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0:00 Musk Takes Political Risk
0:53 Ford Will Keep AM Radios
1:50 Renault Consortium for Software Defined Vehicles
2:48 Aston Martin to Use Honda F1 Engines
4:14 EVs Get Driven Fewer Miles
5:09 BMW Reveals All-New 5 Series
7:56 Stallantis Expands V2X Communication
9:01 Meet the New Opel Corsa
10:01 VW Refreshes the Touareg
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
MUSK TAKES POLITICAL RISK
Elon Musk is venturing into risky political waters. He’s going to host a live presentation tonight on Twitter with Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, as DeSantis officially announces his run to become president of the United States. Automotive executives in the US have never become publicly involved with any political party or candidate. They know that if they publicly endorse a candidate or a party, it will instantly turn the other side against them and their company. But Elon Musk is unlike any other automotive executive, and he’s obviously aware of the risks. And while Musk will not endorse DeSantis on tonight’s program, last year he said he would support DeSantis if he ran for president.
FORD WILL KEEP AM RADIOS
Ford is going to keep AM radios in its cars after all. Back in April, it said it would get rid of AM from both its EVs and ICE vehicles. Ford said owners could stream AM with apps instead. But yesterday on social media, CEO Jim Farley said the company will include AM radio in new models going forward and that Ford will offer a software update to owners who currently don’t have it. Farley said the company changed its mind after speaking with government officials who are concerned about getting broadcast warnings out during an emergency. They say AM is more reliable than streaming during an emergency. Last week, a group of bipartisan lawmakers introduced a bill to force automakers to include AM radio, after Ford and seven other automakers said they will or have gotten rid of it.
RENAULT CONSORTIUM FOR SOFTWARE DEFINED VEHICLES
Legacy automakers are in a mad scramble to come up with their own software defined car, a concept pioneered by Tesla over a decade ago. That’s where almost every single function of a car is defined by software. Most of their SDVs, or software defined vehicles, will be out around 2025. And different automakers are taking different paths to get there. Some, like Ford, want to do it all in-house. But others, like Renault, are relying on a consortium of partners. Renault will have Google develop its operating system and digital twins. Qualcomm will develop its digital chassis and SOC, or system on a chip. And Valeo is going to supply the high-performance computer that will be the brains of the system. No doubt we’re going to see different approaches from different OEMs to come up with their own SDV.
ASTON MARTIN TO USE HONDA F1 ENGINES
Aston Martin is really on a roll. Last week Geely announced it was investing another $290 million into the company. Aston also announced it’s coming out with 8 new models over the next two years. And today it announced that Honda will be its engine supplier in Formula One starting with the 2026 season. Aston currently uses engines from Mercedes and the announcement came as a surprise because everyone thought that Honda was dropping out of F1 when the current regulations expire at the end of the 2025 season. But Formula One’s efforts at sustainability fit in with Honda’s corporate mission, and so that’s why it’s returning full force. Aston has surprised everyone in F1 this year, emerging as the second-best team in the series. First is Red Bull, which uses Honda engines. So, with Honda coming on board, Aston has set its sights on winning championships, not just scoring points.
EVs GET DRIVEN FEWER MILES
EV owners drive less than ICE owners. A new study from iSeeCars says the average 3-year old EV is driven 9,059 miles a year, compared to 12,758 miles for an ICE vehicle. That’s almost a third less. Not surprisingly, Teslas are driven the most, probably because they have longer range and a reliable Supercharger network that reduces range anxiety. If you take Tesla out, then the average drops to just 6,719 miles. The Porsche Taycan is the least driven EV at less than 5,000 miles per year. iSeeCars says EVs with higher ranges are used more but adding range will significantly increase prices at today’s battery costs.
BMW REVEALS ALL-NEW 5 SERIES
BMW revealed the all-new 5 Series sedan this morning. It’s longer, wider and taller than the outgoing model. The lines on this car are very crisp, meaning the edges of styling elements are well defined and end at sharp corners. Depending on the market, there will be a number of powertrains to choose from, including gas and diesel, which all come with 48-volt mild hybrid tech and are paired to an 8-speed auto, as well as plug-in hybrid and, for the first time, pure battery electric. Right now the EV, called the i5, is offered in two versions. There’s a rear-drive model that makes 340 horsepower and an AWD M performance model that makes 601 horsepower and will do 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. But there will also be a non-performance AWD i5 that comes out sometime next year. All feature an 81.2 kWh battery pack that provides roughly 500 to 580 kilometers or 310-360 miles of range for the rear-drive i5 and 455 to 516 kilometers or 280 to 320 miles of range for the performance version. They can handle a charging rate of up to 205 kW and can charge from 10-80% in 30 minutes. All versions of the new 5 Series get model-specific chassis tuning, but the performance i5 steps that up a notch with optional sport suspension and brakes as well as an active chassis control system. The interior of the new 5 Series blends a lot of different materials and textures together. And BMW says it focused on reducing the number of buttons and controls by baking more features into the latest generation of its iDrive operating system. Information is displayed on two large, digital screens on the dash that are combined under one piece of curved glass. This new electronic architecture also allows for expanded Level 2 autonomous driving. It will launch Highway Assistant in the U.S., Canada and Germany, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel at speeds up to 130 km/h or 85 MPH as well as change lanes, but it will only operate on barrier divided highways. BMW says the market launch of the new 5 Series starts this October.
STALLANTIS EXPANDS V2X COMMUNICATION
Stellantis is expanding its V2X or vehicle-to-everything communication in North America. Currently, more than 1.8 million Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles from 2018 and newer, can warn drivers about active emergency vehicles or other road hazards nearby through the vehicle’s Uconnect system. It’s now expanding that to include warnings about disabled vehicles, which don’t have to come from a Stellantis vehicle. An alert from the disabled vehicle, either activated manually by the driver or automatically by the vehicle, is transmitted to the Uconnect system to warn drivers. They get 15 to 20 seconds of advanced warning, which is about a quarter-mile at highway speeds. According to research published in the public health journal, Accident Analysis and Prevention, disabled vehicles contribute to a crash every seven minutes on average in the U.S. and kill or injure more than 40 people a day.
MEET THE NEW OPEL CORSA
The Opel Corsa is getting a refresh. Styling has been updated to fall more in line with the rest of the Opel family, including a new front end design, which includes a fresh lower fascia. A new, fully digital cockpit will be available, which combines two 10-inch displays that now run off of Qualcomm technology. The Corsa will be the first Opel to offer 48-volt mild-hybrid technology and, like most new Stellantis vehicles, range and performance improvements are being made to the all-electric version. It will have two drive options; either 100 kW or 136 horsepower or 115 kW or 156 horsepower. The less powerful version has an estimated 357 kilometers or 221 miles of range, while the other has 402 kilometers or roughly 250 miles of range.
VW REFRESHES THE TOUAREG
And speaking of refreshes, VW has a few updates for the Touareg. There’s small tweaks to the front and rear fascias as well as a new matrix LED lighting option. The suspension has been updated and now includes a sensor that can detect weight on the roof and make adjustments to improve driving stability. Lastly, VW’s Innovation Cockpit now comes standard on the Touareg. It goes on sale tomorrow with a starting price of just over 69,000 euros.
And that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.