How it Works

McLaren Tech Club reveals how the windscreen-less Elva uses its air canopy

The hood vent on the Elva plays a big role in driver comfort.

Photo courtesy of McLaren

Say what? Yes, the McLaren Elva has no windscreen, but its air canopy keeps you comfortable. That folks is a marvel of modern engineering.

In the first episode of the McLaren Tech Club series, Director of Engineering Design, Dan Parry-Williams shares the secrets behind the new supercar's engineering that make the Elva a comfortable drive, event at 70 mph.

"With absolutely nothing between you and the wind coming at you, would it be possible to create a virtual canopy? That was the challenge we set ourselves with the design of the new Elva," said Parry-Williams.

Mclaren Elva The Elva has a rear spoiler.Photo courtesy of McLaren

Designers crafted the Elva with the directive of creating a vehicle that punctuated the pleasure of driving. To get to the rawness of the driving experience, McLaren's team cleared the vehicle of anything that wasn't a necessity, including the windscreen.

The team set off to try their hand creating a what Parry-Williams calls a "virtual canopy". In essence, could the team manage the flow of air over the hood of the car in a way to create a near-bubble that would hone that "perfect" driving experience?

The answer was yes.

Enter the active air management system.

Air flows through the front of the car via the air dam and splitter to a hook shaped duct on the hood. When the air exits the vehicle, it is pushed out, away from the driver and passenger, and up at a high rate of speed.

McLaren Elva This graphic shows how the Elva responds in a wind tunnel.Photo courtesy of McLaren

Like two storm fronts clashing, the forced air meets the air surrounding the car, rushing toward the traditional driver's area. At their intersection, the forward forced air is bent backwards by the strength of the rushing air and moves across the top of the Elva where a traditional roof would sit.

"If you're sitting in the car with the system deployed at, let's say, 100 km/h you can sit here in relative calm. Your hair, if you have hair," said the balding Parry-Williams, "is unruffled."

At higher speeds, a gurney rises from the vent at the front of the car, to further assist with wind control. Higher speeds are welcome, of course, thanks to the car's twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine yielding 803 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

The entire system can be shut off from inside the car.

At the rear of the Elva is a full width carbon fiber active spoiler that changes position to maintain aerodynamic balance. It can become an airbrake and add stopping power when needed.

McLaren Tech Club - Episode 1 - How the Elva keeps your comfortable at 70mph without a windscreen www.youtube.com

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new Safety Insights software takes away time delays and legwork issues surrounding traffic issue solution responsiveness.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Henry Ford opened his first Canadian operation in 1904 just over the boarder from Detroit in the City of Windsor, Ontario. Today, the town is the country's first Canadian customer for Ford's Safety Insights platform. The platform, a new software tool the company is rolling out connects government workers with vehicle insights that give them an in-depth look at their city's streets without having to step outside the door of their office.

Safety Insights utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithms to deliver crash reduction predictions that can be explored using simulations and deep data dives without having to deploy any human resources to comb through police reports, send public works employees to sit at an intersection all day to investigate, or wait for calls from concerned citizens to come pouring in.

Ford Safety Insights software The Safety Insights software allows users to run simulations based on real traffic data.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Safety Insights software

The data comes from Ford vehicles, simulations, and predictions that city planners and public works officials make by running simulations. The data taken from vehicles includes indicators of crash trends like harsh braking, traction control issues, and near misses. These numbers help give context to traditional crash data.

Safety Insights also integrates multi-modal traffic volume data from StreetLight Data.

Traditionally, cities use transportation data to identify traffic issues, but combing through it can be a costly and time-consuming process, according to Ford. With the combination of crash data and available simulation predictions, the Safety Insights system takes analysis and planning to the next level, allowing them to test new options for traffic flow and make more informed decisions.

Users can comb through the data, layer by layer, filtering by type of collision, including those involving pedestrians and cyclists, rear-end crashes, or rush hour collisions. The results are available in seconds rather than the days or weeks it would traditionally take.

The simulations run by the software include the impact of a crosswalk or bike line on traffic flow, or what adjusting signal timing would look like.

Ford isn't just offering Safety Insights to Canadian customers. U.S. municipalities are allowed to purchase it as well.

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The Avenir trim level joins the Buick Envision lineup for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Buick

The redesigned 2021 Buick Envision builds on the success of its little brother, the 2020 Buick Encore GX, giving customers more premium features and making the two-row SUV more competitive in its class.

Buick will sell the 2021 Envision, which slots below the three-row Enclave in the Buick lineup, in trim levels with more distinctions between them than the previous generation Envision offered, including the Preferred, Essence, and Avenir grades. Preferred and Essence trim levels are available with a Sport Touring package, which gives the car darkened exterior finishes and dark 20-inch wheels.

The Envision Avenir is distinguished by an exclusive mesh grille design, with tinted chrome trim and unique 20-inch wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish.

2021 Buick Envision Avenir

Photo courtesy of Buick

Each Envision comes with a more athletic body design for the new generation. At the front, there are LED headlights with LED daytime running light signatures. LED taillamps are at the back. Welcome/walkaway lighting and animation is activated via key fob.

Buick has put a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood of the Envision that makes 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Push/pull buttons shift the vehicle in the place of a traditional shifter.

All-wheel drive (AWD) is available. Model with AWD get selectable drive modes: Tour, AWD, Snow/Ice, and Sport. Front-wheel drive models have all those with the exception of the AWD mode. Hill descent control is standard on AWD Envisions. A continuous damping control suspension is available on top-tier Envision Avenir models.

Buyers can get their Envision's interior with either a light or dark interior color scheme. Perforated leather upholstery is available on Envision Essence models. Heated front seats are standard on Essence and available on Preferred. Heated and ventilated front seats, diamond-quilted perforated leather upholstery, driver's seat massage, heated rear outboard seats, navigation, and wireless smartphone charging are standard on the Envision Avenir.

The Envision is the first model in the Buick lineup to incorporate the company's new 10.2-inch infotainment touch screen, which faces more toward the driver than the front seat passenger. A covered compartment below the instrument panel is home to the SUV's wireless charging pad, SD card slot, accessory outlet, and USB ports. Amazon Alexa, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are available.

The system also has Buick-exclusive apps including Reese's Book Club and NCAA March Madness.

The dual-wing armrest is back by popular demand on the center console between the front seats. A heated steering wheel and air ionizer are standard on Essence and Avenir, and available on Preferred versions of the SUV. A power moonroof is available on Essence and Avenir models.

The five-passenger Envision has a 60/40 split-folding rear seat that can fold flat. There is 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first-row seats and 25.2 cubic feet behind the second-row seats. A hands-free programmable power liftgate is standard on Essence and Avenir and available on Preferred models.

Buick is making the SUV available with the Buick Drive Confidence Plus package, which includes a suite of nine standard advanced safety and driver assistance technologies like forward colliosn alert, front pedestrian braking, and rear park assist. Additional available driver assistance technologies include HD Surround Vision, enhanced automatic parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display.

The 2021 Buick Envision is on sale now, with a starting MSRP of $32,995.

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