The New Tesla Model S Won’t Have a Shifter?

Tesla and fonder Elon Musk have announced that the new Model S will have no shifter as the car will “guess” which direction the driver wants to go based on what it sees with its sensors, its navigation map and the context of the data. Basically, the Model S is making an educated guess on whether to go forward or backwards.

Electrek reported that the car will use its Autopilot sensors to decide, intelligently and automatically, the intention of the driver and chose a drive mode for the vehicle. As an example, if the Model S is facing a garage wall the computer will detect this and automatically shift to reverse once the driver presses the break.

According to Musk drivers will be able to manually override this feature and shift the car themselves from the main touchscreen. Though Musk stated he believes after a few days of driving people won’t want to go back to having to use a shifter.

Tesla no longer keeps a communication or PR department so these details cannot be confirmed.

One big change to the new model is a yoke-style steering wheel. It was originally though this new steering wheel was part of the new AI shifting system but that now does not seem to be the case.


Bentley to Research Recycling Rare Earth Magnets for Use in Their EV Engines

Bentley is starting a three-year long research project to try to develop recyclable and sustainable electric motors.

Bentley, Crewe luxury car brand, hopes that the result might be that recycled rare-earth magnets would be used in select motors for the first time ever. The new project came after Bentley’s commitment to offer only hybrid or electric vehicles by 2026.

The RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines) study will build on work that was already completed by researchers at the University of Birmingham in developing methods of extracting magnets from waste electronics.

The goal for Bentley is to scale the research so they can extract magnetic material to be used in building new, recyclable magnets for use in their electric motors.

Bentley hopes that the RaRE project promises change by steps in electrical engine recyclability—while on upside of electric vehicles has been the lack of emissions but the waste created by the scraped cars have been an issue because of rare earth metals, batteries, etc.



Lyft and Toyota Team Up to Offer Ride Share Drivers Hydrogen Car Rental

Toyota and Lyft have created a partnership to offer a limited of ride-hail drivers in Vancouver, BC access to hydrogen cell Mirai sedans. Lyft drivers in the city will be able to rent one of just 24 Mirais for $156 a week. The price was described as very competitive by Lyft’s general manager for BC.

The Toyota-Lyft partnership is part of Lyft’s efforts to have their platform be emissions free by 2030. Toyota benefits in the partnership as it gets to introduce consumers to hydrogen cell cars which are fueled by the universe’s most common element. Toyota stated that because of this program everyday consumers who sit in the back seat of a Mirai will get to experience a hydrogen car in a way Toyota couldn’t achieve on their own.

For Toyota the partnership is also a proof of concept. They get to test their hydrogen vehicles in very-much real-life use. While the Mirai is six years old, Toyota has only sold about 11, 100 of them due to concerns over the lack of fueling stations or resale value.

Vancouver, BC has three of British Columbia’s four hydrogen stations making Vancouver an ideal testing ground.

Mercedes-Benz EQA–their first full-electric compact.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQA is the German car maker’s first full-electric compact car.

The EQA 250 is currently for sale with a starting price of about $49,000 for the Sport and $51,000 for the AMG Line trim. The EQA 250 Sport comes standard with cruise control, a back up camera, adaptive high-beam headlights, sports steering wheel and other driver aids standard. The AMG Line includes 20 inch alloy wheels, faux leather sport seats and beautiful interior trim.

The AMG Line can be upgraded with a package that includes twin-spoke alloy wheels, augmented reality navigation system and panoramic sunroof, upgrade sound system and wireless phone charging.

The EQA 250 all electric is just one of six EQ models to be launched by 2022. Mercedes is also planning a seven seat EQB.

The interior of the EQA, like much of the car, is based on the GLA. The interior of the EQA is basically unchanged—but the interior trim is now in rose-gold color along vents, seats and key hole in addition to new backlighting.


Xpeng Motors Gears Up New OS Updates to Challenge Tesla

Xpeng Motors, Chinese electric carmaker, has begun to release their new highway driving features for their autonomous cars to eligible customers as they set their eyes on challenging Tesla for control of the self-driving market.

The new electric vehicle announced its new NGP (Navigation Guided Pilot) this month. The feature lets drivers allow the car to change lanes, speed up, slow down and overtake other vehicles as well as entering and exiting highways.

This is a part of their next series of Xpeng’s XPILOT 3.0, which is their advanced driver-assistance system. Customers who bought the option on Xpeng’s P7 sedan which they can download while connected to WiFi.

This is part of a broader, over-the-air update that owners download on WiFi. The process is like updating a smartphone.

What Could Apple’s Future Role in Autonomous Vehicles Be?

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.

Cadillac Brings in Outsiders to Innovate Their User Experience

Cadillac continues to develop a unique in-vehicle user experience. Now they have invited companies outside of the auto industry in to help them in this process. Such companies include Territory Studio and Rightpoint, a Genpact company. The teams goal is to “integrate aesthetics, purpose and technology.”

Cadillac stated that it had a vision in place but saw the need to bring in outside perspective to find new ways of thinking that will turn their vision into a reality.

Looking for a future-forward vision Cadillac turned to Territory Studio whose deep understanding of story design in the realm of film, game and branding will lend their fresh perspective to Cadillacs vision. Their experience with 2D and 3D real-time graphics will help Cadillac polish their user experience.

Rightpoint will bring a vision that challenges the expected. They will examine innovative ways to use technologies that are new to the auto industry and help Cadillac figure out how to use them in a unique fashion.

The recently revealed Cadillac LYRIQ prototype, their first all-electric SUV, encapsulates the brand’s future vision. It features a 33-inch diagonal advanced LED display and customizable user interface. It will also include themes that reflect the driver’s mood or personality. The screen wraps toward the driver, displaying the info in the most ideal spot.


Global NCAP Cast Light on Lower Auto Safety Standards Around the World

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.


8th Generation Volkswagen Golf R Packs More Punch

Volkswagen’s newest (8th gen) Golf R is the most powerful and fastest series-production version of the popular hatchback yet.

Akin to its stable partners the new Arteon R and Tiguan R the new, powerful Golf R has 316bhp and 310lbft in its new version of the turbo charged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine.

The power and torque boosts come from the fourth creation of the EA88 unit, the Evo4, the Golf R can do 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds. Volkswagen also has stated that peak torque is reached at 2100rpm all the way up to 5350rpm.

The focus of updating the Golf R has been a collection of tweaks to the drivetrain intended to improve agility and responsiveness rather than pure power.

The Golf R receives the same upgraded version of VW’s torque-vectoring technology which distributes drive evenly between the rear wheels rather than just between front and rear axle. This is done using a pair of electronically operated multi-disc clutches. The system will balance engine output in just milliseconds.

The Golf R is most physically different from others because of a 20mm suspension drop and items like a new front splitter, rear diffuser and quad-exit exhaust and new wheel designs.


Fiat Chrysler Rolls Out 1500 TRX Ram Pick-Up

Fiat Chrysler’s timing when it comes to big, beefy vehicles is amazing with the latest example occurring earlier today.

Fiat Chrysler Ram brand got some great news when its new 1500 TRX was named on of three final choices for the 2021 North American Truck of the Year.

The 1500 TRX sports a 6.20liter supercharged Hemi V-8 giving 702 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. The TRX can do zero to sixty in just 4.5 seconds and completes the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds. It has an official top speed of 118mph.

The Launch Edition, starting with Vin # 1, will include just 702 trucks built. They will be painted in an exclusive Anvil Gray paint job. The interior will include a brushed aluminum and red center console badge noting the special model run.

The Launch Edition will also come standard with the TRX Level 2 Equipment Group which means it’ll include carbon fiber interior trim, a color accent package, HUD, beadlock-capable wheels, Harman Kardon premium sound with 19 speakers, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, hood and body side graphics, and Advanced Safety Group.

Fiat Chrysler said the model sold out, that is 702 trucks, in less than three hours.