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Mercedes-Benz Brings 3 New S-Class Models to Frankfurt

Coupe, Cabriolet and Plug-in Hybrid join maker’s top-end line-up.

by on Sep.12, 2017

Mercedes took the covers off all three iterations of its new S-Class at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Buyers looking for a premium luxury model will find Mercedes-Benz rolling out three new options at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the German automaker now offering more versions of its big S-Class family than ever before.

The new-for-2018 variants include updates of the S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet models, as well as the new S 560e Plug-in Hybrid. It’s the first Mercedes offering to wear the new EQ badge, part of an entirely new line-up of electrified vehicles the company plans to roll out over the coming decade.

Electrifying News!

“By 2022, we will electrify the entire Mercedes line-up,” brand boss Dieter Zetsche promised during a news conference marking the opening of this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Some product lines will offer conventional hybrid options, others a plug-in, such as the S 560e. Still others will be available in pure battery-electric form, and some will offer buyers multiple electrified drivetrains. (more…)

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ A Puts Big Battery Pack in a Small Hatchback

“We are serious about electric mobility,” says CEO Zetsche.

by on Sep.12, 2017

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ A is the luxury brand's move toward an all-electric line-up.

By the middle of the coming decade, expect to see some form of battery-based option for every vehicle in the vast Mercedes-Benz line-up, brand boss Dieter Zetsche announced Monday night. And the German automaker is offering a clear indication of the options that strategy will take at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The German maker’s stand features products as diverse as the new GLC F-Cell, an SUV that combines both a hydrogen fuel-cell system with in plug-in lithium-ion battery pack, and the new AMG Project One, a 1,000 horsepower hypercar using a four-motor plug-in hybrid system based on Formula One’s KERS technology. Both models are debuting in Frankfurt this week.

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While all of the traditional Mercedes models will be offered with electrified options, the company also plans to launch an entirely new sub-brand, dubbed Mercedes-EQ, which will deliver 10 pure battery-electric models by the middle of the coming decade. That is likely to include a version of the Concept EQ A hatchback also making its Frankfurt debut. (more…)

Kia Proceeds to Uncover New Wagon

“Aromas that any petrolhead will instantly recognize.”

by on Sep.12, 2017

Kia's Proceed concept could re-ignite a fervor for station wagons — if it comes to the United States.

Kia is Proceed-ing with plans to get big into the station wagon segment — whoops, make that “extended hatch” segment with the debut of the new Proceed model at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Whether you prefer that term, or some other euphemism, like “shooting brake,” “carryall,” “depot car,” or even “estate car,” the new model has been generating plenty of buzz since the Korean carmaker released the first teaser images of the Proceed last week.

Industry News!

As with the new Stinger, the Kia Proceed is the sort of vehicle that will further enhance the reputation for cutting-edge styling that has been achieved under the guidance of Peter Schreyer, the one-time Audi styling chief, who has worked magic for a brand one known for bland and forgettable econoboxes. (more…)

Smart Vision EQ Concept Foresees Future as an All-Electric Brand

Smart will go all-electric in U.S., Europe by 2020, with other markets to follow.

by on Sep.12, 2017

Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche introduces the Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

With its butterfly doors, a complete lack of steering wheel and other controls, and a lithium-ion battery pack tucked neatly below the floor, the Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept that made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show Monday night is designed to give us a glimpse of the future. But that may not be nearly as far off as it might seem.

By most forecasts, we’re likely to see the first real autonomous vehicles start rolling into showrooms by 2020, and several automakers are promising to build their first completely driverless models before mid-decade.

Auto Show News!

As for Smart, “by the end of this decade,” declared Dieter Zetsche, CEO of the Smart brand’s parent, Daimler AG, “we will switch the Smart brand in Europe and the U.S. to completely electric drive, and the rest of the world will follow.” (more…)

Ford Freshens Up Little EcoSport Ahead of U.S. Arrival

European version takes a bow in Frankfurt.

by on Sep.12, 2017

For the 2018 model year, Ford's smallest SUV, the EcoSport, gets a facelift just in time for its U.S. debut.

Already a solid performer in the European market, Ford is giving a subtle facelift to the pint-sized EcoSport SUV ahead of its American arrival next year.

The smallest ute in the Detroit automaker’s line-up began life in Brazil back in 2003 and is beginning a global rollout that marks the worldwide surge in demand for small SUVs. The version Americans will start to see in showrooms a year from now is set to become the first Indian-made vehicle exported to the U.S.

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The updated Ford EcoSport debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show adopts a more modern face, and nicer interior, adds a new diesel package and its first all-wheel-drive option, while also beefing up its technology with, among other things, the addition of the latest Sync 3 infotainment system. (more…)

Mercedes-AMG Project One Takes F1 Onto the Streets

Mercedes-AMG's new hypercar is a 1,000-hp beast.

by on Sep.11, 2017

Mercedes-AMG's Project One Hypercar gets its Frankfurt intro with Dieter Zetsche, left, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.

As a three-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton knows fast. And he did little to hide his excitement as he drove the new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar out for its world debut at a Frankfurt Motor Show preview Monday night.

While Project One might look a little more than a classic Le Mans prototype than the F1 Silver Arrow Hamilton is used to driving, he noted they have a lot in common under the sheet metal and carbon fiber. That starts with a modified version of the Formula One Series’ Kinetic Energy Recovery System, or KERS, that will provide “more than” 1,000 horsepower when the hypercar hits the street in another couple years.

Future Products!

“It’s all about adrenaline,” declared Dieter Zetsche, head of the Mercedes brand and CEO of its parent company, Daimler AG, as he let the statistics roll off his tongue. Only the second model developed entirely in-house by AMG, the Project One car will launch from 0 to 200 kmh, or 125 mph, in less than six seconds, with a top speed currently rated at “over 350 kmh,” or just over 217 mph. (more…)

Uber Facing Several Possible Criminal Probes

Bribery, illegal interference with competitors among the latest allegations.

by on Sep.11, 2017

The arrival of new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi hasn't stemmed the tide of potential problems for the ride-hailing company.

Those who thought Uber’s headaches would end with the ouster of its controversial CEO Travis Kalanick are going to have to think again.

New Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, the former boss at travel site Expedia, has walked into a hornet’s nest that now includes at least two new, potential criminal investigations.

Industry News!

Ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies acknowledged late last month that it was facing a preliminary investigation by the U.S. Department of justice into the possible violation of bribery laws. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports, Uber may have used software to illegally interfere with competitors, such as Lyft, while also causing problems for drivers who wanted to work for both services. (more…)

Tesla Solves “Range Anxiety” For Owners Fleeing Hurricane Irma

Automaker activates remote wireless mileage increase.

by on Sep.11, 2017

Tesla expanded the battery storage capacity of its 60 kwh and 70 kwh batteries to allow those fleeing Hurricane Irma to give them more range on a charge.

Range anxiety can be a frustrating problem in the best of circumstances, but it could be life threatening for those fleeting a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Irma.

Tesla made things a little easier for owners of several versions of its Model S sedan and Model X in the days leading up to the arrival of the Category 4 storm, however, a period during which Governor Rick Scott advised millions of Florida residents to evacuate.

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Drivers on social media have been quoted indicating that they were getting as much as 30 to 40 miles more range than expected indicated on the instrument cluster of their Tesla battery-cars, a Tesla spokesperson telling TheDetroitBureau.com that the automaker used its ability to reprogram its vehicles wirelessly to increase the amount of battery capacity a motorist in the evacuation area could access. (more…)

China Could Be Next to Ban Cars Using Internal Combustion Engines

Would join growing list of countries moving to ban gas, diesel vehicles.

by on Sep.11, 2017

The smog the covers Beijing and other large cities in China now has regulators examining a plan to eliminate vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.

With numerous cities already taking steps to limit the sale of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, Chinese regulators are looking at options for a total ban, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Struggling to address endemic air pollution problems plaguing many of its cities, China has already set a target of having 20% of its new models powered by plug-in hybrid or pure battery-electric powertrains by 2025 – though industry officials have been pressing the government to roll back that mandate.

Global Auto News!

The Asian nation, which is the world’s largest automotive market, is just one on a growing list of countries considering such a ban. (more…)

Lyft Launches Autonomous Vehicle Pilot in San Francisco

Move a snub to rival Uber.

by on Sep.08, 2017

Lyft will still have a driver behind the wheel, ready to take control in an emergency.

The nation’s second-largest ride-sharing service is getting ready to launch an autonomous vehicle pilot program on the hilly streets of San Francisco.

The project is a partnership between Lyft and Silicon Valley self-driving technology firm Drive.ai, and it marks a growing push by the ride-sharing industry to take human drivers out of the picture. Before being ousted in a management shake-up earlier this year, rival Uber CEO Travis Kalanick predicted that fully driverless vehicles would drop costs to the point it would be cheaper to use a ride-sharing service than actually owning a vehicle.

Uber actually was the first service to launch an autonomous pilot in San Francisco late last year. But it ran into a series of issues and initially refused to apply for the requisite state permit. Uber pulled its autonomous Volvo prototypes out of San Francisco, shifting them to Phoenix. Some have since returned but are not being used in a public pilot program there yet.

(more…)