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The electric Ford Mustang Mach-E GT finally lives up to its famous name

An orange Ford Mustang Mach-E GT

Enlarge / Cyber Orange Metallic paint is one of the colors exclusive to the Mustang Mach-E GT. You’ll also notice new styling at the front. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Ford provided flights to San Francisco and a night in a hotel so we could drive the Mustang Mach-E GT and Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

SAUSALITO, Calif.—In the grand scheme of things, the names that automakers give their cars aren’t really important. And yet, almost two years after it was first revealed, some people are still upset that Ford decided to call its new electric crossover the Mustang Mach-E. It probably didn’t help that Ford focused its attention on the longer-range Mach-E at first rather than a car that would live up to the image of the Mustang as the people’s sports car.

I’m not entirely unsympathetic to that argument. When we tested a Mach-E in February, I found it a competent electric vehicle, but it wasn’t much fun. Using the Mustang name to take advantage of brand recognition is all well and good, but only if it doesn’t dilute that name past any point of meaning. A Mustang is a wild horse, after all.

Well, Ford has rectified that with the arrival of the $59,900 Mustang Mach-E GT. The concept is similar to the first Mustang GT back in 1965. More power, better tires, and seats that hold you in place, plus some styling tweaks—just don’t crash it leaving Cars and Coffee.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/10/the-ford-mustang-mach-e-gt-this-time-more-power-does-equal-more-fun/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

Ford’s big plans to turbocharge the electric car industry in the U.S.

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Ford Motor Company’s new $11 billion manufacturing plan, the biggest component of which will sit just outside Memphis, is part of a much bigger effort to put the U.S. at the center of the electric vehicle revolution, Executive Chairman Bill Ford says.

The big picture: Ford’s plans — for enormous facilities in both Tennessee and Kentucky, employing a combined 11,000 workers — are ambitious manufacturing efforts designed to minimize their environmental impact.


  • But Ford says these investments will also help the U.S. build its own supply chain for batteries, rather than continuing to import them from Asia — providing economic security, insulation from supply chain disruptions and ultimately bringing down the price of EVs.

“We need to, as a country, decide — do we want to have a domestic battery industry? And that’s something that’s kind of starting tomorrow,” Ford said in an interview conducted Monday, before the company publicly announced its new manufacturing plants.

Details: The company is building two battery manufacturing plants in Kentucky, as well as an enormous new complex near Memphis that will include both battery manufacturing and vehicle assembly for electric F-series pickup trucks.

  • Long-term, the plan is to perpetually recycle EV batteries in the U.S., and end imports of batteries made with precious metals like nickel, lithium, cobalt and copper from foreign mines.
  • “We’ll be importing a lot of these batteries initially, but then they stay within our country and start to be remade into American batteries, if you will,” Ford told me.
  • Ultimately, he said, a more robust U.S. supply chain will help bring down the cost of EVs.

“That does require us to completely remake our company in many, many ways. And we’re in the process of doing that,” said Ford, who is the great-grandson of Henry Ford.

The bottom line: “My great-grandfather was the ultimate sort of disruptor,” Ford said. “And I think if he looked at what we’re announcing … he might just say, what took you so long? And he’d be right.”

Source: https://www.axios.com/ford-memphis-louisville-climate-batteries-a5dd01ab-4895-4523-98fa-c943fe5c4577.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joann Muller

Here’s how the infrastructure bill would favor cheaper, US-made EVs

The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a wide-ranging overhaul of the current electric vehicle incentives as part of the infrastructure bill.

Enlarge / The House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a wide-ranging overhaul of the current electric vehicle incentives as part of the infrastructure bill. (credit: Stadtratte)

On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee released a markup of its proposed budget reconciliation bill. There’s a ton of information in the $3.5 trillion plan, but today, we’re interested in a small portion of the 645-page “Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations Relating to Infrastructure Financing, Green Energy, Social Safety Net, and Prescription Drug Pricing” section—specifically the parts that deal with incentives to decarbonize our vehicle fleet.

Beginning in 2010, the Federal government has incentivized people to buy or lease new plug-in vehicles by offering them a tax credit. The credit is based on battery size, starting at $2,917 for a vehicle with a 5 kWh battery and providing an additional $417 per extra kWh, topping out at $7,500. However, the credit only applies to the first 200,000 plug-ins sold by an OEM, at which point the credit begins to expire. To date, only Tesla and General Motors have sold enough plug-in vehicles to see their credits sunset.

If the budget reconciliation bill passes as is, the current tax credit (known as 30D) goes away, to be replaced by several new purchasing incentives for greener, more efficient vehicles.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/09/house-infrastructure-bill-includes-new-tax-credits-for-new-and-used-evs/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

Volkswagen’s ID.Buzz electric minivan appears as a self-driving prototype

Volkswagen has shown its closest look yet at the ID.Buzz minivan in the form of a self-driving prototype developed in collaboration with Argo AI, TechCrunch has reported. If you disregard the mild camouflage and lidar stack on top, you can finally get a good picture of how the production ID.Buzz, due to hit the US in 2023, will look. 

The electric minivan looks a bit more practical though less fun than the original concept. The rounded lines meant to evoke the classic ’70s VW van have been squared off, and the bulgy fenders are considerably less so. It also appears, though it’s hard to confirm with the camouflage, that VW has changed the concept’s funky rear window configuration. Still, it does bear a resemblance, especially from the front-side angle where it looks the best. Seen with a driver, one also gets a sense of the ID.Buzz’s relatively small size.

Volkswagen's ID.Buzz electric minivan appears as a self-driving prototype

Volkswagen

As far as the autonomous tech goes, VW plans to use it in cities first as autonomous shuttles or for deliveries. Argo’s AI system packs cameras, lidar modules, radar and an onboard computer to let it “see” up to 400 meters ahead for obstacles. 

Argo AI founder Bryan Salensky said that the system can navigate with or without GPS and can work without changes to roads and infrastructure. Its sensor array will allow it to “predict the actions of pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles, and direct the engine, braking and steering systems so that the vehicle moves safely and naturally,” Argo said. 

Volkswagen's ID.Buzz electric minivan appears as a self-driving prototype

VW

We have heard this tune before, though, and there are still no real self-driving cars plying city streets and highways. Volkswagen and Argo plan to test and commercially scale the fully-electric self-driving van over the next four years at Argo’s development center near Munich, with plans to develop a fleet by 2025. Argo is also working with Ford and Lyft on a 1,000-vehicle self-driving network with tests planned for cities like Miami and Austin. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/volkswagens-id-buzz-electric-minivan-arrives-as-a-self-driving-prototype-125030104.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Steve Dent

GM Recalls All Chevy Bolt Electric Vehicles

Chevrolet Bolt EVChevrolet

After several months of sporadic recalls, emergency software updates, and fire warnings, GM has announced a recall on all models of the Chevy Bolt. The company says that its flagship EV is prone to spontaneous combustion due to defects in the LG batteries.

GM identified the cause of its battery fires a few months ago—folded separators and torn anode tabs. The corporation previously believed that these defects only appeared in LG batteries produced in an Ochang, Korea plant.

But further investigation shows that batteries from multiple manufacturing plants are affected. GM hasn’t clarified which factories are to blame, a sign that it hasn’t uncovered the full extent of this problem. (Bear in mind that Hyundai encountered the same problem with LG batteries earlier this year.)

GM plans to replace all Chevy Bolt batteries as part of this recall, and will ensure that all new modules come with an 8-year 100,000-mile limited warranty (160,000 km in Canada). Until GM notifies Chevy Bolt owners that replacement parts are ready, the company suggests the following actions:

  • Don’t let your vehicle exceed a 90% charge. You can use the Target Charge Level mode to do so. Instructions are on the Chevy Bolt recall page.
  • Charge your vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting the battery below the 70-mile (or 113 km) mark.
  • Park your vehicle outside when it isn’t charging, and don’t charge it overnight.

If you aren’t comfortable following these steps, take your Chevy Bolt to the dealer. You can also contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge service (1-833-EVCHEVY) for more information on the recall. The line is open weekdays 8:00am to 12:00am ET and weekends 12:00pm to 9:00pm ET.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how much money Chevy’s lost in this recall, the company’s PR estimates that it’s spent a total of around $1.8 billion. That number will almost certainly go up, and Chevy makes a point to say that LG will help foot the bill.

Source: GM via The Verge

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/95569/gm-recalls-all-chevy-bolt-electric-vehicles/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Lamborghini’s Countach LPI 800-4 is an 802-horsepower hybrid supercar

After all the leaks and teases, Lamborghini has finally announced its new hybrid-engine Countach. Thankfully, almost everything you need to know about the car is in its model designation: LPI 800-4. The first part is short for Longitudinale Posteriore Ibrido, referencing how the powertrain is mounted lengthwise toward the back of the supercar and the fact that it’s a hybrid. Meanwhile, the two numbers point to the approximately 802 horsepower the Countach’s V12 6.5-liter engine and 48-volt electric motor can output together, as well as the fact that it has four-wheel drive.        

Countach LPI 800-4

Lamborghini

All of that makes for one powerful car. The Countach can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds and zero to 124 miles per hour in just under nine seconds. As for a top speed, you can push it to 221 miles per hour, and it has a maximum torque of 531 lb-ft.  

Countach cockpit

Lamborghini

Powering the Countach’s electric motor is a supercapacitor Lamborghini claims delivers three times more power compared to a lithium-ion battery of the same weight. The automaker says it mounted the electric motor directly to the gearbox to preserve the feeling of power transfer you get from a V12 engine.   

Carbon fiber makes up most of the chassis and exterior of the Countach LPI 800-4. “It imagines how the iconic Countach of the 70s and 80s might have evolved into an elite super sports model of this decade,” Lamborghini says of the design, which is more reminiscent of the Aventador than its original namesake. Inside, you’ll find an 8.4-inch touchscreen display that includes CarPlay integration and a button labeled “Stile.” Pressing it “explains the Countach design philosophy to its privileged audience.”  

Countach LPI 800-4

Lamborghini

Speaking of a privileged audience, Lamborghini will only make 112 units of the Countach LPI 800-4. The press release the automaker sent over doesn’t even mention a price tag. It seems Lamborghini is keen on looking forward, but the Countach was too important not to acknowledge with a limited run. 

Source: https://www.engadget.com/lamborghini-countach-lpi-800-4-annoucement-173013169.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Igor Bonifacic

No EV tax credit if you earn more than $100,000, says US Senate

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) departs the US Capitol at dawn after an overnight session of the US Senate on August 11, 2021, in Washington, DC. Sen. Kelly was one of three Democratic Senators who voted to gut the plug-in vehicle tax credit.

Enlarge / Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) departs the US Capitol at dawn after an overnight session of the US Senate on August 11, 2021, in Washington, DC. Sen. Kelly was one of three Democratic Senators who voted to gut the plug-in vehicle tax credit. (credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On Tuesday night, the US Senate passed an amendment that would limit the plug-in vehicle federal tax credit. Currently, tax payers are eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 based on the size of the vehicle’s battery for the first 200,000 plug-in vehicles from a given automaker. But Republican Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska introduced a non-binding amendment to the $3.5 trillion budget bill that would means-test this tax credit, restricting it to tax payers with incomes below $100,000.

Perhaps more significantly, Sen. Fischer’s amendment also restricts the tax credit to EVs that cost less than $40,000. Consequently, the only battery EVs that will still be eligible for the tax credit will be the Hyundai Ioniq Electric ($34,250), Hyundai Kona EV ($38,565), Mini Cooper SE ($30,750), and the Nissan Leaf S Plus ($39,220). Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and Bolt EUV are both below the price threshold, but in 2019 the automaker sold its 200,000th plug-in vehicle, at which point the tax credit began to phase out.

The amendment passed, 51-48. Senator Fischer took to Twitter to say that “everyday Americans are living paycheck to paycheck because of the sharp rise in costs due to #Bideninflation. We shouldn’t be subsidizing luxury vehicles for the rich using money from hard-working taxpayers.” (Inflation is mostly being driven by high prices for used cars, which in turn is a result of the chip shortage.)

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/08/senate-votes-to-restrict-ev-tax-credits-despite-climate-crisis/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

US Navy spends millions to develop a solar-powered UAV

Most branches of the United States military operate drones in one capacity or another. Some drones are used for short-term surveillance while others loiter over a target site for extended durations keeping an eye on the ground from above. The United States Navy is looking for an uncrewed air vehicle with a much longer duration than what’s currently possible. To … Continue reading

Source: https://www.slashgear.com/us-navy-spends-millions-to-develop-a-solar-powered-uav-10685957/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Satsuki Then

President Biden wants half of new vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2030

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President Biden is throwing more of his weight behind electric cars. Biden is signing an Executive Order that sets a target for half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 to have some form of zero-emissions driving, whether it’s a pure EV, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The move is meant to not only promote clean transportation and limit climate change, but help the US “outcompete” a Chinese car industry that’s quickly shifting toward electrified vehicles.

In sync with the order, the EPA and NHTSA will outline how they plan to undo the Trump administration’s rollbacks of emissions and fuel efficiency standards. The two agencies will collaborate using standards built on the “momentum” from an agreement between California and automakers BMW, Ford, Honda, Volvo and VW. The EPA’s proposed rules would take effect in the 2023 model year, while the NHTSA’s would arrive in the 2024 model year. The team-up would have the standards mesh until model year 2026.

The Biden administration has rallied support from domestic brands for the effort. Ford, GM and Stellantis have declared a “shared aspiration” to meet the 2030 target and otherwise support Biden’s vehicle electrification policies.

It’s a significant goal. EVs have represented about 2 percent of US car sales for the past three years, according to the International Energy Agency and Pew Research. While the pandemic might have played a role in limiting 2020 sales, meeting the 2030 target would fundamentally transform the US car market, not to mention the charging infrastructure needed to support it.

However, it might drag behind some states, not to mention car makers. California and Massachusetts will ban all sales of new gas-based cars by 2035. GM also plans to exclusively sell EVs by that year, while Ford will go completely electric in Europe by 2030. Brands like Volvo and Stellantis’ Fiat badge have also committed to full electrification by 2030. However ambitious the Biden plan might be, it could seem relatively modest in some respects.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/president-biden-2030-ev-target-134025373.html?src=rss
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

Electric cars have much lower life cycle emissions, new study confirms

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Enlarge / If we’re serious about decarbonizing, the internal combustion engine has to go by 2030-2035, according to a new study. (credit: Reinhard Krull/EyeEm/Getty Images)

If you listen to electric vehicle naysayers, switching to EVs is pointless because even if the cars are vastly more efficient than ones that use internal combustion engines—and they are—that doesn’t take into account the amount of carbon required to build and then scrap them. Well, rest easy because it’s not true. Today in the US market, a medium-sized battery EV already has 60–68 percent lower lifetime carbon emissions than a comparable car with an internal combustion engine. And the gap is only going to increase as we use more renewable electricity.

That finding comes from a white paper (pdf) published by Georg Bieker at the International Council on Clean Transportation. The comprehensive study compares the lifetime carbon emissions, both today and in 2030, of midsized vehicles in Europe, the US, China, and India, across a wide range of powertrain types, including gasoline, diesel, hybrid EVs (HEVs), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), battery EVs (BEVs), and fuel cell EVs (FCEVs). (The ICCT is the same organization that funded the research into VW Group’s diesel emissions.)

The study takes into account the carbon emissions that result from the various fuels (fossil fuels, biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, and e-fuels), as well as the emissions that result from manufacturing and then recycling or disposing of vehicles and their various components. Bieker has also factored in real-world fuel or energy consumption—something that is especially important when it comes to PHEVs, according to the report. Finally, the study accounts for the fact that energy production should become less carbon-intensive over time, based on stated government objectives.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/07/electric-cars-have-much-lower-life-cycle-emissions-new-study-confirms/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

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