Tesla Signs Three-year Deal With Panasonic On Electric Car Batteries

Tesla signs three-year deal with Panasonic on electric car batteries

Tesla has signed a three-year pricing deal with Japan's Panasonic Corp to manufacture and supply lithium-ion battery cells at the Gigafactory in Nevada, the electric carmaker disclosed in a filing on Tuesday.

Tesla and Panasonic have been reported to be in talks to expand the battery joint venture's capacity.

2009 Toyota Tf109 Formula One Car Crossing The Auction Block

2009 Toyota TF109 Formula One car crossing the auction block

Collectors who find limited-edition hypercars with a multi-million-dollar price tag a little bit too stodgy will soon have a rare opportunity to add a real Formula One car to their fleet. Toyota donated the first example of the last car it built to compete in the series to a charity auction whose proceeds will go towards COVID-19 relief.

Wearing chassis number 01, this TF109 participated in a battery of tests leading up to the 2009 Formula One season. It was driven by several professional pilots, including Henkie Waldschmidt, Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock, but it never lined up on the starting grid of a race. Instead of stuffing it in a dimly-lit museum, Toyota passed the TF109 to Pirelli who used it as a high-speed test mule for tires. It was stripped of its red and white livery and put in the hands of well-known pilots (including Romain Grosjean) until it finally retired in 2011 after covering about 30,000 kilometers (approximately 19,000 miles), which is enormous for a Formula One car.

Mazda Mx-30 Electric Car Starts Production In Japan

Mazda MX-30 electric car starts production in Japan

Mazda has officially started production of the electric MX-30. For the time being, the small electric car hasn't been announced for the U.S. yet. Mazda hasn't declared otherwise, though, so we still have our hopes up. The first MX-30s are rolling off the line in Hiroshima, Japan. Europe will be one of the first places where these MX-30s end up. The car starts at £30,495 in the UK and €33,990 in Germany. That's around $38,000. Certainly expensive, but the price would surely be different here, plus we'd be eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit.

Those lucky European customers will be met with an electric car that likes to do things a little differently than others. The modest 35.5 kWh battery pack is good for just 124 miles on Europe's optimistic WLTP testing cycle. It would surely achieve a much lower number in the EPA test. Mazda has made it front-wheel drive, placing a single motor on the front axle that's good for 143 horsepower.

Renault, Needing Cuts Like Partner Nissan, Will Kill Car Models

Renault, needing cuts like partner Nissan, will kill car models

PARIS — Renault is preparing to substantially reduce its vehicle range, withdrawing well-known but ailing models like the Espace minivans, as part of looming cost cutting plans, four sources in the industry and close to the French carmaker said.

The company, shaken by the downfall of its once star CEO Carlos Ghosn and by setbacks in its main markets, is set to detail at the end of the month how it aims to cut costs by 2 billion euros ($2.16 billion) over the next three years.

Japan Sees More Fatal Car Crashes In Urban Areas

Japan sees more fatal car crashes in urban areas

Japanese police say the volume of traffic around the country has plunged amid the coronavirus outbreak, leading to a significant decline in accidents.

But there has been an increase in fatal car crashes in urban areas. Police suspect this is due to more aggressive driving on empty roads.

Yamaha, Gordon Murray's Canceled Sports Car Shown In Patent Drawings

Yamaha, Gordon Murray's canceled sports car shown in patent drawings

The mid-2010s saw motorcycle builder Yamaha release a couple of nifty little concept cars, a departure from its powersports vehicles and occasional assistance in developing engines for car companies. It led to the rumors that the company might actually bring a car to production, and it culminated in the beginning development of one with Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1. Unfortunately, Yamaha revealed that project was canceled before we even saw a concept. But now a patent rendering of that very car has surfaced at the European Union's Intellectual Property Office, and while it's cool to see, it also reminds us how sad we are it was canceled.

The car is a curvy, mid-engine coupe. It almost looks a little Lotus-like. The proportions suggest it would have been quite small, similar to the Sports Ride concept coupe from 2015. Though significantly more toned-down than that concept, this stillborn Yamaha bears some interesting design cues such as the flush door handles, as well as the Y-shaped character lines on the hood. Those lines echo design cues from both the Sports Ride and Cross Hub. Extrapolating from the Sports Ride, this unnamed coupe could have been made using Murray's F1-inspired iStream production process and featured a rev-happy Yamaha motorcycle engine.

The Willy's Wheeler Rc Car From The '80s Has Been Updated For 2020

The Willy's Wheeler RC car from the '80s has been updated for 2020

Does anyone remember the Willy's Wheeler RC car from the '80s, also known as the Honda City Turbo? The originals are tough to come by nowadays, but luckily, there's a brand new version available with new insides.

The new Tamiya Honda City Turbo RC car sits upon the Tamiya WR-02C chassis. The chassis features rear-wheel 2WD with fully independent double wishbone suspension. It also shares the 185mm wheelbase of the original WR-02 chassis. This is an assembly kit, so don't expect to pick one up and start driving right away, but popping wheelies with one of these (which is totally possible thanks to the model's weight distribution and motor) will be all the more satisfying after putting in a little work to make it happen.

Nissan Plans To Slash May Car Output In Japan By 78%

Nissan plans to slash May car output in Japan by 78%

TOKYO — Nissan plans to slash the number of cars it produces at home in May by 78% from last year, as the impact of the coronavirus shakes the troubled automaker which has already been struggling with falling sales.

As global automakers reel from plunging sales amid lockdowns imposed in many countries to curb the spread of the virus, the hit is particularly severe for Nissan, whose profitability has been deteriorating as it grapples with the turmoil that followed the ousting of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Mazda Gt3 Concept Based On Rx-vision Show Car Has Gran Turismo Debut

Mazda GT3 concept based on RX-Vision show car has Gran Turismo debut

During last year's World Final of the FIA World Tour in Gran Turismo Sport in Monaco, Mazda announced it would become an official video game partner this year, the automaker's centenary. The Japanese automaker then teased a sketch of its RX-Vision GT3 Concept, a GT3-class racer based on RX-Vision Concept shown at 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, penned by global design boss Ikuo Maeda and headed for Gran Turismo Sport this year. Polyphony Digital has finished modeling the car and just debuted it on the game's official site. Now dubbed the Gr.3 Mazda RX-Vision GT3 Concept, the slinky crimson contender will soon become the second GT3-class Mazda in the game alongside the Atenza Gr.3. Polyphony says the race car will arrive on May 25 as part of an online update.  

Usurprisingly, the final product is toned down from last year's teaser sketch, yet the teaser was so wild that the in-game version retains plenty of extravagance. Drivers can see over the hood now, but the front splitter is even more extreme, the nose more chiseled and angry, fenders and hood drawn with new lines and more character, and a front-exit exhaust pokes out of an aero duct behind the front wheel. Revised struts hold the giant rear wing aloft, and a less outlandish diffuser sheds its tall endplates but still makes a menacing sight from the back.

Lexus Commissioned The World's First Tattooed Car

Lexus commissioned the world's first tattooed car

Lexus commissioned the first "tattooed" car ever, and it's chosen the UX as the tattoo artist's canvas. Art cars and special projects catch our eye sometimes, but this particular project is one of the most intriguing works of art on a car we've seen in a long time. The process that tattoo artist Claudia de Sabe went through to translate her vision onto the UX is what we're really interested in here.

Since the UX is obviously a metal car, de Sabe needed to use a Dremel tool to drill away the blank white surface paint, exposing the bare metal underneath. Those painstakingly drilled lines were used as the pattern for the art taking shape. She had to be unerringly precise in her work. After all, there's no magic eraser for drilling into a car's metal body panels. Spending that much time free-drawing with a Dremel is intensive and demanding work, too. Comfortable positions are hard to come by, and a slip could be disastrous.