Automotive

Tesla Cybertruck: A design failure or stroke of genius?

Weirdly futuristic

Illustration by MJ Jucutan

Published

on

As a pickup truck lover, I make it a point to stay updated with new models coming up through launches and announcements. Several companies are gearing up to launch their EV trucks like the Rivian R1T and Lordstown Endurance to name a few, and they already got me hyped for the future of trucks and off-roading.

So when Tesla announced that they were making their own truck, it got me excited. Plus, seeing the concept design renders on the internet got my expectations high.

Although when the launch day came and I first saw posts about Tesla’s Cybertruck and what it looks like, I ignored it thinking it was just a prank. I knew Musk has a sense of humor so I waited thinking he’ll soon announce that it was all a joke. But days passed and I realized that this guy wasn’t kidding at all.

I kept asking “Why? Why does it look like an old school iron? Why is the roof triangular? Why is it so weird?” But, I only needed to watch one video to change my mind. It seemed weird at first, but then you’ll realize that this truck is a potential game-changer.

The body may seem simple and minimalistic but it is in fact designed as an exoskeleton. Let me paint you a quick picture: the body is made of ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless-steel structural skin which is so rigid, a 9mm bullet will literally shatter on impact. This type of metal is extremely difficult to mold and cannot go through traditional sheet metal stamping. Basically, the metal used is harder than the stamp itself and only through folding can this material be formed. Thus the shape of the Cybertruck.

If you still haven’t figured it out, this thing is pretty much a tank.

Unlike any other truck bed, the Cybertruck seems to be the most versatile of them all.  Boasting 100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage, plus it comes with a magic tonneau cover that’s strong enough to stand on.

It is a vault on wheels and it’s exciting to see what modular upgrades you can do with this truck bed. It also features an adaptive and self-leveling air suspension system that can give up to 16 inches of ground clearance.  Being able to adjust the ride height makes it super easy to access and load the truck bed.

Stepping into the Cybertruck, you will find a very clean and minimalist design. The interior matches the exterior in uniqueness and simplicity. It will seat six people comfortably and features an all-new 17-inch touchpad.

Tesla’s reputation on performance has set the standard high on EVs and we can expect no less on the Cybertruck. A powerful all-electric drivetrain with extraordinary traction control will catapult this heavy truck from 0-60 mph in only 2.9 seconds! That is hyper-car car territory. And though horsepower and torque have not yet been revealed, we can be sure that they will not disappoint. There will be three models in the line-up: A single motor RWD with 250 miles of range, a dual-motor AWD with 300 miles, and the top-spec tri-motor AWD with 500 miles. All models will come with the full self-driving autopilot system.

Even though the window demonstration failed, the rest of the truck is ingeniously purpose-built. People don’t prefer change and we normally reject something we’re not used to, but most of the time we end up loving it. The same thing applied to me —  the more I got to know about this truck, the more I started loving it.

A truck this bold could only disappoint people or make them love it. And though I still haven’t been in one, I still would have to say it is a genius piece of work — a game-changer and a trendsetter. It will be the start of a new era of pickup trucks and the start of the futuristic-looking trend. My first impression of this truck was close to an off-the-street, put-together vehicle. But after learning all about it, I see it as a stealth F-117 Nighthawk bomber. And I absolutely love it.

But that’s just a pickup fanboy’s opinion. What do you think about the Tesla Cybertruck? Is it something you’d even consider?

Automotive

Nissan debunks 4 electric vehicle myths

The Nissan LEAF demystifies common misconceptions about EVs

Published

on

The Philippines is gearing up for a major shift in the automotive industry to EVs or electric vehicles as Nissan prepares to bring the Nissan LEAF to the Philippines. But before the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility arrives in the country, Nissan shares the top four electric vehicle myths and debunks them all.

Myth #1: EVs are slow

A recent experiment raced the Nissan LEAF against the fastest elements of nature — fire and wind, with the famous EV winning with its celebrated acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.9 seconds.

With lesser moving parts, and a powerful electric motor, an EV accelerates faster than a regular engine car. With over 70 years of EV expertise, Nissan has designed the e-Powertrain that puts electric power straight to the wheels for instant acceleration, making the Nissan LEAF quicker on the start, for a smooth and very responsive drive.

Myth #2: An electric vehicle’s range capacity is limited

On a fully charged battery, the Nissan LEAF can cover 311kms. If you consider that the average daily drive around Metro Manila is 13.2km, you can drive around the National Capital Region in a fully charged Nissan LEAF for up to three weeks, without having to worry about an empty battery.

For out-of-town trips, the Nissan LEAF can take adventurers up to Baguio (246.6 km from Metro Manila) before you need to recharge.

Also, the Nissan LEAF’S ePedal combines both ease, excitement and innovation in EV technology. The innovative feature also enables you to drive using one foot pedal, allowing you to accelerate and brake depending on the foot pressure.

Even more impressive, Nissan’s ePedal is part of an advanced regenerative braking system, meaning the car will even recover a little bit of charge every time you brake.

Myth #3: Charging is a pain for electric vehicles

A common misconception is that electric vehicles can only be charged using quick charging stations. Although the Philippines currently has around 14 charging stations that are ready for the Nissan LEAF, most electric vehicle owners prefer to charge at home, since it is the most convenient option.

Similar to charging one’s mobile phone after a long day’s usage, the Nissan LEAF can be plugged into a regular electrical socket to charge it overnight. Charging with the universal cable usually takes about 12 to 15 hours to fully charge the Nissan LEAF.

For faster charging, users have the option to install a special wall box to speed up the charging time to 5 to 7 hours.

Myth #4: Electric cars are not exciting

With the Nissan LEAF as the icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the possibilities of a safe, fun, and exciting driving experience are endless. What’s more exciting than an electric vehicle producing zero emissions and virtually no sound while drifting?

In this exhilarating demonstration, the Nissan LEAF showed how easily the mass-produced EV can churn out both maximum torque and force, while delivering virtually silent donuts and burnouts. The Nissan LEAF, with its rapid acceleration of 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds, is quick on the start with a smooth and very responsive drive.


This is a slightly modified press release from Nissan Philippines.

Continue Reading

Automotive

New compact SUV Mercedes-Benz GLA premieres in PH

Sporty, fits more, and comes with some fancy tech

Published

on

The new GLA is the eighth model to join the line-up and rounds off the current Modular Front Architecture (MFA) from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time, it represents the entry level into Mercedes-Benz successful family of SUV models.

The new GLA combines the best from the two high-volume segments, the compact cars and the SUVs. It embodies the perfect synergy between pure beauty and robust off-road elements. It carries Mercedes-Benz’ signature SUV design and trailblazing technologies as a true demonstration of modern luxury.

Sporty from every perspective

The sharpened SUV character and expressive design underscore the new GLA’s claim to setting the standard in its class. More than a commanding view of the road ahead, the new second-generation GLA offers a rewarding view of what’s next.

As a compact SUV, it fits in nearly any open space and yet has room for your entire life. The character has been significantly reinforced compared with the previous model. The height of the new GLA, at 1611 millimeters (1616 with roof rails), exceeds that of its predecessor by more than ten centimeters.

The GLA 200 AMG Line boasts an attractive sporty appearance both inside and out. In particular, the AMG Body Styling comes with a diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome, 19inch 5 twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, black roof liner and polished aluminium roof rails.

The side and rear views are characterized by the muscular shoulders of the vehicle. In addition, the new generation multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather stands for exquisite look and feel of the new GLA.

Fit more in. Fit in more.

Within a more nimble length, the new GLA gives you more space to ride, more room to shop, stow and be spontaneous. The seating position for both the driver and the front passenger is higher and more upright than in the predecessor model, and thus more typical of an SUV.

The new GLA offers a more spacious interior with seats that are incredibly comfortable. The rear seat backrest is 40:20:40 split, with each section folding down individually. This allows better space management for cargo loading and gives passengers a more configurable seating position for greater overall comfort.

Comfortable loading is also seen with low boot sill. Its luggage compartment height can be adjusted in 2 stages, thanks to a continuous luggage compartment floor console, it enables even better use of the available space.

MBUX: a new era of connectivity

Enjoying the solitude and sharing it with everyone at the same time is possible with modern connectivity services. It is equipped with Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). The MBUX multimedia system comes with 7-inch instrument and media display and has its own intelligent voice assistant which is activated with the code word “Hey Mercedes”.

Smartphones can be connected as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the system supports the major applications and selected apps including navigation.

Another highlight is the comprehensive touch operation concept – the combination of a touchscreen, touchpad on the center console and touch control buttons in the steering wheel. In addition to the intuitive operating experience, less driver distraction is another advantage.

Impressive Performance

The GLA is always ready for what’s around the corner. From a tight corner of the city, to a tight corner of a back road, the new GLA is agile and easy to maneuver. Turbo power and a solid stance make it quick on its feet and confident in your hands.

The GLA 200 AMG Line only has one engine option, although it has enough power for daily commuting or longer excursions. The turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine produces 163 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. It comes paired with a 7G dual-clutch automatic transmission with cruise control and standard with front-wheel drive. With DYNAMIC SELECT, one console control calls up a range of performance profiles such as ”ECO”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, and Individual.

It also has ECO Start/Stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when you’re at stoplights or idling. This system helps save on fuel and reduces emissions. Once you lift your foot off the brake, the engine starts back up immediately. However, if you don’t want to use this feature, you can easily disable it.

GLA Safety: feel at ease

The new GLA makes a further step in terms of safety courtesy of its driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive combines safety and convenience innovations. With these intelligent systems, Mercedes-Benz is not only setting standards in automotive engineering, but is also taking another important step forward on the road to accident-free driving. This therefore allows the driver to experience a new dimension of safety, convenience and stress relief.

The GLA is able to react when the driver doesn’t. Active Brake Assist is charged in many situations with applying autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity. The ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity can warn the driver on detecting the typical signs of inattentiveness or drowsiness.

Moreover, the GLA 200 AMG Line is loaded with Light and Sight Package that provides added interior value appeal and optimum visibility in the vehicle. It comprises functional comfort- and safety-enhancing lighting. Parking is made easy with Parking Package consists of Active Parking Assist with reversing camera, providing support when parking and maneuvering. Tire Pressure Loss Warning System monitors the inflation pressure of all four tires while driving.

Pricing and availability

The new GLA is now available at all Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Introductory SRP is PhP 3,290,000 (US$ 67, 874).


This is a press release from Mercedes-Benz Philippines

Continue Reading

Automotive

Tesla plans to make a US$ 25K autonomous electric car soon

Elon Musk is extremely optimistic

Published

on

At its Battery Day event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company intends to launch an affordable electric car within three years. The aimed price is around US$ 25,000 — a radically low price for an electric vehicle. The future car hasn’t received a name yet, but rumors suggest it could be Tesla Model C, where C stands for compact.

The announcement was made after Musk reviewed Tesla’s battery development and manufacturing. He is confident that these factors shall help the company offer cut-throat pricing and make the cutting-edge technology available to the masses.

However, the most interesting feature of the car will be its autonomous capability. Sensors and other onboard equipment are expensive and it remains to be seen whether Tesla is able to fulfill its promise.

Musk revealed a new battery design that incorporates a larger and more efficient cell. The new technology is dubbed “tabless” and is said to increase density by five times, offering 16 percent more range. But the technology announced is likely to take years to implement.

The cost of electric cars has consistently dropped in the last few years and Tesla is relying on this trend to hype up its future products. According to The Verge, Prices have already fallen from a lofty US$ 1,100/kWh just ten years ago to about US$ 156/kWh in 2019.

Altough, this isn’t the first time Musk has announced an affordable EV. The Model 3 was initially touted to cost US$ 35,000 but the base option starts at US$ 37,990 while the Performance variant goes for US$ 54,990.

Ultimately, Tesla hopes to make 20 million vehicles a year, Musk said

Continue Reading

Trending