Mazda (Finally) Announces EV Prototype

Mazda has been strangely tight-lipped about building electric vehicles of any kind. It was only in the past months they even announced any plans for an electric engine or hybrids. Now they have finally revealed a prototype all electric vehicle.

On the outside the new prototype looks nearly like their new CX-30 SUV which is due out this year. The prototype has Mazda e-TPB 2 on its sides and underneath the hood there is a brand new electric engine. With the CX-30 shell some people are guessing the new vehicle will be a crossover SUV while others are guessing it’ll be a hatchback.

The battery it employs is on the smaller side at 35.5kWh and a 105kW/265Nm motor. Mazda has been 100% quiet about what the range of a full-charge will be, but they did announce that they will make a rotary range extender available.

Since there is a bit of a misconception about the environmental impact of constructing EV batteries among the public, this smaller battery could be in response to that. Some believe that EV battery production actually makes EV production worse for the environment than an internal combustion car. This is not entirely true.

When Autos Meet Art

The Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival, a premier car auction in the UK, will be filled with highly desirable (and very expensive) Porsches, Aston Martins Buegattis et al and one 17-ton truck that will cost you more than any vehicle at the auction.

It also happens to be Banksy’s largest artwork to date.

The truck was graffitied by outlaw street artist Banksy in 2000. At this time Banksy was largely unknown to the art world let alone the world renown he now garners. The average used Volvo box truck Banksy used as his canvas would cost someone just in the lower thousand of pounds. This Volvo FL6, however, is expected to sell for as much as one and a half million.

Banksy was at an open-air, millennium celebration in Spain when the co-founder of Turbozone, International Circus, Mojo, gave him the truck. He began that night and the piece took him two weeks to finish. It became the Turbozone International Circus’ transportation for years.

Banksy fans will notice the piece includes many Banksy tropes. Foremost of these are monkeys. In addition to the monkeys Banksy borrows the styling of Soviet-era industrial work posters—in this piece features a factory worker with a Mohican haircut destroying a T.V.

The auction will be held 14 September 2019.

New Museum Memorializes the World of Fossil Fuels

There is a future not too far off in which the smell of gasoline filling the tank of your passenger vehicle at your neighborhood gas station will be a thing of the past. Just as there are now young adults who don’t remember a world without the internet, smart phones and social media, soon their will be a generation who won’t have lived in a world largely powered by fossil fuels.

Though most experts agree this fossil fuel free world is more than one generation away, it is already being memorialized in a museum. On August 23, 2019 the Museum of Fossil Fuels will open its doors for the first time to the public. It is located in Stockholm, Sweden.
The museum is unique in that in addition to the typical museum fair that comes in the form of physical artifacts, it will include the audio accounts of eyewitnesses to the age of fossil fuels, the sounds of highways and engines. Visitors will even be able to explore a replica gas station to experience the pop culture of the time (as Styrofoam big gulps with plastic straws are going the way of the dodo too).

The goal of the museum is to be totally immersive and demonstrate to those who didn’t experience it the role fossil fuels played in the transportation industry and the effect it had on everyday people and their lives.

The museum will take visitors on journey from a world where metropolis were choked with smog to the fossil fuel free world we are trying to create.

VW Debuts Drop Top T-Roc Small SUV

In the wake of the decision to discontinue an icon, the VW Beetle, Volkswagen is introducing a drop top version of their small SUV the T-Roc.

While the T-Roc Cabrio looks more fun than practical, it is, according to VW, the only vehicle in its class with a convertible roof. The structure and body don’t scream SUV making the model truly something different.

The engine options are either an 85kW turbocharged 1.0 liter three cylinder or a 110kW 1.5 liter four cylinder. Standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but a seven speed dual clutch automatic is available with the 1.5 liter engine.

One package offers 17-inch wheels, leather interior and ambient lighting. The other adds part leather, part fabric sports seating and fog lights. Additionally, this “sport” package gets an engine retune for gear and steering.

All the new drop top T-Rocs will come standard with pedestrian detection and lane assistance.
Meanwhile consumers can add things like 11.7 inch digital gauge upgrade, Beats audio system and an infotainment system operated via touchscreen.
The drop top T-Roc Cabrio will be a debutant of the Frankfort Motor Show.

Cadillac’s “best selling” SUV Gets Made Over

Cadillac’s XT5 is a best selling model and the automaker isn’t looking to let a flagship model fall behind the times. The 2020 model will have major upgrades. 40 in total by most people’s counting. The engine gets the bulk of them with technology and trim coming up behind. These features come from the XT5’s siblings XT6 and 4 models.

The XT5 interior is getting a whole new console and user experience—what is now popularly known as an infotainment interface. Cadillac calls it CUE. The new version can be controlled via voice, touch or rotary controller.

The new engine option in the 2020 XT5 will be a 2.0 liter turbo-4 engine. The previous engine, a 3.6 liter V-6, will still be available.

While the appearance does get an upgrade, the new generation won’t look all that different from the last one. There are only small front and back fascia changes in addition to new trim. Additionally, trunk lids are now getting labeling which denotes the engine choice.

The new XT5 is sure to solidify Cadillac’s SUV range as sport utility vehicles go on to take over sedan sales.

Ford to Release New “monster” Gasoline V8

Ford’s largest trucks in its fleet are getting an up grade to their engines coming this fall. That’s the entire engine by the way—these heavy-duty trucks will now come equipped with one of the world’s biggest V8s.

Ford’s Super Duty line, commercial vehicles, everything from ambulances to utility trucks will get the new 7.3L gasoline V8 monster. While most consider diesel to be the name of the game when it comes to big trucks gasoline trucks in these classes make up almost half of sales at 40%.

The new gasoline V8 will have 430 horsepower and 475 pound-feet in torque when installed in the Super Duty line. There is no word yet on towing or hauling ability—and don’t make the mistake of thinking those are the same thing as big truck enthusiasts will correct you. Hauling tells us how much weight the vehicle can carry—the weight you can load in a pickup bed, for example. Towing is how much you can pull behind the vehicle on the trailer.

More details like these are sure to come in 2020.

Trucking Industry Desperately Trying to Recruit New Drivers

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’s New Luxury Concept is a Glimpse of the Future

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.

Volkswagen Rolls Out Last Ever Beetles

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, 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 Announces Track-Ready Supra

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.