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0:38 Musk Claims Apple Passed on Acquiring Tesla
1:53 BMW Sends OTA Holiday Cards to Customers
2:32 LG & Magna Form Joint Venture
3:14 Volvo Confirms New EV
4:07 DOE Battery Recycling Contest Phase II Winners
4:57 EV Startup Introduces Retro Inspired Coupe
5:38 Subaru Crosstrek Impressions
7:21 The Story Behind John Oates’ 1960 Porsche 356
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
MUSK CLAIMS APPLE PASSED ON ACQUIRING TESLA
Yesterday all the headlines were about Apple getting into the car business, but the iPhone maker had a chance to get in the game long before its targeted launch in 2024. Elon Musk said he once reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook about buying Tesla, but Cook “refused to take the meeting.” This would have been sometime in 2017 or 2018 when Tesla was in “production hell” trying to ramp up manufacturing of the Model 3. And, as Musk notes, Apple could have purchased Tesla for a tenth of its current value. When we first saw this, we said, ‘Wow, could this be like Blockbuster passing on Netflix?’ But that would have required Apple keeping Musk on because Tesla is not Tesla without Elon Musk. Would there still be a Semi, Cybertruck and next-generation Roadster without him? I question it. Musk also threw a little shade at Apple’s monocell battery. He Tweeted the design “is electrochemically impossible as max voltage is about 100X too low.” Too bad we might have to wait until 2024 to find out if he’s right.
BMW SENDS OTA HOLIDAY CARDS TO CUSTOMERS
Here’s a unique use of over-the-air updates. This year BMW is saying ‘no thanks’ to the traditional boring old holiday card. Instead it’s sending holiday greetings right to the customer’s car. When a vehicle with BMW’s Operating System 7.0 starts their car up, a special banner pops up in the control display. Clicking on that banner plays a special New Year’s or Christmas message, depending on the market, accompanied by festive music and an orchestrated ambient light show. The Christmas messages start tomorrow, while the New Year’s message drops on the 1st.
LG & MAGNA FORM JOINT VENTURE
With governments imposing EV mandates and bans on ICE vehicles, the shift towards electrification is accelerating. That’s why LG and Magna are forming a joint venture to manufacture e-motors, inverters and on-board chargers for electric vehicles. Called LG Magna e-Powertrain, it will have operations in China, South Korea and the U.S. The companies say the JV will allow its customers to choose from a variety of EV components or integrate an entire electrified powertrain. The deal is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval but it’s expected to close in July of 2021.
VOLVO CONFIRMS NEW EV
Volvo is continuing its push toward electrification. CEO Hakan Samuelsson confirmed that it’s coming out with another EV based on the same architecture as the XC40 Recharge. He also said the vehicle would be “more streamlined” than the XC40. We hope that means an electric station wagon.
DOE BATTERY RECYCLING CONTEST PHASE II WINNERS
Electric cars can be terrific from an environmental standpoint, but only if the batteries get recycled. Today only 5% of spent lithium batteries are recycled. What’s needed is an industrial scale recycling facility that can sell the raw materials for a profit. A couple of years ago the U.S. Department of Energy started a contest to encourage complete battery recycling and it just announced 7 winners for Phase II of the program. Each of them gets $357,000 plus another $100,000 worth of non-cash vouchers that they can use at National Labs to do R&D work for them. The next and final phase of the program will be for pilot validation, and we want to thank Autoline Daily viewer Dave Tuttle for bringing this to our attention.
|Powering the Future
|San Diego, CA
|Titan Advanced Energy Solutions
|Source: U.S. Department of Energy
EV STARTUP INTRODUCES RETRO INSPIRED COUPE
You can file this under ‘I don’t know if it will ever happen’ but an EV startup out of California, named Alpha Motor Corporation recently introduced a cool-looking car, called the ACE. It’s a small coupe that’s built on a modular platform, which can support a number of body types, including a sedan, crossover, truck or van. It’s also planning a commercial vehicle based on the same platform, called the ICON. There’s not a lot of specs right now, but the company projects the ACE will be able to do 250 miles on a single charge and 0-60 in 6-seconds. Alpha says it hopes to deliver its vehicles as early as 2023.
SUBARU CROSSTREK IMPRESSIONS
We just had the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Limited in the Autoline Garage. The big news for 2021 is that it got an optional 2.5-liter engine with 182 horses which is a step up from the 152 horsepower 2-liter base engine. Thirty more horses is always a nice boost for any car and the Crosstrek was noticeably more powerful than before. But it still uses a CVT that has a rubbery response to throttle inputs. Other CVTs from Honda and Nissan have stepped shift points that react more precisely and it would be good for Subaru to recalibrate its CVT to provide a crisper response. The other updates for 2021 include some minor styling tweaks and some slight enhancements to its suite of safety technologies. Subaru really didn’t have to do much to freshen up the Crosstrek. It’s already found a place in the hearts of Subaru buyers. Last month it was the second best-selling model in the lineup, behind the Outback but ahead of the Forester. The Crosstrek will probably continue to outsell the Forester. They both are very similarly priced–our test model was $31,000–but the Crosstrek just looks sportier and better proportioned.
THE STORY BEHIND JOHN OATES’ 1960 PORSCHE 356
Last week John Oates was our guest on Autoline After Hours. He teamed up with Darryl Hall to perform a long list of smash hits as Hall and Oates. But John is more than a singer and performer, he’s a hardcore car enthusiast who was into cars as a teenager and even did some serious racing. He also told us about the custom car he recently built, a 1960 Porsche 356, and we’ll let him tell the story of how that came about.
(The John Oates soundbite is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
We ran into some internet problems during that show, but John Oates stuck with us through it all and recounted some of the great stories in his career. You can watch the entire show right now on our website or YouTube channel.
And that wraps up 2020 for Autoline Daily. Thanks goodness, I think we’re all ready to put this year behind us. We’ll be back here again on January 4th and until then, enjoy the holidays.
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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.