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Archive for the ‘green cars’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Elon Musk Demonstrates Falcon Heavy Launch With Tesla Roadster And Starman Payload

We here at TopSpeed are getting stoked for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and this latest animation is just fanning the flames. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to blast off at 1:30 EST from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Powered by 27 individual Merlin first-stage rockets doling out a combined 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy will be carrying a payload consisting of a first-gen Tesla Roadster, plus “Starman,” a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit, in the driver’s seat.

At about 3-and-a-half minutes in length, the video is an animation that walks us through each stage of the mission, from initial takeoff, to the booster recovery, to the final sendoff for the payload, all of which is set to the audio backdrop of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”. All very fitting, considering the endgame is a manned mission to the Red Planet some time in the future. The Roadster will be set on a heliocentric orbit that’ll take it between the Earth and Mars, possibly laying the groundwork for a future Martian colony supply line. While typically these sorts of test missions involve simple weights, the addition of a red sports drop-top manned by a dummy adds a certain artistic quality to it, don’t you think?


References

Tesla Roadster


2015 Tesla Roadster 3.0 - image 600358

Read our full review on the 2015 Tesla Roadster.


Elon Musk Wants A 5-Mile Hyperloop Test Track - image 611786

Get in the Know – read up on the Latest Space X news or check out everything we’ve got on Elon Musk

PostHeaderIcon Elon Musk Demonstrates Falcon Heavy Launch With Tesla Roadster And Starman Payload

We here at TopSpeed are getting stoked for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and this latest animation is just fanning the flames. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to blast off at 1:30 EST from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Powered by 27 individual Merlin first-stage rockets doling out a combined 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy will be carrying a payload consisting of a first-gen Tesla Roadster, plus “Starman,” a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit, in the driver’s seat.

At about 3-and-a-half minutes in length, the video is an animation that walks us through each stage of the mission, from initial takeoff, to the booster recovery, to the final sendoff for the payload, all of which is set to the audio backdrop of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”. All very fitting, considering the endgame is a manned mission to the Red Planet some time in the future. The Roadster will be set on a heliocentric orbit that’ll take it between the Earth and Mars, possibly laying the groundwork for a future Martian colony supply line. While typically these sorts of test missions involve simple weights, the addition of a red sports drop-top manned by a dummy adds a certain artistic quality to it, don’t you think?


References

Tesla Roadster


2015 Tesla Roadster 3.0 - image 600358

Read our full review on the 2015 Tesla Roadster.


Elon Musk Wants A 5-Mile Hyperloop Test Track - image 611786

Get in the Know – read up on the Latest Space X news or check out everything we’ve got on Elon Musk

PostHeaderIcon The Majority Of BMW Customers That Went Hybrid Or Electric Won’t Return To Gas Only

turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder and a single electric motor

As we all know, the EVs are coming, and they’re coming in a big way. BMW knows this, and is actively pushing a new string of hybrids and all-electrics in a variety of segments to fill demand. And, according to a recent Digital Trends interview with BMW’s chief of electric powertrains Stefan Juraschek, it’s looking like that’s never gonna change.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story


The Majority Of BMW Customers That Went Hybrid Or Electric Won't Return To Gas Only - image 728696
“In a BMW-commisioned survey, 90-percent of i3 owners said they wouldn't go back to a gas-powered vehicle; about 60-percent of hybrid owners will stick to hybrids, and 30-percent will switch to an EV.”

Although BMW built its reputation on offering sporty, luxurious gas-burners and diesels, the future involves bigger batteries and electric motors. BMW knows this, and now, its lineup includes standouts like the hybrid and all-electric BMW i3 city car, as well as the hybrid i8 sports car (which also just so happens to include a smattering of all-electric modes). Then there’s BMW’s numerous concept vehicles, such as the i Vision Dynamics that dropped last year, plus its iPerformance lineup, which includes the 330e sedan, 530e sedan, 740e sedan, and X5 xDrive40e SUV.

That’s a rather impressive number of models to sport extra electrons, but it makes sense in a rapidly changing market to hedge your bets. Until things start to settle, placing all your eggs in one basket is usually a recipe for disaster.

“First of all, we are convinced that we need more than one solution,”
Juraschek told Digital Trends. “Customer behavior is changing. People are becoming more and more attracted to the experience of driving a hybrid or an electric car.”

Juraschek also pointed out that customers enjoyed the quiet operation and smoothness of electrified powertrains, and that after living with an EV, they were much less likely to go back to a gas-only option.

“We sent several hundred i3 owners a survey last year,” Juraschek explains. “Ninety percent of them told us they’re not going back to a car with an internal combustion engine. On the hybrid, we’ve got about 60 percent who are staying. Thirty percent will switch to a pure electric vehicle, while only 10 percent are going back to a combustion engine. Driving electric is attractive.”


The Majority Of BMW Customers That Went Hybrid Or Electric Won't Return To Gas Only - image 728607
“In a rapidly changing market, it makes sense to hedge your bets. Until things start to settle, placing all your eggs in one basket is usually a recipe for disaster.”

Of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Battery size, and more specifically vehicle range, are both major areas that need to see development, according to Juraschek. BMW’s goal is to reach 300 miles between plug-ins, while effective quick-charging solutions are also high on the list.

Indeed, one of the all-electric segment’s biggest drawbacks is a lack of convenience. While internal-combustion vehicles can simply pull into a gas station and fill up for an extra 300 miles of range in a matter of minutes, it takes the standard EV several hours to do the same. Turn on peripherals like the stereo or air conditioning, and range takes a big hit as well.


2017 BMW 330e iPerformance - image 670152
“BMW is bullish about the technology. Juraschek points to Mini as a brand that's particularly well-suited for electrification, considering the small, city-car attitude.”

Still, BMW is bullish about the technology. Juraschek points to Mini as a brand that’s particularly well-suited for electrification, considering the small, city-car attitude. Mini’s very first all-electric model is scheduled for a debut next year, and according to Juraschek, will share drivetrain components with the BMW i3.

Of course, clamping down on technology developments should also be pretty high on the priority list. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Henrik Fisker showed up boasting about a breakthrough in solid state batteries, promising huge range (upwards of 500 miles) and recharge times equivalent to a regular gas fill-up.


2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e - image 621559
““We have to think about what infrastructure we need at that point. I think our cars will use lithium-ion batteries for the next two or three generations,” Juraschek said.”

However, Juraschek was reluctant to admit solid state batteries as a valid replacement for traditional lithium-ion units, at least right away. “It’s too early to discuss BMW’s entry point for solid state,” he told Digital Trends. “It’s still possible to improve [lithium-ion] technology, it seems to be robust. Looking at solid state, one issue is temperature. The operating range of these batteries is higher. Right now, if you put everything together on a system level, we do not know what is the advantage at the end of the day. We have to think about what infrastructure we need at that point. I think our cars will use lithium-ion batteries for the next two or three generations.”

All told, it remains to be seen exactly which direction the Bavarians will go. The i3 and i8 seem to be solid performers for the brand, so expect to see some development there, while the rest of the range should see an efficiency boost thanks to the inclusion of hybrid systems. However, in the end, BMW’s approach seems more reactive than proactive, swimming with the current rather than seeking to set it. Which, in a sea overflowing with failed start-ups and dead-end EV projects, probably makes the most sense.

References

BMW i8


The Majority Of BMW Customers That Went Hybrid Or Electric Won't Return To Gas Only - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748122

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728622

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.

PostHeaderIcon BMW i8 Roadster

new interior color schemes for the 2019 model year

The world got its first official look at the production-ready BMW i8 hybrid sports car back in 2013 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Critics and enthusiasts alike went gaga over its sci-fi good looks while reveling in its promises of speed and efficiency, and consumers responded by buying over 10,000 examples of the i8 as of November of 2016, making it the best-selling plug-in hybrid sports car in the world. Impressive stuff, no doubt, but now there’s a new model out, and this time, it’s got a bit off the top. This roofless iteration of the Bavarian’s hybrid sports car made its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, and brings with it a few small tweaks to the exterior styling, updated tech in the cabin, and a little extra oomph in the electrified powertrain department as well.

Overall, the updates are pretty minor, refining what’s already there without changing much. And considering the widespread acclaim levied at the i8 in the few short years it’s been on the market, it makes sense to keep things more or less unchanged, right? That said, the hybrid and EV market have seen some mighty impressive advances over the course of that time period, which begs the question – can unlimited headroom keep the i8 feeling fresh for the 2019 model year?

Updated 01/24/2018: We’ve updated this review with all the latest official info straight from BMW!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster.

Exterior

  • Looks very similar to the Coupe
  • 3D-printed roof mechanism made from aluminum
  • 16 seconds to close and open fabric top
  • Top down looks even better than the hardtop
  • Aero-optimized exterior
  • Standard 20-inch alloy wheels shave weight
  • New paint options
  • “Roadster” badges help to identify it

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748144
“The roof operation is electrically assisted, with less than 16 seconds required to open and close it.”

Let’s just jump straight to the headline, shall we?

The biggest, most obvious update for the 2018 model year i8 is the addition of a new Roadster body style, which adds a soft-top roof made from high-grade fabric. The roof operation is electrically assisted, with less than 16 seconds required to open and close it. You can also put it up or down at speeds up to 31 mph. The top is stored in a perpendicular position in the rear of the car, folding down into a “Z” shape when you want extra atmosphere. The folding mechanism is also made from aluminum using new 3D printing technology, which goes well with the i8’s futuristic themes. “This manufacturing method for aluminum components breaks new ground in the automotive industry and allows the topologically optimized bracings to be produced in a geometric form, which would not be possible using conventional casting techniques and ensures an optimal balance between component rigidity and weight,” BMW says.

With the roof up, the Roadster has more or less the same similar profile as the coupe, and incorporates the same styling elements. These include a flat hood and a long roofline. It’s like an inter-dimensional speed wedge, complete with a kidney grille in the nose.

One notable difference can be found in the rear, where the Roadster gets a pair of bulging, curvaceous pillars that run behind the head rests and into the tail in a U-shaped design. The rear deck is flatter and lower on the Roadster compared to the Coupe, undoubtedly to help give it reduced turbulence inside the cabin when the roof is down.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 763030
“Speaking of roof down, the i8 Roadster looks fantastic with the top dropped. It's like an inter-dimensional speed wedge, complete with a kidney grille in the nose.”

Speaking of roof down, the i8 Roadster looks fantastic with the top dropped. The swoopy, geometric design elements in the profile are emphasized without the extra bit up top, bringing the whole thing lower to the ground in the process. Indeed, none of the coupe’s head-turning capability is lost in the Roadster – in fact, we might go as far as saying the i8 actually looks better as a roadster.

And while it’s certainly a tasty bit of eye candy, the i8’s exterior design is also rather functional, sporting an aero-optimized layout that helps to strike a balance between performance and efficiency. Standout features include an air flap control system, air curtains in the front apron, a flat underbody, molded side skirts, and air ducts placed between the rear lights and roof frame. Air is now redirected through the sides of the car, rather than through the hood and nose, with the atmosphere venting out close to the wheel arches and through to the underbody.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749485
“The swoopy, geometric design elements in the profile are emphasized without the extra bit up top, bringing the whole thing lower to the ground in the process.”

New for the 2018 model year is a fresh selection of exterior colors, which now include shades like E-Copper metallic and Donington Grey metallic, both of which are offered with accents in a Frozen Grey metallic color.

The Roadster also comes standard with a unique radial-spoke wheel design in a two-tone finish, also available in an optional Jet Black. These rollers measure in at 20 inches in diameter and are made from a lightweight alloy. In fact, they’re so light, each wheel actually shaves off 2.2 pounds compared to the previous i8’s alloy rollers. Buyers get four additional wheel designs (each also measured at 20 inches) for extra customization.

And of course, don’t forget the requisite “Roadster” badges to identify the model for anyone left wondering.

Interior

  • Gullwing doors are kept as is
  • Loses rear bench +2 seating
  • Multiple color combos offered
  • Leather and cloth upholstery options included
  • Includes the latest infotainment gear
  • Standard heads-up display
  • Multiple display modes and connected features

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749488
“The dash layout is a wavy assemblage with multiple layers added in a horizontal fashion, plus a wide center tunnel dividing the left and right seating positions.”

Just like on the Coupe, ingress and egress in the Roadster is aided by a set of attractive gullwing doors, which open up and forward rather than out. Settle into the cockpit, and you’ll find seating for two passengers, as opposed to the 2+2 layout found in the Coupe. Of course, this is due to the extra space needed to put the roof away, leaving the i8 Roadster with rather meager storage space. But that’s to be expected, and we’re not gonna dock points because the tiny rear bench was tossed. In fact, the Roadster still has a few cubbies scattered around for storage, including a 3.5-cubic-foot compartment located between the roof box and the seats, plus a secondary storage space in the rear that provides an additional 4.7 cubic feet.

Hit the button to open the roof, and the rear window will automatically rise 1.9 inches to help cut through the wind and direct it towards the rear, enhancing cabin comfort while reducing turbulence. The driver can tweak the rear window height to better control the air flow as desired.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748139
“The dash layout is a wavy assemblage with multiple layers added in a horizontal fashion, plus a wide center tunnel dividing the left and right seating positions.”

Standard spec for the cabin includes a sports steering wheel that’s wrapped in leather and mounted shift paddles for semi-manual gear changes. Behind the wheel is a multi-function instrument display, plus there are standard heated seats with fully electric adjustments. The dash layout is a wavy assemblage with multiple layers added in a horizontal fashion, plus a wide center tunnel dividing the left and right seating positions.

Customers will enjoy the “Giga” interior trim, plus the full-leather upholstery finished in an Ivory White and Black double-color scheme. You can also get the Giga interior trim in Dark Amido. Further options include the “Halo” trim with cloth and leather upholstery in a Carum and Dalbergia color scheme, and a new Tera World Copper trim with cloth and leather upholstery in an Amido and E-Copper color combo. Overall, we think the two-tone options work quite well with the layout and design.

But of course, as you might expect for a spacey hybrid sports car, the infotainment features list is extensive, and includes a host of features from BMW Connected, ConnectedDrive, and 360 Electric. Kicking it off is an 8.8-inch freestanding display, while Navigation system Professional and Driving Assistant both come as standard equipment. Running it all is the iDrive 6.0 operating system, with inputs made by the Touch Controller rotary knob located in the center console. Infotainment navigation is achieved with a tile-like presentation for the various apps and features.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749457
“As you might expect for a spacey hybrid sports car, the infotainment features list is extensive, and includes a host of features from BMW Connected, ConnectedDrive, and 360 Electric.”

Behind the steering wheel is a set of fully digital multi-function gauges. These will actually change their appearance depending on the mode selected, for example, Sport mode is set in an orange tint with round dials, while Comfort offers up a blue power meter display, and Eco Pro includes an efficiency gauge. You can also keep tabs on the powertrain stats via the Control Display and iDrive menu, which provides an energy flow graphic. You know, just in case you wanna get really nerdy with it.

The infotainment system can also integrate with your smartwatch and smartphone for added functionality, and it provides a variety of connected services, including trip planning, refueling information, trip status notifications via text messages, traffic info, parking info, concierge services, and more.

The i8 Roadster comes with a good deal of standard equipment, with the tunes routed through a Harman Kardon stereo rocking 12 speakers pumping out 360 watts of power. There’s also a standard heads-up display, which, in Sport mode, displays stuff like engine rpm, the current selected gear, and a set of shift lights. On the safety and convenience front, there’s standard cruise control, automatic braking, and surround view cameras, plus frontal collision warning, city collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, park distance control, automatic high beams, speed limit info, and cross traffic alert. Finally, there’s an Intelligent Emergency Call feature that will relay the crash severity and vehicle location in case you really bin it.

Drivetrain

  • Same powertrain and hybrid system as the Coupe
  • Turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the rear
  • Single synchronous electric motor in front
  • Hybrid AWD grip
  • 369 horsepower total, 12 more than before
  • 18 miles of all-electric range
  • 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (0.2 seconds slower than Coupe)
  • 155-mph top speed
  • Braking energy reclamation feature
  • Battery charges in 3 hours from 7.2-kW power supply
  • Multiple drive modes

2015 BMW i8 - image 518243
“While the gas engine drives the rear wheels, a single synchronous electric motor is mounted in the front, sending power and instant torque to the front axle through a two-speed transmission.”

One of the BMW i8’s best party tricks is its ability to provide emission-free driving and silent running on demand, and the Roadster is no different, packing the same BMW eDrive technology, AWD system, and plug-in hybrid powertrain as the Coupe. Behind the seats is a TwinPower Turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder internal combustion gasoline engine, which makes as much as 228 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque thanks to features like Valvetronic variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. The ICE’s power is sent to the rear axle through a six-speed Steptronic gearbox.

While the gas engine drives the rear wheels, a single synchronous electric motor is mounted in the front, sending power and instant torque to the front axle through a two-speed transmission. The combo gives the i8 its AWD grip, providing both the high-revving power of a turbo gas engine and the low-end punch of an electric motor.

This time around, BMW updated the powertrain to be more efficient, tweaking the programming to include further driving situations wherein electric power was the exclusive source of motivation. Bimmer says it set it so the gas engine would only be put to use when accelerating hard, with advanced start/stop technology integrated to keep the engine sipping gas at optimal rates. The engineers refined the exhaust note as well – who knew a three-banger could sound so aggressive?


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748124
“The biggest powertrain updates pertain to the electric side of the equation. The big news is an updated lithium-ion battery, which adds an extra 12 horsepower.”

However, the most important powertrain updates pertain to the electric side of the equation. The big news is an updated lithium-ion battery, which now boasts an increased cell capacity up to 34 Ah from the previous unit’s 20 Ah. Gross energy capacity up is also up, now rated at 11.6 kWh from the previous i8’s 7.1 kWh.

All told, the new cell configuration adds an extra 12 horsepower, bringing the electric motor’s output to 141 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque total. The all-electric range was increased as well, and now offers up to 18 miles of electron-powered go, a 30-percent increase compared to the old model.

Put the ICE and electric motor together, and they yield a total of 369 horsepower, which means that 12 extra horsepower was basically added on top of the old model’s peak output. Impressively, the i8 will also return upwards of 70 MPGe. The 0-to-60 mph sprint clocks in at 4.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds slower than the coupe model, while top speed is rated at a Coupe-matching 155 mph (no word on what it’ll do with the electronic limiter removed).


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748164
“Put the ICE and electric motor together, and they yield a total of 369 horsepower, which means that 12 extra horsepower was basically added on top of the old model's peak output. Impressively, the i8 will also return upwards of 70 MPGe”

The Roadster can also hit 65 mph using only electric power, or you can press the eDrive button, and the all-electric top speed will be increased to 75 mph. There’s also a variety of different drive modes, such as Comfort, Sport, and Eco Pro, each of which should be pretty self-explanatory. If you’re looking for all-electric modes, the selection is limited to Comfort and Eco Pro.

The multiple drive modes also tweak the energy management system. With the hybrid modes, the electric motor provides extra go while also offering energy reclamation under braking and on the overrun. The system is smart too, integrating with the navigation system to switch between gas and electric power as needed for maximum efficiency (for example, electric power is best suited for stop-and-go traffic and downhill sections).

Finally, users can juice up using their BMW-branded i Charging Station. Utilizing a 7.2-kW power supply, the i8 can top off its battery in about 3 hours. Also, if you are registered with the ChargeNow network, you’ll receive “unrestricted access” to any of the various charging stations located across the U.S.

Chassis And Handling

  • Aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic used throughout
  • Weighs in at 3,513 pounds, just 132 pounds more than the Coupe
  • Standard Dynamic Damper Control

2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749469
“Weight saving measures include features like newly designed frame-less gullwing doors that incorporate additional CFRP and an aluminum outer shell. The windscreen frame is also made from CFRP.”

Just like the Coupe, the BMW i8 Roadster utilizes an aluminum chassis and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell, blessing it with high rigidity and a surprisingly low weight. The car’s heft is also evenly distributed front-to-back and mounted as low as possible, thanks primarily to the balanced rear and front locations of the ICE and electric motor respectively, and the central placement of the battery in the car’s underbody.

Additional weight saving measures include features like the newly designed frame-less gullwing doors that now incorporate additional CFRP, plus an aluminum outer shell. The windscreen frame is also made from CFRP, as are the swoopy side skirts. Meanwhile, the drive module, which is comprised of the powertrain, high-voltage battery, and suspension, once again incorporates a good deal of aluminum.


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749478
“Thanks to all the alloys and composites, the i8 Roadster weighs only 3,513 pounds, an increase of 132 pounds compared to the hardtop model.”

Thanks to all the alloys and composites, the i8 Roadster offers the requisite sports car torsional rigidity, all despite the lack of a fixed roof for extra bracing. It’s also surprisingly lightweight, with the curb weight rated at 3,513 pounds, an increase of only 132 pounds compared to the hardtop model. Not bad at all, if you ask us. Typically, drop tops are significantly heavier than their convertible cousins, packing an additional couple hundred pounds in bracing to keep it from folding in on itself when attacking a corner.

The suspension system in place to manage the surprisingly low curb weight includes double wishbones in front and a five-link rear, all of which is made from aluminum. Standard spec tosses in Dynamic Damper Control, while the Roadster model benefits from custom suspension tuning, a specially configured steering system, firmer roll stabilization, and a few changes to the DSC as well.

Pricing


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749473

Sales for the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster kick off in the spring of 2018. Bimmer has yet to announce official pricing information, but considering the 2017 Coupe starts at $143,400, we’d expect the Roadster to ring in at just under $150,000, give or take a few grand.

Competition

Acura NSX Roadster


2014 Acura NSX Roadster
- image 442955

When Acura dropped the second-generation NSX at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the auto world went wild. Finally, Honda’s legendary nameplate had returned, and it brought with it a host of go-faster technology that placed it at the forefront of hybrid-flavored speed. Making it go is a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, which is hybridised by no less than three electric motors to produce an impressive 573 horsepower. The 0-to-60 mph sprint is done in a little less than 3 seconds, while top speed is rated at 191 mph. And while there’s no official word that a drop-top is on the way, it just makes sense to offer one, no?

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Acura NSX Roadster.

Tesla Roadster 2.0


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746104

While we’re still several years away from seeing this thing out on public roads, the second-generation Tesla Roadster looks to offer some pretty insane competition for the Bimmer. Scratch that – this thing is beyond insane, and deep into plaid territory. The claimed specs are light years ahead of what you get in the Bimmer, with a claimed 0-to-60 mph time of 1.9 seconds and a top speed over 250 mph. Making the go is a three-motor powertrain laying down a Earth-turning 7,376 pound-feet of torque, while all-electric range is pegged at 620 miles per charge. Of course, these are all just unverified claims, so we’ll have to see where the Tesla really lands when it’s finally sold to the public, not to mention where the Bimmer will be in comparison. For now, though, keep an eye out for this one.

Read our full review on the 2020 Tesla Roadster 2.0.

Conclusion


2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 749474
“The handful of years between now and the i8's original release date have been a boom time in the hybrid segment, and a lot of what made the i8 so impressive in 2013 doesn't quite spark our interest like it once did.”

At its heart, the 2018 BMW i8 Roadster is a very exciting car. It’s got literally everything offered by the Coupe (except the rear +2 seats, of course), plus a heady dose of extra blue sky on demand. That makes it a fantastic option for those looking into the more eco-friendly options in the high-end roadster market. That much is obvious.

At the same time, though, we have to dock a few points from the Bimmer’s score for it’s lack of upgrades heading into the 2018 model year. When it was first released, the i8 was extremely exciting, offering AWD, sharp styling, solid speed, and a surprising level of efficiency to boot. What’s not to like?

Well, as it turns out, the handful of years between now and the i8’s original release date have been a boom time in the hybrid segment, and a lot of what made the i8 so impressive in 2013 doesn’t quite spark our interest like it once did. Yeah, it still looks great, and yeah, it’s still quick, but were expecting more than an extra 12 horsepower and a few extra miles with the latest update. Just look at rivals like the Acura NSX, which is also an AWD, spacey hybrid sports car, but it’ll simply demolish the Bimmer in the speed department, all while looking equally as good in the styling department. We were hoping for more from the Bavarians.

That said, the Roadster is still a fantastically exciting machine. We’d just wait until the next, more substantial update to pick one up.

  • Leave it
    • * Could be faster
    • * Rivals aren’t slowing down
    • * Loses the rear +2 seats

References

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Coupe.


2015 BMW i8 - image 522680

Read our full review on the current 2017 BMW i8.


maker logos - image 741745

Read more BMW news.


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Read more 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show news.

Updated History

Updated 07/03/2017: The new i8 Spyder is actually coming! BMW dropped the first teaser video for it!

Updated 05/12/2017: The upcoming BMW i8 Spyder was caught testing one more time, and this time we have the chance to get a closer look.

Updated 02/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming i8 Spyder during winter testing in Sweden.

Updated 07/03/2017: The new i8 Spyder is actually coming! BMW dropped the first teaser video for it!

Teaser video

The first official teaser video isn’t much of an actual teaser as it is footage with the camouflaged car we’ve already seen on public roads. However, in this video we can see the i8 Spyder with its doors open, which confirms that it will have butterfly-tipe doors, just like the coupe. This type of door configuration isn’t very common on convertibles, which makes it a pretty big deal.

Spy Shots

May 12, 2017 – BMW i8 Spyder caught up-close and personal


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February 28, 2017 – BMW i8 Spyder caught testing in Sweden


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2019 BMW i8 Roadster - image 707168

PostHeaderIcon Say Hello to Rivian, The Newest Electric Car Startup

Another day, another electric startup coming into the fold. This company calls itself Rivian, and it’s promising to launch two electric vehicles — a five-passenger pickup and a seven-passenger SUV by 2020. There are no details available on either model, but the startup is backed by some heavy hitters with years of experience in the auto industry, including Dodge Viper designer Tom Gale and former McLaren engineer Mark Vinnels.


“For those who don’t know, Sheriff is one of the people responsible for launching McLaren Automotive, the road car division of McLaren that came to life in the early part of the decade with the launch of the MP4-12C”

In addition to Tom Gale and Mark Vinnels, Rivian has also added Antony Sheriff to its team. For those who don’t know, Sheriff is one of the people responsible for launching McLaren Automotive, the road car division of McLaren that came to life in the early part of the decade with the launch of the MP4-12C. As far as having experts in the fold, Rivian appears to have assembled a good team to lead it.

The company also has a production site in place, specifically the old Mitsubishi facility in Normal, Illinois. Rivian completed the purchase of the vacant 2.6 million-square-foot plant in January 2017 with the goal of eventually turning it into the manufacturing core of its upcoming lineup of EV models. It’s unclear how far along the plant’s renovation is, but company spokesperson Samantha Flynn said at the time of the purchase that completion of the renovation will be “in line with the 2019 start production timeline.”


Say Hello to Rivian, The Newest Electric Car Startup - image 761770
“As far as the two models are concerned, Rivian isn’t concerned about trying to box the two vehicles into the mold of what we’ve come to expect from EV cars”

As far as the two models are concerned, Rivian isn’t concerned about trying to box the two vehicles into the mold of what we’ve come to expect from EV cars. It’s designing and developing the two cars on its own terms. “We’re creating electric adventure vehicles that get you to the mountain and back on a single charge, that safely cross streams with your whole family, that carry enough gear for any trip, and let you enjoy the wilderness in silence,” the company said on its website.

On top of their electric configurations, the two vehicles will also be capable of self-driving technology, though it’s unclear exactly how far along Rivian is in developing that specific tech or if it’s going to source it from another company.

As promising as Rivian’s plans are, its goals fit exactly into the kind of setup that Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer talked about when discussing Dyson, another fledgling EV startup. It’s one thing to set goals and plan for them, it’s another thing entirely when you start dealing with production deadlines and all the costs that come with.

References


HondaLens Augmented Reality - The Future of the Dealership Experience - image 749046

Read more technology news.


2018 Nissan Leaf - image 729722

Read more electric car news.

PostHeaderIcon The Future of the BMW i8 is Still in Limbo

The BMW i8 is still making a good case as a desirable model. The debut of the facelifted i8 in Detroit comes a month after the i8 Roadster showed up in Los Angeles. But just because the electric sports coupé remains relevant today, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be around in the not-so-distant future. There are ongoing discussions in Bavaria over the fate of the i8, and there’s growing sentiment that the coupé will end up becoming a one-generation wonder.


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“At this point, BMW has yet to make a concrete decision on the i8’s fate, as well as that of the i3.”

At this point, BMW has yet to make a concrete decision on the i8’s fate, as well as that of the i3. According to Autocar, BMW believes that both models have served their purpose in this world. In the case of the i3, it was to show that the company can develop an electric car. The i8 has also achieved its purpose, which was for BMW to showcase its abilities in marrying performance and electrification into one package. The i3 and i8 both succeeded in their respective objectives, leaving Bimmer execs to ponder what the future holds for both models.

“We’re still deciding [about] the i8,” BMW i boss Robert Irlinger told the publication. “We see a market for new kinds of sports cars. Whatever it’s called, or if it’s a new kind of sports car, is still in discussion.”

There is the possibility that the i8 becomes a long-standing model for BMW. On the other hand, it’s equally plausible that the electric coupé becomes a legacy model in the vein of the BMW M1.


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“Sales of the electric hatchback have tapered off in recent years, culminating in a less-than-stellar 2017 sales year when only 6,276 units of the i3 were sold in the U.S.”

It’s the same story with the i3, though, one that will be determined more by how popular it remains in the coming years. Sales of the electric hatchback have tapered off in recent years, culminating in a less-than-stellar 2017 sales year when only 6,276 units of the i3 were sold in the U.S. That’s a significant drop from the 7,625 i3 units BMW sold the year before.

If that trend continues, the i3 could be living on borrowed time, where it could join the i8 in BMW’s retirement facility.

References

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748136

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i9 Coupe.


2018 BMW i8 Roadster - image 748122

Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728625

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.


2015 BMW i8 - image 522680

Read our full review on the current 2017 BMW i8.

PostHeaderIcon Ford Teases Mach 1 Electric… SUV?

Ford is on a quest to have 40 electrified vehicles by 2022 to meet the demand for fuel efficiency and receded local emissions. One of these vehicles will be a crossover with a fully electric drivetrain. Sounds great, right? Well, not so fast. This crossover will be “Mustang inspired” and be named the Mach 1.

As you should know, the Mach 1 name dates back to 1969 as a performance package on the Mustang. The Mach 1 package added an upgraded suspension, several appearance upgrades, and several V-8 engine options. The package continued through 1978 until Ford resurrected the name in 2003 and 2004 as a send-off for the fourth-generation Mustang. But regardless of year or body style, the Mach 1 name was synonymous with performance.

As for the “Mustang Inspired” thing, Ford hasn’t divulged what this inspiration will look like. The crossover could have a similar face or taillight cues as the Mustang, or maybe even a similar dashboard design.

One thing is for sure; the Mach 1 will be built on a separate platform from the Mustang due to its electric drivetrain and battery pack. That confirmation comes from Ford Executive Vice President Raj Nair in a conversation with Jalopnik.

But regardless of how Mustang-inspired this crossover is, it will still be a high-riding wagon with five doors. Why Ford thinks it’s a smart idea to brand an all-new electric crossover with such an iconic name rich with muscle car heritage is beyond me. It would be like Chevrolet making a Camaro-inspired electric crossover and calling it the Z/28 or Dodge building one inspired by the Viper and naming it the SRT-10.

Names mean things; they carry weight and history. More importantly, vehicle names are engrained into customers’ psyche and elicit connotations of worth, performance, capability, and cultural significance. I’m all for Ford building an electric crossover. It would probably sell extremely well. But, Ford should reconsider slapping such an iconic nameplate onto an unrelated vehicle that doesn’t even hail from the same vehicle category.


References

Ford Mustang


2018 Ford Mustang - image 702950

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.


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Read more Ford news.

PostHeaderIcon Honda Insight

Introduced in late 1999, the Honda Insight was the first production car to feature the company’s then-new Integrated Motor Assist system. It was also the first hybrid launched in North America, arriving in showrooms seven months before the Toyota Prius. Production ended in 2006, after only 17,020 units built, with plans to roll out a replacement in 2009. The second-gen model arrived on time, but this time as a five-door hatchback. The Insight was discontinued for the second time in 2014, mostly due to slow sales. Come 2018 and Honda is set to revive the nameplate with a modern design and a new drivetrain. A pre-production prototype was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, with the production model likely to follow by the end of the year.

“The Honda Insight is anticipated to receive fuel economy ratings competitive with the best hybrids in the segment, with styling that will have universal appeal inside and out and best-in-class passenger volume,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice resident of American Honda. The redesigned Insight will join four other electrified Hondas, including the Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, Electric, and Fuel Cell, and the Fit EV. Most specs are still being kept under wraps, but Honda did unveil a few details about the car’s design and technology. Let’s find out more about it in the review below and don’t forget to come back for updates, as Honda will probably release more data by the end of the year.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Insight.

Exterior

  • Employs Honda’s new styling language
  • New, sleek fastback design
  • Muscular fenders
  • LED lights
  • Production-ready body
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“The side view is a bit more generic than the exotic-looking Clarity”

The new Insight was designed around the company’s recent styling language, so it looks pretty familiar, especially when compared to the new Clarity and the Accord. The angular headlamps, the large grille that’s narrower at the bottom, and the aggressive bumper vents are features we can find on several other Honda models. On the other hand, the grille has a unique design with the “flying wing” insert placed at the top and running into the headlamps.

The side view is a bit more generic than the exotic-looking Clarity, in the sense that it doesn’t have the sharp beltline running through the door handles. However, the Insight benefits from significantly more muscular fenders front and rear and a swoopy beltline that makes it stand out in the lineup.


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“Honda went with a fastback sedan design for the new Insight”

The rear is a significant departure from the previous generations. While both its predecessors had hatchback configurations, Honda went with a fastback sedan design for the new Insight. The roof become sleek as it descends toward the rear fascia, while the decklid is rather short. But unlike most modern fastbacks, there’s no tailgate. This new design approach is a sign that Honda wants to better integrate the Insight in its sedan lineup. A good decision if you ask me, as modern hybrids no longer need the awkward and bubbly design from two decades ago. By putting hybrid drivetrains in a more conventional looking vehicle, Honda will make the Insight appealing to a larger audience. When buying a Prius, you have to settle for its outlandish design. The upcoming Insight

The rear fascia itself looks modern and fresh. The taillights are large and have sizable LED strips, but become narrower on the trunk lid. The small spoiler integrated above adds a bit of character. The rear bumper is as simple as they get, but the black insert with chrome trim in the lower area gives the Insight a sportier feel. Overall, it’s an exciting design that integrates the Insight into the current Honda lineup even better.

Interior

  • Clean dashboard design
  • 8-inch infotainment screen
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Premium features
  • Optional leather seats
  • Optional Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • New driver-assist features

    2019 Honda Insight - image 753491
    “The interior looks familiar and shares some features with existing Honda models”

Much like the exterior, the interior looks familiar and shares some features with existing Honda models. It’s both modern and classy compared to the previous model and it also sports a few unique styling cues. The dashboard is particularly interesting, with the A/C vents in the center stack and on the passenger side connected by a slim black and chrome strip. Not only it gives the cabin a premium look, but it also gives it a more organic, two-tier layout. The eight-inch infotainment screen is positioned just below the center A/C vents, with more controls underneath. The configuration is clean and uncluttered and follows current trends.

Honda says that the new Insight will have many premium features. However, amenities like perforated leather seating, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto will be optional. The Japanese firm also promises smartphone-like features and functionality plus customizable app tiles and home-screen shortcuts for the new infotainment system. The Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates should make updating the unit a breeze.


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“The Wi-Fi-enabled over-the-air system updates should make updating the infotainment system a breeze”

Tech-wise, it will also include Honda LaneWatch on EX and above trims and Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies as standard equipment. The latter will add Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, and new Traffic Sign Recognition.

The longer wheelbase will also make the new sedan the roomiest Insight yet. Honda claims it will provide class-leading passenger space and a full-size trunk thanks to the batteries being located under the rear seats. 60/40 split rear seats are available on the options list.

Drivetrain

  • 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine
  • Lithium-ion battery pack
  • New electric motor
  • Combined fuel economy of 50 mpg
  • Class-leading output

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“Honda claims that the Insight will deliver class-leading power and 50 mpg combined”

Drivetrain details are pretty scant right now, but Honda claims that the Insight will deliver class-leading power. This isn’t hard to achieve though, as the competition isn’t overly powerful. While the Toyota Prius has a total system output of 121 horsepower, the Chevy Volt provides 149 horses and the Hyundai Ioniq cranks out 139 horsepower. Extracting at least 150 horsepower from the 1.5-liter Atkinson-cycle engine and the electric motor shouldn’t be an issue. Juice is provided by a lithium-ion battery pack. As for fuel economy, Honda anticipates a combined mileage of 50 mpg. This figure puts it below the Prius’ 56 mpg and the Ioniq’s 58 mpg, but above the Volt’s 46 mpg.

Prices


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Pricing is still a mystery right now and it’s been too long since Honda had an Insight model in showroom to attempt an estimate. But it’s safe to assume that it won’t be significantly more expensive than the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Ioniq. With the two priced from $23,475 and $22,200, respectively, the Honda Insight should fetch less than $25,000 before incentives and options.

Competition

Toyota Prius


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Introduced for the 2016 model year, the latest-generation Toyota Prius is already almost three years old. And unlike the Insight, it still sports a unique design that sets it apart from any other Toyota out there. And it’s still a hatchback by design. The interior looks pretty high-tech too, and the centered instrument cluster enhances this feeling. The Prius uses the same 1.8-liter, Atkinson-cycle as its predecessor, but the unit is now more efficient thanks to numerous upgrades. It also features a new exhaust gas recirculation system, an active grille shutter, and reduced friction. The four-cylinder is paired with a new electric motor and a battery pack. The gas mill cranks out 95 horsepower and 105 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor generates 71 horses and 120 pound-feet. Total system output is rated at 121 horsepower. Fuel efficiency has increased by 10 percent in the new model, which returns up to 58 mpg city, 53 mpg highway, and 56 mpg combined. Pricing starts at $23,475.

Read our full story on the 2017 Toyota Prius.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid


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The Ioniq was born out of Hyundai’s desire to give the Prius a run for its money. And, on paper, it seems that the Korean brand did a good job. Design-wise, the Ioniq isn’t as “weird” as the Prius, but it has a similar notchback layout and plenty of sporty cues. It looks surprisingly exciting for a hybrid, especially when compared to the old Prius and Insight. Inside, you’ll find a modern layout with soft touch surfaces, a decently large infotainment display, and loads of tech. Under the hood, the Ioniq brings together a 1.6-liter Kappa GDi gasoline engine with an electric motor and a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission (unlike the Prius, which uses a CVT). The gas engine is rated at 104 horsepower and 108 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor adds an extra 43 horses. Total output is rated at 139 horsepower and 195 pound-feet, more than you get from the Toyota Prius. As far as efficiency goes, the Ioniq can return up to 54 mpg in the city. Pricing starts at $22,000, making it the most affordable proposition on this list.

Read our full review of the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq.

Chevrolet Volt


2016 Chevrolet Volt - image 610080

Redesigned for the 2016 model year, the second-generation Volt gaining a much more attractive exterior design and a surprisingly premium interior with standard rear-vision camera and a heap of safety features, including lane keep assist with lane departure warning, side blind zone alert with lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, front automatic braking, and advanced park assist with front and rear park assist. However, the Volt is a bit different in how its drivetrain operates because it uses a small gasoline engine as a range-extending generator. The electric motors generate 149 horsepower and 294 pound-feet of torque and return an all-electric range of 50 miles. When the battery is depleted, the 101-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine kicks in to extend the range. Overall mileage, including fully charged batteries and a full tank of fuel, is estimated at an impressive 420 miles. But there is a downside to the Volt: it’s significantly more expensive than the competition, retailing from $33,220 before Government rebates. However, if you’re eligible for the full incentive, the sticker for a base model can drop to as low as $26,000.

Read our full story on the 2017 Chevrolet Volt.

Conclusion


2019 Honda Insight - image 761861

Needless to say, Honda’s strategy for the Insight has been rather awkward up until now. While Toyota built the Prius continuously since its introduction in 1997, Honda discontinued the Insight twice. But the Japanese hybrid returned with massive improvements the first time and it seems that the second revival is again a significant departure from its predecessor. It’s too early to draw a conclusion with the production model still a few months (if not a year) away, but the new Insight should be significantly more successful than its predecessor.

  • Leave it
    • * Still a prototype
    • * Tough competition from Toyota and Hyundai

References

Honda Insight


Honda Insight Returns to Take on the Toyota Prius with Sleek Design, High-Tech Interior - image 758737

Honda claims that the Insight will deliver class-leading power and 50 mpg combined


2000 - 2006 Honda Insight - image 88100

Read our full review on the 2000-2006 Honda Insight.


2010 Honda Insight - image 280299

Read our full review on the 2010 Honda Insight.


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Read more Detroit Auto Show news.


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Read more Honda news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Karma Just Kicked Elon Musk in the Nuts

Another day, another carrot. I just dropped by to tell you that I love karma. Nope, not the Fisker Karma. That karma. The principle that Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering. It’s the concept that keeps all life in a perfect balance. And the same concept made Elon Musk look pretty dumb after Hyundai launched the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell SUV at the Consumer Electronics Show. Yup, gotta love karma!

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In case you haven’t been following the latest electric car market disputes, Elon Musk made a few smug comments in recent years. One was aimed at the Nissan Leaf when Musk said that the Model 3 will provide more range at a more affordable price. The compact sedan isn’t yet available, as Tesla is struggling with production issues, but we already know that it’s more efficient than the redesigned Leaf. However, it’s a bit more expensive in base trim and significantly pricier if you want the longer range option and some tech. Pricier as in you can buy a BMW instead.

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In early 2016, Musk made a public statement in which it called hydrogen cars “incredibly dumb” when compared to electric vehicle. Granted, he had a few valid reasons about the process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen and compressing the latter cars, but it was still pretty rude to just take a dump on all automakers working on fuel cell technology. Especially with so many engineers claiming that it’s a viable solution. Well, Hyundai just launched the hydrogen-powered Nexo SUV with a range of 370 miles, 75 more than the range-topping Tesla Model X. And karma entered the room to kick Elon in the nuts.

Sure, only time will tell if the Nexo is as good as Hyundai claims, but some were skeptical when the Toyota Mirai entered production, and the Japanese sedan has done pretty well until now. And, unlike Tesla, Hyundai has kept its promises recently and didn’t miss its production schedule due to rash decisions. Maybe Elon could take a break and take a few notes from the Koreans. Hydrogen might be worth something after all now that carbon tanks are becoming more affordable and hydrogen stations are becoming a thing. Let’s not forget that hybrid and all-electric drivetrains were considered ludicrous a few decades ago…

Karma wins. Every time.

References

Hyundai Nexo


2019 Hyundai Nexo - image 756408

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Nexo.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.


Pops' Rants: Cadillac Sucks, Ferrari Is a Hypocrite, Civic Si Gets Turbo for Nothing - image 712265

Read more Pops’ Rants news.

PostHeaderIcon Hyundai’s Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla

Korean carmaker Hyundai has been developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles since the early 2000s, with the first test model launched in 2005. It was based on the first-generation ix35/Tucson. The crossover was updated in 2012 and went into production in 2013, becoming the first mass-produced SUV with hydrogen power. It’s been five years since then, and Hyundai is replacing the ix35/Tucson FCEV with the Nexo. Unveiled at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, the Nexo is the brand’s first fuel cell vehicle built on a dedicated platform and boasts significant performance improvements in every department. And it offers better mileage than a Tesla!


Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla - image 756395
“The Nexo sports a brand-new design that combines the company's familiar styling language with a few unique cues”

The Nexo sports a brand-new design that combines the company’s familiar styling language with a few unique cues. The front fascia is similar to the recently launched Kona, including the slender headlamps and large lights in the bumper, but it has a new grille with a wider top section and more rounded sides. The profile is rather sporty when compared to the Tucson thanks to the swoopy beltline, the coupe-like roof, and the sculpted side skirts. The rear section is pretty simple and very SUV-specific, but it somewhat unique in the Hyundai lineup. The headlamps have an interesting LED pattern, while the bumper includes a massive license plate recess that mimics the shape of the front grille.

The cabin layout is clean and simple. I can see a few Kona features on the dashboard, but the Nexo’s cabin is very original. The center console is taller than in most small SUVs and works its way up to the center stack. There’s a big infotainment display in the center, and the instrument cluster is digital. Both screens are placed under the same hood, which makes it seem as if a wide screen stretches across more than half the dashboard. The remaining controls are placed on the center console. If you ask me, the latter is a bit too cluttered with buttons and knobs, and the lower dash and door panels look a bit too cheap. Technology-wise, it comes with new Lane Following Assist, Blind-spot View Monitor, and Remote Smart Parking Assistant. The SUV is also supposed to power household applications, a feature that Hyundai wants to demo at CES.

Better Range than a Tesla


Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla - image 756378

Unlike the Tucson, the Nexo rides on its own architecture. This is proof that Hyundai’s hydrogen program has finally matured and it is ready to become a mainstream thing. On top of the new platform, the Nexo sports a lighter, more compact hydrogen powertrain and a more powerful electric motor. The power density of the stack was increased by 50 percent, and system efficiency went up 5.1 percent compared to the Tucson FCEV. The motor is smaller and contains fewer moving parts for enhanced efficiency and reliability, while the hydrogen tanks are 36 pounds lighter than those in the Tucson FCEV.

The electric motor cranks out 120 kW (161 horsepower) and 291 pound-feet of torque, up from the previous 100-kW (134-horsepower) and 221-pound-foot rating. The new drivetrain needs 30 seconds to get going, a full 60 seconds less than the Tucson FCEV. The hydrogen tanks can also store more fuel. While the previous crossover had a capacity of 140 liters (37 gallons), the Nexo can carry 156 liters (42 gallons). Likewise, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph decreased from 12.5 to 9.9 seconds, while mileage increased from 295 miles to 370 miles. Hyundai claims in a real-world run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas; the Nexo returned a 360-mile range. Bye-bye range anxiety! Refueling the tanks takes only five minutes.

The 370-mile range makes the Nexo the most efficient production car that uses an electric motor on the market right. It even trumps the Tesla Model X by 75 miles. The all-electric SUV is good for 237 miles in base trim, while the most efficient version, the 100D, provides up to 295 miles on a single charge. A bit ironic given that Elon Musk said that hydrogen fuel cell technology is “incredibly dumb.”

The Nexo will be available in select markets later this year, but there’s no word on production output and pricing yet.

Hyundai Nexo Tesla Model X
Power 135 kW
Fuel Cell 95 kW
Battery 40 kW 75 kWh to 100 kWh
Motor 120 kW (161 HP) 417 – 518 HP
Torque 291 LB-FT 387 – 485 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 9.9 seconds 6 seconds
Range >370 miles estimated 237-295 miles (depending on trim)

References

Hyundai Nexo


Hyundai's Hydrogen-powered Nexo Has Better Mileage than a Tesla - image 756408

Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Nexo.


2016 Tesla Model X - image 678035

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model X.


maker logos - image 752756

Read more CES news.


maker logos - image 744957

Read more Hyundai news.

PostHeaderIcon Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV?

We already know that the Audi Q2 is here because it was launched in 2017. We also know that a long-wheelbase version of the Q2, dubbed the Q2 L, will go on sale in China in 2019. Now it seems that the small crossover family is getting another member in the form of an all-electric Q2 L that’s tipped to make its debut in the next few years.


Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV? - image 667679
“The model will reportedly carry a driving range of around 310 miles.”

Word of the all-electric Q2 L’s existence comes by way of Indian Autos Blog, which claims that the pure electric variant of the Q2 carries the internal codename “Audi X55 BEV,” a nod to the Q2’s own “X55” codename. Details are scarce at this point, but the report indicated that the model will use the same MQB platform that currently underpins a number of Audi models, including the Q2. The model will reportedly carry a driving range of around 310 miles.

Beyond these details, there’s very little information to go by as far as the all-electric Q2 L is concerned. While there is a distinct possibility that it could arrive, it’s hard to assume that’s going to happen when non-electric Q2 hasn’t even arrived yet. From what we know, the Q2 L is expected to arrive in China in 2019 as a 2018 model. That much was revealed through images from an Audi product planning presentation that the German automaker had in China last year. There have also been reports that the Q2 L will go to India, though that’s also contingent on how much Audi plans to spend to develop an RHD variant of the Q2 L.


Is China Getting a Longer Q2 EV? - image 667723
“The Q2 L is expected to arrive in China in 2019 as a 2018 model”

An all-electric Audi Q2 L sounds good on paper, but there are plenty of reasonable questions to ask regarding the feasibility of the variant, including the kind of weight it’s carrying and how that translates to its efficiency. The setup of the chassis and suspension will also have to be reconfigured to fit electric motors instead of a traditional engine.

Given the world we live in, it’s possible that Audi does have an all-electric Q2 L on the table. But, until more details are revealed, we’re taking this report with a handful of salt.

References

Audi Q2


2017 Audi Q2 - image 667707

Read our full review on the 2017 Audi Q2.


maker logos - image 744956

Read more Audi news.

PostHeaderIcon Nio EP9

Founded in 2014 in Shanghai, China, Nio has quickly grown to become a major industry player, establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of electric vehicles and self-driving technology. Boasting over 2,000 employees spread out over 13 locations globally, Nio is known for creations like Eve, a forward-thinking autonomous concept, and the ES8, a seven-passenger high-performance all-electric SUV, as well as its involvement in the Formula E championship with powertrain support for the Nio 003 race car. However, the start-up is best known for this – the EP9, a high-performance all-electric speed machine aimed squarely at all things quick and internal combustion-propelled. Inspired by the FIA’s Le Mans Prototype regulations, the Nio EP9 is street legal, but has made a name for itself setting some very impressive records on the track, including a sprint around the Nurburgring’s north loop in just 6 minutes, 45 seconds, a run around the Circuit Paul Ricard in 1 minute 52.78 seconds, and a lap of the Circuit of the Americas in 2 minutes 1.11 seconds. Granted, these records were done on track-only slick tires, but it’s impressive stuff all the same.

So then – what makes this thing tick? Is it just an overblown blender, or is there more to it? Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the NextEV Nio EP9.

Exterior

  • Looks like a sci-fi blockbuster
  • Honed over the course of 170 CFD simulations
  • Active aerodynamic elements
  • Generates double the amount of downforce as an F1 car
  • Carbon fiber exterior panels
  • 19-inch and 21-inch wheels

2019 Nio EP9 - image 736474
“Aesthetically speaking, the Nio EP9 is a futuristic, streamlined speed wedge, with a look that screams modern hypercar”

Aesthetically speaking, the Nio EP9 is a futuristic, streamlined speed wedge, with a look that screams modern hypercar with its ultra-low, ultra-wide stance, massively flared fenders, and centrally placed cabin. The word “aggressive” would certainly be appropriate here. The EP9 looks like it was plucked from the screen of some sci-fi blockbuster, like it could outrun the baddies in the climax chase scene thanks its insane power and ability to drive upside down. Funny enough, these characteristics hit pretty close to home, as you’ll soon see.

While we think it looks pretty good, it also bears mentioning that the EP9’s exterior is quite functional as well. Nio refined the shape over the course of 170 rounds of computational fluid dynamics simulations, eking out every pound of downforce possible, while simultaneously cutting out every bit of aerodynamic drag.


2019 Nio EP9 - image 736485
“All told, the Nio EP9 makes a ridiculous amount of downforce. Hit all the right settings, then drive it at 149 mph, and this EV will make 5,395 pounds of downforce.”

As you might expect, carbon fiber is used for the exterior panels to keep the machine lightweight. There are also active aerodynamics elements to add extra stick at speed. The most prominent component to the aero is the rear wing, which can adjust into three separate positions for either more downforce or lower drag, as the situation may warrant. These positions are labeled as “Park,” “Low Drag,” and “High Downforce.” You can imagine what each looks like in terms of the rear wing’s position. The sizable rear flap comes complemented by a full-length floor diffuser, with a flat undertray and curved slats that extend from the nose to the tail. The large front splitter is adjustable as well.

All told, the Nio EP9 makes a ridiculous amount of downforce. Hit all the right settings, then drive it at 149 mph, and this EV will make double the amount of downforce as a Formula One race car, or 24,000 N (5,395 pounds). That’s like having a full-size adult rhinoceros sitting on the roof, pushing the tires down into the pavement. Go fast enough and you’ll be able to drive it upside down, given the right track, that is.

Sci-fi, indeed.

In the corners, customers are offered both 19-inch and 21-inch wheels, with the former mounting slick tires and the latter mounting street-legal water-channeling rubber.

Interior

  • Looks like a race car
  • Carbon fiber tub
  • Six-point harnesses and fixed-back seats
  • Same steering wheel as the Formula E car
  • Four digital screens total

2019 Nio EP9 - image 736476
“The seats are basically carved out the rear bulkhead, because at the end of the day, the EP9 is essentially a street-legal race car.”

Step into the cabin of the Nio EP9, and you’ll be met with a carbon-laden cockpit design that looks very much like what you get in a race car. Seating capacity is limited to two passengers max, and six-point harnesses keep you in place. The steering wheel is actually a simplified iteration of the NextEV’s Formula E racing wheel, and it’s even made by the same company that produces the competition unit. The shape is rather rectangular, with a flat top and a curved lower section, and there’s a trio of buttons to help adjust settings for the ABS, power output, and traction control.

The seats are form fitting, and don’t appear to offer much in terms of adjustability. They’re basically carved out the rear bulkhead, because at the end of the day, the EP9 is essentially a street-legal race car. There’s also contrast stitching added in turquoise, plus lots of black material everywhere else. Further bronzed metal surrounds are added to the center console switch dial and steering wheel center section.

For info purposes, the EP9 incorporates a variety of digital screens, including one in the steering wheel, one behind the steering wheel, one on the center console, and one in front of the passenger seat. These digital readouts relay a good deal of performance data on the fly, with stuff like top speed, lap time, available battery power, active aero settings, road speed, lateral g forces, and even the driver’s heat beat spread across the various screens. These are divided up such that the most important stuff is close at hand (for example, the center screen is used for lap times, a track map, and car’s current position).

Drivetrain

  • 1,341 horsepower (1 megawatt)
  • 1,092 pound-feet of torque
  • Four independent electric motors
  • Four separate gearboxes
  • 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds
  • Top speed is 195 mph
  • Can replace the battery pack in 8 minutes
  • Full charge in 45 minutes
  • 265 miles per charge

2019 Nio EP9 - image 754160
“Providing the juice is a 777-volt powertrain, with four inboard motor generating units, or MGUs, laying down the propulsion”

While the advanced aerodynamics and carbon tub interior are definitely impressive, it’s the EP9’s powertrain that truly makes it stand out. Providing the juice is a 777-volt powertrain, with four inboard motor generating units, or MGUs, laying down the propulsion. Peak output is rated at a head-spinning 1,341 horsepower, or 1 megawatt. That means that with one electric motor per wheel, each corner creates 335 and a quarter horsepower, or about the same output as a V-6 Camaro. Per corner.

While the power levels are nuts, the EP9’s torque is equally out of this world. Total twist comes to 1,480 Nm, or 1,092 pound-feet, at the motors, all of which arrives as soon as you put your foot down. The EP9 also includes four individual gearboxes with a 1:4.283 ratio, enabling a higher top speed alongside the traditional earth-shattering acceleration now considered commonplace amongst high-performance EVs.


2019 Nio EP9 - image 754161
“Peak output is rated at a head-spinning 1,341 horsepower, or 1 megawatt. That means that with one electric motor per wheel, each corner creates 335 and a quarter horsepower, or about the same output as a V-6 Camaro. Per corner.”

Properly motivated, the EP9 can hit 62 mph in just 2.7 seconds. The sprint to 124 mph takes 7.1 seconds, and the sprint to 186 mph takes 15.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at 195 mph (313 kph).

If you keep your foot off the throttle, you’ll be able to eke out roughly 265 miles per charge, with just 45 minutes required to bring the battery back up to full. Nio also says you can replace the battery pack in just 8 minutes, which is great if you plan on doing some hot lapping at a local track day. Finally, the EP9 is equipped with a complementary passive cooling system that helps keep the battery pack at the right temperature, thus ensuring peak performance no matter how hard you run it.

Nio EP9 Powertrain And Performance Specs

Drive type All-electric AWD
Drive motors Four independent electric motors
Transmission Four independent gearboxes
Horsepower 1,341 hp (1 megawatt)
Torque 1,092 pound-feet
Range per charge 265 miles
0 to 62 mph 2.7 seconds
0 to 124 mph 7.1 seconds
0 to 186 mph 15.9 seconds
Top speed 195 mph

Chassis And Handling

  • Carbon fiber chassis
  • Curb weight of 3,825 pounds
  • Active suspension components
  • 2.53 g’s of lateral acceleration, 3.3 g’s of deceleration
  • Twice the brake torque capability of a modern GT3 race car
  • Carbon ceramic discs, 6-pot calipers
  • Slick and grooved tires

2019 Nio EP9 - image 736484
“The composite material helps to cut weight, weighing at just 165 kg (364 pounds), a figure Nio says is 70 percent lighter than a steel equivalent”

Under the skin, the Nio EP9 comes with a carbon fiber chassis. The composite material helps to cut weight, weighing at just 165 kg (364 pounds), a figure Nio says is 70 percent lighter than a steel equivalent. The fiber is also quite stiff, rated at 30,000 Nm/deg. Then there’s the battery pack, which weighs 635 kg (1,400 pounds), while the extraneous carbon fiber components contribute a further 364 kg (802 pounds). However, even with loads of carbon, the EP9’s quad electric motor and transmission set-up adds a good amount of heft, with the final product weighing in at 3,825 pounds. Not as heavy as you might expect, but not exactly Lotus territory, either.

Still, the EP9 has the right suspension components to at least manage the heft, with active pieces designed by Nio specifically for the EP9 application. There’s four-way adjustability for the dampers, as well as a hydraulic third actuator for a “consistent ride height,” even when cornering at tremendous speeds. The active suspension also works in concert with the active aero to synergize all the various handling tech on board.


2019 Nio EP9 - image 736478
“Put it into a bend, and Nio says the EP9 will hold the road with 2.53 g’s of lateral acceleration, and stop with 3.3 g’s of longitudinal force.”

Additionally, the four separate electric motors help the EP9 produce a ton of AWD grip, while also enabling advanced torque vectoring for sharper cornering. Put it into a bend, and Nio says the EP9 will hold the road with 2.53 g’s of lateral acceleration while traveling at 230 kph (143 mph). It’ll also stop on dime, exerting as much as 3.3 g’s of longitudinal force when applying the binders.

Speaking of which, the EP9’s brakes are totally bespoke for the application. The automaker partnered with noted brake specialist Alcon to create new Surface Transforms carbon ceramic brake discs. The end result is twice the brake torque capability of a modern GT3 race car, with the front rocking large 408 mm by 40 mm (16.1-inch by 1.6-inch) discs, while the rear gets 408mm by 36 mm (16.1-inch by 1.4-inch) discs. Calipers at both ends are 6-pot units. To keep the discs nice and chilly, there’s also carbon fiber air intakes that feed them with fresh atmosphere.

The Nio EP9 is offered with both 19-inch and 21-inch wheels. The wheels are 13 inches wide with the slick-shod 19-inch rollers, and 10.5-inches wide for the street-friendly 21-inchers. Both wheels get slick carbon fiber inlays. The tires are 295/35 for the street compound, and a behemoth 320/705 for the slicks. Both are bespoke compounds, which EP9 helped develop to meet the unique demands of this outrageous EV hypercar.

Prices


2019 Nio EP9 - image 736495

Pricing for the Nio EP9 is set at a hefty $1.2 million, with production limited to 16 units total. At least six of those units have already been sold to Nio investors, which means supplies are dwindling if you’re looking to get one in your garage.

Competition

Rimac Concept One


2017 Rimac Concept One - image 666768

In the world of top-dog performance EVs, the Nio EP9 really only has one peer – the Rimac Concept One. As the production iteration of the E-Runner Concept One that took the fight to internal combustion at the 2015 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, this Croation-built monster has the right stuff to challenge the Chinese competition. It’s a bit heavier, weighing in at 4,079 pounds, but the interior is nicer, with more high-end materials and less of the carbon bunker vibe seen in the EP9. Most importantly, the Rimac comes packing with 1,072 horses and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, good enough for a run to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds, 124 mph in 6.2 seconds, and 186 mph in 14.2 seconds. Top speed clocks in at an astonishing 221 mph.

Read our full review on the 2017 Rimac Concept One.

Porsche 918 Spyder


2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
- image 522487

Granted, this hybrid Stuttgart superstar doesn’t come with an all-electric powertrain, but its still got an EV mode and the performance chops to hang with the EP9, so we think it’s a good match all the same. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic is used for the monocoque, while the interior gets a lovely array of digital screens and soft touch materials. Providing the go is a 4.6-liter V-8 and a pair of electric motors, all of which combine to create 887 horsepower and 940 pounds-feet of torque. A run to 60 mph takes 2.8 seconds, 124 mph in 7.9 seconds, and 186 mph in 23 seconds, with top speed pegged at 211 mph. If you’re looking for even more of the go stuff, get yours with the lightweight Weissach package.

Read our full review on the 2017 Porsche 918 Spyder.

Conclusion


2019 Nio EP9 - image 736487

While many will bemoan the so-called “death” of internal combustion (a topic for another day, no doubt), machines like the Nio EP9 should at least provide a little bit of comfort. After all, this thing has the goods to keep up with the best of the best from the world of gasoline, with advanced aero, adaptive suspension, and loads of carbon. The powertrain and drivetrain are especially impressive, providing superlative power delivery with high-tech attitude.

We’re especially excited to see mega EVs like the Nio EP9 take on the old guard at major motorsport events like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, or even just a regular old track day. These are the sorts of places where the transition to electric power will be most evident, put on display in dramatic fashion with tire smoke and crisp lap times, and with feature like 1 megawatt of power and an 8-minute battery swap time, the Nio EP9 should have what it needs to hang.

All told, it’s an exciting time to be into cars, that much is obvious.

  • Leave it
    • * Extremely expensive
    • * Low range per charge
    • * No internal combustion soundtrack
    • * Interior is a bit spartan

References


2019 Nio EP9 - image 736475

Nio EP9 Sets EV Lap Record At The Nurburgring

PostHeaderIcon Renault Shows Off the Symbioz as a Working Prototype

As more and more automakers continue their push to develop electric and autonomous vehicles, a company like Renault isn’t going to let itself get behind the proceedings. The French automaker unveiled the SYMBIOZ concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show last September to showcase what it can do in this burgeoning space. The concept was first envisioned as a roadmap for the company’s future by 2030, but in the space of just three months, Renault was able to develop a new working prototype of the same concept that has cut its timetable to 2023.

“The SYMBIOZ concept is a fascinating interpretation of what the future could look like with Renault”

It’s easy to look at this news on the surface and think that it’s ground-breaking. It is in some regard, but should we really be surprised that Renault is moving its timetable a lot closer to where other automakers are at this point? Most companies are aiming for commercial applications on their autonomous driving technology between 2019 and 2021. If you look at it from that perspective, Renault is still a few years behind.

But that’s not to discount the advancements the French automaker has made. The SYMBIOZ concept is a fascinating interpretation of what the future could look like with Renault. It looks like a full-blown concept. It features plenty of cutting-edge tech features, born from collaborations between the automaker and some of the biggest tech companies in the world. LG developed the concept’s display unit, heads-up display system, and the control unit. Tomtom is responsible for the concept’s map and navigation system, and while we’re at it, the full onboard experience was developed by Ubisoft, the French video game publisher that’s responsible for Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Prince of Persia.

“In the interim, Renault plans to offer test drives of the concept to the media “to demonstrate in real-life conditions, a car that is autonomous, electric and connected."”

In the interim, Renault plans to offer test drives of the concept to the media “to demonstrate in real-life conditions, a car that is autonomous, electric and connected.” If the company is confident enough in its product to do this now, it tells you that there’s more to Renault’s plans for autonomous driving than we first thought.

It’s happening sooner than later. In my mind, that’s a good thing.

References


Renault Symbioz Is Like A Mobile Room - image 731071

Read our review on the Renault Symbioz concept.



Read more Renault news.

PostHeaderIcon Fisker’s Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018

Proclaimed as an “SUV you actually want to ride in,” Henrik Fisker has finally shown off his newest creation and the second model to be proposed for the Fisker lineup. Meet the Fisker Orbit, a model that Fisker claims will change the future of mobility forever, and has yet to go beyond the rendering stage, but is apparently slated for delivery starting in October of 2018 – that’s less than one year from the time of this writing. The company, via its Facebook page, said its an “electric, connected, autonomous shuttle for smart cities.” According to Boss Magazine, the new Orbit will be built in collaboration with Hakim Unique Group of China, a brand valued at $32 billion with 160 subsidiaries globally.

Want to know more? Keep reading…

The Orbit, a Chinese Company, New Technology


Fisker's Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018 - image 749323
“Orbit is something out of what we would see in a science fiction movie based in the distant future”

The rendered images of the Orbit Shuttle come just a few days after a partially blacked out image was showcased on Fisker’s Twitter page. According to the aforementioned Boss Magazine, Fisker and Hakim plan to “set a foundation” for self-driving transportation in U.S. Cities. So, it should go without saying that it will utilize the same technology found in the Fisker Emotion. As you can see from the available images, the Orbit is something out of what we would see in a science fiction movie based in the distant future. The glass can project and display test to give passersby or potential riders necessary information while the inside will likely serve as a platform for entertainment or, probably, advertisements.

“I am very excited about making the impossible, possible with intelligent urban ecosystems– starting with the development of one of the world’s most forward-thinking and uniquely designed electric, autonomous shuttles: The Fisker Orbit,” said Fisker. “Hakim Group is a very large group out of China that is already working on smart cities and many other things as well,” he continued, “They also own some areas of hospitals in L.A., coincidentally. I got to meet one of the group’s directors in L.A., and we got talking about the future of mobility.”


Fisker's Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018 - image 749321
“It’s still a little too early to believe that October 2018 delivery date, but you never know, it could very well happen”

With that said, it looks like Fisker may actually be the real deal this time around. With a company like Hakim as a partner, he’ll certainly have the funding needed to keep Fisker afloat. It’s still a little too early to believe that October 2018 delivery date, but you never know, it could very well happen. What do you think? Do you like the shuttle? Do you want to ride in it? Will you ride in it? Let us know in the comments section below.

References


What in the World is Henrik Fisker Working on Now? - image 747624

What in the World is Henrik Fisker Working on Now?

Fisker EMotion


2017 Fisker EMotion - image 693722

Read our full review on the 2018 Fisker EMotion.

PostHeaderIcon Fisker’s Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018

Proclaimed as an “SUV you actually want to ride in,” Henrik Fisker has finally shown off his newest creation and the second model to be proposed for the Fisker lineup. Meet the Fisker Orbit, a model that Fisker claims will change the future of mobility forever, and has yet to go beyond the rendering stage, but is apparently slated for delivery starting in October of 2018 – that’s less than one year from the time of this writing. The company, via its Facebook page, said its an “electric, connected, autonomous shuttle for smart cities.” According to Boss Magazine, the new Orbit will be built in collaboration with Hakim Unique Group of China, a brand valued at $32 billion with 160 subsidiaries globally.

Want to know more? Keep reading…

The Orbit, a Chinese Company, New Technology


Fisker's Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018 - image 749323
“Orbit is something out of what we would see in a science fiction movie based in the distant future”

The rendered images of the Orbit Shuttle come just a few days after a partially blacked out image was showcased on Fisker’s Twitter page. According to the aforementioned Boss Magazine, Fisker and Hakim plan to “set a foundation” for self-driving transportation in U.S. Cities. So, it should go without saying that it will utilize the same technology found in the Fisker Emotion. As you can see from the available images, the Orbit is something out of what we would see in a science fiction movie based in the distant future. The glass can project and display test to give passersby or potential riders necessary information while the inside will likely serve as a platform for entertainment or, probably, advertisements.

“I am very excited about making the impossible, possible with intelligent urban ecosystems– starting with the development of one of the world’s most forward-thinking and uniquely designed electric, autonomous shuttles: The Fisker Orbit,” said Fisker. “Hakim Group is a very large group out of China that is already working on smart cities and many other things as well,” he continued, “They also own some areas of hospitals in L.A., coincidentally. I got to meet one of the group’s directors in L.A., and we got talking about the future of mobility.”


Fisker's Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018 - image 749321
“It’s still a little too early to believe that October 2018 delivery date, but you never know, it could very well happen”

With that said, it looks like Fisker may actually be the real deal this time around. With a company like Hakim as a partner, he’ll certainly have the funding needed to keep Fisker afloat. It’s still a little too early to believe that October 2018 delivery date, but you never know, it could very well happen. What do you think? Do you like the shuttle? Do you want to ride in it? Will you ride in it? Let us know in the comments section below.

References


What in the World is Henrik Fisker Working on Now? - image 747624

What in the World is Henrik Fisker Working on Now?

Fisker EMotion


2017 Fisker EMotion - image 693722

Read our full review on the 2018 Fisker EMotion.

PostHeaderIcon Fisker’s Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018

Proclaimed as an “SUV you actually want to ride in,” Henrik Fisker has finally shown off his newest creation and the second model to be proposed for the Fisker lineup. Meet the Fisker Orbit, a model that Fisker claims will change the future of mobility forever, and has yet to go beyond the rendering stage, but is apparently slated for delivery starting in October of 2018 – that’s less than one year from the time of this writing. The company, via its Facebook page, said its an “electric, connected, autonomous shuttle for smart cities.” According to Boss Magazine, the new Orbit will be built in collaboration with Hakim Unique Group of China, a brand valued at $32 billion with 160 subsidiaries globally.

Want to know more? Keep reading…

The Orbit, a Chinese Company, New Technology


Fisker's Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018 - image 749323
“Orbit is something out of what we would see in a science fiction movie based in the distant future”

The rendered images of the Orbit Shuttle come just a few days after a partially blacked out image was showcased on Fisker’s Twitter page. According to the aforementioned Boss Magazine, Fisker and Hakim plan to “set a foundation” for self-driving transportation in U.S. Cities. So, it should go without saying that it will utilize the same technology found in the Fisker Emotion. As you can see from the available images, the Orbit is something out of what we would see in a science fiction movie based in the distant future. The glass can project and display test to give passersby or potential riders necessary information while the inside will likely serve as a platform for entertainment or, probably, advertisements.

“I am very excited about making the impossible, possible with intelligent urban ecosystems– starting with the development of one of the world’s most forward-thinking and uniquely designed electric, autonomous shuttles: The Fisker Orbit,” said Fisker. “Hakim Group is a very large group out of China that is already working on smart cities and many other things as well,” he continued, “They also own some areas of hospitals in L.A., coincidentally. I got to meet one of the group’s directors in L.A., and we got talking about the future of mobility.”


Fisker's Newest Project is an Electric Shuttle; Deliveries Start in Late-2018 - image 749321
“It’s still a little too early to believe that October 2018 delivery date, but you never know, it could very well happen”

With that said, it looks like Fisker may actually be the real deal this time around. With a company like Hakim as a partner, he’ll certainly have the funding needed to keep Fisker afloat. It’s still a little too early to believe that October 2018 delivery date, but you never know, it could very well happen. What do you think? Do you like the shuttle? Do you want to ride in it? Will you ride in it? Let us know in the comments section below.

References


What in the World is Henrik Fisker Working on Now? - image 747624

What in the World is Henrik Fisker Working on Now?

Fisker EMotion


2017 Fisker EMotion - image 693722

Read our full review on the 2018 Fisker EMotion.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Trademarks i1 Through i9 in Preparation for its EV Onslaught

BMW has now trademarked all names from i1 to i9, adding it to a list that also includes iX1 through iX9 – signifying that German brand is about to unleash a furious lineup of electric vehicles to combat those from rivals like Mercedes which will be boasting its EQ brand in the coming years. Along with these new trademarks, new reports from BMWBlog imply that the entire BMW range could, indeed see full electrification. This new strategy, it seems, will see BMW present as many as 25 electrified vehicles, at least 12 of which will be all-electric within the next decade, or 2025 to be more specific.

Chairman of the Board for BMW, Harald Kruger, has confirmed that BMW does own the rights to all 18 names. “Our i story enters the next round. Going forward, all electrified BMW models will be under the BMW i brand. And I can tell you one more thing: We have not only secured the naming rights for BMW i – from i1 to i9. We also hold the rights for BMW X – from iX1 to iX9,” Kruger told press member at a sneak preview of upcoming BMW products.

Furthermore, you can expect to see an all-electric Mini hitting the market in 2019, which will ultimately be followed by a battery-powered version of the BMW X3 in 2020. Just one year after that in 2021, the new iNEXT should come in 2021. There will also, with near certainty be an i5 added to the mix somewhere in the next 5 years as well. The all-electric future is here folks. We might as well, sit down, buckle up, and make the best of it.

References

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728636

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748126

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i8.

BMW i5


2018 BMW i5 - image 618213

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 BMW i5.


BMW i Vision Dynamics Previews Tesla Model S Fighter - image 730732

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept.

PostHeaderIcon BMW Trademarks i1 Through i9 in Preparation for its EV Onslaught

BMW has now trademarked all names from i1 to i9, adding it to a list that also includes iX1 through iX9 – signifying that German brand is about to unleash a furious lineup of electric vehicles to combat those from rivals like Mercedes which will be boasting its EQ brand in the coming years. Along with these new trademarks, new reports from BMWBlog imply that the entire BMW range could, indeed see full electrification. This new strategy, it seems, will see BMW present as many as 25 electrified vehicles, at least 12 of which will be all-electric within the next decade, or 2025 to be more specific.

Chairman of the Board for BMW, Harald Kruger, has confirmed that BMW does own the rights to all 18 names. “Our i story enters the next round. Going forward, all electrified BMW models will be under the BMW i brand. And I can tell you one more thing: We have not only secured the naming rights for BMW i – from i1 to i9. We also hold the rights for BMW X – from iX1 to iX9,” Kruger told press member at a sneak preview of upcoming BMW products.

Furthermore, you can expect to see an all-electric Mini hitting the market in 2019, which will ultimately be followed by a battery-powered version of the BMW X3 in 2020. Just one year after that in 2021, the new iNEXT should come in 2021. There will also, with near certainty be an i5 added to the mix somewhere in the next 5 years as well. The all-electric future is here folks. We might as well, sit down, buckle up, and make the best of it.

References

BMW i3


BMW Unveils 2018 i3 and i3s - image 728636

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i3.

BMW i8


BMW Debuts “New” i8 Coupe and the First i8 Roadster - image 748126

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW i8.

BMW i5


2018 BMW i5 - image 618213

Read our full speculative review on the 2020 BMW i5.


BMW i Vision Dynamics Previews Tesla Model S Fighter - image 730732

Read our full review on the 2017 BMW i Vision Dynamics Concept.

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.

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