Archive for the ‘EVs’ Category

Plugging In: An Inside Look at the MEB — VW’s Platform for an Electrified Future

A combined VW-Ford battery-car program seems to have come un-plugged, however.

by on Feb.11, 2019

An under-the-skin look at VW's modular MEB battery-car platform reveals the skateboard-like layout.

Volkswagen is plugging into battery power in a big way, the German automaker planning to launch 50 or more all-electric models by 2025, an aggressive push that will have it betting heavily on a single new platform it is developing. Dubbed the MEB, this flexible, modular “architecture” will be used to underpin the vast majority of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, that will be offered by VW’s dozen different passenger car brands.

The MEB has been a topic of discussion between VW and Ford Motor Co., the two companies recently launching a joint venture to develop light commercial vehicles. They also are exploring ways they may be able to work together on the development of electric vehicles, possibly using the new VW platform — though a senior Ford official cautioned that this might prove more difficult than originally hoped.

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“The future, for us, is really a dedicated EV platform,” said Matthew Renna, vice president of e-Mobility for Volkswagen’s North American Region, a platform “flexible enough to cover a broad gamut of products ranging from an entry level subcompact up to models like the ID. Buzz minivan and even midsize SUVs.

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Tesla Out of Cheaper Model 3s, Stakeholder Cuts Share in Half

T. Rowe Price halves stake from 10.12% to 5.2%.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The mad rush to blow out Model 3s at the end of the year has left Tesla with very few Model 3s to deliver.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said that the company would face some stiff headwinds in the early part of this year, and now some of those issues are now coming to light … as are the consequences.

The company’s last recent round of layoffs were unexpected, but were initially seen positively as analysts suggested the company would need to find ways to cut costs. However, according to Reuters, one of the teams that were cut significantly should have raised alarm bells sooner.

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Reuters reports that Tesla’s delivery team saw 150 of 230 employees lose their jobs. The Las Vegas-based group was largely responsible for delivering the company’s savior vehicle: the Model 3.  (more…)

Those Winter Chills Take a Hard Toll on Battery Car Range, Shows New AAA Study

Impact “significantly more than we expected.”

by on Feb.07, 2019

A new study shows that cold impact electric vehicles in ways and severity not previously realized by the auto industry.

When the Polar Vortex put most of the country under a deep freeze, the impact was particularly hard felt by those driving battery-electric vehicles.

How much an EV’s range drops depends upon a variety of factors, according to industry research, and backed up by a new study, but even when it’s just a bit below zero it’s not unusual for owners to see the range of a battery car like the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt EV tumble by 40% or more, AAA researchers discovered.

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“I’m consistently seeing a 30% degradation” in range on cold days, said Henry Payne, an automotive reviewer for the Detroit News and an owner of a Tesla Model 3. When the floor fell out under the weight of the Polar Vortex, he added, he lost a full 50% of the sedan’s normal range. (more…)

Tesla Cutting Price on Model 3 — Again

Automaker searching for ways to meet $35K benchmark.

by on Feb.06, 2019

Tesla cut the price of the Model 3 – this time $1,100 – for the second time in recent weeks. The first cut was $2,000.

Tesla Inc. is lowering the price on its entry-level Model 3 sedan by $1,100. It’s the second time the company has cut the price on the vehicle as it attempts to keep it affordable as federal tax incentives for the vehicles continue to fall.

The Palo Alto, California-based automaker previously lopped $2,000 off the price of the company’s best-selling vehicle to help offset the drop in the federal tax credit from $7,500 to $3,750 after the beginning of the year.

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Tesla’s tax credit began phasing out for Tesla in January. The price cuts make the starting price of the Model 3, according to Reuters, $42,900, which still higher than the $35,000 the company touted it would be when the sedan was first introduced. (more…)

Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept Hints at Future

All-electric prototype hints of crossover set to mark the brand’s revival.

by on Feb.06, 2019

The Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept will strongly influence a coming production model.

Automakers have a habit of reaching into the history books. We’ve seen a number of once forgotten nameplates rise from the dead lately, including the Chevrolet Blazer and Ford Bronco. And the upcoming Geneva Motor Show will mark the revival of two once-grand brands: Hispano-Suiza and Lagonda.

The return of the latter, a subsidiary of Aston Martin, has been in the works for several years, a show car called the Lagonda Vision making its debut in Switzerland a year ago. Next month, we’ll see the debut of a second prototype, the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept, and it seems a lot closer to the production model set to reach showrooms a couple years from now.

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“The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept offers explicit clues regarding what will be the first Lagonda model to enter production, and further demonstrates how Lagonda’s zero emission powertrain enables us to create spectacular cars that will radically redefine their sectors of the market,” says Aston CEO Andy Palmer.

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Hispano Suiza to Reveal Electric “Hyperlux” Car in Geneva

Forward into the past.

by on Feb.05, 2019

A familiar name is making a comeback at the Geneva Motor Show. Hispano-Suiza is debuting a electric concept dubbed "The Carmen," next month.

An old luxury brand is looking to make a comeback with the launch of a very modern hypercar.

Barcelona-based Hispano Suiza plans to reveal a fully electric “hyperlux grand tourer” during the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. Dubbed the “Carmen,” the new model is named after the granddaughter of the founder of the once iconic brand. Curiously, the decision to adopt battery power actually brings Hispano Suiza back to its roots.

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The company – whose name means Spanish-Swiss – hasn’t put its name on a new car in nearly three-quarters of a century, but for a handful of concept vehicles meant to spur a revival. But it is now confident enough to begin taking orders for the new, all-electric tourer. (more…)

Tesla Purchasing Ultracapacitor Maker Maxwell Tech

Electrify America turns to Tesla Powerpack for new charging stations.

by on Feb.05, 2019

A Tesla supercharger station.

Tesla will spend $218 million to acquire Maxwell Technologies, an energy company that could help it both reduce battery costs and develop a battery alternative called an ultracapacitor.

Separately, Electrify America, a company dedicated to promoting and supporting electric vehicles, plans to use Tesla’s Powerpack battery backup system at more than 100 of its EV charging stations.

Electrifying News!

“We are always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” Tesla said of the planned purchase of Maxwell in a statement.

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VW Subsidiary Buying Tesla Powerpacks for Charging Stations

Purchase comes just after Musk says powerpack biz will be strong.

by on Feb.04, 2019

As Volkswagen brings more EVs to U.S. consumers, they're going to need places to charge.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said recently that he expected the company’s power storage operations to grow twice as fast as the automotive business for some time going forward … and now Volkswagen’s helping to prove him right.

Volkswagen AG’s subsidiary, Electrify America, plans to install Tesla battery storage, better known as Powerpack systems, at more than 100 charging stations across the United States to help keep costs down for drivers who may have to charge their electric vehicles during peak load times.

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Electricity users can incur high-demand charges from many U.S. utilities when they draw a lot of energy from the grid in a short time, which can happen charging an electric vehicle or a number of them at once at a single station. (more…)

Audi, Toyota Proclaimed Big Super Bowl Ad Winners

GM riled up by Unifor's protest commercial.

by on Feb.04, 2019

Audi's "Cashew" commercial during last night's Super Bowl generated huge traffic to the company's website: more than any other automaker's ad.

Last night’s Super Bowl may not have been the most impressive display of football ever, but as New England Patriots QB Tom Brady sought his sixth ring, automakers sought those less interested in Brady’s quest and more compelled by the commercials between drives.

While the automakers may or may not have lived up to expectations, it’s a commercial unseen by most viewers that may have had the biggest impact.

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According to Edmunds.com, joining Brady and the Patriots on the winners podium last night were Audi and Toyota. Edmunds analysts tracked traffic to brand and model pages on both its desktop and mobile sites during the game to see which automotive ads were most successful in driving immediate shopper interest. (more…)

BMW Reveals New 7-Series Plug-In Hybrid

Three versions worldwide, including U.S.-bound 745e xDrive.

by on Feb.01, 2019

The second-generation BMW 7-Series plug-in opts for a bigger engine and bigger battery.

BMW continues its push to electrify its line-up with the official launch of the new 745e model. Three different versions of the plug-in hybrid will be offered worldwide, including the 745e, the 745Le and the 745e xDrive, the latter being the only variant planned for the U.S. market.

The new model marks the second-generation 7-Series plug-in but gets a complete makeover under the hood, abandoning the previous model’s 2.0-liter inline-four gas engine in favor of a 3.0-liter inline-six. Paired with a single electric motor, the package is claimed to delivered both improved performance and longer range when operating in EV mode.

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Part of the credit for those improvements comes from the increase in the size of the 745e sedan’s lithium-ion battery pack from 9.2 to 12.0 kilowatt-hours.

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