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+++ BMW is targeting a WLTP verified range of 580 kilometres for its forthcoming all-electric iNext crossover. The car was first unveiled at 2018 Los Angeles Motor Show in concept form and, when it reaches showrooms in 2021, it will act as the technological halo for the brand’s zero-emissions i range, rivalling the Audi e-Tron. It’ll draw inspiration from the Vision iNext, albeit with a few practical design changes. Most noticeably, the rear suicide doors will be ditched in favour of conventional units, while the concept’s front end will be reworked with a smaller grille and an added air scoop. The concept’s missing B-pillar will be reinstated, while its wing-mounted cameras will be replaced with conventional rear-view mirrors. However, the concept’s slim LED headlights and swept-back panoramic windscreen look set to be transferred faithfully onto the production variant. Over the last year, BMW has issued a suite of official teaser images which document the iNext’s testing programme. BMW’s most recent winter excursion explored the limits of the crossovers’s all-wheel-drive system, and examined how cold weather affects the efficiency of its electric motor and the charging characteristics of its battery pack. BMW is yet to reveal full information on the iNext’s performance and powertrain, but it has discussed its next-generation electric drivetrain and platform plans before. The iNext will be one of the first vehicles on BMW’s new ‘common platform,’ which is capable of supporting petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid and fully-electric powertrains. Despite this, the iNext will only be offered as an electric vehicle, with a likely maximum battery size of 120 kWh. Robert Irlinger, head of BMW’s i division, says the crossover has been designed as a “car for everyday use,” which will provide the means for customers of the plug-in hybrid X5 to move into full electrification. BMW recently issued a suite of teaser images of the iNext’s cabin, which offered a first look at the crossovers’s polygonal steering wheel and infotainment system. The unconventionally shaped wheel has been designed to allow drivers to easily switch between autonomous and active driving modes, with BMW claiming its squared-off shape makes it easier to recognise the car’s steering angle. BMW also sasy the iNext’s steering wheel will be fitted with optical fibres which can inform the driver when autonomous driving modes are available for use, as well as indicating situations where the driver is required to retake control of the vehicle. A floating curved infotainment system, similar to that found on the iNext concept, will also feature, albeit without the additional smaller screen tacked onto the dashboard in front of the driver. BMW says it’s held in place by a lightweight magnesium bracket, and is mounted in such a way that the occupants can’t see its physical connection to the dashboard. The screen is also made from non-reflective glass. Irlinger said: “iNext will be ‘all-in’: everything we can do technology-wise in 2021 you will see in iNext. People have been asking why we’ve waited so long, but we waited for the next step in technology. It’s not only battery, it’s autonomous driving and it’s also new systems for communication and connection. All this technology will be new in 2021”. At just over 5 metres long, the Vision iNext concept is a large two-box cross-over, similar in footprint to X5 and in height to an X6. The concept rides on 24-inch wheels, and is free of a B-pillar thanks to a set of ‘suicide’ rear-hinged back doors. X7 cues are seen in the form of the tall and upright gills placed at each corner of the front apron. The new ‘streamflow’ style window line employed on the iVision Dynamics concept (which will become the i4) makes it clear that this is an “i” car. At the front end, extremely slim 4-piece headlights sit either side of a huge interlinked kidney grille, blanked off to signify the car’s electric powertrain. In place of the traditional door mirrors are a pair of cameras (1 facing forward and 1 backward) which, in combination with a selection of radars, lidars, cameras, GPS antennas and an external microphone, enable the iNext to drive with level 3 autonomous ability. This will be enhanced further by the inclusion of 5G communication, which will eventually allow the facility for autonomous cars to communicate with each other, even in the sort of busy urban environments which, due to the interference of crowded networks, would make this impossible with Wi-Fi or 4G. +++ 

+++ The United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s top negotiator in talks with GENERAL MOTORS (GM) to resolve a more than 3 week strike said a key issue separating the 2 sides is job security. “We have made it clear that there is no job security for us when GM products are made in other countries for the purpose of selling them here in the USA”, UAW vicepresident Terry Dittes wrote in a letter to UAW officials on the 23th day of the strike. “We believe that the vehicles GM sells here should be built here. We don’t understand GM’s opposition to this proposition”. The strike at the United States’ biggest carmaker began on Sept. 16, with its 48,000 UAW members seeking higher pay, greater job security, a bigger share of the automaker’s profit and protection of healthcare benefits. The strike has cost GM more than $1 billion and forced it to idle operations in Canada and Mexico. GM declined to comment on the UAW letter, which the union released to the media. Talks are set to resume soon and the sides have exchanged numerous proposals since the strike began. GM’s production of pickups and SUVs in Mexico has drawn anger among union workers. Through August, 526.000 of the 573.000 vehicles GM exported from Mexico were sent to the United States, equal to about a quarter of its U.S. sales. U.S. president Donald Trump and many lawmakers have also urged GM to build more vehicles in the United States. GM announced in November 2018 it would close 4 U.S. factories, including 2 assembly plants, and cut 15,000 jobs in North America. GM said in September before the strike began that it had offered to make $7 billion in new U.S. investments in 8 facilities in 4 states, but did not specify timing, location or products with the exception of a planned electric truck. UAW workers are concerned that as GM shifts to more electric vehicles it will require fewer workers and that battery production may result in workers getting paid less than at existing transmission plants. GM has told the UAW it could build a new battery plant near the now shuttered Lordstown, Ohio factory. To date, the strike has hit as many as 150,000 workers in the auto industry, a report from research and consulting firm Anderson Economic Group (AEG) showed. About 75,000 employees of auto parts suppliers have either been temporarily laid off or have seen their wages shrink due to the slump in demand from GM, according to the AEG report. About 5,000 workers at Michigan auto suppliers have filed for unemployment benefits as a result of the strike, the state said. AEG estimates that the strike has resulted in a $660 million profit hit for GM and more than $412 million in direct wage losses for all employees through the third week of the strike. The stoppage has led to $155 million in lost federal income and payroll tax revenue and $9.1 million in lost Michigan income tax revenue. Talks for a new 4-year labor contract took a “turn for the worse” after the UAW rejected GM’s latest offer but the 2 sides were still talking. +++ 

+++ A lot of people have a love affair with the HOT HATCHBACK . That has kept the genre going over the years. Quite simply, we buy, drive and cherish them. But even this die-hard enthusiasm isn’t enough to overcome the ever-tightening emissions legislation that’s set to sound another death knell for the hot hatch. Renault, one of the greatest exponents of the hot hatch art, is struggling to make the numbers work for the next generation of internal combustion-engined hot hatches. As is the case with petrol-powered city cars the cost of reducing CO2 emissions in hot hatches will make them too expensive to buy. So will we be waving goodbye to another much-loved class of car? Thankfully, no. Electrification is the answer, and a good one at that. I know from my inbox that electric cars aren’t for everyone, but the thought of an electrified hot hatch is something we should all look forward to. As today’s hot hatches have got heavier, with more safety and luxury gear on board, they’ve lost that instant, snappy acceleration that made the hot hatch so popular in the first place. Sure, a 0-10 time of 8.9 seconds for my 1988 Citroen AX GT pales into insignificance next to the sub-5 second figures posted by the hottest hatches of today. But the initial acceleration of those old-school cars made them feel just as fast and often even more fun. And it’s that initial acceleration that makes driving an electric car so much fun. It brings back memories of my youth and, as I’ve said before, 0-50 kph should be the new performance benchmark: it’s more relevant today. Only this week, I’ve been with colleagues judging a range of cars (including electric ones) on the Eurospeedway circuit in southern Germany. An EV on track is a different experience, but still great fun. So roll on the next generation of electric hot hatch. I can’t wait. +++ 

+++ The KIA XCeed crossover completes the Ceed range by adding a model in one of Europe’s most competitive segments. Despite the growing number of players in the sector, Kia expects the XCeed to be “among the best performers within the Ceed range” in terms of sales, Kia product manager Ioannis Roussis said. Crossovers and SUVs are increasingly dominant in the C segment, accounting for 48 % of all sales of C segment sized cars in Europe in 2018, he said. Roussis said exterior design is by far the most important feature customers look for in a crossover, with 64 % of them mentioning it as a purchase factor. The XCeed is built on the same K2 platform as the hatchback version and it has a sleek, coupe-like look. It is 48 mm taller and 85 mm longer than the hatchback, but the sister cars have the same wheelbase and the same front doors. Most of the increased height comes from the raised ride position (+20 mm) and larger tires (+17 mm). Kia hopes to sell 45,000 to 50,000 units of the XCeed in Europe over a full year, said Pablo Martinez Masip, who is Kia Europe’s director of product management and pricing. The XCeed will only be sold in Europe. European sales of the current 3 versions of the Ceed were up 39 % to 63,307 in the first 7 months. The XCeed, which will be positioned above the Stonic and below the Sportage. It will compete against rivals such as the Ford Focus Active, Toyota C-HR and Nissan Qashqai. Kia Europe Chief Operating Officer Emilio Herrera said the XCeed’s sporty design makes it more desirable than many taller, larger SUVs without compromising on versatility because of its “intelligent packaging,” which “merges the strengths of both hatchback and SUV”. The XCeed offers 426 liters of luggage space, which Kia says is second only to the Nissan Qashqai but beats competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Toyota C-HR and Ford Focus Active. Interior design options include a 12.3-inch full digital cluster (not configurable by the customer) and a 10.25-inch navigation system. The navigation system includes 7 years of Kia connected services. 2 hybrid powertrains will be available in early 2020. A plug-in hybrid with a total power output of 143 hp. A 48 volt mild hybrid based on the 1.6-liter diesel will offer power outputs of 115 hp and 136 hp. The XCeed offers a number of standard safety features such as lane-keeping assist, forward-collision avoidance and driver-attention warning. Smart cruise control, blind-spot warning and rear cross-collision warning are optional. +++ 

+++ Elon MUSK enlisted help from senior executives at each of his companies to clean up after his personal attack against a British cave diver last year, and bristled at their initial suggestion for how to apologize, according to newly released court documents. Sam Teller, a director in the office of the CEO at Tesla, SpaceX, Boring Co. and Neuralink, sought feedback from a team of executives, lawyers and advisers inside and outside the companies on what Musk should do after baselessly calling the diver a pedophile in July 2018. The insult, lobbed after Musk’s attempt to help save Thai children trapped in a cave was rejected, sent Tesla’s stock down and prompted the group to suggest that Musk take a break from Twitter. “After sleeping on this, I’m not happy about the suggested approach”, Musk wrote back to Teller, in an email included in the court documents. The CEO said “it would have been particularly foolish and craven” to apologize the night after Tesla’s shares declined, as it “would simply have been dismissed as a disingenuous and cowardly attempt to restore the stock price”. “We need to stop panicking”, Musk wrote. The documents spring from the defamation lawsuit filed by the diver, Vernon Unsworth, against Musk and show that the CEO’s actions created a distraction for financial, communications and legal personnel within Tesla as the electric-car maker was struggling to mass-produce and deliver its crucial Model 3 sedan to customers. Unsworth includes them in a filing to show Musk was repeatedly advised that his attacks were unwarranted. They also show how cautious his advisers were in trying to restrain him. In the filings, Unsworth calls Musk “a thin-skinned billionaire who is obsessed with his public image and who has a history of vindictively and intentionally ignoring truth to maintain that PR-created image”. Musk’s lawyer in the defamation suit, Alex Spiro, said in an email that the case is a “money grab” by Unsworth and accused him of profiting off the Thai cave rescue. “The truth of his motivations and actions will come out soon enough”, Spiro wrote of Unsworth. Last month, Musk revealed in a court filing that he paid $50,000 to hire a private investigator who would look into Unsworth. Attorneys for Unsworth wrote in the filings released Monday that the investigator was offered a $10,000 bonus if he was able to confirm nefarious behavior, which was never paid, and instructed him to leak information about the diver to U.K. tabloids. Musk also enlisted help from a second investigator and has refused to provide information about it, Unsworth’s attorneys claim. Unsworth’s legal team has deposed Musk and members of his closest inner circle, including Jared Birchall, the head of his family office; Teller, his chief of staff; and Steve Davis, the president of Boring Co. In the email sent to Musk in July of last year, Teller sent a draft outline of an apology for Musk to send out. Teller wrote that he had solicited feedback from almost a dozen people in crafting the proposed message, including Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s COO; Antonio Gracias, a SpaceX and Tesla director; Deepak Ahuja, then Tesla’s CFO; two former Tesla communications executives; and Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU. Teller advised that Musk begin the message addressed to his employees: “I understand that my recent behavior has probably embarrassed you and I’m sorry”. Teller suggested that Musk say he understood people wouldn’t stop attacking him on Twitter, but that he would do his best to “tune them out”. Musk ended up apologizing via tweets, posting the next day that he had acted in anger in response to Unsworth’s criticism of his attempt to engineer a mini rescue submarine that ultimately wasn’t used. Weeks after the exchange with Teller, the CEO tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, then abruptly abandoned that pursuit, spurring a federal securities-fraud lawsuit and costing him the position of Tesla chairman. Following the tweeted apology, Musk sent emails to a BuzzFeed News reporter in which he renewed his attacks against Unsworth. The court filings show that Jeff Nesbit, the executive director of Climate Nexus, an environmental communications non-profit, was alarmed by the exchange. “It clearly blew up in his face, for no good reason”, Nesbit wrote to Juleanna Glover, a consultant Musk enlisted for help. “1 or 2 more of these and I can guarantee that there will be a no confidence vote on the BOD led by the big institutional investors. And he will not survive such a vote, at least not in the public sphere”. Glover, who served on the staffs of former president George W. Bush, vice president Dick Cheney and ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, shared Nesbit’s email with Musk. The CEO replied in agreement: “I’m a f—ing idiot”. He said emailing with the BuzzFeed reporter was “one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done” and called it a distraction that “couldn’t come at a worse time”. As Musk was dealing with fallout from the Unsworth attack and his short-lived effort to take Tesla private in the following weeks, Glover and Musk exchanged more emails about arranging an on-the-record interview to clear the air. “We just need to kill this nonsense speculation around your mental state”, Glover wrote. They arranged for Musk to go on a popular podcast hosted by Joe Rogan, a California-based comedian. Glover advised Musk to decide in advance what he would say if Rogan asked about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s securities-fraud lawsuit, which Musk later settled. If Unsworth came up during the interview, Glover advised Musk to say that he had “gotten into enough trouble on that already” and wouldn’t say anything more. Musk appeared on the podcast the next day and smoked marijuana. +++ 

+++ The struggle for the leadership of embattled NISSAN ended in an uneasy compromise, as the top contenders all got senior roles. The automaker’s directors tapped Makoto Uchida, 53, the head of its China joint venture, as CEO, to work alongside new COO Ashwani Gupta and Jun Seki, the new deputy COO. These 3 were all on the shortlist a week ago. One factor in the decision was suggested by chairman Yasushi Kimura at a news conference at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama. By adopting a collective-style leadership, the board ensures that no one can dominate decision-making, a clear reference to ousted leader Carlos Ghosn’s outsized influence over Nissan and its alliance with top shareholder Renault. Ghosn led both companies for years and held their 2 decade partnership together until his arrest last November on allegations of financial misconduct, which he has denied. His downfall exposed shoddy corporate governance at Nissan and brought long-standing tensions between the automakers to the fore. Relations were further strained when Nissan’s failure to back Renault’s plan to merge with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles effectively scuttled the transaction. Nissan would be open to evaluating a FCA deal after it rebalances its lopsided shareholding relationship with Renault, according to people familiar with the situation. Renault holds 43 % of Nissan, while the Japanese company owns 15 % of Renault, without voting rights. While talks have not resumed, a change of management at Nissan was seen by some as a precondition for restarting discussions, the people said, asking not to be named citing private matters. Uchida’s most urgent tasks will be to reverse a slide in profit and execute a massive overhaul, all while navigating the treacherous corporate and political crosscurrents in Japan and France. His appointment follows the September departure of Hiroto Saikawa, who resigned as CEO following a scandal over pay. Uchida ran Nissan’s joint venture in China, the automaker’s single biggest market, accounting for almost a third of its operating income in recent years. He joined Nissan from Nissho Iwai in 2003, and won favor with Renault while collaborating with the French firm on joint procurement, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified. Known for his overseas experience, Uchida has also worked for Renault Samsung in South Korea. He studied theology at Doshisha University, an unusual background for someone in the auto industry. Nissan’s leadership search came at a critical time for the company, which reported decade-low profits in July and announced plans for 12,500 job cuts. Auto sales are slowing across the globe and new technologies from self-driving cars to electrification are disrupting the industry. “There is restructuring to be done at home and abroad, new vehicle development needs to speed up, while management coordination with Renault and efforts to improve profitability are in disarray” said Koji Endo, an analyst at SBI Securities. “There are so many things to do”. Gupta was viewed as a supporter of the auto-making alliance, which includes Mitsubishi, winning him the favor of Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard. Born in Dehradun, India, Gupta graduated from the country’s Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College before obtaining a diploma from French business school Insead. Gupta, 49, started his career in 1992 in engineering and purchasing in private industry and later moved to management positions with Honda in India and Japan. In 2006, Gupta became general manager of purchasing at Renault India in Mumbai, and in 2008 moved to the Renault Nissan Purchasing Organization in France as global supplier account manager for braking systems. “Uchida and Gupta seem to have a good balance”, said Tatsuo Yoshida, a senior auto analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Tokyo. “Mr. Uchida has experience outside of Nissan and came from a trading company, while Mr. Gupta is not Japanese nor French and has worked at other Japanese automakers, which can help the alliance strengthen”. Nissan demoted senior vice president Hari Nada, a key whistleblower against former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, after an internal investigation found no evidence against the executive. The company said the action was to enable Nada to focus on important tasks including the forthcoming legal action. Nada, who was under pressure to leave the company following the pay scandal involving Ghosn, was named senior adviser overseeing special projects. He will report to acting chief executive officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi. Nissan has been shaken by the arrest of Ghosn last year on allegations of financial misconduct, which he denies, and the more recent exit of previous CEO Hiroto Saikawa after he admitted to being improperly overpaid. +++ 

+++ The new PEUGEOT 208 has missed out on a maximum score in the latest Euro NCAP safety ratings, with testers awarding it 4 stars. The French hatchback missed out on top marks due to what Euro NCAP testers said was disappointing whiplash protection for rear passengers. The Jeep Cherokee was also awarded 4 stars in the latest tests and they are the only 2 cars tested so far in 2019 that have failed to achieve 5 stars. Euro NCAP noted that the 208 “narrowly” missed a 5-star rating. The previous generation 208 achieved the maximum score when it was tested in 2012, but Euro NCAP noted that its tests had been toughened since then, so the new machine still represents a step forward, and is fitted with more standard-fit safety technology. Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, which conducts Euro NCAP tests, called the 208’s score “respectable”, but added it was “not a good choice if you’re carrying adults in the back, with its ‘poor’ whiplash protection for rear passengers. Protecting both front and rear occupants is especially important as families continue to downsize from larger vehicles”. The Cherokee was described by Euro NCAP as sitting “squarely in 4-star territory”, due to “good but unexceptional performance across the board”. It lost marks for both adult occupant protection and child occupant protection, and was criticised for offering limited whiplash protection. Avery called the result an improvement on the Jeep Wrangler, which scored one star when tested last year, but added: “There’s still a long way to go before Jeep can get back to producing 5-star cars like the Compass”. 2 BMW models excelled when they were tested, with the 1 Series and 3 Series both scoring the maximum 5 stars. The 3 Series achieved a 97 % score for adult occupant protection, one of the highest scores in 2019. Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “I’m sure that BMW’s customers can be confident that the company will continue to strive for the highest standards of safety”. +++ 

+++ RENAULT is rushing to keep up with rivals to tap growing demand for electric cars in Europe with new models, possibly with the help of Nissan. The French automaker is mulling a new full-electric car, bigger than its Zoe, that could compete with models including Tesla’s Model 3 and Volkswagen’s ID3. The car may be produced on a common platform with Nissan and third alliance partner Mitsubishi, according to Emmanuel Bouvier, commercial director of Renault’s electric car business. “We are working on developing the range of our lineup so as to cover all segments with electric cars”, said Bouvier, adding the new vehicle could also be derived from an existing model. “It’s too early to say that we will be in competition with Tesla head on, but we are obviously planning to cover a larger share of the market”, he said. Renault and Nissan moved early among mass-market automakers to offer electric vehicles with the Zoe and the Nissan Leaf, but the models lack major shared components or underpinnings. The prospect of the automotive partnership producing new cars together has been under a cloud ever since the downfall of former leader Carlos Ghosn, whose November arrest threw deep tensions in the two-decade old alliance into the open. Automakers are rapidly expanding their electric offerings to keep up with tougher emissions standards globally. While sales are growing, full-electric vehicles remain a niche product with buyers put off by limited driving ranges and patchy charging points. That could change as a string of affordable new models move into showrooms, like the Peugeot e-208 and the ID 3, both retailing for around €36,000. Renault, which is rolling out a facelifted version of the Zoé with an extended range this year, is also working on a more affordable vehicle, Bouvier said. The K-ZE low-cost car it built for China, partly based on the Indian Kwid model, could eventually be used to build a European affordable all-electric vehicle, he said. Demand for the facelifted Zoé is expected to be strong, Bouvier said, with Renault pursuing plans to have 8 electric models in its lineup by 2022. Previous plans by the alliance from 2017 indicated 12 new battery-electric cars by 2022 across Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. It is not up to the French state to interfere in management decisions at Renault, France’s Finance minister said, following a report in a business daily that the carmaker’s CEO Thierry Bollore may be replaced soon. Speaking on the sidelines of a European Union’s finance ministers meeting, Bruno Le Maire said he had full confidence in Renault’s chairman and board to choose the best governance and people to implement the company’s strategy. “We have full confidence in Jean-Dominique Senard and Renault’s board to choose the best governance and people that will apply the industrial strategy that the state has defined for its technological transformation”, Le Maire said. The state owns a 15% stake in Renault. +++ 

+++ VOLKSWAGEN has increased stockpiles of cars in Britain, it said, as politicians struggle to nail down the terms of the country’s departure from the European Union ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline. The potential for a disorderly “no deal” Brexit, and concerns about future trading relations, are forcing companies to take measures to mitigate the impact of potential tariffs. “We have optimised inventory levels upwards to delay the impact of potential import tariffs for a while, but there are limits to what can be done”, Jürgen Stackmann, management board member of the VW passenger cars brand with responsibility for sales and marketing, told. “If there are tariffs, we will not be able to absorb them or compensate the cost. We need to be realistic about the fact that cars would get more expensive for customers”. +++ 

+++ VOLVO has detailed the infotainment system in its upcoming electric XC40 ahead of the car’s unveiling next week. The firm claims the system, designed in partnership with Google and powered by Android, offers “unprecedented personalisation” and “improved levels of intuitiveness”, courtesy of inbuilt Google features. The internet giant’s Maps, Assistant and Play Store functions are included. The electric small SUV is also the first Volvo model to be capable of wireless software updates. The system is compatible with voice control, while Google’s mapping software will offer live traffic updates and alternative route and charging station suggestions. The software will also improve the capabilities of the car’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) by providing live speed limit and hazard warnings. Volvo’s chief technology officer, Henrik Green, said: “We’re finally giving you the same experience in your car that you’re used to on your phone, but adapted for safe interaction while driving. And by introducing over-the-air updates for everything from maintenance to completely new features, the car can stay as fresh as your other digital products, always with the latest and greatest features”. The electric XC40 is the first step in a plan for more than 50 % of the firm’s sales volume to be fully electric by 2025. It’s focused on producing electric versions of its existing models, rather than developing bespoke EVs like rivals such as Volkswagen. Despite that, Volvo has said the electric XC40 will feature a number of design changes to differentiate itself from combustion-engined versions, partly due to the electric powertrain not requiring a large grille to cool the engine. As with other EVs, the grille will be replaced by a covered front fascia, which Volvo says will be used to package the sensors for the ADAS. As with the plug-in hybrid XC40, the charging point will be located on the rear pillar where the fuel filler would normally be. Robin Page, Volvo’s design boss, said the electric XC40’s design would be “even sleeker and more modern” than that of the regular model. He added: “Without the need for a grille, we have created an even cleaner and more modern face, while the absence of tailpipes does the same at the rear. This is the approach we will explore more and more as we continue down the road of electrification”. Volvo has also revealed the EV will feature a “brand new driver interface” that has been developed for its electric cars. It will also be offered with 2 new 19 inch and 20 inch wheel options and in 8 paint colours. The interior will feature new “sporty styling details” and carpets made from recycled materials. The electric XC40 will also feature a small, 30-litre front storage space (also known as a ‘frunk’) under the bonnet in the space freed up by the absence of a combustion engine. The XC40 is one of Volvo’s most popular models, and the electric version will be revealed on 16 October. While few technical details of the model have been given, it will follow the EV trend, with motors mounted at the front and rear and the battery located under the floor. Volvo has said it aims to maintain its established reputation for safety with the new model, with safety boss Malin Ekholm saying: “Regardless of what drives a car forward, be it an electric motor or combustion engine, a Volvo must be safe”. The front structure of the XC40, which is built on Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, has been redesigned to account for the absence of an engine. Volvo has also developed a “unique” new safety structure: a safety cage around the battery made from aluminium and embedded in the body structure. Volvo says this creates a built-in crumple zone around the battery and lowers the car’s centre of gravity. The car has also been reinforced at the rear through the integration of the electric powertrain into the body structure, with the intent to shift any forces caused in a collision away from the passenger area. The electric XC40 will also be the first model fitted with Volvo’s new Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) sensor platform, which is designed for expanded autonomous capabilities in the future. While no details have been given about the electric powertrain, it’s likely to be similar to that used by sister brand Polestar’s 2, which was revealed earlier this year and is also built on the CMA platform. That car uses a 27 module, 78 kWh battery pack. The powertrain in the performance-focused Polestar 2 is claimed to produce 408 hp and 650 Nm, with a ‘target’ range of 500 kilometres on the WLTP cycle. The electric XC40 is unlikely to offer as much power or torque, due to the differing goals and target markets of Volvo and Polestar. The electric XC40 will be the second electrified version of the model, joining the XC40 T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. +++

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