AEHRA insists it’s an SUV, Ducati updates the Scrambler, is Toyota working on a little electric sports car?
AEHRA doubles down on door design for first SUV
Intake: With both scissor and gullwing doors the new SUV from U.S.-Italian startup AEHRA certainly knows how to make an entrance. Designed by Filippo Perini, who led the design of Lamborghini’s Murciélago LP640, Aventador, Huracan, Centenario, and Urus, the electric AEHRA “uniquely unlocks potential afforded by state-of-the-art EV technology to rewrite (the) automotive design rulebook,” according to the company’s press blurb. It’s a big car, with a 118-inch wheelbase providing a cabin “that effortlessly accommodates four NBA-size players in complete comfort.” Constructed from carbon fiber and styled with the aid of computational fluid dynamics to cheat the air it is powered by three electric motors with a combined output of 800 horsepower, and its 120 kWh battery provides a claimed range of almost 500 miles. “The AEHRA SUV represents a radical combination of cutting-edge sustainable materials, ultra-advanced EV technology, smart manufacturing technologies, pure Italian design, and of course, a seminal moment in our company’s history,” says Hazim Nada, AEHRA Founder and CEO.
Exhaust: Priced from just over $180,000 the AEHRA comes in significantly higher than rivals such as the BMW iX, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV, Tesla Model X or Lucid Air. So it may well only be NBA players who can afford it. —Nik Berg
Is Toyota readying a mini MR2?
Intake: Rumors out of Japan suggest that Toyota will soon reveal a mini mid-engined sports car. It won’t be an MR2, however, as that evocative nameplate is due to return on a Gazoo Racing electric sportster. That’s according to a report from Best Car Web which claims that the smaller model is being developed with Suzuki, based on the Yaris platform, and powered by a one-liter three-pot turbo motor. The engine would be a Suzuki unit and Best Car Web suggests that the car could also be sold as a Daihatsu. The Japanese price tag is said to be two million yen—an equivalent of less than $14,000, while 2025 is the expected launch.
Exhaust: If this is true, it sounds like it will be a JDM-only machine and certainly too tiny to warrant bringing to the U.S. That’s a shame because it does sound like a pocket full of fun. –NB
Ducati Scrambler gets refresh, three new flavors to choose from
Intake: Three trims outline three different personalities of the 2023 Ducati Scrambler. A bike advertised as the polar opposite of the race replicas most riders associate with the Italian brand, the Scrambler is targeted at being confidence inspiring with the trellis frame and revised front end that now leans more towards sporty with a slight more inclined steering angle and shorter trail than the previous generation for more nimble handling. Buyers have the choice between three trim levels for the 2023 models: Icon, Full Throttle, and Nightshift. Each comes with unique color choices along with a few other small differences. The Nightshift trim eschews the 18/17” aluminum wheels of the lower models for a pair of spoked hoops that really pull on the vintage feel of the bike that comes from the steel gas tank and side panel bearing “62” for the first year Ducati marketed the Scrambler.
Exhaust: A little odd compared to the rest of the Ducati lineup and its better known machines, the Scrambler lives in an odd pocket. The effort to tie in the model’s heritage falls a little flat, but the other improvements to this new generation appear to be focused on catching the eye of buyers who are not drawn to Rosso Corsa and the thrum of a Desmo Twin. This refresh hints that it might have sorted out a few complaints from owners, like the large clutch cover that impeded some riders’ feet from finding a comfortable spot. It is a bike targeted at regular use and while the styling can be a bit love-it-or-hate-it, the increase in functionality is certainly welcome. We look forward to riding one when they become available in March of 2023. –Kyle Smith
J.D. Power: Record prices on new cars in October
Intake: In a study by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, dealerships reportedly sold 52 percent of vehicles within 10 days of arriving at a dealership, while the average number of days a new vehicle is in a dealer’s possession before being sold was 19 days — down from 20 days a year ago. For October, the study said new-vehicle prices remained at record levels, with the average transaction price expected to reach $45,599 — a record for October and a 2.7 percent increase from a year ago. The increase in sales volume and near record level transaction prices are resulting in buyers being on track to spend nearly $46 billion on new vehicles, the highest level ever for the month of October and a 10.9 percent increase from October 2021.
Exhaust: The good news is more vehicles are available; the bad news is whether or not buyers can afford them. Said Thomas King, president of analytics and data for J.D. Power: “Elevated pricing coupled with interest rate hikes are inflating monthly loan payments. After breaking the $700 level for the first time ever in July, the average monthly finance payment in October is on pace to be $711, up $47 from October 2021. That translates to a 7 percent increase in monthly payments from a year ago. The average interest rate for new-vehicle loans is expected to increase 199 basis points from a year ago to 6.03 percent.” –Steven Cole Smith
Oh, deer: Permanent daylight savings time would cut collisions
Intake: A story published on Eurekalert.org says that the practice of moving our clocks forward in the spring, which is the start of daylight savings time, reduces night-time car accidents with deer by 16 percent. Researchers developed a model, published in the journal Current Biology, that demonstrates the benefits permanent daylight savings time has, “not only in saving animal lives but also in reduction of collision costs and human injuries.” Using data from 23 state agencies from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Cunningham’s team analyzed 1,012,465 deer-vehicle collisions and 96 million hourly traffic observations across the United States. Their analysis showed that collisions are 14 times more frequent two hours after sunset than before. Taking these numbers, the researchers were able to predict that if daylight savings time became year-round it would prevent 36,550 deer deaths, 33 human deaths, 2,054 human injuries, and $1.19 billion in collision costs annually.
Exhaust: One more argument for those who want permanent daylight savings time. Setting the clocks back this year seemed to cause an unusual amount of grumbling. –SCS