All-electric Porsche Macan begins on-road testing

Prototype testing of the new Macan model is underway.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

It's passed proving grounds tests and now the all-electric version of the Porsche Macan is hitting the road for additional testing. The highly-camouflaged next-generation prototypes of the compact SUV left the Porsche Development Center in Weissach, Germany for the first time this week.

"Testing in a real-life environment is now getting underway – one of the most important milestones in the development process," said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.

By the time the Macan EV is fully revealed in 2023, it will have garnered 1.8 million test miles worldwide in a variety of terrains and temperatures. Testing will even be done in virtual space, which is designed to save time and money. General Motor is using similar technology. These digital tests are able to analyze properties, systems, and powertrains of a vehicle.

Porsche Macan EV An electric version of the Porsche Macan leaves the company's testing grounds in Germany.Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

Porsche has created 20 digital prototypes for the purpose of simulation in a number of development categories, such as aerodynamics, energy management and acoustics. "We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible," said Dr Andreas Huber, Manager for digital prototypes at Porsche.

The first teams to work with the digital prototypes are aerodynamics specialists. "We started with a flow-around model when the project first started about four years ago," said Dr Thomas Wiegand, Director of aerodynamics development. The goal is a low coefficient of drag that blends that goal with the hallmark looks of the Macan SUV. Currently, engineers are using simulations to fine-tune details such as the cooling air ducts.

Simulations are also able to predict how the vehicle interacts with the driver in real life. "Simulation allows us to assess displays, operating procedures and the changing influences during a journey from the driver's point of view," explains Fabian Klausmann of the Driver Experience development department. This allows research and development team members to see how a driver would interact with the vehicle before any physical cockpit is built.

Porsche is designing the new fully-electric Macan to be the highest performer in its subcompact SUV segment. It will be the first Porsche built on the company's Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture.

The boutique performance arm of Volkswagen Group will sell the Macan EV side-by-side with internal combustion engine models of the car. "Demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world. That's why we're going to launch another conventionally powered evolution of the current Macan in the course of 2021," said Steiner.

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The LEGO Speed Champions series is adding two new Dodge models to its lineup.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The new LEGO Speed Champions series is expanding by two. A 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A and Mopar Dodge//SRT Top Fuel Dragster are being added to the growing collection. They are the first purple vehicle and first Top Fuel Dragster in the Speed Champion series.

"Owning, or aspiring to own, a Dodge muscle car is as much about the lifestyle of joining the Brotherhood of Muscle as it is about the vehicle purchase," said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. "As a result, our brand enthusiasts are passionate about all things Dodge, including the latest cool collectibles. So, following the success of the Dodge 2018 LEGO Speed Champion building set, fans will now be able to build and show off not only the first ever 8-inch-wide (8W) muscle car, but also the first ever Plum Crazy 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A, along with an incredibly detailed 13½-long Top Fuel Dragster."

LEGO Speed Champions Dodge box The 627-piece Challenger T/A and Dragster include box art of their Rea-life counterparts. Photo courtesy of Stellantis

LEGO has had the Challenger over two inches high, five inches long, and 2.5 inches wide. The Dragster is four inches high thanks to its wing, and has a body that is 13.5 inches long and 2.5 inches wide.

The set features a male Challenger driver in Dodge-branded clothing. The Dragster has a female driver in a Dodge race suit.

"In 2021, we are extremely excited to reteam with Dodge and expand the Speed Champions 8W Vehicle Collection even further by including new vehicle types and building experiences, for the first time, that appeal to vehicle fans of all ages," said Christopher Stamp, LEGO Design Lead.

LEGO Speed Champions Dodge The set includes two models.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The models will be released on June 1, 2021 at LEGO.com. Pricing for the models is not yet available.

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General Motors and Lockheed Martin will design a prototype of a vehicle that's capable of traversing Mars.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Toyota and Hyundai aren't the only automakers getting into the extra terrestrial mobility game. A new partnership between Lockheed Martin and General Motors will develop the next generation of lunar vehicles to transport astronauts to the surface of the Moon.

NASA's Artemis program has plans to send Americans back to the moon. Like the military did when they asked for an off-road-worthy transport vehicle for combat support use in the early 1940s, NASA is asking the automotive and aeronautics industry to develop a Lunar Terrain Vehicle (LTV) to enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface father than ever before. The Apollo rovers only ventured 4.7 miles.

Lockheed Martin brings a 50-year history of working with NASA on a variety of deep-space human and robotic spacecraft, such as NASA's Orion exploration-class spaceship for Artemis, to the table. The company's crafts and systems have been to every planet in the solar system.

Lockheed Martin General Motors Partner to Develop Next-Generation Lunar Rover www.youtube.com

"This alliance brings together powerhouse innovation from both companies to make a transformative class of vehicles," said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space. "Surface mobility is critical to enable and sustain long-term exploration of the lunar surface. These next-generation rovers will dramatically extend the range of astronauts as they perform high-priority science investigation on the Moon that will ultimately impact humanity's understanding of our place in the solar system."

General Motors, which first worked with NASA during the Apollo missions and helped develop the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), that was used on Apollo 15-17 missions, is bringing its electric battery and autonomous vehicle technology know-how to the partnership.

"General Motors made history by applying advanced technologies and engineering to support the Lunar Rover Vehicle that the Apollo 15 astronauts drove on the Moon," said Alan Wexler, senior vice president of Innovation and Growth at General Motors. "Working together with Lockheed Martin and their deep-space exploration expertise, we plan to support American astronauts on the Moon once again."

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