CONFERENCE IN THE BLOG – With a sort of conference on his blog Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla, he illustrated the plans of the house for the next decade. To say that the intentions are of growth and expansion is little to say, as Musk has outlined the Tesla of the future as a producer of at least one of his models, obviously electric, in almost every sector of the market. But not only that, but the “electric” house in California also aims at other objectives, such as the production of trucks and buses with electric traction. And together with the vehicles Musk has planned the development of a roof containing solar panels, as well as a proposal that aims to put Tesla vehicle owners in a position to make their car profitable when they do not use it.
GREAT PRODUCTION GROWTH – Regarding car production plans, Musk said the Tesla range will soon also include an SUV model and a pick-up truck. The hypothesis of a Tesla of category inferior to Tesla 3 remains excluded. As for the heavy vehicles, for which according to Musk the electric traction is indispensable for their environmental impact, the relative development has already begun and their presentation should take place next year. The goal of expanding the range means significantly increasing Tesla’s production capabilities and in this regard, Musk said that the greatest efforts of the house designers’ staff are now directed to the development of production methods capable of making plans possible. of the House.
THE IDEA OF THE CAR THAT MAKES – The goal of making Tesla cars capable of producing an income for their owners was prefigured by Musk as a way to exploit car sharing in combination with autonomous driving: who will have a Tesla will put it in “sharing” mode like a taxi and when someone uses it for a move it will pay the owner.
THE IMPORTANCE OF “SOLAR” – Perhaps the most significant part of Musk’s announcement was the part dedicated to the project of a sunroof incorporating solar panels that produce electricity to be used on the vehicle itself. The project is important for its technical-industrial aspects, but at this moment also because it serves Musk to try to convince the financial market of the validity of Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City company, specialized in the production of solar panels. When Musk announced the purchase, for 2.8 billion dollars, the Exchange has misjudged the initiative and Tesla shares have made a splash of 12%. For Musk it is therefore important to be able to convince the validity of his plans, for which he stated that it is essential to incorporate the Solar City into Tesla.
OBJECTIVE: BAG TRUST – These stock-related aspects of “solar” projects are at the center of comments from Musk’s conference made by economic analysts and the press. But they are only a part of it: many have observed that the same communication initiative of Musk represents a kind of diversionary maneuver to get out of the sort of ” encirclement ” In which Tesla finds itself due to several reasons. First of all, failure to achieve the announced production objectives: in the first half of this year, Tesla sold 29,200 cars, or 3,800 less than those envisaged. This raised doubts about the possibility of the house achieving its objectives, thus creating malaise among investors. Beyond that, there are also the heavy consequences of the fatal accident of which was the protagonist of a Tesla equipped with the Autopilot semiautonomous driving system. Another episode that has contributed to creating doubts about the company’s prospects, for which Musk has predicted a production of 500,000 vehicles for 2018. he pickup Tunland are produced in versions single cab and double cab in joint venture with Germany’s Daimler and equipped with the innovative 4-cylinder engine turbo intercooler common rail Cummins ISF 2.8-liter that delivers 163 hp at 3,600 r / min . with a torque of 360 Nm from 1,800 to 3,000 rpm. The gearbox is a Getrag JC538 5-speed manual , which, in 4 × 4 versions, is combined with a BorgWarner transfer with gearbox . The Bosch electronicsallows you to better manage the use of the engine and consumption is contained at 8.3 l / 100 km . All tunnels destined for the Australian market are equipped with axles and DANA differentials , moreover the double cab versions are equipped as standard with the limited slip rear differential (LSD) .
The dimensions of the Tunnel allow a good interior habitability even for tall passengers with 8 adjustments for the front seats; the rear bench, equipped with 2 headrests, accommodates 3 passengers and a large storage compartment has been created under the seat. Good load compartment dimensions, which in the double cab are 1,520 mm long, 1,580 mm wide and 440 mm high. In the single cab version the length is 2.315 mm. The external dimensions are similar to similar models from other manufacturers, with a length of 5.310 mm, width 1.880 mm, height 1.870 mm and pitch 3.105 mm. The other indicative values of this pick-up concern the minimum height from the ground of 200 mm, the flow rate of 1.025 kg with a total weight of 2.975 kg.
The rims are made of 16 “steel with 245/70 tires for the single cab, while on the double cab we find 17” alloy wheels with 265/65 tires. The standard features include rear parking sensors, keyless door opening with external mirrors, cruise control, electric windows, audio system with radio / CD / MP3 with 4 speakers and Bluetooth with steering wheel controls.
At the moment the Tunland is not yet marketed in Europe, mainly because of the incomplete safety equipment, which has limited to 3 stars the score obtained in the ANCAP crash tests ( Australasian New Car Assessment Program) . The Tunland, for example, does not have airbags side, the seat belt for the third rear passenger and no stability control. However, we must recognize the construction quality that makes it very robust, the materials used to ensure durability and the guarantee offered by the House confirms it: 3 years or 100,000 km + 3 years of roadside assistance. A further confirmation comes from a market survey that reveals for the Tunland after 3 years or 40,000 km from the purchase a devaluation of 41% against 55% of the Toyota Hilux and 45% for the Nissan Navarra. On the Australian market, Tunland prices start at $ 22,000 for 2 × 4 single cab , 30,000 for 4 × 4 double cab, a middle ground when compared to cheaper competitors, the Chinese Great Wall or the Indian Tata Xenon , or those more expensive like the Japanese Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navarra and Isuzu D-Max that exceed 40,000 dollars.
Also worthy of note is the presence of a Tunnel at the Dakar 2015 with the Chilean rider Alvaro Chicharro at the wheel. At the finish line in Buenos Aires he finished in 59th place, but with the great satisfaction of having completed the grueling race that forced the withdrawal of much more accredited cars.
At the last auto show in Guangzhou, in addition to the pick-up Tunland, even in an unlikely setting up Big-Foot, the Foton presented a new SUV version, the Savana . The 5/7 seat interior has a more refined finish and is suitable for the type of vehicle, including the electric sunroof roof, but only above the front seats. However, the standard equipment is still lacking even on lower class vehicles, in particular, the various electronic systems for driving assistance and driving safety. In addition to the 2.8-liter Cummins turbo diesel engine on the Tunnel, a 2-liter Turbo GDI petrol engine is also available for the Savana(Gasoline Direct Injection), with the manual or automatic transmission. Equal the rest of the mechanics, including the rigid bridge rear suspension. Whether it is a private vehicle, a work vehicle or for institutional tasks, the pick-up can be considered a symbol of the American motorization, always in the lead in sales and distribution. Natural, therefore, that even in this category has peaked the electric motorization. This result is due to Workhorse (the translation of this brand is “draft horse”) of Loveland, Ohio, a company specialized in the production of “step van”, ie light and medium delivery vans, especially by couriers espresso, with electric drive and internal combustion engine for the extension of autonomy. For this activity Workhorse has a plant in Union City, also in Ohio, where it has the theoretical capacity to produce up to 60,000 vehicles a year. In this field its flagship product is the E-GEN, which uses a BMW auxiliary engine, Panasonic batteries and Morgan Olson bodywork. Workhorse, however, is also active in the field of computer science and drones and these days,
The prototype without bodywork during the tests
The Workhorse W-15 is a comparable pick-up – by segment – with the Ford F-150 but is a plug-in hybrid, ie designed for electric propulsion with the ability to recharge the batteries via a “range extender” . Given its experience, the manufacturer aims to commercial and institutional fleets and at the time of presentation announced 4,650 pre-orders, which in the meantime have exceeded 5,000. Meanwhile, however, is probing the market and plans to sell the W-15 also to individuals, starting from the last quarter of 2018, at a base price that will have to be 52,500 dollars. But let’s take a closer look at this machine, which, on first impressions, does not seem to have the same … grit that competitors like the F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado or the Dodge RAM, mainly because of the absence of the radiator grille. Even the interior of the cabin (which can be two or five seats), appear a little ‘Spartan but it must be remembered that the W-15 is proposed above all as a work vehicle. Naturally, since it is a hybrid, the newest and most interesting aspect is that of propulsion. As is evident, Workhorse was based on the experience of its E-GEN van even if, in this case, there is the important difference of 4 × 4 tractions.
The propulsion, therefore, is electric with a system of extension of autonomy. Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion batteries of 60 kW / h, but with self-limitation at 40 kW / h to increase the service life, power two 171 kW (230 HP) TM4 electric motors; these engines, with a total power of 460 HP, are arranged one for each axle. The autonomy is 130 km that can be extended to 500 km with the intervention of a BMW W20 Rex petrol engine, a 64-cm 647 HP3 engine (the same as the BMW i3) that works as a generator to produce electricity; in this regard, there was also talk of the future option of a 228 HP three-cylinder BMW B38A15T0 Twin Power Turbo (i.e. the one mounted on the i8). The “range extender”, which draws on a 42-liter tank,
Speaking of an electrical system, the W-15 offers an interesting feature: a power socket for powering external users, with a 7.2 kW and 30 Amp output, which also works when the engine is switched off.
The framework sees a steel structure and a barycentre made quite low by the position of the batteries. Part of the bodywork is made of composite material and there is electronic stability control: on the real off-road abilities the opinions are divided; with a ground clearance of 23 cm and pronounced front and rear overhangs, this can only be a moderate use. From the geometric point of view and the masses the pick-up is 5.94 m long, 2.03 m wide and 1.88 m high. Its total weight is 3,270 kg, the capacity is 1,000 kg and the towed weight is 2,700 kg. Autonomy has already been said, while the acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h (actually 97 km / h) is in 5 seconds and a half, absolutely remarkable (but in the possibilities of electric traction); the maximum speed, which is not officially indicated, should be 130 km / h, while consumption is indicated in 11.90-13.60 km/liter. What are the real market possibilities of the W-15? This is a good question: so far, the attempts by the majors to market their pick-ups even in hybrid version have not elicited enthusiastic answers; on the other hand, it must be acknowledged that Workhorse has specific experience in this field and that its primary objective is represented by company fleets and services, whose choices do not necessarily follow the same criteria as the public.