Off-Road Hybrids and the Shape of Future Off-Road Electric Cars [Autowerkz.TV Interview]

Recently, Autowerkz.TV had an opportunity to interview an industry insider who follows hybrids and electric cars. While he asked for his name to be omitted, (his publication rarely allows him to ‘officially’ post outside interviews) his professional credentials are impeccable.

Autowerkz.TV: Thanks for meeting with us, we know you’re busy.

Insider: No problem. I like what Autowerkz (Autowerkz.TV) is trying to do.

Autowerkz.TV: Can you share with our viewers what you told me about off-road hybrid and electric vehicles?

Insider: Will do. Many of my cohorts in the automotive and high tech industries have seen a shift in research regarding near-future electric and hybrid vehicles.

Autowerkz.TV: Can you elaborate?

Insider: Automakers realise that, in North America, a disproportionate amount of consumers buy trucks. The Ford F-150 is still one of the most popular vehicles in the USA. A majority of those trucks (including trucks from GM, Ram, Toyota and Nissan) are 4x4s. Automakers know that, if they hope to make inroads into the truck market, they need to build hybrid and all-electric trucks.

Autowerkz.TV: Didn’t we get a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 hybrid?

Insider: That’s a poor example. It’s a half-step at best. Automakers need to make a compelling argument for (plug-in) hybrid and electric trucks.

Autowerkz.TV: Can’t they already point to the torque and capability of electric motors?

Insider: Soon you’ll see vehicles like the Bollinger SUV destroy off-road trails. It should be very impressive, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. Until we see a Silverado, Ram or F-150 out-perform its gas counterparts using electricity, it’s just a novelty.

Autowerkz.TV: What about Tesla?

Insider: Tesla should have built an electric pickup truck a year ago. As it stands. Tesla charges too much for its vehicles as it is. No practical truck lover is going to spend $100,000 on a pickup truck. Sure, trucks are already expensive, my neighbor bought a F-250 for almost $70,000. But that truck can go almost 600 miles on a tank of diesel and it can haul his trailer and toys reliably – for many years.

Autowerkz.TV: This leads us up to the purpose of this interview, what can you tell us about the future of plug-in hybrid and electric trucks?

Insider: It looks like just about every automaker that sells or WILL sell trucks in America is looking at the possibility of using plug-in hybrid systems and all-electric power. Out of all of these automakers, I think Nissan will be one of the first to introduce an all-electric truck or van. We’ve already sampled a Nissan NV200 Electric, which is basically an NV200 with a Leaf power module. It worked well. Nissan is a pioneer in mass-marketing electric vehicles and I think they will be the first large automaker to introduce an electric or, possibly, a plug-in hybrid pickup truck to this market.

Autowerkz.TV: We’ll keep an eye out and we appreciate the information.

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Rockabilly Bliss: Hot Rod Rock and Rumble at the Pikes Peak International Raceway

This is the place to be on September 29th and 30th for all of you hot rod lovers!

The Autowerkz.TV crew hopes to see you at the 2017 Hot Rod Rock and Rumble car show at the Pikes Peak International Raceway (PPIR), located near Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. Vintage hot rods, racecars and rockabilly bands will be on hand along with vendors, great food and a dance party on Friday, September 29th!

The address is: 16650 Midway Ranch Rd, Fountain, CO 80817

For more information, go to http://www.HOTRODROCK.com

We hope to see you there!

The Fast Lane Truck has a Ton of Jeep Scrambler and Jeep JK/JL updates!

This new video from the boys at The Fast Lane Truck (TFLtruck.com) features the latest news on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JK, the upcoming JL and the Jeep Scrambler pickup truck.

Here’s a taste!

“How much will the new 2019 Jeep Scrambler (Wrangler-based) pickup truck be able to tow? We get a glimpse into this question with the following prototype image. This photo comes to us via Facebook, uploaded by FourWheeler.com..”

There’s that and more in this video!

Cruising the local Ice Cream Shops in a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica [Team Clear Coat blog]

 

Our friends at Team Clear Coat took a bunch of PR folk shopping for ice cream in a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Hilarity ensued and, despite not having special guest Ruth Bader Ginsburg attend, (maybe next time guys) – the celebrity PR folks from FCA and Subaru (former Subaru PR) enjoyed the ride.

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Somehow, we at TeamClearCoat were recently invited to a press drive event in Estes Park, Colorado. We drove a lot of cars, but one of the highlights for us was the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. Being new to video reviews and well-documented idiots, we decided to load up the van with whoever was standing around and go for ice cream. Along the way, we discussed “swass,” road-trip stories, and the appropriate amount of time to stare at necking teenagers.

Check out the video!

 

 

… clearly, they have too much time on their hands.

Tiny Greatness: Watch as TFLcar puts the Fourth Generation 2017 Kia Rio to the Test

The 2017 Kia Rio is a small runabout that’s small on the outside, large inside and very affordable to live with. While B-segment, or “entry level” cars are not as sexy and exciting as some vehicles, they are immeasurably important to worldwide sales. Small cars start many down the path of “pride of ownership” and, for many, a taste of freedom. They represent something special for consumers who dream of owning something new, something fun, something reliable and something that can haul their family.

You can read more about the 2017 Kia Rio at TFLcar.com.

In this video, Roman Mica – Managing Editor and Host of TFLcar and TFLtruck puts the little 2017 Kia Rio through its paces. Along with a special guest, Mica finds little to fault the small car with.

 

The Culture Has A Masculinity Problem – Car Culture Is Not Immune [Team Clear Coat blog]

One of the things we’ve tried to do with TeamClearCoat is show how car culture is connected to the world around it. The enthusiast community is an escape — hell, one of the benefits of driving a race car is the concentration required renders thoughts about Donald Trump physically impossible. But in light of this horrendous past few weeks, it’s time to reevaluate and reflect. After the Nazi rally and subsequent attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the President’s abysmal reaction, we’re all trying to understand how we let the cave dwellers back out into the light. And that reckoning needs to extend into our little corner of the culture.

Thoughts about politics end when the harness goes “click!”

Car culture is not and never has been immune from elements of racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. We could fill volumes with examples of each. But there is one undercurrent I want to explore here — the role of masculinity. Over the last week, my thoughts kept returning to the pictures of the young men carrying the torches on Friday night. In between the waves of anger, I felt pity and a sense of loss for them. The other thing I keep returning to is a 2015 article from The Federalist called “The Revenge of the Lost Boys.” For most of the piece, Tom Nichols lays out the overwhelming similarities between the young men that commit destructive acts in our country. Whether it’s violence, desertion, or acts of vigilantism, his thesis is that a combination of personal weirdness and a culture-wide lack of defined masculinity has left these young men rudderless. And so, they glom on to destructive influences, whether internal or external (note: this is a really ham-fisted attempt at explaining a complex theory. You’re better served just reading the damn article. This post will probably still be here when you get done. Go.)

Now, Mr. Nichols is more conservative than I am, so I don’t agree with some of his diagnosis — he refers to some social changes over the last 50 years in much more negative terms than I would. But the core of his argument, I think, is correct. And it strikes true for me on a personal level. As a kid I was a weird, sensitive loner, never felt comfortable with stereotypical masculinity, and even joined the military as a means to get some direction in life. In other words, my adolescence maps pretty neatly onto the Snowden/Bergdahl version of the Lost Boy Nichols describes (with the key distinction that the military worked out for me). And, yes, I’m going to bring it back to cars eventually, I promise.

Towards the end of the piece, Nichols says he is “at a loss for a solution, because the answer lies in some kind of long-term restoration of social order among young men.” He then cites factors he considers social ills as barriers to addressing this phenomenon. This is where Nichols’ conservatism becomes important, and where I feel differently: I agree with Nichols that it’s a problem for some definitions of masculinity (“responsibility, restraint, self-discipline”) to have diminished in our culture. But, I’d argue that ephemeral definitions (physicality, stoicism, and other jock-itching nonsense) have remained, and their outsized importance is actually more destructive. For a great example of what I’m talking about, see this heartbreaking Twitter thread:

Hey everyone I’m a clown and I just got back from facepainting at a picnic and here’s my take on male violence in America:

And it’s here where we car enthusiasts can do some house cleaning.

Why are we still doing this?

A lot has been written about how things like grid girlssexist car dealers, and this asshole are bad for women and girls who would otherwise be a part of our community. But I’d argue this is just as destructive for boys. How many times have you heard a car described derisively as “a chick car?” To be sure, describing a car in anything other than cartoonishly masculine terms is shorthand for “don’t be caught dead in this.” I’m looking at you, Jeremy.

Now, I’m of not saying that Bernie Eccelstone or Jeremy Clarkson or your uncle that doesn’t like the Porsche Boxster is somehow responsible for creating the next Dylan Roof. Or that if you prefer ND Mazda Miata over the NA you’re pushing someone onto a Daily Stormer message board right now. That would be idiotic.

No, I’m saying that maybe a young car enthusiast is listening to you. And maybe he’s a little insecure because he doesn’t recognize himself in the images of the men that surround him. But he likes the Bugeye Sprite, or the Nissan Micra, or the Mercedes SLK. Or he wants a donk or a low-rider. That kid shouldn’t feel that car culture doesn’t have a home for him. He shouldn’t feel that our hobby is only for the men to whom he doesn’t feel attached.

The observation that masculinity is ill-defined to our peril is not a novel one, from conservatives or liberals. And neither is the concept that what’s bad for girls is so often also bad for boys. So whether you want to place this in terms of “the erosion of our cultural institutions” or “toxic masculinity,” my conclusion is the same. That weird boy without a direction in life is going to find a home someplace, and all of culture is going to have to reckon with that before he lands someplace destructive. The least we — as owners of a constructive and creative subculture — can do is make sure we’re ready to take him in.

We also talked about this on episode 104 of the podcast, which can be seen below. This topic starts at the 19:00 mark.

 

Autowerkz.TV on the Road: Top Film Crew Hauler – the 2017 Toyota Highlander

 

The Autowerkz.TV crew just finished a mega road trip that encompassed Hot August Nights, Concorso Italiano, racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a multitude of interviews. Being on the road with a camera crew, producers and on-air talent isn’t an adventure to be taken lightly.

Check out our Autowerkz.TV page (here).

Toyota was kind enough to loan us a 2017 Toyota Highlander for a support vehicle while we covered the action at Car Week in Monterey, CA. We worried that the Highlander was a mistake compared to the Sienna minivan we initially wanted; however, we needn’t have worried. In many ways, the 2017 Toyota Highlander was ideal for our needs.

We used its all-wheel drive system more than once, specifically when we shot near the beach. It never struggled on the sand. The four of us were driven in total comfort as our model had the rear captain’s chairs and a very quiet interior. The leather was plush and the interior assembly quality was top notch. We felt like we were in a Lexus.

Most importantly,  with max cargo space of 83.7 ft,³ (all-three rows folded) and our utilized space of 42.3 ft,³ we had enough room for several cameras, lights, tripods, sound equipment and more. We usually kept the third row folded flat, but could add a fifth passenger with some creative packing. Very utilitarian.

Regarding the V6, according to Toyota: 3.5-Liter V6 Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) 24-Valve direct-injection Atkinson-cycle-capable engine with VVT-iW (Variable Valve Timing-intelligent Wide) intake and VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) exhaust; 295 hp @ 6660 rpm, 263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm. We averaged about 20 mpg as the traffic during Car Week was thick.

This power is connected an eight-speed automatic transmission which worked great but clunked a bit in traffic.

All in all, our days spent with the 2017 Toyota Highlander were excellent. It never looked out of place, no matter how highfalutin the location. We thank Toyota and look forward to driving a new Highlander in the near future.

Here are a few bits of social media that featured our ride!

Englishman Destroyed a £200,000 Ferrari 430 Scuderia – Moments after Taking Delivery [Via Corsa Magazine]

Freaky Friday

Yorkshire, England – Per a Guardian report, a man had a devastating crash in his new Ferrari 430 Scuderia having just picked it up from the dealer.

On the M1 motorway, the 430 veered off the road and fell down an embankment 50 meters down, then engulfed in flames. The driver survived the crash with only minor cuts and bruises. His new 430 Scuderia, on the other hand, suffered a much worse fate.

Police officials on the scene said that the road conditions were slick. Fire and police officials responded quickly to the South Yorkshire overpass to quell the fire. The car was hardly noticeable due to the damage.

When they questioned the driver, with an almost defeatist response, he gave, “It was a Ferrari. I’ve just got it, picked it up an hour ago.”

Always Be Mindful

Devastating news from an automotive enthusiast perspective. This man having just received his car from the dealership, and then this happens. It is not known if this was his only Ferrari model, but owners are well aware of the lengthy process to possess one.

Not to say this man drove irresponsibly since driving conditions were sub-optimal, it is awful to see. With great responsibility, comes great care. Drivers, no matter what model they are driving, should be aware to take the necessary precautions when driving.

But when it is something like a 430 Scuderia fresh from the dealership? Always better to be safe then sorry when taking one of your most prized possessions out in bad weather conditions.

Everyone have a great weekend driving your adventure! If it’s raining or hazardous weather, stay in and work on your sports car, rather than the alternative!

Kumho’s BON Futuristic Tire (Tyre) Won International Design Excellence Awards

 

Here’s the quote, directly from Kumho’s PR – “Winning international design awards has become something of a habit for the innovative South Korean tyre manufacturer Kumho, and for the second consecutive year it is guaranteed a prize in the automotive and transport category of America’s International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).

The product that attracted the judge’s approval this time around is the ‘Birth On Nature’ (BON) tyre. Instead of air on which conventional tyres rely for their form, the BON’s configuration was inspired by nature’s bone structure. Mimicking such atypical voronoi architecture as the shape of leaf cells and the honeycomb, it achieves the required level of structural stability and economic efficiency without the need for any form of inflation.

A delighted Jeong Taek-Gyun, the senior managing director of Kumho’s R&D headquarters said: “It is very rewarding that Kumho’s latest example of futuristic design and technology has been recognised by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), and means Kumho becomes the first passenger tyre manufacturer to win all three of the world’s top design accolades – Germany’s Red Dot and iF Design and America’s IDEA awards – two years in a row.”

Is the Lexus UX a Dressed Up Toyota C-HR?

The question is out there, the upcoming Lexus UX looks like it shares the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) with several vehicles including the Toyota CH-R. While there is very little official information about the Lexus UX, officials from Lexus confirmed that it will be cut.

Here’s a bit of information coming from our friends at TFLcar. Remember: We have the TFL team videos on our Autowerkz.TV  Autos Channel.

Lexus UX Concept

This first question comes from a viewer who wants to know what’s going on with the Lexus UX crossover.

Q:Hi Nathan; I would like to know if you hear anything on the future of the LEXUS UX, about the production?

Thank You

M Richards
Lexus UX Concept

A: Howdy M!

The upcoming Lexus UX competes with the the Audi Q3, the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class, and the BMW X1. It will slot under the Lexus NX. It looks like it will share its platform and some components with the Toyota CH-R.

Here’s what we know:

  • It’s official – the Lexus UX is heading to production.
  • There will be a hybrid available, Lexus applied for the UX 250 and UX 250h trademarks.
  • This will be the entry model as the Lexus CT-200h is ending production soon.
  • Rumor has it that there will be more information (and, possibly, a reveal) at the 2017 Los Angeles International Auto Show

That’s about all I got. Hopefully, Lexus will leak some additional details soon.

Cheers!

N