Toyota, PACCAR advance new hydrogen trucks

As anyone who drives a Prius, or any number of other vehicles already knows, Toyota is a world leader in developing alternative fuel technologies for a broad variety of vehicles, including many built by other manufacturers. Just for example, the Subaru Crosstrek hybrid gets its battery and charging systems from Toyota for installation in a Subaru-engineered vehicle. The same strategy is in evidence here, even if it involves a whole new range of alternate fueling. Toyota is now a partner with PACCAR, the Pacific Northwest-based manufacturer of Kenworth and Peterbilt heavy trucks, on developing hydrogen fuel cells that will power future editions of these big rigs.

PACCAR and Toyota have been cooperating on the creation of these zero-emissions haulers for several years now. The pilot program involved 10 hydrogen fuel cell-powered Kenworth trucks assigned to duties at the Port of Los Angeles. The test was positive and earned Toyota an all-important approval for the fuel cell system from the California Air Resources Board. Toyota plans to begin customer assembly of the fuel cell system late this year. The test rigs, and intended recipients, were Kenworth’s T680 tractor and its cousin, the Peterbilt 579.

BMW readies electric i5 sedan for summer debut

BMW is getting ready, literally, to roll out the eighth generation of its 5-series sport sedan, only with a major difference: This time, the 5-series will include an EV variant to be known as the i5, which is now undergoing final testing before production gets underway at BMW’s assembly plant in Dingolfing, Germany, in anticipation of a summer 2023 launch.

The last phase of product testing prior to the i5’s rollout involves fine-tuning its chassis performance. Part of that process will be the final development of the i5’s Vertical Dynamics Management program, now in its ninth generation, using networked control logic to direct the car’s up-and-down movement from road irregularities. The system measure all chassis inputs, including wheel speeds, steering angle, yaw rate and acceleration, to create optimal damping under dynamic loads. This allows more precisely managed issues such as body roll when the vehicle’s being operated.

A British race designer creates a fire truck for tomorrow’s EVs

Here’s yet more evidence that innovation in the world of vehicles frequently comes from the people who race them. As electric vehicles grow in number, the global fire service has been experimenting with ways to control vehicle fires when EVs are involved, a circumstance that’s only going to become increasingly more commonplace. It’s not easy to control a fire involving lithium ion batteries, especially in a confined space such as a parking garage. Prospeed Motorsport of York in England has come up with a sophisticated solution, the new HILOAD 6X6 Rapid Intervention Vehicle, a six-wheel compact fire truck that’s specifically engineered to handle EV fires.

Based on the Toyota Hilux, which the firm’s compact pickup is called outside North America, the HILOAD 6X6 is designed directly to fight what’s known as “thermal runaway,” as heat damages and breaks down the EV’s battery pack. The fire truck is equipped with a new firefighting system called the Coldcut Cobra, which uses an abrasive suspended in water to cut through the outer layer of the battery pack. An extreme high-pressure water jet, with more than 100 times the pressure of an inflated car tire, then cools the lithium ion compounds to prevent thermal runaway from occurring. Vehicle fires are a big part of a fire department’s common duties today; this vehicle will advance that practice to keep pace with onrushing battery technology.

Lincoln rolls out revised 2024 Nautilus SUV

Lincoln, the Ford Motor Company’s luxury redoubt, has been transitioning to an all-SUV lineup. To that end, it’s just rolled out the 2024 edition of its Nautilus midsize rig, which borrows a lot of its architecture from the ongoing Ford Explorer. In addition to offering a new hybrid powertrain, this generation of the Nautilus will boast a reimagined interior that Lincoln says will include the largest immersive display of onboard functions in its class.

The new touchscreen will allow Nautilus buyers to customize their cabin environment into what Lincoln calls a “sanctuary,” beginning at the touchscreen and extending laterally into the main instrument display. The display spans the entire width of the dashboard and can be driver-personalized. Standard 2024 Nautilus power will come from a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A 2.0-liter turbocharged hybrid powertrain will be capable of 310 horsepower when the electric traction motors are added in. Sales will get underway in early 2024.

Everything to know about Ford’s famed F-Series

Ford’s F-Series of full-size pickups have been the best-selling vehicles in North American continuously, it seems, from about the time that Lindbergh first landed at Le Bourget. The reasons are valid and numerous – as Ford has been telling us for generations, it builds a tough truck. That said, it’s been tough to find a printed volume that discusses the F trucks’ long history, which goes back to 1948, and details the dizzying array of generational changes that Ford engineered into its fabled trucks. Until now. Read on, folks.

Thanks to CarTech Publishing, there’s now, happily, a single source for all things concerning the F-Series across its 14 generations. Ford F-Series Trucks: 1948 to Present takes 168 softcover pages to outline the technical, styling and production changes that have swirled around these world-conquering pickups since the earliest days. The authors are well known for being authoritative when it comes to technical minutiae, and this book doesn’t disappoint, being positively jammed with tabular material that assists the reader in keeping up with the various models and their myriad changes. This book is way overdue, by decades. At $36.95, it’s an affordable and essential addition to any automotive library.

New Polestar readies for rollout in Shanghai

Polestar, the electric vehicle developer in Sweden that used to be Volvo’s tuner specialist, now produces cutting edge EVs with a strong performance pedigree. Polestar is poised to present its fourth electric vehicle, fittingly called the Polestar 4, later this month at the Shanghai auto show. That’s fitting, especially when you consider that erstwhile Swedish Volvo is now a Chinese-owned automaker.

Specific details on the Polestar 4 have yet to be unveiled, but the manufacturer suggests the Polestar 4 will follow a coupe concept mating various elements of the brand’s preceding models, including SUV cues. And if you’re wondering about Volvo, it still has a tuner division, which today is known as Cyan Racing.

Bentley models to mark glorious Le Mans heritage

It’s been 20 full years since Bentley revived its longstanding history of victory at Le Mans and captured its sixth win in the 24-hour classic, continuing a heritage that proudly dated back to the 1920s. In honor of that landmark, and in celebration of Bentley’s century-plus of constructing some of the world’s most premium automobiles, the Crewe firm will produce an extremely limited run of Bentley Continental GT and GTC coupes that will artfully recognize Bentley’s triumphant return to the Sarthe circuit.

This year marks a century since the first Bentley arrived at Le Mans and set the race’s fastest lap. The commemoration cars will be build in a total run of just 48 units worldwide, festooned with interior accoutrements that salute Bentley’s racing history: The normal rotating display in the interior will include a valve from the engine of the Speed 8 that won Le Mans in 2003, along with six winning wreaths, a Speed 8 silhouette treadplate and 24 hour clock. Powered by Bentley’s 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12, the commemoration cars will feature a number 7 in their grilles in honor of the 2003 winner, presented in almost Blower Bentley style.

Corolla Cross Hybrid bows

With more than 50 million copies sold since it first arrived in 1968, the Toyota Corolla hands-down owns the title of best-selling motor vehicle of all time. Toyota’s managed to achieve it by keeping the Corolla affordable, handsomely equipped and above all, relevant for all these years. One such step has been the recent introduction of the Corolla Cross, a crossover based on the familiar Corolla sedan. For 2023, Toyota has expanded the Corolla lineup still further by introducing the first-ever Corolla Cross Hybrid, powered by the fifth generation of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain.

The Corolla Cross Hybrid will be available across S, SE and XSE trim levels, with Sport packages available across the board. All model grades will receive all-wheel drive with a maximum 196 horsepower and an EPA combined mileage racing of 42 MPG. The new model will be produced at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama.

Craig Breedlove, 1937-2023

If you came of age as a car enthusiast in the 1960s, you certainly know who Norman Craig Breedlove was, and about his towering accomplishments in a wild, back-and-forth contest for the world Land Speed Record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. A pioneering California hot rodder who had been setting speed records on the salt since he took his 1934 Ford coupe down the course in 1955, Breedlove passed away Thursday at the age of 86. His exit concludes a life marked by one of the most memorable, and dangerous, one-on-one contests for supremacy in the history of world motorsport.

Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s speech telling Americans to ask what they can do for their country, Breedlove was inspired to seek the LSR, designing and building the first of two jet-powered record cars that led to a protracted contest for the title of fastest man on earth. After deep-sixing his first car when a parachute failed, Breedlove built a second Spirit of America jet in which he captured the record, at more than 600 MPH, in a titanic contest with another jet car driven by Art Arfons. The record changed hands several times from 1963 through 1965, and Breedlove’s record-setting car was immortalized in the title of a Beach Boys song. When he first captured the record in late 1963, Breedlove upended the record of Briton Sir John Cobb that had stood since the 1940s, and became the first American to hold the mark since Ray Keech set the record on the sands at Daytona Beach in 1928. The all-or-nothing battle between Breedlove and Arfons remains the subject of motorsport legend, earning Breedlove induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, where yours truly is one of the electors, here in Daytona Beach.

Hyundai runs the table with electric IONIQ 6 at NYIAS

Each year, when the New York International Auto Show gets cranked up at the Javits Center, one of the early highlights is the presentation for awards for excellence in design as determined by a jury of some 100 automotive journalists from 32 countries. This week, the electrified Hyundai IONIQ 6, which the firm calls an Electrified Streamliner, allowed Hyundai to sweep three major judged World Car Awards for the second consecutive years, after it broomed up the honors in 2022 with the foregoing IONIQ 5.

Specifically, the IONIQ 6 bulldozed its way to wins for World Car of the Year, World Electric Vehicle and World Car Design of the Year. Because of its juried judging, the NYIAS awards are considered some of the most legitimate, and most prominent, awards for design excellence in the global auto industry.