Lexus IS500, Wrangler 392, the New Post Mobile

On Wednesday, President Biden signed an executive order mandating a 100-day review period of the supply chain for certain goods, including batteries for electric vehicles, rare earth minerals, and the semiconductors that have been causing production delays at automotive plants around the world. Pharmaceuticals are also on the list. The review won’t increase supply of those products on its own, but Biden hopes it will result in policy recommendations aimed at boosting domestic production.

This Week in Sheetmetal

Mercedes showed the next generation of the C-class, due at dealers early next year. The cars will be longer and wider than the outgoing models with more space in the back seat and a huge new touchscreen. The design is reminiscent of the smaller A-class, and the four-cylinder engine makes 255 horsepower with help from a 48-volt starter/generator system.

2021 jeep wrangler rubicon 392

Jeep

Jeep says it will launch a 470-hp Wrangler variant called the 392 Rubicon that’s powered by a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter V-8. In addition to the massive power, the 392 sits two inches higher than a regular Rubicon. The 392’s launch edition will cost an incredible $74,995, later editions will cost at least a little less.

Lexus announced the V-8 engine’s return to the 2022 IS lineup with the IS 500 F Sport, which will have 472 horsepower from a 5.0-liter V-8. This could be the last time we see a new V-8-powered compact sedan, so be sure to enjoy it.

In yet more joyous V-8 news, Land Rover announced it will put a 518-hp supercharged V-8 in both the two- and four-door versions of the Defender. The new powertrain should propel the Defender to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. There will be upgraded suspension bits to match the racier engine. Look for the Defender V8 this spring.

usps awards oshkosh defense with contract to replace mail delivery trucks

USPS

Special Delivery

After more than thirty years of service, the familiar Grumman LLV trucks that have been hauling around your junk mail are finally going to be replaced. The United States Postal Service has awarded Oshkosh Defense the contract to replace the trucks. The winning design, which should hit the roads in 2023, is designed to be compatible with either electric power or a conventional engine and includes airbags, something that can’t be said of the outgoing model. Say what you will about the design (we’ve said plenty), but the low, beaky nose is safer for pedestrians and the huge windshield maximizes visibility. If function can’t triumph over form at the post office, what hope is left?

Growing Pains

Look, no one ever said the road to electrification was going to be easy. This week’s evidence: Hyundai will spend almost a billion dollars on a recall of 75,000 of its Kona EVs after 13 reports of fires in the cars. Hyundai isn’t sure yet what caused the fires, but suspects manufacturing faults in the batteries, which are built by LG Chem in Nanjing, China.

Meanwhile, Daimler Trucks says the European Union’s carbon emissions targets will cost thousands of jobs at German powertrain plants by 2033, though the cuts will be gradual, and Daimler plans to achieve them through buyouts and retirements. That’s not exactly an unexpected result of the transition to electric vehicles, but it’s not a good headline for a technology that’s still trying to attract fans.

f1 grand prix of tuscany

Dan Istitene – Formula 1Getty Images

Further Reading

We find it increasingly exhausting to keep up with Elon Musk’s Twitter antics, but if you’re curious about how Musk’s social media presence has affected Tesla’s stock price this week, clickhere.

Apple and Google have been publishing (anonymized) location data from their customers’ cell phones to measure the general public’s response to the ongoing pandemic by tracking how often people are visiting transit stations, grocery stores, and parks, and how often people are requesting map routes using various forms of transportation.

A trailer for the third season of Netflix’s Formula 1 series Drive to Survive dropped this week. The new season comes out March 19, but if this is the first you’re hearing of this racing reality show there are 20 episodes out now for your viewing pleasure.

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