Newsflash: eerste details hybride Porsche 911 zijn bekend


+++ Alaska’s rugged and frigid interior, where it can get as cold as minus 46 degrees Celsius, is not the place you’d expect to find an electric school bus. But here is Bus No. 50, with a cartoon horse decal on its side, quietly traversing about 65 km of snowy and icy roads each day in Tok, shuttling students to school not far from the Canadian border. It works OK on the daily route. But cold temperatures rob electric vehicle batteries of traveling range, so No. 50 can’t go on longer field trips, or to Anchorage or Fairbanks. It’s a problem that some owners of electric passenger vehicles and transit officials are finding in cold climates worldwide. At minus 7 C, ELECTRIC VEHICLES just don’t go as far as they do at the ideal 70 degrees. Part of it is that keeping passengers warm using traditional technology drains the battery. So longer trips can be difficult in the coldest weather. Transit authorities like Chicago’s, which has pledged to convert its whole bus fleet to electricity by 2040, have to take extraordinary steps to keep electric buses charged and on schedule. Some automakers and drivers fear lower battery range in the cold could limit acceptance of electric cars, trucks and buses, at a time when emissions from transportation must go down sharply to address climate change. There is hope. Scientists are racing to perfect new battery chemistries that don’t lose as much energy in cold weather as today’s lithium-ion systems. Also, cars equipped with efficient heat pumps don’t lose as much range in the cold. “It is a problem to have batteries in cold weather, and we have a pretty cold climate, one of the coldest in North America”, said Stretch Blackard, owner of Tok Transportation, which contracts with the local schools. When the temperature hits zero, his cost to run Tok’s electric bus doubles. Tok has among the highest electricity prices in the nation. In the coldest weather, 0 down to minus 18-23 C, the electric bus costs roughly $1.15 per mile, versus 40 cents per mile for a diesel bus, Blackard said. The cost of the electric bus drops to about 90 cents a mile when it’s warm, but he says the costs make it unworkable and he wouldn’t buy another one. Many owners of personal electric vehicles also are finding that long-distance wintertime travel can be hard. EVs can lose anywhere from 10% to 36% of their range as cold spells come at least a few times each winter in many U.S. states. Mark Gendregske of Alger said it starts to get serious when temperatures drop to minus 7 – 12 C). “I see typically more than 20% degradation in range as well as charging time”, he said while recharging his Kia EV6 in a shopping center parking lot near Ypsilanti, Michigan. “I go from about 400 km of range to about 320 km”. Gendregske, an engineer for an auto parts maker, knew the range would drop, so he said with planning, the Kia EV still gets him where he needs to go, even with a long commute. Some owners, though, didn’t anticipate such a big decline in the winter. Rushit Bhimani, who lives in a northern suburb of Detroit, said he sees about 30% lower range in his Tesla Model Y when the weather gets cold, from what’s supposed to be 530 km per charge to as low as 370 km. “They should clarify that one”, he said while charging just south of Ann Arbor on a trip to Chicago. Around three-quarters of this EV range loss is due to keeping occupants warm, but speed and even freeway driving are factors. Some drivers go to great lengths not to use much heat so they can travel farther, wearing gloves or sitting on heated seats to save energy. And to be sure, gasoline engines also can lose around 15% of their range in the cold. The range loss has not slowed EV adoption in Norway, where nearly 80% of new vehicle sales were electric last year. Recent tests by the Norwegian Automobile Federation found models really vary. The relatively affordable Maxus Euniq6 came the closest to its advertised range and was named the winner. It finished only about 10% short of its advertised 354 km. The Tesla S was about 16% percent under its advertised range. At the bottom: Toyota’s BZ4X, which topped out at only 323 kilometers, nearly 36% below its advertised range. Nils Soedal, from the Automobile Federation, calls the issue “unproblematic” as long as drivers take it into account when planning a trip. “The big issue really is to get enough charging stations along the road”, and better information on whether they’re working properly, he said. Temperatures ranged from just freezing to 0 to minus 19 C) during the test, over mountains and along snow-covered roads. The cars were driven until they ran out of juice and stopped. Recurrent, a U.S. company that measures battery life in used EVs, said it has run studies monitoring 7.000 vehicles remotely, and reached findings similar to the Norwegian test. CEO Scott Case said many EVs use resistance heating for the interior. The ones that do better are using heat pumps. Heat pumps draw heat from the outside air even in cold temperatures, and have been around for decades, but only recently have been developed for automobiles, Case said. “That is definitely what needs to be in all of these cars”, he said. Inside batteries, lithium ions flow through a liquid electrolyte, producing electricity. But they travel more slowly through the electrolyte when it gets cold and don’t release as much energy. The same happens in reverse, slowing down charging. Neil Dasgupta, associate professor of mechanical and materials science engineering at the University of Michigan, likens this to spreading cold butter on toast. “It just becomes more resistant at low temperatures”, Dasgupta said. General Motors is among those working on solutions. By testing, engineers can make battery and heat management changes in existing cars and learn for future models, said Lawrence Ziehr, project manager for energy recovery on GM’s electric vehicles. Last week, GM sent a squadron of EVs from the Detroit area to Michigan’s chilly Upper Peninsula to test the impact of cold weather on battery range. Despite stopping to charge twice on the way, a GMC Hummer pickup, with around 530 km of range per charge, made the 500 km trip to Sault Ste. Marie with only about 55 km left, barely enough to reach GM’s test facility. After finding a charging station out of order at a grocery store, engineers went to a nearby hotel to get enough juice to finish the trip. At universities too, scientists are working on chemistry changes that could make cold weather loss a thing of the past. The University of Michigan’s Dasgupta says they’re developing new battery designs that allow ions to flow faster or enable fast charging in the cold. There also are battery chemistries such as solid state that don’t use liquid electrolytes. He expects improvements to find their way from labs into vehicles in the next 2 to 5 years. “There’s really a global race for increasing the performance of these batteries”, he said. +++

+++ FORD has had a string of ultra-desirable vehicle releases over the last few years, from the Mustang Mach-E to the Maverick pickup to the F-150 Lightning. That’s the good news. The bad news, at least for Ford and its buyers, is that The Blue Oval can’t seem to keep pace with demand. That could change with Ford’s recent announcement of production increases, bringing additional shifts and a volume boost for the automaker’s EV models. Ford said it would bump production numbers at its locations across North America and noted a new shift at its Kansas City assembly plant to increase E-Transit output. It’s also looking at ways to increase production at its Dearborn truck plant, where it builds the F-150. Though it recently stopped the production lines at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center due to F-150 Lightning battery issues, Ford recently announced a restart for the factory and said it’s investing $2 billion to boost production of the truck. The move will also bring an additional 3.200 union jobs to the location. The Bronco Sport and Maverick will see a production increase of more than 80.000 units in 2023 and the Mustang Mach-E will get a boost to 210.000 units by the end of the year. Both Transit variants, gas and electric, will see increases and Ford said it would invest $95 million to add 1.100 jobs and increase production by 38.000 units. This is good news for Ford buyers and should take some pressure off the automaker’s order and reservations process, but it’s interesting to see this announcement now. The F-150 Lightning has been out for almost a year, and there’s still a severe waiting list to get one. The same is true for the Maverick, and late last year, I discovered that some Mach-E variants have wait times extending to 6 months or more. While waiting months for a new car is annoying, the challenges haven’t been that big of a speed bump to Ford’s sales numbers. The automaker reported that it was the number-1 selling brand in America and (unsurprisingly) noted that it retained the title of the top truck manufacturer. Its EV sales are up 68 percent, too, showing that long waits don’t deter buyers. +++

+++ HONDA is moving rapidly to catch up with electric-vehicle competitors in global markets, but the company’s top executive said combustion engines could last through 2040 and beyond. Regarding the Japanese automaker’s accelerating transition to EVs, chief executive Toshihiro Mibe said: “I’ve been in the engine development business for more than 30 years, so personally it’s a little threatening. But I have to separate my own feelings from what is best for the business”. That includes the establishment next month of a standalone business unit to oversee development of Honda’s EV and battery business, which eventually could include an investment in charging stations, similar to Tesla’s Supercharger network, Mibe said in Marysville, at the hub of the company’s U.S. operations. “The charging infrastructure is not at a place that it needs to be for our customers”, he said. Mibe added that Honda is running feasibility studies on everything from chargers and advanced batteries to aerial vehicles and rockets, as well as new low-carbon e-fuels that could help keep combustion engines around (in performance cars, big trucks and airplanes) for another decade or 2. But Mibe added, “as we move toward carbon neutrality, we are focused on electrification and fuel cells; those are the 2 core components of future mobility”. Honda has been slow to follow larger rivals, from Volkswagen to General Motors, in committing billions of dollars to developing and building EVs and batteries. Now it plans to invest at least $40 billion through 2030, with the goal of pushing hybrid and fully electric vehicles to 40% of its sales by decade’s end. Those investments include a $3.5 billion joint venture to build batteries with LG Energy Solution in nearby Jeffersonville, starting in 2025, for use in Honda’s future EV factories in North America. Before then, Honda in 2024 will get 2 new electric SUVs, the Honda Prologue and the Acura ZDX, from GM’s Spring Hills factory in Tennessee. Mibe confirmed that Honda is developing its own EV architectures, the first of which will arrive in the U.S. in 2026, as well as advanced batteries of its own design for some of those future models. +++

+++ MERCEDES-BENZ laid the foundation stone for a sustainable battery recycling factory in Kuppenheim, southern Germany on Friday. The pilot plant will have an annual capacity of 2.500 tonnes and will contribute to the production of more than 50.000 battery modules for new electric Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Recycled batteries will come from test vehicles and start-up batteries. Based on the pilot’s success, production volumes could be scaled up in the medium to long term. Commissioning for the first stage of the plant (mechanical dismantling) is scheduled to begin in December this year. Subject to talks with the public sector, the pilot factory will be completed a few months later. The Kuppenheim plant already runs a CO2-neutral operation with solar and green electricity. Its construction is being funded as part of a scientific research project by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. “We are sending an important signal of innovative strength in Baden-Württemberg and Germany for sustainable electromobility”, said Jörg Burzer, management board member of Mercedes-Benz in production and supply chain management. Thekla Walker, minister for the environment, climate and energy in Baden-Württemberg, said she was pleased that Mercedes-Benz was promoting the topic of the circular economy. “This is of particular importance in view of the limited availability of important raw materials that are in high demand, such as lithium, cobalt and nickel”, she said. +++

+++ PORSCHE will lay the foundations for the electrification of the 911 with an advanced new GT2 RS Hybrid; a model that will be the most powerful and fastest-accelerating road-going variant of the iconic sports car yet, according to company insiders. Due in 2026, the top-of-the-line, limited-run Porsche 911, which is expected to cost upwards of €350.000 in the Netherlands, is being engineered with a newly developed hybrid drivetrain that will target “more than 700 hp”. This will be achieved using tech originally developed by Porsche Motorsport for the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 919 Hybrid and further developed for its successor, the recently unveiled 963 LMDh racer. The new petrol-electric drivetrain is envisaged to be launched in the Porsche 911 GT2 RS before being offered in other, less extreme 911 models by the end of the decade. Contrary to earlier speculation that the 911 would get a plug-in hybrid system similar to that in the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Panamera, can confirm that Porsche’s new 911 drivetrain is based around a mild-hybrid system, with an electric motor boosting the internal combustion engine. The system is described as being “even more advanced” than what has been created for the new LMDh car: a 640 hp turbocharged 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine supported by a 700 hp Bosch electric motor that’s activated above 130 kph. The Porsche 911 Turbo acts as the basis for the new GT2 RS, with its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat-6 engine being supplemented by a battery like that used by the 919 Hybrid. How the production car will be set up underneath hasn’t yet been detailed. However, 911 Turbo prototypes fitted with the new mild-hybrid drivetrain have received a gearbox-mounted electric motor and air-cooled lithium ion battery positioned low down behind the front seats. The production car will have the battery behind the rear seats for a 39:61 weight balance. According to patents applied for by Porsche in 2021, this cooling system (not yet confirmed for the production model) uses air from an electric turbocharger, negating the need for an additional fan. The production battery will, without direct charging, also rely on energy recuperation for storage. Together with a multi-stage brake energy recuperation system, Porsche is said to be developing a variable-geometry turbine within the exhaust tract to allow it to generate electric energy under acceleration; a Porsche Motorsport system used by the 919 Hybrid. Unlike the 800 Volt electric drivetrain being developed for the upcoming fourth-generation Porsche Boxster/Porsche Cayman, the 911’s drivetrain operates via a 400 Volt system in the interests of weight and compactness, say sources, who add that the new drivetrain will deliver “significantly more power” than the previous 700 hp GT2 RS. While it does allow electric-only propulsion for short distances, the focus of the new mild-hybrid drivetrain is very much on “performance enhancement with an absolute minimum increase in weight”. A target of “more than 700 hp” will be accompanied by a “significant increase in torque”, say insiders. As such, the benchmark performance figures for the new 911 are the 0-100 kph time and top speed of its 6-year-old predecessor: 2.8 seconds and 340 kph. Whether Porsche holds firm to a traditional manual gearbox rests with its ability to handle the added torque delivered by the electric motor, which is said to total more than 250 Nm. To offset the weight of the electric motor and battery, Porsche is developing the new 911 GT2 RS Hybrid with a lightweight body with measures similar to the Weissach Package offered by its predecessor and the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Porsche is said to be aiming at a weight gain of no more than 100 kg. +++

+++ RIVIAN is facing a challenge to win back some of its earliest supporters as the burgeoning electric-vehicle maker continues to struggle with building enough cars to meet demand. The startup, which already missed production goals in 2022, provided a lower build goal for 2023 than analysts had anticipated, at 50.000 pickup trucks, SUVs and delivery vans. As Rivian continues to struggle with mass production, its communication with customers who have been waiting for years now for their vehicles is leaving some feeling burned by the company. Parker Elmore placed his order for the R1S (a SUV) more than 2 years ago. He’s hedged his bet on Rivian with orders for the Tesla Cybertruck and the electric Ram 1500. “I’d be lying if I said there’s not some trepidation of: is this company going to make it?” Elmore told. “You put all the orders in because you just don’t know who’s going to actually win or deliver”. Insider has spoken or corresponded with about a dozen order holders in recent months. Some feel embarrassed by their early support of Rivian while their wait times increase to nearly half a decade. Some waiting customers and shareholders have compared Rivian’s struggle to reach mass production to that of Tesla, which managed to muddle through “production hell” in 2018 without alienating its most fanatic supporters and emerging as the most valuable automaker in the world. Rivian has previously said timing of deliveries is “based on a number of factors, including delivery location, configuration and original preorder or reservation date”. A spokesperson also said customers experiencing delays have been connected with customer service. For a young company like Rivian, which doesn’t have a lot to spare on marketing costs, these early fans can make or break your reputation, shareholders and analysts said. “The auto industry is notorious for customers that have intense brand loyalty”, Garrett Nelson, an automotive analyst for CFRA Research, told. “For a newcomer like Rivian, it’s this huge challenge to break in when you have no brand and you’re just starting to establish that relationship and trust with customers”. This crack in trust between Rivian and some of its early order holders is coming at the worst possible time for the company, Nelson said, as Wall Street was disappointed not only by a modest production goal for the year, but also a lack of transparency on where the company’s pre-order list stands. “We’re starting to see how difficult some of these speed bumps are for companies like Rivian”, he said. “We’ve seen some really disappointing results from Rivian and Lucid as they ramp up their production a lot slower than a lot of investors and customers would like to see”. Rivian presented mixed results for the 4th quarter on Tuesday, losing less per share than analysts had expected, but falling short of revenue estimates. Investors and customers remain concerned about the EV startup’s ability to deliver on its ambitious promises. Rivian narrowly missed its production goals in 2022, making 24.337 cars and delivering 20.332. Meanwhile, deliveries have lagged but not nearly to the extent fellow startup Lucid Motors’ have. About 84% of Rivian’s vehicles built made it to customers last year. Rivian plans to build 50.000 vehicles in 2023, though some analysts expected at least 60.000. The company has the most cash of other EV startups, with $11.6 billion on hand, but even with some good news, investors are running out of patience. Shares fell some 83% in 2022, and sank another 17% in trading Wednesday following the news. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note following earnings results that it’s disappointing that “Rivian remains in this spider web of production issues with the worry that customers will start to turn to competitors”. While some order-holders like Elmore remain cautiously optimistic, others who have taken delivery of their Rivians appear to be happy with the vehicles. Earlier this week, Rivian topped JD Power’s EV ownership study. And David Dvinov, a New Jersey-based founder of a trucking company, received his R1S last month after placing his order in October 2019. Dvinov said he’s glad he waited the more than 3 years that it took. Rivian did not report its pre-order number in its latest quarterly report. The company had 114.000 net pre-orders as of November 7 (in its earnings, Lucid Motors also announced plans to stop reporting its number of reservations). Rivian’s juggling its first pickup and SUV, 100.000 delivery trucks for Amazon, a charging business, and even a potential foray into the electric bike space, amid a challenging macro environment and hobbling supply chain constraints. This long list of priorities is frustrating to order holders who have been waiting since 2019 for their Rivians to arrive. Both Rivian’s production and delivery progress were slower from Q3 to the last quarter of the year than they were from Q2 to Q3; Rivian attributed losing multiple days of production in Q4 to supplier shortages. In an email to the company announcing its second round of layoffs in seven months, CEO RJ Scaringe also emphasized the need to focus. That’s crucial as Rivian has not only delayed thousands of customers receiving its flagship products, but it also had to push the launch of its smaller, more-affordable, next-gen R2 platform to 2026. +++

+++ TESLA is more focused on refining lithium than on mining the battery metal, chief executive officer Elon Musk said, as the EV giant plans to begin refining production within a year. The “limiting factor” is refining lithium, not actually finding it, as no country has a monopoly on deposits, Musk said Wednesday during the electric vehicle giant’s investor day. Tesla has broken ground on a proposed lithium refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, and aims to start output within a year, Drew Baglino, senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, said at the event. The EV giant wants to process lithium concentrates into battery-grade lithium chemicals at the Texas refinery. The company hasn’t responded to reports it’s been mulling a takeover of miner Sigma Lithium amid rampant demand for the material crucial to powering EVs. Automakers have aggressively pushed into mining to lock in supply for batteries as electric-vehicle sales rise. Stellantis took a 14% stake in a McEwen Mining copper subsidiary and General Motors is said to be vying for a stake in Vale’s base metals unit. In January, GM struck a $650 million pact with Lithium Americas to develop a US lithium deposit. As for nickel (another key ingredient in EV batteries) Musk said it’s only needed for “aircraft, long-range cars or trucks”. “The vast majority of heavy lifting” of EV batteries will be iron-based batteries, and there’s plenty of iron in the world, he said. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN ’s supervisory board will on Friday discuss plans for 2 new factories in North America, one production plant and one battery cell factory, 2 people familiar with the matter said. While the committee is expected to approve a site for its Scout brand in the United States, discussions around a gigafactory are open-ended, the sources said. Other issues on the meeting’s agenda are Volkswagen’s annual results and its dividend, the people said. A person familiar with the matter earlier this week said the supervisory board would discuss a new plant for the Scout brand, which is a key part of Volkswagen’s target to gain 10% market share in the United States. Separately, Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume in December said the carmaker had begun searching for a site for a battery cell factory in North America, adding Canada was “one logical option” due to its raw material resources. “We are still working hard to find a suitable location for our first gigafactory in North America and are in good, constructive talks”, a Volkswagen spokesperson said on Friday, adding no decision has been made yet. Volkswagen said on Friday that it expects supply chain issues to ease and sales to rise to as much as 331 billion euros in 2023, sending shares in Europe’s top carmaker to their highest level in 3,5 months. The carmaker’s outlook, which comes after preliminary 2022 results published last month, also foresees a strong recovery of vehicle deliveries to 9.5 million, an increase of more than 14% year-on-year. “Our performance last year demonstrated the improved resilience of the Volkswagen Group amid a challenging global backdrop”, chief financial officer Arno Antlitz said. “We expect the supply chain bottlenecks to gradually ease in the current year, allowing us to service the high order backlog”. The comments reflect growing optimism of an industry slowly emerging from a global shortage of chips as well as supply chain problems also caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, with peers Stellantis and Renault, too, releasing upbeat views for 2023 in recent weeks. Shares in Volkswagen rose 10% to the top of Frankfurt’s benchmark DAX index on the news and hit their highest level since November 16, with analysts at Jefferies calling the outlook “surprisingly strong”. Volkswagen, which last year listed Porsche in a landmark listing, forecast sales to grow by 10% to 15%, indicating 2023 revenues of 307 billion euros to 331 billion euros, significantly higher than the 280 billion Refinitiv estimate. The group said operating return on sales was expected to be in the range of 7.5% to 8.5%, compared with 7.9% in 2022, adding its dividend would rise by 1.20 euros apiece to 8.70 euros per common share and 8.76 euros per preferred share for 2022. +++

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