Buell taking new Super Touring 1190 bike to Daytona Bike Week

Buell has two new bikes to show at next weekend’s Daytona Bike Week. When they go into production — anticipated to be fall this year — they will almost double the Michigan-based motorcycle company’s current lineup of Hammerhead 1190 superbike, 1190SX naked, and 1190HCR hill climb racer. The first new entry is the Super Touring, a touring and adventure bike based around Buell’s tried and true heart, the 1,190-cc V-twin. Called “the world’s fastest touring bike” — off the trail, we assume —  the Super Touring 1190 will get 185 horsepower and 101 pound-feet of torque to move its vertical face and upright stance. Based on the renderings, this one brings a utility toolkit looks to a growing class of tourers with liter engines, including the one recently fielded by Buell’s former owner, the Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250. Anticipated on sale in 2023, starting price clocks in at $21,995 before dipping into a promised lineup of accessories. 

The second Daytona display is the Buell Baja DR, the “DR” for dune racer. This one is a trellis-framed desert runner based off the 1190HCR competition bike, the racer equipped with an extended swingarm for running up steep stuff that won the 2020 AMA Pro National Hillclimb title. The Baja DR gets a shortened, adjustable swingarm creating a wheelbase from 66 to 70 inches. Its V-twin channels 175 hp and 101 lb-ft to its the rear wheel, which is 10 horses down on the competition two-wheeler. Calling this one “the world’s fastest dirt bike,” Buell president Bill Melvin said, “Less than 1% of the world is covered with pavement, the Buell Baja DR is designed to dominate the other 99.7%. It will give riders the freedom to go anywhere in the world, faster and with more power, harnessing our 1190 engine.”

For any who are confused about which Buell incarnation this is, the first thing to know is that it has nothing to do with Erik Buell except using his last name. The Wisconsin engineer whose legend lives on whenever Buell motorcycles comes up has moved on to a new venture called Fuell, which makes an e-bike now called the Flluid-1S and is preparing to release an electric motorcycle.

The short story of the reincarnated Buell motorcycles is that when Harley-Davidson sold Buell after the 2008 financial crisis, Erik Buell wasn’t allowed to use his name as a brand or build road bikes, so he picked up the pieces under the new name Erik Buell Racing. He eventually got to build street motorcycles, turning out the EBR 1190RR and 1190RS as successors to the 1125R bikes from the Harley days. EBR entered a bad marriage with Indian motorcycle maker Hero in 2013 that led to bankruptcy in 2015. Hero bought the EBR R&D department, Liquid Asset Partners (LAP) and its CEO, Bill Melvin, bought the remainder out of bankruptcy proceedings. LAP was able to get the rights to the Buell name in the U.S. in 2020, and almost exactly one year ago promised to release 10 new bikes by 2024. Two are already on the market and being delivered (the 1190HCR is competition-only for now), two more will greet the world next week.

Daytona Bike Week runs from March 4 to 13, Buell planning its debuts for March 5. Anyone interested can put a $25 reservation down on the Super Touring at the Buell site that day. Melvin says variety will grow with future models, with “medium- and small-displacement motors” among a range of cruisers, dirt bikes, dual-sports, and tourers.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

This unique aircraft is part VTOL, part plane

The Transwing is an awesomely unique aircraft that’s part VTOL and part traditional airplane. The craft begins its flights with its wings tucked, in VTOL mode, eliminating the need for a long runway. Once it reaches the desired altitude, the wings thrust forward and transforming it into a more traditional fixed-wing aircraft. When it reaches its destination, the Transwing then contracts its wings and begins the vertical landing process in a similar fashion to its takeoff. The Transwing could end up being a better alternative to more traditional aircraft thanks to its superior agility, smaller airport footprint, and its ability to handle a greater payload than many similar craft. 

For more content like this be sure to visit Your Future Car by Autoblog on Facebook or Youtube. Subscribe for new videos every week. 

Source: AutoBlog.com

Ford recalls F-Series Super Duty trucks for drive shaft fractures

DETROIT — Ford is recalling nearly a quarter-million heavy duty pickup trucks in the U.S. because the drive shafts can fracture and cause a loss of power.

The recall covers certain F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickups from the 2017 through 2022 model years. The trucks have gasoline engines and aluminum drive shafts.

Ford says in documents posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that heat and noise insulators below the body can loosen, and touch the drive shaft. The shaft can fracture, causing a power loss, or loss of control if it hits the ground.

Failures also could let the trucks roll if they are stopped and the parking brake isn’t on.

Dealers will inspect the drive shafts and repair them if necessary, and properly attach the insulators. Owners will be notified by letter starting April 4.

The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker recalled about 185,000 F-150 light duty pickups in the U.S. for the same problem back in December. They are from the 2021 and 2022 model years.

Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks for years have been the top-selling vehicles in the U.S.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Bubba Wallace: A NASCAR Trailblazer

NASCAR has a rich history of athletes from all walks of life getting behind a wheel and tearing up a track, but unfortunately, it hasn’t always been easy for some drivers to make their name in NASCAR specifically. For some, there have been systemic barriers to entry that have taken many decades to start to break down. Creating an institution for all walks of life through NASCAR has taken time. Throughout the story of the sport, though, we’ve been introduced to trailblazers such as Wendell Scott, Janet Guthrie, Sara Christian, Daniel Suárez and, most recently, Bubba Wallace.

Born William Darrel “Bubba” Wallace Jr. on October 8, 1993, in Mobile, Ala., Bubba’s passion for high-octane entertainment didn’t come by accident. Early on in his life, his father, Darrell Wallace, Sr., introduced young Bubba to the world of racing, taking him all over the country to watch racing events.

The speed and mesmerizing maneuverability of the drivers on the track gave him dreams of becoming a professional race car driver. At the age of 9, Bubba competed in his first race, a Bandolero event for drivers aged 8 to 11. 

In 2004, NASCAR introduced its Drive for Diversity program in an effort to increase the number of BIPOC and women competitors. This opportunity from NASCAR propelled Bubba forward to prove that he could race with the best, and low and behold, he did just that. His determination eventually led Bubba Wallace to win two NASCAR K&N series races, and at the age of 17, he was named 2010 NASCAR K&N Rookie of the Year. 

Since 2012, Bubba has won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the NASCAR Gander RV and the Cars Super Late Model Tour series just to name a few. Despite this success, he was still on a mission to prove himself at the highest level of NASCAR; the Cup Series. In 2018, he took a giant step toward that goal when he took second place in the 2018 Daytona 500, unquestionably the most prestigious race in the sport. During his post-race press conference, Bubba embraced his mother in an emotional celebration.

As racial injustice received global attention in 2020, Wallace used his platform to call for the permanent removal of the Confederate flag from all NASCAR races. He was successful, but the move unfortunately resulted in threats and hatred directed toward him. In an emotional display of solidarity, fellow NASCAR drivers and crew members walked behind Bubba in his No. 43 Chevy race car down pit road prior to the Geico 500 at Talladega on June 22, 2020.

In late 2021, Wallace strapped into his new No. 23 Toyota for the 23XI racing team at Talladega. 23XI is owned by NBA legend Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. During a tense, crash-heavy race, Bubba held onto the lead for 45 minutes until rain started pouring down, making the track too dangerous to drive. Because of the hazard, NASCAR made the decision to end the race early giving the current track leader, Bubba Wallace, the victory.

This win put Wallace square in the history books as only the second Black-American driver to win in the NASCAR Cup Series since the legendary Wendell Scott did the same nearly 60 years ago. We suspect that Bubba is just getting started and we’re looking forward to watching his career flourish and his legend grow. He’s already off to a good start in the 2022 season with a second-place finish at the Daytona 500, barely behind the winner.

Recently, a 6-part docuseries on the driver’s life has released on Netflix. The show will tell the story of his life and his rise to the elite levels of NASCAR as the only current full-time Black driver. Here is a trailer of Race: Bubba Wallace.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Lamborghini wants to grow, but it will never become big

Lamborghini had a record year in 2021: it delivered 8,405 cars, an increase of 13% over 2020 and, tellingly, 6,803 units more than in 2011. Almost all of the company’s production capacity for 2022 is spoken for, so its popularity doesn’t look like it’s going to wane anytime soon. Andrea Baldi, the head of the Americas region for Lamborghini, sat down with Autoblog to talk about what this growth means for the future.

“We have more than a year-long waiting time for every model. Even for the Huracán, which we launched in 2014. It’s not just the STO; it’s the all- and rear-wheel-drive variants as well. We pre-sold the Aventador Ultimae in three weeks in July 2021, which was a record,” Baldi pointed out. The more family-focused Urus has been hugely popular as well; it’s the best-selling Lamborghini with 5,021 deliveries in 2021.

Lamborghini plans to continue growing in the coming years, it will notably unveil four new models in 2022, but there’s a set limit to how far it can stretch. The executive team’s idea is not to rival Audi in terms of size, or even Porsche.

“We definitely want to scale up our production a bit. The big chance for us is the jump into hybridization, because it means that we’ll get a new generation of cars. We’ll start in 2023 with the Aventador’s successor, and the entire range will gradually be electrified after that. This gives us an opportunity for the Aventador and Huracán successors to have a production line that can make more cars,” Baldi revealed.

He stopped short of telling us precisely how many more, but the increase will be relatively small — and maintaining the brand’s exclusivity will be of paramount importance. “The idea will always be to have one car less than demand,” he noted. “We will always have a waiting time but it should be shorter, so we need a little more production capacity. If you sit in front of your house and watch 10,000 cars go by, one will be a Lamborghini. We’re talking about a small-digit percentage increase, but for a luxury brand it will be a big change,” Baldi added.

Going hybrid unlocks other opportunities, like the ability to reach new buyers while letting the firm stay on the right side of ever-stricter regulations. And yet, many of its customers still associate a super-sports car with a mighty internal combustion engine. “In general, there is a very common factor among all customers: if you ask them what is a super-sports car today, they will answer it’s one with an internal combustion engine,” pointing out that younger customers are also increasingly interested in what the future holds in terms of electrification.

Sure, an electric motor delivers instant torque and quick acceleration, but many of Lamborghini’s customers — and many enthusiasts in general — are fascinated by engines. “It’s like comparing a digital watch to a mechanical watch. There is an undeniable desire to maintain this kind of complication in a luxury super-sports car rather than going with something that simplifies this technology too much.” Regulators care little about the intricacies of a naturally-aspirated V12, so what’s next? Lamborghini has already said that it’s looking at ways to keep the internal combustion alive beyond 2030, and synthetic fuels (like the one sister company Porsche is developing) could make this possible. “We are interested and we are following the conversation very closely,” said Baldi, though he stressed that it’s too early to make a decision.

It goes without saying that the Urus deserves a tremendous amount of credit for Lamborghini’s recent delivery records, but its effect on the brand goes beyond sales figures. Unveiled in 2017, it took the company into a segment that it had never truly been present in — the LM002 was a completely different beast that was built in very limited numbers. In turn, launching a more family-friendly model made Lamborghini more approachable. “Lamborghini had a great potential that wasn’t expressed completely. The brand was known at an incredible level but we couldn’t really transform this into sales. Now, 70% of Urus buyers are new to the brand and some then decide to buy a super-sports car.” 

On the other end of the Lamborghini spectrum, limited-production models have been surprisingly popular. The born-again Countach was sold out before it was unveiled to the public, and about a third of the production run is going to America. Some buyers even said “I’ll take one!” before they saw the car in person. While the Urus is a volume model, at least from Sant’Agata Bolognese’s perspective, Baldi and his team are not planning on diluting the company’s image to chase sales figures. “We will never become unexclusive. That is a promise,” he summed up.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Aston Martin Reveals Vantage And DBX Formula 1 Safety Cars

Adhering to its track duties, Aston Martin has revamped the Vantage with the inclusion of an FIA safety car livery, radio antennas mounted to the side of the body, an LED rear number plate, and a bespoke roof-mounted LED light-bar that was developed completely by the brand. We’re sure there will be a couple of customers requesting that as an official accessory.Within the cockpit, Maylander and his assistant will have access to the FIA’s Marshalling System. This software indicates what warning flags are being shown via a set of lights. Cameras positioned on the inside and out will be used for TV broadcasting purposes.
Source: carbuzz.com

Rivian ramping up production, sets 10% market share goal

DETROIT — Rivian is “making progress” in the increase of production for electric vehicles at its Normal, Illinois, assembly plant and is aiming to take 10% share in the EV market by 2030, Chief Executive Officer R.J. Scaringe said on Thursday.

“We’re absolutely making progress,” he said during a Wolfe Research conference of the push to increase vehicle production. “The plant is starting to ramp nicely.”

Scaringe said Rivian, whose shares closed up 10.7% at $63.71, idled the plant for the first 10 days of January to make changes on the production lines in a move to boost output.

Scaringe, responding to a question about how big Rivian could become by 2030, said the company had the brand position “to build out a portfolio … to allow us to really work toward building a position of 10% market share within the EV space.”

He called the global semiconductor chip shortage the “most painful” constraint in the push to build production. The California-based startup produced 1,015 vehicles last year, coming up short of its target of 1,200 due to supply-chain constraints.

Scaringe said Rivian had replaced some chipsets in certain parts with other chipsets that are easier to get. He said the global shortage would be a factor through the rest of the year.

Rivian’s stock slumped after it outlined during its first quarterly earnings report as a public company its struggles with the manufacturing of its R1T pickup and R1S SUV. It also has a contract to build 100,000 electric delivery vans by 2025 for Amazon.com, which has a 20% stake in Rivian.

Back in December, Scaringe pegged production challenges to global supply-chain constraints, the COVID-19 pandemic, a tight labor market and short-term issues around building electric battery modules.

Scaringe said Thursday Rivian was building a pilot line for in-house production of battery cell production and also plans to co-invest with a supplier on production as well. Rivian’s cells are currently supplied by Samsung SDI.He also said automakers will need to work on securing critical battery materials like lithium and nickel.

“It’s not a choice. It’s a requirement,” he said.

Source: AutoBlog.com

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L stop sale issued over key fob problem

Electronic gremlins love the Jeep Grand Cherokee L the same way rodents love engine bays and plant-based wire insulation. Earlier this week, The Drive got tipped to a forum thread on Jeep Garage about new 2022 Grand Cherokee L models losing communication with their key fobs and refusing entry to owners. When the owners used the mechanical key to enter the vehicle, the SUV responded as if it was being broken into, locking everything down. The only remedy was to have the rig towed to the dealer. Not long after the thread began, Jeep issued a stop sale on the 2022 Grand Cherokee L. According to an image of the memo Fiat Chrysler America sent to dealers, certain units were “built with a Radio Frequency Hub Module (RFHM) which can intermittently result in a no start condition.”

The RFHM normally picks up the signal from the fob and tells other modules it speaks to, like ignition, remote keyless entry, and remote start, that they are free to perform their roles. When it doesn’t get the correct signal, or when it doesn’t pick up any signal and someone tries to get into the Grand Cherokee L, modules like the Sentry key Immobilizer System and Vehicle Theft Alarm System get to work. They commence anti-theft protocols, turning the Jeep into a three-ton brick. As one owner told The Drive, his wife’s attempt to use the mechanical key “set off the alarm, and the Jeep now thinks it was a theft attempt. Can’t unlock, lock, start the vehicle or anything.”

Stellantis spokespeople told MoparInsiders, “This issue affects a limited number of vehicles and does not require a safety recall. We are contacting customers to advise them that free service is available,” and Car and Driver that Stellantis has “identified a solution and is expediting delivery of service parts to [its] dealer networks.” The FCA memo to dealers says the automaker estimates it would begin notifying customers in March, but that was before engineers found a remedy to the problem.

If you own a 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee L and want to know if your vehicle is affected, check the Jeep app on your phone, visit the Mopar Recall Information site to enter your VIN, or contact your dealer and ask about FCA Campaign Z23.

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Source: AutoBlog.com

Uber revamps driver pay algorithm in U.S. pilot to attract drivers

Uber Technologies is testing a new driver earnings algorithm in 24 U.S. cities that allows drivers to see pay and destinations before accepting a trip and raises the incentives for drivers to take short rides in an effort to attract more drivers.

The changes, which are currently in pilot programs, mark the most wide-ranging updates to Uber’s driver pay algorithm in years and come at a time when the company is still trying to win back drivers who left at the start of the pandemic. Fares paid by consumers are not affected.

Drivers have long demanded the ability to see the fare and destination before accepting a trip, but Uber has resisted, saying it could open the door to drivers cherry-picking trips or discriminating against riders in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Uber already has a similar program in California, launched in the wake of a 2020 state battle over gig worker rights to prove its drivers are independent contractors.

But the company said its latest fare pilot in the United States was not related to gig worker regulation. The test has been rolled out in cities across Texas, Florida and the Midwest where gig worker reforms are not on the agenda.

“Gig work is very competitive, not just with Lyft but other platforms, and we think this feature really enhances our platform’s competitiveness versus others,” said Dennis Cinelli, Uber’s head of mobility in the United States and Canada.

Cinelli said the pay changes at this point would not impact consumer prices, adding the changes “aren’t financial features.”

Uber declined to comment on the financial impact of the changes for the company, which could mean it has to incur higher costs for short trips.

Cinelli said the company had not seen any discrimination by drivers in California since the policy launched there in 2020.

“Otherwise, we wouldn’t have rolled it out at this time,” he said, adding that Uber had the ability to deactivate drivers who repeatedly declined trips based on race or low-income areas.

Providing drivers with upfront pay details meant the company also had to reduce earnings for longer trips to prevent drivers from avoiding short rides, Cinelli said.

Uber said data from some cities with upfront pay have shown a 22% average increase in driver earnings for trips in which the distance to the pickup location is longer than the trip itself.

Driver responses were mixed on some online groups. Some complained the new algorithm seemed arbitrary and no longer allowed them to calculate pay based on a per-mile (per-km) basis.

“My earnings are already destroyed by the high prices for gas and now Uber is taking even more money away from me on long trips,” said Kevin Hernandez, a Houston driver.

Other drivers in online groups said the upfront fare information allowed them to select only higher-paying rides, with several drivers sharing screenshots of increased earnings since the altered algorithm was launched.

Expansion will depend on drivers. “If we’re not seeing it attract and retain drivers we wouldn’t roll it out further,” Cinelli said.

Source: AutoBlog.com

Subaru, Kia buyers caught in right-to-repair fight over cars

Driving a rugged Subaru through snowy weather is a rite of passage for some New Englanders, whose region is a top market for the Japanese automaker.

So it was a surprise to Subaru fans when Massachusetts dealerships started selling its line of 2022 vehicles without a key ingredient: the in-car wireless technology that connects drivers to music, navigation, roadside assistance and crash-avoiding sensors.

“The dealer didn’t bring it up,” said Joy Tewksbury-Pabst, who bought a new Subaru Ascent without realizing she’d be missing out on the remote start and locking features she had before trading in her 2019 model. She also lost the ability to check wiper fluid levels, tire pressure and mileage from her phone.

What’s happening in Massachusetts mirrors a broader battle over who has the “right to repair” increasingly complex electronic products — from iPhones and farm tractors to the family car.

About 75% of Massachusetts voters sided with the auto repair industry in 2020 by passing a ballot initiative that’s supposed to allow car owners and their preferred auto shops to more easily peek into a car’s trove of online data. Automakers have been fighting it in court ever since.

And two of them, Subaru and Kia, said that, rather than run afoul of the new law, they would disable their wireless “telematics” systems from new models in the state. Car buyers and dealerships have been feeling the effects.

“It’s certainly a bummer,” said Joe Clark, general manager of the Steve Lewis Subaru dealership in the western Massachusetts town of Hadley. “People are calling back after the fact, realizing they’re missing out.”

Tewksbury-Pabst was one of more than 2.5 million people who voted for the ballot measure in Nov. 2020, after an expensive electoral fight marked by dueling TV commercials. She believes it will help independent auto shops compete with dealerships’ in-house repair shops.

She’s mostly frustrated with Subaru, describing its reaction to the law as “like a child that didn’t get their way and took their ball and went home.”

Cars already have a diagnostic port that mechanics can access for basic repair information, but independent auto shops say that only carmakers and their dealers have access to the real-time diagnostics that cars now transmit wirelessly. That’s increasingly important amid the shift to electric cars, many of which don’t have those diagnostic ports.

The law requires automakers to create an open standard for sharing mechanical data. Subaru spokesperson Dominick Infante said the “impossibility of complying” with that provision “is a disservice to both our retailers and our customers.”

“The data platform that the new law requires to provide the data does not exist and will not exist any time soon,” he said in an email.

An auto industry trade group immediately sued the state’s Attorney General Maura Healey after the law’s passage to stop it from taking effect, arguing that the timeline was unreasonable, the penalties too onerous, and that automatically sharing so much driver data with third parties presented cybersecurity and privacy risks.

Part of the fight is also over who gets to alert drivers and encourage them to visit when the car senses it needs a repair. The current system favors dealerships, which many auto shops fear will soon put them out of work if independent mechanics can’t get get easy access to the software upgrades and mechanical data needed to make basic repairs — from tire alignments to broken seat heaters.

“If we don’t have access to repair information, diagnostic information, you’re putting an entire workforce out of business,” said Bob Lane, owner of Direct Tire & Auto Service, in the Boston suburb of Watertown. “If the only person who can fix a car, because of a data standpoint, is the dealership, the consumer has lost the choice.”

The right-to-repair movement now has a powerful ally in U.S. President Joe Biden, who signed an executive order last year promoting competition in the repair business and has already counted some victories after Apple and Microsoft voluntary began making it easier for consumers to fix their own phones and laptops.

“Denying the right to repair raises prices for consumers,” Biden said in January. “It means independent repair shops can’t compete for your business.”

The Federal Trade Commission and state legislatures have also been eyeing regulatory changes. Under scrutiny are restrictions that steer consumers into manufacturers’ and sellers’ repair networks, adding costs to consumers and shutting out independent shops, many of which are owned by entrepreneurs from poor communities. U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, introduced a bill this month to enable car repair shops to get the same data available to dealerships.

Brian Hohmann has spent decades adapting to changes in automotive technology, from attending a school to fix carburetors — now an obsolete technology — to learning how to program.

“Essentially every car now is 50 computers with four tires on it,” said Hohmann, owner of Accurate Automotive in the Boston suburb of Burlington. “If you’re not computer-savvy, you struggle.”

But Hohmann said most independent garages are perfectly capable of competing with dealerships on both repair skills and price as long as they have the information and software access they need. That often involves buying expensive, automaker-specific scanners, or paying for a day pass or yearly subscription to get needed access.

Massachusetts rules already favor independent auto repairers more than other places thanks to an earlier right-to-repair law passed by voters in 2012. But that was before most cars started wirelessly transmitting much of their crucial data outside the car — presenting what auto shops see as a loophole to the existing rules focused on in-car diagnostics.

Automakers argue that independent shops can already get the data they need, with permission — but making it automatically accessible by third parties is dangerous.

Such data access “could, in the wrong hands, spell disaster,” said the lawsuit brought by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation — a trade group backed by Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other big automakers, including Subaru and Kia.

The case is now in the hands of U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, who is reviewing whether to split off the most disputed ballot provision to let the other parts take effect. A decision is expected in March after delays caused by the actions of Subaru and Kia, which the state says the automakers should have disclosed earlier. Massachusetts lawmakers are also looking at postponing the law’s effects to give carmakers more time to comply.

Subaru and Kia have said most drivers will still be able to use driving-specific Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to stream music or get navigational assistance.

Source: AutoBlog.com