Ford to ditch F-150 diesel V-6, 50 years of the Countach, Alzheimer’s clues from driving

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

F-150 will drop Power Stroke Diesel powertrain

Intake: Ford will soon be pulling the plug on the Power Stroke V-6 offered in the F-150, according to a report by Ford Authority. With 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0-liter diesel didn’t quite match the economy of 3.0-liter diesel engines from GM and Ram, both of which returned an EPA average of 26 mpg on two-wheel-drive models compared to Ford’s 24 mpg.

Exhaust: The PowerBoost hybrid drivetrain pairs a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with a 47-horsepower electric motor powered by a 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Despite the added motor and battery, the hybrid powertrain is less expensive than the diesel and makes a strong case for itself by delivering more torque and 180 more horsepower. Fuel economy is only better on the diesel F-150 in two-wheel-drive applications, but according to fueleconomy.gov, the added expense of diesel fuel eliminates the savings. In 4×4 applications, PowerBoost beats Power Stroke fuel economy outright. Ford knows a thing or two about selling half-ton pickups, so it must believe its flagship product will do just fine without a diesel engine, and the PowerBoost hybrid powertrain seems like an excellent replacement. Resale prices will tell the tale of whether diehard diesel fans will clamor for the 3.0-liter Power Stroke in the future, but drivers should definitely appreciate the improved performance and economy of the hybrid powertrain.

Watch Lamborghini celebrate 50 years of the Countach

Intake: Lamborghini has launched a new series of videos to celebrate a half-century of the iconic Countach. The first episode features Marcello Gandini talking about how the space race inspired his incredible UFO design. Gandini describes how he felt it was so important to have the car drive into its Geneva Motor Show debut rather than just be a static display and how, after the initial shock of seeing this supercar, people soon realized the world would never quite be the same again. “One might even say that the Countach was the harbinger of a new education of taste,” he says.

Exhaust: It’s hard to believe that a car that still looks futuristic is actually 50 years old. The Countach was a poster car for so many kids growing up in the ’70s and ’80s . The films will drop on Lamborghini’s social media channels every Monday for the next three weeks. We can’t wait to watch them.

Driving gives clues to Alzheimer’s disease

older driver
Barna Bartis/Unsplash

Intake: The way you drive could give an early indication of Alzheimer’s disease according to a study by the University of Toronto. Researchers monitored 139 drivers in Washington State over the age of 65 for a year using GPS devices fitted to their cars. Around half of the participants had very early Alzheimer’s and the differences between their driving styles and the rest of the group were easy to detect. Drivers with preclinical Alzheimer’s tended to drive more slowly, make abrupt direction changes, drive fewer miles, and less often at night. They also visited fewer destinations, preferring to stick to known routes. “Using these very few indicators you can really, with very high confidence, identify whether a person has preclinical Alzheimer’s disease or not,” study leader Sayeh Bayat told BBC News.

Exhaust: This breakthrough has the potential to offer much earlier diagnosis for Alzheimer’s, which affects more than six million Americans. Whether older drivers would be willing to be monitored, even if it could have health benefits, is a question that may be harder to answer.

Standard Veloster is dead, N survives for 2022

2020 veloster rear action
Hyundai

Intake: Due to market demand, Hyundai’s confirmed a decision to vanquish all of the Veloster trim levels underneath its high-performance N model. Back in early April, a report by Car and Driver revealed not all Velosters would make it to 2022, but Hyundai was at that point unwilling to confirm the guillotine had fallen. Now, according to a Hyundai representative, the automaker will slash the Veloster 2.0, 2.0 Premium, R-Spec, Turbo, and Ultimate, leaving only the 275-hp N model for 2022.

Exhaust: Enthusiasts were to quick to rave about the N, but the general public (yet again) wasn’t quite sure what to make of the quirky Veloster and its three-door setup. Consumer sentiment, combined with low sales, is often the force that makes a vehicle go poof, but consider the N’s survival a win for the dedicated hot-hatch crowd. The decision more or less echoes Volkswagen’s decision to kill the standard Golf but retain the GTI and Golf R.

VW: Internal combustion car market will drop 20 percent in next decade

VW New Auto Dr Herbert Diess on stage
Volkswagen

Intake: Earlier today, Volkswagen presented its NEW AUTO strategy, in which the VW Group will become “a software-driven mobility company”—that’s code for EVs and autonomy—by focusing on a “combination of powerful brands, scaled technology platforms, and new service offerings.” By 2030, VW expects battery-electric vehicle production to rise to 50 percent—and nearly 100 percent by 2040. In the next decade, it expects the internal combustion car market to slide by 20 percent. In order to reach its goals, VW Group is introducing one unified battery cell format that could reduce costs by up to 50 percent. Six giga factories in Europe with a total production capacity of 240 GWh by 2030 will help to secure battery supply.

Exhaust: VW CEO Herbert Diess is confident that Volkswagen is “well on track” in its quest “to become global market leader in electric vehicles.” Both VW and GM are leaning hard into these ambitious plans, but whether infrastructure—to say nothing of actual customer demand—can support these goals remains to be seen.

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