Maserati Releases MC20 “Nettuno” Engine Specs

Maserati has released the details about the V6 engine that will power the MC20 sports car to be revealed 9 September 2020.

The car is named Nettuno or Neptune—that is the Greek god from mythology who commands the power of the sea with his Trident which is the brand’s logo.

The engine is a 3.0 liter gasoline motor that gives the Nettuno 538 lb ft and 621 bhp. This is a slight rise in performance over the 2005 MC12 supercar, which was Maserati’s most powerful production car to date.

The Nettuno will have tech features from Formula 1. These will include a supercar-style dry sump that will enhance combustion, a secondary spark plug that creates constant ignition through the rev range and dual injection fuel system that is supposed to reduce both emissions and fuel usage.

While the MC20 will be the first to be produced with this engine, Maserati suggested that the engine will appear in other models.

 

Ford Motor Company’s Classic F-150 Gets Luxury/Tech Upgrades

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 (available later this year).

After 17 Years The Mustang Mach 1 is Back

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.

The 3rd generation Mach 1 will be available next spring.

Citroën Enters EV Passenger Van Market

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.

Experts Say EVs Will Soon Charge in Just 10 Minutes

According to experts in the industry electric vehicle charging times will plummet over the next five years and that even high capacity batteries should be able to be charged in less than ten minutes, taking no more time than a stop at your favorite gas station.
This is a two-part prediction as both ultra-fast charging and the way batteries are designed need to be handled. In the case of the batteries this will likely be improvement on the current chemistry and not something entirely new.

Currently the majority of EVs use 400V electrical systems. These are rated as high-voltage systems.

To get more power in watts than an EV can deliver—the charge it will accept—either voltage or current need increasing. Higher current requires bigger cables, heavier duty cables and thicker insulation; all of this creating a lot more heat. Rather than this, the voltage could be increased. Porsche has introduced the 800V electrical system which gets us two things we want: higher performance and lower charging times.

Last year Ionity introduced 150kW and some ultra-rapid charges running at 350kW in their public charging stations. The Porsche Taycan is the first vehicle able to take advantage of the 350kW chargers using its 800v electrical system.

Porsche claims that a Yaycan battery can get from a 5% charge to 80% charge at one of Ionity’s stations in just over 20 minutes. Even then the Taycan isn’t calling on the full power of the charging station.

Remember this is a story in two parts, the second part being how quickly the battery cells can accept a charge. So the rest of the story waiting to be told is who comes up with the new battery technology that completes this half of the equation.

Experts Believe We Are Only 5 Years from 10 Minute Car Charges for EVs

According to experts in the industry electric vehicle charging times will plummet over the next five years and that even high capacity batteries should be able to be charged in less than ten minutes, taking no more time than a stop at your favorite gas station.

This is a two-part prediction as both ultra-fast charging and the way batteries are designed need to be handled. In the case of the batteries this will likely be improvement on the current chemistry and not something entirely new.

Currently the majority of EVs use 400V electrical systems. These are rated as high-voltage systems.

To get more power in watts than an EV can deliver—the charge it will accept—either voltage or current need increasing. Higher current requires bigger cables, heavier duty cables and thicker insulation; all of this creating a lot more heat. Rather than this, the voltage could be increased. Porsche has introduced the 800V electrical system which gets us two things we want: higher performance and lower charging times.

Last year Ionity introduced 150kW and some ultra-rapid charges running at 350kW in their public charging stations. The Porsche Taycan is the first vehicle able to take advantage of the 350kW chargers using its 800v electrical system.

Porsche claims that a Yaycan battery can get from a 5% charge to 80% charge at one of Ionity’s stations in just over 20 minutes. Even then the Taycan isn’t calling on the full power of the charging station.

Remember this is a story in two parts, the second part being how quickly the battery cells can accept a charge. So the rest of the story waiting to be told is who comes up with the new battery technology that completes this half of the equation.

Volvo Updates Two Popular Models to Electric Power Trains

Volvo’s S90 and V90 models just go an update including for the first-time mild hybrid power trains. These new mild hybrid power train is available now on every model in the Swedish’ carmakers line up. Volvo claims it offers up to a 15% savings in fuel and emissions.

The system uses a 48v battery with its own integrated starter, generator and energy recovery mechanism. It will be included across the S90 and V90 models and even on the V90 Cross county. This is the first time one of Volvo’s more sport utility models will be fitted with a hybrid system.

Each of the models in question here got some other small upgrades as well. Both models will be getting new, more stylish bumpers with fog lights and new LED taillights will be included on the V90. Models will include sequential indicator lights as well as new paint and wheel options as well.

Refreshed interiors come standard along with advance air cleaning technology which filters the cabin air and even gives an air quality report from the infotainment system. This is the system previously available only on models sold in the Chinese market.

Both models get rear USB-C charging ports (no more 12-volt power which surely some will miss) along with wireless charging being added as an option on many variants. For the audiophiles both the V90 and S90 will get new Bowers and Wilkins sound systems. For the interiors Volvo is offering many new leather-free options for materials.

Additional specs and pricing are not yet available.

BMW Brings AI into Its Munich Paint Shop

BMW is piloting new usage of AI in its plants—this time they are giving it a shot in their Munich plant paint shop.

Even though BMW employees top-notch air filter tech, fine dust particles in paint lines will vary according to the ambient air drawn into the lines. If the dust content goes over a certain amount, the wet paint could trap particles making for uneven paint jobs.

Using AI, BMW engineers and AI specialists have found a way to avoid the problem entirely. Now, every newly painted car body goes through an automatic surface analysis in the paint shop. The data gathered during these inspections are helping BMW develop a massive database of dust particle analysis. Now the AI uses the database for comparison to live particle sensor data coming from the paint booths and dryers.

One example how the AI works is when dust levels are rising due to the season or a long dry period the AI can detect this trend and recommend and earlier filter replacement to help mitigate particle levels.

The AI might also use its analytical abilities to suggest that a factory use a different material to remove dust from car bodies before painting.

BMW AI monitors and analyzes 160 features of car bodies and is able to predict paint job quality with great accuracy. AI experts at BMW are confident once they’ve completed the project in Munich the technology will be able to applied widely to all their plants.

 

General Motors Getting Greener

By late 2020 General Motors claims its Spring Hill plant will be 100 percent solar powered.

Their green tariff with the Tennessee Valley Authority should supply as much as 100 megawatts of solar energy per year, equivalent to the yearly usage of 18,000 US households. The energy will come from the Origis Energy solar farm being built in Lowndes County, Mississippi

The project is possible through the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Green Invest program.

This will increase General Motor’s renewable energy usage to 50% of its electricity usage by 2023. General Motor’s coal is to have 100% renewable electricity usage at all its GM-owned cites by 2030.

Green tariff solutions are a primary part of General Motor’s renewable energy plan. They let the company work with utility providers to provide renewable energy for its facilities.

At 2,100 acres Spring Hill is the largest GM facility in North America. 700 acres of used for farming, another 100 are a wildlife habitat that includes wetlands and native grasslands. The wildlife habitat received a Gold rating from the Wildlife Habitat Council. The actual plant itself makes Acadias, Cadillac XT5s and XT6’s as well as several of GM’s engines.

General Motors is ranked number 12 on the United State’s EPA National Top 100 List for largest green power users from their Green Power Partnership program. The EPA has stated that General Motor’s choice to use green energy helps to promote voluntary switch over to renewable energy and helps develop those resources.

 

Jaguar F-Type Getting an Update

Jaguar is restyling its iconic F-Type under the new directorship of Julian Thomson. Many believe that the all-aluminum, front engine, British icon has never looked better.

Obviously diving into their heritage Jaguar is now writing “Est. 1935” on various places on the F-Type. Besides looks though the F-Type is experiencing other changes that may have some excited and others not as these are performance changes.

The F-Type range’s engine no longer employs a six-cylinder option, instead they are offering a detuned and supercharged V8 in the mid-range model. This is now the only engine with rear or four-wheel drive available.

The F-Type also has four choices in trim levels; however, not every engine is compatible with each trim package. As an example the basic-level trim which includes passive suspension, open differential and 18 inch rims can only come with the four cylinder P300. The P450 is most compatible with the R-Dynamic trim comes with electronic limited slip differential and adaptive dampers as standard.

Finally a convertible is going to be about £5500 more than a coupe.