McLaren’s cars are light, but the British supercar-maker has even more aggressive ambitions for cutting heft – and with good reason. The automaker’s CEO has set staff to work on a so-called “weight race” for shedding further pounds, as it paves the way for more potent electrified models.
It’s fair to say McLaren is no stranger to “lightweighting” as it’s known in the industry. The company’s McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) is a specialist in materials like carbon-fiber, which it has used to trim heft while still ensuring strength in its top-dollar sports cars.
Most recently, for example, the McLaren 765LT showed how one of the automaker’s existing cars could go on a diet. Starting with the already-light 720S, McLaren stripped out as much as 176 pounds. That included using carbon fiber for both exterior and interior body panels, the seats, and aerodynamic components. Other changes included a titanium exhaust system – 40-percent lighter than its steel equivalent – and polycarbonate glazing.
For the 765LT – latest in a series of lighter, faster “Longtail” cars McLaren has produced – the goal was better straight-line speed and cornering abilities. However what didn’t change was the all-gasoline engine. That, a 755 horsepower twin-turbo V8, was tweaked and tuned, but McLaren has more thorough changes planned for the next few years.
That’ll center around electrification. McLaren expects its range to comprise entirely of performance hybrid models by 2025, as part of an ambitious roadmap it dubbed Track25. Announced in mid-2018, it will see not only an expansion in models – including limited-edition cars like the 765LT alongside core range supercars like the 720S – but a new gas-electric drivetrain.
Details there are relatively scant, though McLaren is no stranger to performance hybrids. The original McLaren P1, for example, paired a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 gas engine with an electric motor, good together for 727 horsepower and 531 lb-ft of torque. 0-62 mph came in 2.8 seconds, and the coupe could hit an electronically-limited top speed of 217 mph.
McLaren won’t reuse that exact drivetrain, but it does have an eye on a newer version – and a special charging system for it. One of the automaker’s long-standing concerns about electrification has been recharging speed. Drivers, the company argues, won’t be willing to wait around for extended periods for their supercar to recharge before they can hit the track again.
The answer will be “a lighter, superfast-charging, high-power battery system for performance applications” McLaren promised, playing its details close. Of course, one thing that will demand is batteries.
It’s the heft of those – not to mention other additions with a hybrid, like at least one electric motor and the companion electronics – which is prompting this renewed war on weight. “Reducing vehicle weight is at the center of our strategy for the next generations of McLaren supercars,” CEO Mike Flewitt said today. “We are already class-leading and committed to further driving down weight in order to be in the best possible position to maximize the efficiency and performance of hybridized models to be introduced by 2025.”
As in most wars, there’s no one clear goal here, and no one “right” weight for a performance hybrid. Instead, we’re expecting to see McLaren target a range, from heavier cars that have more creature-comforts suited to everyday use, through to more aggressively dieted versions that trade cosseting for raw speed. Where that leaves factors like all-electric range, too, remains to be seen.
Still, for Flewitt, the challenge is clear. “Vehicle mass is the enemy of performance whether a car has a conventional internal combustion engine or a fully electrified powertrain,” the CEO explained, “so winning the weight race is an absolute priority for us.” If recent rumors hold water, we could see the first evidence of that in hybrids with a new, plug-in electrified car in the entry-level Sports Series, which is predicted to combine a V6 gas engine with an electric motor.
Tesla Set To Deliver The First Semi To Pepsi
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.
Coinbase Joins Elon Musk In Slamming The Apple App Store Tax
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.
You might have noticed you can’t send NFTs on Coinbase Wallet iOS anymore. This is because Apple blocked our last app release until we disabled the feature. 🧵
— Coinbase Wallet (@CoinbaseWallet) December 1, 2022
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.
LastPass Security Breach Exposed Some Customer Data, But Details Are Still Slim
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.
We recently detected unusual activity within a third-party cloud storage service, which is currently shared by both LastPass and its affiliate GoTo. Customer passwords remain safely encrypted due to LastPassâ€™s Zero Knowledge architecture. More info: https://t.co/xk2vKa7icq pic.twitter.com/ynuGVwiZcK
— LastPass (@LastPass) November 30, 2022
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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