It’s possible no electric vehicles will qualify for the new tax credit

Volkswagen is one of several automakers that are already assembling their EV battery packs locally. But the value of the materials that go into the pack will determine whether it qualifies for the revised clean vehicle tax credit.

Enlarge / Volkswagen is one of several automakers that are already assembling their EV battery packs locally. But the value of the materials that go into the pack will determine whether it qualifies for the revised clean vehicle tax credit. (credit: Volkswagen)

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passed the United States Senate on Sunday and heads to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily. It contains numerous changes to the tax code, meant in large part to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

Among these is a revision to the existing tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles. As we detailed last week, the IRA introduces income caps for the tax credit, and it will only apply to sedans that cost less than $55,000 and other EVs that cost less than $80,000. The bill also drops the 200,000 vehicle-per-OEM cap on the tax credit, which would benefit both General Motors and Tesla.

At least it will if their EV batteries are mostly made within North America, with at least 40 percent of the materials used having been extracted and processed within North America or a country with a free trade agreement. Now, instead of being based on battery capacity, half the credit ($3,750) is tied to where the pack is made, and the other half its supply chain. And that will be a problem if you’re looking to buy an EV in 2023.

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#battery, #cars, #china, #ev-tax-credit, #ford, #general-motors, #inflation-reduction-act-of-2022, #lg-chem, #lithium-ion-battery, #sk-innovation, #stellantis, #tesla, #volkswagen

Tesla faces new probes into motorbike deaths, false advertising

Elon Musk <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-tesla-worth-basically-zero-without-self-driving-2022-6">said in June</a> that without autonomous driving technology, Tesla is "worth basically nothing."

Enlarge / Elon Musk said in June that without autonomous driving technology, Tesla is “worth basically nothing.”

Tesla went into the weekend with a fresh pair of headaches. On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the federal government is investigating whether or not the company’s Autopilot system can safely recognize motorcyclists after a pair of fatal crashes in July. And the Los Angeles Times reported that California is unhappy with the way the automaker has advertised its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving driver assist technologies.

Can Autopilot see motorbikes at night?

The first fatal crash occurred in the early hours of July 7 in Riverside, California, when a Tesla Model Y on State Route 91 hit a motorcycle from behind, killing its rider. The second fatal motorcycle crash occurred on July 24, again at night, this time on I-15 outside Draper, Utah. In that case, a Tesla Model 3 was driving behind a motorcycle and hit it, killing the rider.

The AP reports that the California Highway Patrol is still investigating whether Autopilot was active in the first crash, but the driver in Utah admitted he was using the hands-free driver assist at the time of his accident.

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#advanced-driver-assistance-systems, #california-dmv, #cars, #full-self-driving, #nhtsa, #tesla, #tesla-autopilot, #tesla-fsd

Formula E’s most successful racer shares his ideas on racing technology

A black formula e car is followed by a red formula e car

Enlarge / Lucas Di Grassi leads Jake Dennis in the 2022 London ePrix. (credit: Sam Bloxham/Formula E)

Formula E will close out its season this weekend with its first visit to Seoul, South Korea. It’s not just the end of season eight and the last race for the Gen2 electric race cars but also marks the series’ 100th race. The sport has come a long way since its first ePrix in Beijing in 2014, with more powerful cars, bigger batteries, and an ability to put on an exciting race at Monaco, something that Formula 1 hasn’t been able to say for several decades.

Lucas di Grassi was the winner of that first ePrix and has raced in every ePrix since. He’s still visiting victory lane, most recently in last Sunday’s London ePrix, and this weekend may score his 1,000th career point in the series. With a background in Formula 1 and then Audi’s mighty R18 e-tron Le Mans program, di Grassi knows his way around a race car. So he’s usually a good person to talk to about the future direction of the sport.

Next season the sport gets a new car, one that’s much more powerful—and lighter, too. But it’s not quite as bold, technology-wise, as the concept di Grassi lobbied for. Although that car has yet to even race in anger, the various minds that contribute to Formula E’s R&D road map are already thinking about Gen4. Since we had the chance to speak with the driver ahead of this week’s Seoul ePrix, I wanted to know his thoughts on where the sport should go next. As I hoped, he had plenty of them.

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#cars, #electric-racing, #electric-vehicles, #fia, #formula-e, #lucas-di-grassi, #racing

Volkswagen’s new US-made ID.4 starts at $37,495 with small battery

A blue VW ID.4 driving over a bridge

Enlarge / An ID.4 crosses a bridge in Chattanooga. Local production of the electric crossover has enabled a cheaper version with a smaller battery. (credit: Volkswagen)

Last year, Ars visited Volkswagen’s factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the company was preparing to begin local production of its ID.4 electric crossover. That factory is now up to speed, and VW is making good on its promise to make a cheaper ID.4, made possible by a smaller battery pack.

It’s a tried-and-true approach by automakers, as the higher margins on better-equipped models help offset the high costs of putting a new model into production.

The new model is called the ID.4 Standard, and it keeps the same 201-hp (150-kW) electric motor driving the rear wheels as the ID.4 Pro or the ID.4 First Edition we tested in April 2021. But instead of that car’s 82 kWh pack, the ID.4 Standard makes do with a 62 kWh pack (gross capacity—unfortunately, VW hasn’t shared net capacity).

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#cars, #chattanooga, #electric-vehicle, #volkswagen, #volkswagen-id-4

After making V8s more efficient, Tula turns its hand to EVs

An iPad is mounted to the dash of a Chevrolet Bolt. Two men are in the front seats, each wearing a face mask.

Enlarge / Riding in Tula’s DMD-equipped Chevrolet Bolt EV. (credit: Roberto Baldwin)

SAN JOSE, CALIF.—Electric vehicles are all about small gains in efficiency leading to increased range. Reduce the drag, tweak the acceleration curve, and increase the regenerative braking, and you get a few more miles. Car tech company Tula has come up with another solution to enhance efficiency.

Called Dynamic Motor Drive (DMD), the system pulses the electric motor to operate within a “sweet spot” of efficiency. DMD adds efficiency and removes one of the more controversial materials found in EV motors: rare earth metals. The result is an efficiency gain of about 3 percent. That’s not a huge boost, but if your vehicle gets 300 miles of range, for instance, you get nine extra miles of road you can cover. But the system also sets itself up to work in a world with fewer rare earth magnets.

Those rare earth magnets cost automakers a pretty penny, and they’re not aligned with the green positioning of EVs. Currently, 90 percent of the EV industry’s materials for these magnets (mostly neodymium) come from China. Since late 2021, the price of those materials has increased by about 90 percent. There are plans to increase rare earth mining in the US, but considering the environmental precautions that need to be taken, it still won’t be cheap.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cars, #dynamic-motor-drive, #efficiency, #electric-motor, #tula

What do we do about all the people who can’t charge an EV at home?

What do we do about all the people who can’t charge an EV at home?

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

For much of the automobile’s existence, speed was the statistic that sold. But the move to electric vehicles is emphasizing range over performance—ironic given the EV’s inherent performance advantage here. While range remains a barrier to EV adoption, it takes second place to charging logistics. For about two-thirds of US drivers, the answer is simply to charge at home, parked in a garage or carport. But for the remaining third, that’s not possible, and that’s a problem.

From the post-war decades, a win at the racetrack or a new speed record translated to showroom success, both in the US and Europe. In turn, horsepower wars between automakers erupted every few years, steadily making our cars quicker and quicker. That trend is arguably accelerating—the near-instant torque of an electric motor means even SUVs that aren’t supposed to be that sporty are capable of 0-to-60 times that would rival a supercar not too long ago.

But when every EV can launch from a stoplight fast enough to give you whiplash, pretty soon everyone needs a new reason to one-up each other. The range fixation makes plenty of sense, given the long charging times and the difficulty that would ensue from completely running out of charge while out in the world. But in practice, most of us drive fewer than 30 miles a day, and many EVs fill their days running errands and commuting, returning home to recharge to 100 percent overnight.

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#ads-tec, #cars, #charge-enterprises, #electric-vehicle-adoption, #electric-vehicle-charging, #microgrid

Blazepods are interesting training gear, but they’re overkill for casual users

One of my better data traces.

Enlarge / One of my better data traces. (credit: Blazepod)

Fans of Formula 1 may have noticed that many drivers engage in reaction training before getting into their cars at the start of a race. For some, this is as simple as working with a trainer and some tennis balls. But you might have noticed 2021 champion Max Verstappen slapping some illuminated pods, like a wireless version of the old Simon game from the late 1970s.

They’re called Blazepods, and they’re Bluetooth-linked training lights that have their roots in an interactive playground in Israel. Blazepod’s founder developed a series of exercises for the system, like capture the flag and relay races. “It was such a success, they knew they needed to make this wireless,” explained Brian Farber, Blazepod’s director of business development. “And then they started implementing [them] and understanding what the benefits were—everything from the cognitive to connecting the brain and the body together, decision-making, reaction time, and then actual analytics. It just kind of took off from there.”

Max Verstappen might be Blazepod's highest-profile user.

Max Verstappen might be Blazepod’s highest-profile user. (credit: Blazepod)

Blazepod offered to send Ars a set to test, and since I’ve been in the middle of a fitness kick, and some distant part of my brain still thinks it can be a racing driver, I took the company up on the offer.

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#blazepod, #cars, #fitness-tech, #formula-1, #gaming-culture, #reaction-time

You won’t be confused about electric vehicle charging after reading this

You won’t be confused about electric vehicle charging after reading this

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

A significant factor that scares people away from electric vehicles is confusion over charging. Every gas station in the land is fitted with nozzles that will fill any gasoline-powered car’s fuel tank. But not all EVs use the same plug, and then there’s the matter of alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC) systems. And what do the different levels of charging mean?

The good news is that it’s not that complicated, and we’re here to explain everything you need to know.

EVs require electricity to charge, as the “E” in EV suggests. But that electricity can be AC, like the appliances in your home, or DC, like a USB device, only many times more powerful.

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#ac, #cars, #dc, #dc-fast-charging, #electric-vehicle-charging, #electrify-america, #ev-charging, #features, #j1772, #tesla, #tesla-supercharger

How big is the risk that someone will hack an EV charging network?

There are many good reasons why an EV charger should be networked, but it does come with vulnerabilities.

Enlarge / There are many good reasons why an EV charger should be networked, but it does come with vulnerabilities. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as passed by Congress last November, authorizes $7.5 billion to help meet US President Joe Biden’s goal of installing 500,000 stations by 2030. Biden aims to have EVs represent half of all new vehicles being sold in the US by 2030. But as the number of stations increases, the number of vulnerabilities does as well.

For the past several years, hackers have been busy aiming their attacks at electrical system vulnerabilities. In the case of charging stations, some of these soft spots are located inside the stations; some are located inside the equipment that controls connections between the grid and the station; and still, others are inside assets that sit on the grid side of the relationship, and these are mostly owned by utilities. Europe-based wind power companies (Deutsche Windtechnik AG, Enercon GmbH, and Nordex SE) have suffered attacks focused on stopping the flow of electrons, identity theft attacks, and stolen payments. In most cases, the results can be service disruptions affecting customers and revenue reductions for the providers of electrons and/or asset owners.

Hackers perpetually seek out ways to use any and all system vulnerabilities to their maximum advantage. This is a problem for the consumer, just as it is for commercial enterprises. Added to the stresses created by several types of hacker disruptions—physical destruction; electronic jamming; creating a “Denial of Service”—are concerns about weak control systems. From his perch at PlugInAmerica.org, Ron Freund worries that the existing supervisory control and data acquisition hardware is primate.

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#biz-it, #cars, #cybersecurity, #electric-vehicle-charging

2022 Audi Q4 e-tron: The electric crossover has been worth the wait

A white Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback

Enlarge / The Audi Q4 e-tron is available in two body styles—this is the Sportback variant. (credit: Audi)

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.—When Dieselgate made headlines in 2014, it fundamentally changed how Volkswagen Group and its associated sub-brands, from Volkswagen to Lamborghini, had to think about cars. Diesel got a big black mark, and electric vehicles got a much-needed bump in the race for a more sustainable way to meet the ever-growing demand for personal transportation.

The scandal accelerated Volkswagen’s push to go completely electric by 2033 and encouraged investment in a US network of EV chargers (which still leave a lot to be desired), but the rollout of the EVs themselves has been slow, to say the least.

Audi, one of the VW Group’s luxury automakers, has been slowly rolling out a suite of new EVs that began with the e-tron SUV, the e-tron Sportback, and the e-tron GT sport tourer and most recently includes the Q4 e-tron in both typical crossover and Sportback form. The Q4 e-tron was announced in February of 2021 and was originally slated to make its stateside debut in mid- to late-2021.

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#audi, #audi-q-4-e-tron, #audi-q4, #audi-q4-50-e-tron-quattro, #audi-q4-50-sportback-e-tron-quattro, #cars, #meb, #volkswagen-id-4

Better than a GLB: Driving the Mercedes-Benz EQB electric SUV

A grey mercedes-benz EQB parked outside

Enlarge / A shiny black panel instead of a front grille, and more aero-efficient wheels are some of the subtle clues that this is a Mercedes-Benz EQB and not a Mercedes-Benz GLB. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

IMMENDINGEN, GERMANY—You have to be very observant to spot the difference between Mercedes-Benz’s new EQB electric crossover and its GLB crossover that has been around for a couple of years now. Most obviously, there’s that big glossy black panel in place of the traditional grille, now a common feature on all Mercedes EVs, but you’ll also note slightly more aerodynamic wheels and the lack of any exhaust pipes, plus the EQ badges on the back, of course. And a look underneath the car reveals a flat underfloor that helps the flow of air around the vehicle in motion.

It’s the latest EV from Mercedes-Benz, and it’s the cheapest EV on sale to wear a three-pointed star, starting at $54,500.

The biggest difference between the GLB we tested in 2020 and the EQB is the powertrain. Open the hood and you’re greeted by a mess of mechanicals, although a closer look reveals this to be the EQB’s front electric motor, plus control electronics and HVAC componentry instead of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. For the US, there’s a single choice of lithium-ion traction battery with a useable capacity of 66.5 kWh (70.5 kWh gross), operating at 420 V.

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#cars, #compact-suv, #crossover, #electric-crossover, #electric-suv, #first-drive, #mercedes-benz, #mercedes-benz-eqb, #suv

Ford secures battery supplies for 600,000 EVs a year from 2023

Ford's electric F-150 Lighting (L), eTransit (M), and Mustang Mach-E (R) battery-electric vehicles have all been such successes that they're all sold out for the rest of the year.

Enlarge / Ford’s electric F-150 Lighting (L), eTransit (M), and Mustang Mach-E (R) battery-electric vehicles have all been such successes that they’re all sold out for the rest of the year. (credit: Ford)

On Thursday, Ford Motor Company announced that it has secured 60 GWh of battery cells that will allow it to build 600,000 electric vehicles by late 2023. And it says it has contracts for cells that will allow it to build 1.4 million EVs by 2026, 70 percent of the 2 million EVs it plans to build globally that year.

“Ford’s new electric vehicle lineup has generated huge enthusiasm and demand, and now we are putting the industrial system in place to scale quickly,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president and CEO and president of Ford Model e. “Our Model e team has moved with speed, focus, and creativity to secure the battery capacity and raw materials we need to deliver breakthrough EVs for millions of customers.”

The automaker says that its plan for 2023 will consist of 270,000 Mustang Mach-Es for North America, Europe, and China, 150,000 F-150 Lightnings for North America, 150,000 e-Transit vans for North America and Europe, and it will launch an additional electric SUV in Europe, building 30,000 in 2023 before ramping up production significantly in 2024.

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#battery-electric-vehicles, #cars, #catl, #ford, #ford-e-transit, #ford-f-150-lightning, #ford-mustang-mach-e, #lg-energy-solution, #sk

The USPS will buy a lot more electric next-gen delivery vans

A rendering of the new USPS truck in a suburb

Enlarge / No, this isn’t a rendering from a Pixar film; it’s what the new USPS mail delivery vehicle will look like. (credit: USPS)

In 2021, the United States Postal Service picked a new delivery vehicle to replace its fleet of aging Grumman LLVs. However, the USPS drew immediate criticism, as the vast majority of a potential 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles, which will be built by Oshkosh Defense, would not be electric.

But on Wednesday, the USPS changed its mind and says it will now limit its NGDV purchase to 50,000 NGDVs, at least half of which will be battery-electric vehicles. Additionally, it says it will purchase 34,500 commercial off-the-shelf vehicles, “including as many BEVs as are commercially available and consistent with our delivery profile” according to the Federal Register.

Oshkosh’s NGDV has been designed to be fitted with either an internal combustion engine or a battery-electric powertrain. When the USPS first selected the NGDV, it said that only 10 percent of the order would be for BEV mail vans—Postmaster Louis DeJoy pleaded poverty on behalf of the Postal Service, which he said could not afford to purchase more BEVs.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cars, #usps, #usps-truck

A big horsepower jump and more changes to come for Formula E in 2023

A Formula E car in front of the Manhattan skyline

Enlarge / This is the last time that the Manhattan skyline will play backdrop to Formula E’s Gen2 car, shown here. Next year the sport gets an all-new machine with a lot more power and a lot less mass.

Formula E makes its annual return to Red Hook this weekend for the New York City ePrix. Ars sadly won’t be on hand for the races, which is a shame as it will be my last chance to see the Gen2 electric race car in action. I will have to make every effort to be there in 2023, however.

Next year will see significant changes for the all-electric racing series, including a much more powerful, much faster racing car and changes to some rules to make the races interesting. I can’t guarantee it, but I think there’s a good chance we won’t see the return of Fan Boost, which will make some corners of the internet happy.

What’s clear is that the series remains unafraid of thinking differently, and it’s helpful to remember that we’re talking about a sport that’s still only in its eighth season. Jamie Reigle took over as Formula E’s CEO in 2019, and last week I spoke to him about how the series has progressed and what we should look forward to in the next few years.

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#cars, #formula-e, #racing

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a flying ferry

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a flying ferry

Enlarge (credit: Candela)

Three feet above the waves, the Candela P-12 sprints across Lake Mälaren near Stockholm, Sweden. With only its hydrofoils cutting through the water, the boat leaves virtually no wake, noise, or emissions—a sea change from the hulking diesel-powered ferries that currently haul commuters through the archipelago that makes up the Swedish capital.

So far, it’s a water-bound fantasy: While Swedish startup Candela is already manufacturing leisure versions of its electric flying boats, the P-12 hasn’t yet been built. Candela CEO Gustav Hasselskog says the boat is in the “design for manufacturing stage” ahead of a November launch that will be followed by a trial next year. The aim is to have the flying ferry form a part of Stockholm’s public transport fleet.

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#cars

GM, EVgo, and Pilot will install 2,000 fast chargers at travel centers

The Cadillac Lyriq is one of a new range of EVs built by General Motors using a new common battery and motor platform.

Enlarge / The Cadillac Lyriq is one of a new range of EVs built by General Motors using a new common battery and motor platform. (credit: General Motors)

General Motors is in the process of transforming itself into an electrified automaker, as entire brands like Cadillac and Hummer switch their lineups to entirely electric vehicles. To help the process of EV adoption, the automaker is also investing in charging infrastructure around the country. On Thursday, it announced that it is working with the Pilot Company to install 2,000 DC fast chargers at Pilot and Flying J travel centers around the US.

The chargers will be operated by EVgo, which has already partnered with GM on a fast charger expansion program—initially 2,700 and now 3,250—to be completed by 2025.

The travel centers should have at least four charging machines each—GM and Pilot say that in total, they intend to place 2,000 chargers at up to 500 locations. And the companies say that many of the installations will have canopies to shield EV drivers from the elements and will be designed to work with EVs towing trailers.

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#battery-electric-vehicles, #cars, #charging-infrastructure, #dc-fast-charging, #electric-vehicle-charging, #ev, #evgo, #general-motors

Electric cars are doomed if fast charger reliability doesn’t get better

On a positive note, the charging stations were busy when we visited them.

Enlarge / On a positive note, the charging stations were busy when we visited them. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Electric vehicles are, in many regards, clearly better than the internal combustion engine-powered relatives they will eventually replace. They’re quieter, they rattle and vibrate less, they accelerate faster, and they’re much more efficient because they can recover energy under braking. And their batteries should last for the life of the car as well as a gasoline engine does. But I’m increasingly convinced that EV adoption is going to run into real problems if we can’t get a handle on charger reliability.

Even the biggest EV evangelist can’t ignore the fact that it takes a lot longer to recharge a battery than fill a tank with liquid hydrocarbons—not even when that battery is connected to a very high-voltage DC fast charger. For about two-thirds of American car buyers—those who have somewhere at home to charge overnight—this isn’t a problem, most of the time. On average, people only drive 29 miles a day, and so even short-range EVs should actually meet the needs of most drivers.

That’s the purely rational take, anyway.

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#cars, #ccs, #dc-fast-charging, #electric-vehicle-charging, #electrify-america, #shell-recharge

No, BMW is not making heated seats a subscription for US cars

BMW continues to experiment with subscriptions in markets like the UK and South Korea, but not in the US.

Enlarge / BMW continues to experiment with subscriptions in markets like the UK and South Korea, but not in the US. (credit: BMW)

If there’s a topic guaranteed to get rage clicks, it’s the one about BMW making some of its car options available as a subscription rather than a one-time purchase. That story is doing the rounds again today after news that the Bavarian automaker is at it again.

BMW starts selling heated seat subscriptions for $18 a month” declares one headline; “BMW Makes Heated Seats an $18/Month Subscription Service—Again” reads another. However, you’d have to read past the headlines and well into the bodies of the articles to find out that, actually, the automaker has no public plans to bring this subscription model here to the US market and that it’s happening in South Korea.

Not that it hasn’t tried such a thing in the past. In 2019, if you wanted Apple CarPlay as an optional extra, you had to subscribe to it for $80 a year, or $300 for 20 years. But the reaction by US consumers to this move was overwhelmingly negative, and, faced with resistance in its second-biggest market, the automaker relented and even made CarPlay standard across most of its range later that year.

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#bmw, #cars, #microtransactions

Volkswagen partners with Redwood Materials to recycle EV batteries

It will be many years before the battery packs in these ID.4s need recycling, but when that happens VW and Redwood will be ready.

Enlarge / It will be many years before the battery packs in these ID.4s need recycling, but when that happens VW and Redwood will be ready. (credit: Volkswagen)

Volkswagen is in the midst of a huge electrification effort, spurred on by a combination of dieselgate and stringent fleet emissions targets in Europe. Last week, the company broke ground on the first of six European battery factories and is actively looking at building one or more similar plants here in the US. If and when that happens, Volkswagen may well make those batteries using material recycled from older electric vehicle batteries, thanks to a new collaboration with Redwood Materials.

“Redwood Materials is a great partner to help us accelerate EV adoption in America. This collaboration allows us to move closer toward our goal of closing the loop for a circular EV economy, giving American consumers yet another reason to go electric,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of VW Group of America.

As we explored yesterday, the lithium-ion battery in an electric vehicle should see little loss of storage capacity over the course of a decade. But eventually, batteries will degrade to the point where it makes more sense to repurpose them as static storage (once they can only hold 60–70 percent of their original charge) or eventually recycle them.

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#battery-electric-vehicles, #battery-recycling, #cars, #redwood-materials, #volkswagen-group

Walmart is buying 4,500 electric delivery vehicles from Canoo

A Canoo LDV wearing Walmart colors. The retailer should receive its first LDVs in 2023.

Enlarge / A Canoo LDV wearing Walmart colors. The retailer should receive its first LDVs in 2023. (credit: Canoo)

Electric vehicle startup Canoo announced on Tuesday that Walmart has placed an order for 4,500 of its Lifestyle Delivery Vehicles. Canoo and Walmart are customizing the LDV for last-mile deliveries, with added cargo space instead of a front passenger seat and slide-out shelves in the back designed to fit totes used by the retail giant.

“Our LDV has the turning radius of a small passenger vehicle on a parking-friendly, compact footprint, yet the payload and cargo space of a commercial delivery vehicle. This is the winning algorithm to seriously compete in the last-mile delivery race, globally,” said Tony Aquila, investor, chairman, and CEO of Canoo. “Walmart’s massive store footprint provides a strategic advantage in today’s growing ‘Need it now’ mindset and an unmatched opportunity for growing EV demand, especially at today’s gas prices.”

Canoo has had a rocky time of late. Founded by Faraday Future alumni and now based, like Walmart, in Bentonville, Arkansas, it originally planned a subscription-only electric van, then underwent a management change and a merger with a special purpose acquisition company that resulted in a pivot. In April of this year it won a contract to provide NASA with a new astronaut transport vehicle but the following month was forced to issue a warning that it might not have enough cash to pay its bills.

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#canoo, #cars, #last-mile-delivery, #walmart

Here’s one way we know that an EV’s battery will last the car’s lifetime

close-up of a mechanic's hands disassembling an electric car battery on top of a trailer inside a mechanic shop

Enlarge / An EV’s battery represents as much as 25 percent of the cost of the car, so it’s understandable that people are nervous about longevity. (credit: Aranga87/Getty Images)

It’s often said that the easiest way to get people to buy an electric vehicle is to let them test-drive one. But here in the US, EVs only accounted for 3 percent of the 15 million new vehicles sold in 2021. That means there are an awful lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to these newfangled machines.

The top concern is probably range anxiety, a fear that is usually dispelled as someone gets used to waking up to a full battery every morning. I won’t dwell on that today, but the next-most common point of confusion about EVs has to be the traction battery’s longevity, or potential lack thereof.

It’s an understandable concern; many of us are used to using consumer electronic devices powered by rechargable batteries that develop what’s known as “memory.” The effect is caused by repeatedly charging a cell before it has been fully depleted, resulting in the cell “forgetting” that it can deplete itself further. The lithium-ion cells used by EVs aren’t really affected by the memory effect, but they can degrade storage capacity if subjected to too many fast charges or if their thermal management isn’t taken seriously.

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#ansys, #cars, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicle-battery, #lithium-ion-battery, #ni, #porsche, #simulation

“Downright nasty” weather couldn’t stop the 100th Pikes Peak hillclimb

A 1967 Chevrolet Camaro at the start line of the pikes peak hillclimb

Enlarge / Tommy Boileau’s 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is undeniably quick, but he had never raced it in the wet prior to the 2022 hill climb. (credit: Gregory Leporati)

Tommy Boileau is a bit nervous. The 28-year-old driver from Colorado Springs is about to participate in the historic 100th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb—a dangerous 12.4-mile (20-km) sprint up one of the highest summits of the Rockies—and a thick fog and rain have descended upon the mountain. His 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is undeniably quick, but there’s one problem: he’s never raced it in the wet.

“The owner and builder of the car say it handles really well in the rain,” Boileau says with a laugh. “I’ll have to take their word for it!”

Boileau’s car is technically the second oldest in the field, and that’s precisely what makes Pikes Peak such a unique phenomenon: though it has become a proving ground for innovative technology over the last 100 years, modified vintage cars and backyard creations can still compete for class wins.

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#cars, #pikes-peak-international-hill-climb

Volkswagen starts building the first of six battery gigafactories

A woman wearing a hardhat and anti-shock gloves dismantles a battery pack

Enlarge / A VW worker dismantles an electric vehicle battery pack for recycling. (credit: Volkswagen)

Volkswagen Group announced on Thursday that it is consolidating its battery development and production in a new project called Mission SalzGiga. The name refers to Salzgitter in Germany, where VW has built more than 63 million internal combustion engines—it has now broken ground on a massive new battery factory at the site, the first of six planned for Europe. Each plant should be able to accommodate an annual production capacity of 40 GWh, sufficient to power 500,000 electric vehicles.

To that end, the company has set up a new Salzgitter-based business unit called PowerCo that will cover all of the automaker’s global battery activities. VW says it will require more than $20.4 billion (20 billion euros) in investment between now and 2030 but with an equal potential in revenue, plus the addition of 20,000 new jobs.

“In building our first in-house cell factory, we are consistently implementing our technology roadmap,” said Thomas Schmall, VW board member in charge of technology. “PowerCo will become a global battery player. The company’s major strength will be vertical integration from raw materials and the cell right through to recycling. In future, we will handle all the relevant activities in-house and will gain a strategic competitive advantage in the race to take the lead in e-mobility.”

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#cars, #electric-vehicle-battery, #electric-vehicles, #gigafactory, #volkswagen

How many lives have electric cars saved from climate change?

A row of Tesla EVs charging at one of the company's Supercharger fast charging locations.

Enlarge / A row of Tesla EVs charging at one of the company’s Supercharger fast charging locations. (credit: Don and Melinda Crawford/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

These days Tesla gets a lot of flak, but sometimes it does great things. In 2008, it launched the Tesla Roadster—the first-ever serial production lithium-ion battery car. Unlike previous electric cars, the Roadster was fast, sexy, and luxurious. Since its release, over 12 million electric cars have been sold worldwide, with Tesla contributing over 1 million to that number.

But what if Tesla never existed or never sparked the electric car revolution—would we have millions of electric cars on the road today? Of course, the electric car revolution would have happened eventually. But it was only two years before the Roadster’s release that the death of the electric car was being lamented in the infamous documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? If the big automakers really did kill the electric car, as the documentary suggests, then Tesla surely revived it.

That’s great news for Earth’s future inhabitants. Taking action to reduce the harms of climate change, by buying an electric car, for instance, is an urgent matter. Just last year, a study from Nature Communications estimated that “adding 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020—equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average Americans—causes one excess death globally in expectation between 2020-2100.”

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#cars, #electric-vehicle-adoption

Here’s what it’s like to drive the new Porsche 963 prototype

A Porsche 963 race car preparing to drive up the hill at Goodwood

Enlarge / The new Porsche 963 sports prototype made its world debut at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. (credit: Porsche)

Last month, Porsche used the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK to formally debut its newest model. It’s not another 911, nor a new SUV; it’s a hybrid sports prototype designed to win on the track here in the US and at Le Mans. You can tell the car has big shoes to fill just by looking at its name—Porsche is calling the new racing car the 963 because it’s the spiritual successor to the legendary 962 that dominated sports car racing in the 1980s.

Unfortunately, Goodwood took place at the same time as my vacation at Watkins Glen in New York for IMSA’s six-hour race, so Ars wasn’t able to see the 963 run in person. But I was able to sit down with a pair of Porsche’s factory racing drivers to find out a bit more about the new car.

Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell are currently contesting the IMSA WeatherTech championship in a GT car—a Porsche 911 GT3R that started life on the same production line as the road-going 911s. But next year, the pair will be among the Porsche factory drivers who have been chosen to campaign the faster, more complex 963 here in the US or in the World Endurance Championship (WEC).

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#24-hours-of-le-mans, #cars, #endurance-racing, #fia-wec, #hybrid, #imsa, #lmdh, #porsche, #porsche-956, #porsche-962, #porsche-963, #sportscar-racing, #weathertech-sportscar-championship, #world-endurance-championship

Rivian’s R1S: An electric SUV for those with an adventurous lifestyle

A white Rivian R1S in the late afternoon sun

Enlarge / After building the R1T adventure truck, Rivian has followed up with the R1S SUV. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Last September, we drove one of Rivian’s new electric trucks and found its R1 platform highly competent on and off the road, with an impressive level of engineering that made driving to the top of a mountain almost effortless. It’s been a tough few months for the electric vehicle maker since then, with supply chain issues delaying deliveriesa former executive filing a discrimination lawsuit, and shareholders upset about a rather clumsy price hike.

But Rivian remains very well-funded, and its factory in Normal, Illinois, is finding its feet building electric trucks as well as delivery vans for Amazon. Now another R1-based EV is entering production—the R1S SUV.

Like its truck sibling, the R1S is a friendly-looking thing, particularly compared to the more aggressive SUVs coming out of Detroit. Partly that’s down to the design of the lights, which should set off your pareidolia, and partly down to what now passes for a relatively low hood height, with curved edges finding favor over sharp creases at the corners.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cars, #electric-suv, #features, #first-drive, #rivian, #rivian-r1s, #suv

Tesla deliveries drop by 18 percent in Q2 2022

Tesla's new factories in Berlin and Texas are proving more costly to set up than its plant in Shanghai (pictured).

Enlarge / Tesla’s new factories in Berlin and Texas are proving more costly to set up than its plant in Shanghai (pictured). (credit: Tesla)

After several quarters of impressive growth, Tesla is starting to feel the pinch. The US automaker announced on Saturday that, between April and June, it has produced only 258,580 electric vehicles and delivered only 254,695 cars.

By comparison, it was able to build 305,407 EVs and deliver 291,189 of them in the first three months of 2022. However, it claims that it produced more cars in June 2022 than any previous month in its history.

A detailed breakdown of this quarter’s results is scheduled for July 20, which should shed light on CEO Elon Musk’s claims that the company’s new factories in Berlin and Texas are “gigantic money furnaces” costing Tesla billions.

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#cars, #tesla, #tesla-deliveries

The 2023 Polestar 2 Single Motor proves “basic” doesn’t mean “boring”

A white polestar 2 parked in the shade of some evergreens. The sun has hit the camera lens and created a rainbow next to the car

Enlarge / You’re unlikely to find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but you might encounter a Polestar 2. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Polestar is riding pretty high right now. Now listed on the NASDAQ exchange, the company is preparing to introduce three new electric vehicles over the next three years: a large SUV in 2023, a smaller crossover in 2024, and a flagship (read: expensive) four-door coupe in 2025. In March, the company introduced a new variant of the Polestar 2 fastback sedan, the $48,400 Polestar 2 Long Range Single motor.

And after a few days of driving one, I think it’s another data point in favor of the argument that less power sometimes means more fun when it comes to EVs. But I must confess I’m scratching my head about the “long range” part, given the useable capacity of the battery pack and the EV’s energy efficiency.

As the name suggests, the biggest mechanical change compared to the dual-motor version we drove in 2020 is the loss of the rear motor. Polestar has also made some changes to the way it sources and makes components like the aluminum alloy wheels and the battery case; the company says these changes reduce the carbon footprint of the car’s manufacturing by just under 3,000 lbs (1,350 kg).

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#car-review, #cars, #electric-vehicle, #polestar-2

The rise and precarious reign of China’s battery king

Zeng Yuqun, chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL), poses for a photograph in Ningde, Fujian province, China, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Enlarge / Zeng Yuqun, chairman of Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL), poses for a photograph in Ningde, Fujian province, China, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The headquarters of battery giant CATL tower over the coastal Chinese city of Ningde. To the untrained eye, the building resembles a huge slide rising out of the urban sprawl. It is, in fact, a giant monument to the company’s raison d’être: the lithium-ion battery pack.

You may have never heard of CATL, but you’ve definitely heard of the brands that rely on its batteries. The company supplies more than 30 percent of the world’s EV batteries and counts Tesla, Kia, and BMW among its clients. Its founder and chairman, 54-year-old Zeng Yuqun, also known as Robin Zeng, has rapidly emerged as the industry’s kingmaker. Insiders describe Zeng as savvy, direct, and even abrasive. Under his leadership, CATL’s valuation has ballooned to 1.2 trillion Chinese yuan ($179 billion), more than General Motors and Ford combined. Part of that fortune is built on owning stakes in mining projects in China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Indonesia, giving CATL a tighter grip on an already strained global battery supply chain.

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#batteries, #battery-electric-vehicles, #cars, #china, #electric-vehicles, #science

Here’s Hyundai’s next electric vehicle, the Ioniq 6 sedan

A white Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan in front of a 1930s airliner in a hangar.

Enlarge / Streamlined aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s were an inspiration for the Hyundai Ioniq 6. (credit: Hyundai)

The physical unveiling of the Hyundai Prophecy concept car was an early casualty of COVID, originally scheduled for the hastily canceled 2020 Geneva auto show. That didn’t stop it from blowing my socks off once Hyundai sent some images over the Internet, however. At the time, I didn’t think the Korean automaker would put the concept—which I described as the result of “a transporter accident involving a Mercedes CLS and a Tesla Model 3″—into production.

Obviously, I was being a fool because just as the Hyundai 45 concept morphed into the excellent Ioniq 5 crossover, the Prophecy has been translated into production as the Ioniq 6 sedan. Like the Ioniq 5, the Ioniq 6 uses Hyundai’s new E-GMP platform for 800 V vehicles, but importantly, it’s actually smaller (with a 2-inch/50-mm shorter wheelbase) and will be cheaper than the angular Ioniq 5. (Yes, this still confuses me, because 6 is more than 5, so one expects a bigger, more expensive car, plus the Ioniq 7 is going to be a large seven-seater electric SUV, due next year.)

The most notable change from the concept is the Ioniq 6’s extra height, an unavoidable consequence of having to package a 6-inch (150 mm) slab of lithium-ion batteries under the cabin’s floor. I asked Hyundai design chief Sangyup Lee if he had been tempted to stretch the production car’s wheelbase to maintain the concept’s proportions.

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#cars, #concept-car, #electric-vehicle, #hyundai, #hyundai-ioniq-6, #sangyup-lee

Not your grandpa’s ride—the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, tested

A Cadillac Lyriq parked in front of some of Utah's scenery.

Enlarge / The Cadillac Lyriq is the first expression of the classic American luxury brand’s future as an electric automaker. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

PARK CITY, UTAH—They say—accurately, in my opinion—that nothing focuses the mind like a deadline. I’m not sure what the amplification factor is when that deadline suddenly shrinks by nine months, as was the case for Cadillac’s new Lyriq, but the result is an extremely competent new battery-electric SUV.

As we’ve covered in the past, General Motors is at the start of an electrification plan that it hopes will mean no more tailpipe emissions from any of the group’s vehicles by 2035. The key to that is a family of batteries and electric motors (named Ultium) to be used across everything from big body-on-frame trucks to small crossovers. We’ve actually sampled a couple of early Ultium-based BEVs already—the bombastic Hummer EV truck and BrightDrop Zevo 600 delivery van. Both of those are rather niche applications, but the Lyriq is much more mainstream, given America’s love for the SUV.

At launch, the Lyriq is available in a single-motor, rear-wheel-drive configuration, with a twin-motor, all-wheel-drive version coming early in 2023. The RWD Lyriq uses a 340 hp (255 kW), 325 lb-ft (440 Nm) version of the Ultium Drive motor, which is powered by a 102 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cadillac, #cadillac-lyriq, #cars, #general-motors, #luxury-suvs, #ultium, #ultium-drive

An Emerald-tinted drive in the 2022 Toyota GR Yaris

What better way to enjoy a vacation in Ireland than by spending some time with a true enthusiast's car that's not available in the US?

Enlarge / What better way to enjoy a vacation in Ireland than by spending some time with a true enthusiast’s car that’s not available in the US? (credit: Dan Carney)

A thumbs-up from the middle-aged mountain bike racer confirmed that the Pearl Ice White Toyota GR Yaris I was testing had hit its target of appealing to adventure-seeking drivers and manual transmission traditionalists. His snap judgment was correct: This car delivers on its promise of being the kind of combustion-fueled fun that is well into its twilight.

American car enthusiasts like to complain that we never get the good stuff in the US market. Last year’s announcement of the Toyota GR Yaris, a World Rally Championship-inspired tidbit of a car, seemed to confirm this glass-is-half-empty viewpoint. But since then, Toyota has revealed plans for a US-market GR Corolla using much of the same hardware.

Will putting the Yaris’ 257 hp (192 kW) turbocharged direct-injected 1.6 L three-cylinder G16E-GTS powerplant into the larger, heavier Corolla spoil the intended experience? We’ve yet to drive the GR Corolla for comparison, but a turn behind the wheel of the GR Yaris while in Ireland suggests that Toyota’s product planners know what they’re doing. The Corolla will enjoy the benefit of more power to offset its weight, as Toyota has announced that it will produce a 300 hp (224 kW) version of this engine, resetting the mark for the world’s strongest three-cylinder engine.

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#cars, #toyota-gr-corolla, #toyota-gr-yaris

The driving enthusiast’s dilemma with electric cars

The driving enthusiast’s dilemma with electric cars

Enlarge (credit: Andrew Hedrick/Porsche)

As I’m fond of saying, electric motors just make cars better. Regular readers will notice that most of our automotive coverage is about electrified cars, but the other kind still represents more than 95 percent of all new cars sold in the US, so we have reason to drive a few of those from time to time as well. And when we do, it’s often an exercise in frustration—even a performance car like a Porsche 911 Turbo can’t match the immediate slug of torque from an electric motor doing its thing.

And that’s good. Electric cars need to be the future of personal transportation if we want to avert the worst ravages of climate change, albeit only alongside everyone walking, cycling, and taking public transport more. (We could do with a comprehensive redesign of our built environment to make all that safer, too, but I realize I’m veering dangerously into a post-scarcity utopia there, whereas it currently looks like we’re in the Mirror Universe.)

But the uncomfortable truth for the EV-loving driving enthusiast is that while EVs make perfect sense for getting from A to B—absent the occasional edge-case like an emergency cross-country trombone delivery—I’m not sure they’re quite there yet when it comes to that last bit of fun.

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#bmw-i4-m50, #bmw-m3-competition, #cars, #chevrolet-bolt-ev, #driving-fun, #electric-vehicles, #porsche-taycan, #volkswagen-id-4

Comfort and range are king with the Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

The extremely aerodynamic Mercedes EQS 580

Enlarge / The extremely aerodynamic Mercedes EQS 580 (credit: Eric Bangeman)

Mercedes-Benz first gave us a glimpse at its electrification strategy in 2018, with its first battery-electric vehicle—the EQC 400 crossover—going on sale in Europe in 2019. Sporting a range of around 220 miles, (354 km) the 402 hp (296 kW) SUV never made it over to this side of the Atlantic. The US instead got a pair of EQS sedans that went on sale in 2021: the $102,310 EQS 450 and the $125,900 EQS 580.

The EQS 580 4Matic is the heftier of the two models—it has more motors, more mass, and more horsepower. And don’t mistake it for an S-Class sedan with all of the internal combustion bits swapped out for batteries and motors. The EQS is a new vehicle architecture designed from the beginning to push electrons, not hydrocarbons. And those electrons will push the EQS 580 a very long way—340 miles (547 km), to be exact.

You can’t get that far in an EV with a massive battery pack, and the EQS 580 has 107.8 kWh of juice at its disposal (the battery actually has a capacity of 120 kWh, about 10 percent of which is off-limits for driving). But what’s truly impressive about this electric sedan is an absurdly low drag coefficient of 0.20, which is unmatched by any production BEV. It looks sleek, but at first glance, the profile isn’t that much different from an S-Class sedan. Upon closer examination, you’ll notice the longer wheelbase and a pop-open slot on the front quarter-panel, which is another clue to its aerodynamic profile. That slot is for adding wiper fluid, because not only does the EQS 580 have no frunk, the hood does not even open.

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#bev, #cars, #electric-cars, #eqs-580, #eqs-series, #mercedes

Formula 1 wants to stop its cars from porpoising, and this is how

A Ferrari F1 car on track at Baku in Azerbaijan

Enlarge / Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari F1-75 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on June 12, 2022, in Baku, Azerbaijan. (credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The sport of Formula 1 racing went through a massive change at the beginning of this season as it introduced new cars that harness aerodynamic ground effects to push them down onto the track. The aerodynamic approach was last used in F1 in the late 1970s and early 1980s before being banned on safety grounds.

One issue, then, that perhaps should have been anticipated this time was a condition called porpoising, where the cars oscillate vertically at a rather high frequency while traveling at high speed, violently shaking the driver in the process. As this season has progressed, the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has become more and more vocal about the potential health risk this poses for these athletes. And on Thursday, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (or FIA, the sport’s governing body) announced it has a plan to do something about it.

What’s porpoising?

As the air travels underneath the body of an F1 car, it expands as it reaches the venturis at the rear of the car. The faster the car goes, the more downforce it generates via this expansion, until at a certain point the airflow detaches from the floor and stalls. This wipes out all the downforce immediately, and without that effect sucking the car to the ground, it raises up on its suspension.

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#aerodynamics, #cars, #f1, #fia, #formula-1, #porpoising, #racing

Cadillac’s electric flagship will be hand-built, use extensive 3D printing

The taillight of the Celestiq show car is one of the few images Cadillac has released of its next flagship.

Enlarge / The taillight of the Celestiq show car is one of the few images Cadillac has released of its next flagship. (credit: Cadillac)

Cadillac’s transformation into an all-electric vehicle brand is about to get underway. The first new Cadillac EV will be the Lyriq, which has just entered production; Ars is driving it next week, and we’ll be able to tell you about it on June 28.

With a starting price of $59,990, the Lyriq looks reasonably priced to enter the competitive luxury EV SUV space. But the Cadillac EV that follows will be a much more exclusive machine. It’s called the Celestiq, and so far, details are scarce ahead of a formal reveal of the show car in late July. Cadillac has said that “from first approach, the striking silhouette of the Celestiq show car leaves a lasting impression, challenging the ultra-luxury space with the spirit of futurism and the avant-garde.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Cadillac revealed that it will hand-build the Celestiq and will spend $81 million to set up production at General Motors’ Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.

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#3d-printing, #cadillac, #cadillac-celestiq, #cars, #electric-vehicles, #ultium

Teslas using Autopilot crashed 273 times in less than a year

Tesla is facing multiple federal investigations into the safety of its automated and partially automated driving systems. New data from NHTSA shows the automaker accounted for three quarters of all crashes involving advanced driver assists in the past year.

Enlarge / Tesla is facing multiple federal investigations into the safety of its automated and partially automated driving systems. New data from NHTSA shows the automaker accounted for three quarters of all crashes involving advanced driver assists in the past year. (credit: Tesla)

On Wednesday morning, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data on the safety, or lack thereof, of advanced driver assistance systems. Since June 2021, automakers have been required to inform NHTSA if any of their vehicles crash while using partially automated driving systems, also known as SAE level 2 systems.

As many suspected, Tesla’s Autopilot system accounted for the majority of crashes since the reporting period began. In fact, Teslas represented three-quarters of all ADAS crashes—273 out of 367 crashes reported between July 2021 and May 15, 2022. The news provides yet more data underminingTesla’s safety claims about its Autopilot system.

In the past, Tesla and even NHTSA have claimed that Autopilot reduced crash rates by 40 percent. However, as we reported in 2018, that claim fell apart once a consulting company called Quality Control Systems got its hands on the data.

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#adas, #advanced-driver-assistance-systems, #autopilot, #cars, #nhtsa, #road-safety, #tesla

Sony is making a Gran Turismo movie, due next August

Sony is making a Gran Turismo movie, due next August

Enlarge (credit: Sony)

South African director Neill Blomkamp is set to direct a Gran Turismo movie for Columbia Pictures. Deadline first broke the news of a potential GT film in May, but on Tuesday, Sony announced a release date for the film: August 11, 2023.

Video games don’t often make great movies, though I still have a soft spot for Super Mario Bros, even if the elevator scene with the koopas ruined slow dances at weddings for me forever. Although Blomkamp is no stranger to horror, the GT movie is unlikely to feature an army of subterranean dinosaurs.

Instead, the plot involves a teenager GT gamer whose skills see him through a series of competitions to become a professional racing driver.

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#cars, #gaming-culture, #gran-turismo, #neill-blomkamp

Driving McLaren’s new plug-in hybrid supercar, the 2023 Artura

A metallic grey McLaren Artura drives towards the camera

Enlarge / You might think this looks like any other McLaren. But the Artura is a clean-sheet design with a new plug-in hybrid EV powertrain. And a total output of 671 hp. (credit: McLaren)

Since the launch of the McLaren MP4-12C in 2011, all the company’s road cars have fundamentally used different variants of the same V8 engine and similar versions of the same carbon fiber monocoque chassis. But 11 years is a long time in the life cycle of an automotive platform, and now the British supercar maker has a shiny new toy called the Artura.

It’s a clean-sheet design, powered by a plug-in hybrid EV powertrain with an all-new V6 engine augmented by a hybrid electric motor, with perhaps the best-looking interior of any McLaren to date and a raft of technology upgrades that should improve the experience without compromising driver engagement. And unlike McLaren’s last PHEV, the multimillion-dollar P1, the Artura replaces the brand’s previous entry-level supercar, the 570, so it starts at a (reasonable for a McLaren) $233,000.

New monocoque

Perhaps surprisingly for a company that pioneered the use of carbon fiber chassis in Formula 1 and then again with the F1 road car of 1993, McLaren Automotive has historically contracted the production of its carbon fiber monocoque tubs to an Austrian company called CarboTech. But with the advent of this new platform, called the McLaren Carbon Lightweight Architecture (MCLA), that work is being done in-house at a new facility in Sheffield in northern England.

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#cars, #features, #first-drive, #mclaren, #mclaren-artura, #plug-in-hybrid, #supercar

Ford halts sales of Mustang Mach-Es due to propulsion-loss bug

A red Ford Mustang Mach-E GT next to some navy ships

Enlarge / The Ford Mustang Mach-E has had a few teething troubles since its launch in 2021. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Ford has to recall nearly 49,000 Mustang Mach-Es, and it told dealers to temporarily halt sales of the electric vehicle while it works to solve a bug in the propulsion system.

The news, first reported by CNBC, affects some Mach-Es built between May 27, 2020, and May 24, 2022, though Ford says not all of the roughly 100,000 electric crossovers will need to be recalled.

The problem is caused by overheating in the high voltage battery connectors—if this occurs, the Mach-E may not start. Should the problem arise while the EV is being driven, that could lead to a complete loss of propulsion.

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#cars, #ford-mustang-mach-e, #safety-recall

We’ve driven GM and Lockheed Martin’s new Lunar Vehicle

Obviously when we say we've driven GM's new Lunar Vehicle we mean we've driven it in the simulator in Milford, Michigan.

Enlarge / Obviously when we say we’ve driven GM’s new Lunar Vehicle we mean we’ve driven it in the simulator in Milford, Michigan. (credit: Roberto Baldwin)

General Motors provided a flight from San Francisco to Detroit and back, plus a night in hotel so we could drive the Lunar Vehicle at GM’s simulator. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

MILFORD, MICH.—Over the radio, I’ve been instructed not to drive into the large crater near the south pole of the Moon. I had been circling the crest looking for a way in and as soon as mission control realized what I was about to do, it vetoed my heading. I turned away from the impact site and drove towards a hazy sun off in the distance determined to hit at least 25 km/h while battling the awkward effects of gravity one-sixth that of Earth.

General Motors and its partner Lockheed Martin are building a lunar rover without a NASA contract. They want to fly this vehicle to the Moon in support of the Artemis mission, because we’re going back to the Moon to drive and GM wants to be there first.

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#cars, #driving-simulator, #general-motors, #lockheed-martin, #lunar-vehicle

Here’s the hybrid that Cadillac hopes will win the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Cadillac GTP Concept render

Enlarge / This is the Cadillac GTP Concept, which is our first look at what will become Cadillac’s endurance racing car in North America and at Le Mans. (credit: Cadillac)

This weekend saw the annual running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France. It was hardly a race for the ages—don’t worry, no spoilers here—but with any luck, that will change next year with the introduction of a new class of hybrid race cars (known as LMDh cars, for Le Mans Daytona hybrid) from manufacturers like Acura, BMW, Porsche, and others.

We’ve seen a teaser of the Acura ARX-06, and BMW showed off a semi-camouflaged version of its new M Hybrid V8 earlier in June. Porsche’s car, which started testing at the start of the year, will be formally unveiled and named later this month at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK.

And on the eve of Le Mans, Cadillac released the first public images of the Project GTP Hypercar, which the company says previews the design of the car that will contest the North American IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship and the global FIA World Endurance Championship (which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans).

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#cadillac, #cars, #fia-wec, #imsa, #le-mans, #lmdh, #racing

Toyota to offer a lithium-ion home battery system your car can charge

Toyota's new home storage system will let an EV power a house.

Enlarge / Toyota’s new home storage system will let an EV power a house. (credit: Toyota)

The Toyota Motor Corporation has decided to get into the home battery sector. Earlier this month, the automaker announced its O-Uchi Kyuden System, a home energy store that provides “long service life, high quality, good value for price, and high performance,” according to the company.

It’s a surprising move from the world’s largest OEM, given that its supply of lithium-ion batteries is so constrained that it has to use battery packs from different suppliers for its new bZ4x electric crossover, depending on whether the EV is configured as a single or twin-motor variant.

The O-Uchi Kyuden system is more than just a battery pack for your house; there is also a DC-DC converter, which feeds into a power conditioner that can use energy from the battery pack or the house’s photovoltaic cells, it if has them. The pack has a capacity of 8.7 kWh and a maximum rated output of 5.5 kW.

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#cars, #home-battery, #powerwall, #toyota

US expands probe of Tesla Autopilot crashes in step toward possible recall

The interior of a Tesla Model X seen at a car expo.

Enlarge / Tesla Model X at Brussels Expo on January 10, 2018 in Belgium. (credit: Getty Images | Sjoerd van der Wal)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has upgraded an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system in a move that could lead to a recall.

The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation opened the probe of Tesla Autopilot in August 2021 due to “eleven crashes in which Tesla models of various configurations have encountered first responder scenes and subsequently struck one or more vehicles involved with those scenes.” Five other crashes have since been added to the analysis, which covers 830,000 Tesla Model Y, Model X, Model S, and Model 3 cars released from 2014 to 2022. The crashes being investigated resulted in 15 injuries and one death, the NHTSA said.

An NHTSA notice published Thursday said the investigation has been “upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA) to extend the existing crash analysis, evaluate additional data sets, perform vehicle evaluations, and to explore the degree to which Autopilot and associated Tesla systems may exacerbate human factors or behavioral safety risks by undermining the effectiveness of the driver’s supervision. In doing so, NHTSA plans to continue its assessment of vehicle control authority, driver engagement technologies, and related human factors considerations.”

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#autopilot, #cars, #policy, #tesla

Five automakers tell the Feds they want California emissions rules

Five automakers tell the Feds they want California emissions rules

Enlarge (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

California’s ability to regulate its own air quality is being defended by five automakers this week. BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo have filed a motion to defend the Golden State’s waiver, issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency, that allows the state to limit the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by vehicles sold within its borders.

As a result of severe air pollution in the 1960s, then-California Governor and future Republican hero Ronald Reagan created the California Air Resources Board to set a statewide approach to managing air quality. But in recent years, the party of Reagan has been working double-time to undo the move.

Former President Donald Trump was determined to prevent CARB from regulating California’s air. In September 2019, Trump revoked California’s waiver under the clean air act, with the intention of bringing it under an Environmental Protection Agency that had been weakened by executive branch edict. Trump’s attack on California’s air was backed by automakers like Toyota and GM, who have sought to water down fuel efficiency standards.

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#bmw, #cars, #ford, #honda, #volkswagen-group, #volvo

This plasma ignition system can increase engine efficiency by 20%

This is the view of the top of a cylinder as the TPS ignition module sends out a plasma pulse.

Enlarge / This is the view of the top of a cylinder as the TPS ignition module sends out a plasma pulse. (credit: Transient Plasma Systems)

In 2019, we took a look at an interesting new advanced ignition system from Transient Plasma Systems. It replaces the conventional spark plugs in a vehicle’s engine with an ignition module that uses very short duration (nanosecond) pulses of plasma to ignite the fuel/air mixture within the cylinder. Back then, the technology was still being bench-tested, but now it’s almost ready for production after validation testing has confirmed its potential to increase fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent when fitted to an existing engine.

“We’re showing that the technology has ticked off all the things that an advanced ignition system would need to do to go to market,” said Dan Singleton, founder and CEO of TPS.

Aren’t we going all EV?

At this point, some of you are probably wondering why anyone is even bothering to develop new internal combustion engine technology—after all, isn’t our future electric? But with the best will in the world, it’s going to be many years before countries like the US stop selling new internal combustion-powered vehicles and longer still until they’re no longer allowed on our roads.

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#cars, #engine-efficiency, #plasma-ignition, #transient-plasma-systems

Apple’s “next generation” of CarPlay plans to take over every screen in your car

Apple detailed significant updates to its CarPlay platform at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday.

During its keynote presentation, Apple gave what it termed a “sneak peek” of the “next generation” of the CarPlay standard, which allows iPhone users to control and view phone-based apps through their car’s dashboard. The company says the update will see CarPlay more deeply integrate with a car’s hardware, allowing it to display info across multiple screens in a host vehicle at a time when more and more cars are integrating more and more displays.

The idea, it would seem, is to make CarPlay into something closer to a whole-car interface, not just the phone-mirroring infotainment system it is today.

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#apple, #apple-carplay, #cars, #tech, #wwdc-2022

Polestar shows off its electric SUV; US production begins in 2023

This is our first look at an undisguised Polestar 3 SUV.

Enlarge / This is our first look at an undisguised Polestar 3 SUV.

Polestar has released the first image of its next production electric vehicle. It’s called the Polestar 3, and it’s the brand’s first offering in the highly competitive SUV market.

“Polestar 3 is the SUV for the electric age. Our design identity evolves with this high-end large luxury EV, with a strong, individual brand character. With this car, we bring the ‘sport’ back to the SUV, staying true to our performance roots,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. “This is a major milestone for our company, one that boosts our growth trajectory and takes us into our next phase.”

The Polestar 3 is the first EV in that next phase and will be followed in 2023 by the Polestar 4 (a smaller SUV coupe) and the flagship Polestar 5 in 2024.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cars, #polestar, #polestar-3

BMW reveals its newest sport racer, the M Hybrid V8

The M Hybrid V8 is instantly recognizable as a BMW, as it wears the brand's kidney grille.

Enlarge / The M Hybrid V8 is instantly recognizable as a BMW, as it wears the brand’s kidney grille. (credit: BMW)

On Monday, BMW became the first carmaker to reveal its new hybrid racing prototype built to the new LMDh rule set. It’s called the BMW M Hybrid V8, and it will race for the first time at next January’s Rolex 24 in Daytona.

Sports car racing is in the midst of a transition period as race organizers in the US and Europe adopt new rules for prototype race cars. Because we’re talking about sports car racing, and because there are two sets of organizers, it’s all a bit complicated.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is organized by the French Automobile Club de l’Ouest, or ACO. Many of the cars that run in that race also compete in the World Endurance Championship, which is organized by the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (or FIA). In the US, there’s the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), which runs the WeatherTech championship.

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#bmw, #bmw-m-hybrid-v8, #cars, #hypercar, #imsa, #lmdh, #racing, #weathertech-sportscar-championship

Solid-state batteries for EVs move a step closer to production

A solid-state lithium cell is pressed together by Solid Power's new automated EV cell pilot line.

Enlarge / A solid-state lithium cell is pressed together by Solid Power’s new automated EV cell pilot line.

Solid Power, a Colorado-based battery developer, moved one step closer to producing solid-state batteries for electric vehicles on Monday. The company has completed an automated “EV cell pilot line” with the capacity to make around 15,000 cells per year, which will be used first by Solid Power and then by its OEM partners for testing.

“The installation of this EV cell pilot line will allow us to produce EV-scale cells suitable for initiating the formal automotive qualification process. Over the coming quarters, we will work to bring the EV cell pilot line up to its full operational capability and look forward to delivering EV-scale all-solid-state cells to our partners later this year,” said Solid Power CEO Doug Campbell.

Solid-state batteries differ from the lithium-ion batteries currently used in EVs in that they replace the liquid electrolyte with a solid layer between the anode and cathode. It’s an attractive technology for multiple reasons: Solid-state cells should have a higher energy density, they should be able to charge more quickly, and they should be safer, as they’re nonflammable (which should further reduce the pack density and weight, as it will need less-robust protection).

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#cars, #electric-vehicle-battery, #silicon-anode, #solid-power, #solid-state-batteries