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2021 Alfa Romeo Tonale is the brand’s first compact hybrid crossover

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We first saw a glimpse of the Alfa Romeo Tonale concept at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. The Tonale is Alfa’s first-ever small crossover with a hybrid powertrain, and it looks every inch an Alfa Romeo with its evocative three-plus-three headlight design, Scudetto grille design, and curvy styling.

You can expect the 2021 Alfa Romeo Tonale to arrive at U.S. dealerships later this year, but Alfa remains tight-lipped on specifics like horsepower numbers, powertrain options, and range/fuel economy. However, there are a couple of things we know about Alfa’s newest subcompact crossover.

The Tonale is destined to be the first-ever hybrid vehicle from Alfa Romeo. The Tonale concept unveiled at Geneva is a plug-in hybrid model, but Alfa may shift to a pure hybrid for the production version of the car – or Alfa may offer both. Whatever the case, the Tonale will most likely be powered by a turbocharged four-banger in the front and an electric motor in the rear.

We reckon the PHEV powertrain is derived from FCA’s lineup of rugged plug-in-hybrids like the Jeep Renegade and Compass. Interestingly enough, the Tonale is underpinned by the same Small Wide chassis as both Jeep models. But since the Tonale is meant as a sportier alternative, the platform is tweaked to deliver a more direct and exhilarating driving experience as all Alfas are known for.

But can a hybrid deliver Alfa Romeo’s ‘Mechanics of Emotions’ credo? Yes, and it all boils down to the Tonale’s bespoke driving modes. The Alfa D.N.A. is still there albeit modified to accommodate its new hybridized powertrain. The previous ‘Dynamic’ mode is replaced by ‘Dual Power’ and squeezes out the highest possible output from both the gasoline engine and electric motor.

Meanwhile, ‘Natural’ drive mode is for normal driving and provides the right balance of economy and performance. The previous ‘Advanced Efficiency’ mode is replaced by ‘Advance E’ and allows the Tonale to operate in all-electric mode. As previously mentioned, Alfa Romeo has yet to divulge the actual numbers, but we’re assuming an all-electric driving range of around 31 miles similar to the pure EV range of the Jeep Renegade Hybrid and Compass Hybrid.

Of course, all of this might change in the production version. We won’t be discounting the possibility of a bigger battery pack for longer all-electric range, or maybe a Tonale Quadrifoglio version with dual rear-mounted electric motors and a more powerful gasoline mill. If the Tonale is to bang heads with other premium offerings like the Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, it needs to have a high-performance model, right?

Inside, the new Alfa Romeo Tonale is littered with new tech. The vehicle has a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. The cabin is swathed in premium leather and Alcantara with aluminum trimmings and backlit panels.

The 2021 Alfa Romeo Tonale slots nicely between the Stelvio SUV and Giulia sedan, and we expect base prices to hover between $33,000 to $35,000 for a FWD gasoline-only Tonale.

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Tesla Set To Deliver The First Semi To Pepsi

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In October, Tesla’s CEO revealed that the production of the Tesla Semi had begun, and it was bound to be delivered today. Tesla has already started the countdown, and we expect the unveiling event to go down at the Nevada factory. The electric truck will be dispatched to Pepsi, which had ordered 100 units. Investor reports that Tesla’s stock price increased by 7.7% on Wednesday, probably in anticipation of Tesla’s Semi first delivery.

Musk tweeted on Saturday that the “Tesla team just completed a 500-mile drive with a Tesla Semi weighing in at 81,000 lbs!” However, considering that Musk said that the company is dealing with supply chain issues and market inflation, it’s unclear if Tesla will stick to the original $180,000 price it intended to sell at when it was announced in 2017. Then again, Tesla offers a cheaper Semi that will be available for about $150,000 — but it can only achieve up to 300 miles at full load capacity. For now, we can only wait until it’s on the road to confirm if the specs match up to what was promised five years ago.  

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Coinbase Joins Elon Musk In Slamming The Apple App Store Tax

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Coinbase complained that Apple’s insistence on its cut unreasonably interfered with its business.

Coinbase’s argument was largely the same as Elon Musk’s, and the basis of Epic Games’ aforementioned lawsuit. According to all of the above, Apple was half of a duopoly: with Google, it controlled the global app marketplace. The “duopoly” part of the argument is pretty much incontrovertible: As of October 2022, both Apple and Google control 99.43% of the global smartphone market between them (via StatCounter). Both get a 30% cut of everyone’s action on its marketplace. From the perspective of Coinbase, that took too much money out of too many elements of its business.

Epic sued over that and, as noted above, won with an asterisk. Apple had restricted in-app purchases, and courts found that anticompetitive, but did require that Apple get a 30% cut of the profits, even though they took place in someone else’s app. In short, according to the Verge, the court said that if you’ve found a way to make money using iOS, you owe Apple 30%, period.

Epic thought in-app purchases should be exempted from the tax. Coinbase thinks elements of the NFT development process — in this case, gas prices to run the processing equipment necessary to mint NFTs — should be exempt from Apple’s app tax. Apple treats all user expenses on an app as in-app purchases and, per the Epic court decision, in-app purchases mean Apple gets a cut.

It’s not a simple problem, and it’s not likely to be solved anytime soon. Stakeholders and regulators have barely begun to integrate cryptocurrency and NFTs into the conventional marketplace. Who gets paid for what is likely to be a conversation for years on end. For now, all that’s certain is that conversation has begun.

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LastPass Security Breach Exposed Some Customer Data, But Details Are Still Slim

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LastPass’ new blogpost continues to be vague about the nature of the latest security incident that has affected the platform. What it does reveal, however, is that the company recently detected yet another incident of “unusual activity” within a third-party cloud storage service connected to LastPass. LastPass stopped short of revealing details surrounding the affected third-party cloud service. However, TechCrunch has hinted at the possibility of the cloud service being AWS. For those unaware, starting in 2020, LastPass began using AWS (Amazon Web Services) to store more than a billion customer records on Amazon’s cloud.

LastPass goes on to add that the security incident prompted an immediate internal investigation, following which they ascertained that the threat actor was able to access “certain elements” of LastPass’ customer information. Interestingly, LastPass has also confirmed that the unauthorized party used data from the August 2022 incident to gain access to LastPass’ systems.

While LastPass hasn’t revealed the exact nature of customer information that has been breached, they maintain that customers’ passwords have not been affected. LastPass also said it had engaged the services of Mandiant — a leading security firm — to help them with the investigation. The company has also notified law enforcement agencies about the same. The company has promised to share more updates surrounding the latest incident after they conclude an internal investigation.

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