831-HP Mercedes, Ram Van RV, Chip Crunch

Toyota mishandled this year’s Tokyo Olympics after the carmaker and Olympic partner suspended its planned Olympics-related advertising in Japan after Japanese citizens angered that the Games were going ahead amid the pandemic. And now Toyota has a bookend stumbling block to the end of the Games: An autonomous shuttle operated in the Olympic Village during the Paralympic Games collided with a visually impaired athlete last week and injured it. Toyota briefly halted shuttle rides, but then resumed them with additional security personnel to prevent a repeat incident.

this week in sheetmetal

Audi showed off an elongated, almost teardrop-shaped electric sedan concept, also designed to showcase the possibilities of autonomous driving technologies of the future. The car, called the GrandSphere, will have 711 horsepower from a potted plant with two electric motors, a retractable steering wheel, and vents out behind the center console.

Winnebago to Ram Promaster RV


Winnebago has designed a wheelchair-accessible RV based on the Ram ProMaster van. The RV, called the Rome, is smaller than previous accessible RVs made by the company and may have an electric-powered sofa bed, wheelchair tie-downs, grab handles in the shower, and an under-carriage wheelchair lift.

Mercedes has provided more details about the next AMG GT63, ​​which is set to be the first plug-in hybrid from Mercedes’ performance sub-brand. The 2023 GT63 will have a combined 831 hp from a 4.0-liter V-8 and an electric motor on the rear axle. 2023 will mark the return of the Mercedes V-8 to the US market. The company dropped eight-cylinder engines from nearly all of its US lineup for 2022 due to supply chain constraints.

Subaru shared some new (short, upside down) teaser photos of its upcoming inaugural EV, the Solterra. The car will come with standard all-wheel drive, as fitted to Subaru, and will share its platform with the Toyota bZ4X. We expect it to go on sale next year.

Microchips thrown at recycling plant

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Microchip Shortage, Yet

Several automakers this week adjusted their third-quarter sales projections downward, as current microchip shortages cut production off demand. Ford said August sales were down 33 percent due to chip shortages. Mercedes said its third-quarter results would be “significantly lower” than second-quarter sales. Volvo said its sales were down 10.6 percent compared to last August, and said it expected slower sales during the second half of the year. General Motors announced more plant closures, and a Bloomberg report said chip shortages forced Tesla to idle its plants in China for several days last month.

Meanwhile, Hyundai is finding its way through the storm. The company says it has developed its own microchip for use in a vehicle that will launch in the second quarter of next year, probably the Ioniq 6 EV. Hyundai will use local (to Korea) suppliers to manufacture the chip and hopes this strategy will reduce competition and uncertainty related to microchip sourcing.

put on your seatbelt

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a 10.5 percent reduction in traffic deaths in the first three months of 2021 compared to the first three months of 2020, despite a 2.1 percent decrease in the number of vehicle miles traveled compared to the previous year. percent increase has been recorded. The NHTSA attributes the increase in fatalities to an increase in risky behaviors such as speeding, poor driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Overall, traffic-related deaths in the US increased by 7.2 percent in 2020 to 38,680, even though Americans covered 13 percent fewer miles than in 2019. The NHTSA said an increase in risky behavior by drivers who enjoyed empty roads during the lockdown, or drivers thought police would stop during the height of the pandemic and not ticket them.

A representative for the Self-Driving Coalition said the NHTSA report was evidence of an urgent need for self-driving cars that “do not accelerate, decelerate, or deviate,” but since truly autonomous driving technology has not yet been We’ll stick with old-fashioned advice: Wear your seatbelt, and always remember that cars can kill you.

further studies

Remember when North Carolinians ranted about an increasingly popular car modification called the Carolina Squat? Well, now the squat is illegal (more or less).

read in new York Times About the various, sometimes disastrous, strategies companies are taking to extract lithium from Earth, a key element in electric-vehicle manufacturing.

Or read about the possible second life of the 1970 AMC AMX wall street journal.

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