Lfyt’s Urban Planners Champion Streets Made for Pedestrians, Bikes and Buses in Unusual New Move

As many other ride-hailing businesses Lyft has been negatively affected by the pandemic. In an unusual move Lyft is using its resources to create a team of urban planners who’s task it is to re-plan city streets that shift transportation focus from single passenger vehicles to buses, bikes and pedestrians.

Lyft has release case studies for what it has named “resilient streets.” These kinds of streets focus on multimodal commuting. In other words, many kinds of transportation options.

The plans go into detail about how streets in some major cities (Chicago, New York, DC) could have wider sidewalks for pedestrians and the streets themselves would favor biker and bus lanes. Some of the planning does clearly favor Lyft.

For example, expanded bike lanes could let Lyft expand its bikeshare service. Lyft already operates this service in the three named major cities.

Lyft said the company was motivated to make this move as cities came up with alternative transportation plans during the pandemic and embraced alternatives to cars. Lyft sees moving back to car-centric streets as a move backwards when cities have closed car streets to allow for more bikes and open dinning areas.

Lyft believes now that many cities have made the move from car-centric urban planning now is the time to push forward with the idea and not jump back to the old ways on a whim.


Auto Start-Up Lucid’s “Air” Might be a Tesla-Killer

Lucid, an EV star-up, is calling its all-electric Air sedan more efficient, faster and more spacious than Tesla’s Model S.

The company claims it has a “breakthrough” in EVs and that it isn’t just batteries but lots of “big picture thinking” that has added up to their Tesla killer, the Air.

Lucid says that the Air is an impressive 17% more energy efficient than any Tesla model which allows great range with fewer cells.

The Air looks much like the 2016 concept Lucid released with some changes to the exterior including larger side mirrors and curved screens in the interior.

The EPA-rated range of the Air is 517 miles on a single charge according to third-party testing. If true on release this would dwarf Tesla’s industry-topping 402 miles its Model S is rated at. The Air also claims to take the Model S in speed; the Air takes a quarter mile in 9.9 seconds where as Tesla’s fastest quarter mile is 10.4 seconds.

The company claims its 900-volt architecture can charge 300 miles in 20 minutes, with its higher rate is 2 miles per minute.

Standard Air models will start $80,000 all the way up to a limited “Dream Edition” that would cost $169,000. The GT version of the Air with a 517 mile range will sell for $139,000 and a Touring version of the sedan with a 406 mile range will sell for $95,000.

The higher end models are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2021. The lower priced models will role out in the fourth quarter of 2022.


Yandex and Uber to Create New Self-Driving Auto Company

Uber and Yandex are turning the autonomous vehicle portion of their joint venture into a new company which will give Yandex more control over the business and allow for new investors.

Yandex, the largest internet company in Russia, will be investing $150 million in this new company, according to Yandex. That company supposedly buying part of Uber’s stake as well. The Moscow based company will then own 73% of the new company, leaving 19% to Uber and the rest to the new company’s management.

Yandex is also giving over its own ride share business, MLU BV, that includes ride-hailing and food delivery.

These changes provide Yandex more wiggle room to develop technology.

Last year Uber separated its self-driving unit to seek new investors.

Yandex declined to comment further.



Honda Motor Company’s Honda e, company’s first mass-produced EV


Honda Motor Company’s Honda e will be available in October in Japan. It is the company’s first massed-produced electric vehicle.

Honda is looking at the end of October and the price will be about 42,000USD or 4.5 million yen. The car is targeted primarily at urban consumers. The Honda e will travel about 300 km on a single charge. Focusing on the compact size of the vehicle Honda sacrificed a larger battery which would have given it a more competitive range. The Honda e is less than 4 meters long!

The EV compact also comes with a parking system designed to assist drivers in narrow spaces. Again, the smallness is the attraction for urban customers. Door mirrors were removed to help with tight parking and instead rear cameras and a interior monitors replace the mirrors. The interior monitors are five screens arranged horizontally to provide as near to a natural view as possible.

The Honda e’s domestic price is lower than its competitors. The Nissan Ariya is about 5 million yen. The Tesla Model 3 is about that price.

The Honda e will also be marketed as eco-friendly and has already begun sales in Europe. Honda hopes to sell 11,000 units between the two markets in the first year.


Driving Safely in High Water

To some a few inches of water may not seem like a lot, but it doesn’t take much to cause loss of control, stalling and even the sweeping away of a full sized passenger vehicle.

Spring rains often swell our rivers and streams or if intense enough flood city streets that have improper or aged drainage systems. If you often drive in an area that gets flooded by sudden downpours be vigilant during our rainy season.

Like in blizzards, it is inadvisable to drive during flood conditions unless absolutely necessary. If you find yourself driving as flood conditions occur, try to avoid flooded areas and find alternate routes. If there are no other routes it is best to seek higher ground and wait out the flooding.

Don’t attempt to cross flood water either on foot or in the car. High waters can hide dips in the road and flood waters can even wash away the entire road!

If you find yourself driving in high water and your car stalls abandon it and find higher ground. Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars, causing loss of control or stalling. One foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles. This includes SUVs and pick-ups.

2021 Porsche Panamera Variant Sets Nurburgring Lap Record

Porsche has set a new lap record at Nurburgring with its 2021 Panamera, taking the 13 mile track in just 7 minutes and 29.81 seconds. The previous record, 7 minutes 30.11 seconds was set by the Mercedes AMG GT 63 S in 2018. The 63 S did manage 7 minutes 25.41 seconds on a slightly shorter version of the track but couldn’t beat out the Panamera there either, Porsche came in at 7 minutes 25.04 seconds.

Porsche didn’t confirm which Panamera variant was driven but some believe it is like the Turbo S E-Hybrid variant. This variant is expected to generate a little more power than the 671bhp of the current S E-Hybrid. The new Panamera should reduce its 0-62mph time to below 3.4 seconds and the top speed should move closer to 200mph.

The new Panamera will benefit from chassis and engine upgrades and perhaps enhanced electromechanical roll stabilization.

The record assessors did confirm the Panamera as a production car but it did include a racing seat and safety cage for running the lap.



Cadillac Reveals New 300 mile range Lyriq Electric SUV

General Motors has revealed a new electric Cadillac SUV that will offer Tesla-like range. But consumers will have to wait a little longer.

General Motors is calling it the Lyriq and its debut came four months later than GM planned due to the pandemic; however, potential buyers will have to wait a whole 24 months for the Lyriq to be ready for the sales floor.

The Lyriq boasts a 300 mile range beating the Audi E-tron and Jaguar’s I-Pace where as the Tesla Model Y and X crossovers already are in the 300 mile range.

The Lyriq will follow a crossover utility update of the Chevy Bolt and a brand new GMC Hummer pickup planned for next year.

The Cadillac Lyriq will come in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. It will include a new version of Super Cruise, a hands free, driver assistance system. Additionally it’ll have a 33 inch touch screen panel that spans the cockpit.


Ford Employs Boston Dynamic’s Robot “Fluffy” to Help Retool VanDyke Plant

The VanDyke Ford Transmission Plant will be welcoming a strange visitor this August. A 70lbs robot, dog like in appearance, nicknamed Fluffy will spend two days at the Macomb County plant.

Fluffy’s job in those two workdays will be to conduct a laser scan on a section of the plant floor. Scans like these are performed before retooling. If the experiment is successful, Ford will consider more frequent scans. This would allow Ford to prepare rolling out new vehicles sooner which in the modern competitive market could be a real advantage.

Ford is leasing Fluffy and his buddy Spot (a similar robot) from Boston Dynamics for one year. No one would say what the cost was but Ford did state it would cost less than a typical scan which runs the automaker $300,000 apiece. Boston Dynamics list the purchase price of such a robot at &74,500

While Spot won’t be joining Fluffy, a third round robot named Scouter will be. Scouter’s job is to give Fluffy a ride to save its energy.

Fluffy and his five cameras have proven skillful in many situations. For example, it has no problem navigating steps and can pick it self up if it falls. Fluffy is pretty maneuverable, which is why it is so versatile. It is controlled by a gaming-like set of joy sticks.

Non-Profit Radio Group, Radioplayer, Featured in Volvo Polestar 2/Android Automotive

Radioplayer is a non-profit radio platform which is backed my big broadcasters all over the world. And it has been chosen as a launch accomplice for Volvo’s Polestar 2 car which has the first infotainment system that employs the Android Automotive operating system.

Radioplayer worked with Google to become on of the first organizations to develop a model that would work with Android Automotive’s radio app. This is among one of a few apps preselected by Google and Polestar.

The Radioplayer Android Automotive app includes radio stations, on-demand music and podcasts coming from hundreds of broadcasters. The app will also be able to make suggestions by learning the driver’s taste and will include voice search.

The Polestar two will be available in July and Google, Volvo and Polestar are all coordinating with Radioplayer for the launch in international locations like the UK, Germany, Belgium and Norway.

Step one for Android Automotive and Radioplayer is making sure they can successfully blend hybrid broadcasting (FM, DAB, online streaming, podcasts and visual weather reports) will work together in one piece of software.



Audi Sends Off R8 V10 First Tier Model with a Limited Edition

In the 2021 model year Audi we will be removing its first tier RB V10 but will send it off with a Limited Edition model. Only 30 units will be made available.

The Limited Edition R8 V10 will receive both performance and aesthetic upgrades. Many of the updates are those that would be found in the Performance Quattro’s higher end models.

The R8 V10 LE will feature a carbon fiber front sway bar as well as Audi’s magnetic ride and dynamic steering. The dynamic steering pairs well with the drive select settings. The LE will also come standard with a sport exhaust.

The LE will have a 562HP and 406 pound-feet of torque.

The R8 V10 Limited Edition will also feature other exclusives like 20in milled wheels, exterior lower trim (carbon fiber), and alu-optic mirror caps. The color combos, as one might expect, will also be exclusive. 15 models will have Mugello Blue with pastel silver interiors. Five models will be in Avus Silver with a black interior (red stitching). Five will come in Sonoma Green, black interior (gray stitching. And just five will be R8 Spyder models in Mugello Blue.

The R8 V10 LE will come in at 186,000 for the coupe and the Spyder will run buyers $195,900