Archive for the ‘Electrified Vehicles’ Category

Mercedes Previews Electric EQA With Concept Drive in Sicily

Production model set to join new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand.

by on Jun.12, 2018

Mercedes-Benz EQA concept though still a year from production is clearly making plenty progress toward road-readiness.

While Mercedes is still a year away from introducing its all-new EQ battery-electric sub-brand, it’s giving a preview of what’s to come with these images of the Concept EQA sedan being driven through the Sicilian countryside.

A production version of this prototype, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn, will be part of a fast-growing line-up of long-range electric models, the EQC crossover set to launch the Mercedes-EQ brand-within-a-brand in 2019.

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Parent Daimler AG is committing billions in its drive to electrify virtually its entire line-up, with everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles in the planning to pre-production stage. By 2022, the automaker has said, it wants to have 10 BEV models in the Mercedes line-up alone. Add various forms of hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles and there will be 60 electrified Mercedes models and variants available by then. (more…)

Despite Concerns, Safety Probes, Musk Promise “Full Self-Driving” Autopilot to Debut in August

But CEO Musk doesn’t explain what that actually means.

by on Jun.12, 2018

According to a new tweet from Tesla CEO Musk, products like the new Model 3 may soon be updated with full "self-driving" capabilities.

Tesla Version 9, an apparently major software update to the operating system used for the automaker’s vehicles, will debut in August and, according to CEO Elon Musk, add “full sell-driving” capabilities to the controversial Autopilot system.

The news, announced in a Musk tweet late Monday, comes at a time when earlier versions of the semi-autonomous Autopilot system have come under intense scrutiny. A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board has raised serious concerns about how it functioned in the moments leading up to a fatal crash of a Tesla Model X SUV in California earlier this year.

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But Musk has repeatedly downplayed such concerns — even pointing his finger at owners who may not have used Autopilot properly – while promising a far more advanced version of the system was coming. And in his late Monday tweet, Musk said, “to date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety (but) with V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.”

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Deal Done! Ford Buys Michigan Central Station

Automaker buys historic train station to anchor urban tech campus.

by on Jun.11, 2018

The 18-story Michigan Central Station was once the world's tallest railroad depot. Now it'll be the center of Ford's urban campus in Detroit.

Ford Motor Co.’s ongoing effort to attract young workers to the company by setting up its tech-based operations in Detroit took another step forward today when it announced it completed the purchase of the Michigan Central Station for an undisclosed sum.

The automaker has already set up some tech-oriented operations in the neighboring Corktown district and the acquisition of the train station, previously owned by the Moroun family, which also owns the Ambassdor Bridge, cements the company’s plans for the area.

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Company officials declined to comment on what it plans to use the building for, saying it would reveal all of that information on June 19. (more…)

Porsche Renames Mission E “Taycan” and Will Expand All-Electric Line-up

Automakers expect half of its line-up will be plug-based by 2025.

by on Jun.11, 2018

Porsche's Mission E all-electric vehicle gets a name now: Taycan. Pronounced tie-con, the new model is still going to through some tests as shown here.

Porsche’s Mission E battery-electric vehicle has a new name. It will now be called “Taycan,” which the German automaker says is the term for a “lively young horse,” in Turkish – and a reference to the horse on its corporate crest.

The new model, which is set for release early in 2019, will be Porsche’s first all-electric model, but clearly not its last, a senior company official indicating plug-in hybrids and all-electric models, like Taycan, are expected to generate half of the brand’s sales by 2025.

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The Porsche Taycan will be part of a wave of new all-electric luxury and performance vehicles set to come to market between now and the end of the decade that will take direct aim at Tesla. Jaguar is just launching its first battery-electric vehicle, the I-Pace SUV, with Audi following this year with its own BEV, a variant of its popular Q5. (more…)

NTSB: Model X Accelerating, Driver Took No Action in Crash

Report doesn't assign blame, just determines final moments.

by on Jun.08, 2018

A fatal March crash involving a Tesla Model S in Mountain View, California. Pic courtesy KTVU.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the crash of a Tesla Model X determined that seconds before the crash the vehicle was in Autopilot mode, accelerating and had no input from the driver to avoid the collision.

Walter Huang, 38, was killed on U.S. Hwy 101 in Mountain View, California, when his Model X slammed into a road divider, hit two other vehicles and then burst into flames, Huang, who according to his wife had complained previously about the failure of Autopilot in the same area before, was pulled from the vehicle before it caught on fire.

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Huang had the vehicle in its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode for nearly 19 minutes before the crash and it was set at 75 miles an hour. However, due to traffic in front of him, the vehicle was traveling at 65 mph before the vehicle in front of him moved, allowed the Model X to accelerate to the selected speed. (more…)

Volvo Hopes to Electrify Customers – and Investors

All-electric models now expected to generate half its sales by mid-2020s, with 1/3 self-driving.

by on Jun.08, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with the marque's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo took a lead in the push into electrification last year, announcing it would use some of battery-based drive system on all future products, whether mild, conventional or plug-in hybrids, or pure battery-electric. And, last January, it gave us a hint of what that first BEV would be with the debut of its 40.2 concept.

The production version will follow in 2019 and, if Volvo’s latest forecast is any indication, so will plenty of other all-electric models, as the Swedish automaker now says it wants them to generate half of its sales by mid-decade.

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The mid-term plan Volvo is laying out is nothing if not ambitious. It also predicts that half of the Chinese-owned automaker’s sales will come from self-driving vehicles, and that half of its volume will come through its Care by Volvo subscription service, rather than conventional sales and leasing. Oh, and add a goal of boosting volume – and profitability – to match other premium manufacturers.

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GM, Honda Team Up to Develop Next-Gen Battery

Two automakers already plan joint fuel-cell production.

by on Jun.07, 2018

GM EVP Mark Reuss and Honda North America CEO Toshiaki Mikoshiba can celebrate again as GM and Honda are partnering on battery technology.

General Motors and Honda will team up – again – this time to work on what they hope will become the batteries powering the next generation of electric vehicles.

The agreement comes barely a year after the Detroit and Tokyo automakers announced plans to both develop and produce hydrogen fuel-cells that could be used in both vehicles and stationary power sources. The two deals reflect a significant shift in the automotive world, manufacturers increasing turning to alliances and joint ventures to help speed up the development of new technologies while also helping hold down costs.

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Both GM and Honda have already announced plans to significantly expand their production and sales of electrified vehicles, including hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles. The challenge is to enhance both their functionality and consumer appeal by increasing range, driving costs and reducing charging times. (more…)

Kia Shows Off Latest Niro Model: the EV

New EV expected to compete with Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The Kia Niro EV made its public debut at the Busan Motor Show in South Korea.

Kia Motors is giving the public a look at what many in the media have already seen: the Niro EV. Introduced at the 2018 Busan auto show in South Korea, the new battery-electric Niro is a reminder that the mainstream EV market is getting more and more crowded.

The original concept was unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show with the production version being shown to the media in South Korea last month, helping to round out the Niro line-up, which already has gas-powered and hybrid models.

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“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally-sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV. It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving,” said Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corp. (more…)

Freightliner Takes Aim at Tesla with Two Big EV Semis and a New E-Mobility Center

Daimler’s U.S. truck division will put first 30 into field tests this year.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The new Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 semis.

Freightliner, the U.S.-based truck subsidiary of Daimler AG, is taking direct aim at Tesla with the debut of two new battery-powered semis that it plans to begin fleet testing later this year.

The eCascadia and eM2 join a range of smaller delivery trucks that Freightliner and other Daimler truck brands have been rolling out over the last couple years. A number of major freight and delivery companies, ranging from UPS to PepsiCo, have expressed interest in the clean, fuel-efficient technology. That has drawn a number of vehicle manufacturers into the emerging field, including Volvo AB and Volkswagen AG, as well as Freightliner and Tesla.

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Daimler also plans to set up a new Automated Research and Development Center near Freightliner’s headquarters in Portland, as well as a new E-Mobility Group to help share technologies among its various truck brands.

“We are the undisputed global leader of the trucking industry and we intend to remain in that position with electric trucks and buses,” Daimler Trucks chief Martin Daum said in a statement.

That was echoed in a comment by Roger Nielsen, the president of Daimler Trucks North America, that took a clear shot at Tesla, a company that has not only never built a truck before but which has had major trouble meeting production targets and quality goals for its passenger vehicles. But it also underscored the fact that Daimler is taking Tesla’s imminent arrival in the truck market as seriously is it is the California company’s electric passenger car line-up.

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Nearly 1 in 4 Tesla Model 3 Reservations Have Been Cancelled

Number could escalate as production lags, competition heats up.

by on Jun.06, 2018

After its debut of the Model 3, Tesla logged about 400,000 reservations for the mainstream sedan — at $1,000 each. Now a quarter want their money back.

While Tesla hasn’t given out precise numbers, it’s believed to have quickly logged about 400,000 advance reservations for the Model 3 battery-sedan, each putting down a deposit of at least $1,000.

But the lengthy delays in getting large numbers of the Model 3 into production have been causing serious problems for Tesla, not the least of which was the record loss the company posted during the first quarter. And the problems could grow worse, even though Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday that production will “quite likely” reach 5,000 sedans a week by the mid-year mark.

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Even if it continues to increase for the rest of 2018, the Tesla plant in Fremont, California, will end the year far short of the 400,000 Model 3 sedans that were expected to be produced for the full year. And with many of those holding early reservations now likely to wait until well into 2019 before they can take delivery, nearly one in four has cancelled their order and asked for a refund. (more…)