HomeThe MarketHonda ready to take off — and we mean that quite literally

Honda ready to take off — and we mean that quite literally

Our occasional roundup of new car news and notes


Yes, we know that Honda already produces private jet aircraft, but fasten your seatbelt and put your seatback in its full and upright position because the automaker is really ready to take off. Honda Motor Company has unveiled a “2030 Vision” that includes electric-powered vertical take-off and landing aircraft, an avatar robot, and “a new challenge in the field of outer space.”

Honda said it’s about expanding the joy of life’s potential as it is committed to contributing to a society with “zero environmental impact and zero traffic collisions, and also new initiatives that enable Honda to take on challenges in new areas.”

So Honda is doing “outside-the-box research on technologies that will bring about new value for people by expanding the potential of mobility into the 3rd dimension, then the 4th dimension which defies the constraints of time and space, and ultimately into outer space.”

It begins with the Honda eVOL — electric vertical take-off and landing — aircraft for inner city travel in expanding cities with a new and efficient gas turbine hybrid power unit supplying the electrical power.

Honda says its avatar robot should be practical by the 2030s in helping do all sorts of functions, including using tools or opening a jar lid.

And then, it’s off to space, at least for the robot for exploring a lunar surface and doing tasks that might put astronauts at risk. Honda said it also is developing small, reusable rockets for launching low-earth orbit satellites. 

Chevy to reveal Z06, electric Silverado

Chevrolet has announced it will reveal the higher-performance 2022 Corvette Z06 on October 26 and electric-powered Silverado pickup truck in January at CES 2022. The automaker said one feature of the Silverado EV will be an available fixed-glass roof designed to provide both more headroom and enhanced spaciousness for those sitting in both rows of the truck’s cabin.

The truck also will offer 4-wheel steering and a range of more than 400 miles on a full charge, Chevrolet said.

How did Mach-E do in police tests?

Ford has turned the Mach-E into a potential police vehicle

Last month, we reported that Ford had prepared police-package versions of its electric-powered Mustang Mach-E, and that one of them was being evaluated as part of the annual Michigan State Police evaluation program, an event that is watched closely by police departments across the country.

The MSP has published a preliminary summary of the tests, which included two Chevrolet Tahoes, two Dodge Chargers, two Dodge Durangos, and five Fords, including Police Interceptors, an F150 and the Mach-E, the only EV under consideration.

The Mach-E hit 60 mph in 5.45 seconds and 100 mph in 13.47 seconds, both figures the quickest recorded. The crossover’s top recorded speed was 124 mph, second lowest of the group. The Mach-E also bested the field in projected stopping distance from 60 mph — 125.0 feet, more than 4 feet shorter than any of the other vehicles.

In addition to acceleration and stopping, vehicles were evaluated on a test track, with each vehicle doing multiple timed laps. Fastest average lap time was 1:36.01 for the Ford Police Interceptor Utility with a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine and all-wheel drive. Slowest was the Mach-E, a 1:42.19.

Ford noted that the Mach-E is the “first all-electric vehicle to pass the rigorous Michigan State Police 2022 model year evaluation. Testing included acceleration, top speed, braking and high-speed pursuit, as well as emergency response handling characteristics.

“The fact that the Mustang Mach-E successfully stood up to the grueling Michigan State Police evaluation demonstrates that Ford can build electric vehicles that are capable, tough and reliable enough for even the most challenging jobs,” Ted Cannis, chief executive of Ford Pro, was quoted in a Ford news release. 

Toyota claims world record for Mirai range

Speaking of range, Toyota says its Mirai has set a Guinness World Record for the longest distance driven before refueling by a hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle, traveling 845 miles after a complete, 5-minute refill during a two-day tour of Southern California.

Toyota noted that the vehicle used only 5.65 kilograms of hydrogen fuel and on the route drove past 12 stations where hydrogen refueling was available.

Lotus sets US price for Emira

Lotus Emira does a lap at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Lotus says its new Emira V6 First Edition model will have an MSRP of $93,900 in the US automotive marketplace. The car comes with an Edelbrock 1740 supercharged 3.5-liter Toyota-produced V6 rated at 400 horsepower and linked to a 6-speed manual transmission, with a 6-speed automatic gearbox as an option.

Production of the US-spec version begins in the third quarter of 2022 but the online configurator goes live October 18.

Ferox-T, the sport utility truck from Italy

Militem claims its SUT has all-terrain capability while retraining luxury accoutrements

Claiming that it “represents the maximum evolution of the pick-up as we know it,” Italian automaker Militem has unveiled the Ferox-T that it says transforms the SUV into the SUT.

The Ferox-T has a 4×4 “Rock-Trac” powertrain with a 285-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that provides 260 pounds-feet of torque through an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Militem says the vehicle fits into the premium-luxury category and has all-terrain capacity. An “Adventure” package is available with scratch-resistant paint for bumpers and wheel arches, a snorkel for the engine to breathe when fording through water, and a luggage rack. Studded tires are available as well.

List price in Italy is €97,490 ($112,955).

Aura is long-distance electric sports car concept

British Niche Vehicle Network showcases the Aura

With funding from the British Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and with several “partner” companies involved comes Aura, “an all-electric long-range concept car designed for nature, with sustainability at its core and efficiency driving its design,” according to its website.

Part of the Niche Vehicle Network are Asthemier (exterior and interior design), Android Automotive and Conjure (human/machine interface), Potenza (drivetrain and battery technology), and Bamd (composites manufacturing).

The group claims a range of more than 400 miles.

The car is scheduled to be launched October 21 at Asthemier facilities in Warwick and to be displayed November 3-4 at the Advanced Engineering Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

Bee-spoke blooms at Rolls-Royce

Bee-spoke Rolls-Royce and closeups of the artwork

Rolls-Royce bespoke team displayed a car at London’s recent Craft Week with a hand-painted hood (aka bonnet) featuring flowers hand-painted at the company’s exterior surface finish center by Allie Knight. 

The automaker said the design was inspired by the honeybee apiary at Rolls’ global manufacturing center at the Goodwood Estate, where 300,000 bees are kept. The bees produce the “Rolls-Royce of honey,” which is featured in Phantom Rose, a tea served at the company’s English Tea Room, and in a special Champagne cocktail.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts