Tag: BEVs

By on February 20, 2019

Volkswagen walked journalists through its much-hyped electrification strategy at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, giving the automotive media a preview of the automaker’s plans.

MEB, which is an acronym for the German Modularer Elektrobaukasten, is the platform underpinning the company’s push from internal-combustion engines to electrified vehicles. The company intends to roll out 50 battery-electric vehicles and 30 plug-in hybrids across Volkswagen Auto Group’s 12 global brands between this year and 2025 as part of a larger strategy to field 300 electrified vehicle models across the dozen brands by 2030.

That’s obviously an aggressive strategy — one requiring a closer look.

(Read More…)

By on October 17, 2018

Jaguar has delivered its first I-Pace electric crossover in North America, a little ahead of next month’s retail sales, to a picture-perfect family living in Florida. Who are these fortunate environmentalists? None other than Lakewood Ranch residents Mark and Holly Pascarella, according to Jaguar Land Rover’s Tuesday press release and the multitude of auto outlets that reported it as news without commentary.

“When you have a family of five you always need space, so we were looking for an SUV,” explained Mr. Pascarella. “We’ve always had a seven-passenger SUV, but one of my daughters just went off to college, so now a five-passenger SUV will be large enough. When I looked at the I-PACE I could see that it was a typical first-class product made by Jaguar, with top of the line appointments and great looks. It doesn’t look like a typical SUV, and on top of that, being electric was very appealing.”

Based on Mark’s very natural and clearly unprompted manner of speaking, it certainly sounds like the perfect automotive product for families living in a city with an average household income of $100,991 — which, coincidentally, is exactly the case in Lakewood Range, Florida. Plus, it has that coveted electric appeal, allowing you to indicate you’re environmentally conscious when you aren’t firing up your other Jaguar’s 5.0-liter V8 every morning.  (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2018

While the electric revival of the Microbus is the star of Volkswagen’s ID sub-brand, we shouldn’t ignore the importance of the upcoming ID hatchback. On track to enter production next year, the Golf-sized hatchback boasts pretty impressive specs for an battery electric vehicle. It won’t be the fastest or most-exciting EV on the market, but VW claims it will be capable of 250 to 375 miles of electric range and offered at an attractive price.

It’s an EV for the masses and should serve as the tip of the spear for Volkswagen’s electric offensive, along with the Crozz crossover. However, the automaker says mass-market appeal doesn’t have to include mass-market styling. The production version of the ID Hatchback should look like the futuristic concept.  (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2018

Did you ever the the feeling that the Tesla Model S was just an S-Class for EV enthusiasts? Mercedes-Benz sure hopes so, because its CEO, the mustachioed Dieter Zetsche, recently let fly that the brand has a full-sized electric under development called the EQ S. While Mercedes’ core lineup will welcome all manner of hybrid and mild-hybrid powertrains in the years to come, Zetsche says the brand will also start building fully electric vehicles by way of its EQ line.

The EQ nameplate is something we’ve heard a lot about in the past, but its true purpose has yet to be defined by Daimler. Typically, we’ve only seen EQ badging added to concept vehicles promising electrification, with no additional details. But new claims from the CEO suggest the category may be reserved for models that use batteries as their only power source.  (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2018

BMW i3 and i8

BMW always hinted that the first round of electrified vehicles populating its i sub-brand were developed to dazzle consumers with tech and probe the market’s willingness for EVs. The company is now developing two new models for the group: the iNext crossover and i4 sedan. However, both vehicles are in the midst of development and are likely to take a while to get to market. Furthermore, the brand has said it will use modular architecture kits on all models for at least the next 10 years.

That leaves the i3 and i8 in a slightly awkward position. Launched in 2014, both cars will need to remain relevant over the next few years while BMW preps the next batch of EVs. But the automaker’s continued reliance on flexible platforms that can handle gasoline and/or electric drivetrains isn’t likely to bode well for them in the aftermath. As experiments, neither model is guaranteed to persist far into the 2020s —  at least not as we know them today.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2018

electrify-america-ev-charging-station, Electrify America

While fuel-cell technology is progressing in places like California and Japan, the rest of the world shrugged it off after the initial hype subsided. Since then, practically every automaker in existence has invested in battery technology and electrification. However, according to a recent survey, most auto executives secretly do not believe batteries will be the real breakthrough in electric mobility. Dealers feel the same way, but they’ve been less cagey on the matter.

Uh, what? Then why is everyone and their mother talking up plug-in cars and sweeping the fuel cell under the carpet?

Well, in addition to hydrogen having an abysmal fueling infrastructure almost everywhere, governments simply aren’t pushing it like battery power. Incentivizing plug-in cars has gone a long way to bolster the segment’s popularity and, with China mandating that a growing portion of all auto sales be battery-related, companies have to lean into what they already have. That said, many executives still seem to feel that hydrogen-powered cars have more to give the industry.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Its time to talk about why auto dealers are so unhappy about the electric revolution.  (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2018

nissan imx concept

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.  (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2018

tesla-model-3

Tesla temporarily stopped production of the Model 3. Considering everyone keeps wondering when the company will finally reach its first-quarter production target of 2,500 units per week, that’s big news. The Tesla faithful will, no doubt, consider the decision another incredibly shrewd move from the geniuses working within the company, while the opposition will claim it’s further proof that the firm isn’t capable of building cars at the scale it has promised.

Sticking with the facts, we knew Tesla had Gigafactory tooling waiting to be shipped from Germany at the start of February. However, the temporary shutdown occurred between February 20th and the 24th — a bit too early for the equipment to have made it stateside. The suspended production also took place at the main factory in Fremont, California, and not the Nevada-based Gigafactory. Model 3 vehicle registrations also dropped significantly in the days following the shutdown.  (Read More…)

By on March 11, 2018

Micro Mobility Systems recently strayed from producing electric scooters to build what is essentially a modern-take on the Isetta microcar called the Microlino. The Swiss firm has been bringing its enclosed quadricycle to the Geneva Motor Show since 2016, although this was the first year we’ve bothered to mention it. However, they haven’t abandoned the platform. Instead they’ve persisted, gradually approaching a point where they actually might grace public roads with the Microlino’s dainty carbon footprint.

It’s really tempting to root for little autos like this one. In addition to being adorable, they seem like the perfect solution for city dwellers who sometimes find the very idea of the traditional automobile mildly contemptible. Claims that they take up too much space or are energy inefficient can be countered with vehicles like the Microlino. Unfortunately, the odds of us ever seeing it in North America are slim. (Read More…)

By on March 6, 2018

Porsche appears to have it out for Tesla Motors. Having already shown its Mission E sedan as a potential rival for the Model S, the German automaker just spawned the Mission E Cross Turismo electric crossover concept for the Geneva Motor Show. Unveiled just a days after Jaguar’s I-Pace, it looks like Europe’s premium brands want a piece of the Model X’s reasonably small — but growing — hunk of the market.

In the United States, Tesla moved 18,028 Model X crossovers in 2016. That number climbed to 24,400 for 2017 and could be higher in 2018, thanks to increased output.

Unlike Jaguar’s I-Pace and Tesla’s Model X, the Mission E Cross Turismo is only a concept vehicle. However, Porsche has already made clear its intent to dive headfirst into the realm of battery-electric vehicles, claiming the crossover will eventually reach production.  (Read More…)

By on March 1, 2018

Jaguar I-Pace Hero

After two years of playing hard to get, Jaguar has finally revealed the production version of the I-Pace SUV. Actually, “revealed” may not be the best word to use, as it feels like we’ve already seen it.

The model looks so much like the earlier concept vehicle that most people wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart, even if they sat inside them. The only real difference is that the production Jag has a cushier-looking interior and a tad more ground clearance. Other than that, both vehicles are practically indistinguishable — even down to the flush door handles.

Despite the bewildering decision to name its non-electric compact luxury crossover the E-Pace and its larger, battery-driven brother the I-Pace, the automaker doesn’t appear to have done a bad job with either. While the E-Pace caters to those seeking a small-and-fancy “sport utility vehicle,” the I-Pace is for those seeing an alternative to Tesla’s Model X. (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2018

Hyundai Kona EV

Range anxiety remains the primary reason why most people don’t want to purchase an electric car. However, the overall recipe for today’s battery electric vehicles feels counter to what consumers are demanding. In the United States, all the top-selling electrics are whatever sedan or hatchback has a superior range. But, excluding the pricy Model X, there isn’t a single SUV or crossover among them (the Soul EV doesn’t count). Odd, considering that’s the body style most people are clamoring for right now.

That’s what makes Hyundai’s decision not to send the all-electric Kona immediately to North America a bit perplexing. We understand the brand probably feels some trepidation over sending another green car to the U.S. After all, the Ioniq could have performed better in its rookie year — despite being a totally serviceable alternative to Toyota’s Prius (as a hybrid) or Nissan’s Leaf (as a battery electric).

But the Kona EV has the potential to take the niche EV market by storm. Not only would it be the only electrified crossover that doesn’t require a lofty financial investment, it would also have an enviable range. More than enough to best the Chevrolet Bolt on a lengthy road trip, in fact. (Read More…)

By on February 23, 2018

mini electric concept

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?  (Read More…)

By on February 15, 2018

concept-i

It’s starting to feel like people in the automotive industry simply cannot help but blurt out ludicrous claims involving a hypothetical future nobody on the outside seems to care about. These people, in charge of the the automobile’s ultimate form, appear to be so singularly obsessed with the vague concept of “mobility” that they can’t imagine any other alternative.

This week’s example came from Simon Humphries, the new general manager of Toyota’s advanced R&D, who mused about a tomorrow that didn’t need mass-market models. However, we’re not satisfied to condemn the design chief. Media outlets deserve a share of the blame for promoting these concepts without much logical backing. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2018

2015 Porsche Mission E Concept Matthias Mueller - Image: Porsche

Porsche, the iconic performance nameplate diving ever deeper into luxury and electrification, once again finds itself incapable of withholding its excitement toward both. Company board member Detlev von Platen claims Porsche is seriously considering increasing the production capacity of its upcoming Mission E model beyond 20,000 annual units and electrifying the Macan crossover.

According to von Platen, initial customer inquiries into the Mission E has been so strong that the brand wants to make sure it can meet demand. Buying habits also give the automaker hope that its customer base is prepared to make the eventual switch from internal combustion to electrically-assisted engines.

“In Europe, around 60 percent of Panamera vehicles were delivered with a hybrid drivetrain,” von Platen said.  (Read More…)

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