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New Nissan Leaf Gets Larger Battery With 200HP Capacity

nissan leaf

If you want a more powerful engine for your EV, you will be happy to know that the 2019 Nissan Leaf will get a new long-range version. Called the Leaf E-Plus, this model will have a larger battery that enables a more powerful motor with 200 horsepower.

Brian Maragano, Nissan’s head of EV marketing and sales strategy, didn’t mention the battery’s capacity. Previous rumors and slip-ups from Nissan in 2016 and by a Swiss charging station builder indicated that the new battery will be a 60-kWh pack. That’s a pretty huge step up from the 40 kWh battery that is in the current model.

With 200 horsepower, the new Nissan Leaf will be 53 horses more powerful than the standard 2018 Nissan Leaf.

But that’s not all. Owners will also get to enjoy a longer range. Though Maragano did not give specific figures, we’re expecting that the new 60-kWh battery pack can do beyond 200 miles on a single charge. If the figure is correct, that’s a 74-mile jump from the current model’s 151-mile range. During the My Nissan Leaf forum, posters have somehow hinted that the new long-range Leaf can have a 225-horsepower engine.

Once these numbers have been confirmed, it means that the new Nissan Leaf E-Plus will compete directly with the entry-level Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt. The Model 3 packs a 50-kWh battery that produces 197 horsepower and has a 220-mile range. The Bolt, on the other hand, has a decent rap sheet—60-kWh battery, 200 horsepower, and a 238-mile range.

Nissan decided to skip this year’s Paris Motor Show, so we’ll probably see the Leaf E-Plus during the LA Auto Show in November. The standard 2019  Leaf will be the first one to be introduced, followed by the E-Plus probably in early 2019.

Lexus F Models May Get A Bespoke F Hybrid GT

lexus gs f lexus ux

Over the years, Lexus has introduced a number of electrified vehicles— the NX, RX, ES, GS, LS, and LC. The company’s F models surprisingly did not introduce an electric version, though will change sooner rather than later.

In a report from Auto Express, Lexus’ Yoshihiro Sawa admitted that there is a strong possibility that a hybrid variant will be made available for the F model. There might even be a standalone GT model. He said in the report that “one solution” to address the lack of EV variants in the F lineup is a “pure GT car.” It could be a hybrid with an electric motor and a strong engine that will give “a different drive feel.”

The F models are fitted with twin-turbocharged engines, which is either a V8 or a V10, but Sawa said they could not stick with the same engines for the hybrid model if they want it to stand out. The F sub-brand, he added, needs to use a variety of powertrain options in the future.

He believes that the auto industry is merely in a “transitional period,” where EVs are trendy. “… but three years later, who knows? People like the sound, the dynamics [of combustion engines]. I think we cannot stick to the one solution when it comes to providing emotion.”

The Lexus UX small crossover is the model that’s a natural fit for a pure EV, Sawa said. The model will arrive later this year and the company already confirmed there will be a hybrid version that offers more power than the gas powertrain. Pretty neat, right?

The F models are not only being built to be trendy in the inside. Lexus wants it to attract new customers as well with its new take on the exterior such as the controversial spindle grille. As much as there are polarizing opinions about the grille, it has created quite an interest among potential buyers.

 

2019 Peugeot 208 GTi Hot Hatch To Come In Pure EV Form

peugeot 208 gti (1)

We’ve been pretty excited with the 2019 Peugeot 208 GTi hot hatch when it was introduced, but it looks like there’s another reason to party. According to the French automaker, it is lining up a pure electric form of the 208 GTi hot hatch. The electric vehicle (EV) variant will sit alongside the petrol version when both are introduced at next spring’s Geneva Motor Show.

The arrival of an EV form will mean Peugeot will switch to a new architecture, preferably the Common Modular Platform or CMP, which offers much-improved efficiency, cheaper build costs and, crucially, the scope for pure-electric variants.

This is not really a surprise since we’re expecting that an EV form will come. Earlier, Peugeot announced that the next 208 will arrive in two versions: the CMP (also known as the EMP1) and the e-CMP. However, what’s surprising to us is the fact that the electric 208 will also be offered as a GTi.

Peugeot head Jean-Pierre Imparato spoke to Auto Express and said that full details of the cars will be revealed in March, just in time for the show in Switzerland. He added that each time the brand comes up with a new model, it will be offered in an electrified form, so it will still be up to the buyers to choose the powertrain they want.

A pure EV form is being offered in the GTi version because Imparato does not want “to generate [a] difference between EV and combustion-engined models.” Aside from this tidbit, Peugeot is also working on manufacturing and developing high-performance vehicles with electrified powertrains.

Just last year, it has been revealed that the French company is developing a 300-bhp hybrid version of the 3008. There are also other concepts, though the most notable is the 308 R Hybrid.

Photos via Auto Express

Audi e-tron EV’s Interior Is Out Of This World

audi e-tron 1

Ten years ago, the auto industry was so simple. There is a single screen on the dashboard that shows the gauge, temperature, speedometer, fuel levels, etc. There’s a radio that can play songs from your phone via a jack. There’s a dial for the aircon and the light could be switched on and off.

audi e-tron

Those days are gone. Now, we’ve got two screens on the dashboard (both possible touchscreen), the seats are heated, there’s a parking assistance system, and the temperature is controlled by pre-programmed driver settings. The Audi e-tron EV’s interior is just another example of how times have changed.

audi e-tron 2

The company has given us a glimpse of the in-car side-view screens (mirrors) that are attached to rear-facing exterior cameras. These officially replaced the traditional side-view mirrors.

The cameras’ views are going to be transmitted to 7.0-inch OLED screens mounted on the forward edge of each door panel (the driver’s side and the passenger’s side). The view can be switched to different settings when turning, parking, and highway driving. Drivers can also zoom in and out. This technology, of course, will only be available to markets outside the United States because the US does not allow such uber coolness.

The SUV will also come standard with Audi’s Virtual Cockpit display that replaced the traditional gauges with a large customizable screen. The infotainment system can be viewed on two stacked landscape-oriented screens on the center console.

audi e-tron 3

There’s a floating L-shaped hand rest that protrudes from the passenger side of the center console. It houses the “shift gear,” which uses a thumb slider to select drive, reverse, and neutral. There’s a different button for park.

The rest of the car’s interior is typical Audi—from the layers of real brushed aluminum to the Valcona leather to the other soft-touch materials. There’s also a 16-speaker 705-watt Bang & Olufsen 3D sound system and an optional ambient-lighting package add to the premium vibe.

 

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.

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