The Friday Five:The Rope-a-Yoke Tesla, Biden Buy American, Jeep Gladiator Plug-in Edition

Liz Kim | Jan 29, 2021

This week, we reported that BMW has built the most powerful production car in its history, General Motors is doing away with gas and diesel in light-duty vehicles, and Volvo might give away $2 million in new vehicles on Super Bowl Sunday. We also published a Chevy Equinox vs. Ford Escape comparison, an explainer about regenerative brakes, a preview of the 2022 Minis, and a review of the 2021 Toyota Camry.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Tesla’s Model S and Model X Makeover - Find the best Tesla deals!

This week, Tesla made significant changes to the Model S sedan and Model X SUV. They’re most evident inside, where a new interior with a wide 17-inch touchscreen and Yoke-design steering, ummm, apparatus debuts (see photo above). 

2022 Tesla Model X Dashboard Interior

Confusing yet intriguing, the Yoke thingamabob is similar to what Tesla showed in its electric Cybertruck concept. Is it street legal? No one knows for sure, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants some answers. 

Furthermore, the Model S and Model X have no evident transmission controls. Tesla founder Elon Musk reportedly said on Twitter that the vehicles guess the driver’s desired driving direction based on context, surrounding obstacles, and the navigation system. However, Musk qualified this by saying on Twitter: “You can override on touchscreen.”

More performance is also available, thanks to triple-motor Plaid specification. With 1,020 horsepower, the Model X Plaid rockets from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, which is just what you need when the kids are running late for school. Or, you can get a Model S with Plaid+ spec, more than 520 miles of range, a 200-mph top speed, and acceleration to 60 mph in less than two seconds.

Biden’s Buy American Plan

Addressing the challenges of climate change has been on President Biden’s to-do list since he was on the campaign trail. This week, he announced that the government would focus on buying American-made, electrified vehicles to replace existing cars, trucks, and SUVs in the national fleet of approximately 645,000 vehicles. No details on time-frames or costs are available, but the new administration estimates that the initiative will create one million new jobs.

A Plug-in Jeep Pickup is Coming - Find the best Jeep deals!

Coming soon to a dealership near you, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain. And, to the surprise of precisely no one, Jeep’s brand CEO, Christian Meunier, verbally confirmed that the Wrangler-based Gladiator pickup would soon offer electrification as well.

While official specs are unavailable, if Jeep plugs in the Wrangler’s plug-in hybrid powerplant, a Gladiator PHEV will use a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, an integrated starter-generator, an electric motor, and a 17.2-kWh battery. In the Wrangler, this plug-in powertrain supplies 25 miles of electric-only driving and a maximum of 375 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque.

Nissan Announces Full Electrification - Find the best Nissan deals!

A decade ago, Nissan was at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution with its relatively affordable first-generation Leaf. Appropriately, then, the automaker’s announcement that all of its vehicles will be electric by the mid-2030s seems entirely appropriate. 

Not only that, Nissan’s plans include everything from manufacturing and operations to the entire lifecycle of its products, from materials sourcing to recycling. What’s the timeframe to reach carbon neutrality? By 2050.

The Old Cat is as Good as New - Find the best Jaguar deals!

With all of this talk of the electrified future, it’s refreshing to take a look in the rearview mirror at an illustrious past. Jaguar Classic will add the 1953 C-type sports racer to its line of hand-built “Continuation” series vehicles, wherein the Jaguar factory will build new versions of the old car with similar specifications to the originals. 

The C-type joins the ranks of the Lightweight E-type, D-type, and XKSS that have previously undergone the Continuation treatment. Don’t count on seeing them at the local strip mall anytime soon, though. Jaguar Classic will build only eight new ones, a fraction of the original run of 53. 

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