UPS Invests in EV Trucks and Will Test Autonomous Vehicle with Waymo

UPS has made to recent moves to cut both emissions and delivery costs—they put in an order for 10,000 trucks with United Kingdom company Arrival Ltd and is set to test Waymo self-driving vehicles to haul packages.

The UPS Arrival team up equates to a minority investment from the biggest package delivery service in the world. And comes soon after former customer, no rival Amazon put in an order to Rivian for 100k electric vans. Rivian is a Michigan startup partially funded by Amazon.

The Waymo test will run for six months according to UPS. UPS will pay Waymo for use of their self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to curry packages from Phoenix area UPS stores to a near-by UPS sorting center.

UPS is confident this move help bring their delivery models into the future and will help compliment how their human drivers work.


Spike Lee’s New Short Film Will Reveal 2021 Escalade

Oscar award winner and director Spike Lee’s new short film will be, more or less, a Cadillac commercial for the 2021 Escalade. The film will debut in Hollywood on February 4th.

The Escalade, for many, is the jewel in GM’s new large-truck-sport-utility crown. The Escalade has a global sales 900,000 thousand units including previous EXT and hybrid models and the newer EXT. The Escalade has been highly profitable and is recognizable and desirable world-wide.

Spike Lee and his film production company have produce over 35 films. Lee is most well known for his films like “Malcom X”, “Do the Right Thing”, “He Got Game”, “The 25th Hour” and more.

Cadillac revealed that one new luxury feature of the ’21 Escalade will be a organically curved OLED dashboard screen with a whopping 38 inches of display area.
The ’21 Escalade could range up to $90,000 but will start around $75k.

Details on Kia’s First Two Plug-In Hybrids

Korean automaker Kia has released details about its very first plug-in hybrids. The release is planned for the UK at the moment. The vehicles are based on the Ceed Sportswagon and the Xceed crossover.

Bot the vehicles are powered by a four-cylinder, 1.6 liter gas engine combined with a 44.5kW electric motor that runs on a 8.9kWh lithium-polymer battery. The outputs of the motors combined add up to 139bhp with 195lb ft in torque. This gives both a 0-62mph rating of 10.8 seconds in the Ceed and spot on 11.0 seconds for the Xceed.

Kia’s first pair of hybrids also share an automatic, dual-clutch six-speed transmission (unlike most hybrids which us a CVT, continuously variable transmission). Kia explained that this prevents energy loss in the powertrain and makes the vehicles more enjoyable to drive.

Kia also used regenerative breaking to capture kinetic energy that would be lost. Combined with all the other technology on board Kia rates the all electric range of the Ceed at 37 miles and 36 for the Xceed. Both the new hybrids will charge in about 2 hours.

Combining the above with regenerative braking that harvests kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost, Kia claims an all-electric range of 37 miles for the Sportswagon and 36 miles for the Xceed. Both can be charged in around 2hr 15min via a 3.3kW AC charger.

Kia is offering a towing pack for each vehicle, unusual in a hybrid. Kia has released no specs on towing power.

Kia is taking orders for the Ceed and Xceed now and expects the first vehicles to roll out in April 2020.


How to Tune Up a Tesla: The New Custom Car Fad

To some, driving clubs for electric cars and owners wanting to “sup them up,” are foredrawn conclusions of the electric vehicle era. To others, perhaps not. However, both are a growing trend.  

But where does one go and what does one do to “sup up” an EV? The Tesla model S can already do 60MPH in 2.4 seconds which is faster than most other vehicles regardless of their energy source.  

Where is answered by a company called Unplugged Performance which is coincidently right next door to the Tesla headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. Their guarantee? That their modifications to your EV wills have seconds off your best times.  

Up until recently electric vehicles have been off the radar of aftermarket improvements, but with the growing popularity of racing EVs making them faster seems a natural evolution.  

Ben Schaffer, company co-founder, came from a career wherein he modified popular Japanese cars like the Nissan GT-R and others. While Unplugged isn’t the only name in the game, they are best known. They also run a group for Tesla owners, and they organize track days for Tesla drivers all over the country.  

But how do you tune an electric vehicle? Modifications do not include adjusting engine settings. The modifications often have to do with weight or aerodynamics and include items like carbon fiber parts, new wheels, sports tires, performance breaks, shocks, suspension and more. These kinds of modifications give racers an edge over a stock car, though not in the manner of a tuned gasoline engine.  


Uber Expands Its “Side Gig” Service Beyond Driving with Uber Works Temp Job App

Uber has been piloting a temp staffing service in Chicago. The service, Uber Works, will connect users with businesses who need short-term workers in hospitality, light industrial, events and other sectors. Miami is Uber Works next planned home.

Initially the service has connected workers from your usual staffing agencies with work; however, the service will expand to invite its large driver pool to these temp jobs as well. But you won’t have to be an Uber driver, have a car or a driver’s license to use Uber Works in its final form. Anyone with a smart phone will be able to use the service to find temporary work.

Uber Works, according to Uber, is just one part of a plan to leverage the technology and workers they already have into other service areas beyond ridesharing.

During testing in Chicago Uber Works connected workers with restaurants and Uber’s trucking business customers. They then added short-term warehouse and industrial jobs. And just like their ride hailing service, Uber Works sets up back up workers in case the first-choice cancels.

Right now, Uber Works is essentially a buffer between the worker and staffing agencies which handle payroll, benefits, etc. Uber will continue to expand the reach of Works in Miami.