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0:07 Judge Dismisses GM Racketeering Case
0:47 Elon Musk in Line for Massive Payday
1:26 Tesla Close to Level 5 Autonomy
1:54 Safety Advocates Want Emergency Stop Button in AVs
3:39 Lucid Announces Retail Network
4:27 AVL Develops Impressive E-Axle
5:55 All-New S-Class User Experience Highlights
7:16 Toyota Adds Crossover to Corolla Lineup
8:28 CUPRA Making Performance ID.3 EV
9:30 Another Wisconsin Barn Find
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
JUDGE DISMISSES GM RACKETEERING CASE
General Motors is not getting very far in its racketeering lawsuit against Fiat-Chrysler. Yesterday a U.S. federal district judge just dismissed that lawsuit “with prejudice.” In legal terms that means it’s over and done with and you can’t bring that lawsuit back to court. Even so, GM says it’s going to “pursue its legal remedies” but it’s unclear what that may be. GM feels that former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne conspired with the UAW to negotiate a labor contract that would weaken GM, and let him take over GM. Obviously the court did not agree and we’ll have to wait and see what GM does next.
ELON MUSK IN LINE FOR MEGA PAYDAY
Tesla’s stock surge is about to earn Elon Musk a mega payday. Thanks to better than expected sales numbers, the company’s stock took off yet again and the company’s market cap hit $259 billion, which makes Tesla the most valuable car company in the world. Its six-month average market value is $138 billion and once it hits an average of $150 billion over six months, it triggers a pay package for Elon that could be worth $1.8 billion.
TESLA CLOSE TO LEVEL 5 AUTONOMY
And here’s some news that could help him reach that goal. Earlier today, Elon revealed that Tesla is very close to achieving Level 5 autonomous driving. He says Tesla will complete the basic functionality of Level 5 by the end of this year, but also adds there are a lot of little problems that have to be solved. Musk isn’t the only one who’s bullish on autonomy. Mary Barra recently said that autonomy is a lot closer than most people realize.
SAFETY ADVOCATES WANT EMERGENCY STOP BUTTON IN AVs
But safety advocates say more needs to be done to protect passengers in autonomous vehicles. The Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium, which is affiliated with SAE International, wants passengers to be able to intervene to make an emergency stop or call while riding in a self-driving vehicle. It’s calling for all fleet-managed Level 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles to be equipped with a button to make an emergency stop or call if the passenger perceives an issue. The idea is similar to emergency stop or call buttons in an elevator. The Consortium says it will not only improve safety but also help the public trust autonomous technology.
We’ve got a great Autoline After Hours coming up this afternoon with Hau Thai-Tang. He’s in charge of all product development at Ford, but we’re especially going to take a deep dive into the all new F-150. It’s been the best selling vehicle in the American market for nearly 40 years, so can the new one keep that going? Henry Payne the car critic from the Detroit News will also be on the show, so join John and Gary as they bore down into the details on all the changes Ford made to this truck.
LUCID MOTORS ANNOUNCES RETAIL OUTLETS
It’s one thing to be an EV startup and want to take on Tesla. But designing electric cars is the easy part. The hard part is selling them. And to do that you need retail outlets. So Lucid Motors announced it’s going to open 20 retail locations in North America by the end of next year. It published a partial list, with four stores in California, two in Florida, one in New York and one near Washington DC. Of course if you want to convey an upscale image you don’t call them stores or dealerships. You call them studios. Customers will be able to buy the cars online, so they don’t have to go to the studios if they don’t want to. Lucid says it’s also going to have a nationwide network of service centers, mobile repair trucks, and certified body shops.
AVL DEVELOPS IMPRESSIVE E-AXLE
Everyone in the world seems to be working on how to cut the cost of batteries in electric cars. But AVL, the powertrain design house, set out to cut the cost of the EV drivetrain. It developed this e-axle, which includes 2 electric motors, a 2-speed gearbox and the inverter. Let’s focus on the motor. To squeeze out maximum efficiency AVL runs it up to 30,000 rpm. It spins so fast they’ve named it the Humming Bird. By comparison Tesla runs its motors at a maximum 18,000 rpm. A faster speed means the motor can be smaller and lighter. Interestingly, AVL decided to use direct oil cooling that runs through the slots in the stator, because this is much better than water cooling, allowing for higher peak power and better efficiency. The specs are pretty impressive. AVL says the motor only weighs a little over 19 kilograms, whereas similar motors weigh 60 kilos. It puts out 150 kilowatts and 2,500 newton meters of torque. That’s over 200 horsepower over 1,800 pound feet. And remember, there are two of these motors on each side of the e-axle. Most impressively, AVL says it cut the cost of the e-axle by 60%. It’s already bench tested the system and is installing it in a Tesla Model S for on-road testing which starts next month.
ALL-NEW S-CLASS USER EXPERIENCE HIGHLIGHTS
The other day we reported that Mercedes would release more info about the MBUX or user experience system in the all-new S-Class and today we have the highlights. A Mercedes dashboard can sometimes look as complicated as a fighter jet control panel, but one of the first things you might notice, other than the giant display screen, is how simplified the controls are. In fact, the new S-Class has 27 fewer hardkeys than the previous car. So, the automaker added more gesture and voice control to allow for easy operation of certain functions. Two that we find interesting are that the driver can raise the rear blind by looking over their shoulder and the sliding roof can be opened with the swipe of a hand. Up to 5 display screens will be available and information and content can be shared amongst passengers. The main center screen even has security built into it. Owners can use their fingerprint to unlock the screen, like a smartphone, and voice and facial recognition can also be added into the mix. Mercedes says that’s helpful for buying things while you’re in your car. Any settings the driver programs into the car are stored in the cloud, which means they can be transferred to other Mercedes vehicles. Mercedes is going to trickle out information about the new S-Class until its debut in September, so there’s more to come.
TOYOTA EXPANDS COROLLA LINEUP WITH CUV
Toyota says “Corolla meets SUV” was the key phrase during development of the all-new Corolla Cross, which we think it did a pretty good job of blending together. That right, the Corolla now comes as a sedan, hatchback and crossover. It’s a smaller vehicle, riding on the same platform as the C-HR and Lexus UX. We think the exterior styling could be described as somewhat aggressive. The front and rear ends have a little bit of a mean look, but swooping body lines over the wheel arches helps tone that down. The interior layout is clean and not overly stylized, although we do like bright strip around the air vents. The Corolla Cross first launches in Thailand where it will come with either a gas or hybrid powertrain, a CVT and front-wheel drive only. Toyota says the crossover will be offered in other markets, which means we’ll likely see other setups as well.
CUPRA MAKING PERFORMANCE ID.3 EV
There’s going to be a performance version of the Volkswagen ID.3. Volkswagen subsidiary SEAT tapped its performance division, CUPRA, to tune a version of its el-Born electric car, which is just a rebadged ID.3. CUPRA claims its el-Born will do 0 to 50 km/h in 2.9 seconds, but other than a unique sport control system, it did not reveal if it made any other changes to the propulsion system. Volkswagen has not released performance numbers for the ID.3, but some outlets have recorded 0 to 100 km/h times of around 7.5 seconds. The CUPRA el-Born has a usable battery capacity of 77 kWh, which is said to return 500 kilometers or 310 miles of range. Interior materials is the biggest difference we see as of now and it’s definitely an interior that Elvis would have been proud of. The CUPRA el-Born will launch next year.
ANOTHER WISCONSIN BARN FIND
We need your help identifying another Barn Find from our Wisconsin hiker friend. You all nailed the last one as a 1951 Nash Ambassador and this one looks like its final resting place is right around the corner from the Nash. We hope the grilles over the fenders is a dead giveaway for some of you. Leave your guesses in the comments section.
Hey, no doubt you’ve seen our newest sponsor Intrepid Control System. And we just wanted to take a quick moment before the end of the show to welcome them to the Autoline Team and say thank you for helping us to continue to provide unique content you’re not going to find anywhere else.
And that’s a wrap for today’s show. We’ll see you around the same time 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.