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The Mercedes-Benz EQC is Nearly Ready for Production

mercedes-benz eqc (6)

The Mercedes-Benz EQC is not having a time-off anytime soon. After enduring a harsh winter testing in Sweden, the standalone, all-electric sport utility vehicle is now being tested in the Iberian Peninsula. The test is to ensure that Mercedes is on schedule for the planned production of the unit.

According to the Global Media Site of Daimler, the EQC withstood its earlier winter testing under minus 35 degrees Celsius. This time, it is being evaluated in the very hot temperatures of the Iberian region that can go up to 50 degrees Celsius.

The rigorous summer testing aims to see the effects of extreme heat to the key components of the electric vehicle, particularly to its battery, air conditioning unit and control units. Those are in addition to the assessment of the effects of hot climate to the driving dynamics and interior comfort of the SUV.

Key Challenges Faced by the Mercedes-Benz EQC

One key challenge that Mercedes wishes to address is the cooling system of the EQC’s battery pack. Under a very cold climate, the battery only loses some of its power. However, in extreme heat, the unit risks sustaining damage.

Aside from the cooling system, the luxury car maker also wants to know how the charging system of the auto will react to the scorching weather. The process will involve completely emptying the charge of the battery too in order to further assess the effects.

Next, the test will reveal if the indicated time for pre-climatization of the EQC’s cabin is sufficient. The Mercedes engineers will pay special attention as well to the result of the punishing heat to the vehicle’s air conditioning compressor.

Lastly, the summer trials will show where fine dust tends to build-up within the components of the EV.

Mercedes-Benz EQC Official Photos

The official photos of the Mercedes-Benz EQC show the EV wrapped in heavy camouflage, which hides its key styling features. Based on the photos, the production version of the SUV does not look so different from its concept version though.

Mercedes-Benz Plans To Build Electric Compact Car In France

mercedes-benz concept eq a

Daimler is investing as much as $589 million in Hambach, France to produce a small electric car for Mercedes-Benz. This is the first move by the German automaker to jumpstart its plans of producing 10 electric vehicles by 2022 and finally competing with US rival Tesla and its Model 3.

The Smart brand is producing all of its EVs in Hambach. Markus Schaefer said in a statement that the Smart plant in Hambach will become a part of the brand’s global compact car production network. The lead plant will be placed in Rastatt, Germany.

Mercedes is working to make its vehicle underpinnings suitable for the conditions it wants—to be able to mass produce a variety of electric vehicles in the same volume as models with gasoline, diesel, and hybrid engines. Such a move will allow the German automaker to boost production once the orders start to come in.

Making 620,000 units of compact vehicles last year, Mercedes is currently producing its compact A-Class, B-Class, and GLA models in Rastatt, Germany, in Kecskemet, Hungary, in Beijing, China, and in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Its US rival, Tesla, was able to deliver 101,312 vehicles last year.

There was no information what EV Mercedes is planning to initially produce, though the brand presented the Concept EQA in September. It is an electric car with a 250-mile range and has the ability to recharged without having to be plugged in.

The French plant is being adapted to make it possible to house a variety of EVs that Mercedes will have in the pipeline. Particularly, the facility is being readied for the first-ever Mercedes-Benz passenger car in France. It looks like Daimler is expecting orders to pour in for its electric compact car as its Hambach plant, where Daimler produces its electric and combustion-engined two-seater Smart vehicles, can already produce more than 80,000 units in a year.

 

2019 Subaru Crosstek PHEV Is Company’s First Plug-In Hybrid

subaru crosstrek

Subaru’s third best-selling car, the Crosstek, will be the company’s first-ever plug-in hybrid. It’s quite telling, actually, that the automaker chose the Subaru Crosstek to be its first plug-in hybrid version seeing as it was the first conventional hybrid introduced for the 2014 model year.

Since the Crosstek is the company’s fast-selling vehicle, it makes sense that it would like to experiment on it as people are more open to shelling out their money for something they would choose to go with, in the first place. Subaru has yet to reveal photos of the plug-in hybrid variant, so we’re left to wonder how this would look like.

The Crosstek PHEV will be similar to the Subaru BRZ since both of them will benefit from Toyota technology—the hybrid system, that is. It will still be paired to a flat-four and will be capable of driving in full EV mode and in conventional hybrid mode. We have yet to receive information on what the range of the Crosstek PHEV will be.

What Subaru did reveal is that the Crosstek PHEV will be coming soon, even as early as the end of 2018. We might be seeing this in dealerships before the year comes to a close. Of course, while we’re on the subject of release dates and arrival in dealerships, this also signals that more information and details are bound to come in droves.

There aren’t many plug-in hybrid compact crossovers in the market, but there are a few and they are quite interesting. The closest competition of the upcoming Subaru Crosstek PHEV would be the Kia Niro PHEV, which claimed to have a range of 26 miles on a single charge and a solid 46 mpg when running with the gas engine. The Kia Niro PHEV has a starting price of $28,840, so we’re thinking the Crosstek PHEV might play near this number.

Another competitor is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV with 22 miles of range and 25 mpg on gas. The Outlander has more cargo, but it has a higher base price of $35,915.

New 2019 Kia Niro EV Unleashed At International Electric Vehicle Expo

kia niro ev (1)

Kia surprised everyone at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Korea when it revealed the all-new Kia Niro EV in production-ready form. Following the surprise revelation, we are now receiving information about the European specifications of the electric vehicle, as well as details about its European debut at the Paris motor show in October.

Based on the new WLTP testing procedure, the Niro’s long-range 64kWh battery will be capable of reaching 298 miles on a single charge, the same range claimed by the Jaguar I-Pace. It is also slightly better than the 292-mile range of Hyundai’s Kona EV, Kia’s smaller sister car.

kia niro ev (2)

The production version of the Niro is far off from the concept shown during the Consumer Electronics Show at the start of the year. Instead, it looks very much like the existing hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the crossover. The lone difference in terms of design is the lack of grille, which is now where the charging socket is docketed. Other new elements in the design are the vibrant teal highlights on the front apron and the arrowhead style daytime running lights.

There will be two battery sizes available for the Niro EV—a smaller, cheaper 39.2kWh version and the long-range 64kWh car. The cheaper option won’t likely be available in Europe. That market will only probably see the 298-mile option. Expect the car to arrive in Europe dealerships in early 2019.

kia niro ev (3)

The Niro EV is one of the 31 electric vehicles that Kia plans to launch by 2020. Michael Cole, Kia’s European Chief Operating Officer, said in earlier reports that the Niro lineup would have three powertrain choices. So far, we’ve seen two of those three options. And rather than introduce new models for its electrified lineups, Kia would rather develop alternative powertrains for its existing EV models.

Take A Look At The Tesla Model 3 EV’s Debut In Beijing

tesla model 3 (3)

Tesla is giving Beijing a taste of its Model 3 as the latest EV vehicle from Elon Musk’s company made its debut at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. This came ahead of the official launch of the Tesla Model 3 in China and also before the company receives full authority to produce the vehicle in the market.

This is not the first Tesla Model 3 in the country, of course. Rich private citizens have already started importing the vehicle from the US, which is not recommended given the many different specifications in terms of wattage and outputs in the vehicle. We do know that US and China do not share the same power capacities and even format.

Still, the vehicle debuting at the Beijing Auto Show is the first one that Tesla itself brought to the Asian giant. But while Tesla is already introducing the vehicle to the Chinese market, it won’t be seen in dealerships until next year, when it will have its official launch.

Reportedly, Tesla Model 3 will be available as an import from the US first much like the Model S and Model X. Tesla is working on domestically manufacturing the vehicles to save on cost and reduce the final price of the vehicle. Practically, this is a good move both for Tesla and the Chinese market. Logistic costs and import fees could double the cost of a vehicle that is essential in helping Chinese commuters reduce their carbon footprint.

Currently, Tesla’s import duties is at 25%. This effectively limits the company’s demand in the world’s largest automotive market, though reports pointed out that Tesla’s presence has grown significantly. To keep growing (it has the lead in foreign electric car sales in China), Tesla has to somehow convince the Chinese government to allow it to produce the vehicle domestically.

Pininfarina Launches EV Brand, Hypercar To Come In 2020

pininfarina h2-speed concept

Pininfarina launched Automobili Pininfarina on Friday in Rome. The brand will focus on the conceptualization and the production of electric vehicles. Pininfarina’s parent company, Mahindra, is currently in Rome to compete in this weekend’s Formula E Championship round.

Battista Pininfarina said that launching a car brand is a dream come true for him. Thanks to the financial backing of Mahindra, these dreams are coming into fruition.

The cars that will be produced under the new brand will be prestigious and luxurious, true to Pininfarina’s name and reputation. The first model will arrive this year as the production version of the H2 Speed concept that was shown at the 2016 Geneva motor show. The H2 Speed is a track-only electric supercar that uses a hydrogen fuel cell stack instead of batteries. There will only be 12 units in production.

But on Friday, during the launch of the Automobili Pininfarina, the company said that the flagship model of the brand will arrive in 2020. The vehicle will use a technology formulated by Rimac and Mahindra’s Formula E team. Power output will most likely be 1,480 horsepower, similar to the Bugatti Chiron. But much like the H2 Speed, too, there will only be a few units in production.

Rimac, as we can all remember, recently revealed C_Two hypercar that can produce as much as 1,914 horses from its four electric motors.

Don’t fret, though. Even if you can’t get your hands on the flagship model from Pininfarina’s new car brand, you can get dibs on other Pininfarina models, which will be built in higher volumes. This would include sedans and SUVs.

This is not the first time Pininfarina would venture into the production of cars. The company has been actively building various cars for companies, including the Volvo C70. It also has quite an experience producing electric cars such as the BlueCar electric hatch developed by French firm Bollore.

Peugeot Has No Plans For Dedicated EV

peugeot

Peugeot CEO Jean-Phillipe Imparato made a surprising claim recently when he said that the brand has no plans of creating a dedicated EV anytime soon. This statement was made at a time when every car manufacturer, from Kia to Ferrari, is working on EV concepts and dedicating a team to produce them faster.

Imparato is confident that Peugeot will reach its carbon dioxide emissions target for 2021. Car manufacturers in Europe are mandated to keep a check on emissions produced by their vehicles in an aim to lessen CO2 emissions by 2021. The Peugeot head said the brand does not need to launch an electric vehicle and take a hit to reach the target. To protect the operation of the French automaker, Imparato said there are plans to launch a mix of powertrains.

However, this does not mean that the company is anti-EV. While Imparato sees no need for a dedicated EV for now, he did say that he wants Peugeot to lead the way for electrification. By 2019, 8% of Peugeot’s model lineup will be electrified. By 2020, that number will be 50%. He believes that the transition to electrified vehicles should not be done in the future. It should be today.

Imparato is not closing Peugeot’s door on EV. He did say that he would want a dedicated EV for the brand in the coming 10 years. For now, though, what they can offer is a “modular platform” that will cover all markets—electric, hybrid, petrol, and diesel.

Peugeot’s clear plans should be trusted, considering that it reported a sales growth of 10.4% in the previous year. Its siblings, the Citroen and DS, reported negative growth. Imparato said the export of vehicles helped Peugeot grow exponentially. However, China and Germany and many other countries will ban Internal Combustion Engines by 2025. Let’s see how Peugeot will play through this.

Hyundai Kona Electric Showcases Powertrain Versatility

Hyundai Kona Electric (1)

The Hyundai Kona Electric was introduced last week at the New York Auto Show, marking another level of versatility that the brand is bringing to its US utility lineup.

The Kona Electric is a pure EV subcompact crossover that go an estimated 250 miles on a single charge. It’s part of the series of announcements that Hyundai made to introduce an all-new lineup. Last February, the South Korean automaker said that the redesigned Santa Fe will have a diesel option in 2019, which marks Hyundai’s first diesel in the US market. The fuel-powered Nexo will also continue to be around to build on the brand’s “hydrogen legacy.”

The Kona Electric will be rolled out to targeted markets only. Hyundai said that the EV subcompact crossover will be produced in Ulsan, Korea, and will be initially available in California. Later on, other states with California’s zero-emission vehicle regulations will follow the launch. The availability will start in the fourth quarter of 2018.

What the Kona EV brings to the table is “peace of mind” and “flexibility,” according to Hyundai Motor America COO Brian Smith. Why? The 250-mile range is father than the capability of EVs before the Kona EV. Previous EVs can only muster up around 100 or 150 miles.

The closest competitor of the Kona EV is the Chevy Bolt, a hatchback that has the capacity of 238 miles in a single charge. Though Tesla Model 3 has a 220-mile range, it is a sedan and does not fall under the same category as the Kona.

A lot of cross-shopping will happen, Smith claims, as customers who want EVs suddenly have the option of buying a CUV because it’s out in the market now. The 250-mile range will also allow many people to go two to three days without charging, and that’s a big factor to consider.

The Kona EV gets 19.2 cubic feet of rear cargo space, which is the same as the gasoline version of the crossover. Pricing details have not been announced yet.

MW Motors Luka EV Ready To Be Launched

luka ev (1)

MW Motors announced that its Luka EV, an electric vehicle, is ready to be introduced to the world. The team just started testing its first prototype after we first heard about its conceptualization in 2015.

The goal of the Luka EV is to reach 186 miles and a weight of 1,650 pounds for an affordable price of less than €20,000. The goal has been met as the two-seater Luka EV uses four 12.5-kW in-wheel electric motors that produce a total of 66 horsepower. That could push the car to 62 miles per hour from a complete stop. This can be reached at just 9.6 seconds. Top speed is 90 mph.

Luka EV is a bit heavier compared to the target of 1,650 pounds, but it’s still okay at 1,800 pounds, thanks to an aluminum alloy chassis and fiber-reinforced plastic body. It can go 186 miles on a single charge because of the 21.9-kWh NiCoMn battery pack.

The Luka EV has a retro look on the outside, looking a bit like the Mini Cooper. But don’t be fooled by the retro-inspired styling on the exterior. The cabin packs a whole lot of tech and modern features. The seats are upholstered in leather, and there’s air conditioning, power windows, infotainment and navigation will also come standard to the model.

According to MW Motors, the Luka EV will be highway legal in the European Union, but there are no details yet whether it will be available in North America. There are a lot of EV startups in the market these days, but there are only a few lightweight, stylish, and affordable options. So, the Luka EV will be a welcome option in a market that is slowly growing and becoming increasingly relevant to society.

No other details are available, including the prices for the Luka EV, so stay tuned for that.

Photos

Check out the official photos of the Luka EV here:

A Four-Door Coupe Is In The Works For Next EV From Bentley

bentley

The plan of Bentley to produce a vehicle under Porsche Mission E’s J1 platform could be in the form of a four-door coupe. This was after Bentley decided to scratch immediate future plans for an all-electric SUV. The news came from Bentley’s Design Director, Stefan Sielaff.

The reason is because Sielaff wants the next EV to be sleek, elegant, and sporty at the same time. That could not be achieved with a vehicle that is raised high like an SUV. Sielaff himself said that the next EV using the Porsche platform should have a “certain coupe style or sportivity” that is not something the SUV could deliver.

As you well know, there have been suggestions for an all-electric Bentley based on the J1 architecture for many months now. In November last year, there were actually reports that Bentley wants to build a more luxurious variant of the Mission E. The potential name was Barnato. No actual plans came out of these rumors, though.

The news and plans of the next EV being a coupe first came out last September 2017 when Bentley confirmed it wants to build an electric sports car instead of a smaller SUV. This was done to compliment the Bentayga. Bentley also showed the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept back at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show. This might and might not be a preview of an electric sports car from the luxury brand.

The concept was a convertible, and Porsche already confirmed that using the J1 platform for the EXP 12 Speed 6e will support additional body styles, including a convertible.

This upcoming electric car will be a flagship mode. Sielaff said that they want to make sure the new vehicle will stand out on its own, and will not be a simple reiteration of the other models in the lineup. What he did reveal is that there will be more than two seats. That rules out the EXP 12 Speed 6e as the new EV because that one is a two-seater vehicle.

 

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