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0:08 The Great Automotive Schism
1:13 GM Announces 10 EVs For South Korea
2:07 Monitor Says UAW Falling Short in Reform Efforts
3:31 Inmotive Shares 2-Speed EV Transmission Update
4:53 Kia Teases Concept EV9
5:21 Hyundai Resto-Mods 1986 Grandeur Sedan
6:02 Toyota Celebrates 25 Years of RAV4 In the U.S.
6:42 Porsche Plans 3rd Taycan Variant
7:47 Lucid Air Dream Edition Is in A League of Its Own
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
THE GREAT AUTOMOTIVE SCHISM
You know the saying. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ Well, I think we can call this the Great Automotive Schism. Automakers from around the world are split over getting rid of the internal combustion engine by 2040. It all came out of that climate change conference in Glasgow. Various countries, cities, automakers and others pledged to get rid of the ICE in cars and vans worldwide by 2040, and in developed markets by 2035. The major automakers who took the pledge are Ford, General Motors, Mercedes, BYD, Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo. But look who’s not on the list. Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, BMW, Stellantis, Hyundai and everyone else. This is going to cause bad blood between the different groups. We saw that happen in the U.S., when four automakers backed California’s fuel economy standard and the others did not. And now we’re going to see it happen on a global basis. The “yeses” and the “nos” will be attacking each other in the court of public opinion.
GM ANNOUNCES 10 EVs FOR SOUTH KOREA
Well, this is going to piss off the unions in South Korea. GM’s Steve Kiefer, who runs the company’s International Operations, made a speech there yesterday. He announced that GM will launch 10 electric vehicles in South Korea by 2025. But it’s not going to make any of them there. Keep in mind that GM manufactures 600,000 cars a year in South Korea. And it’s had nothing but labor problems there for decades. Same goes for Hyundai and Kia. They’re always running into problems with Korean unions. But Steve Kiefer also told the media “We are not announcing any plans yet to produce electric vehicles in the country, so stay tuned for that.” Sounds like a bargaining tactic to us. GM will dangle out the possibility of making EVs in Korea, as long as the union agrees to specific productivity targets.
MONITOR SAYS UAW FALLING SHORT IN REFORM EFFORTS
Speaking of unions, the bad news continues to pour in for the UAW. An independent monitor who was appointed to oversee the UAW after its corruption probe, says the union is falling short in its reform efforts. He said it’s not doing enough “to respond to repeated warnings about the pressing need to transform its culture.” We think that if the union doesn’t clean up its act fast, the Justice Department is going to step in and force it to happen.
INMOTIVE SHARES 2-SPEED EV TRANSMISSION UPDATE
About a year ago, we were introduced to a Canadian company, called Inmotive, that’s working on a two-speed transmission for EVs. And one of the folks there reached out to us to share a few updates. It changed the shape of one of the sprockets inside the trans, which uses a design that was inspired by bicycle derailleurs, the thing that bumps the chain when shifting. But the outer gear of Inmotive’s transmission also moves out of the way in segments during a shift. This, along with active control of the electric motor, results in near imperceptible shifts because the chain is always in constant contact. Right now, the company is testing it on a vehicle with an electric motor that produces about 150 Nm and claims during normal driving on streets it’s transmitting 1,500 Nm through the trans. As a motor that size might suggest, Inmotive is eying a passenger vehicle in the mass market and at that scale its transmission would only cost about $150. But it says it could be scaled down to something as small as an e-bike and has data that shows it could double the motor output for more powerful vehicles. Inmotive expects to have the whole system worked out by the middle of 2023 and says its setup improves range by 7-15% and acceleration by 15%.
KIA TEASES CONCEPT EV9
Kia will have a new EV on display at the LA auto show next week. This is the Concept EV9, an all-electric SUV that hints at a future production model. The styling is very angular and large fenders over the wheels give it a more aggressive, off-road vibe. Again, on the interior, we see another automaker copying the yoke steering wheel. But it’s also a clean design with a long, thin display screen mounted on the dash.
HYUNDAI RESTO-MODS 1986 GRANDEUR SEDAN
Sticking with the Hyundai Group for a moment, Hyundai is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its flagship sedan, the Grandeur, by resto-modding a 1986 model with an all-electric powertrain. It features most of its original exterior design and is tied into its new electric vehicles with a similar pixelated lighting signature. But it still looks like a car from that era. The same can’t be said of the interior. It’s been converted into an ultra-modern luxury space with digital display screens and even a gear selector inspired by planes. And Hyundai says it has plans to do more of these vehicles, what it calls the Heritage Series.
TOYOTA CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF THE RAV4 IN THE U.S.
Believe it or not, the Toyota RAV4 is 25 years old. It first went on sale in the U.S. in 1996, and is now in its fifth-generation. To celebrate its anniversary, it’s getting a few updates, new trim and colors. A new lower priced hybrid trim line is available which includes monotone paint, fabric seats and a seven-inch touchscreen with six speakers. Pricing for the 2022 RAV4 will be announced in the middle of December. The RAV4 is far and away the best-selling model Toyota has in the U.S. Through the first nine months of the year, more than 313,000 have been sold, up 4.5% compared to a year ago, pretty impressive considering the chip shortage.
PORSCHE PLANS 3RD TAYCAN VARIANT
Porsche is going to introduce a third body style for the Taycan at the LA auto show. So we know there’s the Taycan and the Taycan Cross Turismo. So what could a third body style be? A 2-door? A convertible? A bigger SUV? Porsche isn’t saying. But what do you think it’s going to do? We’d like to know.
John got to drive the Lucid Air Dream Edition and coming up next he’ll tell you why that car is in a league of its own.
LUCID AIR DREAM EDITION IS IN A LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
I got a chance to test drive the Lucid Air two days ago and was wowed by the experience. I’m not the only one. Everyone who’s driven the car walks away with a sense of wonder and feeling a little giddy. And it’s all about the performance. Yes, the Air has attractive styling. Yes, it has interior appointments better than any Tesla. And yes, it has impressive connectivity. But there are 1,111 reasons that set this sedan apart from all the others. That’s the max horsepower you can dial up in the Dream Edition, which is what I was driving.
And let me tell you, it’s a wonderful feeling to have 1,000 horsepower at your beck and call. The acceleration is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. It’s a pure sensation of speed. No induction noise. No exhaust note. No engine straining at the redline. Just pure speed. The world suddenly rushes past the windshield at a rate you’ve never seen before.
And while the Lucid Air is very quick off the line, that’s not where you really appreciate what it can do. At a 50 mile an hour roll, when you punch it, the rate of acceleration is exhilarating. You’ll let out a “whoop!” Even at a 70 mile an hour roll, it rockets forward like it’s being catapulted off a carrier.
And this makes driving fun. Not just for the sensation of speed, but because it makes driving a joy. You need to get around that car in front of you? Just do it. There’s an opening up ahead in traffic? Just put the car there. It’s so fast you can do it without a moment’s hesitation. With 1,000 horses on tap, the Lucid Air is the automotive equivalent of air superiority. You’re in command of the road, and there’s nothing that anyone else can do about it.
That’s going to sell cars. People are going to want to experience this. It takes performance to a whole new level, and people get excited about that.
Now, that doesn’t mean that Lucid the car company is an automatic success. It’s way too early to make that call. But first impressions count for a lot, and Lucid just put everyone on notice that it’s here to play hardball.
And with that we wrap up a week of Autoline Dailies. Thanks for watching and remember, we’ll be right back here again on Monday.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.