Editor-In-Chief's Note: "St. Elon" Musk's latest "Master Plan, Part Deux" is chock-full of so much hype and unmitigated bullshit that it's a wonder that anyone - short of his rabid acolytes - can take any of it seriously. EVs for every segment - including semi-trucks and buses - when he can barely even build the cars he offers now with even a modicum of quality? This on top of promising 500,000 Model 3s by 2018? It's time to move along, there's nothing to see here. -PMD
BMW is utilizing the eDrive drive system technology developed for its BMW i cars in three new BMW 7 Series plug-in hybrid luxury sedans. The machines are powered by the latest-generation 258HP four-cylinder gas engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, and an electric motor with a maximum output of 113HP (83 kW). The combined peak torque is 369 lb-ft (500 Newton meters). The models include a BMW 740e iPerformance with standard wheelbase, a BMW 740Le iPerformance with long wheelbase and a BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance. Acceleration figures are 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.4 seconds for the BMW 740e iPerformance (5.5 seconds for the BMW 740Le iPerformance). BMW says that the maximum electric range using the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles is 27–30 miles (44–48 kilometers) for the BMW 740e iPerformance and BMW 740Le iPerformance, or 25–28 miles (41–45 kilometers) for the BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance (figures may vary depending on the tire choices). Editor-In-Chief's Note: Our experience with the BMW X5 xDrive40e suggests that the electric range for these vehicles is severely limited as the juice gets used up rapidly, to the point of almost not being worth it. -PMD
The Ford Motor Company and Jose Cuervo® are exploring the use of agave plants to develop a sustainable bioplastic material to incorporate in vehicles. Researchers are testing the material’s durability and heat resistance for potential use in vehicle interior and exterior components such as wiring harnesses and storage bins. If successful, the development of a sustainable composite could reduce the weight of car parts, helping to improve fuel economy. The new material could also alleviate the use of petrochemicals, decreasing the overall impact of vehicles on the environment.
When McLaren announced its aggressive plan to enter into the high-performance sports car arena five years ago, Ferrari wasn't concerned. They are now. McLaren Automotive has posted an operational profit for the third consecutive year in only five years of building cars, delivering 1,654 cars in 2015. That figure is expected to double in 2016. McLaren's investment in Research and Development has increased to nearly 30% of turnover, and it has increased its workforce 16% to manage ongoing development and demand. We expect McLaren's upward trajectory to continue at a rapid pace.