GM patent: Dual charge ports could allow electric trucks a lot of energy flexibility

GM patent: Dual charge ports could allow electric trucks a lot of energy flexibility

General Motors recently filed a patent application for a dual charge port setup that could help get the most out of Ultium battery system in the automaker’s electric pickup trucks.

GM has developed a double-layer battery pack that’s already being used in the GMC Hummer EV, and is slated for the forthcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV. The proposed setup could provide more flexibility in how those two layers are charged.

Using a series of controllers and switches, as well as the pack’s built-in ability to operate as two different packs in series or in parallel, the application describes different charging scenarios for the dual-layer vehicles.

GM patent filing  -  dual charge ports

GM patent filing – dual charge ports

For reference, in the GMC Hummer EV 12 battery modules are wired in series to make up one layer, which is functionally a separate battery pack. That layer is connected in parallel to another identical layer with the same number of modules. In the Hummer EV, that adds up to more than 100 kwh of battery capacity, with 800-volt charging to take advantage of speedier 350-kw DC fast-charging hardware.

GM outlines that one charging port could be configured to charge at 800 volts or 400 volts, while the other port would be connected to the second layer of the pack and be limited to 400V. The system could connect them in series, charging both the upper and lower layers simultaneously at 800V using the first port only. Or it could charge both layers at 400 volts by connecting them in parallel.

A third configuration would isolate the two layers, charging them one at a time, GM noted. Alternatively, the second port could be used for charging accessories at 400 volt while the vehicle continues to charge at 800 volts. That could allow GM trucks to power tools or other equipment while they charge. Ford has advertised its F-150 Lightning as a mobile power source, but it only has one charge port and thus can’t do that.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

GM also noted that, with the addition of another switch, it would be possible to upgrade the second charge port to 800 volts. An illustration submitted with the patent application shows both ports side by side—a layout that probably makes more sense for fleet vehicles being charged at company garages than personal vehicles, which would likely benefit from a port on each side.

It’s unclear if GM will actually put dual charge ports into production, but more trucks with dual-layer battery packs are on the way. The Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV are both expected to hit the market in 2023 as 2024 models.

Test drive: 2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport modernizes and perplexes

Test drive: 2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport modernizes and perplexes

For every step forward Lexus took with its 2022 LX 600 redesign, the brand also seemingly took a step back.

The flagship SUV arrives with a strong new powertrain, a better interior layout, and modern cabin technology. But the interior packaging is still compromised, the latest technology is a bit disjointed, and there’s a perplexing hiccup when it comes to towing.

After spending a week living with, towing with, and hauling with the 2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling, here’s where it hits and misses.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Hit: Modern technology

Finally, the mouse is gone! The LX used an infotainment interface that predated everything else in Lexus’ lineup, and while it was actually better than the trackpad used elsewhere, it was far outdated. The 2022 LX sports a new infotainment system with a 12.3-inch touchscreen towering over a 7.0-inch climate control screen. The former features the automaker’s new touch interface, over-the-air update capabilities, and wireless Apple CarPlay along with wired Android Auto. It’s easier to use than the outdated and half-baked system it replaces. The lower touchscreen is dedicated to the climate control system and the status of the vehicle’s off-road systems’ status. It’s augmented by knobs, buttons, and switches for a refreshingly easy-to-use interface.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Miss: Disjointed technology

However, the two touchscreens don’t appear to have the same resolution and the glossy interfaces feel like they were designed by different departments. They don’t match. The larger tablet-like upper screen isn’t integrated into the dashboard and looks like an afterthought. Despite the large size of the screen, it has no split-screen or multitasking capabilities. This is stuff found in the LX’s distant corporate cousin the Toyota Highlander. Apple CarPlay overtakes the entire screen at all times when in use. Just as annoying is the wireless smartphone charging pad on the center console that somehow loses its connection, constantly starting to charge then stopping, over and over again.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Miss: But why F Sport Handling?

The F Sport Handling model sits in the middle of the LX lineup at $102,345, though my tester cost $105,005 due to the optional $2,660 Mark Levinson sound system. It’s a $6,000 premium over the Premium trim. For the money, it adds F Sport badges, trim-specific front and rear bumpers, perforated heated leather steering wheel, aluminum pedal covers, 22-inch wheels, and seating for seven (base models seat five, and Premium models require an option package to get the third row) trimmed in semi-aniline leather. The go comes in the form of a Torsen limited-slip rear differential and a sport-tuned suspension system. A few features such as the cool box (it’s a refrigerated cooler in the front center armrest) and ventilated second-row seats become standard. It feels like a weird model as a firmer sport suspension doesn’t make much sense in a large body-on-frame off-road SUV. It’s almost a rolling contradiction, but some drivers might like the added control of the stiffer suspension. I can’t make that call because I haven’t driven the other models. The Premium model costs $6,000 less and the Luxury trim costs $2,000 more. Both make more sense unless you really like the F Sport look. Most puzzling to me was the F Sport’s Hadori aluminum interior trim, which looks and feels like plastic.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Hit: Strong turbocharged powertrain

The naturally aspirated V-8 known for its durability, reliability, and poor fuel economy is dead. Every LX is powered by a new twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 409 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Full-time four-wheel drive and a 2-speed transfer case come standard. At about 5,800 lb, the LX is no lightweight, but it sprints from 0-60 mph in 6.9 seconds. Lexus rates the LX to tow up to 8,000 lb.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

With about 5,000 lb of fiberglass walleye boat and a dual-axle trailer hooked to it, the LX had zero issues getting up to speed and had plenty of highway passing power. Shockingly, despite the lack of a tow mode or the ability to lock out any gears, the 10-speed automatic transmission was better behaved than the transmission in at least one heavy-duty pickup truck I’ve used to tow. I averaged 9.8 mpg on premium fuel while towing, which was 1.9 mpg more than the high-output twin-turbo V-6 in the Ford F-150 with the same load and route. Turbos huff and that drinks gas, but the LX’s powertrain acquitted itself quite well under load on all fronts.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Miss: Towing surprises

While the truck towed well, hooking up the boat was a pain due to an odd surprise. Accessing the receiver is painful as the painted bumper cover requires two retaining clips—the kind typically used in fender liners—to be pried loose and pulled out with a flat-head screwdriver. Most vehicles use push-and-twist knobs that make this step simple, but not the Lexus. Then once the retaining clips are removed the cover itself is held in place with plastic tabs that snap into the bumper snugly. I was certain the cover was going to break when I removed it, though miraculously it didn’t. The 7-pin light hookup is mounted underneath the bumper as well, which required me to crawl on the ground (better hope it’s not wet or cold) to plug in the trailer lights.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Then came the surprise: Our standard hitch pin, which has been used with countless other vehicles and receivers for well over a decade, was too short. The hole for the cotter pin didn’t clear the receiver’s walls. Flabbergasted and in shock, I tested a second hitch pin. Same issue. Most pins are 3-3 3/4 inches in usable length, which is more than enough for a standard receiver. I ran to the fleet supply store and found what might be the world’s most expensive and overly fancy hitch pin with rubber comfort grips for $13.99 (hitch pins are typically about $3 or less). At 4 inches long, it fit. Eventually, I realized the reason the hitch pin didn’t work is the receiver is double walled with an air gap on the sides. It’s thicker and reinforced despite having a lower tow rating than other body-on-frame SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and Lincoln Navigator. Lexus hasn’t been able to provide a reason or logic behind this design despite my multiple inquiries. The last-generation Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t have this design. It’s new and the automaker can’t explain why, but in the end it turned out to be a $14 problem.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Hit: Right size

The Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator have grown huge over the years. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is massive. These things barely fit in some garages. The LX continues to maintain its size at a smidge over 200 inches long with three-rows of seats (except base models, which feature two rows and seating for five). That’s nearly a foot shorter than the Americans, and it fits between the short- and long-wheelbase versions of the new Range Rover. It’s easier to park at the grocery store and place in a garage, and it’s less of a handful while driving around town than the larger competition.

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

2022 Lexus LX 600 F Sport Handling

Miss: Compromised packaging

Not growing has its disadvantages, too. The third row now folds flat into the floor, which is a great thing for cargo hauling, but it’s still rather uncomfortable due to a low seating position and little usable leg room. With the third-row up, there’s barely any cargo space, perhaps enough to hold a small backpack or two. The larger competition will be better for family road trips with more than five passengers.

For those seeking an Escalade or Range Rover alternative with far more reliability, the 2022 Lexus LX 600 finally feels modern. But, outside of expected reliability, it’s hard to imagine choosing the LX over the latest Range Rover, and those who plan to tow should be sure to have a 4-inch hitch pin on hand.

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2022 Lexus 600 F S Sport Handling

Base price: $88,245, including $1,345 destination
Price as tested: $105,005
Powertrain: 409-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, 10-speed automatic transmission, full-time four-wheel drive
EPA fuel economy: 17/22/19 mpg
The hits: Modern technology, strong twin-turbo V-6, easy size to live with
The misses: Disjointed technology experience, towing oddities, compromised third-row packaging

2023 Nissan Z, Chevelle Super Sport, 2023 Lexus RX: The Week In Reverse

We drove the 2023 Nissan Z, Trans Am Worldwide revealed a Chevelle throwback, and the 2023 Lexus RX received a reveal date. It’s the Week in Reverse, right here at Motor Authority.

We had our first stint behind the wheel of the 2023 Nissan Z both on the street and the track. The verdict? The new Z34 generation may be based on the previous Z33 model, but the chassis enhancements, suspension changes, and extra power add up a compelling package.

The Pagani C10 was teased ahead of its Sept. 12 debut in Milan. The hypercar is set to replace the Huayra, and no more than 300 examples will be made. Buyers will be able to choose between a twin-turbo V-12 powertrain or an electric model.

Trans Am Worldwide introduced the 70/SS. A throwback to the 1970 Chevelle Super Sport, the 70/SS is a reskinned and upgraded Camaro with up to 1,500-plus horsepower and a price of at least $150,000.

We spied the 2023 BMW X5 undergoing testing on public roads. Sporting minimal camouflage, the X5 is set to receive a mild refresh with updated fascias, lighting elements, and in-cabin technology.

Lexus teased the 2023 Lexus RX ahead of its May 31 debut. The photo gave us a first look at the luxury crossover SUV’s front end, which closely resembles that of the latest compact NX.

2023 BMW M4 CSL arrives, resets BMW ‘Ring record

2023 BMW M4 CSL arrives, resets BMW ‘Ring record

The quickest BMW (to date) around the Nürburgring has been revealed, but it’s unclear if you can even buy it.

On Thursday, the 2023 BMW M4 CSL broke cover. When production begins in July, only 1,000 units will be built, each for a price of $140,895. BMW wouldn’t comment on whether the M4 CSL is already sold out or how many will come to the U.S.

The boost pressure of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 increases from the M4 Competition’s 24.7 psi to 30.5 psi in the CSL, with engine mapping modified accordingly. Power output increases by 40 hp to 543 hp, but torque remains unchanged at 479 lb-ft. The 8-speed automatic transmission (no manual, sadly) is tweaked for crisper gear changes and ideal gear ratios for the updated power. BMW stiffened both the engine and transmission mounts to help handle the increased power output.

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

BMW said the M4 CSL takes 3.6 seconds to sprint from 0-60 mph and hits 120 mph in 10.5 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 191 mph, and the M4 CSL is the fastest production BMW in history around the Nürburgring with a 7:20.2 lap time.

Weight loss was, predictably, a focus for the CSL, which stands for ”Competition, Sport, Lightweight.” The CSL weighs 3,640 lb after shedding 240 lbs from the standard M4 models. The lightweighting inside comes courtesy of only two carbon-fiber bucket seats, which saved 53 lb for the front seats, and another 46 lb by removing the rear seat. As with the M4 Competition, the M4 CSL features a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CRFP) roof panel. Using a CRFP hood and trunk lid shaved 3 lb and 15 lb, respectively.

The CSL will sound different from lesser M4s thanks to a new titanium rear silencer and less exhaust sound insulation, both for a lower tone and less weight. Using lighter sound deadener and less of it removed another 33 lb.

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

CSL models will be easily spotted thanks to the yellow daytime running lights on the standard laser headlights. The CLS also debuts a taillight technology that uses standard LED bulbs but features light threads woven into the glass light housings. The effect is a distinctive light pattern unlike any other BMW. Buyers will have a choice of Frozen Brooklyn Grey metallic, Ice White, or Black Sapphire metallic exterior colors.

Aerodynamics have been tweaked with an integrated trunk lid spoiler, and a CRFP front splitter and rear diffuser. The mirror caps are also CRFP.

Suspension and structure changes include a 0.3 inch drop in ride height, the use of forged-alloy springs and struts, the addition of auxiliary springs to keep the tires on the road, more negative front camber, unique anti-roll bars front and rear, a rigid rear subframe connection without rubber elements, and a front strut brace developed to handle the CSL’s lateral loads.

The standard carbon-ceramic brakes, which save 31.5 lb over a standard steel setup, are hidden by M-specific matte black forged alloy wheels. The red brake calipers grab 15.7-inch discs up front and 15.0-inch discs in the rear. Z-rated Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R tires, 275/35R19 up front and 285/30R19 at the rear, were developed specially for the M4 CSL. Buyers can also get the still sticky but more livable tires from the M4 Competition at no cost.

The traction control system in the CSL allows drivers to select one of five intervention thresholds. Lesser M4 models have four settings, and the CSL’s fifth threshold allows for maximum wheel slippage before the safety systems come in to save the day. Activating M Dynamic Mode will fully deactivate the stability control system.

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

2023 BMW M4 CSL

Inside, the M4 CSL isn’t as luxurious as other BMWs. The center console is made from CRFP , which saved 9 lb. The automaker’s iDrive infotainment controller remains, along with buttons for various settings and functions. Despite the focus on weight savings, BMW covered the center armrest in leather and added a wireless smartphone charger. The three-spoke steering wheel looks familiar, but the shift paddles are made from carbon fiber.

The 2023 M4 CSL is now the top dog in the M car lineup, but it won’t be for long. The upcoming XM will serve as the M division’s flagship, and a spicier version of the CSL is reportedly in the works as an Hommage to celebrate the division’s 50th anniversary.

2024 Honda Prologue electric crossover SUV teased

2024 Honda Prologue electric crossover SUV teased

Honda on Wednesday released a teaser for its Prologue electric crossover SUV, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2024.

The Prologue will be Honda’s first mass-market EV for the North American market (Honda previously mentioned sales estimates of 70,000 units annually), and the first Honda EV sold here since the Clarity Electric was discontinued after the the 2019 model year.

While Honda is developing its own dedicated EV platform called the e:Architecture, the Prologue will be based on General Motors’ Ultium component set. So will a companion Acura model also scheduled to launch in 2024. The Acura EV is expected to be built alongside the Cadillac Lyriq at GM’s factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee, while the Prologue is tipped to be manufactured at GM’s plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.

2024 Honda Prologue

2024 Honda Prologue

The underlying architecture may come from GM, but Honda noted in a press release that the exterior styling was a product of its own design studios in Los Angeles and Japan. Teams on opposite sides of the Pacific used virtual reality tech to keep the project going despite coronavirus-related restrictions.

The teaser image shows a fairly conventional SUV shape, but Honda said special attention was paid to aerodynamics to reduce cabin noise. The absence of an engine makes wind noise more noticeable in an EV, the automaker noted.

Following the launch of the Prologue, Honda plans to begin production of vehicles based on its in-house e:Architecture in 2026. A line of affordable EVs based on an additional architecture co-developed with GM as part of an extended collaboration between the two companies will follow in 2027. Globally, Honda plans to launch 30 EVs by 2030—including two sports cars.

2023 BMW 3-Series receives nip and tuck with upgraded technology

2023 BMW 3-Series receives nip and tuck with upgraded technology

The seventh-generation 3-Series has been tweaked and upgraded to keep up with the newer competition.

On Tuesday, the 2023 BMW 3-Series was revealed with larger screens, revised styling, and a new place or origin for U.S. models when they arrive in July. Pricing has yet to be announced.

BMW said every U.S. 3-Series will now be built at the automaker’s new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

2023 BMW 3-Series

2023 BMW 3-Series

The largest change for the refreshed 3-Series takes place inside the cabin. Those seated up front will be greeted by a wall of displays placed under a curved piece of glass similar to that of the electric iX crossover SUV and i4 electric car. The digital gauge cluster now measures 12.3 inches while the touchscreen is 14.9 inches. The gear selector is now a toggle switch on the center console. Buyers will find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.

2023 BMW 3-Series

2023 BMW 3-Series

2023 BMW 3-Series

2023 BMW 3-Series

A keen eye will be required to spot the refreshed 3-Series going down the road. The front and rear fascias have both been updated, but the tweaks are minimal. The kidney grilles present themselves in a slightly more pointed fashion on the sides, and the LED headlights look slimmer, smoother and more polished in a similar fashion as the latest 5-Series. Black trim, which is called Shadowline in BMW speak, is now standard while satin silver exterior trim will be an option on the base 330i and plug-in hybrid 330e.

Powertrains carry over from the current model. Base models continue to have a 255-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 under the hood, while a 382-hp turbo-6 with a mild-hybrid 48-volt system returns as well. The plug-in hybrid remains the greenest and most efficient option with a net 288 hp. No fuel economy figures were provided, but all models power the rear wheels, or available all-wheel-drive system, via an 8-speed automatic transmission. A manual transmission remains absent from the lineup even in the base car. Those wanting to #GiveAShift will need to buy an M3.

The current 3-Series features automatic emergency braking as standard equipment, and we expect that to continue. Advanced features are walled into (likely expensive) option packages. Examples include active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control that allows for limited hands-free driving under certain conditions.