Tesla semi ready for the road, massive Ford recall, drive the fastest Ferrari
Elon: Tesla semi truck is ready for prime time
Intake: Tesla’s 18-wheeler project just passed a major hurdle, says company head Elon Musk. “Tesla team just completed a 500-mile drive with a Tesla Semi weighing in at 81,000 lbs!” he tweeted (of course) on Saturday night. As electrek.co points out: “It seems a bit last-minute to complete the first 500-mile drive, considering Tesla is expected to deliver production versions of the truck to customers this week. But Tesla has presumably previously completed many shorter trips that confirmed the full range could reach 500 miles on a single charge. Five hundred miles with a full load between charges is the sweet spot for a commercial long-haul semi-truck, because after about eight hours of driving, a break for the driver is mandatory.” The site says Musk will hold a ceremony on Thursday to mark the first deliveries of Tesla trucks to customers, of which there is a long waiting list. With so little charging infrastructure present at truck and rest stops, the early deliveries are expected to be to companies that need trucks for shorter routes that will bring them back to the terminal at the end of the day so they can charge overnight.
Exhaust: It’s amazing with all the tasks Musk is juggling that anything gets done. That said, who would have guessed he’d be delivering electric 18-wheelers before he built the first Cybertruck? —Steven Cole Smith
Anyone can drive the fastest-ever Ferrari (on a Playstation)
Intake: Ferrari has developed an incredible single-seater, 1030-hp V-6 hybrid concept race car and is giving it away for nothing. That’s because the Vision Gran Turismo will only be available in the virtual world, to players of Gran Turismo 7 on the Sony Playstation. A final marker of 75 years since Ferrari first went racing, it’s the first time a prancing horse has been developed exclusively for e-sports and it’s quite a digital debut. The closed-wheel monoposto was designed by Ferrari Centro Stile and is inspired by 1960s’ and 1970s’ sports prototypes such as the 330 P3 and 512 S. Not that there’s anything retro about the styling, which has the look of a next-gen jet fighter. A new aerodynamic concept featuring two side channels has even been patented, so could feature in future real-world Ferraris. Power is from the three-liter turbo V-6 from the 296 GTB, boosted by three electric motors: one on the rear axle and one on each front wheel, providing all-wheel drive. There’s an eight-speed F1 dual-clutch transmission and the Vision GT will accelerate from 0-62 mph in less than two seconds, and reach 120 mph in under five seconds. “The in-game experience is designed to faithfully replicate Ferrari’s in-car driving thrills, conveying an accurate feeling of the limits achievable and enhancing the car’s performance,” says Ferrari. The Vision Gran Turismo will be available to download in time for Christmas on December 23.
Exhaust: Although Ferraris have been featured in video games since the days of coin-op favorite Outrun, this is the first time the Italian marque has made something special for virtual racers and shows the importance of brand building in the digital world. Ferrari has also built a full-scale (non-working) model, which will be displayed in the brand’s Maranello museum until March 2023. —Nik Berg
Porsche Cayenne hits the resto-mod market
Intake: It’s 20 years since Porsche launched the Cayenne, causing consternation for purists, but transforming the fortunes of the German sports car maker. Now Porsche’s Middle Eastern importers have decided that this milestone model is ready for the resto-mod treatment. The Porsche Centers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai bought four first-generation Cayennes—three S models and a GTS, and set to work. Leaving the powertrain untouched Porsche focused on raising ground clearance and increasing underbody protection for additional off-road ability. Wheel spacers were installed to give the cars a wider stance, and a spare wheel carrier was added and roof racks and roof tents fitted. All the cars were also given a thorough inspection and tidy up like any Porsche Approved pre-owned vehicle, and each had a unique livery applied. One owner who sold his car to Porsche for the project was so impressed he now plans to buy it back.
Exhaust: First-generation Cayennes are the cheapest Porsches on the planet with high-mileage models available for less than $10,000. They are known for assorted cooling and air suspension issues, but find one with a good service history and, as Porsche Middle East has shown, it wouldn’t take too much to transform it into an awesome adventure rig. —NB
Seven finalists for European Car of the Year
Intake: The short list for 2023 European Car the Year has been announced. Autocar says they are the Jeep Avenger, Kia Niro, Nissan Ariya, Peugeot 408, Renault Austral, the Subaru Solterra/Toyota bZ4X twins, and the Volkswagen ID. Buzz. The voting jury this year consists of 58 jurors from 22 countries, who narrowed down the entries from a list of semifinalists. Last year’s winner was the Kia EV6, the first time the Korean brand has won the award. The winner will be announced January 13 at the Brussels Motor Show.
Exhaust: Interesting, but not surprising, that five of the seven finalists are fully electric, including the little Jeep Avenger, the first Jeep designed and built to be sold only in Europe. It’s considerably smaller than the Fiat-based Jeep Renegade sold in the U.S. Still, the Polish-built Avenger would be an immediate hit here. —SCS
Massive global Ford recall
Intake: In case you missed it, Ford announced on Thanksgiving a major worldwide recall of 2020-2023 Ford Bronco Sports and Ford Escapes that are equipped with the 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. Fuel injectors could crack, spilling gas on the hot engine and causing a fire. Some 634,000 vehicles are being recalled in total, with 520,000 of them in the U.S. According to Reuters, Ford said it has 54 total reports of 1.5-liter under-hood fires, including four with cracked fuel injectors. About 13 others were probably caused by a leaking fuel injector.
Exhaust: Many of the same vehicles were subject to a prior recall involving an oil separator housing that could crack and develop a leak that could cause an engine fire — this recall is separate from that. —SCS
Speaking of Ford … eight tips to maximize battery life in the cold
Intake: The company has released a checklist of things you can do to get the most mileage out of your electric Ford Lightning during cold weather, which negatively affects battery range. They seem to apply to most any electric, so we’re sharing them here:
- Park your F-150 Lightning in a garage whenever possible.
- Keep your F-150 Lightning plugged in when parked.
- If planning a longer commute, precondition your vehicle using departure times to warm the battery while plugged in by using the FordPass app or your truck’s center screen.
- If equipped, use the heated seats and steering wheel as primary heat to reduce energy consumed by HVAC.
- When charging, turn off the heater if possible, or lower the temperature enough to remain comfortable.
- If your F-150 Lightning is covered with snow, brush all the snow off before driving to eliminate extra weight and drag.
- Keep driving speeds moderate in cold temperatures as high speeds use more energy.
- Ensure your tires are at the proper pressure.
Exhaust: Good advice, but in sub-freezing temperatures, Ford wants to make buyers aware that in low temperatures you could see a significant reduction in range, which is normal. —SCS