If someone were to ask which automaker offers more electric vehicle nameplates in America than any other, your first instinct would probably be Tesla. But note the qualifier in the question – nameplates. Tesla currently only has three, the Model S, X and 3. Within the next few months, Hyundai Motor Group will offer five across its Hyundai and Kia brands. The Ioniq electric and Kia Soul EV have already been on sale for some time. The Hyundai Nexo arrives in a few weeks and electric versions of the Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro crossovers will be here soon.
This week, Brianna Wu returns to the show to talk about her Porsche Cayman, Sam drives 2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo Ultimate and Dan shares his feelings on the Ford Mustang Convertible. Lucid follows up on their big Saudi funding round with a deal with Electrify America to provide charging for the upcoming Air electric sedan. The crew also discusses the lack of togetherness between BMW and Toyota in developing the new Z4 and Supra.
BMW and Toyota mostly stop talking
Tesla has won. Not in the sense that the Silicon Valley electric vehicle maker has taken over the industry because they haven’t and probably won’t. But in the sense that the ultimate goal of the founders was to push the industry to electrification. Regardless of whether Tesla’s share price goes to $4,000 or zero, virtually every major automaker is or will soon be selling very compelling zero emissions vehicles. Joining the party this week is Audi with its new e-Tron quattro which got its global reveal today in San Francisco.
After a hectic week of travel for Sam while Dan was making an emergency commercial, the guys are back with a bunch of vehicles they’ve driven. Sam spent time with the BMW 230i and Kia Rio EX while Dan was in the BMW X2 and the VW Beetle convertible for a last hurrah before it rolls off into the sunset. Sam also drove the Cadillac XT4 and Lincoln Nautilus and attended the global reveal of the Audi E-Tron Quattro. Also J Mays emerges from retirement to design something new.
In this special episode of Wheel Bearings, Sam sits down with Larry Burns, retired SVP of R&D and Strategic Planning at General Motors to talk about his new book, Autonomy: The Quest to Build the Driverless Car—And How It Will Reshape Our World. Since retiring from GM in 2009, Burns has been an educator and consultant including working with the Google Self-driving car project and Waymo since 2011. The book is a great read for anyone interested in learning more the history of the DARPA Grand Challenge and development of automated vehicles in the past decade.
This week Dan records his end of the show from the new Kia Rio which proves an affordable new car doesn’t have to be cheap junk. Sam is at home after having driven the 2019 Jeep Cherokee and the 48V mild hybrid Ram 1500. The guys discuss the wisdom of Jaguar building electric restomod E-types, Audi’s new Pebble Beach electric supercar concept and whether Elon Musk has outlived his usefulness to Tesla
Lots of electrified vehicles this week as Sam discusses the Lexus LC500h and Honda Clarity Fuel Cell while Dan gets his hands on the new Honda Insight and the Ford Expedition Max Platinum. Casey Liss is also back to talk about the VW Golf R. Everyone’s favorite 80s and 90s near vaporware is trying to make a comeback as Vector offers up a couple of old prototypes to kickstart a revival.
This week Sam drives what may end up being the last Ford car to Pittsburgh to learn about how Argo AI is helping Ford build the future of transportation. Dan takes a road trip in the biggest of Ford’s passenger carrying vehicles. A lot of very cool vehicles climb Lord March’s driveway at the Goodwood festival of Speed. VW will build some of its new generation of EVs in America. Small Hyundai’s are really good. The guys discuss the meaning of crossover in an attempt to answer a listener question, too.
Bonus photo: Recaro Expert Houndstooth seat
This week Sam has been in the new Ford Expedition Max, Dan gets a re-run of the Lincoln Navigator and Mazda CX-9. Lots of news including the new Audi e-Tron quattro without mirrors, chargers for GM’s automated Chevy Bolts, rising prices due to the trade war and the Toyota Supra goes to NASCAR. Finally, Honda builds a 150 mph lawnmower because why not?
Audi e-tron camera mirrors
Tariffs and price increases
GM preparing to launch automated mobility in San Francisco
Nissan and Daimler cancel luxury compact car
Toyota Supra in NASCAR
Production Supra at Goodwood
Honda mean mower
The delay between episodes is always Dan’s fault. Most of the miles were put on this week via 737-700s and a rental Kia Soul. Sam was busy paying attention to all of the automotive goings-on, including leadership shuffles at General Motors, and Ford’s latest real estate investment in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, while also finding time to drive the 2019 Honda Insight. Because it’s been a while, there’s also a plethora of cars we’ve been driving. Sam was in the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the 2018 Nissan Leaf while Dan tried out the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie and the 2018 Lincoln Navigator Black Label.