TTAC News Roundup: Mini Goes Electric, Audi SUV Gains a Watered-Down Name, Unifor Tangles With Ford, and Musk Delays Big News

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
ttac news roundup mini goes electric audi suv gains a watered down name unifor

Mini has revealed what form its new hybrid will take.

That, the e-tron name lives on in Audi’s first dedicated electric SUV, Unifor squares off with Ford, and hype man Elon Musk reschedules his alleged big announcement … after the break!

Plug-in Mini Countryman confirmed for 2017, full EV follows

Capable of driving 25 miles solely on electric power, Mini’s Countryman will be the first hybrid vehicle offered by the company. BMW Group released photos of a lightly disguised Countryman being gleefully tested by Mini executives Sebastian Mackensen and Peter Wolf.

The press release offered few specifics regarding the vehicle’s drivetrain, claiming the electric motor will power the rear wheels while an internal combustion engine powers the front. Developed alongside the European BMW 225xe, it is expected to use the same powertrain. The 225xe combines a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder motor with a rear-mounted electric mill, making for through-the-road all-wheel drive.

Mini did not confirm a launch date for the plug-in hybrid, but it is expected to make an appearance at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show next month. BMW executives also confirmed that Mini will be launching an all-electric vehicle in 2019.

Audi gives the e-tron moniker to fully electric SUV

Due for production in 2018, Audi’s electric sport utility vehicle will simply be known as the “e-tron,” Audi CEO Rupert Stadler tells Britain’s Autocar. Stadler says the e-tron name is intended to evoke the quattro name used on the company’s iconic all-wheel drive model. Passed down from the now-defunct R8 e-tron to the A3 Sportback e-tron, the name will continue to identify electrified powertrains in other Audi models.

The e-tron SUV will likely be the first of many electric vehicles from Audi. The automaker has said it expects electric cars to comprise 25-percent of its U.S. sales by 2025. The decision to focus on EVs revolves around stricter emissions standards and fierce competition from other German manufacturers.

A e-tron quattro concept debuted in Frankfurt last year, with three electric motors producing a combined 430 horsepower and a tested range of around 300 miles. How much of concept’s hardware will be passed down to the production model is unknown.

Unifor-Ford talks begin on rocky ground

Canadian Detroit Three autoworkers union Unifor begins bargaining with Ford today after 70 percent of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Canadian workers agreed to a new contract on Sunday.

Similar to the contract the union reached with GM Canada in September, the deal includes wage increases, a move to a defined-contribution benefit plans for new employees, and more than $330 million (CAD) in plant investments.

Unifor’s negotiations with Ford aim to secure product investments at two engine plants in Windsor, Ontario, that produce motors for the Mustang and hugely important F-150.

However, the negotiations have already hit a snag with union opposition from Oakville, Ontario. According to the Windsor Star, Dave Thomas, president of Unifor Local 707, has informed both Ford and Unifor’s national leadership that his members will not vote to approve any deal similar to the GM agreement.

Thomas claims workers at the plant have said they want a more generous deal. “The framework that GM has set forward won’t ratify in Oakville,” Thomas told the Star. “My members have huge concerns.”

The GM and FCA contracts contain a $6,000 signing bonus, offer legacy workers a 4 percent raise over the life of the deal, and delivers wage increases to new hires under the 10-year grow-in period. The previous period saw a three-year wage freeze.

Elon Musk announces a delay for an announcement

Earlier in the month, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would be presenting a new product today. But last night Musk tweeted that the company was delaying the product announcement until Wednesday.

“Needs a few more days of refinement,” he explained while obnoxiously providing no additional details.

Musk seems to love teasing things on Twitter before it’s actually news, so none of this is really surprising. Occasionally, he gives up some actual information, like how Tesla plans to unveil a solar roof product for buildings at an October 28 event in San Francisco.

[Images: BMW Group; Audi AG; Ford Motor Company; Brian Soli/ Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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2 of 13 comments
  • Whitworth Whitworth on Oct 18, 2016

    Tesla really doesn't have a convincing case once the other automakers no longer need to buy their mileage credits. When even Mini is getting in on the game, I think this once very profitable (silly) part of their business will cease to exist as every automaker will eventually no longer need to "buy" from tesla.

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Oct 18, 2016

    Are we supposed to run around tearfully happy at a Mini that can run a whole, astounding 25 miles on e-power? Put a zero after that and try again next year!

  • SCE to AUX The diesel isn't that compelling compared to the 2.7T, when you consider the 50% fuel cost premium and the need for DEF.But regularly towing 9500 lbs with a 4-cylinder (even a low-stress one like this) seems to be overdoing it. I'd get the 4 for lighter duty, the diesel for medium duty, and one of the 8s for heavy duty.
  • Analoggrotto Over the years GM has shown a keen interest in focusing their attention and development money on large, expensive or specialized vehicles and little to no progress in developing something excellent to complete with such class leaders as : Camry, Telluride, Civic, CR-V, Highlander, Accord, or even ho hum Corolla. And this is the way class division works in the heartland/rustbelt: pretend to care for the common man but cater the public resources to additional security and comfort for the upper echelons of society. GM is Elitist American Communism.
  • Art Vandelay Current Fiesta ST
  • Jeff S Buick Lacrosse and Chevy Montana compact pickup.
  • SCE to AUX Demand isn't the problem; expenses and cash are. With under $4 billion cash on hand, the whole thing could sink quickly. Lucid has a 'now' problem.In contrast, Rivian has $12 billion cash on hand and has moved a lot more vehicles, but they are pretty extended by building a second plant. Rivian has a 'tomorrow' problem.Going up the food chain, Tesla has $22 billion cash on hand plus positive margins. No problems there.