By on February 22, 2019

Image: Volvo Cars

You wouldn’t know it, but that’s a heavily refreshed 2020 Volvo XC90 staring back at you from the header image. Good thing the grille still carries a Volvo badge.

Okay, the tweaks made to the SUV’s front fascia are milder than chain restaurant salsa, but the changes to the Swedish brand’s largest vehicle for 2020 are more than skin deep. For the upcoming model year, Volvo rolls out the first of its B-badged vehicles. What’s B? It signifies the presence of a kinetic energy recovery system designed to boost fuel economy by up to 15 percent. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2018

It isn’t a model, it’s simply a powertrain. After the recent announcement of the Niro Electric and earlier hybrid and plug-in hybrid applications, Kia’s ready to dial it way back for the masses.

The automaker has announced a 48-volt mild hybrid system that shouldn’t confuse unsavvy buyers, providing it never uses the word “hybrid” in their company. The system’s name? EcoDynamics +. (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2018

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Ti Sport - Image: FCA

We’re talking one of those 1950s Leave It To Beaver-type families, not those downsized 1980s-onward broods. Yes, the range-topping utility vehicle under development by Fiat Chrysler’s sporty Alfa Romeo division will likely boast three rows and seven seats, according to UK publication Autocar.

It’s far removed from the diminutive Alfas of yesteryear, such as the 2000 GT Veloce driven by the titular character in Shaft In Africa, but it’s necessary to seduce the space-hungry American market. It’s also just one of several new products expected to be announced by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne next month. (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2018

2018 Volkswagen Golf, Image: VW Group

Audi is bullish on 48-volt mild hybrids, and its Volkswagen sister division is no different in wanting to see larger batteries take some of the load off of its internal combustion powerplants.

The automaker announced Thursday that its upcoming eighth-generation Golf will offer a low-cost alternative to purely gas- or diesel-powered motoring. The mild hybrid system appearing on that vehicle, due next year as a 2020 model, will soon spread throughout the VW lineup, the automaker claims. (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 March 27, 2018

Regardless of where we think Volkswagen’s true strengths prevail, the company is dead set on electrification. Granted, much of this is the direct result of the diesel emissions fiasco. But it doesn’t appear to be solely interested in providing lip service to an angry public; it wants to build these cars and it really wants you to be excited about that.

The brand’s current lineup doesn’t include much in the way of electrics, e-Golf notwithstanding, but CEO Matthias Mueller has promised to unveil a new EV “virtually every month” as its multi-billion-dollar investments into new battery technologies and charging infrastructure begins to bear fruit. In the meantime, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing VW parade a steady stream of electric concept vehicles. Normally, these are part of Audi’s e-tron lineup or the VW’s new I.D. sub-brand. However, the electric push has started spilling over into the core brand, and the latest product is more than just a battery-driven green machine. It feels tangible, like it might be meant for everyone — not just EV enthusiasts.

Volkswagen’s Atlas is a relatively spacious three-row, midsize crossover — fairly fuel efficient for its size, but not a hoot to drive. VW wants to remedy this by hybridizing the MQB platform, chopping a row of seats, and adding a helping of power that won’t jack up your weekly fuel bill. More importantly, this two-row model seems to bridge the gap between practicality and fun.  (Read More…)

By on December 19, 2017

BMW HQ electro-mobility

In a flagrant exercise of self-congratulation, BMW announced it met its sales goal of 100,000 electrified vehicles in 2017 “as promised.” Saying that this “underlines the company’s leadership role when it comes to electro-mobility,” BMW installed a battery-themed light installation on the side of its world headquarters in Munich, Germany, that announces “the future is electric.”

While this may be true, mainstream news outlets have muddled the brand’s message by framing the EV aspect all wrong — which is probably exactly what the automaker hoped for. We’re not going to slander the company’s achievement outright; the volume does represent a nearly 60-percent increase over last year. But these aren’t just battery-electric cars, they’re hybrids, mild-hybrids, and BEVs.  (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2017

pol01009

Polestar said goodbye to Volvo Cars over the internet this week. While we like what Polestar does, the social media posting is a slightly sanctimonious. The brand will undoubtedly continue to use Volvo cars as a base for all of its upcoming builds and persist under the same corporate umbrella. It would be a bit like AMG wishing Mercedes-Benz a fond farewell in 2005 and then continuing to use its vehicles.

They’re technically separate entities but both AMG and Polestar exist as a result of the core brand and operate under the watchful eye of a much larger company — Daimler for AMG and Geely for Polestar. The only difference is that the Swedish performance arm is, like Volvo, focusing on electrification for added power while the Germans continue with rip-roaring internal combustion powerplants without even a hint of EV adoption.

Just kidding. Mercedes-AMG’s director of vehicle development, Drummond Jacoy, already confirmed the brand has to “reinvent” itself when it comes to electric cars, promising mild-hybrid applications last Janurary(Read More…)

By on June 30, 2017

mercedes-gas-i6

While we knew Mercedes-Benz’s AMG sub-brand had plans to dabble in electrification for upcoming performance models, details of what that could mean for the sub-brand’s products remained pretty thin on the ground.

Daimler R&D head Ola Källenius explained back in January that future AMG-badged vehicles will gradually become “more and more electric.” Never mind the limited-production Project One hypercar that’s in the works — that model is just a plaything for the Dubai set. Well, now we know exactly what AMG has planned for the new rung in its model range, and it indeed makes use of charged particles to lend some extra grunt to the overall package.

It also brings a very sweet inline-six to the table. Baby steps, people. (Read More…)

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