Newsflash: nieuwe Lotus Elise wordt 2 keer zo sterk

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+++ The BMW 7 Series limo is set to return, with an unveiling in late 2022. However, BMW is planning to build its next luxury saloon on a platform that will allow both combustion and pure-electric power, with the i7 name being lined up for the new EV model. BMW will introduce a new headlight design, in which the current car’s combined daytime running lights and main headlamps will be ditched in favour of split units, with the latter located lower down in the bumper. As is customary on recent BMWs, the next 7 Series will feature huge kidney grilles, while the streamlined nose references the iX. Buyers of the Mercedes S-Class rival will also be able to choose between standard and long-wheelbase layouts. The rear of the new 7 Series is a little more conventional, with changes including a taller, reshaped bootlid and new, slimmer tail-lights. Higher-spec models will also be fitted with a recessed twin-exit exhaust system that’s set into a diffuser. BMW hasn’t released any technical specifications for the hybrid 7 Series or the electric i7. However, their rivals will include the Tesla Model S Long Range and the new Mercedes EQS, which is capable of 760 km on a single charge, thanks to its 107 kWh battery. The i7 will be powered by the firm’s fifth-generation eDrive technology, a variant of which also appears in the new i4 and iX. This should dramatically reduce production times, because it groups the electric motor, transmission and electronics into a single unit. This also cuts the overall mass and size of the system, which translates into a little more range. The longest-range version of the 7 Series could inherit the 105 kWh battery from the iX. In the past BMW has targeted a range of 700 km for cars using fifth-generation eDrive tech, and the i7 could be the model to break this barrier, should it integrate the battery and motor technology of the iX into a lighter, more aerodynamic package. Combustion-engine options for the BMW 7 Series will continue, too: the EV version will be just 1 of 4 different drive technologies available, as confirmed in 2020 by chairman Oliver Zipse. He didn’t go into detail about the combustion-engine line-up, but although V12 power is unlikely to return, 48 volt mild hybrid electrification will play a part, and diesel power has been confirmed, alongside plug-in hybrid technology. The fully electric i7 will be positioned as the most powerful variant, so expect to see the integration of a pure-EV M model, possibly making use of the 544 hp drivetrain from the new i4 M50. +++

++ BMW announced that its venture capital fund, BMW i Ventures, is investing in Lilac Solutions, a U.S. startup that has developed an innovative process to harvest lithium. Through this investment, the automaker hopes to eventually make the production of its EVs greener. Lilac Solutions has patented an ion exchange technology that seeks to improve the efficiency, lower the costs, and encourage the sustainability of extracting lithium from brine resources, which form as natural deposits of saltwater. “By investing in Lilac Solutions, we are supporting technological progress in the field of lithium extraction, with a focus on responsible and sustainable methods”, said Wolfgang Obermaier, senior VP of Indirect Goods and Services, Raw Materials, Production Partners for the BMW Group. The method makes extracting lithium from brine more cost-effective, and since all brine extracted lithium is less environmentally taxing than mining, there’s a natural benefit to the planet. Hard rock lithium mining releases 15.000 kg of CO2 per metric ton of lithium extracted. Taking it from underground brine reservoirs, meanwhile, releases only a third as much. BMW says that the technology has been proven in the field in initial pilot programs, but that it must now be demonstrated to work at scale. If it can be proven feasible at one location, the process can then be used at brine deposits around the world. “Innovative technologies provide better, more sustainable, and more efficient access to raw materials”, said Obermaier. “By investing in startups, we are speeding up development of new technologies, stimulating competition and providing impetus that will make it easier for young companies to access the market”. +++

+++ FERRARI will launch the new Icona launch on November 15. It will get a gated gearshift ( a manual transmission). It is clear that the new Icona takes inspiration from classic Ferrari models. This fits with rumours of the model taking inspiration from the 1967 330 P4 race car. There’s even the possibility of the vehicle having a removable roof panel to evoke the 330 P4 Spyder. The new Icona will reportedly ride on the same platform as the LaFerrari Aperta. The engine is allegedly the naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 from the 812 Competizione that makes 830 hp and 692 Nm. There wouldn’t be any hybrid assistance. If the new Icona really combines a manual gearbox and a naturally aspirated V12, it would be a huge deal among the automaker’s wealthy fans. Ferrari hasn’t offered that combo in years, and the layout would be a major selling point if this turns out to be the case. Ferrari made fewer than 500 units of the earlier SP1 and SP2 Monza Icona models. The speculation suggests the company might make this many or even fewer of the new one, making this a very exclusive machine. The cost is likely between €3.6 million and €4.4 million in The Netherlands. +++

+++ GENERAL MOTORS ‘ battery suppliers, LG Chem and LG Electronics, will pay the automaker a combined $1.2 billion worth of the recall that affects more than 140.000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs built between 2017 and mid-2021. That will see them foot more than half the bill that is incurred as a result of the recall and is estimated at $2 billion. The brands plan to start replacing battery modules this month to help eliminate the fire risk that led to the recall. “LG is a valued and respected supplier to GM, and we are pleased to reach this agreement”, said Shilpan Amin, GM vice president Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Our engineering and manufacturing teams continue to collaborate to accelerate production of new battery modules and we expect to begin repairing customer vehicles this month”. GM said that it will recognize an estimated recovery in its third-quarter earnings that will offset $1.9 billion of the $2 billion in charges associated with the recall. A torn anode and a folded separator within the batteries supplied to GM by LG Energy Solution were found to be at the heart of the issues plaguing the Bolt. The supplier said in a statement that not all batteries will have to be fully replaced. “While the recall measures will proceed with complete replacement of battery packs and modules made for the early models of batteries, the more recently manufactured battery modules will be selectively replaced following diagnostic software screening”, LG Energy Solution said in a statement. GM said previously that it is working on new software that will be able to recognize anomalies in the battery sooner to better protect its EVs against fires in the future. LG Energy Solution and GM are building 2 joint-venture battery plants in the U.S. as they plan to rapidly accelerate EV production. Consumer confidence in the technology will therefore be essential. +++

+++ HYUNDAI announced that it plans to open 2 new fuel cell plants in South Korea to accelerate the growth of its hydrogen business. The automaker said at the groundbreaking ceremony in Incheon, where the new facilities will be located, that it is investing KRW 1.3 trillion ($1.1 billion) into the plants that will begin producing fuel cells in the second half of 2023. When they become fully operational, Hyundai estimates that they will produce 100.000 hydrogen fuel cells per year. The new plants will join Hyundai‘s existing facility in Chungju that has been producing fuel cell units since 2018. It, though, is only capable of producing 23.000 hydrogen cell systems per year. “Despite uncertainties including Covid-19, we have decided to make this large-scale investment to secure the market-leading competitiveness in the global fuel cell industry”, said Sung Hwan Cho, President and CEO of Hyundai Mobis. “We will continue to invest more in facilities and strengthen our R&D capability for the development of the hydrogen industry and expand the ecosystem”. With the new plants, Hyundai hopes to expand its production lineups and diversify its hydrogen business. The company currently makes systems for hydrogen electric vehicles but intends to grow into new markets, such as construction machinery and logistics equipment. Hyundai has already produced a hydrogen fuel cell pack for forklifts and it is currently developing power packs for a hydrogen-fueled excavator. Further down the road (or should we say the runway?) it plans to make larger fuel cell systems for small air mobility vehicles. +++

+++ JAGUAR reports that its global car sales in the third quarter of 2021 decreased by 29.6 % year-over-year to 19.248. The main reason is the semiconductor shortages. The all-electric I-Pace also noted a decrease, by 18 % year-over-year to 2.644. That’s a not good news, but on the positive side, the I-Pace share out of the total Jaguar volume increased to 13.7 %. Will the fourth quarter will be better, as it usually was in the past? Well, only time will tell. So far this year, Jaguar sold 7.412 I-Pace cars, while cumulative results stand at over 48.000. Jaguar Land Rover reports that its overall sales decreased in the Q3 of 2021 by 18.4 % to 92.710 due to the global semiconductor shortage, although the order backlog is at a record high level of over 125.000. Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not report its total plug-in car sales, despite having plenty of plug-in hybrid models. In the next several years, Jaguar is expected to become a 100% electric brand. Land Rover probably will offer a mix with PHEVs. +++

+++ The Elise is one of the most popular nameplates used by LOTUS so its successor is a big deal for the British company. We already know that its successor will be based on the fully electric E-Sports platform but a new report sheds more light on the development phase. Lotus’ upcoming fully electric sports car, codenamed Type 135, is scheduled to arrive in 2026. Different variants based on the same platform will take the role of the discontinued Elise, Exige, and Evora, and for a few years, they could be sold alongside the Emira which is the brand’s last ICE-powered vehicle. Lotus was always known for making lightweight and agile sportscars and the new generation won’t be an exception. Despite having to deal with the added weight of the batteries, the new Elise successor will not be a heavyweight champion thanks to the E-Sports platform which is 37 % lighter than the one used by the Emira. The successor of the Elise will likely maintain its role as the entry point in Lotus’ sportscar range. Based on the specifications announced last month, it will be a 2-seater, short-wheelbase model, fitted with a single electric motor producing 476 hp. This represents a significant increase in power output over the now-defunct Elise and it might also benefit from a torque-vectoring system similar to the one used in the Evija hypercar. Honoring the mid-engined layout of its predecessor, the 66.4 kWh “modular chest” battery with 800 Volt technology will be mounted behind the seats. This configuration allows the driver to sit as low as possible, just like in the ICE-powered models, which would not be possible with floor-mounted batteries. As for the electric range, it could reach 483 km. The goal for the new sportscar is to “replicate the typical dynamic traits of previous Lotus models”, something that managing director Matt Windle has confirmed: “It’s our DNA: dynamics, aerodynamics, lightweight – that’s what we do on all our products. We still want these to be Lotus products. They are going to have a different propulsion system but that system comes with benefits as well: instant torque, easier cooling, and better packaging, so the first sports car will have a lot of storage and packaging benefits as well”. Matt Windle admitted that the electric successor of the Elise will be more expensive than the discontinued ICE-powered model. However, a forecasted drop in the production costs plus the availability of the Geely parts bin (Volvo, Polestar, Lynk&Co, etc) could bring it close to upper-Exige territory, with the report calculating its entry price between €105.000 and € 135.000 in The Netherlands. +++

+++ The all-electric SKODA Enyaq iV has a lot going for it but customers should be aware that if they ever need to quickly swerve to avoid something, they may be shocked with how the SUV handles. The Enyaq iV recently was put tthrough its paces in the dreaded moose test and initially tried to complete the test at 77 km/h. While the car failed the test after hitting multiple cones, the reviewer notes that it felt easy to control and performed predictably. In subsequent runs, the Enyaq started to struggle, perhaps because the tires had overheated. This meant the highest speed hit for a successful run through the test was 67 km/h, which is well below the 73 km/h best set by the Volkswagen ID.4 in the same test. That’s interesting because the ID.4 and Enyaq iV share VW’s MEB electric platform and feature many of the same components. The 67 km/h run recorded in the Skoda shows that it is prone to oversteer, making it difficult to control on the limit. It appears as though the ESC system can be overactive and would brake the right rear wheel harder than necessary. A number of different powertrain options are available for the Enyaq iV. For example, it can be equipped with a 62 kWh pack or a larger 82 kWh pack. Rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive models are also available with horsepower ranging from 150 hp in the base model up to 306 hp in the flagship all-wheel-drive variant. +++

+++ STELLANTIS is planning to overhaul its iconic factory in Turin, Italy into an electric vehicle hub. It is understood that the conglomerate will assign production of a new electrified platform to the Mirafiori site that is scheduled to build the next Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte models between 2022 and 2024. The electric Fiat 500 is already being produced at the site, as is the Maserati Levante. Stellantis is shifting Ghibli and Quattroporte production from its nearby site in Grugliasco to Mirafiori. All 1.100 workers from the Grugliasco site will move to Mirafiori by 2024 with no overall impact on jobs in the local area. The shift to the Turin facility marks the end of full car manufacturing at the Grugliasco plant less than a decade after it began to handle the production of Maserati models. Sources state that Stellantis plans to allocate more electrification-related activities to the Mirafiori site. Stellantis has been looking to tweak its Italian production in recent months. In February, chief executive Carlos Tavares revealed to Italian unions that production costs at Fiat’s factories were up to 4 times higher than they are at PSA’s plants throughout France and Spain for similar models, all because of lower-than-expected sales. The automaker has also reorganized output at its Melfi plant in southern Italy into a single enhanced production line that merges two existing ones. Stellantis has also committed to building one of three planned European battery plants in Italy at a site 300 km east of Rome. +++

+++ Production of the anticipated TESLA Roadster will be pushed back to 2023, meaning it will now be launched 6 years after its initial 2017 reveal. The delay was confirmed by founder Elon Musk at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting, where he attributed the delay to the effects of the Covid pandemic and issues with parts supply. The Roadster, which was set to return in its second generation, was previously delayed due to the development of the firm’s new tri-motor powertrain and advanced battery technology, which are set to make their debuts in new Tesla saloon and SUV models. Musk added that Tesla’s Cybertruck would also go into production in 2023. “Most likely what we’ll see is Cybertruck production in the next year and then reach volume production in 2023”, he said. “Hopefully by then we can be producing the Semi truck and the new Roadster in 2023 as well. We should be through our severe supply chain shortages in 2023. I’m optimistic that will be the case”. The Roadster was due to touch down in 2020, with production later moved back to once the firm had finished construction of its Berlin gigafactory, which is now completed. Prices are still expected to start from €335.000 in The Netherlands for the first 1.000 models, which will be sold as Founders Editions. Subsequent units will be priced from €265.000 , with reservations available for €50.000. Tesla claims the Roadster will offer a 0-100 kph time of 1.9 seconds with 1.000 Nm of torque, similar to that claimed for the Model S Plaid. The Roadster isn’t the first Tesla model to be struck with delays. The Model 3 saloon suffered production setbacks and the firm’s Semi lorry, now also due to go into production in 2023, didn’t hit roads as planned last year. Musk has announced that the Tesla Cybertruck will go into “volume production” in 2023. The EV brand confirmed earlier this year that the electric pick-up was delayed and wouldn’t go on sale until 2022 due to various issues, including the global semiconductor shortage. Musk also announced that Tesla will move its headquarters from California to Austin, Texas, although the company won’t reduce its presence on the west coast. Speaking on Cybertruck production, Musk said, “This year has been a constant struggle with parts supply. We’ve been limited by so many supply chain shortages , not just chips. Most likely what we’ll see is Cybertruck start production at the end of next year, then reach volume production in 2023. Hopefully we can also be producing the Semi and the new Roadster in ‘23 as well, so we should be through our severe supply chain shortages by 2023 and I’m optimistic that’ll be the case”. The delay is unlikely to affect European customers, however, as it remains doubtful that the Cybertruck will make it across the Atlantic. This is partly due to market appetites for 6 metre long pick-ups, and partly due to stringent EU type-approval regulations, with the Cybertruck’s size and angular profile likely to present problems for passing pedestrian impact assessments in particular. Speaking during a Q&A session at the company annual Battery Day conference last year, Musk said that while orders for the Cybertruck are “gigantic” at well over half a million, the vehicle may not make it past regulators outside the United States. Despite this, he still predicted a production capacity of “at least 250,000 to 300,000 a year, maybe more”. “We are designing the Cybertruck to meet the American spec”, Musk said, “because if you try to design a car to meet the superset of all global requirements, basically, you can’t make the Cybertruck. It’s impossible”. It looks increasingly likely that the full-size Cybertruck will be a US-only model, which may not be a hindrance to its commercial viability as America is the world’s biggest market for large pick-up trucks. However, Musk mentioned that Tesla is also considering building a smaller version of the Cybertruck to suit countries with smaller roads. “We’ll probably make an international version of Cybertruck that will be kinda smaller, kind of like a tight Wolverine package”, Musk said. However, he provided no further details of what he meant by “Wolverine”, which was a reference to one of the heavy-lifting robots at Tesla’s factory in Fremont California, named after the X-Men character. Musk promised any international Cybertruck that may emerge will “still be cool”, adding: “But it’ll be smaller, because you just can’t make a giant truck like that for most markets”. +++

+++ When a car manufacturer announces they set a record, it’s easy to think it’s a top speed run or a lap time. Of course, there are other things to chase aside from speed or time records. Some of it are much more achievable, such as economy run records. Over the years, many have taken on the one tank record. Most of the time, it’s with a car powered by an internal combustion engine. However, there is one record that hasn’t been tapped yet. It’s the record for the longest distance by a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle without refuelling. Leave it to TOYOTA to go straight for that open goal. Toyota is, of course, still pushing their hydrogen initiative, and they’re still very vocal about it. Obviously, the car they chose for this record attempt is none other than the recently redesigned Mirai. It was driven Wayne Gerdes with Bob Winger as his co-pilot. If those names sound familiar, the duo are known for setting fuel efficiency records in the US. The last time the two got together, they got the record for, in words of Guinness World Records, the lowest fuel consumption: 48 US contiguous States for a non-hybrid car. Gerdes and Winger are also one of the top hypermilers in the US. However, they didn’t make this attempt easy just by driving on motorways and interstates in the wee hours of the morning. The pair drove through morning and afternoon rush hour traffic around San Diego. They also drove up and down the Pacific Coast Highway for good measure. After two days of careful and calculated driving, Gerdes and Winger managed to squeeze out 845 miles out of the Mirai. This was confirmed by the Guinness World Records. The total consumption was 5.65 kilograms of hydrogen and 152 MPGe. That’s double the EPA claim of up to 76 MPGe for the base version. Will it be enough for people to go towards hydrogen power instead of electric? That’s still uncertain. At least range anxiety is less of a worry given its potential. +++

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