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  1. Audi believes that the future of the brand will rest on electric vehicles. In fact, the German automaker wants to have 25 percent of vehicles sold to be electric. Now this goal is way down the line, but Audi is beginning to make this a reality with a number of electric vehicles going into development. They are also tackling how they will sell them. A recent piece in the New York Times said that dealerships were a stumbling block when selling electric vehicles either because they didn't know anything about them or pushed buyers into buying a gas-powered vehicle. Tesla is the only automaker that no problem with selling their models, but that is due to their decision of opening their own stores. Autoblog had the chance to speak with executives from Audi of America about how they plan to sell EVs. First up is Filip Brabec, Audi of America's director of product management. He explained that EVs may need a new experience at dealers. "A lot of it has to do with the complexity of the product and the complexity of the offer and it's difficult, I think, to bring that into a classical dealership and sort of treat is as another car and off we go. I think there needs to be some differences in how we go in the future," said Brabec. Another key point is to get consumers into those vehicles. "I think exposing consumers to EVs, letting them experience EVs is another big aspect, and probably different than we have today, because test driving a car today is a very conventional thing. It's probably not going to be as conventional with EVs, particularly if you've never been in one before." Second was Audi of America's president Scott Keogh who explained that Tesla showed everyone that providing a complete experience was a very smart move. But Keogh believes that Audi could do a much better job than Tesla when they start building their own EVs. Source: Autoblog, New York Times
  2. The hot thing for luxury automakers aside from crossovers is building electric vehicles to take on the elephant in the room, the Tesla Model. But Cadillac will not be joining this craze, at least not in the near future. Speaking with Automotive News, Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said the automaker will equip most of their lineup with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The decision comes down to tightening regulations, especially in China. "For us, the avenue to ensure that we are able to play in China is going to be through plug-in hybrids," said de Nysschen. There's also the benefit that plug-in hybrids are a bit more practical than EVs and the fear of running out of range is eliminated. That doesn't mean Cadillac will not produce any EVs. They will appear further down the line according to de Nysschen. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  3. Volkswagen is making some big changes for the future. In a statement released today, the company announced that it would cut 1 Billion Euros (about $1.1 billion) in investments. The statement didn't say would be part of the cuts. Volkswagen also announced that it would be fitting diesel models sold in Europe and U.S. with SCR and AdBlue technology 'as soon as possible'. Further down in the statement, Volkswagen announced that it would put more of a focus on battery and plug-in powertrains for its MQB architecture (what underpins the Golf and the upcoming Tiguan. Along with this, the company is working on a new modular electric “toolkit” that could deliver around 155 to 300 Miles on a charge. Volkswagen has also given a preview of what's in store for the next Phaeton. The statement talks about a specification of the model that will feature a pure electric drive. "The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future. We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus, and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program," said Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess. Source: Volkswagen Press Release is on Page 2 Volkswagen Brand Board of Management takes strategic decisions Accelerated implementation of the efficiency program creates room for reorientation Streamlined processes leverage further cost-saving potential, including cuts in fixed costsInvestments to be reduced by 1 billion euros per year compared with planning – combined with prioritization of projects for the future Product decisions formulatedNew Phaeton will be electric New Modular Electric Toolkit planned The newly-formed Volkswagen Brand Board of Management took further strategic decisions at a special meeting. CEO Dr. Herbert Diess announced major product decisions: a reorientation of the diesel strategy with the most advanced technologies, the development of a standardized electric architecture for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, and a new approach for the next generation of the Phaeton. Investments are to be reduced by some one billion euros per year, the efficiency program is to be accelerated. Dr. Herbert Diess underscored: "The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future. We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus, and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program." Reorientation of the diesel strategy It was decided to switch over to installing only diesel drives with SCR and AdBlue technology in Europe and North America as soon as possible. Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology. Systematic further development of the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) There will be a major development thrust for the proven MQB standardized technical toolkit, where Volkswagen Passenger Cars holds responsibility for development within the Group network. The focus is on plug-in hybrids with an even greater range, high-volume electric vehicles with a radius of up to 300 kilometers, a 48-volt power supply system (mild hybrid) as well as ever more efficient diesel, petrol and CNG concepts. A new standard with regard to connectivity and driver assistance systems is to be defined. MEB electric toolkit An MEB electric toolkit for future use in compact segment vehicles is to be developed based on the experience gained with existing vehicle architectures. This will be a multi-brand toolkit suitable for both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and will thus leverage synergies from other electric vehicle projects in the Group. The standardized system will be designed for all body structures and vehicle types, thus allowing particularly emotional vehicle concepts, and will enable an all-electric range of 250 to 500 kilometers. Phaeton redefined – the future is electric The Volkswagen Phaeton has embodied the brand's technological competence and brand ambition from the first generation onward. The future generation of the Phaeton will once again be the flagship for the brand's profile over the next decade. In light of this, the Board of Management redefined the current project. The specification features a pure electric drive with long-distance capability, connectivity and next-generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design. Accelerated efficiency program Dr. Herbert Diess said: "We are very aware that we can only implement these innovations for the future of the Volkswagen brand effectively if we succeed with our efficiency program and in giving our product range a new focus." Diess continued: "Together with my Board of Management colleagues and the entire team we are working at top speed on these issues. Time and again, the Volkswagen team has proved it stands united and is fully focused on shaping the future, particularly when times are tough. We have now laid the further foundations for that."
  4. Following in the footsteps of Tesla and Toyota, Ford announced last Friday that it would open up its portfolio of electric and hybrid vehicle patents to competitors to help accelerate the development of these vehicles. Now unlike Tesla and Toyota's programs, Ford is charging a licensing fee. “Innovation is our goal. The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers,” said Kevin Layden, director of Ford electrification programs. Ford says they have filed 650 electric vehicle patents and about 1,000 pending applications relating to hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Those interested in purchasing one of Ford's patents can either go through the blue oval's technology commercialization and licensing office or through the AutoHarvest Foundation - a nonprofit that Ford help found in 2012. A Ford spokesman tells Automotive News that pricing for the various patents range with “some in the hundreds and some in the thousands.” Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford Press Release is on Page 2 Ford Opens Portfolio of Patented Technologies to Competitors to Accelerate Industry-Wide Electrified Vehicle Development Ford is opening its portfolio of electrified vehicle technology patents to competitive automakers to accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles In 2014, Ford filed for 400-plus electrified vehicle patents – more than 20 percent of the total patents the company applied for last year Ford is set to hire an additional 200 electrified vehicle engineers this year as the team moves into a newly dedicated facility – Ford Engineering Laboratories – home to Henry Ford's first laboratories DEARBORN, Mich., May 28, 2015 – Ford Motor Company is offering competitors access to its electrified vehicle technology patents – a move to help accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles. In 2014, Ford filed more than 400 patents dedicated to electrified vehicle technologies. This is more than 20 percent of the patents the company filed – totaling more than 2,000 applications. "Innovation is our goal," said Kevin Layden, director, Ford Electrification Programs. "The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers." Ford Motor Company is a leader in this area – offering six hybrid or fully electrified vehicles including Ford Focus Electric, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. In total, Ford has more than 650 electrified vehicle patents and approximately 1,000 pending patent applications on electrified vehicle technologies. Ford's innovations have resulted in acclaimed electrified vehicles on the road today, but the company believes sharing its patented technologies will promote faster development of future inventions as all automakers look toward greater opportunities. "As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other," said Layden. "By sharing ideas, companies can solve bigger challenges and help improve the industry." To access Ford's patents and published patent applications, interested parties can contact the company's technology commercialization and licensing office, or work through AutoHarvest – an automaker collaborative innovation and licensing marketplace. AutoHarvest allows members to showcase capabilities and technologies, then privately connect with fellow inventors to explore technology and business development opportunities of mutual interest. The patents would be available for a fee. "Ford helped launch AutoHarvest as a founding member to enable efficient and transparent technology licensing across the automotive industry and beyond," said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO, Ford Global Technologies, which manages intellectual property for Ford. As part of Ford's increased focus on new and innovative technologies, the automaker is set to hire an additional 200 electrified vehicle engineers this year as the team moves into a newly dedicated facility – Ford Engineering Laboratories – home to Henry Ford's first labs in Dearborn. Available Ford electrified vehicle patents Here are some of Ford's electrified vehicle patents available for competitors to purchase: Method and Apparatus for Battery Charge Balancing, patent No. US5764027: The patent covers passive cell balancing: discharging a cell through a resistor to lower the state of charge to match other cells. This innovation extends battery run time and overall life. This is the first invention to enable battery balancing at any time, instead of only while charging, and it enables the use of lithium-ion batteries in electrified vehicles. It was invented long before lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles became commonplace – truly ahead of its time. Temperature Dependent Regenerative Brake System for Electric Vehicle, patent No. US6275763: The technology works to maximize the amount of energy recaptured in a hybrid vehicle through regenerative braking. By improving the interplay between normal friction brakes and regenerative braking during stopping at certain air temperatures, a driver is able to recapture more energy than previously possible, helping the motorist drive farther on a charge. Driving Behavior Feedback Interface, patent No. US8880290: The patent provides a system and method for monitoring driver inputs such as braking and accelerating, and vehicle parameters including energy consumption to assess driving behavior. The feedback can be used to coach future driving behavior that may translate into better long-term driving habits and improve fuel economy. This technology also has enabled drivers of non-electrified vehicles, such as a Ford Focus, to develop better driving habits.
  5. Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch a handful of electric vehicles in the near future, and those vehicles will be part of a new subbrand. Bloomberg has learned from sources that the German automaker will be taking a page out of BMW's playbook and introduce a new subbrand that will be comprised of two electric sedans and two SUVs - something we first reported back in May. A name hasn't been chosen yet according to the sources. What is for certain is that Mercedes will show off a concept electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show in September. Using a new platform for electric vehicles, the concept is expected to boast a range of 310 miles. Mercedes hopes to start selling vehicles under this subbrand before the end of the decade. But doing a subbrand for electric vehicles is a risky proposition. BMW's i hasn't made any real impact in terms of sales or recognition. This has caused the brand to delay plans for another i model. Whether Mercedes-Benz is able to avoid the pitfallls remains to be seen. Source: Bloomberg
  6. What does the future of Jaguar's lineup look like? According to Automobile Magazine, expect EVs and no replacement for the XK Coupe and Convertible. Let's begin with the EVs. First up is a replacement for the XJ known under the codename of X590. The report says X590 will be a four-door coupe with a liftback (something like an Audi A7). This is a compromise between infighting with Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth (wanted a three-box design to replace the XJ) and Jaguar design chief Ian Callum (wanted a big coupe). The underpinnings is a new architecture that is capable of handling the hardware needed for autonomous technologies. All-wheel drive will come standard. The plan is to have X590 possibly launch in 2018, beating models that are expected from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. While Jaguar hopes this model is a success, the current XJ will be sold alongside it for a time in case it flops. (Secretly, we're hoping there is a new XJ coming as well.) Following a year later will be an electric SUV. Now this isn't an electrified version of the F-Pace. According to the report, this model was originally going to be a Range Rover before becoming a Jaguar. “Although it looks sleek, modern and aerodynamically efficient, this model will be rated as an SUV in North-America. All the SUV-defining hard points are there in place,” said a source about the design. This model will be offered with the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and three different battery packs. The plan is to build around 20,000 to 30,000 X590s, and 30,000 to 50,000 of the new SUV. We should also mention the replacement for the XK has canceled, most likely due to Jaguar's electric ambitions. We know the replacement would have used a stretched version of the F-Type's platform. Source: Automobile Magazine
  7. Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to launch four new electric vehicles - two sedans and two SUVs - by 2020. Autocar reports that the German brand is accelerating plans after the German government announced that it would be offering subsidies on all EVs priced less than €60,000 (about $66,900) to spur sales. The outgoing R&D boss at Mercedes-Benz, Thomas Weber has put these plans into motion and hinted that the electric models will share links with standard models. This means the sedans will have a connection to the C and S-Class, while the SUVs will share bits from the GLA and GLC. Sources tell Autocar that the designs share the basic elements with the gas-powered models, but will have their own touches to make them recognizable as EVs. In terms of platforms, the two sedans and GLC-sized model will use a new one known as MEA (Modular Electric Architecture). MEA allows Mercedes to offer an electric vehicle with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive in combination with three electric motors. The GLA-sized model will utilize the same platform that underpins the B-Class Electric Drive. As for power, Mercedes' r&d is working on a range of electric motors producing 75 to 400kW (101 to 536 horsepower). Batteries will come from Accumotive that will provide a minimum range of 250 miles. Source: Autocar
  8. One of the key problems with most electric vehicles is the limited range on offer with many offering a max range of around 100 to 120 miles. Many believe that for electric vehicles to be in the mainstream, they need to offer a minimum of 200 Miles. But not Ford. Speaking with Automotive News, Ford's director of electrification programs and engineering Kevin Layden says the updated 2017 Focus EV with a range of 100 miles will cover the average commute for a driver. "I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population. It's going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now," said Layden. The primary issue is the cost and weight of the batteries to achieve a 200 mile range. Ford doesn't see how an increase of possibly $6,000 and added weight would help. Layden says the lower range allows the blue oval to use a lighter and less expensive battery pack. But there is another factor possibly in play as to why Ford isn't going with a 200 mile range with the Focus EV, sales. The Focus EV is very slow seller for the brand, with only 1,717 models sold in 2015. Through March, Ford only has moved 257 Focus EVs (average of about 86 vehicles per month). Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  9. A possible punishment that the EPA could bring down on Volkswagen is making them build electric vehicles in the U.S. German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reports the EPA is asking the German automaker to produce EVs at their Chattanooga, TN plant and to help build out a network of chargers across the U.S. The report doesn't say if EPA is asking for VW to produce a new electric vehicle or a current one - the Golf EV. It should be noted that Welt am Sonntag's report doesn't cite a source. "Talks with the EPA are ongoing and we are not commenting on the contents and state of the negotiations," said a Volkswagen spokesperson to Reuters. The EPA declined to comment. Reuters also notes Hans Dieter Poetsch, Volkswagen's chairman of Volkswagen's supervisory board German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt last week to give an update on cleaning up this mess. First reported by the German publication Bild am Sonntag, Poetsch said the company would do everything in its power to solve this crisis. Source: Welt am Sonntag, Reuters, Bild am Sonntag
  10. While many still think electric vehicles are a niche, a new study from IHS Automotive suggests that EVs are actually catching on more quickly than hybrids when they were first introduced. The study looked at the cumulative global sales of the first-generation Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Leaf in the first four years. IHS Automotive found that the Toyota Prius moved 52,200 units from 2000 to 2004. However, the Volt and Leaf have sold more vehicles in their respective four-year timeframes. The Chevrolet Volt and all of its derivatives saw sales of 68,507 units, while the Nissan Leaf saw sales of 96,477 units. It should be noted that while Toyota Prius went on sale in 1997 in Japan, IHS Automotive uses 2000 as the starting point for figuring out sales as that is when Toyota launched the model worldwide. The IHS Automotive study also points out that early expectations for EVs may have been inflated a lot, causing many to think of early EVs and plug-ins as failures in sales despite the relative success in sales around the world. Source: Automobile Magazine William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  11. Even though electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles are still outliers in the automotive marketplace, 2013 saw a massive increase in sales. The Detroit News reports that the sales of electrics and plug-in hybrid vehicles increased 84 percent to just over 96,000 vehicles according to data from Wards Automotive. Of that total, 47,600 were electric vehicles, representing a 241 percent increase when compared to 2012. The remainder was plug-in hybrids, up 27 percent. Some of the increase can be attributed to improving battery technology and the massive increase of sales for the Tesla Model S. But what really helped sales of electric and plug-in vehicles was price cuts. Nearly every automaker who sells one has cut the price tag and most have seen increases in sales. The Detroit News also points out electrics and plug-in vehicles could have hard time this year with gas prices projected to be lower than in past years. Source: The Detroit News William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  12. Kelly Blue Book has listed the ten vehicles that deprecate at alarming rate and top three happen to be electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf according to KBB is projected to only retain 18 percent of its new-car price after five years. Behind the Leaf is the Fiat 500e which is expected to retain 21 percent and the Smart ForTwo EV which is expected to retain 21.5 percent. Few key items to keep in mind: Fiat 500e is only available to lease in California A number of automakers, like Nissan have been dropping the price of the EVs Electric vehicles come with a number of incentives from the U.S. and state governments, which in turn hurt the resale value Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting for Kelley Blue Book tells USA Today EVs have a problem of finding someone to buy a used one. "Pure electrics have been slow to catch on in the resale market." Customers "have been willing to buy a new one, not a used electric vehicle." As to why, Ibara doesn't have a good answer to this. The remaining seven vehicles on KBB's list are all luxury vehicles such as the BMW 7-Series, Lincoln MKS, and Jaguar XK. Nissan Leaf - 18% Fiat 500e - 21% Smart fortwo electric - 21.5% Jaguar XJ - 22.2% Volkswagen CC - 25% Mercedes-Benz CL-Class - 25.8% BMW 7 Series - 26% Volvo S80 - 27.3% Lincoln MKS - 27.5% Jaguar XK Series - 27.6% Source: USA Today William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  13. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 28, 2013 California and seven other states have signed a new pact that hopes to increase the number of zero emission vehicles on their roads to 3.3 million by the year 2025. Joining California in this pact are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont. The seven states have already adopted a rule like California where by 2025, 15 percent of vehicles sold must produce zero emissions. To help get to this goal, the eight states have four steps to spur sales of zero emission vehicles Amend building codes so it becomes easier to build charging stations Buy more zero emission vehicles for Government fleets Further cash incentives and introduce discounted electricity rates for home-chargers Introduced shared standards for charging stations and common signage "From coast to coast, we're charging ahead to get millions of the world's cleanest vehicles on our roads," said California Governor Edmund Brown in a statement. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  14. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 16, 2013 Range Anxiety. A condition that still plagues electric vehicles. But it isn't limited to prospective customers who are worried about not having enough juice, it has now spread to rental customers. A number of rental car agencies have now started offering electric vehicles. This allows consumers to try an EV. But renters are returning the EVs much sooner and exchanging them for gas vehicle. “People are very keen to try it, but they will switch out of the contract part way through. Range anxiety makes them think they can’t get to a charging station,” said Lee Broughton, head of sustainability at Enterprise. Enterprise data shows that on average, renters trade EVs in 1.6 days into the rental period compared to the 6 to 7 days of a standard gas vehicle. Christopher Agnew, an analyst at MKM Holdings LLC says that a longer range would help renter's range anxiety, especially in places where they don't where they're going. Now you can rent a Tesla Model S if you go to certain place, but expect to pay a pretty penny. MPG Car Rental based out of Venice, CA rents a Model S for $500 per day. To put that in perspective, a Prius Plug-In costs $99 per day. Despite these setbacks, rental car companies say they will keep buying EVs for their fleets. Source: Bloomberg William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  15. By William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com February 3, 2013 The U.S. Department of Energy announced a updated strategy to promote green cars and lower the costs over the next nine years at the Washington D.C. Auto Show on Thursday. One part of the original strategy which stated a goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 has been eased off. "Whether we meet that goal in 2015 or 2016, that's less important than that we're on the right path to get many millions of these vehicles on the road," said a Department of Energy official. Auto experts say the strategy is more realistic since consumers aren't fully sold on electric vehicles due to the high cost, recharge times, and limited charging infrastructure in the U.S. The DOE is backing a new plan to promote research into lithium-ion battery tech to help lower costs. Source: Reuters William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  16. Volkswagen is turning towards plug-in hybrid technology for the majority of its models till longer range batteries become a reality. This was announced at Volkswagen's annual media conference yesterday by Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. Why plug-in hybrid tech? Winterkorn explained that plug-in hybrids are the best stop-gap technology with reducing emissions without sacrificing range. Now that doesn't mean Volkswagen isn't stopping work on electric vehicles. The automaker is currently working on electric systems that will have a range of more than 300 miles. One other note; the Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in hybrid will be coming to the U.S. next year. This news was relayed to Automotive News by Volkswagen r&d boss Hans-Jakob Neusser. The GTE packs a turbocharged 1.4L and a electric motor to produce a combined 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  17. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com December 20, 2012 The Detroit Free Press reports electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt aren't garnering the same residual values as gas vehicles. The report cites data from Kelly Blue Book which estimates the 2012 Nissan Leaf will hold around 20% of its value after five years while a 2012 Nissan Sentra will hold around 30%. The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is predicted to hold around 30% while a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze will hold 38%. Auto Leasing Guide (ALG), another pricing service estimates the residual values of the Leaf and Volt about a point higher than KBB. Now, the residual value estimates don't take into account the $7,500 federal tax credit on EVs. When you do, the values for EVs and gas vehicles are similar. That's due people purchasing the EV at a lower price. Source: Detroit Free Press William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
  18. Mercedes-Benz is planning to launch a handful of electric vehicles in the near future, and those vehicles will be part of a new subbrand. Bloomberg has learned from sources that the German automaker will be taking a page out of BMW's playbook and introduce a new subbrand that will be comprised of two electric sedans and two SUVs - something we first reported back in May. A name hasn't been chosen yet according to the sources. What is for certain is that Mercedes will show off a concept electric SUV at the Paris Motor Show in September. Using a new platform for electric vehicles, the concept is expected to boast a range of 310 miles. Mercedes hopes to start selling vehicles under this subbrand before the end of the decade. But doing a subbrand for electric vehicles is a risky proposition. BMW's i hasn't made any real impact in terms of sales or recognition. This has caused the brand to delay plans for another i model. Whether Mercedes-Benz is able to avoid the pitfallls remains to be seen. Source: Bloomberg View full article
  19. What does the future of Jaguar's lineup look like? According to Automobile Magazine, expect EVs and no replacement for the XK Coupe and Convertible. Let's begin with the EVs. First up is a replacement for the XJ known under the codename of X590. The report says X590 will be a four-door coupe with a liftback (something like an Audi A7). This is a compromise between infighting with Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth (wanted a three-box design to replace the XJ) and Jaguar design chief Ian Callum (wanted a big coupe). The underpinnings is a new architecture that is capable of handling the hardware needed for autonomous technologies. All-wheel drive will come standard. The plan is to have X590 possibly launch in 2018, beating models that are expected from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. While Jaguar hopes this model is a success, the current XJ will be sold alongside it for a time in case it flops. (Secretly, we're hoping there is a new XJ coming as well.) Following a year later will be an electric SUV. Now this isn't an electrified version of the F-Pace. According to the report, this model was originally going to be a Range Rover before becoming a Jaguar. “Although it looks sleek, modern and aerodynamically efficient, this model will be rated as an SUV in North-America. All the SUV-defining hard points are there in place,” said a source about the design. This model will be offered with the choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and three different battery packs. The plan is to build around 20,000 to 30,000 X590s, and 30,000 to 50,000 of the new SUV. We should also mention the replacement for the XK has canceled, most likely due to Jaguar's electric ambitions. We know the replacement would have used a stretched version of the F-Type's platform. Source: Automobile Magazine View full article
  20. Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to launch four new electric vehicles - two sedans and two SUVs - by 2020. Autocar reports that the German brand is accelerating plans after the German government announced that it would be offering subsidies on all EVs priced less than €60,000 (about $66,900) to spur sales. The outgoing R&D boss at Mercedes-Benz, Thomas Weber has put these plans into motion and hinted that the electric models will share links with standard models. This means the sedans will have a connection to the C and S-Class, while the SUVs will share bits from the GLA and GLC. Sources tell Autocar that the designs share the basic elements with the gas-powered models, but will have their own touches to make them recognizable as EVs. In terms of platforms, the two sedans and GLC-sized model will use a new one known as MEA (Modular Electric Architecture). MEA allows Mercedes to offer an electric vehicle with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive in combination with three electric motors. The GLA-sized model will utilize the same platform that underpins the B-Class Electric Drive. As for power, Mercedes' r&d is working on a range of electric motors producing 75 to 400kW (101 to 536 horsepower). Batteries will come from Accumotive that will provide a minimum range of 250 miles. Source: Autocar View full article
  21. One of the key problems with most electric vehicles is the limited range on offer with many offering a max range of around 100 to 120 miles. Many believe that for electric vehicles to be in the mainstream, they need to offer a minimum of 200 Miles. But not Ford. Speaking with Automotive News, Ford's director of electrification programs and engineering Kevin Layden says the updated 2017 Focus EV with a range of 100 miles will cover the average commute for a driver. "I think right now with the launch of the Focus Electric at 100 miles, it is going to satisfy a big chunk of the population. It's going to be really affordable and a step up from where we are now," said Layden. The primary issue is the cost and weight of the batteries to achieve a 200 mile range. Ford doesn't see how an increase of possibly $6,000 and added weight would help. Layden says the lower range allows the blue oval to use a lighter and less expensive battery pack. But there is another factor possibly in play as to why Ford isn't going with a 200 mile range with the Focus EV, sales. The Focus EV is very slow seller for the brand, with only 1,717 models sold in 2015. Through March, Ford only has moved 257 Focus EVs (average of about 86 vehicles per month). Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  22. Audi believes that the future of the brand will rest on electric vehicles. In fact, the German automaker wants to have 25 percent of vehicles sold to be electric. Now this goal is way down the line, but Audi is beginning to make this a reality with a number of electric vehicles going into development. They are also tackling how they will sell them. A recent piece in the New York Times said that dealerships were a stumbling block when selling electric vehicles either because they didn't know anything about them or pushed buyers into buying a gas-powered vehicle. Tesla is the only automaker that no problem with selling their models, but that is due to their decision of opening their own stores. Autoblog had the chance to speak with executives from Audi of America about how they plan to sell EVs. First up is Filip Brabec, Audi of America's director of product management. He explained that EVs may need a new experience at dealers. "A lot of it has to do with the complexity of the product and the complexity of the offer and it's difficult, I think, to bring that into a classical dealership and sort of treat is as another car and off we go. I think there needs to be some differences in how we go in the future," said Brabec. Another key point is to get consumers into those vehicles. "I think exposing consumers to EVs, letting them experience EVs is another big aspect, and probably different than we have today, because test driving a car today is a very conventional thing. It's probably not going to be as conventional with EVs, particularly if you've never been in one before." Second was Audi of America's president Scott Keogh who explained that Tesla showed everyone that providing a complete experience was a very smart move. But Keogh believes that Audi could do a much better job than Tesla when they start building their own EVs. Source: Autoblog, New York Times View full article
  23. Following in the footsteps of Tesla and Toyota, Ford announced last Friday that it would open up its portfolio of electric and hybrid vehicle patents to competitors to help accelerate the development of these vehicles. Now unlike Tesla and Toyota's programs, Ford is charging a licensing fee. “Innovation is our goal. The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers,” said Kevin Layden, director of Ford electrification programs. Ford says they have filed 650 electric vehicle patents and about 1,000 pending applications relating to hybrid and plug-in vehicles. Those interested in purchasing one of Ford's patents can either go through the blue oval's technology commercialization and licensing office or through the AutoHarvest Foundation - a nonprofit that Ford help found in 2012. A Ford spokesman tells Automotive News that pricing for the various patents range with “some in the hundreds and some in the thousands.” Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Ford Press Release is on Page 2 Ford Opens Portfolio of Patented Technologies to Competitors to Accelerate Industry-Wide Electrified Vehicle Development Ford is opening its portfolio of electrified vehicle technology patents to competitive automakers to accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles In 2014, Ford filed for 400-plus electrified vehicle patents – more than 20 percent of the total patents the company applied for last year Ford is set to hire an additional 200 electrified vehicle engineers this year as the team moves into a newly dedicated facility – Ford Engineering Laboratories – home to Henry Ford's first laboratories DEARBORN, Mich., May 28, 2015 – Ford Motor Company is offering competitors access to its electrified vehicle technology patents – a move to help accelerate industry-wide research and development of electrified vehicles. In 2014, Ford filed more than 400 patents dedicated to electrified vehicle technologies. This is more than 20 percent of the patents the company filed – totaling more than 2,000 applications. "Innovation is our goal," said Kevin Layden, director, Ford Electrification Programs. "The way to provide the best technology is through constant development and progress. By sharing our research with other companies, we will accelerate the growth of electrified vehicle technology and deliver even better products to customers." Ford Motor Company is a leader in this area – offering six hybrid or fully electrified vehicles including Ford Focus Electric, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. In total, Ford has more than 650 electrified vehicle patents and approximately 1,000 pending patent applications on electrified vehicle technologies. Ford's innovations have resulted in acclaimed electrified vehicles on the road today, but the company believes sharing its patented technologies will promote faster development of future inventions as all automakers look toward greater opportunities. "As an industry, we need to collaborate while we continue to challenge each other," said Layden. "By sharing ideas, companies can solve bigger challenges and help improve the industry." To access Ford's patents and published patent applications, interested parties can contact the company's technology commercialization and licensing office, or work through AutoHarvest – an automaker collaborative innovation and licensing marketplace. AutoHarvest allows members to showcase capabilities and technologies, then privately connect with fellow inventors to explore technology and business development opportunities of mutual interest. The patents would be available for a fee. "Ford helped launch AutoHarvest as a founding member to enable efficient and transparent technology licensing across the automotive industry and beyond," said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO, Ford Global Technologies, which manages intellectual property for Ford. As part of Ford's increased focus on new and innovative technologies, the automaker is set to hire an additional 200 electrified vehicle engineers this year as the team moves into a newly dedicated facility – Ford Engineering Laboratories – home to Henry Ford's first labs in Dearborn. Available Ford electrified vehicle patents Here are some of Ford's electrified vehicle patents available for competitors to purchase: Method and Apparatus for Battery Charge Balancing, patent No. US5764027: The patent covers passive cell balancing: discharging a cell through a resistor to lower the state of charge to match other cells. This innovation extends battery run time and overall life. This is the first invention to enable battery balancing at any time, instead of only while charging, and it enables the use of lithium-ion batteries in electrified vehicles. It was invented long before lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles became commonplace – truly ahead of its time. Temperature Dependent Regenerative Brake System for Electric Vehicle, patent No. US6275763: The technology works to maximize the amount of energy recaptured in a hybrid vehicle through regenerative braking. By improving the interplay between normal friction brakes and regenerative braking during stopping at certain air temperatures, a driver is able to recapture more energy than previously possible, helping the motorist drive farther on a charge. Driving Behavior Feedback Interface, patent No. US8880290: The patent provides a system and method for monitoring driver inputs such as braking and accelerating, and vehicle parameters including energy consumption to assess driving behavior. The feedback can be used to coach future driving behavior that may translate into better long-term driving habits and improve fuel economy. This technology also has enabled drivers of non-electrified vehicles, such as a Ford Focus, to develop better driving habits. View full article
  24. Kelly Blue Book has listed the ten vehicles that deprecate at alarming rate and top three happen to be electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf according to KBB is projected to only retain 18 percent of its new-car price after five years. Behind the Leaf is the Fiat 500e which is expected to retain 21 percent and the Smart ForTwo EV which is expected to retain 21.5 percent. Few key items to keep in mind: Fiat 500e is only available to lease in California A number of automakers, like Nissan have been dropping the price of the EVs Electric vehicles come with a number of incentives from the U.S. and state governments, which in turn hurt the resale value Eric Ibara, director of residual consulting for Kelley Blue Book tells USA Today EVs have a problem of finding someone to buy a used one. "Pure electrics have been slow to catch on in the resale market." Customers "have been willing to buy a new one, not a used electric vehicle." As to why, Ibara doesn't have a good answer to this. The remaining seven vehicles on KBB's list are all luxury vehicles such as the BMW 7-Series, Lincoln MKS, and Jaguar XK. Nissan Leaf - 18% Fiat 500e - 21% Smart fortwo electric - 21.5% Jaguar XJ - 22.2% Volkswagen CC - 25% Mercedes-Benz CL-Class - 25.8% BMW 7 Series - 26% Volvo S80 - 27.3% Lincoln MKS - 27.5% Jaguar XK Series - 27.6% Source: USA Today William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article
  25. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com October 28, 2013 California and seven other states have signed a new pact that hopes to increase the number of zero emission vehicles on their roads to 3.3 million by the year 2025. Joining California in this pact are Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Vermont. The seven states have already adopted a rule like California where by 2025, 15 percent of vehicles sold must produce zero emissions. To help get to this goal, the eight states have four steps to spur sales of zero emission vehicles Amend building codes so it becomes easier to build charging stations Buy more zero emission vehicles for Government fleets Further cash incentives and introduce discounted electricity rates for home-chargers Introduced shared standards for charging stations and common signage "From coast to coast, we're charging ahead to get millions of the world's cleanest vehicles on our roads," said California Governor Edmund Brown in a statement. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster. View full article

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