Listen to “AD #3098 – Model S Plaid Debuts Tonight; Bosch Says ICE Improvement Still Needed; All-New Toyota Land Cruiser Revealed” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Chip Shortage Starting to Ease
0:47 Tesla Model S Plaid Debuts Tonight
1:25 New Ferrari CEO Will Help EV Transition
2:21 Bosch Says ICE Improvement Still Needed
3:50 All-New Toyota Land Cruiser Revealed
5:49 Chevy Making Limited ‘Vette Inspired by C8.R
7:26 Alibaba Planning to Make Autonomous Trucks
7:43 Honda & Komatsu Developing EV Excavators
9:08 China EV Sales Correction
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
CHIP SHORTAGE STARTING TO EASE
Automakers are slowly making progress with the chip shortage but it’s going to remain a problem for some time. GM recently announced its boosting production and deliveries of some models. However, as we reported yesterday, it’s not equipping some truck and SUV models with stop/start technology. And now Volkswagen says it expects the chip shortage to ease in the third quarter but also expects a 10% shortage of chips over the long-term. That’s because it can take up to two years to build up production capacity for chips. Back in March the company said it’s unable to build 100,000 vehicles because of the shortage.
TESLA MODEL S PLAID GETS REVEALED TONIGHT
Big night for Tesla. It will finally unveil the new Model S Plaid. Maybe you know some of the details. A starting price of just under $130,000, which is $10,000 more than previously announced. 0 to 60 MPH in an eye-popping 1.9 seconds. 390 miles of driving range. And as Tesla already teased, it’s available with that yoke steering wheel. That’s what we know for now but Tesla will likely have a few surprises up its sleeve when it goes Plaid at 10PM eastern time tonight.
NEW FERRARI CEO WILL HELP LEAD EV TRANSITION
Yesterday we reported that Ferrari named Benedetto Vigna as its new CEO. Today we’ve got more of the backstory on this 52-year-old from Potenza, Italy. He was hired away from STMicroelectronics, a chip manufacturing company based in Switzerland. He ran their MEMS and sensors group and Tesla was one of his biggest customers. He graduated from college with a degree in Subnuclear Physics, and he has 200 patents to his own name. Bloomberg reports that as Ferrari has to develop electric and connected cars and get deeper into sensor fusion, Benedetto Vigna will be the perfect guy to make sure they hire the right people and build the proper supply chains. Even though Ferrari was already on track to introduce its first battery electric car in 2025, Vigna will likely get the company to pick up the pace.
BOSCH SAYS ICE IMPROVEMENT STILL NEEDED
Yes, yes, yes, we know the world is going electric. But how fast will it happen? Bosch, the largest auto supplier in the world, believes that one out of three cars sold in the U.S. will be battery electric in 2030. But that also means that two out of three vehicles will have an ICE under the hood. Sujit Jain, the president of powertrain operations for Bosch North America, says automakers are still working hard to improve the fuel efficiency and emissions of piston engines. They may not develop any more clean-sheet engines, but they’re looking at things such as synthetic fuels and electrically heated catalytic converters to keep their current IC engines viable and competitive. You can probably consider it an insurance policy, just in case EV adoption rates don’t happen as fast as some think they will.
ALL-NEW TOYOTA LAND CRUISER DEBUTS
In January, we speculated that, despite full-size SUVs being red hot, the Toyota Land Cruiser is practically invisible to American buyers because it’s a heavy, V8-powered vehicle that gets poor fuel economy and can cost upwards of $90,000. But something tells me the all-new model that just made its world premiere will fix a lot of those issues and put it back on people’s radar. One thing that’s not changing, however, is its body-on-frame architecture, which Toyota says protects the Land Cruiser’s essence. It’s a new platform, called GA-F that was designed to reduce weight and increase rigidity. Total vehicle weight is down by 200 kilograms or over 440 pounds and it’s more evenly distributed, the former also helping to lower the center of gravity. Improvements were made to the suspension and suspension structure; including the ability for more wheel articulation and, for better road-holding performance, a new Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. It uses hydraulics to alter the stiffness or sometimes even completely disengage the anti-roll bars. Under the hood of the new Land Cruiser is a range of V6 engines, which can vary depending on the market. There’s a naturally aspirated gasoline engine mated to a 6-speed automatic and two twin-turbo V6’s mated to a 10-speed automatic. One is a 3.5L gas version that puts out roughly 410 horsepower and the other is a 3.3L diesel that makes about 300 horsepower. And let’s finish up on the interior. The two-tone look in this picture gives it a nice, upscale appearance that’s highlighted by what looks like brushed aluminum. It’s capped off by a high-mounted infotainment screen in the center of the dash. I’m sure there’ll be more information to come before the Land Cruiser starts launching around the world this summer.
CHEVY MAKING LIMITED ‘VETTE INSPIRED BY C8.R
In its very first season racing with the C8.R, Corvette Racing swept IMSA’s sports car championship series, taking the Manufacturers, Drivers and Team titles. Impressive for an all-new car whose engine moved from the front to the back. Well, Chevrolet is so proud of the accomplishment that it’s going to come out with a limited-edition version of the ‘Vette inspired by those winning cars. The Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition features either a yellow or gray racing-themed graphics package, bigger spoiler, yellow calipers, black wheels and side rockers, a different finish on the side mirrors and splash guards. The interior mimics the exterior graphics package, has yellow seat belts and a special, numbered plaque. The special-edition package will cost about $6,600 on top of the MSRP and will be limited to just 1,000 examples.
ALIBABA TO MAKE AV TRUCKS
Chinese e-commerce company, Alibaba, is planning to develop self-driving trucks with its logistics subsidiary Cainiao. The company also said that Cainiao plans to launch 1,000 autonomous delivery robots in China over the next year.
HONDA & KOMATSU TEAM ON EV EXCAVATORS
While the jury is still out on whether swappable battery packs make sense for passenger vehicles, Honda continues to develop them for other uses. It’s already shown off a few two- and three-wheeled scooters and now it’s teaming up with industrial equipment maker Komatsu to launch micro excavators that run on Honda’s Mobile Power Packs. As you can see, two of the packs just slide into the back of the machine, however it didn’t reveal the operating time compared to other power sources. But the idea is you just slide in another battery, so you don’t have to wait for the used ones to charge. The new micro excavator is scheduled to come out before March of next year and the two plan to explore other uses as well.
It’s do or die time for automotive suppliers. They have got to put the plans in place to transform their operations for electric, connected, autonomous and shared cars. That means developing new products and business models. So how will they do it? That’s the topic on Autoline After Hours this afternoon. We’ll be hearing from Phil Eyler, the CEO of a company called Gentherm, and from Martin Fischer, a board member with ZF. And we invite you to join John and Gary at 3 pm eastern time as they get into the biggest upheaval the supplier industry has ever faced. And of course you can catch that on our website or YouTube channel.
CHINA EV SALES CORRECTION
And we have a correction to a story from earlier this week. We reported about plug-in hybrid, hybrid and battery electric sales in China on Tuesday but those numbers were actually BYD electrified sales in China. Sorry for any confusion.
But with that we wrap up today’s show, thanks for watching.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.