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Electric Explorer, 2 EV platforms part of Ford’s $30B investment on electrification

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Electric Ford F-Series outline from Ford Capital Market Day presentation via Mike Levine on Twitter

Ford provided an update on its electrification plans during an investor presentation held online on Wednesday, and tucked away in all the investor-speak were nuggets of information on upcoming vehicles.

Ford said it was upping investment on electrification running through 2025 to more than $30 billion, up from the $22 billion announced only in February. The goal is to have 40% of global volume represented by electric vehicles by 2030.

To reach this goal, Ford will develop new dedicated EV platforms as well as its own battery technology, including solid-state batteries which CEO Jim Farley said will be in production this decade.

Two new dedicated EV platforms were announced during the presentation. One will be a mid-size platform supporting rear- and all-wheel-drive vehicles, which Ford will use in both lifestyle and commercial vehicles, including pickups. Another will be a platform designed for full-size pickup trucks and SUVs. For smaller EVs, Ford is relying on Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform, found in vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4. Ford will first use the MEB platform for a compact crossover due on sale in Europe in 2023.

For the U.S. market, Ford confirmed there will be an electric Explorer and related electric Lincoln Aviator. The automaker also mentioned “rugged, off-road utilities,” hinting that an electric Bronco might be in the works. Timing for the vehicles wasn’t mentioned but Ford said its new platforms would support the launch of EVs right up through the end of the decade.

Electric Ford F-Series outline from Ford Capital Market Day presentation via Mike Levine on Twitter

Ford’s current EVs, the Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit and recently revealed F-150 Lightning, use platforms originally designed for internal-combustion power.

Ford also used the presentation to provide an update on its developments in battery technology. The automaker has established its own battery research lab in Michigan known as the Ford Ion Park, and has also established a joint venture with Korea’s SK Innovation to manufacture battery cells and packs at two plants to be located in the U.S.

Initially, Ford will focus on current liquid-type lithium-ion batteries, which will be branded IonBoost. Ford said the batteries will use pouch cells with a special chemistry, as well as the automaker’s own control algorithms. The automaker also said the batteries were developed with large vehicles and performance vehicles in mind. The latter suggests we might see them in a future Mustang EV.

Ford is also developing solid-state batteries, which will be able to deliver more range while also taking up less space in the vehicle. The batteries should also cost less to produce than current batteries when they become commercially available later this decade.

In this area, Ford is investing in Colorado’s Solid Power which is developing sulfide-based solid-state battery cells. The company, which also counts BMW Group as an investor, has demonstrated the ability to produce and scale solid-state batteries designed for longer range, lower cost and safer vehicles compared to today’s crop of EVs.

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Redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra coming soon with new iForce Max powertrain

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2022 Toyota Tundra's new iForce Max powertrain

A new generation of the Toyota Tundra is coming up shortly.

Toyota in May released a teaser image of the redesigned Tundra and confirmed an arrival for the 2022 model year, and on Tuesday the automaker said the full-size pickup truck will feature a next-generation iForce powertrain, dubbed iForce Max.

The iForce branding was first used for a 4.7-liter V-8 in early Tundras. The V-8’s displacement measures 5.7 liters in the current Tundra, though its basic design hasn’t changed much over the years. As a result it’s not only one of the most reliable V-8 engines ever built but also one of the most reliable internal-combustion engines of any type used in a production vehicle. The downside is that its efficiency and 381-hp peak power rating are a tad underwhelming compared to some of the newer competition.

It isn’t clear what the new iForce Max powertrain will be but we’ve heard that a twin-turbocharged V-6 will be offered in the new Tundra, possibly as a replacement for the current V-8. A hybrid option is also likely at some point. Toyota has pledged to fit every vehicle it sells in the U.S. with some sort of electrification. Keep in mind, electrification can be as simple as a mild-hybrid system. We definitely don’t expect the Tundra’s hybrid option to be a plug-in hybrid setup.

2022 Toyota Tundra’s new iForce Max powertrain

Not much is known about the rest of the mechanicals either, but we’ve heard the redesigned Tundra will introduce a new modular platform that will eventually underpin future versions of the Hilux and Tacoma, as well as the 4Runner and Sequoia SUVs.

The image teasing the exterior of the truck hints at a tougher design for the new generation, with some elements expected to be influenced by the recent update to the Hilux mid-size pickup truck sold overseas. The Tundra is also expected to grow in size. Those marker lights you see on the grille and flanks are required for wider trucks in the United States.

With the bigger size, you can count on there being bigger cabin options and possibly bigger bed options, too. Towing capacity should also match or exceed the current truck’s 10,200-pound max rating.

Stay tuned.

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2021 Ford Bronco production is underway

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2021 Ford Bronco

The agonizing wait for reservation holders of Ford’s reborn Bronco is almost over as the first customer examples have rolled off the line at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant and are already on their way to dealerships.

The plant, located in Wayne, Michigan, has been home to the Bronco since the original launched in 1965, and it’s also home to the Ford Ranger pickup truck, which features an earlier version of the Bronco’s body-on-frame T6 platform. The Ranger will move to the updated platform when it undergoes a redesign later this year.

Ford invested $750 million in the plant to upgrade it for the new Bronco and future Ranger, adding approximately 2,700 direct jobs in the process. Part of this investment has gone toward constructing a separate modification center where a range of accessories are fitted, such as sport bars, roof racks, graphics packages, and much more. Ford has also added pre-wired switches to the Bronco to make adding electronic accessories easy.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since the 2021 Bronco was first shown. Deliveries were due to start in the spring but supplier delays related to coronovirus shutdowns meant Ford needed to push the start to summer.

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

2021 Ford Bronco

It means some reservation holders already promised their Bronco in 2021 will have to wait until 2022 to receive their vehicles. The delays have also seen manual-equipped Broncos with the Sasquatch package pushed back to the 2022 model year.

The 2021 Bronco is offered with a base 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 rated at 300 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque (with premium fuel), and an available 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 with 330 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can choose between a 7-speed manual or 10-speed automatic, as well as between two- and four-door body styles. A pickup body style is also a possibility at some point.

More powertrain options are also coming. A high-performance Raptor-like model has been spotted testing, and Ford has also hinted at a battery-electric version.

The starting price for the 2021 Bronco is a very reasonable $29,995, including destination.

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe becomes more practical with seating for five

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2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 4-Door Coupe gets an update, but it’ll take a keen eye to spot the changes.

On Monday, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe was unveiled with a tweaked look, an updated suspension, more seats, and more customization options to better stand out at the golf club.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

The most significant change to the latest four-door AMG is an upgrade to the available three-chamber air suspension. Two pressure limiting valves have been added to the outside of each damper. One valve controls the rebound while the other controls compression and each is continuously variable. AMG said the new valves provide a wider spread between ride comfort and performance damping forces.

The engine hasn’t changed. It’s a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system breathed upon by AMG for 429 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. An AMG-tuned all-wheel-drive system directs power to the ground via a 9-speed automatic transmission. Mercedes-Benz said the large hatchback can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph.

The V-8-powered 63 and 63 S models, along with the plug-in hybrid 73e model, haven’t been detailed yet.

The only ways to spot a refreshed 2022 AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe from the outside will be by a variety of new paint colors and the newly the available red brake calipers, which are optional for the standard iron brakes. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes continue to feature bronze-painted calipers.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

Buyers will be able to customize their AMG 53 4-Door Coupes with four new matte finish paint colors, five metallic colors, and two solid colors. A new AMG Night Package II has accents finished in a dark chrome or black. A new Manufaktur Exclusive Edition indulges those looking for the most luxurious model with a V8 Styling Package, exclusive paintwork, and 21-inch AMG forged wheels.

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe

Inside, the leather-lined interior is carryover except for the steering wheel. The new twin-spoke AMG-specific steering wheel found in the latest E-Class has made its way to the AMG GT 4-Door. It has two round digital dials to enable quick changes between drivetrain, stability control, and AMG programs. The dashboard carries over with its 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system. For those looking to carry more than four, a new rear bench seat option will allow seating for five along with the ability to fold the rear seat flat to expand cargo space. Like the exterior, the interior also adds new color choices.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t said how much the 2022 AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe will cost when it arrives in dealers later this year, but the current model costs $99,995.

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