Newsflash: Honda sluit hybride techniek voor Civic Type R niet uit


+++ BMW is accelerating its push towards net zero carbon and sustainable manufacture with a pledge to reduce per-vehicle CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030, when measured across the “entire value chain”. “Sustainability means much more for BMW than merely building and selling electrically powered vehicles”, said Thomas Becker, head of sustainability and mobility. “Only a comprehensive approach with resource and recycling actually achieves bottom-line CO2 reduction”. BMW has committed to a new-model offensive of battery-electric vehicles, promising that by 2030 at least 1 in 2 group models (including Mini and Rolls-Royce) will be fully electric. Yet at the same time, it is ramping up more intelligent use of materials and recycling in the supply chain in what it calls a “360deg approach”. Coming under the spotlight are green steel, greater use of recycled “second use” materials in new cars, a reduction in water consumption and reduced waste. “The focus here is on reducing CO2 emissions, protecting natural resources and complying with environmental and social standards”, said the company. The push to use more recycled materials will increase their percentage in new cars from 30% now to 50%. “That will reduce CO2 emissions and conserve natural resources though maximum energy and raw material efficiency”, said Becker. BMW says it is the first German car maker to join the Science Based Targets initiative, which sets out a route that companies can follow to comply with the Paris Climate Accords to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Already in place are more than 400 contracts with suppliers to use 100% green electricity, which includes high energy users such as aluminium smelters and battery cell manufacturers. Last year, for example, BMW started buying aluminium from the United Arab Emirates that was produced using solar energy. And from 2024, all BMW and Mini cars will be equipped with cast aluminium alloy wheels produced using only green electricity. +++

+++ FORD ’s net income rose 19% in the second quarter as the company pulled together enough computer chips to boost factory output and sales. The Dearborn, Michigan, automaker said Wednesday it made $667 million from April through June, compared with $561 million a year earlier. The company stuck with its full-year outlook for pretax earnings of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion and it still expects 10% to 15% growth in vehicle sales to dealers for the full year. It also boosted its dividend from 10 cents per share to 15 cents per share, the level it was before the pandemic. But Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said the automaker is modeling several scenarios in case the economy slips into a recession. He says Ford is better prepared for a downturn than in the past thanks to lower expenses and a stronger model lineup. It’s also in the midst of a major transformation of the business that will include white-collar job cuts, although he wouldn’t give any numbers. Ford will cut in areas with old skills and add where new skills are needed for electric and connected vehicles, he said. Lawler said the company’s factories are still slowed by the global shortage of computer chips. “Given the constraints that we have, demand is still higher than we can supply”, he said. Revenue was $40.19 billion, beating analyst estimates of $36.87 billion. Ford said in a statement that it expects to keep getting strong prices for its vehicles for the rest of the year, which will help offset about $4 billion in added costs from commodities. Sales in the U.S., Ford’s most profitable market, rose just under 2% for the quarter. That boosted profits when coupled with strong demand and high prices for pick-ups and SUVs. Lawler said Ford’s sale prices rose about 6% last quarter from the prior year, and the company is not seeing any falloff in consumer demand. With average U.S. vehicle selling prices around $45,000, Lawler said there could be some moderation in prices during the second half of the year. +++

+++ “Anything is possible” when it comes to what HONDA will do next with the Civic Type R, according to Ko Yamamoto, technical advisor for Honda Motor Europe. The brand has just revealed the new Civic Type R, which gets a heavily modified version of the previous 2017 ‘FK8’ Type R’s platform and 2.0-litre turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder petrol engine. “I wouldn’t exclude electrification”, said Yamamoto. “We can’t do a pure electric powertrain on this platform, but I imagine it can take up to a certain level of plug-in hybrid”. He did not confirm that the any future Civic Type R would use this platform, but the model has typically had a short shelf life of only 2 or 3 years in the past. With the brand set to launch a range of new EVs from 2023 as it pushes forward with its plan to phase out combustion engines, it’s reasonable to expect that the new Civic Type R will be the last non-electrified version of the brand’s popular hot hatch. “Electrification is just another technical measure, like VTEC or a turbo, or multi-link suspension”, Yamamoto told at an early pre-launch passenger ride for the new Type R. “There are certain attributes that are important for a Type R: the ultimate response, the unity between driver and machine. How that’s being achieved? That’s another story, and I’m quite sure it can be achieved with some kind of electrification”. Electrification is highly likely, if not a certainty, then. However, four-wheel drive seems to be out of the question for any future Type R. “We can do four-wheel drive, of course”, said Yamamoto. “This platform is also used for the four-wheel-drive CR-V. However, I think four-wheel drive doesn’t really cope with the Type R principal. It’s not even necessarily quicker, but it is heavier”. +++

+++ The MINI Aceman concept will evolve into a new compact electric crossover at the end of 2024 to fill the gap between the flagship Hatch and the mid-sized Countryman. It uses a stretched version of the all-new Spotlight architecture that is being developed jointly by BMW and Chinese partner firm Great Wall and will form the basis for the next-generation electric Mini hatchback. Although Mini says it is a pure concept, it isn’t very far from the car that will arrive in dealerships in 2 years’ time. Mini has not given any clues to the likely battery sizes or potential range of the final production version of the Aceman. However, the Spotlight-based EV hatchback will come as a 184 hp Cooper with an approximately 40 kWh battery and a 225 hp Cooper S with a 50 kWh pack, giving a range of around 400 km, so the production Aceman will be broadly similar. Sources emphasise that this concept is not intended as a Countryman replacement. That model will be reborn in a third generation as a larger car with a bigger boot and be twinned with the next-generation BMW X1. The Aceman is shorter than today’s Countryman, at 4.050 mm long, 1.990 mm wide and 1.590 mm tall. However, the Aceman could be seen as an indirect replacement for the Clubman which will be phased out in the middle of 2023. Sources say the departure of the Clubman will be marked by at least one special edition, recalling the original Clubman estate’s trademark side graphics. The 5-door Mini Hatch is also not set to get an electric successor. The Aceman concept is the result “of a lot of research and feedback”, Mini design chief Oliver Heilmer told. “The owners of the Hatch and Countryman are very happy, but they are very different people”, he said, hinting that the Aceman will target a demographic that has never owned a Mini. “This is classic Mini in the sense of the very short front and rear overhangs, but we have a very different side elevation. There is much more muscle in the sides”. The clean, almost fuselage-like sides have been replaced by surfaces that are more clearly stamped and industrial. BMW said: “This ‘edginess’ signifies a progressive interpretation of the robustness and versatility characteristic of a crossover model”. Also gone are the prominent chrome door handles and the triangular panel between the front wheel arch and front door. Heilmer’s team has reduced the Aceman’s front-end design to a bare minimum. The Mini’s large, chrome-rimmed headlights have been greatly reduced visually and the brand’s traditional ‘face’ is now defined by an led outline. The Mini grille has donated its outside edge as a very minimalist reminder of the brand’s roots. “This car feels robust, but it is not huge. The new Countryman will have more boot space”, said Heilmer. “The shoulder on the car is a result of the aerodynamic performance needed for an electric vehicle. The tailgate spoiler and the way the rear of the glasshouse narrows was also driven by aerodynamics, as was the wheel design”. +++

+++ PAKISTAN ’s 2 leading car assemblers, Toyota and Suzuki, plan partial plant shutdowns next month due to unavailability of raw material amid import restrictions and exchange rate volatility, officials at both companies said on Wednesday. The government in recent weeks has attempted to curb imports in the face of fast depleting foreign reserves, a declining currency and a widening current account deficit, because of which the rupee has lost over 20% of its value this year. The move has had a cascading effect on industries that rely on imports to complete finished goods as they say the central bank has delayed the clearance of letters of credit with banks facing a shortage of dollars, affecting their ability to import materials. “There will be 10 working days next month, only if central bank allows us to open letter of credit based on the quota they promised”, Ali Asghar Jamali, chief executive at Indus Motor Company Ltd which assembles Toyota vehicles in Pakistan, told. He said the company was offering refunds to customers facing delays and markups on their payments, with deliveries likely to be delayed by at least 3 months and prices to be revised as the country does not have dollars available. Toyota has also suspended night shift operations at one production line of its Takaoka factory in central Japan because of a Covid-19 outbreak, the company said on Wednesday. The cancellation came after 8 plant workers caught the virus, it said. Toyota suspended night shift production of the line on Tuesday. The partial suspension would affect vehicle output of about 650 units from the 2 shifts, a Toyota spokesperson told. +++

+++ The current third-generation PORSCHE Cayenne has been on sale here since 2017, so it’s due a mid-life refresh. I’ve caught it testing once again in normal SUV form and as a coupe-SUV, but this time it’s in a sportier specification. The level of camouflage on both cars is now minimal, suggesting a full reveal could take place before the end of the year. Both body styles feature the same front end, with larger, reshaped headlights incorporating Porsche’s quad-led running light signature, along with a slightly reprofiled front grille featuring thinner single strip indicators. The bonnet has been tweaked, too, with a pair of narrower strakes along its length, and the lower front bumper appears to have gained a set of even bigger air intakes under the headlights. At the rear, the Cayenne and Cayenne Coupe will receive redesigned led tail-lights and a new diffuser, with the standard SUV repositioning the number plate below the tailgate. The only other obvious change is a tweaked lip spoiler for the coupe model. I’ve previously spotted the facelifted Porsche Cayenne testing in range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid trim, given away by the enormous 10-piston brake callipers painted in Acid Green. Then came what looked like the lower-spec S models and now these pre-production cars seem to be the non-hybridised Turbo models, given away by the quad exhaust setup. These latest images show an older design of wheel but previous cars have sported a new multi-spoke alloy wheel design that will arrive as part of the facelift. However, there are more notable changes inside. Photographs of the interior reveal a revised centre console, which has been simplified with a single row of toggle switches and a large volume dial. A pair of USB Type-C sockets can be seen below these controls, too. In previous test cars we’ve seen the large, pistol-like gear selector of the current car has been swapped for the short, stubby item found in the latest 911. The steering wheel will also be borrowed from Porsche’s sports car. As with the current model, the facelifted Cayenne will utilise Porsche’s PCM 6.0 infotainment setup, which is controlled through a 12.3 inch touchscreen. The system features connected intelligent satellite navigation, ‘natural’ voice control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Under the skin, the facelifted Cayenne will utilise the same MLB platform as the outgoing car, albeit with a few tweaks. Porsche’s engineers are likely to retune the suspension settings to improve ride and handling, and the existing engines could be updated to provide improved performance and efficiency. As the most powerful SUV in Porsche’s line-up, the facelifted Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid will use a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine combined with an electric motor. In the outgoing model, this unit produces 680 hp and 770 Nm, but the revised car is likely to borrow the upgraded version of this powertrain as fitted to the latest Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which sees a boost to 700 hp. I expect the Cayenne to be revealed early next year, alongside a revised Cayenne Coupe. +++

+++ A bill designed to encourage more semiconductor companies to build chip plants in the UNITED STATES passed the Senate on Wednesday as lawmakers raced to finish work on a key priority of the Biden administration. The $280 billion measure, which awaits a House vote, includes federal grants and tax breaks for companies that construct their chip facilities in the U.S. The legislation also directs Congress to significantly increase spending on high-tech research programs that lawmakers say will help the country stay economically competitive in the decades ahead. Senate passage came by a 64-33 vote. The House vote is expected later this week as lawmakers try to wrap up business before returning to their home states and districts in August. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has said she is confident there is enough GOP support to overcome potential defections from Democrats who view the subsidy effort to boost semiconductor companies as a misplaced priority. Proponents of the legislation say other countries are spending billons of dollars to lure chipmakers. Backers say the U.S. must do the same or risk losing a secure supply of the semiconductors that power automobiles, computers, appliances and some of the military’s most advanced weapons systems. The auto industry in particular has been bedeviled by supply chain issues largely caused by a shortage of chips since the Covid lockdowns in 2020. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill represented one of the nation’s largest investments in science and manufacturing in decades and that with the Senate’s approval, “we say that America’s best years are yet to come”. Opponents have been critical of the bill’s price tag. It is projected to increase federal deficits by about $79 billion over 10 years. President Joe Biden said the bill would create jobs and lower costs on a wide range of products from cars to dishwashers. “For decades, some ‘experts’ said we needed to give up on manufacturing in America. I never believed that. Manufacturing jobs are back”, Biden said. “Thanks to this bill, we are going to have even more of them. The House should promptly pass it and send this bill to my desk”. The bill has been in the works for years, starting with efforts by Schumer and Senator Todd Young to increase the government’s investment in high tech research and development. While the bill has taken several twists and turns, one constant theme that lawmakers repeatedly emphasized during Wednesday’s debate was the need to keep up with China’s massive investments in cutting-edge technology. China’s government is planning on “winning the (artificial intelligence) race, winning future wars and winning the future”, Young said. “And the truth is, if we’re being honest with ourselves, Beijing is well on its way to accomplishing these goals”. Senator Roger Wicker said: “Regrettably, we are not in the driver’s seat on a range of important technologies. China is”. Congress, he said, now has “a chance to move us back in the right direction and put America back into a place to win the game”. +++

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