GM Testing the Waters of Smaller Engines

The 2019 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups will be the first in a fleet of new full-sized pickup trucks from automaker GMC that will feature a four-cylinder engine option. This will represent a major sea change for some loyal customers. Ford’s success with its v-6 EcoBoost engines may have already proven that a V-8 engine doesn’t have to be the standard. And modern advances in engineering have made smaller engines in larger vehicles a very real option.

The new 2.7 liter, inline four-cylinder will feature what GM is calling Active Fuel Management. This technology will allow the engine to switch over to a two-cylinder mode for “light load conditions.”

The new engine represents a keystone moment for General Motors as it is the first time they will put a four-cylinder engine in a full-size pickup and it is the first engine in a pickup to use the AFM two-cylinder technology.

The new inline four turbo engine is rated at 348 pound-feet of torque and 310hp with an 8-speed automatic transmission. GM hopes to compete in fuel efficiency against Ford’s F-150 that features an aluminum body and V-6 EcoBoost engine.

BMW Releases Info on New Performance SUV Generation

The newest generation of X5 and X5 M BMW models are on their way—they are currently being tested in Scandinavia on public roadways. At the BMW Annual General Meeting the brand boss, Harald Kruger, revealed they are looking at an October release.

The new X5 M is a sup’d up version of the M SUV twin turbocharged 4.4 liter V, which will probably give it 592bhp. This would place the X5 M at the top end of performance-focused SUVs—out doing the current X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S by 25 and 30 bhp respectively.

The new X5 M will also feature a featherweight structure. It is based on the CLAR platform that the 7 series uses. This is a combination of aluminum, magnesium and carbon fiber. This weight loss might result in the 0-62mph time of the line being reduce to below 4 seconds.

BMW has also decided to keep producing the plug-in hybrid variant. This will more than likely be a blend of a two liter gas engine with electric power. Similar to what is currently inside the xDrive40e. The all-electric range of the vehicle will be around 25 miles.

Tesla Investigated (Again) by NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has engaged in its fourth active investigation into a crash involving a Tesla. This time considering a fatal incident on Tuesday where in a Model S left the road and crashed into a concrete wall.

The National Transportation Safety Board, the NTSB, has launched another in a series of four active investigations involving Tesla crashes. This time focusing on a crash where a Model S went off-road and crashed into a concrete wall. The investigation is focused on the battery fire caused by the crash. Of the other investigations another is about a battery fire and the other two are about the autopilot system.

The latest crash killed two teens, Barrett Riley and Edgar Martinez. Tesla stated that it was a “very high-speed collision and…Autopilot was not engaged.”

VW Leaks Info on Fastest Golf Yet

VW has leaked drawings of a new Golf GTI TCR setting between the GTI Performance and Golf R as far as power ratings. It will be the fastest Golf to date, reaching max speeds of 164MPH. This new Golf is a road-ready version of the 345bhp GTI TCR Racer—the car that races in the World Touring Car Cup.

The new Golf isn’t dissimilar from the 2016 Clubsport Edition 40. The GTI’s 40th birthday edition. The TCR is ready to rock with 286bhp. No times are yet confirmed, but the new TCR will beat the GTI Perf. Model’s 0-62mph benchmark of 6.2 secs.

Its turbo engine reaches 286bhp at 5-6k rpm. It has a max torque of 273lb ft. It is a seven speed, dual-clutch and includes a front axle differential lock that VW claims will give it “perfect traction”. It’ll be revealed at the GTI meet at Wörthersee.

Robotics Expert Brings His Childhood Fantasy to Life

Typically, it is cartoonists, animators, CGI artists, writers, toy makers and theme park creators who spark the imaginations of children and the child-like awe of adults. However, in Japan, it is the engineers and robotics experts who brought this dream to life—in the style of the Transformers, a team of dreamers has built a human-like robot that can change into a sports car. And it can do it in about one minute.

The robot is named “J-deite-Ride” and was created by Brave Robotics. The company’s CEO, Kenji Ishida, is the man behind this futuristic fantasy. As a child Ishida was a fan of all the animated movies with transforming robots.

Ishida’s real-life transforming robot is white and blue and 12 feet tall. It can also carry two passengers in either of its two forms. Ishida has been criticized by some for creating an “expensive toy”, but Ishida told Reuters his intention was to inspire others.

J-deite Ride was developed along with Asratec, the robot consulting firm and amusement ride manufacturer, Sansei Technologies.

Under Pressure Regulatory Pressure Jaguar Culls Its Heard

Auto maker Jaguar is eliminating the its XE and XF S models, which employ their supercharged 6-cylinder engine. Jaguar sited poor sales as well as emissions regulations as their reasoning. The nearest replacements are the 300 models which employ Jag’s 296bhp 4-cylinder turbo. The same engine from their entry level F-Type.

In the wake of these model eliminations we might see more V6 models taken off-market. Much of this could be related to new emissions tests that have increasingly tough targets for automakers to meet, Jaguar may need to eliminate more models to help bring down the companies average CO2 output.

A Jaguar spokesman said: “We have introduced the 296bhp 2.0L Ingenium, our most powerful four-cylinder engine yet, at a better price point [than the S models] which we are directing customers to, [so that they are] still getting a Jaguar driving experience but more efficiently.”

These New Roads Are Electrifying, Literally

You’ve heard of hybrid cars, you’ve heard of electric cars, but have you heard of electric roads? Well, the world’s first electrified road that will charge electric cars and trucks as they drive over is no open outside of Stockholm, Sweden. While this initial stretch comes in at only just over 2 miles, the government has plans for a 12,500-mile project.

How does it work? Unsurprisingly to some, it works via an embedded electric rail. This will work, somewhat, like some electric mass transit already does. To take advantage vehicles will have to install a special arm that makes contact with the rail as the vehicle drives, thus charging the battery. While this new kind of road coasts a seemingly undoable $1.2 million per kilometer, that still makes it 50 times cheaper (if you can believe it) than an urban tram line.

The developers of the road say the technology helps eliminate the need for roadside vehicle charging stations, which can delay travelers while they wait for their vehicles to charge. It also means car batteries can be smaller since they wouldn’t have to store as much charge, which would help cut battery and manufacturing costs.

Developers of the new road report that the new technology will help reduce the need for roadside vehicle charging stations. These stations can delay travelers and have stopped the world from viewing electric cars as viable, long distance options. They also noted if these roads were installed all over, it could reduce the cost of cars themselves as batteries could be smaller.

Finally, the developers noted that the roads are built in such a way one could walk barefoot over them at no consequence to one’s health.

TheGuardian.com

Aston Martin’s New Uber-Luxury SUV Gasoline Only

Aston Martin’s first SUV will only be available as a gasoline model, which is a change from the car makers initial plans when they previewed the model as an electric. The SUV will be launched next year into the ultraluxury SUV playing field, where it will contest  with the Bentley Bentayga, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus, a Ferrari SUV and high-end Range Rovers.

The new model was previewed in 2015 at the Geneva auto show. It premiered as the two-door DBX electric-powered concept. Aston Martin’s plans have changed in the interim and there are no plans for a full-electric production model. The auto maker also ruled out diesel and plug-in hybrid versions.

Aston Martin favored development of an EV platform for its Lagonda brand. Lagonda was launched at the Geneva auto show in March along with the Vision sedan concept.

Bentley was the first ultraluxury brand to launch an SUV in 2016 with the Bentayga which initially offered only a 12-cylinder gasoline engine–which is unlikely to excite a fuel-efficiency minded market, but has since added the brand’s first ever diesel and a gasoline plug-in hybrid.

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/aston-martin-suv-gas-engine-only-report/

Careem, Middle-East ride-hailing service, to raise $500 Million in New Capital

Middle East ride-hailing app Careem wants to raise as much as $500 million in new funds from investors.

Careem, Uber’s rival in the region, is testing the waters for potential investors and hopes to drum up its targeted $500 million in a new funding, according to anonymous sources.

Some of the money could go towards new business ventures. Careem may be looking to diversify its asset base ahead of a potential initial public offering. Careem has mentioned on numerous occasions they may go public.

Careem, who is serving 90 different cities, said it is eager to enter new markets. These include Tunisia and Algeria. They’ve already started the move to diversify by announcing the acquisition of restaurant listing reservation platform RoundMenu. With this addition Careem hopes to experiment with food delivery similar to Uber Eats.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/story/Ubers_Middle_East_rival_Careem_in_talks_on_new_funds_sources-ZAWYA20180329050007/

The Nissan Leaf Gets Upgrades

While other big names like Tesla steal most of the press it turns out the Nissan Leaf is the best selling electric world-wide and its getting an update with almost 300k Leaf models sold.

After seven years without a design refresh, the automaker dropped a new and improved model to continue to dominate the EV world. Although, that task will be a lot tougher thanks to increased competition.

Believe it or not the Leaf has gone seven years without a design refreshment. This task may prove tough with so many competitors.

The new Leaf starts at $30,000 and has a 150-mile range.

Besides traveling farther on the road, the car is an all-around improvement over the outgoing version. It has a stiffer chassis, better steering, a way better design and Nissan’s first foray into semi-autonomous driver (optional feature).

http://europe.autonews.com/article/20180320/ANE/180319900/nissan-leaf-gets-big-tech-range-upgrades