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Dom's Dodge Charger from 'Fast & Furious' gets LEGO Technic treatment

LEGO has given one of the cars from the "Fast & Furious" franchise the full Technic treatment.

Photo courtesy of LEGO

While the release of "F9" has been pushed back to April 2, 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, fans of the "Fast & Furious" franchise can get a piece of the action delivered right to their homes.

LEGO has debuted the LEGO Technic Dom's Dodge Charger (42111) building set. Designed to occupy hours of quarantine timed prime for social distancing strategies, the model is based on the 1970s era Charger R/T driven by Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) that's featured in the franchise.

LEGO Technic Dom's Dodge Charger (42111)

Photo courtesy of LEGO

Like other LEGO Technic builds, the model has authentic, moving parts. Its hood opens to reveal a V8 engine. It also has moving pistons, suspension, steering system and air blower. LEGO has made the car able to be shown in its famous wheelstand position upon completion.

Among the 1,077 pieces of the build are nitro bottles in the trunk of the car.

When complete, the model reaches 15 inches long, six inches wide, and four inches high. No batteries are required.

LEGO is selfing the model for $99.99 online. Shipments will commence on April 27.

The company also sells LEGO Technic versions of the 2020 Land Rover Defender and Nissan GT-R. A new Lamborghini model from the toymaker is coming soon.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The 2021 Cadillac Lyriq is a whole new take on luxe mobility for the company.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

The Cadillac Lyriq will start at less than $60,000 when it debuts in late 2022 or early 2023, Steve Carlisle, president of General Motors North America, said Wednesday.

Cadillac won't announce official pricing anytime soon, but as the brand transitions to an all-electric portfolio, the Lyriq midsize crossover and other EVs have to be able to replace its current gasoline-powered vehicles, Carlisle said at the JP Morgan Auto Conference.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq Cadillac is expected to infuse the Lyriq with a host of modern technology including its hands-free Super Cruise driving system. Photo courtesy of Cadillac

"We need to be in the same price zone," said Carlisle. "This car will need to be priced similar to how the industry prices midsize lux SUVs today, maybe a slight premium at the outset. It's a price that won't be high five digits. It won't start with a seven and it won't start with a six."

At that price it won't be Cadillac's priciest SUV - that will solidly be the Escalade - but it likely will be its most expensive two-row SUV. It's about the same size as the Cadillac XT5, which starts at near $45,000 and can go higher than $70,000 with all the options boxes checked.

General Motors is going all-in on battery-powered vehicles. The company recently announced a partnership with EVgo that will add 2,700 charging stations to the grid over the next several years. The first of those stations is set to go online next year.

Cadillac isn't the only arm of the Detroit-based automaker that is getting electric vehicles. The company recently outlined what's ahead for each brand. Chevy will have en electric utility vehicle coming to market in the near future and the GMC Hummer EV truck and SUV are well on their way. There are additional vehicles in the pipeline as well.

It was also recently revealed that GM CEO Mary Barra has entertained the idea of changing the company's name to better align it with their vision of the future of mobility.

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Production of the Volkswagen ID.4 will mark the automaker's first all-electric SUV launch. The ID.4 will have about 310 miles of range, depending on the drive package.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is investing heavily into electric vehicles (EVs), even in the U.S. where the models make up a smidgeon of the sales each year. The company has already begun expanding its Chattanooga, Tennessee factory to build a North American center for the engineering and assembly of EVs.

That doesn't mean that they're just working on cars. They're working on the design of the "things" that go into cars as well. Much of this will happen at the Engineering and Planning Center (EPC) in Chattanooga. Breaking ground on the center is set to happen soon with the expectation of it being fully operational by spring 2021.

Volkswagen Chattanooga plant Volkswagen is investing $800 million and adding 1,000 jobs at its Tennessee plant. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The EPC will feature a unique, state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory that is designed to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs. These cells and packs are slated to be assembled in the U.S. before being inserted into vehicles.

"There are two ways that auto companies approach the development of electric vehicle batteries," said Wolfgang Maluche, Vice President of Engineering at Volkswagen of America. "A lot of them will farm out the development and testing of batteries to another company, and some will actually do the work of developing and testing in-house. We are doing the latter."

The lab will include pressure testers, explosion-rated climate chambers and – perhaps the most unique – a custom multi-axis shaker table (MAST), which is designed to test the integrity of vehicle components in some of the roughest conditions they might face on the road.

According to Volkswagen, most automotive labs have MASTs, "but almost none were designed for electric vehicle batteries". EV batteries present their own set of testing challenges because of their size and weight. They typically weight hundreds of pounds each, making them the heaviest component in an EV.

"The battery is not only shaking; it is going through a series of harsh conditions to test its durability in a variety of possible environments, from the South Pole to the Sahara," said Jason Swager, the Director of Electrical Development. "We needed to build a MAST that could withstand the immense force and frequency that we need to test these batteries."

Volkswagen describes the process:

"To run a MAST at such high frequencies, Volkswagen had to design its own tool rather than using an outside supplier. The supports for the MAST will be buried 12 feet under the lab's floor and buttressed with concrete to help withstand the forces in use. Volkswagen's new lab will be only the second location in the country with a MAST of this size."

Volkswagen is building the lab to LEED standards. "This lab was planned to be as sustainable as possible," said Maluche.

The production version of the Volkswagen ID.4 EV is expected to be revealed soon. It will be produced at the factory. The company recently celebrated the 1 millionth vehicle to roll off the line at the plant.

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