Newsflash: speciale BMW M4 op komst


+++ AUDI is expanding its range of fully electric models to 4 in 2022, with the new Q6 e-Tron joining the smaller Q4 e-Tron, the existing e-Tron and the e-Tron GT. Set to sit between the Q4 and the larger e-Tron when it arrives next year, the Q6 e-Tron will also be the first Audi based on the Volkswagen Group’s new Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture, which has been jointly developed with Porsche. Recently spyshots show the model will adapt the look of the smaller Q4 e-Tron, as well as bearing some cues from the Q6 e-Tron Quattro concept (2016). Influence from the e-Tron GT is also visible, with similarly shaped headlamps and “radiator” grille, and a familiar full-width LED light-bar across the car’s tailgate. In profile it features a longer bonnet than the Q4 e-Tron, but shares a similar shoulderline, sloping roofline and tailgate spoiler. It’s expected the Q6 will be comparable in external dimensions to the combustion-engined Q5, but with a longer wheelbase and increased passenger space enabled by the new platform. We could also see a more sportily styled Sportback model join the range soon after, if the brand’s other electric SUVs are anything to go by. Inside, the car is likely to adopt the new 11.6 inch central touchscreen used in the Q4 e-Tron, which is the largest single display ever fitted to a production Audi. However, the design could be different due to the platform, and also to separate both models in terms of price and positioning. The PPE architecture found underneath the Q6 e-Tron will be shared with the next-generation Porsche Macan, which is due to be launched in 2023 as a full EV sitting alongside the existing, petrol-powered Macan. Despite both the Q6 and new Macan sharing similar hardware and software, they will be visually separate both inside and out. The PPE platform is an evolution of the J1 platform found under the e-Tron GT, as well as the Porsche Taycan. That means it’ll have an 800 volt electrical architecture, enabling super-fast DC charging at a rate of up to 270 kW. Audi also says the platform will allow the EV’s battery pack to charge from 5 to 80 percent capacity in around 25 minutes. A shorter charge using the fastest possible DC rapid charger can also add 300 km of range in just 10 minutes. It remains to be seen what size and type of battery pack Audi will use in the Q6 e-Tron, but the firm says the PPE platform is capable of covering more than 700km when powering the more aerodynamic A6 e-Tron concept. The slightly blunter surfacing on the SUV will dent the range, but a figure of more than 600 km should be achievable. Given the relationship to the e-Tron GT under the Q6’s bodywork, we should also see that car’s 476 hp (or 530 hp with overboost engaged) 4-wheeldrive powertrain transfer over. More affordable, lower-powered single-motor variants are also likely, while at the other end of the range Audi’s RS division could line-up a more performance-focused model. That’ll probably use the same 644 hp powertrain as the RS e-tron GT. The Q6 e-Tron will go into production at Audi’s Ingolstadt factory next year, which the brand is converting to an all-electric assembly line, removing the existing equipment that produces the brand’s A3 family hatch and replacing it with production facilities to accommodate the PPE platform. This also includes the development of an in-house battery assembly facility “in the direct vicinity of car assembly”, according to CEO Markus Duessman. The Volkswagen Group (Audi’s parent company) has already signed a trio of partnerships to secure the raw materials and development processes required for its next-generation battery packs up to 2030. Following the Q6 e-tron, Audi confirmed that its first “Project Artemis” model will launch in 2024. The car will be aimed at the luxury sector, spearheading Audi’s development of future electronic vehicle architecture, technology and operating systems. Audi also showed the Grand Sphere concept at the 2021 Munich Motor Show. That car effectively previewed the design and technology of the next generation of A8. +++

+++ Next year is gearing up to be a special one for BMW ’s M division. BMW M GmbH will mark its 50th anniversary in May, 2022, and new rumors suggest that there’s a special, limited production M4 on the horizon. An insider, who apparently has a good track record for new car info, suggests that the unnamed M4 special will be “configured like the CSL, but with a manual transmission”. He goes on to say that several options will be deleted, including comfort access, parking sensors and electric seats. The absence of such would result in an M4 that’s even lighter than the already lightweight CSL, provided this special model is based on the upcoming CSL in the first place. Although the production M4 CSL hasn’t yet been revealed to the public, spies have spotted prototypes undergoing testing. These cars feature revised air intakes and grilles, as well as lightweight wheels, a more prominent lip spoiler and a new diffuser. As yet, powertrain details for the CSL have not been confirmed, although there have been reports that BMW may not offer a manual transmission. If that were the case, a limited, manual-equipped take on the CSL could prove to be the holy grail of BMW’s M4 line-up. The source also remarks that the new variant will be only produced for a few months, starting in November 2022, implying that production numbers will be kept low. We already know that BMW M GmbH has big plans on the horizon for the upcoming year. Their 750 hp plug-in hybrid SUV, the XM, is set to be in production before the end of 2022 and from January, customers will be able to order their cars with a roundel that harks back to the Motorsport division’s classic logo. If that weren’t enough, the new BMW M3 Touring would finally fulfill our M wagon dreams, and a series of 50 new M paint finishes will be made available. A special, ultra-limited edition of the M4 could just be the icing on the cake. +++

+++ Car sales in CHINA in 2022 will see positive growth compared with this year as the global chip shortages will be solved, according to industry experts. Zhu Baoliang, chief economist at the State Information Center, said the sweeping chip crisis will be basically solved next year in China and across the globe. Chip shortages have cut vehicle production by over 1 million in China and over 11 million worldwide this year, according to statistics from AutoForecast Solutions. Zhu said the Chinese economy will grow by 5.5 percent in 2022, and car sales would be one of the most important drivers. Car sales in China are expected to hit 26.1 million units this year, up 3.1 percent from 2020, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufactuers. The association also forecast that the figure will reach 27.5 million units next year, up 5.4 percent year-on-year. Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary-general of the association, said new energy vehicles are seeing fast development in China and local Chinese carmakers are excelling in the aspect. In November, at least four of local Chinese startups saw their sales hit 10.000 units and they expect the trend to continue as the market heats up. Chinese carmaker BYD was the bestselling new energy vehicle maker, delivering over 90.000 vehicles in the month. Another Chinese brand, Wuling, sold over 50.000 units in November. Chinese brands continued their expansion in November as well, according to data from the CAAM. Over 1.02 million Chinese brand passenger cars were sold in the month, accounting for 46.6 percent of the total, up 5.2 percentage points year-on-year. In the first 11 months of the year, sales of Chinese passenger cars went up 25.1 percent year-on-year to reach 8.4 million, with the market share up 6.4 percentage points over one year earlier to 44.1 percent. +++

+++ CHRYSLER brought back the ‘Airflow’ moniker first used in the 1930s at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada with a namesake concept. A closer-to-production version has been teased a couple of times since then, with the most recent preview taking place at the beginning of the month when parent company Stellantis organised its Software Day. The evolved Airflow concept will be officially revealed next month at CES, Chrysler has confirmed. Details about the electric crossover are not being disclosed for the time being as we only find out the vehicle will be “leading the brand’s transformation to clean mobility and seamlessly connected customer experiences”. Per a previous statement made by Stellantis Chief Software Officer Yves Bonnefont, the Airflow is likely heading to production: “it’s closer than you think and more than a pure concept”. With a sleek design and a screen-heavy interior, the crossover represents a major departure from Chrysler’s 2 ageing products: the 300 saloon and the Pacifica MPV. With no technical specifications released so far, we can only speculate the Airflow will go up against the likes of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Volkswagen ID.4 and the Tesla Model Y. It could ride on the STLA Medium platform and come with a single motor or an optional dual-motor AWD configuration. The platform is being engineered to accommodate 87 – 104 kWh batteries with up to 700 kilometres of range. A single electric motor is expected to produce anywhere between 170 to 245 hp and it’s unclear whether the 2-wheeldrive versions will be either FWD or RWD. I’m hoping for more details to be disclosed in January at CES ahead of the Airflow’s potential launch in 2024 as a 2025 modelyear product. In case you’ve missed the memo, Chrysler, much like all the other Stellantis brands, has a new motto: “Clean Technology for a New Generation of Families”. The troubled American marque will benefit from investments over the next 10 years as the other car manufacturers from the world’s fourth-largest automotive conglomerate. It’s in dire need of new products and the Airflow is shaping up to be a solid starting point. +++

+++ GENERAL MOTORS recently announced its strategy to offer EV technology beyond its own vehicle portfolio. GM’s electrification components will be applied to EV conversion projects, commercial equipment, marine applications, and more. The automaker says this approach will enable it to expand its reach to a larger, more diverse group of commercial customers, driving growth beyond vehicle sales and enabling new business models. “As companies across many industries look to reduce their environmental impact, GM is uniquely positioned to serve as a leader not only through exciting new EVs across our brands, but through additional technology applications, and we look forward to bringing customers (existing and new) along with us on our zero-emissions journey”, Travis Hester, GM vice president of Electric Vehicle Growth Operations, said. General Motors estimates that the total addressable market for electrification components could reach $20 billion (£15 billion) by 2030, as an increasing number of industries introduce their own emission reduction goals. To get a big slice of that market, GM will begin introducing various EV component sets in 4 key areas: Chevrolet Performance and Aftermarket, GM Powered Solutions, Ground Support Equipment and Marine Propulsion. Vehicle aftermarket applications include the Electric Connect and Cruise eCrate Package launching in 2022. The pack will enable customers to replace their vehicle’s traditional internal combustion engine with a fully electric propulsion system through GM’s electric speciality vehicle modifier (eSVM) program. The automaker has already unveiled proof-of-concept electric conversion vehicles such as the E-10 pickup, K-5 Blazer-E, eCOPO Camaro, Project X, and most recently the 1972 El Camino SS developed with Lingenfelter. GM Powered Solutions will also begin introducing tailored electric component sets for custom applications through its current GM Marine, On-Highway, Off-Highway and Industrial segments. In the area of Ground Support Equipment, GM will provide EV components to electrify Textron GSE’s TUG line of baggage tractors, cargo tractors, and belt loaders. GM will provide technology to Powertrain Control Solutions, which will integrate the components into lithium-ion electric powertrains for TUG equipment, assisting in the electrification of ground support equipment for use in airports globally. Finally, when it comes to Marine Propulsion, GM’s strategic investment in Seattle-based electric watercraft company Pure Watercraft is an opportunity to bring EV technology to the marine industry. Together, the two companies will develop and commercialise battery electric watercraft. Additional extensions of GM’s growth strategy through electrification include the Hydrotec fuel cell commitments and co-development agreements, Ultium Platform applications and co-development agreements, Ultium Charge 360, BrightDrop, and Ultifi software platform. +++

+++ The second-generation 508 is the flagship of PEUGEOT ’s range, and one of the few remaining contestants in the midsize sedan segment. While it doesn’t show, the model debuted almost 4 years ago at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show which means that Peugeot could be working on a midlife facelift. The Peugeot 508 is considered one of the most stylish models in the D-Segment, adopting a low-slung 5-door fastback coupé bodystyle. It is also the first production model to introduce the signature tusk-shaped LEDs on the front bumper that were later applied to the whole range. The facelift will likely build upon the successful recipe while adopting fresh design elements from newer models to freshen up its style. The 508 could inherit the Peugeot’s latest crest emblem that is currently used only by the new-generation 308, alongside a redesigned grille just like in the facelifted 3008 and 5008 from last year. The black accents and the 3D-style graphics make the grille appear larger despite being mostly covered for better aerodynamics. Like the aforementioned SUVs, the 508 will likely get a redesigned bumper with additional faux intakes in the sides, further emphasizing the presence of vertical LEDs. The headlights could also get slightly redesigned LED graphics, merging nicely with the grille. Besides the new face, the 508 will likely remain largely the same, possibly with new options for exterior colors and wheel designs. The rear end could also get a few tweaks on the claw-inspired LED taillight graphics and the rear bumper garnish. Since the current model is also available in SW estate form, chances are high that the facelift will be adopted by this 508 too. After all, Peugeot showed its dedication to low-slung family haulers with the premiere of the new-generation 308 SW earlier this year. Despite being 4 years old, the interior of the Peugeot 508 still looks like it comes from the future, thanks to the high-mounted center console, the aluminum-style buttons, the inclined infotainment touchscreen up to 10 inches in diameter and the 12.3 inch digital instrument cluster. However, there are a few updates that could make the dashboard even more attractive, including the addition of the 3D instruments from Peugeot’s latest i-Cockpit, alongside new trim options and more ADAS features as standard. Like in most mid-cycle updates, the EMP2-based Peugeot 508 is expected to get slightly cleaner versions of the same engines. The French company has announced plans of electrifying its whole range by 2025, before going EV-only in Europe by 2030. This means that the updated 508 will be one of the last ICE-powered models by Peugeot. Since electrification becomes more and more popular, the plug-in hybrid variants are expected to be the core of the range. Those are the Hybrid 225 e-EAT8 with a combined output of 225 hp and front-wheeldrive and the 508 PSE (Peugeot Sport Engineered) performance flagship producing a combined 360 hp with all-wheeldrive. The 508 was introduced with the 1.6-liter Puretech gasoline and the 2.0-liter BlueHDi diesel engines although later on, it became available with the smaller 1.2-liter PureTech and 1.5-liter BlueHDi producing 130 hp. It is not clear if Peugeot will opt for a simplified ICE range giving more emphasis on electrification and lowering its fleet average emissions in Europe. Besides the European market, the 508 is also available in the Middle East and in China as the long-wheelbase 508L. Judging from the previous facelifts by Peugeot, the updated 508 could appear as early as next year prior to a 2023 market launch since the French automaker has already announced minor updates for the 2022 model year. +++

+++ Geely and RENAULT are rumored to be on the verge of announcing a new partnership. The 2 companies are reported to have been working on a joint venture since the beginning of the year, with the details finalized and an announcement imminent. The venture will help create a new plug-in hybrid-focused automotive brand. Chinese automaker, Geely, is expected to provide their CMA architecture that both Geely and Volvo currently use. Renault will focus its attention on design and marketing, detailed for the world’s largest car market: China. The deal will allow Renault to re-enter China, which it exited a year ago when a JV with Dongfeng was dissolved. It may also be a way for the French company to expand its presence throughout Asia, with particular attention paid to its South Korean assembly plant that has manufactured vehicles under Renault Samsung Motors. Renault has held an 80 % stake in Samsung Motors since 2000 and is South Korea’s third-largest automaker. Geely may be able to gain access to any number of Renault’s production facilities, but it’s thought that the Busan plant in southeastern South Korea is of particular interest. According to the report’s unnamed sources, Lynk & Co, a brand under Geely, may produce its 01 locally, with other hybrid offerings from the brand being considered. These could be sold under the Renault Samsung name. In addition to propping up Renault Samsung (whose sales have been waning) and gaining access to the Korean market, there’s another significant benefit for Geely. By producing vehicles in South Korea, the Chinese company could very well gain a form of duty-free “backdoor entry” into the U.S. market. Sino-U.S. tensions have hurt trade for Chinese automakers trying to break into the second-biggest car market in the world. But the deal with Renault could open up the possibility of utilizing South Korea’s free-trade agreement with the United States to export its Lynk & Co vehicles. As of yet, there is no solid indication of a time frame for an announcement. It also isn’t quite clear where this arrangement will fit in with the Renault-Nissan alliance. +++

+++ TOYOTA will partially halt operations at 5 factories in Japan in January, causing a delay in the production of about 20.000 cars in total, as it continues to struggle with the procurement of auto parts due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a shortage of chips. The planned halt comes after the company stopped some production lines this month at 6 domestic factories, affecting output of about 22.000 cars. The carmaker will stick to its global annual output target of 9 million cars for the year ending in March 2022 despite the halt, it said. A shortage of auto parts and semiconductors is posing a big challenge to carmakers worldwide as the pandemic has forced parts factories in Southeast Asia and elsewhere to shut down and shelter-in-place policies around the world caused chip demand for electronics to soar, making it harder for companies like Toyota to secure supplies. The cars affected will include the RAV4, the company said. +++

+++ In the UNITED STATES , the administration of president Joe Biden is imposing limits on automobile greenhouse gas emissions that were toughened after environmentalists blasted its earlier proposal as too weak. The final standards, which govern the release of carbon dioxide from the tailpipes of cars and light trucks, roughly translate into fleet-wide fuel economy values of 55 miles (89 kilometers) per gallon in model year 2026. They replace mandates weakened by former president Donald Trump and will force automakers to pare 22.6 % more carbon dioxide emissions from their fleets over the requirements they are replacing. “We are setting robust and rigorous standards that will aggressively reduce the pollution that is harming people and our planet, and save families money at the same time”, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said during a ceremony outside the agency’s headquarters. The move takes aim at a major source of carbon dioxide emissions and will help Biden fulfill his Paris Agreement pledge to at least halve U.S. greenhouse gas releases by the end of the decade. The transportation sector is the single-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Passenger cars and trucks alone contribute 17 % of the national total. The standards also are expected to encourage more electric vehicle sales, hastening an industry shift that is already under way, with nearly all major automakers having promised to transition their fleets to zero-emission models. However, automakers have made clear they are depending on a slew of government policies to help propel electric vehicle sales — including tax incentives that were part of Biden’s signature economic plan, now stalled in Congress. The new requirements are key to putting the U.S. “on a course toward a zero-emission future and reestablishing the United States auto industry as the global leader in clean vehicle technology”, Regan said. John Bozzella, president of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation that represents carmakers, stressed in a statement that the final rule “is even more aggressive than originally proposed” and will require a substantial increase in electric vehicle sales as well as investments in the charging infrastructure to power them and other government support. Responding to pressure from environmentalists and public health advocates, the EPA strengthened the mandates so they are tougher than an initial plan outlined in August and are broadly aligned with requirements the Obama administration charted in 2012. The EPA’s August proposal would have capped carbon dioxide emissions fleet-wide at 171 grams per mile for model year 2026, potentially translating to a fuel economy value of as much as 38 mpg in real-world conditions. But the EPA tightened the final requirements so fleet-wide emissions are limited to 161 grams of carbon dioxide per mile in model year 2026, potentially translating to 40 mpg. By contrast, the Trump-era targets that are being replaced would have capped tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide at 208 grams per mile; potentially 32 mpg. Under the EPA’s projections, the standards are expected help put more electric vehicles on the road, pushing sales of EVs and plug-in hybrids to about 17 % in model year 2026 from an expected 7 % in model year 2023. Still, that’s far from Biden’s own goal for half of U.S. car sales to be emission-free models by the end of the decade, much less the International Energy Agency’s warning that the world must stop selling conventional gasoline-powered cars by 2035 in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The mandates, which will take effect in 60 days and govern passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks from model years 2023 through 2026, represent the toughest-ever standards of the kind. Still, the administration did not bow to the demands of environmentalists to tighten a suite of proposed credits and incentives that give automakers more flexibility to fulfill the requirements. Although environmentalists and administration officials had warned those provisions risked undercutting actual, real-world emissions reductions, automakers stressed the flexibilities are vital to meeting the new standards. Without them, the industry wouldn’t have been able to independently satisfy model year 2020 requirements, according to a recent EPA analysis. In the final rule, the EPA said it would continue effectively overcounting the sales of electric vehicles and rewarding automakers with extra credit for technologies that make cars more fuel efficient but don’t necessarily show up in tailpipe readings. “Automakers are in a strong position to meet these final standards”, the EPA said. Still, “the program includes averaging, credit banking and trading provisions to aid the industry in meeting standards through a multiyear planning process”. Those flexibilities could be critical in the out years, as annual emissions improvements get tougher. For model year 2023, the EPA is requiring a combined fleet-wide average of 202 grams of carbon dioxide per mile; a 9.8% increase in stringency over the relaxed Trump-era standards for model year 2022. In model year 2024, requirements would tighten an additional 5.1 %, followed by another 6.6 % in model year 2025 and 10.3 % in model year 2026. The updated standards set the stage for another tranche of auto standards governing multiple pollutants for model year 2027 and beyond. The EPA is already working to develop that next era of requirements, which it said will govern light- and medium-duty vehicles through at least model year 2030. The new requirements “improve emissions cuts too slowly and extend key loopholes”, said Dan Becker, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Safe Climate Transport Campaign. “Before this presidential term ends, the administration must issue long-term standards strong enough to usher in the age of electric vehicles. They must close the loopholes and force automakers to actually deliver electric vehicles, rather than just churning out promises to make them”. The EPA estimated the new requirements would yield $190 billion in net benefits tied to public health improvements, gasoline savings and avoided emissions; some 3 billion tons worth through 2050. While the standards are expected to boost the price tag of cars, the EPA estimates fuel savings will ultimately exceed that initial cost increase by more than $1,000 over the lifetime of an average model year 2026 vehicle. The EPA’s final requirements represent the kind of executive action Biden can employ to trigger deep greenhouse gas emissions cuts without help from Congress, after Sen. Joe Manchin rejected the president’s tax-and-spending legislation. “Today’s executive action will unlock literally hundreds of billions in fuel savings for American consumers”, said Ali Zaidi, deputy national climate adviser. “It’s part of a broader win-win playbook for our consumers, workers and environment”. +++

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