Newsflash: prijs indicatie Cupra Urban Racer

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+++ Tesla has quietly made a significant improvement to its AUTOPILOT suite of electronic driving aids. As of September 2021, in the midst of a federal investigation, some of the cars equipped with the technology gained the ability to slow down when they detect emergency lights. Instead of letting its CEO announce the new feature on Twitter, the California-based firm merely updated the online owner’s manual for the Model 3 and the Model Y. “If the Model 3 or Model Y detects lights from an emergency vehicle when using Autosteer at night on a high-speed road, the driving speed is automatically reduced and the touchscreen displays a message informing you of the slowdown”, the update explains. It adds that the system will also emit a chime to remind motorists that they need to keep both hands on the steering wheel and stay aware. Autopilot automatically resumes the previously-set cruising speed when the system no longer detects the lights. Tesla adds that drivers should never rely on Autopilot to detect the presence of emergency lights, and that its cars may not detect them in all situations. On the surface, this is a latest in a series of improvements made to Autopilot; the timing is odd, however. There have been several reports of Tesla cars slamming into parked emergency vehicles while allegedly traveling on Autopilot; 11 crashes have been reported since 2018, leaving at least 17 people injured and killing one. The trend caught the attention of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which opened a probe into the crashes on August 16. It covers almost every Tesla sold here since the 2014 model year. The investigation is ongoing, so its results haven’t been made public yet, but NHTSA asked Tesla to explain how its Autopilot system detects and reacts to emergency vehicles parked on highways on September 1. Tesla has until October 22 to respond or seek an extension. NHTSA has also asked 12 other automakers to provide information on how their systems react to those situations. Giving cars the ability to identify emergency vehicles is a big step forward, but the feature leaves a lot of unanswered questions. It can only detect lights “at night on a high-speed road”: what happens during the day, in a dense urban area, or both? Can it detect traffic cones and reflective vests? We’ll need to wait until the investigation’s results are published to learn more about the issue and the proposed solution. +++

+++ With ELECTRIC VEHICLES (EVs) becoming increasingly popular in recent years, it’s interesting to see which models sell the fastest. That’s exactly what the following list compiled by car lease comparison site LeaseLoco offers, uncovering the ten fastest-selling electric cars at the moment across the globe. Before delving into the data, it’s worth knowing how they arrived at these results. The company first analysed the bestselling EVs worldwide, then calculated how many cars are sold per year and per hour based on how long the vehicle has been on sale. Rather unsurprisingly, the number one spot goes to the Tesla Model 3, the all-time best-selling electric car in the world with 645.000 units sold since 2020. Why 2020 and not 2018, the first full year it was available in the US? I don’t know. Anyway, judging by the average of 215,000 units a year, 589 Model 3s are sold each day and 25 every hour. The Model 3 owes its popularity to the fact that it’s the most affordable Tesla model, contributing decisively to the company reaching the production milestone of one million cars in March 2020. It also became the first electric car to sell over 1 million units worldwide in June. The second place may surprise you, but that’s only if you haven’t heard yet of Wuling’s Hongguang Mini EV. On sale since 2020 exclusively in China, the battery-powered city car achieved a whopping 125.925 sales in a year, equivalent to 345 sold in a day and 14 per hour. One of the cheapest EVs in the world, the Mini EV starts at around $4.500, making it about 7 times cheaper than a base Tesla Model 3. Another Tesla ranks as the third fastest selling EV in the world, the Model Y. With an average of 100.000 units sold a year, the crossover sells about 11 units per hour. The Nissan Leaf is 4th (85.988 sales a year), followed by the BAIC EU-Series in fifth (65.333 sales a year). The highest ranking European model is the Volkswagen ID.3 in sixth place, with 54.495 yearly sales. +++

+++ It’s safe to say MERCEDES-AMG is in a bit of a pickle right now, with some of its V8s having quality issues in cars sold in the US, according to the man in charge of Mercedes’ performance division. The same Philipp Scheimer does have good news to share as he believes the twin-turbo 4.0-litre still has plenty of life left in it even though parent company Daimler is moving away from internal combustion engines to prepare for the unavoidable EV era. Asked about the fate of the ol’ V8, AMG’s head honcho said: “I think there will be a future, yes. I think for the next 10 years we will see V8s, for sure. We have a lot of customers who love their cars and I still think that we will see those people buying the cars for a long time. We have really a very high demand all over the world”. Even though AMG won’t develop a next-generation V8 engine since that ship has sailed due to electrification taking over, the engineers are still finding ways to update the existing powertrain. Not only that, but the combustion engine is being updated to become a central part of a plug-in hybrid setup, as demonstrated in the new GT 63 S E-Performance. The ICE works with a rear electric motor to develop a total output of 831 hp and 1.400 Nm, effectively making it the most powerful AMG to date considering the One hypercar has not been revealed in production guise yet. While the V8 is here to stay for the time being, logic tells us only the top-tier AMGs will continue to have it. As a matter of fact, the next-generation C63 (and by extension, the GLC 63) will lose the 4.0-litre unit in favour of a heavily electrified 4-cylinder adapted from the AMG 45 models. The E63 is likely next in line to lose a few cylinders, but it remains to be seen whether it will happen with the next-generation model. Bear in mind Mercedes has expressed its interest in going completely electric by the end of the decade, at least “where market conditions allow”. AMG has already hopped on the EV bandwagon with the EQS 53, with the smaller EQE 53 likely not far behind seeing as how prototypes have already been spied undergoing testing. +++

+++ There are parts of the world that electrification is struggling to win a sufficient portion of new car sales, and then there is NORWAY . This country in Europe’s far-north will probably be the first one where hybrids and electric vehicles will account for all of its new car sales, with forecasts showing this could happen as early as April 2022! Norway’s official target for ending petrol and diesel car sales is 2025, which is the earliest in the world as other countries are aiming to achieve that during the ’30s or later. However, analyzing the steady decline of ICE-powered vehicle sales in Norway since 2017, Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) claims that point zero could come this April. This of course doesn’t mean that sales of ICE-powered vehicles will be dead zero in spring, since there are certain categories like pickup trucks or exotics that do not offer fully electric or plug-in hybrid options yet. However, the number of ICE-powered vehicle registrations will be so low by 2025 that an official ban would be unnecessary. Looking at the new car sales figures of August 2021 in Norway, fully electric vehicles accounted for 72 percent, while hybrids and plug-in hybrids accounted for 20.4 percent. Together they make up for a staggering 92 percent, leaving a mere 4.6 percent for gas-powered vehicles and only 3.2 percent for diesel-powered ones. Among the 50 bestselling vehicles in Norway from January to August 2021, 30 are fully electric, 14 are plug-in hybrids, 3 are hybrids and 3 are diesel. In fact, 14 out of 15 best-sellers are fully electric. For the record, the fully electric Tesla Model 3 is in first place, the first plug-in hybrid is the Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid in second place, the first hybrid is Toyota Corolla Hybrid in 16th place and the first non-electrified vehicle is the Volkswagen Tiguan TDI in the 38th place. Government contact in Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) Thor Egil Braadland told that “In 20 years, there will be almost no petrol or diesel cars left on Norwegian roads. It feels very strange to say out loud, but all of us who love cars or who work with cars must take this upon ourselves”, issuing a warning to car importers, workshops, and petrol station chains. If you are wondering why Norwegian buyers have embraced electrified mobility in droves, it all started thanks to strong tax incentives which make EVs more attractive compared to conventional cars. The government even offered EV owners free parking and free tolls for a period of time, while the charging infrastructure in Norway is significantly better than in other European countries. +++

+++ Back in the 1980s and 1990s Peugeot’s GTIs were the hot hatches to beat. And in recent years, following a fallow period where rival Renault Sport and its Clios and Meganes was king, Peugeot proved it could still deliver, launching acclaimed models like the 208 GTi and 308 GTi. But now both carmakers are getting to ready to take the hot hatch genus into new, electrified territory. By 2024 Renault will field the Alpine A5, based on the retro 5 supermini EV revealed in January 2021, and PEUGEOT is getting ready to unleash the 208 PSE. PSE stands for Peugeot Sport Engineered, and is the marque’s new performance sub brand. We’ve already seen the label used to good effect on the 360 hp 508 PSE, but that’s a hybrid featuring a front-mounted petrol engine augmented by a small electric motor driving each axle. With the 208 PSE, the badge will be applied to a full EV for the first time. Peugeot already has an electric 208 in its line-up, and while it’s not necessarily marketed as a performance car, the e-208 is the quickest 208 you can buy and will serve as the foundation for the PSE. The e-208’s powertrain consists of a 50 kWh battery and a 136 hp electric motor driving the front wheels. That power output, along with 270 Nm of instantly available torque, enables it to reach 100 km/h in 8.1 seconds, although the top speed is artificially limited to 150 km/h. I’ve driven one on road and track, and found it surprisingly fun. While it’s heavier than ICE 208s (and getting on for twice as heavy as a 205 GTi), you notice that mass less in cornering (where it’s disguised by the low center of gravity), than under braking (where it’s not disguised at all). The e-208 is also pretty swift at the charging station. That 50 kWh battery gives it a WLTP range of up to 340 km and 100 kW charging capability allows you to top up to 80 % full in 30 minutes. But surely the 208 PSE will be both faster and hungrier? Maybe. Peugeot’s problem is that it might be stuck with the e-208’s smallish 50 kWh battery. Even getting that to fit involved breaking the battery pack into sections and fitting the bits in the voids filled by the fuel tank, catalyst and exhaust on ICE 208s. Back in 2020, Car magazine claimed the PSE would stick with the e-208’s front-mounted motor and front-wheel drive layout, but feature a more powerful motor putting out around 170 hp. And if that does happen, and Peugeot sticks with the 50 kWh battery, we can expect to see the performance improve, probably delivering a sub-7 seconds 0-100 kph time, but the electric driving range will also fall. But is it possible that Peugeot might not even bother upgrading the front motor? One bit of news indirectly suggesting that might be the case came from Auto Express in its story about the upcoming electric Opel Corsa OPC, which could take inspiration from the limited edition Corsa-e Rally competition car. The standard Corsa is built on the same e-CMP platform as the 208, and the Corsa-e is powered by exactly the same combination of 136 hp motor and 50 kWh battery as the Peugeot e-208 (even the rally version, in contrast to what its looks suggest, used the same mechanicals). Auto Express claimed the Corsa OPC would retain the stock powertrain package and focus on improving handling instead. It quoted an insider as saying “we have more than enough power. But we can add performance in other ways”. Would Peugeot really introduce a PSE-badged flagship hot hatch with no more power than the regular e-208 which by the way looks great when decked out in GT or GT Premium trim, as seen here? I’m not so sure, particularly since its Alpine A5 rival is rumored to have 218 hp at its disposal. How Will The 208 PSE stand out? Peugeot’s best remembered 1980s hot hatches all had 3 doors, though the 309 GTi had the option of 5, as did the recent 308 GTi. But modern hot hatch buyers seem to value practicality more than their ancestors, so the PSE will get the same 5-door layout as every other 208. The GT-spec 208 already does a solid visual impression of a hatch thanks to its contrasting wheelarch trims, but we expect the 208 PSE to further accentuate the sporty feel with a lower suspension and an increase in wheel size from the GT’s current 17-inch maximum, though that would come at the expense of some electric range. Like other facelifted 208s, the PSE will wear the new Peugeot badge fixed to the front of the latest 308 and first seen on the 2018 e-Legend concept. And if it takes its lead from the 508 PSE, the hottest 208 is likely to feature lurid green detailing, gloss black trim, a rear diffuser, vertical grille fins and PSE ‘Kryptonite’ claw graphics. We also expect to see aerodynamic devices on the lower bumper and sills and a spoiler mounted above the rear window. Auto Express claims the electric Corsa OPC will be on sale in Europe in 2022, which could tie in with other sources who claim the 208 PSE will be launched to coincide with the 208’s mid-cycle refresh for the 2023 model year. Small electric hot hatches aren’t exactly thick on the ground right now. In fact, the only car that comes close to rivaling the 208 PSE is the Mini Electric. Essentially a zero emissions Cooper S, it serves up a solid 184 hp and can sprint from 0-100 kph in 7.3 seconds. It’s also surprisingly affordable. On the downside, the three-door-only Mini Electric is even more cramped than a regular Mini because of how the battery is located under the rear seat, and that battery has a capacity of just 32 kWh, resulting in a sub-240 km WLTP range. Also small, but significantly slower, is the new Fiat 500e. You get a choice of 23.7 kWh or 42 kWh batteries and a 118 hp front-mounted motor that can get you to 100 kph in 9 seconds. That doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of a hot hatch, but things should improve when Fiat works its Abarth magic on the silent 500 in coming years. Renault’s Alpine A5, part of the sporty brand’s expansion away from a simple one-model sports car-focused line-up, is arguably the 208’s biggest rival. And if it does get the 218 hp motor from the Megan E-tech, it’s going to make the PSE look seriously slow. +++

+++ TESLA broke ground on its Megafactory, a new production facility in California, so christened because it will produce the company’s large-scale battery system Megapack. News of the previously unannounced factory was confirmed by the Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal in a Facebook post that was deleted and re-posted. “We are proud to be the home of the Megafactory, Tesla’s most recent expansion here”, he said. “The future of green energy will be produced right here in our community”. The factory, in the small Northern California city of Lathrop, is near Tesla’s automotive plant in Fremont. Lathrop is also home to Tesla’s 870.000-square-foot distribution center. Megapacks, as well as Tesla’s other energy storage products, were being manufactured at the electric automaker’s so-called Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada. This is the first facility dedicated to the Megapack, though it’s unclear if production of Tesla’s other storage products (which include Powerwall and Powerpacks) will shift to the new factory. The new factory is a positive signal for the automaker’s growing Energy division. As opposed to the Powerwall, which is a home consumer battery product, the Megapack is meant for utility-scale energy storage. Utilities building solar and wind farms are increasingly pairing these with large batteries to store excess energy to discharge to the grid later. Just last week, the Arizona electric utility Salt River Project brought online a 100 megawatt-hour Megapack project. In a second-quarter earnings call in June, CEO Elon Musk confirmed that there was “significant unmet demand” for these storage products, adding that the Megapack was “basically sold out through next year.” He also estimated demand for Powerwall to be in excess of 1 million units per year. Much of the bottleneck isn’t merely due to production capacity: Musk also told investors that cell supply and the global semiconductor shortage were creating production ceilings. “We use a lot of the same chips in the Powerwall as you do in a car, so it’s like, which one do want to make?” he said. “Cars or Powerwalls? So we need to make cars, so that will … Powerwall production has been reduced”. +++

+++ The VOLKSWAGEN GROUP is readying a trio of fully electric small models wearing the VW, Cupra and Skoda badges. It turns out that Cupra’s offering will be the most expensive of the 3, with a starting price of €27.500 when it arrives in 2025. The Cupra UrbanRebel Concept that premiered in Munich a few weeks ago previewed for the upcoming production model. In a similar fashion, Volkswagen previewed their own offering with the ID.Life Concept that will spawn a production car by 2025. Both models, together with the rumored Skoda Elroq, will be based on a shortened version of the MEB platform. Cupra’s EV city car will start at around €27.500 which makes it more expensive compared to its Volkswagen sibling, starting at €22.000. We don’t have information about the Skoda, but given the budget-oriented nature of the brand, we guess that it will be slightly cheaper. Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths admitted that their EV city car will be priced higher, as they want it “to be positioned between the mass and the premium segment”. He added that the production version will retain the bold design language of the concept car, with the exception of the massive aero components: “You take the fin off the back and the spoiler off the front, and then you get very very close to what we want to do with the car we want to launch in 2025”. The production version will be fitted with a single electric motor producing 231 hp and feature a 55 kWh battery pack allowing for a 400 km range. Like its VW sibling, the Cupra will accelerate from 0-100 kph in 6.9 seconds, while Griffiths claims that the compact dimensions and the low weight will make the car quite sporty. Cupra’s new small EV will join the upcoming Born C-Segment hatchback and the Tavascan SUV in the growing range of fully electric models. All small EVs of the VW Group will be produced in Spain with a capacity of up to 500.000 cars per year, utilizing both Seat’s Martorell and VW’s Pamplona factories. +++

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