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0:07 Beyond Ludicrous and Onto Plaid
1:15 Ford Updates the Raptor
1:59 Ford Makes Electric Motor In-House
3:26 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Rolls Down the Line
4:53 Gentherm Cuts EV Cabin Heating 70%
6:55 VW ID.4 Test Drive Impressions
9:25 Lamborghini Makes Life Size Lego Car
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
BEYOND LUDICROUS AND ONTO PLAID
Tesla took the wraps off the new Model S Plaid last night. While the styling remains unchanged, it’s loaded up with new technology and features, like a more powerful electric motor, a new heat pump and thermal system, which provides 30% better range in cold weather and requires 50% less energy to heat the cabin in freezing conditions. It has a coefficient of drag of 0.208, which Tesla claims is the best of any production car. It has a faster charging time, providing 187 miles of range in 15 minutes. The interior has more head and legroom along with more space for second row passengers. The Plaid also features an updated entertainment system that Tesla says is on the same level as a PlayStation five. Elon Musk says they’ll produce 1,000 Plaid’s a week by next quarter.
FORD UPDATES THE RAPTOR
Ford is up to 100,000 reservations for the electric F-150 Lightning. But just to show you the bandwidth this truck offers, Ford just shared more details about the updated Raptor. Its 3.5L EcoBoost V6 cranks out 450 horsepower at 5850 RPM and 510 lb.-ft. of torque at 3000 RPM. It has a maximum towing capacity of 8,200 pounds and a maximum payload of 1,400 pounds. And it has an EPA estimated 500 miles of range.
FORD MAKES ELECTRIC MOTOR IN-HOUSE
Ford is also taking an important step towards vertical integration for EV components. The electric motor that goes in the Maverick hybrid is made at its Sterling Heights plant in Michigan. It’s the first time Ford made an electric motor in-house. Wards Intelligence reports it features magnets molded into the rotor instead of glued in. That allows the motor to spin faster. It uses hairpin wiring, instead of round wiring. And it’s 20% lighter. The motor puts out 98 kilowatts of power or 131 horsepower, and 1,696 pound feet or 2,300 newton meters of torque. The cycle time for manufacturing the motor is 75 seconds.
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE L ROLLS DOWN THE LINE
The all-new long wheelbase version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is rolling down the assembly line at the freshly renovated Mack assembly plant in Detroit. It took $1.6 billion to bring that plant up to today’s vehicle manufacturing standards. That’s because the original building went up around 1916. It later made the Dodge Viper and then V6 and V8 engines. But making SUVs is a lot different than making engines. So the whole plant was gutted and because the roof was too low, they had to cut it, raise it and re-support certain sections. It’s also quite a bit smaller than typical plants, so Stellantis bought up a lot of the surrounding area and it even shares a rail line with the nearby Jefferson plant. But the clean sheet allowed it to install a number of state-of-the-art technologies, like lasers measuring the body specs; an indoor BSR, or Buzz, Squeak and Rattle test track to eliminate noise and make it easier to find; and a vehicle shaker that uses electronic servos instead of hydraulics, which are a lot quieter and require less service. The plant is now making Jeep Grand Cherokee Ls on three shifts, five days a week. Next up, it will build the standard-wheelbase Grand Cherokee and 4xe models.
GENTHERM CUTS EV CABIN HEATING 70%
Everyone who drives an electric car in winter weather knows that heated seats are a more efficient way to keep warm. Now a company called Gentherm is taking that a step further. Phil Eyler, the CEO of Gentherm, was on Autoline After Hours yesterday, and talked about their system. Take a look.
“Compare that to an HVAC system, where really the goal of an HVAC system is to bring a common temperature to the entire cabin. That takes a huge amount of energy. If you can just do each passenger–you know the average passenger count in most vehicles, if you average it all out, is about 1.2–so think about all the excess energy it takes to heat or cool an entire cabin. It’s dramatic. We actually did a project with General Motors where we installed our system, with them, on a Chevy Bolt. And they did their own independent testing, and it actually showed in the cold weather test cycle, their testing, an almost 70% improvement in energy consumption in the cold weather. So it’s really dramatic. You’re getting happier passengers and adding range to the vehicle.”
There’s a lot of good info in that show, and we also had Martin Fischer from ZF, explaining how they’re transitioning from a traditional ICE supplier into a leader in ADAS and electrification. You can catch that show on our website or our YouTube channel.
VW ID.4 TEST DRIVE IMPRESSIONS
Volkswagen has bet more heavily on battery electric vehicles than any other traditional automaker. After committing over $80 billion to developing BEVs, as well as paying well over $30 billion in Dieselgate fines, VW desperately needs its EV strategy to pay off. If it fails, the company will be permanently crippled. But after spending nearly a week in the ID.4, we’d say VWs electric car strategy is off to a good start. Some will quibble that the ID.4’s efficiency doesn’t match Tesla, or that its dashboard screen pales in comparison. And that’s true. But the average motorist probably won’t notice. And the ID.4 is very much aimed at the average motorist, not EV advocates. This is a wide, roomy vehicle that is much more suited to American tastes than European ones. It is the softest riding and lightest steering VW we’ve ever driven, which are attributes that work best in the American market. VW allows you to increase the steering effort and get more responsive acceleration and more aggressive regen braking by using different settings on the center screen. But even with everything in Sport mode, this is not a hard-edged vehicle. Acceleration is simply adequate—not the breath-taking blast out of the blocks that other EVs offer. Instead, this is a car that cruises quietly down the highway, provides very good front and rear seat room, and has plenty of luggage space for most everyday needs. Even the styling is soft and flowing instead of the hard-horizontal lines VW uses on the rest of its lineup. So not only is it aimed at the average motorist, it also seems to be aimed at customers who never bought a Volkswagen before. One closing observation: when you put it in Park and turn the engine off, most vehicles will continue to play the radio until you open the driver’s door. In the ID.4 you don’t turn the engine off. You simply put it in Park. And the radio will continue to play even after you open the driver’s door. It will not turn off until you get out of the driver’s seat which is a nice touch that no other automaker offers. It’s the kind of satisfying feature that will endear the ID.4 to people who are trying out an electric car for the first time.
LAMBORGHINI MAKES LIFE SIZE LEGO CAR
Creating replicas of cars with Lego pieces is nothing new but now it’s the Lamborghini Sian’s turn. This life-size replica, built to exact dimensions, features more than 400,000 pieces, with 154 different types of Legos, including 20 that were molded specifically for the project. It weighs 2,200 kilograms or 4,850 pounds and was created by a team of 15 people, who took 8,660 hours to develop and assemble the car. It’s also the first large-scale model from Lego to have a paintbrush-effect UV color-coating, which was applied by Lamborghini’s paint shop. It’s pretty cool and if you want a better look at it, you can take a virtual tour by following the link in the transcript or description box.
And that wraps up this week’s worth of reports. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.