This Week in Automobiles: Audi RS3, C8 Z06 Heard, and a 620-Mile Mercedes EV

A 401-horsepower Audi car, Mercedes-vow Benz’s to go all-electric, and an update on the never-ending chip shortage are among the items we covered this week.

¬†Toyota stated on Monday that it will not broadcast Olympic-related ads in Japan, citing widespread popular opposition to the games, and that CEO Akio Toyoda would skip the opening ceremonies. Toyota isn’t completely withdrawing from the Olympics; some of the robots it created to act as mascots will still be present.

Sheetmetal News This Week

Mercedes-Benz said this week that it intends to become an all-electric corporation by 2030, and that it will invest $47 billion between 2022 and 2030 to achieve that objective. The firm has created the EQXX concept, which promises 620 miles of range and a sleek, futuristic appearance to get us enthused about this electric future.

GMC has confirmed that a second full-size electric pickup will be produced (the first being the pickup version of the Hummer EV, which we expect to arrive in 2024). GMC is keeping the majority of the specifics about this vehicle under wraps, but we believe it to be quite similar to the Silverado EV, which is expected to hit the market in 2023 or 2024.

Thanks to a teaser video from Chevrolet, we’ve heard our first official recording of the 2023 Corvette Z06, which is set to arrive this autumn. The howl of a flat-plane-crank engine, which we estimate to produce more than 600 horsepower and peak out at 9000 rpm, can be heard in the video. We’re anxiously down the days until we can hear it firsthand.

Audi unveiled the RS3 sedan for the United States, which will be driven by Audi’s signature 2.5-liter inline-five engine, which will produce 401 horsepower in this application. Audi claims it will accelerate to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, but we believe it will be much faster.

New York is conquered by Mobileye.

Mobileye, a self-driving vehicle startup, is testing self-driving cars in New York City, according to CEO Amnon Shashua, who described the city’s driving environment as “extremely hard” and said testing in the city was a “big pain.” Despite the inconvenience, the business is doing the testing in order to demonstrate that their camera-only autonomous driving configuration (as opposed to setups that employ both camera- and laser-based object recognition systems) is capable of working in a crowded environment.

Ford is also moving forward with its self-driving vehicle plans, announcing this week that, starting later this year, it will give Lyft customers in Miami and Austin rides in semi-autonomous Ford Escapes, thanks to a collaboration with Argo AI and Lyft. In the case of an emergency, the semi in semi-autonomous appears to merely allude to the fact that the automobiles will have a human driver behind the wheel. The cars will be self-driving between pick-up and drop-off, according to Argo. If you like your Lyft to be driven in the traditional fashion, by someone who is chatting on the phone and texting at the same time, don’t worry. Riders in a computer-driven Escape will have the option of opting out of rides.

Crunch Chips

Look, we’re also sick of hearing about the chip shortage. However, early this year’s optimistic projections predicting a summer conclusion to the shortfall have been replaced by predictions of a multi-year chip scarcity, and automakers are continuing to cut output plans. As a result of the shortfall, GM announced this week that it will reduce manufacturing of its fast-selling, high-profit-margin Silverado and Sierra trucks. The chip scarcity, according to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, would most likely last until 2022. Others anticipate a future in which chip supply increases in the car industry but tightens in the electronics industry, perhaps resulting in smartphone chip shortages.

Additional Reading

An update on the Golden Ray, our favourite capsized cargo ship, which is still partially submerged off the coast of Georgia, and whose mooring ropes have been damaged, possibly by irate pleasure cruisers.

Companies may be as excited as ever about self-driving vehicles, but Consumer Reports has a critical assessment of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software, which it claims lacks critical protections and may put the public at risk.

And, like it or not, it appears that electric vehicles are here to stay. EV sales have more than quadrupled in the first half of 2021 compared to the same time last year, according to the Wall Street Journal, while sales of other sorts of cars have increased by 29%.

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