• Nissan changes for 2021 are wide-sweeping:
It’s normal for most larger automakers to introduce two or three new or significantly updated models every year, but Nissan has the pedal to the metal with a host of recently refreshed designs plus couple of new brands, as follows:
2019 model year – Redesigned Altima sedan; redesigned Kicks compact utility vehicle.
2020 model year – Redesigned compact Sentra and sub-compact Versa sedans.
2021 model year – New Ariya electric hatchback plus a redesigned Frontier midsize pickup, Armada full-size utility vehicle, Z sport coupe, Rogue midsize utility vehicle and Pathfinder seven-passenger utility vehicle.
Only a handful of vehicles will be left alone, at least in the short term.
• GM does some more partnership wheeling and dealing:
Fresh from announcing an electric-vehicle-development arrangement with Honda, General Motors and electric start-up electric truck maker Nicola are also forming a partnership. Specifically, GM will supply its Ultium-brand batteries plus fuel cells and will also build the hydrogen-electric Badger pickup for Nicola (one of a number of planned future models).
In return, GM receives an astounding US $2 billion worth of Nicola shares. The Badger, which is expected to launch in late 2022, is rated for 300 miles (480 kilometres) of electric-only range plus an additional 300 miles of range using hydrogen. A hydrogen-electric transport truck is also in the works.
• BMW’s ambitious electric-car plans:
Most automakers have been developing electric-powered sedans, hatchbacks, utility-style vehicles (crossovers) and sports models. As with its Audi and Mercedes-Benz peers, Germany-based BMW is no exception. Its aggressive plan involves introducing 25 electric vehicles by 2023.
Included in the mix, The Sleuth notes, there’s considerable emphasis on electrifying the brand’s M performance products. For example, the M5 plug-in hybrid sedan will include electric motors plus a twin-turbocharged V-8 producing a net 750 horsepower.
Also rumoured is an electric M5 using three motors (one for the front wheels plus one for each rear wheel) that will make an estimated 1,000 horsepower. Both values exceed the 2021 gasoline-only M5 that uses a twin-turbocharged 617-horsepower V-8.
• A plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler?
Absolutely, confirms The Sleuth, and it’s coming sooner than you think. The Wrangler 4xe that’s expected to arrive in early 2021 will join the existing lineup of internal-combustion engines. The hybrid includes a turbo 2.0-litre gasoline four-cylinder plus two electric motors (one attached to the front axle and another next to the 4xe’s eight-speed automatic transmission).
They’re fed by a lithium-cobalt battery pack positioned beneath the rear seat. Jeep claims a combined output of 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of maximum torque. That would make the 4xe the most powerful Wrangler for now, and likely the most fuel-efficient, although no numbers have been released yet.
• More wide-body Dodge Challenger models for 2021:
The Sleuth keeps wondering for how many more years Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will maintain the current generation of the sporty two-door Dodge Challenger coupe before a replacement is introduced.
Now entering its 13th season, the Challenger continues with the same chassis and most of the same bodywork as the original 2009 model. If it weren’t for some serious performance upgrades (up to 797 horsepower) that helps keep sales relatively strong, the Challenger would be considered a dinosaur.
For 2021, the wide-body option, consisting of flared fenders that allow for the installation of wider wheels and tires, is now available for four V-8-powered trim levels, up from two. The wide-body option is also offered for the Dodge Charger sedan.
UPS AND DOWNS
Up – Lucid Motors pricing, launch info announced:
The Tesla rival is confirming a 2021 launch for the electric Lucid Air sedan. Four different versions include the Base, Touring, Grand Touring and Dream Edition, with prices ranging from US $80,000 to $170,000. Battery range is claimed to top out at 517 miles.
Up – Ford Mustang electric drag-race car:
A one-off Cobra Jet 1400 prototype developed by the automaker’s engineers actually produces more than 1,500 horsepower to the rear wheels, thanks to four electric motors.
In a demonstration pass, the Cobra Jet 1400 ran the quarter-mile in 8.27 seconds, with a terminal velocity of 168 mph (270 km/h).
-written by Wheelbase Media