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Archive for the ‘Hybrids’ Category

Another Automaker Abandons the V-8

Genesis will drop Tau V-8 when new G80 debuts this autumn.

by on May.20, 2019

The next version of the Genesis G80 will come to market without its familiar Tau V-8.

Way back in the late 1970s, when twin oil shocks and the then-new Corporate Average Fuel Economy mandate forced automakers to start focusing on energy efficiency, conventional wisdom had it that the V-8 would soon vanish. It didn’t quite work out that way and the engine of choice for many performance and heavy-duty vehicles has remained surprisingly robust.

But as global emissions and mileage regulations continue to tighten, the V-8 appears, once again, to be an endangered species, and the Hyundai Motor Group is the latest getting ready to throw in the towel.

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The Korean carmaker’s luxury brand Genesis plans to abandon its 5.0-liter Tau V-8 when it rolls out new versions of its two biggest sedans, according to the marque’s CEO. That phase-out will begin later this year with the launch of a new version of the G80.

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Tesla Updating Software After Latest Battery Fire

Two recent incidents raise new concerns about EV safety.

by on May.16, 2019

A security camera caught images of a Tesla spontaneously catching fire in a Hong Kong garage.

Responding to the latest in a series of fires involving its electric vehicles’ battery packs, Tesla will updated its digital control software.

The move comes in the wake of a pair of fires in China, a critical market for the manufacturer, both involving parked vehicles. Since the original Tesla Model S was introduced, the company’s products have been involved in more than a dozen vehicle fires.

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“As we continue our investigation of the root cause, out of an abundance of caution, we are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity.” Tesla said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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Hyundai/Kia Partnering up with Croatia EV Supercar Maker Rimac

Croatian company positions itself as a major supplier of electrification technology and components.

by on May.14, 2019

Rimac founder and CEO Mate Rimac celebrates with Hyundai's Euisun Chung their new alliance.

Alliances and joint ventures are becoming as much the norm as the exception in today’s auto industry, but Hyundai Motor Group just entered a particularly strange-bedfellow sort of relationship, investing nearly $90 million in Rimac, the Croatian manufacturer of battery-electric supercars.

The Korean parent of the Hyundai and Kia brands will not only invest 80 million euros in Rimac Automobili but also establish a technology partnership that will put some high-performance electric vehicles in their future line-ups, as well.

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“Rimac is an innovative company with outstanding capabilities in high-performance electric vehicles,” said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. “Its startup roots and abundant experience collaborating with automakers combined with technological prowess makes Rimac the ideal partner for us. We look forward to collaborating with Rimac on our road to Clean Mobility.”

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Daimler to Go “Carbon Neutral” Under “Ambition2039″ Sustainability Plan

Company credited with inventing the I.C. engine is helping to put it to rest, says environmental group.

by on May.13, 2019

Mercedes revealed the U.S. version of its first long-range EV, the EQC Edition 1886, in NY last month.

The automaker that effectively brought the internal combustion engine to life appears ready to drive a nail into its coffin.

Daimler AG, the parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands says it expects plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, accounting for fully 50% of its sales by 2030, with a goal to go completely “carbon neutral” by 2039.

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“One of the defining issues is how we address our CO2 footprint,” Ola Kallenius, Daimler’s next CEO, said during a conference in its headquarters city of Stuttgart on Monday morning.

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Ferrari Set to Reveal New Hybrid Supercar this Month

“Top-of-the-line performance…and a true beauty,” promises CEO.

by on May.10, 2019

The LaFerrari showed that hybrid power could deliver high levels of performance.

It’s been a while since Ferrari first dropped the hint that it would add a new hybrid to its line-up and now, according to CEO Louis Camilleri, we’ll be getting to see it before the end of this month.

The hybrid will be one of five new models coming from the Maranello-based manufacturer, said the chief executive, and there are some signs more than one of these products will rely on an electrified boost to performance. But that should surprise fewer and fewer Ferrari fans considering the broad push towards battery propulsion in the supercar and hypercar segments.

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We’re hearing plenty of rumors about the hybrid coming this month, including the comment Camilleri dropped during a conference call to discuss the brand’s first-quarter earnings. According to the chief executive, “It will be a top-of-the-line hybrid with supercar performance and a true beauty.”

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“You Want to Be There” When the EV Market Takes Off, Ford CEO Hackett Tells Shareholders

The upcoming “Mustang-inspired,” all-electric SUV will “reconceptualize’ the way cars are designed.

by on May.09, 2019

Ford is counting on its "Mustang-inspired," long-range electric SUV, codenamed Mach1, to help it plug into the emerging BEV market.

Ford Motor Co. will launch its “Mustang-inspired,” crossover later this year, its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, and CEO Jim Hackett told shareholders that while the EV market has been slow to build momentum, “When it happens you want to be there.”

Hackett focused a lot of his energy on describing the automaker’s electrification plans during Ford’s first “virtual” shareholders meeting on Thursday, clearly hoping to build support for a program in which it plans to invest $11 billion by 2022, more than double what Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields, had committed to spend by 2020. All told, Ford has laid out plans to roll out 40 hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

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The question is whether there will be a market for those vehicles, especially when considering the generally tepid response for earlier Ford battery-based models like the C-Max Energi, a PHEV, and the Ford Focus Electric, a BEV. (more…)

Barely One in Six Americans “Likely” to Buy an EV Next Time They’re in the Market

New AAA study finds millions more might enter market – if gas prices top $5/gallon.

by on May.09, 2019

The Jaguar I-Pace is one of the winners of AAA's annual Top Green Vehicle Award.

Less than one in six Americans say they’d give serious consideration to buying an all-electric vehicle next time they’re in the market for a new car, truck or crossover, according to a new AAA study, a finding that could spell trouble for the automakers ready to launch dozens of new battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, over the next several years.

The good news for the industry is that as many as 40 million Americans say they’d at least consider the merits of an all-electric model. But, according to the study released today, U.S. motorists remain confused about both the benefits and limitations of battery-cars.

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“Today, more than 200,000 electric cars can be found on roads across the country as almost every manufacturer sells them,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “But, like other new vehicle technologies, Americans don’t have the full story and that could be causing the gap between interest and action.”

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Honda Takes Q4 Loss, Sees Full-Year Profits Fall 42%

Automaker changing its vehicle development process.

by on May.08, 2019

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the company lost money in the fourth quarter.

Honda Motor Co. sold more vehicles during first quarter of 2019 than it did during the same period last year, yet reported a $118 million loss, or 13 billion yen, for its fiscal fourth quarter, the company reported.

The Japanese automaker cited unfavorable exchange rates, income tax expenses and other costs as the reasons for the quarterly loss. It reported a 107.7 billion yen profit during Q4 2018.

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For the full fiscal year, the company reported a profit of $5.5 billion, or 610.3 billion yen, which is down 42% due largely to a lost tax break in the U.S. (more…)

Electrifying America

Volkswagen-funded start-up is rolling out a nationwide network of quick-chargers -- and cutting prices 20%.

by on May.06, 2019

A Chevrolet Bolt is plugged into an Electrify America charger at EA's suburban DC tech center.

Volkswagen plans to spend $50 billion on battery-electric vehicles while General Motors’ CEO says the automaker is on a “path” to go fully electric. Volvo, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and, of course, Tesla, by mid-decade, these and other manufacturers expect to have more than 200 electric vehicles on the market.

But just because you build them doesn’t mean buyers will come, industry analysts warn, pointing to a variety of obstacles to mass acceptance of battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, including range and cost. But one of the biggest concerns is the lack of a viable charging infrastructure that would allow electric vehicle owners to travel as freely as do owners of conventional gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

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That is beginning to change as charging stations, especially “Level 3” fast chargers begin to pop up across the countryside. And, ironically, that roll-out owes a fair share of credit to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Out of the roughly $30 billion the automaker has so far paid out in terms of fines and settlements, $2 billion is funding Electrify America, a start-up helping promote the adoption of plug-based vehicles, in large part by setting up the fastest-growing public charging network in the U.S.

EA is taking another step to increase the appeal of running on battery-power, on Monday announcing plans to cut the cost of charging at one of its stations by 20 percent.

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First Drive: 2019 Audi Q8 Quattro

A seamless blend of design, performance and functionality.

by on May.03, 2019

The 2019 Audi Q8 features a number of distinctive tweaks to the brand's familiar cues, including the signature singleframe grille.

Audi made its reputation building sleek, road-worthy sedans that have earned their way into the hearts of motorists around the world. The A8 is a great example of the sort of benchmark-setting model, one that has done well challenging competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.

But that’s becoming a smaller and smaller segment of the premium luxury market as buyers around the world continue migrating from sedans and coupes to SUVs and CUVs. The good news for Audi is that, among its impressive stable of utility vehicles it has an alternative to the flagship A8. Like the sedan, the Q8 crossover is flush with all the industry’s latest and most advanced technology. And it also boasts the solid driving characteristics for which the German automaker has won over a legion of loyal fans.

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We had a chance to spend a full week getting to know the 2019 Audi Q8 and while its base price of around $70,000 certainly would stretch the budget for most buyers, we found it an attractive, lavishly equipped and fun-to-drive alternative to the classic luxury sedan.

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