with each other, since both are supposed to offer luxury and performance.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Jeff S The Cybertruck is one of the most hyped vehicles in decades.
- Nrd515 This is all I could think of seeing this. I saw it in the theater with my dad about 59 years or so ago:https://www.popcorncinemashow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Mr-Sardonicus-1961-01.jpg
- Art Vandelay I have no illusions tha my Challenger was going to be a car I wanted to own 10 seconds out of warranty. Fun, sure. Fun in 8 years? Hard pass based on the 2 years I had it
- ToolGuy Weren't some of the most powerful engines in the M4 Sherman air-cooled? (And supercharged.)
- ToolGuy "I installed oil temp and cylinder head temp gauges on various vehicles I was driving, so I could monitor how the engine was doing. I switched from my normal 20W50 and dropped to 15W40 oil and put down thousands of miles. Within that time, I saw a noticeable decrease in oil temps and even cylinder head temps while driving in different situations."ToolGuy has great admiration for your use of the scientific method in conducting original research.