Sunday, January 21, 2018


This radical, BMW R110-based dry lake LSR concept bike is called Khan. It’s the work of Mehmet Doruk Erdem. And, if you recognize the name, that’s probably because the Turkish designer has rendered “more than a few” concepts that have gone viral on the Internet, to steal a phrase from Jensen Beeler.
Seeing as how the Khan isn’t even really a concept, in the traditional sense– it’s more of a 3D virtual sculpture, at this point- there’s not much more to add. You can be sure, however, that I’ll be all over this if it ever makes it past the vaporware stage. Until then, it sure is pretty to look at. Enjoy!

BMW Khan Concept Bike

Source | ImagesInazuma Cafe, via Asphalt and Rubber.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Ford Focus Electric Plug-in
Despite having not launched a new electric or electrified vehicle in more than five years, it’s important to remember that Ford can be innovative. When it wants to be. After all, Ford invented the pony car when it introduced the Mustang more than 50 years ago and helped to create the modern sport utility vehicle when it put a passenger car body on a Ranger pickup chassis and called it the Explorer. Since then, though, Ford seems content to waft along, buoyed by the hefty profits derived from selling light duty pickup trucks to suburban cowboys.
Two years ago, the company announced it was committing $4.5 billion to bring electric cars to market. The rest of the industry scoffed. Porsche is spending nearly that much “just” to develop the Mission E, after all!
The Ford announcement was viewed as a half-hearted attempt to keep investors happy while still cranking out fleets of F-150s and new Ranger pick up trucks. But the world of automobiles is not a placid playground where the profits go on forever. Entire nations are threatening to ban the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines in the not too distant future- and, despite a push to lower emissions and fuel economy standards in the US, those same countries are ratcheting up their requirements.
With that in mind, Ford has elected to use the start of the 2018 Detroit auto show to announce that it is more than doubling its previous commitment to electric cars, spending up to $11 billion to produce EVs by 2022. By that time, Ford will supposedly have 16 electric models in its product lineup available for sale. Or, looked at another way, a total of 40 models with either hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or fully electric power trains- up from the 15 announced a few weeks ago.
By comparison, Ford’s crosstown rival, General Motors, says it will have 16 electrified models in its portfolio by that date. A bit of a low bar to be set by the company that launched the EV-1, no?
One of those all-electric models is reported to be a high-performance SUV that will carry the iconic Mach 1 label which first appeared as a Mustang model back in 1968. A slickly produced video from Ford shows a Mustang and an Explorer entering the company’s new Corktown development center in Detroit just as a bolt of lightning splits the nighttime sky. The implication is clear — whatever the new electric SUV is, it will combine the driving excitement of the Mustang with the utility of the Explorer. Ford says to expect it in showrooms by 2020.

Ford is Building a Fast, Electric SUV

Autoblog is suggesting that Mach 1 could become Ford’s preferred designation for all future performance vehicles, just as AMG and Polestar denote hotted up models from Mercedes and Volvo, respectively. The thinking is that Ford will hang onto model designations that resonate with customers — names like Mustang, Ranger, and Explorer — rather than giving its new electrified models names no one has ever heard of, as Volkswagen is doing with its I.D division, Mercedes plans to do with its EQ offerings, and GM does with the Bolt and the Volt.
That could be a solid marketing strategy, but first Ford needs to build the cars that will carry those legacy nameplates. Slick videos and hype won’t get the job done very much longer. The times, they are a’changing in the car business, and Ford is very close to being left behind as the EV train gets ready to leave the station.


GM revealed a fully autonomous version of its electric Chevy Bolt at CES last week, and it was- I mean, can you call an advanced concept car lazy? Take a look at that official, GM-produced photo of the Bolt AV, above. Do you see the problem, yet?
That’s right. The people behind the car that is meant to show off GM’s future and place Chevrolet up on a pedestal among other autonomous heavy-hitters like TeslaGoogle, and Volvo, didn’t even bother to make their interior symmetrical- and I’m not the only one who noticed, either. You can clearly see the bias towards the traditional “driver’s seat” location by placing the screen off to the right. Which- maybe makes sense? But, since there is no human driver- and no human driving even possible, without controls- doesn’t that seem a little odd?
Maybe it’s not, and GM rightly assumes that the majority of trips will be of the single-passenger variety in the future, too. That’s probably right- isn’t it?
Check out Steve Hanley’s well-thought out piece, originally published by our sister site, EV Obsession, below. Then, let us know what you think of the autonomous Bolt AV (for “autonomous vehicle”, natch) in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

    Autonomous Chevy Bolt Shown at CES | Video

    Are you sitting down? General Motors said this past week it plans to begin producing a fully autonomous car with no steering wheel and no pedals — not in some far off time, but next year. It says Chevy Bolts fitted with 4th generation autonomous technology will start rolling off the assembly line in 2019. The announcement makes for a nice segue between the end of CES 2018 and the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
    GM’s crosstown rival, Ford, says it will be offering driverless cars, but not until 2021. Google is planning to begin a driverless ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona, soon using modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans, but those cars will still be fitted with traditional pedals and a steering wheel. The autonomous Chevy Bolts are intended for use in ride-hailing duty in several US cities, and will not be made for sale to individuals. At least, not yet.

    GM Announces Autonomous Chevy Bolt AV at Detroit

    GM President Dan Ammann told The Verge. “It’s a pretty exciting moment in the history of the path to wide scale deployment and having the first production car with no driver controls. We believe this technology will change the world, and we’re doing everything we can to get it out there at scale as fast as we can.” If GM can stick to its self-imposed timeline, the self-driving Bolt will be the first mass-produced fully autonomous car in the world. It will be assembled at the Orion Township factory alongside its conventional cousins.
    GM has petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a number of waivers from existing vehicle safety regulations. For instance, the autonomous Bolts will have no steering-wheel-mounted airbag because they have no steering wheel. D’uh. “A car without a steering wheel can’t have a steering wheel airbag,” Ammann said. “What we can do is put the equivalent of the passenger side airbag on that side as well. So it’s to meet the standards but meet them in a way that’s different than what’s exactly prescribed, and that’s what the petition seeks to get approval for.”
    GM is currently testing its autonomous cars in Phoenix and in San Francisco. The company says the City by the Bay presents many more challenges for self-driving vehicles. “While we also test vehicles in Phoenix, our San Francisco vehicles predict an average of 32 times as many possible interactions as those in Phoenix. Thus, San Francisco challenges our self-driving system more because, as the number of objects increase, there are exponentially more possible interactions with objects that the self- driving system must consider. For example, GM’s self-driving Chevy Bolt AVs (would) encounter 270 emergency vehicles for every 1,000 miles driven in San Francisco, compared to just six in Phoenix.”
    Each autonomous Chevy Bolt has not one but two data recorders to store data pertinent to every driving situation. Together, they keep a digital record of all input data from the car’s sensors, information about acceleration, braking and steering actions, and any malfunctions that may occur. Both are designed to survive in the event of a catastrophic accident.
    GM is anxious to establish a lead in the autonomous car field. It has acquired Cruise Automation, a San Francisco based self-driving startup, as well as Strobe, another startup that specializes in Lidar technology. Adding both to its portfolio is part of the General’s plan to become a “full stack” autonomous car company.” It also plans to introduce up to 20 new EVs by 2023.
    As Tesla muddles through “production hell” with its Model 3, some are suggesting the legacy automakers may not be as threatened by Tesla as once thought. Designing cutting-edge electric cars with advanced autonomous features may be where Tesla shines, but building millions of high-quality units is something the car companies have been doing very well for generations.
    One area where Tesla still has a wide lead is integrating the sensors that are needed to make autonomous cars a reality in a way that does not detract from the appearance of the cars. Compared to the crude Lost In Space type arrays that sprout from the autonomous cars being tested by Waymo, Uber, General Motors, and others, Tesla’s sensor suite is virtually invisible to the untrained eye. It’s a good thing those cars from other companies are intended for commercial service because it is unlikely any self-respecting car owner would want one of those antlered beasts parked in the driveway.
Images by GM, and edit. originally published by EVOBsession.