DeLorean to realize John Z.’s sedan dream, eight-seat Defender, 85K reservations for Silverado EV work trucks

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DeLorean

“Alpha9” first of four new DeLoreans, including John Z.’s unrealized sedan

Intake: We finally met the new DeLorean model yesterday, and more new introductions are already on the books for later this year. The reborn company headed by newly minted (as in six months ago) Joost de Vries, formerly of Karma, revealed its Alpha9 EV yesterday and announced three models to follow: a V-8 sports coupe, a battery-electric sedan, and a hydrogen-powered SUV. The expanded product portfolio is strategic; the battery-powered Alpha5 will be a strictly low-volume affair (in the context of historical replicas, NHTSA defines “low volume production” as 500 units or less), and as such won’t be able to pay its own way. “We need a sports car to relaunch the brand,” de Vries said in this podcast interview in April, 2022, “but the ambition of the brand is to be a full line manufacturer. We cannot survive on a coupe. I don’t care how cool it is, but the volumes don’t justify the investment, or the long-term perspective of what the investment requires. You are going to see other products from us.”

Exhaust: The Alpha5 seems a thinly disguised effort to leverage nostalgia to sell a product that honors the film-famous original in name only. If the reborn company is indeed preparing a more genuine connection to DeLorean of old, as teased here on its site, it’s probably connected to the the sedan code-named DMC-24 in period. Here’s what company founder John Z. DeLorean told Mainliner back in 1980: “We are planning now to add a sedan, on which we are doing a little preliminary work with Giugiaro. It is going to be a very different kind of sedan pointed at a whole different place in the market. It’s going to be very aerodynamic [with] the same essential characteristics of our current car. It is going to be designed to last forever without corrosion. It is going to be very strong but reasonably lightweight in comparison to other cars. It will probably have four gullwing doors and be a five-passenger with about the same interior accommodation as a Mercedes 450 SEL.” Giugiaro was nearly done building a full-scale prototype by the time DeLorean went bankrupt; it reached show floors repurposed by Lamborghini as the 1982 Marco Polo concept (see gallery below). The electric powertrain probably wasn’t part of John Z.’s original vision, and we don’t expect today’s iteration to use stainless-steel construction, but we’d bet that its “untold story” project is an expression of this same four-door, sketches of which are shown here.

Ericsson wins his first 500; IndyCar to use renewable fuel in 2023

Intake: Last Sunday, Swedish racer Marcus Ericsson won the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 in his fourth IndyCar season, and his third driving for perennial powerhouse Chip Ganassi Racing. As the race neared completion, it appeared as though teammate Scott Dixon, who qualified on pole and led much of the 200-lap contest, would win his second Indy 500. However, in the final round of pitstops, Dixon—a driver so cool under pressure that he earned the nickname “The Iceman”—made and uncharacteristic mistake and exceeded pit road speed, resulting in a penalty. Ericsson capitalized on his teammate’s misfortune, inherited the lead, and survived a late-race charge from McLaren driver Pato O’Ward to claim his first triumph on the bricks.

Amid the excitement surrounding the 500—and just two days before Marcus Ericsson captured the Borg-Warner trophy—IndyCar announced that the series will shift to exclusively use sustainable fuels beginning in 2023. Shell will produce a new fuel comprised of sugarcane ethanol and other biofuels to make IndyCar the first major stateside sanctioning body to exclusively utilize the renewable juice. The ethanol will be sourced from Raízen, a Brazilian joint-venture between Shell and Cosan, and one of the largest sugarcane ethanol producers in the world. Currently, IndyCar uses a variation of E85 fuel, which contains 85% ethanol and 15% high-octane race fuel.

Exhaust: While this announcement may be a little into the weeds (get it?) for the casual motorsports fan, make no doubt, it is important. IndyCar is the first big domino to fall in the complete adoption of sustainable fuels within North American motorsports, and only time will tell if any negligible dips in performance or spikes in cost will prevent other series from making the jump. Also, major props to IndyCar for beating Formula 1 to the complete adoption of renewable fuel, as the global open-wheel series will have to wait until the new series-wide hybrid engines in 2025. Consider our enthusiasm renewed for IndyCar next season.

Adventures for eight await with new Land Rover Defender 130

Intake: Land Rover has opened up off-road excursions and overland explorations to even more adventurers by adding 13 inches and three extra seats to the Defender 110. As you can see from the images, all the extra length is behind the rear axle. Where the five-door 110 has almost no overhang, the new 130 is all about that … bass, so to speak. Land Rover designers have sculpted the rear carefully, however, giving it a “subtle boat tail-style uplift” which means the car’s go-anywhere ability is unaffected. Off-road geeks can boast of a 28.5-degree departure angle and electronic air suspension which can raise the ride height by almost three inches to overcome obstacles.

The first thing buyers will have to navigate is the extensive range of packs, paints, and options offered. There’s an all-new Sedona Red hue that’s exclusive to the 130, and the choice of Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban accessory packs, and an Extended Bright Pack to give a satin finish to the lower body panels. Seating is in a 2-3-3 arrangement, meaning the front jump seat isn’t available on the 130, but the two rear rows offer generous leg and headroom, each row having a small “stadium rise” for improved visibility, and with the additional bonus of a second sunroof to let in light. Every row has its own ventilation with a four-zone climate control system. A new natural light oak engineered wood veneer is available to complement the light oyster leather seats. Tan leather is also available, as is a rugged Robustec fabric. Even with all three rows in place the Defender 130 offers a capacious 13.7 cubic feet of cargo space, which rises to a van-like 80.9 cubic feet if all seats are folded away. Loading is made easier by lowering the air suspension.

In terms of extra on-board tech, the 130 gets a larger 11.4-inch Pivi Pro touchscreen, the navigation system now works with what3words, a geocode system, to give directions in even the most remote environments, and a new cabin air purification plus system uses nanotechnology to remove allergens, pathogens and smells—a welcome feature whether you’re stuck in traffic or wading through a swamp. The Defender 130 will launch with the brand’s three-liter, mild-hybrid “Ingenium” six-cylinder in either P300 and P400 configuration (offering 296 or 395 hp) but a V-8 version is set to follow. Until then, the P400’s 6.3 second 0-to-60 mph sprint time should be enough to scare your seven passengers.

Exhaust: This is the Defender for which bigger families and excursion operators have been waiting. The 130’s extra interior space and carrying capacity, and its retained off-road agility, proves Land Rover knows its adventurous audience well.

Mercedes-AMG E63 Final Edition limited to 999 customers

Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ Final Edition
Mercedes-AMG

Intake: The AMG E63 is going out in style with a run of Final Edition models in ultimate specification. The 999 sedans and wagons will all be painted in matte gray, wear 20-inch AMG forged alloy wheels with a special cross-spoke design, and flaunt gloss black aerodynamic accoutrements (Night Package). The interior features AMG Performance Seats in nappa leather, a flat-bottomed steering wheel made from leather and Dinamica microfiber, and special AMG Final Edition badging on the center console. The 612-hp biturbo V-8 is unchanged, and the car retains its variable all-wheel drive system and drift mode. Prices and availability haven’t been revealed.

Exhaust: Just how “final” is this incarnation? Well, if the E-Class follows the way of the C-Class, then it could well be the last of the V-8 models. Mercedes-AMG has confirmed that the next C63 will be a four-cylinder hybrid, and regardless of cylinder count, all future AMG powertrains will integrate some form of electrification. Expect each upcoming model to improve upon its gas-only predecessors in sheer output: The new C63 is set to offer an insane 670 hp from a 470-hp turbo two-liter paired with a 200-hp e-motor.

85K fleet buyers ready to leap to electric Silverado work trucks

Intake: Chevy’s Silverado EV is the bowtie’s hotly anticipated answer to Ford’s F-150 Lightning, and just like the latter, the Silverado EV will offer a fleet-first work truck configuration meant to satisfy the needs of those who depend on their vehicle to put food on the table and money in their company’s coffers. In an interview with Automotive News, Ed Peper, vice president of GM Fleet, said that customers are taking to the electrified pickup like a fish to water—Chevy has received some 85,000 reservations from nearly 370 companies for the Silverado EV. Chevy will launch the Silverado EV in two configurations: the consumer-facing RST, whose first edition model will clear six figures price wise, and the fleet-forward Silverado WT with an MSRP of $39,900 plus destination. All Silverado EVs will utilize GM’s Ultium battery platform and offer up to 400 miles of range when equipped with the largest battery pack. DC fast charging will offer up to 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes, and, like the Lightning, the Silverado EV WT will be able to charge all manner of tools and gear. Chevy is also planning to offer an even more focused “fleet model” sometime after the initial launch, which it says will be able to tow up to 20,000 lbs when properly equipped. We’d guess that most of these early reservations are for the Silverado WT, however. The first Silverado EVs are due next spring, so in the not-too-distant future that utility truck in your neighborhood might be wafting along on silent, electric power.

Exhaust: While some fleet customers are still reticent to replace their gas-powered rigs, it seems there’s no shortage of others ready to make the leap. The question now is what GM will do about fulfilling those orders. We know that Ford is hastily working to ramp up production for the F-150 Lightning following overwhelming demand; the Blue Oval received more than 200,000 reservations as of late April and is currently targeting nearly three-fold production numbers in 2023, from 40,000 this year to 150,000 the following year. If GM faces similar constraints, the firm will need to act fast to meet this demand and prove that an electric Silverado work truck can pull its, erm, weight alongside its internal-combustion siblings. 

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