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US tells Germany to ban Huawei on 5G or it will share less intelligence: Report

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The Trump administration has reportedly told Germany that it will share less intelligence with German agencies if Chinese networking giant Huawei is allowed to provide any of the technology behind the nation’s 5G mobile networks.

According to The Wall Street Journal, United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told the German government in a letter on Friday that allowing Chinese vendor equipment across 5G networks would reduce US cooperation with intelligence agencies in Germany.

Grenell pointed out that Chinese law requires Chinese companies to support China’s security agencies, WSJ said.

In early February, Reuters said German ministers had been meeting to discuss the possibility of a Huawei 5G ban after Chancellor Angela Merkel set conditions for the company’s participation in new mobile networks.

The conditions reportedly require guarantees from the company that it would not hand over information to the Chinese government.

The meeting followed reports at the end of last year that the Five Eyes alliance — between the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand — was passing classified information on Chinese foreign interference to Germany, as well as Japan.

Read also: Germany proposes router security guidelines

Last week, Germany’s Federal Network Agency, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) published a set of security requirements for all mobile networks, which are set to appear in draft form during the Northern Hemisphere’s spring.

“Systems may only be sourced from trustworthy suppliers whose compliance with national security regulations and provisions for the secrecy of telecommunications and for data protection is assured,” the first requirement from BNetzA states.

“Network traffic must be regularly and constantly monitored for any abnormality and, if there is any cause for concern, appropriate protection measures must be taken.”

Under the draft laws, equipment can only be used if it is regularly tested and certified by the Federal Office for Information Security.

“Proof must be provided that the hardware tested for the selected, security-related components and the source code at the end of the supply chain are actually deployed in the products used,” BNetzA said.

According to BNetzA president Jochen Homann, the agency regularly updates its security requirements “in light of the current security situation and technological developments”.

In order to avoid European 5G bans similar to the one handed down by the Australian government last year, Huawei has offered to construct a cybersecurity hub in Poland “if authorities accept this as a trusted solution”, Reuters reported Huawei Poland head Tonny Bao saying last month.

Huawei is also willing to accept European government supervision, Reuters said.

Accordingly, Huawei last week opened the “Cyber Security Transparency Centre” in Brussels, which aims to showcase its cybersecurity practices; facilitate cooperation on security standards and verification; and “provide a product security testing and verification platform and related services to Huawei customers”.

“Trust needs to be based on facts, facts must be verifiable, and verification must be based on common standards,” Huawei deputy chair Ken Hu said.

“We welcome all regulators, standards organisations, and customers to fully use this platform to collaborate more closely on security standards, verification mechanisms, and security technology innovation.

“Together, we can improve security across the entire value chain and help build trust through verification.”

Meanwhile, Huawei has filed to sue the US government, seeking a declaratory judgment that the National Defense Authorization Act, which prevents US government entities from using Huawei or ZTE equipment, is unconstitutional.

Huawei rotating chair Guo Ping said Huawei is also seeking a permanent injunction against the restrictions.

“The US government has long branded Huawei a threat. It has hacked our servers and stolen our emails and source code,” Guo Ping said. “Despite this, the US government has never provided any evidence supporting their accusations that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat.

“Still, the US government is sparing no effort to smear the company and mislead the public about Huawei. Even worse, the US government is trying to block us from the 5G markets in other countries.”

In December, the Czech Republic’s National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA) issued a warning against equipment from Huawei and ZTE, after NCISA director Dusan Navrátil said that China “actively pursues its interests in the territory of the Czech Republic, including influence and espionage intelligence activities”.

Huawei is currently facing a 10-count indictment alleging the company conspired to steal intellectual property from T-Mobile and subsequently obstructed justice, in addition to separate 13-count indictment against the company and its CFO Meng Wanzhou.

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2021 VW ID.4 electric range gets EPA confirmed – Here’s how it compares

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Volkswagen’s new all-electric crossover, the 2021 ID.4, has sailed through US EPA testing with no upset in its range results, an important milestone as the automaker tries to make a splash in the affordable EV segment. Arriving at dealerships imminently, the ID.4 is America’s first taste of VW’s MEB platform, its purpose-built architecture for battery-electric vehicles.

That’s a departure from the previous pure-electric models that VW has offered in North America before. The discontinued e-Golf, for example, may have been an EV but it was based on the same platform as the standard, internal combustion version of the car.

MEB, though, was designed from the outset with electric drive alone in mind. Flexible enough to scale down to compact urban hatchbacks and up through luxury sedans to large SUVs, it can also be set up with front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive, and with differing battery pack sizes to balance range, weight, and price. For the first examples of the 2021 ID.4, Volkswagen opted for an 82 kWh battery and RWD, with the single electric motor good for 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque.

That, the automaker predicted, would work out to 250 miles on the EPA’s test cycle. Sure enough, when the US Environmental Protection Agency published the 2021 ID.4’s numbers – for both the limited-availability ID.4 1st and the ID.4 Pro S, which have the same battery pack – it clocks in at the expected 250 miles.

It’s enough to put the ID.4 firmly in the midst of its electric vehicle segment. Tesla’s numbers remain the range to beat, with the Model Y rated between 291 and 316 miles by the EPA, while Chevrolet’s Bolt EV – a little smaller than the ID.4 – drops in at 259 miles. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, also just about to arrive at US dealerships, had its range figures certified by the EPA earlier in the week; it will do between 211 and 300 miles, depending on model and drivetrain configuration.

Over at Hyundai, the 2021 Kona Electric is similarly priced to the ID.4, and rated at 258 miles on a charge. Audi’s e-tron and e-tron Sportback, along with the Jaguar I-PACE, are more expensive than the VW, and fall short of its quoted range too – at 220, 218, and 234 miles, respectively – though badge prestige might offset any disappointment there. Volvo’s new 2021 XC40 Recharge and its 2021 Polestar 2 cousin are rated by the EPA at 208 and 233 miles, respectively.

These first two ID.4 models, of course, are only the start of Volkswagen’s assault on the EV space. As well as other configurations of the crossover – including all-wheel drive variants due next year – there’ll be other vehicles based on the MEB platform as the automaker chases its ambitious electric sales goals. Meanwhile, the sticker price of the ID.4 itself is expected to dip too. Though the current cars are being shipped over to the US from Germany, from 2022 VW plans to build the electric crossover in the US as well; the localized, North American-made ID.4 could start from around $35,000 before any credits or incentives.

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Bugatti Chiron Sport Les Légendes du Ciel pays tribute to aviation legends

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Few are aware of Bugatti’s glorious aviation history. Paying homage to ‘The Legends of the Sky’ is a limited run Bugatti Chiron Les Légendes du Ciel based on the Chiron Sport. Only 20 examples of Les Légendes du Ciel are slated for production, and Bugatti is asking $3.42 million (€2.88 million) for each car.

“Bugatti has had close associations with aviation since the company was established more than 110 years ago,” said Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. Company founder Ettore Bugatti was always fascinated by aviation. Bugatti began developing aircraft engines in 1915. But in 1938, Bugatti began working on the Model 100, a racing aircraft designed to compete in the Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race.

“Many successful Bugatti racing drivers, such as Albert Divo, Robert Benoist, and Bartolomeo ‘Meo’ Costantini, flew for the French Air Force, the French aviator legend Roland Garros privately drove a Bugatti Type 18 to be as fast on the road as in the air,” added Winkelmann. “It is therefore almost an obligation for us today to pay tribute to the legends of that time and dedicate a special edition to them.”

As expected, the Chiron Sport Les Légendes du Ciel is brimming with vintage aviation-inspired memorabilia. You’ll find a bevy of aircraft and propeller logos on the seat headrests, front fenders, and center console. The door panels, meanwhile, bear a sketch of a Bugatti Type 13 race car and a Nieuport 17 airplane, the latter of which is a French biplane built in 1916.

All 20 examples of Chiron Sport Les Légendes du Ciel are finished in bespoke Gris Serpent matte gray paint. Other exterior highlights include a gloss white racing stripe, a gloss black front grille surround, and the blue, white, and red colors of the French flag on the side sills.

Meanwhile, the interior is resplendent in fine Gaucho light brown leather and premium aluminum trim. Optional equipment includes comfort seats and a ‘Sky View’ glass roof.

The limited-edition Les Légendes du Ciel Bugatti Chiron Sport remains powered by a gargantuan 8.0-liter W16 turbocharged engine producing 1,479 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. Production of this exclusive model will start near the end of 2020.

2021 Bugatti Chiron Sport Les Légendes du Ciel Gallery

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Fourth Ram Truck “Built to Serve Edition” pickup lands in Q1

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Ram Truck has announced that the fourth edition of its armed forces-inspired and limited-edition “Built to Serve” trucks is ready to go. The Built to Serve Edition Ram 1500 pickups honor the five branches of the US Armed Forces. Ram is offering the fourth edition of the pickup with 1000 models in Tank and 1000 units in Flame Red.

The interior is inspired by the military and features Medium Greystone accents and standard content that encourages owner customization. The fourth edition of the truck series will be in showrooms in Q1 2021. The trucks are meant to be a way to honor all those who serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Ram continues to launch a new Built to Serve Edition model representing one of the land, sea, or air military branches approximately every three months. Each of the five military service branches has been or will be honored with two specially selected exterior paint colors that “evoke the spirit, the mission, and history of that service.”

Built to Serve Edition trucks are offered in the following colors and production numbers:

  • Gator (1,000 units) and Diamond Black Crystal (1,000)
  • Ceramic Gray (1,000) and Patriot Blue (1,000)
  • Anvil (1,250) and Billet Silver Metallic (1,500)
  • Tank (1,000) and Flame Red (1,000)
  • Spitfire (500) and Bright White (500)

The special edition trucks have a unique treatment on the front end with an all-black grille and surround, black bumpers, and premium lighting with black bezels. The trucks also feature black badges, black wheel-to-wheel sidesteps, and dual four-inch black exhaust tips. Interiors are accented with unique corresponding color stitching in light frost, light ambassador blue, light diesel gray, medium greystone, or orange. The trucks also have several other special touches, and trucks with the 4×4 off-road group feature number of skid plates and all-terrain tires.

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