Aston Martin CEO Thinks Legislators Are Off Track With Fossil-Fuel Bans

Aston Martin’s chief is taking lawmakers to task for an upcoming ban on gasoline and diesel vehicles for being unrealistic about how automotive technology really works.

Great Britain’s announcement in July about banning the sale of new vehicles running on “petrol” and diesel by 2040 is “meaningless,” according to CEO Andy Palmer.

The regulation is based on inaccurate assumptions on what vehicle powertrains can achieve the end result of reducing air pollution. Palmer sees legislators being misinformed on what vehicle technologies are available to achieve goals on reducing emissions and air pollution.

They’re legislators, not automotive engineers.

“Policy makers should not try to be engineers,” Palmer said, and that the government’s July announcement was “just spin” without any practical potential for being achieved.

“In my view as an engineer, it’s better to prescribe the emission, and then let the engineers figure out what the right technology is,” he said.

Palmer thinks that tangible results can be achieved through what’s in development on the market right now with efficient internal combustion engines, preferably gasoline over diesel. Vehicle electrification will be part of it, but that may apply best to passenger vehicles and not to commercial vehicles, he said.

It’s already happening for gasoline engines that can nearly double their fuel economy, which is already being done with Formula 1 race cars, he said.

Carbon emissions can be cut nearly 50 percent with technology that’s in development, Palmer said.

For today’s traditional ICE’s, hybrid technology isn’t the solution.

“If you take today’s engine and you simply slap a hybrid on, you end up more or less in the same place,” he said.

Clarifying the end results in the type of emissions to be reduced could solve the problem, the Aston Martin chief thinks. Diesel is different than gasoline in what’s coming out of the tailpipe.

“Are we trying to solve clean air? In this case, ban diesels. Or are we trying to solve CO2? In this case, you need to use less fossil fuel. The two are different. And a lot of the dialogue right now is mixing those messages,” he said.

Regulators that want to ban diesel-powered vehicles are looking out what’s distinct about the fuel and its high level of pollutants from soot and nitrogen oxides. People living close to interstate highways are more vulnerable to heavy trucks spewing diesel emissions.

Palmer sees electric heavy-duty trucks as a necessity to living within the confines of fossil fuel bans potentially being adopted in the UK, France, Norway, and China. For diesel and gasoline to be banned by 2040, electrified powertrains won’t have the battery packs needed to power heavy trucks, he said.

Tesla and Nikola haven’t impressed him Palmer enough yet to mention them.

The automaker’s head thinks that “about half the cars will be gasoline and gasoline hybrid, and about half the cars will be alternative fuel.”

That statement suggests that about half will be powered by something other than gasoline, such as electricity or hydrogen.

Aston Martin is going that route, its CEO told The Financial Times late last month, though not up the 50 percent all-electric level. Palmer said that all its vehicle offering will be hybridized by somewhere near 2025. By 2030, he expects sales to be 25 percent battery electric vehicles and the remainder hybrid vehicles.

Hybrids will likely include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and traditional hybrids for the British automaker.

It’s gasoline V12 engines won’t be going away, he said.

SEE ALSO:  Aston Martin Electrifying Fleet Over Next Decade

The automaker’s CEO brought impressive auto engineering and executive management credentials to the company when he took over that role in 2014.

Palmer played a visible role in promoting the Nissan Leaf in its first few years as chief planning officer for the Japanese automaker.

One of his achievements was leading town-hall meetings in states such as Arizona where Leaf owners were furious over battery degradation in hot climates. He promised that improvements would be made to the Leaf’s battery technology.

Aston Martin achieved a profitable half-year in 2017 under Palmer’s leadership, its first profitable six-month profit in a decade. That was helped by the launch of the DB11 model, with several new models coming up including the all-electric RapidE


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Eight Global Companies Join EV100 Campaign To Convert Their Vehicles To Electric DriveEVs

Eight multi-national corporations, a major airport, and a European utility have committed to converting their fleets over to electric vehicles by 2030.

Announced Tuesday in New York by The Climate Group during Climate Week NYC, the 10 members of “EV100” seek to cut millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year and to curb transport-related air and noise pollution. EV100 members include Baidu, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Heathrow Airport, HP Inc., IKEA Group, LeasePlan, Metro AG, Pacific Gas & Electric, Unilever, and Vattenfall.

Each of the EV100 members has committed to transitioning its fleet vehicles over from diesel and gasoline vehicles to EVs with a charging infrastructure by 2030. They’ll be issuing timetables for these transitions. They expect the conversion to EVs will reduce fleet costs along with supporting rollouts of new EVs and helping to make them more affordable to consumers.

“We want to make electric transport the new normal,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group, a cleantech non-profit organization.

“EV100 will use companies’ collective global buying power and influence on employees and customers to build demand and cut costs. The members being announced today see the business logic in leading a faster transition and addressing local air quality issues in their markets. They are setting a competitive challenge to the auto industry to deliver more EVs, sooner and at lower cost,” Clarkson said.

The Climate Group has been adding new members to two other climate initiatives. RE100 is taking measures to accelerate adoption of renewable energy; EP100 is adding more companies that seek to double their energy productivity.

Germany’s postal service, Deutsche Post DHL Group, added 2,500 Streetscooter electric delivery vans earlier this year. The goal is to reach 4,000 of these vehicles by the end of the year.

Swedish power company Vattenfall earlier this year committed to converting its entire 3,500 vehicles over to EVs in the next five years. The company’s fleet operates passenger and light commercial vehicles in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany.

The utility has invested substantially in wind energy in recent years.

SEE ALSO:  German Postal Carrier May Enter Commercial Electric Van Business

LeasePlan, a major fleet leasing and management company in the U.S. and Europe, aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. The company will be electrifying its own employee fleet by 2021.

“Making the transition to an electric fleet is one of the easiest ways for businesses to help tackle climate change,” said CEO Tex Gunning, LeasePlan’s CEO.

Clean Technica

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Nikola And Bosch Ready To Raise The Bar On Semi-Truck Electrification

Nikola is preparing to step up competition for heavy-duty truck electrification through a collaboration with German auto supplier Bosch.

The two companies announced today a new commercial vehicle powertrain developed through their partnership. It will be part of the Nikola One and Two class 8 hydrogen-electric trucks coming to market.

Nikola trucks will be able to gain even longer range than previously anticipated.

The new powertrain will assist the Nikola One and Two deliver more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 foot-pounds of torque. Bosch said it’s nearly double any of the diesel-powered semi trucks out on the roads.

Along with the on-road power, it will bring what Nikola calls “zero local emissions” to fleet operators looking to lower their emissions.

For now, the only zero emission heavy-duty truck competitor will be Tesla. The electric carmaker will be unveiling its electric semi-truck on Oct. 26.

The Nikola trucks will be built with Bosch’s new eAxle technology. It integrates three powertrain components – motor, power electronics, and transmission – into one unit that saves weight, space, and cost.

The eAxle is built on a scalable, modular platform. It will go into what the two companies say will “commercialize the world’s first true dual-motor commercial-vehicle eAxle for a long-haul truck.”

Nikola expects to gain unprecedented efficiency and range by using eAxle, which the two companies will integrate with a custom-designed fuel cell system.

The hydrogen-powered truckmaker had originally predicted the Nikola One and Two would be able to go 1,200 miles on a fueling. Integrating eAxle is expected to extend that range.

The two companies will also jointly develop vehicle controls based on Bosch’s software and hardware.

“We have been aggressively pursuing our goal of bringing the most advanced semi-truck ever built to market. The powertrain requires an innovative and flexible partner able to adapt quickly to the speed of our team. Bosch has empowered us to come to market quickly with automotive-grade hardware and software so our vision can become a reality,” said Nikola Founder and CEO Trevor Milton.

SEE ALSO:  Nikola Adding Efficiency And Automation to Hydrogen Semi-Truck

The two partner companies see their powertrain creating a segment-leading innovation at a competitive total cost of ownership compared to traditional truck powertrains.

Nikola sees Bosch’s eAxle as a doorway to speeding up its aggressive move to bring its electrified truck to market.

Bosch sees it as an opportunity to promote its eAxle technology as a viable electrified vehicle improvement, freeing automakers from having to wait around for long range battery packs to be ready.

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China Allowing Foreign Carmakers Like Tesla To Set Up Their Own Factories

China will be allowing foreign automakers like Tesla to build vehicles without having to partner with local companies.

Under new rules, foreign automakers would be allowed to establish their own wholly owned electric vehicle company in China’s free-trade zones, according to auto executives briefed on the matter. That would be a major shift for a country that allowed global automakers to set up factories locally through establishing joint ventures with Chinese companies beginning in 1994.

China will “actively implement the opening up of the new-energy manufacturing sector to foreigners, together with other departments under the direction of the State Council,” the nation’s Ministry of Commerce said in an emailed response to Bloomberg.

The statement also made reference an agency notice issued last month by the State Council. Government agencies have been directed to expand access to foreign investors including “new energy vehicle” manufacturing.

The move started last year in July with allowances made to foreign manufacturers to set up their own motorcycle and battery factories.

The 50-50 rule had been established in the 1990s to tap into the financial backing and expertise of global automakers as Chinese startups struggled to break through cost-intensive procedures needed to design, build, market, and deliver vehicles to retail networks. Much of that came through tapping into technology from foreign carmakers and rebadging cars as Chinese JV makes and models.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been spending a lot of time in China in the past couple of years as the company opened up retail stores and a Supercharger network.

In June, Musk said Tesla has been working with government officials in Shanghai to examine options in setting up local production for the EV maker. Shanghai has one of the 11 free-trade zones, with others located in the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, and Zhejiang.

In April, Musk met with vice premier Wang Yang to explore possibilities. The meeting with Wang, who used to head the Guangdong province, led to speculation that Tesla could set up a factory in that area.

Foreign carmakers like Tesla have to add a steep 25-percent tariff to their sticker prices, making the electric cars much less competitive with Chinese car shoppers. That would be an even tougher challenge as the more affordable Tesla Model 3 comes to China.

China can’t be ignored as a vital growth market for selling new energy vehicles, which include battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

While NEV credits are starting to diminish, the national government has released statements this year indicating that EV mandates will be following California’s zero emission vehicle policy. Earlier this month, China announced that it would be joining Norway, France, and the United Kingdom in banning fossil-fuel powered vehicles in the near future.

SEE ALSO:  China Will Have Plenty of EVs, But Will The Market Want Them?

The Chinese government is working with its regulators on setting a deadline on ending production and sales of vehicles with internal-combustion engines, according to Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology.

Global makers are making moves to set up EV-specific automaker units with Chinese JV partners. Ford is considering setting up a JV to produce EVs in China with Anhui Zotye Automobile Co. Volkswagen has partnered with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp. to do the same.

GM’s joint venture with SAIC Motor, SAIC-GM, will be opening a new battery assembly plant in Shanghai before the end of the year.


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GM Bringing 10 New Electrified Car Models To China By 2020

General Motors is rolling out at least 10 new energy vehicles (NEVs) in China by 2020, the U.S. automaker’s chief said.

CEO Mary Barra, speaking to media in Shanghai on Friday, said that electrification will tie together with autonomous vehicles, connectivity, and shared mobility services. It’s needed to deal with China’s growing challenges over vehicle safety, air pollution, and congestion as urbanization continues to take off.

Between 2016 and 2020, GM is rolling out at least 10 battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (NEVs) in China. Three of them were already introduced to China over the past year – the Cadillac CT6 and Buick Velite 5 plug-in hybrids and the Baojun E100 all-electric vehicle.

The Buick Velite Concept was revealed in November and may be built on the Chevy Volt’s drive train. The Baojun E100, a small two-seat electric car shown in the photo above, was launched in July.

By 2025, nearly all of GM’s brands sold in China – Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet – will have an electrified option.

GM’s joint venture with SAIC Motor, a large Chinese automaker, will support the NEV strategy. The JV company, SAIC-GM, will be opening a new battery assembly plant in Shanghai before the end of the year.

The global automaker said it’s is bringing its corporate vision over to China, where the ideal scenario would be zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. GM is ready to bring its new identity – moving away from traditional manufacturing over to transportation services – to a market demanding more options.

Barra said that her company has been working closely with the government and partners to meet China’s vehicle to everything (V2X) policy standard. The automaker has been working with the government as it develops the new standard for connectivity and automated vehicles.

The company has been one of the authors of the China Intelligent and Connected Vehicle Road Map. That strategic plan lays out guidelines for manufacturers and technology suppliers on R&D and vehicle testing.

The Detroit automaker is seeing gains from its investment in Yi Wei Xing, a leading carsharing technology supplier in China. The partners ran a vehicle sharing pilot program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which was completed in May. Data from the pilot program is being studied to see how mobility services can work in China.

The automaker’s Super Cruise hands-free semi-autonomous feature is being testing in the U.S. and China. It will first be available on the Cadillac CT6 in the U.S., and in a future new vehicle in China at a later time.

The company plans to bring its recent experience producing 130 Chevy Bolts with autonomous vehicle technology over to China. In June, GM began using mass-production methods at its Orion, Mich., assembly plant to add these Bolt test vehicles to the fleet of 50 autonomous Bolts already in operation.

On the automated mobility side, GM is seeing more signs of interest and potential market demand. Its Maven carsharing unit is seeing rapid growth in the U.S. Ride-hailing firm Lyft, in which GM placed a significant investment last year, is seeing opportunities to expand in testing out self-driving cars with partners; this is taking place as archrival Uber sees its plans sidelined by the Waymo lawsuit and other growing problems.

SEE ALSO:  Just-Revealed Chinese Buick Velite Concept May Have A Lot in Common With Chevy Volt

China holds great potential for GM’s future, Barra said. Cities like Shanghai are becoming more crowded and congested. Shared, autonomous, vehicles are expected to play a key role by the Chinese government. Concerns over fast-growing cities with increasing air pollution is another priority being faced by China’s national and regional governments.

“GM and our joint ventures are committed to providing world-class products for our customers in China, as well as the technical and business expertise to lead in the future of personal mobility.” Barra said. “No single company or organization has all the answers to the challenges we currently face or expect to face in the future.”

Barra participated in the International Business Leaders Advisory Council for the Mayor of Shanghai (IBLAC) on Sept. 17.

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Daimler Beats Tesla To Electric Truck Market With UPS As First Client

Daimler has taken the lead over Tesla in the U.S. electric truck market, delivering its Mitsubishi Fuso eCanter electric trucks to UPS and other clients in New York City.

UPS is taking delivery of three of the electric medium-duty delivery trucks at “locations to be determined.” The delivery giant, and other clients, are signing deals for two-year leasing programs.

Four NYC-based non-profit organizations will also receive a small number of the eCanters – Habitat for Humanity, the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York Botanical Garden, and Big Reuse Brooklyn.

Tesla was originally going to launch its electric semi-truck this month. CEO Elon Musk yesterday tweeted that the reveal would be postponed until Oct. 26.

There are a handful of small companies manufacturing and selling medium-duty electric work trucks to fleets in the U.S. Chinese company BYD is preparing to serve the electric truck market from its Lancaster, Calif., plant that has been building and delivering electric buses to transit agencies.

Daimler and Tesla are the first major passenger vehicle makers to take electric commercial trucks seriously.

Daimler has entered the heavy-duty electric truck market in Europe with its heavy duty all-electric Urban eTruck. It’s being tested with potential customers in Germany and will later spread throughout Europe.

Daimler Trucks operates a few major players in the commercial truck market, including Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., Freightliner, and the Mercedes-Benz truck division.

The German automaker started production this summer for 25 eCanter electric trucks that will be sent to 7-Eleven. The retail chain will be using the electric trucks in Japan.

Toyota is delivering fuel cell trucks to 7-Eleven in Japan.

With its range of about 62 miles per charge, the eCanter is best suited for urban settings and delivery services. The electric truck has six battery packs that produce about 83 kWh of energy.

SEE ALSO:  Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck Test Run Starting Up in Germany

The eCanter can carry up to four passengers and a half ton of cargo. Diesel trucks can carry more weight, but Daimler is selling the advantages of the zero emissions, quiet truck.

There are also gains to be made in fleet costs. The truck maker says the eCanter will save about $2,000 in operating costs for every 10,000 miles driven.

UPS is well known for trying out the latest in clean vehicle technologies in its global fleet including natural gas, propane autogas, and hybrid and electric vehicles.

The Verge


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VW Selling Value Of 2017 e-Golf Pricing With New Performance Additions

Volkswagen of America just announced pricing for the 2017 all-electric Volkswagen e-Golf SE at $30,495, plus an $820 destination charge.

VW says it’s a “value-oriented” price for the SE base model when technology improvement and added features are taken into consideration. Much of that comes from adding a new lithium-ion battery pack this year – 35.8 kWh versus the previous battery at 24.2 kWh.

One of these value-added perks is the EPA-estimated range of 125 miles per charge announced earlier this year – a 50-percent improvement over the previous model year. It also has an improved EPA-estimated mile per gallon equivalent rating of 126 MPGe city, 111 MPGe highway, and combined city/ highway at 119 MPGe.

A new electric motor in the 2017 e-Golf produces 134 horsepower and 214 pounds-feet of torque. The electric motor increased from 85 kW in 2016 to 100 kW in 2017, bringing an increase from 115 horsepower to 134 horsepower. It runs faster, with zero to 60 mph at 9.6 seconds and a top speed increase going up to 85 mph.

Volkswagen of America currently lists the e-Golf SE at $28,995 and the SEL Premium at $35,595. The company’s announcement on the 2017 MSRP is $30,495 for SE, $33,795 for the e-Golf Limited Edition, and $36,995 for the e-Golf SEL Premium. It qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit and rebates in a few states.

The automaker made a few styling changes for the 2017 model inside and out. There are new color options, and restyled bumpers, front fenders, headlights, and grille. Inside, a revised seat trim has been made.

The $1,500 price increase for the 2017 covers a few added features as standard equipment. That includes an 8-inch glass-covered touchscreen display, LED taillights, and cruise control.

It comes with 7.2-kW on-board charger. A DC Fast Charging package is option available for $995.

The e-Golf Limited Edition offers a more upscale interior with the V-Tex leatherette seating surfaces. Most of the added features for both upgrade models come from connected car technologies. Park distance control (ParkPilot), and a new feature called maneuver braking arriving late in the model year, come with the e-Golf Limited Edition. The e-Golf SEL Premium package offers adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, and lane assist.

The e-Golf has always been competing with the Nissan Leaf, which is currently available for an MSRP of $30,680 with 107 miles of range. For now, the e-Golf has Nissan beat slightly on the starting price and even more in driving range.

SEE ALSO:  2015 VW e-Golf On Sale In November At $36,265

That will change early next year when U.S. deliveries for the 2018 Nissan Leaf start. It starts at just $29,990 with a range of 150 miles per charge.

It is an improvement for VW, which introduced the e-Golf in the U.S. in late 2014 starting at $36,265 including $820 destination.

The German automakers hopes to see sales improvements for the e-Golf as it prepares its ambitious campaign for adding electrified models to its lineup. For now, the e-Golf is the only plug-in vehicle VW sells in the U.S.


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BMW i Vision Dynamics Previews What Could Be The i5

BMW is showing its i Vision Dynamics in Frankfurt, which is believed likely to be a progenitor of the i5 when it reaches showrooms in 2021.

If so, the all-electric four-door sedan concept revealed yesterday at the Frankfurt auto show would be the third model in its i-Series lineup. BMW is mulling a plug-in hybrid variant of the Gran Coupe as well, it aims at luxury car buyers familiar with the BMW 4 and 6 Series.

While the BMW press kit do
es nopt once utter the name of “i5,” Wards Auto identifies it as the long-anticipated BMW i5 when it reaches production level. Other media sources, including BBC’s Top Gear, also call the electric luxury sedan the i5.

Whatever the name ends up being, the German automaker says it will go 0-62 mph in less than 4 seconds, will reach a top speed over 124 mph, and will be able to go up to 373 miles on a single charge. BMW typically goes by Europe’s NEDC range standards, which are much more liberal than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculations.

“The i model we have planned for launch in 2021 will incorporate our fifth-generation battery-electric system – a step that will take us to the next level,” said BMW R&D boss Klaus Frohlich.

The company sees it as a step forward in the NEXT 100 campaign launched last year. That advanced design concept heralded the company’s 100 year anniversary whiel pointing to future design language and technology.

Exterior design for the i Vision Dynamics is similar to the Vision Next concept, with a distinct kidney grille, headlamps, and contoured front hood.

It offers “a look ahead to the e-mobility experience of the future with a new level of sporting elegance,” BMW chief Harald Krueger said.

“With the BMW i Vision Dynamics we are showcasing how we envisage future electric mobility between the i3 and i8: a dynamic and progressive, 4-door Gran Coupe. We are electrifying the heart of the BMW brand,” Krueger said.

It will be one of 12 pure-electric models in the 25 new vehicles launched by 2025 with an electrified drive system, the company said.

As for a plug-in gas-electric variant, “We’re still deciding on what we’ll offer,” Fröhlich said, while confirming the platform would support it and look also for autonomous capability he said.

Wards reported Fröhlich saying BMW i models of the future would stand out from other company nameplates with Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous-driving technology by 2025.

The BMW i Vision Dynamics will be built on the automaker’s existing CLAR (cluster architecture) platform. The platform is expected to be used in other new models of the future with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive.

SEE ALSO:  What We Know About The BMW i5

Energy density will come from BMW’s fifth-generation battery system. The company calls it “a big leap in energy density and overall range” over the existing i3.

Wards Auto

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Opel Unveils Grandland X Plug-in Hybrid In Frankfurt

Opel just unveiled a plug-in hybrid version of its all-new Grandland X sport utility vehicle at the Frankfurt auto show.

It will be the first Opel plug-in hybrid ever launched, said CEO Michael Lohscheller during a media preview today for three new Opel models.

The 4.48-meter long (14.7 feet) Grandland X compact SUV is the third addition to the Opel X product line, and has been targeted at the fast growing SUV market in Europe.

It will soon be available in a diesel version and another variation equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The company sees big opportunities in the plug-in hybrid segment.

“Our new Grandland X as plug-in hybrid is the next big example of the opportunities that await us as a member of the PSA group. We will follow this path closely,” Lohscheller said.

Opel has yet to release information on the Grandland X’s engine and electric motor; and when it will be introduced to the market.

The exterior and interior features were the focus of the media event. There’s enough space for five passengers, with good all-around window visibility for safe driving and scenic views. Elevated seating positions will help.

As for the latest in tech features, it will get automatic cruise control with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, driver drowsiness alert, advanced park assist and a 360-degree camera. Safety will be supported with Opel’s adaptive forward lighting LED headlights.

Buyers can also choose the option electronic IntelliGrip traction system. That offers better traction and stable handling when driving over the wide range of possible weather conditions on roads.

The Grandland X plug-in hybrid plays into the company’s strategy to roll out more electrified models.

“We have made decisive additions to our portfolio this year with the electric range champion, the Ampera-e, the Crossland X crossover, the Vivaro Life recreational vehicle and the Grandland X SUV,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Opel Confirms Ampera-e Plus Other EVs Will Be Wearing Its Badge

PSA CEO Carlos Tavares was also in attendance at the unveiling event. The French automaker acquired Opel earlier this year from General Motors.

For now, Opel will continue to offer the Ampera-e, a rebadged Chevy Volt available in the European market. It’s the only GM sourced model available to Opel customers in Europe.

The Chevy Volt had been sold by Opel in Europe as the Ampera. In 2015, Opel stopped selling the Ampera plug-in hybrid model due to weak demand.

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Daimler Cutting Costs As It Braces For Less-Profitable Electrified EQ and Smart Lineups

Daimler is aiming to cut production costs 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) by 2025 to compensate for electric cars having much lower profitability under current market conditions.

While speaking at the company’s investor day in Sindelfingen, Germany, on Monday, CEO Dieter Zetsche and Frank Lindenberg, vice president of finance and controlling Mercedes-Benz Cars, explained the business model for making EV sales profitable in the next few years.

Even with production costs cut this much, EVs are only expected to achieve half the profit margins of its equivalent vehicles running off of internal combustion engines, they said.

The company also clarified its vehicle electrification strategy. By 2022, there will be an electric version of every Mercedes model sold. That will bring the total up to at least 50 electric or hybrid models, they said.

Daimler’s Smart brand will be converting over to electric only. The Smart brand will stop selling vehicles with any internal combustion engine variants in 2020.

The German automaker’s Mercedes-Benz division will be leading the new EQ electric car subbrand, which will be the flagship for the new corporate EV strategy. The first EQ models will share the same platform with the Mercedes-Benz GLC crossover SUV and will be produced at the same factory.

The company is making about 1,000 GLCs a day, and will adjust the volume toward more EQs to meet demand. That won’t be happening overnight, with the automaker concerned about maintaining solid profits.

“In the beginning of the cycle we believe that we will have to face a significantly lower margin. For some vehicles half of the margin of the vehicles they replace,” Lindenberg said.

“We are still aiming for a 10 percent return on sales, but have to be prepared for a kind of transition, with a corridor of 8 to 10 percent,” he said.

About half of the cost cuts will come from fixed costs, research and development, and capital expenditures. The rest will come from cutting production costs.

The CEO said Daimler is considering outsourcing a lot of the EV components to cut costs.

“Our vertical integration could be reduced significantly,” Zetsche said. “In-house production is almost irrelevant to the customer.”

For now, the main challenge has been the high cost of batteries. The automaker has been investing heavily in battery factories in Germany and China with the long-term goal of bringing down the costs and making EVs more profitable.

The company expects that the purchasing costs of EVs will be comparable and competitive with traditional ICE cars by 2025. That will facilitate the transition over to EVs at a much faster rate, Daimler said.

SEE ALSO:  Mercedes-Benz Teases Entry Level EQ Electric Hatch Concept

The EQ lineup and other Daimler electric models could become more profitable through new technologies and public interest in autonomous vehicles and new, related mobility services. Customers may be willing to pay more for these convenient features.

“You will be able to also one day have a computer chauffeur,” head of research and development Ola Kaellenius said during the investor meeting.



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2019 Nissan Leaf May Get 225 Mile Range From 60 KWh Battery Pack

The mystery over available range for the 2019 Nissan Leaf’s 60 kWh battery option may have been solved on a Twitter post.

Everyone following the gen-two EV knows the 40 kWh battery available for the first-year 2018 model will go 150 miles per charge. The unveiling also included news that a 60 kWh option will be available on the Leaf sometime next year – sans range.

Well, according to e Nissan executive, the larger battery pack will carry the Leaf over 225 miles per charge.

Auto journalist and Forbes columnist Bertel Schmitt tweeted Wednesday that he’d heard Daniele Schillaci, Nissan’s executive vice president of global sales and marketing, say that the next battery will provide “more than 225 mile range.”

When asked for more clarification, Schillaci said, “EPA,” implying that the battery’s range will follow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rating standard to reach the 225 mile mark.

For anyone disappointed with the 150-mile per charge announcement earlier this week, the Nissan Leaf will be in a much better place to compete directly with the base model Tesla Model 3 and its 220-mile expected range and the Chevy Bolt’s official EPA 238-mile range.

Nissan Leaf fans are anxious to hear more about the next battery’s range and the cost of the car. The new Leaf has a $29,900 starting price for its 150-mile range.

Questions came up for the InsideEVs team when comparing the next-gen battery for the Leaf with the current 60 kWh battery pack in the 238-mile Bolt. One of the questions being: Why will the Leaf have the same battery size but about 13 miles less range?

They’ve come to two possible conclusions: one being the Bolt just being designed more efficiently in weight, drivetrain, aerodynamics, or some combination of factors.

The other scenario is that the Leaf with the 60-kWh battery pack is only capable of using less of its overall battery capacity.

SEE ALSO:  2018 Nissan Leaf Unveiled With 150-Mile Range, $30k MSRP

The Leaf also lacks liquid cooling for its battery – a an extra expense and engineering solution Chevrolet included in the Bolt to ensure greater durability over the years.

The Nissan Leaf does benefit from having loyal fans who took the first available units in late 201, and 2011 onward – and who preached to the choir about how great it was. For those proud to be Leaf owners or fans, the 40 mile increase to 150-miles per charge was good news, and the near-term availability of the battery pack one third larger than the battery coming in the new Leaf was great news to hear.


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Ford Transit Custom PHEV Being Tested By Fleets In London

Ford showcased its Transit Custom plug-in hybrid van in England as it launches fleet customers on a one-year trial in London.

During the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2017 event in Millbrook this week, visitors learned more about how fleets will be using the Transit Custom PHEV to meet cleaner air targets and increase productivity during urban day trips. Ford is getting 20 of these vehicles prepared for the 12-month trial that begins in late 2017.

The Ford Transit Custom PHEV uses an advanced pure series hybrid system offering 50 kilometers (31 miles) of battery-only range. A 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine is coupled with an electric motor for a total range of 500 km (310 miles).

The van’s battery pack is a compact liquid-cooled lithium-ion design. Ford engineers were able to locate the battery pack under the load floor, preserving the full cargo volume.

The EcoBoost engine is able to charge the van’s on-board batteries when longer trips are required between charging points. The Transit Custom PHEV also offers an increased payload capacity compared to battery electric vehicles.

Ford sees the battery providing all of the power for the majority of city trips that fleets typically take. Other benefits being sold include enhanced productivity in a tough working environment for the vehicles, and the ability to tap into recharging from a standard electricity supply.

“Seeing the PHEV Transits on the road is an exciting milestone, and we look forward to teaming up with our London partners and customers to explore how these vans can reduce emissions and operator costs in the city,” said Mark Harvey, Director, urban electrified van program, Ford of Europe.

Several city-based businesses are participating in the test project, which is supported by the Transport for London agency. The Metropolitan Police will also be participating.

Participating fleets will use an advanced telematics system that will collect real-time data on the PHEV vans’ performance. The technology includes geofencing capable of automatically modifying vehicle settings based on each van’s current location. It can be used to switch over the vans to battery power as they enter one of London’s low-emission zones.

“Cleaner vans, like those being used in this trial, will be vital in helping the freight and fleet sector to reduce the emissions and play its part in tackling the Capital’s air quality crisis. We are also using the data from the trial, which will be an invaluable resource for our LoCITY program that encourages commercial businesses to use greener vehicles,” said Lilli Matson, Transport for London’s director of transport strategy.

The plug-in hybrid van is scheduled for volume production in 2019. It’s part of Ford’s grand scheme of electrifying its fleet across the world in the near future.

SEE ALSO:  Ford Transit Connect Hybrid Taxi Prototype To Debut In Detroit

In the U.S., a Ford Transit Connect Hybrid taxi prototype was displayed in January at the Detroit auto show. The Detroit automaker arranged a fleet of 20 Transit Connect hybrid taxis to be tested in major U.S. cities this year.

The Transit Custom model is being sold in the European market. It’s been fitted in size between the smaller Transit Connect and the full-size Transit.


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Lincoln Electrifying All Models By 2022 As Global Competition Pressures Increase

Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand will reportedly offer all of its vehicles in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or all-electric versions by 2022.

The plan could be laid out soon – on Oct. 3 – when Ford’s CEO Jim Hackett makes a presentation to investors. Three sources familiar with the planning shared details with Reuters, as pressure mounts from expected Chinese mandates and luxury competitors launch ambitious electrification strategies.

According to the sources, plug-in hybrid versions of the redesigned MKC crossover and the new Aviator crossover will come out in 2019. During that year, a hybrid version of the Navigator will be released; it will be built on a redesigned Navigator that’s coming out this fall.

Refreshed versions of the Lincoln MKZ sedan is expected in 2020, along with the Continental sedan and the MKX crossover in 2022. All three are expected to be available in plug-in hybrid versions.

Lincoln and Ford executives are also considering one or more all-electric models, a source said.

Pressure is increasing from China, which is expected to announce soon a revised “new energy vehicle” policy. That will likely mandate that a certain share of new vehicles sold in China be all-electric with plug-in hybrids also available as an option.

Lincoln is also seeing several direct competitors take big steps forward in their electrification strategies for China and Europe. That includes Mercedes-Benz and its new EQ subbrand, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Austin Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover.

SEE ALSO:  Lincoln Debuts Redesigned 2017 MKZ Hybrid and Non-Hybrid Models

Impact has also been made by strong sales of the Tesla Model S and Model X in the U.S., and with a blossoming presence in Europe and China. The launch of the affordable Model 3 last year, with impressive pre-orders, was also considered a major influence on German automakers scaling up ambitious electrified vehicle strategies in the post-Volkswagen emissions scandal environment.

It all falls into Ford’s strategy to offer at least 18 new electrified models over the next five years. Ford’s new CEO, Hackett, was handed over the previously crafted Lincoln business plan when he took over the job earlier this year, the sources said.

A Ford spokesman said the automaker would not comment on future vehicle plans.


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Jaguar-Land Rover: All Models After 2020 To Be Electrified

Starting in 2020, all of the Jaguar Land Rover new vehicle launches will be electrified.

New news came at Tech Fest 2017 in London yesterday, when the company’s Chief Executive Dr. Ralf Speth laid out JLR’s electrification strategy. Included were details on the Jaguar I-PACE, Jaguar E-Type Zero classic sports car, and the Jaguar Future-Type – with a somewhat later launch date penciled in at 2040.

“Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice. We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles,” Speth said. “Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar I-PACE, goes on sale next year.”

As for so-called “mild hybrid” vehicles – or micro hybrid really – the automaker is likely referring to a 48-volt system to power other functions like dashboard electronics. The company has tested and spoken about future 48-volt systems in the past.

The British automaker depicts its long-term launch strategy as covering all the bases in its history and next era, covering past, present, and future.

Its classic Jaguar convertible E-type Zero will restore its classic look and will be available with its 1968 Series 1.5 Roadster body. The new electric vehicle will be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

The Jaguar E-type Zero It will tap into one of the world’s best known cars, acclaimed by Italian brand founder Enzo Ferrari as “the most beautiful car in the world,” according to Jaguar Land Rover.

As for the present, that’s covered by the Jaguar I-Pace Concept all-electric SUV. The utility vehicles will serve owners for everyday practical needs, and will be visually appealing. The company says it’s been designed to combine “a supercar silhouette with sports car performance.”

Representing the future, the Future-Type virtual concept will bring autonomous, connected, electric, and shared mobility to owners by 2040 and beyond.

The Future-Type concept vehicle will include a new technology called Sayer, named after Malcolm Sayer, designer of the E-type. It’s a voice activated steering wheel capable of carrying out hundreds of tasks. Sayer can be taken out of the car and used in the owner’s home for a variety of functions. It looks likely to be rolled out much sooner than the Future-Type launch, competing with other automakers’ connected car services.

Jaguar Land Rover shares the assumption with a few other automakers that by 2040, vehicles will be shared but not owned. That’s where the Future-Type vehicle will come to play.

The British automaker is using Tech Fest 2017 to showcase its vision for futuristic consumer products and to recruit future employees. In partnership with Grammy Award winning band Gorillaz, past of the event is designed to search for future talent.

Those interested in working as an engineer at Jaguar Land Rover have been invited to compete in a challenge testing their technical ability. They’ll check out a version of the Gorillaz garage to be possibly win a job with the British automaker. Called “Technology with Heart,” the automaker’s inaugural Tech Fest hopes to provide a positive image to the role automakers will play in reshaping the industry.

One of the displays will show a surfboard made from 100 per cent recycled polyurethane plastic. The surfboard was recently tested by Lucy Campbell, the UK’s top female surfer. For Jaguar Land Rover, its part of the company’s goal to achieve zero waste to landfill with the ‘Waste to Wave’ project being part of it.

Autonomous Urban Drive in a Range Rover Sport will be showcased at the event, as well. It’s already been tested by the company at level four autonomy.

The Jaguar E-PACE concept will also be shown as a compact performance SUV.

SEE ALSO:   Jaguar E-Pace Sets Guinness World Record During Barrel Roll

It will clearly be a Jaguar on the outside, and will be packed inside with connected, modern, practical features that will make it “utterly engaging to drive.”

Visitors can play a virtual game with the E-PACE tied into its Guinness World Record barrel roll back in July.

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BMW i Model Launch In Frankfurt Part Of Big Electrified Vehicle Strategy

BMW has broad plans in store for electrifying its model lineup, with an electric vehicle launch coming up next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

More will be revealed on a “four-door, fully-electric vehicle between the i3 and i8,” said CEO if a new i-series model, and chairman Harald Krüger in a speech transcript released today by the company.

The new i-Series model will be one of 12 all-electric vehicles launched by 2025, bringing the total to 25 electrified vehicles offered, BMW’s CEO said.

Future all-electric BMW vehicles will have incredible range up to 700 kilometers (435 miles), with its plug-in hybrids able to go up to 100 km (62 miles) in battery-only range, according to a second BMW executive who spoke today.

The German automaker is likely referring, once again, to New European Driving Cycle range standards, which yield unrealistically optimistic results compared to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ratings.

The new i-series model may be the BMW i5 four-door sedan that was scheduled to launch but was put on hold earlier this year.

In Frankfurt, BMW will show a Mini electric concept vehicle coming out in 2019. Beyond that launch, a battery electric BMW X3 will come out in 2020, and the BMW iNext is scheduled to come out in 2021.

All of the BMW battery electric vehicles coming out will be under the i-Series badge, he said.

“Going forward, all fully-electric BMWs will belong to BMW i. This also applies to the X3,” he said.

The company will be increasing its presence in electrified vehicles across all its brands and model series, including Rolls Royce and BMW M vehicles, he said.

BMW’s chief sketched out a landscape view of how the German automaker sees its future coming through electrified, automated mobility – carried out through EV launches and mobility services.

“In the future, we will be able to equip all our models with every drive train. Two flexible vehicle architectures and a flexible production network will allow us to respond quickly and efficiently,” Krüger said.

And watch out, Tesla.

“Let me make one thing very clear: In e-mobility, the BMW Group will also be the leading provider in the premium segment,” he said.

The automaker has labelled driving forces behind the future of vehicles and mobility ACES: Automated, Connected, Electrified, and Services. As for services, that will cover mobility services like ReachNow, the company car sharing division.

ACES represents “key elements of our corporate strategy,” he said, as the automaker becomes more of a “tech company.”

Klaus Fröhlich, a BMW board member overseeing development, also gave speech on BMW’s corporate strategy including the lofty goals for electrified vehicle range cited earlier.

Without naming names, he depicted the regulatory landscape changing rapidly ever since the diesel emissions scandal broke two years ago.

“The actions of some have severely compromised the credibility and trustworthiness of our industry. As a result, we now face tighter – and sometimes irrational – approaches to legislation. Around the world, regulations on fuel consumption, emissions and safety are changing faster than ever before,” Fröhlich said.

Long before the scandal broke, the BMW Group had voluntarily reduced its CO2 emissions, he said.

Since 1995, average fleet emissions have dropped by over 40 percent, he said.

“Independent tests show that our emissions are the lowest. And we use superior technologies to our competitors,” Fröhlich said.

BMW has also played a leading role transitioning over to digital technologies of the future, he said.

Last year, the company restructured its R&D group to meet new targets – using connectivity and artificial intelligence to develop self-driving vehicles; and to roll out new alternative drive technologies such as Efficient Dynamics NEXT internal combustion engines with 48-volt systems, and new electrified vehicles powered by battery or fuel-cell.

SEE ALSO:  BMW Chief Says Electrified & Connected Vehicles Higher Priority Than Sales Volume

By 2020, BMW will be able to meet customer needs by offering them a diverse menu.

“Our customers will be able to choose between super-efficient, super-clean combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric battery-powered vehicles,” he said.

Krüger upped the ante on how many electrified vehicles it will have out on roads this year – 100,000 more electrified vehicles delivered to customers this year.

“By the end of 2017, there will be a total of more than 200,000 BMW Group electrified vehicles on the road,” Krüger said.

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Scalable Williams Platform Aims To Simplify EV Production

A modular new EV platform by renowned British engineering firm Williams Advanced Engineering promises longer range, better performance, and lighter weight.

The FW-EVX concept, debuting Sept. 6-7 at the Low Carbon Vehicle Show in Millbrook, UK, offers in one scalable architecture another option to electric carmakers, or so is the intent.

In their spiffy new design, Williams’ engineers derived their latest-tech into the battery pack and cooling systems to shave weight along with other components pared down to cut kilograms. The end goal was no less than to reimagine how EVs are designed and constructed.

One of the innovations includes new fiber-reinforced suspension up to 40-percent lighter than a conventional aluminum wishbone suspension.

Another has been high-strength 3D structures coming from 2D materials. One of the new structures has created an exoskeleton for a battery module designed to improve the structural performance of the battery.

“This represents a new direction for Williams’ advanced engineering business, as its own R&D team has developed the proprietary innovations and has submitted patents for a number of the inventions,” said Craig Wilson, managing director. “We believe there is a high potential business opportunity here, and are excited to see where this could take us.”

Williams is well-known for working with automakers, motorsports teams, aerospace companies, and other industry sectors with which it has shared know-how in engineering and technology, operational performance, testing, and manufacturing services.

Clients include Aston Martin and its first production electric car scheduled for 2019, and for race cars entered into the Formula E and Formula One series.

SEE ALSO:  Aston Martin’s First Production Electric Car Confirmed For 2019

“Vehicle efficiency has always been core to Williams – whether it be in Formula One or with Williams Advanced Engineering’s customer projects. These technologies, and our thinking around how to create a tightly integrated, light-weight chassis and powertrain package, have the potential to greatly increase the competitiveness of the next generation of electric vehicles,” said Paul McNamara, technical director.

“By making EVs more attractive to consumers, we can help accelerate their adoption and the air quality benefits they bring,” he said.

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Detroit Electric Shows Teaser With Three EV Silhouettes

Detroit Electric just released a teaser sketch with outlines of three new all-electric vehicles scheduled to roll out over the next three years.

The image was released during the Low Carbon Vehicles 2017 summit today in Bedfordshire, UK, and shows a sports car, crossover, and a large “saloon” type vehicle.

The company is developing these concept vehicles at its UK plant in Leamington Spa. It’s backed by a $1.8 billion investment made earlier this year through a joint venture with Far East Smarter Energy Group, a Chinese company that makes batteries and electrical components. Ahead of the new cars, the two companies plan to get series production ramped up by the end of this year for Detroit Electric’s previously revealed SP:01 electric sports car.

At the time of the JV announcement in March, Detroit Electric said that two more electric car models were in the planning stages for release in the near future.

Now it looks like three more EVs are in the planning phase. Although one of the three silhouettes has been identified a sports car, none of the three concept sketches look like the SP:O1, which was first revealed in 2013 as a two-seat roadster built on a Lotus platform.

As you can see in this photo of the SP:O1, it doesn’t look like any of the teaser sketch images.

Albert Lam, chairman and CEO, brought over a team of Lotus Engineering executives to the revived company in 2008 by purchasing the name rights to a company that once made electric cars decades ago.

The new Detroit Electric started with a factory in Holland through the initial testing phase of the SP:01, and eventually set up a larger plant in England. The first production unit rolled out in England late last year.

Far East Smarter Energy Group and Detroit Electric hope to get SP:01 series production ramped up by the end of this year.

The saloon concept is being targeted for the UK market, home of the saloon vehicle configuration. It could any number of vehicle types, including a stretch limousine fashioned for corporate executives.

SEE ALSO:  Detroit Electric May Be On Verge Of Launch With Chinese JV Investor

CTO and company director Richie Frost expects Low Carbon Vehicles 2017 to be ideal for telling the story of the financially sound carmaker that’s looking to hire more talent.

“We have secured a solid financial foundation and are fortunate to have exceptional facilities in Warwickshire that we’re looking to expand further in the months ahead,” Frost said. “And to that we are adding between 150 and 200 roles (jobs) that we’re filling with the best vehicle and electrical engineering talent in the country, some of who we’re hoping to find here at the LCV show.”

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Long Range Tesla Model 3 Gets Highest MPGe Rating In Its Class

The high-end Tesla Model 3 looks like it will have the highest miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating of any of the more affordable all-electric cars.

Tesla Motors Club spotted a window sticker on a Tesla Model 3 with the Long Range battery pack. It gets 310 miles of range and a 126 MPGe rating by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA rating comes in at 131 MPGe city, 120 MPGe highway, and 126 MPGe combined.

The Tesla Model 3 base model has been given an estimated 215 mile EPA range rating. Tesla says it will be a bit higher – more like 220 miles of range on the standard package. For an extra $9,000 in the purchase price, that will go up to about 310 miles off range, Tesla said.

The Model 3 will be available with battery packs at about 50 kilowatt hours and about 75 kWh. The Long Range option is expected to come with about 75 kWh in battery.

Competition comes from the Chevy Bolt which earned a rating of 238 miles of range and 119 MPGe.

The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has the top score at 136 MPGe through its small 28-kWh battery pack. The Model 3 however has the 110-mile range Ioniq Electric beat hands down in distance traveled – and in other ways.

SEE ALSO:  How Many Tesla Model 3 Buyers Will Be Eligible For $7,500 Federal Tax Credits?

Gaining the 126 MPGe should be another selling point for Tesla as the sub-$45,000 200-mile-plus range battle gets underway.

It will take a while before more realistic ratings are given on the standard or upgraded Model 3. Full production will start in November with more information from owners on the driving experience to follow.


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Toyota Chairman Skeptically Discusses Hurdles To Mass EV Adoption

Toyota’s chairman is taking a more cautious and gradual approach to broad consumer adoption of electric vehicles than several of its competitors.

In an interview with CNBC, Takeshi Uchiyamada outlined technology barriers needing to be crossed before mass adoption becomes the norm.

The Japanese automaker, with its specialized EV division that started up in late 2016, is one among many global automakers seeing battery electric vehicles as the leading electrified vehicle technology of the next decade. But the issues must be addressed.

“I must say up front that we’re not against electric vehicles,” Uchiyamada said. “But in order for electric vehicles to cover long distances, they currently need to be loaded with a lot of batteries that take a considerable amount of time to charge. There’s also the issue of battery life.”

With laws and regulations falling in place in markets such as China and the U.S., automakers will have “no choice but to roll out electric vehicles or risk going out of business,” he said.

Uchiyamada said he and other Toyota executives are skeptical that adoption of pure EVs will come at a fast rate. Consumers have a lot of questions over convenience of the technology.

Considered to be the “father of the Prius,” Uchiyamada said his company learned over the years much about the consumer experience in owning hybrid vehicles. The hybrid technology didn’t dramatically change the driver’s experience he said. It enhanced the consumer’s experience by reducing trips to the gas station.

Mirai FCV – the first production vehicle for Toyota’s preferred long-term electrification strategy.

The company realized that electrification of vehicles would be inevitable long term. Whatever shape it would take, its hybrid system was already going in the right direction as a business model for Toyota to follow. Its battery, motor, software, and semiconductors could accommodate the future, he said.

Toyota’s experience bringing the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to market in Japan, U.S., and Europe is also expected to shape future decisions on bringing a new technology from design to production.

He does see Toyota having a competitive advantage by adding solid-state batteries to its next generation of EVs. Uchiyamada couldn’t say when development of these vehicles would be ready, but he expects EV sales to grow rapidly once the technology challenges are overcome.

SEE ALSO:  Toyota Could Begin Mass Producing Electric Cars In China As Soon As 2019

What are these challenges? The chairman said another two or three technological breakthroughs beyond the battery need to be resolved, but he didn’t offer details on them during the interview.

Some form of electrification will be inevitable on the global market, he said, and Toyota is hard at work on developing durable, long-range batteries.


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British Startup Alcraft To Launch ‘GT’ Electric Luxury Car Within Two Years

British startup Alcraft Motor Company plans to launch its long-range electric luxury sedan before the end of 2019.

The Alcraft GT is said to offer impressive range and performance through an advanced electric powertrain and lightweight body. The company claims it will be able to travel 200 to 250 miles on a single charge, over 300 miles with a range-extender, with the ability to shoot from 0 to 62 mph in about 3.5 seconds.

Power will come from a three-motor four-wheel drive delivering 600 horsepower and 840 pounds-feet of torque (1140 Nm). The actual range delivered will most likely be less than the 200-250 battery electric and 300-plus extended range estimate under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards. Electric vehicles launched in the UK follow the optimistic New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) standards.

Lightweighting will come from using carbon fiber in B-pillars, and roof made mostly from glass with a wraparound front screen. The startup says the Alcraft GT will only weigh 1700 kilograms (3,747.8 pounds) – only 75 percent the weight of a Tesla Model S.

In another Tesla-competitive reference, the company said the electric car will have enough connectivity to allow performance software upgrades. The concept design images are also showing another Tesla reference – falcon wing doors.

Alcraft said straight comparison to gasoline engine performance luxury sedans is off the mark. The Alcraft GT delivers, “torque rather than power, light weight and dynamics rather than straight-line speed and Nurburgring lap times.”

It can be designed as either a two-seater or a 2+2 model with backseat passenger space. The luggage area has 500-liters (17.65 cubic feet) of cargo space.

The photo gallery (below) suggests the GT will also be available as a convertible.

SEE ALSO:  Electric Cars in UK Predicted to Grow 10-Fold to 1 Million in 5 Years

The startup company is being led by David Alcraft, an experienced British businessman who most recently turned his medical firm into a multinational corporation. He intends to keep the management team focused on independent car design honoring the best of British design and engineering.

Other executives are bringing years of automotive management experience, including time spent at luxury sports carmaker Morgan Motor Co.

Crowdfunding is expected to play a key role in bringing in seed funds to hit the 2019 production target along with finding equity backers.

Crowdfunding investment shares start at 10 pounds ($13) and go up to 25,000 pounds ($32,532). Rewards include VIP days at the UK’s Silverstone rack track, test rides in the GT “development mule,” exclusive deals on Cyclotricity electric bikes, and wristwatches from Matthew Humphries Design.

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