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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.

Do You Want a Hybrid Porsche 911 Cayman or Boxster?

porsche 911 (1)

Porsche earlier announced that a plug-in hybrid version of the Porsche 911 is in the works. The bad news is that it will not arrive until four years into the future. So for those who own either a Porsche 911 Cayman or Boxster, they do not have to wait that long because Vonnen Performance announced that their hybrid conversion for the models will be arriving soon.

The aftermarket tuner Vonnen Performance is an off-shoot of Porsche suspension specialist Elephant Racing. They revealed to Road and Track that they are working on a system that turns the 911 Boxster or Cayman into a functioning hybrid car. The package is compatible with the 2012 to 2016 models of the said vehicles.

Vonnen aims to accomplish this by replacing the stock flywheel with an electric motor. Next, an inverter is installed on top of the engine. After that, a battery pack is mounted in the front trunk. Lastly, the company puts their very own Vonnen Control Unit (VCU) into the auto.

porsche 911 (2)

The VCU is plugged into the car’s engine control unit (ECU) via a Controller Area Network (CAN bus). That allows the computer of the vehicle to monitor factors like the RPM, speed and throttle input. Based on the readings, Vonnen’s computer releases energy through the crankshaft-mounted motor. Therefore, as the driver steps on the gas pedal, the hybrid motor directs power to the motor on the crankshaft to give it more rotating force.

The Vossen Performance package puts an additional 175 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque to the Porsche 911. The penalty for the power boost is a weight increase of merely 120 lbs. The minimal increase in weight despite all the upgrades is made possible by ditching the stock flywheel to make way for the company’s 38-pound motor as well as removing the starter motor because the hybrid system no longer utilizes it and taking away the 12-volt battery, which is no longer needed.

2019 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Now Has More Capabilities

2019 mitsubishi outlander phev (2)

The current-generation Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has received very good reviews from critics and car enthusiasts alike. It was efficient, functional, fun to drive, and a relatively affordable plug-in hybrid, midsize, crossover option. For the 2019 model-year, on its home market in Japan, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is receiving a slew of updates—more electric power, a bigger gas engine, a bigger battery, better suspension, two new drive modes, and a number of design tweaks.

The car’s battery capacity has been increased to 13.8 kWh from 12 kWh. That will allow the car’s electric driving range to power to 40.4 miles from the regular 37.8 miles. There is also a boost in power coming from the rear electric motor/generator, and the gas engines increase its displacement from 2.0 liter to 2.4 liters.

There are new driving modes for this model—the Sport and Snow modes. Its 4WD Lock has also been adjusted to enable the better handling of poor road surfaces. This means the midsize crossover will be more than capable to handle off-road conditions.

To do this, the Japanese automaker must fit the Outlander PHEV with larger front and rear dampers with a new type of damper valve. For better steering feel and response, it will also come packed with a faster steering ratio and retuned electric power steering control.

For the exterior, the Outlander PHEV is now fitted with full LED headlights, an updated grille in front, and a new rear spoiler that improves aerodynamics and gives the midsize crossover a sportier look.

The cabin’s seats get leather wrapping with a diamond-quilt pattern. The door trim follows the same design. The front seats have been reshaped for added support.

These updates will likely make Mitsubishi’s midsize crossover more attractive for those looking for functionality and design. These updates are being offered to its Japanese market for now, but we think it’s more than likely we’ll see them in US soil.

Range Rover Sport P400E Plug-In Hybrid Can Go 31 Miles Using Electricity

2019-land rover range rover

Even Land Rover is going hybrid now. The British automaker just revealed the 2019 Range Rover Sport Plug-in Hybrid that can go 31 miles on electric power alone.

JLR is responsible for producing the hybrid system that can power the heaviest Range Rover vehicle. It carries the same engine found in the Jaguar F-Type, which is based on a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit with an output of 296 hp. The engine is assisted by a powerful 141 hp electric motor that receives power from its 13.1 kWh battery.

The hybrid system produces 398 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque that allows the Range Rover to go from 0 to 60 mph in mere 6.3 seconds. That is 0.1 second quicker compared with the Range Rover P400e.

However, what we’re actually looking for is just how many miles can the P400e go without using gasoline, which is 31 miles on electric power with a fully-charged 13.1 kWh battery. It takes only 2 hours and 45 minutes to fully charge the SUV’s battery using a 220V/32 Amp charger.

Even if the power is only coming from its electric source, the Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid can handle serious off-road situations. The auto receives the same off-road gear as the other Range Rover Sport models.

The new feature for the 2019 model includes the wade sensing feature, which can detect the depth of water and can assess if the Range Rover is moving deeper or shallower into the water. It notifies the driver if the car is getting too deep. The system is also available across all other 2019 Range Rover Sport models.

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.

 

S Appearance Package Adds Oomph To The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid with S Appearance Package

If you want to look cool while picking up your kids from soccer practice or hauling groceries to the trunk of your new minivan, then you should probably check out the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that just got the S Appearance Package treatment.

This July, the automaker will start offering the minivan in the S Appearance package. The success of that same package being offered in the gasoline combustion version of the auto last fall triggered the decision to introduce the upgrades also in the hybrid version of the Chrysler Pacifica.

The updates will mostly be the same as on the gas versions. Buyers of the S package will get the same exterior gloss black accents, including grille surrounds, eyebrow headlamp accents, and window and rear valance moldings. The Chrysler wing badges, placed on the front and rear, are done also in black for the hybrid version, it comes with a special teal insert to highlight the green accents. There’s also the “Black Noise” finish on the Pacifica, S, and eHybrid badges, and the black roof rack and 18-inch wheels will come as standard.

The interior of the S Appearance package has black seats with gray accents, as well as the S logo, light gray stitching, and black accents on the wheel. There are also light gray stitching and the Anodized Ice Cave bezels on the instrument panel and the door trim. If we didn’t mention what element of the cabin you are waiting for, know that it has been wrapped in black. Everything, except for the contrast stitching and badges, has been blacked out.

The S Appearance Package on the 2019 Pacifica Hybrid models can be had with any exterior paint color, not just black. Orders will start next month for $595. It will arrive in dealerships in the fall.

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.

The New Ford Focus RS Will Be A Hybrid

ford focus rs

Ford is planning for another RS-badged Focus as the current generation Ford Focus RS is preparing to stop production by April 6 this year. The next-generation Focus RS will reportedly be a hybrid that can produce up to 400 horsepower.

Dutch publication Auto International started the rumor last week when it reported that the next-generation Focus RS will have a 48-volt, mild-hybrid system that will boost the power production of the vehicle. That is reason enough for the RS-badged Focus to be able to choke out a nice 400 horsepower output.

The current-generation Ford Focus RS produces 350 horsepower, though a 370-horsepower version was also available, thanks to a Mountune performance kit. The 370-horsepower Focus RS was aptly called the Focus RS Heritage Edition.

The same report said that the current 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine will be carried over to the next-generation Focus, but it is believed that the hybrid will have a bigger starter motor that will seriously boost the powertrain capability. Aside from the 400-horsepower output, the new Focus RS will allegedly also come up with an additional 44 pound-feet of torque, bringing the total to 394 pound-feet of torque.

These are just rumors, of course, but there’s credence to it since Ford plans to electrify most of its vehicles in the coming years. In fact, it even teased a future battery-electric performance crossover that would carry the “Mach 1” name. There was also a report that a hybrid version of the Mustang and F-150 might be coming out.

Jim Farley, executive vice president and president for global markets, earlier said that Ford plans to distribute seven fully-electric cars in North America by 2022. This might be the start of that project.

There’s no timeline as to when the next-generation Focus RS will come out. What we do know is that the next hatchback will make its bow at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show. The sedan version might make its debut at the 2018 New York Motor Show.

Plug-In Hybrid Porsche 911 To Be Released In 2023

porsche 911

We’ve heard a lot of rumors about the plug-in hybrid Porsche 911, but none have been confirmed for quite some time. However, it looks like the plug-in hybrid is all but confirmed for production as Porsche is gearing to bring the company to new heights in 2023.

Porsche CEO Oliver Blume allowed that little tidbit to slip during the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Apparently, an electrified version of the iconic sports car will make its debut around five years from now.

The comments were made to Automotive News. The plug-in hybrid of the Porsche 911 is set to be released after the launch of the next-generation car, which will make its debut by the end of 2018. If you will recall, there was a plan from Porsche to make an electrified version of the current generation 911, but the plans were scrapped and no word has been made about another plan to do so.

Blume said the decision to pull the plug from the earlier project was because the performance of the car might be compromised because of battery weight. Fast-forward today, Porsche finally managed to engineer a platform that would not compromise the performance of an electrified Porsche 911.

The Porsche chief said the 911 plug-in hybrid still needs approval from the company’s board but in his opinion, the company needs to push through with the project to keep up with the demands for electrified luxury supercars.

Previous reports about the electrified version of the 911 said it will be released as a range-topping model quite like the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. The electrified hatchback, thanks to electric motor and batteries, is able to produce 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque.

For the Porsche 911, the company hopes to reach a 43-mile all-electric range, which will be made possible by the next-generation batteries. Blume added that the batteries will allow for lighter weight.

 

Toyota Hybrid Pickup Is Still Possible

toyota tacoma

The recently concluded State Fair of Texas proved to be the perfect venue to introduce and possibly even tease the future of pickup trucks. Japanese automaker Toyota is looking to star in the perfect headline by, as of today, studying the possibility of making a hybrid pickup.

Right now, what we’re sure of is what Ed Laukes, the group’s vice president of marketing, told Automotive News that the new Toyota Tacoma will feature upgraded powertrains. That will be part of the superb performance and marketability of the incoming Tacoma.

But when asked about the possibility of hybrid pickup trucks, Laukes was also quick to answer: there was no reason why hybrid pickup trucks shouldn’t be considered. Remember, there is also the need to meet CAFE standards. CAFE stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy and refers to the regulations in the United States that aims to improve average fuel economy of cars and light trucks.

Even the president of Toyota Canada believes that there is room for hybrid pickup trucks in the future. Earlier this year, Larry Hutchinson said that “we’ve looked at it seriously” even if there’s little to no demand for hybrid trucks today.

Although the statements came from top Toyota officials, these shouldn’t ring true unless a concept is pushed through. Come to think of it, that may even remain as a mere concept since there is a long road between an idea and the presence of the truck in an actual showroom.

And yet, we want to believe that this particular gossip is true for the simple reason that hybrid pickup news has a prolonged stay in the rumor mill. This is one speculation that just won’t go away. You can’t blame people for being pessimistic about this. There is a history of disappointments that started with the Toyota A-BAT concept hybrid pickup in 2008 and the scrapped collaboration with Ford in 2011.

Still, back then, the two biggest automakers in the industry promised to bring into fruition a hybrid pickup truck. Toyota, at least, seems to have confirmed that studies are being made already.

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