Volvo to Go Leather-less in EVs by 2030

Swedish automaker Volvo is making another promise to increase the use of sustainable materials to build their vehicles—Volvo has promised to stop using leather in their EVs by 2030. They also said they’d set a goal to use at least 25% bio-based or recycled materials in their new cars by 2025.

Volvo reported they plan to use Nordico, which is a textile created from recycled plastic PET bottles. Also, materials including those from sustainable forests in Sweden and Finland as well as recycled corks from the wine industry.

The material will be introduced as soon as the next generation of Volvo models. The C40 Recharged will the be first in a long line of Volvo EVs to use the more-responsible material Nordico in its interior.

Volvo also wants to have gone 100% electric in all its models by 2030, completely ceasing production of internal combustion engines.

The company cited numbers that state that about 14% of man-made green house gases come from raising livestock and most of that 14% is from cattle farming. They also stated that they are going to become more responsible for where they get their wool so they are sure it is ethically sourced.

Walmart Collaborates with Ford Motor Company and Argo AI for Autonomous Home Delivery

Walmart is teaming up with Argo AI and Ford Motor Company to expand its autonomous delivery program. The program would employ Ford Escape hybrids with Argo AI technology to deliver for Walmart. Test cities include Miami, D.C., and Austin.

The program will allow Walmart customers to have groceries and other items delivered directly to their home.

Walmart stated that they were excited to expand their efforts toward offering autonomous delivery with Ford and Argo. Walmart is also piloting a similar program with Gatik and GM employing GMs Cruise.

This program would become a part of the already operational Walmart+ for which home delivery is key component. A perk of the program is unlimited and free grocery deliveries.

Despite sales growing by 79% in the last fiscal year, partly due to the pandemic, the e-commerce part of Walmart’s business has not yet turned a profit, increasing pressure for the company to find a way to put its online ordering/home delivery program in the black.


Mercedes Continues Expansion of EV Line-Up

Mercedes continues its quick expansion of electric vehicles with the EQB small SUV. While the EQB revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show was built in China for their market, their will be a global variant to be built in Kecskemet, Hungary.

As other EQ models, like the EQS, the EQB has a large faux grille with light strips and triangular headlights. The EQB gets specific wheels and rear end design to set it apart from other EQ models.

The interior of the EQB look very similar to the GLB class Mercedes. Like the GLB class offerings the EQB will have an (optional) third row of seating, though the third row like the GLB class will be a little cramped for many adults.

The U.S. EQB will have two powertrain options. The entry level will be 225 MP (EQB300) and the 288 HP EQB 350. Each will come as all-wheel-drive as standard with an electric motor per axle. The 67 kWh battery pack is estimated to provide about a 260 mile range. The only performance specs Mercedes offered was that the 350 will run at 62 MPH in 8 seconds.

Both models are expected to go on sale in 2022.


BMW Doubles Down on Mexican Production with Series 2

BMW, the German sports car, and luxury car maker started a new production line recently for their Series 2 Coupe compact sports car. The line was setup in they two years young factory in central Mexico. Experts see this as BMW doubling down on Mexican production to increase global sales.

BMW expects exports to N. American will probably begin at the end of 2021, while European sales are scheduled to start in early 2022, according to BMW.

BMW’s U.S. webpage states that the 2022 models’ base price will range from about $39,000 to $59,000.

$125 Million was invested in the new production line by BMW for its San Luis Potosi factory which expands its capacity beyond just assembly of its first model, the Series 3 sedan.

The investment in their Mexican assets comes amid fears that world-wide demand for high-end goods could slow significantly as new coronavirus variants spread and as the industry grapples with the semi-conductor shortage.

BMW made no mention of how many Series 2 Coupes it plans to produce at the Mexican plant which is the only plant scheduled to assemble the 4,000 some part sports model.


Porsche Taycan Receives Updates; Porsche Brings Back Classic Colors

Porsche’s Taycan will receive some updates for the new model year, including additional range, new connectivity options, and classic exterior point options.

Porsche has a new Paint to Sample system which adds a whopping 65 colors on top of the 17 original ones. These include, Acid Green, Moonlight Blue Metallic, Rubystar Red, Viola Metallic, Riviera Blue and others that are a call back to models like the 964 generation 911.

A premium version of Paint to Sample, Pain to Sample Plus allows customers to submit a custom color. This will run one a mere $8,568 and a minimum six-month wait time.

The current model will receive some technology based updates to the drivetrain that will increase its range.  Additionally, the Taycan’s thermal management and charging functions will have improvements. This will include a system to use waste-heat from the electronic components to improve the regulation of battery temperature.

Android Auto will now be compatible with Porsche Communication Management system which will come with an improved, higher quality voice control system. Also, a there will be an optional remote parking assistant package available for the Taycan.

Finally, access to Porsche’s destination charging program will be improved. The program includes 2000 destinations at which Taycan owners can charge their vehicles free of charge.


Nissan’s New Z Model a Nod to the Past

In a new world of electric sports cars Nissan Motor Co has unveiled a new model Z that will be strictly gasoline-fueled and with a manual transmission.

Nissan’s COO Ashwani Gupta was quoted as saying, “We just listen to our fans.”

The automaker’s chief operating officer said that is the way fans want it. Gupta also noted that customers asked specifically for 400 horsepower and a manual transmission (however, there will be an automatic transmission option).

In the United States the new Z will be available for purchase in spring 2020. The new Z will be an important part of Nissan’s continued pandemic recovery.

The Z has been the face of Nissan’s financial turn-arounds in the past. During a slump in 1999, the lustrous new Z prototype helped revive interest in Nissan from consumers in the wake of Nissan being rescued by Renault SA.

Like other automakers releasing new models Nissan faces supply shortages like semiconductors and other challenges as Delta variant surges sweep the world. Gupta said that despite these issues semiconductor supply lines had recovered somewhat just recently.

Honda Resurrects the Integra

Honda is resurrecting their famous Integra name after 15 years and will introduce a new “compact premium” car that will arrive in 2022.

The Integra name was used by Honda from 1986 until 2006 and included four generations of the famed sports coupe’.

Acura, the American market premium brand from Honda, announced the return of the Integra. They stated that Integra will rejoin the performance brand’s product portfolio as a new compact premium entrant.”

They stated that the new Integra will maintain the original’s “fun-to-drive spirit.”

There are still a lot of unanswered questions such as if the Integra would be available outside of North America or whether Honda or Acura would produce a Type R or Type S version, respectively.

The new Integra could be produced at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio plant. It would be a logical production replacement to the NSX and could very well be using some basics from the Civic.

The original Honda Integra, launched in 1985, replaced the Quint as a sports coupe’. It was originally built in Japan and was one of just two cars branded as Acura when the brand launched in America.


New Range Rover PHEV Spotted in the Wild

Land Rover is entering the final stages of development on the fifth-gen Range Rover SUV and experts expect a full reveal is just a few months away as a prototype has been photographed on public roads.

Some sightings have seen or captured a barely visible charging port, giving away a few details about one 5th Gen Range Rover’s powertrain. It also tells us that like the current Ranger Rover P400e it seems that as far as looks the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will be identical to is gasoline brother.

A Range Rover PHEV was also spotted this week in the UK.

The new Range Rover line is expected to be unveiled in early 2022, just about 10 years after the launch of the current model.

Land Rover expects the semiconductor shortage to continue affect production through September. They are predicting a shortfall of 50% as far as number of cars produced.

The new Range Rover model will be an important part of Jaguar Land Rover’s pandemic/chip shortage recovery. The PHEV version, along with others, will be keystones in the auto maker’s journey towards total electrification.

Aston Martin’s DBX SUV a Huge Success

Aston Martin recently reported a massive 224% sales increase to its dealerships. These sales numbers were largely due to their first SUV, the DBX.

The DBX SUV, which has only been available for about a year, accounted for more than half of Aston Martin’s sale of 2,901 vehicles between January and June.

Aston Martin stated that with the success of their first SUV, the DBX, they have delivered two other new vehicles will help position the company for continued growth.

The DBX went into production in July 2020 has widened the appeal of the company in one of the most lucrative segments of the auto market, SUVs, and has been profitable for Aston Martin’s rivals.

In the first half of 2020 Aston Martins losses were at about 315 million dollars and fell to just $126 million by the end of 2020.


Ford May Ship Chip-less Vehicles to Dealerships to Be Finished Later

As a fix to the global chip shortage Ford Motor Co is considering shipping unchipped vehicles to dealerships to finish as chips become available. While the vehicles would be un-driveable to consumers, the vehicles would help fill dealership lots which are becoming more and more baren by the day.

When the chips on back-order become available dealership techs would insert the components in the vehicles, some of which might even be pre-sold and then immediately sent to the homes of consumers.

Ford spokesperson Said Deep stated that Ford is still investigating if dealerships are interested  and noting is for certain yet.

Shipping won’t happen right away. If Ford goes forward shipping could happen by the end of the year.

Dealership technicians already possesses the skill set and tools to do the work as it is very much like recall orders and repairs they deal with all the time. The logistics are all in place, Ford and its dealerships just have to make the decision to move forward.

For would hold vehicle titles until the vehicle is 100% complete and drivable for a buyer. This doesn’t allow Ford to record the sales any sooner than normal.