The Friday Five:The California Saves the Manuals, Ford Registers More Range, and GM Gives Free Energy Edition

Beverly Braga | Jun 25, 2021

This week, we previewed a few upcoming redesigned vehicles, including the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback, 2022 Infiniti QX60, and 2022 Toyota Tundra. Plus, we published a couple of reviews that answer your basic questions about the 2021 Dodge Challenger and 2021 Ford Escape. Another truck comparison is up, too, and this time it’s the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado versus the 2021 Toyota Tacoma

In the news, electric vehicle registrations are way up over 2020, Volvo released some information about its upcoming electric XC90 SUV, and Kia announced changes to the 2022 Soul. Families looking for a practical performance car will be happy to see the 2022 Kia Stinger gets top safety ratings

Finally, we’ve got a couple of new technology explainers related to Lincoln ActiveGlide and Mazda Co-Pilot systems.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

California Rescinds Sales Ban on 2022 Porsche 911 GT3  - Find the best Porsche deals!

As soon as Porsche announced the new 2022 911 GT3, sales of manual transmission-equipped variants were banned in California. Why? Regulators said such vehicles did not meet the state’s noise regulations. 

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Blue Front Quarter View

The state bases its vehicular pass-by noise ordinance on a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) exterior-noise test. The 911 GT3 and GT3 Touring presumably did not pass this test when optioned with a 6-speed manual. Vehicles equipped with the standard 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT), however, did pass. Porsche would need to contact California residents who ordered the manual gearbox to inform them the stick was stuck in legal red tape.

But the Golden State has since changed its tune.

Porsche consulted with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and California Highway Patrol and determined that the existing test procedure, last revised in 1998, was outdated. When tested against new SAE criteria, the 6-speed 911 GT3 proved quiet enough and sales could, therefore, proceed as planned.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Exceeds EPA Expectations - Find the best Ford deals!

Performance and practicality remain intact for both the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT and Mustang Mach-E GT Performance. Ford targeted an estimated 250 miles and 235 miles of range, respectively, for the sporty variants of its all-new electric crossover SUV. But official Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) test results returned more mileage than Ford’s own estimates.

The Mustang Mach-E GT is now listed with a range of 270 miles on a full charge, an 8-percent improvement. The GT Performance Edition has a new range of 260 miles – a nearly 11-percent jump. Both vehicles come standard with all-wheel drive. The entry-level, rear-wheel-drive Mustang Mach-E is EPA-rated to travel 230 miles on a full charge.

According to Ford, more than half of all GT orders are for the GT Performance model, which impresses with a zero-to-60-mph acceleration time of 3.5 seconds versus the base model’s time of 5.8 seconds. Those folks must be mighty happy about this news.

General Motors to Expand EV Charging, Including Free Options

General Motors is partnering with Shell to expand renewable energy and EV charging solutions to homeowners, including offering free overnight charging. 

The seemingly unlikely team is collaborating to meet their respective zero-emissions goals. GM plans to be a carbon-neutral global operation by 2040, and Shell targets its business to be net-zero emissions by 2050.

The joint project is kicking off in Texas and currently available to owners of eligible vehicles, which for now is a short list that includes the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV. Additionally, starting this summer, Texas residents on select energy plans will be offered free EV charging from midnight to 5 a.m.

Next-Generation Mazda MX-5 to Be Electrified - Find the best Mazda deals!

Mazda recently announced plans to have a fully electrified lineup by 2030, but electrification and electric are two different things. In fact, while presenting its all-new modular Skyactiv platform, the automaker stated that it’s scalable for EVs, hybrids, and gasoline-powered vehicles as well as for front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive configurations. Essentially, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Along with several new models of the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric variety, the long-standing MX-5 Miata will continue to be part of Mazda’s future lineup. 

The automaker confirmed that the 2-seat roadster would receive some kind of electrification but did not specify as to how or what. 

Based on Mazda’s current strategy and timeline, the next-generation MX-5 is likely to be a hybrid model rather than a full-battery EV. Nevertheless, Mazda’s lone sports car will continue to be part of the Zoom-Zoom brand for at least another decade. 

Audi Announces Death Date for Gasoline Models - Find the best Audi deals!

Automakers continue to ramp up their zero-emissions and electrification efforts, and Audi has formally announced when global production of its gasoline-powered models will cease. 

By 2025, Audi plans to expand its e-model lineup to include 20 new vehicles. The automaker’s current EV offerings include the E-tron SUV, E-tron GT, and upcoming Q4 E-tron in both standard and sportback body styles. 

Beginning with the 2026 model year, Audi will introduce all-new models of the all-electric variety only. Existing models that feature a gasoline-powered engine will still be available, but production will reportedly phase out by 2033. This includes the discontinuation hybrids and plug-in hybrids as well. 

The automaker is targeting to be a net-zero emissions brand by 2050.

The automakers and trusted publications are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on June 25, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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