Much as we hate to admit it, we here at Gear Patrol can’t cover all the cool new product developments in the motoring world. Not even close. Between the new vehicles hitting the streets, the technological developments being announced that pave the way for the cars of tomorrow, and all the accessories and modifications whipped up by even just the reputable companies alone, we’d need a staff of a dozen working around the clock to even hope to cover everything that might pique your interest.
So we’ve decided to try something new: pulling together a quick list of some of the most interesting stories we didn’t get around to covering this week. Consider it a look behind the curtain, into our private communication channels where we pitch news pieces and banter about which is most worthy.
Honda Is Working On a Motorcycle That Can Read Your Mind
If you’ve ever felt like you and your bike had a telepathic connection, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. As Cycle World revealed this week, Honda is working on developing mind-reading technology —yes, seriously — for future motorcycles that would enable the bike to know your intentions and allow the safety systems to react accordingly in a proactive, rather than reactive, manner. Of course, it also means you’d need a brain-reading helmet, which we assume would be called “Cerebro.”
Hyundai Could Buy Boston Dynamics to Help Build Walking Cars
By now, you’ve probably seen the videos of Boston Dynamics’s robots, which always seem roughly one and a half development cycles away from becoming Terminators. (They have a humanoid robot that can do parkour, for God’s sake.) You might not know exactly what the purpose of that technology is, though. Well, it seems like Hyundai might have an idea what to do with it, as Car and Driver suggested: build walking cars.
Hyundai first explored the idea with its Elevate concepts, revealed at CES in 2019 and designed to go where conventional vehicles can’t: into rugged terrain like disaster zones. As you can see, the wheels of the Elevate vehicles are mounted on extendable legs; on the road, they sit flush to the body like in a normal car, but if the path becomes too difficult to traverse, it can rise up and walk.
At least, that’s the idea. Obviously, there are some technical issues to making this a reality — but buying Boston Dynamics, as Bloomberg reports the carmaker is considering, would be a big step towards solving them. Then again, considering Hyundai also builds industrial robots, it’s possible that they might not be planning on unleashing walking cars on us, either.
This Kit Transforms Any Bike Into an Electric Snowmobile
With a particularly long, dark winter bearing down upon us, odds are good you might be looking for a new way to get out and appreciate the world beyond your home. Well, if you have a bicycle — or even just a frame, seat and handlebars — you can also have a tiny electric snowmobile, thanks to Envo.
Envo’s Electric SnowBike Kit comes with a removable 1.2-kW battery that’s designed to be attached to a bike’s water bottle holder mount, and connects to an electric motor in the tread assembly that takes the place of the rear wheel. It works as both an electric boost and a pedal assistance system, delivering up to a claimed 31 miles of range at speeds of up to 12 mph. Of course, you can also leave the battery behind and ride it the old-fashioned way if you want. The price? $2,091.75.
Bentley Now Offering Tweed Door Trim
Want your Bentley to be as British as possible? Then you’ll want to opt for Crewe’s new tweed door trim, which comes in four different patterns and is available in all three models. As you’d expect from sustainability-minded Bentley, the woven wool is sourced from a Scottish mill that goes out of its way to make sure its products are made ethically and responsibly.
Subaru’s Improved Crosstrek Hybrid Is Just $200 More Than Before
The Subaru Crosstrek — one of our favorite affordable cars — received a mild freshening for 2021, complete with a new optional engine and a few design changes. The plug-in hybrid version is also improved with a redesigned front end and a retuned suspension; more importantly, it’ll still go up to 17 miles on electricity alone, or get 35 mpg in conventional hybrid mode, and comes packed with standard safety and convenience features. Best of all, at $35,345, it’s only $200 than before — and that’s before federal and state tax credits can shave off up to $6,002.
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Harley-Davidson Has a Hot New Custom 1250 Model Coming Soon
If you’ve been craving something mean, stripped-down and fast from Harley, well, your hunger might be about to be satiated. Harley-Davidson has added a post to its Future Models page stressing the subsequent debut of a “high performance custom model” packing a 1,200-cc engine.
It’s a reassuring sign, given the tumultuous nature of H-D’s recent model lineup; the Bronx, the brand’s cool new streetfighter, was shelved before it could reach the streets, for example. The Pan American ADV is still on track, though; indeed, its engine is believed to be the one the new custom will use. As for when we’ll see it? Fingers crossed for 2021.
The Hummer EV Will Be a Unique Beast
GMC’s upcoming electric Hummer stands to be one of the most interesting new vehicles of the next few years, combining Jeep-like off-road capability with muscle car-beating acceleration. As it turns out, it’ll be even more unique than that brief makes it seem: as Muscle Cars & Trucks discovered in an interview with engineer Todd Hubbard, the new Hummer EV shares almost no parts with other GM vehicles — something rare for a product from General Motors.
EarthCruiser Offers a Peek Inside Its New Overlanding Camper
EarthCruiser has made a name for itself offering mighty overlanding rigs built off commercial truck chassis, but now, it’s branching out into cab-over camper builds for pickup trucks. We’ve seen renderings of what it’ll look like outside; now, the company is giving us a glimpse into what it’ll look like within.
The interior of the EC Terranova Expedition Camper will offer an large bed — the largest EarthCruiser has ever offered, in fact — over the cab, with a compact, efficient kitchen in the middle and a dining area that converts to a second bed in back. The use of a pop-top means there’s ample head room when stopped without causing too much drag on the road.
The first examples should be delivered in Q2 of 2021, but if you know you want one now, you can reserve one of the first with a refundable $1,000 deposit put down by December 18.
This Is the Wildest New Defender We’ve Seen Yet
The customizers at Poland-based Carlex Design are no stranger to making special Land Rovers, like the yacht-inspired custom Defender we saw recently. But their newest build, the Racing Green Edition, is even more over the top.
The most obvious change, of course, are the mighty carbon fiber extensions jutting out from the flanks, with wider-spaced wheels to match. Inside, there’s practically acres of dark green- and cognac-colored leather and trim, which somehow manages to be both gaudy and appealing at the same time. The price? A bit over $100,000 — before taxes.
Hyundai Reveals the Backbone of Its Future EV Onslaught
That thin skateboard might not look like much, but Hyundai’s entire future is riding on top of it. The E-GMP architecture, as it’s called, will be the foundation for a whole new generation of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis EVs; it’ll be the backbone of at least 11 new electric cars going on sale between now and 2025, just for starters.
The platform uses an 800-volt architecture like the Porsche Taycan; Hyundai says it’ll be capable of being recharged to 80 percent capacity in just 18 minutes, and support ranges of up to 310 miles. Rear- and all-wheel-drive versions will be used, with the quickest E-GMP cars doing 0-60 mph in a claimed 3.5 seconds.
Audi Launches RWD R8 With US-Specific “Panther Edition”
No, not the Black Panther edition — he drives a Lexus — just the Panther Edition. A limited run of 30 cars unique to the U.S market, the feline-themed R8s will be the first of the regular-series rear-wheel-drive variants sold in America.
Panther Black crystal effect paint outside is matched with red-and-black 20-inch wheels and a mix of blacked-out and carbon-fiber trim. Inside, you’ll find crimson leather seats floating in a sea of otherwise-black leather trim, with some red trim to match. A sport exhaust comes standard, as does a Bang & Olufsen sound system in case you get sick of listening to the 5.2-liter V10. Which you won’t.
Ford Planning Even More Insane Version of “Godzilla” V8
The new 7.3-liter V8 engine found in Ford’s latest Super Duty trucks goes by the name “Godzilla,” but it may not be the last word in kaiju-esque giant engines to come from FoMoCo. As Muscle Cars & Trucks revealed, a Ford Performance engineer recently revealed the carmaker is planning an even more powerful version of the engine that, somewhat unimaginatively, is being called “Megazilla.”
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