2024 Tacoma keeps manual alive, USPS trucks delayed, Model 3 Long Range returns
2024 Tacoma keeps the manual flame burning
Intake: Welcome back to the weekly Tacoma Teaser corner. This week, Toyota revealed something that genuinely caught us off guard: The 2024 Tacoma will still offer a manual. The teaser image above was released with this kitschy little quote: “Legends are more than automatic; they always come in clutch.” The current Tacoma is one of just two mid-size pickups to offer a manual transmission, Jeep’s Gladiator is the other one. It’s unknown yet whether the manual option will be offered with the hybrid drivetrain that Toyota previously teased for the new Tacoma, but we wouldn’t bet on it.
Exhaust: The Tacoma has long represented Toyota’s adherence to older, proven technology that just plain works, but we’re surprised to see a manual stick around during a landmark transition for the best-selling mid-sizer in the U.S. Between this news, the detachable Bluetooth speaker, and the upcoming Trailhunter trim, the 2024 Tacoma seems ready to offer something for just about everyone. — Nathan Petroelje
New USPS vehicles behind schedule
Intake: The U.S. Postal Service said it doesn’t expect to receive its next-generation delivery vehicles until June 2024, nine months behind schedule, says Reuters. In March of 2022, the USPS placed an order worth nearly $3 billion with Oshkosh Corporation for 50,000 next-generation delivery vehicles. It expected to begin receiving deliveries in October. The modern vehicles will replace older USPS vehicles that lack airbags and air conditioning. It will also buy 18,500 trucks from Ford and Chrysler. In February 2021, the USPS announced an initial $482 million contract for Oshkosh and said it could order up to 165,000 vehicles over 10 years in a deal that could be worth $6 billion or more.
Exhaust: If it sounds complicated, it is, and further muddying the water is that the deal is being challenged by 16 states and environmental groups that filed a lawsuit seeking to block USPS’s plan to buy mostly gas-powered trucks instead of electric ones. In December, USPS said it would more than double planned electric delivery vehicles purchases, saying it now plans to buy at least 66,000 electric vehicles through 2028, including at least 45,000 out of 60,000 Oshkosh-built vehicles. USPS said it would also buy 14,000 charging stations. – Steven Cole Smith
Tesla re-opens order books for Model 3 Long Range
Intake: After a nine-month hiatus, Tesla has re-opened the order books for the Model 3 Long Range, which has a bigger battery and a 325-mile range, compared to 358 miles for the last Long Range. Starting price is $48,880 with destination, for a June delivery date. It’s eligible for a $3750 incentive, the same as the base model, which has a range of 272 miles. The Performance version of the Model 3 is eligible for the full $7500 incentive. It all depends on where the battery materials are sourced from, and where it’s assembled.
Exhaust: Electrek.co is speculating that the new Long Range may be using a different, Chinese-sourced battery pack. “There are changes that suggest the car might be using Tesla’s LFP [lithium-iron-phosphate] pack, which is used in Chinese-built Model 3s and in the Model 3 Standard Range. The car is now listed as having ‘325+’ miles of range, as compared to the previous 358 miles. LFP is a cheaper, less energy-dense technology, so it would make sense that a pack might have less energy in it, and less range as a result.” Since Tesla has no press office and doesn’t respond to queries, your guess is as good as ours. – SCS
Porsche to hike prices to fight higher supply chain costs
Intake: To curb higher costs that hampered profits in the first quarter of 2023, Porsche has announced that it will raise prices for its vehicles between 4 and 8 percent, according to a report from Automotive News. Porsche’s chief financial officer Lutz Meschke told AN that supply chain issues, particularly for semiconductors and the parts for the Taycan EV’s high voltage charging system are to blame, but that those pains should ease in the coming months. The company also said that it is targeting a move further upmarket to challenge the likes of Ferrari.
Exhaust: Those supply chain pinches around key EV components are a focus for Porsche right now. Within the next 5 years, Porsche is planning to release an all-electric Macan, an electric 718 sports car, and an electric high-performance crossover that will sit above the Cayenne in its lineup. — NP
Volvo’s smallest crossover EVs get RWD option, more range
Intake: Volvo announced a handful of changes for its C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge compact crossover EVs. To boost the range of the small electric utes, the Swedish automaker will now offer a rear-wheel-drive version of each—the first time in 25 years that RWD has been offered on a Volvo USA product. The 248-hp electric motor pairs with the same 82-kWh battery pack as before, but range climbs to 297 miles on the C40 Recharge and 293 miles on the XC40 Recharge, up from 226 miles and 223 miles, respectively.
The all-wheel-drive versions of these two also get updated drivetrains. In place of a 150-hp electric motor affixed to each axle in the old setup, Volvo’s new in-house developed 255-hp electric motor will now be fitted to the rear axle and a 147-hp asynchronous electric motor will power the front axle. The new setup, which won’t require the front axle motor to provide power continually, allows the C40 Recharge and XC40 Recharge to eek 254 miles of range out of the 78-kWh battery pack, a gain of 31 miles over the outgoing layout.
Exhaust: These smaller electric crossovers might not offer the big profit margins automakers seem to be addicted to these days, but because of their lower prices, they’re the types of vehicles that will make a bigger impact on getting folks to transition to EVs. With competition from the likes of the Genesis GV60 mounting, Volvo’s updates bring a welcome boost to these trendy utes. — Nathan Petroelje