The pandemic-shortened Formula E season just wrapped up, but the all-electric racing series will be back on track soon, according to organizers – and that’s good news as far as Jaguar Land Rover is concerned.
The British automaker has been an active proponent for battery-car racing, both with Formula E and its own eTrophy series. They provide an obvious PR boost for the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV, but there are other benefits, Jaguar officials noted during a webinar this week. Racing helps engineers improve products like the I-Pace. But, in turn, that production model is also helping improve the Jaguar racing program.
“To be competitive on road and track you have to keep up with the pace of technical developments and change,” said James Barclay, head of Jaguar’s electric vehicle racing program, which includes Formula E. What happens on the track, he added, “has a real relevance back to (production) cars” like the I-Pace.
There have been a number of improvements to the electric SUV since it was launched in Europe in mid-2018 – U.S. sales following that October. Some have come from Formula E, which is a rigidly regulated series where manufacturers run dart-like racers essentially identical but for their powertrains. Jaguar has also sponsored what is essentially a stock series, the eTrophy, where the I-Pace undergoes only modest updates, and most of those for safety reasons, such as the addition of a roll cage.
It’s the eTrophy that has yielded one of the most significant improvements in the production iPace, according to Barclay. “As a result of (our) learnings,” he said, “we’ve been able to deliver a complementary software upgrade” to the production vehicle “that’s delivered up to an additional 12 miles per charge.” The U.S. version of the SUV now is EPA-rated at 234 miles range.
With both Formula E and the eTrophy, Jaguar engineers have focused heavily on software updates which have a “huge” impact on a vehicle like the I-Pace, including not only range but performance and creature comfort, added Stephen Boulter, the SUV’s vehicle engineering manager.
Of course, it helps to have the ability to do smartphone-style over-the-air updates to the I-Pace, rather than requiring owners to bring the vehicles back to a dealer, he said.
Like rival Tesla, Jaguar has been closely monitoring data uploaded from production SUVs for insight into how they perform in the real world. That is added to what Boulter called “the incredible wealth of knowledge” derived from Jaguar’s electric racing efforts.
Along with the boost in I-Pace range, the automaker has used its learnings to reprogram the behavior of the active air vanes at the front of the vehicle which are opened when cooling air is needed. Other updates include:
- Using more of the battery pack’s “state-of-charge,” drawing deeper than was originally planned because that has proved less risky to long-term battery life;
- The I-Pace now has a more powerful onboard charger, but it also has been reprogrammed to speed up charging, whether at home or at a high-speed public facility;
- The SUV’s regenerative braking system has been revised to kick in sooner, helping recapture more energy normally lost as heat;
- The torque balance between the front and rear motors has been reprogrammed to better enhance both grip and performance.
There have been a handful of other changes to the I-Pace since its introduction, including the addition of a camera-based rearview mirror and enhancements to the car’s 360-degree video system. But the most significant updates have been software based, with much of that influenced by what Jaguar has learned on track.
At the same time, the feedback goes both ways, Jaguar enhancing its race effort with information gleaned from data generated by millions of miles of driving on public roads.
Most importantly, the automaker found a way to use the speed sign recognition system from the production car to help its race drivers track what their competitors are doing and that, said Boulter, “has actually been used by the race cars so they can go faster.”
In part due to the pandemic, Jaguar is now dropping the eTrophy series, but it plans to continue in Formula E and hopes that the beneficial link between racing and production will continue.
See 2021 Cadillac Escalade Get Driven With Blocked Windshield
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade test units are out and about, and first drives have already been orchestrated. A handful of journalists and YouTubers have started pouring out content about the full-size luxury SUV. That includes us with our Escalade First Drive Review.
The Fast Lane, however, took a different route and made videos that are out of the ordinary. We’ve seen the channel do some off-roading with the Escalade, something owners won’t probably do when they get their hands on one.
This time, The Fast Lane Truck does a review with the Escalade’s bevy of tech toys. And as crazy as you would expect from the channel, the folks there tried to drive the SUV with a blocked windshield and front windows. How? By using the Escalade’s VR function displayed on the instrument panel. The resulting video was bonkers, which you can watch on top of this page.
Speaking of, the driver was able to go around the course without issues, twice even, and you can see in the video that he even reached speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) before coming to a halt.
Before you raise your pitchforks, let us all be reminded that TFL Trucks did the test on a close course, so the test looked safe. Although as expected, both the driver and his passenger felt queasy after the virtual drive. But overall, at least now we know that you can still drive the new Escalade even if your windshield got broken – so as long as the front camera’s intact.
See the full crazy test on video and let us know what you think through the comments section below.
Fancy Acer Book RS By Porsche Design Comes With Carbon Fiber Cover
Porsche RS models are revered for their performance both on and off the race track, as they are admired for their flurry of carbon fiber materials. Porsche Design is back with another collaboration to showcase its styling prowess – this time it’s with Acer and its latest laptop.
Named the Porsche Design Acer Book RS, this fancy laptop signifies a new partnership between the two brands, something that fuses Porsche Design’s functional design philosophy and engineering mindset with Acer’s technological innovations and deep-rooted knowledge in the global computer segment.
The high-end notebook comes with a minimalist design, but a closer inspection reveals a 3k carbon fiber cover, striking a contrast against the diamond-cut CNC-machined chassis. With the use of this lightweight material normally used for race cars, the entire Acer Book RS only weighs 2.76 pounds (1.25 kilograms) while only measuring 0.63 inches (15.99 millimeters) thin.
Underneath the classy body, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS is equipped with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics and optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce®MX350 GPUs and 16 GB of RAM. The 14-inch FHD IPS3 touchscreen is covered with a layer of Antimicrobial4 Corning Gorilla Glass with an immersive 90% screen-to-body ratio.
The Porsche Design Acer Book RS will be available in North America with a starting price of $1,399.99. A premium package, which comes with equally great-looking accessories such as premium package i7 notebook, travel pack, and mouse, will be priced at $1,999.99. This chic Acer laptop will also be available in Europe and in China.
This isn’t the first time that Porsche designed a gadget. Back in 2018, a Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS came into fruition, which had a price tag that started at $1,800.
GMC Hummer EV’s WTF Mode Does A Weird Song And Dance Before Launching
First thing’s first. What the heck is Watts to Freedom? In short, it’s the GMC Hummer EV version of Tesla’s Ludicrous Plus launch mode, both in function and in its gimmicky nature. What does that mean? Ludicrous refers to Ludicrous speed from the classic 1987 Sci-Fi spoof Spaceballs. Meanwhile, the acronym for GMC’s Watts To Freedom is WTF, and we’re sure you know what else that stands for. But wait, there’s more
Engage WTF mode in the recently revealed GMC Hummer EV, and you won’t just launch to 60 mph in three seconds. For starters, the truck will hunker down a couple of inches before putting its GM-estimated 1,000 horsepower (735 kilowatts) to the ground. That’s a functional component of going fast, but less functional are the sounds that emanate from the Hummer EV’s speakers and animations that pop up on its digital screens.
GMC doesn’t offer a specific description of what this means, but the B-roll footage below takes us through the process starting at the 28-second mark. Once activated, a low-pitch humming sound reverberates through the speakers, and a snazzy animation on the main screen morphs to a third-person view of a Hummer EV poised on a space-themed runway. Meanwhile, the dash displays “Watts To Freedom” with stars and bars, along with a message that advises “repeated usage will cause accelerated wear on vehicle.” The driver can choose cancel or let’s go, which isn’t quite as catchy as I want my mommy or bring it on but hey, you get the point.
Selecting let’s go puts the system into motion. The truck lowers (which is also shown on the instrument display) and the driver is eventually prompted to press the brake and accelerator. This is the interactive part, as the driver must brake hard enough to get the all-important green checkmark to then floor it, all while the sound increases in both intensity and annoyance.
With the pedals mashed and the Hummer EV ready, release the brake and it’s off to the races. Presumably, drivers will be concentrating on the road while sprinting to 60 mph, so they won’t see the mini starfield flashing on the digital instrument board next to the speed readout. However, everyone will hear what sounds like the USS Enterprise going to warp speed through the speakers. At least it’s more pleasant than the low-resonance buzzing that starts it all off.
Is the GMC Hummer EV fast? Yes, it certainly is. However, experiencing all the pomp and circumstance that’s not at all similar to Tesla’s various quirky Easter eggs could easily be considered gimmicky in the best of circumstances. We’re at least curious to try it all in person as opposed to seeing a close-up on a video, but we suspect these aspects of WTF Mode might have more than a few people asking WTF GMC was thinking with all this.
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