VW Will Make Its Own Batteries to Power an Electric Future

Four years after getting caught cheating emissions standards with millions of diesel-powered cars, Volkswagen has become the most (outwardly, at least) zealous of converts to an electric future. By 2028, it intends to offer 70 battery-powered models. To make that happen, it’s retooling 16 factories to build electric cars. It’s pushing suppliers to ramp up battery production and has already locked in battery supplies for 15 million vehicles, CEO Herbert Diess told Automotive News late last year—a huge number even for a company that builds 10 million cars annually. But the conversion hasn’t been entirely smooth. Last month, reports surfaced that VW luxury arm Audi will build 10,000 fewer electric E-tron SUVs than expected, because of a battery shortage. Now, …

Tesla Raises Money, Drones Get Certified, and More Car News This Week

Sometimes going back to the drawing board ain’t so bad. This week, Tesla shares took a much-needed hop as the company announced an effort to raise a small mountain of capital to keep the electric carmaker climbing. At first, the offering sat around $2.3 billion, but the company pushed it up to $2.7 billion amid investor enthusiasm. Drone companies, meanwhile, got hyped for the future, as a new certification from the FAA presented new opportunities—and new questions about how the government will regulate the autonomous flying delivery bots. Other times, the drawing board is less than great. Lyft will have to rethink its strategy in New York City, one of its largest markets, after a judge denied its petition objecting …

EV and Self-Driving Tech Let Auto Designers Go Wild

Smooshed hips. No view. Awkward legroom: Nobody likes the middle seat. But Nissan's sleek, four-door electric IMs concept car, unveiled in January at the North American International Auto Show, transforms the miserable middle seat into a foldout throne. Queens and kings can even turn the seats on either side into jumbo armrests. The manufacturer's remixed seating hierarchy is one of the wilder expressions of what designers can do when they don't have to build a car around gas—no big engine up front means more space to play with. In coming years, the interiors of electric cars will get even more fun and funky as other technological changes gain traction. Once cars drive themselves (even if only some of the time), …

British Beach-Goers Could Get a Bigger Road Through Stonehenge

In ancient times, dozens of years before the dawn of modern highways, lived a strange type of people, the road engineers.They seemed to know what they were doing at the time, but their legacy remains, paved across the archaeological landscape, of Stonehenge. Stonehenge! Where the traffic dwells.Where the tourists gander and it’s selfie-stick hell.Stonehenge! Where cars move like slugs.So the government wants a tunnel dug. Stonehenge! The UK’s premier archaeological destination—a ring of stones constructed by the ancients somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago—sits along a roadway known as the A303. However, not every car on this route is bound for the mysterious menhirs. Many just want to go to the beach. See, the A303 is also one of …

This 3-seater concept car can fix its body after an accident Future Blink

So hot and spicy.Image: kia Kia’s new electric car is called the Niro EV. Now its electric concept car is the HabaNiro. Get it? If the name is already too much, you won’t be able to handle the ridiculous details about the crossover compact SUV shown at the New York International Auto Show Wednesday. SEE ALSO: Kia’s Imagine concept car uses 21 smartphones to mock dash screens First, the not-so-hot-and-spicy specs: it’s an all-electric, all-wheel drive, four-seater with 300-mile range and full autonomy capability with butterfly-wing doors.  While the HabaNiro is just an idea, it could pave the way for future electric vehicles beyond the Niro, which recently went all electric after debuting as a hybrid vehicle a few years …

Teslas Disappointing Numbers and More Car News This Week

Allow me to get a bit philosophical here: History is only smooth in retrospect. Few earth-shaking shifts are inevitable. A few steps forward, some more back. Change only looks easy from a rocking chair. Which is all to say, it was a rocky week for electric vehicles, the motorized transports that are supposed to help us save the planet. Tesla underperformed in its first quarter production and delivery numbers, pulling that one-step-back routine after taking two steps forward in late 2018. The automaker attributed the discrepancy between vehicles produced and vehicles delivered to its overseas shipping operations, but that didn’t stop us from wondering: Is it possible that fewer people want to buy Teslas? WIRED also this week got a …

The Engine Propelling the Fastest Woman on Four Wheels

This hypnotic whirl of metal is the afterburner of a General Electric J79 axial-flow turbojet engine—the same engine used on F-4 Phantom jets, made by McDonnell Aircraft during the Vietnam War. But this one is mounted in the North American Eagle, a 56-foot-long supersonic aircraft turned racing car. Six years ago, the engine got a new four-line afterburner that increased its muscle, giving it 19,000 pounds of thrust and 45,500 horsepower—enough to go 835 mph. In the past two months, it’s been upgraded again to help race-car driver Jessi Combs take a shot at the womens’ land-speed record. Stuntwoman Kitty O’Neil set the current record—512 mph—for a female driver way back in 1976. (British racer Andy Green has held the …

Lyft pulls ahead of Uber in race to IPO

Lyft is the first ride-hailing app to file to go public.Image: Lyft Lyft filed for a $100 million initial public offering on Friday. In its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Lyft released its financial history for the first time. With the public disclosure, we now know that for the past three years Lyft has been losing money … a lot of money.  SEE ALSO: Lyft rolls out its own version of Uber Express Pool called ‘Shared Saver’ Lyft pulled in revenue of $2.2 billion in 2018, but also recorded a net loss of more than $911 million. It lost nearly $700 million during the previous two years.  Much bigger competitor Uber is expected to file for its …

Elon Musks Latest Tweets Land Him in Yet More Trouble

Never tweet. That’s the thrust of an SEC action taken late Monday, when the US securities watchdog requested that a federal judge hold Tesla CEO Elon Musk in contempt of court for a short series of tweets he posted last week. The SEC’s request stems from a February 19 posting from the Twitter-loving CEO, who wrote, “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019.” About four and a half hours later, Musk corrected himself, tweeting: “Meant to say annualized production rate at the end of 2019 probably around 500k, i.e. 10k cars/week. Deliveries for the year still estimated to be around 400k.” https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1098080063801585664 A regular schmo making a blooper on Twitter might be no big …

Elon Musk always takes the freeway instead of Waze shortcuts so he can use Autopilot

Just you, the open road, and Autopilot.Image: Tesla While making bold predictions about full self-driving cars during a podcast session with an investment firm this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk also shared how he gets around – in a very Tesla way. In the conversation with ARK Invest — a Tesla shareholder that wrote a stern letter to Musk after he tweeted about taking Tesla private — Musk said Tesla vehicles would be capable of self-driving by the end of this year and that by the end of 2020 human drivers wouldn’t have to pay attention while the car drives and you could even take a nap until arriving to your destination.

Lyft’s ‘Shared Saver’ is just like Uber Express Pool

Pile in for a crowded ride.Image: Lyft If you’re willing to walk a few blocks, you could save money on your next ride. On Wednesday, Lyft rolled out its version of Uber Express Pool: Shared Saver. Think of it as an on-demand mini-bus. The app gives you walking directions to meet a driver already carrying or on their way to pick up other passengers. After being dropped off, you might also have to walk a few blocks to your destination.  Wait for the app to tell you how far you’ll be walking. Image: LYFt Uber’s version of the feature launched nationwide a year ago, so the concept isn’t entirely new, especially for people who flip between the two apps. (Now …