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GM Opens its Factory ZERO Focusing on EVs

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General Motors marked a major milestone in its commitment to an all-electric future, as the President of the United States – Joe Biden, Mary Barra Chair and CEO at GM, Gerald Johnson, GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability, wider GM leadership, plant employees and other officials, celebrated the grand opening of the Factory ZERO EV assembly plant. Production is now set to begin at the former Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, less than two years after GM announced the massive $2.2 billion investment to fully renovate the facility to build a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs.

“GM’s manufacturing expertise is key to achieving our all-electric future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “This is a monumental day for the entire GM team. We retooled Factory ZERO with the best, most advanced technology in the world to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers. Factory ZERO will be home to the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup, 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV, Cadillac LYRIQ and the Cruise Origin, among other yet to be announced EVs.  Of the vehicles to be produced at the plant, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, HUMMER EV SUV and Cadillac LYRIQ EV will soon be making their appearance to the Middle Eastern region.

The new production process will feed one of two distinct strategic business pillars of GM Middle East – supplying the many EVs that will accelerate the regional future of mobility agenda across electrification, autonomy and connectivity, through a green circular economy. “Regionally, the launch of Factory Zero strengthens our standing as a leader in the future of mobility. Majority of the nations in the Middle East are actively working to achieve their net zero plan, most of which tackle transport solutions. This is promising when we look at the future adoption of our EV and AV portfolio, which are now a step closer to being on Middle Eastern roads, following the large-scale production to take place at Factory Zero. In this vein, we can continue to extend efforts to bring national sustainability visions to life”, shared Luay Al Shurafa, President and Managing Director at General Motors Africa & Middle East.

The debut of the Ultium Platform at Factory ZERO
All Factory ZERO EVs will be built on GM’s Ultium Platform, the heart of the company’s EV product strategy. The Ultium Platform encompasses a common vehicle architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, drive units, EV motors and integrated power electronics, making it fundamental at plants where EVs are produced.

Through the Ultium Platform, GM will realize a strategic value chain shift across its network of vehicle assembly plants as the company is able to commonize and streamline machinery, tooling and assembly processes. This flexibility enables lower capital investments and greater efficiencies as additional assembly plant transformations occur. The platform is set to also feature across the EVs scheduled for arrival into the Middle East, as well as the autonomous GM backed Cruise, launching in partnership with Dubai’s Road Transportation Authority, in the form of a fleet of Cruise Origin self-driving vehicles, launching in Dubai from 2023, with plans to ramp up to 4000 vehicles by 2030.

Factory ZERO – a showcase of GM’s competitive advantage
GM retooled Factory ZERO for EV production for two-thirds of the capital required to build a greenfield plant, making the facility a model for future GM facility renovations.  As the company continues its transition for an all-electric future, GM will avoid up to $15 billion in capital costs by 2030 through the renovation of existing manufacturing facilities versus ground-up construction. The figure grows from $20 billion to $30 billion at 100 percent transition of GM’s manufacturing facilities to support EV production.  That capital can be redeployed more strategically for additional customer-facing products, services, and technologies.

Along with the capital advantages, GM’s commitment to renovating its existing network of manufacturing facilities during the EV transition also saves time. An accelerated launch and production start allow the company to get new, innovative EVs to customers sooner.  Pre-production of the 2022 HUMMER EV pickups began at Factory ZERO in September and GMC HUMMER is on track to deliver the first vehicles to customers in the Middle East in 2022.

Using virtual tools and working in parallel with production engineering teams, GM cut the manufacturing launch time in half – from two years to less than one – creating a competitive advantage.  By comparison, greenfield assembly plant planning and construction could take up to four years, from site selection to vehicle production.

GM estimates that 80 percent of the assembly process for an EV is the same as that for conventional vehicles. This is another driver of speed for GM. The company has refined and perfected its own standardized manufacturing processes over many decades, and will launch its expanding portfolio of EVs faster, with superior quality and a lower cost.

Factory ZERO’s greatest asset is its people
GM’s Factory ZERO team is backed by more than 90,000 industrial problem solvers on GM’s global manufacturing team, who have 1.4 million years of collective experience. They are managing an average of 11 major launches every year, both internal combustion engine and EV. As a result, GM can produce an EV in the same number of working hours it takes to build an ICE vehicle.

“Our people are GM’s true competitive advantage — an advantage you simply can’t buy or quickly build,” said Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability.  “At Factory ZERO, we are building on that experience with the training that will deliver EV and AV launch success with safety, quality and speed while continuing to drive down cost per unit.”

Factory ZERO – a commitment to sustainability
As an EV assembly plant, Factory ZERO plays a direct role in GM’s commitment to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. The company has already committed to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles and plans to introduce more than 30 EV models globally by 2025.   Factory ZERO serves as a real-world proof point for GM’s commitment to running its business in a sustainable manner.

Factory ZERO highlights include:

  • GM reused or recycled almost every material that came out of the facility during conversion, including crushed concrete from the old plant floor, which was repurposed for temporary roads around the facility.
  • Storm water will be recycled to reduce discharge costs and offset the cost of potable water.
  • Treated storm water will be used in cooling towers and the plant’s fire suppression system.
  • The site features a 30-kilowatt solar carport and 516-kW ground-mount photovoltaic solar array from DTE Energy.
  • Factory ZERO’s site has a 16.5-acre wildlife habitat that is home to monarchs, foxes and turkeys.

Through Factory ZERO, GM is showcasing its manufacturing leadership capability and readiness for what will be a fundamental shift in mobility as the company transitions to an all-electric future.

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BMW Shows Off the Concept XM

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At Art Basel’s 2021 Miami Beach show, BMW M GmbH is presenting an expressive new vehicle concept on the global stage for the first time. The BMW Concept XM looks ahead to the most powerful BMW M car ever to go into series production, which is set to begin at the end of next year. At the same time, the BMW Concept XM shines the spotlight on standout aspects of the M brand. Electrification underpins an extraordinary driving experience that allows the driver to both glide along in near silence and enjoy the time-honoured pleasure of high performance, M-style.

The BMW Concept XM provides a first glimpse of the new front-end design for BMW’s forthcoming luxury-class models. It will also introduce its audience to a highly progressive and distinctive take on the BMW X model design and an all-new form of luxury and a sense of space for the interior.

The series-production model – the BMW XM – will be built from the end of 2022 at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the UAS. BMW M will therefore be introducing its first standalone vehicle since the legendary BMW M1 in the year it celebrates its 50th anniversary.  The BMW XM will be available in plug-in hybrid form only and exclusively as an M model. 

With an all-electric range of up to 80 km, the newly developed M Hybrid drive system in the BMW Concept XM brings together a V8 engine and a high-performance electric motor to develop maximum output of 550 kW/750 hp and peak torque of 1,000 Nm (737 lb-ft). The BMW Concept XM sees BMW M GmbH forging a distinctive path in the luxury segment. The car’s exterior majors on presence and extrovert appeal. Inside the car, a special take on the driver-focused cockpit for which M models are renowned meets an all-new rear compartment design: with its high-comfort seats and illuminated, sculptural headliner, the M Lounge offers passengers a luxurious retreat.

The  BMW Concept XM debuts the new, progressive front-end design for BMW’s luxury-class models, a version of which will be seen for the first time in 2022 as part of the BMW model offensive in the luxury segment. The headlights have been split into two separate modules, a new design feature that creates a visually arresting appearance. The daytime driving light signature in the sharply styled, the slim upper module is particularly eye-catching. The new XM logo in the kidney grille and the large air intakes hint at the power of the V8 engine, which teams up with the electric motor to form the M Hybrid system.

The visually striking front end, long bonnet and stretched, sloping roofline present a characterful two-box design with a distinctive outline. The two-tone paint finish of the BMW Concept XM further accentuates its distinctive lines: the upper section is in matt gold-bronze, while the lower section sports the Space Grey metallic shade. Below the window graphic, a broad, High-gloss Black line – the “black belt” – separates the two exterior colours.

The signature M exterior mirrors give the car a clean-cut and technical, sporty edge. The charging flap rearwards of the front-left wheel is a reminder of the M Hybrid drive system at work. The elongated body sits on 23-inch light-alloy wheels, which bring extra power and solidity to the side view.

The rear window is inserted almost seamlessly into the rear end. The fresh interpretation of the design can also be seen in the arrangement of the BMW logo, which is laser-etched into the window below each of the two cant rails. This is a stylistic reference to the BMW M1, to date the only example of a standalone model developed exclusively by BMW M GmbH.

Extremely slim and boldly L-shaped rear lights extending across almost the entire width of the rear add to the effect. The lights themselves have a dark appearance when not active, giving way to a precise and uniform shade of red when switched on. Dominating the rear apron are the characteristic twin tailpipes of BMW M models. The dual-branch, twin-tailpipe exhaust system employed here reduces backpressure for the V8 engine and also generates the emotionally rich M-typical soundtrack accompanying the engine’s imposing power delivery.

Inside the BMW Concept XM, the driver will find a distinctive M interpretation of driver-focused cockpit design. The lines and surface design of the instrument panel, centre console, door trim and seats give the ambience in the front compartment a progressive feel with their powerful geometry and high-quality materials. Brown, vintage-look leather, copper and carbon fibre create a bridge between luxury and motorsport. A bold trim element provides a clear visual separation between the driver’s area and the other sections of the car.

Inside the cockpit area, a decorative surface made from carbon fibre with interwoven copper thread creates a sporty and exclusive base for displays, air vents and control/operating elements. The new BMW Curved Display screen grouping positioned above it creates a neat balance between traditional driver focus and modern digitality.

Special materials, visually powerful surfaces and expressive details turn the rear seats into the unique M Lounge, black-tinted rear side windows underscoring the abiding sense of privacy here. The large rear seat bench with its deep seat recesses forms an inviting space to relax. Only the diamond-shaped area of the head restraints – which provides the supporting function familiar from BMW M Sport seats in other models – is leather-trimmed. The lower sections of the seats offer high comfort and an exclusive couch character with their luxurious velvet upholstery and diamond quilting. Deep-pile carpeting with a diamond pattern adds to the exclusive impression.

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Spotify Pulls the Plug on its Car View Feature

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Spotify is taking away the Car View feature, a report says, just as users began to notice it unexpectedly missing. Car View, available through the Spotify app for iOS and Android, had a more streamlined interface and playback controls to make for a better way to play music while driving.

“We can confirm that we’re retiring the car view feature,” a moderator on Spotify’s forums wrote. “This, however, doesn’t mean we don’t want to improve on how our users listen to Spotify while driving. On the contrary, we’re actively exploring a variety of new ways to deliver the best in-car listening experience. Think of retiring car view as something that needs to happen in an effort to make way for new innovations coming down the track.”

The move was viewed with skepticism by some users, who have posited that the company is instead just trying to push its upcoming “Car Thing” program on users. Car Thing is an $80 smart device player, designed for use in cars, which isn’t available except for preorder in the U.S. as of right now.

The aforementioned moderator said on the forum that the company was looking for the best way to have an in-car listening experience. Spotify has not offered any alternatives as of press time, though a moderator has said users could make use of Google Assistant for hands-free music control, along with a Google Maps feature to allow for listeners to control music playback.

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200 of the World’s Best Supercars, Motorbikes and Classics Cars Participate in #NoFilterDXB’s Supercar Parade

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The Dubai Supercar Parade proved the city’s insatiable appetite for glamour and amazing lifestyles remains as strong as ever today, with a sensational multi-million dollar motorcade of more than 200 supercars, motorbikes, and custom cars touring Dubai Harbour, JBR and JLT on the final day of the inaugural #NOFILTERDXB. One of the main highlights of #NOFILTERDXB – the super trendy four-day festival celebrating Dubai’s enduring passion for urban lifestyle and motoring culture – the Dubai Supercar Parade was held as part of nation-wide celebrations leading up to next week’s 50th UAE National Day.

Tapping into the country’s forthcoming Golden Jubilee celebrations, Gargash Motors led the convoy with the all-new Mercedes-AMG G 63 UAE GOLDEN JUBILEE Edition – one of only 50 ever made – that launched at #NOFILTERDXB earlier this week. “It was really exciting to lead the Parade in the Mercedes-AMG G 63 UAE Golden Jubilee Edition to commemorate the UAE’s 50th anniversary. With the Parade capturing the spirit of the nation’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, this was the perfect car to head the amazing convoy of supercars,” said Alen Bedrossian, Marketing Manager, Gargash Mercedes-Benz.

Khalid Al Mulla, the Founder & President of Group 63 – one of the world’s largest AMG clubs with over 198,000 members, and a major exhibitor of super and custom cars at #NOFILTERDXB – piloted an iconic red Jannarelly D1 Trofeo through the Parade. “It’s truly amazing to be part of #NOFILTERDXB. What an unbelievable fleet of cars and the November weather was perfect for a morning cruise. If I had to pick a favourite car from the Parade, the matt black Bugatti Chiron would be my choice – it’s gorgeous,” said Al Mulla.

With the Parade fleet driven by members of local automotive clubs and private owners, Noor Daoud, the Middle East’s first female drift racer, sprinkled girl power on proceedings by flagging the convoy off at Dubai Harbour, before jumping in a white Lamborghini Aventador to join the Parade. “I am very blessed, happy and grateful to be here. It is my first time to flag off a Parade and it means so much that #NOFILTERDXB had their trust in me. Dubai is well-known for luxurious supercars, but how they managed to line up this huge number of cars and bikes was unbelievable. You will never find this in any other country in the world,” said Daoud.

Local automobile clubs came out in their droves to support the Parade, with a dozen owners from the Dodge Viper Club GTSs, SRTs, and GTS-Rs to the fold, while the Porsche 9ers Club joined in with a series of 911s, GT3s and GT3Rs. “We had over 30 of our members here for the Parade. I drove a 911.2 Turbo S and had my wife along for the ride. What #NOFILTERDXB has done is amazing, bringing the city’s car community together outside in the beautiful November weather was so special. People were seeing cars they would never normally see; a Bugatti Chiron Sport 110 just crept by – it’s incredible and a bit surreal, even for us petrol heads,” said Adnan Malik, a British national who founded the “coffee and cars” focused 9ers in 2019.

With thousands of spectators lining the Parade route to get up-close to the throng of super and high-performance cars by Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Lambourgini, McLaren, Porsche, an eye-popping collection of motorbikes by Aprilla, BMW, Ducatti, Harley Davidson, Honda, Hyabusa, Indian Motorcycles, KTM, Motot Guzzi, MV, Royal Enfield, Suzuki, and Yamaha, were a hit with two-wheel fans. “I love cars, but I am definitely a bike guy. I drove up from Abu Dhabi this morning to be here, we left at 6 am, so it’s great to see a really diverse collection of the two-wheelers included,” said Rajiv Mukhi, a 32-year-old Indian national who works in I.T.

Also joining the Parade was Porsche owner Karim Khalaf, a resident of Dubai for over 16 years: “I am here with my nine-year-old son Rami, who is more of a petrol head than me. Getting together like this and seeing all these amazing cars is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is not every day you get to celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary in such spectacular fashion. The Parade summarised Dubai in one parking lot. Beautiful cars, shiny mechanics, people from all over the world in harmony, getting together and celebrating what they love.”

Other vehicles in the Parade included a 10-plus Abarth 595s and 695s, two Audi R8 V10s, several Chevrolet Corvettes, a 1966 Chevrolet Chevlle, a Dallara Stradale, a Dodge Charger Hellcat, a Ford Mustang Classic, a KTM X-Bow, a Lotus Evora S, a Maserati MC Stradale, a Mitsubishi Evo 8, a Rolls-Royce Ghost, and a Tesla Model 3, amongst others.

Tim Johnstone, 47, a British Expat living in Dubai who watched the Parade from the Dubai Harbour start line, said: “This is one of those ‘wow’ moments that Dubai is known for; the collection of cars, the Marina backdrop, the weather, the views – this lifestyle is something you simply don’t get anywhere else.”

Lola Chakravarty, an Indian national and long-time resident of Dubai Marina, was another spectator at the start line: “My husband and son were pestering me all week to come, and I wanted to watch from our balcony. For once they were right, I’m very glad we came to the start. The line-up of vehicles is very impressive, it’s like a scene from a movie.”

Amir Baderkano, a 14-year-old Dubai resident from Russia, added: “The Parade is amazing, it is very special to see so many supercars in one place – my favourite is the Lamborghini Aventador and I have seen two already. I am going to have a lot of fun editing all my photos – and yes, no filter needed!”

Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice-President of Events Management at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), the organiser of #NOFILTERDXB and the Dubai Supercar Parade, added: “The Parade has united the city’s motoring community for an amazing celebration of what makes Dubai so special. We had over 200 cars in the convoy, with drivers from all over the world, but they all spoke the same languages: cars and lifestyle. We want to thank the drivers for taking part, and our partners at Dubai Police, the Roads & Transport Authority, Dubai Ambulance, the General Directorate of Civil Defense, and Dubai Events Security Committee for their efforts and energies in delivering another amazing spectacle for the city.”

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