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    NHTSA Testing Mirrorless Cars

    ...New tech to replace old tech...

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun testing vehicles that have cameras in place of real mirrors.  The request to test such devices goes back to March of 2014 when the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers along with Tesla filed a petition with the NHTSA to get approval to install based rear or side vision cameras and screens  in their vehicles.  Daimler filed a similar petition in 2015 for their heavy duty trucks. Japan and Europe have already approved the technology. 
    The first car with cameras replacing the side mirrors was the Lexus ES sold in Japan, followed by the Audi e-tron in Europe back in December.  Both vehicles are sold in the U.S. with standard mirrors instead of the cameras.  Honda's coming Honda e will have the technology standard when it goes on sale in Europe later this year.
    Mirrorless systems are an area where the legislation has not yet caught up with the technology according to Mark Dahncke of Audi.

    Toyota and Suzuki Form A New Alliance

    ...A stock swap leading to tech swap...

    Toyota and Suzuki have announce plans to formalize a technology alliance.  Suzuki will purchase approximately $454 million of Toyota stock while Toyota will acquire approximately $908 million in Suzuki shares for a 4.94 percent stake in the company. 
    The two companies will share technology and platforms.  Toyota will provide technology for electrification while Suzuki will provide platforms for small vehicles.   Both companies will collaborate in the area of autonomous driving technology.
    The two companies already have an agreement where Toyota will provide Suzuki badged variants of the RAV-4 and Corolla Estate for the European market, while a Suzuki model will be built at Toyota's Derbyshire plant in the UK. Toyota will get Suzuki's new compact vehicle engines for the Euro market, while both will co-develop hybrid vehicles for the Indian market. 
    From the sounds of it, none of the technology swap will be seen here in the U.S., but it does make us wonder about the small car agreement that Toyota has with Mazda to build the Toyota Yaris.

    Polestar Opens The Factory Doors

    ...and gains something that sets is apart from Volvo...

    Polestar has opened their factory in Chengdu, China to begin production of the Polestar 1.  The factory was designed to achieve a Gold status LEED certification.
    The Polestar 1 is a luxury hybrid coupe that boasts over 600 horsepower and 1,000 nm (738 lb-ft) of torque and an electric only range of 93 miles. It is a limited production run of 500 vehicles per year and most of the early allocations are sold out. 
    One other announcement came with the factory press release.  Polestar has filed for and received their World Manufacturing Identifier, basically their character in the VIN that identifies them.  This means that Polestar manufactured vehicles will not have a Volvo VIN but a Polestar VIN instead.  Polestar will still apply their performance technology know-how to higher performance Volvos. 

    Land Rover Defender Leaks Out

    ...Being used on a movie set...

    The Land Rover Defender leaked out via an Instagram post from the set of a 007 movie, spotted without camouflage and clearly back from some mudding around. The Defender was supposed to debut at the Frankfurt International Auto Show next month. 
    The previous Defender stopped production in 2016 after a 67 year run.  Emissions and safety regulations eventually forced it out of the markets.  The new Defender retains a boxy shape, but is now much more modern in appearence. The headlights have a hooded look in place of the previously circular units. 
    The Defender will initially be offered in a five passenger configuration, but eventually will also get a shorter length model to compete more directly with the Jeep Wrangler.  Those wanting a larger version will be happy too as an 8-passenger version is also planned.  Power will come from a range of turbo 4-cylinders, turbo 6-cylinder, a plug-in hybrid, and even a 6-cylinder diesel.  One thing the Defender will not have is are solid axles, moving instead to a fully independent suspension. 
    The Defender will likely end up in the US market as a 2021 model sometime in late 2020. 

    Chevy Increases Bolt Range

    ...Up 21 miles over previous years....

    Chevrolet has announced that for 2020, the Chevrolet Bolt will have a longer range between charges. The new maximum range on a full charge is now 259, a 21 mile increase over previous year cars. 
    Chevy achieved this by making a small change in the battery cell chemistry. This allowed the team to increase range without changing the structure of the battery pack. The change increases the battery pack's capacity from 60 kWh to 66 kWh.  The drivetrain itself has not changed and remains a 200 horsepower / 266 lb-ft unit. 
    Chevy is also offering two additional colors for 2020, Cayenne Orange Metallic (additional cost option) and Oasis Blue.
     

    Electrify American and EVgo Agree To Interoperability

    ...two of the largest EV charging networks join forces...

    Electrify America is working hard to build up the largest network of electric chargers in the US.  They have already partnered with Chargepoint, so that if you have an account with one company, you can use your account at either company's charging stations without additional fees.   Now the network has gotten even larger as an interoperability agreement has been reached with EVgo, one of the largest charging networks out there.  So now, if you have an Electrify America account, you can charge your EV with at least three different providers on a single account with no additional fees. 
    Electrify America is the company that was formed from Volkwagen's dieselgate scandal and is hard at work deploying EV charging stations around the US, including 350-kW stations for fast charging. They are also working towards "plug and charge" capability which would allow the car to be charged without the need for a card at all. 
    The current Electrify America map before adding EVgo or ChargePoint:
    Related:
    Porsche Offering Three Years Free Charging with Taycan

    Hyundai "45" Concept Teased for Frankfurt

    ...A concept that looks to the past for the future...

    Hyundai teased an image of its『45』Concept today ahead of the Frankfort International Motor Show. The car will be a fully electric vehicle and will be a symbolic milestone for Hyundai's future EV design.
    The concept looks back to the brand's first model in the 1970s for inspiration and is visibly angular. The new design language is an evolution of Hyundai's "Sensuous Sportiness" design.  ‘Sensuous’ stands for enhanced emotional values that customers can experience through design, and ‘Sportiness’ is determined to implement those values through innovative mobility solutions.
    The 『45』Concept will be unveiled on September 10th. 

    Audi RS 6 Avant Heading to the US

    ...When you need to get groceries fast...

    After 25 years on the market in other countries as Forbidden Fruit, the Audi RS 6 Avant will finally be coming to the U.S.  The RS 6 Avant comes with a 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 that gets from naught to 62.1 mph in 3.6 seconds.  On the track, the wicked wagon is capable of a top speed of 155 mph. European specifications for the engine are 591 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, however U.S. specs will be released closer to launch.  Putting that power to all four wheels is an eight-speed Tiptronic. The Quattro system actively splits torque between each of the rear wheels with the ability to send nearly all torque to one wheel. 
    The RS comes with an adaptive air suspension with controlled damping that can be set to comfort or performance.  An optional suspension is offered, driver adjustable Dynamic Ride Control that helps with improved cornering and handling. Drivers can select from six drive modes, including RS1 and RS2 which are customizable. 
    The exterior of the RS is specific to the car. The body of the car is about 1.6 inches wider than none RS Avants with flared wheel arches. 
    The RS 6 Avant will arrive in dealerships in 2020. 
     

    GMC Canyon AT4 Coming for 2020

    ...Replaces the All-Terrain...

    There's not much to show of it, but GMC announce that the GMC Canyon AT4 would be coming in early 2020 at an event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  The AT4 package is a ruggedized look that falls between the SLT and Denali in GMC's lineup. Right now, AT4 is only available on the GMC Sierra 1500, Sierra HD, and the 2020 GMC Acadia.  On the Acadia, the AT4 package is simply an appearance package. On the Sierra, it actually adds a 2-inch lift kit in and red recovery hooks.
    GMC has promised that every vehicle in the lineup will get an AT4 package (though we doubt that is true for the Savana), leaving the Terrain, Canyon, and Yukon as the holdouts.  
    The AT4 package on the Canyon is interesting because GMC already offers the All-Terrain package which adds an off-road suspension, transfer case shield, hill descent control, and all-terrain tires among the visual updates. For 2020, the All-Terrain package will be dropped and replaced with AT4.  The Chevy Colorado offers an off-road version in the ZR2 trim, but there is no equivalent for the GMC.  It could be that GMC is planning the AT4 to be more than the current All-Terrain, but not quite to the level of a ZR2.

    Mercedes Unveils The First All-Electric Luxury Van

    ...Range, 250 miles....

    Following the Concept EQV at the Geneva Auto Show back in March, Mercedes-Benz has pulled the wraps off the production version ahead of the Frankfurt Auto Show coming up in September. 
    The Mercedes says that the EQV will have a range of about 250 miles and rapid charging from 10 percent to 80 percent of the 100 kWh battery in less than one hour. Interior space is not compromised as the battery is stored under the floor of the vehicle.  Drivers can control the recuperation levels with paddles behind the steering wheel, with the strongest setting being akin to braking allowing single pedal operation. The drive unit is a 204 horsepower / 267 lb-ft of torque motor that drives the front wheels. Top speed is said to be 99 mph. 
    Passengers can expect a lounge like interior with EQ specific décor and the MBUX infotainment system. Two wheelbases will be available. 
    Sales in the US are an unknown at this time, but with the threat of tariffs looming, we highly doubt it. The only EV that Daimler offered in the US is the Smart Fourtwo, but that model and brand will be departing the US for China after 2019.  
     

    Pair of EVs Spells Death For Continental

    ...Continental moves over for two EVs in Flatrock...

    Ford is preparing to launch a pair of mid-size crossover electric vehicles according to sources. One Ford and one Lincoln are code named CDX746 and CDX747 are similar in size to the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus and both will be 2023 models.  The vehicles were originally destined for Ford's plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico but have been moved to Flatrock Assembly in Michigan just south of Detroit.   Flatrock Assembly is where the Ford Mustang and Lincoln Continental are currently built. 
    These two EVs are slated for about 65,000 units annually and because of the move to Flatrock, essentially spell the end for the slow selling Lincoln Continental.... at least in the US.  It is possible that Lincoln could continue building the Continental in China and import it to the U.S., however tariff concerns which killed the Ford Focus Active from being imported from China could also filter over onto the Continental.

    Polestar Launching In US In Fall

    ...First of three vehicles...

    The Polestar brand, a sub-brand of Volvo, is launching in the U.S. this fall.  The first vehicle, the Polestar 1 is a 600 horsepower plug-in hybrid coupe, and if you have not already signed up for one, you are too late, the US allotment is already sold. 
    The bigger player for Polestar is the Polestar 2 (pictured above), a 5 door fastback electric vehicle with 408 horsepower and 275 mile range. The Polestar 2 is based on Volvo's CMA platform that is used under the the Volvo XC40 crossover. It will be built in China at the beginning of 2020 and arriving in dealerships in Q2. Polestar 2 is the vehicle expected to define the brand going forward.
    Later, for 2022, the Polestar 3 will arrive using the next generation of the SPA platform that is used under all Volvo's except the XC40. It will be a crossover coupe, but no word yet on the choice of power. 
    Polestar hopes to be selling more than 100,000 units a year globally in 5 to 7 years. 

    Audi Offering Seven Day Rental with New Purchases

    ...Why vacation without "your" Audi?....

    Most Luxury dealerships offer a loaner car when a customer brings their vehicle in for service.  But Audi is offering something different for new owners of 2019 or newer Audi vehicles. 
    Audi owns the rental car company Silvercar, a firm that exclusively offers silver Audis as their rental fleet. The new program called "Always Audi" allows purchasers of a new Audi seven days rental at no additional cost.   Customers can choose from the Audi A4, A5 Cabriolet, Q5, or Q7 from one of their 20 locations around the US.  All Audis at Silvercar come with GPS, Wifi, and SiriusXM at no additional cost. 
    Of course, there are a few catches.  The rental days must be used within the first 3 years of ownership, and drivers are still responsible for fuel, airport fees, taxes, tolls, optional insurance, and other options. 
    Now Audi owners can take "their" Audi along on vacation with them.

    Infiniti Teases New Crossover Coupe

    ...To be called the QX55

    Infiniti today released a teaser image of an upcoming crossover coupe due to be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this year.  The QX55 will slot between the QX50 and QX60 in the lineup but will borrow heavily from the QX50 platform.  Not much is known about the crossover except that it will likely be a front-wheel drive based vehicle and feature Infiniti's new 2.0 liter variable compression engine. 
    Infiniti says the QX55 will be in dealerships in Summer of 2020.

    Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Pricing Announced

    ...Lowest price diesel half-ton truck....

    Ram has announced the pricing on the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. The lowest priced model will be a Quad Cab 2wd Tradesman model, starting at $38,585 including destination charges.  The EcoDiesel is a $4,995 option, making it about $3,000 more expensive than a V8 Hemi-eTorque. 
    The EcoDiesel takes the crown as the half-ton diesel with the highest amount of torque, 480 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm, and highest towing capacity in the class at 12,560 lbs. Horsepower is rated at 260 at 3,600 rpm, an 8 percent increase over the previous version. Fuel economy ratings will be announced closer to release in Q4 this year.
    The new EcoDiesel will be available in all trims and configurations including the Ram Classic and the Ram Rebel. 
    Here is how the Ram EcoDiesel stacks up to the completion from GM and Ford. 
    RAM - 260 horsepower / 480 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
    GM - 277 horsepower / 460 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm
    Ford - 250 horsepower / 440 lb-ft at 1,750 rpm

    Related:
    GM Delays Diesel Launch; Expands 6.2 V8 Availability
    GM Inline-6 Diesel Rated
    Ford Releases Details on 2018 F-150 Diesel
    Ram Press Release on Page 2


     
    Pricing Announced for New 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
     
    2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pricing starts at $36,890, plus $1,695 destination New Ram 1500 EcoDiesel produces the highest half-ton diesel torque at 480 lb.-ft. and highest half-ton diesel towing capacity at 12,560 pounds Ram 1500 Rebel now available with EcoDiesel option for the first time Ram focused on establishing powertrain technology leadership in the truck segment Class-exclusive air suspension enhances fuel economy, improves ride control, off-road capability, ease of entry and exit, cargo-loading effort and features automatic load leveling August 16, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Ram Truck today announced pricing for the 2020 Ram 1500 powered by the new 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel engine with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $­­­­­­36,890 for the Tradesman Quad Cab 2WD, plus $1,695 destination.
     
    The EcoDiesel is a $4,995 option, or $3,000 premium over the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 eTorque ($3,300 on Tradesman, Big Horn/Lone Star, Rebel and Laramie base models).
     
    “The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel offers the best torque and towing among all half-ton diesel trucks,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Ram Brand. “Now with a 10-year track record, the Ram brand has emerged as a truck powertrain technology leader. Overall, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has outstanding pick-up truck capability and is truly in a class of its own.”
     
    The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is available across all models and configurations, including a first-time offering in the Ram Rebel.
     
    The Ram 1500’s all-new 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel leads the half-ton pickup truck segment in torque with 480 lb.-ft. and diesel towing capability of 12,560 pounds.

    The 2019 Ram 1500 Classic is also offered with the second-generation 3.0-liter EcoDiesel. Pricing for the Ram 1500 Classic EcoDiesel (Crew Cab 4x2) starts at $39,140, plus destination.
     
    Fuel economy ratings will be announced closer to when trucks go on sale early in the fourth quarter of this year.
     
    All-new EcoDiesel engine
    The third generation of the turbocharged EcoDiesel V-6 delivers increased torque and horsepower, along with superb fuel economy and minimal levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) to meet the needs of Ram 1500 owners.
     
    In the 2020 Ram 1500, the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is rated at a best-in-class 480 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm, a 14 percent increase from the previous-generation EcoDiesel V-6, which peaks 400 rpm earlier. Horsepower increases 8 percent to 260 hp at 3,600 rpm.
     
    Several significant changes contribute to the new EcoDiesel’s improved dynamic and fuel economy performance. A new-generation water-cooled turbocharger with variable geometry is more efficient and provides improved response as engine rpms rise and fall Redesigned intake ports to improve engine performance and fuel economy Introduction of a dual, high-pressure and low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system, a first for a diesel engine in North America. The EcoDiesel’s existing high-pressure EGR, with cooling exhaust gases drawn from the exhaust manifold, is augmented with a low-pressure EGR system that draws exhaust gases after they exit the diesel particulate filter. The addition of cooler, low-pressure exhaust gas makes a significant contribution to improved fuel economy and lower oxides of nitrogen (NOx) The compression ratio is changed to 16.0:1 from 16.5:1, which helps reduce exhaust emissions, particularly NOx Redesigned high-pressure (29,000 psi/2,000 bar) direct-injection fuel injector nozzles Combustion chamber geometry optimized to improve fuel economy Redesigned aluminum-alloy pistons improve fuel economy. The redesigned pistons use thinner piston rings and coating on the side skits to reduce friction The piston pin is offset 0.3 degrees from the centerline to reduce “piston slap” against the cylinder wall, minimizing NVH The lower portion of the two-piece oil sump uses a sandwiched polymer/metal material to reduce NVH The Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system is 50 percent larger and incorporates a new-generation diesel oxidation catalyst with the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) system to reduce NOx New-generation brake system vacuum pump with low-friction blades contributes to improved fuel economy The upgrades build on the EcoDiesel V-6’s attributes and performance that made it a winner of Wards 10 Best Engines award for three consecutive years.
     
    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 uses dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) with four valves per cylinder and a 60-degree angle between the cylinder banks. The block is cast with compacted graphite iron, which provides strength to dampen vibrations, but weighs less than grey cast iron. A compacted graphite iron bedplate adds rigidity to the block.
     
    The EcoDiesel V-6 uses a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods for strength and durability. The aluminum alloy pistons are cooled on the underside via oil jets. Heat-treated aluminum cylinder heads use individual bearing caps to reduce friction and minimize NVH. The chain-driven overhead camshafts employ roller-finger followers.
     
    The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is produced at the FCA Cento facility in Ferrara, Italy.
     
    Ram 1500
    The 2020 Ram 1500 is the no-compromise benchmark for durability, technology, efficiency and convenience with features never before offered in a pickup. The Ram 1500 features up to 12,750 pounds of towing capability (5.7-liter HEMI V-8) and 2,300 pounds of payload. Ram’s eTorque mild hybrid system delivers improved fuel efficiency in both V-6 (standard) and V-8 configurations. As a segment disrupter, the new Uconnect 4C with a massive 12-inch touchscreen leads the pickup world in technology, featuring split-screen capability, 360-degree camera views and exclusive content from SiriusXM with 360L. Active safety and security systems include adaptive cruise control, Forward Collision Warning, Blind-spot Monitoring and Ready Alert Braking. Class-leading ride and handling is accomplished via a class-exclusive link-coil rear suspension system with optional Active-level four-corner air suspension. The 2020 Ram 1500 also features twice the interior storage capacity versus the competition.
     
    Unsurpassed powertrain warranty – five years/100,000 miles
    The 2020 Ram 1500 is backed with a five-year /100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty. The powertrain-limited warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair a covered powertrain component – engine, transmission and drive system.
     
    The standard three-year/36,000-mile Basic Limited Warranty provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for the Ram 1500, from the body to the electrical system.
     
    Manufacturing
    The 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is built at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
     
    About Ram Truck Brand
    In 2009, the Ram Truck brand launched as a stand-alone division, focused on meeting the demands of truck buyers and delivering benchmark-quality vehicles.
     
    That focus leads Ram to design the industry’s most innovative, award-winning trucks, emphasizing durability, strength, technology and efficiency.
     
    With a full lineup of trucks, including ProMaster and ProMaster City vans, the Ram brand builds trucks that get the hard work done and families where they need to go. From the no-compromise Ram 1500 that defines the future of pickup trucks with innovative design, the highest quality materials and class-exclusive technology, to the Ram Heavy Duty which combines the ability to out-power, out-tow and out-haul every single competitor with the segment’s most comfortable ride and handling, Ram is committed to product leadership.
     
    Ram continues to outperform the competition and sets the benchmarks for: Most powerful: 1,000 lb.-ft of torque with Cummins Turbo Diesel Highest towing capacity: 35,100 lbs. with Ram 3500 Heaviest payloads: 7,680 lbs. with Ram 3500 Most luxurious: Ram Limited with real wood, real leather and 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen Best ride and handling with exclusive link coil rear and auto-level air suspensions Most interior space with Ram Mega Cab Most capable full-size off-road pickup – Ram Power Wagon Most-awarded light-duty truck in America Highest owner loyalty of any half-ton pickup Over the last 30 years, Ram has the highest percentage of pickups still on the road
    Giving maximum effort all day, every day with confidence, the Ram Truck lineup steps forward with the full force of modern capability providing confidence-inspiring features and class-exclusive vehicle safety.

    Volkswagen Still Committed to Diesel

    ...Not ready to throw in the oil soaked towel yet...

    Volkswagen is introducing a new generation of diesel engines with the 2.0 TDI Evo. This new engine is said to greatly undercut the limits of the tough new Euro 6d-Temp emissions standards. Volkwagen posted an interview with Sebastian Willmann, the Head of Diesel Engine Development at Volkswagen. In that interview he says that VW was able to reduce fuel consumption by 0.4 L/100km compared to the previous engine and reduce CO2 emissions by 10g/km.  They did both of these things while also increasing power output. 
    He further went on to explain that while there is a stigma surrounding diesel engines because of dieselgate, the diesel is still quite popular for its efficiency, range, and torque. Now, with this new engine, it is also substantially cleaner compared to prior engines.  He says that diesels will remain especially effective for vehicles that require a longer range or extra torque for towing.
    These statements are in contrast to the direction that VW as a whole is taking in the segment of electric vehicles.  VW has committed billions of euros to the development of an entire EV range.  The first EV, the ID.3 is expected in Europe in early 2020 with top line models having a range of 342 miles on a charge. Reservations of the Volkswagen ID.3 topped 10,000 in its first 24 hours it was available. 


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