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GM Is Going to Build eBikes – and Wants the Public to Come Up With a Name

Winner will get $10,000.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.02, 2018

One of General Motors' two electric bikes is a distinctively styled compact version.

The word, “mobility” is showing up in transportation circles a lot these days, and expectations are that the public will have plenty of alternative ways to get around in the years ahead, everything from electric scooters to ride-sharing services.

That’s led General Motors to invest billions in a variety of different transportation alternatives, including car-sharing service Maven and it autonomous Cruise Automation subsidiary. Now, the Detroit automaker says, it will be getting into the bicycle business. Make that electric bikes, two of which it unveiled on Friday.

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It wants to start selling them next year but it has a rather significant problem: no name. So, it is asking the public to come up with a moniker for the new brand and will give the participant who submits the winning choice $10,000, with nine runners-up getting $1,000 each.

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Smaller Paris Show Still Set to Deliver Big Product News

Audi, BMW, Mercedes among the headliners at Mondial de l’Automobile.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.01, 2018

Audi is ready to take on the industry leader, Tesla, with the all-new e-tron, which will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show.

It may be the City of Lights but things will be a little darker at the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile. Otherwise known as the Paris Motor Show, it’s been hit by the same industry retrenchment that has hammered other major shows, including Detroit and Chicago during the last several years.

Among the manufacturers who’ll sit things out for 2018 are Ford, Infiniti, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo, as well as several Fiat Chrysler brands. And several other carmakers are expected to downsize their presence when the show begins with the annual two-day media preview on Tuesday.

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That said, it will just allow the spotlight to shine more brightly on those brands that have decided to stick with Paris this year. Among the most prominent previews on the docket will be debuts at the BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari stands. And while some of its Volkswagen Group siblings will be notably absent, Audi will retain a high-profile presence with three important public unveilings. (more…)

Alfa Snags a Win, Ferrari Lands the Big Bucks, and Classics Make Room for the Future as Monterey’s Classic Car Week Concludes

Award winner upstaged only by the $48M paid for '62 Ferrari 250 GTO.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.27, 2018

David Sydorick's 1938 Alfa 8C 2900B won top honors at Pebble Beach.

While the Alfa Romeo brand may be struggling to gain traction with American car buyers, the judges at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance had no problem deciding what was best in show at the 68th annual running of what is widely considered the world’s premier classic car show. Honors went to a 1938 Alfa 8C 2900B owned by David Sydorick, of Beverly Hills.

But if you’re measuring success in dollars, the weekend’s real winner was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO which was gaveled off for a record $48 million at one of the many auctions that took place over the long weekend on the Monterey Peninsula. It blew past all estimates and handily surpassed the winning bid for an Aston Martin DB5 used in the 007 adventure Goldeneye.

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While the emphasis during the extended weekend was on classic cars, the past had to make room for the future on at least a few occasions. An assortment of automakers, including BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, used the Pebble Beach Concours as background to reveal their latest concept and production models, with a big emphasis on electric drive technology. (more…)

Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow Concept Offers Signpost to Future Designs

EQ Silver Arrow draws inspiration from racers past.

by Michael Strong on Aug.26, 2018

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its EQ Silver Arrow concept to the crowed at the Pebble Beach Concours.

With seemingly most of the automotive world focused on the Monterey Peninsula at this time of the year, automakers are introducing some of their latest innovations at or near the Pebble Beach Concours.

Mercedes-Benz is the latest to do with its new EQ Silver Arrow concept car.The one-seater EQ Silver Arrow is an homage to the successful record-breaking W 125 car from 1937.

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Although the company has no real plans to roll out a new version of the Arrow, the company does described the concept as an “emotional signpost to the future of design.” So as is often the case for the Monterey Car Week concepts, expect to see some of what makes the concept so impressive to show up in some form in the EQ electric brand Mercedes plans to bring to market in the next year or so. (more…)

Bugatti Reveals 1,500-Horsepower, $5.78-Million Divo

For folks who think the Chiron just isn’t quick enough.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.24, 2018

The Bugatti Divo is a 1,500-horsepower beast that costs a mere $5.78 million.

While it may boast a top speed of 261 mph, there apparently are people – very, very wealthy people – who think the Bugatti Chiron isn’t fast enough.

So, for those folks, the French arm of the Volkswagen Group is rolling out the Bugatti Divo, all $5.78 million of it. The ultra-exclusive hypercar is making its debut this weekend on the Monterey Peninsula, ahead of the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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The 1,500 horsepower Divo isn’t a ground-up project, starting out as a Chiron that has been fed plenty of steroids. But it is lighter and boasts far better handling, Bugatti officials promise, especially during aggressive cornering maneuvers. On a straight road, however, it actually loses a bit of speed, topping out at a mere 236 mph. (more…)

Infiniti Goes Back to the Future with Prototype 10

Concept is the "manifestation" of brand's future powertrain strategy.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.24, 2018

Infiniti's Prototype 10 takes the retro styling of the Prototype 9 to a new level at this year's Pebble Beach Concours.

There’s something odd about the Infiniti Prototype 10. Catch a glimpse of it from one angle and you’re transported back to an earlier era of motorsports. Nose-on, however, the concept speedster takes on a very modern appearance.

Infiniti has been teasing us with heavily disguised images of the Prototype 10 for some weeks, now, finally giving us a good look at the one-off model during a preview helping mark the start of the annual classic car weekend on the Monterey Peninsula that wraps up with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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The luxury arm of Nissan has been a familiar corporate face at Pebble Beach, just last revealing the Prototype 9, an even more retro-shaped concept race car. What that model and the Infiniti Prototype 9 have in common, however, is what the maker calls the “physical manifestation” of its future powertrain strategy. With only a rare model or two, all future Infiniti products, it seems, will migrate to some form of electrification, from plug-in hybrid to pure battery-electric, like the powertrain in the Prototype 10. (more…)

Audi Sparks Race for Fastest EV with Debut of PB 18 e-tron

All-electric supercar can hit 60 in 2 seconds, deliver 310 miles range.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.24, 2018

The Audi PB 18 uses three motors, two of them in the rear, powered by a solid-state battery pack.

Amidst a sea of classic cars, Audi launched something new and decidedly different on Friday, but the PB 18 e-tron had at least one thing in common with the racecars gathered for the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion: blinding speed.

Driven by legendary Audi race driver Allan McNish, the eagerly expected Audi supercar is one of an assortment of high-performance models making their debut over the long weekend on the Monterey Peninsula where things are building up towards the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday.

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Influenced by Audi’s endurance racing program, as well as the R8 e-tron concept first shown in 2009, the new PB 18 e-tron is a two-seat supercar that sets the stage for the German automaker’s upcoming push into electrification. That begins later this year with the debate of a new SUV that offers an all-electric alternative to Audi’s more conventional Q5 ute. (more…)

Byton Looks to Make a Splash at Pebble Beach

China-based EV maker showing SUV and a concept.

by Joseph Szczesny on Aug.22, 2018

Byton plans to display its M-Byte SUV at the Pebble Beach Concours.

Byton, the Chinese-backed maker of electric vehicles, plans to use a display at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, for the debut the Byton K-Byte Concept as well as its first production model.

The company’s display at Pebble Beach will also feature its M-Byte Concept sport-utility vehicle, a production version of which the company is scheduled to launch in China in late 2019 and the U.S. and Europe by 2020. The M-Byte was also displayed this past January at CES.

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As a premium brand based in China that has a global reach, Byton also represents the first Chinese brand to show at the Pebble Beach, the company said.  (more…)

Infiniti Electrifies the “Classic Speedster” with Pebble Beach Concept

Japanese luxury maker offers a more revealing tease of Prototype 10.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.16, 2018

The Infiniti Prototype 10 is meant to give the classic roadster a battery-powered kick.

Infiniti is doing a slow fan dance as it begins to reveal the “daring electrified speedster” it will formally unveil at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance later this month.

It’s the latest in a series of extreme concepts and more conventional production models that the Japanese luxury brand has brought to the annual Pebble Beach event and the new Prototype 10 is meant to highlight Infiniti’s planned shift to electrifying future products.

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Electrifying!

“It is appropriate that we found inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterized by the simple love of driving,” says Karim Habib, Infiniti’s Executive Design Director. But while Prototype 10 may be meant to celebrate what Habib calls “some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated through high – powered single – seat competition cars,” it is anything but a retro-mobile. (more…)

Infiniti Set to Reveal “Electrified” Concept at Pebble Beach

Show car will “underline the electrified performance theme."

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Aug.09, 2018

Infiniti is offering a tease of its Pebble Beach Concept.

It’s going to be a busy week when everyone starts rolling into California for the week-long celebration leading up to the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Automakers from around the world are promising to use the Concours and related events as backdrop to unveil an array of production cars and concepts later this month.

That includes Infiniti which today dropped some hints about the electric luxury model it will launch on the Pebble Beach show. While the Nissan luxury brand is being coy about details, it hints that the show car will “underline the electrified performance theme” that it has announced for future products, virtually all models set to be offered with some form of battery-based drivetrain – with an emphasis on plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles.

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“Our new concept provides clues to where the Infiniti brand is heading,” said the brand’s design director Karim Habib, in a statement accompanying this teaser image. “For us, electrification means performance – our electrified cars will be powerful, efficient, and a joy to drive, and the new concept is a physical representation of our electrified performance future.”

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