Ford Raptor Potential UK Police Vehicle

In the UK, police will trail the new Ford Ranger Raptor and Ford Focus ST estate as law enforcement considers these new Ford vehicles for full-time, UK police service.
The new Ranger Raptor, well a modified version, will be trailed by South wales Police.

While some question the Ranger Raptor’s 105mph top speed—which at a glance would be unlikely to concern a criminal—Ford believes the vehicle has plenty of power to keep up with criminals making an escape across gravel, mud and sand. New features like Fox-brand shock absorbers and their so-called Baja desert race mode are intended to improve law enforcement’s ability to chase bad guys across rugged or rural terrain.

At the moment, South Wales police force is the only one putting the Ranger Raptor through trials. Though Ford claims that several other special police units of made inquiries about the new rugged terrain vehicle. And Ford experts think that law enforcement interest will only increase as the Ranger Raptor is put through paces.

Cumbria police force will test the Ford Focus ST estate. The ST has a top speed of 155mph and Ford thinks these specialized vehicles will help police catch the bad guys on regular roads and highways. The ST is are made by the Special Vehicle Prep team at Ford and come with a full assortment of police style add-ons, both hardware and software.

Nissan Z Upgrades

It seems everyone, including Nissan, forgot about the now eleven year old Nissan 370Z which is no about as competitive in the sports car realm as a pair of roller skates. However, Nissan is finally giving the Z an upgraded successor.

The new Z35 isn’t a complete rebuild. It will use the latest of Nissan’s FM platform and it will share some components with the Q60 Infiniti coupe. For one, the Q60’s V6 that gives the Q50 and 60 400 horsepower is a likely borrowed component. While the Q’s only offer seven speed automatics the Z35 being a sports car has a chance at a manual transmission. While Nissan could make the new Z all-wheel drive, that isn’t what the Z is and will likely stick with the front-engine, rear wheel drive sports format.

It is said that Nissan has chose the original Datsun 240Z as a styling inspiration. Many are hoping for smoother lines than the very busy look of some of Nissan’s recent concepts. Rounded headlights and 300ZX style taillights reportedly will give it some touches of retro nostalgia.

The two-seater’s nostalgia will stop with the exterior as the new Z will benefit from a modern makeover with the latest Nissan infotainment system and a new dashboard.

Some suspect the pricing to be in the neighborhood of $40k which would undercut the new Toyota Supra.

Citroën EV

European car maker Citroën is going the small market for EV passenger vans with its all electric Spacetourer model.

The e-Spacetourer, up to 9 passengers, features an electric motor which puts out 134bhp and 192lb ft of torque. This replaces the original’s diesel engine. The e-Spacetourer employs a 50kWh battery pack. This gives it a WLTP-certified range of 143 miles and a top speed of 80mph.

The eSpacetourer also includes three driving modes to increase range. Its “Eco” mode drops the output significantly to 80bhp as well as the air-conditioner’s power draw. The “Normal” setting increases power to the mid-range of 107bhp. The “Power” setting give out the full 134bhp.

Citroën says the battery pack, with its under-floor position, takes up no space from the inside of the medium length Spacetourer (4.95m). The battery is has an 8-year, 100k mile warranty.

The e-Spacetourer comes standard with a Type 2 home charger with an 7.4kW wall box has an option The van can also rapid charge up to 100kW. This rapid charge can take the battery from zero to 80% in just 30 minutes.

Ford Mustang Mach 1

After 17 long years Ford Motor Company will be offering a new Mustang Mach 1. The new Mustang Mach 1 will include suspension upgrades and new aerodynamics. The 480 horsepower 2021 Mach 1, according to Ford Motor Company, will be “the pinnacle of 5.0L Mustang performance and handling,” when it becomes available for sale next spring.

The Mach 1 is very much a party of Mustang history. The first version came about in 1969 winning two in a row Sports Car Club of America Manufacturer’s rally championships. It set 295 speed and endurance records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in its first model year. Since that very first generation Ford has built only two Mach2s. One based on the unpopular Mustang II that kept the brand alive through the oil shock of the 70s. The second was based on the ’04, fourth-generation Mustang.

The 3rd iteration of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 will include an upgraded version of Ford’s fast-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission; which isn’t even available on the Bullitt or Shelby Mustangs. It will also feature 150% more downforce than the Mustang GT + Ford’s performance pack 1 upgrades.

If some drivers want a more vintage feel they can choose the Tremec six-speed manual that the Shelby GT350.

New F-150 Updates

It seems that as Ford Motor Company reworks of its best money maker, the F-150, the reworkings are mostly changes to the interior. The changes are luxury oriented including recliner sleeper seats and hands-free technology.

Believe it or not, sleep was a demand of many truck buyers. These buyers purchased almost 900k F-Series trucks last year. This was worth about $42 billion to Ford Motor Company. Perhaps in opposition to many people’s assumptions Ford F-Series customers want something more like a first-class experience in a truck cabin. They don’t want a no-frills work vehicle.

With many competitors from General Motors Company or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles offering modern creature comfort in trucks Ford felt the pressure and decided to upgrade the F-150.

The new F-150, available later this year, will provide a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment center matching what its Dodge Ram competitor offers. Additionally, the new F-150 will be available as a hybrid or an EV in about two years according to Ford. The hybrid will include a generator feature that Ford says could power a worksite or home. The F-150 will also become the first Ford to offer over-air software updates just like Tesla has offered for years. The hands-free driving feature is coming from the electric Mustang Mach-E.

VW Announces New OS Philosophy

Volkswagen will be using the so-called “open-source” model to refine parts of its software operating system for its future vehicles. “Open-source” meaning collaborators outside of VW would help them create standards for vehicle operation systems. Perhaps they would come from other car companies or even from completely outside the auto industry.

With the gathering ubiquity of autonomous driving, any carmaker attempting to create a self-driving vehicle has to create thousands of lines of code to collect and analyze data from radar, cameras, sonic sensors etc and then the operation system must use this analyzed data to control the brakes and steering at the least.

VW, by 2025, wants to increase its involvement with developing its own software to 60%. Current VW is involved in only about 10% of the design. They’d also like to get more involved in electronics and vehicle architecture design.

VW stated the believe in the future, because of the use of open-source software, there will likely be fewer operating systems than there are car makers. Like with home computers and smart phones there are basically two choices Windows or Macintosh, Android or iOS.

VW wants to define the core operating system but is interested in collaborators to refine other elements of its functionality. All of this in the hopes of creating standards that could be used in a circle wider than just VW vehicles.

Apple and Autonomous Vehicles

Apple has made many false starts getting into the autonomous vehicle market—they continue their efforts both by themselves and through potential partnerships.

Many believe that Apple’s future as a tech giant will be to expand beyond phones and computers, which they have conquered already. Some believe that either a role in self-driving cars or in improving health care are their best bets.

Hyundai has made a public confirmation that they have been talking to Apple about the two companies working together in some form. Hyundai’s role could be in manufacturing and with battery technology. A product could be available as soon as 2024.

Additionally, Apple sought and received the OK from California regulators to test self-driving cars on city streets. They have a handful of vehicles equipped with a variety of sensors including radar and lidar which have been spotted on the roads of Silicon Valley.

Lastly, Apple has been hiring and invest in their own business even amongst staff cuts, leadership changeups and new strategies.

New Information on Auto Safety Inequality

The NCAP, global vehicle safety body, has again put a lens to the inequality between the safety standards Europeans enjoy and the lack of standards in low-income markets. NCAP’s data shows that this disparities account for 90% of the 1.3 million annual road deaths in the world.

As an example, the Renault Kwid, which tested poorly in India and Brazil, scored only two stars in the Global NCAP’s recent testing in its Safer Cars for Africa test even though the criteria were lower than those in the US or Europe. This even though the Kwid received upgrades like passenger and driver airbags.

The Kwid is much like the Dacia Spring Electric—this vehicle might be the cheapest mass-production electric car when it goes on sale. However, to go on sale in Europe it will need significant safety upgrades to the structure and electric safety system.

The Renault Kwid is just one example of vehicles whose lower-income markets receive vehicles made with inferior materials and at lower safety standards.

New Broncos Have Some Hills to Overcome

Ford’s new four-door Bronco SUV did not meet the standards to win two safety awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The issues included the Bronco’s head restraints and headlights according to the IIHS.

While the Bronco got “good” ratings in five of the six IIHS “crashworthiness” tests but in the head restraint category it earned only an acceptable rating. In simulated rear-end crashes the test dummy’s head was not as protected from force as it needed to be.

The IIHS also rated the headlight system as only “marginal” as they did not provide enough visibility a far enough distance into curves.

Thus the Bronco missed the mark to earn IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ designations.

Ford stated that safety is high priority in all their vehicles and that they were happy to see they earned the top rating in five of six crash test ratings at the IIHS and a superior rating for front crash prevention with standard automatic braking. They also reminded consumers and journalists that the despite some lower IIHS ratings the Bronco exceeds all federal safety standards.

For a vehicle to achieve Top Safety Pick status the vehicle needs a “good” rating in all crashworthiness tests. They must also have a “good” or “acceptable” rating for headlights and have an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention. To earn the Safety Pick+ status the same requirements must be met plus “good” or acceptable ratings for all versions and packages available for the vehicle in question.

Ford Teases New Paint Tech

Time, money and pollution are top concerns for the auto industry today and Toyota’s latest invention—an airless paint atomizer—handles all three issues.
The claim by Toyota is that this is the first airless paint atomizer in the world to be used on car bodies. The technology supposedly provides coating efficiency over 95%. Meaning that over 95% of the paint actually sticks to the body. Typical paint atomizers only have 60-70% efficiency.

Toyota even thinks this new technique will lower their carbon dioxide emissions by around 7% due to the increased efficiency of the new atomizer.

One wold have to take a close look though to notice the difference between Toyota’s new atomizer and a traditional one. The most important difference is found in the tip where small parts distribute the paint. The airless atomizer has a spinning tip that make centrifugal force.

The tip includes six hundred some grooves that direct the paint. The spinning tip creates an electrostatic umbrella toward the car being painted. The grooves make the paint into tiny dots which are drawn toward the body of the car. With the air-based atomizers paint is essentially just being thrown at the car and what sticks is it.
The new tech from Toyota also creates a more even surface coverage.

Traditional paint atomizers are very sensitive to distance where was the new airless one monitors and adjusts the speed of its parts to compensate for changes in distance.

Right now the new airless atomizers are being used just in the Takaoka and Tsutsumi plants in Japan, but Toyota’s expectation is that the technology will eventually be used universally across its global manufacturing facilities.