Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. Most of our stories this week come to us from the Consumer Electronics Show happening now in Vegas. It’s like SEMA but for the tech industry. So worse in every way. This week: Ram shows off their first EV pickup as a wild concept, BMW uses CES to show off toned down styling and easier tech user experiences, various other stories from CES, Andretti and Cadillac are teaming up for a possible F1 entry, and your news for the week.
Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept
Ram may be one of the last ones to the EV pickup party, but they’re certainly trying to be the life of the party with the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept. And just as we should have expected from Ram, it’s wild in every way. If it were an actual EV pickup party, the F-150 Lightning arrived early to help set everything up, the Rivian R1-T is in the corner talking about birds, the Silverado EV is in the other room watching football, the Hummer EV is asking your opinions on January 6th, and the Ram Revolution is the one in the backyard doing a keg stand with its shirt off.
It’s about as wild of a truck as I’ve seen. Every party trick in the book was thrown at this thing. Any possible feature or exploit of the EV platform was included. While this is just a concept it can certainly give us some clues as to what the future production version will be, which we should see in the coming months.
The futuristic new styling should be at least somewhat close, including the new ultramodern design and new lighting elements. What probably won’t make it to the new truck is the saloon-style doors with no b-pillar. The same probably goes for the reconfigurable interior featuring a removable center console and rails in the floor to reposition seats and such as needed – though that would be cool. And one thing that might actually be feasible given how massive modern trucks have become is a pair of third-row jump seats to allow up to six occupants, meaning you can accomplish the same thing you could have just done with bench seats instead.
Ram also borrowed an idea from Chevy with the Silverado EV, the powered mid-gate. This allows the bed to be expanded and even enables a pass-through going all the way through the cabin and into the frunk. This means it can fit objects up to 18-ft. long with the tailgate closed. Another thing there’s plenty of inside is screen space. A full touchscreen display comprised of two screens offers up to 28 inches of screen space as the interior centerpiece. The lower display has three different positions so it can either be mostly hidden or fully extended for a massive display, and it can even be removed and used in different areas of the truck.
Full tech specs are probably a long ways out, but they gave us some basics to hold us over. There’s one electric motor on each axle for AWD capability and the battery is neatly tucked down low thanks to new body-on-frame architecture designed specifically for electric trucks. The truck will support 800-volt DC fast charging at up to 350 kW, meaning it can add 100 miles of driving range in 10 minutes of charging. Rear axle steering of up to 15 degrees is a thing as well.
Ram is scheduled to begin production in 2024 and we might see the production truck as early as this summer. I would expect some power, payload, and towing figures by then as well.
BMW i Vision Dee
BMW is embracing the weird with the i Vision Dee (Digital Emotional Experience), a color-changing concept car with tech so over the top that it fits right in at CES. But it also serves to offer a glimpse into what BMW’s designers are thinking about for the future, which for once might actually be a good thing. Maybe. Who the fuck knows at this point.
“The design of BMW i Vision Dee has been deliberately pared down to focus attention on the digital experience and the DNA of the BMW brand”. Half of that statement should excite fans of the brand and others who have eyes after the last couple years we’ve endured. The whole digital experience thing… more on that later. The press release continues talking about the classic three-box sedan design, traditional design elements like the BMW kidney grille (which isn’t completely hideous for a change), “twin circular headlights” that aren’t actually circular, and the Hofmeister kink. Many of these elements are reimagined with “phygital icons” replacing analogue elements. They say this gives the BMW i Vision Dee “its own digital, but human, character”. Remember when I said CES was like SEMA but worse in every way?
For all of BMW’s faults design-wise, and there are many, this car certainly doesn’t come across as offensive to the human race which is a big improvement. It’s not pretty but it’s kind of… neat? I mean all most fans wanted was for BMW to return to normal kidney grilles again, but a deliberate attempt to greatly simplify their designs is surely a good thing. And word is BMW will be applying these changes to their lineup quickly. I wonder why.
Among the tech innovations that will actually be heading to production is a full windshield-width heads-up display. That should be available by 2025. The concept experiments with some new ways to integrate technology into the driving experience without distracting from said driving experience. There’s a reduction in controls that aren’t on the steering wheel and no displays except for what’s projected onto the windshield. The wheel incorporates touchpoints that “come to life” when approached or touched and can be operated by moving the thumb. These “phygital” touchpoints control selection of the content projected onto the windshield.
“With BMW i Vision Dee, we are showing how the car can be seamlessly integrated into your digital life and become a trusty companion. The vehicle itself becomes your portal to the digital world – with the driver always in control”, said BMW’s head of design. You can decide whether to trust his words or not given his recent track record. But as car design devolves into big ass screens on every surface and we’re left to wonder why distracted driving is such a huge problem, something like this is actually refreshing. And to debut this as CES of all places where the concept of not using a touch screen to do literally everything can scare people is quite bold.
Anyways, we’ll get to see how BMW fucks this all up in the coming years.
More from CES
Maybe it’s because I work in the tech industry for my day job. But there’s only so much techie crap I can write about before going insane. So for these last few noteworthy stories from CES, let me redirect you to our old friends at MotorAuthority. They have the resources (patience) to cover the show in its entirety, at least as it relates to the auto industry.
Other stories from the show include an EV concept from Sony and Honda that may actually see the light of day, an overhaul for Android Auto, and Mercedes-Benz planning their own EV charging network – because what the world needs to make the transition to electric transportation even easier is having brand-specific charging networks.
Andretti and Cadillac are pursuing an F1 entry
In news that was completely unexpected, Andretti and GM are teaming up to pursue the opportunity to compete in Formula 1. Andretti has famously been in talks to join the F1 grid as an 11th team, but those talks have stalled as numerous existing teams resisted the idea. It was believed that some of the bigger teams didn’t see value in adding a new team without a new manufacturer as well. That’s where GM is coming in.
General Motors would be represented by Cadillac which is also competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (including Le Mans) with the Cadillac LMDh race car (and here in the US in IMSA of course). It may seem like a puzzling choice since as far as I can tell Cadillac only sells one model in Europe, which is where Formula 1’s biggest presence is. But it is GM’s most prestigious brand and they have a good presence in top level motorsports already.
Andretti Global, which consists of Andretti Autosport and other divisions, shouldn’t really need to have a manufacturer backing them up for their F1 bid to be taken seriously. But what is F1 if not for political theater and overpriced shitty merchandise. Credit where it’s due though, Andretti have played this brilliantly. They were turned away by the big teams in F1 because they didn’t seem legitimate enough. They then came back after the holidays with one of the biggest automakers in history backing them up – and an American brand at a time when F1’s popularity has exploded in the US. That’s like getting bullied by the bigger kids in your class and coming back the next day holding hands with Dwayne Johnson.
There’s also the promise of fielding at least one American driver. If F1 is really taking the US seriously, there’s no way they can say no to both Andretti and GM. But watch it happen anyway. And interestingly enough, there were rumors that Ford was in talks with Red Bull Racing over a 2026 engine deal. That seemingly came out of nowhere, but with this news there may actually have been a reason for that. More on this as we get it…
[Sources: Cadillac, PlanetF1]
What’s your news for the week?
So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.