Connect with us

Autos

Apple reportedly talked with Nissan about building its self-driving electric car

Published

on

2022 Nissan Frontier

Apple approached Nissan about becoming a contract manufacturer for its much-discussed self-driving electric car, according to the Financial Times (subscription required). However, talks ended after a disagreement over branding, the paper reported.

With no in-house automotive experience, Apple is expected to partner with an existing automaker to manufacture its rumored electric car, also known as “Project Titan,” similar to how it contracts with third-party manufacturers for its iPhones.

Apple started discussions with Nissan “in recent months,” but “the contact was brief and discussions did not advance to senior management levels” after the two sides disagreed over branding for the vehicles, according to the Financial Times. Nissan balked at the idea of making Apple-branded cars, the paper reported, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.

2022 Nissan Frontier

Hyundai and Kia also recently ended talks with Apple about a car-manufacturing partnership. Again, Hyundai was reportedly concerned that its image might be tarnished if it was perceived as a mere contract manufacturer for Apple.

The tech giant still has options available. Apple is reportedly also in talks with General Motors and Stellantis, although it’s unclear if those discussions are about car production. Even Taiwan’s Foxconn, which manufactures iPhones for Apple, is moving to expand into the car business. Last fall, it unveiled a modular EV platform, and more recently teamed up with China’s Geely and EV startup Byton.

While some analysts expect Apple to upend the car industry the same way it revolutionized consumer electronics, it’s unclear exactly what standout features the “Apple Car” will have. Most reports point to self-driving capability, and a December report mentioned game-changing battery technology, but details are scarce. Recent reports indicate the car could start production before the end of the decade—assuming Apple can find a manufacturing partner, that is.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Autos

The NHRA is preparing for an electric drag racing future

Published

on

By

Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) is the latest racing sanctioning body to take a serious look at electric cars. Organizers are asking for input on how to make electric cars a bigger part of drag racing, the association announced on Monday.

The NHRA plans to host a series of meetings on the topic, beginning with one during the Gatornationals at Florida’s Gainesville Raceway later this month. It’s an “open invitation to interested parties to participate in an open dialogue on the topic,” the organization said in a press release Tuesday.

That invitation, includes, but is not limited to, automakers, aftermarket parts suppliers, race-car builders, and safety-equipment manufacturers, the NHRA said. The organization hopes to gauge interest in electric drag racing, and discuss safety protocols for electric race cars.

“When it comes to drag racing electric vehicles, we want NHRA to be the leader, not a follower,” Ned Walliser, NHRA vice president of competition, said in a statement.

Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototype

Electric drag racing is nothing new. The NHRA noted that electric cars and motorcycles have been included in its rulebook “for many years,” and YouTube is full of videos of Teslas humiliating internal-combustion cars at the dragstrip. Long before Tesla, drag racing was a major outlet for homebuilt EVs, with cars like the “White Zombie” 1972 Datsun 1200 showing the potential of electric power.

However, the NHRA believes now is the time to get more invested in EVs, hoping it will bring in a younger demographic and dovetail with automaker efforts to electrify road cars. While this might make room for a class of cars like the Chevrolet eCOPO Camaro and Ford Mustang Cobra Jet 1400 prototypes, don’t expect electric cars to replace traditional dragsters anytime soon.

“We certainly have no intentions of abandoning our current platform, which has proven to be extremely popular with racers and fans alike,” Walliser said.

Like road cars, race cars are slowly getting greener. Formula E has carved out a niche for electric single-seater racing, and is adding the Extreme E off-road racing series. Formula One already uses hybrid powertrains, and IndyCar plans to follow suit in 2023 (one year later than planned due to coronavirus delays). NASCAR is also considering hybrid powertrains.

Continue Reading

Autos

Alfa Romeo, Alpine, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz AMG show 2021 Formula One cars

Published

on

By

2021 Alpine A521 Formula One race car

The 2021 Formula One World Championship is almost upon us and competing teams are showing off their new race cars.

Of the actual automakers competing this season, Mercedes-Benz AMG (W12 E Performance), McLaren (MCL35M), Alpine (A521) and Alfa Romeo (C41) have all shown their contenders. Still to go is Aston Martin which will reveal its car on Wednesday and Ferrari which plans to reveal its car on March 10.

Aston Martin and Alpine are new names this season. Aston Martin, which will use a Mercedes power unit, is basically a rebranded Racing Point. Alpine, too, is simply a rebranding of the previous Renault team, and as a result will use a Renault power unit also rebranded as an Alpine.

2021 Alpine A521 Formula One race car

F1 was due to introduce major changes to the car design for 2021 but organizers last year decided to delay this until the 2022 season due to the hardship experienced by many teams from the Covid-19 situation. Instead, teams were allowed to carry over the 2020 design into 2021.

There have been some key changes in the regulations surrounding the aerodynamics, though. In particular are the rules for the outer floor design, which have been implemented to reduce downforce and in turn reduce lap times. Overcoming this has been the main challenge for teams in designing their 2021 cars.

In addition, Pirelli is supplying tires with a tougher but heavier compound. As a result, organizers have increased the minimum weight for the cars by about 13 pounds.

2021 McLaren MCL35M Formula One race car

2021 McLaren MCL35M Formula One race car

2021 McLaren MCL35M Formula One race car

2021 McLaren MCL35M Formula One race car

2021 McLaren MCL35M Formula One race car

2021 McLaren MCL35M Formula One race car

All cars feature a similar power unit configuration. It consists of a 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 working with two motor-generators, one integrated with the turbocharger and the other with the engine in the main driveline. Power unit suppliers this season include Alpine, Ferrari, Honda and Mercedes.

The pre-season tests are scheduled for Mar. 12-14 in Bahrain ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Mar. 28. The season was meant to start as always with the Australian Grand Prix but due to Covid-19 restrictions the Australian race has been delayed until November.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 situation, F1 organizers are still hopeful of holding a record 23 rounds this season, with a new Saudi Arabian Grand Prix joining the calendar, as well as the Dutch Grand Prix making a return. The Chinese Grand Prix and a proposed Vietnamese Grand Prix are no longer happening this season, with special Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and Portuguese Grand Prix rounds set to fill in.

Continue Reading

Autos

Take it apart, rebuild, repeat

Published

on

By

2021 Ford Bronco

The 2021 Ford Bronco isn’t constructed like most other cars. Instead, it’s like a life-size Lego car as every body panel can bolt on or off. The process isn’t quick and easy, but it should make the Bronco cheaper and quicker to repair, and easier to modify with the bolt-on aftermarket parts that are sure to come.

The Jeep Wrangler is similar, but it’s rear quarter panels don’t bolt on and off, and its fender flares are harder to remove.

Should a shopping cart at Target roll into your shiny new Bronco a replacement can’t simply be ordered from a local Ford dealership and bolted on. Bronco’s Chief Designer Paul Wraith told Motor Authority owners will still need to call a body shop to order replacement panels.

A body shop will also be needed to paint the new panels as they won’t come painted in the color of your vehicle. DIYers might try to paint the panels with a can spray paint, but a body shop will be needed to properly blend the paint to match the new panels.

2021 Ford Bronco

The bolt-on body panels will make life easier should a Bronco get into a fender bender. Shop foreman Mike Gelakoski (known as Jelly) of 38 years at Sears Imported Autos Body Shop in Minneapolis, told Motor Authority “if a car went and got damaged, you’re talking the difference between a couple weeks and a couple days.” Shorter repair times will also mean fewer labor hours and less-expensive repairs.

Jelly explained that, other than a Saturn Ion and BMW Z3, rear quarter panel replacements require you to “screw, glue, and rivet it. Some cars you have to weld and you can burn it (the metal).”

BMW Z3s have rear quarter panels that simply bolt on making replacement a simple process that doesn’t take 20 hours, according to Jelly. The Bronco is like the BMW Z3 and that will make replacing panels “quicker, simpler, and easier,” Jelly said.

Ford’s new Bronco is sure to be the darling of the aftermarket scene and the next superstar at the SEMA show. President and founder of American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), David Harriton told Motor Authority the Bronco’s construction “opens a lot of opportunities for the aftermarket.” AEV is an outfitter specializing in Jeep Wranglers, Ram Power Wagons, and Chevrolet Colorados.

“The ability to take these vehicles off road, have an accident, and then replace the body panel is critical,” Harriton said.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

Some Bronco fans will also buy aftermarket panels and add them to their Broncos. Again, a body shop will be needed to paint these panels to match the rest of the Bronco. However, some owners may choose to wrap their panels or paint them themselves, eliminating the need for a body shop.

It’s not just the body panels. The fender flares pop on and off with the simple twist of a few fasteners in about 30 seconds. “That’s pretty cool that you can be legal driving to and from the trail and then pop off the flares for the trail to keep them looking nice. That’s a pretty great idea,” Harriton said.

From the aftermarket and modification scene to repairing a Bronco dented at the local Starbucks, the way Ford’s latest SUV’s screwed together could be a boon for consumers and the aftermarket alike.

Continue Reading

Trending