Newsflash: Rolls-Royce registreert Silent Shadow naam

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+++ Tesla’s AUTOPILOT feature is getting a new trick. It will soon be able to drive through green lights automatically, even if there isn’t another car in front of the vehicle. As with past Autopilot software rollouts, Tesla is being cautious: “Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control” will only allow Teslas to proceed through an intersection without a lead car if the vehicle is traveling on a clear, straight path. In some, but not all cases, Autopilot might ask the driver to confirm that the vehicle can proceed through the intersection. For instance, it will require confirmation if the vehicle is already stopped when the light turns green. In other cases, the driving line visualization will turn green, and the vehicle will drive through the intersection automatically. This is somewhat similar to the way Tesla rolled out its Autopilot lane-change feature, which first required driver confirmation. Earlier this year, a video showed Tesla’s Autopilot automatically stopping at red lights, so autonomously traveling through green lights is the next logical evolution. Tesla is expected to release a “fundamental rewrite” of its Autopilot software by the end of the year. Those changes should allow Tesla to introduce new features at a faster rate. +++

+++ The current BMW X2 was introduced in 2017 so it’s needless to say that it’s in dire need of a facelift. And we’re definitely getting one soon, more likely early next year if not by the end of this year. If you’re wondering what it’s going to look like: the majority of the X2’s bodywork will remain the same, so don’t look for massive updates on the side and at the rear. The front fascia gets the heft of the refresh, with the grille looking wider than the current model’s nostrils and the LED drivinglights getting a new shape. As for the round fog lamps, you can expect the refreshed X2’s face to align itself with the X2 xDrive25e; its PHEV version that was revealed back in January. Those are the bulk of the expected visual changes on the X2’s exterior. Inside, reports state that the X2 could feature a touchscreen iDrive infotainment system for the first time. It’s also likely that new safety systems and driver aids will be in place, but we won’t hold our breath until the car is launched. The powertrain setup is expected to carry over from the pre-facelift model. Just as we reported before, BMW isn’t keen on giving away its timeline for the facelifted X2’s launch. But with the recent sightings and with the PHEV already out for over half a year, you can expect Bavaria to launch the crossover sooner rather than later. +++

+++ The BMW X4 debuted last year. BMW is keen to keep its SUV fresh, however, as evidenced by spy photos catching a facelifted X4 M prototype for the first time. Quad exhaust tips and massive cross-drilled rotors identify it as the M version and I believe the prototype will be a 2022 modelyear edition since the current version is barely a year old. Changes are coming to the front and rear, and that could be worrisome for some, especially at the front. I can’t help noticing the face of the test vehicle has extensive coverings, particularly around the grille. It certainly raises the question: could BMW be hiding a big double kidney similar to the 4 Series? The typical mid-cycle refresh usually involves a minor nip and tuck of existing kit with some revised lights, and as of now, that’s what our sources are saying for the X4 M. That means no massive grille, though the crossover’s current offering could grow slightly. Expect small changes to the lower fascia, and narrower headlights similar to the 5 Series are expected. Changes are less dramatic at the rear, with redesigned taillights being the focus of attention. I wasn’t privy to a look inside this test vehicle, but my spy sources tell me changes are coming for the infotainment screen and centre console. Along with the grille, the screen should grow in size and a new shift stalk will sit in a redesigned console. The iDrive control will be better integrated into the console, and it will operate BMW’s latest iDrive software. Power-wise, no changes are expected. It’s not like the current X4 M is a slouch with 480 hp from its twin-turbocharged inline-six engine. Move to the Competition version and that jumps to 510 hp, routed to all four wheels through an 8-speed gearbox. I don’t have a specific timeframe for a reveal, but it should happen later in 2021 for the 2022 model year. +++

+++ CHINA is expected to have a closer relationship with the global market, as carmakers are making the country a production base for exports, said a senior BMW executive. “If you look today, it is normal to have an auto plant in South Africa, India or Mexico for exports. It is not normal to have a plant in China for exports”, said BMW Group China president and CEO Jochen Goller on the Beijing auto show. Goller said the situation will change, as carmakers including BMW are making China a production base for overseas markets. The carmaker’s electric iX3 has its plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, as the sole production site globally. As the SUV rolls off the assembly line, the first shipment will hit the overseas market in March, Goller said. He said BMW is also partnering with China’s Great Wall Motors to produce electric Mini-branded vehicles in Jiangsu province for global markets as well. “I don’t believe in decoupling. The world will become even closer”, he said. Suppliers have chosen China as a global production base faster than carmakers. BMW has around 400 suppliers in China, which are producing auto parts for its plants in Shenyang and also other parts of the world. China is BMW’s largest market worldwide. In the first half of the year, it sold 329.609 vehicles in the country, with the sales in the second quarter rising 17 % year-on-year. Goller expects the rise to grow even higher in the third quarter. In the past 2 years, BMW launched 40 models in the country and 17 will be launched this year, he said. +++

+++ Carlos GHOSN , the former Nissan and Renault head who fled Japan where he was facing trial, is launching a university business program in Lebanon, a nation mired in a deep economic crisis blamed on years of misrule, mismanagement and corruption. 9 months after his dramatic escape to Beirut from Tokyo, the Lebanese-French executive has unveiled a plan to shake up the business school at the Université Saint-Esprit de Kaslik (USEK), a private university north of the Lebanese capital. Ghosn, credited with turning round the Japanese and French carmakers before he faced charges in Japan of financial wrongdoing that he denies, plans programs to coach executives, offer technology training and help start-ups to create jobs. Ghosn has found refuge in Lebanon where the economy is collapsing under debts amassed since the 1975-1990 civil war. A devastating blast in Beirut on August 4 compounded Lebanon’s woes. “Obviously I am not interested in politics but I will dedicate time and effort into supporting Lebanon during this difficult period”, he told at the weekend, before the formal launch of his new university program. At Tuesday’s news conference to announce the program, he said: “This is about creating jobs, employment and entrepreneurs to allow society to take its role in the reconstruction of the country”. He said Lebanon’s challenge was “the restoration of confidence”, not a lack of assets, saying the state owned infrastructure, land and hydrocarbon resources. Now it needed to execute a recovery plan, he added. “If you bring back trust, money will come”, he said. “You can have an excellent plan for Lebanon but if you don’t execute it you are not even at starting point”. Ghosn, who was approached by USEK in the weeks after arriving in Lebanon at the end of December, said the business program aimed to offer practical help. He will help supervise. Drawing on his experience, the focus for the executive program would be turning around companies in trouble, corporations struggling with a troubled environment and how to”make yourself invaluable” in a company. Ghosn said several international executives had agreed to give pro bono courses, such as Jaguar and Land Rover chief executive Thierry Bolloré, former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman Ken Curtis and venture capitalist Raymond Debbane. The short courses, expected to start in March, would be open to 15 to 20 senior executives in Lebanon and the Middle East. “The role model is my experience, what I think are the basic needs of a top executive in a very competitive environment”, he said, adding that, when he was in charge, Nissan’s executive training program in Japan had been open to other companies. The second USEK program, subsidised by the executive program, would train people on new technologies, such as computer-assisted design and artificial intelligence. Ghosn said Lebanon’s jewelry exporters were among those who would benefit from software to help with designs. The third program would act as an incubator for start-ups and he aimed to invest in 2 projects. “I am mainly interested in projects that have environmental impact”, he said, citing the example of a project to turn sewage into fertiliser. He said was persuaded to work with USEK by the president of the Maronite Christian institution, Father Talal Hachem, and his young team. Ghosn said he picked USEK, rather than a bigger Lebanese university, because he liked working with an institution that attracted a broad range of students, not just the wealthy. “These students need help more than anybody else. This is the class that has been smashed by the situation today”, he told. “I’m going to help build the economy by helping to solve problems that every Lebanese is facing today”. +++

+++ HYUNDAI said its U.S. sales rose 5% in September, led by a quick recovery in demand for its high-profit SUVs. The automaker said sales in September rose to 54.790 vehicles, compared with 51.951 units in the same month in 2019. Sales volume for Hyundai’s Palisade and Santa Fe jumped 38.5 % to a total of 16.307 vehicles. Consumer demand for high-profit SUVs and pickups in the United States has recovered rapidly since spring after hitting a pandemic-fueled bottom in April, pushing automakers to ramp up production and boost lean inventories at dealerships. Hyundai’s third-quarter sales, however, fell 1 % to 170.828 vehicles. Hyundai said that it had unveiled new cars and technologies targeting China at the 16th Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. The automaker said it showcased a technology brand, called “H Smart+”, exclusively for China. The space consists of 3 areas: a clean field that focuses on electric cars and hydrogen cars, a connected field showing connectivity technology such as Baidu 3.0 and BlueLink, and a freedom field that covers self-driving technologies, future city mobility and robotics. The company also unveiled its new vehicles, including the Tucson L and the new Elantra, to tap into the Chinese market. The Tucson L is the new 4th generation model in the Chinese market. It is a fully modified SUV that applies Hyundai’s design identity, “sensuous sportiness”. The newly unveiled 7th generation Elantra is the second model with a third-generation platform, after the Sonata, introduced in July in the Chinese market. At the Beijing motor show, a fierce battleground for the global electric vehicle market, Hyundai expressed its confidence as a leading company by presenting its vision for electric power generation. The automaker said it plans to unveil 44 eco-friendly cars by 2025 and to become one of the world’s top-3 electric-car makers by achieving an annual sales target of 670.000 electric vehicles, including hydrogen fuel-electric vehicles. At the show, Hyundai introduced its high-performance electric vehicle RM20e to the general public for the first time (photo). The RM20e is equipped with a dedicated motor with a maximum power of 810 hp. It reaches 100 km/h from standstill in less than 3 seconds. “We are planning to actively target the Chinese market by providing a smart experience to Chinese customers with H Smart+ technology and using local strategic models”, a Hyundai official said. “We will continue to transform Hyundai Motor’s brand image in China with customized strategies such as online sales services and by securing new car lineups”. +++

+++ Total global output by 8 major automakers from JAPAN fell 12.1 % in August from a year earlier to 1.87 million units, hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, but the pace of decline slowed as production in China recovered, data showed. The decline compared with a 14.1 % drop in July. Toyota registered a smaller year-on-year fall than the previous month, while Suzuki reported the first rise in 8 months. Toyota produced 634.217 vehicles; down 6.7 %. Despite August marking the 8th straight month of decline, the fall was smaller than the 10.2 % drop in July, as Japan’s largest automaker ramped up production in China and other overseas markets. Production in Japan totaled 202.691 vehicles; down 11.5 %, according to Toyota. Suzuki’s global output totaled 209.792 units; up 1.3 %, helped by an 11.1 % expansion in India. Honda’s output fell 6.4 % to 389.481 vehicles. But in China, Honda marked its highest production for the month of August. Nissan built 304.739 vehicles; down 25.1 %. After taking a hit earlier this year from the novel coronavirus pandemic, economic activity has gradually resumed, with governments around the world seeking to keep the spread of the virus in check. The death toll from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, has topped 1 million globally, with over 33 million infections confirmed, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Toyota’s global sales decreased 10.6 % to 720.765 vehicles, falling for the 8th straight month, with solid demand in China offset by weakness in Japan and North America. Weak sales in North America, especially in the United States, pushed Nissan’s global sales down 23.3 % to 327.297 vehicles. +++

+++ For JEEP fans around the world, present-day attention is focused in 2 directions. The new Grand Wagoneer is coming soon, as previewed by the concept that broke cover at the beginning of September. There’s also the excitement about a V8-powered Wrangler that could be coming, but changes are in the works for the compact Compass as well. I am not expecting to see a tremendous difference upfront: Jeep’s iconic 7-slat grille will endure though it might grow slightly in size. The latest spyshots reveal new headlights that keep the basic style of the current Compass but appear narrower. Revisions to the lower fascia are likely as well. Changes at the rear aren’t as dramatic. We can expect reshaped taillights in a rear gate very similar to the current Compass. Very minor changes to the lower fascia should further separate the facelifted model from the current offering. In the greenhouse, a new tablet-style infotainment screen will sit atop the dash, which is completely different from the current model. As such, I suspect the crux of this update will focus on creating a fresh interior with cleaner lines and fewer manual controls. Under the bonnet I expect current Compass powertrain options to carry over. At this point, I’m expecting to see the refreshed compact SUV unveiled sometime next year, likely in the first quarter. That would set it up to be a new global offering for the 2022 model year. +++

+++ KIA is launching an initiative to rejoin the ranks of mainstream vehicle brands in China, and the key advantage is differentiation, a senior executive said. “You have to be different. If you just follow others you will be in big trouble”, said Li Feng, president of its Chinese joint venture Dongfeng Yueda Kia. Li, who is also vice-president of the Hyundai Motor Group China, made the remarks at the opening day of the Beijing auto show. He said features such as appealing to the young and sportiness are something in Kia’s DNA and the brand is now making the tags even more eye-catching. “We are the first brand to announce that we target at the Generation Z”, said Li. He cited the example of the all-new K5, a mid-sized sedan that Dongfeng Yueda Kia is producing locally in China. It’s targeted at the Generation Z, which means the potential customers will be aged below or around 30, and it thus reaches the youngest customer base among the midsized sedans, including the Sonata from its sibling Hyundai. It has worked. Dongfeng Yueda Kia received more than 10.600 orders for the sedan before it hit the market on September 7. Li said a growing lineup is helping drive the momentum, including the 4th generation Carnival and the all-new Zhipao. This SUV will sport a new Smartstream 1.5-liter engine featuring Kia’s new Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology and offer sportiness that young people desire. The vehicles also feature connectivity and infotainment functions tailored for young people. “We hope to take the company back to the right track in 2 to 3 years, and a large chunk of our confidence comes from these models”, Li said. Besides gasoline vehicles, Dongfeng Yueda Kia is on the way to introduce electric vehicles. It aims to become a leading player in China’s electric vehicle segment in 10 years, Li said. According to plans, the first electric vehicle will hit the Chinese market in early 2022 and such vehicles will account for 18 % of the company’s total sales by 2025, with the figure expected to exceed 30 % in 2030. This is part of Kia’s “Plan S” strategy, announced at the start of 2020. It is to expand its electric vehicle lineup to 11 models globally by 2025. Kia said the first of these electric vehicles, code-named CV, will be revealed in 2021. Kia said the new model will offer the same competitive product quality and eye-catching design as Kia’s other vehicles, with high-performance driving and recharging characteristics. Dongfeng Yueda Kia will introduce the model into China in early 2022. Since then, at least one new model will join the lineup a year till 2027, including sedans and SUVs. “All of them will be built on the electric car-only platform, the new Electric-Global Modular Platform”, said Li. +++

+++ The fifth-generation KIA SPORTAGE will allegedly debut in April 2021. It will me technocally similar to the revamped Hyundai Tucson. While the latter now looks bolder than ever, it’s unclear at this point which styling direction its platform-sharing sibling is going to take. It was spotted recently while undergoing testing, but the heavy camouflage obstructed the view. The new generation is said to go by the “NQ5” codename and is rumoured to adopt a fresh design that could be previewed by a concept. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise considering Hyundai did the same with the new Tucson by unveiling the Vision T in November 2019 before coming out with the production model on September 14. It is believed Kia had to push back the car’s launch and is engineering the model with 2 wheelbase configurations, with the LWB model catering to markets where rear legroom is a priority. Logic tells me many of the oily bits will be sourced from the new Tucson, so expect turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines with front- and all-wheeldrive as well as mild-hybrid technology. Hyundai offers the revamped model 6-speed manual and 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmissions, and plans to sell a plug-in hybrid with an electrified 1.6-litre delivering a combined 265 hp. I’m hoping to see more and more prototypes of the Kia Sportage in the coming months to ease the wait until the alleged April 2021 debut. Having seen the striking Futuron concept last November (photo), I’m anxious to find out whether some of its design traits will have a correspondent on the new compact SUV.

+++ Less than a quarter of new cars come fitted with a good old fashioned MECHANICAL HANDBRAKE according to new research by CarGurus. Just 24 % of new cars currently on sale in the UK come with a manually operated handbrake; a number that has dropped from 30 % last year. Cars like the BMW 1 series, BMW 3 Series, Peugeot 208 and Nissan Juke dropped mechanical handbrakes over the last 12 months, while of the manufacturers selling cars in the UK, only budget brand Dacia offers a manual handbrake on every model it sells. Most brands keep the old-school lever for cheaper or more sporty cars. Meanwhile Alfa Romeo, DS, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volvo have all ditched handbrakes entirely. In its place, the handbrake has been superseded by either a foot-operated device or an electronic option; something deemed by many to be a luxury, but they’re something that require less physical effort to use. The electronic parking brakes also disengage automatically when you pull away and often have an integrated hill hold assist feature, making them hugely convenient for the everyday motorist. “It looks like the manual handbrake only has a few years left, as it continues its steady decline in the new car market, with nearly 2 dozen models removing it as an option over the last 12 months”, said Chris Knapman, editor at CarGurus. “We expect the number of cars on sale with traditional handbrakes to decline even further over the coming years, as it continues to be relegated to a feature across a select few sporty and small-volume models. “Though the manual handbrake may soon be a thing of the past in brand new cars, its demise might see some buyers dip into the used car market for some nostalgia”. +++

+++ MERCEDES raised quite a few eyebrows back in 2004 when it released the CLS as a sexier version of the E-Class. The 3-pointed star was criticised by some for coming out with a redundant product, but here we are, 16 years later, and the swoopy saloon is alive and well. While the original version is widely regarded as the most attractive, the third-generation model unveiled late 2017 is also a looker, and spy shots show a nip and tuck is coming. My spies had the opportunity to catch not just any CLS version, but actually the range-topping AMG 53. As you all know, the CLS 63 had to die so that the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe could live in Mercedes’ overly complicated lineup where the distinctions between segments are not what they used to be. With camouflage only at the front, I’m tempted to believe the prototype didn’t have all of the new bits as we’re expecting the rear to get a modified bumper and updated taillight graphics. It’s highly unlikely the CLS will go through the same significant updates the E-Class facelift did recently, not that it needs to change a lot seeing as how it continues to feel fresh inside and out. In a perfect world, we’d have more wagons than SUVs, and the return of the CLS Shooting Brake would be nice, but it’s just wishful thinking on my part. The test vehicle spotted near AMG’s headquarters in Affalterbach is a sign Mercedes is likely preparing the updated CLS for a launch in 2021. For the time being, it would appear the front grille has been tweaked and the front bumper might hide different air intakes. With no 63 version in sight, I wouldn’t hold my breath for the Panamericana grille, but the aftermarket scene is happy to oblige. Despite not getting the full-fat AMG treatment, the CLS 53 is no slouch. It does 0 to 60 kph in 4.5 seconds and tops out at an electronically capped 270 km/h thanks to a silky smooth inline-6 with 435 hp and 520 Nm on tap and an electric motor providing some extra grunt. Whether these numbers will grow with the facelift remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t count on a major bump as it would overlap with spicier versions of the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. +++

+++ The $25,000 (€28.000 in The Netherlands) Tesla has raised exciting discussions on Twitter between Elon MUSK and his fans. Where would it be produced? We know Tesla intends to design a new vehicle in China, with Chinese designers. Giga Berlin could also get the €28.000 car for Tesla to compete with the Volkswagen ID.3. In the end, Musk said each of these Tesla factories would manufacture its own unique Tesla, which means we’ll soon have 2 more EVs from it on their way. The discussion started when Cathie Wood, from ARKinvest, said people thought the €28.000 Tesla would be a cheaper Model 3. Musk denied that and said the car would be smaller. That was when Viv, a member of the Third Row Tesla Podcast, asked if both Gigafactories would have the same little car, and Musk told her each of them would get an original one. That now leads me to wonder about these new Teslas. The most pressing question is whether they will be exported to other markets worldwide. A smaller Tesla for the US market may not make sense, but it is crucial in China and Europe. In fact, cheaper electric cars are essential to increase EV adoption, which is why Volkswagen developed the ID.3, and Renault developed the K-ZE (Dacia Spring in Europe). If Tesla wants to compete, it has to have an affordable offering itself. Or more than one. Musk was not questioned if these original designs will be based on the platform that will make at least one of them cost €28.000, but that is not unlikely. What happens is that each market has its preferences. China loves SUVs and saloons, while hatchbacks do not do that well. Europe is almost the opposite: it loves hatchbacks and SUVs, not saloons. In that sense, an SUV could be the €28.000 car Tesla aims to offer in 3 years, but SUVs cost more than a saloon or a hatchback. That said, it would not be a surprise if Giga Shanghai made a small saloon, and Giga Berlin manufactured a hatchback to tackle the Volkswagen ID.3. Hopefully, they will both be exported to markets where they have good odds of becoming popular when its factories reach production numbers that allow that to happen. +++

+++ NISSAN plans to launch a slew of new vehicles, including electric cars, in the growing Chinese market over the next 5 years, which could help the Japanese automaker return to profit. The company said it will launch 9 new and re-designed electric models in the world’s biggest auto market by 2025, including plug-in electric vehicles and hybrid electric cars that charge with a gasoline engine. “The recovery in the Chinese market has been very remarkable, and our key segments have returned to the previous year’s level if not slightly better”, company CEO Makoto Uchida said during a news conference at the Beijing auto show via a video link from Japan. Growth in China is a key part of Nissan’s effort to recover from rapid expansion that left it with dismal margins and an aging portfolio. The company also warned of a record $4.5 billion loss this year, as Covid-19 pandemic hampers its turnaround. In spite of this, while China’s motoring market continues to gather speed in recovery, Nissan last month saw its business shrink 2.4 % after showing modest growth every month since April. Its Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda, on the other hand, have both registered rapid sales growth since the disease’s effects began easing in China over the summer. Toyota saw its vehicles sales in China up 27.2 % in August from last year, while Honda’s grew 19.7 %. +++

+++ BMW is wholeheartedly embracing electrification, but so far only for its core brand and Mini, but so far not for ROLLS-ROYCE . However, a recent post on a forum possibly unveils the imminent appearance of an all-electric Roller thanks to a patent recently filed by the company. BMW has applied for a trademark on the name ‘Silent Shadow’ and since many Rolls-Royce models have ‘Shadow’ in their name, the connection is not hard to make. But I really don’t know what this entails: is the model already in the works but not announced, or was this trademark application made solely to protect the name for future use? Rolls-Royce showed an all-electric version of its Phantom VII in 2011, but those loyal to the brand declared themselves uninterested and it never made it to production. That car was called the Rolls-Royce 102EX, it was powered by a pair of electric motors and it sprinted to 100 kph in 8 seconds (quite a bit slower than the series V12 model of the era that needed just 5.7 seconds). It also had what at the time was the largest battery pack ever fitted into a passenger car, with an overall capacity of 71 kWh. It was comprised of NCM (Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Oxide) pouch cells and it was actually quite advanced for its time; it even had (what was 10 years ago considered) fast charging capability which replenished the battery fully in around 8 hours. With the 102EX, it was customer preferences that ultimately convinced Rolls-Royce not to go ahead with production. Now, though, it’s the lawmakers that are leaving automakers with no choice but to embrace electrification or throw in the towel, with increasingly stringent emissions regulations and, a more recent invention that’s becoming increasingly common in European cities, zero-emissions zones. Rolls could have gone down the plug-in hybrid path, but the company has decided against that. Instead, the report says it will launch a battery-powered 2-door (available in both coupe and convertible guises) that will replace the Wraith and Dawn. And, as before, Rolls-Royce buyers are not in a hurry to purchase an electric vehicle, although if said EV is a sexy coupe or drop-top with crazy power and impressive range, it might sway their opinions. The aforementioned report also says Rolls will show the vehicle before 2020 is over, although even if that will be the case, it will probably be a close-to-production study and not the finished product. +++

+++ In SOUTH KOREA , the electric vehicle competition is becoming fiercer with more local and foreign automotive brands launching their new electric cars in line with government support and the global environmental trends. In the first half of this year, 22.267 electric vehicles were sold here; up 23 % from the same period last year, according to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association, although sales of EV passenger cars among them slightly declined 2.7 %. The surge was mainly led by American EV maker Tesla, which sold 7.080 units. It accounts for 43.4 % of the total sales of electric passenger cars that stood at 16.359 units during the period. Tesla accounted for 80.4 % of the total sales of imported electric vehicles in August. Its affordable Model 3 sold 1.248 units and Model X plus Model S sold 42 units and 29 units, respectively, that month. Audi has emerged as a dark horse to check Tesla’s dominance. The e-Tron has sold 595 units since its launch in July. In August, 177 cars were sold, outpaced only by Tesla’s Model 3. Peugeot released the subcompact e-208 and e-2008 in July. During the month of August, it sold 42 units and 1 unit respectively. Mercedes-Benz sold 44 units of its EQC, the BMW i3s sold 10 units and the Jaguar I-Pace EV400 sold 1 unit last month. BMW, which is focusing on plug-in hybrids, is considering releasing its pure electric vehicle iX3 next year in Korea. Porsche is also planning to release its first electric vehicle, Taycan, in Korea in November. Local companies are also gearing up to compete with their foreign rivals. In the first half, Hyundai’s electric cars saw its overall sales drop 2.9 % due to a drop in passenger electric car sales despite the explosive growth of electric cargo trucks. Kia also saw its sales drop 54.6 %; down 23.7 % from last year. However, the 2 automakers are betting big on EVs next year. Hyundai plans to release medium-sized crossover Ioniq 5 and Genesis JW, which are made with electric vehicle production platforms called E-GMP next year. It will also release an electric vehicle version of Genesis G80. Kia is also planning to release a new EV tentatively called CV. It is set to release 7 electric vehicles by 2027 that will use the E-GMP. SsangYong Motor will introduce its Korando-based, first fully electric model, codenamed E100, next year. General Motors Korea launched the Chevrolet Bolt in June and Renault Samsung released its Zoé in August. It is yet unknown which EV models the 2 automakers will release next year. EVs currently account for 2.3 % of the total vehicle market in Korea. But the segment is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years with the government’s strong drive to boost the eco-friendly vehicles and the growing public interest in eco-friendly cars. In July, the Ministry of Environment said it is set to increase the number of electric vehicles in the domestic market to a cumulative 1.13 million units by 2025 from the current 113.000 units. It also plans to expand electric chargers to an accumulated 45.000 units by 2025 from the current 22.000 units. The ministry said early this year it will increase subsidies for electric and hydrogen vehicles to 94.000 units this year; up 57 percent from 60.000 units last year. Electric cars, including state and local expenses, can receive up to 18.2 million won ($15.630) in subsidies. Public interest in purchasing electric vehicles is also high. According to a survey, 95 % of the respondents were considering buying electric vehicles; up 1 % from the previous year. When asked about the timing of the purchase, 56 % of them said they hoped to buy within the next 3 years. When asked about the brand of electric vehicles, Tesla (35 %) topped the list, the same as last year. Hyundai, which ranked second, also received high support with 31 %). It was followed by Kia (14 %), Mercedes-Benz (5 %), Porsche (4 %), Audi (4 %) and Chevrolet (3 %). +++

+++ TESLA chief executive Elon Musk indicated that the U.S. electric carmaker will make a foray into India in 2021. “Next year for sure”, Musk said on Twitter in reply to a post with a photograph of a T-shirt with the message: “India wants Tesla”. “Thanks for waiting”, Musk said. Tesla’s entry could come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is increasingly becoming focussed on promoting the use and manufacture of electric vehicles. India’s auto sector, already reeling from a slowdown in demand last year, has been further hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic and carmakers are seeking government support to push sales. Musk commented last year about coming to India, in response to someone on Twitter who asked “What about India sir?”. “Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next!” he said in March 2019. +++

+++ Nationwide Vehicle Contracts (NVC) just reported that the TESLA MODEL 3 is the United Kingdom’s most popular electric car. However, it doesn’t stop there. According to NVC, in July 2020, electric vehicle sales were up a whopping 77 % compared to the same period in 2019. For 2020, electric vehicle sales are expected to hit nearly 3 million. By far and wide, Tesla is the most popular electric car. More specifically, the Model 3 is the dominant leader, but the brand as a whole holds 3 of the top 4 positions. According to the data, the Model 3 rakes in an average of 1.852.356 global searches per month. It’s followed by the Nissan Leaf, which gets less than one-third of the search attention, at 565.689. The Tesla Model X and Model S closely followed. Next came the BMW i3, the Renault Zoe, the Audi e-Tron, the Renault Twizy, the Jaguar I-Pace and the Hyundai Kona Electric. The Tesla Model 3 is the top electric car in Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, China, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. Exceptions are Egypt (Tesla Model X) and Ireland (Nissan Leaf). +++

+++ Elon Musk has confirmed today that the upcoming TESLA MODEL S PLAID , scheduled for late 2021, will be equipped with the all-new structural battery pack, consisting of the all-new 4680 lithium-ion cells, announced at Tesla Battery Day. Tesla’s CEO answered Whole Mars Catalog’s question “will plaid s have a structural pack? I assume the extra power of the 4680 cells helps?”, with a simple “Yeah”. That would explain why the Model S Plaid is not yet ready for the market launch. The company is waiting for the 4680 cells/structural packs to be ready and the plan is late 2021. This is, by the way, the same timeline as for the Tesla Cybertruck, and not far away from Tesla Semi. The 4680 is a new type of cylindrical cells, currently under development by Tesla. It will store 5 times more energy, should allow to increase range by 16% (so we expect a corresponding energy density/lower losses) and offer up to 6 times the power output. The power output and limited overheating are one of the key factors for the high-performance Plaid car. The cells will be used in a new structural battery to further lower the weight and, by the way, increase the stiffness of the car. Solely the new cell design and battery integration with the car allows increasing the range by up to roughly 30 %, without changes in the battery chemistry. That would explain why the Plaid’s projected range is 830+ km, compared to 640 km (EPA) in the top of the range Model S Long Range. That’s 29.3% more. +++

+++ In terms of stating ambitions for the ID 3, VOLKSWAGEN couldn’t have aimed higher than labelling it as equally important as the Beetle and Golf. Here’s a car that carries the twin weights of seeking forgiveness for Dieselgate and kick-starting the brand’s electric car sales, which will surely form the backbone of its fortunes for the next 100 years. Of course, the ID 3 is far from unique in being born out of a crisis; the post-war period provides plenty of examples, from the Beetle to the BMW 1500, the Peugeot 205 and eventually the 2007 edition of the Fiat 500. So too the fortunes of some key sports car makers, some of whom seem to live permanently on the edge, have hung on the success of one model; think the Aston Martin DB7 and Lotus Elise. Volkswagen’s situation is rather different than any of these, though, with its scale, global breadth and financial might meaning its fortunes today far from hang on the ID 3. In fact, its mega profits will continue to be driven by engined cars for some time yet, so the electric car’s significance owes more to how it shapes perceptions than to what it contributes to the bottom line. It’s hard not to wonder if that lack of back-to-the-wall jeopardy is why, from the angles of range, price, charging and more, the ID 3 is front-running rather than pioneering. By that I mean it no ill will at all: by all accounts, it’s a very fine car indeed. But it’s hard to escape the impression that the need to hit emissions targets and avoid fines, rather than scratch out sales and profits, means good is currently good enough. The brutal truth is that, rapid though the ID 3’s 5-year development cycle was, Volkswgen left it too late to lay any markers in the sand in regards to pioneering in this early phase of electromobility. The true pioneers must be regarded as Tesla boss Elon Musk and ex-Nissan-Renault chief Carlos Ghosn, plus a handful of likeminded visionaries who failed, such as Henrik Fisker. By the time the ID 3 was conceived, Volkswagen had already missed out to rivals in leading the EV vanguard (although that it put the XL1 plug-in hybrid into limited production demonstrates that the appetite to push eco extremes was alive when the opportunity to show off technical prowess was available). And now Volkswagen has been beaten to resetting the boundaries of affordable range, too, chiefly by Hyundai and Kia. Will history one day place the ID 3 beside the Beetle and Golf, then? I suspect that will rather depend on the longevity of the name, rather than the capability of today’s car. But, pioneer or not, by breaking cover among the front-running back, the ID 3 at least puts Wolfsburg in the race again. +++

+++ VOLVO ’s signature XC60 topped a recent study measuring residual value by secondhand car marketplace Encar.com. A car’s residual value is a measure of its future value. A high residual value plays a vital role in determining the price of the car in a secondhand market or the cost of its lease. The Encar research showed that the residual value of the 2019 model of the XC60 stood at 89.1 %, taking first place, among midsize SUV models in South Korea from the same year. The XC60 was followed by Ford’s Explorer with 87 %, Jeep’s Wrangler with 83.8 % and Land Rover’s Discovery with 72.2 %. The Encar research said that the average percentage from the same segment was 83 %. Various driving assistant system installed in all trims of the SUV were picked as one of the reasons behind the model’s high residual value. Under the Swedish brand’s philosophy of putting safety first, the XC60 includes partially autonomous driving features such as the Pilot Assist 2 program, which is able to control speed and steering under speed of 140 km/h to keep a safe distance from the car in front while staying in the center of the lane. The system can come in handy when parking as well. Using four sensors installed on each side of the car’s front and rear, the vehicle is able to precisely detect parking spaces and use what’s called Park Assist Pilot, which assists with steering. With the four cameras installed, the car also provides a 360-degree view around the car to help the driver fit it in the smallest space. The XC60 sold 2.969 units last year, accounting for 28.1 % of Volvo Cars Korea’s entire yearly sales. This year it has sold a total of 7.929 units, accounting for 21.5 % of the cars sold here from the brand. +++

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