Newsflash: Hyundai Ioniq 6 maakt vliegende verkoopstart


+++ Carmakers from CHINA are advancing into the Korean market, in contrast to Hyundai Motor and its sister company, Kia, who have seen sales plummet in the world’s most populous market. Given that Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) have attracted consumers here with affordable prices in addition to subsidies offered by the Korean government, calls are growing for the necessity of certain measures to be introduced to protect Korean-made EVs. Data compiled by the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA) showed that sales of cars imported from China rose 125.3 percent year-on-year during the first half of this year, despite a 13.5 percent drop in overall sales of imported vehicles in the local market. According to the association, sales of cars imported from Germany dropped 2.9 percent during the same period, while sales of cars imported from the U.S. fell 22.6 percent, due to the rapid decline in the sale of Tesla vehicles. Sales of cars manufactured in Korea decreased by 11 percent. The soaring sales volume of cars imported from China was mainly attributed to the popularity of the country’s electric buses and other commercial vehicles, which accounted for a 6.8 percent share of the Korean market during the first half of 2022, up from 1.1 percent a year ago. Sales of Chinese electric trucks soared 8.218.2 percent year-on-year to 916 units from 11 units, while sales of Chinese electric buses rose 194.6 percent year-on-year to 436 units from 148 units. A small-size electric truck made by Masada, for example, is originally priced at around 38 million won ($28.000), but it can be bought for around 15 million won, thanks to subsidies given by municipal governments. The reduced price is nearly 10 million won lower than the average price of similar models manufactured by Korean firms. Prices of Chinese electric buses are almost half the price of Korean ones, and up to 70 million won in subsidies increase their price gap. Sales of passenger cars imported from China also rose 83.9 percent year-on-year to 3,400 units, due to the increasing imports of BMW iX3 and Volvo S90, both of which are manufactured in China, as well as the Polestar 2. The BMW iX3 is produced in China by BMW Brilliance Automotive, a joint venture between BMW and China’s Brilliance Automotive. Polestar is an EV brand set up by China’s Geely and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sweden’s Volvo Car. Geely is also set to acquire a 34.02 percent stake in Renault Korea Motors for 264 billion won to become its second-largest shareholder. The two carmakers plan to develop a hybrid vehicle based on Volvo’s compact modular architecture platform and begin production in Busan in 2024. BYD, the top EV maker in China, indicated its intention to enter Korea’s passenger car market by applying for the registration of trademarks of 7 models, including the Seal, Dolphin and Atto models. BYD has already sold commercial vehicles in Korea through a local subsidiary. “Countermeasures are needed against Chinese cars that have rapidly increased their share in the domestic commercial EV market with indiscriminative subsidies”, KAMA chairman Jeong Man-ki said. Hyundai and Kia, on the other hand, have faced difficulties selling vehicles in China, since Beijing implemented an unofficial boycott on Korean products in retaliation against Seoul’s deployment of a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in 2016. Sales of Hyundai vehicles in China during the first half of this year fell 49.8 percent year-on-year to 94.000 units. Its market share dropped to 1 percent from 2 percent a year earlier. Sales of Kia vehicles there also declined 27.2 percent to 45.000 units. Amid sluggish sales, Hyundai sold one of its factories in Beijing to Chinese EV maker Li Auto last year. +++

+++ ELECTRIC VEHICLES have come a long way in the past decade. More specifically, new models can actually go a long way, unlike their predecessors. The one sticking point for some buyers has been that it still takes longer to charge an EV mid-journey than it does to slosh petrol or diesel into an ICE vehicle’s tank. And if you’re the kind of person who prefers to splash and dash than spend 20-30 minutes hanging around eating pastries and getting fat while you wait for your car to take on board the energy needed to do the next 320 km of a journey, that’s a pain. But experts say the next generation of EVs could recharge to 90 percent in as little as 10 minutes. If the lithium-ion batteries in current EVs are charged too quickly they can be damaged, reducing the lifespan of the battery and requiring costly replacement. But a group of researchers has used machine learning techniques to study how batteries age when charging at high speed and used that info to help boost charging times safely. By studying the results from up to 30.000 data points they created a charging protocol that would enable ultra-fast charging without damaging the battery itself. The downside is that the technology is around 5 years away from becoming publicly available. “Fast charging is the key to increasing consumer confidence and overall adoption of electric vehicles”, says Eric Dufek, Ph.D., who is presenting the result of the study at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. “It would allow vehicle charging to be very similar to filling up at a gas station”. Producing batteries that can be charged faster won’t just help reduce journey times for inter-state travelers. It will also make EVs cheaper and more efficient. Cheaper, because carmakers could potentially offer vehicles with smaller batteries because the reduction in range would be offset by the ability to charge more quickly. That would help drivers who don’t routinely need to cover large distances make the switch to electric power. And since the majority of an EV’s weight problem is down to the battery, reducing the size of the pack also reduces curb weight, meaning the motor needs to draw less energy to move it down the road. +++

+++ The government of FRANCE is preparing a plan to subsidize electric vehicle leasing in order to make the vehicles more affordable to low-income consumers. The plan, according to Gabriel Attal, France’s budget minister, is to make fully-electric vehicles available for €100 per month. That price, the minister noted, would make an EV lease cost less than what most drivers spend on gas in a month. The plan was announced Sunday night on LCI television, according to Bloomberg, and comes in the wake of promises made by France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, to offer a state-sponsored leasing program for low-income households. This was, in part, made to counter criticisms that even with current subsidies, EVs are still out of reach for many consumers. “We know that for many French they remain very expensive”, Attal said Sunday. France offers incentives worth as much as €6,000 on EVs that cost less than €47,000. More is offered under a trade-in program. The nation also offers a subsidy of up to €4,000 for consumers who trade in their vehicle for a bicycle or e-bike. That plan will also see the European country invest in infrastructure for bicycles and e-bikes. Paris has committed to spending €250 on making the entirety of the city bikeable and adding 130 km of bike-safe paths over the next 5 years. This EV leasing plan would likely benefit European automakers who produce EVs. Earlier this year, the European Union Parliament decided to establish a 100 percent reduction in CO2 emissions for all new vehicles by 2035, effectively banning the sale of internal combustion engines, in favor of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles. +++

+++ HIGH TECH FEATURES are becoming an important factor in sales of new cars, but as automakers rush to get the latest and greatest tech into the field, they aren’t all succeeding at the same rate. According to J.D. Power’s 2022 Tech Experience Index (TXI) study, few aspects of a vehicle have as much variation between automakers as technology in terms of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). For instance, the rate of problems for rear seat reminder technologies spans from 1.2 PP100 to more than 10 times that, at 26.2 PP100 for the worst performing rear seat reminders. That variation is important to an automaker because the risk of annoying customers with a bad technology can be doubly debilitating, according to Kathleen Rizk, the senior director of user experience benchmarking and technology at J.D. Power. She says that the risk of implementing a technology poorly can scare automakers away from innovating. “J.D. Power transactional data shows that getting the right mix of technology features owners want is important to perception, profits and sales”, said Rizk. “When owners get the technology features they really want (and which meet their user-experience expectations) the results are positive, and those owners tell their friends about the experience”. Technology features have very high overall PP100 scores, in general, but fingerprint scanners, included in the study for the first time in 2022, are the most problematic feature in the TXI’s history. With users experiencing 54.3 problems per 100 experiences, it is now the feature with the lowest user satisfaction in the TXI, overtaking gesture controls. Indeed, many owners simply do not want it in their vehicles, as a result of its poor performance, J.D. Power writes. The research organization found, though, that dealers demonstrating how a technology works, especially if that technology is new, can have a big impact on how satisfied customers are with the tech. The brands implementing all of these lessons the best appear to belong to the Hyundai Motor Company. Genesis ranked the highest overall in J.D. Power’s Innovation Ranking (although it was beaten by Tesla, that company does not share customer data, and is, therefore, ineligible for awards). Hyundai, meanwhile, was the highest-performing mass market brand, leading premium automakers like Volvo, BMW, and Land Rover. General Motors also performed well in the test, though, with Cadillac coming in second overall in the innovation ranking. Buick and GMC, meanwhile, ranked third and fourth (behind Hyundai and Kia) in the mass market segment. The TXI tested 35 automotive technologies that were divided into 4 categories: convenience; emerging automation; energy and sustainability; and infotainment and connectivity. The study was based on responses from 84.165 owners of 2022 model year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. +++


+++ HYUNDAI ’s new electric vehicle Ioniq 6 got off to a good start with 37.446 pre-orders for the vehicle on the first day of pre-booking, the carmaker said Tuesday. Hyundai Motor began accepting pre-orders for the Ioniq 6 on Monday. The Ioniq 6 received the most first-day pre-orders in the Korean market’s car sales history, exceeding the 23.760 pre-orders that the Ioniq 5 received a year and a half ago. The company said the high popularity of the Ioniq 6 shows Korean consumers think the new vehicle will become a game changer in the era of electric vehicles (EVs). “The innovative interior and exterior design of the Ioniq 6 and excellent mileage capability, which was possible thanks to our best-in-class aerodynamic performance and new technologies that provide new electric vehicle experiences, seem to have received good responses from customers”, a Hyundai spokesman said. Hyundai unveiled its EV sedan at the Busan International Motor Show in July. Soon after the vehicle was unveiled, the Ioniq 6 received good responses from consumers and media with its streamlined exterior design and advanced aerodynamic efficiency with a low drag coefficient of just 0.21. The company said the Ioniq 6 is receiving a lot of positive reviews from major media outlets in Europe and the United States. “A German car magazine, said the Ioniq 6 has achieved the highest level of aerodynamic performance among mass-produced vehicles by applying various aerodynamic technologies such as external active air flaps”, Hyundai said. The company added a U.S.-based car magazine also praised the Ioniq 6, saying “the mass-produced car clearly reveals both retro and futuristic appearance”. +++


+++ SUZUKI is working on a new fully electric model set to launch by 2025 in India, based on a new EV-dedicated architecture jointly developed with Toyota. This move will broaden the collaboration between the automakers who are already trading technology and models in different parts of the world. Details are scarce at the moment, but the new platform could underpin a range of vehicles. The first one, set to debut in 2025, will most likely adopt an SUV bodystyle. This would expand Suzuki’s wide range of ICE-powered, mild-hybrid, and full hybrid SUVs, while answering the needs of a wider group of buyers. Toyota could also offer its own version, featuring slightly different styling. Suzuki recently announced a $1.37 billion investment for the production of EVs in Gujarat, India, showing that it wants to become an important player in this market. Suzuki remains the best-selling brand when it comes to passenger vehicles. However, rival Tata Motors is the market leader in EVs, with Suzuki not offering a battery electric vehicle yet. RBSA Advisors‘ forecasts suggest that India’s EV market could grow to more than $150 billion by 2030, including cars and motorbikes, which is why automakers are rushing to join the fray. Suzuki and Toyota recently revealed the Grand Vitara and the Urban Cruiser Hyryder duo of electrified SUVs. The twin models are using Suzuki’s platform and mild-hybrid tech, alongside Toyota’s full hybrid tech. Toyota already has the eTNGA architecture for battery electric vehicles, which is currently underpinning the Toyota BZ4X, the Subaru Solterra, and the Lexus RZ 450e. Judging from the specific needs of the Indian market, we would expect a different and simplified architecture to be used by Suzuki, keeping the locally-produced EVs as affordable as possible. +++

+++ Human nature (’take the easiest route’) and financial considerations (’take the most profitable route’) are arguably the 2 things that drive society forward. That’s especially true when solving the world’s problems, such as global warming. Electrification of cars ticks both boxes but raises the question of whether the early decision to abandon combustion engines misses a trick. The world’s biggest oil producers potentially stand to lose the most because alternatives might rule them out. While they may have a grip on the expertise and resources to drill for and produce petroleum products, the same isn’t true for other energy sources. Yet they are well placed to invest more in ‘drop-in’ carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, which can be dispensed using existing filling station forecourts without the need to create an entirely new infrastructure. Experts have been saying for years that the fastest way to reduce CO2 from transport is to switch to a sustainable, carbon-neutral, synthetic liquid fuel that existing vehicles can run on. ‘Drop-in’ means that, unlike petrol heavily dosed with ethanol, there can be little, if any, downside. If the world’s vehicles could fill up with fuel synthesised from organic materials tomorrow, atmospheric CO2 derived from transport fuel would all but vanish overnight. The Volkswagen Group is one of the manufacturers that have been pursuing the development of SYNTHETIC FUELS for a couple of decades. Porsche is among the latest to stick its head above the parapet with a racing project and now Mazda, which last year became the first car manufacturer to join the eFuel Alliance, is taking an interest. Like Porsche, it has taken to the race track to help develop and promote the use of synthetic fuel. In Mazda’s case, a 1.5-litre Skyactiv-D diesel engine, rather than a petrol engine, powered a race-prepared 2. The Mazda runs on Susteo, a synthetic fuel supplied by partner Euglena, and the raw materials needed to make it are used cooking oil (90%) with oil and fat extracted from the microalgae, called euglena, making up the balance. The use of vegetable oil doesn’t mean vehicles run around smelling like a fish and chip shop. It’s just a source of sustainable, waste bio-material that can be converted into synthetic petrol or diesel. It’s CO2-neutral because the plants used to produce it gorged on CO2 from the atmosphere while growing. However, the aim is to move entirely towards algae as the source. It can be grown on land unsuitable for agriculture and doesn’t compete with food production. A lot would be needed to replace the world’s consumption of petroleum oils, though. Road transport consumes around 1.3 billion gallons of petrol and diesel per day globally but, that said, the figure for vegetable oil is around 140 billion gallons. Put that way, the idea of producing enough guilt-free liquid fuel from algae to power existing combustion engines doesn’t seem like such a stretch. Queensland University of Technology robotics researchers have been working since January on how autonomous vehicles perceive their surroundings. Research is centring on a system that can learn which cameras on a car are more effective on a particular stretch of road, so it can use that camera on every subsequent visit to the same road. +++

+++ Chinese electric car manufacturer ZEEKR has reached an agreement with CATL to use the company’s new Qilin batteries. CATL’s Qilin batteries are based on its third-generation CTP technology and have a volume utilization efficiency of 72 percent and an energy density of up to 255 Wh/kg. The batteries can provide an EV with over 1.000 km of range and feature advanced large-surface cell cooling technology. CATL claims it can deliver 13 percent more power than Tesla’s 4680 battery using the same chemical system and the same pack size. The first vehicle from Zeekr to use the advanced batteries will be the 009. Taking the form of a luxurious MPV, the Zeekr 009 will start to reach the hands of customers in the first quarter of 2023. A handful of teasers of the vehicle have been released in recent weeks. They reveal that the 009 will adopt quite a radical design, complete with intriguing N-shaped LED headlights and complex LED taillights with a pronounced light bar. It will be underpinned by Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture. The second model using CATL’s Qilin batteries will be a special version of the 001, Zeekr’s first production model. Simply dubbed the Qilin edition, it will be rolled out in the second quarter of 2023 and offer a range of over 1.000 km. Zeekr and CATL have agreed to a 5-year strategic partnership that they say will strengthen the intersection of supply and demand, promoting “the technological advancement of the new energy industry”. “Upholding the principle of delivering solutions with joint efforts, we are dedicated to enabling automakers to build global high-end car brands with leading EV battery technologies and solutions, thus promoting global e-mobility transition”, CATL founder and chairman Robin Zang said. +++


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