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Should the C8 Chevrolet Corvette look more like a Corvette?

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Chip Foose draws the Chevrolet Corvette C8

As the first production mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, the C8 broke new ground for the sports car. But does the C8 actually look like a Corvette? Hot rodder Chip Foose doesn’t think so, and he offered his opinion on how to improve the design in a video posted to YouTube.

Foose said one of things he liked most about the Corvette was the clear evolution of its design over the first seven generations. That abruptly ended with the C8, as the proportions were completely changed to accommodate an engine behind the driver.

A mid-engine layout brings significant performance benefits, which helped the C8 win Motor Authority’s Best Car To Buy award, but it also erased the Corvette’s heritage, according to Foose, who believes the C8 is too generic looking, and too easily confused with other mid-engine cars like the Acura NSX.

 

Chip Foose draws the Chevrolet Corvette C8

Foose’s solution, as laid out in a sketch, takes more styling cues from the previous-generation C7 Corvette. Foose used the front-fender vents from the C7, flipping them around to serve as air intakes for the mid-mounted engine. Foose’s version also has more pronounced rear haunches and a longer hood, linking it more closely to the C7 and continuing that evolutionary line.

That design DNA may soon get stretched to its limits, if reports that Chevy is mulling a Corvette-badged electric SUV prove true. That would take advantage of General Motors’ new Ultium battery system, and give Chevy a competitor to the Ford Mustang Mach-E but, as far as we know, the plan hasn’t been approved.

The traditional Corvette could also go electric eventually, as part of GM’s “aspiration” to eliminate tailpipes from its passenger-car lineup by 2035. That would certainly open up a lot of design possibilities.

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One-off Bugatti Divo “Lady Bug” took two years to create

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Bugatti Divo

With production limited to 40 examples, the $5.8 million Bugatti Divo should stand out at any cars and coffee event. But that wasn’t special enough for one customer, who commissioned a customized Divo dubbed “Lady Bug.” The one-of-a-kind supercar took two years to develop, Bugatti explained in a press release.

Bugatti was approached by the customer shortly after the Divo’s August 2018 reveal with a request for a color-contrasting geometric pattern. The automaker’s design department then got to work, creating not only the pattern but custom colors, specifically “Customer Special Red” and “Graphite.”

The design features painted diamonds, which was surprisingly complicated to execute. While designing the livery took a few months, getting it right on the car took one and a half years, according to Bugatti.

Part of the problem was translating two-dimensional CAD drawings onto the three-dimensional surface of the bodywork, which required numerous adjustments to the roughly 1,600 diamonds that make up the design, Bugatti said. To allow for these adjustments, designers initially printed each diamond onto transfer film, but that still had to be precisely applied to the car as if it were a life-size model kit.

Bugatti Divo

Once the design was finalized, the transfer film was applied to the customer’s car, a process that involved a rehearsal and several days of checks, according to Bugatti. The car was then painted, after which the transfer film was removed, revealing the final pattern.

Bugatti has declared that the Divo is “made for corners.” It uses the Chiron’s 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W-16, which produces 1,480 horsepower and allows for 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. Those figures match the Chiron, but the Divo also is also 77 pounds lighter and has 198 pounds more downforce, making it more capable on a track. The Divo even visited the Nürburgring, although Bugatti never released a lap time.

Deliveries of the Divo began in August 2020—two years after it’s unveiling—but the first cars didn’t reach the U.S. until this January.

Since the Divo’s introduction, Bugatti has rolled out more limited editions, including two more track-focused models—the Chiron Pur Sport and Bolide. Perhaps a buyer of one of those supercars will request another unique livery.

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Fisker has “completely dropped” solid-state battery dreams

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Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Ocean

Back in 2017, Fisker was touting plans for solid-state battery technology that could enable a range of 500 miles and a charging time of just one minute for electric vehicles.

Fast forward to today and Fisker CEO and founder Henrik Fisker has revealed that his company has abandoned those plans.

“It’s the kind of technology where, when you feel like you’re 90% there, you’re almost there, until you realize the last 10% is much more difficult than the first 90,” he told The Verge in an interview published last week. “So we have completely dropped solid-state batteries at this point in time because we just don’t see it materializing.”

Henrik Fisker and the Fisker Ocean

Fisker was developing the batteries in-house and had hired people from leading battery startups such as Sakti3 and QuantumScape. The latter is the Volkswagen Group-backed battery startup that aims to commercialize solid-state batteries by 2025. It turns out Fisker and QuantumScape were involved in a lawsuit but the two companies settled out of court in 2020, according to The Verge.

In addition to VW Group, Toyota has promised to deliver EVs with solid-state batteries.

As the name suggests, solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte instead of the liquids or gels that most EV batteries use today. They are seen as the next major step in performance as they can deliver greater range and safety over current liquid-type batteries like lithium-ion units. But while they are already used in some small devices, building them on the scale that automotive production requires isn’t possible yet. The batteries also suffer from longevity and cold-weather issues with current technology.

Fisker EMotion

Fisker EMotion

In his interview with The Verge, Fisker said he estimated the technology still being at least seven years out from becoming viable for electric cars. That would put its release at around 2027/2028.

Fisker had planned to introduce its solid-state battery in the EMotion super sedan which was previewed as a concept in 2018. The company still plans to launch the EMotion but will focus on more affordable models first.

Fisker’s first model is the Ocean SUV which is being developed with Austria’s Magna Steyr and due to start production at a Magna Steyr plant in late 2022. It is expected to arrive with an 80-kilowatt-hour battery offering a range of 300 miles. Fisker last week revealed that it is also developing a vehicle with Taiwan’s Foxconn, due in 2023. Fisker hasn’t detailed the type or supplier of the batteries these initial models will use.

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First Aston Martin F1 car in 60 years revealed

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2021 Aston Martin AMR21 Formula One race car

Aston Martin is returning to the Formula One grid in 2021 for the first time in over 60 years via a rebranding of the Racing Point team.

Aston Martin’s team, officially known as Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team thanks to a sponsorship deal with IT services provider Cognizant, on Wednesday unveiled its new race car. Alfa Romeo, Alpine, McLaren and Mercedes-Benz AMG have also shown their new cars.

Called the AMR21, Aston Martin’s car is an evolution of Racing Point’s RP20 from the previous season, and naturally it’s been decked out in green. There are also some pink accents to highlight the sponsorship of water technologies company BWT.

2021 Aston Martin AMR21 Formula One race car

Powering the AMR21 is a power unit sourced from Mercedes-Benz AMG, reflecting a strategy Aston Martin is also using for some of its road cars. The powertrain in the AMR21 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.

Confirmed drivers are four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll. Stroll’s father Lawrence Stroll is both chairman of Aston Martin and the Aston Martin F1 team. Otmar Szafnauer has been named CEO and team principal of the team.

The AMR21 will stretch its legs for the first time at a promotional event to be held Thursday at the Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom, where Aston Martin’s F1 team is located. The team is using Racing Point’s former digs but will move into a new 200,000-square-foot facility under under construction at the same site around mid-2022.

Lance Stroll (left) and Sebastian Vettel

Lance Stroll (left) and Sebastian Vettel

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.

Aston Martin’s first and only stint in F1 started in 1959 and ended the following year. The team competed with the DBR4 race car (and later the DBR5) and listed Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori as drivers. The team would have just five starts over the two years of competition and ultimately pulled out to focus on sports car racing, having failed to score any points.

Speaking of sports car racing, Aston Martin last December announced its exit from the World Endurance Championship, where it had competed in the GTE class with a race car based on its Vantage sports car. It means the automaker is no longer competing in sports car racing, though it will still build Vantage-based race cars for customer teams.

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