Either those fan-type objects are meant to exhaust vape clouds from the cabin (pods?), or the upcoming concept vehicle from Mitsubishi will need clearance from the FAA to visit grandma’s house. Are they speakers? Will drivers of this wildly unlikely production candidate create impromptu block parties wherever they go?
Mitsubishi isn’t saying. All we know is that the concept, bound for next month’s Tokyo Motor Show, is a plug-in hybrid, not unlike the Outlander PHEV. Interestingly, Mitsubishi opted to spell out the PHEV acronym, making the vehicle seem more futuristic than it actually is.
The second-generation Volvo XC90 announced the brand’s confident and triumphant return to the forefront of automotive discourse. With its parental troubles behind it, the 2015 model year XC90 arrived with dignified, upscale sheetmetal and served as a styling template for future models like the S90 and XC60.
It also heralded the brand’s move towards downsized powerplants assisted by electric motors.
The company’s CEO, Hakan Samuelsson, sees a not-too-distant future where plug-in hybrids make up a quarter of its sales — an attainable goal on a global scale, given China and Europe’s fondness for such models. In the United States, though, Volvo’s plug-in XC90 — lately, anyway — seems to be headed in the opposite sales direction as its plug-free model. Slightly odd, as plug-in hybrids are ascendent in America.
The first-generation Honda Insight was a rare false-start for the company, marketed as a hatchback that had more doors than seats (three and two, respectively). Its atomic-egg styling enveloped a 67 horsepower 1.0-liter gasoline engine paired to a 10kW electric motor. The second-gen model, a more conventional car in terms of its styling and capacity, also fell a bit flat compared to the segment-leading Prius.
Honda’s betting the third time’s the charm, kicking off the mass production start of the all-new 2019 Honda Insight today at its plant in Indiana. Will this Insight electrify buyers or fizzle out? At first glance, it would at least appear they’ve got the styling right this time. Not everyone wants to shout that they’re driving a hybrid.
Automakers perpetually talk about the future. They have to. As manufacturers, their entire business model revolves around bringing newer, better, and more desirable products to the market. Over the past few years, that has meant championing electric and autonomous vehicles — regardless of whether their consumer base (or the technology) is ready or not.
Nissan is no different in this regard, though it does appear to be taking a comparatively measured approach. Mercedes-Benz says it’ll have an electrified version of all of its models by 2022, Volvo promises to start doing the same by 2019, and Volkswagen Group wants 80 new electric vehicles across all of its brands by 2025. Meanwhile, Nissan is only shooting for eight new EVs by 2022.
That’s not to suggest the company won’t still blaze a trail for new powertrains, though. The strategy may just be a simple matter of not wanting to over-promise. As the company behind the the Leaf, Nissan is well aware of the benefits and pitfalls of a globally marketed electric car. However, its overall sales goal of 1 million electrified vehicles per year by 2022 remains ambitious and hinges on a market more eager for plug-in vehicles than it is today.
BMW Group has signed with Great Wall Motors to produce Mini-branded vehicles in China. This is the German automotive group’s second joint venture in the region and will not affect its current alliance with Brilliance Auto — which builds BMW models specifically equipped to appeal to the Chinese market.
The same will be true for the Mini deal with Great Wall, as the entirety of the production line will be electric vehicles. While the main reason for this is to ensure BMW hits its government-imposed quota for EVs, Great Wall said the venture would help it meet the needs of Chinese consumers and tap into the new energy vehicle market both home and abroad.
Mini has said a production version of the Mini Electric Concept won’t happen until November of 2019, but there’s been buzz that the automaker may seek widespread electrification after that. Interestingly, Chinese Minis will use a new platform developed by the joint venture, rather than rely on whatever architecture the Western-built EV adheres to. That’s two separate plug-in product lines. Will EV exclusivity be the future of the brand?
We drove the new 2018 Nissan Leaf in California earlier this month, finding it to be an effective foil to the Prius Primes and Chevy Bolts of the world. With far more mainstream styling than its predecessor, the Leaf stands a good chance of hooking customers who would have never considered the old model.
Now, we’ve learned the company will bring a Leaf GT concept to the Tokyo Auto Salon in early January, a Japanese event most easily described as a fantastic mashup of CES and SEMA.
General Motors doesn’t want it gone, highly indebted Tesla certainly doesn’t want it gone, but House and Senate Republicans would love to see the $7,500 EV tax credit die a quick death. In a sweeping tax proposal introduced last week, the credit’s nowhere to be seen.
The problem, according to many green car and auto industry proponents, is that the U.S. EV market would quickly join the tax credit in going belly-up. There’s a movement afoot to save the incentive (and the fledgling market along with it).
Assuming the credit goes the way of disco (and state-level incentives aside), electric cars would be forced to stand on their own environmental merit. It’s something free-market capitalists would love to see, but would it really spell doom for the segment? That depends on who you ask. But it might be helpful to take a look at where the segment stands right now.
Ford plans to offer an aftermarket device that will give older models access to new technology like remote start, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and smartphone alerts.
According to the automaker, Ford SmartLink will plug in to the OBD-II port of 2010-2016 model year Ford and Lincoln cars, allowing access to remote start, lock, and unlock, Wi-Fi access for up to eight devices, and smartphone alerts for vehicle health, security, and location.
With Porsche’s four-door sedan looking less and less like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Paris Motor Show will see Porsche unveil the fourth model in the Panamera line: a plug-in E-Hybrid with all-wheel drive and an electric range of 31 miles (that’s 50 kilometres for the rest of us).
More than just a luxury sportscar with green overtones, Porsche’s new plug-in packs a grab-bag of technology that other Volkswagen Group brands will want to get their hands on.
BMW has the plug-in sedan you want, no waiting.
That’s the message in Bimmer’s new ad for the 330e plug-in hybrid, which takes a not very subtle jab at would-be Tesla Model 3 buyers. Titled “Wait or Drive” (get it?), the television commercial plays the tiniest of violins for the 373,000 buyers who put $1,000 down on a car they might not see for a couple of years.
Rarer than an albino squirrel, the slow-selling Cadillac ELR was apparently shuffled into the afterlife three months ago.
Cadillac confirmed to Automotive News that the Chevrolet Volt-based luxury coupe ended production at GM’s Hamtramck facility earlier this year, with remaining units now dwindling from dealer lots.
Tell this news to any random person on the street, and you’ll very likely hear back, “What’s a Cadillac ELR?”
“I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but EVs are great,” John Beltz Snyder boldly writes in the opening sentence of Autoblog’s “ More research shows why EVs are awesome” article.
For more than 15 years, when not writing about cars, I’ve worked in the public transportation sector. With the exception of the two years I spent as an automotive test engineer, I’ve worked on bus and rail projects in engineering and managerial roles.
Mr. Synder, Autoblog’s resident electric-car guru, states a study published by the Indian Institute of Science shows how much money electric buses save over conventional diesel buses. He continues, in a somewhat non sequitur way, to claim that “switching to an EV is about as big of a difference a single individual can make without giving up driving altogether.”
Needless to say, the Autoblog article, and the study it referenced, is of great interest to me. Unfortunately, it misses the benchmark of the cavalierly claimed awesomeness.
BMW Group is laying out its game plan for the future, and it includes a lot of new electric vehicles.
Beyond the marketing buzzwords, there’s much similarity between BMW’s plan, released yesterday, and those of so many other automakers: building high-tech convenience and connectivity into their vehicles, diversifying their electric offerings, developing autonomous driving technology, and making the customer feel extra special.
The immediate effect on BMW’s rolling stock will be an expanded “i” range of all-electric or plug-in hybrid models, starting with a convertible version of the i8 and a longer-ranged version of the i3 by the end of this year.