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Archive for the ‘green cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Polestar 1

2017 Polestar 1

Originally named Flash Engineering and rebranded in 2005, Polestar is Volvo’s go-to when it comes to performance applications. Now, however, Polestar has broken away from the mothership, seeking its own destiny as a “standalone electric performance brand.” The Polestar 1 is the company’s first effort in that role, promising huge hybrid power, stylish GT car looks, a classy interior, and even a new take on modern car ownership models. It’s an ambitious undertaking and, if successful, it will undoubtedly shake things up across the industry. However, the question remains – will Polestar have what it takes to fend for itself?

Continue reading to learn more about the Polestar 1.

Exterior

  • Sleek, refined styling details
  • Very similar to the Volvo S90
  • Classic GT car shape

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738892
“It’s low and sleek and wide, a contoured, smoothed-out slab of elegant aggression with timeless grand tourer proportions”

Right off the bat, we’re loving the look of the Polestar 1. It’s low and sleek and wide, a contoured, smoothed-out slab of elegant aggression with timeless grand tourer proportions that would look at home at the top of the segment.

“But wait,” you’re probably saying, “this is too nice to be a real production vehicle. This is just a concept, right? Will the real thing really look this good?”

While not necessarily a slam-dunk “yes,” our answer is that we’re hopeful not much will change by the time the 1 starts rolling off the assembly line. As evidence, we’d like to point to the design seen on the latest Volvo S90 sedan –

left
right

Seen side-by-side, the design similarities are obvious. The front end in particular shows a remarkable resemblance between the two cars, with those narrow, forward-pointing headlight housings, which get divided into a bottom and upper portion thanks to a single horizontal graphic. The grilles are also identical in shape, down to the vertical slats and black insert. However, the Polestar distinguishes itself thanks to a reshaped lower bumper sporting larger intakes and more dramatic aero blades.

Moving to the flanks, we find the Polestar 1 beefs up its silhouette with a more aggressive roofline and plumped-up fender flares. This is particularly true in the rear, where the wheels seem to hang off the back of the car with an assertive demeanor. Speaking of the rollers, the Polestar 1 comes equipped with large wheels that fill the plus-sized fenders with purpose, nearly scraping its low-profile tires against the underside of the vehicle. Punctuating the smooth look of the two-door profile is a single lower character line, while the side-view mirrors look like carryovers from the S90. All told, the side-view looks more Aston Martin than it does Volvo – and that’s a very, very good thing.


2018 Polestar 1 - image 738881
“All told, the side-view looks more Aston Martin than it does Volvo – and that’s a very, very good thing.”

Moving to the rear, we once again find the S90’s influence show its face, in particular thanks to the C-shaped taillight housings. The trunk is rectangular, sharpening the look with crisp edges and a short overhang. The rear glass also appears to stretch up and into the roof, which should offer occupants a great deal of ambient lighting and result in an airy, open feel for those camped out on the rear bench. Lower black inserts connote addition sportiness with a diffuser-look element.

“It’s an extremely clean, almost anti-septic design approach, but we think it works great in an application like this.”

It’s an extremely clean, almost anti-septic design approach, but we think it works great in an application like this. We’re also digging the lack of badges, which would undoubtedly end up cluttering the overall look.

Details beyond the general aesthetics are a bit hazy at this point, but Polestar did mention that the body is made from carbon fiber, which should cut into the car’s curb weight significantly. Furthermore, we’d expect LED lighting elements front to back, plus adaptive high-/low-beam headlights in the nose.

Interior

  • Cabin layout taken from the Volvo S90
  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • High-end materials throughout

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738877
“You still get lots of polished metal trim, added as surrounds for the dash, vertical air vents, and character lines”

Inside the cabin, the Polestar 1 once again draws heavily from the Volvo S90, this time around as a direct carryover. Even the steering wheel is identical. Check it out –

left
right

Can you spot the differences? We sure can’t.

But again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We adore the S90’s cabin, and it wouldn’t make sense for polestar to mess with something so good just for the sake of being different.

You still get lots of polished metal trim, added as surrounds for the dash, vertical air vents, and character lines. A tall digital screen was placed in the center stack, while the various controls are angled towards the driver. Soft touch materials are added to the central tunnel, with cutouts added to provide space for the shifter and various drive settings. The seats appear to be covered in sumptuous leather upholstery, and we’d also expect heating and ventilation functions. The instrumentation behind the steering wheel includes additional digital readouts.

“Carbon fiber is a prominent trim material of choice. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy, but it work in a high-end performer like this.”

Carbon fiber also seems to be a prominent trim material of choice, seen lying across the dash in wide swaths of tasty weave. Yeah, it’s a bit cheesy, but it work in a high-end performer like this.

Also, Polestar says the 1 uses a 2+2 interior, which means you can sneak in some smaller folks behind you if desired.

Finally, considering Volvo’s dedication to the latest and greatest assistance technology, we’d expect the same kind of gear in the Polestar 1 as well. Adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition, automatic braking, and similar tech should come as standard.

Drivetrain

  • Hybrid powertrain makes 600 horsepower
  • 738 pound-feet of torque
  • Up to 93 miles in EV mode

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738876
“Polestar did say peak output comes to a heady 600 horsepower and 1,000 Nm (738 pound-feet) of torque”

This is where the performance company really starts to make its break from Volvo. Creating the go in the Polestar 1 is a hybrid electric-gasoline powertrain, and although we don’t know exactly what’s burning the dyno juice, Polestar did say peak output comes to a heady 600 horsepower and 1,000 Nm (738 pound-feet) of torque.

That’s a lot, and we’re excited to see Polestar getting so ambitious with its first stand-alone model. Indeed, if all goes according to plan, it certainly bodes well for the future of the company.

“Polestar says the 1 can go as far as 150 km (93 miles) on electric power alone.”

What’s more, Polestar says the 1 can go as far as 150 km (93 miles) on electric power alone, a figure the company claims as the longest of any hybrid currently on the market. That’s right – speed and economy. What a lovely combination, no?

If we were to speculate, we’d guess Polestar is tuning a twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) inline 2.0-liter four-cylinder (basically the T8 Plug-In Hybrid powerplant you see offered in numerous Volvo vehicles) for even more power, while throwing in a beefed-up lithium-ion battery pack under the floor and a set of high-end electric motors to boot. What’s more, we’d also expect a variety of driving modes to make the most of the available power sources, including both a sport mode and an eco mode.

Chassis And Handling

  • Uses the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture
  • Carbon fiber body cuts weight
  • Electronic suspension is from Ohlins

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738897
“Under the skin of the Polestar 1, you’ll find (surprise, surprise) the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture, or SPA platform”

Under the skin of the Polestar 1, you’ll find (surprise, surprise) the Volvo Scalable Platform Architecture, or SPA platform. Introduced in 2014, these are the same bones used to create the modern Volvo XC90 SUV, XC60 crossover, and of course, the S90 sedan and V90 wagon.

That said, Polestar asserts that about half of the 1’s chassis is new. Details on what that means are still forthcoming, but we’re gonna guess it has something to do with more rigidity and sportiness, as well as greater accommodation for larger battery packs. Indeed, Polestar is quick to point out that the carbon fiber body components help to up torsional rigidity by as much as 45 percent.

“Polestar asserts that about half of the 1’s chassis is new. The carbon fiber body components help to up torsional rigidity by as much as 45 percent.”

All of that should help the car not only soak up road aberrations and smooth out the ride, but also make it more entertaining to dive in the corners as well. To complement this, the Polestar 1 uses two electric motors at the rear axle, thus creating an advanced torque vectoring system for even sharper handling.

Further apex hunting is assisted by the upgraded suspension system, which uses a new electronic, continuously variable set-up from Ohlins.

All promising stuff, no doubt. But will it be enough to tackle the heavy-hitters of the segment?

Prices

  • Available via “subscription”
  • Owning one will be about $100K

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738888

Polestar is scheduling production of its first standalone vehicle for sometime mid-2019. The new GT car will get built in Polestar’s new production center in China, which is currently under construction and will be completed some time next year.

Now, here’s where things start to get a little weird. Polestar says it wants to shake up the traditional car ownership experience with the 1, starting with the way you order the thing. All interested buyers can log said interest via the Internet, either through an app or online portal. What’s more, rather than owning the car outright, you’ll be able to essentially rent it via a two- to three-year “subscription.” This includes no deposit, and simple monthly payments. The subscription will also toss in delivery services, and the chance to rent alternative vehicles in the Volvo and Polestar lineups.

“Rather than owning the car outright, you’ll be able to essentially rent it via a two- to three-year “subscription” and monthly payments.”

Of course, you’ll probably wanna try it out beforehand, so Polestar says it’s opening a network of “Polestar Spaces” across the globe to do exactly that. These will be separate from Volvo dealers – again, something that’s very ambitious for the newly christened standalone Polestar. Additionally, the 1 will use a “Phone-As-Key” feature wherein owners can share their car with someone else if desired.

Order books for the Polestar 1 are open now. Official pricing for the monthly subscription are not yet announced, but if you’re more interested in just buying one outright, we hear a figure around $100,000 might make sense.

Competition

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid


2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid - image 687806

Sportiness and efficiency, eh? Porsche already has you covered with its electrified Panamera. Dubbed the 4 E-Hybrid, this battery-assisted wagon/sedan/hatchback thing arrives on the scene with the traditional Stuttgart styling, including oval headlights and a 911-like front end. With four doors and four seats onboard, there’s plenty of room to stretch out, while materials and amenities are all top-notch. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.9-liter V-6 making 330 horsepower, while the electric motor makes 136 horses. Put ‘em together, and you’ll get as much as 462 horsepower, plus an even-more-impressive 516 pound-feet of torque. Just 4.4 seconds is needed to hit 60 mph, while top speed looks like 172 mph. Pricing starts at just under $100,000.

Read our full review on the Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.

Lexus LC 500H


2017 Lexus LC 500h - image 665597

Based on the hot-to-trot Lexus LC 500, the 500H builds on its ICE-only sibling’s sexy good looks by adding two electric motors and an additional automatic transmission (two transmissions total). The result is less of the wind-up-and-go feel you get from a normal CVT, plus plenty of power as well. Inside, the 500H is dripping with luxury, while the 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in less than five seconds thanks to 354 horsepower at the rear axle. Burning the gasoline is a 3.5-liter V-6, while top speed is pegged at 155 mph.

Read our full review on the Lexus LC 500H.

Conclusion


2018 Polestar 1 - image 738873

Normally, something like the Polestar 1 would have our BS detectors ringing like crazy. The details on this are few and far between, while the claims that are getting thrown around are so ambitious, they border on the unbelievable. 600 hybrid horsepower, 738 pound-feet of torque, and nearly 100 miles of all-electric range? New ownership models? Gorgeous styling and high-end luxury? All made in a new factory and coming from a new standalone brand?

If you were typing out the word “vaporware” in the comments section right at this moment, we wouldn’t blame you.

That said, we think Polestar has what it needs to pull this off. Sure, it’s broken away from Volvo, but it’s obvious how close the 1 is to existing products from the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker. Just look at the cabin for evidence of that.

“We think Polestar has what it needs to pull this off.”

So yeah, it’s ambitious, but with Volvo at its back, we think Polestar certainly has the right stuff to make it work.

The company says it’s already got three models in the works, with all future offerings slated to get fully electrified drivetrains (the Polestar 1 will the only hybrid in the lineup). These include the mid-size Polestar 2 scheduled for later in 2019, framed as the first BEV from the Volvo Car Group and expected to reach high-production numbers compared to the Polestar 1 (think Tesla Model 3 fighter). The follow-up will be the Polestar 3, an SUV that promises to “create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics.”

Sounds good to us. Now we just gotta wait to see the Polestar 1 hit the streets.

  • Leave it
    • Big promises, but can Polestar deliver?
    • Very similar to existing Volvo products in numerous ways
    • Plenty of stuff could go wrong between now and full production status
    • Smells like vaporware

References

Volvo S90 Sedan


2017 Volvo S90 - image 658241

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo S90.

Volvo XC90


2016 Volvo XC90 - image 565977

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo XC90.

Volvo XC60


2018 Volvo XC60 - image 708314

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo XC60.

Volvo V90 wagon


2017 Volvo V90 - image 666469

Read our full review on the 2017 Volvo V90.

PostHeaderIcon Need a Six-Door Electric SUV? Here’s Some Green4U

You may have heard of Panoz, a Georgia, U.S.-based automaker that builds custom road cars and their racing counterparts like the AIV Roadster and Esperante. You might even know the Panoz name from Don Panoz, the founder of the American Le Mans Series. But, it’s likely you’ve never heard of Green4U, the new parent company of Panoz. Though it sounds like a smoothie option at the local mall or landscaping company, Green4U is focused on building electric vehicles for taxi fleets, municipalities, the military, and the general public. The company has barely made it off the ground, having been founded in September 2016, but has several vehicles in the works. Two of them are six-door SUVs with all-electric drivetrains.

What’s more, Green4U claims they’ll both have a 230-mile electric range.

The SUV seen here is the MTU-6. It’s a Land Rover Defender-esque SUV that rides on an aluminum chassis and is built in-house in Green4U’s Georgia facility. The other SUV is the Enova. It also rides on the same aluminum chassis, but its body is tailored more towards the limousine and taxi service rather than the rugged outdoorsman with lots of friends. Green4U hasn’t divulged many details about either of its SUVs beyond the claimed 230-mile range. But, by the look of things, we’d bet 4WD will be included in the mix.

Jack Perkowski, Green4U Technologies CEO and co-founder, said, “Our engineers designed a lightweight and strong aluminum chassis and are optimizing electric drivetrains and systems to deliver the range and performance that fleet operators need. “We’re focusing on fleet operators because they understand how EVs can greatly lower their operating costs. A company that has fleet vehicles traveling 50,000 miles a year can save thousands of dollars through lower fuel and maintenance costs.” Green4U says pricing and detailed specs will be released “in the near future” and the MTU-6 and Enova will be available to customers by the summer of 2018.

Continue reading for more information.

Green4U MTU-6


Need a Six-Door Electric SUV? Here's Some Green4U - image 738747
“The MTU-6 is a beastly looking SUV whose only off-road drawback is its excessive length and subsequent shallow break-over angle”

The MTU-6 is a beastly looking SUV whose only off-road drawback is its excessive length and subsequent shallow break-over angle. Otherwise, the MTU-6 has an aggressive front bumper with tow points, plenty of forward-facing lights, meaty tires, and a stout-looking rear end. Perhaps not by chance, the MTU-6 looks reminiscent of a Land Rover Defender, especially from the back side. There’s even a ladder to reach the roof basket for extra storage and a pintle hitch for towing trailers.

The MTU-6’s main feature is its six doors. This allows for easy access to the SUV’s three rows of seating. No one has to crawl over seats or fold into compromising positions to enter or exit. How dignified. Side steps constructed from diamond plate also help give a leg up into the high-riding rig.


Need a Six-Door Electric SUV? Here's Some Green4U - image 738748
“Green4U says the MTU-6 will ride on a custom-built aluminum chassis designed to keep weight down and strength up”

Beyond the body, Green4U says the MTU-6 will ride on a custom-built aluminum chassis designed to keep weight down and strength up. There’s no word yet on the battery size, type, location, or even how many electric motors the MTU-6 has. The only hint Green4U has divulged is its targeted range of 230 miles on a single charge.

Green4U Enova


Need a Six-Door Electric SUV? Here's Some Green4U - image 738751
“Unlike the MTU-6, the Enova is more focused for on-road applications”

Unlike the MTU-6, the Enova is more focused for on-road applications. For that reason, the Enova would likely outsell the MTU-6 should Green4U actually enter production with the pair. After all, Green4U’s target audience is fleet and taxi companies, so the Enova would likely be a better fit.

The Enova is said to share the MTU-6’s aluminum chassis and electric drivetrain, so the 230-mile range will be the same. Likewise, the Enova has six doors for easy entry and exiting. Who knows? Perhaps this will become the hot new limousine alongside the stretched Cadillac Escalade. Then again, prestige does go a long way to making a limousine respectable. Flashy chrome and big wheels are noticeably absent from the pre-production Enova Green4U is showing off.


Need a Six-Door Electric SUV? Here's Some Green4U - image 738749

Regardless of their usefulness, the potential for mass production, or cost (which is still unknown), the electric SUV segment is certainly growing. Take the Bollinger B1, for example. It’s not a stretched limo, but it does have an all-electric powertrain with a 150- or 200-mile depending on the selected battery size. Its also got true off-road capability, a size that’s actually manageable in daily traffic, and will fit into a standard garage.

What do you think? Do you think Green4U is building the future of electric SUV limos, or will they fail in capturing the fleet, taxi, and limo market? Let us know in the comments below.

References

Land Rover Defender


2013 Land Rover Defender - image 471000

Read our full review on the current Land Rover Defender.

Bollinger B1


2019 Bollinger B1 - image 725125

Read our full review on the Bollinger B1.

PostHeaderIcon Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e

The Range Rover Sport is getting a facelift and thorough update for the 2018 model year, along with an all-new gasoline-electric hybrid variant called the P400e. In addition to the new exterior and swanky updated, technology-laden interior, the 2018 Range Rover Sport P400e will offer 31 miles of all-electric driving from its 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder. But this isn’t some slowpoke Prius. Rather, the P400e packs 404 combined horsepower and 472 pound-feet of combined torque to shoot this all-aluminum SUV to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds with a top speed of 137 mph while also being able to squeeze out 101 MPGe on the European scale when driving conservatively.

The 2018 Range Rover Sport P400e is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s recent promise to have an electrified variant of each of its vehicles by 2020. The P400e joins the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace crossover as the second member of JLR’s new-age lineup. Obviously, we can expect many more JLR vehicles coming with similar hybrid powertrains in the near future, especially since 2020 is only two model years away. While we have no insider information on the subject, it would be a safe bet JLR will use hybrid systems very similar to the P400e’s in the majority of its vehicles. The range will include everything from the sporty Jaguar F-Type to the luxury-minded Range Rover. Until then, let’s take a look at the 2018 Range Rover Sport P400e, its hybrid drivetrain, and its updated aesthetics and technology.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736058
“The Range Rover Sport’s new face is more aggressive than ever.”

The Range Rover Sport’s new face is more aggressive than ever. The previous design featured much more surface area on the bumper with a relatively tiny lower air inlet. Now, even the non-SRV Range Rover Sports have a huge, three-part lower grille. The design doesn’t impact the SUV’s ability to clear off-road obstacles, however, especially when combined with its adjustable air suspension. The lower chin still retains that skid-plate look that’s designed not to catch on things. The upper grille and leading edge of the hood, however, look almost unchanged.

Looks can be deceiving, though.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736080

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736070
“The P400e’s grille hides this plug-in hybrid’s charge port”

The P400e’s grille hides this plug-in hybrid’s charge port. It’s hidden under the Land Rover badge near the headlight. And speaking of headlights, those are new, too. In fact, they incorporate a new technology Land Rover calls “intelligent Matrix Pixel LED headlights.” While the tech is new for Land Rover, we’ve seen other automakers use this in Europe for a few years now. Basically, the headlights are super bright, but avoid “dazzling” oncoming cars by blocking the light aimed in the moving car’s direction. Pretty neat. Sadly, unless legislation changes here in the U.S., we won’t get them. (Call your representatives, folks!)

Things out back are new, too. The 2018 Range Rover Sport has an updated rear fascia that, like the front, is far more sporty and aggressive. Integrated rectangular exhaust tips and an accent piece help differential the 2018 model from its predecessors.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736064
“The 2018 Range Rover Sport P400e carries the same basic design as the 2014 Range Rover Sport”

Beyond those changes and some updated wheel deigns, the 2018 Range Rover Sport P400e carries the same basic design as the 2014 Range Rover Sport. That’s not a bad thing, though, as the SUV’s untouched parts still look fresh.

Interior


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736066
“The 2018 Range Rover Sport, including the P400e model, has an updated interior with vastly updated in-dash technology”

The 2018 Range Rover Sport, including the P400e model, has an updated interior with vastly updated in-dash technology that’s modeled after the 2018 Range Rover Velar. The most noticeable change is the HVAC controls on the center stack. Like the Velar, these controls are touch-sensitive and feature intuitive airflow controls. JLR calls the system Touch Pro Duo. The dual-zone temperature settings are adjusted by the rotary knobs. What’s more, these controls also double as the Terrain Response 2 system, with the HVAC layout changing to the 4WD settings and the knobs change to operate the different drive modes.

The other big changes include a new, larger main infotainment screen. It’s now a 10-inch touchscreen and runs the latest software from JLR. A second 10-inch screen replaces the analog gauges with a full complement of digital gauge and vehicle parameters. The driver can also configure the display to his liking.

The rest of the interior is updated with new leather upholstery with intricate stitching and piping. There are now 12 power ports for charging a variety of personal electronics. Two of those pugs are household plugs for charging larger devices like laptops. These plugs change depending on the market. And like other JLR products, the new Range Rover Sport comes with JLR’s Activity Key. This wristband is fully waterproof and allows the wearer to leave the traditional keyfob behind. It means no more lost keys or waterlogged keys after getting wet.

Last but not least is an interesting new feature that allows gesture controls to operate the sunblind over the panoramic moonroof. Simply motion backwards with a hand near the rearview mirror to open the shade and motion forward to close it.

Drivetrain


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736078
“At the heart of the system is an all-aluminum 2.0-liter four-cylinder from JLR’s Ingenium engine family”

Of course, the big news with the 2018 Range Rover Sport P400e is its gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. At the heart of the system is an all-aluminum 2.0-liter four-cylinder from JLR’s Ingenium engine family. The engine is mounted longitudinally within the engine bay and is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Integrated into the transmission are the new 85-kW electric motor and a 7-kW on-board charger for the main 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which takes the place of the spare tire under the cargo area floor.

Total system output is rated at 404 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. That’s combined from the 300-horsepower 2.0-liter and the 116-horsepower electric motor. As mentioned, the P400e isn’t slow. It will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 137 mph.

“The P400e isn’t slow. It will hit 60 mph in 6.3 seconds and onto a top speed of 137 mph”

The Range Rover Sport P400e offers an impressive 31-mile range of all-electric driving in optimal conditions. That’s rather good considering the Range Rover’s size and relatively small 13.1-kWh battery pack. Of course, the P400e two main drive modes that manage the hybrid powertrain. First is the normal parallel hybrid mode. This has both the engine and electric motor powering the vehicle, with the computers determining when to run the engine and when battery power is sufficient. Top speed on battery power is 85 mph. The second mode is EV. This keeps the engine turned off and runs solely on the battery. This mode is critical for Europe’s urban areas that have recently been deemed EV-only.


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736056
“With a regular household plug emitting 10 amps, the P400e will change in seven hours and 30 minutes”

Between these two main modes are two other sub-settings that allow the driver to tailor how the powertrain operates. The SAVE function will run exclusively on the gasoline engine in order to preserve the battery’s charge. The second mode, Predictive Energy Optimization, works when a destination is keyed into the GPS system. The navigation uses road data to “intelligently optimize the switch between electric motor and engine use.” In other words, the GPS system suggests to the powertrain when to run the gas engine and when to use batteries based on altitude, hill grade, and other variables.

Charging happens quickly and in a variety of ways. First, the on-board charger uses the gasoline engine to recharge the battery on the go. Of course, the P400e is primarily designed as a plug-in hybrid. It can charge in as little as two hours and 45 minutes on a 32-amp charging system. With a regular household plug emitting 10 amps, the P400e will change in seven hours and 30 minutes.

Despite the P400e’s hybrid powertrain, the Range Rover Sport remains a capable off-roader. It features Land Rover’s full-time 4WD system and a specially calibrated version of Terrain Response 2. The electric motor is especially handy when off-roading thanks to its instant torque from zero rpm.

Price


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736077

2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736069

The ordering books are already open for all versions of the 2018 Range Rover Sport, which includes the P400e, standard gasoline and diesel variants, and the performance-minded SVR. Prices start at £61,315, or $81,248 at current exchange rates with the U.S. Three trim levels are available with the P400e. The “base” HSE version starts at £70,800.00 ($93,810), the HSE Dynamic starts at £73,800.00 ($97,792), and the Autobiography Dynamic starts at £84,400.00 (111,830). Naturally, the most expensive version of the Range Rover Sport is the SVR, which starts at £99,680.00, or roughly $132,000.

The updated Range Rover Sport will begin arriving in U.S. showrooms in early 2018 and a 2018 model, but the P400e won’t be available until the summer of 2018 as a 2019 model.

Competition

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid


2018 Porsche Cayenne - image 736465

2018 Porsche Cayenne - image 736466

Hybrid SUVs aren’t as ironic as they used to be, much like how a Porsche SUV has become commonplace rather than comical. Porsche’s latest big, green, off-roading machine is the Cayenne S E-Hybrid. It’s based on the regular Cayenne platform and for the most part is hard to tell apart. That means this luxury SUV has room for five people and their cargo, can tackle winter weather and mild trails and can blend in with the other high-end metal at the local country club. What sets it apart is its powertrain.

The Cayenne S E-Hybrid uses a 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and paired with a 10.8-kWh lithium-ion battery and a 95-horsepower electric motor. The total system output is 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to get this 5,300-pound monster to 60 mph in just 5.2 seconds. When driving green, the S E-Hybrid has 14 miles of all-electric range and will travel up to 78 mph. Like the Range Rover and most other hybrids, the Cayenne can hold its charge until the driver wants to run solely on the battery. On the U.S.’ EPA testing scale and using U.S. gallons, the 2017 Cayenne S E-Hybrid averages 46 MPGe in combined driving.

Pricing is up there with the Range Rover Sport, too. The 2017 model starts at $79,750. Of course, Porsche will let you spend as much money as you’d like upgrading your Cayenne, so costs can quickly soar past $90,000.

Read our full review on the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid.

Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid


2016 Volvo XC90 T8 - image 581681

2016 Volvo XC90 T8 - image 581680

The Volvo XC90 might not have the brand cache enjoyed by Porsche and Range Rover, but the Swedish automaker is turning out some impeccably brilliant and refined products these days. One of the premiere examples is the XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid. While it shared the same aesthetics and interior niceties as other XC90 models, the Plug-In Hybrid trim offers the most horsepower and the best fuel economy. How’s that for a conundrum? And the XC90 boasts seating for seven.

The Volvo uses its 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is both supercharged and turbocharged mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Though it’s AWD, the engine and transmission only power the front wheels. The electric motor is what turns those rear tires. This 87-horsepower motor generates 177 pound-feet of torque, that when combined with the gasoline engine’s 313 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, equate to 400 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That’s respectable. The electric motor is fed by a 9.2-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted within the transmission tunnel where the driveshaft would normally be. Volvo claims an all-electric range of 14 miles and a Level 2 charge time of 2.5 hours. Straight-line performance is excellent, with a 5.0-second sprint to 60 mph. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 53 MPGe combined.

The Volvo is hardly cheap, but it’s certainly less expensive than the others. The T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid can be had for $64,950 when paired with the “base” Momentum trim. That is an $18,050 jump in price over the XC90 Momentum’s least-expensive powertrain option, the T5 FWD Five Passenger. However, Volvo also offers the T8 powertrain on the sporty R-Design and the luxurious Inscription trims, while making it standard on the range-topping Excellence trim. Prices for those T8 versions start at $68,950; $70,050; and $104,900 respectively.

Read our full review on the Volvo XC90 T8 eAWD Plug-In Hybrid.

Conclusion


2018 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e - image 736062

The Range Rover Sport’s 2018 updates are a welcomed addition to an already capable and lust-worthy SUV. Not only does it look more aggressive and its interior comes with high-end electronics, the new P400e package adds a dose of futurism to the powertrain. This marks Land Rover’s first hybrid, as well as a good step forward for JLR’s goal of offering a hybrid variant of each of its models.

The P400e isn’t just a great first-step for JLR, though. It’s a solid contender in its segment. With an impressive 31 miles of electric range, 404 horsepower, and a quick-charge time of 2.75 hours – all without sacrificing its off-road capabilities – the P400e should be one of the most desirable yet practical versions of the new Range Rover Sport.

  • Leave it
    • JLR is unproven at plug-in hybrids
    • Expensive

References

Land Rover Range Rover Sport


2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport - image 685193

Read our full review on the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport.


Jaguar Land Rover's SVO Unit Comes Through On Its Word With The Discovery SVX - image 730701

Read more Land Rover news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai Ioniq – Driven

Toyota Prius, you’re on notice: The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is here, and it’s arguably doing this whole hybrid, fuel-efficient family car thing better than you.

The Prius has had this market sewn-up for over a decade now. There’s been competition, but it’s been limited. Considering gasoline has been “cheap” here in the States for most of that time, it’s easy to understand why automakers haven’t been eager to challenge Toyota with a compact hybrid hatchback. After all, compact cars aren’t the hottest-selling things in truck-and-SUV-loving ‘Merica, so getting folks to pay a little more for a hybrid electric powertrain in a compact car can be a hard sell.

So while other compacts like the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, and yes, even Toyota’s own Corolla and Hyundai’s own Elantra fought it out for a piece of a shrinking pie, the Prius more or less had the super-efficient niche all to itself.

All three versions of the Prius — compact Liftback, subcompact “C”, and midsize “V” — sold 136,632 copies combined in 2016 — down 48,162 from the year prior. (Toyota didn’t provide a breakdown of individual Prius model sales in its 2016 year-end sales stats.) By comparison, the brand’s Corolla sedan sold 360,483 copies in the same year, and that’s not counting the 17,727 copies of the closely related Corolla (née Scion) iM hatchback. But to show you how much we ‘Mericans love trucks and cheap gas, Ford sold more gas-guzzling F-Series pickup trucks in 2016 than all of the above combined — 820,799 trucks total.

Into this fuel-swilling American marketplace steps Hyundai with its first dedicated compact hybrid, the Ioniq, designed specifically to compete with the Prius Liftback. Even with the Prius getting a much-needed total redesign this year, there are things I like better about the Ioniq. First and foremost: its design.

Continue reading for the full story.

Design Notes


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733920

The Hyundai Ioniq shares one notable design element with the Prius Liftback: a “Kammback” hatch design. This unique rear shape also has been a feature of other fuel-efficient cars in the past. Honda’s CR-Z and Insight hybrid models utilized this shape in recent memory, and models like the Honda CR-X also utilized the shape many years ago.

“The Hyundai Ioniq shares one notable design element with the Prius Liftback: a “Kammback” hatch design”

Hyundai’s integration of the shape is less ostentatious than that found on the latest Prius Liftback, but it’s still a little awkward to behold. A spoiler runs across the lower third of a rear hatch glass area that would otherwise be quite elegant, spanning the distance between the two taillight lenses. Losing this design element would benefit both the attractiveness of the exterior design and the driver’s rearward visibility, but I’m sure the spoiler was necessary to wring the most fuel economy from the car.


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733907

2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733913

From the side view, the Hyundai Ioniq looks like an attractively styled compact sedan with its trunk lopped off. A mild crease connects the front corner of the taillights to the rear corner of the headlights, traveling just above both door handles along the way. Small chrome-strip accents on the door handles and on the lower portion of the side window trim are elegant and add a bit of flair to the design.

“From the side view, the Hyundai Ioniq looks like an attractively styled compact sedan with its trunk lopped off”

The front of the Hyundai Ioniq doesn’t look too different from any other current Hyundai sedan, and that’s a good thing. Inoffensive and attractive, it’s a face you probably won’t mind seeing in your driveway every day. I can’t say the same for the newest Prius.


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733918

Overall, Hyundai said the Ioniq has a class-leading coefficient-of-drag of 0.24. That they managed to achieve that slippery shape while maintaining the car’s attractiveness deserves applause.

Powertrain Notes


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733906

Hyundai goes about this whole hybrid-electric thing a little differently than Toyota. I found the Ioniq nicer to drive than most Toyota hybrids primarily because of these differences.

“I found the Ioniq nicer to drive than most Toyota hybrids primarily because of these differences.”

The primary difference many drivers will notice right off the bat is the Ioniq’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This is quite different from the continuously variable transmission in the Prius and most other Toyota hybrids. With seven real gears instead of an infinitely variable set of pulleys, the Hyundai will feel more satisfying to most drivers who have been conditioned to feel shift points as they accelerate.


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733905

That said, this is probably the best iteration of Hyundai’s dual-clutch transmission. This same transmission in the Hyundai Elantra Sport feels too herky-jerky at low speeds, such as when you’re crawling in rush hour traffic or backing out of a parking space. The 43-horsepower electric motor delivers plenty of torque — up to 125 pound-feet — from the moment you touch the accelerator. I suspect that’s the reason the Ioniq’s implementation of this transmission is nicer than it is in other, non-hybrid Hyundais. At speed, the transmission’s shifts are silky smooth.

“The Ioniq combines a 1.6-liter direct-injection Atkinson-cycle gasoline four-cylinder engine with a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor”

The Ioniq combines a 1.6-liter direct-injection Atkinson-cycle gasoline four-cylinder engine with a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor. The gasoline engine makes 104 horsepower at 5,700 RPM and 109 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 RPM. Total system horsepower is listed at 139.


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733909

Hybrid-electric cars are all about fuel economy, and the Ioniq does not disappoint on that front, with EPA rating the car at 59 MPG city, 57 MPG highway, 58 MPG combined. I drove it like a total buffoon and still got 53 MPG.

The Drive


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733904

Hyundai did not go with a fully independent rear suspension, as the newly redesigned Prius did. That may be the one thing the Prius has over the Ioniq, when it comes to driving characteristics. But for the majority of drivers, I suspect the difference will not be noticed. It’s not like you buy either of these cars with the intention of racing in an autocross event.

“Hyundai did not go with a fully independent rear suspension, as the newly redesigned Prius did.”

What more drivers will notice is Hyundai’s lack of zany features to remind them they’re driving a hybrid: No funky gearshift. No distracting center-mounted gauge pod. No “guilt games” displayed on the dashboard to make you feel bad about dipping into the throttle when necessary.


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733919

The Ioniq is not a fast car, with the aforementioned 139 total system horsepower motivating about 3,000 lbs. That said, it doesn’t struggle to keep pace in traffic. Nor does it feel piggish when driven on a curvy road. There’s some body roll, to be sure, though the hybrid batteries’ positioning under the floor of the car’s interior helps give it a low center of gravity that keeps handling pretty neutral unless pushed hard. Remember, the Ioniq primarily wants to be a comfortable family car that gets great fuel economy. It’s not trying to be a race car or a hot-hatch.

“Pedal feel was nice and linear, which is something of a struggle for most of the Ioniq’s competitors”

Steering feel was on-par with everything else in the compact segment — which is to say, pretty numb. But brake feel was a class above the last few hybrids I have driven. Pedal feel was nice and linear, which is something of a struggle for most of the Ioniq’s competitors. With the first few millimeters of pedal travel used for regenerative braking, recapturing kinetic energy to provide a boost to the hybrid battery pack, the transition from regenerative braking to regular braking often is troublesome in hybrids. The transition in the Ioniq is smoother than most.

The Competition

Competitors in this segment are not plentiful, thanks mostly to the “cheap” gas to which we Americans are accustomed.

Toyota Prius


2017 Toyota Prius Prime - image 670438

2017 Toyota Prius Prime - image 670448

But of course, the biggest target Hyundai had in mind was the Toyota Prius Liftback. With a nearly 20-year head-start on the Hyundai Ioniq, the Prius doesn’t necessarily do things any better than the Ioniq — just differently.

Arguably, the Prius has the better suspension design, with independent rear suspension allowing for a more planted, sure feel in curves and over broken pavement. But it almost every other way, the Ioniq is aiming for more mainstream buyers. Principally, the Ioniq isn’t trying to shout about its green credentials as loudly as Prius, with its design being more understated and its interior looking and feeling a lot more like a traditional compact sedan.

Either one of these hybrids will return great fuel economy for most drivers, and they should prove reliable for years to come. The Ioniq has a starting price about $1,200 cheaper than Prius Liftback, however. A fully loaded Ioniq will come in with an even larger price advantage over a fully loaded Prius.

Read our full review on the Toyota Prius.

Ford C-MAX Hybrid


2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid - image 703706

2016 Ford C-Max Hybrid - image 703707

While it’s not as fuel-efficient as the Ioniq or Prius, the Ford C-MAX Hybrid has its own charm.

It’s more of an MPV than the sedan-like Ioniq, with an upright form factor that makes it friendly for passengers and cargo. Taller seat cushion height makes entry and exit easier, too.

The C-MAX carries a slightly higher starting price than Ioniq, at $24,175, and a fully loaded example will set you back about $32,000. However, Ford often has steep incentives on the C-MAX, one of its slowest-selling models, to help bring that price down before you even step foot in a dealership and start negotiating. At the time of this writing, a C-MAX Hybrid with all the options was advertised at $26,880 after $5,750 in incentives.

Read our full review on the Ford C-MAX Hybrid.

Kia Niro Hybrid


2017 Kia Niro - image 665038

2017 Kia Niro - image 665032

Kia Niro is the sister car to the Hyundai Ioniq, as the two share the same powertrain layout. But where Ioniq takes direct aim at the Prius, Niro aims at a different sort of driver — namely, someone who is attracted to mainstream small crossover SUVs.

Mostly as a result of its less-slippery, SUV-like shape, the Niro doesn’t quite achieve Ioniq’s fuel economy. It is rated at 52 MPG city, 49 MPG highway, 50 MPG combined in its most-efficient FE trim. Step up to nicer options in the LX or EX trims, and those numbers go down to 51/46/49. Go up to the top-level Touring trim, and they further decline to 46/40/43.

While not as efficient, the Niro has a more desirable form factor for a lot of families. It more closely resembles the SUVs that many families crave. Like the Ioniq, it does not try to announce its eco-friendly intentions to the world too loudly. Best of all for buyers on a budget, the Niro has prices similar to the Ioniq, with a starting MSRP of $22,890 and with a fully loaded Touring trim carrying a price tag of about $33,000 before incentives.

Read our full review on the Kia Niro Hybrid.

Conclusion


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven - image 733917

I like the idea of using less fuel, but not if it means I have to put up with a lot of design features that I detest. Toyota’s Prius reels me in with its excellent fuel economy and promise of a well-sorted (for a hybrid) chassis, but then it turns me off when I actually interact with it. Its weird gear selector, center-mounted gauge pod, and exterior design do nothing to convince me I want to commute every day in a Prius.

Hyundai Ioniq is the no-compromise Prius, if those things bother you as much as they bother me. It’s less wild-looking on the outside than the Prius, and it’s a lot more like driving a non-hybrid compact car once you’re on the inside. It also gets fuel mileage that will make Prius fanboys look twice — Hyundai notes it’s “the most fuel-efficient car in America,” with the Ioniq’s “Blue” trim being rated at 57 MPG city, 59 MPG highway, and 58 MPG combined by EPA.

If the Ioniq is billing itself as the hybrid for people who aren’t sure a hybrid is right for them, I think it’s hitting the target perfectly. I think it stands a chance to make a lot of new converts to hybrid motoring.

Disclosure: Hyundai provided the vehicle, insurance, and a tank of fuel for this review.

References

Hyundai Ioniq


2017 Hyundai Ioniq - image 662198

Read our full review on the Hyundai Ioniq.


2017 Hyundai Next-Gen Fuel Cell SUV - image 726681

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid

The S-Class – previously known as the “Special” Class – is Merc’s full-sized coupe and sedan, a flagship luxury vehicle that promises the highest levels of refinement, the finest materials, and the most advanced technology offered by the German automaker. Following its reintroduction in 1972, there have been six generations of the S-Class, with the latest generation introduced for the 2014 model year. But now, the calendar is telling me the date is 2017, and all that luxury, technology, and opulence can be had with some green sensibilities as well. Merc’s latest entry in this segment is the S 560 e, the successor to the S 550 e, which once again seeks to find a balance of both long range and a local emission-free motoring, all with that characteristic Mercedes gloss. The S 560 e just broke cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it when it hits U.S. dealers in 2019, it’s expected to arrive with a twist-happy 3.0-liter V-6, 25 miles of all-electric range, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and plenty of Eco-focused features, plus all the traditional luxury bits, of course.

The S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid is the latest effort from Mercedes as it pushes for more extensive electrification across its entire lineup. Both all-electric vehicles and hybrids are slated to see a big boost in the Merc portfolio, so expect to see the same stuff previewed in the S-Class trickle down to the more accessible models.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid

The S-Class – previously known as the “Special” Class – is Merc’s full-sized coupe and sedan, a flagship luxury vehicle that promises the highest levels of refinement, the finest materials, and the most advanced technology offered by the German automaker. Following its reintroduction in 1972, there have been six generations of the S-Class, with the latest generation introduced for the 2014 model year. But now, the calendar is telling me the date is 2017, and all that luxury, technology, and opulence can be had with some green sensibilities as well. Merc’s latest entry in this segment is the S 560 e, the successor to the S 550 e, which once again seeks to find a balance of both long range and a local emission-free motoring, all with that characteristic Mercedes gloss. The S 560 e just broke cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it when it hits U.S. dealers in 2019, it’s expected to arrive with a twist-happy 3.0-liter V-6, 25 miles of all-electric range, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and plenty of Eco-focused features, plus all the traditional luxury bits, of course.

The S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid is the latest effort from Mercedes as it pushes for more extensive electrification across its entire lineup. Both all-electric vehicles and hybrids are slated to see a big boost in the Merc portfolio, so expect to see the same stuff previewed in the S-Class trickle down to the more accessible models.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid.

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell

Man-made climate change is a hot topic and, regardless of your beliefs about the effect of man-made emissions on the global climate, it’s inevitable that the internal combustion engine will eventually be all but wiped out of existence. With various world governments committing to an all-out ban of non-electric vehicles, automakers aren’t slowing down the process either, with just about every major manufacturer having jumped on the alternative fuels wagon in one way or another in recent years. Mercedes, for example, is following Toyota’s lead and looking to hydrogen as a viable solution to combat emissions and has already proven its viability with cars like the B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid – two vehicles that have logged more than seven million miles in test runs. Now, Mercedes has introduced the GLC F-Cell, the world’s first plug-in fuel-cell vehicle. As such, the GLC F-Cell promises as much as 301 miles from just 9.7 pounds of hydrogen and the 13.8-kWh battery. And, it does so while producing around 200 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque– more than enough to get you up to speed.

With hydrogen availability expanding, that’s certainly good news, but we’re not there quite yet. Outside of the electric and hydrogen powertrain, the GLC F-Cell also sports its own unique look in comparison to the ICE-powered GLC-Class, so it will even stand out in the crowd. Now, it may not have that internal combustion engine or even the 241 horsepower afforded by the standard model’s 2.0-liter, but it will still please all of you purists out there as it does have all of the Mercedes DNA that you’ve come to love and find it impossible to live without. So, now that the GLC F-Cell has made its official debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, let’s take a good look at it and see what it’s all about.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.

PostHeaderIcon Here’s Why Mercedes Is Doing the Right Thing with the Hydrogen GLC F-Cell

Hybrid and all-electric cars are slowly integrating among conventional production vehicles, but automakers still have some challenges to overcome. While hybrids are still relying on gasoline to work, electric cars still need better range and larger refill networks. Sure, we have quite a few capable EVs, like everything Tesla makes, the Chevy Bolt, and the new Nissan Leaf, but range can still be an issue in large countries and most continents outside the United States. But this is where Mercedes’ new solution, the hydrogen hybrid, comes in.

Unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the company’s latest F-Cell model is built around the GLC crossover, and it’s slated to go into production. And unlike other green attempts, this vehicle pairs plug-in battery power with hydrogen fuel cells for what could become the most sustainable zero-emissions solution. It’s not yet ready to hit dealerships, mostly because there’s no hydrogen infrastructure, but the Germans have a plan, and this project could become feasible in five to six years. So why do I think that hydrogen power is a better solution that electricity?

Continue reading for the full story.

PostHeaderIcon Hybrid All The Things

In case you didn’t hear, Mercedes-Benz just released the world’s very first hybrid hydrogen car. Dubbed the GLC F-Cell, the technology involved is mighty impressive indeed – in addition to a traditional fuel cell power source, which converts hydrogen into electricity and water vapor, the GLC F-Cell comes equipped with a large plug-in lithium-ion battery pack that adds another 30 miles of all-electric range when fully charged. Working in concert, the two power sources aim to complement one another by offering both the quick-fill convenience of hydrogen with the long-range capabilities of a hybrid system. It makes a lot of sense, even if H2 power is still a longs ways off from widespread adoption, and given the industry-wide tendency towards ever-greater numbers of hybrid offerings, it got us thinking – is there anything that wouldn’t benefit from hybridization?

Naturally, given the association hybrids enjoy with green sensibilities, sports cars might seem like an odd segment for the application of hybrid technology – at least until you read up on the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Ferrari LaFerrari. The Mercedes-AMG Project One is another, more-recent example of hybrid power used in the name of speed.

Indeed, hybrid systems seem to do just about everything better – they go farther, go faster, and go more efficiently, all good stuff. However, no technology is perfect, and these systems still have their disadvantages. For starters, they add weight, and a lot of it. Those batteries and electric motors aren’t exactly trivial when it comes to extra mass. Secondly, they add a good deal of complication as well, which means more stuff to break or go wrong, which can be a problem when shooting for affordability.

However, in terms of power performance and efficiency and greenness, hybrids are just better. And with more automakers throwing their hat into the hybrid ring, we can bet there will be significant advances in terms of weight reduction and simplification. Indeed, like early production turbocharged engines, hybrids are looking more and more like a panacea for many of the industry’s ills.

What do you think?

PostHeaderIcon Mercedes Launches First Production Hydrogen Hybrid With GLC F-Cell

The latest crop of green alternative passenger vehicles is making the rounds at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and Mercedes is getting in on the action with a brand-new hybrid SUV. It’s called the GLC F-Cell, and it’s touted as the world’s very first production-ready hydrogen hybrid vehicle. Flying the German automaker’s EQ Power banner, also known as the go-to branding for Merc’s various green solutions, the GLC F-Cell is essentially an SUV that combines plug-in all-electric battery power with hydrogen fuel cell power. The marriage of these two alternative power sources hopes to find a synergy whereby benefits are maximized and disadvantages are minimized, combining the quick refill times of hydrogen power and the long-range capability of electrified assistance, all without the traditional explodey dino juice normally associated with “typical” hybrid vehicles.

The new SUV is part of the latest Mercedes product strategy to produce 10 new battery-electric models by the year 2022. The GLC F-Cell is also a modern addition to the Mercedes CASE strategy, an acronym that stands for, Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric. And while the SUV has yet to show anything terribly noteworthy in terms of connected, autonomous, or sharing features, the novel hybrid stuff is more than worthy of the attention of anyone interested in powertrain technology development. Read on for the specs and details.

Continue reading to learn more about the GLC F-Cell.

PostHeaderIcon The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid

When the W222, sixth-gen Mercedes S-Class came to the market in 2013, it sat in a niche that was completely void of any real competition. But, after just a few years that changed, with long-time rival BMW introducing the new 7 Series and GM’s luxury division, Cadillac, introducing the full-size CT6 to the market. The S-Class was already competitive enough to hold its own in the full-size luxury segment and was even praised for its superior ride quality, seemingly effortless acceleration, and all of that fancy tech that brought it one step closer to being a true-to-life spaceship on wheels. With the new E-Class coming before this mid-cycle update, Merc had a lot of new tech on its hands, and you certainly can’t have a lesser model sporting better features, so this was the icing on the cake and triggered Mercedes to revamp the S-Class in time for 2018. Now that we’re approaching the holiday season and the new year, Mercedes saw fit to introduce the newest member of the S-Class family: The S 560 e – a plug-in hybrid that promises to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model.

So, now that we’re looking at the facelifted S-Class hybrid, it’s important to note that it also comes with a new name. Previously known as the S550 Plug-in Hybrid, the 2018 model will now go by the nomenclature of S560 e Plug-in Hybrid. Highlights of the facelifted model include an increase in system output of more than 50 horsepower, increased all-electric range thanks to a revised battery, relocated electric components, and increased luggage room in the rear. An ECO assist feature will help you drive more efficiently, while pre-entry climate control will have the temperature just right before you even sit down inside the vehicle. I guess that’s pretty commendable and right in line with what you should expect for a car of this stature. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what kind of improvements the revised hybrid brings to the market. Something tells me, you might want to consider trading in that old plug-in for a new one, but we’ll see.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Comes Through for its Customers as they Scramble to get out of Harm’s Way

Now, there’s no denying that after Hurricane Harvey kicked the hell out of Texas, it was a ridiculous for Mother Nature to rape all of Florida too, but sure enough, it happened anyway. Originally deemed the most powerful storm ever recorded, Irma was larger than the state of Florida itself and has left a path of destruction as it made its way from the Atlantic toward the sunshine state. It decimated a few smaller islands and kicked Cuba’s ass a bit too before crossing directly over the Florida Keys and wrecking the West coast of the Florida peninsula. As Irma made its deadly approach toward the land of oranges, evacuation orders were issued and panic set in – not so much so that looters didn’t take their chances, of course, but we’ll leave that story for another time. In the end, the last few days before Irma made landfall in Florida were chaotic, to say the least.

Air traffic was a nightmare, leaving us to question how air traffic control even managed to prevent disaster, and the highways were jammed up like Satan himself was birthing from the bowels of the earth. Gas prices skyrocketed, and so did the price of bottled water as everyone tried to take advantage of the situation, claiming supply and demand as the reasoning for price gouging. Meanwhile, Tesla took a different approach and helped out its customers as they struggled to evacuate.

So, while some local businesses showed their ugly side by hiking prices like the apocalypse was coming, Tesla decided it would remove the range limiter on its lesser Model S and Model X vehicles in Florida, effectively giving owners an extra 30 to 40 miles, according to Electrek. And, it was all thanks to one owner who reached out to Tesla saying he needed just an extra 30 miles to get out of his mandatory evacuation zone. So, once Tesla heard from this customer, it decided that other Tesla owners might need the same, and temporarily unlocked the extra range via an over-the-air update. The update was effective on all 60D models of the Model S and X, which were sold with 75 kWh batteries that were limited with the option to unlock their full potential at a later time – something that would cost owners between $4,500 and $9,000 depending on the vehicle and time of the update. Keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent upgrade, and it will expire, but it certainly served an important purpose and has proven that not all automakers are greedy and self-absorbed. Keep reading to learn more.

PostHeaderIcon Jaguar E-Type Zero

Back in March of 1961, Jaguar unveiled the E-Type, and it wasn’t long before the world fell in love with its long hoodline, curvaceous hips, and sonorous 3.8-liter six-cylinder soundtrack. Enzo Ferrari, a man with no shortage of good looking metal at his disposal, remarked that it was the “most beautiful car ever made,” and in the more than half century that followed its release, the E-Type has remained a mainstay of automotive splendor for enthusiasts across the globe. These days, the E-Type has served as the basis for a variety of special editions and reimaginings, but now, JLR is taking its iconic two-door into uncharted water. Say hello to the E-Type Zero, an all-electric iteration that promises the same distinctive driving experience as the original, but with no gasoline involved.

Scheduled for presentation at the Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest on September 8th, the E-Type Zero was restored and converted by Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Coventry, which, JLR points out, isn’t far from “where the [original] E-Type was born.” Based on a 1.5 Series Roadster from 1968, the Zero is an almost completely all-original spec, except for the powertrain, obviously. “Our aim with E-Type Zero is to future-proof classic car ownership,” says Tim Hanning, Director at Jaguar Land Rover Classic. “We’re looking forward to the reaction of our clients as we investigate bringing this concept to market.” That’s right, folks – a production iteration could be in the works. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Jaguar E-Type Zero.

PostHeaderIcon Bollinger Motors Bringing Four-Door Version of B1 Electric SUV

Bollinger Motors sent shockwaves through the auto industry in July when it debuted its prototype all-electric utility vehicle, the B1. That two-door version boasted a promising range of 200 miles, a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds, and a 0-to-60 mph time of only 4.5 seconds – all wrapped in an aluminum body and riding on a four-wheel independent suspension system with 4WD. Well, now Bollinger has announced it will also make a four-door version of the B1.

Robert Bollinger, the CEO of the start-up automaker and designer of the B1, says the four-door version will be nine inches longer than the two-door B1, yet will otherwise offer the same range, weight capacities, and off-road capabilities. What changes is the ease of getting into the rear bucket seats and the additional six cubic feet of cargo volume, pushing its overall cargo volume to 101 cubic feet. Of course, the four-door B1’s breakover angle will be less, but only drops to 33 to 31 degrees. The 56-degree approach and 53-degree departure angles will remain the same.

Two electric motor choices are available: a 60 kWh and a 100 kWh option. As expected, the impressive range and 0-to-60 mph specs are set with the 100 kWh motor option. Official pricing hasn’t been announced, but Bollinger is shooting for an MSRP of $60,000 for the two-door, 60 kWh B1. Opting for the 100 kWh version is said to be another $8,000. Expect pricing to be slightly more expensive for the four-door variant, perhaps starting around $70,000 for the 60 kWh model. As for availability, Bollinger is still solidifying a production deal with a third party (rumored to be AM General). Should that work out, the B1 could begin selling in early 2019.

PostHeaderIcon The New 2018 Nissan Leaf Might Be The Best Replacement for the VW TDI

Last night Nissan finally unveiled the all-new 2018 Leaf, and it’s a massive improvement over the old car. The biggest news for EV fans will be the new 150-mile range. That’s nearly double what the original Leaf launched with. It’s even easier on your wallet with a starting price under $30,000, making it nearly $700 cheaper than the current model. But the best improvement is the all-new electric motor. The old car made a useable, but unimpressive 107 horsepower and 187 pound-feet of torque. But the new 2018 car makes 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque, and that is more amazing than you realize.

Let us put those power numbers into perspective. The Volkswagen 2.0L TDI engine, the best “performance” fuel-economy engine on the market before the Dieselgate scandal destroyed everything, produces 150 horsepower and 238 pounds of twist.

Nissan just made a viable alternative to scorned TDI buyers.

True, the TDI had some other advantages like a massive 600+ mile range before needing to be refueled, but on a pure day-to-day performance perspective, the new Leaf might work. If you bought a TDI to make your daily commute, and you still want something that is good for the environment while providing the same level of thrust, maybe you should call your Nissan Dealer.

Yes, we do know that other alternatives like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3 have even more power and performance, but those cars also have much higher price tags. We aren’t sure about you, but we feel like people buying $26k Volkswagen’s might not be able to afford the $38,000 asking price of a Bolt.

But what do you guys think? Is the new Nissan Leaf good enough to be a real competitor in the market now? And if you are a former TDI owner, please let us now, and be sure to give us your thoughts on this new car.

PostHeaderIcon Detroit Electric Still Has A Pulse, Or So It Claims

Believe it or not, but Detroit Electric is still alive and kicking. I won’t hate on anyone thinking otherwise because even I thought the company had long hit the dirt. But it’s apparently not true. The company is headed to the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicles event in the U.K. next week and it’s bringing an announcement of some kind that points towards its future as an EV company. This should be interesting.

The company was coy on details when it announced its intentions, but it seems that it’s now on a far better financial footing than where it was in the past. At least that’s the picture Chief Technical Officer and Company Director, Richie Frost, tried to paint when he said that the company has “secured the solid financial foundation to embark on our business plan.” More to that, Frost added that the company is actually embarking on a major recruiting drive with plans to fill its ranks with anywhere from 150 to 200 new employees. For sure, it’s a revealing development that puts to light a different perspective on what the company’s status is at the moment and moving forward. Whether this new-found optimism lasts is an entirely different matter. After all, this is the same company that promised to launch the SP:01 electric sports car three years ago and then added an electric SUV and an electric sedan to its plans two years ago. Nothing’s come out of it so it’s going to be interesting to see if the “solid financial foundation” Frost is talking about has legitimate legs to it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story

PostHeaderIcon We Need More EV Performance Cars

In case you missed it, BMW just released details on the updated 2018 i3,
and the big headline isn’t the tweaked exterior styling or new interior color schemes. For any reader of this website, the most important part of the refresh is the addition of the i3s, a slightly sportier iteration of the all-electric eco-box bearing a little more power (up 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque compared to the regular i3’s 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque) as well as a lowered, stiffer suspension, and more aesthetic aggression. While not exactly a game changer, it’s a good sign of things to come. You see, the world needs more EV performance, and even the greenest of EV revolutionaries should be pushing for more battery-powered speed machines.

“Why’s that?” you might ask. “I thought it was all about efficiency and hypermiling and responsible commuting with that crowd.” While all these things are indeed important in the EV community, a focus on speed brings with it all kinds of benefits. For starters, faster EVs naturally lead to further battery development. If you’re constantly on the go pedal, you’re gonna be draining the battery mighty quick, which means there’s further incentive to stuff more range into every pack. This is doubly so in something like an EV racing series, which is a natural progression when you’ve got tons of popular performance cars out on the road. Indeed, it’s something we’re already seeing with the Tesla Model S, which has thus far challenged the gas-burning competition at the drag strip and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and even gained its own racing series with Electric GT. The point is this – racing is good for the breed, no matter the end goal.

Furthermore, new EV performance cars also help to expand the segment, drawing in new customers and challenging preconceptions of what an EV “should” be. Just look at what Tesla did with the Model S. Now there’s proof EV’s can be quick, sexy, and luxurious, and additional performance EV’s would bring in even more of the traditional gearhead audience.

As they say, winning is winning, even if it’s by way of electrons rather than dino juice. We need more EV performance cars.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s

BMW just dropped details on the revamped i3 ahead of its official debut in September. Updates include a new look and a wider stance, breaking a bit from the upright boxy look used before. Full LED headlights keep the road lit, while Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic were added to the exterior paint options. Inside is the iDrive 6 infotainment platform, while Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Cloth can be had for the upholstery. A full suite of safety systems keeps it appropriately techy.

Underneath is a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, which together produce as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0-to-60 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed clocked at 93 mph. If you’re looking for more go, the new i3s might fit the bill. Outside, the styling gets a bit more aggressive, with 20-inch wheels and a lower, stiffer suspension. More importantly, the s gets additional electric ponies – up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque total. Flat out, the i3s can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100 mph. Like the regular i3, the i3s can also come equipped with a two-cylinder range extender if desired, adding almost 90 miles thanks to gasoline. Look for the i3 and i3s to debut in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Expect exact pricing and further details at that time.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s

BMW just dropped details on the revamped i3 ahead of its official debut in September. Updates include a new look and a wider stance, breaking a bit from the upright boxy look used before. Full LED headlights keep the road lit, while Melbourne Red Metallic and Imperial Blue Metallic were added to the exterior paint options. Inside is the iDrive 6 infotainment platform, while Giga Brown Natural Leather and Carum Spice Grey Cloth can be had for the upholstery. A full suite of safety systems keeps it appropriately techy.

Underneath is a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, which together produce as much as 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque through a single-speed transmission. The sprint from 0-to-60 mph takes 7.2 seconds, with top speed clocked at 93 mph. If you’re looking for more go, the new i3s might fit the bill. Outside, the styling gets a bit more aggressive, with 20-inch wheels and a lower, stiffer suspension. More importantly, the s gets additional electric ponies – up to 184 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque total. Flat out, the i3s can hit 60 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 100 mph. Like the regular i3, the i3s can also come equipped with a two-cylinder range extender if desired, adding almost 90 miles thanks to gasoline. Look for the i3 and i3s to debut in the metal at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. Expect exact pricing and further details at that time.

PostHeaderIcon Highs & Lows: 2017 BMW i8

The BMW i8 isn’t new, but it’s my first time behind the wheel. Luckily, I got more than some quick test-drive around the block, I spent a keep getting to know BMW’s spaceship for the streets. Like anything with a split personality, the i8 falls under that old saying, “jack of all trades; master of none.” Some call it a supercar. Others call it a dolled up BMW i3 with an overly complicated design and a hybrid powertrain that sips fuel but guzzles expendable monthly income with hefty payments. Yeah, the i8 has some interesting attributes, and that’s what I’m here to explore.

My tester is a 2017 model with only 1,800 or so miles on the odometer. It’s coated in “Sophisto Grey with BMW i Blue” and fitted with the mid-grade and $2,000 Giga World trim package. Only one option is present: the Laserlight headlights, which cost a hefty $6,300. The $995 destination fee is the only other added cost. Still, that pushes the $143,400 i8 past a $153,000 purchase price. Needless to say, the i8 ain’t cheap. But neither is its technology. BMW somehow squeezes 357 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque from a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and a pair of electric motors. The chassis is made of lightweight aluminum and the body shell is constructed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It has two transmissions, AWD, and a combined EPA rating of 76 MPGe. Still, the i8 isn’t perfect. Living with it for a week has uncovered some notable annoyances that a potential i8 owner should definitely know exist.

Continue reading for the highs and low of the BMW i8.

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