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Archive for the ‘Electrified Vehicles’ Category

Sagging Diesel Sales Pushes Jaguar Land Rover to Lay Off 1K Workers

Company cutting production at two plants in England.

by on Apr.16, 2018

Jaguar Land Rover plans to lay off about 1,000 workers this year as diesel sales have declined.

Many tout the rise of the electric vehicle as a way to create new opportunities and new jobs, but one would be hard pressed to convince the 1,000 employees that Jaguar Land Rover plans to lay off due to the decline of diesel.

JLR, which is owned by parent company Tata Motors, is not only cutting jobs, but is also reducing production at two of its English factories as demand for diesel cars slumps due to higher taxes and regulatory changes related to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

News You Can Trust!

British new car registrations have been falling during the past year which the industry has blamed, in part, on weakening consumer confidence in the wake of the Brexit vote, after record demand in 2015 and 2016. (more…)

Volvo Hitting Sweden’s Streets With New EV Truck

New truck will make it possible to meet tougher city emissions rules.

by on Apr.13, 2018

The new Volvo FL Electric truck begins work on the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Move over Tesla, Freightliner, Cummins and, well, add one more new battery-electric truck to the growing field of competitors: Volvo’s new FL Electric.

The company’s new 16-ton truck is designed to function in an urban environment, acting primarily as a delivery truck. This will become more important as the number of cities banning diesel engines from city centers continues to increase, now there will be an option to get goods into urban areas.

Industry News!

“We’re immensely proud to present the first in a range of fully electrically-powered Volvo trucks ready for regular traffic,” said Claes Nilsson, president, Volvo Trucks. (more…)

Waiting to Take Delivery of a Tesla Model 3? You May be Caught in a “Time Shift”

Apparently, there are no “delays” in Elon Musk’s dictionary.

by on Apr.12, 2018

Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the Fremont plant.

Last we checked, there were more than 400,000 folks waiting to take delivery of the Tesla Model 3, a potential problem considering the slow ramp-up of production. But even though some potential buyers might now have to wait until 2019 – perhaps beyond – they shouldn’t consider that a delay but simply a “time shift,” according to CEO Elon Musk.

The South African-born entrepreneur famously predicted his company’s Fremont, California assembly plant would go through “production hell” when it launched its first mainstream model last July. And, indeed, it had to largely hand-build them for the rest of the year. Tesla recently released numbers that showed first-quarter production reached 2,000 a week, but even that was 20% below the company’s target. And that’s leading some frustrated shoppers to cancel their advance reservations.

News You Can Trust!

“You’ll definitely get your car,” Musk declared during an interview on CBS on Thursday, suggesting customers shouldn’t think of what’s happening as a delay, but “a six- to nine-month time shift. That’s literally it, and three of those months have already passed.” (more…)

All-New Lexus ES Bound for Beijing Motor Show

New model meant to "radically transform the concept of comfort for luxury consumers."

by on Apr.11, 2018

Lexus is pushing even further with the "spindle grille" design on the next ES sedan.

We’ve barely gotten past the New York Auto Show but halfway around the world, automakers are getting ready for the season’s next big event. That includes Lexus, which has dropped a partial teaser of what appears to be the next generation ES model.

While many folks think of the ES as a fairly base-level vehicle, Lexus clearly has more upscale ambitions for a model whose name, after all, is short for “Executive Sedan.” And while Toyota’s luxury brand isn’t saying much about what it will be showing in China, it appears buyers have something to look forward to.

Product News!

The new ES, Lexus hints, “aims to radically transform the concept of comfort for luxury consumers all over the world.” That may explain why the brand saved the new model for Beijing where luxury buyers have, indeed, become some of the world’s most demanding.

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Volkswagen CEO Mueller Likely to Be Replaced by VW Brand Boss Diess

Mueller helped company weather diesel scandal, but Diess seen as change agent.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Prior to being tapped to head VW after its diesel scandal broke, Matthias Mueller ran Porsche.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to be forced out at a management meeting Friday, with VW brand boss Herbert Diess expected to replace him, according to reports out of Germany.

The shake-up, which has apparently been in the works for months, has the blessing of some of VW’s top shareholders, as well as its chairman and powerful labor chief. It will mark the most extensive management moves since shortly after the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

Global Business News!

VW issued a short statement noting it is considering “a further development of the management structure of the group which would also be associated with personnel changes in the board of management.” The statement hinted that changes under study “could include” the naming of a new CEO, adding that Mueller himself “showed his willingness to contribute,” suggesting the 64-year-old executive might voluntarily step aside rather than fight to retain his post. He is currently under a contract set to continue through 2020.

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EPA Rolling Back CAFE in Move Likely to Set Up Legal Battle with California

The Trump Administration wants to eliminate the California waiver and adopt one national mileage standard.

by on Apr.02, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to rollback CAFE - and eliminate the CA waiver.

In a widely expected move, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has confirmed the agency will roll back the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, though by how much is not yet clear.

The news was largely hailed by the auto industry, which had challenged the 54.5 mpg target it initially agreed to under the Obama Administration. But the announcement drew significant criticism from consumer groups, environmentalists and, in particular, California regulators. Under current Clean Air standards, that state has the right to set its own standards which are normally even tougher than the EPA rules. But Pruitt signaled his intention of revoking that authority, something likely to touch off a legal battle that could delay any steps the EPA takes.

Breaking News!

“The Obama EPA’s determination was wrong,” Pruitt said in a statement Monday. “Obama’s EPA cut the midterm evaluation process short with politically charged expediency, made assumptions about the standards that didn’t comport with reality and set the standards too high.”

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Luxury Plug-Ins Shift Emphasis on Performance

Emphasis shifts from mileage.

by on Apr.02, 2018

The production Aviator's fastest powertrain package will pair a turbo-six with electric drive.

When the first hybrids came to market nearly two decades ago, the emphasis was on mileage, the original Honda Insight delivering as much as 70 miles per gallon, albeit at the expense of what might be described as the fun-to-drive factor.

That approach carried over as more advanced, battery-based models came to market – and as luxury brands started to plug in with vehicles like the Cadillac ELR. Based on the Mainstream Chevrolet Volt, Caddy’s first plug-in hybrid was lavishly equipped but took almost 10 seconds to get from 0 to 60.

Performance News!

A visit to this year’s New York Auto Show will reveal a wide array of PHEVs, and among mass market brands, like Chevy, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, fuel economy is still the primary target. But it’s another matter entirely among luxury brands, such as BMW, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. There’s no question they’re also using battery power to boost mileage, but they’re also putting a premium on performance.

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Hyundai Plugs Into Mainstream with Long-Range Kona Electric

At 250 miles/charge, battery-ute tops Tesla Model 3,

by on Mar.28, 2018

Hyundai wasted no time in getting the battery-electric version of its new Kona compact ute in front of the people.

The race to bring out affordable, long-range battery-electric vehicles is shifting into high gear, Hyundai among an assortment of manufacturers revealing new products – or laying out plans – at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

And the Korean carmaker wasn’t pulling any punches as it pulled the wraps off the Kona Electric, the battery-powered version of its new Kona sport-utility vehicle. During a media preview, Hyundai Motor America CEO Brian Smith pointed out that is rated at 250 miles per charge, more 12 miles than the Chevrolet Volt EV and 30 more than the Tesla Model 3.

EV News!

Hyundai has, in fact, taken pains to tweak Tesla in recent weeks, warning the California carmaker it’s coming into the market with a billboard-sized banner that greeted visitors to the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. In his Wednesday comments, meanwhile, Smith noted that Hyundai is “a company that meets its production deadlines,” a clear shot at Tesla’s ongoing production problems with the Model 3. (more…)

Lincoln Hopes to Take Wing with New Aviator SUV

Midsize luxury ute will offer PHEV option.

by on Mar.28, 2018

The Lincoln Aviator Concept breaks ground ahead of the opening of the NY Auto Show.

When you’re struggling to gain some altitude it helps to have a good aviator on hand. Make that Aviator, the all-new version of what had been known as the Lincoln MKT. The new model, making its debut at the New York International Auto Show, is more than just a new name, however, getting an all but complete, ground-up makeover.

One of two new SUVs coming for the brand by 2020, the new Lincoln Aviator is part of an aggressive push aimed at rebuilding a once shining star in the American luxury firmament while also helping Lincoln gain ground in what has become its fastest-growing market, China.

Insight!

That’s where the new Aviator could see the strongest demand for its optional plug-in hybrid drive system, especially considering the tough new zero-emissions mandates Chinese regulators put in place late last year.

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Here’s What Mini’s 1st All-Electric Model Will REALLY Look Like

Forget the NYIAS concept; check out this show car from Frankfurt.

by on Mar.28, 2018

Look beyond the retro Mini Electric Concept and you'll see what the British marque's first all-electric car really will look like come late 2019.

It took a little prodding and plenty of cajoling, but we’re now able to fill in some more of the blanks when it comes to the all-electric model that Mini will add to its line-up late in 2019.

As we reported Tuesday evening, the British automaker offered us a look at a retro-futuristic concept model specifically created for this year’s New York International Auto Show. But if you really want to see what the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, will look like you need to think back to the show car crafted for the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Electrifying!

Crafting a concept based on one of the very first, ’60s-era Minis actually makes some sense if, as Senior Vice President Sebastian Mackensen suggested, you believe that, “If Alex Issigonis, (the marques legendary founder) had invented Mini today, it would have been an electric brand.”

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