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Rivian Gets $700M Investment Led By Amazon

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 2:00pm

Could General Motors be next?

Amazon Confirms Huge Investment in EV Maker Rivian

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 1:30pm

One day after Amazon saved itself untold millions—or more likely billions—of dollars by cancelling its secondary headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, the online retail giant confirmed it was the leading contributor to a $700 million round of investment in 10-year-old electric truck start-up Rivian.

“We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation,” Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said in a prepared statement. “RJ [Scaringe, Rivian CEO] has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.”

In a few years, Rivian-based EV trucks could be quietly picking up and delivering Amazon packages at the secondary Amazon headquarters still being planned for Crystal City, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Although the Rivian R1T unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November is a pickup truck, the skateboard-style electric-vehicle architecture underneath easily could accommodate a cube-van “top hat” to make it a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter–style delivery vehicle. A Rivian sport-utility vehicle called the R1S was also unveiled. Rivian says it will offer battery capacities that will allow for ranges of up to 400 miles on a single charge.

No word yet from General Motors, which on Wednesday Reuters reported would also invest in Rivian along with Amazon. The deal with GM and Amazon would make Plymouth, Michigan–based Rivian worth $1 to $2 billion, according to the Reuters report.

“We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future,” was all GM would say in a prepared response to the Reuters report.

The post Amazon Confirms Huge Investment in EV Maker Rivian appeared first on Motortrend.

Changes to Kentucky Raffle Laws Now Limit the Sales of Corvette Raffle Tickets by the NCM

Corvette Blogger - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 12:46pm

Have you ever bought a raffle ticket to try to win one of the new Corvettes offered by the National Corvette Museum? I know many that like to support the NCM with raffle ticket purchases. Not only does the money go to our favorite non-profit Corvette Museum, but we get to dream of what it would be like to be on the receiving end of that phone call telling us we are the winner!

Continue reading Changes to Kentucky Raffle Laws Now Limit the Sales of Corvette Raffle Tickets by the NCM at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

GM Files Patent Application for Active Aero Side Panels

Corvette Blogger - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:35am

Through the office of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, better known as the USPTO, we’ve seen that GM engineers are thoroughly exploring active aerodynamics for vehicles based on a number of patent applications submitted over the last couple of years.

The trend started back in March 2017 with the patent application for “Vehicle Ride-Height Determination for Control of Vehicle Aerodynamics“.

Continue reading GM Files Patent Application for Active Aero Side Panels at Corvette: Sales, News & Lifestyle.

Cadillac Suggestively Tweets Competitors On Valentine’s Day

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:31am

Valentines' Day brings out some strange emotions, we suppose.

Party In Style With This 2016 Chevrolet Suburban Limo

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 11:29am

Would you choose this over the Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

Split-Window 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Heads To Auction

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:45am

RM Sotheby’s expects the Corvette to sell for $175,000 to $225,000.

Why General Motors Could Be Attracted To Rivian

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:45am

An attractive electric pickup could sell well.

Chevrolet Discounts Cruze By Over $4,000 In February 2019

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:14am

Chevy is also offering interest-free financing on most 2018 Cruze models.

Chevrolet Shifts Its Regional Media Operations To New Firm

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:01am

Dentsu is out and Publicis is in.

1948 Chevy Woody Wagon Special Deluxe Makes A Great Project Car

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:01am

The icing on the cake? The price was just lowered.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Highlights Latest Forza Horizon 4 Car Pack

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 9:42am

It's the final car pack included with the Car Pass, gamers.

2020 Kia Soul EV Inches Out Chevrolet Bolt EV With 243-Mile Range

GM Authority News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 9:14am

The Bolt EV is rated at 238 miles.

Special Edition Range Rover Sport HST Showcases New 395-HP Inline-Six

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 8:00am

This week, Land Rover added a new special edition to its U.K. lineup. Called the Range Rover Sport HST, it gets carbon-fiber accents on the hood, grille, side vents, and tailgate. Inside, there’s some HST-specific trim and HST badging, which doesn’t sound particularly special. And since the release says nothing about it being offered in the U.S., there’s probably no point in converting its £81,250 base price to dollars. So why would we cover a Europe-only not-so-special edition? Because of what’s under the hood.

(Update: Land Rover has told us the HST actually will come to the U.S., but we’ll have to wait for an official announcement next week.)

 

Land Rover chose the Range Rover Sport HST to be the first vehicle in its lineup that gets its brand new, turbocharged and electric-supercharged 3.0-liter inline-six. This engine will replace Jaguar Land Rover’s dated V-6 that was more or less a V-8 with two cylinders missing. In the HST, it’s good for 395 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque, which Land Rover says is enough to launch the Range Rover Sport from 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. For comparison, the 380-hp HSE Sport hits 60 mph in a claimed 6.8 seconds. Eventually, a 355-hp version will be offered, as well.

Like the four-cylinder Ingenium engine it’s based on, the new inline-six uses a twin-scroll turbocharger. But it also gets an electric supercharger that needs only half of a second to provide maximum boost, a feature Land Rover says virtually eliminates turbo lag. To improve efficiency by about 20 percent, the engine has been paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

“Inline six-cylinder engines are inherently better balanced than V-6 designs and our all-new Ingenium unit builds on that promise to optimize efficiency in all operating conditions,” said Nick Rogers, JLR’s head of product planning, in a release. “Advanced features, including an electric supercharger, ensure distinctive Range Rover Sport performance and responses, while the intelligent MHEV system harvests energy to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.”

We’re still waiting to hear when JLR plans to introduce its inline-six here in the U.S., but hopefully, we find out soon.

Source: Land Rover

The post Special Edition Range Rover Sport HST Showcases New 395-HP Inline-Six appeared first on Motortrend.

Countdown to Our Electric, Autonomous Future: How Soon Is Now? – The Lohdown

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 4:00am

Pop quiz: do you know what they call Thai food in Thailand? Food. Do you what they’ll call electrified cars in an electrified future? Cars. And autonomous cars in an autonomous futur- you get the point.

Recently I was pushed to defend MotorTrend’s take on electric vehicles (EVs) and the burgeoning autonomous car segment. It was a bit awkward and uncomfortable, because I do very much believe that the world is moving in both of these directions and that someday, there will be more electric and autonomous vehicles than cars powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) that we pilot ourselves. How soon is the question.

I’m conscious of the fact that for all the hype of the two plus decades, progress in both arenas has been less leaps and bounds, but fits and sparks. And I should know, because MotorTrend was there from the beginning, with our first test drive of GM’s new for 1997 all-electric EV1 in the June 1996 issue.

Over 10 years later, we followed up with a road test of a funky new electric roadster backed by a Silicon Valley nerd interloper with a funny name. Elon Musk’s initial salvo, the 2008 Tesla Roadster, was impressive enough but the real shock came an election year later, in the fall of 2012, when MotorTrend was the first major media outlet to recognize the triumph of the Telsa upstart, by awarding Model S Car of the Year 2013. A year later, after Model S took the world by storm, Tesla’s CMO at the time, told me our COTY award was “the inflection point” that turned the tide of public and business opinion. While the electric + autonomous buzz is real, nowadays, seeing a Tesla Model whatever auto-piloting through your ‘hood is no longer Instagram-worthy.

You’ve probably heard this story before. Remember when all phones were just, you know, phones? Maybe it had a dial or push buttons, but it certainly wasn’t cordless, mobile or smart. And then phone companies added things like call waiting (oh hey, can you hang on a sec?) while manufacturers threw in answering machines while removing pesky cords. Don’t get me started on how quickly we went from Motorola pagers to RAZRs, and then from texting in alphanumeric shorthand (43770) on Nokia 3310s to group FaceTiming on the latest iPhone. And yet, it’s difficult to recall the pre-smartphone era; how did we ever get around without Waze or Lyft? Or eat without Yelp, OpenTable or PostMates? And check-in with friends before Facebook or Instagram?

The other day, I watched a YouTube video (on my phone, no less) that had gone viral: two teenagers had been given the task of dialing a simple 9-digit phone number on a rotary telephone. They had 4 minutes to complete the task and failed hilariously. It’s fun to eyeroll and laugh, but there will come a day when parking by hand, guiding a car down on a highway, and filling a car’s fuel tank with liquid petrochemicals will be just as comically mystifying.

Just before our latest issue went to press, I was in Detroit for the last wintery North American International Auto Show (it moves to summer in 2020.) Ironically, it was unseasonably warm; press days saw clear skies and none of the expected snow or slush on the ground. Though it was relatively quiet as the NAIAS goes, there were still a couple of long-awaited debuts of ICE-powered rocket ships. The long-awaited, much anticipated Toyota Supra and Ford Mustang GT 500, with well over 1,000 gas-burning horsepower between them, led motortrend.com’s coverage by a significant margin. The third-place finisher? Ram’s new Heavy Duty line of trucks. That these bad boys dramatically outperformed a couple of exclusives we landed on new EV concepts, both with tales of autonomous whiz-bangery baked in, shouldn’t be a huge surprise. It’s still early yet; the most compelling EV and autonomous stories have yet to be written.

But rest assured, MotorTrend will be here, telling car stories for as long as they are called, you know, cars.

More from Ed Loh:

The post Countdown to Our Electric, Autonomous Future: How Soon Is Now? – The Lohdown appeared first on Motortrend.

2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive: Swedish Fish

Motortrend Magazine News - Fri, 02/15/2019 - 4:00am

While an Arctic chill shut things down in Michigan, we headed to the Arctic Circle for comparative warmth. And while Americans continue to unabatedly love SUVs and crossovers, we were in northern Sweden because, to our great joy, Volvo continues to make wagons. Delicious dichotomies.

We flew to Lulea, Sweden, to get behind the wheel of the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross County, a hiked-up wagon for those who want their daily driver to double as a toy in the wild with all-wheel drive, hill descent control, extra ground clearance, and lots of room for gear and other playthings.

Volvo is on an upswing with a string of beautifully styled vehicles on new architectures that leave the old partnership with Ford far in the rearview mirror. In addition to SUVs or crossovers, the Swedish brand remains committed to cars, including even lower-volume wagons, in the U.S.

American demand for wagons is so low that Volvo dealers don’t stock them in all sizes—you have to order the larger V90 online. But the midsize V60 is in a sweet spot, and dealers will have it and its Cross Country cousin shipped from Torslanda, Sweden, and in stock.

The Cross Country, being more rugged and closer to the almighty crossover, is expected to outsell the regular V60 4:1. Dealers will start taking orders in March for delivery in July. Pricing has not been announced, but expect the rugged wagon to start in the $45,000 range.

Return of the V60 Cross Country

Volvo last offered a V60 Cross Country for the 2018 model year. There was a conventional 2019 V60 but no Cross Country.

So for the return of the V60 Cross Country for 2020, we packed our long johns and fur-rimmed hats and headed to a fairy tale land of ice and snow to test its mettle. Temperatures were in the -17 degree Fahrenheit range just south of the Arctic Circle. Ironically back home in the U.S., Detroit was registering -11, nearby Chicago was -23, and parts of Minnesota registered an eye-popping -48 courtesy of a Polar Vortex that brought frigid air down from Canada.

For northern Sweden, icy temperatures are the norm, which resulted in ice so thick on the Gulf of Bothnia this year that when we attempted to measure it, the depth exceeded the normal 32-inch measuring tool and we were left to guess how much deeper it went. The Gulf, which stretches to neighboring Finland, and other frozen bodies of water served as ice roads and handling courses for our two days of frozen fun with the newest Cross Country.

We had a fleet of T5 AWD models with the turbocharged version of the 2.0-liter engine in all Volvos. It generates 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The U.S. will only get the T5 powertrain with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but we found the power to be more than adequate.

Our T5 was outfitted with Michelin X-Ice North studded tires. Ice caught in the wheels created an imbalance that made it hard to really gauge the vehicle’s on-road manners. But they should not differ much from the V60 wagon that MotorTrend found to be more relaxed than a BMW 3 Series wagon, with little urgency and often seeking more power than the transmission is delivering. It shines in Comfort mode. The 60-series has left behind the old Ford EUCD architecture and has joined the 90-series on Volvo’s global Scalable Product Architecture.

Clear That Snowbank

Much of our evaluation was centered on how well the wagon handles snow and ice. The Cross Country has almost 8.3 inches of ground clearance compared with 5.8 inches on the regular wagon. Some of that comes from bigger wheels (we were on 235/45R19); the rest is from the raised chassis. A track extender allowed Volvo to set the wheels about 1.2 inches wider. The wheelbase remains the same as the regular V60.

The Cross Country has 8 percent softer spring rates to prioritize comfort over rough roads. It has a control-arm front suspension, but where bigger brother V90 Cross Country has rear air suspension, V60 Cross Country gets a transverse composite leaf spring at the rear axle, which kept the cruising comfortable in all conditions. The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering was tuned to match the elevated chassis and made both control and drifting easy tasks. Although we were on 19-inch wheels, the Cross Country is also available with 18s and 20s in Europe.

All-wheel drive is standard on the Cross Country. No buttons to push; it’s an updated version of the fifth-generation BorgWarner (formerly Haldex) system. The improvements largely reduced weight and cost while making it more fuel efficient.

Reindeer Alert

We were warned of the region’s ample moose and reindeer population—a perfect way to test the vehicle’s large animal mitigation system, which warns of large, often-antlered creatures at the side of the road and automatically brakes if a collision is deemed imminent. Alas, no such sightings occurred on our drive. We had to simulate sudden lane change maneuvers with cones on a frozen sea. The only reindeer was on our plate. In Scandinavia it’s the prevalent protein source and is consumed with a lovely gravy and spoonfuls of lingonberries to juice up the lean meat.

City Safety is the umbrella term for Volvo’s standard collision avoidance systems. Pilot Assist provides steering, braking, and accelerating assistance as part of the adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist systems.

On a 1.2-mile handling track on pure ice, we did laps with traction control engaged to feel the back end try to slide out, only to be forcibly—but not abruptly—pulled back into line again and again and again. Volvo takes its reputation for safety very seriously.

Then we tuned the Swedish nanny off and got to really play. The takeaway: Wagons are an incredibly fun body style to drift. The long back end acts as the tail wanting to wag the dog. But the vehicle is also adept at transitioning from one curve to the next with a little throttle and hands working to resist overcompensating and spinning into the snowbanks lining the course.

An obstacle course built of ice and snow showcased hill descent control, which kicks in automatically when in Off-Road mode to control the wagon down a steep hill while the pedals are foot-free. It’s notable how quiet the Volvo system is. Many competitors have noisy descent control akin to tennis players grunting to telegraph the effort involved. Similarly, the hill start assist is seamless in its ability to stop, hold in place, and continue on up the hill with no action needed by the driver. Snow obstacles twisted the long body of the wagon and left no marks while giant snowbanks created a faux halfpipe and showed how well the tires can keep a heavily tilted vehicle from toppling over.

Just Cross Country

There are no Momentum or Inscription or R-Design trims to choose from—it’s just Cross Country. Our evaluation vehicles were white with a black interior and attractive metallic trim to brighten it up. Volvo has become known for its open-pore woods, but designers also developed an edgier and more modern ambience with the careful use of metals and leathers with pearl stitching. The seats are darn comfortable, too.

A personal gripe: USB ports hidden in the covered console you have to open to access. Given the inability of society to part with devices, new vehicles should offer easily accessible and exposed outlets and a spot to rest the charging phone. Volvo did design slats into the cupholder section to stand up two phones, so Brownie points for that. And infotainment is via the Sensus system with its large screen and often-slow-to-load software.

Many luxury vehicles have a single setting to heat the steering wheel, but the V60 Cross Country has three. Birthed in a cold nation, Volvo understands the value of heat. I dare you to stay on the highest setting for a lengthy drive. There are also three degrees of heated seats.

Cross Country variants date back to the original 1997–2000 Volvo V70 XC, followed by a second-generation V70 XC in 2001, and a third generation debuted in 2008. The introduction of a V90 Cross Country for the 2017 model year marked the fourth generation, made possible by the flexibility of the new architecture.

V60 T8 teaser

We also spent a little time in the V60 T8 with Volvo’s plug-in hybrid Twin Engine powertrain providing all-wheel drive. Global T8 production is not scheduled to begin until the spring of 2020, and at this point there are no plans to sell it in North America. Volvo is taking a deliberate wait-and-see attitude to gauge demand for the V60 overall. The U.S. could get the T6 plug-in hybrid instead of the T8, but again, no green lights yet.

The T8 we drove briefly had Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 studded tires and the telltale grabby brakes of a hybrid. The plug-in felt heavier and not as spirited to drive. Nor is its battery-only range groundbreaking at only 27 miles, though it beats the XC90’s 19 miles on electricity alone. Push a button for permanent all-wheel drive to be engaged with the help of the gas engine augmenting the electric motor already supplying power to the rear wheels.

At the Lulea University of Technology, a research project classifies different types of snow. It is this focus on elements that forged a car like the V60 Cross Country. We can now attest to its abilities in harsh conditions and look forward to spending more time with it on regular tires, in regular conditions, and on regular roads.

2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country BASE PRICE $45,000 (est) VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD 5-pass, 4-door wagon ENGINES 2.0L/250-hp/258-lb-ft turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4 TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic CURB WEIGHT 4,000-4,150 lb (mfr) WHEELBASE 113.2 in LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 188.3 x 72.8 x 59.0 in 0-60 MPH 7.0 sec (MT est) EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not yet rated ON SALE IN U.S. July 2019

The post 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive: Swedish Fish appeared first on Motortrend.

The 2020 Kia Soul EV Has a Range of 243 Miles

Motortrend Magazine News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 8:30pm

Kia recently showed off the newly redesigned third-generation Soul, and one of the most interesting changes had to do with the fully electric version. Using a 64-kWh lithium-ion battery borrowed from the Hyundai Kona EV, the Soul EV promised to pair boxy practicality with electric efficiency. But until today, we still didn’t know what kind of range the Soul EV would offer.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2020 Kia Soul EV has a total range of 243 miles. That works out to a fuel economy rating of 127/101/114 MPGe (city/highway/combined), as well as an estimated $3,250 in savings over the course of five years, by the EPA’s estimates.

But most likely due to the Soul’s less aerodynamic styling, its corporate cousin the Hyundai Kona EV actually manages to squeeze a longer range out of the same battery pack. The Kona EV earned a 258-mile range rating from the EPA back in August. But as we found in our 2019 SUV of the Year test, the Kona EV’s longer range comes at the expense of cargo capacity and rear passenger comfort.

And even though the 2020 Soul EV’s range comes up a bit short compared to the Kona EV, it’s still a huge improvement over the outgoing version. When Kia last updated the previous-generation Soul EV, its 30-kWh battery only provided a 111-mile range. Its motor was also only good for 109 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque. The 2020 Soul EV, on the other hand, gives you 201 horsepower and 291 lb-ft of torque, likely making it quite a bit quicker.

Source: EPA

The post The 2020 Kia Soul EV Has a Range of 243 Miles appeared first on Motortrend.

A Close-Up Look At The L5P Duramax V8: Video

GM Authority News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 6:32pm

The update engine has a host of upgrades.

Hyundai to Debut Tiny Crossover at New York Auto Show

Motortrend Magazine News - Thu, 02/14/2019 - 6:30pm

Hyundai will use the New York auto show to unveil a tiny addition to the lineup, a crossover smaller than the Kona, and it will be sold in the U.S.

The A-segment crossover will go on sale later this year. While the larger B-segment Hyundai Kona is on the sportier side and well-contented, the smaller A-segment vehicle will have a more traditional body style but will not look like a mainstream utility vehicle.

“It’s smaller and it’s distinctively different than Kona,” said SangYup Lee, head of the Hyundai Global Design Center in Namyang, Korea, in an interview with MotorTrend.

Being so small, there are limitations to design because it must be functional space. Lee said it has a “very very distinctive two box area. So imagine Kona as a really fast profile, distinctive, iconic character to it, but this one is almost very boxy, bold, bull-doggy character.”

The A-segment vehicle will be more entry level, for an even younger buyer than the Kona. It will not sit on the same platform as the Kona.

“We see it as a niche market,” said Lee said, confirming it will be offered in North America, a market that has not had much of an appetite for such small cars—think Fiat 500. But Lee thinks there is demand for such a small car, and it represents an opportunity for growth. The market has a lot of players in the mainstream utility segments from compact to full-size, but the A-segment is white space where Hyundai can be more ambitious and create its own niche market, he said.

“We want to be ambitious with CUVs,” he said. For years, Hyundai lacked a full complement of crossovers—relying on Tucson and Santa Fe—and its car-centric lineup cost it sales and the jobs of a couple U.S. CEOs who oversaw the automaker during the sales downturn.

The lineup has grown with the addition of new nameplates at both ends of the spectrum: the small subcompact Kona and Kona EV as well as the large three-row, eight-passenger Palisade coming this summer. There is also the Nexo fuel cell vehicle. Genesis will add its first SUV, the GV80, this year.

The Hyundai Kona is pictured above.

The post Hyundai to Debut Tiny Crossover at New York Auto Show appeared first on Motortrend.

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