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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.

What We Know So Far About The 2020 Kia Soul EV

kia soul ev (1)

Kia wasted no time in revealing its 2020 Kia Soul EV as it was introduced at the same time that the new third-generation Soul crossover debuted. The Soul EV is, of course, based on the regular Soul.

The new Soul EV has the same distinctive look as the regular Soul but it now has a larger battery pack and a more powerful electric motor.

kia soul ev (2)

The old Soul EV had a 30.0-kWh battery pack while the new one claims to make 64.0-kWh, more than double the capacity of the old model. In terms of horsepower and torque, the new Soul EV also has twice the power compared to the old Soul EV. Its front-mounted motor is rated at 201 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, up from the previous generation’s 109 horses and 210 pound-feet of torque.

Kia has not released performance figures as of now but it claims that drivers of the new Soul EV “will feel like a virtual Aladdin” because of the new independent rear suspension that gives a “magic carpet ride” feel.

The new battery pack installed in the new Soul EV is still being tested by the EPA with the results expected to be available early 2019. But since the Soul shares its platform with the Hyundai Kona Electric, we can base some of our expectations from its EPA ratings—258 miles of range in total. The outgoing Soul EV is rated at 111 miles, so the expected increase is quite staggering.

2020-kia-soul-ev-104-1543506556

The Soul EV has four driving modes—Eco, Eco+, Comfort, and Sport. All these modes will adjust the car’s powertrain power and response, HVAC system, and many more to suit the driving conditions and maximize power efficiency.

Other things that make the EV model a standout from the regular Soul are the front and rear bumpers, a charging port, a more closed-off grille, LED lights in chrome front unibrow, and 17-inch wheels. Inside, it has a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with integrated features such as monitoring charging, scheduling charge times, and planning routes.

The Soul EV will go on sale next year though prices have not been announced. We’re also not sure yet if this will be available in all states. Remember that the outgoing Soul EV was also available in these states: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington.

 

MPs in the UK Push for Petrol and Diesel Ban by 2032

petrol and diesel ban

The UK MPs are looking to ban the sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2032. The proposed move is to ensure that they could meet their 2040 target eight years ahead.

It should be noted that the UK prime minister earlier said that all new cars and vans in the country should have zero emission by 2040. The plan outlined in their “Road to Zero” policy aims to make “almost every car and van” in the road to have zero emission by 2050. The ultimate goal is to make the UK “the best place in the world” to own an electric vehicle (EV), according to BBC.

The Underlying Issues

The government’s plan for petrol and diesel ban are raising more questions than answers though. Initially, the zero emission target by 2040 was branded by the Parliament’s business select committee as “vague and unambitious”.

MP Rachel Reeves, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee chairwoman, criticized the government’s actions though. She said that there is “little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.”

The committee also pointed out the problems stemming from the cuts of subsidies for vehicles producing lesser pollutants. They mentioned the lack of charging points for EVs too as one of the primary concerns.

Last week, the UK government revealed a plan to remove the subsidies for plug-in hybrids while reducing grants for EVs from £4,500 to £3,500. The committee explained that the cost of EVs is still high relative to fuel-fed cars. In addition, the customers’ preference to EVs remains low. Therefore, more efforts to encourage them to switch to electric cars must be made.

Of course, the lack of charging stations can be attributed to the low demand for EVs as well. That’s because if there are few EVs on the road, then the returns of putting up charging stations will be tight.

Furthermore, the report said the Road to Zero strategy failed to clear out how hybrid vehicles will be treated upon its implementation.

Check Out This Cool Render of the BMW i4

bmw i4 (1)

The BMW i4 electric vehicle (EV) is expected to hit the market in 2021. The car is the production version of the I Vision Dynamics concept vehicle of BMW. The EV is still in its development phase, so its maker is yet to unveil its final design, but an artist who goes by the name “Avarii” made an awesome render of the car already.

The render shows a more conventional take on the i4 EV. Although there are still hints of the I Vision Dynamics concept in its design, it has abandoned its overly futuristic elements.

The front grille of the i4 in the images follows the shape of its concept version but it adopts a mesh found in the traditional design of cars today. The wheels, as well as the glass panes of the windows, rear glass, and windshield of the i4, also show a more practical approach.

The artist seems to have taken some cues from the recent statement of BMW about the i4. Adrian van Hooydonk, the company’s design director, confirmed through an interview with Auto Express that the upcoming EV will be more “conventional looking”.

The BMW exec believes that customers don’t believe in “design differentiation” anymore when it comes to EVs. He explained that electric mobility will already be a norm in the years to come. Therefore, it will just become one of the powertrain offerings that customers can choose from. As a result, buyers may no longer care about “design differentiation”.

Robert Irlinger, BMW’s head of i division, aired the same sentiments about the styling of the i4. He claimed that customers might prefer the signature design of BMW cars rather than a different one. With that, he said they might pattern the appearance of the i4 with one of their cars with a “4” in its name.

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.

2019 BMW i3 Comes With A 153-Mile Range

bmw i3 (4)

The 2019 BMW i3, which is starting its production in November, will come with a 153-mile range, thanks to its bigger battery that features a 42.2-kWh capacity. This is the second time that the German brand upgraded the i3’s battery since it was launched in 2014.

The last time the i3’s battery was updated was in 2017 when a 33-kWh battery was added to bump the range electric car’s range to 115 miles. This upcoming update will mark a 30-percent improvement over the previous 94-Ah battery (that makes 115 miles). The first battery that the i3 came with it in 2014 only offers a range of 81 miles.

The 42.2-kWh battery is set to be the standard across the range, meaning that the i3 REX range-extended model might see a similar boost in its range and output. BMW didn’t say how much range should be expected, though we expect the same improvement. According to a recent study by the EPA, the most recent iteration of the range extender added 66 miles of range. If you add that to the new battery’s estimated range, it means we’re looking at a 2019 range extender that can drive as far as 219 miles.

The sportier i3 will also use the same battery pack. The standard i3 will be powered by an electric motor that produces 170 horsepower, just enough to get this electric car to 60 mph in just 7.2 seconds. In the sportier trim, the electric motor provides 181 horsepower and can sprint to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.

There are other updated to the 2019 BMW i3 aside from the battery. There will be a new exterior color called the Jucaro beige metallic and the Mega World trim now gets an optional interior package that is lined with brown trim, grey vinyl, and brown cloth. Other features are LED headlights with cornering lights and automatic high beams, BMW’s iDrive 6.0 infotainment system, a WiFi hotspot, and wireless charging tray.

There is no information yet on the release date of the new i3. The pricing should also be announced closer to the actual on-sale date.

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.

 

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