Tesla’s third-quarter deliveries speed past estimates – Roadshow

Tesla keeps on cranking.

Tesla

Factory shutdown aside, 2020 has been kind to Tesla. The good news machine keeps on humming as the automaker said on Friday it delivered 139,300 vehicles in the third quarter of this year.

The figure beats estimates that ranged from 120,000 to 134,000 vehicles delivered, and it will surely help calm any fears Tesla's reach only goes so far. Tesla's official numbers are broken down into two categories: the Model S and Model X and the Model 3 and Model Y. The latter duo was the company's best-seller, with Tesla delivering 124,100 Model 3 and Model Y vehicles last quarter. As for the Model S and Model X, the automaker delivered 15,200.

In terms of outright production, Tesla said it built 16,992 Model S and Model X EVs, and 128,044 Model 3 and Model Y EVs. The automaker hinted at even more positive news, saying, "New vehicle inventory declined further in Q3 as we continue to improve our delivery efficiency."

Moving into the final quarter of this year, Tesla will look to continue the positive delivery numbers as it prepares to start construction of its new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. There, it plans to build the Cybertruck and Model Y for customers on the east coast. Work also continues on a new Gigafactory in Berlin, which will provide Tesla a crucial footprint for European production.

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A smaller electric Volvo SUV is likely in the cards – Roadshow

Smaller than this, and electric.

Volvo

China's Geely owns Volvo Cars, and since earlier this year the companies have increasingly shared engineering and financial resources. Volvo thinks Geely's solid manufacturing underpins classic Volvo style and makes them a formidable team, and there are no plans to stop. 

Volvo President and CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Auto Express Thursday that Volvo plans to use Geely's new Sustainable Experience Architecture platform for a smaller model, likely an SUV to sit below the current XC40. Samuelsson noted the platform would give Volvo a competitive cost structure for "a smaller car than XC40." He added, "We will use it for that." Volvo did not immediately return a request for comment on the company's use of the SEA platform.

From his comments, it sounds like to the key to developing a small, premium electric car will be cost. The Volvo boss reiterated that since the platform was developed in China, Chinese suppliers provide an affordable cost structure. Volvo gets to add the trimmings to create something quite premium, like a top hat to finish things off, as Samuelsson characterized it.

Although the CEO thinks this model will be a small SUV, he also said he's not so sure "SUV" will still hold the same definition in the future. He said ground clearance and off-road prowess aren't always buyers' top priorities, so the shape of SUVs could change further. Technically speaking, we already have a word for those cars: "crossovers." But we came to simply embrace the SUV name as we closed out the last decade.

In the near term, Volvo will be laser-focused on the XC40 Recharge, an electric version of the standard XC40. But, there are limits to engineering an EV on a platform meant for an internal-combustion engine, and that's likely where SEA will step in for Volvo.

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Tesla Model 3 prices fall in China once again – Roadshow

The Model 3 keeps getting cheaper in China.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

For the third time this year, the Tesla Model 3 received a price cut in China. Reuters reported the price change on Thursday and the automaker's Chinese site reflects the new prices. Chinese shoppers will find the Model 3 now costs 249,900 yuan, or roughly $36,800 at current exchange rates. The new price is down about 8% after Tesla slashed the electric car's price again.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why it cut prices, but all information points to the inclusion of a new cobalt-free battery. This week, we heard the automaker was poised to introduce a new lithium-iron phosphate battery that excludes cobalt, a rare-earth mineral, making them cheaper. In turn, the company could sell the Model 3 at a lower cost. Tesla does not mention a new battery on its site, however.

Tesla's prices change frequently in China as the government continues to pull back incentives for buyers to purchase "new-energy vehicles." The prices Tesla lists on its website include the generous incentives, though as the government phases the subsidies out, Tesla will need to compete on its own with a plethora of new EVs on the horizon. We've already seen one EV in China on sale for just $4,200 with the incentives.

As for the new battery, rumors have long pointed to the possibility the cobalt-free battery will be exclusive to China, at least for now. Tesla held its Battery Day event last week, which previewed other breakthroughs the automaker wants to implement in the next few years. With cheaper, more energy-dense batteries, CEO Elon Musk reiterated his hopes for a $25,000 Tesla in the next three years.

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Tesla Model 3 prices fall in China once again – Roadshow

The Model 3 keeps getting cheaper in China.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

For the third time this year, the Tesla Model 3 received a price cut in China. Reuters reported the price change on Thursday and the automaker's Chinese site reflects the new prices. Chinese shoppers will find the Model 3 now costs 249,900 yuan, or roughly $36,800 at current exchange rates. The new price is down about 8% after Tesla slashed the electric car's price again.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why it cut prices, but all information points to the inclusion of a new cobalt-free battery. This week, we heard the automaker was poised to introduce a new lithium-iron phosphate battery that excludes cobalt, a rare-earth mineral, making them cheaper. In turn, the company could sell the Model 3 at a lower cost. Tesla does not mention a new battery on its site, however.

Tesla's prices change frequently in China as the government continues to pull back incentives for buyers to purchase "new-energy vehicles." The prices Tesla lists on its website include the generous incentives, though as the government phases the subsidies out, Tesla will need to compete on its own with a plethora of new EVs on the horizon. We've already seen one EV in China on sale for just $4,200 with the incentives.

As for the new battery, rumors have long pointed to the possibility the cobalt-free battery will be exclusive to China, at least for now. Tesla held its Battery Day event last week, which previewed other breakthroughs the automaker wants to implement in the next few years. With cheaper, more energy-dense batteries, CEO Elon Musk reiterated his hopes for a $25,000 Tesla in the next three years.

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Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 bids farewell after five years of bliss – Roadshow

This is one we will truly miss.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

You know what they say: All good things must come to an end. And the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is very good. That makes its end a tough pill to swallow, but one we must take nonetheless. On Thursday, Ford confirmed the Shelby GT350 and the even racier GT350R will exit production this fall.

Ford made the announcement just as we received seat time in the GT350 Heritage Edition, which honors Carroll Shelby's original 1965 GT350 models with a shade of Wimbledon White and Guardsman Blue stripes. Effectively, the Heritage Edition acts as the GT350 and GT350R's swan song. If it has to go, I guess the lovely retro colors are a great way to see it out. On its production end, "With the 760 horsepower Shelby GT500 now in full stride, we will finish production of Shelby GT350 and GT350R this fall as planned. This makes the way for new additions to excite our passionate Mustang fans for the 2021 model year -- including the limited-edition Mach 1."

The GT350 quickly stole our hearts here at Roadshow with a lovely naturally aspirated 5.2-liter "Voodoo" flat-plane crank V8 engine, which not only performed well but provided one of the best American V8 soundtracks money can buy. Thankfully, it's sticking around in the Shelby GT500 -- there's something about the naturally aspirated engine that's always mighty appealing.

While there's no replacement for the GT350, the new Mustang Mach 1 will strive to carry the car's torch for the time being. Ford revealed the limited-edition Mach 1 earlier this year with 20 extra horsepower over a standard Mustang GT for a total of 480 hp. Essentially, it builds a bridge from the GT to the now-discontinued GT350. It's also bundled with a boatload of Ford Performance parts and even gets the GT350's six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching downshift capability. We're still months away from the Mach 1 reaching dealers so we don't know how much it'll cost, but it should come in less than the GT350, if I had to take a guess. Perhaps the mid-$40,000 range?

While we can't wait to saddle up a Mach 1 and have a go, we will undoubtedly miss the GT350.

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Tesla Model 3 gets average marks in new assisted-driving assessment – Roadshow

Very good systems, but Tesla perhaps promises too much, according to the NCAP.

Tesla

Research has made it clear that ordinary drivers don't fully understand how driver-assist and active safety features work. While we wait for standard procedures to truly test these system on a level scorecard, the European New Car Assessment Program revealed its latest attempt to grade notable vehicles and their technology.

With help from Thatcham Research, NCAP revealed its Assisted Driving assessment on Thursday. It breaks driver-assist features down into three scored categories: Vehicle Assistance, Driver Engagement and Safety Backup. The first category scores the systems onboard to see how effective they operate, and how multiple systems work together to assist the driver. The second category looks at transparency: NCAP scores an automaker's marketing materials for accuracy, how the car monitors the driver to ensure they stay alert and how the car communicates its status with the driver. The last category is all about redundancy: It measures how a car reacts in the event of a system failure or if a driver suddenly becomes unresponsive with assist systems engaged, for example.

On a points scale, cars can earn a Very Good (160 points or more), Good (140-point minimum), Moderate (120-point minimum) or Entry (100-point minimum) score. Anything below 100 points does not register on this assessment. The group then tallies a final score by taking the lowest score between Vehicle Assistance and Driver Engagement, plus the Safety Backup score.

So, for example, the highest-rated vehicle from the first test batch, the Mercedes-Benz GLE, earns 174 points. It scored 86 in Vehicle Assistance, 85 in Driver Engagement and 89 in Safety Backup. NCAP took the 85-point score, the lower tally, and added it to the Safety Backup category for the final tally.

"The best systems strike a good balance between the amount of assistance they give to the driver and how much they do to ensure drivers are engaged and aware of their responsibilities behind the wheel," Matthew Avery, Thatcham's Director of Research, said on the vehicles and scoring system.

So, where's the Tesla Model 3 with its incredibly well-known Autopilot system? Of the first 10 cars NCAP tested, it placed sixth with 131 points and a Moderate rating. While the Model 3 received a Vehicle Assistance score of 87 and its Safety Backup features earned a whopping 95 points, the Driver Engagement score dropped its final rank significantly with just 36 points -- the lowest of any car tested.

"Many aspects of the Model 3 are exemplary; its vehicle assistance is the best we saw in testing and it also aced the safety back up element," Thatcham Research said of the Tesla. "However, it achieves a 'moderate' rating for poor driver engagement, with a design philosophy that is very much about the vehicle doing the driving. That would be appropriate for an automated vehicle -- but this is vehicle assistance. The big 'self-driving' sell in its marketing material, combined with the high performing assistance, encourages the driver to relinquish too much control."

You can see the full results in the table below.

NCAP Assisted Driver Grading

Position Car Vehicle Assistance Driver Engagement Safety Backup Rating
1 Mercedes-Benz GLE 86 85 89 174, Very Good
2 BMW 3 Series 82 83 90 172, Very Good
3 Audi Q8 83 78 84 162, Very Good
4 Ford Kuga (Escape) 66 73 86 152, Good
5 Volkswagen Passat 76 79 61 137, Moderate
6 Tesla Model 3 87 36 95 131, Moderate
7 Nissan Juke 52 70 72 124, Moderate
8 Volvo V60 71 78 49 120, Moderate
9 Renault Clio 62 69 43 105, Entry
10 Peugeot 2008 61 74 40 101, Entry

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Nissan’s Re-Leaf is here to help – Roadshow

Discuss: Nissan's Re-Leaf is here to help

Be respectful, keep it civil and stay on topic. We delete comments that violate our policy, which we encourage you to read. Discussion threads can be closed at any time at our discretion.

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2021 Infiniti Q50 Sensory trim mixes sport and luxury – Roadshow

I dig the sport fascia for sure.

Infiniti

Welcome the Infiniti Q50 to its seventh year on sale; for 2021, it keeps things rather tame overall. If you're looking for a happy medium between sport and luxury, however, Infiniti will gladly show you the new Sensory trim on the menu. The Japanese luxury brand detailed the 2021 Q50 on Tuesday and announced the latest trim level to join the sedan.

Technically, the Q50's Red Sport 400 trim sits atop the sedan's range, but if you remove it from the equation, since it packs a whopping 100 horsepower more than the standard Q50 models, this new Sensory trim is the cream of the crop. It mixes luxurious and sporting elements, but sticks with the 300-hp version of the sedan's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. The front and rear fascias get a "sport design," while power folding mirrors make their way to the trim as standard equipment. Inside, the sporting elements continue with leather-finished sport seats and a headliner finished in black. Black open-pore wood adds a touch of class to the sporty trim.

If you're digging the Sensory trim, it starts at $48,625 after a $1,025 destination charge. Opt for all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive and the cost increases to $50,625.

Other trim levels hold steady for 2021 with prices starting at $37,625 for the least expensive Q50. You will find a suite of active safety systems now made standard for the latest model, which includes features like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors and a surround-view monitor. Back at the top end for the Red Sport 400, you can have your performance sedan with a newly optional carbon fiber trim.

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Buick Electra EV concept ain’t your grandfather’s land yacht – Roadshow

For Electra, one body style isn't enough. It's more of a sedan-crossover mix.

Buick

Buick rolled out a surprise concept at the 2020 Beijing Motor Show that kicked off this weekend. This is the Buick Electra concept, and it is nothing like the Electra you may know from the past. While the Electra that comes to mind for most Buick fans is the elongated land yacht from the mid-to-late 20th century, Buick reborn Electra concept takes inspiration from a space capsule.

Truly, it's a futuristic-looking machine, though it's hard to say where the vehicle falls on the body style spectrum. Buick calls it a crossover, but it looks more like a high-riding edgy sedan, not unlike the Nissan IMS concept shown in 2019. The Polestar 2 also rocks a similar formula. Nevertheless, it's a striking design from Buick, which in the past 10 years or so, rolled out some of the best concept cars from the General Motors design department. Remember Avenir? Or Avista? Yeah.

Perhaps more importantly than the metal that wraps the internals is the fact this concept includes GM's Ultium battery technology. Essentially, this is a somewhat dramatic look at how Buick plans to design its future electric cars. With the Ultium battery onboard, and GM's BEV3 platform, Buick designers went for a ethos they call "potential energy." While the front looks somewhat traditional with a squarish fascia, the car starts to taper through the greenhouse and begins to create a bit of a tip-like shape at the rear. Buick said the idea was to mimic an arrow ready for release. That's the "potential energy" thing again.

The greenhouse is essentially one big glass canopy that extends from the hood to the rear, and if that's not enough retro-futurism for you, the Electra concept sports butterfly-style doors with facial recognition for easy ingress/egress. Want another mobility option? Pop the "floating skateboard" out from under the rear bumper.

Back to why the Ultium battery is so important to GM, it helps start to change the way designers can "package" interiors. In this case, the Electra imagines a world where A- and B-pillars are irrelevant, and I am 100% here for that future. Not only does the car look more spacious, it is more spacious with a flat floor and oodles of legroom between the Electra's four seats. Speaking of the seats, they "float." A new structure GM designers implemented gives the impression of "zero gravity" to tag along with the space capsule sort of look for the cabin. Everything is super-futuristic, including the one-piece digital dashboard and a retractable steering wheel. Buick didn't talk about self-driving capabilities, but clearly, it envisions this concept car as autonomous in some way.

What isn't so farfetched are the performance specifications, which seems to underscore that this sort of car could be a reality sooner rather than later, minus the far-out dashboard and autonomous capabilities. Buick said the Electra concept will do 404 miles on a single charge and features a whopping 583 horsepower. Based on what GM's said in the past about its Ultium battery and Ultium Drive powertrains, this sounds realistic.

To be clear, there's no solid confirmation Buick will put this concept car into production. What seems like a no-brainer is to call a future EV from the brand the "Electra" whether it looks like this or not.

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Yenko Chevy Camaro Stage 2 throws down with 1,050 hp – Roadshow

SVE does it again.

SVE

You know what could make 2020 a bit better? A 1,000-plus horsepower Chevy Camaro. And would you look at that? Specialty Vehicle Engineering has just the thing. On Monday, SVE revealed the Yenko Chevrolet Camaro Stage 2, which packs 1,050 hp. That's 50 hp more than the original Yenko Camaro the company showed off earlier this year.

Under the hood sits a stroked LT1 small-block V8 that displaces 6.8 liters, and the big engine marries with a supercharger to augment the power to such heights. A lot of engineering love goes into the engine, too, with a forged steel crankshaft, aluminum pistons, ported heads from an LT4 engine, an upgraded fuel system and more. A stainless-steel exhaust with long tube headers surely makes the Yenko Camaro Stage 2 roar. To keep the Yenko cool, numerous new cooling systems are installed, including a new transmission and rear differential cooler.

Outside of the engine and power, SVE also tweaked the suspension, which boasts unique bushings, springs and stabilizer bars. Power is nothing if you can't control it, and ensuring the 1,050 hp does its best to make contact with the pavement, a set of Goodyear Eagle F1 tires report for duty.

Now, the bad part. This is a $70,000 package after you supply your own Camaro. There are also a handful of extra options, like painted decals, brake calipers and special interior embroidering that anywhere from $145 to $995 extra. But, if you do choose to partake in this latest Yenko Camaro, you'll be one of just 50 people to own one. This will be a seriously rare car.

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