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0:07 GM Confirms Electric GMC Pickup
0:45 Chevy Teases All-New Corvette Z06
1:17 Baidu Expands Its Robotaxi Service
1:56 Stellantis Shaking Up Jeep Manufacturing
3:14 U.S. Lithium Mining Could Run Into Issues
4:07 U.S. Passat Dropped to Make Way for New EVs
4:59 VW CEO Confirms 3-Row Electric Crossover
5:26 VW Group Doubles BEV Sales
6:48 Porsche Reveals Refreshed Macan
8:09 Audi Tech Lets Cars Talk to Traffic Lights
9:26 Ford Using Connected Car Data to Improve Safety
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM CONFIRMS ELECTRIC GMC PICKUP
General Motors has already announced plans to come out with an electric version of the Silverado. So it comes as no surprise that the automaker confirmed it will introduce a full-size electric pickup from GMC. The automaker didn’t provide details on when it will hit the market or if it will still be called the Sierra. But AutoForecast solutions says it will go into production in 2023 at GM’s Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which will also produce the GMC Hummer EV truck and SUV, the electric Silverado and the Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle.
CHEVY TEASES ALL-NEW CORVETTE Z06
Well, we all knew this was coming, but yesterday Chevrolet made it official. The Corvette Z06 is coming out as a 2023 model year vehicle. For now, Chevy is just teasing us with the logo and an audio clip of the exhaust. So we don’t have any more details than that. But at the end of the audio clip, when you can hear the engine backing off and burbling, it sure sounds like a flat-plane crank to us. What do you think?
BAIDU EXPANDS ITS ROBOTAXI SERVICE
Baidu officially opened its robotaxi service in Guangzhou, China. Called Baidu Apollo Robotaxi, it runs routes that go past schools, hospitals, parks, hotels, offices and more. It operates from 9:30AM to 11:00PM, and users have 237 pick-up and drop-off points to choose from. It’s also running robo taxi services in three other Chinese cities, including Beijing. And it could be coming to America. Baidu says it has extensively tested its autonomous system in the United States.
STELLANTIS SHAKING UP JEEP MANUFACTURING
Stallantis is making some major moves when it comes to making Jeeps. It reports that the Jeep Cherokee will be moved from Belvedere, Illinois to Toluca, Mexico in late 2024. That’s about the same time that the Jeep Compass will be moved out of Toluca and go to Windsor, Canada instead.
U.S. LITHIUM MINING COULD RUN INTO TROUBLE
The United States wants its own supply chain for lithium to make EV batteries, but it’s not going to be easy. North Carolina used to produce lithium, until low prices forced them to close. Now, with lithium prices skyrocketing, a mining company called Piedmont wants to open a mine. It has a contract with Tesla to supply lithium to the automaker’s gigafactory in Texas. But county commissioners in Gaston County, near Charlotte, may block the mine. They’re worried about noise, dust and vibration. There’s about 3% lithium in the hard rock at the North Carolina mines, meaning, about 97% of what gets mined, gets dumped. Piedmont believes the mine can produce enough lithium to make 3 million EVs a year.
U.S. PASSAT DROPPED TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW EVs
In November of last year we reported that VW was dropping the Passat from the American market. So, it’s sending the sedan off with a bang. VW will make 1,973 Limited Edition versions of the Passat, which is an homage to the year the Passat launched in Germany. They feature one of four unique paint colors, along with special wheels and mirror caps. Inside the seats have tags that say “1 of 1973” and “Chattanooga 2011” as well as a unique cup holder mat with an aerial line drawing of VW’s Chattanooga factory and map of the city. That’s where the sedan has been made for the last 20 years, but the plant is becoming the company’s hub for EV assembly in North America.
VW CEO CONFIRMS NEW 3-ROW ELECTRIC CROSSOVER
And perhaps this could be one of those EVs built at that plant. A speech that was written and published by VW CEO Herbert Diess confirmed that it will introduce an Atlas-sized electric crossover called the ID.8. It’s expected to have three-rows and be built on VW’s MEB platform. But now you know as much as we do and we’ll have to wait for more details.
VW GROUP DOUBLES BEV SALES
And in related news, the VW Group announced it more than doubled battery electric vehicle sales in the first half of 2021 compared to last year. The Group delivered nearly 171,000 BEVs through June, about three-quarters of which went to Europe. The U.S. and China made up most of the remaining deliveries. Not surprisingly, the VW Brand led the way followed by Audi, Porsche, Skoda and SEAT. The company also significantly boosted plug-in hybrid sales. It delivered more than 171,000 PHEVs in the first half of the year, up over 200% from a year ago.
PORSCHE REVEALS REFRESHED MACAN
Porsche revealed the refreshed version of the Macan. In the styling department, it pretty much looks the same, but you may notice a few tweaks here and there. Same for the interior. It’s mostly unchanged, but the center console has been reworked and features touch controls rather than buttons. The bigger changes are under the skin. Base Macans come with a newly developed turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes about 260 horsepower and helps the SUV hit 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. The other engine, a twin-turbo 2.9L V6, which comes in two outputs, has been tuned to put out a bunch more power. The version in the Macan S makes around 375 horsepower, about 25 more than before, while the top-of-the-line Macan GTS produces roughly 435 horsepower, nearly 60 horsepower more. That setup allows the GTS to go from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds. All engines are mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and all-wheel drive. Deliveries of the new Macan are first scheduled to start in Europe this October.
AUDI TECH LETS CARS TALK TO TRAFFIC LIGHTS
There’s a lot of approaches automakers can take to unlock new revenue streams using connected car technology. And here’s a couple of different ways Audi and Ford are attempting to do that. Audi hopes that its Traffic Light Information or TLI system will be a technology that gets customers to sign up for its in-vehicle WiFi subscription. TLI basically allows the vehicle to talk with traffic lights, so a driver can ride the so-called ‘green wave.’ Either a countdown will pop up on the dash to tell the driver when the light is going to turn green or a speed recommendation suggests how fast to drive, within the limits, to reach the next green light efficiently. A U.S. DoT report says minimizing stop-and-go driving can improve fuel efficiency as much as 15%. TLI uses data from connected traffic signals, of which there’s more than 22,000 across the U.S., and new connected intersections have recently gone up in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. There’s also areas across Canada and parts of Europe.
FORD USING CONNECTED CAR DATA TO IMPROVE SAFETY
And now let’s switch over to Ford who hopes to create a tool using connected car data it can sell to transportation departments that will help them improve street safety. It found that connected vehicle data, like where harsh acceleration, braking and turning events occur, shows a strong correlation with reported crash patterns. Currently many city planners and engineers rely on crash data that’s reported to police, which can be a year old, to figure out where to make improvements. With connected car data the information would always be up-to-date and can help show unsafe patterns or indicate problem areas. Also, current data from connected vehicles could show if previous changes made improvements. On top of making streets safer, Ford thinks using connected car data will help cities save time and money.
Can EV batteries get recycled quickly and profitably? Yes they can, according to Licycle. That’s the Canadian company that was selected by General Motors and LG Chem to provide them with recycled battery materials. Ajay Kochhar, the CEO of Licycle, will be our guest on Autoline After Hours this Thursday. So join John and Gary and learn how Licycle can remove one of the barriers to EV adoption.
But that wraps 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.