GM Electric Pickup Planned To Take On Rivian, Ford, And Tesla

Don’t expect to see the truck too soon, though.

During the investor’s call announcing General Motors’ first-quarter financial results, CEO Mary Barra dropped a tantalizing bit of info that an electric pickup is in the automaker’s plan. Unfortunately, she didn’t offer any specific details about what brand would sell the model, according to Slash Gear.

In a CNBC interview in January, GMC Vice President Duncan Aldred commented on the possibility of the electric truck: “Certainly, it’s something we’re considering.” The new statement from Barra indicates the company is moving forward with the model.

The electric pickup from GM would give the automaker a challenger against the forthcoming slate of EV trucks. Tesla has an entry on the way but the vehicle is still years away. In addition, test mules of the electric Ford F-150 are already on the road, but they’re reportedly still very early prototypes.

Rivian is the automaker that could really break into the electric truck market. Its R1T could arrive as soon as 2021 and could offer as much as 400 miles of driving range. Rivian has test mules on the road, but the company disguises them as Ford F-150s.

Rivian also recently received a $500 million investment from Ford, and the pair announced plans to co-develop a vehicle together on Rivian’s skateboard platform. This model is separate from the electric F-150, too. A date for the product’s launch isn’t yet available, though.

Since none of these competitors are on the way too soon, GM has a few years before its electric pickup really needs to be ready to go on sale. In the meantime, the General intends to build a new EV model on an improved Chevrolet Bolt chassis at its Orion factory in Michigan. Rumors suggest the model might be a crossover.

Source: Slash Gear

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Mercedes-Benz Lineup Expansion Won’t End; More New Models Planned

Incoming Daimler boss Ola Källenius wants to save $6.75 billion while expanding into the electric realm.

As the future of the auto industry unfolds, electric vehicles will be a major part of it. EV growth in the next decade should be tremendous, and though it’s unlikely electric power will completely replace internal combustion engines anytime soon, the paradigm shift will lead to completely new models and new methods of manufacturing. Mercedes-Benz is aware of this, and as the automaker’s parent company Daimler AG prepares to welcome its new CEO Ola Källenius, a delicate balancing act of cost-cutting with EV expansion is already in his sight.

Automotive News Europe reports the incoming boss spoke at length about such things during a media roundtable at Auto Shanghai earlier in April. Among other things, Källenius is striving to find $6.75 billion in savings by 2021, which may sound like the far future but is actually less than two years from now. There isn’t a specific plan in place thus far, save for focusing on cutting costs while raising efficiency at Merc’s manufacturing plants.

One thing the company doesn’t seem keen to do, however, is shrink its vast model portfolio. In fact, according to the report, the number of Mercedes models should actually increase as the all-electric EQ line expands. There are already over 40 various Mercedes models and submodels, but Källenius apparently believes broad sharing of architectures and components will allow the automaker to offer buyers more choices while keeping costs low. In theory, the variety can help drive fresh sales in places such as Europe or America where the market is flat. And of course there’s Asia – an expanding market where Mercedes hopes to expand further.

It’s admittedly a very general plan, but it seems to rely on some rather important variables. Electrification is still quite expensive – it’s one thing to simply drop an electric motor and a battery into a vehicle originally designed to carry all the fluids and components to burn fuel, but getting the most from electric power means all-new designs, new technology, and new processes that are EV-specific. These production costs should drop as electric development progresses, but the exact savings and timeframe are tricky to pin down. According to the report, Källenius says this will take many years, and nobody really know how much lower the costs will go.

Meanwhile, 2021 is barely a year and a half away.

Source: Automotive News Europe

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Kia Soul Ad Ditches Dancing Hamsters For Car-Eating Chameleon

The new ad signifies that the Soul is more grown up, more refined, and more mature – but it’s still fun. 

Kia has released a commercial for the new Soul, and the infamous hamsters are nowhere in sight. Instead, there’s a different kind of creature getting screen time.

We’ll get to that in time. First, let’s back up, and take a look at the new Kia Soul lineup on full display in the ad. Three brightly-colored Souls get their fair share of attention in the one-minute TV ad, which you can view at your leisure on Kia Motors America’s official YouTube channel.

The bright red GT-Line Turbo is the Soul’s performance model, with a sporty-looking body kit, split five spoke aluminum wheels, and blacked-out trim. The 1.6 liter turbo under the hood is good for 201 horsepower, which means that the Soul GT-Line Turbo should pack a punch that backs up its tuner-car looks.

Next up is the green X-Line model, designed to look like a rugged off-road crossover. While it might not have any actual off-road ability to back up its tough-guy looks, the X-Line model is as attractive as any other small crossover out there.

Finally, there’s a bright yellow EX Designer Line model, which has styling that’s more conservative than either the GT-Line Turbo or the X-Line. No longer content to be a dull, featureless box, the new Kia Soul appears poised to be many different things for many different people.

Throughout the ad, we see the three Kia Souls driving on what appears to be a bizarre alien landscape, with brightly-colored, oddly shaped topography. It’s only when a vast crater moves that we see that it’s not a landscape at all – these Souls are driving on the back of a chameleon.

It’s an appropriate message, given the Soul’s new direction – the Soul is prepared to be whatever you want it to be.

Source: Kia Motors America on YouTube

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808-HP Chrysler PT Cruiser Laughs In The Face Of Haters

The PT Cruiser may not be remembered as a performance car, but this one is sure to leave an impression.

To some, the Chrysler PT Cruiser is a laughable throwback to the retro styling trend that was all the rage in the pre-recession early 2000s. What people often forget, though, is that there was a performance variant, the PT Cruiser GT, powered by a version of the 2.4 liter turbo four cylinder found in the Dodge Neon SRT-4.

The PT Cruiser GT was rated at 215 horsepower (later 230), which was fairly respectable in its day. Even better, it was available with a five-speed stick. In stock form, it was capable of running the quarter mile in 15.7 seconds, which, again, was not bad at all when it was new.

The Drive, like us, follows 1320Video, and spotted this tough-looking flat black PT Cruiser when they shared it on Facebook. While it’s apparent from the photos that this isn’t your granddad’s PT Cruiser, we were shocked to find out that this PT Cruiser is putting down a jaw-dropping 808 horsepower to the front wheels.

That’s accomplished by a Garrett GT35R turbocharger pushing 36 pounds of boost. Obviously, the fuel system was substantially upgraded to accommodate the 2.4 liter’s newfound fueling needs, and upgrades include 2,000cc injectors feeding the engine a steady diet of E85. Naturally, the engine runs on custom software.

 

Incredibly, this PT Cruiser retains its stock Getrag five-speed transmission. That either means that the driver, who goes by the name boosted_burrito on Instagram, is very careful, or that this is the world’s strongest stock transmission.

With a previous tune, this PT Cruiser managed an incredible 165.9 miles per hour in the half mile. That might make it the fastest PT Cruiser in the world, and proves beyond any reasonable doubt that you can’t judge a book by its cover.

Source: The Drive via 1320Video.com on Facebook

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Bugatti Has Fewer Than 100 New Chirons Available To Order

Better get to spendin’ if you want the 16-cylinder supercar.

In the market for a new Bugatti Chiron? Better get your checkbook out – and quickly. Though the expensive exotic costs north of $2.9 million to start, or $3.26 million for the Chiron Sport (not including $50,000/year in insurance), Bugatti has less than 100 brand-new examples left available to affluent consumers.

In a statement to Car And Driver, Bugatti communications director, Tim Bravo, said that “less than 100 out of the 500 units are still available.” If you do manage to snag one of the remaining Bugatti Chiron build slots, don’t expect your car to arrive before 2022. Of the 400-plus Chirons on order, the company has delivered only 180 of them. One-quarter of the delivered Chirons (about 46) are in the U.S.

The Chiron Sport, though the newer of the two, is also the most popular. Bravo says that “more Chiron Sport than Chiron” are under construction. The Chiron Sport, of course, uses the same quad-turbocharged engine as the base Chiron, but sheds 40 pounds and gets upgrades like a sharper suspension, improved torque vectoring, and aerodynamic tweaks, all in the name of handling.

Whichever Chiron you do finally decide on, though, expect plenty of performance. Both the base Chiron and the Chiron Sport produce 1,479 horsepower (1,102 kilowatts) and 1,180 pound-feet (1,500 Newton-meters) of torque. CEO Stefan Winkelmann says the Chiron could “easily go 440 kmh or 450 kmh (273-280 mph),” but, we’ll probably never know.

Even rarer than the both the Chiron and standard Chiron Sport, the Chiron Sport 110 Ans edition debuted at the New York Auto Show, celebrating Bugatti’s 110th anniversary. It’s no more powerful than the Chiron or Chiron Sport, but the company promises a limited run of just 20 units.

Source: Car And Driver

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