Ford is recalling 338,332 Ford Explorers across North America for an improperly formed seat frame edge. The recall covers certain 2017 model year Explorers. The seat frame edge is sharp and could cause injury if driver or passenger reaches between the center console and the seat. Ford is aware of 31 reports of hand injuries related to this recall. Dealers will install a flocked tape and a tab on the inside edge of the power seat frame.
When Cadillac introduced the CT4 back on May 30th, they only introduced the V-series version of the car. Today Cadillac unveiled the standard versions of the car in Sport, Luxury, and Premium Luxury trims. Each one styled slightly differently, the Luxury and Premium Luxury models come with brighter exterior accents and metallic grilles. The Sport version is has a more aggressive mesh grille, sportier fascias, rear spoiler, darkened accents and model specific 18-inch wheels.
Leather Steering wheel
8-inch Touch or Dial operated infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Dual Zone Climate Control
Active Noise Cancelation
CT4 Premium Luxury:
LED Ambient Lighting
Forward Collision Alert
Front Pedestrian Braking
Automatic Emergency Braking
Rear Park Assist
Safety Alert Seat
All of Premium Luxury
Brembo front brakes
Limited Slip Rear Differential
Magnetic Ride Control (RWD Only) or ZF MVS Passive Dampers (AWD)
Available SuperCruise (later in 2020)
Power wise, the CT4 has a choice of 3 power configurations. The 2.0-liter turbo has 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2.7-liter turbo in the Premium Luxury produces 309 horsepower and 348 lb.-ft of torque or in the V gets 325 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft of torque. Both 2.7 liters route power through a 10-speed automatic. Both the 2.0 and 2.7 have a three-step sliding camshaft design, active fuel management, and automatic start-stop.
The Cadillac CT4 will be available for ordering later this year with pricing announced closer to production.
When the Volkswagen ID.3 debuted this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show we reported that the ID.3 would not be coming to the U.S.. That is still true, however we got a tease of the ID.4, which will be the next iteration of the ID family from Volkswagen during the ID.3 intro.
The ID.4 is based on the ID Crozz concept from the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show and it is this model that will be VW's first ID model in the US. While no details have been released, expect the ID.4 to follow the ID.3 mechanical specs pretty closely with 3 different battery options available and a rear axle mounted electric motor. There is the possibility of a dual motor variant coming as well as the concept was powered that way with 302 total system horsepower.
After the ID.4 launch, VW is expected to release an EV version of the ID Buzz concept, a modern take on the Microbus. The ID Buzz, or whatever it will be named, is expected in 2022.
The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept is a sneak peak at a future EQS luxury sedan that is completely electric and sits at the top of the Benz lineup before hitting Maybach. The EQS however won't be replacing the S-Class, but instead sharing the pedestal with it.
The production version of the EQS likely won't arrive till 2021 as a 2022 model year. In the meantime, a new S-Class is expected possibly at next year's Geneva Auto Show with sales beginning for the 2021 model year. While the next generation S-Class will be available with some sort of hybrid power, a fully electric version of the car is off the table for now, diverting all of the EV attention to the EQS. Further differentiation will happen with the EQS taking a more futuristic look while the S-Class retains its more stately gravitas.
This two model strategy will continue for the main meat of the Mercedes-Benz lineup with an EQ model equivalent being available next to its conventionally powered counterpart with the EQC being the first to enter the fray.
Nissan is known for their Zero Gravity Seats found in many of their vehicles, some of the most comfortable cars seats I've found in the industry. Nissan took that experience and applied it to three gaming chair concepts aimed at the gaming crowd.
First of the three is a chair based on the Nissan GT-R Nismo (shown above). It's made from carbon fiber and aluminum and shaped like a racing seat. The soft areas are covered with a red leather and synthetic suede surfaces.
My personal favorite is the Nissan Armada. Inspired by Nissan's full-size SUV, the chair is based on the Platinum Reserve with black and brown leather seating surfaces in the shape of a captain's chair. It has climate controlled heating and cooling with lumbar support for additional comfort.
Finally, the Nissan Leaf. It features gun metal painted surfaces with light-gray leather-appointed seats with electric blue inserts, usb charging ports, and integrated leg rests.
Unfortunately, Nissan has no current plans to build any of these chairs, but is gauging public reaction. If you are interested in one of these chairs, but sure to tweet them at @NissanUSA. What say you reader? Should Nissan build one of these models?
I’ll admit that I have an unabashed love for the Mazda MX-5 Miata. This plucky roadster proves you don’t need gobs of power to provide a big grin when driving. A combination of well-sorted chassis, steering, and slick gearbox does the trick. But Mazda has decided to add a bit more power for the 2019 model, along with including a more powerful four-cylinder and a hardtop option. I’m curious to see if these changes can make the Miata better or worse.
The model seen here is the RF - short for retractable fastback. Press the switch and the roof panels begin an origami folding exercise into the trunk. The result is a targa that provides the open-air feeling, minus a large amount of wind noise. It doesn’t hurt that roof pillars are styled in such a way that gives off a rakish look, no matter whether the top is up or down. Under the hood lies a revised 2.0L Skyactiv four-cylinder with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque - up 26 and 3 respectively. A six-speed manual is standard, while an automatic is optional. The small bump makes for a huge improvement in overall acceleration. Just leaving a stop, I was surprised how much pull the engine had as it got to 45 about a half-second quicker than the last Miata. A key change is Mazda bumping the redline to 7,500 rpm, which allows the engine to fully flex its muscle. This became apparent when I needed to pass a vehicle and found that I didn’t need to drop down a gear to get the power needed. The six-speed manual is still a joy to work with short and precise throws and a direct feeling clutch pedal. Even when stuck in traffic, doing the motions didn’t feel like a hassle. Average fuel economy for the week landed around 32 mpg, even though I was winding the engine out and playing through the gears just because it is so much fun. My tester was the Club model that adds a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein shock absorbers, and a front shock tower brace. This firms up the suspension and provides improve handling on the limit. But out on the backroads, I couldn’t tell there was any real difference in handling between this and the 2016 MX-5 Grand Touring I drove a few years back. Maybe there was slightly less body roll in the RF, but both vehicles had similar characteristics when going into a turn. If I drove both of them on a track, then I think the differences would become more apparent. There is a downside to the Club’s suspension, a very harsh ride. Just making a quick trip to the store was a bit much as the suspension would transmit every little bump and imperfection to the backside of those sitting inside. Another item fitted to my tester was a set of Recaro bucket seats. They come as part of an option package that also adds Brembo Brakes and some cool-looking BBS wheels finished in black. The seats have increased bolstering to hold you in during an enthusiastic drive. But the lack of padding makes them uncomfortable for longer trips. On paper, the RF is an expensive proposition when put against the soft-top: $32,345 vs. $25,730. That massive difference is due to Mazda not offering the base Sport model on the RF. But put the soft-top Club against the RF and the difference shrinks to just over $2,000. Be forewarned that the RF can get expensive. That package I mentioned earlier with the Recaro seats? That will set you back $4,670, bringing the as-tested price to just over $38,000. Mazda’s improvements for the 2019 MX-5 Miata for the most part help, allowing it to become more fun to drive and somewhat easier to live with. That said, the additional cost of the hardtop will depend on whether or not you think it is worth the benefits of possibly being an all-seasons car. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata RF, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Model: MX-5 Miata RF
Engine: 2.0L SkyActiv-G DOHC 16-Valve with VVT Four-Cylinder
Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
Curb Weight: 2,453 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
Base Price: $32,345
As Tested Price: $38,335 (Includes $895.00 Destination Charge)
Brembo with Black Roof - $4,670.00
Interior Package for M/T - $425.00
General Motors announced a recall Wednesday of 3.46 million GM trucks and SUVs for a braking issue that has been linked to 113 accidents and 13 injuries. The problem arises from a vacuum pump issue where the pump make less vacuum over time, thereby increasing the braking effort. The pump is lubricated by engine oil and can accumulate debris and oil sludge lessening the pump's effectiveness.
The recall covered model years 2014 - 2018 of Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Suburban, and Tahoe, and GMC Sierra and Yukon.
GM told the NHTSA that the pump design was only used during those years of manufacture.
In a smaller recall, GM is recalling 177,000 2018 Chevrolet Malibus with the 1.5-liter Turbo engine where an error in the engine control computer could disable the fuel injectors.
Land Rover has transformed their Defender off-road vehicle which went out of production in 2016 into a more luxurious, roomier, and much more high tech. The new generation of Defender comes in 3-door and 5-door versions. The first on offer will be the 110, a 5-door model with 5, 6, or 7, seats that will arrive in early 2020. Later that year will be the 3-door 90 short wheelbase model with 5 or 6 seats and a van version of the 90 will be on offer also. Following in 2021 will be the longer 130 version with a choice of 7 or 8 seats. While not all pricing has been released, the 110 version will start at $50,925 and will be the only version offered in the US for now.
Powering the Defender will be a choice of 296 hp 2.0-liter, JLR's new 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder with a mild hybrid system that packs 395 horsepower. Diesel power may come later, won't be available at launch. A plug-in hybrid version will also show up later in the production cycle.
JLR says the new Defender will leave you refreshed after a long drive but still pass through water up to 35.4 inches deep and tow 8,200 lbs.
The new Defender is built on a heavily modified version of the D7u platform used on the Discovery, but that it is so heavily modified, it gets its own codename (D7x) and own assembly line. It also introduces a new entertainment system called Pivi Pro that is more user friendly and uses fewer inputs to perform common tasks. It is capable of taking over the air software updates with 14 different modules capable of taking updates remotely.
BMW released a preview of the BMW Concept 4 for the Frankfurt Auto Show today. The concept features a large vertical grille that will become the new face of the BMW 4-series. The slim headlights have no glass cover allowing a sculptured look to the LED elements. The 4-series features a stretched out hood, long wheelbase, and short overhangs to give an elegant and sporty appearence while the wheel arches contribute to a powerful stance.
BMW did not give any hints as to the powertrain, but the 4-series currently comes in 248 horsepower, 320 horsepower, and 425 horsepower flavors.
This low slung concept is clearly an early look at the next 4-series refresh coming in about a year.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision EQS Concept today in Frankfurt. The Vision EQS represents the future of luxurious driving.
Powering the Vision EQS is a dual motor system with continuous all wheel drive with approximately 469 horsepower and with about 560 lbs.-ft of torque. The juice for all that power comes from an approximately 100 kWh battery. The top speed is estimated at 124 mph and 0 to 60 will happen in less than four and a half seconds. The Vision EQS is capable of DC fast charging up to 350 KW. Range is estimated at around 435 on the WLTP rating cycle.
The interior of the EQS is intended to remind passengers of the deck of a boat, taking its inspiration from luxury yachts. The interior uses a portion of recycled plastic reclaimed from ocean waste. The wood is Maple from ecologically managed forests in Germany. By using wood from Germany, it ensures a short transportation distance to reduce the CO2 output of the assembly process.
Moody's Investor Service has downgraded Ford to junk status rating of Ba1, one step below investment grade. They say that Ford's cash flow and profit margins are below expectations and are expected to remain weak for the next two years. Outside of the financial sector, Ford is one of the top 15 issuers of corporate bonds.
The primary cause for concern is a cash crunch brought on by a lengthy restructuring plan that includes closing factories and laying off thousands of workers. Investors are not impressed with CEO Jim Hackett's plans to ditch sedans and revive an aging lineup of SUVs and trucks. All new versions of the Ford Explorer and Ford Escape debuted this year.
Back in July, Ford issued a disappointing profit forecast as it struggles to compete in China's slowing car market. So far S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings have an investment grade of BBB on Ford, however both firms have a negative outlook on Ford's future.
After the Moody's announcement, Ford's shares dived 4.2 percent to $9.14.
The latest CEO at Nissan, Hiroto Saikawa, is out-of-office permanently as of September 16th after yet another financial scandal rocks the company. Saikawa is the second Nissan CEO to be tainted by financial misconduct allegations.
Allegedly, Saikawa received improper payments with regards to the sale of Nissan stock. The payments were after the date of the sale of the stock was altered and netted Saikawa additional hundreds of thousands of dollars. Saikawa has not yet been charged with a crime. Saikawa originally said he would stay on until a replacement was found, but abruptly changed course and formally resigned today.
The temporary replacement will be Chief Operating Officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi until a permanent replacement has been found. There are currently ten candidates for the positions and Nissan says it is considering outsiders and non-Japanese.
Volkswagen debuted today the Volkswagen ID.3 for the European market. Those of you reading from North America will be disappointed to learn that this is yet more Forbidden Fruit.
The ID.3 is the first vehicle built on VW's new MEB electric vehicle platform. Basic versions will be priced under €30,000 ($33,156) with a range of around 205 miles. Two more battery options will be available, the mid-range giving 260 miles and the largest battery enabling a range of 342 miles. When using DC fast charging, the ID.3 can add enough range to cover 180 miles with just 30 minutes on the plug. With 201 horsepower driving the rear wheels and 229 lb-ft of torque, the ID.3 promises spirited and engaging driving.
The inside is roomy for a vehicle just 165.4 inches long, and should seat 5 with relative ease, while 13.6 cubic feet of cargo room allows for some luggage as long as it is tidy.
VW is limiting the configurations at launch to just 3 options. The basic ID.3 1ST edition includes navigation, heated seats and steering wheel, and 18-inch wheels. The ID.3 1ST Plus adds a rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, keyless access and starting system, a center console with USB-C charging ports, and ambient lighting. For the ID.3 1ST Max, you'll also get an augmented reality heads up display, Beats audio system, panoramic sliding glass roof, and 20-inch alloy wheels.
Volkswagen will be offering home chargers with optional datalink and remote access. VW plans on offering these chargers at a significant price cut below the existing chargers currently available on the market. Free energy with ID.3 1ST Edition purchases allows owners to charge up to 2,000 kWh for free at any WeCharge or Ionity network charging stations, allowing access to more than 100,000 charging stations across Europe.
The ID.3 will be available in Germany in mid-2020.
Mercedes-Benz has debuted the third generation of plug-in hybrid GLC with a tongue twister of a name. The Mercedes-Benx GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power... yes, that's the whole model name...will have its formal debut at the Frankfurt International Auto Show this month.
The GLC 350e gets an increase in all-electric range to 28-30 miles on the NEDC rating, EPA rating is yet to be determined. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder rated for 208 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 lbs.-ft of torque at 1,200 - 4,000 rpm. Inside the 9-speed automatic is an electric motor that adds 121 horsepower and 325 lbs.-ft of torque for a total system output of 315 horsepower and 516 lbs.-ft of torque. Acceleration to 60 is estimated at 5.6 seconds.
Level one charging (household plug) from 10% takes 7.75 hours to reach 100%. On a level two charger, that time drops to just 2.25 hours. The MBUX system can help drivers find a charging station by simply saying "Hey Mercedes, find charging stations nearby."
Echion Technologies is addressing today's biggest challenge for electric vehicles is the speed at which the battery is recharged. Current technology pretty much has your 300 mile battery recharging in 45 minutes to 1 hour.
In 2017 Toshiba came out with a battery that goes into production for select new EVs that come out at the end of 2019 with general availability in 2020. The Generation 1 SCiB battery was 200 miles in 6 min and with generation 2 they have now made it 353 miles fully recharged in 6 min.
Now we have Echion Technologies that has come up with a unique material solution for Lithium-ion batteries.
According to the interview by Cambridge Independent newspaper Dr. Jean De La Verpilliere was studying at the University of Cambridge for his PhD in nanoscience when he created a material that could be used in Lithium batteries.
His focus and expertise on high performance materials innovations for lithium brought about the following benefits that current batteries in current EVs do not have.
Ultra-fast charge - Re-charge of Li-ion batteries in a matter of minutes. High energy - No sacrifice of energy for power Sustainable - Materials are entirely sustainable Safe - Fast charge without dangerous lithium dendrites Cost-effective - NO expensive or rare feedstocks needed The benefit of this new material according to Echion Technologies is that this patented technology material will help to drive the global electrification movement across the supply chain. The benefit is that this material simply drops into the existing battery manufacturing infrastructure with no capital cost.
Per the interview by Cambridge Indepenent is that they have replaced graphite with their own mass produced neutral material. One of the biggest benefits here is that current Li-ion batteries can explode when re-charged too fast. With the Echion material you have no explosion at any speed of charging.
People will remember the Samsung Note 7 nightmare of exploding batteries. This was the push by Cambridge and various scientist who were researching various options for safer battery charging. Dr. De La Verpilliere was the one to figure out a non-explosive material that could replace the solid and liquid current design of Lithium batteries.
With the startup of Echion Technologies they are taking their 1,000 tonnes manufactured a day and scale it as they work with various OEMs in building new next generation Lithium solid state batteries.
Echion Technologies was funded by Cambridge Enterprise and NewablePrivate Investing. They have since been joined by Vantage Power, a company that designs and manufactures electric and hybrid systems for Buses and commercial goods vehicles.
Backed with money and now working with various OEM vendors, Echion says their battery technology will show up in various EVs from consumer cars / CUV / Trucks to commercial applications and should bring the recharge time down to you going inside to get a cup of coffee, pay for it and walk back out and be ready to hit the road.
Echion Technologies Founding Team
EV-curious. That’s what I would call myself. Someone that is interested in EVs but just hasn’t found the right one. There are many aspects of an EV that is appealing to me. Instant torque, quick acceleration, the ability to charge at your house or apartment, and the continuation of creating semi-autonomous driving. It’s all so exciting! I’m ready to go out and trade in my 2016 Volkswagen GTI for one now! Or am I? Let’s take a quick look at a small field of electric vehicles, starting with the brand new 2020 Porsche Taycan.
The release of the 2020 Porsche Taycan is a feat in and of itself. The car itself is downright sexy, is has a handsome interior, and performance that is pure Porsche. Over 700 HP for the Turbo S model is impressive. It also costs what you would expect an electric super-Porsche would be since the range topping Taycans are coming out first. These are the Turbo and Turbo S which cost over $150,000. After these come onto the market, less expensive and less powerful versions will come. Would this be the car that I will buy? Sure, once I get that CMO position at a major company. This is a dream electric car, but not one that I would consider just yet.
What about an attainable electric car? There are a few on the market that cover the bases. Vehicles like the Hyundai Kona Electric, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and others have good to respectable range, decent features, and are not the most expensive vehicles. Average prices of $40,000-$45,000 is a bit steep, but electric cars usually command a premium over gasoline vehicles. They also have good driving aids such as blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, something that my current car has and is top priority for me. They’re all very good cars but with flaws such as build quality and designs that keep me from considering one. My problem is simple: performance. Electric cars have instant torque at 0 RPM and can be extremely fast. These EVs just don’t cut the mustard for me since they are more about range than blistering speed. For around $45,000, I can get a gas-powered car such as a Genesis G70 3.3T that is faster, has better range, and the safety features I want. Let’s continue from good electric vehicles to “the best”.
Right now, you are probably thinking: “Anthony, you are forgetting the king of electric vehicles. They are synonymous with electric cars and have a huge cult following.” Guess who that is? Yes, that is of course Tesla. You can’t write about electric cars without talking about Tesla. They are a very S 3 X Y R brand indeed. The Model S introduced expensive but seriously quick electric vehicles. The X brought us an odd but much-needed crossover. The 3 is the bread-and-butter maker with a starting price around $40,000, and acceleration that beats almost all vehicles in its class. The Y hasn’t come out yet but is a crossover version of the 3, and the Roadster is a $250,000 supercar. Even though there are three models currently available, I will focus on the Model 3 Performance since that is the one I am most interested in.
There is a lot to like about the Model 3 Performance. It has “performance” in its name and with 450 HP, it is one of the quickest sedans I’ve ever driven. The instant torque from the motors is intoxicating and it handles well for a heavy vehicle. Does it tick all the boxes to convert to a Tesla-fanatic? No. Why? The interior. I am not a fan of controlling absolutely everything with a touchscreen and not having my speedometer in front of me.
The Model 3 Performance can have semi-autonomous driving, but it is a $7,000 option. Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system is standard and is regarded to be one of the best, if not the best driver-assist system. Tesla has sold over 250,000 Model 3 vehicles and it is a genuinely amazing feat for a young company. The range is good at over 310 miles. Pricing starts at $55,000 and is fully-loaded around $64,000. If you are okay with the minimal interior and styling, get yourself a Model 3. I personally am not a fan of either of those, so onward we go.
This brings me to a car I am waiting for: The Polestar 2 fastback. Polestar used to be a sub-division of Volvo, like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. You can still get Polestar-tune Volvos, but Polestar has branched out into their own brand. The Polestar 2 is their first all-electric car. It has over 250 miles of range, 400 HP, and most import to me, gauges that are straight in front of the driver. The design is bold yet looks like an even more modern version of a Volvo. Since Polestar is a sporty company, the performance upgrades include upgraded shocks, brakes, and bigger wheels with Swedish gold seat belts. You get this package mainly for the gold seat belts. Is it pricey at over $60,000? Yes, but it feels justified for the 408 hp and range of 275 miles. 0-60 is said to be around 4.7 seconds but I suspect it will be lower. Will they sell Tesla Model 3 numbers of them? I highly doubt it since they area new brand, but it should be a great competitor to the Tesla Model 3.
I like the concept of electric vehicles. I know that one day, there will be one charging at my house. Am I ready for an electric car? Yes. Is there any on the market that jumps out at me and gives me the satisfaction I have for my current car at a reasonable price of around $40,000 new? No.
Do not get me wrong; there are electric cars that make sense for a multitude of situations. Range and charging are getting better, more features are getting added, and manufacturers are creating electric-only ranges of vehicles that will bring down the costs of more performance-oriented vehicles. I can go in-depth about certain electric cars in a future article. For now, I think I will keep my car and wait until something really catches my eye. That, or wait a few years and hope the Porsche Taycan depreciates enough that I can buy one.
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