The Friday Five:The Zapped Bronco, Comp’d M4 Convertible, Shellacked Shell Edition

Christian Wardlaw | May 28, 2021

This week, we reported 2022 Genesis GV70 prices, details of the 2022 Toyota Highlander Bronze Edition, new specifications for the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5, and results of a study of American car buyer habits.

We also published an explainer of General Motors’ Teen Driver technology, two 5 Fun Facts lists for the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2021 Hyundai Palisade, and a comparison of the Chevrolet Silverado vs. Ford F-150.

Three new reviews went live this week. One covers the upgraded and deliriously fun to drive 2021 Hyundai Veloster N with the new dual-clutch transmission; one covers the new 2022 Volkswagen Taos small SUV; and one covers the new 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV.

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

Ford Confirms Electric Explorer, Hints at Zapped Bronco - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford announced this week that 40% of the vehicles it sells in 2030 will be electric and that it will launch two new electric vehicle platforms in the middle of this decade. One is designed for rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles, and one will provide the foundation for full-size pickup trucks.

Electric Ford Bronco Platform Outline

Which models will Ford build on these platforms? 

In a Tweet, spokesperson Mike Levine said: “We will continue playing to our strengths and electrify our icons in high-volume segments that we dominate today.” 

Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer at Ford, said the RWD/AWD platform “will underpin a range of emotive vehicles slated for production between now and 2030,” including “rugged SUVs.”

Both Levine and Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed that the next-generation Ford Explorer will be electric (and, presumably, the Lincoln Aviator). And Levine’s Tweet included a photo depicting a new EV platform with the outline of a vehicle that looks like a Bronco.

The only other “icon” in Ford’s arsenal that enjoys high-volume sales is the Ford Mustang.

Redesigned 2022 Mercedes C-Class Adopts New Trim Strategy - Find the best Mercedes-Benz deals!

When the redesigned 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class goes on sale, the automaker is adopting a new marketing strategy for the popular compact sedan. It will come in Premium, Exclusive, and Pinnacle trim packages, which Mercedes characterizes as “strategically curated.” In addition to these trim levels, the car will offer a sporty AMG Line with Night Package, which features trendy blacked-out trim and unique interior detailing.

BMW M4 Convertible Debuts, Only in Competition Spec - Find the best BMW deals!

BMW released the details of its new M4 Convertible, and there are a couple of surprises. First, this is the first M4 droptop to have M xDrive, a performance-oriented version of the automaker’s all-wheel-drive system.

Second, the new 2022 BMW M4 Convertible comes exclusively in Competition specification. What does that mean? Under the hood, the M4 Competition Convertible has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine generating 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. That oughta put some wind in your hair.

The drivetrain pairs with an Active M differential and the car’s dynamic stability control system to maximize the best use of the car’s available power. BMW says it can power through corners “in a controlled drift,” but it goes without saying that you’re going to want to try this only on a closed course, like a racetrack.

Furthermore, Competition-spec equips the car with forged aluminum wheels, run-flat performance tires, improved oil system operation, reworked front axle settings, and retuned steering.

Senate Committee Proposes New Clean Energy Tax Credits

The Senate Finance Committee will advance a bill containing new clean energy tax credits to the Senate floor. The 28-member committee voted evenly on party lines, but chamber rules allow Democrats to advance the bill to the Senate floor with the 14 votes in favor of the legislation.

The bill includes $31.6 billion for consumer incentives for electric vehicles and returns eligibility for them to General Motors and Tesla. It also ends $24.5 billion in tax breaks currently enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry. The bill reallocates the money for carbon-neutral energy investment and electricity production, development of clean fuels such as hydrogen, and energy-efficient homes, businesses, and buildings.

For purchases of electric vehicles built in the U.S. by unionized workers, such as the F-150 Lightning pickup truck, the federal income tax credit could rise to as much as $12,500 per vehicle from $7,500 today. The credit would be available only for vehicles priced below $80,000.

The committee voted unanimously to adopt an amendment proposed by John Cornyn (R – Texas) that ensures EVs made in China would not be eligible for the tax credit.

Shell Story

Royal Dutch Shell got shellacked by a Dutch court this week, which ordered the oil conglomerate to reduce its climate-warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. 

“The court orders Royal Dutch Shell, by means of its corporate policy, to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 with respect to the level of 2019 for the Shell group and the suppliers and customers of the group,” judge Larisa Alwin said, according to a report by Reuters. The judgment results from an April 2019 lawsuit filed by environmentalists on behalf of 17,000 Dutch citizens.

Among oil companies, Shell has an ambitious plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. It calls for a 20% reduction in GHG by 2030, with 45% the target by 2035. Other Big Oil conglomerates, such as Chevron and Exxon, are not as ambitious, and this ruling could carry far-reaching implications for them.

“There is no question that this is a significant development in global climate litigation, and it could reverberate through courtrooms around the world,” said Michael Burger, head of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, according to Reuters. Burger represents local U.S. governments in climate change lawsuits, Shell among them.

The automakers and trusted publications are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on May 28, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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