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William Maley

Mini News: MINI Announces A Hybrid Option for 2017 Countryman

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MINI is getting ready to introduce its first hybrid vehicle with the upcoming second-generation Countryman crossover. In a statement released yesterday, MINI said the model would use an internal-combustion engine to power the front wheels and an electric motor to power the rear wheels. This also gives the model an all-wheel drive setup. Many believe the Countryman Hybrid would use the powertrain found in the 225xe Active Tourer - a 1.5L turbocharged three-cylinder and an electric motor delivering a total output of 224 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. A 7.7 kWh battery pack provides an electric-only range of 25 miles and can be fully recharged in 3 hours and 15 minutes. 

In terms of looks, the Countryman Hybrid will look mostly the same as the standard model aside from an additional cap on the front fender for a charging port. The Countryman Hybrid will go on sale sometime next year.

Source: MINI 
Press Release is on Page 2


Charging ahead – The MINI goes electric.

  • Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf preview the first plug-in hybrid model by the British premium brand.

Munich. Hallmark MINI driving fun combined with zero tailpipe emissions. With the introduction of the first plug-in hybrid model by the British premium brand, this will soon be a reality. The series development process for this car has almost been completed. It features a combustion engine and an electric motor enabling purely electric propulsion for the first time in a MINI. This marks the beginning of a new phase for MINI, and offers a glimpse into a future that is charged with excitement for MINI customers and those drivers yet to experience the thrill of a hybrid.

Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf offer insight into this new near-series test vehicle, and explain how it retains go-kart feeling in the true spirit of a MINI during a test drive of this model.

“With this model we want to convince MINI customers of the benefits of hybrid drive”, says Mackensen, “and impress everyone who already has hybrid driving experience with MINI’s unique go-kart driving feel.” The key to achieving this lies in intelligent energy management which is used to control how the combustion engine and electric motor operate together. For this reason, the first MINI plug-in hybrid model is not solely focused on efficiency, but uncompromising in pursuit of driving fun.

At first glance, you wouldn’t recognise the test car as a hybrid model. And that’s not because of the camouflage foil used. The charging socket for the high-voltage battery is discreetly integrated in the left Side Scuttle. Everything also looks familiar in the cockpit. The start/stop button in the centre of the dashboard glows yellow instead of red. As usual,  you simply press the button to start the car – this vehicle, however, remains silent as the hybrid model always starts in electric mode. The rpm counter in the instrument cluster on the steering column has been replaced with a power display. Keeping a close eye on this display is particularly worthwhile for the first few kilometres as it informs the driver about the electric motor’s power reserves before the combustion engine fires up. When exactly the combustion engine starts varies depending upon on the vehicle’s speed and the intensity with which the driver operate the accelerator pedal.

“After a short time, the driver gets a feel for this”, promises Wolf. And this new driving experience promises a lot of driving fun. The hybrid MINI makes full use of the electric motor’s entire torque, which is available right from standstill, allowing for catapult-like acceleration. Even after leaving the slower pace of the city, this vehicle maintains its zero-tailpipe emissions at motorway speeds. The high-voltage battery under the rear seats provides power for long-lasting electric driving. AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits speeds of up to 80 km/h, whilst in MAX eDRIVE mode speeds of up to 125 km/h are possible. For Mackensen this is a question of character: “In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace."

Testing the vehicle himself, Mackensen puts the car through its paces and demonstrates that you need to step on the accelerator peddle very firmly indeed to activate the second power source. Then things really start happening. With the combined output of both drives, the first MINI hybrid vehicle demonstrates unparalleled acceleration performance when compared with its combustion-only siblings.

However, MINI’s go-kart driving characteristics consists of more than just fast acceleration. Above all, this hybrid MINI has to prove how precisely it handles when taking bends on the most exciting, twisting roads. This is where MINI’s plug-in hybrid concept plays its next trump card. “As far as the chassis and suspension are concerned, nothing changes from the conventionally driven model variants”, says Wolf, “and the set-up benefits a lot from the hybrid concept”. Thanks to the eDrive components, which are positioned very low down at the rear, the car’s centre of gravity is lowered and the weight is evenly balanced between the front and rear axle – ideal for achieving an even higher level of legendary MINI agility.

The Hybrid concept provides yet another benefit: the electric motor transmits its power to the rear wheels, the combustion engine to the front wheels. Since the intelligent energy management is linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), traction and drive stability are optimised via the drive system. “As soon as there is any risk of drive slip, the second drive unit is activated to provide additional traction when starting off or ensuring a high level of steering precision when cornering”, explains Wolf.

Intelligent energy management offers a further opportunity for both power sources to work together effectively. Driving on the motorway, Mackensen activates a third mode with the eDrive toggle switch: SAVE BATTERY. In this mode, the combustion engine powers the car whilst at the same time, the high voltage battery can retain charge at a constant level or indeed increase charge via a generator. Extended driving in SAVE BATTERY mode enables enough power generation for purely electric driving later.

After driving in SAVE BATTERY mode, the MINI drives back into town in silence at the end of the test drive. The status display in the cockpit reminds the driver to recharge the battery via wallbox or power socket. Refuelling is not necessary yet because the MINI plug-in hybrid model merely took a small sip from the fuel tank. Yet another new dimension of MINIMALISM.


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    • By William Maley
      It was just a few months ago that Volvo announced their in-house performance arm, Polestar would be spun off to become a standalone brand. It would focus on building high-performance electric vehicles, though as we reported in the rumorpile back in the summer, their first model would be a plug-in hybrid coupe. That rumor was right on the money as the brand unveiled the Polestar 1 at an event in Shanghai.
      The Polestar 1 looks to be the production model of the Volvo Concept Coupe shown a few years back. The front end is very reminiscent of recent Volvo models with a concave grille and Thor's Hammer headlights. The rear end echoes the Concept Coupe with C-Shaped taillights and short trunk lid. With an overall length of 177.2-inches, the Polestar 1 is about six inches shorter than the BMW 4-Series Coupe. Inside the coupe, it is again like Volvo's 90 Series models with a large touchscreen, steering wheel, and even the crystal gearshift.
      With all of this similarity to other Volvo models, you can't help but wonder if there is anything original to the Polestar 1. The brand says 50 percent of the coupe's parts are specific to the P1. It begins with the body where the majority of panels are made out of carbon fiber, saving 506 pounds,
      The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0L Drive-E engine driving the front axle and two electric motors on the rear axle. Total output is rated at 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Polestar says when the 1 is put into its 'Pure' mode (EV mode), it can travel up to 93 miles. Quick note, when the Polestar 1 is in pure mode, the electric motors offer a total output of 218 horsepower. A 34-kWh provides the electric juice. No information was given on 0-60 mph, top speed, or recharging time.
      The suspension features the Öhlins’ Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi). This system monitors the road and driver inputs, adjust damping within 2 milliseconds to deliver optimal handling. CESi also allows for driver-selected modes, though details on this are being kept under wraps. Bringing the Polestar 1 to a stop are a set of Akebono brakes with six-piston calipers and large 15.7-inch discs.
      “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 1 will be built a new assembly plant in Chengdu, China that will be finished in mid-2018. Production of the coupe will follow a year later. Polestar plans on build 500 1s every year that you can through a new online-only ordering process. You cannot buy one outright however. A buyer will have to choose either a two or three-year subscription. But that subscription includes insurance and maintence. The order books for the Polestar 1 are open right now.
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      Source: Polestar
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Polestar unveils its first car – the Polestar 1 – and reveals its vision to be the new electric performance brand

      Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new,customer-focussed route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers.
      The company’s first car, Polestar 1, will start production in mid-2019. As an Electric Performance Hybrid, the car can travel up to 150km on pure electric power alone - the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. In combination with its four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E engine, the Polestar 1 delivers 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque, placing the car firmly within the performance car segment.
      Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development and building of its electrified performance cars.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand".
      Pure, Progressive, Performance - a portfolio of Polestar models
      The first car from Polestar, named Polestar 1, will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built. All cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required.
      Showcasing Polestar’s technology spearhead role, the Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. Polestar 1 measures 4.5m in length compared with the 5.15m of the S90. This involved removing 320mm from the wheelbase and another 200mm in the rear to create the car’s powerful, sporty proportions.
      A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 218hp, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear wheel drive Electric performance car with up to 150km of range. This distance ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode.
      For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a Volvo Drive-E two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, continued; “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys”.
      When the driver enters the first corner in their Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) - the world’s first car to be fitted with this advanced chassis technology.
      Each Öhlins shock absorber is fitted with a new electronic valve, installed for the first time on any road car in conjunction with Öhlins shock absorbers. The valve constantly monitors the driver inputs and road surface conditions, reacting in two milliseconds, to immediately change the ride characteristics to the prevailing demands. For the first time on an Öhlins suspension, the driver can also make changes to the suspension settings within the car, constantly able to tailor the chassis damping and ride quality to their own requirements.
      Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake callipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. Weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling.
      The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to the market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than convention traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends.
      As another first for the Group, the major body parts of the Polestar 1 are made from carbon fibre. This lightweight material, more commonly found in supercars, gives the car three significant advantages. Firstly a substantial body weight reduction of 230kg by building in lighter Carbon Fibre. Secondly, an increase in torsional stiffness of 45%, from 22Nmm-2 to 32Nmm-2. And additionally, a lower centre of gravity. Reducing the weight of the upper body panels by using lightweight Carbon Fibre lowers the centre of gravity for the Polestar 1 and results in better handling, performance and drivability on an open and flowing road.
      “Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 to follow.
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      Polestar 3 is in the finishing stages of design and will be a larger SUV-style BEV, creating a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, and sitting between Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volume and pricing.
      “Being part of the Volvo Car Group enables Polestar to design, develop and engineer our cars using the processes of a well-established car company but at the same time, enables us to experiment with new technology in lower volume cars outside the mainstream segments. This pace of development means as we announce the future of the company, we can also already confirm that a portfolio of three Polestar cars will be on sale within the next four year timescale,” continued Thomas Ingenlath.
      A contemporary approach for modern performance customers.
      Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience.
      At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription payment. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance and all Polestars will be offered on this basis.
      The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services.
      Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the “hassle” traditionally associated with car usage.
      As an example, a customer needs the short-term use of a roof box for a forthcoming skiing holiday. At a time and location specified by the owner, Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box, just adding a small incremental usage charge to their monthly invoice.
      Polestar offers extended concierge services, tailored to the requirements of the most demanding customers. Included is services such as the extended use of a larger Volvo car domestically and internationally for when the driver needs additional load capacity during long family holidays, for example. Other features include the ability to book a car wash and valet at a time and location convenient to the customer.
      Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of its concierge services. Using an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office.
      The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, the customer simply returns the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers their next Polestar experience. Polestar will then refurbish the vehicle and prepare it for a secondary subscription as a high-quality pre-owned Polestar car.
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      Access Polestar wherever, whenever and however.
      Polestar makes the entire user experience as convenient and effortless as possible, catering to the customer’s desired choice of interaction channel (digital or physical).
      All features, from test drives, subscription offers and on demand services are ordered online. The customer never needs to visit a Polestar environment if they don’t want to.
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      The digital approach will therefore be complemented by the creation of a network of stand-alone retail Spaces around the world. These Spaces will be staffed by Product experts who can assist in demonstrating and explaining the Polestar car’s content and carrying out test drives should the customer wish to do so. Polestar facilities will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom.
      The target date for the opening of the first Polestar Space is Q1-2019, followed by a ramp up as volumes grow.
      Polestar’s customers will have the confidence of knowing all aftersales servicing work will be carried out by selected Volvo retailers, giving the Polestar customer the peace of mind that their car will be looked after by a fully trained and professional network, but without the need for the customer to ever visit the Volvo retailer thanks to pick up and delivery servicing
      The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.
      Polestar Production Centre
      Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. This JV is capitalised with 5B RMB (640M Euro) of equity to support Polestar’s development. Polestar remains a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group and will be fully consolidated into Volvo Car Group.
      The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning architects, Snöhetta from Norway.
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    • By William Maley
      It was just a few months ago that Volvo announced their in-house performance arm, Polestar would be spun off to become a standalone brand. It would focus on building high-performance electric vehicles, though as we reported in the rumorpile back in the summer, their first model would be a plug-in hybrid coupe. That rumor was right on the money as the brand unveiled the Polestar 1 at an event in Shanghai.
      The Polestar 1 looks to be the production model of the Volvo Concept Coupe shown a few years back. The front end is very reminiscent of recent Volvo models with a concave grille and Thor's Hammer headlights. The rear end echoes the Concept Coupe with C-Shaped taillights and short trunk lid. With an overall length of 177.2-inches, the Polestar 1 is about six inches shorter than the BMW 4-Series Coupe. Inside the coupe, it is again like Volvo's 90 Series models with a large touchscreen, steering wheel, and even the crystal gearshift.
      With all of this similarity to other Volvo models, you can't help but wonder if there is anything original to the Polestar 1. The brand says 50 percent of the coupe's parts are specific to the P1. It begins with the body where the majority of panels are made out of carbon fiber, saving 506 pounds,
      The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0L Drive-E engine driving the front axle and two electric motors on the rear axle. Total output is rated at 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Polestar says when the 1 is put into its 'Pure' mode (EV mode), it can travel up to 93 miles. Quick note, when the Polestar 1 is in pure mode, the electric motors offer a total output of 218 horsepower. A 34-kWh provides the electric juice. No information was given on 0-60 mph, top speed, or recharging time.
      The suspension features the Öhlins’ Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi). This system monitors the road and driver inputs, adjust damping within 2 milliseconds to deliver optimal handling. CESi also allows for driver-selected modes, though details on this are being kept under wraps. Bringing the Polestar 1 to a stop are a set of Akebono brakes with six-piston calipers and large 15.7-inch discs.
      “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 1 will be built a new assembly plant in Chengdu, China that will be finished in mid-2018. Production of the coupe will follow a year later. Polestar plans on build 500 1s every year that you can through a new online-only ordering process. You cannot buy one outright however. A buyer will have to choose either a two or three-year subscription. But that subscription includes insurance and maintence. The order books for the Polestar 1 are open right now.
      Polestar also announced two forthcoming models called the 2 and 3. Both models will be full electric vehicles. Polestar 2 will be a midsize sedan that will compete with the Tesla Model 3, and the Polestar 3 will be an SUV. Production of the Polestar 2 will begin towards the end of 2019. No date was given as to when production of the Polestar 3 would start.
      Source: Polestar
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Polestar unveils its first car – the Polestar 1 – and reveals its vision to be the new electric performance brand

      Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new,customer-focussed route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers.
      The company’s first car, Polestar 1, will start production in mid-2019. As an Electric Performance Hybrid, the car can travel up to 150km on pure electric power alone - the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. In combination with its four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E engine, the Polestar 1 delivers 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque, placing the car firmly within the performance car segment.
      Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development and building of its electrified performance cars.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand".
      Pure, Progressive, Performance - a portfolio of Polestar models
      The first car from Polestar, named Polestar 1, will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built. All cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required.
      Showcasing Polestar’s technology spearhead role, the Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. Polestar 1 measures 4.5m in length compared with the 5.15m of the S90. This involved removing 320mm from the wheelbase and another 200mm in the rear to create the car’s powerful, sporty proportions.
      A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 218hp, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear wheel drive Electric performance car with up to 150km of range. This distance ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode.
      For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a Volvo Drive-E two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, continued; “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys”.
      When the driver enters the first corner in their Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) - the world’s first car to be fitted with this advanced chassis technology.
      Each Öhlins shock absorber is fitted with a new electronic valve, installed for the first time on any road car in conjunction with Öhlins shock absorbers. The valve constantly monitors the driver inputs and road surface conditions, reacting in two milliseconds, to immediately change the ride characteristics to the prevailing demands. For the first time on an Öhlins suspension, the driver can also make changes to the suspension settings within the car, constantly able to tailor the chassis damping and ride quality to their own requirements.
      Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake callipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. Weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling.
      The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to the market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than convention traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends.
      As another first for the Group, the major body parts of the Polestar 1 are made from carbon fibre. This lightweight material, more commonly found in supercars, gives the car three significant advantages. Firstly a substantial body weight reduction of 230kg by building in lighter Carbon Fibre. Secondly, an increase in torsional stiffness of 45%, from 22Nmm-2 to 32Nmm-2. And additionally, a lower centre of gravity. Reducing the weight of the upper body panels by using lightweight Carbon Fibre lowers the centre of gravity for the Polestar 1 and results in better handling, performance and drivability on an open and flowing road.
      “Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 to follow.
      All future Polestar cars will feature a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized fully-electric car that will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3. Polestar 2 is currently in the engineering phase and will start production before the end of 2019, delivering higher volumes than Polestar 1.
      Polestar 3 is in the finishing stages of design and will be a larger SUV-style BEV, creating a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, and sitting between Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volume and pricing.
      “Being part of the Volvo Car Group enables Polestar to design, develop and engineer our cars using the processes of a well-established car company but at the same time, enables us to experiment with new technology in lower volume cars outside the mainstream segments. This pace of development means as we announce the future of the company, we can also already confirm that a portfolio of three Polestar cars will be on sale within the next four year timescale,” continued Thomas Ingenlath.
      A contemporary approach for modern performance customers.
      Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience.
      At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription payment. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance and all Polestars will be offered on this basis.
      The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services.
      Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the “hassle” traditionally associated with car usage.
      As an example, a customer needs the short-term use of a roof box for a forthcoming skiing holiday. At a time and location specified by the owner, Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box, just adding a small incremental usage charge to their monthly invoice.
      Polestar offers extended concierge services, tailored to the requirements of the most demanding customers. Included is services such as the extended use of a larger Volvo car domestically and internationally for when the driver needs additional load capacity during long family holidays, for example. Other features include the ability to book a car wash and valet at a time and location convenient to the customer.
      Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of its concierge services. Using an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office.
      The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, the customer simply returns the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers their next Polestar experience. Polestar will then refurbish the vehicle and prepare it for a secondary subscription as a high-quality pre-owned Polestar car.
      “Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar.
      Access Polestar wherever, whenever and however.
      Polestar makes the entire user experience as convenient and effortless as possible, catering to the customer’s desired choice of interaction channel (digital or physical).
      All features, from test drives, subscription offers and on demand services are ordered online. The customer never needs to visit a Polestar environment if they don’t want to.
      Polestar also recognises that as a new entrant into the electrified automotive segment, customers still want to physically engage with the brand.
      The digital approach will therefore be complemented by the creation of a network of stand-alone retail Spaces around the world. These Spaces will be staffed by Product experts who can assist in demonstrating and explaining the Polestar car’s content and carrying out test drives should the customer wish to do so. Polestar facilities will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom.
      The target date for the opening of the first Polestar Space is Q1-2019, followed by a ramp up as volumes grow.
      Polestar’s customers will have the confidence of knowing all aftersales servicing work will be carried out by selected Volvo retailers, giving the Polestar customer the peace of mind that their car will be looked after by a fully trained and professional network, but without the need for the customer to ever visit the Volvo retailer thanks to pick up and delivery servicing
      The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.
      Polestar Production Centre
      Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. This JV is capitalised with 5B RMB (640M Euro) of equity to support Polestar’s development. Polestar remains a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group and will be fully consolidated into Volvo Car Group.
      The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning architects, Snöhetta from Norway.
      The new Polestar Production Centre will also house one of the first Polestar Spaces, with a customer test track constructed within the campus to enable potential customers to evaluate the car to extremes not possible on public roads.
      When complete, the new Polestar Production Centre will be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world, with a target of Gold status in the globally-recognised LEED ratings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
      “Our new Polestar Production Centre is no ordinary car factory,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. “It is designed for the low volume production of Polestar 1 but is also being designed to cater for the larger volumes of the future. The Production Centre has also been designed to act as a strong representation of our brand as well as a state-of-the-art production facility”.

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    • By William Maley
      The electrification future that is coming will help automakers with meeting upcoming emission targets. But it also means that enthusiasts may be left in the dark for having something fun to drive. Toyota's GR HV Sports concept sounds like on paper that the electrified future might not be so bad.
      The GR HV Sports concept looks to be a heavily modified 86 coupe with a new front that is said to be inspired from the TS050 Hybrid LMP1 race car, removable targa top, and altered rear end with the new taillights and diffuser. The interior looks like your standard 86 aside from a new digital instrument cluster and an interesting transmission arrangement. The center stack comes with a row of buttons that engages the various gears (park, reverse, drive, etc). A special M button enables the use of the shifter to give the impression of a six-speed manual.
      Toyota isn't saying much about the GR HV Sports concept's mechanicals aside from it having a hybrid system of some sort and the battery pack being placed where the back seat would be. We'll hopefully learn more details when it debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Toyota to Unveil GR HV SPORTS concept at Tokyo Motor Show 2017
      Presenting a new way of enjoying cars Toyota City, Japan, October 6, 2017―Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is set to unveil the GR HV SPORTS concept car at its worldwide premiere at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017, taking place from October 25 through November 5 at Tokyo Big Sight. The GR HV SPORTS concept represents a new way to enjoy cars by integrating the thrill of a sports car with the environmental friendliness of an eco-car.
      Main Features
      The design is reminiscent of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's TS050 Hybrid racing car that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Features a targa top that was also used for Toyota's legendary convertible sports cars, the Toyota Sports 800 (a.k.a. Yotahachi) and the Supra Powered by THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) that is infused with hybrid technology refined by the TS050 Hybrid Design
      While completely embodying functionality as a genuine sports car, the GR HV SPORTS concept features LED headlights, aluminum wheels, and a rear diffuser similar to the TS050 Hybrid. The design evokes Toyota's bond with motor sports. The matte black body color expresses power and aggressiveness. Interior
      A selection switch to choose the automatic gear position is located in the center cluster to achieve a racing car-like ambience. The push button ignition switch is playfully located on the shift knob. Enjoyment of control
      Drivers can delight in the performance of THS-R in a genuine sports car while experiencing a sense of freedom thanks to the targa top. Switching to manual mode is possible with the single press of a button, and 6-speed manual-style driving with H-pattern shifting can be enjoyed (the car is an automatic). The hybrid battery is mounted near the center of the vehicle. Installing the heavy battery in the center contributes to improved performance as a sports car.
      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The electrification future that is coming will help automakers with meeting upcoming emission targets. But it also means that enthusiasts may be left in the dark for having something fun to drive. Toyota's GR HV Sports concept sounds like on paper that the electrified future might not be so bad.
      The GR HV Sports concept looks to be a heavily modified 86 coupe with a new front that is said to be inspired from the TS050 Hybrid LMP1 race car, removable targa top, and altered rear end with the new taillights and diffuser. The interior looks like your standard 86 aside from a new digital instrument cluster and an interesting transmission arrangement. The center stack comes with a row of buttons that engages the various gears (park, reverse, drive, etc). A special M button enables the use of the shifter to give the impression of a six-speed manual.
      Toyota isn't saying much about the GR HV Sports concept's mechanicals aside from it having a hybrid system of some sort and the battery pack being placed where the back seat would be. We'll hopefully learn more details when it debuts at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.
      Source: Toyota
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Toyota to Unveil GR HV SPORTS concept at Tokyo Motor Show 2017
      Presenting a new way of enjoying cars Toyota City, Japan, October 6, 2017―Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is set to unveil the GR HV SPORTS concept car at its worldwide premiere at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show 2017, taking place from October 25 through November 5 at Tokyo Big Sight. The GR HV SPORTS concept represents a new way to enjoy cars by integrating the thrill of a sports car with the environmental friendliness of an eco-car.
      Main Features
      The design is reminiscent of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's TS050 Hybrid racing car that competes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Features a targa top that was also used for Toyota's legendary convertible sports cars, the Toyota Sports 800 (a.k.a. Yotahachi) and the Supra Powered by THS-R (Toyota Hybrid System-Racing) that is infused with hybrid technology refined by the TS050 Hybrid Design
      While completely embodying functionality as a genuine sports car, the GR HV SPORTS concept features LED headlights, aluminum wheels, and a rear diffuser similar to the TS050 Hybrid. The design evokes Toyota's bond with motor sports. The matte black body color expresses power and aggressiveness. Interior
      A selection switch to choose the automatic gear position is located in the center cluster to achieve a racing car-like ambience. The push button ignition switch is playfully located on the shift knob. Enjoyment of control
      Drivers can delight in the performance of THS-R in a genuine sports car while experiencing a sense of freedom thanks to the targa top. Switching to manual mode is possible with the single press of a button, and 6-speed manual-style driving with H-pattern shifting can be enjoyed (the car is an automatic). The hybrid battery is mounted near the center of the vehicle. Installing the heavy battery in the center contributes to improved performance as a sports car.
    • By William Maley
      Ford's CEO Jim Hackett has unveiled his plans for the company and there are a lot of cuts coming, along with shifts in various investments. 
      “I get up every day feeling like time can be wasted here if we don’t get moving. I feel a real sense of urgency,” Hackett told investors yesterday in New York.
      The cuts include a $10 billion cut in material outlays and a $4 billion cut in engineering costs over the next five years. Ford will also cut costs on internal combustion engines and redirect the funds to the development of EVs.
      One move that consumers will see is the reduction of possible vehicle configurations. For example, the current Escape has 2,302 configurations available. Ford will cut that down to 228 for the next-generation. The Fusion will see a dramatic reduction from 35,000 to just 96.
      "We really offered too many options," Hackett said.
      Speaking of cars, Ford will be moving $7 billion from the development of cars to trucks. This shift would mean fewer car nameplates, but the company wouldn't go into detail which ones would be cut. As we have reported in the rumorpile, the possible candidates for cuts include the C-Max, Fiesta, and Taurus.
      Other parts of Hackett's vision for Ford include,
      Playing catchup by offering internet connectivity in all of their vehicles by 2019. 90 percent of Ford's global lineup will feature some sort of connectivity by 2020. Building out more partnerships such as working with Lyft on deploying autonomous vehicles Cutting down it takes to develop and produce a new vehicle “The mandate here is that Ford must compete. Companies never choose to die and yet many by not evolving are enabling that kind of fate. It’s clear that as a company we must then raise our gaze just high enough to ensure we’re not disrupted as the world changes,” said Hackett.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Ford, Reuters
      Press Release is on Page 2
      FORD’S FUTURE: EVOLVING TO BECOME MOST TRUSTED MOBILITY COMPANY, DESIGNING SMART VEHICLES FOR A SMART WORLD
      Ford initiates aggressive “fitness” push, re-basing revenue growth assumptions and attacking costs, while redesigning company operations for long-term success Capital will be allocated to regions, products and services with highest potential for growth and return; product shift calls for more trucks and SUVs, fewer passenger cars Ford is accelerating work on smart, connected vehicles, including AVs and EVs and digital services to thrive in emerging transportation operating system NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2017 – Ford Motor Company today is providing a strategic update to investors, detailing plans to leverage its unique product strengths, trusted brand and global scale to refocus and thrive in an evolving and disruptive period for the auto industry.
      The investor presentation follows a four-month deep dive into Ford’s strategy and business operations led by President and CEO Jim Hackett and Ford’s senior leadership team. Hackett said Ford will improve its operational fitness, refocus capital allocation and accelerate the introduction of smart vehicles and services.
      “Ford was built on the belief that freedom of movement drives human progress,” said Hackett, who became Ford president and CEO on May 22. “It’s a belief that has always fueled our passion to create great cars and trucks. And today, it drives our commitment to become the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world that help people move more safely, confidently and freely.”
      The full slide deck of the presentation can be found here. Ford is reaffirming its 2017 full-year financial guidance and said its 2018 outlook will be provided in January.
      Reiterating its long-term goal of an 8 percent automotive operating margin, Ford says it will embrace the profound technological changes and new competition buffeting the industry. To deliver, the company is expanding its scope to include vehicles and services – all designed around human-centered experiences. The company will tap its strengths integrating hardware and software in complex devices, its proven ability to deliver scale and the trust tied to the Ford brand.
      Specifically, Ford is:
      Accelerating the introduction of connected, smart vehicles and services customers want and value. By 2019, 100 percent of Ford’s new U.S. vehicles will be built with connectivity. The company has similarly aggressive plans for China and other markets, as 90 percent of Ford’s new global vehicles will feature connectivity by 2020. Rapidly improving fitness to lower costs, release capital and finance growth. Ford is attacking costs, reducing automotive cost growth by 50 percent through 2022. As part of this, the company is targeting $10 billion in incremental material cost reductions. The team also is reducing engineering costs by $4 billion from planned levels over the next five years by increasing use of common parts across its full line of vehicles, reducing order complexity and building fewer prototypes. Allocating capital where Ford can win the future. This starts with the company reallocating $7 billion of capital from cars to SUVs and trucks, including the Ranger and EcoSport in North America and the all-new Bronco globally. Ford also has plans to build the next-generation Focus for North America in China, saving capital investment and ongoing costs. Further, Ford is reducing internal combustion engine capital expenditures by one-third and redeploying that capital into electrification – on top of the previously announced $4.5 billion investment. Embracing partnerships. Ford will continue to leverage partnerships, remain active in M&A and collaborate to accelerate R&D. The company recently announced it was exploring a strategic alliance with Mahindra Group as it transforms its business in India, and Zoyte with the intention of developing a new line of low-cost all-electric passenger vehicles in China. When it comes to autonomous vehicle development, the company recently announced a relationship with Lyft to work toward commercialization and a collaboration with Domino’s Pizza to research the customer experience of delivery services. Expanding electric vehicle revenue opportunities. The company recently announced a dedicated electrification team within Ford, focused exclusively on creating an ecosystem of products and services for electric vehicles and the unique opportunities they provide. This builds on Ford’s earlier commitment to deliver 13 new electric vehicles in the next five years, including F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid, Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, an autonomous vehicle hybrid, Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, and a fully electric small SUV. “When you’re a long-lived company that has had success over multiple decades the decision to change is not easy – culturally or operationally,” Hackett said. “Ultimately, though, we must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success.” 
      Revamping product development, modernizing factories
      At the same time, Ford is redesigning its operations to better compete in this disruptive era.
      Hackett cites as a template the example of how the company reimagined the all-new 2015 F-150. Since then, the F-Series has gained market share and the average transaction price has increased 16 percent. It has improved fuel economy and increased capability for customers, thanks in part to a 700-pound weight reduction that helped make the F-150 the company’s most positive contributor to CAFE standards for model year 2018. Additionally, 90 percent of the manufacturing equipment can be reused for the next-generation F-150, reducing future capital requirements. Finally, the innovation on aluminum and light weighting will pay off across a range of Ford trucks and SUVs.
      Other priorities include:
      Reducing orderable combinations of many nameplates, focusing on what customers value most. Already the team has identified a ten-fold reduction of orderable combinations in the next-generation Escape and is moving from approximately 35,000 combinations in the current generation of Fusion to 96 in the next generation. Rethinking product development processes and incorporating new technology. In the next five years, Ford is aiming to reduce new vehicle development time by 20 percent, with new tools and fewer orderable combinations. Through the use of virtual assembly lines, the company has been able to reduce new model changeover time by 25 percent. Redesigning the company’s factories of the future. Accelerating and scaling 3D printing, robotics, virtual reality tools and big data will improve logistics and enable a more efficient manufacturing footprint. “We believe Ford will achieve its competitive advantage by focusing deeply on our customers – whether they’re drivers, riders or cities – and that’s where we are playing to win,” Hackett said.

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