By on December 9, 2019

Coming into work under false pretenses is what December’s all about. Everyone’s productivity is whittled down to a bare minimum in order to spend additional time browsing the internet for gift ideas, travel arrangements, and polishing off their list of must-watch holiday films. As a result, the news cycle gets slow and silly.

Over the weekend, the big automotive story was Elon Musk showboating the Tesla Cybertruck around Malibu while on his way to pick up some Japanese food — smacking into a traffic pylon and breezing through a red light after leaving the eatery. While a quick satellite view of the area absolves the CEO of any illegal maneuvers (Nobu’s parking lot is before the intersection), the fate of that poor barricade left us wondering about Musk’s driving ability and/or the visibility available from inside the Cybertruck.  (Read More…)

By on December 9, 2019

Maybe electric racing does have something to offer the common man. Jaguar credits its Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy race series (outside makes need not apply) for returning data that proved useful in eking out additional range from the electric crossover’s 90 kWh battery pack.

As things are all very modern in 2019, all Jag needs to do to pass the fruits of that knowledge on to consumers is fix them up with a software update. (Read More…)

By on December 6, 2019

If you follow the automotive industry at all, you’re undoubtedly aware that the United States is a region that hasn’t quite embraced automotive electrification on the same level as the rest of the developed world. Americans travel longer distances and have particular tastes, making EVs more popular in places like Europe and China. It also hasn’t passed the same sweeping regulations to ensure their advancement.

Whatever the cause, a new survey from London-based OC&C Strategy Consultants attempted to tabulate the disparity — asking 2,000 consumers (apiece) in the U.S., China, Germany, France and United Kingdom between March and April of 2019.

Their findings? Only about half of the surveyed Americans felt EVs were worth their consideration as a potential successor to their current ride. In China, 90 percent said they would seriously consider buying electric. Between 64 and 77 percent of respondents in Europe said the same (depending on country).  (Read More…)

By on December 5, 2019

Image: GM

A battery plant mentioned in General Motors’ recently ratified UAW labor contract will soon become a reality in the hard-hit city of Lordstown, Ohio. That locale recently saw the lights go out at GM’s Lordstown Assembly, which closed its doors this spring after the discontinuation of the Chevrolet Cruze. The plant’s now in the hands of a fledgling electric automaker.

On Wednesday, GM announced the spending of $2.3 billion and the creation of 1,100 jobs in Lordstown — a necessary move to supply the automaker with battery packs for its electric vehicle push. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2019

fairfax line assembly factory general motors, Image: General Motors

With environmentalism sweeping through the automotive industry of late, manufacturers are spending oodles of cash to fund the continued development of electric vehicles. Unfortunately, the are doing this during a period where the developed world’s taste for cars has already reached its zenith — or so it seems. Growth is slowing in markets across the globe and cuts have to be made somewhere if the industry players want to keep their bottom line positioned firmly in the black.

A recent report from Bloomberg, estimated that around 80,000 auto jobs will be eliminated in the coming years as a result of electrification — with the majority concentrated in the United States, Germany, and United Kingdom. Though the onslaught  of cuts will not be limited to the developed world, nor entirely the fault of EVs.  (Read More…)

By on December 3, 2019

With a brace of sedans not arriving until later in the year, Cadillac’s big attention-getter last January was a gas-free, unnamed crossover… as well as a conventional one with little charisma in the tank.

The concept EV heralded an electrified product surge from General Motors as well as the Cadillac brand, but in the 10 months since its reveal, little has been heard of the future model. Expect to hear a lot more in the New Year, as the vehicle’s debut is barely more than a year away. It’s the first of many fingers-crossed products from GM. (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2019

While the automotive industry continues cleaning itself up via electrification and moral corporate messaging, most aspects of doing business have remained decently dirty. For all this striving for a utopian society, businesses still don’t like losing money and will go to great lengths to screw over the competition.

South Korean battery suppliers SK Innovation and LG Chem are currently clawing at each other like a couple of mad tigers. SK managed to secure a contract to supply Volkswagen Group with EV batteries, leading to the construction of a $1.7 billion factory in Georgia. LG did not, leading to a lawsuit. Both automakers and analysts are worried the litigation is spinning out of control, and could effectively obliterate their ability to do business in the United States. (Read More…)

By on November 27, 2019

Image: Lincoln

Rivian, the Michigan-based EV startup with big plans for its R1S SUV and R1T pickup, isn’t bashful about making its “skateboard” electric vehicle platform available to rivals. At Ford, that skateboard may soon appear below a new Lincoln vehicle, a new report claims.

Ford raised eyebrows earlier this year when it sunk $500 million into the upstart EV maker, with the Blue Oval claiming the investment paves the way for an “all-new, next-generation battery electric vehicle.” That vehicle is apparently now taking shape. (Read More…)

By on November 26, 2019

Like parent Volkswagen, premium auto brand Audi is embarking on an electrified journey and, like VW, it would prefer to see the route paved with profits. A difficult task, given the expense of developing such powertrains and the currently limited public demand for the vehicles they power.

Still, Audi is determined to see it through, hoping that one day, perhaps at the mid-point of the coming decade, it will be able to turn a healthy profit off of EVs in a marketplace that’s more receptive of the technology. To get to that promised land, the company will need to free up cash, and it plans to find that dough in its labor costs.

Expect cuts, the company claims. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

Roger Penske, the business magnate whose Penske Automotive Group operates more than 150 dealers across the U.S., isn’t very excited about electric vehicles, as he’s seen how easily they sell.

Which is to say, he’s seen how difficult it can be to unload an EV.

While Tesla chooses to go its own way in the retailing space, established OEMs with a strong dealer presence must consider other financial realities in deciding how they offer a new EV. Unlike Tesla, these new EVs often look like the ICE-powered vehicles they share a stable with. However, their price might not have much in common with similar-sized vehicles sitting just across the showroom or lot. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2019

ford

While last week’s Internet-breaking debut of the Ford Mustang Mach-E was eventually overshadowed by the glass-shattering introduction of the Tesla Cybertruck, the echoes of that reveal still linger in the air.

A flurry of Change.org petitions quickly sprung up, with signees hoping to reverse this apparently abominable decision by Ford brass. Dream on. As a friend is fond of saying, signing a petition has never, ever stopped anything from happening. You’d have the same impact if you just stayed at home and munched celery in the dark.

Perhaps cognizant of the backlash, Ford released a film in which company bigwigs sitting on invisible chairs lob derision at the vehicle the Mach-E replaced. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

Lexus’ first production electric vehicle carries a name that should spur fond memories of a boxy Mercedes-Benz sedan. Yes, the 300E was a desirable German car. Even today, the E 300e is a compelling electrified midsize alternative to those other sedans on the market.

But we’re not here to talk about Mercedes-Benz, even though it’s hard not to when you name a new vehicle the 300e. In this case, it’s the Lexus UX 300e… and it’s not for you, as Corey would say. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

Lordstown Motors

From the Mustang Mach-E to the Cybertruck in a matter of days. What a week it’s been. While the verdict is still coming in on Tesla’s, um, interesting take on an electric pickup, an auto giant and an upstart automaker that just bought a big assembly plant are happy to offer an alternative.

Of course, neither General Motors nor Lordstown Motors have a physical, production-ready pickup to show you, but many would argue Tesla doesn’t, either. Yet both rival EV pickups are on the way, the companies claim. One’s already taking pre-orders. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

ford

Shelby has been synonymous with the Mustang since Ford started manufacturing the GT350 in 1965 — cementing the model’s role as a certified performance machine. While Shelby Mustangs haven’t been available every year, Ford has lately been careful to include them in the lineup (if you haven’t noticed, there’s a horsepower war raging between domestic manufacturers, and the 760-hp Shelby GT500 is one of the main combatants).

But what happens as automakers transition into electrification? With a greener mindset spurring the change, these companies don’t seriously intend on delivering unnecessary high-performance models — do they?

You bet your ass they are. We’re already seeing them entering production, and Ford is now tentatively planning a Shelby variant of its all-electric Mach-E. Given its transition from “Mustang inspired” to “part of the Mustang family,” it’s now fair game. (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2019

Taking a moment away from my cheese sandwich, I looked at the countdown. Only four more minutes. Four minutes were all that separated me from Tesla Motors’ live unveiling of Cybertruck. Another bite while I checked my phone messages; just two minutes left now. Dear Lord, was I ready? Needing to calm myself, I poured a glass of cold water, drinking most of it before splashing a bit on my face. Thirty seconds. Things were serious now. Pretty soon, Elon Musk was going to appear and change the face of motoring once again. This will be the automotive announcement by which all others will be measured for weeks.

An ominous horn sounded as my screen illuminated to show me a blood-red stage. This was it. It was like they were announcing the first Terminator. Dark music subsided to a rowdy crowd, as a hologram told us we were addicted to oil. The solution? Cybertruck. Fashionable. Functional. Electric. Elon Musk walked out on stage like God Himself. Everyone started screaming. Humble, he chatted briefly with the front row.

“We need something different,” said after accusing all other truck models to be largely indistinguishable.

Then Cybertruck blasted on stage and I couldn’t believe what I saw.  (Read More…)

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