If you didn’t already know, there is a shortage of truck drivers in the United States and that shortage is now expected to double over the next decade. The industry has struggled to replace aging drivers and find more women and young people willing to drive truck.
Just in 2018 the amount of needed drivers increased from just 10,000 to over 60K drivers according to the American Trucking Associations. An ease on the shortage is expected this year because of trade frictions and a lack of freight.
This won’t last as the driver pool continues to age. The shortage is particularly bad in the long-haul game in which the average age is now around 46 years old. These drivers need to be on the road for many weeks at a time. In just a decade the ATA thinks the driver deficit will swell to 160k drivers.
Trucking companies are trying to increase pay, recruit more women, military veterans and young people. Fewer than 7% of drivers are women. The industry is trying to recruit anyone with technology that makes driving the trucks easier and the hauls more comfortable.
Bentley Motors Ltd. is honoring its 100th anniversary with a new concept car—the EXP 100 GT. What might be a peak into the future of luxury cars, the EXP 100 concept has it all: electric motors, A.I., and the scent of moss and sandalwood. More than just a self-driving car with a fancy interior it offers special scents, wood from naturally fallen trees and the seats are created out of wine-making leftovers.
The EXP 100 GT concept gives us a look at luxury driving (whether its you or the car doing the driving) sometime around 2035.
In the era where A.I. chauffeurs will become the standard many brands including Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG have attempted to change what luxury means. Now Bentley Motors is doing the same.
The EXP 100 GT concept is almost 8 feet wide and its doors pivot out and up. The concept includes many emerging technologies like hand gesture control and seats with biometric sensors that will adjust just about anything you can think of based on the mood of the driver including interior lighting, sound levels and even the “fragrance” of the air.
Bentley has stepped it up with this exciting look into the future of luxury vehicles.
An automotive icon will soon start a slow fade that will end in museums and collectors’ garages as Volkswagen saw the last Beetle roll of the assembly line. Is the end of a road that began in Nazi Germany, wound its way through the counterculture of the hippies in the U.S., but failed to find its way into the hearts of modern consumers who crave SUVs.
The final units of the retro, rounded compact rolled off the line accompanied by the music of a mariachi band as the workers of the VW plant in Puebla, Mexico celebrated the model that was introduced more than 80 years ago in Germany.
Thankfully the Puebla factory is in no danger—it produces VW’s Tiguan SUV and will take up the task of producing the Tarek SUV in place of the Beetle (late 2020). The last Beetles will be sold on Amazon.com, a decision that perfectly encapsulates Volkswagen’s willingness to move forward into the future.
Lovingly known by many as “The Bug,” the beetle made its debut in 1938. It was created at the behest of Adolf Hitler who wanted an car Germans could afford to increase the countries automobile ownership.
Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division is working on a beefed up Supra for fans of the Japanese sports which has risen from the grave. The GR Supra GT4 is set to be released publicly sometime next year.
There is no word yet in which markets the GR Supra GT4 will be released in, however.
The new GR GT4 is based on the Supra that was released earlier this year, but Toyota has yet to release any details about the new Supra’s powertrain. As the GT4 edition is going to be built with circuit racing in mind it is expected to be a higher performance vehicle than Supra re-release. This will be a track-only vehicle, so don’t expect to see it on the road.
Released photos of a stripped-down GT4 reveal a cockpit dressed in carbon fiber. It also revealed bare metal coming from the transmission tunnel as well as the firewall and rear interior. It is also sporting a large wing mounted on its back. A video game controller styled steering wheel is covered in buttons. The driver is encased in a roll cage. The fuel tank is a fast fill, racing style tank.
More details will be released later this year.
Polestar, the Volvo subsidiary, will release its first battery electric sedan with an unusual design element for an electric vehicle, a transmission tunnel. As one might suspect, this has nothing to do with an actual transmission.
It is a battery storage area which keeps a portion of the three-hundred and twenty-four pouch cells that power the Polestar 2.
Polestar engineers explained that this is both an aesthetic and functional design. Most EVs store their batteries flat and under the floor which is known as a “skateboard” design. This, however, adds to the height of the vehicle and gives way to pour aerodynamics and negatively effects driving range.
The engineers were able to create fast, sleek silhouette by removing batteries from the rear-seat footwells. This also allowed more comfort for these passengers by creating a cockpit design down the center of the vehicle with a raised center console.
The Polestar 2 will most likely reach US sales floors mid-2020 as they go into production next year.
Ford has announced that the 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500 will come equipped with 625 foot-pounds of torque and 760 horsepower.
The new Ford offering was revealed in January. At the time Ford announced it would be the most powerful street legal car they had made and that it would be capable of 0-60mph in a 3 second time frame. The GT500 will have 5.2 liter V-8 and will reportedly complete a quarter mile in under 11 seconds. This new model will also offer a carbon fiber track with no rear seating for weight reduction.
This new Mustang will be available this fall.
The Dodge Challenger Hellcat, with over 700 hp, is going to be a competitor for the new Shelby. The 2019 Mustang GT350 only comes in at 526 hp (for comparison).
While Ford has announced it’s North American lineup would be reduced, their classic Mustang will remain in the stable.
While flying cars have largely been a thing of imagination, there are now many companies trying to make imagination real.
One of them is the Munich start up Lilium who is developing a five seat electric air taxi. Commercial transport is scheduled for 2025. The company hopes to offer pricing that everyday people can afford and would be centered around an app like Uber.
To give as accurate an idea on pricing as possible, Lilium suggested that a trip from Manhattan to JFK would be around a 60 minute flight time and cost $70. Current helicopter rides from Manhattan to JFK cost around $200 per passenger and takes about 8 minutes.
The Lilium aircraft—with its vertical take off and landing ability, can go about 300 kilometers (a little over 184 miles), after a single charge. One charge could take a passenger from London to Manchester (from one end of the UK to the other) in a single journey.
It looks like Uber is taking to the skies in New York City as the company gears up to offer a helicopter service in the Big Apple. As with the current app, users will be able to order up flight service on the new “Uber Copter” app. Test flights have already happened on routes between a Wall Street heliport and JFK International.
The service is going to open to the public on July 9th in NYC and will cost about $225 per passenger. Uber supposedly has plans to offer the service in other major cities.
This kind of service isn’t all that new in New York City. A start up by the name of Blade Urban Air Mobility has been offering a similar service through a mobile app with regular flights from Manhattan to three area airports, six days a week for around $200 a passenger.
When Uber went public last month spokes people focused a lot on Uber’s investment all kinds of transportation. While being the world’s largest ride-hailing service, Uber also runs scooter rentals, electric bikes, cars and now has added helicopters to the list.
Lexus has let the internet know about the revamp of their RX SUV. Make-over items included “blade-scan” slim headlights which offer faster switching between high and low beams. New front and rear bumpers and revised character lines are also on the table.
It will also over both 20 and 18 inch wheel options, more colors and different taillights (still LED).
Maybe more exciting is the lane tracing assistance and road sign recognition that is included in the Lexus Safety System suite. The new touch screen system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Lexus has remodeled the third row seating with two positions to give more leg room when needed.
New dynamic shock absorbers with a new friction control device should reduce high frequency vibration caused by road imperfections for a smoother ride. Also included are new stabilizer bars among other similar improvements that will provide ride quality and handling benefits.
The AMG division Mercedes-Benz has begun testing on their GLB 45 4Matic on public roadways just 12 months before its scheduled showroom premier.
Audi’s new RS Q3, a rival vehicle, will be different from the new standard GLB in its reduced height, multi-pot calipers, larger brake discs and four tail pipes. This is in opposition to the dual pipes on the GLB.
The GLB 45 will run on a new four-cylinder engine. It is based on the M260 unit, a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder.
This new engine claims 383bhp and tuned up 416bhp. The engine also plans on appearing in the A45 4Matic, CLA 45, CLA 45 and GLA 45 vehicles.
The 45 is meant to be the crown of the upcoming GLB line when it hits showrooms for sale in 2020