Ford says sorry for Mustang Mach-E delays with free charging, cash back – Roadshow

Ford's being mighty kind.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Back in January, Ford confirmed the Mustang Mach-E isn't rolling off the production line and onto car carriers as quickly as it once imagined, much to the disappointment of eager customers. As a thank you for their patience, Ford's reaching out to future owners with a couple of thoughtful gestures.

In an email published to the Mach-E Club forum, Ford said it will provide owners with a $1,000 cash back incentive for when owners take delivery of their cars at a local dealer. If the customer already took delivery before they received the email, Ford provided a phone number for owners to call to take advantage of the $1,000 discount. 

Feeling extra charitable, or perhaps really not wanting to irk its early fan base for EVs with Blue Oval stamping, Ford said owners will also receive 250 kilowatt hours of free DC fast charging. It's in addition to the free 250 kWh Ford tosses in with the purchase, so these owners subject to delays will have 500 kWh available to them on Ford. The catch is they'll need to use the FordPass Charging Network, which is made up of Electrify America stations.

Ford provided more details and said about 4,500 Mustang Mach-E's are subject to further delays to ensure build quality, hence today's gestures of gratitude. In addition to the cash back and free charging, a spokesperson told Roadshow the automaker will also make the owner's first car payment. The latter bit affects about 250 customers subject to further extended delays, but it's not clear how long Ford's talking. Ford began deliveries of the electric SUV this past December as it targeted, but larger scale deliveries have been a slow go. This past January, some customers reported delays stretching well into March.

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Carbon emissions shrank amid the pandemic — they’re back and worse than 2019 – Roadshow

Air pollution in China

China remains a big carbon emissions source.

DuKai Photographer/Getty Images

The world is returning to a typical way of business even after 2020's historic drop is global carbon emissions, and the International Energy Agency is worried we may be on a very bad path with no lessons learned from an opportunity to put green energy at the heart of rebuilding plans. That's the blunt takeaway from new data the IEA released Tuesday.

The devil's in the details, like most things. It's true that in 2020, we saw the largest drop-off of global emissions since World War II; the IEA estimates emissions fell 6% from 2019 levels overall. However, the picture quickly changed as we hummed along through 2020. By December, emissions levels had risen 2% higher than levels recorded in December 2019. Somehow, the world managed to pollute even more during a pandemic. The 2% increase translated to 60 million more tons of carbon entering the Earth's atmosphere than a year earlier.

"The rebound in global carbon emissions toward the end of last year is a stark warning that not enough is being done to accelerate clean energy transitions worldwide. If governments don't move quickly with the right energy policies, this could put at risk the world's historic opportunity to make 2019 the definitive peak in global emissions," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

And it's not any one country to blame. In China, emissions rose 0.8% last year as it emerged from the pandemic. India saw its emissions climb above 2019 levels. The US saw emissions fall 10% overall, but by December, they had approached the same levels as 2019.

While this is a warning sign, the IEA said it's cautiously optimistic that the world is getting its act together. China has laid out an aggressive carbon-neutral plan for the future and the US is once again part of the Paris Climate Agreement. The European Union, India and the UK are also forging ahead with steps to curb emissions in big ways.

The emissions drop in 2020 was equal to taking Japan's total emissions out of the global total two times over. As breathtaking as the statistic is, it's, frankly, going to take more reduction than that for humanity to meet its goals and keep planetary warming under 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Bugatti nearly quit painting this Divo ‘Lady Bug’ because it was so complicated – Roadshow

The final product is jaw-dropping.

Bugatti

Bugatti isn't known for giving up. It makes dreams a reality when customers approach the firm requesting wild colors, one-off materials and more. But even with Bugatti's immense resources and experience designing and building the unthinkable, the project you see here was so intense, the company nearly gave up. That's the Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug."

The French luxury supercar-maker revealed the final product on Tuesday and didn't hide the fact it was incredibly close to walking away from the customer's request. Why? This Divo wasn't as simple as creating paint colors, spraying them on in a unique fashion and shipping the car off to the new owner. No, this particular owner commissioned a special supercar and imagined a "geometric pattern consisting of diamond shapes in a unique color contrast." 

The trouble was, every time Bugatti's team tried to create this effect, the diamond pattern became distorted, folded over and flat-out weird-looking on the Divo's contours and various ribs. Essentially, what the team cooked up in the digital world of CAD hardly translated to a physical car in reality.

"Due to the nature of the project, where a 2D graphic was applied to a 3D sculpture, and after numerous failed ideas and attempts to apply the diamonds, we were close to giving up and saying: 'We cannot meet the customer's request,'" Color and Trim Chief of Bugatti Design Jörg Grumer said.

Designing one-off supercars isn't all fun and games, people.

Bugatti

Designers set off carefully modifying each and every one of the 1,600 diamond shapes planned for the Divo Lady Bug. And Bugatti was quick to point out that messing up a single diamond in the digital process meant ruining the entire design. Just a millimeter off "ruined the visual effect," the French marque said. Finally, after tweaking things on computers, workers applied 20-foot films over a test vehicle to see if the contrasting diamond pattern was even feasible.

It wasn't simple, but it worked. Essentially, Bugatti transferred each diamond to a transfer film to apply to the Divo's body. Workers individually placed all 1,600 diamonds to create the contrasting effect you see in the final product. Bugatti said the process took countless hours just on the test car to make sure they nailed the process. There was no going back when it came time to actually work on the customer's Divo.

With the pattern applied with only minor complications (workers needed to trim some diamonds as needed), Bugatti still needed to paint the car. Unlike factories where cars roll through a paint shop filled with robots spraying a body, the Divo Lady Bug took two weeks to paint by hand. First, a Customer Special Red went down before a Graphite and a clear coat to create the mesmerizingly complex contrast that covers nearly the entire car. And with each step, the painters sanded, smoothed, triple-checked and retouched things as needed. And then resanded things again.

Bugatti

"The attention to detail required and the fact that we had to pursue a zero-defect strategy on the final car gave us tremendous respect for the project," Grumer said. Yeah, making a mistake that far along would be grounds for sobbing, I'm sure.

But the car is real. It's finished and lives with its owner in the US. Sometimes it's easy to gawk at the wild supercars companies make. Stories like the Lady Bug help us appreciate the passion and creativity the humans who work at them exude day in and day out.

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Michelin’s new carbon-neutral EV tire aims to serve electric sports cars better – Roadshow

Michelin Pilot Sport EV tire

Maybe this is just the ticket.

Michelin

Options are seriously limited when it comes to slapping new rubber on an electric car, especially if you want to highlight an EV's performance. That's where Michelin hopes it has created a winner with its new Pilot Sport EV tire, specifically engineered to serve electric sports cars.

Noting EVs weigh more and wear tires down in a different fashion to gas-powered cars due to their higher torque and acceleration, Michelin crafted the Pilot Sport EV bearing in mind what it learned from Formula E. Factory tires for EVs are all about preserving range, so swapping a tire that's not a good match often sacrifices a lot. With a low rolling resistance to preserve an EV's range, with a promise to perhaps extend range by 37 miles, according to the company, the tire truly sounds like something the industry's been missing.

The French tire-maker said it worked to further reduce road noise with a compound that's 20% quieter, thanks to custom-developed polyurethane foam that keeps the unpleasantries out of the cockpit. It's an important attribute since EVs operate in virtual silence at all times. As a cherry atop the project, this tire is completely carbon-neutral. Michelin said all the way up until the point of sale, there are no emissions attached to the Pilot Sport EV. It's not that the company eliminated emissions from the manufacturing process, but instead invested in carbon-offset projects to make everything balance out. One day, it hopes to operate a carbon-neutral system internally.

The new tire launches next month with sizes to fit 18- to 22-inch wheels. I personally would love to see how this springs life into, say, a Chevrolet Bolt EV.

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2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, Mercedes C-Class, new USPS mail trucks: Roadshow’s week in review – Roadshow

Guys, this looks so good.

Hyundai

Another week down, another week in review, Roadshow readers. This week, we have a handful of big debuts from Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Kia. We also finally got a decision from the USPS on new mail trucks.

Scroll below to read the best of what happened the week ending Feb. 27

Top reviews

Reviews Editor Emme Hall took the 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line for a spin and found it to be a seriously sharp sedan.

Click here to read our 2021 Hyundai Sonata N Line review.

We waved goodbye to our long-term 2020 Subaru Outback after 12 months of testing. We found it to be a super-lovable, do-it-all wagon we'd happily recommend.

Click here to read our 2020 Subaru Outback long-term review wrap-up.

Reviews Editor Andrew Krok had some time with the 2021 Buick Envision and it's a seriously better SUV these days.

Click here to read our 2021 Buick Envision review.

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Biden administration review attempts to boost American EV supply chain – Roadshow

Ford wants batteries made in America.

Ford

As automakers enter a new kind of rivalry focused on putting more drivers into electric cars, US automakers want the country to rely more on its at-home supply chains. The recent semiconductor shortage that brought production lines to a halt around the world underscores a problem the industry may face when it comes to rare earth materials required for battery pack production.

On that note, the Biden administration this Wednesday issued an executive order to review the US' supply chain as it relates to the crucial raw materials required to build batteries that eventually make their way to EVs. "The US could better leverage our sizable lithium reserves and manufacturing know-how to expand domestic battery production," the White House said. While President Biden's prepared remarks focused on the semiconductor issue plaguing so many companies currently, the order's scope extends to "advanced batteries, like the ones used in electric vehicles." And on each topic, the president added, "we need to stop playing catch-up after the supply-chain crisis hit. We need to prevent the supply-chain crisis from hitting in the first place."

Today, the materials largely come from foreign countries, and China has a vast resource of refining capability for said materials, such as cobalt. To help make the US more competitive not only at home, but to perhaps extend supply-chain alliances to allies, the order includes a 100-day review that will look for near-term solutions to alleviate the crunch as well as a year-long review. The latter will go deeper into US agencies and result in future proposals from the administration or new research and development activities.

Ahead of the president's remarks, Ford CEO Jim Farley spoke at a financial conference calling on the US government to support battery production in the US and help build out charging infrastructure for EVs, Reuters first reported.

"We need to bring large-scale battery production to the US," he said. "We can't go through what we're doing now with chips."

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2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L prices actually aren’t too bad – Roadshow

Good value to start with, gets expensive quickly, it seems.

Jeep

We learned officially at the beginning of 2021 that Jeep planned not only a traditional Grand Cherokee, but a new three-row model, and the latter launches first in a few months. Ahead of the SUVs shipping out to dealers, Jeep revealed prices for the 2021 Grand Cherokee L (the single letter denotes the third row of seats) on Friday and, honestly, they're not as bad as I imagined they'd be.

Stepping into a base Grand Cherokee L Laredo will set you back $38,690 after a $1,696 destination charge. That's a lot of coin for average car buyers, to be sure, but the SUV also comes with some lovely standard equipment to help justify the cost. And, keep in mind, this is for a three-row SUV. The two-row model that will debut later this year will probably start a lot closer to the current Grand Cherokee's $35,715 starting price. Do note that a 4x4 model doesn't quite slip in under $40,000. It costs $40,690 after destination, adding $2,000 to the final price across the lineup.

Standard active safety and driver-assist features highlight the tech changeover from the old SUV to the new one. Even the cheapest Grand Cherokee L gets adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors and other features. UConnect 5 is also standard and the cheapest model even gets an expansive 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster. For some of the most-requested comforts, like heated seats, you'll need to look at a Limited trim, which also adds leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, remote start and a power liftgate. It jumps to $45,690.

Moving past these two trims, which will likely be volume sellers at dealerships, we get into far more premium territory. The Overland trim rings in at $54,690 and adds Nappa leather upholstery that extends to the door inserts, adjustable front-row cushions, ventilated seats, premium navigation and more. If you opt for a 4x4 model, you also get the Quadra-Trac II system for better off-road capabilities. This is also the first opportunity to nab a Hemi under the hood. The V8-powered model starts at $59,985.

Jeep wraps the lineup with the Summit and Summit Reserve trims, aka the poshest Grand Cherokee Ls you can purchase. They start at $58,690 and $63,690, respectively, but we're talking quilted leather seats, real wood trim, 16-way adjustable power seats with massage function and even more driver-assist technology. The Summit Reserve adds 21-inch wheels, higher quality leather, ventilated second-row seats and a 19-speaker McIntosh sound system.

You'll see the first 2021 Grand Cherokee L SUVs make their way to dealers this spring and early summer. If you're waiting for a hybrid model, don't worry, Jeep has one of those coming, too.

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Best car dryer in 2021 – Roadshow

Drying a car after a hand wash doesn't have to mean digging out an old bath towel from the closet. There are a number of wonderful products on the market that can make drying a car far easier and save you some time along the way, including air dryers and microfiber towels. There are a few different drying routes to have in your detailer kit, so we rounded up the best car dryer tools in the hopes it makes keeping your car clean a simpler task. Make sure to read on afterwards for some handy car drying tips, too.

Metro

If you want the best way to dry a car off after a wash, look no further than an air blower. And if you want the best air blower, you'd best check out Metro's Master Blaster. It moves air at 58,500 feet per minute and provides a seriously powerful blast of air to wipe away water and droplets from a freshly washed car. If you routinely wax your car, this will be even easier.

The process is almost 100% touch free, which saves a car from potential scratches or swirl marks from a chamois towel or microfiber cloth, and the unit comes with a reusable filter to keep maintenance nice and easy. It comes with five attachments to work water out of crevices and rolls to make it super easy to use. The price point isn't for everyone, but an air dryer is absolutely the best way to dry a car after cleaning.

Adam's

Adam's air blower is a lot like the Metro unit, but it's a little more affordable, which makes it our runner-up. Adam's unit moves less air at 58,000 feet per minute, and overall, we preferred the way the Master Blaster operated. Both are great machines, however.

Adam's air dryer tosses in a few attachments for whatever style of drying you're looking for and the unit also rolls like our top pick, which makes maneuvering around the car super easy. We also like the long hose this car blower unit comes with. If you can't swallow the Master Blaster's price tag, you won't be disappointed with Adam's unit.

CleanTools

Air dryers aren't for everyone's wallet, but there are other alternatives that are way friendlier to anyone's budget. That's why we need to talk about The Absorber. This is a synthetic chamois product from CleanTools that does a downright amazing job.

You can use the chamois like a cotton towel to dry off areas of the car, or spread it across a larger part of the car like the roof or hood and drag it to suck up water left after a car wash. In both instances, the absorbency of the chamois cloth leaves a nearly dry surface that should take just a few minutes to totally clear up before you move on to claying, wax or calling it a day.

The Absorber makes drying the car a simple process and it should be on your shopping list.

Mighty Cleaner

The Absorber is the top dog, but Mighty Cleaner's Shammy Towel isn't in the dog house at all. The chamois cloth does a great job picking up water and not leaving much moisture behind. The company also offers its product in a two pack, which might make it a better deal if you want a couple of these around for drying duties. I know I like to have one per car hanging around the house at the moment.

Liquid X

If a shammy isn't your style, there's nothing wrong with a microfiber drying towel outfitted specifically for car drying duty. Liquid X's Rapid Dry microfiber towels are top notch absorbers that do a heck of a job drying a car after a wash. This large towel might take more than one of them, but in our experience, you can get away with just the one because this microfiber towel is massive. One microfiber car drying towel measures 50 inches by 30 inches, so yes, it covers a large area and scoops up water well along the way. Or buy two if you want to make sure your drying needs are covered.

Zwipes

The Liquid X car towel is expensive, but it works well. If you need a more budget-friendly option, Zwipes Microfiber Waffle Drying Towel comes in a two pack and it's a lot cheaper. But, in our experience, absorbency isn't quite as good as the Liquid X microfiber per pass. Nevertheless, it's not a bad drying aid to consider.

Huiscu

The final option we recommend for drying a car is a squeegee, and Huiscu's water blade is our top pick. It's sturdy, features a flexible blade to make swiping away water simple and measures 12 inches for a good-sized drying footprint with each pass. In our experience, it worked well and didn't feel flimsy when wiping away water.

Great Barrier

It may be a personal preference, but Great Barrier's Water Blade features a stiffer, dual-blade design that in our experience worked well, but not as well, as our top pick. That's not to say it didn't do the job because it still lands as a runner-up choice. It's also a little cheaper, so there's an added bonus for you if you like this design better.

Best car drying tools details

Best car drying tool Brand Name Price
Air blower drying cannon Metro Master Blaster $350
Car drying chamois CleanTools The Absorber $15
Car drying towel Liquid X Rapid Dry Towel $40
Car drying squeegee Huiscu Water Blade $19

Car drying tips and tricks

  • A waxed car is way easier to dry: Save yourself some energy and invest in the time to apply a coat of wax to your car's finish after a thorough car wash. After that, water beads super well and it becomes way easier to dry a car off no matter what tool you use.
  • Watch out for debris caught in chamois, towels or squeegees: These tools work well, but there's always the chance they can pick something up like dirt particles. Then, as you wipe a car off, you rub contaminants on the paintwork. Worse, you could create scratches. Just be on the lookout to keep your car's paint looking great.    
  • Air is your friend: Even if you can't afford an air blower, other tools to blow air into crevices can push water out that will eventually dribble out and streak on the paint.
  • Don't let the car sit in the sun: Why? Water spots. The sun will dry water and leave gray shadows behind on paintwork, especially if you're not using completely filtered water. Try to dry a car off after a car wash in the shade if you can.    

Dry off with our favorite tools

Any one of the car drying tools above will make the process mighty easier. We can guarantee that, and with something for every budget, there's no reason not to start enjoying a simpler drying process.

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Cadillac XT5 and XT6 SUVs get a little boost from mild-hybrid powertrains in China – Roadshow

Cadillacs make you float in China, confirmed.

Cadillac

The Cadillac XT5 and XT6 are in for a little bit of love from the powertrain department in China. The luxury division said on Thursday both luxury SUVs will soon come standard with a mild-hybrid powertrain. Prospects of the powertrains seem decent for the US, but Cadillac did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on the matter.

Together, a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, a 48-volt motor, a small battery, a power management module and a hybrid control unit work together to let the engine rest more and allow electricity to take over more often. Like any mild-hybrid, the engine absolutely still does the majority of the work, but the 48-volt system handles some heavy lifting. Specifically, accelerating from a stop is the battery's job, according to Cadillac. And when picking up steam, the small motor and engine work in concert to power the XT5 and XT6.

With this electrification, the brand estimated fuel efficiency grows by 5% for the midsize XT5, and 6% for the full-size XT6.

Aside from the powertrain changes, Cadillac China said buyers will get a new gold exterior color option and the trim lineup will fall in line with what we see here in the US to better organize the models globally. Chinese Cadillac shoppers will find the new SUVs at dealers in the next few weeks, but we'll keep an eye on any changes for the models here in the US in the meantime.

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Ferrari to build Le Mans Hypercar, race for top honors in 2023 – Roadshow

The Prancing Horse is headed back to Le Mans for outright victory.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

Throw some confetti: Ferrari is heading back to Le Mans to challenge for outright victory at Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time in over 50 years. On Wednesday, the Italian marque confirmed that it's building a Le Mans Hypercar.

"In over 70 years of racing, on tracks all over the world, we led our closed-wheel cars to victory by exploring cutting-edge technological solutions: innovations that arise from the track and make every road car produced in Maranello extraordinary," Ferrari President John Elkann said. "With the new Le Mans Hypercar program, Ferrari once again asserts its sporting commitment and determination to be a protagonist in the major global motorsport events."

Ferrari 512M at Le Mans in 1972

This was the last time Ferrari participated in the top class at Le Mans, 1971, with the 512M.

Ferrari

Unfortunately, Ferrari didn't release a sketch or rendering of the hypercar to come and kept the initial announcement light on finer details. However, the Hypercar class regulations keep the competing cars to 670 horsepower and a weight of around 2,270 pounds. Entrants must run an electrified powertrain, making these supercars hybrids, and the front axle's mandatory motor-generator can supply up to 268 hp on its own.

Furthermore, you'll be able to buy one, if you have the means. In addition to meeting the above regulations, companies and automakers must homologate the vehicle and build at least 25 production cars.

With Ferrari officially in the game, the Hypercar class just became incredibly more interesting. Ferrari built its reputation on racing glory, and seeing it return to the top ranks of the World Endurance Championship is, frankly, very exciting. The last time Ferrari challenged for an outright win at Le Mans was back in 1971. We'll see the upcoming Ferrari hypercar hit the grid in 2023 and learn more details about the car and its future drivers in the months to come. Meanwhile, ToyotaPeugeot and US-based Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus each plan their own entries as well.

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