Auto Industry News: 2018 Beijing Auto Show, an Idiot “Tests” Tesla Autopilot, the Nissan Leaf Scores Redemption, & More

VW rolls out a new EV at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show and the Nissan Leaf ousts the Chevy Bolt in Safety test. A Brit gets a valuable lesson in Tesla autopilot, and a 2008 Nissan Frontier shows range for midsize truck builds. We wrap up this week’s auto industry news with a trip Around the Circuit.

2018 Beijing Auto Show: VW & JAC to Release SOL EV in China

On Tuesday, VW introduced its SOL brand for electric vehicles at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. And the star of the show was an SUV called the E20X. The model comes by way of a collaboration with Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp (JAC). Though VW did not disclose details about the E20X’s powertrain, the EV will travel 186 miles on a single charge, according to JAC representatives. Considering the growing interest in EV technology crossing paths with the SUV Renaissance here, this is an already respectable range that will likely grow. The SOL E20X also will include artificial intelligence, meaning any infotainment system will help set the bar for a complete futuristic experience. The Chinese market expects to see SOL E20X later in 2018, and we can’t wait to know more.

Brit Banned from Highway after Tesla Autopilot Incident

Bhavesh Patel from Nottingham, UK just wanted to go for a ride, and it cost him his highway privileges. Notice I didn’t say “go for a drive,” because Patel thought it a good idea to put his Tesla S in autopilot and recline in the passenger seat on the interstate. After video surfaced of Patel lounging at 40 mph on the highway, authorities had no choice but to ban him from M1 usage for 18 months after he plead guilty to one count of dangerous driving. Patel lacked remorse, saying he was simply “the unlucky one who got caught.” Sure, we’ve all thought about how sweet it would be to nap or eat Cap’n Crunch during the morning commute, but we don’t do it. Maybe Patel’s 100 hours of community service will change his tune, but probably not.

Nissan Leaf Edges Out Bolt in Safety Test

In its triumphant return to the market, the new Nissan Leaf impressed at Euro NCAP crash testing last week. Safety was the name of the game, and the Leaf earned itself a four star rating in that regard. It scored a 93 percent for adult occupant safety, 86 percent for children, 71 percent for pedestrians, and 71 percent for safety assists. The Chevy Bolt scored 82 and 73 for adult safety and children safety, respectively. It is important to know that EV enthusiasts’ love for the Bolt is intense, and more importantly, justified. But this performance is huge for the Leaf, whose much anticipated 2018 effort was knocked for its comparatively smaller charge. So here’s to hoping it’s a win that carries momentum for the badge in the EV revolution.

Tough 2008 Nissan Frontier SE Build 

Though Nissan leads a frontier of energy conservation, it should be noted that its truck enthusiast market is nothing to snicker at, either. Everybody’s got a wild side. And anybody who has really put theirs to work knows that. Check out this wicked 2008 Nissan Frontier SE build, turning it into an overlanding fiend! It’s worthy of climbing any terrain with Level 8 Strike 6 wheels fit with 285/75R16 General Grabbers. And thanks to Icon 2.5″ coilovers with 1.5″ lift spacers, there is even room for this baby to crawl over big rocks. The forum user, “Ferocious,” made sure their truck lived up to their name, so the SE is also fully equipped with mouted LED offroad lights. Imagine the rush of ripping around the countryside on a summer night in this Frontier. Luckily those nights are almost upon us, friends.

Around the Circuit

We’re also lucky that the NASCAR Truck Series makes its return in a week, too! In fact, next week at the legendary Dover International Speedway, NASCAR has triple-header slated for the weekend. And it is perfectly timed as things are heating up in stock. Over the weekend, at Talladega, Joey Logano captured his first win of the season. He’s been close all year with four top-five finishes and nine top-ten efforts, but Sunday was finally Logano’s day. And with 417 points, he’s nipping at the heels of overall standings leader Kyle Busch (447) while fending off Kevin Harvick (366), who started his season by tearing off three consecutive wins. Check out highlights from the weekend below!

And in F1 news, it probably seemed like business as usual to see Lewis Hamilton’s name atop the scoreboard. But his victory at Baku City Circuit came thanks to the unfortunate circumstances of his biggest rivals. Valterri Bottas dropped due to a puncture late in the race, and Red Bull teammates Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collided after what was already a chippy race for the two of them. Kimi Raikkonen and Force India’s Sergio Perez reaped the benefits of this, too as thy finished second and third respectively.

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