Archive for the ‘General’ Category

 

Apr 01

Tesla Model 3 Unveiled

 

How do you think this will compete with the Chevy Bolt?

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As promised, last night Tesla Motors revealed its Model 3 at its Hawthorne Design Studio in Los Angeles.

In fact three of the sleek Model 3 sedans with rounded roofs and myriad other design elements reminiscent of the Model S and Model X were symbolically driven on stage.

The car is to start at $35,000 said CEO and master of ceremonies Elon Musk to a packed house, and even models with no options will be very nice, he promised.

Base models are projected to get at least 215 miles EPA rated range and run from 0-60 mph in under six seconds.

“I want to emphasize these are minimum numbers and we hope to exceed them,” said Musk.

All Model 3s are also to be equipped and ready for Supercharging, and Autopilot semi-autonomous driving capabilities.

Musk said the global total of 3,608 Superchargers and 3,689 destination chargers will balloon by end of 2017 to 7,200 Superchargers and 15,000 destination chargers.

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The end of 2017 is important as this is when Musk said the production Model 3 will be launched, after which he paused and qualified the statement.

“I do feel fairly confident that it will be next year,” said Musk with a laugh and smiling.

Launching will be all the easier next year also, as in the same timeframe as the charging spots expand, so will physical Tesla locations – from 215 now to 441.

Musk said also the Model 3 will comfortably seat five adults and be spacious enough to fit a seven-foot surfboard inside, with “more cargo capacity of any gas car of same external dimensions.”

To get the extra space, Musk said what would be the firewall – the EV actually has no “fire” wall between the frunk and cabin – was moved forward to buy extra legroom front and back.

At the same time, the car is touted to be super safe, and this is a priority at Tesla, he said. Expect five stars out of five in all categories, said Musk.

Secret Master Plan

The unveiling had been preceded by a walk-though of Tesla’s production car history from the Roadster to the Model S then Model X launched last year, and now the 3.

Musk said the company is making good on his first blog post from August 2006 which outlined the goal to radically put a dent in global CO2 and other emissions from oil-dependent transportation.

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The Roadster, observed Musk, had inspired former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz to build the Chevy Volt, and Nissan’s Leaf also came along in response to Tesla’s first car and the Volt.

That first proof of concept had of been of necessity high cost and low volume, yet it by itself kicked off the beginning of the mainstream plug-in electrified vehicle market.

The Model S and Model X were to be lower priced and though a sub-$50,000 Model S iteration (after $7,500 federal credit) was canceled, it was a bit lower priced from the lower 70s than the first Roadster.

Be that as it may, the Model 3 is working toward a goal of as many as 500,000 Tesla cars in total being produced as soon as 2020.

The former GM/Toyota NUMMI plant in Fremont, Calif. has produced that much before, observed Musk, and the Gigafactory battery plant and other support are also coming into place to make it all feasible.

What’s Next?

The half-hour presentation and overview ended so those in attendance could drive prototypes of the new 3.

Notably absent were specifications and other details and Musk has said a second presentation much closer to launch will reveal much more for the car he said would actually “evolve” between now and production time.

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Higher-power, quicker versions will also be made available, and the company has reserved for itself the right of future surprises.

An at any rate, the car by all accounts looks to be exceeding expectations already.

Musk said as he spoke more than 115,000 reservations worldwide had been placed, and no doubt that number will increase.

HybridCars.com

 

Mar 31

Tesla Model 3 Details Reportedly Emerge

 

By Tim Healey

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The Tesla Model 3 is set to be shown to the public tonight, and some of the details have reportedly been dug up, while an illuminating chat with Tesla’s chief designer sheds further light.

According to Electrek, the car starting at $35,000 will look like a blend of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV, with a front end that’s more reminiscent of the latter. It will be shorter and narrower than either vehicle.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Says Model 3 Will Be On Sale 2017 Alongside Chevy Bolt

Other details include a 0-60 time of under four seconds (it’s unclear which trim level that will be on), available all-wheel drive, available autonomous driving modes, and an available battery pack that will have an output of around 80 kilowatt hours, allowing for a range of up to 300 miles. Electrek reports that a fully optioned out Model 3 could run into the $50-$60,000 price range.

Meanwhile, Wired’s German edition spoke with Tesla Chief Designer Franz Von Holzhausen to try and wring some details out, but he remained pretty tight-lipped. Still, there’s at least a sense of what may happen with the car’s design. We’ve culled some of his statements and lightly edited them to remove some awkward German-to-English translations, in order to get a sense of what the Model 3 may look like when the cover comes off tonight.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model 3 Conjectured To Garner Over 100,000 Reservations Almost Immediately

“Some people think that because the driving of a car is different, everything has to be different,” von Holzhausen told Wired. “The opposite is true: We at Tesla want to create a brand that is growing for decades. With sci-fi design you might reach the early adopters. If you want to advance the global transition to the electric car as we did, then you can do that only when you [create a car liked by the masses]. But it is also important to create a car whose shape in the long run … is timeless. The car feels best if relevant.”

Holzhausen also said the purpose of the Model 3 is to grow the brand – and he added that when the Model S was introduced, electric cars were a much smaller market niche than now, and with a growing market, especially in price ranges that are considered affordable, the Model 3 is intended to appeal to a much larger potential customer base.

He also sees the competing Chevrolet Bolt as healthy competition. From his perspective, the more electric cars on the road, the better.

All the secrecy ends tonight, around 8:30 Pacific Time.

WiredElectrek

 

Mar 30

Tesla Model 3 Conjectured To Garner Over 100,000 Reservations Almost Immediately

 

Just one day to go …

By Tim Healey

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Tesla is set to unveil the Model 3 on Thursday, March 31 in Los Angeles, and some are expecting that from the time Tesla stores open that day until the time they open on Friday, over 100,000 reservations will have been made.

Actually, if this happens, the reservations have already begun for Tesla employees who have been invited to reserve the Model 3 – sight unseen. With 15,000 people working for the company, that’s another strong potential reservation base.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Model 3 Release Date Set

As for the 100,000 in 24 hour speculation, Teslarati is basing this on a combination of math and what it says is feedback from Tesla store employees. The outlet figures that with 221 Tesla stores worldwide, and with employees suggesting that customers will be camping out to guarantee their place in line, there will be at least 100,000 reservations during the first 24 hours.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Says Model 3 Will Be On Sale 2017 Alongside Chevy Bolt

That’s not just physical reservations taken at the stores, but also online reservations – Tesla will open up online reservations during the launch event, which begins at 8:30 PM PST on March 31. Current Tesla owners will be given priority.

Reservations are $1,000 apiece and can be refunded, so that relatively low cost of entry plus the promise of a refund could make a reservation appealing even to a non-Tesla owner who is interested in the buzz around the Model 3.

While Tesla is expected to bring working, drivable prototypes to the launch event, the first deliveries of the car itself aren’t projected by Tesla to begin until late 2017, a year and a half from now.

Teslarati, Electrek

HybridCars.com

 

Mar 29

Hyundai debuts Ioniq trio For US market

 

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Last week in New York Hyundai’s Ioniq was introduced to the U.S. market.

The car with choice of electrified powertrain will begin sales with the 2017 hybrid and battery electric versions in the fourth quarter of this year, and a 2018 plug-in hybrid version will follow a few months into next year.

Having been revealed on the world stage early this month in Geneva, Hyundai says the trio of green cars is a significant “milestone” in its play to take on Toyota, anyone else, and the growing green car market.

The Ioniq is also the world’s first dedicated electrified platform for which Hyundai can receive credit while also having saved billions in development costs that would have been incurred if it had separately developed three new cars.

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Shared by all three variants therefore are core specifications including significant use of aluminum and high strength steel to cut curb weight, seen as mission critical for maximum mpg.

SEE ALSO: Who Else Besides Toyota Will The Hyundai Ioniq Threaten?

These inaugural cars representing a new model line for Hyundai are intended to stay relevant through the next decade and are designed with expected creature comforts.

Included are details like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, 7-inch TFT display and advanced safety features.

Tech in the safety department includes Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Smart Cruise Control.

Ioniq Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid

Hybrid on left, Plug-in Hybrid on right.

Hybrid on left, Plug-in Hybrid on right.

The Ioniq Hybrid was benchmarked against the Toyota Prius and is projected by Hyundai to be certified by the U.S. EPA at 57 or 58 mpg. This is not official, but assuming it becomes so, it will surpass the most-efficient 56 mpg Eco version of the 2016 rival from Japan, and take the top mpg spot among non-plug-in U.S. market cars.

The plug-in Ioniq builds on the Hybrid’s powertrain but adds an 8.9-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery for emission-free driving.

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Manager of Product Planning, John Shon says it will offer more than 25 miles EV range, but less than 30. In Europe it’s rated 32 miles (50 km). The new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid also launched yesterday has an 8.8-kwh battery and is estimated for 22 miles.

Toyota has said its new Prius line is more sporty than the previous model, touts an independent rear suspension, and wouldn’t you know, the Korean upstart also speaks of sportiness with independent rear suspension. Do you think Toyota knew who was going to come knocking on its back door when it redesigned the fourth-generation Prius for this year?

SEE ALSO: 2016 Toyota Prius First Drive Review – Video

Other Hyundai specs mirroring Toyota’s best-selling hybrid is an engine with “unsurpassed thermal efficiency” of 40 percent – unsurpassed that is, except it equals the 40 percent Toyota also claims.

Specs. Click to expand.

Specs. Click to expand.

This engine built for hybrid applications is a direct-injected 1.6-liter Atkinson cycle serving up 104 horsepower, 109 pounds-feet of torque.

The electric motor in the hybrid versions provides an estimated 43 horsepower (32 kilowatts) with maximum torque of 125 pounds-feet.

In the regular Hybrid is a lithium-ion polymer battery with 1.56 kwh capacity.

Combined system power is estimated at 139 horsepower.

Where Hyundai deviates from Toyota’s Prius and other hybrids which use a continuously variable transmission (CVT) however, is with a six-speed automatic manual, also known as a dual clutch transmission (DCT).

This unit promises superior highway mpg, while giving up some efficiency in city compared to the Toyota’s CVT, said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Corporate and Product Planning.

The Ioniq’s actual highway/city/combined numbers will be competitive with the Prius, but Hyundai’s choice of DCT follows its existing hybrids’ avoidance of CVTs – a move favored by traditionalists who like the sound, feel, and potential control of stepped gearing.

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Hyundai’s Ioniq further mirrors Toyota however with its coefficient of drag – a “class leading” 0.24 helps the Ioniq slip through the wind and save fuel. Here too, it is class leading, but also happens to equal the Prius’ 0.24 cd, which itself matches that of the Tesla Model S.

Dimensionally the Korean and Japanese hybrid (see Prius hybrid spec sheet in gallery) are within inches or a fraction of an inch and ride on the same 106.3-inch wheelbase.

Hyundai figures maybe between October and November, or maybe by December the Hybrid will go on sale. It will be marketed and stocked in all 50 states.

The plug-in hybrid will follow and will be marketed just in the 11 and counting ZEV states following California rules, but Hyundai dealers in all states may choose if they wish to stock and/or special order the PHEV for buyers who want it.

Ioniq Electric

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Nearly everything structural and design-wise about the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrids is true also of the battery electric Ioniq except, of course, it burns no gas.

As intended from its inception, it is a case of delete engine; insert all-electric powertrain.

Centered around a 28-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer battery mostly under the rear seats, the EV pending EPA certification is expected to deliver 110 miles range.

Its electric motor is estimated at 120 horsepower (88 kw) and 215 pounds-feet of torque. As is customary, a single-speed reduction gear transmission is employed.

Hyundai is also touting a very high 125 MPGe estimated rating. If this is so, it will edge out the 124 MPGe BMW i3.

Competitiveness

 2017 Ioniq HEV.

2017 Ioniq HEV.

The Ioniq trio appears to be the closest rendition yet to a jack-of-all (electrified) trades, and master of some – not “none” – as it does promise efficiency and performance in all three versions that could lead to a respectable value proposition.

As noted above, the Ioniq Hybrid is predicted to beat the 2016 Prius in mpg, if only by a little bit, and with variances between city efficiency and highway.

The Plug-In Hybrid likewise beats the 2017 Prius Prime with more than 25-plus miles range versus 22 estimated – but again, neither Toyota nor Hyundai have announced EPA-certified numbers yet.

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In hybrid mode, the Hyundai also stands to edge out the Prius Prime, though this is to be determined, as the Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid’s MPG is expected to be slightly lower than the Ioniq Hybrid due additional curb weight.

Otherwise, its e-range will beat the 19-mile Ford C-Max and Fusion Energis, should fare well against the 27-mile Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima PHEVs, but other plug-in hybrids may eventually surpass its e-range, and the 53-mile 2016/2017 Chevy Volt already does.

As for the Ioniq Electric, some EV fans – already jaded by future products like the 2017 Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and next-generation Nissan Leaf – have been less than kind in assessing Hyundai’s EV with just three miles more range than the new/old 2016 Leaf.

Chevy Bolt is being readied for consumer orders starting at the end of this year. Tesla and Nissan are also due to have 200-mile EVs.

Chevy Bolt is being readied for consumer orders starting at the end of this year. Tesla and Nissan are also due to have 200-mile EVs.

Hyundai was not caught sleeping at the wheel, however, and offered some views on how it sees things working out.

“The main thing that we saw for electric vehicles is, you know, 200 miles range like the Chevrolet Bolt is planning,” began Shon when asked about the Bolt. “What are the real advantages to that other than the fact that you’ll go 2-3 days without charging?” he posed rhetorically.

“We already have all the data for electric vehicles, plug in hybrid owners – 90 percent plug in over night and at home,” he said. “So if they are buying it for commuting purposes, 200 mile range, what are you really gaining from that?”

SEE ALSO: Hyundai’s 2017 Ioniq Electric May Get Half the Range of Chevy Bolt

This is not to say Hyundai declares 200 miles irrelevant or superfluous, but speaks mainly to certain buyers who are fine with low-100s while saving on weight, potential battery cost, and potential packaging complexity, as the case may be.

At the end of the day, Hyundai is fully aware the new benchmark is about to leave 110 mile EVs and O’Brien said what EV fans have suggested – it may price the car to make it still worthwhile.

The EV's grille is blocked off a la Tesla Model S.

The EV’s grille is blocked off a la Tesla Model S.

“Remember one key point is manufacturers don’t set the price, the market does. If you look at a Fiat 500 Electric – now below $100 month payment – it wasn’t Chrysler’s wish to price it below $100 a month. Right? It was the market,” said O’Brien of a lease payment for that limited-market car. “So they had to adjust. So all manufacturers end up – in the final analysis they’re going to price to what the market will absorb.

“We are fully cognizant to the fact that people will compare range, and the vehicle size, and other attributes, and we are going to have to price to that.”

Major manufacturer EVs have only been on the market since the 2011 model year, and how this will all shake out remains to be seen, but O’Brien suggested varying performers will settle similar to how conventional vehicles have.

Today there are internal combustion vehicles ranging from economical four cylinders, he said, to V8s and buyers have to choose how much engine they want.

A similar corollary might be seen with EV range and inexpensive but effective 110 mile or so EVs may work for some while others will want 200, 225, 300 and whatever else may come along.

Not All Eggs In One Basket

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O’Brien said Hyundai’s all-of-the-above approach to alternative fuels – which includes hydrogen – means it’s hedging its bets on how future regulations and customer preferences may shift the market.

The Ioniq line itself was intended to try to be closer to a normal alternative that happened to be green. The drive experience will not be weird, but rather O’Brien said the car is not much different than a sharply tuned Elantra.

For all the talk of “sportiness” between Toyota and Hyundai, the qualifier is they are speaking of hybrids not normally associated with that trait at all.

“Is it a Porsche? No,” said O’Brien of how the Ioniq will impress drivers, “but people will get into it and not feel lke they are giving up anything.”

This article appears also at HybridCars.com.

 

Mar 28

Mitsubishi Shows 2017 Outlander PHEV in New York

 

At long last …

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Last week Mitsubishi unveiled its Outlander PHEV, a vehicle that’s been a top seller in Europe and long on the want list by numerous American plug-in enthusiasts.

Originally revealed at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, the all-wheel-drive SUV has since gone through a mid-cycle refresh and is promised this fall in the U.S.

Mitsubishi says the vehicle with 2.0-liter engine paired with dual motors and 12-kilowatt-hour battery is “the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV.” This it is, but it’s on track to be America’s fourth due to several delays by the ailing manufacturer.

Positioned as a nicely appointed example from a brand not known for prices as high as Porsche, BMW, and Volvo – the other plug-in SUV sellers that have staked a claim in the U.S. – the Mitsu may be the most affordable yet for those of more modest budgets.

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Distinguishing it from plug-in sedans and hatchbacks in the sub-$40,000 category is Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system.

This is full time and distributes torque from front and rear motors on the axles tied to the hybrid system that can run in all-electric mode, series hybrid mode with engine acting as generator, and parallel hybrid mode with engine plus electric assist.

Bells and whistles include Multi-Around view Camera Monitor, Forward Collision Mitigation with pedestrian detection capability, and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)

Also available will be Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

"The five-passenger multi-purpose crossover concept demonstrates the potential of the Voltec propulsion system by utilizing the same foundation as the Volt, for gas- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving," said a Chevrolet press release in April 2010.  To date, the Volt and ELR have been GM's only EREVs.

Volt-based MPV5 Concept – Beijing, 2010. “The five-passenger multi-purpose crossover concept demonstrates the potential of the Voltec propulsion system by utilizing the same foundation as the Volt, for gas- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving,” said a Chevrolet press release in April 2010. To date, the Volt and ELR have been GM’s only EREVs.

A CHAdeMO fast-charging option available in Europe is not to be so here.

Mitsubishi has not announced the estimated mpg or electric range for the U.S. In Europe it’s about 32 miles estimated, but that cycle is typically more optimistic than the U.S. EPA.

Expect pricing and further details closer to launch projected for this fall.

 

Mar 25

Video teases pre-production Chevy Bolts on the assembly line

 

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This week General Motors released a video highlighting pre-production underway at its Orion Township, Mich. assembly plant for the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.

The 200-plus-mile range all-electric car is to start at $37,500 before a $7,500 federal tax credit and potential state incentives, as available, but what’s being shown are not units for sale.

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Rather, they are to finalize testing of plant tools and processes in preparation for the start of retail production at the end of this year.

“We’re at another critical and important point in the development of the Bolt EV,” said Josh Tavel, Bolt EV Chief Engineer. “We’ve moved from working in math and building cars by hand to building Bolt EV’s on the line. We’re now testing the tooling used in the plant so that we deliver high quality 200-plus mile EV that our customers are eagerly anticipating.”

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Chevrolet has committed to producing the first Bolts for consumers by the end of this year. Rumors and conjecture that the Bolt would be in first buyers’ driveways by end of this year are not confirmed by the automaker.