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    2023 Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray: Everything We Know About the Hybrid

    The eighth-generation Chevrolet Corvette. It’s a mid-engined masterpiece that is so far pretty great in both base and Z51 flavors. And it will have even more variants in the future. That much is almost certain. What exactly these variants are, however, remains an open question until Chevy makes it official. That said, intel that we’ve gathered suggests a Z06 is on the horizon. While the C8 Z06 is an extremely exciting proposition, it’s the so-called “E-Ray” that truly has our attention.

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    What Is the Chevy Corvette E-Ray’s Name All About?

    To be very clear, nothing’s official until Chevy tells us so. And at this early date, we have only rumors and a few scant firm details to work with. Still, this combination gives us a reasonable idea of what to expect from the gasoline-electric hybrid Corvette. For one, General Motors has held the “E-Ray” trademark since 2015. It renewed it in August 2020. Automakers hold trademarks for lots of reasons, and it doesn’t always mean they intend to produce a vehicle so named. However, with the latest GM push toward electrification, the stars are aligning for an electrified C8.

    Will the C8 E-Ray Be a Hybrid?

    That’s the rumor at the moment. We’ve heard the E-Ray will adopt a pair of front-mounted electric motors, which will provide low-speed motivation, as well as an extra kick in various performance scenarios. The layout would be loosely reminiscent of the recently-departed BMW i8: an internal combustion engine aft of the cabin, and two electric motors powering the front wheels. That means the E-Ray would be all-wheel drive.

    What Gas Engine Will Power the Corvette E-Ray?

    The E-Ray is anticipated to use the stock 6.2-liter V-8 engine found in the regular C8 coupe and convertible. For such a large engine, the V-8 returns reasonable fuel economy thanks to a bevy of advanced fuel-saving features, such as Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). GM could detune the engine slightly for better economy, considering the E-Ray’s electric motors will likely add a good deal of power to the powertrain stable. We’re confident that if an E-Ray comes to market, it’ll best the stock C8’s 495-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque (when equipped with the performance exhaust). We envision power numbers that slot it firmly in between the regular C8 and the high-zoot Z06.

    E-Ray May Not Be the Only Hybrid C8

    We’ve heard that the E-Ray’s electric motors could be paired with a twin-turbocharged version of the Z06’s flat-plane crank V-8. The resulting all-wheel-drive hybrid monster could be called the “Zora” to honor the “Father of the Corvette,” GM engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov. We expect it to have more than 900 hp. In other words, it’ll be a true monster of a Corvette. It’d be a smart way for GM to re-use some of the development dollars spent on the E-Ray, too, giving the C8 a variety of mix-and-match powertrain components to dial in several performance price points. Again, GM hasn’t confirmed the Corvette Zora, so things may change in the future.

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    When Will the E-Ray Arrive?

    As soon as we find out when the E-Ray is due, we’ll let you know. The C8’s been out for a while, and after GM’s recent EV and electrification announcements, the time is certainly ripe for the company to announce the addition of the E-Ray. Unfortunately, with most auto shows canceled due to the pandemic, we can’t point to a particular show that might serve as the likely reveal date. Stay tuned. More

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    [UPDATE] 2024 Apple Car: MT Envisioned the iPhone of Cars … in 2016

    Update: This article was originally published on April 14, 2016, and has been updated to include updated market information, as well as information recently reported by Reuters that Apple plans to produce a car by 2024.

    It’s a moment we’ve all had with an Apple product. When the ordinary awkwardness between you and an electronic device becomes a relationship between you and a friend. Mine happened way back when I used an early Compaq computer. The keyboard clacked. You typed things that looked like C: >find /V into DOS. And stories extruded across a murky screen in a green, constipated font. Then a friend let me use this thing called a Macintosh while she was away. I slowly circled my right hand to get used to its strange, plastic clicker-box.

    Suddenly, the screen blinked “Hello.” In script.

    I’m not sure if I said hello back, but I might have. Encounter by encounter, Apple has woven a series of obtuse electronic tools into the fabric of our lives. How many times has somebody held up their iPhone and said, “This IS my life!” The automobile of today is a Compaq computer. And Apple knows it.

    Steve Jobs knew it way back in 2008, too, when Apple was at an early iPhone crossroads. What to focus on next? An electric car reportedly shared the shortlist with the maturing multitouch smartphone. Given Cupertino’s less formidable, 2008-era resources, Jobs’ final pick proved insanely right. Apple’s iPhone-fueled market cap topped a brain-boggling, $2 trillion in 2020. What’s that mean to paycheck-to-Taco Bell types like us? It’s enough to purchase all the stock of General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Combined. And then buy Detroit again. Some of Apple’s shareholders have been clamoring for Apple CEO Tim Cook to snap up Tesla with its loose change.

    And sometimes, Apple has nonchalantly jangled that change. In late 2013, Elon Musk met with Apple’s head of acquisitions and later huddled with Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, at a post-Oscars party. Adding to the warm visuals, Laurene Jobs returned her husband’s famously plateless Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG for a Tesla Model S. But Musk doubts an Apple deal will advance his goal of creating a compelling mass-market EV. “I don’t currently see any scenario that would improve that probability,” he said.

    Read more about our exclusive take on the Apple Car:

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    Project Titan

    As Apple’s code-named Project Titan inhales Silicon Valley’s brightest car brains, it’s left enemies swirling in its wake. The tug-of-war grew tense with Tesla, as evidenced by Musk famously stating, “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.” At a recent press dinner in Palo Alto, I sat next to an executive with a German brand who heads an SV tech center. “We’re battling to hang onto people,” he said after a few drinks. “Recently, we actually hired somebody back from Apple. It felt like a victory.”

    In September, the car was allegedly raised to “committed project” status with a 2019 release date.

    An estimated 1,000 people are thought to be working at an Apple complex in Sunnyvale, California, according to AppleInsider. Operating under an apparent shell name, “SixtyEight Research,” employees have supposedly been told to turn around their Apple name badges (which already have their Apple logos deleted).

    And then there are the autonomous rumors. Apple has pored over the fine points of self-driving regulation with the California DMV. It’s supposedly negotiated use of the nearby GoMentum Station (the repurposed Concord Naval Weapons facility that’s now the nation’s largest secure autonomous-focused test site).

    Early sightings of a camera-festooned Dodge Grand Caravan sparked speculation that the van was actually an autonomous prototype. Apple made a rare comment to quell the chatter: wrong, everybody. They’re just compositing their own version of Street View for Apple Maps. So maybe the car isn’t a minivan. Then what is it?

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    Fruit From the Apple Tree

    In September 2015, the car was allegedly raised to “committed project” status with a 2019 release date, presumably meaning its design completion. But after a program review, Ive “expressed his displeasure.” Reportedly, it was not moving fast enough. The program was in disarray. Its goals were unclear. (Meanwhile, management was accused of unrealistic targets). Ive froze the hiring spree that was projected to spiral toward 1,800 employees, AppleInsider heard. And program head, Steve Zadesky—who spent six years with Apple after a stint with Ford—resigned, though it’s said he did so for personal reasons. In 2019, Apple laid off nearly 200 employees from the project.

    Ive, the world’s most celebrated industrial designer, is the Cupertino Car Czar. Once tempted by a Royal College of Art’s automotive class, he instead chose industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) and later became Jobs’ right hand. And what does he drive? A Bentley Mulsanne and an Aston Martin DB4. His design co-conspirator, Marc Newson, penned Ford’s 1999 021C concept for J Mays and curiously also owns an Aston Martin, a 1929 Bugatti, a ’50s Ferrari, and a Lamborghini Miura. (Another Apple designer, Julian Hönig, previously worked at Lamborghini.) These are impeccable-taste, Goodwood-attending, genuine car guys. And Newson, for one, has a dim view of current automotive design. Per a Wall Street Journal interview, “There were moments when cars somehow encapsulated everything that was good about progress. But right now we’re at the bottom of a trough.”

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    Envisioning the Apple Car

    To get a higher vantage point on all this, we traveled to the hills above Pasadena, California. The ArtCenter College of Design’s famous Hillside Campus is a giant beam-and-glass shoebox designed by Craig Ellsworth, dropped in an arroyo above the Rose Bowl. Here, childlike scribbles flower to sophisticated artistry. Within is a curriculum that’s so influential that it’s essentially become the international epicenter of automotive design. We’re at its far end, sprinkled around a table.

    On my left is Stewart Reed, ArtCenter’s chair of transportation design who recently envisioned the bodywork of Peter Mullin’s unfinished Type 64 Bugatti. Tim Huntzinger, a professor in graduate transportation systems and design, has worked for Fisker, Rivian, and Daqri, a Los Angeles-based augmented reality company. Tim Brewer, a faculty member and an inventor of the first mouse scroll wheel. Di Bao is a Chinese national who specialized in interiors. Akash Chudasama, a recent grad student with an aerospace engineering degree, has interned at JPL. On my right is Garrett DeBry, who’s intrigued by personal mobility and would become our Apple Car designer of record, folding the group’s ideas together and placing them in his own imaginative envelope to create the images you see here.

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    OK, everyone. Imagine Apple is our client, and we’re going to brainstorm what its car will be.

    “My iPhone has become my social life and my career life,” Chudasama says. “I don’t really use this to make calls. I use it for everything else. So if they can make a telephone—something that’s been around a hundred years—part of your way of life, what will they do with a car?”

    “You tell me,” I reply.

    “It’ll be your entire way of life,” Chudasama says. “And probably also the walled garden that turns some people off but others want for the impeccable experience someone else has anticipated for you. Tesla is kinda there; the BMW i3 isn’t there yet, but aesthetics aside, it’s a really easy-to-use car, simple to get into its back seat.”

    There’s immediate dissension. “I totally disagree,” Huntzinger says.

    “The i3 is Windows. They’ve crammed too much functionality into the vehicle, so it actually gets in the way of the experience. The eucalyptus wood is cool, but if you count them, there are 35 different materials in your field of view.”

    Reed takes the high ground. “I just got out of a meeting with a manufacturer who is now calling their designers ‘experience designers,’ ” he says. “Their team sounds like a movie crew: acoustics, haptics, interpreters. To me, that would be an Apple approach.”

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    How about car-sharing? Apple products have always been premium. You spend more to have them, and you prize their finish. Besides the obvious reason—saving money—why would you share your car if you wouldn’t share your phone?

    Stewart: “That’s a question we’ve spent 14 weeks discussing with another manufacturer: how do you share a premium product?”

    Chudasama: “The car would be ownable if you want to own it, but the real value of the phone isn’t the hardware but in its apps. Traditionally your connection to a car is through its steering wheel; now it might be more about how the total transportation experience makes you feel.” Eyes turn to a sleek MacBook Pro on the table; you feel good without even touching it.

    DeBry: “The advertisement for the iPod was a black silhouette jamming to music, and that sold the whole thing. A car that comes to mind was Volvo’s YCC Concept that was designed by women for women. It even had a hole in its seat for a ponytail. That’s really anticipating use cases. The core experience of an Apple vehicle is that it’s as easy to use as possible.”

    Might the famous Apple ease of use be particularly suited for countries with developing driver populations, such as China? “Owning a car in any city is a pain, so an Apple Car could make urban transit simpler,” Huntzinger says. “With iPhones in the pockets of many non-Apple Car drivers (and pedestrians), the whole urban system could be communicating with itself.”

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    Reed taps the brakes on this thinking. “I feel many of us are getting too focused on the rise of urbanization,” he says. “Remember, the best-selling vehicle in the country is still a Ford F-150.” But an autonomous future could blur these lines; you could sleep on your way home or start to work on the way in.

    DeBry: “People historically travel for about a half-hour—whether it’s by foot or horse or car. But an autonomous model could change that. Apple could sell this as giving you a half-hour of your life back. It’s a time machine, particularly valuable as careers become more immersive.” My caution not to get too optimistic about autonomy’s timeline proves futile.

    Herding cats, I ask again: “So what’s the Apple Car?”

    Stewart: “It’s the old-time, really great family chauffeur who knows the family, knows your schedules.”

    Chudasama: “It could be more of a tiny, mono-shaped minivan.” Minivan? “No, we’re talking about a premium mono-volume.” Sketches start to appear on the dry-erase board.

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    Brewer: “Sleek metal—the mono-volume doesn’t have to have those minivan stigmas.”

    Reed: “And the future of automotive glass isn’t laminated safety glass. It’ll be in the realm of hard-coated polycarbonates that allow expansive glass surfaces for augmented or, as I prefer to call them, ‘merged-reality’ projections.”

    Time to pin the group down. Going around the table: “What would your Apple Car look like?”

    “I would start from the inside out,” Bao says, “with usability coming first.”

    Brewer: “What’ll be most striking will be the quality of its parting lines, how materials come together. The big gaps on current cars make them seem dated.”

    Chudasama: “It’ll be a mobility device. A way of life. It won’t be taking cues from an animal or something. Rather, it would be honest to what it really is. It’s not faking its meaning.”

    Huntzinger picks up on that. “Those haunches and big wheels are old memes we use just because people think they’re valuable,” he says.

    Chudasama: “The new premium is ‘convenience’. We want our time back. That’s the most valuable thing we have.”

    Huntzinger: “I think it’ll look like a blend of Toyota’s Me.We concept and Marc Newson’s Ford 021C concept. There’s a trend toward super-organic forms—and some can be timeless, but in five years we’ll know exactly when they were made. Apple’s really good at finding ways to ride that line between exciting without having a timestamp on them.”

    Reed: “The glazing would be beautiful, well-proportioned with some automotive cues that look sure-footed and capable, not cutesy. Approaching it will be like walking up to an amazing store in Tokyo, the way the door opens up and presents isn’t a door you grab but a roof that raises and you walk in.” DeBry is starting to sketch.

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    Silicon Valley Cars

    The response of most carmaking veterans to the Apple rumors has been one loud harrumph. Lighting up a La Libertad Robusto cigar, he puffs smoke and growls, “Cars are very complicated. These software guys will never figure out how to build them.” PayPal co-founder Elon Musk has. And in the same manner, Google is expected to collaborate with Ford. Apple will probably contract it out. Last year, Tim Cook visited the BMW i3 plant in Leipzig, Germany, which is pioneering the mass production of carbon-fiber chassis. Reps also toured Magna-Steyr, a contract builder of premium (sometimes aluminum) cars in Austria. Either way, it makes sense that Apple outsources the manufacturing intricacies overseas (iPhone/Foxconn-like), avoiding U.S. taxes that could take upward of a 40 percent bite from its overseas war chest.

    “Well, maybe,” our archetypal veteran barks. “But,” as the stogie lolls between his molars, “Apple is used to fat profits. Car margins are paper-slim. They’d be crazy to build cars.” Apple’s margin was about 40 percent in 2015. But making smartphones is intensely competitive, too, and its $53.4 billion profit in 2015 reflects strategies that legacy car companies should study, not dismiss. However, we’re being presumptuous of the Apple Car’s business model.

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    ZipCar and Uber are the early breezes of a cyclone of shared use/ownership model that’s readying to blow the industry’s spreadsheets right off their monitors. Replacing single-user ownership with a shared model could collapse your get-around costs. A recent Deloitte study projected our typical per-mile travel costs (that’s all-inclusive) dropping 70 percent for shared, fully autonomous vehicles. Meanwhile, a manufacturer that retains ownership could charge for all that way-greater use while simultaneously building far fewer cars.

    Yet all this might be missing something bigger. Although making ever-more billions is surely motivating, many Cupertino watchers have been wondering if the Macintosh magic is fading since Jobs’ death. Back when Jobs was romancing Pepsi’s John Sculley into being Apple’s CEO, he famously asked, “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?” For Cook and Ive, an Apple Car might be the answer to Steve Jobs’ question about themselves.

    Hello, gentlemen.

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    Apple of Your Eyes: The Windshield

    If the iPhone’s screen is the Mona Lisa of multitouch, an automobile’s windshield and dash would be a blank Sistine ceiling. But what should it look like? Google has amassed its fortune by connecting search-related advertising to people sitting at their desks. Transplant that idea into a car, and it becomes the moving world as seen through Apple’s eyes.

    See all 59 photosWraparound entertainment projections appear below the window line as the steering wheel is released and autonomy is engaged. Above it, augmented reality remains journey-focused to enhance safety and provide location-based information.

    The vehicle will become an extension of your Apple device. — Garrett DeBry, designer of MotorTrend’s imagined Apple Car

    Approaching the Apple Car with your phone or watch pre-positions the seat and mirrors. The climate control prepares your cabin temperature. Your music swells. The door rises. You climb in. The dash—smooth, featureless leather that notably lacks today’s electronic screens—suddenly brightens with projected displays. A Siri avatar greets you. “Hello. Any errands on our way to work, Bob?” You’re still a bit sleepy this morning, so you reply, “Starbucks.” Siri: “OK, I’ll call in your grande latte. But let’s go to the one on Fifth Street instead. There’s construction on our normal route.” The dash’s graphics are swipable and expandable, with only the simplest instruments on display because electric drivetrains no longer need monitoring. You can even toss some graphics up onto the augmented windshield. Made of Corning’s thin automotive Gorilla glass, it’s wraparound to maximize the augmented field of view. “Siri, I have a lot of work today, so I’ll need to eat at my desk again. Any ideas?” Siri: “I sense that you’ve gained four pounds recently despite our going to the gym three days last week. Your Facebook friend Jill, who has similar tastes, liked a cucumber salad at the Blue Garden Cafe that’s right along our way. I’ll highlight it as we get close.” Beyond downloading entertainment from iTunes, the car will be a personal assistant. And one Apple might hope you adopt for your non-driving time, as well.

    Want to see how our final Apple Car renderings took shape? Check out these preliminary sketches right here.

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    2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS: What We Know About the EV Flagship

    Calling the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQS a Tesla slayer this early in the game seems like a stretch–or maybe it’s not. Inspired by the EQS concept from the 2019 Frankfurt show, the production EQS is set to arrive on our shores in 2021 riding on an EV-specific platform with room for a battery pack large enough […]
    The post 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS: What We Know About the EV Flagship appeared first on MotorTrend. More

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    2023 GMC Hummer EV SUV: Everything We Know About It

    Hummer is back, albeit as a sub-brand of GMC, not a standalone brand within General Motors. Don’t call it a gas guzzler, either, because the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup truck will soon welcome an SUV companion that also trades the internal combustion engine of Hummers past for a battery-electric powertrain.

    With production set for GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant, the GMC Hummer EV SUV likely won’t arrive until sometime in 2022 as a 2023 model. While GM isn’t saying much about the SUV’s technical details, the company did announce the Hummer EV truck will have 1,000 horsepower and accelerate to 60 miles per hour in 3.0 seconds. Figure the same will apply to the SUV.

    Additionally, the SUV will sport the same classic Hummer design cues as its truck kin (evidenced by a recent leak of the EV SUV during a GM investor call). This includes a relatively upright windshield, a wide maw, short overhangs, and a spare tire mounted to its rear. LED headlights that span the width of the vehicle, however, clearly mark this as a different breed of Hummer. Those within the Hummer SUV’s cabin have the ability to experience a fully immersive experience with the outside world, too. Thank the truck’s set of Jeep-like removable roof panels that are sure to find their way to the SUV. All this style will surely come at a cost, though, and the SUV may even break the six-figure barrier when optioned out.

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    GM retired the Hummer line of vehicles nearly a decade ago after expanding the brand’s lineup to include the H2 and H3 SUVs and trucks. While the new Hummer enters the market as a GMC, there’s always the possibility that GM will once again break the brand out on its own. After all, stranger things have happened. More

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    The Ford Explorer “Cherokee Truckster” Is Neither Jeep Nor Proper Family Truckster

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    But what if the Griswold’s road trip took place a decade later? Would the family still hit the road in a station wagon? Maybe. Then again, Clark might have decided to join the hoards of families embracing truck-based SUVs such as the still rather new Ford Explorer. For better or worse, such a vision of this alternate timeline exists and is pictured here. The rather unfortunate vehicle bears the name Cherokee Truckster. 

    Presumably a tie-in between the fictional Wagon Queen brand and Ford, the 1994 Ford Explorer Cherokee Truckster proudly wears its Blue Oval and Explorer badges. However, the Cherokee Truckster kit adds an unmistakably Family Truckster-inspired style to Ford’s family SUV. Green paint? Check. (This is reportedly one of just three Explorers to leave the factory in this hue.) Tacky faux wood paneling? Yep. Loads of luggage tied to the roof racks? You know it.

    This special Explorer also features a host of era-specific additions, too, such as oversized running boards, large mud flaps, and tacky chrome bits surrounding the wheel wells and lower door panels. Look past the exterior bits, though, and this looks like any run-of-the-mill XLT-grade 1994 Explorer, from its gray cloth interior to its 4.0-liter V-6 engine. 

    Then again, would you expect Clark Griswold, of all people, to pay extra for a vehicle with meaningful comfort and convenience or performance upgrades? Of course not. Clark’s the sort of sucker to get upsold on an extra such as the Cherokee Truckster package—one that adds little substance, but reeks of terrible taste.

    Not that we’d ever say such things about the individual or family that ultimately signs the title of this Cherokee Truckster (at least not to their faces), which is set to hit the block at Mecum’s upcoming Kissimmee, Florida auction. Credit our colleagues at for making us aware of this piece of vehicular fan fiction. More