3D Printing

Chevrolet's IMSA, NASCAR wins today are thanks to 3D-printed parts

Chase Elliot, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 11, 2020 in Concord, North Carolina.

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Chase Elliot drives the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Hendrick Motorsports. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor drive Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Their wins this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway were, at least in part, to the 3D printing technology that General Motors has been innovating over the last few years.

This season, the Corvette C8.R, IndyCar, NASCAR Camaro and Silverado race teams have accumulated more than 80,000 miles of competition in vehicles built with 3D-printed parts.

"Chevrolet has a long history of technology transfer between our motorsports and production teams, and this is a perfect example of our approach," said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. "GM's 3D-printing capability speeds up our learning cycles and, in turn, these racetrack experiences help our additive manufacturing team move one step closer to using 3D-printed parts in production vehicles."

Earlier this year, two Corvette race cars, both C8.Rs, debuted at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, each equipped with 75 3D-printed parts. Among those parts are an oil tank, tank inlet and cap, air conditioning driver cooling box and integrated hydration system, power steering pump bracket and headlight assemblies. Since then, the C8.Rs have accumulated nearly 8,000 miles of competition in seven races.

The Chevrolet IndyCar V6 exhaust system is 3D printed, which has allowed the company to eliminate failure points and increase design freedom while reducing costs. Chevrolet IndyCar engines have run over 60,000 miles since the season kicked off at Genesys 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in June.

The Silverado off-road race truck debuted at the Best in the Desert Method Race Wheels Laughlin Desert Classic in October 2019. The Silverado competes in the 1200 Stock class, which limits changes to suspension, underbody and installation of race-safety equipment. The truck's rear damper shield is made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic protects the rear dampers. It's made in-house by General Motors. Since its debut, the Silverado race truck has accumulated 900 miles of competition in six races.

Chevrolet engineers have optimized the aerodynamic performance of their NASCAR model using full-scale wind-tunnel testing. Oover 500 3D-printed prototype parts were used in testing to develop the ZL1 1LE body, which is new for this year. The Camaro ZL1 1LE is equipped with a 3D-printed gear cooling duct, which has accumulated nearly 18,500 miles of competition in 27 races.

"By utilizing 3D-printed parts, Chevrolet Motorsports is demonstrating the many benefits of additive manufacturing, including manufacturing efficiencies, mass reduction, parts consolidation, creativity and cost savings," said Audley Brown, GM director, Materials Engineering, Additive Design and Manufacturing. "3D-printed parts can offer equal strength and durability to cast or milled components, which is critical for product development and design."

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Electric vehicle production

GM outlines huge investment in new EV production

The $7 billion number is GM's largest single investment to date.

General Motors

Automakers are not shy about their plans to electrify their vehicle lineups. In fact, it's just the opposite, as most can't wait to release a media kit that sings the virtues of moving toward electrification and outlines their commitments to investing billions to make the move a reality. General Motors has been more active than most, building new facilities and revamping existing factories to handle new-age EV manufacturing. Today, the auto giant announced a further investment to build a new plant and overhaul the Orion Township facility in Michigan. The move creates thousands of jobs and positions GM as an early powerhouse in the EV race.

GM EV investment. GM says its new and existing facilities will create and retain thousands of jobs.General Motors

The $7 billion investment is slated for four Michigan manufacturing facilities. GM says the move will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 existing positions, and notes that the amount represents the single largest investment in company history. A new Ultium Cells battery plant in Lansing is part of the deal, along with the conversion of the GM assembly planting Orion Township. Orion will eventually house production of the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra, making it the second of GM's facilities dedicated to building electric pickup trucks.

The Orion and Ultium Cells Lansing facilities will help GM boost its total full-size electric truck production to 600,000 units per year when both Factory Zero and Orion are in full swing. Though Ford sells more full-size trucks than Chevy or GMC individually, GM notes that the two combined move more trucks per year than The Blue Oval. The two plants join General Motors' existing EV-ready facilities that include Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck, Spring Hill Assemble in Tennessee, CAMI in Ontario, and the Ramos Arizpe Assembly facility in Mexico.

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Limited-edition pickup truck

Ford offering limited edition colors for 2022 Ranger Splash

The Ranger Splash will be offered in three limited-run colors.

Ford

During its time off the market in the United States, the Ford Ranger remained a popular utility vehicle in global markets. In other markets, the truck is offered in unique special editions, such as the Ranger Raptor and Ranger Storm, but the options in the U.S. are limited. Last year, Ford announced the return of the Ranger Splash, a funky version of the truck that roamed the streets in the 1990s. Today, the automaker outlined another Splash edition, this time to be produced in limited quantities with special color options.

Ford will offer three colors for the new Ranger Splash Limited Edition: Snow Edition, Forest Edition, and Sand Edition. The colors will roll out one at a time "every few months," according to Ford, and the package will add $1,495 to the Ranger's price tag.

Ranger Splash Limited Edition The Snow Edition is based on the Lariat trim, but the other two are based on the lower XLT model.Ford

The Lariat Ranger Splash Snow Edition features a gray paint color with black exterior trim and a unique grille design. Inside, the truck carries ebony leather upholstery with ash gray accent stitching and carbon touches. Ford says it will produces just 750 Splash Snow Edition trucks, with availability starting in spring.

The XLT Ranger Splash Forest Edition (pictured above) comes with Forged Green exterior paint and red grille accents. The interior offers black cloth upholstery with ash gray accent stitching and carbon accents. Just 500 Forest Edition vehicles will be produced, with availability starting in summer.

Ranger Splash Limited Edition The colors will roll out every few months in 2022. Ford

The third and final truck in the series is the XLT Ranger Splash Sand Edition. It gets Desert Sand exterior paint, dark exterior accents and red grill "nostrils." It also gets black cloth upholstery with ash gray stitching and carbon accents. The Sand Edition will debut in fall with a run of only 500 trucks.

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