Accessories

Mopar now offering retractable center-mounted bed step for Ram 1500

The new retractable bed step is designed to work with Ram's multifunction tailgate.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Ram 1500's multifunction split tailgate added a heaping helping of functionality to the truck. Now, Mopar is adding another dose with the newly available retractable center-mounted bed step.

The step is a unique addition to the pickup truck option list and solves one of the problems that truck drivers regularly encounter. It joins a host of step options offered by other automakers on full-size pickups including the General Motors indented rear bumper step, GMC MultiPro tailgate with a built-in step, and Ford's stowable in-tailgate bed step. Toyota and Nissan offer OEM-backed step add-ons that can be mounted to the corner of the bed.

Mopar Ram 1500 bed step Mopar offers a number of bed step options for the Ram 1500.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

"Mopar offers more than 600 quality-tested, factory-backed parts and accessories across the entire Ram lineup," said Mark Bosanac, Head of Mopar Service, Parts and Customer Care, FCA – North America. "Our retractable bed step further enhances the convenience and utility of Ram's industry-leading cargo management and storage system."

Designed to fit specifically with the multifunction tailgate, the Mopar bed step (Part # 82216265AB) is made of high-strength aluminum with a black e-coat finish and is rated for 350 pounds. The manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) is $395 (U.S.).

Additional Ram factory-engineered, factory-backed bed steps available from Mopar include:

  • Ram 1500 with standard tailgate: Mopar bed step lowers down for easy access and retracts back to stored position within the bumper. The step is load-rated up to 350 pounds (Part # 82215289AG / U.S. MSRP of $365)
  • Ram 1500 Classic: Mopar bed step swings out from the driver's side corner of the rear bumper and retracts back to its stored position. Designed to fit single or dual-exhaust models, the step is load-rated up to 300 pounds (Part # 82214245AD / U.S. MSRP $304)
  • Ram Heavy Duty models: Mopar bed step is manufactured from high-strength aluminum with a black powder-coat finish and load-rated to support up to 350 pounds. Similar to all Mopar bed steps, it lowers down for easy access and retracts back under the rear bumper when not in use (Part # 82215842AE / U.S. MSRP $365)

All Mopar bed steps are available for purchase as a vehicle option or as a standalone part in the U.S. and Canada. Standard Mopar factory-backed warranty coverage includes two years/unlimited miles from date of purchase or up to the remainder of the new-vehicle's warranty of three years/36,000 miles.

Mopar Bed Step on Ram 1500 with Multifunction Tailgate www.youtube.com

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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Honda is working with Verizon on self-driving cars technology.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Mcity campus was designed to be a proving ground for new technologies. Honda and Verizon are utilizing it as such as they partner to explore how Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) can be used to ensure quick and reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles, and pedestrians.

The 5G technology leverages cloud technology to deliver lower latency, a large amount of bandwidth, and improved communication. This communication includes the way that vehicles interact with ther cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most. That's where the "V2" in acronyms like "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) and "V2X" (vehicle- to-everything).

Honda and Verizon Test How 5G Enhances Safety for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles www.youtube.com

Honda has been working since 2017 to develop a technology that will help to create a collision-free society. The technology, called Safe Swarm, uses V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data.

There are some obstacles, not the least of which is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence capabilities. The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

"The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. "When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers 'see' things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives."

Three safety scenarios have been explored as part of the testing:

  • Pedestrian Scenario - A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon's MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon's Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenari - A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon's MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  • Red Light Runner Scenario - A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

You can watch the video of Honda and Verizon's Mcity tests at http://honda.us/5GResearch.

Honda isn't the only company exploring what 5G communication can offer. Pirelli has installed the tech in its tires and BMW recently updated its My BMW app to make it compatible with the new technology. Audi is working on similar technology out on the road in Virginia and Georgia.

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