Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

New Nissan Maxima Debuting at LA Auto Show

Subtle visual updates but lots more safety tech.

by on Oct.23, 2018

the 2019 Maxima, Nissan's flagship sedan, gets a mid-cycle refresh for 2019.

While some automakers are leaning out their sedan lines – even abandoning them entirely, in the case of Ford – Nissan continues to bet big on four-door models, with two critical updates for the 2019 model-year.

While we’ve already seen and driven the Altima makeover, we’ll have to wait until next month and the Los Angeles Motor Show to get a first good look at the 2019 Nissan Maxima, the Japanese maker’s most sporty sedan offering.

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Actually, Nissan has given us a first peak at the new Maxima, and not in the usual form of a carefully lit and cropped teaser. The accompanying picture pretty much reveals all we’d need to know about the 2019 refresh short of any taillight and rear bumper revisions.

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Nationwide Charging Infrastructure Rapidly Falling into Place

Chargers easier to fund, easier to use, but gaps remain.

by on Oct.23, 2018

Electrify America, the private company founded by VW, is readying to set up 2,000 charging stations across the U.S.

After a slow start, sales of battery-electric vehicles are beginning to gain some serious momentum this year, industry analysts crediting the growing availability of longer-range and, in many cases more affordable, options.

With dozens of all-electric models due to reach U.S. showrooms by 2020, many starting at as little as $30,000, that should address two of the big sticking points for the nascent market. But there’s a third challenge that needs be addressed before mainstream customers truly feel comfortable with these electrified options: a nationwide public charging infrastructure.

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When the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid debuted nearly a decade ago there were an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 public charging stations across the entire U.S. But Chargepoint, the nation’s largest supplier of charging systems, now says it alone has about 60,000 available and, when including home chargers that number will likely reach 2.5 million by 2025. (more…)

Dyson Confirms Plans to Build Electric Vehicles at New Singapore Plant

Factory set to open in 2020.

by on Oct.23, 2018

Company founder James Dyson has been hinting at plans to build an EV for a number of years.

While best known for its vacuums and fans, British company Dyson has confirmed long-standing expectations that it will enter the electric vehicle market, announcing plans to build a new assembly plant in Singapore.

Dyson has been investing heavily in advanced battery technology, among other things acquiring Michigan-based Sakti3, a pioneer in the development of solid state technology. But after writing down some of the purchase price, it is not clear if the British manufacturer will use conventional lithium-ion or more advanced battery technology for the vehicles it is planning.

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The decision to choose Singapore for its new factory “offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce,” Dyson CEO Jim Rowan told employees in a letter. “Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle.” (more…)

Audi Again Delaying Launch of E-Tron Electric SUV

Software problems blamed, but automaker also faces push for higher battery prices.

by on Oct.22, 2018

Audi was ready to take on the industry leader, Tesla, with the all-new e-tron, which will be delayed four weeks.

Audi will delay the launch of its first long-range electric vehicle, the e-tron, by about four weeks, the automaker confirmed, due to a software problem.

It would be the latest in a series of problems that repeatedly pushed back the unveiling of the e-tron, which Audi finally unveiled in mid-September. The German automaker had initially hoped to reveal the electric SUV earlier in the year, ahead of archrival Mercedes-Benz, which revealed its own battery-powered ute, the EQC two weeks earlier.

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According to a report by the Reuters news service, Audi blamed a “software development issue,” the automaker needing to receive regulatory approval after modifying some of the code used to control the electric vehicle’s drivetrain. (more…)

Ford’s New Ad Campaign Shoots Straight Hyping Products, History

First commercials debut during college football this weekend.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Ford is kicking off a new ad campaign, Built Ford Proud, that features print ads as well as new commercials.

Ford Motor Co.’s recent advertising campaigns haven’t quite hit the mark in terms of creating a positive buzz, so it’s going back to the future with an update to an oldie but goodie.

The automaker used to brag that its trucks were “Built Ford Tough,” but now the entire line-up is “Built Ford Proud.”

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Unveiled at its dealer meeting in Las Vegas, Ford’s new mantra will begin appearing on television screens this weekend, primarily during college football games. Featuring actor Bryan Cranston, famous for “Malcom in the Middle” and “Breaking Bad,” the three ads basically center on Ford’s pride in its history, ingenuity and progress. (more…)

Tesla Launches Lowest-Price Version of Model 3 Yet – But It’s Still Not the $35,000 Sedan Promised

New version actually will start at $45,000 before incentives – if fed tax credits will still be available.

by on Oct.19, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made good on his prediction of 55,000 Model 3 sedans in Q3. Now he's offering lower-priced variants.

With production finally on the rise at its Fremont, California assembly plant, Tesla is expanding the line-up of Model 3 variants, CEO Elon Musk late Thursday announcing what he billed as the lowest-price version of the battery-sedan yet offered.

But potential buyers might need to check the fine print carefully. According to a tweet from Musk, the new version of the Model 3 will cost $35,000 with the “true cost of ownership is closer to $31k after gas savings.”

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But this is not the $35,000 Model 3 that Musk promised to build when the sedan was first unveiled two years ago, setting off a flurry of activity, with about 400,000 potential buyers eventually putting down $1,000 deposits. The list price is actually $10,000 more. (more…)

Ford Expands Alliance with Mahindra Group

New deal comes on heels of partnership with VW.

by on Oct.18, 2018

Ford and Mahindra officials, including Ford's Jim Farley, (l), celebrate the signing of their first alliance. The two sides added two new agreements.

(This story has been updated to more accurately represent partnership between Volkswagen and Ford.)

Just a day after rumors circulated about the state of its open-ended partnership with Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co. expanded its alliance with India’s Mahindra Group.

The two companies this week signed new agreements on sharing powertrains and connected car solutions to reinforce the progress made in the strategic alliance between the two companies, first announced in September 2017 and followed with five Memoranda of Understanding.

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“We are pleased with the progress our teams have made since we announced our strategic alliance with Mahindra Group a year ago,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets. (more…)

BMW Officially Pulls Wraps Off Flagship X7 SUV

“Hey, BMW.”

by on Oct.17, 2018

The new 2019 BMW X7 is ready to take on whatever Mother Nature sends its way.

BMW has been dropping plenty of big hints in recent months as it prepared to launch an all-new flagship. And now, we’re finally getting a look at the production version of the 2019 X7.

As the name might suggest, you can think of the big ute as the SUV counterpoint to the Bavarian brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. And it reflects the massive shift in the global luxury market as highline buyers by the millions switch from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs, mirroring what’s happened in mainstream segments.

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The 2019 BMW X7 is more than just a stretched version of the familiar X5. It’s not only nine inches longer but loaded with the sort of luxury features you’d expect on a 7-Series – or the also-new 8-Series. It also introduces BMWs new voice assistant infotainment system which, like Amazon’s Alexa, is always listening for its wake words, “Hey, BMW.” (more…)

Tesla Locks Down Site for 1st Chinese Assembly Plant

U.S. Senate, meanwhile, considers extending tax credits for Tesla, GM buyers.

by on Oct.17, 2018

Tesla Inc. has reached an agreement with the Chinese government to build an assembly plant in China.

After suffering a series of setbacks in recent weeks, things may be moving in the right direction for Tesla this week, and on a variety of fronts.

For one thing, the automaker has inked an agreement with the Shanghai government that will let it move forward on plans to set up a plant in the booming Chinese battery-car market, its first outside the United States.

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Closer to home, the U.S. Senate is  now considering a proposal that would extend the tax credits that have helped Tesla attract potential customers. Under current law, the incentives – worth up to $7,500 for an EV buyer – begin to phase out once a carmaker has sold 200,000 electric vehicles. Tesla recently passed that threshold, and General Motors is expected to reach that cap before the end of 2018. Industry analysts warn both companies could lose market momentum if they can’t offer the tax credits. (more…)

New Chips Improve Tesla Autopilot “500% to 2000%,” Musk Says

Updates coming in six months, free to current Autopilot owners.

by on Oct.16, 2018

Despite Tesla's claims to the contrary, safety advocates believe the company's use of the name Autopilot is misleading.

Several months ago, Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested that all of the brand’s vehicles would be Level 5 autonomous by the end of the year. Most scoffed at the notion as that kind of autonomy is not expected to be a reality for a few years at least.

However, he’s doubled down – sort of – in a recent tweet where he said a new chip that improves Autopilot features would be available in about six months in all of the company’s new production electric cars.

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He provided an update on the new chip in a series of tweets, actually. (more…)

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