Newsflash: toekomstplannen van Lamborghini zijn bekend

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+++ AUDI has confirmed that it will introduce a new member of its e-tron all-electric line-up on 9 November, which will be a heavily facelifted version of the e-Tron and e-Tron Sportback wearing a new badge: Q8 e-Tron. The e-Tron, revealed in late 2018, was Audi’s first production electric car and made it to market as one of the very first electric SUVs from a mainstream manufacturer. Subsequently, the e-Tron has been matched or overtaken by a flood of rivals using bespoke electric platforms, so the heavy facelift will bring not just a new name, but optimised battery and motor technology along with a revised appearance intended to align the model with the rest of the rapidly growing e-tron range. There will be redesigned front and rear bumpers to help deliver a more aerodynamic package overall. The headlights will also undergo a slight tweak but the Q8 e-tron shouldn’t be too strong a departure from the outgoing e-Tron. We expect the front grille to be reshaped to appear similar to that of the Q4 e-Tron, but teaser images suggest that the rear of the car will be largely unchanged, using the same full-width LED tail light bar as before. The new car will still be based on MLB evo, a converted combustion-engined platform. The compromises of this platform have been exposed, not only by competitors but also by the lower, sleeker e-Tron GT, which sits on a bespoke electric architecture shared with the Porsche Taycan. The forthcoming Q6 e-Tron, which sits on the next-gen PPE platform, is also likely to have a significant advantage over its larger sibling. However, Audi’s board member for technical development, Oliver Hoffman, has revealed earlier this year that the e-Tron will get significant upgrades to its electrics and battery when it is facelifted in the second half of next year. Hoffman said. “The e-Tron really is a special car for Audi because it was really the pioneer of electric mobility for us. So it’s important to keep the car fresh, and therefore we are developing a big update in terms of range and charging time”. Hoffman declined to discuss specific figures, but the increased energy density could allow Audi to beef up the maximum battery capacity to more than 100 kWh. This, combined with increased efficiency from its electric motors, could give the e-Tron range comfortably north of its current maximum, 400 km. A figure of more than 480 km is almost certainly Audi’s target. The updated e-Tron isn’t likely to match the Q6 e-Tron’s expected 350 kW recharging speed (that’s based on 800 volt technology that isn’t stitched into the existing model’s platform) but Hoffman’s admission that charging speeds will also be updated would indicate that an increase from the current 150 kW rate is part of the plan. The updates will allow the e-Tron and e-Tron Sportback to continue on sale for a conventional 7-year life cycle, before they are replaced by cars based on the Volkswagen Group’s forthcoming SSP architecture. +++

+++ Carmakers BMW and Stellantis have expressed concerns about the economic outlook of EUROPE , joining a chorus of retailers and others in warning of waning consumer confidence on the continent and hitting their shares. “Obviously the macro(-economic situation) in Europe is more challenging, which gives me pause, personally”. Stellantis chief financial officer Richard Palmer said on a conference call with analysts. “If there was anywhere where I was more concerned, it would be Europe than anywhere else really based on the macro”. This follows a dire assessment of consumer sentiment in Europe from the likes of consumer goods company Unilever and news of lower spending by Europeans from Amazon. Like other major auto companies, Stellantis and BMW have been hit by supply chain disruptions stemming from the global coronavirus pandemic that have curtailed car production. They have also benefited from strong consumer demand amid low vehicle supply, allowing them to raise prices and keep them high even as the semiconductor shortage shows signs of easing. BMW posted a 35.3% jump in third-quarter revenue despite a small drop in vehicle sales. Stellantis said its revenue rose 29% on the back of a 13% increase in vehicle sales as more semiconductors became available. The concern among analysts has been that demand may falter, just as carmakers get their hands on the supplies they need, undermining pricing and hurting profits. But this week Ferrari said it was confident about its prospects for this year and 2023 as demand for its luxury cars, as well its pricing power, remained strong. Both BMW and Stellantis said they had vehicle order books that stretched into the second quarter of 2023. But BMW’s chief financial officer Nicolas Peter said high inflation and rising interest rates could hit buyers’ wallets. “This is causing conditions for consumers to deteriorate, which will affect their behaviour in the coming months”, he said. “We therefore continue to expect our higher-than-average order books to normalise, especially in Europe”. He added customers had been unhappy about the wait for new cars, so “a slight reduction (in orders) would not be negative”. Palmer said Stellantis was “ready for any softness in demand” but in the short term had been affected by a shortage of drivers to deliver its cars to dealers. “At the moment, we can’t build enough cars”, he said. “And the ones we can build in Europe at the moment we’re struggling to get to the point of sale”. +++

+++ LAMBORGHINI ’s first production electric car is to arrive in 2028, and its launch is set to be made possible with technology from the wider Volkswagen Group. And as far as company bosses are concerned, it needn’t spell the end for the use of engines within the brand. CEO Stephan Winkleman reiterated that it will not replace any current model lines, something Lamborghini confirmed previously. He described it as a “4th model which will be more daily useable. This means a 2+2, 2-door car with more ground clearance”. Winkelman also spoke of building the car with help of “synergies of the Volkswagen Group like we already had with the Urus”, which could mean the car will use the Group’s SSP (Scalable Systems Platform), which is currently in development. Meanwhile, when I spoke to chief technical officer Rouven Mohr at the recent Urus Performante launch, he explained some of the benefits the first Lamborghini EV will bring. “Some of our core pillars from the technology point of view are fitting perfectly with the electric world”, he said, adding, “If we speak about carbon-fibre function integration, battery integration as a structural part, this is something that allows you much more degrees of freedom from the design perspective in the sense of aerodynamics”. On the subject of the typically bulky weights of such vehicles, Mohr said: “We have some cool ideas to compensate this, for instance regarding the driving dynamics, the control, the driftability, the driving behaviour in general”. He talked of “a 360-degree approach combining all the active systems to enable for wheel speed control, which is not possible with a standard combustion engine”, concluding that the Lamborghini faithful will be more than satisfied. “I’m not worried that someone will complain!” he said. Lamborghini will be spending 1.8 billion euro on a 4-year electrification strategy, which long before the EV will yield a hybrid replacement for the Aventador arriving early in 2023, a plug-in hybrid Huracan successor in late 2024 and a plug-in hybrid Urus the same year, completing the full electrification of the line-up. If the company gets its way, however, the hybrids won’t just be brief stepping stones to a fully-electric line-up. Winkleman wants other models to remain hybrid “for as long as possible” and notes that synthetic fuels may play a part in “keeping them alive”, but it’s early days on exactly how the propulsion plans of the company will play out. “We don’t need to decide now: we still have some time”, he said, adding, “After 2025, once the entire range is electrified, we need to take a decision then”. Mohr meanwhile regards the prospect of synthetic fuels to be “very interesting” and that, “We are in contact with our colleagues at Porsche because in the Volkswagen Group, they are the leaders for this”. He added that it “will remain a kind of niche” since the fuel will most likely be expensive, barring it from being a solution for the majority of vehicular transport. “But for a sports car, race applications, also for partially the car fleet that is already on the market – why not?” +++

+++ The third-generation LAND ROVER Range Rover Sport has been revealed, and following shortly will be the most powerful variant: the SVR. The most expensive Range Rover Sport currently is the First Edition model and when the SVR launches in the coming months, we can expect it to comfortably eclipse that figure. The SVR badge first appeared on the Range Rover Sport during the second-generation’s facelift in 2015. It introduced a number of visual tweaks and a more powerful engine; we can expect the same from the upcoming SVR. There will be a host of visual tweaks at the front, with a more aggressive bumper, redesigned grilles and potentially a new headlight signature. Elsewhere there are huge brake discs with what look like 6-piston calipers at the front, while the large wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport SUV tyres. More camouflage has been applied to the rear, but it’s possible to make out an even more imposing roof spoiler than the regular Sport’s. Quad exhausts featured on the old SVR, and this design has returned for the new one, sitting further apart, either side of a rear diffuser. The previous Range Rover Sport SVR was powered by a 550 hp 5.0-litre Supercharged V8, but the new model will pump out more power, likely using the same 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 found in the BMW X5 M Competition. That engine is available in the latest full-size Range Rover with 530 hp, but the SVR is more likely to match the X5 M’s 625 hp output. It’s unlikely the SVR will utilise the 650 hp plug-in hybrid powertrain on the upcoming XM, as it would detract too much from BMW’s super SUV. We can also expect the new SVR to use the same 8-speed ZF automatic transmission found in the X5 M, and while we don’t get any clue from these spy shots, uprated suspension and larger brakes are a certainty. The new Sport sits on Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) MLA-Flex platform, allowing for plug-in hybrid and even full electrification. The standard Sport will be available with a pure-electric powertrain and given the instantaneous acceleration afforded by EVs, it’s possible the new SVR won’t be the fastest model within the Range Rover Sport lineup from 0 to 100 kph. The new model could well beat the old car’s 4.5 second 0-100 kph time and its 280 kph top speed, however. JLR’s ‘Dynamic Air Suspension’ should feature on the new SVR, using twin air chambers to reduce pitch and roll. A ‘Stormer’ handling pack is an optional extra on the Sport, adding an electronic active differential with torque vectoring by braking and four-wheel steering – a feature that is likely to be standard on the SVR. +++

+++ LEXUS has brought its new Electrified Sport concept to SEMA in Las Vegas, giving us a glimpse into the future of its all-electric LFA replacement. The concept was first revealed late last year as part of sister brand Toyota’s 11-strong line up of EVs destined to join the 2 firm’s respective model ranges before 2030. Lexus describes the Electrified Sport concept as “a battery-EV sports car which inherits the driving taste, or the ‘secret sauce’, of the performance cultivated via the development of the LFA”. Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda said he wants this to be a “sports battery EV” concept and outlined that the model has a target 0-100 kph time “in the low 2 second range”. The Electrified Sport should provide close competition to the Tesla Roadster, Lotus Evija and the upcoming Piëch GT. Toyoda previously said that “with both proportions and low ride height essential to a sports car, it will showcase the unique driving performance of a Lexus”, and confirmed that the cruising range would be over 700 km, with solid-state batteries a possibility for the new model. “We will extend the driving taste refined this way to other models as we evolve Lexus into a brand centred on battery EVs. We can position batteries and electric motors to bring more freedom. It will allow us to be more attuned to our customers, different regions and different lifestyles”, Toyoda added. The Electrified Sport concept features many styling cues often associated with Lexus, such as its long bonnet and short but stylised rear. It is unknown at this stage how similar the final product will look, but these concept images give us a pretty good indication of what we can expect. Technical details and specs for the LFA’s all-electric successor are yet to be officially announced by Lexus. +++

LexusLFAIIconcept

+++ LOTUS managing director Matt Windle has told that “it feels like Lotus is alive again” as the British brand gears up to finally start delivering its long-delayed Evija electric hypercar, having overcome a series of setbacks. Windle also spoke of quality improvements on the Emira production line, Lotus’s enduring passion for sports cars and potentially transformative partnership opportunities that could one day become reality. Question: Has the Evija (revealed in 2019) been a financial success for Lotus, or will it be? Answer: “It will be. We’ve said we will build a maximum of 130 and sales are good. We’ve got enough sales for next year. It had 2 purposes for us. It had to break even; we weren’t looking at it for massive profits. It’s a halo product, and we wanted to not only show what we could achieve technically but also redefine the design language as well”. Q: Is Hethel big enough to deal with Emira demand? A: “Yes it is, definitely. We had teething problems, no doubt, mainly around parts supply; we do still struggle a bit. But what we’ve done is slow down production. We were aiming for a target, but we were missing it every week and that was demoralising. We’re now getting good-quality cars coming out. UK deliveries will start next week, so cars will be with the dealers the week after. It’s later than we wanted to be, but I can guarantee that everyone here has been working a lot of hours to try to get them out”. Q: You’re going through a transition. What is Lotus about not just in 2022 but in 2030? A: “Lotus in 2030 will be very different from where we are today. But then Lotus in 2022 is very different to where it was in 2017”. Q: How about your battery project with Britishvolt? A: “We have a memorandum of understanding with them. I think Britishvolt is a long way from having products available. We’re still investigating how we can work together. Ultimately for us, the interesting thing about batteries for sports cars is the use case is very different than for other electric cars”. Q: Do sports cars and GTs still have a future? A: “Absolutely. The Evija is an amazing car. While there are some reservations around sports cars with a conventional engine going away, electric vehicles are the future. We want to be at the forefront of that and be innovative very early on”. Q: Are synthetic fuels encouraging? Combustion engines are not dead… A: “Not yet! It will keep going. We aren’t going to put an end date on the Lotus Emira. We’re just going to see how it goes. If we can get to the point of two cars running together, which is the plan, we will see if there’s life in it”. +++

+++ TESLA celebrates another milestone at its Giga Texas factory, which recently produced its 20.000th electric car. On October 30, the company shared a new photo with a red Model Y and a “20k” sign, surrounded by employees. The description says: “20k Model Y built at Giga Texas to date!” That’s another bit of positive news related to the production ramp-up in Texas. Previously, the company celebrated its 10.000th car on September 17. This new info allows us to calculate that during the past 43 days (between September 17 and October 30), Tesla produced 10,000 Tesla Model Y. That’s about 232 per day or over 1.600 per week, compared to over 1.000 per week reported on August 20. Considering that the installed manufacturing capacity is higher than 250.000 units annually, the target to fully utilize the capacity is roughly 5.000 per week. It took Tesla 108 days to produce the first 10,000 Model Y in Texas and only 43 to produce the next 10,000. For reference, the Giga Shanghai plant produced 20.000 units “in exactly 100 days”, while Giga Berlin achieved that “in 187 days” (although we guess that it’s an estimated number, which is based on the production level of 1.000 per week since June 18 and 2.000 per week since October 1). I must admit that the Tesla Giga Texas progress is impressive, especially because the factory is producing an all-new Tesla Model Y version with the 4680-type cylindrical battery cells and a structural battery pack. Limited supply of this type of battery was considered a major bottleneck for the plant and probably caused the decision to produce also the “standard” version with 2170-type cylindrical battery cells and a non-structural battery pack (like in other factories). This happened in late June. Currently, I don’t know what the proportion is between the 4680 and 2170 Tesla Model Y in Texas. The new 4680-type Model Y has not yet appeared on Tesla’s design studio as a separate version (it has a bit different range than the Long Range AWD version from Fremont), but was initially offered to employees or appeared in Tesla’s existing inventory. Those 2 versions are produced side-by-side: 1) Tesla Model Y AWD: 4680-type cells and structural battery pack: 449 km of EPA range (on 19 inch wheels) or 433 km with 20 inch wheels. 2) Tesla Model Y Long Range AWD: 2170-type cells: 531 km of EPA range (on 19 inch wheels) or 512 km with 20 inch wheels. In the future, the Tesla Giga Texas plant will produce also the Tesla Cybertruck pickup. +++

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