Newsflash: Tata wil met elektrische auto’s de wereld veroveren


+++ BMW is recalling 61.221 vehicles to address potentially faulty sunroof control unit programming that allows them to be closed without the key fob being present in the car, which is a violation of regulations that could result in injury to unattended persons or animals in the vehicle. This recall applies to a huge swath of BMW’s lineup. While regulations allow the use of a fob to operate those functions remotely, there are guidelines dictating how far away the key fob can be in order for the vehicle’s windows and sun/moonroof functions to be accessible. BMW’s faulty software violates safety regulations, which states “… the remote actuation device shall be incapable of closing the power window, partition or roof panel if the device and the vehicle are separated by an opaque surface and provided that the remote actuation device shall be incapable of closing the power window, partition or roof panel from a distance of more than 11 meters from the vehicle”. BMW says that at least some models in a relatively large swath of its lineup left the factory with incorrect programming, and although its cars are equipped with anti-pinch/anti-trap sensors in the windows and roof features, the cars still fail to meet the above standard and must be recalled. Dealers have already been informed of the issue, which will require reprogramming of the vehicle module. This can be done in-person or over-the-air. Owners should receive instructions no later than mid-June. +++

+++ As you’re certainly aware, most cars these days have 4 wheels. So why do people make a DISTINCTION between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive when driving 4 wheels clearly means you’re driving all of them, and vice versa? Despite the confusing names, and some confusing historical usage, there is a meaningful difference between four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) systems. Before I delve into the specifics, it’s important to understand the basics of each system. First up, what is four-wheel drive? Often written 4WD, but also represented as 4×4, a four-wheel-drive system does just what it says: Its drivetrain is capable of sending power to all four wheels. A 4WD system also typically has a transfer case, which the driver must control via a secondary shift knob or electronic selection dial, offering a low range for better gearing off the pavement and a high range for improved highway gearing. The transfer case, while indicative of a “true 4WD” system, is not, strictly speaking, mandatory to qualify as 4WD. Four-wheel drive systems can be full-time, meaning all four wheels are powered at all times, or part-time/on-demand, where power is mostly sent to one axle (almost always the rear with a 4WD vehicle) until the driver chooses to engage the other axle for four-wheel drive. Increasingly, some 4WD vehicles can do this automatically (4A or Auto modes). All-wheel drive, or AWD systems, like their 4WD counterparts, are also able to supply engine power to all of the wheels. Likewise, an AWD system can be full-time or part-time/on-demand. However, very few rely on the driver to engage all-wheel-drive. It’s most common for AWD vehicles to be powered by one axle (typically the front in this instance), until the vehicle senses or anticipates wheel slippage and sends power to the other axle accordingly. Those with full-time systems are also able to change the amount of power going to the front and rear (this is common among rear-wheel-drive based vehicles, most notably luxury and performance-oriented ones). Unlike a 4WD system, however, AWD systems typically do not have a transfer case that the driver can use to select from extended gearing ranges for on- and off-road use. Complicating matters, however, is that these descriptions of 4WD and AWD systems do not entirely line up with how the terms are used, especially by the marketing arms of vehicle and parts manufacturers. In practice, in the United States since the 1970s especially, the AWD term has indicated permanent drive sent to each wheel, but without the use of a transfer case. Four-wheel drive, on the other hand, has been used to refer to part-time or on-demand systems that do use a transfer case. Moreover, though the line has been blurred significantly in the past decade, AWD systems were historically marketed for vehicles intended primarily for on-road use, while the 4WD systems were marketed with vehicles intended for substantial off-road use. Another consideration that sometimes distinguishes 4WD systems from AWD drivetrains is the type of differentials used. In an AWD system, especially AWD systems intended for sportier uses, it’s common to find not only differentials on the front and rear axles but also a center differential between the front and rear axles. This latter center differential is often omitted on 4WD systems, particularly those intended for use only in off-road situations. Again, this isn’t a requirement for a system to be considered AWD versus 4WD, but it can be a contributing factor. Considered by many to be one of the key distinguishing factors between a four-wheel-drive and an all-wheel-drive vehicle, the transfer case is an additional range of gearing, typically divided into a high and a low range. This extra gearing allows the wheels to turn more slowly for a given engine speed, enhancing both driver control and available torque to maximize off-road capability. All-wheel-drive systems typically lack a transfer case, and therefore typically aren’t as well-suited for extreme off-road situations. Therefore to answer the question of whether transfer cases really matter in 4WD or AWD vehicles, it’s important to consider the vehicle’s use case. Electric All-Wheel-Drive Systems For electrified vehicles, including full EVs as well as some hybrids, much of what you read above is not in any way applicable. Instead of relying on differentials or transfer cases to send power to the secondary axle, there is simply an extra electric motor that powers the secondary axle. For instance, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid feature a front axle powered by a combination of an electric motor and gasoline engine, while the rear axle is powered only by its own electric motor. They work in concert with each other thanks to the magic of computers, but are not mechanically related. All-wheel-drive electric vehicles similarly rely on separate electric motors powering each axle. The Rivian R1T and R1S goes a step further by having each wheel individually powered by an electric motor. If you’re planning to traverse extreme terrain, including rocks, mud, deep sand, and more, you’ll want a 4WD vehicle. Those seeking better traction and enhanced stability in inclement weather will typically be better off with an AWD vehicle. +++

+++ FORD ’s mantra with the F-150 Lightning so far seems to be “Under-promise, over-deliver”. First came the automaker’s range estimates for the standard-range and extended-range batteries that were miles shy of the official ratings. Now, less than a week after the company put on a big show for the start of Lightning production, Ford has found a little more fairy dust to sprinkle on the Lightnings that will make it to owners this year. First, output climbs for both powertrains. The standard 98 kWh battery goes from being rated at 426 horsepower to 452 hp. The larger 131 kWh battery goes from being rated at 563 hp to 580 hp. Both hold steady at 1.000 Nm of torque. Ford did say the upgraded figures are the motor’s peaks, delivered at peak battery power. For anyone keeping tabs on the automaker’s pickup sibling rivalry, the standard-range battery overtakes the F-150 Raptor for output, winning by a score of 452 to 450. Until the Raptor R shows up, electric is king in Dearborn. The increased output has turned into an increased payload rating, but only for certain configurations that Ford didn’t go into detail on. Particular Lightnings will be able to haul a 1.000 kg payload. It’s too late for anyone to get a 2022 modelyear F-150 Lightning, the production run of every trim sold out. I anticipate more goodies for the 2023 model, the truck’s vehicle engineering manager saying, “We were seriously focused on raising the bar on this truck, including after we revealed it, so we can deliver more for our customers … And our drive for continuous improvement will get a big boost when we start getting feedback and ideas from customers when they receive their Lightnings”. The chance to get in on the action for the 2023 model year should open up in a few months. +++

+++ Volkswagen’s premium brands Audi and Porsche have decided to join FORMULA ONE , Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess said. There has been speculation for several months that the 2 brands were in negotiation over partnerships to enter the highest class of international motor racing. Diess said that Porsche’s preparations were a little more concrete. The German carmaker, which has not previously been involved with Formula One but has worked with Red Bull in the world rally championship, did not announce how it planned on entering the sport. Audi is ready to offer around €500 million for British luxury sports carmaker McLaren as a means to enter, a source told in March, while Porsche intends to establish a long-term partnership with racing team Red Bull starting in several years’ time. The decision comes as Volkswagen prepares for a possible listing of Porsche planned for the fourth quarter of this year, though sources have said the entry into Formula One racing would only be likely to happen in a few years’ time. +++

+++ HYUNDAI is reportedly cutting ties with electric supercar maker Rimac Automobili. The Hyundai Motor Group has owned a 12% stake worth $90 million in the Croatian maker of the Nevera since 2019. However Porsche, which has owned a 10% stake in Rimac since 2018, upped that share to 24 percent last year. That newfound closeness with Porsche is what’s prompting Hyundai to end its collaboration with Rimac. Hyundai had 2 projects in progress with Rimac: an electric sports car to bolster its N performance subbrand that had yet to earn a name, and the Vision FK Concept, hydrogen-powered sports sedan with a Rimac battery pack. Hyundai will continue its own development of the former, while the latter is dead in the water. However, the same piece also quotes an official response from Rimac, “We have two active high-level projects ongoing with Hyundai, one completed and several future projects under discussion”. Rimac’s deal with Porsche also gave it a 55% stake in the newly formed Bugatti-Rimac, while Porsche took the remaining 45%. It effectively gave Rimac control over the 113 year old company, in which future Bugattis would run on Rimac’s electric drivetrains. Porsche still retains its own 24% stake in Rimac. At this point it is still unclear whether the Hyundai Motor Group will sell its stake in Rimac, but it doesn’t seem like there will be much of a point in keeping it. It could be argued that Rimac, Porsche, and Bugatti are a better fit, as the Nevera is limited to 150 units and costs $2.4 million. Even as an N performance car, Hyundai’s EV would have required greater volume and demanded more mass market engineering constraints. It’s quite a different beast than building a low-volume car where money is no object. +++

+++ When looking to buy a car, RELIABILITY is important, but it’s one of the harder things for car reviewers like me to evaluate. Thankfully, Consumer Reports polls its subscribers annually in order to judge which brands and models are the most reliable. CR also shows the least reliable brands in that ranking, which should help you narrow down your shopping list, giving you a sense of which brands to best avoid if squeaks, rattles or major malfunctions are a big concern for you. CR says it didn’t have enough data to rate the Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Fiat, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mitsubishi and Polestar brands. Here, I’ve listed the 10 least reliable car brands in the U.S., according to CR’s data: 10. Kia (despite the e-Niro making the top 10 reliable models this year, the brand as a whole gets dragged down by poor ratings from the Sorento). 9. Volvo (historically, Volvo is known for making safe and reliable cars. Its current lineup falls short, however, with the XC90 being the brand’s least reliable model). 8. Ram (the Ram 2500 and 1500 pickups don’t get stellar reliability scores, but the 1500 Classic had a predicted reliability score of just 11 out of 100, bring the brand as a whole down by 12 positions compared to last year’s overall reliability rankings). 7. GMC. 6. Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes scores 2 positions worse this year, with the GLE being its least reliable model in CR’s survey). 5. Volkswagen (Noeither the ID.4 or the Tiguan score above 50 points out of 100, but The Tiguan was the worst, at just 17 points). 4. Genesis. 3. Jeep (though the Cherokee and Wrangler are able to get you off the beaten path, they can also land you in the shop, with reliability scores of 30 and 25 respectively. 2. Tesla (the Model 3 scored the best of the brand, with 59 points, but the Model S, Y and X scored 20, 18 and 5, in that order. It retains its position on the list as the second-least reliable brand). 1. Lincoln (Ford’s luxury brand Lincoln retains the dubious honor of being the maker of th least reliable vehicles. +++

+++ TATA MOTORS said it plans to launch electric cars with a minimum range of 500 km and advanced technology features, targeting buyers in India and beyond. The first electric vehicles (EVs) built using its new platform should be on the road in 2025, Tata said during an event in Mumbai where it unveiled a 5-seat concept model called Avinya. Tata is striving to position itself alongside global automakers that are investing billions of dollars to build EVs that meet stricter carbon reduction goals. Tesla’s Model 3 can have a range of more than 500 km, according to data on the U.S. company’s website, and by 2025 industry analysts say that should be close to the norm. “We have pivoted to make all the strategic investments that are necessary. Our goal is to go global eventually”, N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Motors, said. While Tata is coming from “way behind” other carmakers, electrification will lead its globalization push, he added. Chandrasekaran said that Tata group will soon reveal plans to produce battery cells locally and is also evaluating making semiconductors in house, all attempts to support its EV push. Last year, Tata announced plans to launch 10 EV models by March 2026, investing about $2 billion, of which $1 billion has come from private equity group TPG. Rolling out EVs is central to prime minister Narendra Modi’s carbon reduction agenda and by 2030, India wants electric models to make up 30% of total car sales. Chandrasekaran said he expects Tata to go beyond that goal, without giving figures. Tata plans to ramp up EV annual production to more than 80.000 units this financial year, from 19.000 a year earlier. The automaker accounts for 90% of India’s EV sales; a segment that only represents 1% of the country’s annual sales of about 3 million vehicles. For exports, Tata will seek out markets that have similar climate conditions as India, Shailesh Chandra, managing director of passenger vehicles and EV subsidiaries told on the sidelines of an event. “It would be where electrification is seeing growth, which are big and where there is a supportive policy environment”, he said, adding that right hand drive markets are a good start. The vehicles built on the new platform will be agnostic to battery chemistries and battery cell formats, giving Tata the flexibility depending on the market it launches in, Chandra said. The batteries will also have higher density and be more durable than those in its earlier cars. +++


+++ For the first time since 2015, the Subaru BRZ and TOYOTA GR 86 have received IIHS Top Safety Pick awards. In fact, they’ve actually received Top Safety Pick+ awards; better than the models tested previously. In crash tests, the 2 coupes passed with flying colors, earning “Good” scores in all types of crashes. Headlights were also top rated, as was the optional forward collision prevention system. Child seat anchor usability was just rated the second-highest “Acceptable”, but if you’re cramming a car seat into a 2+2, you know you’re in for a little more finessing than you might be if you’d bought a Toyota Highlander or Subaru Outback. There is a small caveat to this award, though. The full Top Safety Pick+ award only applies to models with the optional forward collision system. That system is only offered on automatic-equipped BRZ and GR 86 models. The manual models do not receive any of the forward collision technology. It’s an odd oversight considering that other automakers such as Mazda and Honda have combined such technology with manual-equipped cars in the last few years. Still, even the manual models feature excellent crash performance and headlights. And with its better engine and still brilliant handling, it’s a great sports car choice. +++

+++ If you’ve been paying any attention, you know that the car market of the UNITED STATES , both new and used, is wild right now. But which car, truck and minivan models are the absolute hottest? A research firm took a look at how fast cars sell from the time they’re put on sale to when they’re purchased. I’ve gathered up the top 10 of the new cars and the top 10 used models, here. Each list gives the model followed by the average number of days each one is on the market. New: Honda CR-V: 7.6 Genesis GV70: 12.2 Lexus RX 350: 13 Toyota Highlander: 13.6 Toyota Camry: 15.1 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: 15.3 Ford Maverick Hybrid: 15.5 Subaru Forester: 17 Toyota Tacoma: 17.6 Subaru XV: 17.7. Most of these vehicles are perennial high sellers and they’re all facing quite low inventories. The Ford Maverick, in fact, has had orders closed for this model year. As such, anything on dealer lots is likely to be snapped up quickly. The fastest selling used cars are: Tesla Model X: 28 days, Honda Insight: 28.9 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid: 29.4 Tesla Model Y: 29.5 Toyota Prius Plug-in: 32.8 Mazda3 Sedan: 34.3 Tesla Model S: 34.4 Tesla Model 3: 34.6 Cherolet Volt: 35 Ford Mustang Mach-E: 35.1 Something you’ll probably notice among the used cars is that it’s dominated by hybrids and electric cars, including the entire Tesla range. Brauer confirms our suspicions that recent high gas prices have driven customers to snap up more frugal machines. Brauer also notes that in the cases of the Teslas and the Mustang Mach-E particularly tight new availability is sending people after used cars. He says that many Tesla models aren’t going to be delivered for another few months, and the Mustang Mach-E order books have closed. +++

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