Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Sales of electric vehicles in China are finally slowing

China’s electric-car market is taking a breather after two years of rapid growth.
Monthly sales of new-energy vehicles (NEV), including battery and hybrids, declined 4.7% from July 2018 to 80,000 units last month, the latest data from China’s biggest auto industry association (link in Chinese) show. The last time the sector posted a monthly decline in sales was in January 2017, when the number plunged 74.4% from a year earlier, as people were waiting for the government to clarify its subsidy policy for the year.
Overall NEV sales as of July this year, however, grew 40.9% from a year ago to 699,000 units, data released yesterday (Aug. 12) from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) show. CAAM said that it forecasts sales of 1.6 million NEVs this year.
The July sales drop comes as China’s auto sales overall continue to weaken. Monthly sales were down 12.1% to 1.8 million units in July, marking a 12th consecutive month of declines for the broader sector.
The numbers are adding to the unease over China’s sluggish economy as Beijing faces growing challenges on the domestic and external fronts. The EV market, however, is under further pressure as the government has been cutting subsidies to the sector since June. NEV sales in July from BYD, China’s largest electric-car maker, fell 12% to 16,567 units from the same period last year. Sales of NEV passenger car sales, which usually do well for BYD, took the hardest hit. Among them, plug-in hybrid sales declined more than 10% from last July to 6,459 units.

Monday, 29 June 2020

China’s Electric Car Market Is Struggling. Investors Are Still Bullish.

even as the overall economy bounces back. The epidemic merely twisted the knife after the industry’s 30-year growth run.

But observers watched as China’s shutdown came and went more quickly than expected and broad metrics like fixed-asset investment and industrial production rebounded. Auto sales weren’t early to join the upswing—tumbling 42% in the first quarter.
Things finally brightened in April, when 4.4% year-over-year sales growth broke the 21-month slump, driven by no-longer suppressed demand and by government incentives. Last month’s sales surprised even some bullish analysts, leaping 14.5% year-over-year.
The industry has welcomed revived sales and several international car makers are seeing the bulk of their revenue come from China while U.S. and European markets remain stagnant. But for domestic and overseas sellers alike, the boomlet in the world’s largest vehicle market is presenting a range of strategy questions in a time with scant precedent.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Will the Lordstown Endurance electric truck beat the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T to market?

Credit: Lordstown
Lordstown, the electric car startup that was only founded last year, unveiled its debut vehicle, called the Endurance, yesterday. What’s more, the company is planning to deliver it early next year, which is one heck of a timeline. It’s expected to start at around $52,500, putting it in a similar price bracket to Tesla’s Cybertruck.
“There are going to be five or more electric pickup trucks in the future… we’re going to beat all of them to market,” said Lordstown CEO Steve Burns at the launch.
If Lordstown is a new name to you, here’s the lowdown. The company was set up in 2019 after its founder and CEO Steve Burns acquired a fully kitted out General Motors production facility located in Lordstown, Ohio — hence its name. Burns himself is no stranger to electric vehicles, previously running Workhorse, an EV startup that specifically makes electric vehicles for commercial markets.
Lordstown Motors says it’s going to specialize in making all-electric American pickup trucks for the commercial market. In fact, it’s licensing intellectual property from Burns’ former business to do it. While the Ford F150 and Cybertruck target private buyers, Lordstown is taking a different tack going specifically for manual workers and tradespeople.
Electric pickups are largely, under the surface, the same as each other. They all have batteries and electric motors that drive the wheels built into the chassis. However, the Endurance is taking a slightly different approach and mounting the motors in the hubs of each wheel.
Like the four motor Rivian, this allows the Endurance to control exactly how much power is sent to each wheel. In off-road scenarios this can be incredibly useful for getting out of slippy spots, as power can be sent to the wheels with grip, rather than sending it to all wheels and spinning out of control.
There’s been some debate whether this is a good strategy for EVs, some believe they’re a good idea, most seem to disagree, though.
On one hand, putting motors in wheels adds to the unsprung weight of a vehicle. Generally speaking, adding weight and components to bits of the vehicle that aren’t suspended is bad. As previous testing from renowned sports carmaker Lotus found, it can negatively affect handling, but not dramatically. The real issue is the decreased life of components, as parts that don’t have suspension are subject to all the rigors of road conditions without any cushioning.
On the plus side, because the motors connect directly to the wheels, there are fewer moving parts, no differential is required, and they’re easy to replace if they do get damaged or fail. It is a wonderfully simple design.
At the launch, Burns said because the weight is on all four corners and so low down, the truck will also handle “like a sports car,” but I’d take that with a pinch of salt.
According to Lordstown, its Endurance vehicle has just four moving parts; the wheels. I’m not aware of any other mainstream EV that has taken this approach before, so it will be interesting to see how and if Lordstown can pull it off.
At the moment, Lordstown only has prototype vehicles in testing. However, given that it already has a tooled up factory, it’s not as far away from starting production as the likes of Tesla, which is still yet to build a Cybertruck factory, and Nikola, which hasn’t even built a prototype of its electric/hydrogen hybrid truck yet.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Waymo, Volvo partner to develop electric robotaxis

Waymo, Volvo partner to develop electric robotaxis

Waymo’s  self-driving software footprint is expanding — this time in a partnership with Volvo Car Group. The two companies announced Thursday an “exclusive” partnership to integrate Waymo’s self-driving software into a new electric vehicle designed for ride-hailing.
Volvo and Waymo provided just a few details on the partnership and what this might actually look like except that the companies “will first work together to integrate the Waymo Driver into an all-new mobility-focused electric vehicle platform for ride hailing services.” The phrase “first work together” suggests more is coming. We know that the new vehicle platform will be capable of Level 4 autonomy, a designation by SAE that means it can handle all driving in a specific geographic area or in certain weather and road conditions.
The partnership also includes other subsidiaries under Volvo Car Group, including electric performance brand Polestar and Lynk & Co. International, a point that Volvo Car Group CTO Henrik Green specifically noted in his prepared statement.
“Fully autonomous vehicles have the potential to improve road safety to previously unseen levels and to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel,” Volvo Car Group CTO Henrik Green said in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo opens up new and exciting business opportunities for Volvo Cars, Polestar and Lynk & Co.”
The term “exclusivity” is also used to describe the partnership. But without specific details it’s hard to know where this is headed and what “exclusive” actually means. The exclusivity term is used to describe Waymo’s Level 4 self-driving software, which suggests that the two companies might be co-developing or certainly sharing sensitive information on the inner workings of the stack. It also hints that the partnership is structured to include a possible licensing deal.
Waymo’s strategy so far has been to partner with automakers. Waymo handles the design of its hardware suite, software and compute system. It then works with the automakers to create vehicles that integrate easily with its so-called Waymo Driver. These relationships have largely focused on ride-hailing applications, but could be customized to make the vehicles more suitable for local delivery, trucking and personal car ownership.
If a licensing deal between the two companies materializes, it could be similar to Waymo’s partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In May 2018, FCA announced it expanded its contract with Waymo to supply the self-driving car company with up to 62,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans. FCA also said at the time that it was exploring ways to license Waymo’s self-driving car technology in order to deploy the tech in cars for consumers.
Waymo has a supplier partnership with Jaguar Land Rover for up to 20,000 all-electric I-Pace vehicles. In June 2020, Waymo locked in a partnership with Renault and Nissan to research how commercial autonomous vehicles might work for passengers and packages in France and Japan.
Don’t forget that Volvo still has a deal with Uber  self-driving unit Uber Advanced Technologies Group. Both Volvo and Uber ATG confirmed that its four-year partnership is still intact. Under that partnership, Volvo is supplying Uber with a vehicle designed for autonomous driving. These special Volvo XC90 vehicles are equipped with the hardware necessary to support Uber’s self-driving software. Uber then integrates its self-driving software stack into the vehicle. Volvo said it has a “framework agreement with Uber to deliver tens of thousands of autonomous drive ready vehicles.”

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

China may ease green rules for electric car production this year

China may ease green rules for electric car production this year
BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s industry ministry said on Monday it might temporarily ease quotas designed to boost production of electric cars, in an attempt to help automakers in the world’s biggest market revive sales badly bruised by the coronavirus pandemic.
China has some of the world’s strictest rules regarding the production of fossil-fuel vehicles, as it battles unhealthy levels of air pollution in its crowded cities.
Automakers in China are obliged to manufacture new energy vehicles (NEVs), including all-electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, to win “points” to make up for a portion of the negative points they incur when they produce internal combustion engine vehicles.
Depending on the present situation, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a policy that it might temporarily adjust the quotas and allow automakers to use the green points they generate next year to offset their negative points this year.
Industry officials consider it a supportive move as automakers can manage vehicle production better with less policy impact.
Reuters exclusively reported the policy discussion in April, citing people familiar with the matter. Sources also told Reuters that China would delay implementation of some emission rules by six months, which China’s state planner later confirmed.
The temporary easing of NEV quotas is likely to allow companies to delay model launches, which have more costly technology than conventional vehicles, and also discourage them from aggressive marketing.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Tesla and GM are each developing batteries that can last a million miles.

Cross sections of electric vehicle batteries displayed at Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) headquarters in Ningde, Fujian province, China.

Tesla and GM are each developing batteries that can last a million miles. Neither have yet said exactly when they’ll be ready. GM is “almost kind of there on longer life,” Doug Parks, an executive vice president, said at a May 19 Citigroup Inc. event. The car maker is “experiencing nearly that in some of our products today,” Parks said.

Combustion engine vehicles are currently scrapped in the U.S. after about 200,000 miles, Tesla said in a June 8 report, meaning a longer-life battery pack could dramatically extend a car’s lifespan, particularly useful for taxis or delivery trucks. More important, a million-mile pack could be resold by a consumer to be deployed in a second vehicle, offsetting some of the initial purchase price.
Tesla is planning to provide further details on its battery innovations in the coming weeks at what it’s billing as a “battery day” investor seminar. It had tentatively been scheduled for April but was delayed on account of Covid-19 travel concerns and restrictions.
One critical update investors are expecting: the average cost of batteries used in Tesla’s various models. The carmaker’s numbers typically set the standard for others to catch up to, and the car battery still accounts for about 30% of the total cost of an electric vehicle. Better technology and rapid growth in manufacturing capacity has already sent the price of lithium-ion batteries tumbling, down from more than $1,000 a kilowatt hour to an average of $156/kWh at the end of 2019, according to BNEF.
An industry average battery price of $100/kWh, should be achieved in 2024, BNEF analyst James Frith said at a seminar in May, leading to price parity between electric cars and combustion engine vehicles. Additional savings through 2030 will lower costs further, though they’ll prove harder to achieve and will depend on additional advancements and new technology, according to Frith.
Every battery has three key components: two electrodes, cathode and anode, with an electrolyte—usually a liquid—to allow the battery to charge and discharge.

A key, pending breakthrough will be the addition of silicon into battery anodes in place of graphite. California’s Sila Nanotechnology Inc., which counts Daimler AG among its investors, says the silicon will help make a single charge last at least 20% longer.
The technology is being applied to consumer devices that are due to hit the market next year, said Sila CEO Gene Berdichevsky. There’s also potential for the technology to make its way into some supercars or luxury vehicles as early as 2023—and mainstream vehicles after that, Berdichevsky said. “There's now more engineering resources at the battery makers that we work with,'' he said. “There's more capacity on the production line to try new things."

A more significant advance could be achieved before the end of the decade via the commercialization of solid-state lithium-ion batteries for regular cars. Such a development would enable smaller battery packs, reducing safety risks and dramatically improving energy density, allowing cars to travel much further on a single charge.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Volkswagen gets more active in software development with new Car.Software division

Volkswagen gets more active in software development with new Car.Software division - Roadshow

Volkswagen is reducing its reliance on software partnerships and shifting gears to developing its own in-vehicle software. That shift starts on July 1, when the automaker's newly formed internal organization Car.Software switches from the start-up phase to operational mode, according to an online keynote speech delivered Friday by Christian Senger, Car.Software's CEO.
Car.Software does exactly what it says on the tin. It's an independent business unit within the Volkswagen Group dedicated to "the development of car software and software for the digital ecosystems," according to a company statement announcing the formation of the internal start-up in November last year.
According to Senger, VW's current share of its cars' software is less than 10%, with the rest coming from development partnerships with large IT groups, tier 1 providers and other third-party software. (This is actually quite common in the automotive industry.) By 2025, the automaker wants to increase that to a majority 60% share, which means building and developing its own software and platforms.
A larger hand in its car software will allow VW to exercise more control (and quality control) over the tech that runs its cars. We're not just talking infotainment here; with the rise of software-controlled vehicle systems (such as drive-by-wire and shift-by-wire), fully electric cars, driver aid systems and, soon, autonomous vehicles, vehicle software is more important than ever.
"Volkswagen wants to retain control of the entire vehicle architecture -- that includes the electronics," Senger said. "We cannot give third parties complete access to data in our vehicles." Volkswagen sees retaining software control as a key element in ensuring its long-term competitiveness and security. 
A big part of VW Car.Software's plan to retake the bits and bytes that make the wheels turn is the development of a shared VW.OS that will eventually serve as the unifying tech backbone for all VW Group vehicles. Powered by the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud, this connected software platform will bring enhanced over-the-air updates to VW's vehicles, dashboard software and product downloads for drivers, and data collection on a massive scale for developers.
"The Automotive Cloud is technically ready to go. We are expanding its range of functions and preparing to connect the first vehicle models," said Senger.
Still in the early days, the first wave of VW ID electrics will still use VW's contemporary Modular Electric Propulsion Platform software with the Audi- and Porsche-developed Premium Platform Electric coming online around 2022. Then follows a transitional period leading up to the new VW.OS rollout around 2025.
Friday's announcement comes amid reports of numerous software bugs that caused delays to the summer rollout of the automaker's upcoming electric ID 3 hatchback. In this light, Car.Software's goals could be interpreted as VW's response to lessons learned during the ID 3's development. The automaker didn't directly confirm that assumption during a Q&A following Senger's keynote, however.
The shift from internal startup to fully operational division next month means the organization will see expansion of its budget, goals and staff. VW expects Car.Software to recruit and employ around 5,000 specialists globally by the end of 2020 -- mostly in Europe, with about a third located in China and the rest spread between India, Israel and the US -- and continue to grow from there.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Arrival's electric bus is designed for coronavirus-era social distancing

The coronavirus pandemic upended too many norms to count, and public transportation was one of them. Now more than ever, COVID-19 has companies rethinking the way we interact, do business and, in Arrival's case, ride the a bus.
The British startup company, which focuses on smart electric vehicles, on Wednesday debuted the Arrival Bus, pitched as just the bus for social distancing. That's because the interior of the bus is customizable, with removable seats, so you can create additional space between passengers. It's a pretty novel way to increase or decrease seats to meet reopening guidelines.
In addition to the social distancing-approved seating configuration, the bus uses touchless technology. Riders can request a stop via smartphone before they even set foot on the Arrival Bus, plexiglass screens separate riders and no-touch bells let them signal for a stop. Arrival touts seamless construction that makes the electric bus easy to disinfect as well.
Arrival Bus
Arrival Bus
Its futuristic looks include large screens that display route information, and riders can access the info and see how many seats are available via smartphone, too. Max passenger capacity will be 125 people in the bus' largest configuration.
Like Arrival's Generation 2 electric van, which has already garnered plenty of support, the Arrival Bus will be built on the company's skateboard platform, which will create more space while keeping all the components stored in a tidy fashion within the chassis. Also as with the electric van, Arrival plans to deploy "microfactories" to build the buses in the areas where they're needed. No massive supply chains and no big plants needed. All the components will be made in a small location with final assembly taking place in a local area.
Arrival promises all of its vehicles will boast a price identical to, if not lower than, traditional alternatives. It's working on bringing the Bus to market.

Rimac C_Two electric supercar delayed to 2021

Rimac continues to hum along with work on the C_Two electric supercar, but there's bad news for those waiting in line for the production car.
The Croatian-based startup said on Tuesday the C_Two won't be in customers' hands this year after all. Care to take a guess at what caused the delays? If you picked the obvious answer, the coronavirus pandemic, you win.
The production version of the C_Two was scheduled to enter production this year with first deliveries set to follow shortly thereafter. Now Rimac believes it will deliver the first cars in 2021. Not all is lost this year when it comes to the electric supercar, though. The company added we'll still see the C_Two's final design and learn its final name in the months to come.
In the meantime, the Croatian company remains busy with preproduction and prototype cars. Despite the delay, the C_Two now has a new production line at the factory, which will help cut assembly time in half. So far, the company has built four prototype cars, but it needs another 13 to fulfill testing and homologation requirements. Then, another 10 preproduction cars are required. The new assembly line will speed the process up tremendously.
Serving as a followup to the Rimac Concept_One, the C_Two promises a top speed of 258 mph and a 0-600 mph time of just 1.85 seconds. That's quicker than Tesla's quoted 1.9-second sprint for the upcoming Roadster, mind you. Four electric motors will make 1,914 horsepower, which will make the supercar quite super indeed. Rimac underscored it remains confident the production car will meet all of these figures.
So, we'll sit back and wait a little longer for Croatia to build its next world-beating supercar.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Travis County works on incentives deal to lure Tesla gigafactory to Austin

Travis County works on incentives deal to lure Tesla gigafactory to Austin

Tesla is negotiating terms of a possible incentives deal with Travis County that could bring the electric car maker’s next U.S. assembly plant — and thousands of jobs — to Austin, the American-Statesman has learned.
The Travis County Commissioners Court is scheduled to discuss the potential incentives deal in an executive session on Tuesday, according to people with knowledge of the proceedings. A vote is expected in the coming weeks.
Terms of the potential incentives deal have not been disclosed. Commissioners Court members did not respond Monday to messages seeking comment. County spokesman Hector Nieto said the county had no comment.
Messages left seeking comment from Tesla and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s office also were not returned Monday.
It was unclear Monday whether the negotiations with Travis County signal that Tesla has settled on Austin, or if the company is also continuing to negotiate with Tulsa on possible incentives.
Item 21 on Tuesday’s Commissioners Court agenda calls for the members to “consider and take appropriate action on a project under Travis County Code Chapter 28.” It gives no additional detail, but Chapter 28 of the Travis County Code contains guidelines for economic development incentives.
The United Auto Workers, a union for employees of automakers, believes “that Item 21 on the agenda is related to Tesla,” Brian Rothenberg, UAW director of public relations, told the Statesman.
The new facility — which Tesla calls a “gigafactory” — would build Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck electric pickup, as well as be a second site to build the Model Y SUV. It reportedly would be Tesla’s biggest facility, surpassing the company’s vehicle assembly factory in Fremont, Calif., that employs 10,000 people and its battery factory in Reno, Nev., that has 6,500 workers.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the company wants the factory to be in the center of the country and closer to East Coast markets.
Tesla has previously received significant incentives for choosing sites for its assembly plants. In 2014, Nevada agreed to a $1.3 billion incentives deal to lure Tesla’s battery factory to a site near Reno.
The United Auto Workers union on Monday called on Travis County commissioners to carefully review any public subsidies for Tesla.
“So far, it is unknown what actions Travis County Commissioners are contemplating,” UAW spokesman Rothenberg said. “We do know, however, that in July 2019, county staff asked the commissioners to place a moratorium on economic incentives. In May, the commissioners lifted the moratorium for two months and directed staff to prepare a document for the commissioners’ review. Discussion of economic incentives is back on the commissioners’ agenda for tomorrow, but it will be talked about in ‘executive session,’ meaning that the public will continue to have little or no information.”
The UAW said it has sent a letter to the Commissioners Court citing what it said are other states’ lack of return on investment.
“You have to look strongly at the track record of a company and their commitment not just to public dollars, but to the community investment and actual return on jobs created,” said Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president. “Tesla has a track record of collecting public subsidies from several states but not delivering on their promises. That is why it is important this time for Tesla to commit to community assurances for Travis County before getting subsidies.”
Austin economist Angelos Angelou said last month that if Tesla does choose the Austin region for its next factory, it would be “a great win for Texas and Austin.”
“It would bring thousands of good-paying jobs — non-union jobs — at a time when the economy needs new jobs, and it provides for further diversification of our economy,” Angelou said.
Auto manufacturing jobs typically pay about $35 an hour, or $65,000 to $75,000 a year — and that’s at the low end of the range, he said. Engineering, administrative and other jobs associated with the plant could be expected to pay much higher, he said.
Along with bringing thousands of jobs, having Tesla chose Austin would further the area’s reputation as a high-tech hub, Angelou said.

Tesla Finally Begins Michigan Deliveries

Throughout Tesla’s long rise, one thing the electric car company hadn’t done, until recently, was gain the ability to deliver cars in Michigan, the historical home of the American automotive industry.
Tesla is, of course, an American car company itself, but Michigan was among the states in which the law prevented car manufacturers from selling directly to the consumer, as they are required to go through dealerships.
Tesla’s business model, unlike the vast majority of the car industry, has always been for the company to sell direct to the consumer. Therefore, Michigan residents seeking to buy a Tesla not only had to travel to another state, but would also have to go out of state for servicing.
In 2016, per USA Today, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Michigan state officials, who had denied the company a dealership license, following a failed legislative effort to change that law.
In January, state Attorney General Dana Nessel—who made news last month when she stated that President Trump was no longer welcome in the state of Michigan—announced a settlement with Tesla that would pave the way for the company to operate in the state.
“Today the state of Michigan defendants Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a stipulation to dismiss with Tesla that recognizes that any Michigan resident may lawfully buy a Tesla and have it serviced in Michigan,” the statement from the attorney general said.
“The stipulation acknowledges that Tesla may: operate under existing Michigan law; sell cars to Michigan customers as long as the sales contract indicates the sale took place in a state other than Michigan; and, indirectly own service and repair facilities in Michigan through a subsidiary, Tesla Michigan.”

This week, per Electrek, such deliveries have begun. Tesla is not allowed to have a dealer license in the state, but it is allowed to “sell and service to customers in Michigan through legal loopholes, like registering cars from another state for deliveries and having a wholly owned subsidiary perform service.”
That report also said that the incumbent auto industry in Michigan, of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, “are rumored to have been involved trying to stop Tesla to sell in Michigan,” something that Tesla themselves alleged in the lawsuit.
Tesla, as of earlier this month, is now the world’s most valuable automaker, in terms of market capitalization. The company also recently announced a price cut for some of its models.

The 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid could go all the way

Honda was named the most fuel-efficient full-line automaker in America by the EPA in 2019, with an overall fleet rating of 30 mpg, and it got there by batting for average.
It doesn’t make any gas guzzlers, but it’s also never had a home run on the hybrid or electric sales charts. Now it has one that could go long ... between fill-ups.
(Note: Tesla only offered three models last year and didn’t qualify as a full-line automaker.)
The 2020 CR-V Hybrid is Honda’s first hybrid utility vehicle and was designed to take on the best-selling Toyota Rav4 Hybrid. Like the Rav4, it’s a low-key green machine. Aside from a couple of hybrid badges, it looks pretty much the same as the conventional models, all of which received a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it makeover for 2020.
The Toyota and Honda both come standard with all-wheel-drive, but their drivetrains are very different. Toyota’s features a hybrid unit with a four-cylinder engine and two electric motors driving the front wheels and a standalone electric motor at the rear axle, with no driveshaft connecting the two ends. The CR-V is essentially an electric car that uses its 2.0-liter four-cylinder primarily as a generator, although it can couple with the electric motor to help drive the wheels at certain speeds above 45 mph.
At 219 hp for the Rav4 and 212 hp for the CR-V, each represents the most powerful models in their lineups. Nevertheless, their EPA combined fuel economy ratings are 40 mpg and 38 mpg, respectively, but it’s pretty much a wash in the real world. I achieved 39-40 mpg with both of them in normal use.
The Rav4 Hybrid’s mix of practicality, efficiency and performance led me to proclaim it as the best newly-introduced vehicle I drove last year, and the CR-V Hybrid has quickly become a front-runner for the 2020 title. The cabin feels roomier than the Rav4's and adds a layer of sheen that gives it a more premium feel.
Four trim levels are available ranging from $28,870 for an EX to $37,070 for top of the line Touring. Along with a small price premium, the only real trade-off compared to the conventional CR-V is that the battery pack’s location under the cargo bay floor means there’s no spare tire or extra storage there.
Honda’s been using this drivetrain configuration in its hybrids for a while, but this application is by far the best. The power is immediate and, most of the time, the four-cylinder barely makes a sound when it is in use. Only when you floor the accelerator does it rev hard and stay there the way a powerboat engine does as the vehicle picks up speed, but even then it’s not unpleasant. When it’s operating in electric mode under 17 mph, the vehicle emits a hum to warn pedestrians that sounds very sci-fi, even from the driver’s seat. And that’s not a bad place to be.
Weighing just 200 pounds more than the gas-only CR-V, it retains all of the excellent driving dynamics the model is known for: its engaging handling coupled with a magic carpet ride. Switching from Eco to Normal to Sport mode makes significant changes to its responsiveness, with the last of those adding a significant kick.


Saturday, 13 June 2020

General Motors is preparing to launch a new crop of electric cars

General Motors is preparing to launch a new crop of electric cars. A short video posted by the automaker on Twitter this week hints that an electric Chevrolet Camaro could be one of them.
The video shows the silhouettes of different cars atop GM's recently announced BEV3 electric car platform. GM said BEV3 will be flexible enough to accommodate many different models.
At about three seconds into the short clip, the outline looks a lot like a Camaro coupe. The long-hood, short-rear-deck proportions of Chevy's muscle car are clearly visible.
To be clear, this is in no way confirmation that GM is planning an electric Camaro. But it does seem like something the automaker is capable of.
BEV3--which encompasses modular battery packs and powertrain components, as well as a basic vehicle architecture--should give GM the flexibility to make an electric Camaro alongside the electric models the automaker has already confirmed.
GM said BEV3 will support rear-wheel-drive applications, as well as powertrains with enough oomph for 0-60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. We're talking around 1,000 horsepower.
Ultium will also allow for a battery pack capacity of up to 200 kilowatt-hours, yielding 400 miles of range, GM said.
Chevy previously built an electric Camaro drag racer, allegedly capable of a 9.0-second quarter mile. But that car was a modified version of the current Camaro that wasn't intended for mass production.
GM hasn't offered many details on the Camaro's future, but the current, sixth-generation model is expected to last until 2023.
The seventh-generation Camaro will require a costly redesign, as the Alpha platform that underpins the sixth-generation Camaro is being phased out. It's unclear if GM will be willing to invest in a new Camaro at the same time as its expensive EV ramp up.
That ramp-up will see GM launch new electric models for Chevy, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac, as well as the Cruise Origin self-driving shuttle.
It will start with the Cadillac Lyriq crossover in April. Cadillac will also get an electric sedan, while Chevy will get both an updated Bolt EV and a crossover variant dubbed Bolt EUV. A GMC Hummer EV is scheduled to debut in May.
We've reached out to GM for comment and will update this story when we hear back.