New Defender trims
JLR (as Jaguar Land Rover is now known) is adding new grades to the Defender, including adding its supercharged V8 to the 130 model and a new five-seat Defender 130 Outbound. The Defender 130 V8 (they're not calling it a Land Rover anymore) has the same 5.0L supercharged V8 as the shorter models. Well, almost the same. Here it makes 493 hp and 450 lb-ft, instead of 518 hp in the V8 110. It should still turn the Defender into a bit of a rocket ship. The less powerful V8 will also be offered in the Defender 110 SE. Defender 130's new Outbound trim drops the rearmost seats in favour of more cargo space. This one can hold up to 2,516L of gear, around 200L more than the seven-seat D130. More importantly, the load floor is now flat, making it much more useful than the three-row's cargo area. It has other camping-friendly features like rubber mats that can fold down to protect the bumper. D130 V8 pricing starts from $141,550, about $30k more than the I6.
BC increasing EV support for commercial sector
The Province of BC is working to increase electrification in the commercial vehicle sector. Three CleanBC programs are getting new funding to help encourage zero-emissions adoption by those who run medium and heavy-duty EVs. $19.5 million will be spent on 130 new charging stations designed for bigger trucks. Commercial trucks have trouble fitting into conventional EV charge stations designed for passenger vehicles. $30m will be spent on what the province calls "the technology gap." Trying to help develop clean tech for larger vehicles, marine, and aviation. Lastly, Seaspan Ferries has received support to help buy fast charging stations and two large EVs to help move heavy trailers and cargo. The province says that commercial transport is responsible for 60 percent of transportation emissions and 25 percent of total provincial greenhouse gas emissions. The province has now funded 20 projects to help lower emissions in the commercial sector.
Bye Bye Bolt
Chevrolet is dropping the popular Bolt EV after model year 2023, and the Bolt EUV will go along with it. Instead, the Orion Township, Ohio, plant where the vehicles are built will go all-in on the 2024 Silverado EV. A much more expensive (and likely profitable) endeavour for GM. To help replace its entry-level EVs, expect new models this year including the Chevrolet Equinox EV. Based on GM's latest Ultium electric platform, that model is expected to launch in the summer and eventually be priced "around $37,669."
Flo expands to build more charging stations
Canadian charging operator Flo has announced a partnership with the Canada Infrastructure Bank that will bring more than 2,000 public fast-charge stations online by 2027. The $220m loan will double the number of public fast charge stations, Flo says. The project will use Flo's newest 320 kW ultra-fast charger, designed to bring most EVs capable of ultra-fast charging to 80 percent in just 15 minutes. Flo is planning for approximately 400 new sites in communities with populations greater than 20,000 people.
More Tacoma Teasers
Toyota is almost ready to let us see the 2024 Tacoma pickup, but first, we get at least one more tease. This time it's portable tunes. Toyota will offer a JBL Flex portable speaker with the truck for the campsite and worksite audio. The portable boom box will dock in the truck's dashboard to charge and may be part of the truck's audio system. The removable stereo isn't new (Jeep has already done it) but it is cool. Stay tuned, if you'll pardon Toyota's pun, for more.
More power for EQE
Mercedes-Benz has announced new acceleration upgrades for EQE sedan and SUV and the EQS sedan and SUV models. The upgrade bumps EQE 350 models from 288 hp to 348 hp and cuts a full second from the 0-100 km/h times. The EQS 450 models climb from 355 hp to 435 and get just under a second quicker. The over-the-air update starts from $75 per month on EQE and $115/month on EQS. Or you can get a lifetime subscription to the extra power for $2,500 on EQE and $3,800 on EQS models.