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News Roundup: A first look at the 2021 F-150, plus a Tesla COVID-19 scandal

By on July 6, 2020 0 53 Views

How Tesla let employees stay home during COVID-19 then fired them, what services BMW is putting behind a paywall and which vehicles Dodge is cutting for 2021

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the biggest breaking stories on Driving.ca from this past week. Above you’ll find our video roundup highlighting the top news stories selected by our news editors, and below are our most popular stories overall.

Here’s what you missed while you were away.

Introducing the 2021 Ford F-150, now with a hybrid version

It’s built on the same chassis as its predecessor, but Ford has done well to remix the massively popular F-150 for 2021. There are three cab configurations – regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew – and six powertrains including a standard V6 and V8, two turbo V6s and a turbodiesel V6.

The ‘PowerBoost’ hybrid system, which can be added to any trim, taps a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and a 35-kW electric motor tied to a 1.5-kWh battery to run around 1,100 km per tank. There were also tweaks to the exterior and cabin, as well the tech. Scope the full gallery of images and learn more about the 2021 Ford F-150 here

Tesla threatens to fire employees for staying home during COVID-19

Two Tesla employees claim they were sent termination notices for not returning to work during COVID-19, even after they were told in an email from their CEO (viewed by The Washington Post) that if “you feel uncomfortable coming back to work at this time, please do not feel obligated to do so.”

The individuals worked at Tesla’s Fremont plant, which resumed production in mid-May, against county orders. They have since been contacted by Tesla HR, with one claiming she’s been told she’s not been let go and can continue to remain at home, though she was also asked to give a date she’d be coming back. Meanwhile, other plant employees have spoken out over working conditions that do not adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

BMW to make features subscription-based with annoying new software policy

There are few things more irritating than when a corporation takes something you should be able to purchase outright, and puts it behind a subscription-based paywall. BMW is either tone-deaf to this fact or just too cool to care, because its latest tech upgrades include some features that can only be activated and maintained through paid subscription.

Want heated seats, adaptive cruise control or automatic high-beams? Get your credit card number ready, and keep it ready. The upgrades will happen over the air, a la Tesla, with some of the larger downloads taking up to 20 minutes.  

Dodge ditches family commuters for high-HP beasts

2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock

Dodge is finally evolving into what it was always meant to be: a performance brand dedicated to American muscle. The brand recently announced it would be discontinuing the Grand Caravan and Journey, instead shifting focus to the development of its remaining Charger, Challenger and Durango models by adding a trim to each for 2021.

Introducing the new Charger Redeye, Challenger Super Stock and Durango Hellcat. Click here to get the details on all three of the SRT performance cars Dodge’s engineers “finally convinced the suits” to let them build.  

Ford adds upgrades to Ranger to make it more Raptor

Ford has sanctioned a trio of dealer-added upgrades for the popular Ranger pickup truck. The first level costs US$2,495 and adds different wheels, suspension and some graphics on the bed and windshield. The second level runs just under US$4,500 and earns a plate frame, coloured tow hooks, upgraded (again) tires and, for another US$800, another 45 horsepower.

Toss US$9,000 at your Ford dealer and they may fit your new Ranger with Level 3, which features all the perks from Levels 1 and 2, plus a a bed rack, sport exhaust system, 40-inch LED light bar, and a front fascia with a spot for a winch (winch not included).

Driving.CA – Coleman Molnar

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