Newsflash: BMW komt met lichtgewicht CS versie van M5


+++ BMW is readying a more focused variant of its M5, designed to sit above the Competition. The upcoming CS version has been snapped totally undisguised, revealing its lightweight wheels and carbon lip spoiler. Designed to sit above the M5 Competition, which is no shrinking violet itself, the new CS will be lighter, more aggressive and potentially more powerful than its stablemates. It will also feature large carbon-ceramic brakes. Given the M3 and M4 CS had stripped-back cabins with plenty of carbon-fibre, I think a similar treatment is likely for the M5 CS. As for what’s under the bonnet? Expect a variation of the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 used in the Competition, potentially with more power than the 625 hp than is currently offered. Rumours have also suggested BMW M is working on a more powerful V8 engine, but it’s unlikely it’ll be ready in time to feature in the CS. +++ 

+++ In EUROPE , the car market registered a significant growth this past month, with a total of 1.28 million cars finding new owners. One of the big winners was Tesla, with the Model 3 missing out on the top 10 sales rankings by just 217 units. “The overall growth posted in August-September indicates that, despite the market’s new challenges, consumer demand continues to be strong in Europe. This is a good sign for the coming months, when the looming CO2 targets become even more pressing for the industry”, said JATO analyst Felipe Munoz. “Despite the negative views about the state of the industry, the data shows that we still have a healthy European car market, although there are many challenges heading its way, of course”, added Munoz. September was also a significant month for battery electric vehicles, as registrations went up by 119 % to 40,700 units for the entire continent. Tesla recorded 19,500 registrations and controlled nearly half of the BEV market thanks to the success of the Model 3, which became the best-selling electric vehicle and the 11th best-selling vehicle overall. This was the first time in history that an electric car came so close to cracking Europe’s top 10 model sales rankings. As for the overall most successful nameplates, the Volkswagen Golf led the group with 32,398 units, followed by the Opel Corsa with 28,453 units and the Renault Clio with 24,453 units. The only premium model in the top 10 was the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, claiming 4th place with 22,540 units. +++ 

+++ FERRARI has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a new V12 engine that should be more efficient than the company’s current 12-cylinder powertrains. In the patent, Ferrari explains how 2 different combustion methods could improve the efficiency of the engine. The first sees a small amount of fuel injected just before the spark plug ignites to create a hotter air-fuel mixture that will allow the catalytic system to rapidly gain heat at engine start-up, reducing emissions during this phase. Ferrari’s second solution sees a pre-chamber fitted above the main combustion chamber, from which it is separated by wall and communicates through one or more free connection ports and has a second set of spark plugs “for cyclically and selectively determining the ignition of the mixture present in the pre-chamber and triggering the combustion reaction”. In September, Ferrari said it will “fight” to keep its 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine around. It was recently forced to modify it to comply with Euro 6 regulations and was able to do so in such a way that the Euro6 compliant engine of the 812 GTS produces the same 800 hp as the hardtop. Interestingly, Ferrari appears hesitant to hybridizing or downsizing its V12 despite the fact that most other manufacturers have already embraced both in order to comply with new emissions regulations. “A naturally aspirated V12 engine is not a downsized engine, and for me it doesn’t make sense as a hybrid. We will fight for the V12, of course. We will do everything we can to keep it as it is core to our brand. But a real hybridization of the V12? I don’t see it”, Ferrari technical chief Michael Leiters told earlier this year. “The LaFerrari was hybridization for performance. In the future, we’re being forced to look at emissions and if you want to really utilize the CO2 benefit, you have to downsize”. +++ 

+++ The FORD GT was introduced at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, but it’s about to find itself in an usual situation. While the model’s 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 engine produces an impressive 656 hp and 744 Nm, that’s nothing compared to the 2020 Shelby GT500. The high-performance Mustang has a supercharged 5.2-liter V8 that develops a staggering 771 hp and 846 Nm. That means Ford’s halo car has 115 hp and 102 Nm less than the GT500. This is a pretty significant difference considering the GT costs nearly $425,000 more than the GT500. Ford seems to understand this is a bit unusual and it appears a hotter GT could be in the works. Nothing is official, but the automaker is apparently “not done” with the supercar. As my source explained, the GT was designed to go racing and that meant homologation rules applied to the car. However, that’s no longer an issue as the GT retired from racing earlier this year. This seems to suggest the company could offer an upgraded variant with even more performance. However, the source was tight-lipped and said “You’ll just have to wait and see”. Regardless, Ford could be considering a street-legal version of the GT Mk2 which was introduced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It’s a track-only model that has aerodynamic styling tweaks and upgraded engine with 710 hp. It remains to be seen whether or not a hotter GT is on the horizon, but it could help to renew interest in the model in a way that special editions, such as the Heritage Edition, simply cannot. +++ 

+++ The crippling strike affecting GENERAL MOTORS (GM) has officially come to an end as the UAW has announced a majority of members have approved an agreement which was struck on October 16th. The UAW didn’t mention the final tally, but it was expected to be a close vote as a number of members were upset about plant closures and weak guarantees that the automaker wouldn’t idle plants mid-contract. However, as UAW vice president Terry Dittes stated, “General Motors members have spoken”. He added, “We are all so incredibly proud of UAW-GM members who captured the hearts and minds of a nation. Their sacrifice and courageous stand addressed the 2-tier wages structure and permanent temporary worker classification that has plagued working class Americans”. More importantly, the union confirmed the strike is officially over. It lasted 40 days and the union says it was the “longest automotive strike in 50 years”. The strike had a devastating impact on General Motors and analysts have estimated it cost the company more than $2 billion. GM praised the news and said the agreement provides hourly workers with a “world-class wage, benefit and profit-sharing package”. As the company explained, it provides 3 % wage increases or 4 % lump sum payments in each of the 4 years of the contract as well as an $11,000 signing bonus for regular employees. The profit sharing cap has also been removed and there will be a “clear path for temporary employees to transition to permanent employment after 3 years of service”. The contract also saved the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant which was originally slated to be closed. GM pointed this out and confirmed rumors that the plant will build an “all-new electric pickup”. The truck could be badged as a Hummer and GM said there was the “potential for future new products to be built in the city of Detroit”. In a statement, GM boss Mary Barra said “We delivered a contract that recognizes our employees for the important contributions they make to the overall success of the company, with a strong wage and benefit package and additional investment and job growth in our U.S. operations”. She added: “GM is proud to provide good-paying jobs to 10.000s of employees in America and to grow our substantial investment in the U.S”. +++ 

+++ In GERMANY , former foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel has been tapped to become the head of the national car industry lobby, installing a politician from the state that is home to Volkswagen in the influential post. Social Democrat Gabriel was the favoured candidate of car makers on a shortlist to head the German Association of the Automotive Industry, also known by its initials VDA. Gabriel served as foreign minister in chancellor Angela Merkel’s last government but stood down as Social Democratic Party leader before the 2017 general election. He is no longer active in frontline politics. Earlier in his career, Gabriel was chief minister of Lower Saxony, the federal state where Volkswagen’s vast Wolfsburg headquarters is located and which owns a minority stake in the leading volume car maker. Gabriel’s predecessor as chief minister and later German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, was known as ‘der Genosse der Bosse’ (or the comrade of the bosses), reflecting his business-friendly brand of social democracy. +++ 

+++ HONDA has revealed that it initially intended to introduce its all-electric E subcompact hatch available to the United States market. The small EV’s project leader, Kohei Hitomi, expressed his disappointment that customers in the U.S. won’t be offered the E. “I really wanted to have that one as well in the U.S. I personally wanted to see it. This car in size for an EV will be a perfect fit”. Kohei added that, when Honda was initially formulating the small electric hatchback, it intended on selling it Stateside, but a decision was made roughly 3 years ago to cut-out the U.S. market. According to Kohei, that was due to concerns that it might not have sold particularly well: “The biggest worry is maybe there would be no demand”, he said. Honda was probably right to decide against selling the E in the United States. After all, consumers in the U.S. aren’t overly fond of small hatchbacks and much prefer crossovers and SUVs, while EVs haven’t taken off either, at least not yet. Sales of the E will initially be exclusive to Europe, where it believes it will be able to deliver around 10,000 units annually. That is double the amount it forecast 2 years ago, when the e was previewed in concept form as the eye-catching Urban EV. While this might sound like an ambitious target Honda says it has already received more than 40,000 expressions of interest. +++

+++ HYUNDAI has big plans about its electrification program, having set a target of selling more than 560,000 EVs annually by the year 2025 as it looks to catch up with some of its rivals. During an announcement earlier this week, the South Korean car manufacturer revealed a plan to launch 16 EVs by 2025. If Hyundai is to sell over half a million electric vehicles by 2025, that will represent a 17-fold increase over its current EV sales figures. Rivals are promising similar growth, with Volkswagen expecting to produce 22 million electric vehicles over the next decade while General Motors is aiming to sell 1 million EVs annually by 2025. “That is not an ambitious target. If Hyundai fails to boost volumes fast enough, costs of electric cars will weigh on profitability”, Lee Jae-il, an analyst at Eugene Securities & Investment, said. Hyundai made the revelation during the release of its Q3 financials results. Its third-quarter net profit rose 59 % to 427 billion won ($365 million), which is below the 684 billion won ($583 million) estimate of analysts due to 600 billion won ($511 million) in provisions earmarked to address potential engine defects in the United States and South Korea. Elsewhere, Hyundai revealed that its total retail sales fell 3 % in the third quarter due to drops in Chinese and South Korean sales despite an increase in U.S. sales and strong demand for its SUVs. Nevertheless, it expects profitability to improve in the 4th quarter thanks to the launch of the upcoming Genesis GV80 and increasing production of the Palisade. +++ 

+++ While it might not be directly implicated in it, the automotive industry of JAPAN is feeling the heat of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Automobiles and car parts comprise 60 % of the roughly $1.38 billion a year in Japanese trade affected, despite Japan and the United States recently reaching a new trade agreement. Sources say that a number of Japanese companies across different industries have moved production bases to Southeast Asia countries or Mexico, or increased domestic production and sales to mitigate the impacts of the U.S.-China trade war. Fortunately, many car manufacturers have extensive production bases and sales networks across the United States to limit the impacts. In late September, the United States and Japan came to an agreement about new tariffs not being imposed on vehicles imported in the U.S. from the Land of the Rising Sun. The deal, signed on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly by U.S. president Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, included a reduction in tariffs on various agricultural products from the U.S. The Japanese government later stated that it will seek to eliminate the existing 2.5 % U.S. tariff on Japanese cars in the future. There were concerns among Japanese automakers that president Trump would hit their cars with steep tariffs after it was determined that imported cars represent a threat to the nation’s national security. Meanwhile, the ongoing U.S.-China trade war shows no signs of abating, with both sides continuing tit-for-tat tariffs. +++ 

+++ A potent version of the new LAND ROVER Defender is said to be under development by the company’s Special Vehicle Operations as a direct competitor to the Mercedes-AMG G 63. Land Rover has reportedly already developed a running prototype of the Defender SVR at its engineering base in Gaydon. It is believed that the vehicle will feature a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 from BMW, thanks to a recent technical supply deal reached between the 2 premium car manufacturers. This engine will later be introduced across the Jaguar Land Rover family, replacing the aging 5.0-liter supercharged V8. In the X5 M and M8 this mill delivers a very impressive 625 hp, but will likely be capped to around 540 hp for use in the Defender SVR. It will be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission powering all 4 wheels. The report also states that the aluminum-intensive platform used by the latest-generation Defender will make it relatively easy for engineers to develop the SVR. An air suspension is tipped to come as standard, as is a tweaked Terrain Response 2 system that will reportedly include a track mode for sportier handling. Visually, the Defender SVR will allegedly be more aggressive than lesser models. For example, there will be massive 22-inch alloy wheels, flared wheel arches, revised bumpers, enlarged air intakes, and a distinctive hood. Although the new Defender will eventually be available in 3 variants (90, 110 and 130), only the 5-door 110 model is thought to be getting the SVR treatment, with its launch expected towards the end of 2021. +++ 

+++ Fueled by the fact that people have started paying more money for smaller vehicles, LEXUS is now flirting with the idea of launching such a product. The decision is far from being approved, yet the company’s executive vice president, Koji Sato, spoke about such a possible approach on the sidelines of the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. “Smaller doesn’t always mean cheaper now, so trends are changing”, said Sato. “I can’t say clearly that this is something we will do, but we are looking at all vehicle opportunities”. So, what opportunities would those be? A city-sized SUV would slot under the UX. So it would be more affordable, probably undercutting even the aging CT 200h. Another possible product would be a Toyota Aygo-sized A-segment hatchback. Lexus had this idea before, when they presented the LF-SA concept in 2015. At 3.450 mm long, 1.700 mm wide and 1.430 mm tall, the 2+2 study was shorter and a tad wider than the Volkswagen Up. A few years ago, Aston Martin had the same idea, only for different reasons: meeting the (then) new fleet average emissions regulations. Thus, they teamed up with Toyota and started rebadging the iQ in 2011. Aston Martin hoped it would sell 4,000 units of the Cygnet annually, but it only managed to shift 261 in 2011, 172 in 2012, 131 in 2013 and 29 in 2014 of a city car that cost over $38,000. +++ 

+++ Another day, another report about the coveted rotary engine from MAZDA . This time around, the head of R&D and chief of design shed some light about the return of a rotary-powered sports car. Ichiro Hirose and Ikuo Maeda said that bringing back the rotary engine is “still our dream”. Maeda-san, however, added that they are in a race against time when asked about a time frame. “I understand the clock is ticking and the environment can change. We have to see if the future environment will accept a sports car with open arms. So we understand we are racing against time”, Maeda-san explained. With this, I can infer that the company isn’t giving up on its dream of a rotary-powered sports car, but it isn’t in development just yet. I can also deduce that problems with emissions still play a huge part in hindering the RX moniker’s return. However, patent filings were discovered earlier this year pointing towards Mazda doing something about the dreaded emissions issue. The patents discussed enhancing intake efficiency, improving performance without increasing the rotor’s sliding resistance, and a method of removing soot and water from the rotor chamber. Turbocharging also entered the picture, apparently. Be that as it may, all things we know right now are all speculations at this point, even with the RX-8s spotted testing around the Nurburgring. The return of the legendary rotary sports car will remain a dream, even for Mazda. Moreover, the Japanese company seems to be turning its focus on EV development with a new MX-30 out and about. But as always, we’ll always be on the lookout for further reports from Mazda. +++ 

+++ The facelifted MINI Countryman has been spotted again during testing on the streets of Munich. Launched in 2010, Mini’s first crossover badly needs a makeover that will align it with the rest of the much younger lineup. The overhaul will include revised headlights and taillights, with the latter gaining the “Union Jack” design just like the facelifted Mini Hatch and Convertible. The headlamps adopt new graphics as well, with adaptive matrix-beam LED headlights expected to be offered as an option. Lights aside, the facelifted Countryman will also feature redesigned bumpers and a refreshed grille, which in the case of the Cooper S model will feature a honeycomb insert. This sporty model will also sport a more aggressive bumper with additional air intakes flanking the fog lamps. Other exterior updates for the entire facelifted Countryman lineup will include new alloys, a revised color palette, as well as the new 2-dimensional Mini logos. The updates made to the interior will be equally subtle, with the facelifted Countryman expected to gain a bigger infotainment screen, improved connectivity, as well as more personalization options. The engine lineup will likely carry over and will include 4 gasoline units, 3 diesels, and a plug-in hybrid. They will range from the base 103 hp 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gasoline unit in the Countryman One to a 306 hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 in the recently-launched John Cooper Works performance model. The Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid should also remain unchanged as Mini updated it recently with a larger 9,6 kWh battery pack. As before, the Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper D, and Cooper SD models will offer optional AWD, while the JCW will get it as standard. The facelifted Mini Countryman will reportedly debut in mid-2020 as a 2021 model. +++ 

+++ The biggest day-to-day problem for real-world motorists is not the much talked about death sentence (really?) for the internal combustion engine. Neither is it the state of the EV charging network, which a lot of people might not even use during the next decade or more. For the motoring masses, regular power outages are unlikely to be the problem many people suggest as more motorists defect from petrol and diesel to leccy. As for those redundancy notices that taxi drivers, white van men and truckers will inevitably receive when salary-shredding autonomous vehicles finally hit the streets: they also remain several years away, so no need to lose sleep over this particular job-destroying revolution just yet, eh? Truth is, the fastest-growing concern for most drivers is the RISING COSTS OF DAILY DRIVING . That’s not just my opinion. It’s confirmed by the just-published RAC Report on Motoring 2019. The ‘What are drivers most concerned about?’ chapter shows they are increasingly troubled by car-related inflation. And while the RAC highlights the usual suspects (parking, fuel and insurance), it doesn’t touch on other crucially important areas. You know, things like current and future tolls, congestion/emission taxes, major fines for minor misdemeanours, and disgracefully high workshop labour rates of €200 an hour at some greedy franchised dealerships. Neither does the RAC discuss the rising prices of everyday motors. Even modest medium-sized petrol or diesel family cars are becoming harder to find below €30,000. And think nearer €40k (ouch!) for similarly sized versions with 100 % electric power. Don’t beat yourself up about all this. Owning or using a motor car is thankfully still for the overwhelming majority, not just the privileged, fabulously wealthy minority. That said, the biggest, most painful killers for motorists according to the RAC report are (in alphabetical order) depreciation, finance, fuel, insurance, maintenance/servicing and, more recently, parking fees/fines, plus road/bridge/city fees-cum-punitive taxes. But honestly, each of the above areas of motoring expenditure can be greatly reduced or, in the case of the most expensive parking bays and direct road user fees, almost eliminated altogether, by boldly boycotting them before opting for the alternatives. As for traditional and unavoidable costs, concentrate on and do something about the big ones. Keep reminding yourself that the only interest rate to aim for is 0 %; steer clear of new cars that have a reputation for depreciating quickly; and never buy a vehicle until you know what insurance group it comfortably or uncomfortably sits in. Remember: the near €5,000 that the owner of a new or newish Rolls-Royce Phantom might blow each month on depreciation is roughly what you, dear reader, need to pay (all-in) each year on purchase cost, finance, insurance, fuel, other running costs, parking and depreciation to invest in a decent, if modest, new or newish small to mid-size car. Now that’s what I call a bargain. +++ 

+++ SEAT is working on a minor facelift for the Ateca and it appears that Cupra is following suit. The high-performance crossover will get a minor refreshing that mainly focus on the front end. The facelifted model will be equipped with a revised grille that features a new mesh insert. The front bumper should also be updated and it appears the model will be outfitted with new headlights. Virtually everything else carries over from the current model and that isn’t too surprising as the Cupra Ateca was introduced less than 2 years ago. That being said, the production model could get some minor updates out back including a modified bumper and revised taillights. Speaking of minor changes, the crossover’s powertrain is expected to carryover. As a result, there should be a familiar turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 300 hp and 400 Nm. It should be connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to a standard all-wheel drive system. This setup enables the model to run from 0-100 km/h in 5.4 seconds before hitting a top speed of 245 km/h. The updated Cupra Ateca is expected to be unveiled next year, but there’s no word on specific timing quite yet. +++ 

+++ The reign of crossovers and SUVs as the cool cars of choice in Europe and the U.S. is about to come to an end, automotive executives say. That’s because young customers are poised to rebel against the high-riding models in favor of sleek SEDAN cars to avoid being like their parents. “The sedan is the middle finger of the future”, Nissan senior vice president for Global Design Alfonso Albaisa told. “It’s the tattoo of the future”. Ivan Espinosa, who is a Nissan vice president for global product strategy, told that the automaker is seeing data that shows young people are “bored” with SUVs, making them more open to owning a sedan. Said Albaisa: “Half of their decision is reactionary”. He added that since the industry is not in a position to invent a brand new body style people will “jump back to something that was never bad”. Separately, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson is bullish about sedans’ future. He thinks they will benefit from increasing pressure to slash tailpipe emissions around the world. “People who are interested in longer range cannot ignore that lower riding, more aerodynamic cars are better for this”, Samuelsson told. “Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if those market forces cause a comeback for smaller sedans, especially if you don’t need the size of an SUV”. Volvo’s belief in sedans is one of the reasons it made the S60 the debut model to roll off the line at its first U.S. factory. The Swedish automaker plans to export half of the models it produces near Charleston, South Carolina. A number of those models will likely end up in places where Espinosa said sedans continue to be “a symbol of success” such as China, Russia and South America. A rebound for sedans would provide relief in Europe, where sales of midsize models from mass-market brands declined 25 % between 2015 and 2018 and demand for premium midsize vehicles fell by 18 % during the same period. +++ 

+++ In the UNITED STATES , senator Chuck Schumer, a top Democrat, proposed a $454 billion plan over 10 years to help shift the country away from gasoline-powered vehicles by offering cash vouchers to help Americans buy cleaner vehicles. Schumer said in a statement that his plan, which would provide rebates of $3,000 or more to individual buyers, would help transition 25 % of the U.S. fleet, or 63 million vehicles, away from traditional internal combustion-engine vehicles within 10 years. The plan would be key to reducing the impact of climate change, Schumer said, noting that the transportation sector accounts for nearly 33 % of U.S. carbon output. The plan would award $392 billion in subsidies for owners of gasoline-powered vehicles at least 8 years old and in driving condition to trade them in for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid or fuel-cell cars, the statement said. The old vehicles would be scrapped. The proposal comes as both Democrats and Republicans are looking to win the support of auto workers in key Midwestern swing states who could be key to determining if president Donald Trump is re-elected and who controls Congress in the November 2020 elections. Car buyers would get rebates ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 or more, plus another $2,000 for low-income buyers for the purchase of U.S.-made vehicles, Schumer said. The plan would “reduce the number of carbon-emitting cars on the road, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century”. It would adopt rules similar to the $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” plan that sought to stimulate U.S. auto sales in 2009. Schumer’s proposal would provide $45 billion for additional EV charging stations and $17 billion in incentives for automakers to build new factories or retool existing ones to assemble zero-emission vehicles or charging equipment with a goal that by 2040 “all vehicles on the road should be clean”. In August 2018, the Trump administration proposed rolling back Obama-era fuel efficiency requirements through 2026 and its “preferred option” would increase U.S. oil consumption by about 500,000 barrels a day. The administration is expected to finalize its proposal by the end of this year. Schumer said his proposal has the support of environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council, and the League of Conservation Voters and labor unions. Ford and General Motors, which are both spending billions to develop electric vehicles, said they appreciated Schumer’s efforts, with GM praising the effort to “advance electrification through much-needed infrastructure investments, consumer incentives and promotion of American electric vehicle manufacturing”. United Auto Workers President Gary Jones said in a statement that the Schumer proposal “honors the sweat and sacrifice of American autoworkers by investing in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and incentivizing high quality jobs across the auto supply chain”. +++ 

+++ Gorden WAGENER , the man behind such wild concepts as the Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Shuttle thinks the keys to a healthier tomorrow are ease and aesthetics, as he explained in an interview. When asked if ‘sustainable luxury’ is an oxymoron, he answers: “No, it’s not. Sustainability will be key to the luxury of the future. Luxury is about being admired by society for what you have, or what you’ve achieved, or what you do. So it’s crucial to show some responsibility to society, which of course includes environmental sustainability. You post some futuristic designs on your Instagram account, such as the Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Shuttle, which looks like a drone or a flying taxi”. When asked if that is purely theoretical, or are there some things we see in it that we can expect at some point in real life, he answers: “Not in the near future. Autonomous flyers and drones can solve major problems of congestion; one day, these things will replace cars or be additional to cars. It will almost be like the Star Wars movie where you see these flying objects that can go up and down. I mean, this is far out: 20 or 30 years, maybe. And, one more thing: Autonomy is easier when you’re dealing with flying things than on the ground. We already have planes that fly on autopilot today! So, autonomy like this is not far off. When asked if there is value in making something so extraordinary while we’re still figuring out how to navigate even just the infrastructure for regular electric vehicles, he answers: “On the ground, it’s so much more complicated than in the air. You have so many factors, whether it’s pedestrians walking in, traffic lights, or unpredictable and complicated roads”. When asked what the main challenge is to introducing more luxury electric vehicles, technological, financial, or psychological, he answers: “If you do the math, there are more and more electric vehicles running around, and you need more and more charging points. Range in electric cars will extend, but when you see how far people drive or commute each day, it’s already more than enough. So it’s more a psychological problem. People are afraid of running out of power, which (more than likely) will never happen. My personal goal is to make this brand the most loved luxury brand in the world. The important thing in that statement is that there are two parts to it: I want to make Mercedes the most-loved brand, and I want to make sure Mercedes is the foremost luxury brand. I have a particular advantage and unique perspective, because in my daily work I touch on technology, art, design, engineering, and so forth. Designers are the best people to create the future, because we are people who are living in the future already, and it’s easier to create the future when you’re already living in it. We love beauty, and we love to create beautiful things. We love to create easy things, too, because simplicity is so much harder to create than complexity. In a world that is getting more complex, we need things that are simple and easy. And of course, it comes along with making a better planet, as we discussed, but also making the world a more beautiful place! This is what we as humans love. This is what is timeless. This is why I love this job”. +++

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