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    NHTSA Investigating Ram HD Trucks with Diesel Engine over Stall Reports

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a probe into Ram trucks with diesel engines, following up on reports of a problem with the high-pressure fuel pump. The problem could cause stalling and loss of power while traveling at speeds above 25 mph.The reported problem could affect 604,651 2019–2020 Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 trucks with the 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine.So far, NHTSA has received 22 complaints about the issue and two field reports. The agency has not yet issued a recall.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today that it’s opening an investigation into the high-pressure fuel pump failure on some heavy-duty Ram trucks. The problem, described in 22 consumer complaints so far, is that the trucks could stall and become immobile while traveling at speeds over 25 mph. The problem, NHTSA’s report says, could lead to “permanent disablement of the vehicle.”The problem could affect an estimated 604,651 2019–2020 model Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 series heavy-duty trucks with the Cummins 6.7-liter diesel engine. NHTSA could issue a recall as a result of the investigation. According to NHTSA and a report today by the Detroit News, Stellantis (then Fiat Chrysler) was aware of the issue much earlier and put out a warranty bulletin in November 2019 about the problem, asking dealers to “collect, monitor, and correct quality issues” with the trucks’ high-pressure fuel pumps.NHTSA said it is opening the investigation to “further assess the scope, frequency, root cause, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect leading to stall/loss of motive power.” If a recall follows later, truck owners can expect to be notified and asked to bring their vehicle to a dealer for a fix. In the meantime, owners of potentially affected Ram heavy-duty trucks can check the NHTSA recall site for updates on the investigation.

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    This Ferrari LaFerrari Might Set an Auction Record

    Tom Gidden ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

    The Ferrari LaFerrari is a strange one. The defining Ferrai of the 2010s was a deserving halo car that ushered in the company’s hybrid era with an unforgettable look. It also failed to break away from its contemporaries, the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918, to stand alone as an immortal in the way the F40 did when this Ferrari halo line started in the late ’80s. It leaves something between an instant classic and just another collectible sports car, a car that belongs in a museum but not quite on the museum’s brochure. While that doesn’t necessarily leave the LaFerrari as an untouchable unicorn, it still makes just about every private sale newsworthy.

    Tom Gidden ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

    This particular LaFerrari is headed to auction in November. Every 1-of-499 LaFerrari is special, but this one adds the distinction of being the only car ordered in a shade of wine-like purple called Vinaccia. That shade and the complimenting Pelle Chiodi di Garofano (brown) interior both come from historic Ferraris in the original owner’s collection.

    Like every LaFerrari, the whole thing is highlighted by a V-12 and an F1-derived hybrid system that combined to produce just under 950 horsepower. That helps the car to reach 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds, both high watermarks for Ferrari’s stable at the time. That complicated hybrid system is expensive, though; CarBibles reports that the LaFerrari’s KERS energy recovery unit costs about $200,000. And that number is before what would be a very difficult installation.

    Tom Gidden ©2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

    LaFerraris were available new only to select high-level Ferrari buyers, so a car like this with under 1000 miles represents an incredibly rare chance for the open market to get their shot at an example. The few cars that have gone to auction already have sold in the $5 million to $10 million range, highlighted by the record-setting sale of the last LaFerrari Aptera in 2017. In the time since, the collector-car market has exploded at all levels. While this car could just as easily come in at the more modest $5 million, conditions are right for this like-new car with a one-of-one color and a story to break the LaFerrari’s own record for highest-ever sale at auction for a 21st-century car.The 2016 LaFerrari will sell at next month’s RM Sotheby’s auction in London. If you have seven to eight figures to spend on a collectible car, you may not find a better investment anytime soon.

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    2022 Honda Civic Si Will Debut October 19

    Honda released another teaser for the 2022 Civic Si and shared its reveal date: October 19.The sedan, seen here in orange, will likely have more power and a stiffer suspension setup than the standard Civic.Honda has already confirmed that it will have a manual transmission.After showing the upcoming Civic Si in race-car form recently, Honda has released yet another teaser for the sporty sedan ahead of its official unveiling on October 19. The latest photo shows the rear end of the Civic Si sedan in a vivid orange color. Its rear decklid spoiler is more subtle than the race car’s giant wing, but it does look to be a bit more aggressive than the standard Civic sedan.

    Like the previous-generation Si, we’re expecting the Civic Si to offer more power than the standard Civic Si’s upgrade engine, a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four with 180 hp. The last Si made 205 hp from this engine and paired it with a six-speed manual transmission, and we’d expect similar specs for the new model. It’ll also have an upgraded suspension and brakes for improved handling and sharper responses.We’ll get all the info tomorrow, but we know that the Si will be available only as a sedan. The Civic coupe was discontinued for this generation, while the upcoming Civic Type R will serve as the hatchback body style’s performance model.
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    Kawasaki Ninja 400 Based Hybrid Electric Motorcycle Prototype Unveiled

    Kawasaki Ninja 400 Based Hybrid Electric Motorcycle PrototypeKawasaki is working on a wide range of fully electric and hybrid motorcycles for the next few years
    Kawasaki has made some major announcements recently which reveals the intentions of the Japanese superbike manufacturer for the future. The bikemaker has revealed that by 2035, all its models would run on electrified powertrains- either fully electric or hybrid electric vehicles, in major international markets.
    In regard to this idea, the company is planning to launch ten new fully electric and hybrid motorcycles by 2025. The first of them was recently showcased at a presentation meeting in Japan. The prototype revealed is slated to be the first hybrid electric motorcycle from Kawasaki.
    However, this isn’t the first motorcycle with an electric powertrain to be unveiled by the Japanese brand. Earlier in 2019, Kawasaki had revealed the electric Ninja 300 Concept, called EV Endeavor. Later the same year, the company filed patents for a hybrid motorcycle, images of which floated on the internet. The recent prototype unveiled is expected to be based on the same patents.
    Kawasaki Ninja 400 Hybrid Prototype – Details
    Going by the images, Kawasaki appears to have used Ninja 400 as the base for the exposed prototype of the hybrid bike. It features a parallel-twin engine which is bolted onto a new tubular steel frame with a large electric motor mounted above the transmission. The electric motor derives its energy from a small 48V battery pack located under the seat.
    Kawasaki Ninja 400 Based Hybrid Electric Motorcycle Prototype
    As per Kawasaki, the hybrid powertrain is equipped with a regenerative feature that tops up the battery when low on charge. Another interesting aspect of this hybrid motorcycle is that within city limits, the bike would completely run on battery and electric motor, cutting out power from the combustion engine. This mode will be useful when some cities introduce zero emissions zones in the future.
    Automated Transmission
    The bikemaker has equipped the prototype with GPS technology that automatically switches to electric power as soon as the bike enters city limits. Outside the city limits, the motorcycle will draw energy from both the combustion engine and electric motor in order to boost its performance. The entire system is paired with an automated transmission system with buttons for gear shifts.
    The setup comprises an automated clutch and a servo-operated shifter that enables gear shifts through push button changes. Other details revealed from the images include a pair of telescopic front forks and rear mono-shock supporting the tubular steel frame. Stopping power is provided by single disc brakes on both wheels while being linked to dual-channel ABS.
    Kawasaki Electric Motorcycle Prototype
    Although no exact timeline for its launch has been confirmed, we won’t be surprised if this motorcycle reaches production within a span of a year. That said, Kawasaki is not likely to bring this hybrid motorcycle to India since hybrid vehicles are not considered as electric vehicles in the country hence do not enjoy the same benefits under the FAME II policies. More

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    Toyota, Stellantis Spending Big on North American EV Battery Production

    Stellantis and battery maker LG Energy Solution are teaming up to build a lithium-ion-battery manufacturing plant in North America that will start operations in early 2024, the automaker announced this morning. Separately, Toyota announced today that it will spend $3.4 billion to develop battery production and build hybrid and electric vehicles in the U.S. Toyota will be pairing with Toyota Tsusho on a lithium-ion-battery plant to open by 2025.Both moves are another sign of how seriously mainstream automakers are taking the move toward electric vehicles, following recent announcements from Ford and GM about similar investment plans.Stellantis, parent company of Dodge, Jeep, and Ram, announced this morning that it’s teaming with battery maker LG to produce lithium-ion battery cells and modules in a North American plant. The location was not announced, but the target start date is early 2024, according to the automaker’s statement. The batteries will be used in hybrid and electric vehicles built in North America. Stellantis has previously stated it intends to have 40 percent of its U.S. sales come from EVs by 2030 and has earmarked a total of $35 billion toward meeting that goal. In July, Jeep revealed its 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid and vowed to have a zero-emission vehicle in every SUV segment by 2025.

    2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe.
    Jeep

    Separately, Toyota Motor North America announced it will spend $1.3 billion, part of a larger $3.4 billion, nine-year investment plan, to set up a U.S. lithium-ion-battery plant to supply U.S.-market hybrid and electric vehicles. That plant is set to start production in 2025, Toyota said. The automaker had previously announced it will spend $13.5 billion worldwide to produce its own batteries and to develop a solid-state battery by 2025 as well. In September, a Toyota executive told Automotive News that the company is already testing a “working prototype.” Although Toyota has been slower than some companies to express enthusiasm for EVs, focusing more attention on hybrids, its announcement today was titled “Toyota charges into electrified future in the U.S.” The automaker says it will build “about 70” hybrid or electric models by 2025, of which 15 will be fully electric.The news from Stellantis and Toyota follows closely on Ford and General Motors’ statements that they are investing in new U.S. facilities for EV production. Ford’s Blue Oval City will produce batteries and electric vehicles in Tennessee, with a separate facility in Kentucky, and its Ion Park will develop batteries in Michigan. GM has two joint-venture battery plants, also with LG, in Ohio and Tennessee. The first of these should start producing battery cells in the second half of 2022.
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    Bajaj Pulsar 250 Exhaust Sound Captured – Loudest Pulsar Yet

    New Bajaj Pulsar 250 cc motorcyclesUpon its launch, the new Pulsar 250 siblings take on Suzuki Gixxer 250 and SF250 in addition to Yamaha FZ25
    After numerous spy shots and a few design renderings, Bajaj Auto has finally revealed the launch date of its new Pulsar 250. The flagship Pulsar-branded motorcycle, will be launched on 28th Oct 2021. With this launch, Bajaj will mark 20 years of the Pulsar range of sporty commuter motorcycles in India.
    It will be offered in two iterations- naked and semi-faired. From spy shots, it looks like the overall design of NS250 has drawn inspiration from its smaller siblings NS160 and NS200. Similar is the case with 250F which shares plenty of styling elements with Pulsar 220F.
    Bajaj Pulsar 250 Exhaust Sound
    Both motorcycles flaunt an aggressive front face featuring a single-pod LED headlamp cluster and integrated LED DRLs. Difference between the two models lies primarily in their styling. While NS250 doesn’t feature a prominent front apron, 250F on the hand, just like the current 220F, gets a large front apron comprising a headlamp cowl and a windscreen that integrates into the side fairing.
    Apart from the extended tank shrouds, no other form of body panels can be seen on the naked Pulsar NS250. That said, NS250 appears to have a slightly more committed riding posture than 250F. Side fairings have been incorporated on both bikes in order to enhance their aerodynamic capabilities. Tail sections of both bikes are fairly similar with the same split LED taillight design.
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    Other highlights include split grab rails for the pillion, a split seating setup, an engine underbelly cowl, a clip-on handlebar, a rear tyre hugger and a side-mounted twin-barrel exhaust canister. From the spy video by Narinder Tandon, we get to hear the exhaust note of the two Pulsar 250cc motorcycles for the first time. Compared to any other Pulsar range, the sound emitted from the 250s is much louder.
    On 250F, rearview mirrors are mounted on the front apron whereas in NS250, rearview mirrors are installed on the handlebar. The semi-faired version of Pulsar 250 gets a large fly screen whereas its naked iteration features a smaller unit.
    Features & Mechanical Specs
    In terms of features, Pulsar 250 will be offered with a semi-digital instrument console. It is also likely to be enabled with Bluetooth connectivity. Hardware configurations of both motorcycles are identical.
    Suspension setup of Pulsar 250 consists of conventional telescopic forks upfront and a mono-shock linked to the swingarm at rear. Braking duties will be carried out by single disc brakes on both wheels which will be accompanied by a dual-channel ABS as standard.
    Powering the latest quarter-litre offerings from Bajaj will be a new 249cc single-cylinder air/oil-cooled engine which is expected to dish out 24 bhp and 20 Nm of peak torque. This unit will be linked to a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper and assist clutch. This motor has also been equipped with variable valve actuation (VVA) technology. More

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    Cars Most Likely to Be Stolen in 2020 Were Ford, Chevy Pickups

    Numbers released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau show there was an 11 percent increase in the number of vehicles stolen in the U.S. last year, with the two most popular targets being Ford and Chevrolet half-ton pickups.The Honda Civic and Accord were the next most popular cars to steal, in part because late-1990s versions of these vehicles still on the road are unlikely to have anti-theft devices built in.The FBI, which uses different methods to calculate crime statistics, found that motor vehicle thefts in the U.S. jumped 16.6 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. The year 2020 was tough for most everyone on the planet, but the hundreds of thousands of people who had their vehicle stolen last year got to deal with an extra helping of “Seriously, this too?” amid the pandemic. Thanks to numbers released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), drivers of Ford and Chevy full-size pickups were most likely to have to deal with having their vehicle disappear unexpectedly than anyone else.

    In its annual “hot wheels” list (get it?), the NICB found that, overall, vehicle thefts were up 11 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. The top ten most stolen makes and models add up to just over 231,000 vehicles, led by full-size Ford pickups with 44,014 units stolen and full-size Chevy trucks in second place at 40,968. Coming in third and fourth places last year, respectively, were the Honda Civic and Accord. Late-1990s versions of these vehicles are popular targets for thieves because they were some of the last models built without anti-theft technology, NCIB said.

    NICB

    For the most part, thieves tend to pick older vehicles, the NICB found. For the Ford trucks, for example, the most common model year stolen was 2006, while the 2004 was the most common Chevy truck stolen. There are some surprises in the bottom half of the Top 10 most stolen vehicle list, though, with the Toyota Camry (fifth place overall), Nissan Altima (sixth), and Toyota Corolla (eighth) having their most common model year stolen being either 2020 or 2019. Rounding out the top 10 are the GMC full-size pickups at number seven, the Honda CR-V in ninth place, and the full-size Dodge pick-ups in tenth.”Auto thefts saw a dramatic increase in 2020 versus 2019 in part due to the pandemic, an economic downturn, law enforcement realignment, depleted social and schooling programs, and, in still too many cases, owner complacency,” said David Glawe, NICB president and CEO, in a statement. The FBI, which uses different data collection methods than the NICB, found that, overall, there were around 407,000 motor-vehicle-theft incidents in 2020, a 16.6 percent increase over the 315,000 such incidents in 2019 and the 270,000 incidents that were reported in 2018. The real numbers of vehicles stolen in the U.S. are higher, as the FBI collects its data through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which relies on numbers submitted by local law enforcement, and not all local agencies share their information with the Bureau. In 2020, for example, the FBI estimated national crime statistics based on data received from 15,875 of 18,623 law enforcement agencies that year.However many vehicle thefts actually happened last year, the NICB offers some common-sense tips on how not to add to the statistics next year. The super-easy ones: always lock your car, park in well-lit areas, and don’t leave your keys in the car. Installing a warning device or something that will immobilize or track your car will take a bit more effort, but it is worth considering if you think your vehicle is at risk.

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    Lucid’s Answer to Tesla’s Autopilot Is Called DreamDrive

    Lucid reveals details of DreamDrive advanced driver-assist system, designed to offer semi-autonomous features and upgrades via OTA updates.The automaker’s system will include driver attention monitoring to make sure drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel, pointing to Level 2 capability.Lucid says it is working on Level 3 features as well, which will be functional in some driving conditions.This week Lucid Motors, just days after starting production of its 520-mile Air sedan, has revealed the first details of its DreamDrive advanced driver-assist system, which is expected to compete with Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems, among others. The system boasts 32 sensor inputs, including ultrasonic and radar sensors, 18 cameras, solid-state Lidar, and sensors to monitor driver attention.

    DreamDrive will offer a group of features dubbed Highway Pilot, which combines adaptive cruise control with lane centering, as well as Traffic Jam Assist, which will function at speeds between zero and 40 mph, working to center the electric sedan in the lane in tight traffic and respond to the movement of other vehicles around it. “An infrared driver camera tracks head position, eye gaze, and blinking, while hands-off detection prompts the driver to return their hands to the steering wheel immediately,” the automaker notes.DreamDrive will also offer an Auto Park feature, which will allow the sedan to identify parallel and perpendicular spots and will enter them automatically, managing steering and drive inputs.

    Lucid Motors

    The hardware behind the system is something Lucid calls an Ethernet Ring, which is a high-speed data network that uses four computer gateways, each positioned in one of the four corners of the sedan, to relay data at gigabit speeds, allowing for system redundancy and quick data transmission.”DreamDrive Pro has been designed to grow in capability, thanks to our ability to deliver software over-the-air and key equipment already in place in the vehicle,” said Eugene Lee, senior director of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving at Lucid Motors. “Thanks to highly integrated hardware and software teams, Lucid has the ability to develop new functionality for DreamDrive Pro in-house. This can benefit every facet of the DreamDrive Pro experience, from the frequency of updates to the planned rollout of the Highway Pilot system for conditional automated driving on select roadways in the coming years.”At this point it’s prudent to note just what DreamDrive does not promise. For starters, it does not promise that drivers will be able to take their attention off the road. It also does not promise that drivers will be able to keep their hands off the steering wheel, because driver monitoring sensors will make sure that they do so at all times. So there are certainly a few caveats here that point to a system with no eyes-off, brain-off capabilities of Level 3 and Level 4 systems, some of which are already available in other vehicles. For now, it appears that it will be a purely Level 2 system, like Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD.The company does mention that Level 3 capabilities are in the works, at least for limited circumstances.”The Lucid DreamDrive technology suite supports 19 key safety, driving, and parking assist features that will be available on Lucid Air immediately upon start of production, with another eight features expected to be available later via over-the-air (OTA) updates. Additional DreamDrive capabilities to enable Level 3 driving in certain conditions are also in development,” Lucid said in 2020.The company also adds that Highway Pilot with conditional hands-free capability is something that will be offered in the future.While the major hardware advantage with Lucid’s system could be the inclusion of solid-state lidar, something that Tesla has shunned over the years in favor of transitioning to a camera-only system, DreamDrive appears to be taking a very careful approach to Level 2 autonomy to the point of not offering hands-free driving at the moment, unlike GM’s upcoming Ultra Cruise system. So while it will certainly feature a far fuller sensor suite than that offered by other advanced driver-assist systems on the market, it won’t be pushing the envelope for the time being.

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