Get the latest stories on the auto industry today! From recent collaborations to delays in new product launches, to recent highway developments, catch up on the latest stories before heading out on your next drive.
Hot Wheels has recently partnered with e-Bike maker Super73 to build an electric bike based on the flagship Super73-RX, featuring a 960Wh battery and a rear-mounted motor.
Mattel’s die-cast car brand Hot Wheels has partnered up with e-bike make Super73 to deliver an item that both kids and adults might enjoy. They will be releasing a limited-edition Hot Wheels e-bike based on the company’s flagship Super73-RX.
The bike is expected to come with a 960Wh battery and a rear-mounted motor. This makes it capable of producing power that translates to about 40 miles of riding at speeds of 20mph. As it’s a bicycle, however, you can ultimately stretch that even further since you can still pedal whether there’s juice in the battery or not.
The bike is available in a black and orange colorway, along with the standard Hot Wheels livery and graphics on the battery tank and the seat. It also inherits the standard model’s high-price tech features such as its app compatibility, Smart Display, and multi-class ride modes.
The nature of the bike as well as its limited-edition collaboration means the bike is quite pricey, at USD $5,000. The bike is also built-to-order, needing around 12-16 weeks of lead time before it hits the shipping price.
The demand for E-bikes has been increasing steadily in NZ, with stock in Nelson barely even touching the shelves before leaving the shop. The small two-wheel vehicle has been gaining traction that Stuff’s NowNext survey last May 2021 showed that 27% of respondents in Nelson has expressed interest in purchasing an E-bike or E-scooter next year.
Likewise, people in Otago showed that 22% of respondents were interested in purchasing one for themselves. Auckland, Taranaki, and Canterbury have also shown at least 19% of respondents interested in purchasing an e-Bike for their own use
Unfortunately, NZ Hot Wheels fans with the cash to spare won’t be able to get this limited-edition collaboration as it is only available in the continental US at the moment. Even if a dedicated collector were to find a way, the shipping costs could become quite pricey, making it far easier to just have a custom bike built locally.
As a fun little add-on, Hot Wheels will also throw in a special Ford Bronco die-case that matches the e-Bike for every purchase.
Tesla delays the launch of its Cybertruck, moving it from late 2021 to 2022. The company hasn’t announced any specific date in 2022, meaning it could release as early as first quarter or even next Christmas. Nonetheless, the company is still taking US $100 deposits for the truck and had even confirmed that the company has over a million reservations for the Cybertruck.
However, the configuration page now reads “you will be able to complete your configuration as production nears in 2022”. This also appears to apply to every version of the truck.
The move isn’t really much of a surprise, however, considering that Tesla CEO Elon Musk did say that there would be “few deliveries of the Cybertruck toward the end of this year, but I expect volume production to be in 2022” during Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call. Aside from that, Tesla’s VP of vehicle engineering, Lars Moravy, also confirmed that the vehicle will be moving into beta phases later this year, during July’s second-quarter earnings call.
The Cybertruck is meant to challenge the leaders in one of the more popular body styles in the US: pickup trucks. For an EV pickup, the Cybertruck does boast impressive stats, coming in with up to three electric motors ranging and rear-wheel or all-wheel drives depending on the configuration and the number of motors available.
In terms of power, the carmaker claims that the pickup is capable of going from zero to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, topping out at 110 mph. The Cybertruck’s towing capability is said to be pretty good too, capable of hauling 3500 pounds in its 6.5-foot cargo bed. They also have a maximum tow rating of between 7,500 and 10,000 pounds, with the triple motor models capable of pulling 14,000 pounds.
For now, however, interested owners may have to wait until next year before they can really test out this futuristic, alien-looking electric pickup for their daily needs. But of course, Tesla is not the only electric pickup maker to encounter some problems.
Rivian’s R1T truck’s launch has been pushed back to September 2021, no thanks to Covid-19 related issues and delays in production, down from its original July schedule. Problems with facility construction, equipment installation, and even the recent semiconductor shortage were also among the many reasons Rivian’s letter had stated as the cause for the delay. The truck was recently spotted in Queenstown for testing.
On the other hand, startup Lordstown Motors had also received their fair share of problems and controversies, with at least two senior staffers leaving and the company confirming that they haven’t gotten any solid pre-orders for their planned Endurance pickup.
Ford on the other hand, seems to be on track to launch their F-150 Lightning in their original 2022 release date and GM’s Hummer EV pick-up seems to be looking good for production before the end of they year.
Local ute producers haven’t officially revealed any of their planned offerings but interested buyers have caught glimpses of what is coming soon.
The Cybertruck will be produced at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas; the same place of production as Tesla’s Model Y later this year. It’s possible that the company may have chosen to concentrate on the Model Y first. Only time will tell what further developments await this vehicle.
Two urban designers have expressed anger, surprise, and criticism at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s decision to fell mature trees along High St., Motueka. Around 13 mature trees were cut down just last week, despite protesters' efforts to save the trees. The project, which is part of a $6.8 million ‘safety improvement’ project, was slammed as a symptom of “antiquated thinking”.
Urban designer Timo Neubauer, of Hope, said that the project was reminiscent of so-called “silo thinking from the 60s”. He explains it as a situation “Where traffic engineers see their work in complete isolation to the sole end of ‘improving’ or speeding up traffic flow.” Neubauer added, “They don’t think of anything else other than the road.”
Neubauer also explains how mature street trees play a part in maintaining an attractive streetscape and a safer pedestrian environment. The trees act as gates and signposts, making the streets appear narrower, leading to slower traffic speeds.
“Traffic engineers try to tackle this by putting up more signage and channeling pedestrian flows,” Neubauer explains. “This is the wrong way; it is frustrating to drive 50kph on a road that feels like you could easily go faster.”
Mature trees also help reduce carbon dioxide, helping with sustainability and even increasing property values around an area.
Another urban designer, James Lunday, was also surprised by the Motueka project, calling it a “roll back of thinking” that contributed to the car being the most dominant feature when it comes to road planning; a far cry from other areas in New Zealand even, where the hierarchy changes to prioritise pedestrians, cyclists, and people first, followed by public transport.
According to the urban designers, if the purpose of the highway was to move the traffic to Motueka only, it should bypass the town centre.
“If you’re going through a town, you have to learn to live with the town,” Lunday says.
Unfortunately, it is already too late for Motueka as the trees have already been cut down. Neubauer says that people can only call for an integrated approach to future traffic projects, keeping in mind other factors such as sustainability and community health, rather than just “vehicle speed and sight lines”.
“I understand from private messages I received from my former colleagues and professionals in the field that they too cannot believe what happened and 100 percent agree that change is needed,” Neubauer says. “Unfortunately, NZTA (Waka Kotahi) is a large and important client for many of them, so many would not make any public comments about NZTA’s culture (or this particular design outcome) for fear of retributions.”
On the other side of the story, Waka Kotahi has defended their decision, stating that the concerns have been acknowledged, with director of regional relationships Emma Speight saying that the value and desirability of mature trees were well-known in the agency, “but in this case, they could not all remain and achieve the safety goals for road and footpath users in Motueka.”
The agency cited that they have kept five mature trees that had originally been earmarked for removal.
“We will also be planting a number of low-level native plant beds along High St and at the intersections,” Speight added. “Nine trees will be planted at various locations as well as a tītoki tree near Bowater Toyota on High St. Over time, these will help soften and enhance the streetscape as the elms did.”
Waka Kotahi had been aiming for “urban design/streetscape integration with safety and journey reliability projects” nationally, where a state highway passes through a town center. Speight explains that “In this case, the funding and requirement to have changes in place by April 2022 meant all the benefits, including the streetscape improvements for Motueka, will not be delivered at once.”
The Tasman District Council would “be progressing with the community a wider plan to improve the urban form of Motueka township” in the coming years.
“It is expected this work will consider a range of urban design and liveability aspects around the town centre including planting, parking, active travel, public transport, open spaces,” Speight says.
The $6.8 million safety project will see a new roundabout, traffic lights, and pedestrian crossing signals installed along the road. Additionally, construction of this new roundabout at the Old Wharf Rd-High St Intersection is slated to start in September.
For Kiwis who are fans of motorsport unable to attend in person at Mount Panorama for the iconic Bathurst 1000, the Bathurst Boot Party is probably the next best thing.
The Bathurst Boot Party is announced as the next best thing for NZ motorsport fans unable to attend in person for the iconic Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama. The event will be presented by Supercars, Repco, and Auckland Stadiums at Mount Smart on November 7, making it NZ’s official screening of the event.
The event has been endorsed by the Bathurst Council and it’s going to be the first event of its kind to be sanctioned outside Australia. The screening will also be complimented by a festival-style setup across 212 square-metre viewing screen and the entire avenue, complete with live entertainment, motorsport activations and demos, special guests, competitions, classic car displays including classic Supercars, as well as an exclusive After Party.
Supercars CEO Sean Seamer thanks Auckland Stadiums, a division of Auckland Unlimited, for the initiative.
“This is a brilliant way for fans to take in the atmosphere of our great race, from within one of Auckland’s premier venues,”
“The concept is a great way for fans of all kinds to come out and enjoy everything the Repco Bathurst 1000 has to offer”
“We will have live crosses from the venue broadcast around the world as millions of fans tune in to watch this year’s great race.”
“We thank our partners in Auckland for putting together this event and hope to see thousands of fans at Mt Smart Stadium on 7 November.”
Aside from him, James Parkinson, Director of Auckland Stadiums, also welcomes the opportunity provided by the initiative to open Mt Smart Stadium’s gates for the community, allowing them to cheer on their favorite sporting and showcase superstars.
“We are excited to partner with Supercars and Repco to host the passionate motorsport community and their families and give them a taste of what we can offer at our versatile stadium,”
“Whether you’re a die-hard Supercars fan or are just looking for a great day out, Mt Smart Stadium will be the place to be.” added Parkinson.
Tickets are now on sale, ranging from $25 for early birds and free for children accompanied by a paying adult, as well as tickets for indoor/outdoor options. “Boot” packages will also be available for VIPs and groups of 10. Family-friendly amusement venues and chill out zones will also be available on site at the Lilyworld Garden Bar.
Fans can choose to watch the races from a beanbag or picnic blanket on the main field for $25 from the early bird option, or in a VIP corporate suite for $200.
Interesting developments all around in terms of both technology advancements and events. While it is unfortunate for people looking forward to getting a Cybertruck by the end of the year, other people considering alternative options at least have something to keep an eye out for. Nonetheless, the recent Motueka incident does highlight the growing problem of balancing sustainability and nature with the urban developments within the country.
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