Newsflash: Volkswagen neemt ID.3 GTX in productie

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+++ Nissan and Mitsubishi have announced plans to build an ELECTRIC KEI CAR together. The yet unnamed car would mark a major step towards electrification of Japan’s popular supercompact segment. The car will be powered by a 20 kWh battery and will be engineered to cover daily driving duties in a Japanese driving cycle. The car can also double as a mobile power source or power a home in emergency situations. Nissan says the car will measure 134 inches long, 58 inches wide, and 65 inches tall, in order to comply with laws limiting kei car size. The companies state that the car will be developed by NMKV, a joint venture that stands for Nissan Mitsubishi Kei Vehicle. Each carmaker owns a 50 % stake and already jointly builds models such as the feline favorite Nissan Dayz, which Mitsubishi sells as the eK. In reality, that likely means Mitsubishi will be developing the car and Nissan will simply slap a badge on it. Nissan has not traditionally built kei cars, choosing instead to rebadge those made by Suzuki or Mitsubishi. In fact, Mitsubishi built the first electric kei car, the i-Miev, way back in 2009, and it was actually sold in Europe until 2020. The jellybean-shaped EV was a pioneer in the field, but its 100 km range from a 16 kWh lithium/ion battery showed the limitations of the technology at the time. Mitsubishi moved about 32.000 of them before they pulled the plug. The new Nissan-Mitsubishi kei car will land at around 2 million yen, or 16.000 euro. The price, while slightly more expensive than a gasoline counterpart, bucks predictions from analysts that said prices would skyrocket by 66 % to 120 % if kei cars were forced to electrify. A petrol-powered Nissan Dayz starts at around 13.000 euro. Size-wise, the 2 share a similar footprint as they are governed by kei car size limits. The special class of cars get unique license plates and other registration cost benefits due to their compact dimensions. A BMW i3 would exceed those boundaries due to its 158 inch length and 70 inch width. However, the larger EV comes equipped with a substantially bigger 42.2 kWh battery good for 250 km of range. The car will go on sale in spring 2022. +++

+++ At the 2021 IAA Mobility Show in Münich, HYUNDAI announced its goal to become carbon neutral by 2045. The Korean automaker will terminate sales of ICE powered vehicles in Europe starting from 2035, while zero-emission vehicles (BEVs and FCEVs) will account for 80 % of its global fleet sales by 2040. The future of Hyundai will be focused on clean mobility, next generation platforms and green energy. The company has committed that by 2040, its carbon emissions will be reduced by 75 % compared to the 2019 levels, before achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. The first step is to gradually increase sales of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) which includes both BEV (battery-electric) and FCEV (fuel cell) models. Those will account for 30 % of Hyundai’s global sales by 2030 and 80 % of its total fleet sales by 2040. By 2035, Hyundai will only offer BEVs and FCEVs in Europe, while by 2040, vehicles using fossil fuels will be phased out in all major markets. After the fully electric Ioniq 5 which debuted earlier this year sitting on the dedicated E-GMP platform, Hyundai will unveil the Ioniq 6 sedan and the Ioniq 7 SUV, both offering 500 km of range. Besides the E-GMP, Hyundai is already working on next-generation platforms which will offer advanced autonomous driving functions. Hyundai has more than 20 years of experience in hydrogen fuel cell technology and plans on expanding its fuel cell powertrains “to all types of mobility fleets and other areas of life”. Besides the Nexo, Hyundai is offering the mass-produced Xcient Fuel Cell heavy-duty truck, while the Elec City Fuel Cell bus is in currently on testing phase in Europe. In 2023, Hyundai will launch the new generation Nexo together with an MPV using FCEV technology. After 2025, another fuel-cell model will follow in the form of an SUV. The company has also invested in global startups in the field of green hydrogen and plans on establishing infrastructures in countries “with strong government support and abundant renewable energy sources”. Supporting the goal for green energy, Hyundai will use renewable energy for its production facilities. Its Czech plant will be the first to convert in 2022, while 90 % of its global operations by 2040 will use renewable energy. Last but not least, Hyundai will integrate vehicle-to-grid technology in its future BEV models, and is investing in Second Life Battery Energy Storage System with the first applications starting in Germany from next year. Besides cars, Hyundai is also actively working on flying vehicles as demonstrated by the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) S-A1 concept in 2020. The first fully electric UAM designed for intra-city operations will launch in 2028, and another flying vehicle for connecting adjacent cities will follow in the 2030s. Jaehoon Chang, president and CEO of the Hyundai Motor Company said: “Under our company’s vision, Progress for Humanity, Hyundai Motor is determined to do the right thing for the world. Climate change is an undeniable challenge that needs everyone’s utmost and urgent attention. Hyundai Motor commits to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2045, and we will make investments in cleaner transportation and greener energy solutions to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The full range of Hyundai’s electrified range will be showcased in the 2021 IAA Mobility Show, including the Ioniq 5 robotaxi and the Prophecy concept previewing the upcoming Ioniq 6. From September 6th to 12th, visitors of the IAA in Munich will be able to use Hyundai’s Blue Lane service, with Ioniq 5, Nexo, Kona EV, and Elec City Fuel Cell bus taking them to various locations of the event. +++

+++ “Do you know how big Volvo is?” asked Don Leclair, finance chief at Ford. It was 2008 and Leclair was responding to an offer from a little-known Chinese businessman to purchase the Swedish carmaker, which Ford owned. The businessman, LI SHUFU , had a company with less than half Volvo’s sales and a flagship model, King Kong, almost unknown outside China. He was politely shown the door of the “Glass House”, Ford’s iconic headquarters near Detroit, according to 2 people who were at the meeting. Fast-forward to 2021 and Li Shufu’s company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is one of the biggest-selling automakers in the world’s biggest auto market. It controls not only Volvo Cars but also a clutch of global auto brands, and a significant stake in German giant Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz. These names are now part of its plans for a revolution in autos. Geely is preparing Volvo for a listing on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange as a route towards the future of transportation: One where cars are part of an electrified network of mobility services, driving themselves, connecting to each other and (like cellphones) generating an array of data and new business opportunities. It’s a vision more Silicon Valley than Detroit, where traditional automakers globally are chasing another giant: Tesla. Li Shufu and his advisers eventually convinced Ford to part with Volvo in 2010 for $1.8 billion. It was the first in a string of deals, tapping brands such as Lotus, Smart and the London Electric Vehicle Company to form a network that he calls a “bigger circle of friends” across industry segments. Li Shufu sees them as building blocks to help Geely compete in a future where autos are not vehicles, but “service providers”, he told in his management suite at Geely’s headquarters in Hangzhou, eastern China. In that business model, cars will be available on subscription and offer services such as making payments and in-car apps. They will update their own software, and spawn opportunities in the same way as the mobile operating systems developed by Apple Inc and Google. “We are trying to create an automotive ecosystem similar to Android”, he said. Li Shufu, 58, recently adopted a foreign first name (Eric) because he liked the sound of it. He has charted a path from a remote fishing village in eastern China through dirty factory floors to the heart of the world’s auto industry. His subordinates often still call him chairman Li. Interviews with Li Shufu himself, other company leaders and advisers as well as rivals and executives at firms in which Geely invested reveal an agile opportunist who is making a stream of startup bets (on ventures like flying cars and helicopter taxis) to prepare for the new age of autos. Besides vehicles, Geely has a Danish bank, a startup that’s developing vehicle control software technology and Geespace, a China-based firm which got the green light from Beijing this year to make low-orbit satellites that will be the eyes in the sky for fully autonomous machines. The scale of his investments (spanning Europe, Southeast Asia, China and the United States) is unique among Chinese auto firms. Asked about his role, some of Li Shufu’s rivals said his status as a relative newcomer to the industry gives Geely a potential advantage. He isn’t weighed down by a big network of gasoline-related suppliers, for instance, said an engineer at Toyota, who spoke on condition of anonymity: That makes it easier for him to shift to a digital industry. “Among traditional automakers, Geely has a more sophisticated lens on the future of mobility,” said Bill Russo, head of consultancy Automobility in Shanghai and a former Chrysler executive. “They understand the nature of this model is shifting from a pure-play manufacturer”. But Li Shufu’s ambitions face mounting challenges. To realize this vision, executives at several rivals say he needs to upgrade perceptions of his own Chinese-brand cars. “Geely’s biggest challenge is its name, in part because of its past as a low-cost, entry car brand”, said an executive at Honda. “How does Geely go from that to become an Apple-like brand? All legacy automakers struggle with that, but that is particularly a tall challenge for Geely”. And Li Shufu is moving in an increasingly tense global climate. His strategy of building diverse alliances around the world has been made possible by the past 15 years of relative openness to technology-sharing and marketing collaboration. Now superpower rivalry between the United States and China has led to a bitter trade war, and Washington and its allies are blocking the expansion of major Chinese tech companies. The Chinese entrepreneur is undeterred, and says his foreign investments are a map of opportunity. “All roads might lead to Rome”, Li Shufu said. “But the question is which is the right road and which road leads to Rome fastest?” Like many other businesses in China, Geely appears keen to keep in lockstep with the pronouncements of president Xi Jinping, who has increasingly called for the need to promote what he calls “common prosperity”. In June, ahead of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary, Geely issued a press release announcing the “Geely Common Prosperity Initiative” to help employees in the city of Ningbo where the company has multiple facilities. Li Shufu has been a member of some political bodies in China. He was previously a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a top political advisory body. And he was a delegate in March this year to the National People’s Congress, China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament. The third of four brothers born to farmers in a fishing village called Luqiao, Li Shufu’s business is rooted in the entrepreneurial boom of the mid-1980s led by the economic reforms of China’s then leader, Deng Xiaoping. Li Shufu pivoted to wheels from photography via fridges, and was producing vehicles before he had the necessary paperwork. Opportunity first knocked when he went for a high-school graduation photo in the early 1980s. Seeing the line of his peers outside the village studio snake around the block, he pestered the photographer for an apprenticeship. Then, Li Shufu said, he borrowed 120 yuan (about $70 at the time, or 5 times the average monthly rural income in his province) from his father. He bought a Chinese Seagull camera, jumped on a bicycle and established the first mobile studio in his village, charging 0.48 yuan per portrait. With money flowing in, he said he experimented with salvaging appliances and melting the components to extract metals, started making fridge components and in 1986, at age 23, registered the company that became Geely. His village has now been absorbed by the city of Taizhou. Mom-and-pop machine shops in an area stretching down to Wenzhou diversified from trades such as repairing fishing boats to making cigarette lighters, belt buckles, and eventually motorbike and car components. In the early 1990s, Li Shufu looked at a mangled motorbike brought into his factory, saw how simple it was mechanically and decided to make bikes, according to his official biographer at Geely. Soon he was dreaming of cars. He dismantled existing models to see how they worked, and quietly built a car plant and made some primitive prototypes, the biographer told. The first model, the Geely Haoqing, was finished in 1997. It was a disaster. His engineers had not water-proofed it and torrents gushed into the cabin when it was tested for leaks. To progress in an industry tightly controlled by the state, Li Shufu needed Communist Party support. In 1999 (the year Tesla chief Elon Musk sold his online publishing startup) Li Shufu persuaded an up-and-coming Communist Party official to give him the license to manufacture cars in China officially, by saying they were not that complicated to produce: they were really just “2 sofas with 4 wheels”, he said. His factory wouldn’t cost the state anything, he recalled telling the official: “At least give me a chance to fail”. By the following year, the waterproofed Haoqing was rolled out to showrooms in large numbers. Geely was soon selling a few hundred thousand rough-and-ready cars a year (models with bumpers that tended to sag after a few years) but Li Shufu had his sights on the global market. Geely displayed one of its models in the lobby of the Cobo exhibition hall in downtown Detroit at the 2006 auto show, with a view to setting up a plant and sales network in the United States. In March 2007 a group of potential U.S. backers gathered at Geely’s headquarters in China to discuss how to help set up a U.S. factory. Li Shufu announced he had changed course. “He basically said, ‘I have a new plan’ “, said one of those present, who spoke on condition of anonymity. ” ‘We wonder if Volvo might be for sale?’ “. There was an awkward silence. Li Shufu, who declined to comment on this version of events, told the investors it would take too long to engineer vehicles to meet U.S. safety and emissions regulations, the person said. Buying a brand like Volvo (renowned for its safety and reliability) would be a quicker way to acquire technology and become an established name. Volvo initially wasn’t for sale: Li Shufu was rebuffed by Ford’s Don Leclair at their meeting. But as the global financial crisis hit U.S. carmakers, Ford turned to preserving its core business and parted with Volvo. “We elected to sell a storied brand to a great new owner”, a spokesperson said. By 2010, Geely had mustered the funds for the deal. Most came as subsidised low-interest loans from the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Daqing and the Jiading district of Shanghai, the company said. Geely went on to build Volvo factories in the first 2 cities and a Volvo technology centre in the third. Other auto firms, including Tesla and Ford, also received aid, in the form of billions of dollars in low-interest loans that year under the U.S. Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, a bailout following the global financial crisis. Meanwhile, China’s car market had boomed. And Volvo, which was running at a loss when Li Shufu took over, was in the black. Geely and Volvo executives said they made Volvo profitable chiefly by beefing up its presence in China, sharing components and suppliers and developing common platforms. The year that Geely bought Volvo, Tesla became the first American car company to sell its shares to the public since Ford in 1956. Based in Palo Alto, Tesla had a 2-seater electric sports car, which Musk called “a freaking technology velociraptor,” saying it was ready to revolutionise the way Americans buy and drive cars. Li Shufu also saw the need to go electric. Geely and Volvo set up a joint technology centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2013 and developed hybrid and electric vehicle ventures Lynk & Co and Polestar a few years later. Earlier this year, it launched Zeekr in China, a new electric car brand. But Li Shufu and his lieutenant Daniel Li, the Chief Executive of Geely Holding, faced another obstacle. The likes of Tesla (backed by venture capital hungry for the next big thing) could command high valuations without delivering profits, making it easy for them to raise capital. Geely was at a disadvantage, the Geely executives said, partly because its investor base of pension funds and investment funds is tasked with taking lower risks to achieve steady returns. Since 2011, Geely’s Hong Kong listed business (a subsidiary of Geely Holding Group) has reported net profits every year, averaging 5.19 billion yuan or $800 million at today’s rates. Its market value is about $35 billion. The way forward, Li Shufu decided, was to combine resources with legacy carmakers, known in the industry as original equipment makers (OEMs). “If traditional OEMs didn’t invest in new technologies and trends, we would die. But if each OEM simply made huge investments by itself, we would also not survive”, Geely Holding chief executive Daniel Li told. “We have to make those investments in a smarter and more collaborative way”. That thinking was behind yet another gamble by Li Shufu. He identified Daimler, a firm with roots dating back to the world’s first gasoline car in 1886, as a key candidate for his “circle of friends”. But the Geely boss knew that if he knocked on Daimler’s front door he would not be taken seriously, 2 Geely sources said. So, starting in October 2017, Geely began discreetly building a stake in Daimler. Using Hong Kong shell companies called Tenaciou3, Miroku and Fujikiro, as well as derivatives, bank financing and carefully structured share options, Geely stayed in the shadows until the following February. Then it stunned the auto world by announcing it was Daimler’s biggest shareholder, with a 9.69 % stake that cost roughly $9 billion. Asked where Geely got the cash, a person familiar with the matter said it bought some Daimler shares and used them as collateral for a loan to buy more. Li Shufu said in an interview posted on the People’s Daily website at the time that Geely had used only “offshore” funds to execute the deal. The move aroused alarm in Germany, where the government was wary of Chinese firms’ interest in domestic champions and their technology. A group of Geely executives led by Li Shufu launched a 4-day diplomatic tour to calm the waters. Meeting Daimler’s top brass, government officials and lawmakers in Berlin and Stuttgart, the Geely team said they were seeking synergies, not domination, Daniel Li said. Their interest in Daimler wasn’t about economies of scale, they said, but about the pressing need for legacy automakers to form joint ventures and divvy up the cost of developing new technologies. In some of the meetings, Li Shufu floated his idea of using hundreds of proprietary mini, low-orbit satellites as a more accurate global positioning system for self-driving cars, Daniel Li said. Germany has since lowered the threshold for screening purchases of stakes in German firms by non-Europeans; last year it blocked the takeover of a satellite and radar technology company by a state-controlled Chinese missile maker. Following the trip, Daimler initially offered to let Geely buy its troubled Smart brand of tiny urban cars outright. Li Shufu wanted more. In September 2018, at a lunch at the Mercedes-Benz museum with chief executive Dieter Zetsche, the 2 agreed to form a 50-50 joint venture to transform Smart into a network of electric urban transporters, 2 people familiar with the meeting said. Geely and Daimler have since agreed several joint new investments: a premium ride-hailing service in China called StarRides; a super-efficient gasoline engine for hybrid cars; and stakes in German electric flying taxi startup, Volocopter. Geely is also sharing its electric vehicle platform technologies, supply chains and factories with Daimler while using the German brand name and sales network to market new Smart models. Making cars is only one source of revenue Geely is targeting. Another will be non-traditional vehicle sales such as car subscription services, which will enable car-owners to make money from the loan of their vehicles when they aren’t using them, Li Shufu and Daniel Li told. As a first step, Geely is already rolling out a subscription model in Europe this year for its hybrid Lynk & Co SUV models. Throw in ride-hailing, battery charge-and-swap services that are already in operation, as well as selling the software to operate electric vehicles, and Geely aims to have an array of alternative revenue streams. As Li Shufu ventures into the age of self-driving autos, he also enters more sensitive ground. The still-nascent area is delicate, because passenger safety is not yet assured, and also because the technology crosses over into areas with national security implications. “You may ask why Volvo and Geely are not aggressively promoting their self-drive technology by now?” Li Shufu said. “If you are to uphold Volvo safety traditions and standards, we can only call it autonomous self-drive technology when people can close their eyes and doze off in a self-drive car with 100% safety guaranteed”. To beef up the slow, inaccurate connectivity and vehicle positioning capability of current cars, Li Shufu wants to use low-orbit satellites: He said the technology should be able to position and navigate a car with a margin of error of a few millimetres. To be fast enough for safety, the satellite technology would need to be augmented by others including 5G cellular signals, radar and digital cameras, said William Malik, a cybersecurity expert at Trend Micro. When developing satellite technology, Geely may also face a U.S. ban on the export of space and satellite technology to China. The United States is increasing trade restrictions on Chinese tech businesses. Geely said it doesn’t comment on political issues. But Li Shufu says he thinks global companies should go ahead and pursue global integration. “We can do business together and maximise synergies within an industry”, he said. “That’s why I’m all against cutting off ties”. +++

+++ British sportscar maker LOTUS plans to open up to 70 showrooms in China by 2024 and start production at its new Wuhan factory next year to ramp up competition with rival Porsche, chief executive Feng Qingfeng told. Premium and luxury car sales are growing in China as coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions leave consumers in the world’s biggest car market with more money to spend. read more Feng said Lotus, which is owned by Chinese firm Geely and Malaysia’s Etika Automotive, would begin production at its Wuhan factory next year, producing around 2.000 compact SUVs. The plant, which is still under construction, would ramp up to full production of 20.000 cars in 2023, Feng told in a telephone call from Hangzhou, where Geely is headquartered. The cars will be positioned in a similar segment to rival Porsche and higher than BMW and Audi, Feng said. Porsche has said it sold 88.968 cars in China last year thanks to demand for its Macan. Feng said Lotus would open more than 20 showrooms next year, first targeting major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It would expanding the network further over 2023 and 2024 to include cities like eastern Suzhou and Ningbo for a total of 50-70 showrooms around the country. Lotus, the maker of the Lotus Esprit, famously driven by James Bond in 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me”, currently has four showrooms in China, according to its website. Lotus said its Wuhan-based technology unit recently received an undisclosed investment from Nio Capital, an investment firm founded by the chief executive of leading Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio. The technology unit is valued at 15 billion yuan ($2.32 billion). +++

+++ The MINI Urbanaut concept may find its way into production, said Mini designer Oliver Heilmer during the 2021 IAA Mobility Show. If the project is green-lighted by the BMW Group, the futuristic MPV could be revealed in production form 5 years into the future at the earliest, since a lot of work needs to be done before it rolls out of the factory. It seems that positive reactions following the concept car’s launch have urged BMW executives to consider the Urbanaut as a possible addition to MINI’s future range next to the Hatch, Clubman, and Countryman. Oliver Heilmer, head of MINI design, told: “With what we achieved, BMW is now thinking there is a chance for production”. Despite the good news, MINI designers and engineers will have to work really hard in translating this concept to reality since there are many technical challenges on the way. Firstly, the Urbanaut doesn’t fit any of the existing platforms of the BMW Group, and it uses steer by wire technology which is not yet in production. However, Oliver Heilmer states “we’ll never give up on it” which means they are working on possible solutions. For those who are not familiar with MINI’s MPV, the Urbanaut was revealed in digital form in November 2019 followed by a physical prototype in June 2021. In the jump from 3D to the real world, the MPV retained all of its design features including the illuminated wheels, the large greenhouse, and the windscreen that can lift up creating something like a “balcony” when the vehicle is parked. Most importantly, the configurable interior with 3 modes, Chil (for relaxing while parked), Wanderlust (for driving / autonomous mode), and Vibe (for a party-like atmosphere), was designed to showcase the possibilities for the future. The lounge cabin had a swiveling driver seat, a couch-like rear seat, a dashboard converting to a daybed, a planter, a circular screen/lamp, and a small table. A concept for the future wouldn’t be complete without renewable and recyclable materials including wood, cork, polyester and tencel. If the project was developed for production, most of its quirky design features would give way to a more practical cabin layout (that could still be configurable). After all, the target group for a vehicle like this would be larger families. Following the spirit of the original Mini Cooper and thanks to the fully electric platform, the Urbanaught could make the best possible use of the interior space despite its rather compact exterior dimensions, measuring 4.460 mm long. Heilmer unexpectedly revealed that he always intended the Ubranaut to be considered for production, despite the fact that it looked like a design study. While we love seeing crazy concept ideas reaching production, an autonomous-ready MPV wearing the MINI badge sounds like a project from a distant future. In any case, time will tell and in a few years’ time, we might see camouflaged prototypes of the Urbanaut roaming the streets. +++

+++ A year after the debut of the Enyaq iV, its first fully electric model, SKODA is getting ready to launch the Coupé variant featuring a more aerodynamic and stylings body thanks to the sloping roofline. Before the official debut that is scheduled for early 2022, Skoda published a series of camouflaged photos together with official information about its upcoming BEV. We have already seen more of the Enyaq Coupé iV in spy pictures but Skoda decided it would be better to cover the whole body of the vehicle. Naturally, the front end will be shared with the regular Enyaq iV up to the B-pillar. However, the tail is completely redesigned, with a shape inspired by the Vision iV concept from 2019. What is interesting is that Skoda designers didn’t limit themselves to the incline of the rear windscreen, but created a heavily sloping roofline with a standard panoramic glass roof. In terms of exterior dimensions, the Enyaq Coupé iV is measuring 4.653 mm long, 1.879 mm wide and 1.617 mm tall. This makes it 4 mm shorter in length and 1 mm taller than the Enyaq iV while retaining the same width and 2.765 mm wheelbase. It will be available with wheels from 19 to 21 inches, optional full-LED Matrix headlights and optional full-LED taillights, as well as the optional Crystal Face (illuminated grille). Thanks to the coupe-style approach, the MEB-based Enyaq Coupé iV is more aerodynamic than the Enyaq iV, boasting a drag coefficient of 0.247 cd instead of 0.27 cd. This allows for a greater range which in the variants equipped with the larger 82 kWh battery exceeds 534 km. For comparison, the same version of the Enyaq iV has a range of 510 km which shows how much aerodynamics affect efficiency. The Enyaq Coupé iV will be available with 2 battery sizes and 3 outputs featuring rear or all-wheel-drive. This means it does without the entry-level variants of the Enyaq iV aiming at more premium buyers. The rear wheeldrive Enyaq Coupé iV 60 will use a single electric motor producing 180 hp and 310 Nm, plus a 62 kWh battery. The Enyaq Coupé iV 80 gets a more powerful rear-mounted motor producing 204 hp, together with a larger 82 kWh battery offering 534 km range. Then, there is the all-wheel-drive Enyaq Coupé iV 80x with dual electric motors producing a combined 265 hp and 425 Nm, fitted with the larger 82 kWh battery. While not confirmed yet for the Coupé variant, it is possible to get an even more powerful variant in the future. The upcoming Enyaq vRS will have a dual-motor setup offering all-wheel drive, with 306 hp and 460 Nm. The interior will be derived from the Enyaq iV with the same 13 inch infotainment touchscreen, 5.3 inch digital instrument cluster, optional augmented reality head-up display, LED ambient lighting, multifunction steering wheel, and “floating” center console. The Design Selections in the cabin including Loft (grey/black) Lodge (40 % natural new wool and 60 % polyester), ecoSuite (cognac-colored leather), are inspired by modern living environments. Skoda claims the Enyaq Coupé iV is still a great vehicle for families offering generous space for up to 5 people and a cargo space of 570 liters; slightly smaller than the Enyaq’s 585 liters. It is also expected to excel in Euro NCAP tests following its sibling that scored 94 % in adult protection and 89 % in children. We will learn more information about the Skoda Enyaq Coupé iV as we move closer to its official reveal in early 2022. +++

+++ Elon Musk has confirmed that the TESLA Cybertruck will not hit the production line until late 2022. When first unveiled in November 2019, Tesla stated the Cybertruck would hit the market in 2021. However, the automaker revealed its plans had been pushed back until 2022 during its second quarter financial results announcement last August. Musk has now specified that it has been delayed yet again until late 2022 and that significant volume production will not be achieved until late 2023. Musk confirmed the news while speaking with employees on a company-wide call. He did not specify a month or a quarter when production will begin. When the Cybertruck was first unveiled, there was an expectation that it would be one of, if not the, first electric pickup to reach the hands of customers. However, it appears that the Rivian R1T will take that crown with deliveries set to commence imminently. Both the GMC Hummer EV and Ford F-150 Lightning will also likely reach customer driveways before the first Cybertrucks. However, as we have learned time and time again, most Tesla customers are more than willing to put up with delivery delays. It is also reported that there have been more than 1 million reservations placed for the Cybertruck, meaning that when it does finally launch, it certainly has the potential to be the best-selling electric pickup truck on the market, at least for the first couple years of production. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN , the company that created the hot hatch phenomenon over 40 years ago, is about to do it all over again in the electric age. At the Munich Motor Show, Ralf Brandstatter, the brand’s CEO, confirmed that the all-wheel drive ID.X concept revealed back in May will enter production as the ID.3 GTX. The twin-motor, all-wheeldrive hot hatch could be in showrooms in 2022 and will be the third of Volkswagen’s EVs to get the GTX badge. The ID.4 GTX and coupe version ID.5 GTX have already been confirmed. But VW fans hoping for a zero-emissions equivalent to the legendary Golf R might have to temper their excitement a little. However, Brandstatter made it clear the production ID.3 GTX won’t be quite as punchy as the ID.X concept. The concept was powered by a dual-motor powertrain delivering a combined 335 hp to all 4 wheels. But the GTX is likely to use the 299 hp twin-motor setup already seen in the ID.4 GTX. This SUV is claimed to reach 100 kph in 6.2 seconds, but the smaller ID.3’s lighter curb weight should result it dipping into the fives. That kind of performance would put it between the Golf GTI and Golf R, but there could be more to come. The GTX’s name is clearly designed to show that it’s VW’s electric equivalent of the fabled GTi badge, and VW hasn’t ruled out R versions of its electric cars appearing in future. Brandstatter also refused to rule out the possibility of an ID.3 convertible. “A decision has not yet been made, but we are creating the concept”, the CEO told, making it clear that he was keen on the idea. “I love to have a cabriolet. I drove an electric cabriolet concept and it’s so cool to go outside with nature but you hear nothing: only the wind, the acceleration and you. That’s a completely different feeling, it’s really nice”. +++

 

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