Newsflash: Dodge kondigt “elektrisch monster” aan

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+++ CADILLAC ‘s been tapping various European patent offices to reserve names for its coming battery-electric model lineup. Remember, Cadillac plans to be an EV-only brand by 2030, it’s trimmed-down dealer network expected to sell a range wherein all or most models end with “iq”, as in Lyriq and Celestiq, that pronunciation being “ik,” not “eek”. In July of last year, brand attorney’s filed to reserve the names “Cadillac Symboliq” and “Symboliq” in Switzerland. There are 3 more applications in the category of “Motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles”; one in the UK for the name Vistiq, another in Austria for the name Lumistiq, the last in an unknown country for the name Escalade IQL. Yes, those first 2 names make me think of X-Men before they make us think of cars. But assuming the names ever get applied to product, we expect those products will be cars, and we also expect those cars will be of the crossover variety since safe money says CUVs will still be more popular than sedans and wagons in 2030. Since the Escalade name effectively acts as its own brand, it appears the moniker will be grandfathered into the EV naming structure by turning “IQ” into a kind of trim. Our money is on the IQL version being a long-wheelbase variant of a battery-electric Escalade. The Ultium-powered version of the big-boy SUV is due here by 2025 at the latest and will be sold alongside the traditional, ICE-powered Escalade until the V8 Escalade goes away. The switch to electric is Cadillac’s moon shot; there isn’t much else for the brand to try for winning back its bygone glory and acclaim. By the time Vistiq and Symboliq get here, though, we could all be drinking the IQ Kool-Aid and climbing on board if the Lyriq and Celestiq, both expected around 2023, prove impossible to resist. +++

+++ This summer, Stellantis outlined the broad strokes of its ambitious electrification strategy. Included in the plan is an all-electric muscle car for 2024. And apparently we’re going to see the concept for it very soon. DODGE boss Tim Kuniskis revealed that we’ll see this monster EV in 2022, along with 2 other models. For a car that’s not going on sale for a little more than 2 years, it’s a little surprising we’ll be seeing the basic car next year. From the big Stellantis EV summit, we know that it will be built on the STLA Large platform, which will also underpin the next Giulia. It can accommodate batteries with capacities ranging from 101 to 118 kWh for up to 800 km of range. Stellantis will also have an array of motors with power up to 408 hp. Combining 2 would be an easy way to make more than 800 hp, which would be highly appropriate for an electric Dodge muscle car. As for Challenger and Charger? “These cars that you know today will go out of production by the time we get to 2024”, Kuniskis told. Autointernationaal reported over a year ago that those aging muscle cars will live on until at least 2023, so it sounds like Dodge remains roughly on track there. The other 2 vehicles to be revealed in 2022 are shrouded in mystery. Kuniskis said one of them would be an all-new plug-in hybrid model that will be revealed early next year. He emphasized that it’s new, so presumably not closely related to any existing plug-in hybrids such as the Pacifica, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. And coming at the end of the year is, well, something. He didn’t give any hint as to body style, performance or anything. These reveals will also appear in Dodge’s 24 Months of Muscle schedule of events. You can view the ones revealed so far, such as the Jailbreak Hellcats and the upcoming hiring of Chief Donut Maker, but most of the slots on the site are closed. Most of the doors are plain, but a few have some interesting symbols: two hands in the air; a tire swing; a bottle of moonshine; a ghost; a pot of something (maybe honey, or chili) with exhaust headers; a spray can with a skull and cross bones; a crown; and roadkill. We’re not sure what any of them mean, so feel free to share your theories down below, and stay tuned for these future Dodge reveals. +++

+++ FERRARI is set to expand its range of ultra-exclusive Icona models following the launch of its new €3.22 million Daytona SP3 (Dutch pricing) but it is not yet ready to admit which generation will form the basis of its next project. The V12-powered Daytona is inspired by the Ferrari sports prototypes that raced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and follows in the wake of the Monza SP1 and SP2, which took their barchetta cues from cars such as the 750 Monza sports racer of the 1950s. At the launch of the new Daytona in Florence, Ferrari’s leaders made it clear there’s room for further expansion of the Icona range, with chief communications and marketing officer Enrico Galliera saying there are “4 or 5 potential concepts we could work on”. The idea to use inspiration from iconic sports prototypes such as the 330 P3/4, 412 P and 512 S was proposed by Ferrari’s head of design, Flavio Manzoni. “I have a special passion for this one”, he said. “There are many other intriguing concepts for the future. The richness of Ferrari is very high and the sky is the only limit”. The limited-run Icona series is designed to appeal directly to Ferrari’s regular customers and adopts a novel approach, as the models are led by style and design rather than ultimate performance. “This is not a supercar”, said chief technical officer Michael Leiters of the Daytona, which is based on an evolved version of the LaFerrari Aperta’s chassis. “A supercar is the pinnacle of technology. When we produce a new supercar, we always introduce new technology. Here, we are not looking at the pinnacle of performance. The driver is more central, which is why it is so welcome for the collectors. This is not a special version of LaFerrari”. Manzoni is highly resistant to the idea that the Icona series should be considered nostalgic, despite the cars drawing on Ferrari’s rich heritage for inspiration. “It’s really hard to fight against this tendency in the world”, he said. “Look at music. How many retro songs are there? It’s so strong, this desire and need to come back to a probably more comfortable situation and set of values, and of course the culture of the company can be influenced by that. So I have to work against this idea many times. “It’s fine if you are working on an Icona project to get inspiration from the past and the heritage, but without losing the vision and approach. In the last years, so many have asked: why don’t you make a modern version of the 250 GTO, for example? My answer is always the 250 GTO is a sum of its age. That form was configurated that way because there were certain conditions, the technical development and aerodynamics were not sophisticated as they are today, and it’s correct that way”. Is Maranello’s most powerful series-production road car yet also its most riveting, or do rivals from Aston Martin and Bentley deliver a better grand touring experience? Manzoni is dismissive of the trend for restomods, which he considers “banal”. “This is obvious, low level”, he said. “A certain level of innovation is very important. With the Icona project, we had the opportunity to build this bridge between the past, present and the future. In this case, you can see how it is possible to connect the beauty of our heritage with a modern vision”. At the launch, the language used to describe the new car included words such as “analogue” and “pure”, with the Daytona carrying the tagline of “back to the origins of driving pleasure”. At 840 hp, the car’s engine hits a new record in Ferrari’s V12 power stakes, but Leiters said ultimate numbers are not the point for a range that majors on driver experience. When I asked him whether Icona is also a means of prolonging the existence of V12 power in an age of electrification, he said: “I think so. It’s a good opportunity, it’s matching 100% our customers’ requirements and it has a limited impact on the discussion of CO2 because only 599 Daytona SP3s will be made. “I personally believe we have to fight for this engine. From a technology point of view, it’s not the most efficient. A V8 turbo could make it better in terms of performance. But from an emotional point of view, it’s the best you can have. On power, 840 hp or on the Pininfarina Battista 1.900 hp who cares? You get thrilled if you are a good driver with either. If you are a normal driver, you get scared if you put the pedal to the metal”. Leiters was asked why, if the driving experience is key, the Daytona SP3 isn’t fitted with a manual gearbox rather than a quick-shifting version of the 812 Competizione’s seven-speed automatic. “Even if this is a pure car, it’s not a nostalgic car”, he replied. +++

+++ Breakups happen for the right reasons, too, you know. Although it’s too early to know for sure, it seems that’s the case with FORD and Rivian, who have canceled their plans to collaborate on an electric vehicle. In April 2019, then-Ford CEO Jim Hackett invested $500 million in Rivian, the plan then being to develop a rugged electric SUV using Rivian technology. That turned into a Lincoln built on Rivian’s platform in April 2020 not long after our global current troubles began. When Jim Farley took over as Ford CEO in October 2020, he led another $415 million investment in Rivian with the idea that the 2 companies would still collaborate on an EV. Considering what’s happened just since last October, Farley told: “When you compare today with when we originally made that investment, so much has changed: about our ability, about the brand’s direction in both cases, and now it’s more certain to us what we have to do. We want to invest in Rivian (we love their future as a company) but at this point we’re going to develop our own vehicles”. Part of Farley’s confidence comes from one in-house EV success and two that are making all the right noises before release. The Mach-E has so far done everything Ford wanted from it, exceeding production targets and boasting wait times for various trims stretching anywhere from 5 to 7 months or more. Ford said the first year of E-Transit commercial van production is sold out with more than 24.000 reservations, and the F-150 Lightning pickup has attracted more than 160.000 reservations. Oh, and the initial production run of the Eluminator electric crate motor sold out lickety-split. Furthermore, Ford’s taking control of its overall vehicle future, especially in the EV segment. The automaker’s plowing investments into EV campuses in Tennessee and Kentucky, building 3 more battery production facilities in the U.S. that will double annual production capacity to roughly 129 gigawatt hours, developing in-house software and getting much more involved in its supply chain. The automaker has doubled its EV production target to 600.000 units per year by the end of 2023. Achieving that would make Ford the second-largest EV maker after Tesla. So now Farley’s like, “Guys, we got this”, Those are our words, not his, but the effect is the same. Ford will maintain its 12 % stake in Rivian and make a little more cream on top, with Ford subsidiary Troy Design and Manufacturing contracted to supply parts for the Rivian R1 pickup. Rivian, facing its own demand challenges, put out a statement reading in part, “Our relationship with Ford is an important part of our journey. Ford remains an investor and ally on our shared path to an electrified future”. +++

+++ Nick Rogers, JAGUAR LAND ROVER ’s executive director of Product Engineering, has announced that he will be leaving the company. Rogers has been with Land Rover for 37 years, starting in 1984 in the British Leyland era as an apprentice in body engineering and rising through the ranks to sit on the board of JLR. He has led the engineering teams that have delivered the recently revealed new Range Rover as well as its predecessor, plus cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace and the reincarnation of the Land Rover Defender. He will step down at the end of the year. Announcing his departure on LinkedIn, Rogers said, “For over 37 years, it’s been an honour to work with such an incredible team of people to engineer and launch some of the most desirable vehicles in the world. The most recent launches of the New Defender and New Range Rover especially, as tech disrupters, are a testament to how the JLR family has transformed and grown; the resilience, the determination and the pioneering passion is incredible. Today, after almost 4 decades, it’s time to hand over a stronger than ever technical team, with a pioneering passion to keep creating disruptive products in this ever-changing world. My thanks and best wishes for the future to everyone in the JLR Family”. Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bolloré said, “I would like to thank Nick for an incredible 37 years with our company. Over the last decades, Nick has experienced, shaped and led so much of the Land Rover, and the Jaguar Land Rover, story. We wish him every success in the future. “His successor will be the subject of a subsequent announcement in the coming weeks”. Similarly, Rogers is expected to make an announcement on his future soon. +++

+++ MASERATI is recalling a handful of 2021 and 2022 models to fix a problem that can cause a fuel leak. While the number of cars included in the campaign is relatively small, it covers every member of the company’s lineup ranging from the entry-level Ghibli to the MC20 supercar. Documents published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explain that the cars are fitted with a fuel line sensor housing that can crack and leak. It adds that this problem can reduce the engine’s performance by not delivering enough fuel to the cylinders; alternatively, the leak can cause a fire, though the notice says that’s only in “rare circumstances”. Maserati notes that it acted quickly: it found out about the problem on October 8, it opened an internal investigation into the part’s supplier the following day, and it issued the voluntary recall on November 4. As of writing, there have been no accidents, injuries, or fatalities linked to the problem. Maserati will replace the fuel line sensor housing in all affected cars free of charge. It will begin notifying owners on December 27. +++

+++ A worldwide outage of TESLA ‘s mobile application left some owners unable to access their vehicles. Around 500 users reported errors. Some owners use the Tesla mobile app to gain access to their vehicles as an electronic key. The application also allows users to control various vehicle functions, including location services. Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to a tweet from a user in South Korea who said he was experiencing a “500 server error” when attempting to use the app. “Should be coming back online now. Looks like we may have accidentally increased verbosity of network traffic”, Musk said the following day. “Apologies, we will take measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again”, Musk added. +++

 

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