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2020 Kia Soul EV Improves Range And Efficiency

kia soul ev (1)

South Korean automaker Kia needs only one model-year to improve the driving range and efficiency of its newest 2020 Kia Soul EV. According to the latest rating by the EPA, the new Soul EV can last for 243 miles, up four miles compared to the Kia Niro EV.

It still lags behind Hyundai’s Kona EV, which has a 258-mile range. Interestingly, the Soul EV uses the same 64 kWh battery pack that’s found in the Niro EV and the smaller Hyundai Kona EV. This is a huge step up for the Soul EV as the 2019 model only has a rating of 111 miles from the EPA. The Soul EV started with a 93-mile range.

Each of the 64-kWh liquid-cooled battery packs has five large modules of pouch cells with three oriented lengthwise under the passenger floor and two stacked crosswise under the rear seat area. The difference lies in the fact that Kia used the cells from SK Innovation while Hyundai used the LG Chem cells.

This new Soul EV is also more energy-efficient. Its EPA combined rating is 114 MPGe versus the 108 MPGe rating for the 2019 model.

The current Soul EV has a starting price of $33,950 while the Kona EV is priced at $36,450. While we don’t have the official price range for the newest models, we imagine the prices will be in the same ballpark figure as the current models. The Niro EV should be competing with the Kona EV, though the former will be more expensive.

The 2020 Soul EV was unveiled during the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. The new model will also have 291 pound-feet of torque, just like the Kona and Niro EVs. But the 2020 model will come with a CCS DC fast-charging, allowing the Soul EV to charge at around 100kW for at least the first 50 percent of charge.

The car will enter the production phase by the second half of this year.

GMC Joins Bandwagon, Considering An Electric Pickup Truck

2019 GMC Sierra Elevation pickup truckjpg

GMC is joining the number of brands that will produce an electric pickup truck. The announcement comes after Tesla and Rivian also said they have plans to make an electric pickup. Ford added that they will build an electric version of the F-150 at some point in the future.

Duncan Aldred, the vice president of GMC, was quoted by Detroit Bureau that the company is considering developing and building an electric pickup truck.

But for now, all eyes are on the Rivian R1T, which debuted at the Los Angeles auto show in November. The model is said to have a range of 400 miles with its largest battery pack. We should be seeing it on the roads very soon.

Tesla, on the other hand, has given no details of its plan to build a pickup truck but Elon Musk said it might arrive after the release of the Model Y small utility. Given the problems that Tesla has been having with its Model 3 production, we’re not expecting the electrified pickup truck to arrive anytime soon.

Ford, for its part, has not provided clues about its plan for an all-electric F-150 truck.

It is still unclear when GM will introduce its potential pickup truck, though there are talks about it. Like with Ford, we might see the electric trucks way down the line when all the vehicles on the road start going electric. Then again, there’s also a possibility it will come sooner than expected. It was reported sometime back that GM is preparing a new electric architecture that will arrive by 2021.

The new electric architecture will first be used on a new Cadillac and it will also be the same platform that could fit an electric pickup truck in the future. GM wants to introduce as many as 20 new electric vehicles by 2023.

 

2021 BMW i4 EV Electric Car Shows Influence From Vision Dynamics Concept

bmw i4 (18)

Spy photos of the 2021 BMW i4 electric car showed that it did follow last year’s i Vision Dynamics concept as can be seen from its four-door coupe silhouette, angular c-pillar, a decklid with a slight ducktail spoiler lip, and a front end with a sloping roof.

The i4 was confirmed by BMW chairman Harald Krüger at the Paris Auto Show in October last year. Dubbed as the i4, this will be the group’s fifth fully electric “core” model. This is also the fourth EV that BMW produced between now and 2021.

According to the i Vision Dynamics concept, the i4 will have an electric range of 373 miles, a top speed of 125 mph, and a 0-to-62 mph time of 4.0 seconds. But unlike the current i3 and i8, the i4 won’t be made with a carbon-fiber structure.

The spy shots, which showed the i4 in camouflage while riding on the back of a car carrier, hinted of small kidney grilles out front though it is also possible the production model will carry the concept’s burly and massive conjoined kidney grilles. It’s hard to see anything else with all that camouflage but the headlights and the taillights are not production units yet. Similar to the 4-Series Gran Coupe, the i4 might be a liftback with a large hatchback opening perfect for outdoor adventure.

The BMW Group is expected to release three other new EVs over the next three years. This year, it will be the Mini Electric, which was previewed as a concept last year. The production car will sit close to the concept and will share the powertrain of the refreshed i3, which has a range of 153 miles.

Up next is the iX3 in 2020, which was also previewed as a concept. This is the electronic version of the X3 crossover. It carries a 70.0-kWh battery pack with a range of 249 miles on the European cycle.

Finally, the iNext should arrive in 2021. Previewed through the Vision iNext concept, this will be BMW’s tech flagship and will have a range of 373 miles, reaching 60 mph in less than four seconds.

New Polestar 2 To Rival Tesla Model 3 Will Arrive Soon

polestar 2 teaser (1)

Polestar, the new electric carmaker joining the fray, is coming up with its new model, the Polestar 2, in the hopes of rivaling the Tesla Model 3. The company teased us with a few shots of the new model, which is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.

The first teaser shot was an aerial view of the Polestar 2. It shows a four-door coupe-like variant of the Polestar 1. A full-width light bar, which was confirmed in a second teaser photo, runs across the car’s rear end. The roof is one large panel made of glass.

Compared to the Tesla Model 3, this car looks like a regular small sports sedan. But here’s the clincher: Polestar said it will offer a range of 300 miles and 400 horsepower. Final specifications will be released as the company moves forward to the production date, which might be later this year or early next year.

polestar 2 teaser (2)

It was only in late 2017 when Volvo started its Polestar performance arm into a standalone brand that will focus on developing electrified vehicles. The aim is to engineer a variety of electric cars that will not sacrifice performance and power. The first model arrived in the form of the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1.

Polestar isn’t taking it slow when it comes to developing these new high-performance electrified cars. It is currently constructing its own plant in Chengdu, China and confirmed a Polestar 1, 2, and 3. The Polestar 3 will be a small SUV that’s due in 2022.

The Polestar 2 should make its debut in March at the Geneva International Motor Show. This is also the first vehicle that will carry the Android-based infotainment system that will feature in future Polestar and Volvo cars.

The Polestar 2 will also target the lower bracket of the market. Unlike the Polestar 1, which has a starting price of $155,000, the Polestar 2 will follow Tesla Model 3’s pricing of $40,000.

 

 

3 Things We Learned From The 2020 Volkswagen ID Neo Spy Video


The 2020 Volkswagen ID Neo has been spotted testing in its prototype form. The ID Neo will be the first model under VW’s family of ID electric cars. The arrival of the ID Neo comes in an opportune time as VW plans to transition its company to an electric car manufacturer.

It Is Going To Be A Compact Hatch

There are no questions in our minds that the all-new ID Neo is going to be a compact hatch that looks like straight off the minivan newsletter. We’ve already seen this in 2016 as VW allowed a preview of its ID Neo Concept whose production version is scheduled for a late 2019 showdown with the rest of its competitions.

It Is Not Going To Be Available In The US

Buyers will be sad to know that the first model of Volkswagen’s ID cars is not going to be available in the US. What VW did is to introduce an entirely different line of ID cars in America, specifically a small crossover SUV based on 2017’s ID Crozz concept. That should arrive sometime in 2020. Another “spiritual successor” to VW’s Microbus that is based on 2017’s ID Buzz concept is also a possibility. This is scheduled for a 2022 introduction and will likely be joined by a commercial version.

It Is Going To Have A Conventional Design

We should not be surprised that the ID Neo will have a rather traditional design. The design elements are very similar to what we saw on the concept, though the production version is going to use conventional side mirrors rather than the concept’s camera-based system. It will also come with conventional door handles to replace the concept’s electric mechanism.

The vehicle’s single-electric motor at the rear axle will produce around 167 horsepower and multiple battery options that can go the distance—between 250 and 370 miles in range.

Mazda Readies Its First All-Electric Car As A Standalone Model

mazda

Mazda is gearing up for the launch of its first all-electric car, which is due in 2020. Although the car won’t look dramatically different from all of the current Mazda models, the Japanese company said that the coming all-electric car will be a standalone model and it won’t be a part of its collaboration with fellow Japanese automaker Toyota.

Apparently, Mazda has been working on this EV even before its tie-up with Toyota was finalized. Ironically, the partnership created by these two giants in the auto industry is to jointly develop EVs.

Because this will be a standalone model, Mazda’s first EV will not simply be an electric version of an already existing model. Other than this little but all-important tidbit, we don’t have any information about what kind of configuration or exterior detailing this first Mazda EV will arrive with.

When it comes to its body style, we can do a bit of imagining and rendering. There’s no reason why Mazda will divert from what it has seemingly specialized in the past—a high-riding crossover. This will effectively take advantage of the popularity of this segment right now. Aside from that, taller vehicles will allow more space for the easier packaging of the battery modules while still maintaining good cabin size for the passengers.

Mazda, however, has always been a carmaker that sets the trends rather than the one that follows them. This means the first EV might not be a crossover or an SUV. It may be like just another model off Mazda’s factories, albeit with a battery pack.

According to a report from Autocar, Ikuo Maeda, Mazda’s design chief, doesn’t want the upcoming EV “to look digital” while its European design boss said they “don’t want to make an EV to look like a fridge like some other car makers.” This means the new EV will not stick out like a sore thumb and it will be styled like all the other cars in the Mazda range.

Want a bit more to imagine? Mazda’s design language can be seen in its latest iteration of the Mazda 3 hatch and sedan. If the new EV will look anything like the Mazda 3, then our expectations have just been boosted.

Jaguar Is Turning Fully Electric?

jaguar

Jaguar may be transforming into a fully-electric luxury brand in the near future. It is believed that Jaguar’s bosses are drafting an outline strategy which would phase out the gasoline-powered vehicles from the Jag’s lineup within the next decade. The conventional vehicle range might be phased out in five to seven years and will be fully replaced by electric vehicles.

Publicly, Jaguar has already stated that all new models it will launch starting in 2020 will offer some sort of hybrid powertrain. Still, a move to sell exclusively battery- or electric-powered vehicles is a big leap.

It is believed that the new Jaguar I-Pace, which is a pure-electric crossover, is just the first step to revamp Jag’s whole lineup. Under the plans being considered, the next vehicle from Jaguar would be a full-on luxury electric saloon that will replace the XJ. That will come within the next two years and will direct compete with Porsche’s upcoming Taycan and Tesla Model S.

The next vehicle will be a second electric crossover but slightly larger than the I-Pace. The plan is for it to replace the Jaguar XE and XF sedans once they reached the end of their life cycles, which is around 2023. After that, there will be a second-generation I-Pace while the current E-Pace and F-Pace crossovers will be discontinued. Jaguar’s F-Type sports car could also be phased out and replaced by an electric sports car.

Based on this, Jaguar’s lineup will be fully electric by 2026 except for the upcoming three-row J-Pace crossover.

According to early estimates, a four- or five-model all-electric Jaguar lineup can sell as many as 300,000 units a year. The company will benefit from the higher retail prices of a trend that sees the luxury vehicle market switching to electric and battery power.

While this might sound like a big risk for Jaguar, we must remember that the company has done much of the engineering legwork to make this possible. Thanks to the I-Pace, they now have technology developed for many components of an electric car, including electric motors, platforms, and battery packs that can be used on a variety of models.

 

Next-Gen Mercedes-Benz GLE Plug-In Will Have A 62-Mile Range

mercedes-benz gle

The next Mercedes-Benz GLE plug-in hybrid will have a huge improvement over the 2018 GLE 550e plug-in that only produces 10 miles of electric driving. The new plug-in hybrid is rated with 62 miles of electric range, according to a WLTP test cycle.

Ola Kallenius, head of Daimler group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development and Daimler’s next CEO, told in an interview that the plug-in hybrid is scheduled to be launched in the second half of next year.

It remains unclear if the GLE PHEV will only be launched exclusively in Europe initially but we’re pretty sure that the United States will have to wait for a few more months before getting their hands on the vehicle.

There are also no indications yet of what engine will be paired with the existing electric motor. Most plug-in hybrids come with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, but Kallenius said it’s possible we might even see a diesel powertrain. Things will be very different for the US market, though, which will quite possibly see a wider range of engine options.

An issue that may crop up, however, is the validity of the WLTP test cycle. In most cases, the WLTP testing correlates closely with the EPA test results but there are some instances where these two have butt heads. The Chevrolet Bolt is rated at 240 miles by the WLTP but only 238 miles by the EPA. The Hyundai Kona got a 292-mile range rating from WLTP but the EPA only rated it for 250 miles.

This means we cannot be too sure about the GLE plug-in hybrid’s numbers. The US market, specifically, may want to wait for the EPA results, though the WLTP figures still represent a huge advancement for plug-in hybrid vehicles, a vast majority of which don’t go as far as 62 miles on electric power alone.

Planned Nissan Electric SUV Will Likely Cost $45,000

nissan leaf

Nissan is currently working on a new electric sport utility vehicle. The company is aiming to offer it to customers around the $45,000 range.

Clean Technica claimed that the information came from a “highly credible and well-informed source”. The report said that Nissan is targeting a 220-mile range for their upcoming electric SUV. If it comes into fruition, the cost of the auto will be at par with the offerings of premium brands such as the $43,570 Lexus RX, $41,500 Audi Q5, $43,645 BMW X3, $40,050 Mercedes-Benz GLC, and others.

Given those facts, the product might belong to the premium segment of the Nissan Group. It is possible that the electric SUV will fall under the Infiniti brand. On the other hand, it could also be that the group is looking to keep the vehicle on its Nissan brand in order for them to build up a reputation in the electric SUV segment of the market.

Right now, the only electric vehicle available on the Nissan brand is the Nissan Leaf with a starting price of $22,490. It is the best-selling electric vehicle in the European market during the first eight months of 2018. In some parts of Europe like Norway, it has become the top-selling passenger car too.

Given the momentum of Nissan with the Leaf, they are probably looking to follow it up so that they could keep a strong hold of the EV market. Since the Leaf is considered as the company’s top electric car as of the moment, their upcoming electric SUV might get the top spot in the hierarchy of their large passenger vehicles as well.

Kia Soul EV Gets 250-Mile Range

kia soul ev (1)

The upcoming Kia Soul EV is expected to average at least 250 miles on a single charge. A prototype for the car has been spotted testing once more at the Nurburgring track where it now wears significantly less camouflage, revealing a shape that is similar to the Kia Soul prototypes we have seen.

On the infotainment display, the Soul EV showed that it has a charge of 92 percent and an estimated range of 437 kilometers or about 271 miles. That keeps up with the European range estimate for the Hyundai Kona Electric, which was 292 miles. It’s not sure if the same range will be carried over to the US version of the car but since the Kona was rated only for 258 miles by the EPA, we expect the same figures for the Soul EV.

There’s no information yet on how much power the Soul EV is going to produce but based on the range, it looks like the upcoming EV is getting the same 201-horsepower electric motor that’s in the Kona and the Niro EV.

On the outside, the Soul EV has a boxy shape, boomerang-shaped taillights, and full-width headlights of the gasoline models. There are a couple of differences between the gas-engine Soul and the Soul EV such as the lower light pods possibly reserved for accent lighting, turn signals, or fog lights and the small opening at the bottom (instead of the large lower grille on the gas models).

The spy photos also showed the car’s interior, which is almost similar to the current model except for the revised infotainment system with a wider screen and buttons placed underneath. It also has a rotary knob for shifting while the instrument panel shows a speedometer and a dial. Inside, the door panels have metallic trim with patterns.

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