Launch of Land Rover’s First Electric Range Rover Nears
– Land Rover’s first electric model, the Range Rover EV, will start pre-orders this year and is set for sale by end of 2024.
– It will be manufactured at JLR’s (Jaguar Land Rover) Solihull facility in the Midlands.
– The electric Range Rover will use the versatile MLA platform, accommodating both hybrid and fully electric powertrains.
– JLR’s vehicle program director, Nick Collins, promises the EV will uphold traditional Range Rover qualities like off-road capability, utility, and refinement without compromise.
– JLR plans to introduce electric models for each of its four brands (Range Rover, Discovery, Defender, Jaguar) by 2026 and aims for all models to be electric by 2030, with a full transition by 2036.
– Initially, the electric Range Rover will use externally sourced batteries, later transitioning to Tata-produced cells once their gigafactory is operational within five years.
– The design of the electric Range Rover will likely mirror the ICE-powered version, retaining its iconic silhouette.
– The previously planned electric Jaguar XJ was scrapped due to a shift in brand vision under CEO Thierry Bolloré.
– JLR and BMW are collaborating on electric drive systems, possibly impacting the Range Rover EV’s design and power, though specifics remain undisclosed.
Honda e: Farewell to a Unique EV in Europe and UK
– Honda confirms the discontinuation of the Honda e in Europe and the UK, ceasing production and closing order books.
– The Honda e, known for its unique design and advanced technology, achieved its goal of attracting new customers to the brand.
– Despite its appeal, the car struggled in the European market due to its higher price and limited range compared to other city cars.
– The Honda e stood out for not being just another electric conversion; it had a distinct rear-drive architecture designed specifically for electric powertrain benefits.
– The discontinuation is seen as a loss, noting the car’s charming design and innovative approach to electric vehicle construction.
End of the Road for Renault Zoe in the UK
– After 11 years, Renault has discontinued the Zoe in the UK, with production ceasing in March 2024.
– The final Zoe will be produced in France on 30 March 2024, alongside the end of production for the Smart Forfour-based electric Twingo.
– Renault is phasing out the Zoe to focus on the upcoming Renault 5 electric hatchback, set to debut at the Geneva motor show in February.
– Despite its popularity, the Zoe will not have a direct successor; it was the best-selling EV in France and a leading seller in Europe.
– The Zoe was known for its 52kWh battery and 238-mile range on a single charge.
– The new Renault 5 will also feature a 52kWh battery but boasts a slightly higher range of 248 miles.
– Over 30,000 Zoes were sold in the UK and more than 380,000 in Europe, dominating the EV market in 2015 and 2016.
– The updated Zoe faced safety concerns, receiving a zero-star Euro NCAP rating in 2021, a significant drop from its five-star rating in 2013.
– Renault cited high costs to upgrade the Zoe to meet new EU GSR2 safety standards.
– The company is now shifting towards a diversified portfolio of hybrid and electric vehicles.
– Renault’s current EV lineup includes the Mégane E-Tech hatchback and will expand to include the Scenic crossover, 5 supermini, and 4 baby crossover.
Volkswagen ID.7 Achieves Top Euro NCAP Safety Score
– Volkswagen’s new ID.7 electric limousine has earned a five-star rating in the Euro NCAP safety tests.
– The ID.7’s top performance places it among the highest-rated models of 2023 by the Euro NCAP.
– The Euro NCAP rating involves four key categories, with the ID.7 excelling in ‘Occupant protection for adults’ with a 95% score.
– The vehicle also demonstrated strong performance in ‘Occupant protection for children’, ‘Protection of unprotected road users’, and ‘Driver assist systems’.
Citroen e-Berlingo Revamped with Extended Range
– Citroën has updated the ë-Berlingo electric MPV, enhancing its design and increasing its driving range by 20%.
– The new model, set to arrive in the UK next spring, promises improved driver engagement, comfort, and advanced interior technology.
– A significant change is the new 54kWh battery, replacing the older 50kWh version, powering a 136bhp motor and extending the range to 198 miles.
– The ë-Berlingo can charge at rates up to 100kW, achieving an 80% charge in just 30 minutes.
– It features a standard 7.4kW onboard charger and an optional 11kW three-phase charger, reducing home charging time to approximately 5 hours.
– Interior updates include Citroën’s latest-generation infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen and wireless smartphone mirroring.
VWN Unveils Electric Successor to T6.1 Transporter
– Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWN) confirms the development of a new Transporter and Caravelle, including diesel, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric versions.
– The new lineup will feature a panel van in two sizes, an estate, a platform van with crew cab, and the e-Caravelle.
– Pre-sales in Germany for the new Transporter begin in 2023, with specifications to be announced soon.
– The new VW Transporter will share technology with the Ford Transit Custom and E-Transit Custom, and production is planned in Kocaeli, Turkey.
– Potential electric options include motors with 100 kW and 160 kW power outputs, utilizing a 400-volt battery with 74 kWh capacity for up to 380 km WLTP range.
– The battery supports fast charging, reaching 80% in 41 minutes at DC charging points with up to 125 kW, and includes an 11 kW onboard AC charger.
Volkswagen’s Strategic Shift: Hiring 3,000 Engineers in China
– Volkswagen, historically importing shock absorbers from Central Europe for its Chinese factories, now buys them locally at a 40% cost reduction. The company is assembling a team of nearly 3,000 Chinese engineers to design electric cars, part of the new In China, for China strategy.
– This move signifies a major shift as China leads in electric vehicle innovation, impacting the global auto industry.
– Volkswagen’s focus on China, its largest market, aims to compete with Chinese electric car makers who have captured a significant market share. Chinese government and banks are heavily investing in local electric car makers, leading to a price war and lower electric car prices. Volkswagen’s new Tavascan SUV will be produced in Hefei, China, for the Chinese market and export to Europe.
– The company faces tough choices, including job cuts in Europe, as part of a €10 billion cost-cutting plan.
– Volkswagen has acquired a stake in Xiaopeng, a Chinese electric car maker, and is replacing European parts suppliers with Chinese companies.
BMW’s Tech Leader Rejects Artificial Gearboxes in EVs
– BMW’s Chief Technology Officer, Frank Weber, dismisses the idea of incorporating fake transmissions or engine sounds in BMW’s future electric vehicles (EVs).
– While some carmakers are introducing simulated gearboxes in EVs to enhance the driving experience, BMW is not following suit.
– Weber joked about the possibility but emphasized BMW’s focus on integrating electric technology in vehicle control systems, prioritizing wheel, motor, and chassis coordination.
– Toyota and Hyundai are experimenting with EV features like artificial shifting and selectable engine noises.
– Toyota has developed a manual transmission for EVs that can stall, while Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 N offers simulated gear shifts and a variety of engine sounds.
– BMW’s high-performance M division is considering artificial shifting, vibrations, and acoustic cues for future M-branded EVs to aid in speed perception on racetracks.
Pennsylvania Proposes Highest EV Registration Fee in the US
– Pennsylvania is considering imposing an annual fee on electric vehicle (EV) owners, potentially the highest in the United States.
– The proposed fee, set at $290 annually, is under discussion and subject to ongoing negotiations.
– This fee would surpass all other EV registration fees nationwide if implemented.
– The revenue from this fee would contribute to the Motor License Fund, which finances highway infrastructure projects and state police operations.
– The bill, already approved by the House Transportation Committee, targets non-commercial passenger battery electric vehicles, excluding hybrid vehicles.
– Amendments to include hybrid vehicles in the fee were considered but ultimately withdrawn pending further negotiations.
– As of March, Pennsylvania had over 50,000 battery electric vehicles, more than 27,000 plug-in hybrids, and nearly 239,000 hybrid vehicles registered, a significant increase from March 2020.
Tesla Cybertruck Struggles with Snowy Terrain, Rescued by Ford F-Series
– A pre-production Tesla Cybertruck Release Candidate ventured into Southern California’s Stanislaus National Forest and got stuck while retrieving a downed Christmas tree.
– The Cybertruck, taken off the trail in Corral Hollow Trail, failed to climb a snowy hill, leading to a rescue by a passing Ford F-series truck.
– The Cybertruck was equipped with factory-standard Goodyear all-terrain tires, which proved inadequate for snowy conditions.
– A software issue reportedly disabled the truck’s lockers, hindering its off-road capabilities.
– The drivers did not air down the tires for better traction, contributing to the vehicle’s struggle.
– There’s an alleged lack of pickup or recovery points on the front of the Cybertruck, potentially a significant design oversight.
– Tow straps in the rescue appeared to be attached to suspension points due to the lack of standard recovery hookups.
– A separate incident showed a similar Cybertruck model unable to navigate an off-road switchback without performing a three-point turn, raising questions about its turning capabilities, even with four-wheel steering.
Pristine 2010 Tesla Roadster Found with Only 38 Miles
– A 2010 Tesla Roadster with the lowest mileage on record, only 38 miles, was discovered in New Mexico.
– The Roadster, carrying VIN 592, was initially test-driven for about 30 miles by Tesla, which was standard procedure at the time.
– The additional eight miles were accumulated during a single trip to the Tesla Service Center for annual maintenance.
– After this service, the car remained stationary for 13 years, resulting in a bricked condition, requiring a new drive battery from Tesla.
– The vehicle, described as an automotive time capsule, appears in near-perfect condition, both inside and out.
– The interior and exterior show no signs of wear, preserving the original quality and detailing.
– The undercarriage is also in impeccable condition, reflecting careful maintenance and storage.
– The anonymous first owner, who purchased and then stored the vehicle, is now selling it through Gruber Motors.
Survey Reveals Misconceptions About EV Battery Recycling in the US
– A recent survey by Ascend Elements shows that 71% of American adults are concerned about EV battery disposal, up from 54% in 2022.
– Despite the increase in recycling facilities, 40% still believe lithium-ion EV batteries are non-recyclable, though this is a decrease from 47% in the previous year.
– Ascend Elements highlights a widespread misunderstanding regarding the recyclability of EV batteries.
– EV battery recycling is already occurring at significant volumes, and the process allows for the extraction and reuse of valuable metals like cobalt, lithium, manganese, and nickel.
– The fear of EV batteries contributing to toxic landfills has grown, with 56% of respondents expressing this concern.
– Automakers are incentivized to recycle EV batteries due to the valuable metals they contain.
– Recycling EV batteries can reduce costs, decrease reliance on new material mining, and support eligibility for a $7,500 federal tax credit for vehicles using domestically sourced materials.
– EV battery recycling doesn’t require consumers to drop off batteries; it usually happens when end-of-life vehicles are turned in or batteries are replaced.
– Improved consumer education is needed regarding lithium-ion battery recycling, as reflected in better awareness about recycling smaller electronics like laptops.
PHIL ROBERTS / ELECTRIC FUTURE
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