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0:07 Roger Penske Buys IndyCar & Indy MS
1:25 Germany to Boost EV Incentives
2:13 Infiniti Will Offer Extended Range EVs in U.S.
3:32 NYC Approves Tesla Model 3 Taxis
4:47 Ford Turns New Bronco Into Baja Racer
6:12 Magna Helps Semis Improve Aero
7:11 Wild Kia Concept Hints at Future
8:03 Toyota Reveals the Raize for Japan
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ROGER PENSKE BUYS INDYCAR & INDY MS
In a stunning development, Roger Penske announced he is buying the IndyCar Series along with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Financial details weren’t disclosed but the deal is expected to be official in early January. The iconic racetrack has been under the control of the Hulman family since 1945. Tony George, the chairman of the business, said his family has taken the track as far as it could. But we can’t think of a better person to take control of the Speedway and the IndyCar Series. Not only has Penske created a successful automotive empire, he’s also the winningest team owner in Indy 500 history with 18 victories and he’s won 15 championships in the IndyCar series. This is not the first time Roger Penske has owned a race track. In 1972 he bought the Michigan International Speedway for $2 million, really helped to turn the facility around and eventually sold it in 1999. And if you’d like to learn more about Roger Penske and his career, check out John’s interview with him on Autoline This Week from earlier in the year. Look for the link in the transcript for today’s show.
GERMANY TO BOOST EV INCENTIVES
Germany has ambitious goals to increase the number of electric vehicles in the country to 10 million by 2030 but as of the beginning of this year, there are only 420,000 electric and hybrid cars on its roads. So to help kick start EV sales, the government along with the German auto industry, agreed to a deal to boost EV incentives to as much as 6,000 euros per vehicle or nearly $7,000. Automakers will cover half of the cost. The new policy goes into effect this month and runs until 2025. As we’ve reported, so far electric car sales have been highly dependent on incentives no matter what market you look at.
INFINITI WILL BRING EXTENDED RANGE ELECTRICS TO U.S.
Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti is going to bring a technology to the U.S. market that no one has really had any success with yet, extended range electrics. Where a gasoline powered engine is used to charge a battery, which then feeds electric motors that drive the wheels. Nissan has offered a similar technology in Japan under the name e-Power, which it says it will also introduce to the European market by 2022. But as Bloomberg notes, Infiniti will give it a different name because it will be packaged differently. Infiniti says the goal will be to encapsulate the engine so thoroughly with sound-proofing that drivers won’t be able to hear or feel it running. By 2021 all the models Infiniti offers will have an electrified powertrain. But one of the last vehicles to slip through without one is the recently teased QX55, which will come out next year.
NYC APPROVES TESLA MODEL 3 TAXIS
Earlier this year on Autoline This Week we learned all about Tesloop, a ride sharing company that exclusively uses Teslas. At the time it had 8 of the 10 highest mileage Teslas, ranging from 250,000 to 450,000 miles, doing that in just 3 years time. One of the biggest surprises for Tesloop was how little effort it took to keep the vehicles running, with most of the issues it did have being covered under warranty. That kind of reliability is leading to Teslas being considered for other applications as well. Last month the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission added the Model 3 to its list of approved vehicles, making it the only EV out of the other 20 vehicles on the list. So, soon you may see yellow Teslas roaming around the streets of New York. While the city did a trial with Nissan Leafs from 2013 to 2015, Autoblog notes that was not the first time it used electric taxis. The Electrobat from 1896 holds that title.
FORD TURNS NEW BRONCO INTO BAJA RACER
Ford is giving us a bit of a hint at the production model of the all-new Bronco with the Bronco R race prototype. It was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rod Hall’s historic Baja 1000 win. Later this month, the company will test the Bronco R at the 1,000-mile off-road course, which uses the same powertrain and architecture as the production model. But it does have unique touches including an independent front suspension with 14 inches of travel, a five-link rear chassis with up to 18 inches of travel, custom Fox shocks and 37-inch BFGoodrich tires. What’s even more impressive is that it only took the Ford team six months to take the Bronco R from a sketch to a racing prototype.
We’ve got a great Autoline After Hours coming up this Thursday with Joe DeSimone, the CEO of a company called Carbon 3D. They’ve come up with a revolutionary way to do 3D printing that is completely different than anyone else does. And it could have a lot of automotive applications. In fact it already does. Learn more this Thursday when we go live at 3 pm eastern time.
MAGNA HELPS SEMIS IMPROVE AERO
Improving the aerodynamics of a vehicle is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve fuel efficiency and performance. And now Magna is taking some of the active aero components it developed for light vehicles and is applying them to Class 8 trucks. Grille shutters are quite common on pickup trucks these days, but Magna developed a bigger version that can seal off the entire front end of a semi. Directing air around the truck, rather than having it go into the engine compartment reduces drag dramatically. And at highway speeds when air going under the truck causes a lot of turbulence, it deploys a chin spoiler that directs air around to the sides of the truck which also reduces drag. Note how smooth the body was designed, with wheel covers and air deflectors under the trailer. While all these aero details add cost to making a truck, they more than pay for themselves with the fuel savings they achieve.
WILD KIA CONCEPT HINTS AT FUTURE
Kia revealed a wild new concept, called the Futuron that’s said to propose new designs for future electric vehicles. Kia refers to it as a sports car on an SUV platform. The overall design is pure and smooth with flowing shapes over the body. The front of the vehicle is set off by a new reinterpretation of Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille that nearly spans its entire length. Kia says it was able to clear up space for a design like this by mounting a high-capacity battery in the floor of the Futuron, which, in this case, is envisioned to feed 4 in-wheel electric motors. It’s also envisioned as a Level 4 autonomous vehicle that would allow for hands-free driving. The Futuron made its debut today at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai.
TOYOTA RAIZES THE ROOF
Toyota is launching a new vehicle in Japan, called the Raize that it says is a small compact car with SUV styling. The vehicle will be manufactured by Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu and is built on Daihatsu’s New Global Architecture, which will spawn more Toyota and Daihatsu models. Under the hood is a 1.0L turbo engine mated to a CVT and either front or 4-wheel drive. The Raize goes on sale in just a couple of weeks and will have a starting price range of about $15,000 to $21,000.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.