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

Jeep Avenger EV front three-quarter

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

2021 Bronco Sport outer banks and badlands
Cameron Neveu

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

Ford F-150 Lightning vehicle-to-vehicle charging Ford E-Transit van

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:

  1. Park your F-150 Lightning in a garage whenever possible.
  2. Keep your F-150 Lightning plugged in when parked.
  3. 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.
  4. If equipped, use the heated seats and steering wheel as primary heat to reduce energy consumed by HVAC.
  5. When charging, turn off the heater if possible, or lower the temperature enough to remain comfortable.
  6. If your F-150 Lightning is covered with snow, brush all the snow off before driving to eliminate extra weight and drag.
  7. Keep driving speeds moderate in cold temperatures as high speeds use more energy.
  8. 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

Read next Up next: How Steve McQueen really created Bullitt’s famous car chase


    A few takes:
    It would be nice if somebody we trusted could show the breakdown b/w diesel and electricity cost wise for an 18 wheeler. Electricity costs more in some states than others, but I am thinking the real cost savings is the maintenance costs – you don’t really need all those mechanics now, right?

    I think some of those 8 steps sound like a lot of the way we used to have to start and use our carbureted vehicles in the upstate NY area. I worked on the NYS Thruway in the Berkshires and had to go in when snowing. I drove a Gremlin and never got stuck even when the snow was going up over the hood. I was poor enough that I had to take the battery out at night and bring into the house to stay warm enough to start it in the morning. What we had to do “back in the day”.

    The Electric Semis would be great for shuttle trucks at our country Ports when offloading cargo containers and delivering to warehouse distribution centers or gas tankers (wouldn’t that be an oxymoron) for service stations since rarely to do they go that far from tank distribution “farms”. Not sure any infrastructure is in place or will be in place at truck stops in the foreseeable future for “over the road” haulers. Still think hydrogen for big rigs, cargo boats, tugs, etc. is the way to go. We shall see.

    EV’s and cold temps, EV’s and hot temps losing range. it’s like having a gas tank that loses capacity at temperature extremes and over time. What a wonderful way to go.

    So in the cold, I guess there is no issue with windows fogging up in an EV?
    Remove snow and ice for weight reduction? How about safety as this should in reality apply to all vehicles?
    Just looking at the list, an EV is not the best match for many places in the winter.
    They need to come clean with how much impact cold has to expected range.
    At the very least, it would lead for an informed choice for the consumer.

    As for mechanics, EV and Hybrid are specialized skills. Maintenance changes, and some repairs you might assume could be done might require this skill set. I’d expect with more weight, tires and brakes may not last as long.

    The Tesla semi is interesting to note, but in reality who knows how long before there is reliable infrastructure to support them.

    I’m not sure who wrote about the Tesla semi, but drivers can go up to 11 hours driving every day depending on the amount they’ve driven I. The last 8 days. And most trucking company’s are expecting at least 9-10 hours a day

    My S10 gets as high as 31.5 mpg on the hottest days with the AC running. Same truck gets as low as 23 when it’s around zero degrees Fahrenheit. And I NEVER let it warm up before driving. ICE cars are no strangers to reduced range in cold weather. It’s not that long ago that most cars that had to be driven in cold weather either needed a garage or a block heater. I could send some of you folks more data about the inefficiencies of ICE engines but I don’t know if you would like that data on Beta, VHS or and 8 track tape.

    Ford needs to put just as much money on fixing there quality control….on its current vechicles….#1 thing a customer wants is Quailty….and if they cannot adress products they been making for over 100 years…how can customer expect there EVs to be any better…..i think cars and trucks improved…until the mid 2000s…now the past few years…recall after recall…is not acceptable…one thing worse than having to carry a old car to the garage…is having to being a NEW ONE…

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