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Mercedes Previews Electric EQA With Concept Drive in Sicily

Production model set to join new Mercedes-EQ sub-brand.

by on Jun.12, 2018

Mercedes-Benz EQA concept though still a year from production is clearly making plenty progress toward road-readiness.

While Mercedes is still a year away from introducing its all-new EQ battery-electric sub-brand, it’s giving a preview of what’s to come with these images of the Concept EQA sedan being driven through the Sicilian countryside.

A production version of this prototype, which made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show last autumn, will be part of a fast-growing line-up of long-range electric models, the EQC crossover set to launch the Mercedes-EQ brand-within-a-brand in 2019.

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Parent Daimler AG is committing billions in its drive to electrify virtually its entire line-up, with everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles in the planning to pre-production stage. By 2022, the automaker has said, it wants to have 10 BEV models in the Mercedes line-up alone. Add various forms of hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles and there will be 60 electrified Mercedes models and variants available by then. (more…)

Porsche Renames Mission E “Taycan” and Will Expand All-Electric Line-up

Automakers expect half of its line-up will be plug-based by 2025.

by on Jun.11, 2018

Porsche's Mission E all-electric vehicle gets a name now: Taycan. Pronounced tie-con, the new model is still going to through some tests as shown here.

Porsche’s Mission E battery-electric vehicle has a new name. It will now be called “Taycan,” which the German automaker says is the term for a “lively young horse,” in Turkish – and a reference to the horse on its corporate crest.

The new model, which is set for release early in 2019, will be Porsche’s first all-electric model, but clearly not its last, a senior company official indicating plug-in hybrids and all-electric models, like Taycan, are expected to generate half of the brand’s sales by 2025.

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The Porsche Taycan will be part of a wave of new all-electric luxury and performance vehicles set to come to market between now and the end of the decade that will take direct aim at Tesla. Jaguar is just launching its first battery-electric vehicle, the I-Pace SUV, with Audi following this year with its own BEV, a variant of its popular Q5. (more…)

Volvo Hopes to Electrify Customers – and Investors

All-electric models now expected to generate half its sales by mid-2020s, with 1/3 self-driving.

by on Jun.08, 2018

The Volvo 40.2 Concept hints at what's coming with the marque's first all-electric vehicle.

Volvo took a lead in the push into electrification last year, announcing it would use some of battery-based drive system on all future products, whether mild, conventional or plug-in hybrids, or pure battery-electric. And, last January, it gave us a hint of what that first BEV would be with the debut of its 40.2 concept.

The production version will follow in 2019 and, if Volvo’s latest forecast is any indication, so will plenty of other all-electric models, as the Swedish automaker now says it wants them to generate half of its sales by mid-decade.

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The mid-term plan Volvo is laying out is nothing if not ambitious. It also predicts that half of the Chinese-owned automaker’s sales will come from self-driving vehicles, and that half of its volume will come through its Care by Volvo subscription service, rather than conventional sales and leasing. Oh, and add a goal of boosting volume – and profitability – to match other premium manufacturers.

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Kia Shows Off Latest Niro Model: the EV

New EV expected to compete with Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3.

by on Jun.07, 2018

The Kia Niro EV made its public debut at the Busan Motor Show in South Korea.

Kia Motors is giving the public a look at what many in the media have already seen: the Niro EV. Introduced at the 2018 Busan auto show in South Korea, the new battery-electric Niro is a reminder that the mainstream EV market is getting more and more crowded.

The original concept was unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show with the production version being shown to the media in South Korea last month, helping to round out the Niro line-up, which already has gas-powered and hybrid models.

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“The Niro EV will be Kia’s second globally-sold electric vehicle, following the immensely popular Soul EV. It demonstrates the progress Kia has made in delivering comfortable, practical and fun-to-drive vehicles that lead the way in zero-emissions driving,” said Han-Woo Park, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corp. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Building 1 Billion Euro Plant in Hungary

Flexible plant comes despite Trump threats.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Car officials kick off the groundbreaking for the company's new plant in Hungary.

Despite the Trump administration’s threats to impose steep tariffs on European-made vehicles and continuing pressure from the Peoples Republic of China to build vehicles locally in China, Daimler AG is investing 1 billion euros in a new factory in Hungary.

Mercedes-Benz Cars has broken ground for what it describes as a “full-flex-plant,” which can build multiples vehicles on one assembly line as market demand shifts, at a site next to an existing plant in Kecskemét, about 90 kilometers such of Budapest.

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The project is expected to create 2,500 jobs by the time it is complete in 2020. (more…)

Nearly 1 in 4 Tesla Model 3 Reservations Have Been Cancelled

Number could escalate as production lags, competition heats up.

by on Jun.06, 2018

After its debut of the Model 3, Tesla logged about 400,000 reservations for the mainstream sedan — at $1,000 each. Now a quarter want their money back.

While Tesla hasn’t given out precise numbers, it’s believed to have quickly logged about 400,000 advance reservations for the Model 3 battery-sedan, each putting down a deposit of at least $1,000.

But the lengthy delays in getting large numbers of the Model 3 into production have been causing serious problems for Tesla, not the least of which was the record loss the company posted during the first quarter. And the problems could grow worse, even though Tesla CEO Elon Musk told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting on Tuesday that production will “quite likely” reach 5,000 sedans a week by the mid-year mark.

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Even if it continues to increase for the rest of 2018, the Tesla plant in Fremont, California, will end the year far short of the 400,000 Model 3 sedans that were expected to be produced for the full year. And with many of those holding early reservations now likely to wait until well into 2019 before they can take delivery, nearly one in four has cancelled their order and asked for a refund. (more…)

GM Expanding Super Cruise to All Cadillac Models

Move to cover entire brand happens by 2020.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Cadillac will expand the availability of Super Cruise across the entire line-up by 2020.

Cadillac plans to expand the rollout of Super Cruise from just the 2018 CT6 to the brand’s entire line-up by 2020.

Super Cruise is the brand’s hands-free driver assistance technology. Executive Vice President Mark Reuss made the announcement during Detroit-area event. He added that after 2020, the technology will be made available on other products within the General Motors family.

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Cadillac also plans to offer V2X communications in a high-volume crossover by 2023 and eventually expand the technology across Cadillac’s portfolio.  (more…)

Tesla CEO Musk Survives 1st Big Challenge as Chairman as Model 3 “Quite Likely” to Meet Target

Shanghai, European plants could be announced within weeks.

by on Jun.06, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk beat back challenges to his role, while 3 board members were voted back in.

Elon Musk stared down a group of dissident shareholders on Tuesday, surviving the first serious challenge to his dual role as chairman and CEO of the California automaker, while three of his hand-picked board members also fended off challenges.

Musk, who has developed an almost cult-like following among investors and electric vehicle fans alike, has faced an unusual degree of scrutiny in recent months as a result of mounting losses, struggles with production of the Model 3 sedan and a series of widely reported crashes involving Tesla vehicles. But despite some opposition, the company’s annual shareholders meeting was largely focused on promises about great things to come.

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Musk promised that after months of what the CEO has dubbed “production hell,” the pace is picking up at the Fremont assembly plant and that production will “quite likely” reach his 5,000 vehicle-a-week target by the end of June. Meanwhile, he and members of his senior management team outlined other developments to come, including the launch of additional production plants that could substantially boost global demand.

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First Look: 2019 BMW X5

A largely evolutionary update to BMW's flagship utility vehicle.

by on Jun.05, 2018

The new BMW X5 continues the impressive mix of capability and luxury of its predecessors.

Few products have meant more to BMW, especially over the last couple decades, than the X5. The original Sport Activity Vehicle was a groundbreaking entry into what was then the just-emerging luxury market for utility vehicles.

Today, high-line utes have come to dominate traditional luxury sedans, coupes and sports car, bringing a flood of new entries – such as the all-new Audi Q8. BMW itself now has a range of SAVs, from the little X1 up, but it’s the original model that defines the brand as much as the classic 7-Series. So, BMW designers and engineers faced some serious pressure when they set to work on the fourth-generation X5.

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“The BMW X5 embodies the origins of the BMW X family and, in its fourth generation, sends out its most powerful message yet in terms of presence and modernity,” said BMW Group Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk, in a statement accompanying these images of the new X5. “It defines a new X design language – robust, clear and precise.” (more…)

Audi Expanding Its SUV Line-up with New Q8

New sport-ute sets tone for brand's design language going forward.

by on Jun.05, 2018

Audi's new 2019 Q8 sport-utility is lower and wider than the Q7 giving it a more coupe-like feel.

Audi revealed a brand-new luxury SUV called the Q8 in the home of specialized bigger and better sport-utility vehicles: China.

The 2019 Audi Q8 bowed at the Audi Brand Summit in Shenzhen, China. The new ute aims to attract customers moving from passenger cars into bigger vehicles. The five-passenger Q8, which was originally a concept shown in Detroit in 2017, is lower and wider than the Q7 giving it a more car-like ride and feel.

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Unsurprisingly, the new Q8 is the new basis of the company’s exterior and interior styling language, Audi notes. On the exterior, the coupe-like feel of the ute is accentuated by the sloping roofline that ends in gently inclined D-pillars and the pronounced wheel arches pay homage to the vehicle’s quattro DNA.  (more…)