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0:08 Ford Hires New Advanced Tech Officer
0:43 Chrysler Hires New CEO
1:05 Honda Launches New Off-Road Brand
1:44 Ford Ready to Ship Some Bronco Hardtop Replacements
2:46 Polestar Dabbles in Last Mile Delivery
3:27 Microletta Electric Scooter from Micro
3:59 Porsche Reveals Electric Race Car Concept
6:10 Continental Develops Sustainable Tire
7:13 Mahle Helps EVs Charge Faster
7:44 Volkswagen Reveals Autonomous ID. Buzz
8:22 Honda To Use Cruise Vehicles for Autonomous Tests
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD HIRES NEW ADVANCED TECH OFFICER
We’ve got a couple of new executive hires to report today. First up, Ford hired Doug Field as its Chief Advanced Technology and Embedded Systems Officer. He actually started his career as a development engineer at Ford in the late 1980’s. He also worked at Segway, at Tesla as its senior VP of Engineering and most recently he was the VP of Special Products at Apple. Field starts immediately and will work closely with Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer.
CHRYSLER HIRES NEW CEO
And Stellantis just hired Christine Feuell as CEO of the Chrysler Brand. She previously was the chief commercial officer at the supplier Honeywell. She’ll have an uphill battle to turn around Chrysler, since it only has two models in its lineup, the Pacifica minivan and the 300 sedan.
HONDA LAUNCHES NEW OFF-ROAD BRAND
With most of the world turning away from sedans and into trucks, crossovers and SUVs, Honda is jumping on the off-road bandwagon. Later this year, it’s going to launch the TrailSport brand. At first it will just be minor stuff, like more rugged styling, including more durable exterior cladding and unique interior touches, like contrast orange stitching. But over the next few model years, upgrades will include more aggressive tires, increased ground clearance, off-road tuned suspensions, underbody protection and expanded all-wheel drive capabilities.
FORD READY TO SHIP SOME BRONCO HARDTOP REPLACEMENTS
Speaking of off-road vehicles, the Detroit Free Press reports that Ford is starting to get replacement hard tops for the Bronco. Testing has been completed and within a week it’s going to start shipping some tops for models that were already sold and install the rest on vehicles that were held back. But it’s still going to be a while before it gets all the replacements it needs as production is ramped up.
POLESTAR DABBLES IN LAST MILE DELIVERY
Now we have more from the Munich auto show.
Polestar, the premium electric brand from Volvo and Geely, has an unlikely vehicle on display. It revealed an electric transporter for last mile delivery called the Re:Move. The prototype has two wheels at the front, a flat floor in the middle to store cargo and a rider that stands on a platform at the back to steer it. It’s equipped with a 2.2 kWh battery and since this is meant for urban environments, it only has a top speed of 15 MPH. Polestar says the Re:Move is a design study, so no word on if it actually plans to produce this model.
MICROLETTA ELECTRIC SCOOTER FROM MICRO
Yesterday, we showed you the Microlino, a modern-day version of the Isetta, made by a company called Micro from Switzerland. That’s not the only product it had on display at the show. It also had this electric scooter called the Microletta. It is a three-wheeler and is equipped with a motor under 5-kW, so owners don’t have to have a motorbike license. Micro is targeting a price of 5,000 euros and says it already has 5,000 reservations.
PORSCHE REVEALS ELECTRIC RACE CAR CONCEPT
It looks to us like the Volkswagen Group learned a number of lessons from the all-electric ID. R race car and are now applying them to a new concept race car from Porsche, called the Mission R. The all-wheel drive racer features two electric motors; a 320-kW unit powers the front, while a 480-kW motor feeds the rear. Together they put out well over 1,000 horsepower and accelerate the Mission R from 0-100 km/h in under 2.5 seconds. That full power would only be used during qualifying and during the race it would be dialed back to about 675 horsepower. Even so, it’s able to turn the same lap times as the current 911 GT3 Cup car. An 80-kWh battery pack is what provides the power and thanks to a direct oil cooling system, which also goes to the electric motors, there’s no loss of power due to heat buildup. And lastly, to help keep weight down, a number of exterior and interior components are made from natural fiber reinforced plastic, which is also more sustainable than materials that are typically used.
CONTINENTAL DEVELOPS SUSTAINABLE TIRE
It’s not just automakers revealing new products in Munich, suppliers are also showing off new technology. Continental developed a sustainable passenger car tire concept called the Conti GreenConcept. More than half of the materials used in the tire are renewable or recycled. The renewable materials include natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from the ash of rice husks and vegetable oils and resins. And the recycled material comes from reclaimed steel, recovered carbon black and polyester from recycled plastic bottles for the tire’s casing. It only weighs 7.5 kilograms or about 16.5 pounds, which makes it up to 40% lighter than conventional tires. The concept’s rolling resistance is also 25% lower than Class A tires under the EU Tire Label system. And lastly the tire can be retreaded multiple times, to give it even more life.
MAHLE HELPS EVs CHARGE FASTER
And the supplier Mahle developed a new battery cooling system to make charging EVs even faster. The company relies on immersion cooling technology where an electrically non-conductive coolant flows around the cells, which drops the temperature of the battery while charging and the overall temperature is distributed more evenly. Not only does it improve charging times, batteries can be made more compact, which helps cut cost.
VOLKSWAGEN REVEALS AUTONOMOUS ID. BUZZ
Volkswagen revealed the prototype version of the autonomous ID Buzz it will use for its upcoming ride-hailing service, which it plans to launch in Hamburg, Germany starting in 2025. The self-driving technology for the electric van was developed by Argo AI, the AV company VW has a stake in with Ford. Argo says its lidar equipped in the vehicle can detect objects up to 1,300 feet away. While the autonomous version won’t come until 2025, the regular production ID Buzz goes on sale in the U.S. in 2023.
HONDA TO USE CRUISE VEHICLES FOR AUTONOMOUS TESTS
And in other autonomous news, Honda plans to start testing self-driving vehicles in Japan using autonomous Chevy Bolts from Cruise, GM’s AV startup. The first step is to create high-definition maps of the area where it will test. Once that’s complete, Honda will test the Cruise vehicles on public roads. In the future, Honda plans to launch a mobility service in Japan using the autonomous Cruise Origin shuttle.
But that’s a wrap for today’s show, thank you for watching.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.