Some months ago, GM CEO Mary Barra said at a conference that GM was considering getting into flying cars and, we’ll admit, we laughed. But this week, at a virtual Consumer Electronics Show, Cadillac unveiled concepts for an autonomous one-passenger electric drone and a multi-passenger autonomous pod. The company’s stock climbed by almost 9 percent after the reveals, so maybe flying cars are a bigger deal than we thought.This Week in Sheetmetal
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We’re still a couple of weeks away from the full unveiling of the new Ford F-150 Raptor, but we already know what the top-dog Raptor R, which we think will have a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 churning out more than 700 hp, will sound like. Click through to experience the burble for yourself.There’s a new Porsche Boxster in the world, praise be. It’s a limited-run 25th-anniversary edition based on the GTS 4.0 and wearing some very gold rims in a nod to the coloring of the 1993 concept. In addition to its taxi drone concept, Cadillac also offered a sneak peek at its Celestiq EV concept this week. The sedan will be revealed in production-ready glory sometime this year, and until then Caddy has released video showcasing its glass roof and massive dashboard-long infotainment screen.Hyundai offered new details about the Kona N, including confirmation that it will be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that motivates the Veloster N. Sadly, the Kona N won’t be a new entrant into the exclusive club of manual-transmission crossovers. It will have an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Teamwork, Dream WorkNo global auto manufacturer is an island, entire of itself. At least not when it comes to electric vehicles, which are expensive to build and have slim profit margins. So some automakers are pairing off and agreeing to share platforms and costs in the development of new electric vehicles. Volvo owner Geely will pair with Chinese tech company Baidu to develop connected, autonomous EVs. General Motors has agreed to build two EVs for Honda. Those are expected to put wheels to pavement in 2023 and 2024. And Apple, after years of false starts, may finally get its car if a proposed partnership to build a self-driving EV with Hyundai goes through. Deals like these have fallen apart before, though, so don’t sell your Tesla stock just yet.
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Supply Chain Woes Subaru, Daimler, and Volkswagen all announced production cuts this week related to issues in the semiconductor supply chain, which are now expected to continue for months. Blame for the shortage is being placed everywhere from the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods, to homebound consumers who are buying up computers and gaming consoles, to big tech companies, which have more buying power in the microchip world than automakers and are getting better treatment from suppliers. Maybe all those giant infotainment displays aren’t such a good idea after all. Further reading
The New York Times published a report this week on the cost of owning an electric vehicle, based on a research from MIT. We’ve been doing our own research, though, and it turns out that at least the charging part of owning an EV—specifically a Tesla—can be surprisingly pricey. The experiment we’re conducting on our long-term Tesla Model 3 has also revealed that our car’s battery is degrading somewhat faster than we expected. At 24,000 miles, it’s on track to be eligible for a replacement under warranty by the 120,000-mile mark. Read our methodology here, and if you own a Tesla, consider being judicious with your use of superchargers (we aren’t). Want an EV but hate bandwagons? Peruse our list of every EV expected to hit the road in the next five years.And while we’re on the subject of battery-powered vehicles, take a look at this reporting from the Wall Street Journal on the search for the next breakthrough in battery technology. Or simply enjoy the news that NBC will shoot a workplace sitcom based on the auto industry to debut this fall, and join us in our prayer that the cast will not be compelled to put on fake Midwestern accents.
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