Tesla Models Under Investigation by NHTSA for Front Suspension Failure

Tesla Auto Maker owned by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk is under investigation by the United States National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration know otherwise as the NHTSA. They are looking into 115 thousand some Tesla vehicles that have front suspension safety issues.

The United States National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration said it was opening a preliminary evaluation into the 115, 000 Model S vehicles from 2015-2017 and Model X vehicles from 2016-2017. This comes after they received 43 complaints that claimed there was a failure in the right or left front suspension fore forks.

Tesla made an announcement about the possible issue in a service bulletin that discussed a manufacturing condition that they said could result in a front suspension link failures, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration said.

 

Volvo Uses VR in Autonomous Safety Research

Volvo is using development tools and hardware from the gaming world as part of new research intended to improve self-driving car safety.

Volvo is using a mix of VR hardware and the Unity real-time rendering software in driveable test cars. These models are being run on a closed test tracks to safely simulate real world driving scenarios.

This new project is an arm of a partnership between Volvo and the Finnish VR hardware company Varjo. Last year they made it possible to drive a real car with a mixed reality headset.

The project members have added a full body haptic suit. This allows for precise motion tracking. The suit can also cause muscle restriction in the wearer as they would experience in a real emergency stop.

This hardware has been incorporated into a group of XC90 SUVs and stationary simulators. In the actual vehicles overlays a virtual images on top of the real world. So, the system can simulate an animal crossing the road.

The project is only in the early stages and hasn’t yet produce findings that will be used in production cars.

Gas Powered Porsche Macan Gets One Last Update

Porsche is putting the final touches on a face lift for the 6 year old Macan. Extending the life of the SUV before the full EV version comes out in 2022.

The updated version of the gas model will be sold along with the completely electric version of the Macan as the global transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric take place.

While official details have not yet been released the new revision should included tweaks to the front and rear bumpers, lights and a keenly revised grill profile.

Interior changes could be quite extensive though. The current Macan revision got a button-heavy HUD that Porsche phased out with the new Cayenne and Panamera. This will likely be a more modern, touch only infotainment HUD and touch sensitive physical buttons throughout. An updated steering wheel from the Panamera is possible as well.

There is no news on a powertrain revision and Porsche has not yet set an official release date for the final gas powered Macan update.

 

Peugeot Releases New Pick Up “Landtrek” and Sends it On 16,000 Mile Inaugural Adventure.

Car maker Peugeot has been a pickup truck maker since 1938 when the built their first flatbed. This was replaced by a series of trucks over the years. The final release was the 504 in 1979.

If we come forward to the present day the French automaker has come up with another workhorse for its truck lineup. They’ve called it Landtrek and it is aimed at emerging markets and celebrated a recent media launch in Los Cabos, Mexico.

The Landtrek will also launch in Latin America, but in two phases. First in Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Panama, Peru and others. In a second phase it will be released in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia afterwards. The new Peugeot Landtrek will also be released in Sub-Saharan Africa. After these the Peugeot Landtrek will make its appearance in other markets.

To demonstrate it can keep up with the popular truck brands, the Peugeot Landtrek is being subjected to a fifty day, 16K mile trip all across South America. The trip will begin in Los Cabos. Next it will travel to Ecuador by sea and then to the southernmost city in the world Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina where it is planned to arrived in February 2021.

 

Hyundai Rolls Out New Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck

Hyundai is no doubt becoming one of the emerging heavy investors in next-gen vehicle tech. They are focusing on many eco-friendly options like EVs, hydrogen or their very new hydrogen fuel cell truck, the Xcient

Only just available in Europe, the Xcient is powered by a 190kW hydrogen fuel cell system which includes a dual 95xW fuel cell stacks. The Xcient also employees 7 hydrogen tanks that can hold about 32kg of hydrogen.

This adds up to a driving range of about 400km and a refill time of about eight to twenty minutes for the Xcient. This also means incredibly reduced CO2 emissions to its diesel equivalent. Hyundai also says that the Xcient’s new powertrain will not hinder load bearing claiming that it will haul what an equivilant diesel can.

Hyundai delivered the first seven Xcient trucks to Switzerland and they’ll send out another fifty by year’s end. Hyundai expects to roll out Xcients across Europe, N. America, China and New Zealand.

Bentley Reveals Flying Spur V8

Bentley has created a gasoline, V8 option for its new Flying Spur saloon.

The Flying Spur V8 has 541bhp and 568lb ft from its new twin turbo motor. The Flying Spur V8 has a top speed of 198mph and hits 62mph in just 4.1 seconds.

Bentley first revealed the new variant at Goodwood Speedweek.

Lucky test drivers are reporting a more agile and responsive drive than its sister models. The V8 model the Bentley dynamic-enhancing systems like adaptive air suspension and torque vectoring among others. Extras include electric anti-roll technology and all-wheel steering.

CO2 emissions on this model are down by 17%. Bentley has not yet confirmed any official figures but many expect emissions to be about 280kg/km. The V8 will get about 22mpg when the WLTP combined cycle mode is on.

It also has a feature in which it can go down to just four cylinders when driving under 3k rpm to help with fuel consumption. Bentley claims the change from 8 to 4 cylinders takes just 20 milliseconds and drivers and passengers won’t be aware of it.

Multiple Tesla Models Get Upgrades

Tesla has been busy updating several of its models. The Model 3 gets a grab bag of small changes while the Long Range Plus versions of the S and X will hit the UK.

The exterior of the Model 3 gets a few revisions like stain black trim for the door handles, window trim and side repeaters. Buyers can now get sport wheels in 18” and 19”. There is also a Uberturbine 20” wheel option meant to increase efficiency.

The Model 3 interior. The gloss black on the center console and dash was replaced with a matte finish. Other changes include satin black sill plates, metalized scroll wheels on the steering wheel, and graphite seat controls.

The center console makes room for two wireless smartphone charging pads. The visors are now magnetic. The glove box gets two more USB-C ports and one extra USB-A. Borrowing the new HVAC pump from the Model Y with other tweaks—which Tesla claims now makes it the most efficient mass-production car. The range was pushed from 254 miles to 267 miles. The long range variant jumps from 347 miles to 360 miles. The performance model goes from 329 miles to 360 miles.

 

New Renault EV SUV Soon to Be Revealed

Renault is gearing up to increase its electric model drive. It will unveil a new electric SUV concept and a production version of the Dacia Spring. The latter supposedly being Europe’s most affordable electric vehicle.

While few details have been released many believe it will borrow heavily from the Morphoz concept, of course with more production details.

The Morphoz was famous for its so-called “shape-shifting” functions. For example, its ability to shift from 4400mm long in “city mode” to being 4800mm long in “travel mode.” While features like this aren’t likely to be road ready anytime soon the purpose of the Morphoz was to show how flexible a vehicle could be—that is one created by the Renault Mitsubishi Nissan Alliance’s new CMF-EV platform. The new concept is assuredly based on this.

The new SUV was described as Kadjar sized. Its features will compete with other mainstream EV’s like the Skoda Enyag or Kia e-Niro. This is expected to be a new direction in style for Renault. They are expected to use the less radical style elements of the Morphoz.

A final word, it has been confirmed that the Renault emblem will be illuminated on the new vehicle—a first for Renault.

 

Some Thoughts on Winterizing Your Vehicle

When we think of winterizing our vehicles ice scrapers, deicing fluids, tires with appropriate tread, bags of sand or kitty liter and body and paint treatments are he common place considerations. The focus is usually on the car itself and not always on the comfort and safety of the driver and passengers.

Keeping extra blankets in the car is a fantastic idea—whether its disagreements over temperature adjustments, keeping yourself warm while the car heats up or a road side emergency having extra implements to maintain body heat is a great idea.

Not everyone prefers to wear giant snow boots to work and honestly who came blame them? Trudging around the office in snow-kickers all day isn’t exactly ideal. But keeping a good pair of warm boots, socks, a pair of heavy-duty gloves, a stocking cap and an extra winter coat in the trunk could save your life if you are stranded. Many of these items could be purchased from second-hand stores. Picking up a dozen of those oxygen-activated hand and boot warmers isn’t a terrible idea either.

Re-placing road flares is doubly important with the increase of low-visibility weather coming soon. Likewise, investing in a high-viz vest like road crews wear might be a good idea as well.

Finally, depending on how bad the snow gets and how remote the areas you drive through are keeping some food and water in the car might be advisable as well.

Audi Whips Up R8 Performance Limited Run “Green Hell”

After their success at the Nurburgring 24 Hours Audi was created a limited run “Green Hell” version of the R8 supercar in celebration.

The Green Hell is based the on the R8 performance coup. It also uses its naturally aspirated, 611 bhp V10. The Green Hell is a tribute to the Audi R8 LMS GT car which has been a winner at the German circuit endurance event five times since 2012.

The R8 Green Hill will cost around $273,000 (£212,000) and only 50 units will be available world wid. While customers have some choice in color (grey, white and black) the R8 Green Hell comes standard in a special dark green paint job.

The doors feature transparent, matte racecar numbers and the roof, rear and A-pillars are done up in a matte black foil. The front end includes matte black highlights as well as the sills, diffuser, mirror housing and rear wing. The 20in wheels are painted in the same color with red detail on the rims. The interior has Alcantara covered lightweight bucket seats. The center panel has bluegreen stitching as well as the instrument display shield, armrest, steering wheel and other interior features.

The special edition is mostly aesthetic as underneath these new elements the Green Hell has the same mechanics as the R8 performance. 0-62mph time of 3.1 seconds and top speed of 205.7mph.