Tuesday 6th March 2018.
Before I start, in the last few minutes the Geneva motor show has just seen the launch of the VW ID Vizzion, with some very good carpets but a lack of steering wheel, and the Bentley Bentayga Hydrid with a “statement piece” charging station. I will decipher the press releases and talk more about what you want to know tomorrow.
- Firstly, car mags and journalists have been given their first taste of driving the new all electric Jaguar I-PACE as they arrive for the Geneva Motor Show.
- However these aren’t what you call in depth road tests and the drives were limited to a few minutes around a carefully controlled track designed by Jag, but we don’t care, the first reviews are in.
- Firstly Autoexpress who say “The I-Pace ticks the usual EV boxes, with instant torque delivery and the ability to slow down to a complete halt just by lifting off the throttle pedal. But there’s also impressive refinement from those dual motors; only a faint whine is audible under hard acceleration.”
- Car Magazine on the other hand praise the steering and how jaguar-y it feels. I presume that’s a compliment. They also noticed how aggressive the top level of regen was and inform us that Jaguar engineers say one pedal driving is suitable for 98% of all braking events.
- Until some more in depth reviews surface in May that’s all we have to be getting on with, but I’ll keep an eye on the in person comments at Geneva.
CUPRA EV SPECS
- On the podcast recently was news about Volkswagen’s Spanish division Seat, and their Cupra eRacer, the first touring car powered by electrons. At the time I lamented any actual specs because I’m guess you like me, enjoy a stat or two. Well now we have more details.
- It reaches 100km/h or 62mph in 3.2 Sec, onto an eventual 270km/h, thanks to 4 electric motors and continuous 402hp, which allow a peak of up to 670hp.
- The battery pack has 6,077 cells, weighing in at 450kg which makes up a third of the car’s weight
- Cupra e-Racer Technical Director, Xavier Serra says “One of this vehicle’s most surprising aspects has to be its power. The Cupra e-Racer can reach 12,000 revolutions, compared to the 6,500 of a petrol powered racer car, and all with a single gear.”
- It’s race-ready too, with a roll cage and racing displays. Will it ever race? Is this just proof of concept? And if so, can I please have it when you’re finished showing it off.
MERCEDES SMART CARS AND EQ POWER
- The Mercedes Benz Smart Cars have always been a little arms length from it’s parent. The showroom near here for instance has a separate building, logos and branding. It’s very different to Mercedes showroom.
- Now Mercedes are bringing the Smart electric into the fold, and making it part of their EQ brand of EVs.
- CEO of smart Dr. Annette Winkler said: “smart is electric, innovative, intelligent and totally unique, or in three words each: ‘smart EQ fortwo’ and ‘smart EQ forfour’. With the smart EQ fortwo/forfour, we are putting the first products from the Mercedes-Benz Cars EQ family on urban roads and showing how much fun electric mobility can be.”
- The new models also come with a more powerful onboard charger for level 2 charging, up to 22kW power.
- Staying with Mercedes they also launched their EQ Power plug-in diesel hybrid. They say that electrification via hybrid means that they are locally-emission free, which is somewhat of a caveat as they run on diesel.
- The powertrain will be available for C-Class and upwards, with benefits for efficiency and performance. But it still burns Diesel.
- The electric range of 50km is in line with what we’ve seen from other plug-in hybrids recently, this time with a 13.5kWh battery and onboard 7.2kW charger, with 2 hours charge time to full.
- They talk about pre-entry climate control, a benefit pure electric owners love, being part of their plug ins too.
- Their press release goes on to mention improvements in diesel, the combustion process and internal friction. I switched off slightly because it means you have all the bits of a diesel to go wrong and need servicing.
- I’ll leave you with a thought on hybrids. The threat of heavy fines from European Union regulators regarding manufacturers missing CO2 reduction targets, combined with a switch away from diesel cars by customers, is a cause for some very unhappy diesel fans in the boardroom. Many people are holding off buying a diesel, even a hybrid, after reading headlines of major cities banning use of the fuel.
FORMER OPEL CEO LOVES ELECTRIC
- Former Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann was the exec who wanted Opel to be an electric-only automaker, has gone all-electric himself with a Tesla and a BMW i3.
- You’d think he probably has a few ways to get a pretty steep discount at Opel. I joke of course, but Electrek point out the challenges of being pro-electric at an automaker where so much profit and jobs rely on selling combustion engines a little bit longer.
- His plan was hardly radical, he was giving 14 years or so to gradually phase out engine engines and pivot to EV’s by 2030.
- However things didn’t work out that way as GM sold their European division of Opel to PSA.
- He has form in electric cars too, having previously led VW’s electric plans for a period.
- I do have sympathy for other execs, who have hundreds of thousands or even millions of employees and those in the supply chain, to take the jump from existing revenue streams to electric sales. They’ve also made long term investments into engines which have long life cycles and they need to recoup their R&D costs.
- Hopefully it will be self-fulfilling as they see competitors earn from EV’s, more will take the leap.
DETAILS OF ELECTRIC FORDS
- The next generation of Ford Focus is one of the only cars not be featured at the Geneva Motor Show but we’ll see more of it in April.
- Sources say the dash will feature a more prominent tablet sixed touchscreen, although not Model 3 levels of display.
- They are said to be using a soft hybrid 48-volt electric system to power an integrated starter-generator, an increasingly popular way to use electrons to supplement the engine and take away some of the duties the engine would have provided, such as pumps and belts and starters.
NISSAN LEAF COLD WEATHER TEST
- The Toronto Electric Vehicle Association has taken a new Nissan LEAF out in winter conditions of -7°C (19.4 Fahrenheit). During the motorway/highway test drive the LEAF energy consumption was 29.3 kWh/100 km (62 miles). Factors include the route, the temperature and even the heated seats.
- That’s a long way off 151 miles by EPA measure, so start doing that sun dance and hope for warm weather.
- There was more love for the e-Pedal which every review I’ve seen raves about and also ProPilot.
- I saw a story in a popular newspaper here in the UK which barely deserved the time to read it, as it said the recent cold weather we’ve had means that electric car batteries would run down “in no time” with heaters on, wonderfully vague and blatantly wrong.
- Now The Guardian have printed a response from a reader: “I had to laugh at John Richards’s worry about people freezing in stuck electric vehicles because their batteries would run down in “no time” while those in a petrol car could run their heater (Letters, 3 March). Running the heated seats and climate control for about seven hours costs about three miles of range for my Tesla.” Cat Burton
- Another reader replied: “My Renault Zoe has a battery capacity of 40 kilowatt hours, enough to run a one-bar electric for for 40 hours. I suspect my car would keep me warm longer than a petrol or diesel vehicle, without the added hazard of surrounding the car with noxious fumes.” Geoff Williams, Wolverhampton”
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