Thursday 26th April 2018.

BMW iX3 TO BE MADE IN, AND EXPORTED FROM, CHINA

  • The biggest car launch today was technically a concept, but let’s report on it because it’s such big news. The massively popular BMW X3 is finally confirmed as being an electric model, the iX3.
  • And equally as big news, it is set to be made in China and be exported to USA and Europe.
  • And it’s very similar to the X3 apart from BMW playing around with the kidney style grill.
  • It will enter production in 2020 and is the first example I can think of to be a luxury upmarket car made in China and exported. What happened to quality only coming from Germany?
  • And BMW sell a lot of SUV in North America so it’s a calculated risk, and means a lot for their reputation. They already make the plug in Z1 in China.
  • The iX3 will have a range of 400km which is 250miles, but there’s no direction on whether. For comparison the new 40kWh Nissan LEAF has a 150mile EPA range.
  • And it’s a strong effort to go up against the Jaguar I-PACE, the Audi e-tron Quattro, the Mercedes EQC crossover due next year in 2019. So smart money is on a 70kWh battery pack, and they’ve confirmed 150kW charge speeds. The motor is a very reasonable 200kW of power.
  • The platform will come with battery packs from 60kWh to 120kWh depending on the needs of performance. Electrive say: “The core of the iX3 is very compact. The fifth generation eDrive contains the electric motor, transmission and performance electronics in one component. A further novelty is the fact that the electric motor was designed without using any rare-earth metals. Added to this development, are the new battery specs, which have improved performance characteristics, range, size and flexibility, according to the manufacturer.”

 

NISSAN’S LEAF WHICH IS A SYLPHY

  • A new car was launched by Nissan yesterday ? welcome to the world the Nissan Sylphy. From the front it’s a LEAF, from the back it’s a pretty generic sedan, from the side, it’s a LEAF-and-a-bit on the back.
  • It’s Nissan’s first EV built for China and yes it does share the LEAF platform.
  • Based on the Chinese cycle it’s good for 210 miles or 340kms. That sounds to me like the 40kWh AESC batteries and not the new larger 60kWh LG Chem batteries, because surely that range would be higher. Given that the Chinese standards are more forgiving than the EPA.
  • It does feature the e-Pedal technology which has everyone impressed. It will be on sale this year.
  • But will we see it in the US? Will we see it in Europe like the BMW? Nope. I would expect it to be very cheap however based on comments from Carlos Ghosn that even their own Nissan LEAF is too expensive for the Chinese market.

 

VOLVO XC40 PHEV

  • Volvo was the first major name to say all their cars will be electrified by 2019, and now they’ve said half of its annual, worldwide sales will be electric cars within 7 years. And a lot can happen in 7 years!
  • 2025 is the year when China wants 7 million electric cars being sold a year that’s 20% of all sales.
  • We’ve seen the XC40 T5 Plug-in Hybrid at Auto China 2018 in Beijing, in their No.1 market in China. It has a 1.5litre three-cylinder engine coupled with the electric motor, and of course can run on electricity only, but we don’t know how far. At the show Volvo are only showing off cars with plugs ? those being the XC40, 60 and 90.
  • Volvo’s owner Geely has developed the powertrain which is also set to be used in Lynk&Co models, and for Geely’s own models in China.
  • Autocar say: “Three main drive modes will be available with the T5 model: Hybrid, Power and Pure. The first will work to most efficiently combine both parts of the powertrain, while power will maximise the output of both. The final will harness only the electric motor.”

 

HONDA EVERUS CONCEPT

  • In Beijng Honda has shown off another concept, and another stunner. The Everus ? a mass produced B segment car for the Chinese market.
  • Again the show in China is being used to show off the body and styling without any firm details of the drivetrain but it’s due to be in the hands of customers this year, and built by a joint venture, as is the deal with China, with GAC Group.

 

TOYOTA WILL HAVE TO GET SOME PLUGS

  • Toyota might be famous for running ad campaigns saying we don’t believe in plugging in our hybrids, but someone forgot to tell the engineers. That’s because the Corolla and Levin are being shown off at Auto China 2018 to be on sale next year, and a full BEV in 2020. A full BEV for Toyota? But only for China! It’s based on the C-HR compact SUV.
  • The Chinese partner for Toyota is GAC. The plug ins are said to do 50kms on pure electric alone, obviously made in China.
  • These are the start of 10 new models, and also a R&D centre in China, to move forward with pure battery tech.

 

NEW BRAND FOR VW

  • Volkswagen has launched a new car brand at Auto China called SOL, and the first car under that, the E20X. And again it’s the lovechild of VW with a domestic maker, JAC.
  • Like the Honda it will be on sale this year, taking same parts of the JAC iEV7S, running 186 miles on one charge, it has smart charging, self-parking and luxuries like parking cameras.

 

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