Newsflash: alle details Tesla Model S Plaid zijn bekend

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+++ FORD ‘s recently-unveiled Maverick is nearly a foot shorter than the Ranger, it’s built on a relatively light unibody platform, and it’s available with a hybrid powertrain. Although it sounds like it would be a perfect addition to the automaker’s European lineup, executives confirmed there are no plans to sell the Blue Oval’s smallest truck across the pond. The reason: a perceived lack of demand. The Ford Ranger is the bestselling truck on the Old Continent, but only 12.000 units found a home in the first quarter of 2021. That’s a 44 % increase compared to 2020, a year marred by an economic slowdown linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Body-on-frame pickups like the Ranger, the Volkswagen Amarok, and the Toyota Hilux haven’t merged into the mainstream in Europe. Broadly speaking, they’re expensive to buy, expensive to register, expensive to refuel, and wholly impractical due to their size. Most are purchased by motorists who legitimately need a cargo box. Smaller, car-based pickups (like the Dacia Logan) were gradually canned over the past few years due to low sales. Whether the Maverick could thrive in these circumstances is a point of debate; it might not be the middle ground it sounds like. While it’s small by American standards, it’s much larger than most of the bestselling models in Europe. For example, the bestselling car in March 2021 was the Peugeot 208, a small hatchback that stretches approximately 159 inches long, 68 inches wide and 56 inches tall. Its biggest available engine is a 1.5-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder. Meanwhile, the Maverick pickup measures around 199 inches long, 72 inches wide and 68 inches tall. Australia, meanwhile, is a market where pickups reign supreme, but the Maverick won’t be sold there, either. It learned from unnamed sources that the model was developed only with left-hand-drive in mind. +++

+++ Inside the first new auto assembly plant built in the Motor City since 1991, the smell of hot metal hangs in the air as the new JEEP Grand Cherokee L heads down the welding line. For Stellantis, that is the smell of money. For the City of Detroit, it means nearly 5.000 jobs. Stellantis opened the doors of its new $1.6 billion Mack Avenue assembly complex recently, showing off parts of a 3 million square foot complex completed and launched into production largely during the pandemic. The Grand Cherokee L vehicles on the assembly line are the first of a new generation of Jeep’s bestselling model line, aimed at expanding the brand’s sales to customers who want an SUV with 3 rows of seats. Until now, Grand Cherokees only offered seating for 5. Now, with room for as many as 7 passengers, Jeep can take on rivals such as Ford’s Explorer, General Motors’ GMC Acadia and larger SUVs from European and Japanese brands. The plant, which began building vehicles in March, now is operating 3 shifts a day, plant manager Michael Brieda said. In a tight labor market, Brieda said the biggest challenge the plant had “was finding people capable of working in a manufacturing environment”. Job applicants were given dexterity tests as part of their interviews, he said. About 2.100 Detroit City residents have been hired at the plant, the company said. The new Jeep plant underscores the split personality of the United States vehicle market, where most of the vehicles coming down the Mack assembly line will be sold. Tesla is the industry’s most valuable automaker thanks to its lead in electric vehicle technology. But for Detroit’s automakers, demand for pickups and decked-out gasoline-fueled SUVs still pays the bills. As the Mack assembly complex accelerates, Stellantis will have 2 adjacent factories in Detroit capable of building 500.000 or more Grand Cherokee models a year. The nearby Jefferson North Jeep plant was built in 1991 and until now was the Motor City’s newest assembly plant. Mario Holmes, the manager who oversaw the development of the Grand Cherokee L, said much effort went into designing a new, more efficient architecture that uses aluminum and high-strength steel to cut weight. Though the new model has 3 rows of seats, it’s in the same weight class as 5-passenger SUVs, he said. There will be an electrified powertrain offered, but details on that will come later, he said. One sign of the importance of the Grand Cherokee L is that Brieda, the plant manager, said he has had no problems getting enough semiconductors for the new model, even as Stellantis is idling assembly lines for other vehicles amid a global shortage of the chips needed for modern motoring systems. +++

+++ KIA ’s next-generation Niro has been spied again, this time in less camo wrap. The Korean brand’s latest challenger for the Peugeot 2008 will go on sale in the next couple of years, with bold new styling and either petrol or pure-electric power. At the front, the headlights are positioned lower on the bumper, while the bonnet is a completely new clamshell design, which wraps around the crossover’s front wings. It isn’t all change, though, as Kia looks set to retain the current car’s plastic wheel arch cladding and shark fin antenna. Kia has moved the new Niro’s rear lights to a different position, placing them vertically on the car’s C-pillars rather than horizontally across the tailgate. The rear doors also have a different shape to the current Niro’s and feature a new quarter light window. The spies also offer some hints about the next Niro’s powertrain line-up. The crossover will be available with a pure-electric option, but both of these mules have exhausts poking out from beneath their rear bumpers, meaning combustion power will be retained. As such, the Mk2 Niro won’t make the jump to the Hyundai Group’s E-GMP underpinnings, as it’s only compatible with pure-electric powertrains. Currently, the only Kia that uses the platform is the EV6, which is placed well outside the Niro’s more affordable price bracket. At the 2019 New York Motor Show, Kia confirmed that the next Niro will retain the current car’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. This point is illustrated by a mule which has 2 filler doors: 1 at the rear for the filler nozzle and 1 on the front quarter panel for the charging socket. To make the combustion-engined Niro as green as possible, Kia could ditch the current car’s aging 1.6-litre petrol engine in favour of the more efficient 1.5-litre unit from the latest Ceed. However, that would involve engineering new hybrid and PHEV systems to suit the engine. All of this isn’t to say that the new e-Niro won’t borrow some of the E-GMP architecture’s technology. Carry-overs will likely include its newer battery packs and electric motor, both of which have the potential to push the EV’s maximum range past the 480 km barrier. Kia says that eco-friendly vehicles will account for 25 % of its sales by 2025. The firm also aims to increase its global EV market share to 6.6 % within the same period. +++

+++ NORWAY should begin taxing high-end battery-powered cars to lower the overall cost of its generous electric vehicle (EV) incentives, economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a working paper. If implemented, Norway could see taxes levied for the first time on electric cars from luxury automakers such as Porsche, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, as well as high-end Tesla and Audi models. Seeking to become the first nation to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2025, oil-producing Norway currently exempts all fully electric vehicles from the taxes imposed on internal combustion engines. As a result, 54 % of all new cars sold in Norway last year were powered by batteries only, a global record, up from 42 % in 2019 and a mere 1 % a decade ago. But the policy comes at a substantial cost, estimated by the ruling center-right coalition at 19.2 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.32 billion) in lost state revenue last year, or some 250.000 crowns on average for each new electric car sold. The more expensive a car is, the bigger the sales tax and other levies foregone by the state, thus giving the biggest implied subsidies to high-income households while also raising the cost per tonne of carbon emissions saved, the paper found. “Norway could improve the targeting of its tax incentives to increase their environmental impact”, the paper by 3 IMF economists concluded. One such targeted change could be to offer subsidies to actually scrap petrol and diesel cars when replaced by EVs, the economists said, adding that Norway should also consider raising the taxes imposed on polluting cars. The proposals could resonate well with Norway’s center-left opposition, which is favored to win power in national elections due in September. While supporting the goal of selling only EVs by 2025, Norway’s Labour and other center-left parties all want to start imposing sales taxes on the portion of a car’s cost that exceeds 600.000 crowns. For comparison, the least expensive model of an electric Porsche costs 758.000 crowns, while the top model starts at 1.7 million crowns, according to the automaker’s website. +++

+++ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was slow to embrace electrification, but that’s changing now that the company is part of STELLANTIS . According to insiders, there are at least 6 electric vehicles and one plug-in hybrid at the company’s design studio in Auburn Hills, Michigan. There are even more electrified models in development. Details are limited, but it appears one of the models is a high-performance electric vehicle which will reportedly be the fastest Dodge ever created. If that’s the case, it would be quicker than the Challenger SRT Demon which featured a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that produced up to 851 hp and 1.042 Nm. It enabled the model to rocket from 0-96 km/h in 2.3 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds at 225 km/h. At the time, the Demon was claimed to be the world’s quickest accelerating production model with the fastest quarter-mile time. However, the recently launched Tesla Model S Plaid is claimed to be the “quickest accelerating car in production today” with a 0-96 km/h time of 1.99 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 9.23 seconds at 250 km/h. Dodge could be looking to take back its records with the EV, but nothing is official as of yet. The other electric vehicles remain a mystery, but one of them is believed to be a Jeep. That makes sense as Jeep wants to be the “greenest SUV brand on the planet” and FCA’s 2018 Capital Markets Day presentation revealed Jeep was supposed to have 4 BEVs and 10 PHEVs by 2022. While the company was overly optimistic with those projections, a plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee is in the works. Furthermore, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is now available and recently became the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the United States. +++

+++ TESLA delivered a high-performance version of its Model S, aiming to reignite interest in the nearly decade-old sedan with this new “kick-ass” version and intending to fend off rivals such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Lucid Motors in the luxury electric car market. Tesla redefined electric cars in 2012 when it launched its high-end Model S with a sleek design and long driving range, and chief executive Elon Musk said the new version was designed for a future where cars drove themselves. “This car crushes”, Musk said at an evening delivery event held at Tesla’s U.S. factory in Fremont, California, not far from where the original Model S was revealed 9 years ago. Musk made his appearance at 11:45 p.m. Eastern, first barreling down Tesla’s test track in the car before looping back and pulling up onto the presentation stage. He opened with a joke about Plaid: “Basically our product plan is stolen from ‘Spaceballs’ ”. But jokes aside, he said the car is an important step toward the future of sustainable transportation. “It’s like, man, this is, just, sustainable energy cars can be the fastest cars, be the safest cars, gonna be the most kick-ass cars in every way”. “With Plaid we’ve managed to break the 2-second barrier”, Musk said. Though he himself has claimed an even lower 0-to-60 number of 1.91 seconds for the Tesla Roadster, and the new Rimac Nevera is said to do it in 1.85. But he pointed out that the Model S Plaid seats 5 and has 4 doors, a paradox he called “limited physics engineering”. The claims he rattled off: 640 km range, or in the dual-motor version, 420 km give or take, the joke that never gets old. 350 km of charge in 15 minutes. Quarter-mile in 9.23 seconds, acceleration that “really hits you in the limbic system”. He had asked, he said, “How can I make a spaceship a car”. 320 km/h top speed. 1.020 peak hp. A coefficient of drag of 0.208, which, he said was a “true 0.208” measured with the car in motion and wheels turning, rather than in wind tunnel. Musk insisted the performance numbers were repeatable, assisted by a new heat pump and radiator that’s twice as big. “You’ll actually be able to do back-to-back 0-to-60s, go on the track, just haul ass”, Musk said. “This car can do it over and over again and it doesn’t get winded”; addressing a complaint previously leveled at Tesla. He speculated that maybe they’d take the Plaid back to the Nurburgring “and see what happens”. He said the new heat pump delivers 30 % more range in cold weather while using 50 % less energy for heating the cabin. “You’ll see very little degradation in cold weather”. Musk showed off a new motor design featuring carbon sleeved rotors. “This is a super-hard thing to do because carbon and copper have very different rates of thermal expansion”, so Tesla had to invent the machine that makes the motor. This is important, he said, because the motors can potentially turn “at 20.000 rpm and maybe a little more”, creating centrifugal force so great the sleeves are necessary to hold the rotor together. And he praised the safety of the design. “Our aspiration for this car (it still has to be tested by the U.S. government) we think we can get to the lowest probability of injury of any car”. It is, he said, “faster than any sports car, any Porsche, safer than any Volvo. In the same car”. He praised the controversial yoke steering wheel for allowing a clear view of the instrument panel, where “you can basically see the mind’s eye of the car”. And because the IP takes up less space, engineers shifted the front seats forward to make more legroom in back. Physical control stalks are gone, limiting the need for human input: “I think, generally, all input is error”, Musk claimed. He praised the car’s ability to know when you approach, know what you want to do, right down to whether you want to go forward or in reverse, and its geocaching of locations means that it will learn more about what you want, wherever the car goes. The 17-inch touchscreen has been rotated to horizontal to allow it to serve the equivalent of “a home theater experience” for movies and games, and he said the refresh rate for gaming was 60 frames per second, with state-of-the-art games aboard. It also has dual inductive chargers in both rows of seats, with a 36-watt USB-C power supply for phones, tablets or laptops. There’s also a new sound system that will be refined OTA, and new acoustic glass for a quiet ride at any speed. “If we’re thinking about the future where the car is often in autopilot to full self driving mode”, Musk said, “then entertainment is going to become increasingly important. So you’re going to want to watch movies, play games, use the internet”. As for deliveries of the Plaid? “Deliveries begin now”. He said he expects to produce 1.000 Plaids a week by next quarter. Though Tesla delivered only 2.020 Model S/Xs in the first quarter, down from 18.920 the previous quarter, hampered by production delays. Musk said in April that production of its new Model S and X would be “contingent on global supply chain issues”. Musk has been on Twitter promoting the Model S Plaid, which is priced at $129.990, against $79.990 for a long-range Model S. The latest price for the Model S Plaid is $10.000 more than what was displayed a few days ago on Tesla’s website. The launch of the Model S Plaid, which had previously been showcased online, has faced delay and some controversy over the airplane-style yoke steering wheel. Musk this week canceled another variant, Model S Plaid+, which would have had a 33 % higher driving range than the Model S Plaid and used advanced battery technology, known as 4680 cells. “The Model S Plaid is definitely intended to help reduce the migration of current Tesla owners out of Tesla”, said Ed Kim, vice president at consultancy AutoPacific. “I think what we’re seeing now is that Tesla can no longer operate in a vacuum”. Kim said Model S Plaid is a low-volume, halo model aimed at showcasing the automaker and generating excitement around the sedan, with Tesla needing to successfully roll out new models like Cybertruck and Semi trucks to expand its customer base. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN expects a shortage in semiconductor supply to ease in the third quarter but sees the bottlenecks continuing in the long-term, a board member told. “At the moment we have reached the lowest point. We are facing the toughest 6 weeks”, Murat Aksel, the head of procurement on the Volkswagen board, told in an interview. He said he expects around 10% shortage in chips over the long-term as building up production capacities takes up to 2 years. Volkswagen will prepare for the bottlenecks by expanding its chips storage and is currently classifying the supply risk of its all models components, he added. Automakers and electronics producers around the world are being hit hard by manufacturing delays of chips, caused by a global shortfall. Volkswagen has been unable to build 100.000 cars due to the shortage, CEO Herbert Diess said in March, adding the group would not be able to make up for the shortfall in 2021. +++

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