In-Car Tech

Apple WWDC: Phone-as-key coming to BMW 5 Series, other ​brands likely to follow

Apple has introduced a number of technologies and refreshed our notion of others as part of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Photo courtesy of BMW

UPDATE: This article was updated at 4:15 pm. ET on June 22, 2020 to include additional information supplied by the automaker.

During their keynote address at the Worldwide Developers Conference today, Apple revealed that the BMW 5 Series will be getting phone-as-key technology, called CarKey, for the 2021 model year. Additionally, BMW has said that the tech will be available on a board range of models that are manufacturers after July 1, 2020: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4. The system will be compatible with iPhone XR, iPhone XS or newer, and Apple Watch Series 5 or newer models.

According to Apple, the technology uses near field communication (NFC) to open the car. Then, drivers will place their phone in the charging pad in order to start the vehicle.

Apple WWDC 14 BMW CarKey To use, drivers place their phone near the door handle.Photo courtesy of BMW

The digital key is stored in the Secure Element of the phone. It can be disabled via iCloud if a phone is lost and keys can be shared via iMessage.

Apple stresses that the company is working with industry groups to ensure that the technology is able to be universal for vehicles as well as secure.

The news came as Apple unveiled a variety of features as part of iOS 14. The phone-as-key functionality will be available on iOS 14 and Apple will be updating iOS 13 to make it available to users of that system as well.

This is a big step for Apple. Until iOS 14, the company had locked its NFC chip making phone-as-key functionality unusable to all but Tesla owners because Tesla uses Bluetooth technology to connect phone with vehicle. In the Tesla app, users do not have the ability to disable their phone-as-key functionality, instead having to contact Tesla Support to assistance.

Car owners can also share access to their car with up to five people via the car's operating system or Apple Wallet. Additionally, owners may set specific parameters for teen drivers including restrictions of top speed, horsepower, and maximum radio volume,

Lincoln and Hyundai are among the automakers using NFC technology in their vehicles giving owners the ability to forego a traditional key fob. Hyundai showed this technology off in its "Smaht Pahk" commercial during the Super Bowl this year and a subsequent follow-up spot where an owner passes a digital key to their parent so the parents can drive their car.

Apple WWDC 14 BMW CarKey Proximity plays a role in phone-as-key technology as the tech components have to be able to "read" each other's signals.Photo courtesy of BMW

CarKey can operate for up to five hours after an iPhone's batter is depleted to the point where the phone automatically turns off. The system is Apple Watch compatible.

The redesigned 2021 BMW 5 Series comes in seven variants. The revisions to the model bring it fully up to date without going so far as to give the 5 Series the same bucktoothed aesthetics that BMW put into the new 4 Series.

In addition to its new 5 Series, BMW recently showed off the new, next-gen plug-in hybrid variant of the SUV, the 2021 BMW xDrive45e. That new SUV comes with increased all-electric driving range, a significant horsepower bump, and a 7,200-pound towing capacity.

The 2021 BMW 5 Series will arrive on dealership lots in July.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Lotus Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary debuted last year to celebrate the milestone birthday of the model.

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus is turning the page. The company, now majority-owned by Geely, the parent company of Volvo and Polestar, is moving into more exotic territory. That means that it needs to bid adieu to three models as part of a larger Vision80 strategy.

The Lotus Evora, Exige, and Elise will exit the lineup after 2021. Lotus has announced that their production will end by December 31, but an exact manufacturing timeline is publicly unknown. Replacing the models is a new series of sports cars based on the Lotus Type 131 prototype, among others.

The new cars will be manufactured at a facility in Hethel, Norfolk, England. The strategy will ultimately result in the relocation of two Lotus sub-assembly facilities into one central operation in Norwich to support higher volumes of production and sales.

Lotus Evija The Lotus Evija hypercar is the company's future. Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

That move is a £100-million-plus investment in the facilities that includes hiring of 250 employees. This is in addition to the 670 employees that the company has recruited since 2017, when Geely and Etika took ownership of the company.

The Lotus Elise debuted in 1995 showing off a body made of extruded and bonded aluminium, and lightweight composites. In May 2020, the Lotus Elise Classic Heritage Editions debuted, showing off unique paint jobs that are a nod to days past, and offering an enhanced exterior and interior spec over the Elise Sport 220 on which they're based.

In 2000, the Exige launched as the Lotus 'race car for the road'. In June 2020, the company debuted the Lotus Exige Sport 410 20th Anniversary to mark the model's birthday.

Lotus launched the Evora in 2008, marking the company's return to the super sports car sector. In January 2020, a cheaper version of the car, designed to better fit the daily driver lifestyle, was offered.

A plug-and-play digital instrument pack was made available in mid-2020 giving drivers of the three cars in the current lineup access to lap recording ability for over 4,000 race tracks.

Lotus Lotus has released this image teasing three future cars the company plans to produce.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus

By the time production is over, Lotus will have sold 55,000 units of the Elise, Exige, and Evora combined.

Lotus recently released video of the forthcoming Evija hypercar taking to the track, unleashing its 1,973 horsepower. The company's engineering team has bragged about its capability and it's safe to say a lot is expected of the model.

Though they're looking forward, the company is also giving an approving nod to its past, delivering its first Certificate of Provenance to a 1981 Turbo Esprit that was driven by Margaret Thatcher. Further certifications are underway.

In April, Lotus celebrated the 35th anniversary of Ayrton Senna's first Formula 1 win (in a Lotus) with a special edition podcast dedicated to the late, great racer.

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The 2021 Nissan Rogue is made from recycled aluminum.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

While General Motors is busy readying its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant to run strictly on solar power, Nissan is making its Rogue out of recycled metals just down the street. The 2021 Nissan Rogue is the company's first global model built using a closed-loop recycling system for aluminum parts.

Using a closed-loop recycling system has several benefits. It saves 90 percent of the energy that would normally be used to create the parts that are now made of recycled parts. This type of system also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to the process of making products out of raw materials.

2021 Nissan Rogue The rear doors, which are stamped from aluminum alloy, open wide on the 2021 Rogue. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The process starts when scrap metal is shredded and collected through a pneumatic system. Nissan then separates the different grades of aluminum in order to ensure that the high-quality scrap is collected and sent to suppliers according to which parts they supply. Different grades of material are used to make different parts of the vehicle.

The scrap is then made into sheets of aluminum, which is delivered in rolls to Nissan where it is transformed into parts for the Rogue. The hood and doors of the 2021 Rogue are stamped from the aluminum alloy.

Aluminum, which is lighter than steel, is used to reduce vehicle weight, which helps to improve fuel efficiency and power performance of the vehicle.

Nissan redesigned the Rogue for the 2021 model year. It is more powerful and spacious than its predecessor. The Rogue is also chocked full of family-friendly features and fresh technology including a new high-tech driver information screen.

Nissan builds the 2021 Rogue in Kyushu, Japan, and Smyrna, Tennessee. As part of the recycling process, Nissan has collaborated with Kobe Steel, Ltd. and UACJ Corp. in Japan, and with Arconic Corporation and Novelis Inc. in the U.S.

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