Nissan Leaf Nismo to star at Tokyo show
Nissan Leaf Nismo to star at Tokyo show
• BMW Group sales of electrified vehicles in the first three quarters of 2017 have exceeded those achieved in the whole of 2016. In September, electrified sales topped the 10,000 mark for the first time in a single month. With the company’s electrified line-up already totaling nine models, a total of 10,786 (+50.5 percent) BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles were delivered in September, bringing the year-to-date total to 68,687 (+64.2 percent). “We are pleased to see the ongoing, strong sales development of our range of electrified vehicles, with independent reports confirming our leadership in the field of electro-mobility,” said Dr. Ian Robertson, BMW AG management board member for sales and brand BMW. “The BMW Group has the largest share of the electrified market worldwide; this year, we’ve already sold more electrified vehicles than in the whole of last year and we are well on track to deliver our target of 100,000 by year-end.”
• The men and women who designed, engineered, tested and built the GMC’s 2018 crossovers, Acadia and all-new Terrain aren’t only professional-grade engineers and designers. Many of them are parents. By blending personal experience with feedback from customers, GMC was well set to equip the new Acadia and Terrain with a variety of family-focused features. As contemporary vehicles designed for families on-the-go, both vehicles are reimagined crossovers aimed at the heart of the mid-size and compact SUV segments respectively. Both models are designed to offer greater versatility and refinement, with more advanced safety technology and efficient powertrains. The new features include back-seat reminders, smart storage, easy trunk access, connectivity and smart slide seating.
• Renault has announced “Drive The Future,” a new six-year global plan to deliver annual revenues of more than €70 billion ($81 billion), achieve a group operating margin of more than 7 percent by the end of the plan, with a floor at 5 percent, and positive free cashflow every year. “Drive The Future” is aligned with the Renault vision: Sustainable mobility for all, today and tomorrow. Renault’s popularity in the Middle East is growing. Sales in the GCC have almost tripled over the past five years, with Renault’s regional sales in the first half of 2017 up 74 percent compared with the same period last year. In Africa, the Middle East and India, Renault sold 491,000 vehicles in 2016; under the new strategic plan the French car brand intends to sell more than 800,000 units by 2022.
Audi launches electric SUV in Tesla’s backyard, with assist from Amazon
SAN FRANCISCO: German luxury car brand Audi on Monday staged the global launch of a new electric sport utility vehicle on the home turf of rival Tesla Inc, and highlighted a deal with Amazon.com Inc. to make recharging its forthcoming e-tron models easier.
The Audi e-tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.
All aim to expand the market for premium electric vehicles and also to grab share of that market from Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, which has had the niche largely to itself.
“I want Audi to be the number-one electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on Monday.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is also head of rocket company SpaceX, planned to mark the e-tron launch occasion by staging a SpaceX event in Los Angeles at roughly the same time on Monday evening as Audi’s unveiling.
Audi and parent Volkswagen are using the US launch of the e-tron SUV in mid-2019 to take aim at one obstacle to expanding electric vehicle sales — the lack of convenient ways to recharge their batteries.
Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home electric vehicle charging systems to buyers of the e-tron, the companies said on Monday. Amazon will deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation.
Amazon’s partnership with Audi to provide home charging systems is the first time the online retailer has struck such a deal with an automaker, and signals a new front in Amazon’s drive to expand its reach into consumers’ homes beyond the presence of its Alexa smart speakers in living rooms and kitchens.
“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Center.
Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home’s electrical system.
Tesla offers wall connectors for home charging at a $500 list price, and will arrange for installation, according to the company.
At the same time, Electrify America, a company funded by Volkswagen as part of its settlement of US diesel emission cheating litigation, plans to launch next year the next round of installations of public charging stations, Electrify America executives told Reuters.
Tesla has developed its own network of Supercharger charging stations with more than 11,000 chargers in North America. Electrify America plans to have 2,000 chargers installed by mid-June next year. Those will be open to any vehicle, and customers can swipe a credit card to recharge.
“We want to work with all” automotive brands, said Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America’s chief executive.
Lifting the Curtain
Audi has been heralding the launch of the e-tron SUV for some time, but until Monday it had not shared many details of the vehicle.
The e-tron is electric, and has two electric motors — one in the front and one in the rear — driving all four wheels. The Hungarian factory building motors for the e-tron will start with a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day, Audi officials said.
In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear. That feature is still not approved by US regulators.
However, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the center of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. The e-tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors. The Model X uses vertically opening “falcon wing” doors.
The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel.
Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the e-tron SUV under US testing procedures. The e-tron’s 95 kWh battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used in the Tesla Model X 100D model, but more than the base Model X 75D.
The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles (475 km) of range by the US government.