Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen opens 50-space EV charging station but you can't use it

The Arizona proving grounds serves as a research hub for Volkswagen Group brands, including Porsche.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has opened one of the most extensive electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in North America, but you, Joe Public, can't use it. That's right. The facility, at the company's 1,600-acre Arizona Proving Grounds in Maricopa, Arizona, is reserved for VW's research and development teams.

It's one of two worldwide for the company and was deigned to test battery and charging performance under extreme hot-weather conditions. It will allow the charging of EVs in weather conditions up to 120 degrees (but it's a dry heat).

Chargers Volkswagen proving grounds Arizona There are chargers from a number of companies on site.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 50-space station features 25 DC fast chargers, with variable power outputs from the most commonly used charger power today at 50 kilowatts up to 350kW, can charge properly equipped EVs at speeds up to 20 miles per minute.

There's also 10 Level 2 AC chargers that will be used to simulate typical, home-based charging. These chargers will utilize charge plugs from the three standard connector types: U.S. (CCS1), Europe (CCS2) and China (GB-T).

Volkswagen has plans to install pads to study inductive charging in the future.

All charging equipment comes from different global brands. It was developed in partnership with Electrify America. In a statement, Volkswagen said, "Parallel to the testing of electric vehicles at the EV station, the performance of the charging equipment is tested under these extreme-heat conditions to help improve the performance of the chargers for consumers."

Chargers Volkswagen proving grounds Arizona The infrastructure allows for a variety of types of testing.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Of the 50 spots, 16 are located under a remote-controlled canopy, which uses awnings to simulate full sun and shaded conditions.

There are also safety measures in place including a battery temperature monitoring system, developed in-house, that Volkswagen says is the basis of the world's first battery cooling system designed to prevent overheating damage in a serious emergency. A small building in the middle of the charging station allows engineers and test drivers to evaluate all testing data without having to endure the extreme heat themselves.

The charging station, along with the related support infrastructure, cost an estimated $9 million. Construction began in early 2019 and was completed in February 2020. The station received its final certification this month.

Chargers Volkswagen proving grounds Arizona Volkswagen has announced plans for an electrified model infusion into its lineup.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Research at the site will support Volkswagen Group products worldwide including the Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Volkswagen brands.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The SCC Tautara is now the world's fastest car.

Photo courtesy of SCC North America

He's an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and car enthusiast. He's also the new King of Speed. Dr. Larry Caplin's SSC Tuatara recently became the fastest production car ever with a set of of records during an October 10 event in Pahrump, Nevada along a seven-mile stretch of State Route 160.

With professional racing driver Oliver Webb at the wheel, the Tuatara hit an average of 316.11 mph following two consecutive high-speed test runs. To comply with test regulations, the car traveled first in one direction down the road clocking 301.07 mph then turned around and went the other direction on the same road getting to 331.15 mph, consecutively, within one hour.

SCC Tautara Shelby Webb sign Jerod Shelby, CEO of SSC (left) and driver Oliver Webb (right) celebrate the car's record.Photo courtesy of SCC North America

The times were then averaged. Officials were on site to verify all world record criteria was met and even reviewed Dewetron GPS measurements, which tracked the speed runs using 15 satellites. The Tuatara earned the title of the "Fastest Production Vehicle".

The car also earned three other titles: "Fastest Flying Mile on a Public Road" at 313.12 mph, "Fastest Flying Kilometer on a Public Road" at 321.35 mph (517.16 km/h), and "Highest Speed Achieved on a Public Road" at 331.15 mph.

Caplin is celebrating the milestone by donating community programs that support children, youth, and military families worldwide. His $316,000 donations will support health and wellness programs in underserved schools, provide college scholarships to first-generation students, and help military communities and families nationwide.

Larry Caplin SCC Tautara record car Dr. Larry Caplin celebrates the record set by his car.Photo courtesy of Dr. Larry Caplin

"I am beyond thrilled to own the World's fastest car because it's another opportunity to shine a light on important issues that support local communities and serve military families," said Caplin. "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be the owner of a historic vehicle, but I recognize that I have a responsibility to use this opportunity to help those who need support in a tangible way."

SSC North America is producing 100 SSC Tuatara hypercars. High-speed,high-downforce, and track versions are now available to customers.

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Ford has launched its new Bronco configuration tool.

Photo by AutomotiveMap with screen image courtesy of Ford Motor Company
How would you build it? Now you can find out. The new 2021 Ford Bronco build-and-price configurator is live on the Ford website giving buyers the opportunity to customize their pick without having to commit to a deposit or trip to the dealership. Ford has received over 190,000 reservations for the Bronco to date.
It's also a great way to kill some time between Zooms.

"The color and material offerings of the all-new Bronco and Bronco Sport are genuine and trusted, and establish a visceral connection between nature and the authenticity of this new family of rugged SUVs," said Missy Coolsaet, Bronco color and materials designer. "They motivate our customers to return to the wilderness and challenge themselves – and Bronco takes them there in a carefree, spontaneous way."

2021 Ford Bronco configurator options

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The configurator works in a traditional sense, asking users to first enter their ZIP code then taking them to a menu where they choose a trim level. Ford offers the Bronco in seven trim levels: Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, Outer Banks, Badlands, Wildtrak, and First Edition.

Buyers are then asked to choose a two- or four-door model. The 2021 Bronco is available in a wide variety of colors, including some with deep Ford heritage, and wheel varieties.

Powertrains components are trim level-dependent and some paint and wheel color combinations are not compatible with the seven-speed manual transmission or the Sasquatch Package.

All-terrain, mud, or all-season tires are either standard or available depending on trim level and wheel choice.

Buyers can check options boxes for a hard top, sound-deadening headliner, roof rails with crossbar, splash guards, an upgraded bash plate, paint protection film, brush guard, keyless entry keypad, wireless charging pad, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, a 12.0-inch infotainment touch screen, 10-speaker B&O sound system, and LED headlights, depending on trim level. Higher Bronco grades get much of these features as standard.

Cloth, vinyl, or leather-trimmed seats are available. An Ebony black or Medium Sandstone interior are the only options, but Medium Sandstone is not available in all trim levels.

A variety of equipment groups and packages are available as well, including a graphics package that will put the profile of rolling hills on the lower quarter of your Bronco's door panels.

Check out the configurator now at Ford.com/Bronco.

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