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Posts Tagged ‘luxury battery cars’

First Drive: 2015 Cadillac ELR

Caddy hopes to plug into luxury battery-car market.

by on Dec.02, 2013

The Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid.

Even though U.S. motorists haven’t been all that charged up by the nascent battery-car market, there’s a flood of new products heading for showrooms in the coming month. But while most makers are struggling to drive down prices, betting that the cheaper the product the bigger the demand, a handful of manufacturers are targeting the other end of the spectrum.

Among the brands betting that even affluent buyers want to go green are Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and, of course, Tesla which has been beating even its own optimistic forecasts with the Model S electric vehicle. A few months from now, Cadillac will join the upscale list with the launch of its new ELR plug-in hybrid.

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Think of it as a mix of something old and something new.  The 2015 Cadillac ELR features the latest take on the maker’s distinctive Art & Science design language – as well as the most elegant and high-tech interior Caddy has ever offered. Under that sexy skin, however, is an updated version of the Voltec plug-in hybrid system already in use in the more mainstream Chevrolet Volt – albeit with some welcome improvements.

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Still a Month From Launch, BMW Considering Boosting Production of i3 Battery-Car

Initial demand outstripping planned capacity.

by on Oct.15, 2013

The production version of the all-electric BMW i3 city car will go on sale in Europe on November 16th and in the U.S. by mid-2014.

The first of BMW’s new “i” branded battery-cars won’t start rolling into European showrooms next months – U.S. sales to start next years – but initial demand is so strong that the Bavarian maker is already talking about ramping up production.

Customers have already placed orders for 8,000 of the new BMW i3 city cars, which will eventually be sold with a choice of either a pure battery-electric drivetrain or an optional range-extender which adds a small internal combustion engine that can allow a motorist to keep going even when the battery runs down.

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“If demand holds, which is what it’s looking like, we will soon have to invest more,” said BMW Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner during an Amsterdam news conference.  That translates, he clarified into “adjust(ing) capacity according to demand.”

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Cadillac ELR to Go on Sale in January

Caddy takes aim at Tesla in the premium battery-car market.

by on Oct.11, 2013

At $75,995 - before federal tax credits - the 2014 Cadillac ELR will cost nearly twice as much as the Chevrolet Volt.

Cadillac will begin offering its first battery-car, the plug-in 2014 ELR, in January.  Sharing the basic underpinnings of the more mainstream Chevrolet Volt, the Caddy ELR will test the waters for more up-market battery vehicles – and begin the General Motors’ promised campaign to “tackle” rival Tesla Motors.

At $75,995, including a $995 destination charge, the 2014 Cadillac ELR will cost nearly twice as much – before federal tax incentives — as the Chevy Volt which has undergone several price reductions this year in an effort to help spur lagging sales. Industry analysts have suggested that price, as much as limited range, is a major factor in the slow growth of the nascent battery-car market.

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Manufacturers have been rethinking strategy, looking at more upscale options in the hope that green-minded luxury buyers will be less sensitive to the price premium for battery technology.  With the exception of last month when the entire industry saw a sales dip, Tesla had largely defied the slump faced by most other battery-car manufacturers, its Model S sedan going for as much as $108,000 when fully loaded.

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Audi About to Plug in its A3 e-tron

“A realistic glimpse into the future.”

by on Feb.21, 2013

The Audi A3 e-tron will deliver about 30 miles per charge, with a tentative rating of over 150 MPG-e.

Audi will move a big step closer to launching its battery-powered sub-brand when it reveals the new A3 e-tron at the Geneva Motor Show early next month.

Like many of its key competitors, the luxury maker has been toying with a variety of electric drivelines, from conventional hybrids up to pure battery drive, but it appears to be ready to place its chips on plug-in hybrid power as offering the right balance of price, range and performance.

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The March 5th debut of the Audi A3 e-tron at Geneva’s PALExpo Center “will provide a realistic glimpse into the future of mobility as Audi is planning it. The electrification of the drivetrain, above all using plug-in technology, plays a deciding role in the strategy of the brand,” according to an advanced statement describing the new model.

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First Look: BMW i3 Coupe Concept

Bavarian maker’s new battery-car family grows bigger.

by on Nov.28, 2012

BMW imagines a new Coupe Concept version of the i3 battery car for the LA Auto Show.

BMW’s new battery-car brand has yet to sell a single car but if the i3 Coupe Concept at the LA Auto Show is any indication, the new line will be getting bigger in a hurry.

Officially designated a “study,” the i3 Coupe has a lot in common with the rest of what BMW hopes will become an entirely new line-up of environmentally friendly models, starting with the upcoming launch of the bigger i8 plug-in.

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One thing all of the new BMW “i” models will share is the use of lightweight carbon fiber bodies designed to maximize range, as well as performance.  With the i3 Coupe Concept, the maker has adopted what it bills as a new “stream flow” design concept that is meant to convey “an instant impression of lightness, transparency and streamlined aerodynamic qualities.”

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Rolls Explores Electric Options

Will motorists opt for a $500,000 car with 100-mile range?

by on Jul.13, 2011

Is Rolls-Royce ready to plug into battery power? The 102EX concept is serving as the anchor of a year-long feasibility study.

With U.S. regulators looking at 56 mpg fuel economy standards and their European counterparts talking about 100 mpg, where does a company like Rolls-Royce, making massive metal tanks like the Phantom, fit in?

That’s a question the British marque is desperately trying to answer as it studies response to its battery-car prototype.

A subsidiary of Germany’s BMW — which also faces challenges meeting strict new fuel economy and emissions laws — Rolls has been exploring the seemingly unlikely idea of going electric.  Its 102EX Concept made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, earlier this year.

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Considering the amount of leather and wood, never mind leather and steel, that goes into the typical Rolls-Royce, it may never win an environmental award – though it might take credit for using renewable resources and more earth-friendly methods.  The big challenge will be to reduce what comes out of the tailpipe.

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Daimler Promises More Electric Vehicles

Maker readying plug-in S-Class, battery supercar and more, says Zetsche.

by on Apr.13, 2011

Who says battery power can't be fun? The Mercedes SLS E-Cell is one of the big debuts at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

The battery-powered version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG supercar will reach dealers in 2013.

Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid version of S-Class by mid-decade and launch an electric version of the SLS AMG “gull wing,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsch told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Berlin.

“We now manufacture four fully electric models, which is more than any other automaker worldwide,” said Zetsche, citing production of the Smart electric drive, the A-Class E-Cell, the small Vito Van E-Cell and the B-Class F-Cell.

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“Three of these models – the Smart, the A-Class and the Vito –rely solely on a battery-electric drive system” said Zetsche. “Our experience has been so positive that we will soon be introducing additional models,” he said.

Among the models under development is a plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation S-Class, Zetsche revealed, “in other words a ‘partially electric’ vehicle whose battery can be recharged from a normal power source,” he said.

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Rolls-Royce Rolls Out 102EX Battery Car Concept

Green extreme machine to debut in Geneva.

by on Feb.21, 2011

Is Rolls-Royce ready to plug into battery power? The 102EX concept will serve as the anchor of a year-long feasibility study.

Rolls-Royce is taking green to the extreme with the 102EX concept car it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show, early next month.

Electric propulsion is the hot topic in the auto industry, these days, but most makers are focusing on smaller vehicles that require relatively little energy – which translates into a reasonably-sized battery pack.  The 102EX goes the opposite direction, exploring the idea of using lithium-ion technology to power the nearly 3-ton Rolls-Royce Phantom sedan.

What Rolls claims will be the world’s first battery-electric ultra-premium sedan will go into a year-long pilot program to explore the potential for using alternative power for the maker’s exclusive products.

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“With this vehicle, we begin an exploration into alternative drive-trains, seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future,” explains Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, speaking from the company’s headquarters in Goodwood.

Also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric, the one-off model will be used not only to test the technical viability of battery power but also to gauge the response of Rolls-Royce owners, through a series of test drives around the world.

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