Oshkosh to build next-gen USPS truck in South Carolina, California cleared for noisy GT3, Mach-E GT range confirmed


Welcome to The Manifold, our fresh daily digest of news and what’s happening in the car world.

Oshkosh Defense to build next-gen USPS vehicles in Spartanburg, South Carolina

Intake: After winning the massive contract earlier this year, Oshkosh Defense has selected Spartanburg, South Carolina, as the future home of the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). The company plans to hire more than 1000 local employees as part of its plan to convert an existing warehouse facility to house an assembly line that will produce between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles over ten years. Production is expected to kick off in the summer of 2023 and include all-electric as well as low-emission internal combustion vehicles.

Exhaust: The current Grumman LLVs have trudged on well past their expected retirement dates. USPS letter carriers have got to be counting the days until these improved NGDVs arrive with, at the bare minimum, proper climate control. For those in the hottest climates, they can’t come soon enough. The stop-and-go nature of mail delivery is ideal for electric vehicles, at least concerning carriers operating in areas with relatively dense population. Those operating across greater distances, or in especially cold climates with less access to easy charging, can still opt for a new NGDV with internal combustion.

Mach-E GT ranges go miles beyond expectations

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition Ford/Eric Perry

Intake: The official EPA-range figures are in for Ford’s peppier Mustang Mach-E GT and GT Performance Edition EVs, both due to arrive this fall. At 270 and 260 miles on a full charge, respectively, the results well-surpass the estimated targets of 250 and 235 miles. Moreover, both models make the most out of the 88.0kWh Extended Range (ER) battery that undergirds Mach-E’s tamer trims. For instance, the 270-mile range of Mach-E GT impressively mirrors that of the current Premium ER, while also besting it in quicks by about a full second in the 0-60.

Exhaust: The biggest knock on performance EVs is battery life–but the tide is slowly turning. What the Mach-E GT and its Performance Edition models further prove, is that the gap to bridge between practicality and performance is not as wide as some might think.

“Damaged” Jaguar to push into a distinct and all-electric future

2021 Jaguar XF P300 R Dynamic Jaguar Land Rover

Intake: Jaguar Land Rover boss Thierry Bolloré has said the Jaguar brand is “damaged” and needs to follow Range Rover’s business model to succeed. In an interview with Autocar Bolloré said that a family of more luxurious, electric Jaguars is coming and they won’t build on the innovative i-Pace SUV’s platform. Instead a new, flexible electric architecture is planned that will be “easy to change in size as necessary.” Bolloré also stated that, instead of chasing after large volumes, Jaguar will aim to mimic the success of Range Rover which sells at high prices and delivers profits. “In desire, it’s similar to Range Rover. We enjoy this type of positioning for Range Rover; for Jaguar, we’re not looking for volume, but there’s space where there are more than 2000 customers.”

Exhaust: While Land Rover and Range Rover can do no wrong, Jaguar hasn’t been able to capture fans for several years. There’s a huge nostalgia for its storied cars of the past, but modern Jaguars have never sold in the numbers needed to compete with other luxury brands. Under Bolloré Jaguar will no longer look to its history but will begin its future from now. Jaguars will become “really modern luxury cars that are the copy of nothing in style or design, the top of technology and refinement, but not looking backwards,” he said.

Aston Martin sues Swiss dealer over missing Valkyrie deposits

Aston Martin Valkyrie rear
Aston Martin Valkyrie Aston Martin

Intake: Aston Martin is suing Swiss dealer Nebula for allegedly withholding customer deposits for its $3 million Valkyrie. Nebula not only acted as a sales channel for the car, but it also helped finance its development as part of a 2016 agreement. In return for its investment Nebula was to receive royalty payments from sales of the Valkyrie and other mid-engined Aston Martins. That deal has now been nixed by Aston Martin which says it will no longer need to pay up, although Nebula disputes this. A Nebula statement says, “We consider Aston Martin’s alleged unilateral termination of the contractual relationship with Nebula Project AG as illegitimate and unjustified and are prepared to pursue the necessary steps to preserve our rights.” It looks like Aston Martin will have quite the court battle on its hands.

Exhaust: Nebula stepped in to help fund Aston Martin during a rough financial patch in 2016, but since the company has been rescued by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and forged closer ties with Mercedes-Benz, things have been looking much rosier. We can’t comment on the merits of this legal case, but it is not surprising that Aston Martin’s new management would wish to get out of a royalty deal that it didn’t negotiate.

Manual-transmission Porsche 911 GT3 eligible for sale in California

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 front three quarter over curb
Porsche | Thomas Strogalski

Intake: Earlier this month, the California Highway Patrol informed Porsche that there was no way for them to certify its manual-transmission 911 GT3 due to an obsolete noise testing procedure. As such, Porsche announced on June 15 that the stick-shift car would not be for sale in California. In the meantime, the CHP and the California DMV put their heads together and came up with a test procedure. Now there’s “path forward” as Porsche Cars North America has announced that Californians can buy and register a three-pedal 911 GT3 when they go on sale this fall.

Exhaust: Given our personal experience with the California DMV, we’re surprised a solution was reached so quickly. Fans of the clutch pedal learned yesterday that the Kia Soul would no longer offer a manual; perhaps that was the sacrifice that the California DMV required that allowed the rusty gears of bureaucracy to churn out a solution? If so, good trade.

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