Tesla recalls 475,000 Model 3, S sedans for faulty rearview camera wiring

Tesla is recalling more than 475,000 Model 3 and Model S sedans to address a defect that can cause the rearview camera to stop functioning, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Tuesday. The campaign covers 2017-2020 Model 3s (representing nearly 360,000 units) with an unspecified range of Model S production (NHTSA documentation appears to be incomplete as of the time of publication) making up the remaining ~115,000 units. 

Over time, use of the trunk lid can wear the wiring harness which includes the cable that carries signal from the rearview camera to Tesla’s main control and infotainment screen. Users may notice intermittent issues with the camera display before it fails entirely.

“The Model 3 trunk harness is equipped with a solid core coaxial cable that provides the rearview camera feed for visibility on the center display,” Tesla said in its recall report to NHTSA. “The coaxial cable is affixed to a harness on the trunk lid and extends or folds as the trunk opens and closes. When the trunk is in a closed state, the harness folds and may experience a tight bend radius, stressing the core of the cable.”

“Over time, repeated opening and closing of the trunk lid may cause excessive wear to the coaxial cable. If the wear causes the core of the coaxial cable to separate, the rearview camera feed is not visible on the center display,” it said. 

Tesla says it mail notices to owners to address the recall by mid-February.

Related Video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

2022 GMC Canyon gets a few tiny changes

After overhauling the GMC Canyon lineup into Elevation Standard, Elevation, AT4, and Denali for the 2021 model year, GMC has sprinkled just a few changes on the 2022 Canyon. The midsized pickup’s appearance outside and inside doesn’t change. The sole alteration in the cabin is that wireless charging won’t be come standard on Denali next year, but be an option. That could be GM making lemonade out of lemons, telling customers that if they want hard-to-find semiconductor chips then they’re going to have to kick in more dough. The only other change is a new gloss black aluminum spare wheel for the AT4 trim when specced with a Crew Cab and a short bed. This rim replaces the steel spare wheel that remains standard fit on Elevation, Elevation Standard, and Denali. And anyone looking for the High Elevation Package will need to look for it by its new name, the Elevation Premium Package.

The Denali Black Edition Package is new for next year for $2,295 on gas-powered models that aren’t fitted with the Power Package or the Cat-Back Performance Exhaust. On the exterior, this adds five-inch black assist steps to replace the chrome units, black chrome exhaust tips instead of polished tips, and 20-inch low-gloss-black aluminum wheels with black GMC logo center caps. Inside come premium all-weather floor mats taking the place of the carpeted mats.

The current, second-generation Canyon doesn’t have long to live, with the third-generation pickup expected for the 2023 or 2024 model year. Spy shots from earlier this year make us think the Canyon and its Chevrolet Colorado twin will pick up styling to emphasize their connection to GM’s larger half-ton pickups. Rumor also has it that the Silverado will donate what may be the new midsizer’s only powertrain, a turbocharged four-cylinder engine — the new corporate 2.7-liter turbo in this instance. That 310-horsepower mill would supplant both the 2.5-liter four-cylinder 3.6-liter V6 gas engines now available, and the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel. It does, however, appear that GMC will get its own version of the Colorado ZR2, spy shooters catching a camouflaged, high-rise Canyon on a set of Multimatic DSSV dampers.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Inline-6 Hemi replacement on the cusp of production from Stellantis

It appears that Stellantis is ready to put its long-rumored inline-six into production at its Saltillo, Mexico plant, possibly marking the beginning of the end of Chrysler’s long-running 5.7L Hemi V8. But so far, the automaker’s American brands have remained mum on where exactly the new turbocharged “Tornado” I6 may land. Stellantis powertrain blog Stellpower (by way of Muscle Cars & Trucks) spotted an entry for a new “GME T6” inline-six engine on the Saltillo facility’s web site, suggesting that it was either in production or close to it. That entry has since been removed, but the mystery remains. 

We’ve been hearing tidbits here and there about this new inline engine for years, but this is the first time we’ve seen anything suggesting its arrival is imminent. Usually, such a significant powertrain update would coincide with the launch of a new product to showcase it. So far, Stellantis has remained mum, even overseas, about where this engine is destined to reside. 2022 model year vehicles are likely off the table entirely. 

But while it’s common for new engines to debut with new cars and trucks, it’s not a universal truth. Ford’s Coyote V8 missed the corresponding Mustang refresh by a year, for example, orphaning the 2010 model and its much-needed styling updates with the old 4.6L V8 (and the 3.8L V6, for that matter; the 3.7L Duratec was also late to that party). Even sticking just to Stellantis, the JL Wrangler’s powertrains have been a work in progress since it arrived back in 2018. The standard V6 and 2.0-liter turbo-4 debuted at launch; the EcoDiesel, 392 and 4xe all came later. 

And 4xe may be the model by which to measure our expectations. Its introduction didn’t come completely out of nowhere, but it was rather sudden for what turned out to be such a solid offering. That bodes well for the company’s existing Hemi-powered trucks and SUVs. The Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer are all strong candidates to receive the new Hemi replacement, as all would greatly benefit from even small improvements in fuel economy. If there’s to be a future for the Dodge Charger and Challenger and Chrysler 300, they’d benefit too. And how about a Gladiator with the wick turned up, positioned as its equivalent to the Wrangler 392. Turn that Tornado into a Dust Devil. Don’t worry; we’ve got plenty more where that came from. 

Related Video

Source: AutoBlog.com

Dutch artist’s DIY motorcycle runs on swamp gas he collects himself

Dutch artist, designer, independent engineer and motorcycle enthusiast Gijs Schalkx has an odd way of getting around. His motorcycle clearly has some DIY elements on it, like the wood tacked onto the frame, a small bottle of fluid on the handlebars and a balloon housed in a big transparent cylinder standing tall behind the seat. That balloon — actually a condom — is the bike’s fuel tank. You see, the Slootmotor, as his motorcycle is called, runs on methane that Schalkx painstakingly harvests from swamps. Yes, it runs on swamp gas.

Methane is terrible for the environment. It’s a potent greenhouse gas, with 100-year global warming potential 28 to 34 times that of carbon dioxide. It’s often released from the extraction and production of other fossil fuels. It’s a byproduct of the agricultural industry, as well — livestock produce methane in their digestive process (according to UC Davis, a single cow can belch 220 pounds of methane in a year). It is also produced in landfills and rice paddies, and as a byproduct of biomass burning. Methane can also occur and find its way into the atmosphere naturally, without the involvement of humans, in the decaying of organic matter.

A lot of organic matter decays at the bottom of bogs, which is where Schalkx gets the fuel for his Slootmotor (sloot means “ditch” in Dutch). He wades in and rakes the muck at the bottom, releasing bubbles of gas, which he traps in a bucket floating upside-down on the surface of the water. He then pumps it by hand into his condom fuel tank, and uses that to run the bike’s 49cc four-stroke motor. That little jar of fluid attached to the handlebars is gasoline he uses to get the engine started when it’s cold. Other than that, it’s all swamp gas.

Schalkx calls his Slootmotor the greenest vehicle on the planet, because it burns methane that would otherwise have vented naturally into the atmosphere. The byproduct of burning it is CO2, which, as we noted earlier, has far less global warming potential than the same amount of methane, which is why you’ll often see methane flaring at oil and gas operations and at landfills. And, unlike those flare stacks, the Slootmotor is actually putting that combustion to work.

It’s not the most labor-efficient way to fuel his bike. Schalkx tells Motherboard in the video above that it takes about eight hours to collect enough gas to propel the bike for 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). Probably as important as having a cleaner form of transport is that the project answered a simple question for Schalkx: Is it possible? That answer, clearly, is yes, and he says the first 500 meters he rode using the methane he harvested were the best 500 meters of his life.

“I think the biggest motivation was this idea that every time I put [gasoline] in the tank of my motorcycle, I am sponsoring, say, big corporations, their greenwashing campaigns, and I really wanted to become independent,” he told Motherboard. He likes the idea that he can find his own fuel, and that the extra effort involved only serves to make the reward sweeter.

Check out the video above, or visit Schalkx’s website to learn more about the Slootmotor.

Related Video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Editors’ Picks December 2021 | Year-end edition

The end of the year is upon us, so it’s time for the last set of Editors’ Picks of 2021. This month saw a number of cars earn our nod as models we recommend, and one of them is a brand new EV that just hit the market. Plus, compact pickups are back, and one of them has already earned a spot as an Editors’ Pick.

In case you missed our previous Editors’ Picks posts, here’s a quick refresher on what’s going on here. We rate all the new cars we drive with a 1-10 score. Cars that are exemplary in their respective segments get Editors’ Pick status. Those are the ones we’d recommend to our friends, family and anybody who’s curious and asks the question. The list that you’ll find below consists of every car we rated in December that earned an Editors’ Pick.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Quick take: The Santa Cruz hits in all the right ways, as Hyundai finds a mix of great driving dynamics, a potent turbo engine, well-appointed interior and attractive styling.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Ford Maverick

Pros: Attractive styling, great tech, helpful utility features

Cons: Expensive, small rear seat, average fuel economy

From the editors

Features Editor, James Riswick — “It’s both a pickup and a compact crossover, two things Americans love. It has features and power aplenty. It’s surprisingly fun to drive and impressively refined. On the one hand, judging by those attributes, it could be wildly successful. On the other hand, it doesn’t look like a conventional truck, which hasn’t gone well in the past.”

News Editor, Joel Stocksdale — “With its swoopy shape, clever headlights and the fact that it has a truck bed, a lot of what makes the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz interesting is on the outside. But step inside, and you’ll discover that, while not as original as the Ford Maverick’s cabin, the Santa Cruz can be a comfy, stylish and arguably upmarket environment, provided you’re willing to pay the price.”

In-depth analysis: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Review | Price, bed size, on-sale date, pictures

 

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS

Quick take: The EQS approaches peak luxury in a way no car has before it with totally silent operation, a cosseting ride and eye-opening tech. That it’s so capable, quick and fun to drive makes the experience all the more shocking.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, Lucid Air, Audi E-Tron GT

Pros: Top notch interior luxury, the best tech, great handling, long range

Cons: Controversial styling, weird regenerative braking behavior

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I don’t think there’s any other luxury car I’d want to own more than the EQS right now. It’s markably better than even the S-Class at providing peak luxury to the driver. Plus, it’s tons of fun to wheel about on a twisty road, and its hatchback rear opening gives it huge utility. Make mine the AMG.”

Features Editor James Riswick — “The new 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is quiet. As in, carrying on a conversation at a hushed whisper while doing 65 miles per hour on choppy pavement through San Francisco. Road noise? Nope. Wind noise? Not really. Cars and trucks pushing air at you from the opposite direction? Just a mild fwaa, like someone exhaling from across the room.”

In-depth analysis: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS First Drive Review | The electric Benz is worth the wait

 

2022 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class

Quick take: The little Benz is big on character, style and confidently brings the Mercedes experience to a lower price point. Meanwhile, the AMG versions offer compact thrills that are even better than expected.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, Audi A3, Acura ILX

Pros: Super fun to drive, AMG variants are a hoot, sleek styling

Cons: Pricey, cost-cutting interior, limited rear space

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “I drove the CLA 45, and I came away with way more respect for the little CLA platform than I did previously. It’s good enough, and fun enough, to cross shop with the V8-powered AMG C 63. You can nitpick the interior, but the car is still a proper Mercedes experience, and that’s what matters.” 

In-depth information: Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 First Drive Review | A sophisticated evolution

2022 Chevrolet Tahoe

Quick take: Now that the Tahoe is rocking an independent rear suspension, it’s everything it should be. The ride is superb. It has massive third row space and cargo capacity. Plus, the number of trims and variants means there’s likely a Tahoe for whatever use you’re looking for.

Score: 7.5

What it competes with: Ford Expedition, Jeep Wagoneer, Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon, Nissan Armada

Pros: Rides comfortably, massive cargo space and third row, smooth engines

Cons: Drab interior, poor fuel economy

From the editors:

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “The 2021 Tahoe is unquestionably a major improvement over its predecessor. The independent rear suspension in particular corrects the previous ride, handling and interior packaging issues, while the new cabin keeps the Tahoe fresh and modern in a segment that is mostly quite the opposite.”

In-depth information: 2022 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban Review | What’s new, prices, size, mpg

2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

Quick take: The GLE comes in any flavor of luxury or AMG performance that you might want, and if you have the means, will likely outdo any of the SUV competitors. Its combination of an incredible ride, fantastic engines, shockingly good handling and rich interior appointments leaves little to be desired.

Score: 8.5

What it competes with: BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, Acura MDX, Genesis GV80, Lexus RX, Lincoln Aviator, Volvo XC90, Infiniti QX60

Pros: Maximum luxury, both fun to drive and comfortable, AMG variants rock

Cons: Expensive, base 4-cylinder is weak

From the editors:

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — “After driving the AMG GLE 53, it feels like the AMG product to get. It’s both buttery smooth and super quick to pounce. Combine the noise and pure performance with the luxury package around it, and you’re left with a tough-to-beat product, no matter the competition.”

News Editor Joel Stocksdale — “The GLE glides along, keeping its occupants stable and serene, cosseted in the most opulent and comfortable interior in the segment. So if lavish trimmings and a calm driving experience are your thing, the GLE-Class is king.”

In-depth information: Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class First Drive Review | The ‘L’ must be for luxury

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Acura’s GM-based electric crossover may be called ADX

Acura’s version of Honda’s General Motors-based electric crossover will inaugurate the ADX nameplate, according to a recent report. While nothing is official, the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently granted the Japanese company the rights to the name.

Spotted by Car & Driver, the trademark application was filed by Honda on December 22, 2021, and approved three days later. Nothing suggests it’s for a Honda, but a model called ADX would slot neatly into the Acura range, which also includes the MDX and the RDX.

The filing asks more questions than it answers. What’s an Acura ADX? One possibility is that the nameplate might appear on Acura’s version of the Honda Prologue, which is due out for the 2024 model year. It will be based on a GM-designed platform, and it will be powered by the same Ultium battery technology found under the Cadillac Lyriq, among other EVs. We know it will spawn an Acura, too.

It’s important to note that nothing in the filing mentions an electric powertrain. Acura’s range only includes two crossovers, which is far below the industry average (Lexus has five crossovers and SUVs; even Lincoln has four) so the ADX name could end up on a non-electric addition to the range. The line-up could grow in a number of directions and many of its dealers are asking for bigger and small people-movers.

As we’ve said before, a patent or a trademark filing is not a guarantee that a feature or a nameplate will see the light that awaits at the end of a production line. Carmakers routinely protect their intellectual property to ensure that it doesn’t end up in the hands of a rival. Although there’s no such thing as an Acura ADX — at least not yet — the name falls in line with the company’s naming system. Imagine the confusion that would ensue if, say, Lexus released a crossover called ADX that was aimed directly at the 355-horsepower Acura MDX Type S.

Acura hasn’t commented on the report, and it hasn’t revealed what its Honda and General Motors-derived model will be called.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Toyota Avalon enters 2022 with XSE Hybrid Nightshade Edition

Toyota has confirmed that production of the Avalon will end after the 2022 model year. While the big sedan isn’t exactly going out with a bang, it’s not remaining unchanged for its final model year. It gains an appearance package called Nightshade Edition and loses a trim level.

If the Nightshade name sounds familiar, it’s likely because the package is already available on several members of the Toyota line-up, including the Prius, the Camry, and the Sequoia. It was added to the Avalon range in 2021 but it was paired with the XSE trim. For 2022, only the XSE Hybrid is eligible to receive the Nightshade treatment, which adds a black finish on the grille, the mirror caps, exterior door handles, exterior trim, emblems, and 19-inch wheels. Buyers who want an all-black sedan can order the Nightshade Edition in Midnight Black Metallic, but the palette also includes Wind Chill Pearl and Celestial Silver Metallic. Black upholstery comes standard.

Nighthshade models come standard with a moonroof, an eight-speaker sound system, and a nine-inch touchscreen with navigation. And, like every version of the Avalon, the Nightshade benefits from the Toyota Safety System 2.5+ suite of electronic driving aids. It includes a pre-collision warning system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams, among other functions.

Toyota is making the Avalon available in six trim levels for its final model year; the TRD is gone. They’re called XLE, XLE Hybrid, XSE Hybrid Nightshade, Limited, Touring, and Limited Hybrid. Pricing starts at $37,400 for the entry-level model, a figure that includes a mandatory $1,025 destination charge. The other five trims are priced at $38,375, $41,725, $43,700, $44,100, and $44,675, respectively.

It’s “last call!” for the Avalon. The nameplate launched in 1994 will retire after the 2022 model year and a successor isn’t planned.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Hyundai puts its hydrogen development program on hiatus

Hydrogen technology has reportedly lost one of its biggest and most vocal proponents, at least for now. Citing a long list of hurdles, Hyundai has allegedly stopped developing the hydrogen-electric powertrain it planned to put in several of its cars (including Genesis models) in the coming years.

Anonymous sources told South Korean publication Chosunbiz that executives pulled the emergency brake after analyzing the results of a feasibility study. Nothing is official at this point, and the report stresses that the pause is temporary. However, the issues reportedly found are relatively serious: they include unspecified technical problems and a lack of marketability due in part to cost-related concerns.

The news comes as a surprise because Hyundai has invested a tremendous amount of resources into making hydrogen a viable alternative to gasoline without many of the inconveniences associated with EVs, like long charging times and limited driving range. It’s one of the few carmakers in the world that sells a hydrogen-electric car (the Nexo; pictured), and it announced plans to build about 130,000 hydrogen-powered cars annually by 2025. And yet, the Nexo is a tough sell, even in hydrogen-friendly markets like South Korea; 8,206 units were sold there through November 2021. The 671-horsepower Vision FK concept unveiled earlier in 2021 will seemingly remain at the prototype stage.

Interestingly, a separate unverified report claims that Hyundai has also shuttered its engine development division. If both are accurate, it means that the Hyundai group (which includes Kia and Genesis) will exclusively develop electric powertrains starting in the near future.

Several car companies have tried to pelt hydrogen-powered cars into the mainstream over the past decade and most have failed. Some of the issues facing the technology include the lack of a charging infrastructure and governments with a single-minded focus on EVs. There are 48 hydrogen charging stations in America, according to the United States Department of Energy, and 47 of those are located in California. While that’s great news for Californians, it makes the Nexo completely useless for someone driving from Salt Lake City to Seattle.

However, some firms still believe that hydrogen-electric drivetrains have a future. BMW and Toyota are notably working together to reap the rewards of economies of scale. BMW will begin building a handful of hydrogen-powered X5s in 2022, though it’s too early to tell if the model will be sold in the United States. Toyota is experimenting with a hydrogen-burning engine (rather than a system that relies on a fuel cell to convert hydrogen into electricity), and its Lexus division built an experimental hydrogen-powered luxury side-by-side in December 2021.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com

Kitten rescued from Nissan Rogue’s engine compartment after highway ride

Now is the time of year that animals love to hunker down away from the cold winter weather, and sometimes, they choose cars as their warm sanctuary. We found that out the hard way with our long-term Hyundai Palisade, but here’s a much happier story. 

Brought to our attention by Jalopnik, a small, rogue kitten was just rescued from a Nissan Rogue. The little dude was in the car for a while traveling down the highway when those in the car started to hear tiny screams. So, as anyone would do, they pulled over.

It’s at this point in the story that the Bear Creek Township Fire and Rescue Department of Pennsylvania came to the rescue. The fire department located the kitten stuck in the car’s engine compartment and proceeded to disassemble what needed taking out in order to lift the kitten out of the car. From the image posted on the Fire Department’s Facebook page, we know that at least the front bumper cover was removed. In total, the removal job took about an hour and a half.

And look at the happy, little kitten! The family driving the Rogue ended up adopted the cat, later posting a photo of the freshly bathed kitty wrapped up in a robe — so this story has an extremely happy ending.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Waymo to add Zeekr-built electric van to fleet of autonomous test vehicles

Waymo just revealed a new van that it plans to introduce to its fleet one day. It’s being built in collaboration with Zeekr, a brand under the Geely empire.

First impressions of the exterior are good, as we instantly got VW ID.Buzz vibes from its friendly shape and proportions. This Waymo Zeekr van is planned to be fully electric, but any specs concerning range or power are unavailable as of today.

Instead of driver-centric specs, Waymo and Zeekr have provided details and a quick glimpse of the interior. After all, the whole point of the van is to ride in it, not drive it. You’ll notice that there are two sliding doors that open opposite one another, revealing an entrance way devoid of pillars for easy loading and unloading. The floor itself is entirely flat for maximum convenience. Its van-like proportions allow for lots of legroom and headroom, and the seats are adjustable to your preference, as well. Passenger amenities include an abundance of ports for charging and a screen to punch in where you’d like to go.

Zeekr says the vehicle has been designed as a rider-centric car from the outset, but it will still offer two cabin options. One will include a traditional steering wheel and pedals, while the other will not. No timetable is provided for when the version without driver controls is coming.

There’s no timeline for anything related to the vans either beyond “in the years to come.” Zeekr will be developing the van at its R&D facility in Gothenburg, Sweden, and then Waymo will take delivery in the U.S. and fit its “Waymo Driver” technology to it, so the van can drive autonomously. Basically, don’t expect these to begin turning up all over the country anytime soon.

Related video:

Source: AutoBlog.com