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Traveling Around Europe? Don’t Use Dashcams In These Countries

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As petrolheads, whenever we think of dashcams we picture a Lada racing down Russian streets at Mach 10, or a highway accident where a motorist narrowly avoids a crash. While the internet is oversaturated with these types of videos, restrictions to using them often come as an afterthought. Skoda took a deep dive to figure out dashcam rules and regulations worldwide.

Luckily here in North America, we aren’t limited too much with recording our journeys behind the wheel. In Canada, roads are treated as public space making them fair game; meanwhile, for us in the States, the first-amendment means we can record as we like. While documenting our travel is fair game, road users must still be mindful of the state’s rules and regulations. This isn’t a big worry as the main issues of debate are audio recording and blocking the driver’s field of vision.

Skoda Dash Cam Cover 01

Aside from researching dashcam use, Skoda will optimize some of its latest vehicles for using them. From 2021 onwards, the Superb, Kodiaq, Karoq, Scala, and Kamiq models will receive USB-C connectors in common places where cameras are placed. These connectors work to clean up the usual mess of dashcam wires and cables.

While restrictions vary significantly between countries we’re sure you noticed Russia and its seemingly wild set of regulations. It’s no surprise, given the steady stream of dashcam videos we see on social media from the country.

Although Russia is the only country where dashcams are completely unrestricted, there are others that allow them with some red tape involved. Certain areas enforce rules where the driver’s sightline must not be obstructed, and other road user’s faces and license plates need to be blurred before publishing footage.

While dashcams are a great tool in the unfortunate event of an accident, it’s still important to ensure the legality of your setup.

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/436925/dash-cam-regulations-europe-skoda/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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2021 Porsche 911 Targa First Drive | The best roofless 911

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My neck hurts. My forehead is beat red. My hair is in absolute disarray. I’m gladly embracing all of that, because I just hopped out of a 2021 Porsche 911 Targa 4S.

Perhaps Porsche is just so good these days that in addition to making preeminently capable sports cars, the company has also mastered perfect control of the weather, as my eight hours with this latest 911 variant were full of sunshine and 80-degree bliss. It’s the setting that’ll make you fall in love with the Targa. Peak rigidity and minor weight gains be damned. Driving around with the unimpeded blue sky above and warbling Porsche flat-six echoing off the trees is pure driving bliss.

Those who’ve been waiting for Porsche to deliver the Targa version of the redesigned 992 generation of 911 don’t have long to wait for their grins, either. It’s arrived just one model year after the new 911 hit the market, far quicker than it did with the previous 911 (a three-year wait). Despite making up only 15% of 911 sales, not including the Turbo or GT models, the unique body style was still popular enough that Porsche brought it back.

There’s a lot of carryover from the previous Targa, which represented a wholesale change in how Porsche approached the Targa model. Instead of the glorified sunroof it was previously (or the single roof panel it started off as), the Targa’s current roof design is a complex contraption consisting of a soft top that lifts back and gets swallowed by an aft-tilting rear window clamshell. It’s a good thing pictures exist, because it’s tough to describe.

One notable addition to the roof operation for the 992 Targa is its newfound cooperation with the rear parking sensors. If they detect anything within 1.6 feet of the bumper, it cancels the operation and prevents the clamshell from crashing against whatever’s within 1.6 feet behind you. Just like before, it takes 19 seconds to open or close, and you must be fully stopped for the duration.

The Targa’s reason for being hasn’t changed. It’s an open-top driving experience similar to the Cabriolet (the body itself is identical to the Cabriolet up to the window line), but it adds a glass rear window and throwback styling. Porsche does apply some limitations, though.

Chief among them is our biggest gripe with the Targa: it comes only with all-wheel drive. Porsche says that Targa customers tend to prefer all-wheel drive, which has been the case since those glorified sunroof days. However, a sports car with a removable roof still screams summer car. Assuming said summer car won’t be taking on snow, there’s little reason for all-wheel drive. A rear-drive 911 Carrera isn’t exactly some lurid, tail-wagging beast.

Another compromise is its heavier curb weight. The Targa 4 is 198 pounds heavier than a Carrera 4 (coupe) and 44 pounds heavier than the Carrera 4 Cabriolet. Blame the powered roof system for this weight gain. All the parts associated with the moving roof (fabric top, glass panel, bracing and more) account for 187 pounds of weight, which raises the center of gravity by 10 mm and causes a minor shift in weight distribution rearward. Porsche made the top lighter by using magnesium bracing for the soft top and “weight-optimized” laminated glass for the rear window. The Targa is also not as stiff as the coupe, but it’s at least more rigid than the Cabriolet.

Both Targa trims are equipped with the same engines as their counterparts. The Targa 4 gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six with 379 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. The more potent Targa 4S nets you a hefty 443 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque from its upgraded 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-six. Porsche’s conservative 0-60 estimates are all ratcheted back a couple tenths on account of the extra weight. A base Targa 4 without the Sport Chrono package’s launch control is rated to hit the mark in 4.2 seconds, whereas a base 4S does the deed in 3.6. Launch control subtracts two tenths from both of those times.

Porsche says the Targa is identical to the Cabriolet underneath from a hardware perspective, but the dampers and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control system are tuned using Targa-specific software.

After an afternoon spent gallivanting about rural Michigan in a Racing Yellow Targa 4S with a black Targa bar, my notebook was full of exclamations about how creepily good this car is to drive quickly. At a certain point, I contemplated the notion that Porsche chassis engineers were actually just wizards using their powers to make fast cars. 

It’s more satisfying than the standard coupe in a couple ways, too. Losing the top inherently allows for a greater sense of intimacy between the driver and outside environment. The 911’s sheer sense of speed is enhanced by the wind flying through the cabin and the increased exhaust volume. Yes, the engine is easier heard than in the coupe, and the Sport Exhaust’s pops and crackles are more apparent, too. Even though the coupe is technically quicker, the 911 doesn’t feel any slower when the roof is off.

A vast number of things are identical to the coupe. The 911’s brilliant ride and handling balance is fully present and accounted for. It resolutely sticks to glassy-smooth tarmac, but is forgiving and pliant on undulating pavement. Other sports cars simply don’t offer the duality of greatness that the 911 does. The perfect pedal tuning and masterful steering are as excellent as always. Getting into a rhythm and connecting to the 911 on a twisty road couldn’t be easier. It’s quite simply unflappable.

Now, the Targa would likely reveal itself to be compromised versus the coupe on a race track, but no one is going to safely find those limitations on public roads. I also thought that the Targa handled impacts and especially terrible pavement better than the coupe does. 

Launching a Targa 4S is the same as in any other 911. The eight-speed dual-clutch transmission (the seven-speed manual is available on the 4S) drops the launch control hammer from 5,000 rpm. It effectively smashes you in the chest with a dumbbell upon brake release, while the car tears down the road as if the devil himself was chasing.

Putting the top up felt like the wrong thing to do, but we had to see what it was like. Turns out, it could be better. On rough roads, the Targa makes its fair share of creaking noises. Nobody is expecting a Bentley, but the top made enough noise to be annoying. Michigan’s horrendous roads don’t help the groaning and creaking, but smooth pavement quiets things down. Visibility out the sides takes a hit on account of the thick Targa bar right behind the driver’s head, but it’s a small compromise. Porsche’s large wraparound rear window almost makes up for it. 

The noise you hear from the engine with the top up is also weirdly distinct for the Targa model. With less stuff in the way between the driver and engine, a metallic zinging sound comes into play in the upper rev ranges. It’s high-pitched, and if heard often enough, is a tad grating on the brain. Porsche identified it as the belt drive. Interestingly, the sound goes away when the top is dropped. Wind noise wasn’t intrusive or bothersome with the top up.

Buffeting will sneak up on you when the top is retracted, but it can be avoided at all road-legal speeds by opening the windows or deploying the wind deflector integrated into the cowl panel frame. I couldn’t test it back-to-back with the Cabriolet full-convertible to see how the two compare, but other editors have reported that it’s impressively serene and quiet when its pop-up wind deflector is deployed behind the rear seat. For both flavors of roofless 911, though, driving them with the top removed is how they’re best served. Choosing between the two just depends on how much top you want removed and if you appreciate the uniqueness provided by the Targa. And if you don’t plan to lower the roof much, just get the Carrera coupe. It’s cheaper, has a more refined cabin experience and has the edge in weight and rigidity.

Price is another hurdle you’ll need to jump over. A Targa 4 starts at $120,650, with the 4S at $136,550. Both the Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S are $12,800 cheaper than their equivalents. A Targa 4 and Cabriolet 4 have the exact same prices. Every performance option you might want is available for the Targa, too. Our 4S tester totaled $181,840 after Porsche was through with it. Big ticket performance items like the $8,970 carbon ceramic brakes and $2,090 rear axle steering aren’t necessary to make it great, but you’ll want the $2,790 Sport Chrono Package and $2,950 Sport Exhaust System. Also, get the standard silver Targa bar. The black bar blends in with the black top and mutes the most important design element.

We could start comparing and contrasting the 911 to various convertible sports cars, but when you’re in this price range, emotion matters far more than anything you might find on a spreadsheet. And in the case of the 2021 911 Targa, we left the checkered driver’s seat only because Porsche was coming back to take the car away. A heavier curb weight and complex roof didn’t ruin the 911 experience. Unless lap times and 0-60 mph numbers are your priority, the positives of going Targa are worth the extra coin. It looks more exotic than the Cabriolet, goes like hell and is livable enough for everyday use. Once again, the 911 Targa is an open-top masterclass.

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Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/10/2021-porsche-911-targa-first-drive/

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Nikola stock jumps after it bags big trash-truck order

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Nikola CEO and founder Trevor Milton (Reuters).

Republic Services Inc will partner with Nikola, a maker of hydrogen-fueled vehicles, to develop 2,500 electric waste and recycling collection trucks, the companies said on Monday.

Nikola shares jumped nearly 22% in afternoon trading.

Ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets set by governments around the world are driving the development of alternatively-powered vehicles, with some countries already committing to phasing out traditional combustion engines.

The zero-emission vehicles, which will have a range of 150 miles (241.4 km), are expected to be integrated into Republic Services’ fleet beginning in 2023, the companies said. (https://prn.to/3fRIdGp)

Republic, a recycling and non-hazardous solid waste disposal firm, highlighted quieter operation in neighborhoods, lower maintenance costs, and lower emissions as benefits of electrifying its fleet.

The deal is expandable to 5,000 vehicles over the life of the agreement, the companies added.

Major vehicle manufacturers around the world have electric or fuel cell models in their product line-ups, but investment in the technology, coupled with a global automotive sector downturn, has squeezed profits and led to staff and cost cuts.

Along with Hyundai Motor Co and Toyota, Nikola is one of a few automakers to have backed hydrogen cars.

The company is aiming to start production of its Badger pickup truck in 2022 or earlier, which will compete with electric car maker Tesla Inc’s Cybertruck. The pickup truck is expected to be available in both electric and fuel-cell versions.

Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/10/nikola-2500-trash-trucks-republic-services/

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Fiat Chrysler denies GM’s ‘preposterous’ bribery allegations

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DETROIT — Allegations by General Motors that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles bribed union officials are “preposterous” and read like a script from a “third-rate spy movie,” FCA lawyers wrote in court documents filed Monday.

GM, in a court motion last week, alleged that Fiat Chrysler used foreign bank accounts to bribe union officials so they would stick GM with higher labor costs.

But in a response, the Italian-American automaker fired back, calling GM’s claims “defamatory and baseless.”

GM alleged in a court filing last week that FCA spent millions on bribes by stashing the money in foreign accounts. The allegations of new evidence were made in a motion asking a federal judge to reconsider his July dismissal of a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler.

In trying to revive the lawsuit, GM alleged that bribes were paid to two former United Auto Workers presidents, as well as a former union vice president and at least one former GM employee.

In its response, Fiat Chrysler said GM has to know that the prospect of getting the judge to overturn the dismissal is slim to none. “So this motion is apparently a vehicle to make more defamatory and baseless accusations about a competitor that is winning in the marketplace.”

FCA denied allegations by GM that FCA paid two “moles” to infiltrate GM and send inside information. The company also denied that foreign bank accounts were involved. “That GM has extended its attacks to individual FCA officers and employees, making wild allegations against them without a shred of factual support, is despicable,” FCA lawyers wrote.

GM’s claims are based on the alleged existence of foreign bank accounts, which are legal, Fiat Chrysler wrote. “There is not one well-pled allegation in the proposed amended complaint (by GM) that these foreign bank accounts were used to pay bribes or facilitate any other illegal conduct,” FCA’s response said.

GM contends that bribes were paid to former United Auto Workers Presidents Dennis Williams and Ron Gettelfinger, as well as Vice President Joe Ashton. It also alleges money was paid to GM employees including Al Iacobelli, a former FCA labor negotiator who was hired and later released by GM.

GM alleges that payments were made so the officials would saddle GM with more than $1 billion in additional labor costs.

Gettelfinger, whose name had not come up previously in a wide-ranging federal probe of UAW corruption, vehemently denied the allegations in a statement and said he had no foreign accounts. Williams’ California home was raided by federal agents but he has not been charged. Iacobelli, who is awaiting sentencing in the probe, also denied the claims.

In July, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit tossed out GM’s lawsuit that alleged that Fiat Chrysler paid off union leaders to get better contract terms than GM.

He wrote that GM’s alleged injuries were not caused by FCA violating federal racketeering laws, and that the people harmed by the bribery scheme were Fiat Chrysler workers.

GM’s motion contended that payments were made to accounts in places like Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Singapore and the Cayman Islands. The accounts were set up to avoid detection in the federal criminal probe, according to the motion. The accounts were discovered recently by private investigators working on GM’s behalf, according to court records.

Source: https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/10/fca-denies-gm-brivery-allegations-court-case/

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