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+++ ELECTRIC vehicle owners may not be able to rapidly charge their car at home at the same time as boiling a kettle, National Grid has warned. The grid operator said that using a fast charger, which can be installed at home to reduce charging times, is likely to trip a house’s main fuse if used simultaneously with other ‘high demand’ items such as kettles, ovens and immersion heaters. The average household has a main fuse of 60 to 80 amps and an above-average sized 11 kW EV charger requires 48 amps, so adding a small number of 13A appliances risks exceeding the limit, according to the company. In a report on the challenges to increasing the uptake of electric cars in the UK, National Grid said household electricity capability is a ‘pinch point’ for motorists who want to charge their electric car fully at home. It added that compromises may need to be made between the speed of home charging and the capacity of household electricity supplies. But Erik Fairbairn, founder of charging company Pod Point, told that a 32A 7 kW charger would be powerful enough for most home charging needs because EV drivers rarely drain their battery fully during daily use. He added that only 5 percent of UK homes would be able to accommodate a charger more powerful than 7 kW. National Grid estimates that a 7 kW unit would charge a long-range EV such as the Jaguar i-Pace from 25 to 100 per cent in 10 hours, and a smaller 3.5 kW unit would take 19 hours. +++

+++ When FORD announced earlier this year that it would bring back both the Bronco and the Ranger, many were stoked. Not only would there be a new midsize competitor for pick-ups like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, the Jeep Wrangler would finally get some competition again. Sadly, Ford also said the new Ranger wouldn’t arrive until 2019, and the Bronco would be another year behind that. Since then, Ford’s been tight-lipped about production details, leaving us with all kinds of questions, especially about what kind of vehicle the new Bronco will be. Will it look anything like the Bronco concept Ford showed off back in 2004? Will it borrow a page from the Brazillian-market Ford Troller‘s book and be a boxy, utilitarian off-roader? A few months ago, a supposed inside source claimed to have some juicy information on the Bronco. “If you’re familiar with the Troller, out of Brazil, that’s the basic concept, but it’ll look like a four-door version of that”, the alleged leaker said. In an ideal world, Americans would love to see a 2-door Bronco, but the market for 2-door SUVs is pretty small. And a 4-door Troller would be pretty awesome no matter what badge it wears. Then again, we also have to take this anonymous source at his word for now since there’s no way to verify his statements. Even if the alleged insider is making it all up, we do have the promise from Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, that the new Bronco will be “true to its heritage” and that “you’ll recognize it as a Bronco”. Hopefully, that means what it sounds like it means. +++

+++ Reports that a Chinese automaker had made an offer on the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) business quickly evolved this week into a more specific discussion over the JEEP brand, but the Italian-American company says no such talks have occurred. According to industry journal Automotive News and business paper Reuters, the Chinese company behind the offer is Great Wall Motors. Unnamed insiders claim executives for Fiat Chrysler have flown to China for talks with Great Wall, although other sources reportedly suggested the Guangzhou Automobile Group, an existing partner to FCA, has also shown interest. Reuters even has a quote to back up its report, with a Great Wall spokesperson telling: “With respect to this case, we currently have an intention to acquire. We are interested in FCA”. Of course, intent does not mean that talks have indeed occurred, and according to FCA, they most certainly have not. “In response to market rumours regarding a potential interest of Great Wall Motors in the Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, confirmed that it has not been approached by Great Wall Motors in connection with the Jeep brand or any other matter relating to its business”, the company said in a statement. Still, a first date may not be far away, with Automotive News quoting Great wall’s president, Wang Fengying, directly. He told the journal his company is “connecting with FCA”. Shortly after, spokesperson Xu Hui said that while Great Wall has made no secret of its interest, there has not yet been official contact. “We are deeply interested in the Jeep brand and have paid close attention to it for a long time. Our strategic goal is to become the world’s largest SUV maker”, he added. “Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better”. If Fiat Chrysler were to confirm its interest in selling the Jeep brand (comfortably its best-performing marque within FCA), Great Wall could even be outplayed by an established western car maker. General Motors, for one, might like to replace the shuttered Hummer brand with the even more revered Jeep badge. Outside of American players, the Volkswagen Group could show interest, and the wealthy Tata and Mahindra companies of India would also be potential contenders. FCA has made Jeep a valuable proposition since taking the brand over in 2009, increasing its global sales from around 500,000 at that time to nearly 1.5 million by 2016. The company expects to sell 2 million vehicles globally in 2018. +++

+++ MERCEDES has big plans for this year’s edition of the biennial Frankfurt Auto Show. The company has announced at least 3 global debuts. The most exciting car we’ll see from the three-pointed star brand is the Mercedes-AMG Project One. It’s a Bugatti-baiting hypercar powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain built around a V6 engine borrowed from the company’s successful Formula 1 car. The model we’ll see in Frankfurt will be a “near-series study”, which indicates it’s not quite ready for production. The up-and-coming EQ sub-brand will show a compact car powered by an all-electric drivetrain. Rumors indicate the concept will serve as a preview of an A-Class-sized hatchback that will arrive in showrooms around turn of the decade. A hydrogen-powered variant of the GLC will break cover in Frankfurt, too. Set to go on sale in the coming months, it will offer 500 kilometers of emissions-free driving and short refueling times. Finally, Mercedes will show the X-Class pickup truck in Europe for the first time, the face-lifted S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet models, and it promises its smart brand will introduce a show car that incorporates “an intelligent solution for shared urban mobility”. The Frankfurt Auto Show opens its doors to the press on September 14th. +++

+++ The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is almost round the corner, so we’re kicking off the festivities with automakers teasing us to their most important introductions, such as the third-generation Cayenne. PORSCHE has been counting on the crossover to be its main star ever since it was revealed for the first time back in 2002, and so far more than 760,000 units have been sold, placing it way above the timeless 911 in terms of delivery popularity. Now the automaker is making sure everyone knows another one is coming, with the official unwrapping expected to take place on August 29, which is why the Cayenne is being presented by the automaker in a series of images and even footage depicting the kind of cruelty companies bestow upon their yet to be released new models. As per the company, a total of combined 4.4 million kilometers have been covered by prototypes and pre-production units, in varying conditions from -45 to 50 degrees Celsius. Virtual simulations and real-world testing have been included, and the Stuttgart-based brand even came up with extreme scenarios you may never encounter in real life. The “E3” codenamed 2018 Cayenne is being advanced as a complete new vehicle, tested in Alaska, Death Valley, Dubai, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, Japan, and South Africa. And of course some tracks were included – the high-speed Nardo circuit in Italy and in Germany around the Hockenheimring and the grueling Nordschleife. +++

+++ It’s a situation drivers are all too familiar with: cruising along the road when suddenly a TIRE goes flat. Curse words, struggles, and inconvenience ensue. Researchers at Harvard University have developed a potential solution that could put flat tires, and the baggage that comes with them, in the past. The material is as tough as natural rubber but combines new engineering feats to create a durable, self-healing rubber, according to Phys.org. Self-healing technology isn’t new, but it’s proven to be much more difficult to incorporate the technology into solid materials, such as rubber. Researchers were able to take the technology from self-healing hydrogels (water based) and create a rope of sorts for the self-healing rubber. The bonds connecting the polymers in the rubber were reversed so they are able to break and reform and the molecular “rope” ties the natural and self-healing molecular bonds together. In layman’s terms, the self-healing properties and rubber compounds finally play nice together with this latest material. The benefits could be huge for tires specifically. Instead of needing a replacement tire or a spare right away, driving along the road would fix the puncture or whatever caused the tire to go flat. The new material snaps back into place as stress is released and allows imperfections to heal. There’s still work to be done and the material is far from ready for commercial use. But the promise of self-healing rubber isn’t so far-fetched. +++

+++ The VOLKSWAGEN Tiguan will gain an R-badged hot model, which has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring with a 5-cylinder engine. Although VW remains tight-lipped on the details, VW boss Herbert Diess previously revealed that there is room in the R brand for expansion, with the first model most likely to be an SUV. Diess said that the Tiguan and other SUVs would not get GTI-badged cars, as the GTI brand will only be expanded as far as the new Up GTI.  The Tiguan R will sit above the current range-topper, a 240bhp 2.0-litre petrol BiTDi capable of 0-100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. It’s likely that the Tiguan R will reach 100 km/h closer to 5.0 seconds. Outwardly, the Tiguan R looks very similar to the range-topping R-Line trim of the cooking Tiguan, although the R’s price could edge closer to 70,000 euro in The Netherlands, matching the price difference between the highest-spec Golf diesel and Golf R range-topper. Unlike the Golf R’s quad-tailpipe set-up, the Tiguan R development car bore 2 large rear exhausts, although this could change for production to match its hot hatchback sibling. The car has previously sported intersecting quad exhausts, akin to those on the 996 Porsche 911 Turbo.  Unlike the Audi RS3 and TT RS in which the 2.5-litre, 5-cylinder unit is already used, the Tiguan R’s engine will not have 400 hp. Output is likely to be in excess of the Seat Ateca Cupra’s 300 hp to be similar to the Golf R’s 310 hp. A debut at the Geneva motor show is most likely, given the T-Roc’s first public outing will be at the Frankfurt motor show in a few weeks’ time. +++

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