The race to respond to our changing climate is on. Cities around the world are looking for innovative ways to reduce emissions, leverage new technology and encourage carbon-reducing lifestyles. The City of Toronto is no exception. In 2019, Toronto declared a climate emergency and has since adopted an aggressive target: reaching net zero emissions by 2040.

Through mandatory green building standards, improvements to bike lanes and bike-share programs, and the expansion of public transit, here at the city we are advancing our role in reducing global carbon emissions.

Yet, despite these efforts, Toronto is still missing the mark on one of the most impactful policies we have in our toolkit: investment in electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure.

Roughly 38 per cent of Toronto’s emissions are produced by transportation, with more than a quarter resulting from passenger vehicles. Restrictions at the start of COVID-19 outbreaks resulted in a significant emissions reduction, largely due to widespread work from home mandates and reduced travel opportunities.

Toronto is now faced with a decision: contribute to the changing landscape or risk suppressing a widespread transition to EVs in our city. Countless municipalities are proving that EV uptake is possible when government support exists. San Jose, Calif., is ranked No. 1 across the United States for their EV-friendliness, with roughly 2.9 public charging stations per 1,000 residents. In stark contrast, Toronto currently has 0.20 per 1,000 residents.

There is a glaring disconnect between the city’s policy goals and its ability to implement the steps needed to reach these objectives. This is evidenced in one of the latest targets put forth by the city’s TransformTO Net Zero Strategy, which seeks to eliminate combustion engine vehicles from city streets by 2040. The Electric Vehicle Strategy outlined in the framework sets an ambitious target: the installation of 3,000 Level 2 charging ports across the city by 2025. To date, Toronto has installed just 600.  Pilot programs with Toronto Hydro have taken years to roll out and local attempts to boost EV infrastructure along city streets have suffered from interdivisional disagreements and a lack of jurisdictional clarity.

As a city councillor, I routinely field feedback that can be summarized as “I’d like my next vehicle to be an EV, but I have nowhere to charge it.” The problem is simple – there are many parts of the city where parking is predominantly on-street, with some shared mutual driveways, if driveways exist at all. In these instances, access to convenient EV charging infrastructure remains elusive.

In 2019, I proposed the allowance of front yard parking (FYP) in the Beaches–East York area as a practical way to increase parking and charging options for EVs.  It was a move met with fierce ideological opposition from some, and concerns with a reluctance to try something new from others. Yet, after more than a year of bureaucratic manoeuvring, we provided folks with a much-needed pathway to EV charging infrastructure in their neighbourhoods. For me, this experience is emblematic of the tendency of politicians and institutions to lean into soaring rhetoric, but a reluctance to tackle the much more complicated and nuanced process of implementation. This will need to change if we’re going to achieve the widespread adoption of EVs articulated in our policy objectives.

If you watched the Super Bowl, you likely notice that auto-manufactures went all in on electric. General Motors, BMW, Kia, and Polestar exclusively advertised new EVs, with no airtime afforded to their internal combustion counterparts. The private sector has made it clear we are on the precipice of the biggest automotive transformation since the Model-T, but these technological advancements will be stifled without the support of local municipalities advancing the new infrastructure required to complete our transformation.

Our environment cannot wait for the bureaucratic tape to be cut. If we want to achieve our climate goals, we must align our targets with our actions. This will require co-ordination across government, utilities, and manufacturers to think differently than we have in decades past, and a commitment to making charging infrastructure abundant across the city. We’re dealing with a new technology, and it will require a new approach – let’s get that done with the urgency the climate crisis requires.

Brad Bradford is Toronto City Councillor for Ward

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Electric vehicles are not fans of the cold. They don’t travel as far in winter temperatures, plus they need to keep their passengers warm, which uses up more of their battery range. The colder it gets, the more work the battery needs to do.

Unlike with gas-powered vehicles, these cars also take longer to charge in colder temperatures. The difference is noticeable even when temperatures are at or slightly above freezing. Admittedly, by Canadian winter standards, that is not extreme.

Even at ideal temperatures, EV quick chargers, just like the vehicles, have different max charging speeds.  How fast of a charge they provide, from older 50-kilowatt units to 150 units and state-of-the-art 350 units, vary widely – and colder temperatures affect them, too. At home, when charging overnight, this increased time is often barely noticeable. But when you’re on a longer drive, and quick charging is necessary, the speed is key.

I recently got to test drive a Kia EV6 that tops out at a very impressive 250-kilowatt quick charging speed on its spec sheet. But I didn’t hit anywhere near that in early March. In temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, I managed to charge the Kia faster at two Ivy quick chargers rated at 150-kilowatt than I did at a pricier 350-kilowatt Electrify Canada charger.

In theory, the Electrify Canada charger, with a higher speed capability, should have charged the vehicle much quicker. But it didn’t. When I charged the Kia at two different Ivy chargers, the speed reached the max capabilities of those units, and even exceeded them – I recorded a brief 179-kilowatt charge rate even though the maximum is said to be 150. Did Ivy sneakily install more powerful chargers?

“We are aware that some vehicles experience a temporary spike in charging speeds during sessions, which is common with fast-chargers, but this is not indicative of an increase in charging speeds,” said Adam McClare, who manages brand and marketing for the Ivy Network. “Currently, our standard max charging speed across our Ivy Charge & Go fast-charging network is 150 kW.”

This all highlights that quick charging an EV in the winter can have more variables than ever-changing fuel prices. It can cause potential frustration for EV owners but occasionally surprises.

Michael Bettencourt bought his first EV in late 2011 and has followed the Canadian EV scene ever since. Follow him on Twitter @MCBet10court

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From the snow-capped mountains of Friuli, Italy, to the industrial epicentre of Turin, they still talk about the man with the flamboyance and the fiery temper. His presence is still felt in every showroom. His spirit still turns every screwdriver in every Formula One garage.

More than three decades after his death in 1988, mention Enzo Ferrari’s name in the streets of Italy and the reaction is like a splash of that infamous red.

“Ferrari?” says a young Italian teenager as he plays with a model race car on the street outside his suburban home 100 kilometres north of Venice. “That is what I want to race when I am older.”

There is passion in the sound of the name Ferrari. There is an Italian pride that flows from the heart. The very name is its own brand. The company is still a benchmark for many competitors. It’s a symbol of championships, performance and style. It is power and influence and results.

Ferrari, the man, would admire his place in history and his stature in his own home country, if only because it is part and parcel of the success he helped create. Ferrari demanded the discipline from everyone around him. Ferrari demanded results and got them.

But it hardly developed overnight.

Born in early 1898 to a middle-class family in Modena, Ferrari’s story is a rags-to-riches tale of automotive success. He was raised in a small engineering world where his father operated a metal-construction shop, making sheds and gangways for the nation’s railroads. Ferrari found great delight in the inner workings of the shop and had little interest in school.

As a young man, he had three ambitions: opera singer; sports journalist; and race-car driver. He never pursued the first two, and, despite some struggle, flourished with the third.

After losing his brother and father in the First World War, Ferrari was drafted into service in 1916 and served time herding mules in the countryside. After contracting a serious flu virus two years later, he was released from the army and sent home to a desperate situation and the family business had collapsed. His widowed mother was on the verge of poverty.

With his honorable discharge letter in hand, Ferrari tried to begin his career at Fiat when he was 21. But the Turin car company wasn’t interested.

Eventually, Ferrari was hired by a small sports car maker and a few years later joined Alfa Romeo’s racing department. There he helped Alfa grow the racing side of its operation by winning some of the first post-war sporting events.

Calm and composed behind the wheel, Ferrari displayed a natural talent for the sport and tried to help grow the business on his own.

Though not an engineer by nature, Ferrari knew engineering talent when he saw it. A big man with a flair for socializing, Ferrari slowly built Alfa’s race industry by luring away top talent from other companies, including his most famous recruit, Vittorio Jano, a well-known Fiat designer.

At the same time, Ferrari was also carving out his own niche. Racing under his own banner for Alfa — a prancing horse over a yellow background — Ferrari eventually built up enough credibility and success to start his own race team. A decade later, he turned it into a full-fledged company.

Founded in 1946, before Ferrari had turned 50, he created an organization that would set a new trend for motor racing and car building. The first car that carried his name set that trend for years to come.

As business publication Automotive News Europe once wrote, “his passion made the difference.”

He led by a different example. He never took vacations, and he often pitted his drivers against each other thinking it would bring better results. Sometimes it did, even though the work environment was often caustic.

During the 1950s, Italy was experiencing a post-war boom, especially in the north. As Italy grew, so did Ferrari, with Enzo at the wheel. His teams won races and his high-performance cars became the envy of every jetsetter on the planet.

There were tragedies, however. Many racing drivers died behind the wheel of Ferraris, such as Alberto Ascari (1955) and Gilles Villeneuve (1982).

When Enzo’s son, Dino, died of muscular dystrophy in 1956, it eventually led to Ferrari’s divorce. After they separated, Ferrari threw himself into his business, working seven days a week and living in an apartment above the factory.

In the 1960s, when Italy’s economy stumbled, Ferrari eventually sold part of his company to Fiat. In 1969, Fiat helped again, buying up 90 per cent of the company, with the stipulation that Ferrari would control it until his death.

On the track, the legend continued. Before Enzo’s death, Ferrari, the team, claimed 14 victories in the 24-hour race of Le Mans (France) endurance race and nine open-wheel Formula One championships. And then a young Michael Schumacher arrived on the scene to win five more F1 championships behind the wheel of Ferraris, his final time in 2004. Kimi Räikkönen won in 2007 and the company has been trying ever since to get back on top.

Over the years, a certain mythical aura prevailed over Ferrari’s sports cars. And while past machines such as the Dino, the 288 GTO, the F40, the Enzo and the Ferrari LaFerrari connect us in spirit with the company’s founder, the current lineup of a half dozen new models provide the link for future generations.

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The 1963 Sting Ray coupe will forever be remembered as the car that changed the fortunes of the Chevrolet Corvette brand, but not without massive controversy, General Motors infighting and a very prominent and short-lived design feature.

In fact, without the changes made for 1963, it’s quite possible that the Corvette would have died.

Truth be known, “America’s Sports Car,” as it came to be called, wasn’t given much of a chance when it first appeared at General Motors’ 1953 Motorama car show. After all, the men behind it, designer Harley Earl and engineer Ed Cole, had barely six months to convert their newly approved design into an actual running and driving automobile.

Originally to be called the Corvair, it had a fibreglass body attached to a shortened Chevrolet Bel Air frame. Other Chevy parts-bin components included brakes, suspension, steering and two-speed Power-Glide transmission, as well as a 150-horsepower version of the “Blue Flame” inline six-cylinder truck engine.

After initial positive reception for the Corvette, it soon became apparent that the lack of performance along with quality issues with its body were detrimental to sales. In its first three years of production, Corvette sales totalled just 4,640 units, which was a mere trickle compared with the 1955 production of 16,000-plus units of Ford’s then-new two-seat Thunderbird. The Corvette was on the ropes.

The one True Believer in the Corvette and its potential was Zora Arkus-Duntov, a fledgling Chevrolet engineer. Being a former racer and a racing-parts manufacturer, Arkus-Duntov understood the meaning of performance and persuades Chevrolet management to let him install the division’s new 265-cubic-inch V-8. The little Chevy turned into a rip-snorting sports machine and shed its original boulevard cruiser persona. Sales spiked and the Corvette mystique began to grow.

Although the ‘Vette received a modest styling upgrade in 1956, planning for the next-generation car was about to commence, a process that would take more than five years.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette

The task of designing the Corvette fell to Bill Mitchell, who had taken over from Earl as Chevrolet’s vice-president of design.

The one recurring theme in Mitchell’s mind was that of a shark. With some experience deep-sea fishing, he had become fascinated with their sleek and powerful shapes. For inspiration, Mitchell even had his group carefully study a recent catch that was mounted to his office wall. Their original 1957 drawings of the new Corvette revealed a shape that was amazingly close to the production version, even if many of the ideas fell by the wayside.

Early designs featured a hardtop roof that could be folded behind the seats much like a convertible top. Other plans called for hidden headlights, a movable steering column and gull-wing-style swing-up doors. However, the Corvette’s shark-themed bulging front-fender lines were considered sacrosanct.

After two years of vehicle development, Mitchell and his team began in 1959 to shape what would become the final version of the next-generation Corvette. Among the stylists was Larry Shinoda, who would later gain fame with Ford as the creator of the high-performance Mustang “Boss” series. By then the decision was made to produce both coupe and convertible versions of the Sting Ray, a name borrowed from an earlier Corvette show car.

The Sting Ray was unique for many reasons, including the complete absence of a trunk. Instead, limited space behind the seats was the only area available for luggage or cargo.

As a final flourish, Mitchell insisted that the rear window glass be divided in two, despite the fact that Arkus-Duntov and others objected contending that the bar through the middle hindered rear vision. Mitchell eventually won the argument, and the “split-window” stayed.

Underneath Sting Ray’s seductive bodywork was a ladder-type frame and independent rear suspension, the first time such a setup had ever been offered on an American-based production car.

The vehicle’s 327-cubic-inch V-8 engine, available in four horsepower ratings from 250 to 360 (the latter being the rare fuel-injected version), carried over from the 1962 model. It was positioned well back of the front wheels, creating nearly equal front-rear weight distribution. Combined with beefier brakes and a leading-edge chassis (one that would be used for nearly 20 years) and suspension, the new Corvette could run circles around the previous model.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette

The completely revamped 1963 Sting Ray reached Chevrolet dealer showrooms in the fall of 1962, causing an immediate sensation. By the end of its inaugural season, more than 21,500 had been sold, almost equally split (pun intended) between coupes and convertibles.

The following year, the hardtop’s split rear window was replaced by a one-piece design, a feature that would remain through to the end of the car’s production run in 1967.

In the end, Mitchell fought a losing battle to keep his original windows, claiming that changing it “spoiled the whole car.” But split-window or not, the Sting Ray’s sophisticated looks and awesome power would forever change the public’s perception of the Corvette.

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While most car shoppers in Canada are busy tripping all over themselves to buy SUVs and crossover-like vehicles, there is a small – but determined – group which still prefers an old-school four-door sedan as their preferred way in which to ferry the brood. That’s why, even as manufacturers such as Ford exit the car business, some companies still see opportunity in this once booming segment.

Perpetually at or near the top of sales charts for this type of rig is the Toyota Camry. This is a nameplate that’s had so much success that it is not disingenuous to suggest nearly everyone reading this article has either owned a Camry or known someone who did (or does). For 2022, the car comes in no fewer than 10 different trims – proving that Toyota is doing anything but letting this thing wither and die on the vine.

Setting the opening bet this year is a Camry LE, priced at $27,750 and equipped with a 2.5-litre four-banger making a hair over 200 horsepower and connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available and a hybrid powertrain – which makes roughly the same horsepower as the base engine but offers much better fuel economy – is offered in an array of trims. The range topping V6 makes over 300 ponies, a sum your author will note far eclipses the output of the Mustang GT your author coveted as a young lad. Times change.

There’s no shortage of features in a base Camry, with economies of scale making the likes of power windows and a tilt/telescope wheel simple table stakes these days. Toyota also retains the handy folding rear seats, though those cloth chairs in the front row are stripped of heat and power adjusters compared to other Camry models. Still, the exterior mirrors are heated and fore/aft LED lights are shared with more expensive trims. Annoyingly, the only two colours available on this end of the food chain are black and white.

Infotainment shows up for duty in the form of a 7-inch display screen feeding tunes to six speakers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are baked into the software, a definite plus since Toyota tends to make some odd UX choices when designing the displays in their infotainment software. Safety aids like dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and a pre-collision braking system are included even in this base car.

What We’d Choose

Rather confusingly, Toyota chooses to offer an LE package on the LE, a group which adds items like heated front seats and 17-inch alloy wheels for $1,540. Spending a further $2,260 on an LE Upgrade package brings the aforementioned items plus dual-zone climate control, a larger infotainment touchscreen, and handy wireless charging tray.

2022 Toyota Camry

Spending more on a Camry doesn’t net a shopper any extra space, so the choices come down to feature count and powertrain selection. While the LE-on-an-LE package is a decent spend of cash, anything beyond that pushes the price in territory occupied by the SE trim shod with all-wheel drive. Since the base car is hardly a penalty box, keep options to a minimum to get the best value out of a Camry.

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Honda to upgrade Alliston plant

To help bring production of the next-generation Honda CR-V hybrid to its Alliston, ON, plant, Honda will spend $1.38b over the next six years to upgrade the automaker’s plant there. The investment will help retool to build the 2023 Honda CR-V, including the hybrid model that will come to Canada for the first time, as well as let the factory add new processes to the supply chain and new R&D programs. Both the provincial and federal governments will be contributing $131.6m toward the project. Honda of Canada has a capacity for more than 400,000 vehicles per year and 190,000 engines.

Electric Boxster

Porsche confirmed that the 718 Boxster and Cayman models would be going purely electric in the next couple of years. The automaker has hinted at the news before but confirmed it last week during the company’s annual press conference which also discussed the possibility of a Porsche public stock offering. “We are stepping up our electric offensive with another model: By the middle of the decade, we want to offer our mid-engine 718 sports car exclusively in an all-electric form,” said CEO Oliver Blume, adding that nearly 40 percent of all Porsches sold in Europe last year had a plug. An EV 718 would be the company’s first electric sports car.

Toyota cuts production

While pandemic restrictions are easing in Canada, the effects on the auto industry are far from over. Toyota said last week it was cutting its global production forecast by 17 percent for the month of April, cutting 150,000 units. The reason is the ongoing microchip shortage affecting every automaker, with COVID-19 measures in other regions also contributing.

Toyota

VinFast will send you on vacation

VinFast, the Vietnamese automaker looking to break into the North American EV market has just announced pricing for its first two models here, with some unusual perks for reservations. The VF 8 crossover is set to start from $51,250 and should arrive before the end of the year, while the larger VF 9 crossover is expected to arrive in early 2023 from $69,750. Those who make a reservation before April 5th will be eligible for a discount on their vehicle of $3,500 for VF 8 or $6,000 for VF 9. They will also be offered with a mobile charger, smart service packages, and a seven-day stay for four (not including airfare) at one of the company’s Vinpearl resorts in Vietnam.

VinFast

More screen for EQS

This is the interior of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQS crossover, complete with door-to-door Hyperscreen and some seriously impressive touches. Though still mum on details about the electric vehicle, Mercedes-Benz is talking about the cabin and that optional 56-inch screen first seen in the EQS sedan. Innovative materials include the magnolia wood center console which has laser-cut Mercedes-Benz stars that are backfilled by a stainless-steel sheet for a unique effect. Mercedes also confirms this will be a three-row vehicle, with more comfortable rear seating than a GLE. It will even have its own special scent for the cabin air cleaner, called No. 6 Mood mimosa. Expect a full reveal of the EQS next month.

Mercedes

Mercedes-EQ. EQS SUV Interieur. Komfort und Platz für bis zu sieben Passagiere // Mercedes-EQ. EQS SUV Interior. Comfort and space for up to seven people.

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Once upon a time, before Lawrence Stroll of Montreal bought Aston Martin, he and others, but particularly the driver, Sergio Perez, took ownership of the team called Force India. Everything looked good but there was one thing missing: they were hard up for cash.

They went out to qualify at Spa in 2009 and this woebegone outfit that started life as Jordan and then became Midland (owned by a Canadian), Spyker cars, Racing Point, and Aston Martin fired up. And lo and behold if Giancarlo Fissichella doesn’t go out there and win the pole. In more than 200 races, this team had won exactly nothing. They did manage to make it onto the podium six times but that was it. Oh, and that pole.

There was something happening at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park that weekend and I was sitting beside my friend from the Toronto Sun, Dean (the Dean of Speed). “Look at this?” I said.

Said Dean: “They must think we’re really gullible.”

This sort of thing doesn’t happen in F1 very often but, face it friends, it does. It’s happened in NASCAR and, some say, in IndyCar. The reason is money – usually. A team owner once kept a driver from winning a race because he’d been bribed to keep the car from finishing. And an owner made book on himself that he’d lead the first lap. And a team that had gone nowhere suddenly couldn’t be beaten and you have to wonder what was up there?

Ditto Ferrari at Bahrain this weekend. They had done nothing since 2019. Now they go out and blow everyone off. Charles Lerclerc wins the race and Carles Sainz was second. Lewis (Guess Who?) Hamilton finished third.

This has been a slice of life – with more than a little truth to it.

The master of this craft, of course, was Flavio Briatore, who was wheeling and dealing when he was in charge of the Benetton clothing stores and the same-named F1 team. He was a card. One time he was talking on television during Martin Brundle’s grid walk and he said: “And we have Ferrari on pole – which is always good for business.” That got people talking. Not in a good way either.

By the way, Briatore was at the race in Bahrain Sunday. Two Royal Family members – both daughters of the disgraced Prince Andrew – were also there. . . . .

Why can’t F1 do things off the wall, like IndyCar and NASCAR? The F1 race started, the first car went to the pits, the second car, etc. And on and on. Our Nicholas Latifi is not having a good year. He finished nineteenth Sunday. So, let’s give him some help. Short fuel the car at the start. Go like hell on a lighter fuel load. Then pit and squeeze every bit of fuel into that car you can. Go has hard as you can with that full fuel load. Niki will not win that race but I guarantee he will finish not 10th. . . . .

Verstappen near stalled at the start but managed to keep going. Otherwise, he’d have been toast. . . . .

Two things I hate: the phrase race space, which means speed. And DRS, which is artificial. (Jimmy Clark used to have to work his way past an opponent; no DRS for him). . . .

When the race started, the announcers were gushing about how great this was of Haas and Ken Magnussen being near the front. And I think this is a subtle shot at Michael Andretti.

QU0TES: 

“It’s a shame we were not able to fight for points today, but we will benefit from completing our first race and understanding more about these new regulations,” Lance Stroll suggested. “It’s early days and there is lots to learn about how we can extract more performance in time for the race in Saudi Arabia next weekend. My initial impression is that it could be an exciting season of racing because it appears that you can follow cars more closely and today, I had some great battles with Albon and Schumacher.”

“It was a tricky day and it’s clear we’re not starting off as strong as we would have liked,” Nicholas Latifi said. “We’ve been lacking pace, struggling with overall grip, balance and tyre degradation, so we need to work out how we extract more out of the package we have now and have a real push to react as soon as possible to bring some more speed to the car.”

OTHER RACING 

In the 12 hours of Sebring, Earl Bamber won the 70th Mobil 12 Hours presented by Advance Auto Marks. He was co-driving a Cadillac DPi with Alex Lynn. Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nick Catsburg, driving a Corvette, drove a Corvette to win the GT PRO class. www.IMSA.com

When Josef Newgarden won the IndyCar race in spectacular style Sunday afternoon at Texas, he found himself one of 56 drivers who contributed to the Penske Racing’s 600 wins. Scott McLaughlin was second and Marcus Ericksson third. The real winner, though, was Jimmie Johnson. He finished sixth and that was really fine. www.INDYCAR.com

Here’s something. Mario Sharapova and Michael Schumacher have been charged with fraud as the result of a complaint. An Indian woman has accused the athletes of fraud for taking money for a housing project and then not building the project and keeping the money.

William Byron won the NASCAR Cup race at Atlanta William Byron wins wild NASCAR race at remodeled Atlanta (msn.com)

 

 

 

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The Ontario Centre of Innovation, a government group with a mandate to help advance, accelerate, and commercialize advanced technologies in the province, is hosting a Partnering Forum to help bring together groups in the fields of smart mobility, EVs, and WinterTech research. The forum will include two keynote speakers, Ford Motor Company of Canada President and CEO Beverly Goodman and VP of Advanced Services, Rogers for Business, Tess Van Thielen.

Organizing the partnering forum is the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network, started by the Province of Ontario and the OCI. The goal of OVIN is to help develop the commercialization of Ontario-made automotive tech and mobility solutions, advance transportation tech testing in the province, bring together stakeholders, build jobs in the province, and help bridge the province’s auto and tech clusters.

The forum will bring together leaders from small and medium-sized enterprises in the automotive and mobility sectors. The intention is to help build partnerships and drive economic and job growth in Ontario.

Beverly Goodman was named to lead Ford of Canada in February of last year and has helped lead the company’s transition to electric vehicles. With more than 25 years at Ford, Goodman has extensive experience in the automotive industry.

Tess Van Thielen has more than 20 years of experience in the tech and telecom industry. This includes leading development and commercialization of 5G and internet of things technologies.

The OVIN Partnering Forum will be held March 24th. You can register here.

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The Batman is the darkest, grittiest on-screen interpretation of the classic DC character we’ve ever seen. And yet it’s very unlike the last batch of “dark and gritty” Batman movies.

Take for example how the Christopher Nolan films attempted to explain exactly how Batman could be Batman. James Bond-esque exposition scenes suspended our disbelief in Batman’s suit and gadgets — including the iconic Batmobile — by grounding them in the world of postmodern military tech. We of course remember “The Tumbler” — Nolan’s interpretation of the tank-like Batmobile from Frank Miller’s masterpiece 1986 graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns.

The Batman goes in a very different direction by addressing its “How can Batman be Batman?” question purely through visual storytelling. The answer that visual storytelling provides is, “he made all this stuff himself.” And that includes the new Batmobile.

Which means for the first time, we’ve got a Batman who likes working on cars. And that logic has led the filmmakers to provide us with a very, very different Batmobile — one which is easily the most car enthusiast-inspired on-screen interpretation to date.

It’s (mostly) a 1969 Dodge Charger

This isn’t the first time Batman has driven a modified version of a commuter vehicle. The Batmobile of the 1960s television show was based on a Ford Futura. When Neal Adams drew Batman for the comics, he made the Batmobile a Corvette Stingray. It didn’t even look like a bat. It was just a straight up black Corvette Stingray — which makes something of a cameo in The Batman film.

However, this is the first time that the storytellers have clearly stated that the Batmobile is a modified version of a “regular” car.

In an interview with GQ, director Matt Reeves and production designer James Chinlund discussed the new Batmobile. Their shared goal was to make the new Batmobile “look somehow retro and familiar, like a Dodge Charger or Challenger,”

“We chopped the roof off a ’69 Dodge Charger,” said Chinlund — indicating that though the car is not entirely a Charger, the iconic Dodge’s presence is what’s intended to be communicated on-screen.

In a prequel novel to The Batman, David Lewman’s Before the Batman: An Original Movie Novel a teenage Bruce Wayne drives a 1968-1970 Dodge Charger in street races.

It’s rear-engined

Of course, the Batmobile has always featured a large afterburner exhaust exiting from the rear of the car, indicating it had some kind of jet propulsion. However, it’s never been entirely clear how this would work, and most of the Batmobile models were obviously a front-engine layout. Previous Batmobiles all seemed sci-fi, as if they could never mechanically exist in the real world.

The latest Batmobile attempts to remedy that.

According to Motorbiscuit, which breaks down the technical side of the new Batmobile in great detail, this latest interpretation features a number of real-world modifications, including its rear-engine. As described by Motor Biscuit: “This Batmobile features huge tires, lifted suspension, a rear-mounted V10 engine, and swooping fender flares.”

Batmobile

The V10 in question is a 6.8-litre Ford Triton V10 which produces 362 horsepower at 4,750 R.P.M.

Would a Hellcat HEMI V8 have been more appropriate and indeed faster in the real world? Sure. But the Triton V10 looks and sounds the part on-screen, and that’s what matters most.

There’s an electric version

I guess it stands to reason that Bruce Wayne would be concerned with not only cleaning up the streets of Gotham, but also the planet.

However, the EV Batmobile exists only as a stunt prop, not necessarily a cannon feature.

A Tesla drivetrain was inserted into the front of one of the Batmobiles in order to accomplish a stunt in which the Batmobile shoots flames out of its rear exhaust.

“We built this very intricate front to the car, we called it ‘The Furnace,’” Chinlund said in an interview with Insider. “The concept was that there’s a jet intake in the front that feeds into the rear engine. So in the electric version, it allowed us to have this fire breathing machine inside the hood.”

Keeping things electric reduced the on-set risk when compared to a gasoline-powered version.

“Early on in conversations with [‘The Batman’ director] Matt [Reeves] we were talking about ‘Christine,’ the Stephen King book, and were figuring out ways to make the car actually feel like it was breathing,” Chinlund told Insider.

Batmobile

Movie buffs will remember the 1983 film adaptation of King’s classic novel about an evil spirit inhabiting a killer car, where the titular Chrstine was played by a 1958 Plymouth Fury. Chrstine was also the inspiration for films like Quentin Tarinto’s Death Proof — which also features a menacing, black 1969 Dodge Charger.

It’s meant to look handmade

As previously stated, the visual storytelling and grounding in gearhead culture is what so separates the new Batmobile from any previous version.

Director Reeves told GQ, “[The Batmobile] had to be entirely bespoke and hand-built by Bruce, piece by piece. It’s a vehicle designed to ram through things, so the body built itself around that idea. That’s why the rear is open, and the engine is exposed.”

“It wasn’t going to be like a tank or a specialized weapon,” Chinlund told Variety. “He was not James Bond, he was a singular vigilante.”

 

Chinlund and Reeves didn’t want the Batmobile to look like something which Bruce Wayne drew on his resources at Wayne Industries to create. It was meant to be an expression of the character’s solidarity and determination.

According to Variety, Chinlund’s design notes for the Batmobile was that it should be “relentless [and] motivated by a mission.”

The post Five Ways The New Batmobile is Completely Different appeared first on WHEELS.ca.

When I review a car, I often look at its sales to get a sense of where it ranks both within its own manufacturer lineup and the market segment in which it competes.

While sales are obviously an important metric and are helpful for contextualizing a vehicle’s relative market significance, they’re also a bit like TV ratings: most popular doesn’t always equal best.

That thought was in my mind as I sat down to write about the Telluride, the three-row, seven- or eight-passenger SUV from Kia that’s been in the Korean automaker’s lineup for almost three years. Finding its 2021 sales figure took a fair bit of scrolling, but what’s more interesting to me than the number (4,270) is year over year performance (+49.67 per cent).

Yes, the Telluride’s sales volume within Canada remains small, but a near 50 per cent yearly increase during a global pandemic and semiconductor shortage is quite a feat. Clearly, interest in the Telluride is growing, and while it will likely never be Kia’s bestseller here, it has intriguing potential. To carry my TV analogy a bit further, the Telluride is like a critically acclaimed show that is growing in popularity but hasn’t yet found a mass audience.

At any rate, the Telluride is based on a Hyundai Motor Group platform shared with its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Palisade. As is the case with the Palisade, one powertrain is offered across all Telluride grades: a 3.8-litre V6 (291 hp / 262 lb-ft) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive.

In Canada, the Telluride is sold in four trims: EX, SX, SX Limited and SX Limited Nightsky. Of note, the EX and SX offer eight-passenger seating, while the SX Limited and SX Nightsky are seven-passenger models.

For this review, Kia Canada set me up with a mid-grade SX finished in Glacial White Pearl with a black leather interior. Notable content adds for the SX over the base EX include leather seating, dual sunroof, 360-degree camera monitoring system, Harman Kardon premium audio system and Blind View Monitor. The only option my tester carries is a $250 paint charge.

2022 Kia Telluride SX

Kia has positioned the Telluride, which gets its name from a ski resort town in Colorado, as a ruggedly capable SUV with the looks to match the adventurous spirit of its namesake. I’ve long been impressed by Kia design, especially in the past half-decade or so, as it pushes the boundaries of automotive styling further into new territory.

And while it’s true the Telluride does generally look much like other mid-size SUVs Kia designers have done well to give it a presence some of its competitors lack.

For me, the standout aspects of the Telluride’s appearance are its broad Tiger Nose grille, square LED headlights with amber daytime runners, and its bracket-style taillights and standard 20-inch alloy wheels. These elements fit seamlessly with the car’s boxy and upright stance to give it a commanding presence. While the Palisade is about elegance, the Telluride exudes ‘can do’ optimism.

2022 Kia Telluride SX 2022 Kia Telluride SX 2022 Kia Telluride SX

On the inside, the Telluride is comfortable, roomy and well-appointed, but I wouldn’t say that it really wows in any respect. While handsomely finished, the appeal here is not in the size of its multimedia screen (10.25-inch, in this instance) or the shape of its dashboard, but rather about how everything works together.

I mean this in the best way, but the Telluride’s cabin has a no-frills aesthetic even though it comes with plenty of stuff. Kia’s designers have literally checked all my preferred boxes when it comes to dashboard-centre console design: climate controls on hard keys, volume and tune knobs for the stereo, console-mounted gear shifter, seat heaters and heated steering wheel functions on hard switches and even twin analogue gauges in the instrument cluster. It’s as if they were reading my mind! And it all works beautifully. The materials aren’t the fanciest or most expensive, but they look good and touch points are pleasing to interact with.

On the road, the Telluride’s 3.8-litre V6 offers good acceleration, both from rest and in traffic, with smooth, linear power delivery. Its 291-horsepower peak is high in the rev range (6,000 r.p.m.), as is torque (5,200 r.p.m.), but one needn’t bury the needle to get this thing moving. While more low-end torque would be appreciated, I didn’t find the Telluride’s performance be lacking during my week of driving.

2022 Kia Telluride SX

A drive mode selector that includes eco, smart and sport, in addition to comfort, can tailor engine and transmission responsiveness as one desires, but it doesn’t alter the Telluride’s character much. Sure, sport will bump up engine revs and sharpen throttle response, while eco will do the opposite, but this is an SUV we’re talking about, a vehicle that is neither built for performance or efficiency.

As with most SUV’s, the Telluride’s sweet spot is either in comfort or smart, which not only relaxes the transmission, but also produces an acceptable compromise between performance and efficiency for most everyday driving situations. The Telluride also comes with a terrain mode selector with three settings (snow, mud and sand) for off-pavement driving. I made use of the snow setting during my test and found it to be useful for maintaining grip on snow-covered roads.

In terms of ride comfort and general handling, the Telluride felt neither too firm nor too soft, but softer winter tires are a factor in that regard. General handling with respect to steering feedback and body lean felt reasonably responsive for a vehicle of this type in normal driving conditions, although I didn’t run it through any emergency exercises on a closed course. It’s worth mentioning, however, that most shoppers in this segment aren’t too concerned about autocross prowess.

2022 Kia Telluride SX

On the other hand, intenders in this segment do care about practicality and utility, and on that score the Telluride delivers. With seating for up to eight, 2,455 litres of maximum cargo space and a 5,000-pound tow rating, this SUV hits the notes that matter for families.

On the downside, the Telluride’s starting MSRP is higher than that of some of its competitors, such as the Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, and the Palisade, but the difference fades when comparing upper-level trims. There are currently no electrified Telluride models available either, which could impact purchase considerations, although to be fair, many SUVs of this type aren’t available as hybrids either, including the Palisade and Pathfinder.

2022 Kia Telluride SX

Bottom line, the Telluride impresses. From its ruggedly, handsome design, to its accessible and straightforward cabin layout and high utility factor, this Kia ticks the boxes that matter to consumers. And based on how well it performed in 2021, it appears ready for prime time.

The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.

The post REVIEW: 2022 Kia Telluride SX  appeared first on WHEELS.ca.