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Found 121 results

  1. William Maley

    Volvo Plans A XC40 EV

    It was thought for a time that Volvo's first electric vehicle would be a compact hatchback that took some design ideas from the Concept 40.2. Then we heard that the XC40 would be the first electric vehicle. Now we have gotten some clarification. “It’s not a secret any more that the first full electric Volvo is on its way with the XC40 coming. It will arrive very soon after the Polestar 2. That is the first to come that’s not exotic. We’ll start with XC40 and then on it will come step after step into our model range. The next car will be the next-generation XC90," said Volvo design chief Thomas Ingenlath. The Polestar 2, a midsize sedan is expected to go into production in 2019. That puts the launch of the XC40 EV sometime in 2020 or so. Ingenlath said Volvo would only produce electric versions of the current lineup, not build out new models like other automakers. Polestar will handle build electric models that stand out. "To look at new formats, new bodystyles and non-traditional elements, we founded Polestar to take care of that end of the scope. We developed that strategy: full electrification of the Volvo range, making it a natural part of the offer, and at the same time developing new, unconventional elements in the Polestar brand." Source: Autocar
  2. William Maley

    Volvo News: Volvo Plans A XC40 EV

    It was thought for a time that Volvo's first electric vehicle would be a compact hatchback that took some design ideas from the Concept 40.2. Then we heard that the XC40 would be the first electric vehicle. Now we have gotten some clarification. “It’s not a secret any more that the first full electric Volvo is on its way with the XC40 coming. It will arrive very soon after the Polestar 2. That is the first to come that’s not exotic. We’ll start with XC40 and then on it will come step after step into our model range. The next car will be the next-generation XC90," said Volvo design chief Thomas Ingenlath. The Polestar 2, a midsize sedan is expected to go into production in 2019. That puts the launch of the XC40 EV sometime in 2020 or so. Ingenlath said Volvo would only produce electric versions of the current lineup, not build out new models like other automakers. Polestar will handle build electric models that stand out. "To look at new formats, new bodystyles and non-traditional elements, we founded Polestar to take care of that end of the scope. We developed that strategy: full electrification of the Volvo range, making it a natural part of the offer, and at the same time developing new, unconventional elements in the Polestar brand." Source: Autocar View full article
  3. Last week, we brought you news that Bentley is planning to catch up on the electrification trend that a number of other automakers are ahead on. We now have some possible details as to some of their plans. The next-generation Flying Spur, due out towards the end of the year could be the second Bentley model to be offered with a hybrid powertrain. "Obviously Bentayga is our highest volume car so that’s the first one we have to hybridise. The next volume car is probably going to be the saloon car, so if you wanted a second car just for compliance, then that would normally be the next selection," said Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark to Autocar. Hallmark said "possibly" when asked if said sedan could be the Flying Spur. He said a decision would come in the next six months. Then there is the successor to the Mulsanne. Autocar has learned that Bentley is debating whether or not they will do "a like-for-like replacement" to the current Mulsanne or something else. One possibility is to make the replacement a pure electric vehicle as a forward-looking flagship model. This could happen if next-generation battery technology arrives before the end of the Mulsanne's production run - expected in the early 2020s. Source: Autocar, 2
  4. Last week, we brought you news that Bentley is planning to catch up on the electrification trend that a number of other automakers are ahead on. We now have some possible details as to some of their plans. The next-generation Flying Spur, due out towards the end of the year could be the second Bentley model to be offered with a hybrid powertrain. "Obviously Bentayga is our highest volume car so that’s the first one we have to hybridise. The next volume car is probably going to be the saloon car, so if you wanted a second car just for compliance, then that would normally be the next selection," said Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark to Autocar. Hallmark said "possibly" when asked if said sedan could be the Flying Spur. He said a decision would come in the next six months. Then there is the successor to the Mulsanne. Autocar has learned that Bentley is debating whether or not they will do "a like-for-like replacement" to the current Mulsanne or something else. One possibility is to make the replacement a pure electric vehicle as a forward-looking flagship model. This could happen if next-generation battery technology arrives before the end of the Mulsanne's production run - expected in the early 2020s. Source: Autocar, 2 View full article
  5. Buick is expanding their electrified options in China with the introduction of the Velite 6 plug-in hybrid and electric. They'll join the the Buick Velite 5 - a rebadged Chevrolet Volt. The design is interesting to say in the least with a fair number of creases and a blacked-out rear pillar on this hatchback body. Arriving first is the plug-in hybrid which is comprised of a 1.5L four-cylinder, two AC permanent-magnet synchronous motors, and lithium-ion battery pack. With a full tank of gas and fully charged battery, Buick estimates a range of 700 kilometers (about 435 miles). Not much is known about the electric variant, aside from Buick saying the model "will adopt a new-generation pure electric drive system to offer customers a smooth, quiet and natural driving experience." The electric variant will arrive next year. Both Velite 6 models will come with Buick's new eConnect cloud connectivity system. Different drivers can setup their own accounts to personalize settings for navigation, audio, and internet use. eConnect will also provide real-time intergration of WeChat, a Chinese social media service. Owners can use their smartphone as the key for the Velite 6. Source: Buick Buick VELITE 6 Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Enspire All-Electric Concept SUV Make Global Debut in China WUZHEN – The Buick VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and the Buick Enspire all-electric concept SUV made their global debut this evening at a launch event in the scenic Chinese city of Wuzhen, Zhejiang. Buick also announced that the VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will be launched this year and its sibling, the VELITE 6 electric vehicle, will be introduced in China at a later date. Buick VELITE 6 Buick is focused on electrification, connectivity, intelligence and sharing in line with its Buick Blue new energy vehicle strategy. The VELITE 6 represents the latest application of this strategy. The two VELITE 6 models leverage electrification and connectivity technology from SAIC-GM’s parent companies, including Buick’s newest electric propulsion technology and connectivity technology. They are based on the VELITE Concept new energy vehicle that was unveiled in November 2016. The VELITE 6 has a dynamic posture coupled with a wide stance. The modern, streamlined shape aptly represents the innovative exterior styling that matches the new nameplate’s exciting technological character. The high-performance propulsion system of the VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is composed of an EVT electronically controlled variable transmission, two AC permanent-magnet synchronous motors with a high-performance lithium-ion battery, and a 1.5L naturally aspirated engine especially tuned for hybrid vehicles. The motors and engine efficiently optimize power in different driving modes – such as the hybrid-driven mode of the motor and the engine, the single-driven mode of the motor, and the single-driven mode of the engine. It has a range of 700 km and combined fuel consumption of 1.4 liters/100 km. The new-generation modular high-performance ternary lithium-ion battery pack will be assembled at the new state-of-the-art SAIC-GM Power Battery Development Center in Shanghai. The battery incorporates leading battery heat management technology, providing independent and uniform temperature control of each battery unit via liquid cooling. This will ensure a longer life cycle and more stable performance. The VELITE 6 electric vehicle will adopt a new-generation pure electric drive system to offer customers a smooth, quiet and natural driving experience. The flexible and open cloud-based Buick eConnect technology in both models enables cutting-edge services and over-the-air update capability. With exclusive accounts, users can personalize their settings for OnStar, navigation, internet use and more. Music and destinations can be sent to the car display screen via WeChat in real time, for one-button navigation and listening. Users can also directly receive information about their vehicles’ condition and recommended maintenance. VELITE 6 users’ smartphones serve as a virtual key to enter and start the vehicle. They can authorize others to use their vehicles through their phones as well. Additional functions and new features will continuously be added to improve the user experience.
  6. Buick is expanding their electrified options in China with the introduction of the Velite 6 plug-in hybrid and electric. They'll join the the Buick Velite 5 - a rebadged Chevrolet Volt. The design is interesting to say in the least with a fair number of creases and a blacked-out rear pillar on this hatchback body. Arriving first is the plug-in hybrid which is comprised of a 1.5L four-cylinder, two AC permanent-magnet synchronous motors, and lithium-ion battery pack. With a full tank of gas and fully charged battery, Buick estimates a range of 700 kilometers (about 435 miles). Not much is known about the electric variant, aside from Buick saying the model "will adopt a new-generation pure electric drive system to offer customers a smooth, quiet and natural driving experience." The electric variant will arrive next year. Both Velite 6 models will come with Buick's new eConnect cloud connectivity system. Different drivers can setup their own accounts to personalize settings for navigation, audio, and internet use. eConnect will also provide real-time intergration of WeChat, a Chinese social media service. Owners can use their smartphone as the key for the Velite 6. Source: Buick Buick VELITE 6 Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Enspire All-Electric Concept SUV Make Global Debut in China WUZHEN – The Buick VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and the Buick Enspire all-electric concept SUV made their global debut this evening at a launch event in the scenic Chinese city of Wuzhen, Zhejiang. Buick also announced that the VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle will be launched this year and its sibling, the VELITE 6 electric vehicle, will be introduced in China at a later date. Buick VELITE 6 Buick is focused on electrification, connectivity, intelligence and sharing in line with its Buick Blue new energy vehicle strategy. The VELITE 6 represents the latest application of this strategy. The two VELITE 6 models leverage electrification and connectivity technology from SAIC-GM’s parent companies, including Buick’s newest electric propulsion technology and connectivity technology. They are based on the VELITE Concept new energy vehicle that was unveiled in November 2016. The VELITE 6 has a dynamic posture coupled with a wide stance. The modern, streamlined shape aptly represents the innovative exterior styling that matches the new nameplate’s exciting technological character. The high-performance propulsion system of the VELITE 6 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is composed of an EVT electronically controlled variable transmission, two AC permanent-magnet synchronous motors with a high-performance lithium-ion battery, and a 1.5L naturally aspirated engine especially tuned for hybrid vehicles. The motors and engine efficiently optimize power in different driving modes – such as the hybrid-driven mode of the motor and the engine, the single-driven mode of the motor, and the single-driven mode of the engine. It has a range of 700 km and combined fuel consumption of 1.4 liters/100 km. The new-generation modular high-performance ternary lithium-ion battery pack will be assembled at the new state-of-the-art SAIC-GM Power Battery Development Center in Shanghai. The battery incorporates leading battery heat management technology, providing independent and uniform temperature control of each battery unit via liquid cooling. This will ensure a longer life cycle and more stable performance. The VELITE 6 electric vehicle will adopt a new-generation pure electric drive system to offer customers a smooth, quiet and natural driving experience. The flexible and open cloud-based Buick eConnect technology in both models enables cutting-edge services and over-the-air update capability. With exclusive accounts, users can personalize their settings for OnStar, navigation, internet use and more. Music and destinations can be sent to the car display screen via WeChat in real time, for one-button navigation and listening. Users can also directly receive information about their vehicles’ condition and recommended maintenance. VELITE 6 users’ smartphones serve as a virtual key to enter and start the vehicle. They can authorize others to use their vehicles through their phones as well. Additional functions and new features will continuously be added to improve the user experience. View full article
  7. Lexus offers two powertains for the LS; a twin-turbo V6 producing 415 horsepower and a hybrid system featuring a 3.5L V6 that makes 354 horsepower. But Lexus is considering adding more powertains to their flagship sedan. Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the LS told Australian outlet GoAuto that all powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid, hydrogen, and electric were “all on the table” for the current model. The most likely reason for this is competitors such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have plug-in hybrid models of their flagship sedans and are working on new electric models. There is also the elephant in the room known as the Tesla Model S. Hydrogen isn't that much a surprise. Parent company Toyota has been pushing hydrogen for a number of years. But the lack of an extensive hydrogen infrastructure has limited its appeal and caused Toyota to put more focus on electrics. It should be noted that the LF-FC concept shown in 2015 was a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. On the electric front, Toyota has been working on solid-state batteries that promise more range and quicker charging. Plans are to have batteries go into production beginning in 2022. Asahi also mentioned that engineers are looking into improving the current hybrid powertrain - possibly adding more power. Source: GoAuto View full article
  8. William Maley

    Lexus Considers More Powertrain Options for LS

    Lexus offers two powertains for the LS; a twin-turbo V6 producing 415 horsepower and a hybrid system featuring a 3.5L V6 that makes 354 horsepower. But Lexus is considering adding more powertains to their flagship sedan. Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the LS told Australian outlet GoAuto that all powertrain options including a plug-in hybrid, hydrogen, and electric were “all on the table” for the current model. The most likely reason for this is competitors such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have plug-in hybrid models of their flagship sedans and are working on new electric models. There is also the elephant in the room known as the Tesla Model S. Hydrogen isn't that much a surprise. Parent company Toyota has been pushing hydrogen for a number of years. But the lack of an extensive hydrogen infrastructure has limited its appeal and caused Toyota to put more focus on electrics. It should be noted that the LF-FC concept shown in 2015 was a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. On the electric front, Toyota has been working on solid-state batteries that promise more range and quicker charging. Plans are to have batteries go into production beginning in 2022. Asahi also mentioned that engineers are looking into improving the current hybrid powertrain - possibly adding more power. Source: GoAuto
  9. Last month, we reported that work had begun on the next-generation Jaguar XJ. The company's director of design Ian Callum said it would be "something quite special." What that may mean is the next XJ transition to being an electric-only model. Autocar has learned that Jaguar is planning to reinvent the XJ into being a fully-electric model to take on the like of the Tesla Model S, and provide an interesting alternative to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Design-wise, the XJ will morph into a 5-door model - something akin to an Audi A7 we're guessing. It will also debut a new design language that will be used on future models. In terms of platform, the new XJ will use an all-new platform that will be shared with an upcoming model from Land Rover - the Road Rover we reported in the Rumorpile back in September. The platform will be capable of being equipped with internal-combustion or electric powertrains. For the XJ, it is believed that twin electric motors will be used to power and provide AWD. Autocar expects the car launch in 2019. Source: Autocar
  10. Last month, we reported that work had begun on the next-generation Jaguar XJ. The company's director of design Ian Callum said it would be "something quite special." What that may mean is the next XJ transition to being an electric-only model. Autocar has learned that Jaguar is planning to reinvent the XJ into being a fully-electric model to take on the like of the Tesla Model S, and provide an interesting alternative to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Design-wise, the XJ will morph into a 5-door model - something akin to an Audi A7 we're guessing. It will also debut a new design language that will be used on future models. In terms of platform, the new XJ will use an all-new platform that will be shared with an upcoming model from Land Rover - the Road Rover we reported in the Rumorpile back in September. The platform will be capable of being equipped with internal-combustion or electric powertrains. For the XJ, it is believed that twin electric motors will be used to power and provide AWD. Autocar expects the car launch in 2019. Source: Autocar View full article
  11. Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use. Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly. "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley. The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation. Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  12. Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use. Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly. "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley. The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation. Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  13. William Maley

    Porsche Plans To Have A Second EV Model By 2025

    With stricter CO2 emission regulations looming over the horizon from the European Union, Porsche is getting ready by launching a second electric vehicle to comply with them. According to Automotive News Europe, the EU is proposing a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for new car fleets by 2030 - less than 67 grams per kilometer under the current NEDC testing cycle. Half of that must be achieved by 2025 as part of a milestone. Porsche's plan at the moment is to have more than half of its sales come from electrified vehicles, That includes the launch of the Mission EV and hybrid/plug-in hybrid vehicles. "Technically we certainly won’t struggle with that [target]," said Porsche development chief Michael Steiner. "The attractiveness [of Porsche's electrified lineup] should lead to a powertrain mix that ensures we are compliant." Steiner also said that Porsche is working on a second EV, but it would not be a sports car. "We're starting with a sporty four-door concept in the Mission E positioned between the 911 and the Panamera, so it's logical that we will look to balance our lineup with a product in a different segment such as an SUV." As we reported back in June, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said the company is working on two new electric SUVs. One is a coupe-SUV (think BMW X6/Mercedes GLE-Cass) and the other is the next-generation Macan which is expected to go full electric only. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
  14. With stricter CO2 emission regulations looming over the horizon from the European Union, Porsche is getting ready by launching a second electric vehicle to comply with them. According to Automotive News Europe, the EU is proposing a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for new car fleets by 2030 - less than 67 grams per kilometer under the current NEDC testing cycle. Half of that must be achieved by 2025 as part of a milestone. Porsche's plan at the moment is to have more than half of its sales come from electrified vehicles, That includes the launch of the Mission EV and hybrid/plug-in hybrid vehicles. "Technically we certainly won’t struggle with that [target]," said Porsche development chief Michael Steiner. "The attractiveness [of Porsche's electrified lineup] should lead to a powertrain mix that ensures we are compliant." Steiner also said that Porsche is working on a second EV, but it would not be a sports car. "We're starting with a sporty four-door concept in the Mission E positioned between the 911 and the Panamera, so it's logical that we will look to balance our lineup with a product in a different segment such as an SUV." As we reported back in June, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said the company is working on two new electric SUVs. One is a coupe-SUV (think BMW X6/Mercedes GLE-Cass) and the other is the next-generation Macan which is expected to go full electric only. Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required) View full article
  15. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 13, 2012 Chrysler hasn't been the strongest proponent of electric vehicles since it has been together with Fiat. "You're not looking at a guy who's as scared as the rest of them. I'm not scared, I just won't do it. I just will not do it. I think we're smoking illegal materials if we think we're going to make those [profitably]," said Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a interview with Automobile Magazine back in July. This might be an odd thing to say since Fiat is working on a 500 EV that will go into production later this year. However, Marchionne has been on record saying the 500 EV will lose money and is a "compliance car", a vehicle that will meet requirements for sales of a certain number of zero-emission vehicles in the state of California. However it seems Chrysler is taking some small steps off this belief. “We do believe in electrification, sparingly and for the right kinds of targeted applications. We’re developing technology for commercialization, preparing for the shift when consumers start pulling them into the marketplace,” said Chrysler's vice president and head of engineering for engine and electrified propulsion Bob Lee this past week at the Center for Automotive Research conference in Acme, Michigan. For the time being, Chrysler will put more focus on diesel, CNG, hybrid powered cars. 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. View full article
  16. William Maley Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com August 13, 2012 Chrysler hasn't been the strongest proponent of electric vehicles since it has been together with Fiat. "You're not looking at a guy who's as scared as the rest of them. I'm not scared, I just won't do it. I just will not do it. I think we're smoking illegal materials if we think we're going to make those [profitably]," said Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a interview with Automobile Magazine back in July. This might be an odd thing to say since Fiat is working on a 500 EV that will go into production later this year. However, Marchionne has been on record saying the 500 EV will lose money and is a "compliance car", a vehicle that will meet requirements for sales of a certain number of zero-emission vehicles in the state of California. However it seems Chrysler is taking some small steps off this belief. “We do believe in electrification, sparingly and for the right kinds of targeted applications. We’re developing technology for commercialization, preparing for the shift when consumers start pulling them into the marketplace,” said Chrysler's vice president and head of engineering for engine and electrified propulsion Bob Lee this past week at the Center for Automotive Research conference in Acme, Michigan. For the time being, Chrysler will put more focus on diesel, CNG, hybrid powered cars. 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.
  17. Do you remember the Volkswagen Kübelwagen? You might know it better as the Thing sold in 1970s. Volkswagen could be bringing it back as an electric vehicle. Speaking with Car and Driver, Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess said the upcoming MEB (Modular Electrification Toolkit) architecture might be the perfect platform to bring back some of the company's iconic vehicles like the Thing. “MEB is flexible—rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive—and we have so many emotional concepts. I don’t know if you remember the Kübelwagen. This Thing is a nice car. Then there are all the buggies, the kit cars. We have the bus. We have the various derivatives of the bus. We have so many exciting concepts in our history that we don’t have to do a Beetle,” said Diess. This possible idea isn't that all surprising as Volkswagen as the I.D. Buzz was inspired by the Microbus. Speaking of the Beetle, Car and Driver asked if there will be a replacement for this model. As we have reported previously, the Beetle could be canned due to poor sales. “No decision yet. The next decision on the electric cars will be, ‘What kind of emotional concepts do we need?’ [A decision] might happen next year. This Beetle won’t go electric; the next one might, if there is a next one. We have a good chance on the electric side to do derivatives and emotional derivatives. It’s probably more efficient to do so than in [internal combustion] cars,” said Diess. “We could [build an electric Beetle], because it is rear-wheel drive, no grille. If we wanted to do a Beetle electrically, it would be much better than the current car. Much closer to the history of the Beetle. [But] I think the Microbus is a much better emotional concept for the brand than the Beetle. If you go to California, everybody would say it’s the bus.” Source: Car and Driver View full article
  18. William Maley

    Thing Could Make A Return to Volkswagen

    Do you remember the Volkswagen Kübelwagen? You might know it better as the Thing sold in 1970s. Volkswagen could be bringing it back as an electric vehicle. Speaking with Car and Driver, Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess said the upcoming MEB (Modular Electrification Toolkit) architecture might be the perfect platform to bring back some of the company's iconic vehicles like the Thing. “MEB is flexible—rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive—and we have so many emotional concepts. I don’t know if you remember the Kübelwagen. This Thing is a nice car. Then there are all the buggies, the kit cars. We have the bus. We have the various derivatives of the bus. We have so many exciting concepts in our history that we don’t have to do a Beetle,” said Diess. This possible idea isn't that all surprising as Volkswagen as the I.D. Buzz was inspired by the Microbus. Speaking of the Beetle, Car and Driver asked if there will be a replacement for this model. As we have reported previously, the Beetle could be canned due to poor sales. “No decision yet. The next decision on the electric cars will be, ‘What kind of emotional concepts do we need?’ [A decision] might happen next year. This Beetle won’t go electric; the next one might, if there is a next one. We have a good chance on the electric side to do derivatives and emotional derivatives. It’s probably more efficient to do so than in [internal combustion] cars,” said Diess. “We could [build an electric Beetle], because it is rear-wheel drive, no grille. If we wanted to do a Beetle electrically, it would be much better than the current car. Much closer to the history of the Beetle. [But] I think the Microbus is a much better emotional concept for the brand than the Beetle. If you go to California, everybody would say it’s the bus.” Source: Car and Driver
  19. FAPTurbo

    Review - 2014 FIAT 500e

    FIAT's 500e is an odd vehicle, in that it's one of the industry's better EV efforts and yet it's publicly loathed by FIAT's own CEO. Though sold only in California and Oregon, a number of 500e's are coming off lease, needing new homes. Unlike many Americans in late 2016 who swore they'd move to Canada, FIAT 500e's are actually following through on those plans, aware of Canada's love of cheap and cheerful compacts. Juicy Jolt A couple diminutive expats ended up at a nearby lot, one of which was a bright, juicy orange with a white accented spoiler, air dam and mirrors. Despite being a fairly old vehicle, this colour combination is akin to a Scaramucci-esque botox and bake, turning this familiar 10 year old design into a charismatic creamsicle-coloured cherub. Though a dated interior, the 500e's cream white dash and matching faux-leather seats spruce the space up enough to take eyes off of the hard plastics. Orange accents on the doors and the seating add a playful, premium flair, albeit once your hand's drawn to them, do you realize this is still an economy car. Buttons and dials are close at hand and easy to use, and felt relatively satisfying to press, save for the one blank 'dead' button below the climate controls. I wish companies would make the effort to turn dead buttons into something, even if it's redundant functionality. A single digital display occupies the gauge pod, providing easy to read speed, mileage and remaining power information. Like some other electrics and hybrids, the 500e provides feedback on your driving; green for being energy efficient, red for not. It's not as gamified as Ford's use of green leaves in their system but it works well enough. Using manual controls, finding a comfortable seating position for my 6'3 frame was easy, with legroom to spare. The seats didn't feel as if I'd slid into a penalty box, and I felt well supported. Aside from the chunky B-pillars, the seats provided a commanding view of the road, moreso than some other cars I've driven in this class. Rear space is adequate for a grocery run, and with the seats folded down, the 500e is surprisingly spacious. The Cinquecento With Zip Upon starting the vehicle, an other-worldly digital screech pierced the cabin for over three seconds and my nightmares forever. The sound was similar to someone holding a microphone near a speaker. This apparently was an issue with the head-unit which the dealer promised would be fixed. However, upon looking through some paperwork, it seems attempts to fix the issue had taken place by the prior dealer. Having something like this happen on a fairly new car speaks volumes about FIAT's quality. But after you hit 'D' on the centre console and hit the road, the 500e's gremlins took a back seat in what is a genuinely fun runabout. Acceleration from 0 - 50km/h is brisk, and I found myself taking the right lane at red lights to get the jump on everyone else. While nowhere as visceral as a Tesla's take-off, the FIAT springs forward with just enough brio to put a cheeky smirk on your face, not unlike the one you had when you drove a go-kart for the first time. Dancing through traffic is a breeze with the 500e's instant torque and diminutive proportions. Zipping in and out of lanes, and around city corners is good fun, despite the hard, mileage-oriented tires and extra 600 lbs from the batteries, as well as the large B-pillar on the left side which creates a sizeable blind spot. The 500e's steering is engaging enough for most of us, and the car would likely be an entertaining cliffside drive alternative to its Abarth cousin. Parking the FIAT is simple, with it's small stature and included sensors making it easy to whip in and out of stalls, and in-between cars, even with the blind sports impeding vision. Best of all, the 500e's driver likely won't have to hunt for a spot very long, with plenty of EV-specific stalls in parkades. With about 150 kilometers of range, the 500e's is suitable for the average Canadian commute of 17km to work. (Insert Stereotypical Italian Phrase Here) I didn't have an opportunity to take the 500e on the freeway, nor charge it. Range is a respectable 150km, which is competitive considering a current-year base model Nissan Leaf and standard Smart Electric clock in at 135km and 160km respectively, while the FIAT offers arguably more spirited handling and panache. At used prices hovering around $15,000 CAD and fairly low mileages, the 500e makes a great deal of sense as a primary car for people living in or adjacent to a city. I have two major concerns: First, is that FIAT's battery warranty is not applicable in Canada. This means that owners will have to pay out of pocket in the event of issues. Dealers are being fairly up-front about this, however some of their ads promise 'free powertrain warranty' or 'free lifetime engine warranty,' which don't apply to the battery system and while likely from a template, are dubious. Second of course, is FIAT's own reliability track record, which reinforces my first concern.
  20. Volvo stunned the world last Wednesday when they announced beginning in 2019, they would begin to phase out gas only vehicles and replacing them with hybrid and electric models. The company claims this strategy heralds "a new chapter in automotive history". This move is an about-face for the Swedish automaker. Previously, the company said electric vehicles didn't make a great business case. But there is more to this decision than meets the eye. Automotive News reports that a key reason for Volvo's electrification plans comes down to the increasing regulation on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in three key markets; Europe, China, and U.S. Tim Urquhart, principal analyst at IHS Markit tells AN that Volvo would struggle to meet the tougher targets on their larger vehicle without some sort of electrification. "They've looked at the targets, and thought, we need to take serious action." Another reason comes in part from the fallout of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. Automakers in Europe were using diesel engines as they produced 15 to 20 percent less CO2 emissions. But the backlash against diesel after the scandal has caused buyers to look elsewhere. In Germany for example, sales of diesel vehicles dropped to 39 percent in June - this figure was almost 50 percent the same time last year. "Diesel was their main weapon of choice to hit these regulations. Now they have to come up with a plan B," said Matthias Schmidt, automotive market analyst for AID. According to data from AID, 83 percent Volvo's 2016 sales in Europe were comprised of diesels. This is high when compared to BMW (73 percent), Mercedes-Benz (73 percent), and Audi (68 percent). Only Land Rover (96 percent) and Jaguar (84 percent) were higher. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  21. Volvo stunned the world last Wednesday when they announced beginning in 2019, they would begin to phase out gas only vehicles and replacing them with hybrid and electric models. The company claims this strategy heralds "a new chapter in automotive history". This move is an about-face for the Swedish automaker. Previously, the company said electric vehicles didn't make a great business case. But there is more to this decision than meets the eye. Automotive News reports that a key reason for Volvo's electrification plans comes down to the increasing regulation on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in three key markets; Europe, China, and U.S. Tim Urquhart, principal analyst at IHS Markit tells AN that Volvo would struggle to meet the tougher targets on their larger vehicle without some sort of electrification. "They've looked at the targets, and thought, we need to take serious action." Another reason comes in part from the fallout of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal. Automakers in Europe were using diesel engines as they produced 15 to 20 percent less CO2 emissions. But the backlash against diesel after the scandal has caused buyers to look elsewhere. In Germany for example, sales of diesel vehicles dropped to 39 percent in June - this figure was almost 50 percent the same time last year. "Diesel was their main weapon of choice to hit these regulations. Now they have to come up with a plan B," said Matthias Schmidt, automotive market analyst for AID. According to data from AID, 83 percent Volvo's 2016 sales in Europe were comprised of diesels. This is high when compared to BMW (73 percent), Mercedes-Benz (73 percent), and Audi (68 percent). Only Land Rover (96 percent) and Jaguar (84 percent) were higher. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required) View full article
  22. It is no secret that German automakers are busy developing vehicles to challenge the Tesla Model S and X. But there has been barely a peep about something to take on the Model 3. But that is changing according to a report from Germany’s Handelsblatt. Sources at BMW tell the publication that the company will be showing off a 3-Series electric at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year. The model is said to have a range of 248 miles (400 km) and will directly compete against the upcoming Model 3. BMW declined to comment on this report. The report doesn't say if this new electric will be based on the current or next 3-Series. Our hunch is that it will be the next-generation as it will be making its debut sometime next year. The model that could be shown at Frankfurt could be a concept to give us some idea of what BMW has planned. Nevertheless, we will be keeping a close watch on this story. Source: Handelsblatt (Subscription Required)
  23. It is no secret that German automakers are busy developing vehicles to challenge the Tesla Model S and X. But there has been barely a peep about something to take on the Model 3. But that is changing according to a report from Germany’s Handelsblatt. Sources at BMW tell the publication that the company will be showing off a 3-Series electric at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year. The model is said to have a range of 248 miles (400 km) and will directly compete against the upcoming Model 3. BMW declined to comment on this report. The report doesn't say if this new electric will be based on the current or next 3-Series. Our hunch is that it will be the next-generation as it will be making its debut sometime next year. The model that could be shown at Frankfurt could be a concept to give us some idea of what BMW has planned. Nevertheless, we will be keeping a close watch on this story. Source: Handelsblatt (Subscription Required) View full article
  24. G. David Felt - Staff Writer Alternative Energy - www.cheersandgears.com China’s Influence on GM, EVs, and Others! We saw just at the end of 2016 Toyota saying they would build a team to focus on EVs. This being a complete reversal of their pledge in 2013 to focus on Hydrogen as the practical alternative to traditional ICE autos. Toyota will have a long range EV auto out on the market for the 2020 auto year. Being that 2019 is when you're 2020 autos will start selling, this puts Toyota 4 years behind GM's Chevrolet BOLT EV. What would cause this change to happen? China is what has happened. China started to push the global auto industry by stating that 8 percent of auto sales in 2018 be each vendor has to be EV or plug-in hybrid. 10 percent is the number for 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. Toyota one would think should be fine with their Prius line of Hybrids until you realize that China has stated all hybrids such as the Prius, Volt and others built outside of China are considered ICE autos. Currently the only Hybrid being built in China that is a legal hybrid is the Cadillac CT6 plugin hybrid. Toyota is planning to start selling a plugin hybrid in China in 2018 as a 2019 model. So we are seeing that Toyota is being forced to get over their EV allergy and come up with a real plan to have a global EV on the market in 2019 as a 2020 model year. Daimler has a large EV roll out planned for the global market by 2021. VW has stated they will have multiple EVs rolled out around 2019 through 2021. So has BMW, Audi, etc. So where does that leave GM? What is GMs strategy now that China is flexing their muscle and setting some big standards for an auto company to play in their backyard? We have the Cadillac CT6 plugin hybrid. Chevrolet BOLT EV able to be exported to China. GM announced that they will start building a China market Chevrolet Volt as they start to push the Chevrolet brand in China next year. GM has also announced a Buick Velite 5 Hybrid for the Chinese market starting at 265,800 yuan or about $38,600 US. This will have a 72 mile pure electric mode before the generator kicks in giving it a 480 mile range. EVs in China are exempt from sales tax and license plate quotas. According to Fox Business news, Buick sold 1 million autos in China for calendar year 2016 rising to the number two auto brand sold behind Volkswagen. They also go onto say that Chevrolet has been selling legacy models only up till now and GM has announced 20 new models for China by 2020 the first being a China version of the Chevrolet Equinox. GM says China is demanding the same models they have in the US and as such, China and the US will be more aligned to have identical models. GMs China business is stated to have produced $2 billion in income last year. China clearly helping GM to sell 10 million cars in 2016 globally. How important is the China Market to GM? In the Month of January Cadillac sold 10,298 autos in the US. Cadillac sold 18,000 in China for the month of January. Clearly China will continue to take on a bigger and bigger role in GM’s ongoing growth. So where does that leave GM in regards to EVs, auto production, etc.? Reuters points to a story they did back in January 2016 where CEO Mary Barra stated that they could build the dies used to stamp the auto parts in china for 20 to 40 percent less than in Europe or the US. Dies will start to be built and shipped out worldwide from China. Clearly this would tend to show that GM will be affected by the China market more and more. So this brings me back to my original question of what is GMs plan for their EV strategy. We have seen and heard so much about the competition and yet with GM this seems to be a black hole. Knowing that GM sold about 1.5 million auto’s last year in China and now for next year 10 percent will have to be EV / Plugin Hybrids, that means 150,000 of these auto’s. For Volkswagen, this is an even bigger number since they are number 1 in the market and have no EV or hybrid that I am aware of. All Auto companies who do not have a specific plugin hybrid built in china or EV to import into China is going to find selling auto’s to be very difficult. References Reuters story AP story Fox Business Story CNN Money Story Motley Fool Story Reuters 2016 story
  25. Up until now, the Honda Clarity has only been able as a hydrogen fuel cell only sold in California since they have the infrastructure. But today at the New York Auto Show has expanded the Clarity lineup with the introduction of electric and plug-in hybrid variants. We'll begin with the Clarity Electric which comes with 120-kW electric motor delivering 161 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. A 25.5-kWh battery pack provides the juice and can be recharged within three hours when plugged into a 240V outlet. As we reported previously and has since been confirmed by Honda, the Clarity EV will have a range of around 80 miles. Next is the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid that uses a more powerful electric motor (181 horsepower electric motor producing 232 pound-feet of torque) and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack. A 1.5L Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder acts a range extender and direct power source (under certain conditions). Honda says the Plug-In can travel 42 miles on EV power alone. With the 1.5L engine, total range stands at 330 miles. Both Clarity models will be available later this year. The electric variant will only be available in California and Oregon as a lease-only program. Source: Honda Press Release is on Page 2 Honda Electrified! Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric Unveiled at 2017 New York International Auto Show Apr 12, 2017 - NEW YORK CITY "3-in-1" Clarity series provides unparalleled electric drive choice with premium midsize sedan capability and three advanced electrified powertrain options Plug-in Hybrid anticipated to earn 42-mile EV driving range rating and 330-mile extended range rating Honda targets five-fold increase in sales of electrified vehicles in next four years Honda today revealed its all-new Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Clarity Electric alongside the already available Clarity Fuel Cell, saying it will target U.S. sales of 75,000 Clarity vehicles in the first four model years. The Clarity series will contribute to an anticipated five-fold increase in Honda's U.S. sales of electrified vehicles over the next four years as the company works toward its target that two-thirds of its global automobile sales will come from electrified vehicles by 2030. The two all-new electrified Honda vehicles will join the Clarity Fuel Cell, launched in December 2016, to make Clarity the first ever vehicle series offering customers an expanded array of electrified vehicle choices with fuel cell, battery electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains wrapped in a sophisticated, spacious and comprehensively equipped five-passenger sedan. "The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., at the company's auto show press conference. "The Clarity series also heralds the advancement of our Honda Electrification Initiative, representing our investment in the full spectrum of electric-vehicle technologies." "Electrification is the future of mobility and the future of Honda, and it all starts now with this new Clarity series," added Steve Center, vice president of the Connected and Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda. Honda Clarity Series As the next progression of Honda's dynamic styling for electrified products, each Clarity variant has a low, wide aerodynamic body with unique design elements, including its own special hero color, and differentiated front styling, headlights, tail lamps and 18-inch alloy wheel designs. Combined with elegant and advanced exterior styling, each Clarity series vehicle has a spacious interior with comfortable seating for five adults, outfitted with premium, environmentally responsible materials. Offering Honda's "fun-to-drive" DNA, each Clarity variant provides a smooth, quiet and highly refined driving experience, aided by the smooth and seamless character of electric drive torque and acceleration. The Clarity series also features advanced technologies, including Display Audio with Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™, and the full suite of HONDA SENSING™ safety and driver-assistive technologies. With three different powertrains and luxury packaging, the Clarity series has wide appeal. This shared "3-in-1" platform strategy will enable Honda to respond to infrastructure and market developments, provide customers nationwide with an ultra-low carbon vehicle that meets their lifestyle needs, and takes Honda toward higher volume sales of advanced powertrain products that will help reduce CO2 emissions. The Clarity series is at the vanguard of Honda's commitment to address society's energy and environmental concerns as the company expects significant growth in sales of efficient, lower CO2 electrified vehicles. Honda has previously announced plans to introduce a dedicated new hybrid car to the U.S. market in 2018. The new Honda hybrid car will be made in America. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching at dealerships nationwide later this year, is anticipated to earn an all-electric driving range rating of 42 miles1, the longest of any midsize plug-in hybrid. For longer trips, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid can utilize its hyper-efficient 1.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine to generate electricity and, under certain conditions, to act as a direct power source, resulting in an anticipated overall driving range rating in excess of 330 miles1. The vehicle's electromotive power comes from a 181-horsepower electric motor producing 232 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from both the gasoline engine and a 17-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery pack with a recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid is anticipated to earn an EPA fuel economy rating of 105 MPGe1 (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent) combined, at the top of its class. The Clarity Plug-in Hybrid features three selectable modes – Normal, Econ and Sport – allowing drivers to customize their experience, maximizing efficiency or driving performance. A fourth mode – HV mode – is provided to maintain the battery's state of charge and can be selected in conjunction with Normal, Econ and Sport driving modes. As the sales volume leader in the Clarity lineup, the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid will be offered in two premium-contented trims, standard and Touring. Honda Clarity Electric The 2017 Honda Clarity Electric is geared toward consumers who desire a spacious, comfortable and affordable sedan that suits their daily driving needs. The Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower (120-kilowatt) electric motor producing 221 lb.-ft. of torque and drawing power from a 25.5-kWh battery pack. The vehicle can by fully charged in just over three hours at 240 volts, and when using DC fast charging with the SAE Combined Charging System can achieve an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes. The model is anticipated to have an anticipated EPA fuel economy rating of 120/102/111 MPGe (city/highway/combined)2. Like the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, the Clarity Electric features three selectable driving modes – Normal, Econ and Sport. The Clarity Electric will launch later this year, starting with an attractive lease program in California and Oregon. Honda Clarity Fuel Cell Honda views fuel cells as the ultimate zero-emissions vehicle technology and the Clarity Fuel Cell offers green early adopters the latest technology to be on the forefront of "what's next." Honda began deliveries of the 2017 Clarity Fuel Cell in December 2016 in select California markets, where a consumer friendly network of hydrogen stations continues to grow, and has already delivered more than 100 vehicles. Technological innovations to the Clarity Fuel Cell have created a fuel cell stack that is 33 percent more compact with a 60 percent increase in power density compared to its predecessor, the Honda FCX Clarity. The more compact fuel cell and integrated powertrain, now comparable in size to a V-6 engine, fits entirely under the hood of the car, allowing for a more spacious cabin with seating for five passengers. At 366 miles, the Clarity Fuel Cell has the highest EPA driving range rating of any zero-emission vehicle in America, including fuel cell and battery electric vehicles, and an EPA fuel economy rating of 68 MPGe3 combined. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available for the competitive introductory lease price of $369 a month for 36 months with $2,868 due at signing4. The lease terms include an attractive mileage allowance of 20,000 miles per year, up to $15,000 of hydrogen fuel, up to 21 days of an Avis Luxury Rental in California, 24/7 roadside assistance, and eligibility for California "White Sticker" single occupant HOV access. Lessees can also apply for the State of California $5,000 rebate5. The Clarity Fuel Cell is available in three colors: Bordeaux Red Metallic, White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl. View full article

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