Silverado EV production begins in 2023, most powerful Morgan yet, a NASCAR driver compensated in crypto
Chevrolet Silverado EV to begin production in early 2023
Intake: Automotive News is reporting that Chevrolet’s all-electric Silverado EV will begin production in 2023, backing up the timeline it established this summer. That could put the Chevy pickup on the market about a year after Ford’s all-electric Lightning, which is set to go on sale next spring and has already garnered 200,000 reservations. The Silverado EV may not have much in common with its internal combustion siblings, as signs point to production on a similar Ultium battery platform as the Hummer EV.
Exhaust: GMC’s Hummer EV will be the first electric pickup from GM, but it likely won’t have the mainstream appeal of the Silverado EV. Chevy risks losing customers to Ford through conquest sales given that the F-150 Lightning will be the first all-electric pickup to market from one of the Detroit Three. Still, competition is good for the breed, so we’re excited to see the Silverado EV come to market.
Legendary racer Al Unser Sr. has passes away at 82 years of age
Intake: Al Unser Sr. passed away at age 82 after a 17-year bout with cancer. The four-time Indianapolis 500 winner belonged to a family of world-class wheelmen, including Al Sr.’s brother Bobby Unser, who himself notched three wins at Indy. Al Unser Sr. is one of only four drivers in history to nab four Indy 500 victories, alongside close friend A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, and Helio Castroneves. Unser Sr. is survived by his son, Al Jr., who also has a decorated racing career in IndyCar and the CART championship.
Exhaust:Al Unser Sr. is a household name in American racing, and for good reason. We are saddened by his death, but it also gives us a renewed appreciation for just how talented he was behind the wheel. Whether it was slinging dirt at Pike’s Peak or darting out of a slipstream in a Penske show-car-turned-competition-chassis for his fourth (and most shocking) Indy 500 win, nobody did it quite like Unser Sr. Our condolences are with Al Jr. and the entire Unser family.
My heart is so saddened. My father passed away last night. He was a Great man and even a Greater Father. Rest In Peace Dad!?♥️?
— Al Unser Jr (@alunserjr) December 10, 2021
Meet the most powerful Morgan ever made
Intake: Morgan has finished building the first of nine Plus 8 GTR special editions. With 380 hp on tap from its V-8 engine, it’s comfortably the most powerful model ever to emerge from the Malvern, U.K. factory. The main influence for Plus 8 GTR was the Big Blue racer that Morgan campaigned in the 1990s, which also served as a testbed for the company’s first bonded-aluminum chassis. The GTR follows on with re-sculpted wheel arches, a higher shoulder line, center-lock wheels, and a hard top. Inside, the car is offered with optional race seats and harnesses, while the extra grunt comes from a revised engine tune and cannon-style sports exhaust with twin pipes.
Steve Morris, Chairman & CEO of the Morgan Motor Company, says, “We are excited to release the first images of the Plus 8 GTR following the design sketches published earlier this year. The Plus 8 GTR represents an opportunity for Morgan to celebrate the V-8 engine once again, something we did not expect to do since finishing the Plus 8 and Aero 8 models in 2018. Striking design, the finest craftsmanship, and an exhilarating sports car to drive, the Plus 8 GTR is the perfect swan song to the Morgan V-8.”
Exhaust: So much for Morgan being conservative. Earlier this year we saw the crazy Ariel Nomad-rivaling Plus Four CX-T, while next year will see an all-new three-wheeler. We can’t wait to discover what else the British boys and girls at Pickersleigh Road have up their sleeves.
NASCAR’s Landon Cassill will be paid entirely in cryptocurrency this season
Intake: Last season, stock car veteran Landon Cassill became the first NASCAR driver to be paid in cryptocurrency, joining the ranks of stick-and-ball athletes who opted to receive digital compensation. Thursday, it was announced that Cassill’s crypto sponsor Voyager Digital signed a two-year extension with the driver, and that the pair would enter Xfinity Series competition (NASCAR’s feeder series) full-time for 2022 with Kaulig Racing. Cassill will be paid in-full by a portfolio that includes Bitcoin, the Voyager Token, USD Coin, StormX, and Avalanche. Since signing with Hendrick as a developmental driver in 2006, Cassill has been a journeyman of sorts, hopping from one ride to the next across NASCAR’s top three divisions, rarely given a shot at the full season slate. His deal with Kaulig may provide the stability and equipment needed to get that elusive first win.
Exhaust: Is this a sign of things to come for NASCAR? It’s difficult to predict if crypto compensation become a mainstay in drivers’ contracts. One thing we will bet on: Landon Cassill’s Voyager-sponsored Chevy Camaro will run at the front of the pack, subsequently garnering more airtime for the fledgling sponsor. Prior to 2022, Cassill’s crypto campaigns have been in cars operating on shoestring budgets. Kaulig’s drivers spent a large part of the 2021 season leading laps and battling for wins, and the cameras love a winner. The North Carolina-based team claimed victory with all three of its full-time drivers last year, and there are plans to expand into the Cup Series in 2022. A full season at Kaulig Racing may raise the stock of Cassill and his digital counterpart.
Mercedes-Benz autonomous driving gets approved in Germany—with some caveats
Intake: Drive Pilot, Mercedes-Benz’s automated driving system, has been granted the green light in Germany. From the first half of 2022 customers in the company’s home country will be able to drive hands-free on over 8000 miles of motorway. Don’t worry, robot-piloted Benzes won’t be bombing along at breakneck velocities on the unrestricted autobahns as the system is limited to a speed of 60 kmh (37 mph), so Drive Pilot can only be used in heavy traffic currently. Under those conditions, the car takes over and allows the driver to look at emails or even shop on the car’s central display. Drive Pilot makes uses of Mercedes’ standard Driver Assistance sensors with the addition of LiDAR, an extra rear view camera, and microphones which will listen out for emergency service sirens. Should the driver fail to take back control when traffic clears the car will be brought to halt, hazard warning lights activated and an emergency call will be made automatically.
Exhaust: Germany is the first country to legalize this Level 3 autonomous driving, allowing Mercedes-Benz to get its system on the road. The company is also testing in China and the U.S. and Mercedes says as soon as these countries create a legal framework, Drive Pilot will be made available. The very limited operational window in Germany seems like a sensible first step towards autonomy, although the idea of working or shopping while on the road still fills us with horror.
Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 boasts an EPA-rated range of 303 miles
Intake: Hyundai’s funky Ioniq 5 electric crossover has been rated by the EPA for up to 303 miles of all-electric range in single-motor configuration, while the dual-motor all-wheel-drive version has been rated for up to 256 miles of range. The Ioniq 5 is the first in a series of Ioniq-branded vehicles, and sports an 800-volt charging capability which can fill a battery from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes. The new E-GMP platform is designed to optimize interior volume for a smaller CUV, and allows users to use the Ioniq 5 to power small appliances or even charge other EVs when needed. Hyundai says the Ioniq 5 will be available starting next year, and the range capability is the same for Kia’s version it calls the EV6.
Exhaust: Ever needed a blender to make margaritas while tailgating before a football game? It’s only a matter of time before needs like this will be fulfilled by the Ioniq 5, and other premium electric vehicles. With all these neat features and no word on pricing yet, odds are that the cost this electrified CUV will exceed that of its gasoline-powered stablemates like the Hyundai Tucson. Whether that will matter to early adopters of this stylish electric commuter car is up for debate.