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Sustainability/Green

Auto Industry News – Q3 2017

We review all the major news events in the automotive industry from the third quarter of 2017.

 

Safety and Environment

In what became the first ever compulsory recall for vehicles in Australia, the ACCC intervened to shine the spotlight on cars affected by defective Takata airbags. The recall eventuated amid a rising number of fatalities worldwide attributed to the faulty components, including a local fatality in Sydney.

Emissions scandals continue to plague manufacturers, with Peugeot and Citroen being looked into for their alleged use of ‘cheating’ devices similar to those used by Volkswagen. The companies join Renault and Fiat Chrysler to be looked into, however, they have strongly denied the accusations. Also being accused of unconscionable conduct, Daimler is facing concerns it sold over one million cars with excess emissions.

In a boost for environmentalists, Queensland’s government announced plans to develop the world’s longest electric highway that will promote the use of electric vehicles.

 

Technology

Fuel technology continues to be a major focal point. Volvo has drawn a line in the sand, as the auto maker plans to begin phasing out petrol and diesel in the coming years. This aligns with legislation in France and the UK that will ban said vehicles from 2040, and China planning to soon ban the production of these vehicles, although Australia isn’t expected to follow suit any time soon.

Locally, the nation could be at the forefront of hydrogen fuel technology, with a world first trial set for hydrogen powered vehicles next year. South Australia even became the first Australian state to endorse hydrogen as the next fuel technology.

On a related note, Sydney will play host to integral trials surrounding the future of autonomous vehicles in Australia, while first round results from testing in Victoria suggest infrastructure and technology are currently ill equipped for self-driving vehicles. Abroad however, and vacuum cleaner maker Dyson is eyeing the electric vehicle market, set to take on dedicated manufacturers as soon as 2020.

Other technology developments include:

 

Legal and Regulatory Issues

The government was caught up in a vehicle ‘carbon tax’ controversy, with auto bodies and car makers slamming a rumoured proposal, although the government went on the front foot to deny its prospects.

Elsewhere, the ACCC commenced proceedings against Ford Australia over its ‘faulty’ auto transmissions, however the car maker announced it will contend the accusations. Also facing scrutiny from the ACCC, Holden settled an investigation by announcing the industry’s first vehicle refund and replacement scheme for the first 60 days of vehicle ownership

However, the ACCC saved its biggest salvo for the broader new car industry, detailing a wide range of concerns regarding the way customers’ complaints are dealt with, the sharing of manufacturer data with independent repairers, and real world fuel/emissions tests. The developments could give rise to lemon laws. Naturally, this provoked concern and consternation from the automotive bodies.
Finally, the Federal Court has requested Volkswagen publish changes to vehicle performance on its website and social media arising from the Dieselgate saga.

Tesla Car Australia Expands The Network Range.

A concern for owners and drivers of purely electrically powered cars is what’s called “range anxiety”. Much like a conventional car, range will vary depending on driving style, with spirited and exuberant driving draining charge quicker.

Tesla Cars Australia recently updated the list of charging stations available, with its 300th charge point being added at the Yarra Valley De Bortoli estate at Dixon’s Creek in Victoria. Over that, Tesla have added 100 charger stations in just six months and announced a global doubling of stations, demonstrating their committment to making having a Tesla car as convenient as possible.

With locations identified across South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, once completed and installed Tesla owners will be able to drive from Adelaide’s city centre to Gympie in North Queensland completely emissions-free.

South Australia and Western Australia will see their first Supercharger locations, whilst the other additions in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland will allow for Tesla owners to visit popular holiday locations. Tesla’s milestone 300th Destination Charger is situated approximately 50 kilometres north-east of Melbourne near the towns of Yarra Glen and Healesville and is famous for producing some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Australia.

The winery is well suited as a Destination Charging site, which is designed to be installed at locations where owners of the award winning Model S and Model X will spend a few hours to recharge. Most Destination Charging sites are found at wineries, shopping centres, hotels, resorts and secure parking locations, utilising the same infrastructure as owners use at home.

Tesla Destination Charging stations are designed to enable Tesla owners to drive to key locations where Tesla owners frequent for longer stops with the knowledge they have a charging solution. Destination Charging stations use the same unit as the Wall Connector used at home and charge at a rate of 40km every hour on 32amp or up to 81 km per hour with 3 phase. All charging is dependent on a site’s power output. This style of charging is a replication of the convenience Tesla owners receive when charging at home.

(With thanks to Tesla Car Australia).

Auto Industry News – Q2 2017

We review all the major news events in the automotive industry from the second quarter of 2017.

Sales and Manufacturing

As local auto makers prepare to bow out, both the Victorian government and Federal government have belatedly given the local manufacturing scene a boost in the arm. This comes courtesy of $90m funding and a separate $100mfund respectively. The news would have been immaterial according to the likes of Holden, who claim that despite a second consecutive year of profits, manufacturing cars locally would have been unsustainable. Toyota felt the pain of its local restructure though, as its profits slumped. Ford on the other hand have turned their attention towards the future, including autonomous vehicles and ride sharing services.

On the sales front, compact light hatchbacks continue to lose momentum against SUVs, while sales for diesel passenger vehicles are now approximately half of what they were in 2008. Elsewhere, Mazda was named the most reputable car company in Australia, followed by Toyota and Hyundai.

Ending the quarter, Japan’s auto parts business Takata, who were embroiled in a longstanding controversy surrounding faulty airbags, filed for bankruptcy. With enormous liabilities exceeding 1.7 trillion yen, Key Safety Systems looks set to pounce and acquire the company.

 

Safety and Environment

Data was released showing Aussie motorists are producing up to 50% more emissions than drivers in European cities, while the quality of our fuel ranks 66th in the world. The UK has responded by making a push to reduce diesel vehicle sales and lower pollution, although Australia looks set to defy this trend as SUV diesel car sales soar. Manufacturers’ actions could define the battle though, with the likes of Volvo signalling they don’t intend to continue producing diesel vehicles in the future.

In other news, for the second time this year an enormous haul of counterfeit car parts were intercepted in the UAE. The batch included fake brake pads and head gasket kits, with some of the parts believed to have been on route to Australia.

 

Technology

In the fuel technology sector, things continue to advance. Locally, a report by the National Transport Commission identified fuel efficiency improvements in light vehicles during 2016 were the slowest in 10 years. Furthermore, findings also suggested that Australian motorists continue to move towards larger cars, as green vehicles took a backwards step in terms of the proportion of new cars sold.

The sector could be shaken up however, following a discovery at the UNSW which identified “a cheap way of generating hydrogen from water”. The discovery is leading some to predict the viability of the fuel technology and its local prospects have increased. Whether hydrogen or electricity become the new incumbent(s) remains to be seen, but UBS is tipping electric vehicle prices to approach those of petrol powered vehicles as early as next year, now that worldwide sales have tipped 2m vehicles.

Meanwhile, Roads Australia weighed in about the future of autonomous vehicles, predicting “every new vehicle sold in Australia within 10 years will be driverless”. Further abroad, but still in the self-driving segment, Apple received a testing permit for its driverless technology. Additionally, Google clocked up 1 million kilometres of autonomous vehicle driving including real world tests via an early rider program. Google’s milestone is expected to place it well ahead of any other manufacturers in this area, while also experiencing substantially lower failure rates.

With that said, one US study is suggesting we might move away from owning vehicles as driverless technology is introduced. Even more of interest, some have already started to turn their attention towards the next big potential technology, flying vehicles – something that Uber appear to be keen to get in on.

As for other technical developments, Mazda Australia was spruiking its autonomous emergency braking system as a “safety standard revolution” following its introduction across a wide variety of the auto maker’s vehicle range. Toyota is working on technology that would identify drivers experiencing a heart attack, and safely pull their car over. Last but not least, Apple announced that it will release a system update later this year featuring a “do not disturb” function that comes into effect when it detects someone is driving.

 

Legal and Regulatory Issues

Vehicle emissions continued to be a sticking point for various stakeholders during the quarter. After moves from Paris and London to address emissions testing, the AAA began to press the Australian Government to do more on the issue – as well as further road safety funding. BMW Australia also contributed to the broader topic, taking a swipe at our politicians for failing to promote low emission vehicles such as electric cars. On a related point, the Electric Vehicle Council was launched in Canberra and provided a $400k grant.

Even though Volkswagen set out at the beginning of the year to address its affected vehicles in the local market, the manufacturer drew the ire of many Australian motorists for its software upgrades.

As has been customary for some time now, the diesel emissions scandal engulfed other parties. This time, authorities took action against Fiat and Mercedes Benz over concerns they have been caught up in their own emissions scandals.

Finally, as the focus on autonomous driving gathers steam, ANCAP put forward the suggestion that road laws should be nationalised to facilitate the integration of the technology. Moves to do so would follow the likes of Germany, where laws have been passed to approve self driving vehicles.

 

Will Diesel Vehicles Still be a Part of our Future?

In recent times, diesel fuel technology has been occupying the news in what are (mostly) unwanted circumstances. Headlined by the Volkswagen ‘Dieselgate’ saga, which just about spread to all corners of the world, several other auto makers have also come under scrutiny over concerns they may have installed diesel emissions cheating devices.

In the wake of the scandal, Volkswagen’s CEO even went as far as to say that the manufacturer would no longer be offering diesel vehicles in the US market. The company cited that money being spent to adhere to increasingly stricter regulations could instead be better utilised by serving future technology, such as electric vehicles.

While the remarks were not necessarily aimed at the local car market, it’s not unreasonable that changes occurring in the US market would flow down under. After all, major cities in Europe, and even places like Mexico and India are already planning to take action in some form to discourage the use of diesel powered cars. One example even sees the UK mulling the idea of a trade in system for diesel cars in pollution ‘hotspots’. Meanwhile, the European Union’s industry commissioner has also suggested the phasing out of diesel vehicles could be faster than anticipated.

Given Australia is generally a follower when it comes to the automotive market, one has to wonder – will a change be forced upon local motorists to move away from diesel vehicles?

Across the last decade, it’s estimated that the number of diesel vehicles on the road has more than doubled – today contributing one third of new car sales. As well as environmental issues, the sales growth comes despite health professionals talking about the risks associated with this type of fuel technology. Most concerning, doctors are focusing on the levels of nitrogen oxide being emitted from these vehicles, widely regarded as contributing factors to respiratory illnesses and even cancer.

What’s also evident is the relative ‘strength’ in diesel car sales is being fuelled by the Australian obsession with diesel powered SUVs and utes. It’s in these categories where diesel sales have surged, despite a modest decrease in the proportion of passenger cars sold which are powered by diesel. Compared with the dynamics of other markets, particularly those in compact European cities, or heavily polluted mega cities in Asia, Australia sees a far greater volume of SUVs on our roads.

With a clearly established taste for larger vehicles, it seems Australian motorists will for now continue to place a greater emphasis on the prospect of a greater driving range afforded by diesel. The fuel technology, for all its health hazards, is perhaps being overlooked by authorities given the sprawling nature of our cities and lower population levels. It’s also unlikely that until such time that alternative fuel technologies like hydrogen and electricity become mainstream, and are even tailored towards our local taste for SUVs and utes, then we may have accepted our differences from the rest of the world.

Let’s also not forget, the Australian government earns a sizeable chunk of money from its excise tax on diesel. Will they be taking a slice of margins once alternative fuels becomes readily available? Maybe they’ll find a way to recoup a portion – but it’s hard to imagine they have an incentive to fast-track these changes.

2017 Tesla Model X: A Private Fleet Car Review.

Being an independent reviewer and supplying content means relying on the good graces of companies to allow their cars to be reviewed. Tesla Australia is one of the companies that works with independent reviewers and I was privileged to spend a too quick 30 hours with the new Model X. It’s jampacked with technology and comes with a pricetag to suit.An immediately noticeable feature of the Model X is the strong family resemblance to the Model S. There’s a similarity to the profile, with the A pillar and window line providing a clear lineage. However, a major talking point of the Tesla Model X is the pair of upwards folding rear doors, known as “Falcon Wing”. What hasn’t been noised about is the tech that allows the doors to open in tight parking points. There’s sensors and cameras that will read the surrounding environment, with the cameras mounted discretely next to the rear wheels. The system works holistically and, when the doors begin their opening motions, will keep the doors from opening too wide or high. Maximum opening width is just twelve inches.The doors themselves are roof hinged, in the centre and have smoked glass, and will open outwardly slightly before commencing their vertical travel. The tailgate is powered, however the front doors, unexpectedly, are also powered. It’s here a surprise and delight feature comes into play. When walking up to the car (and ensuring the sedan shaped key fob is on you) the driver’s door will open in greeting. On a wet day this could be a godsend. The fob itself has a hidden button or two, on top and at the rear, which will open/close the tailgate and open/close all five doors. There’s even a spoiler that raises and lowers, ala Bugatti Veyron, hidden in the rear deck.Inside, the cabin is dominated by a touchscreen almost big enough to double as a TV. Sitting in a portrait orientation, this screen is the control centre of any Tesla car, offering information, accessing over the air updates (as was the case during the brief time it was with A Wheel Thing), accessing apps and the radio system and providing startling clarity when using Google Maps. Although given a demonstration by one of the wonderful staff at Tesla’s main Sydney location, the amount of info and how it all operates is somewhat overwhelming, even for a fairly technically literate person. The radio itself is only FM, no DAB, but has TuneIn to compensate. There’s something just a little bit awesome about being able to listen to bluegrass from Georgia in the U.S. or a dedicated Beatles station in Sweden. Audio quality itself is excellent, with the Mark Levinson speakers delivering real clarity, superb low down punch, and vocals that are clean and crisp.There’s a couple of nice touches to the interior. The seats are powered for rear and forward motion at the front, however the middle rows are also powered and have a setting which allows for them to power forward to a certain point to allow access to the second row rear seats. It’s diabolically simple in opertaion and makes utilising both the seats and the door access unbelievably simple. There’s also a huge sloping windscreen which provides a huge amount of forward and upward vision. Fear not, dear driver, you won’t fry like a piece of fresh bacon, for Tesla have embedded enough tint to block UV without losing the wondrous panoramic view. There’s even some tasteful looking carbon fibre trim added in.At the rear left quarter is the housing for the charging cable. Tesla provide an adaptor to suit standard household plugs along with, of course, those that choose to get a supercharger installed at home. Again, it’s just a touch fiddly to get the small hinged flap to open but the actual process of hooking up the cable and seeing a hidden LED glow green to indicate charging is relatively simple of itself.

It’s the drive that sells the Model S and the test car was fitted with the 100 kW/h dual engine package. Yes, “Ludicrous” Mode is on board, accessed via the touchscreen inside the car’s settings, and will help propel the Model S to 100 kph in just 3.8 seconds. There’s also sensational in gear acceleration, with a real punch and license losing potential from 70 kph upwards. It’s literally a feeling of being pushed back into the seat and watching the outside become a blur and allegedly will see the sprint from 70 to 105 in just 1.5 seconds. Yes. It’s that quick.

Here’s why: there’s a 375 kW engine driving the rear wheels, a 193 kW driving the front, which combine to produce a staggering 967 torques. Even though the Model X weighs a more than heft 2500 plus kilos, that torque is on tap instantly. Oh. That Ludicrous mode has an extra bite; press and hold the Ludicrous mode tab on the touchscreen and you’ll be rewarded with a Ludicrous+. BUT you’ll also only save maybe a tenth or two, because, you know, a sub four second 0-100 time that beats supercars like Lamborghini’s Huracan is so passe’….Here we’ll pause for a moment and consider the battery options available. The 75 kWh powertrain will offer (with all battery packs under ideal conditions) up to 417 kilometres. The 90 kWh set will look at489 km. Punch it up to the 100D and Tesla quote a more than reasonable 565 kilometres. Order the supreme pizza, garlic bread, soft drink and free delivery for the P100D and that drops slightly to 542 kilometres. Then there’s seating. In standard trim, the Model X comes as a five seater. Six and seven seater configs are options.You’ll also get a surprisingly nimble, for the mass, vehicle. Being all wheel drive is one thing, but that means zippo if the vehicle doesn’t handle. There’s no problem here, even with those massive 22 inch finned alloys and low profile 255/35 Goodyear rubber hiding red painted and Tesla embossed brake calipers. It does help that the chassis has most of its mass down low, housing the batteries, yet the air suspension is tuned just finely enough to provide a ride that is both comfortable and compliant yet, somehow, imbues the weighty Model X with a sportiness that will appeal to any driver with an idea of how to utilise such a set up. The massive footprint thanks to the tyres and having them pushed out to each corner spreads the mass and really does make the Model X a genuine delight to drive. Oh, that air suspension? yes, it does raise and lower the vehicle, which at a standstill prompted some wide eyes and pointed fingers at traffic lights when trying it (showing off).The steering does lack a measure of feedback straight ahead but does have a tight rack ratio meaning input by the driver is felt straight away and has the Model X responding rapidly. Combined with a gear selector that looks great and requires minimal physical effort to move, it makes getting underway and enjoying the capabilities of the vehicle a doddle.Storage? Glad you asked. Being a design that couples the engines to the wheels directly, it allows the Tesla engineers to build in, somewhat like the read engined Volkswagens, frontal luggage space in what Tesla call a “frunk” or front trunk. There’s plenty behind the rear seats in a compartment and, of course, bottle and cup holders as well.

At The End Of The Drive.
It’s now time for the faint hearted to take a pill, find a nice quiet room, turn off the lights, and start singing “Soft Kitty”.
The driveaway price of the Tesla Model X as tested was $305809.00.
Why? Here’s why. The starting price is $201100, with that all wheel drive system included. The gorgeous blue metallic paint is $1450. The massive aero 22 inch wheels are a tear inducing $8000. The superb and super comfy black leather seats in a six seater configuration are, combined, $7950. No, that’s not a typo.
The carbon fibre trim inlay seems cheap in comparison at $1450. Thankfully the deck spoiler, Ludicrous mode, and the Tesla calipers come as part of the package. That awesome audio I mentioned? $3600. Air ride? Included. Hi amp charger upgrade? Hmmm….$2200. Even the autopilot upgrade system was a staggering $7300. With those and a couple of other inclusions (such as the Premium Equipment pack that self opens the door on approach) it came out at $242100 with GST inclusive.

Now here’s where some muttering and grumbling about taxes will be heard, and rightly so. GST applies here, so from that $242K price, there’s $22K in GST. BUT, on top of that, the Australian Government slugs a LCT or luxury car tax. How much? I’m glad you asked. Let’s say, for the sake of fact, $49972. Then there’s ANOTHER tax called stamp duty, a mere snip at $13705.
The end, drive away, price?
$305809.

For a driving enthusiast with that kind of coin, it’s a no brainer. You’d have an electric supercar in your driveway in a blink of an eye. For the rest of us? Lotto.
Go here 2017 Tesla Model X information to wish and dream.

Mitsubishi Fast Charges The Outlander PHEV.

Mitsubishi Motors’ new Outlander PHEV has arrived in Australia with a revised design, new technology, increased refinement and additional fast charging flexibility.

In a comprehensive update to the best-selling EV in the Australian market, the new Outlander PHEV has adopted the styling changes from the Model Year 2017 Outlander range while introducing new technology and increased convenience.The Outlander PHEV was developed from the ground up to be driven by either an internal combustion engine or hybrid technology and as a result there are no compromises in terms of packaging, practicality or driving dynamics.

Available in two specification grades, LS and Exceed, both come with new features such as; Mitsubishi’s Smartphone Link Display Audio with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto2 integration, and Digital Radio (DAB+), electric folding and heated exterior mirrors, LED headlamps with auto levelling and an electronically controlled park brake with Auto Hold function and a DC fast charging socket.

New safety features available as standard on Exceed include, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Mitigation with human detection, Multi Around Monitor, Auto High Beam, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and an Ultrasonic Mis-acceleration Mitigation System.

For 2017 Mitsubishi introduces a new EV Priority Mode across all variants. The new EV switch is located below the 4WD button and once activated, it allows the driver to operate the vehicle in EV mode without the engine starting, provided there is sufficient charge in the batteries.

The electronic parking brake’s auto hold button function which, when activated, holds the vehicle in traffic or on an incline the same way a handbrake would, allows the driver to release the footbrake.
Its stylish and functional interior includes a redesigned steering wheel, new accent trim, improved seating comfort with premium finishes and materials to give the cabin a more sophisticated feel.The new Outlander PHEV delivers a smooth, more responsive on-road performance with improvements to noise levels, ride, handling and throttle response.

Ride quality and comfort have been enhanced with increased structural rigidity in the body, revised suspension design, new Electric Power Steering calibration and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) throughout the vehicle.

The new Outlander PHEV retains its predecessor’s outstanding safety and environmental performance through the use of cutting-edge four-wheel drive, passive safety technology as well as fuel-efficient engine technology.
Pure EV range extends up to a maximum of 54km, while overall fuel economy has been reduced to 1.7-litre per 100km based on the ADR 81/02 fuel economy cycle.

Mitsubishi Motors Australia Executive Director of Marketing Tony Principe said the new Outlander PHEV builds on the model success in this market.

“The Outlander PHEV is now more stylish, refined and has increased practicality with the addition of a DC fast charge socket capable of recharging the battery to 80% capacity in around 25 minutes,” said Mr Principe.
“Of course, if owners can’t find a recharging station, they don’t have to change their plans as the Outlander PHEV is not limited by the availability of recharging infrastructure.”Exterior

‘Dynamic Shield’ front design including dark chrome and silver plated grille, silver skid plate, LED headlamps, Day time Running Lamps (DRL) and fog lamps with chrome bezel complete the front design of the new Outlander PHEV.

The sharper rear styling features a new design bumper and silver skid plate. The shark fin antenna, chrome tailgate garnish with LED rear combination lamps and rear fog lamp to complement the front design.

Outlander’s new exterior design is unified overall through the use of wheel arch mouldings, silver roof rails and chrome door sill garnish. New look 18-inch black and polished alloy wheel design complete the modern exterior.

Interior

The new Outlander PHEV gets a fresh design update to the interior space incorporating stylish yet functional features.

The interior is embellished with soft touch features and premium grade materials at every contact point. A new design four spoke steering wheel features gloss black bezel and new accent trim has been applied to the doors, dash and centre console. New material headlining, subtle stitching highlights on the instrument panel and a soft centre armrest enhance the sophisticated feel of the cabin.Seating comfort has been greatly enhanced with improved lateral support and an increase in side bolster stiffness. The LS seats feature black Sports cloth trim with leather look bolsters, while the Exceed’s new style leather facings complement the new interior look.

Performance

The new Outlander PHEV boasts improved handling dynamics and greatly reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) along with increased body and structural rigidity for a super quiet and composed ride.

NVH improvements have been developed in part from the application of extensive sound insulation and isolation damping materials throughout the vehicle. Engine noise, cabin boom, road and wind noise are all reduced due to noise-isolating windscreen glass, improved weather stripping, new tyres, damper tuning and modified suspension mounts.

Its low centre of gravity and excellent weight distribution make for exceptional driving dynamics, further enhanced with suspension updates. The Outlander PHEV offers an ultra-smooth driving experience, with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a seamless transition between three driving modes (EV, series hybrid, parallel hybrid), which combine to deliver optimum performance regardless of driving conditions.

Outlander PHEV’s dynamic performance continues to be refined with a number of suspension changes to enhance overall ride comfort and stability. New shock valves advance linearity and body control, while new rear toe link bushes provide improved lateral rigidity. Lower friction front struts and larger rear shock absorbers with new damping contribute to improved steering linearity, while rear shocks have been tweaked to boost stability and ride comfort.

The Outlander PHEV is unique in offering adaptive four-wheel drive with twin electric motors driving the wheels. The front and rear axles are each equipped with their own high-output motor to deliver powerful acceleration when needed, while maintaining an incredibly responsive 4WD performance.

The Outlander PHEV maintains its five-star ANCAP safety rating thanks to its combination of active and passive safety features.

The Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body structure is further bolstered with a suite of active safety features.

Like all models in the Mitsubishi range, the Outlander PHEV is backed by a 5 year/100,000km warranty.
Product overview:

Layout:
At the front: Electric motor + inverter (60 kW – 137 Nm), Electric generator 2.0 litre MIVEC DOHC petrol engine (89 kW – 190 Nm). Power Drive Unit In the middle, under the floor: 12 kWh, 80 cells, 300 V Lithium-Ion air-cooled battery pack plus 45 l fuel tank. At the rear: Electric motor + inverter (60 kW – 195 Nm) and Rear Motor Control Unit.

Multiple charging choice :
Automatic “on-the-go” charging, in – Series Hybrid and Parallel Hybrid Modes
Standard on-board dual plug-in charger for : Normal charging (approx 6.5 hours for 100% charge – 230V – 10 A or 3h30 with 16 A). Quick charging (approx 25 min for 80% charge )

Battery Charge Mode:Driver-activated (switch on centre console), Autonomous self-charging through ICE
Can also be activated when the vehicle is stationary and can recover 80% charge in approx 40 min.

Regenerative Braking (cannot be controlled when Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is active.
Activated either when lifting off accelerator pedal or when braking
Degree of regeneration controlled by driver : « B » position on shifter with two selectable levels
Six incremental steps through steering wheel-mounted paddles

Additional EV features :« Battery Save Mode » :Driver-selected meant to switch automatically to « Series Hybrid Mode » or « Parallel Hybrid Mode » to save on electricity, allowing to later enter CO2-restricted city centers or quiet residential areas, or simply to enjoy nature in full silence.
Remote monitoring through dedicated WiFi smartphone app, « Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) to warn pedestrians. Electric hot water-powered heater. Illuminated twin charge port (regular and quick) recess behind lid – with charging indicator (on/off lamp) and energy level gauge show charging status and level. 5 m standard charging cable with heat insulation, GND OPEN detector features and safety gauge. PHEV system designed to support long-term Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) smart grid protocol and EV Priority switch – to prevent the PHEV system to switch to hybrid mode and therefore retain the full electric driving on demand.

Six Myths About Electric And Hybrid Cars

#1: Electric Vehicles Put A Huge Drain On The National Grid

OK, there’s no denying that if you’re plugging in an electric car to recharge its batteries, you’re going to use electricity, which means that someone has to generate it.  It’s also true that if there’s too much demand on the national grid all at once, then there’ll be problems with “brown-outs” (signalled by lights dipping and flickering when the new load comes on the scene – those who have lived in off-the-grid houses will know all about this).  Notice those key words “all at once”?  The amount of power demanded by electric vehicles – at least at this stage – is peanuts compared to the demand of air conditioning in summer in the middle of the day, especially during a super-hot summer like the one we’ve been having.  In the USA, electric vehicles only account for 10% of the electricity demand. If everybody tried to (a) turn on their air-conditioning in the home and (b) charge their vehicles all at the same time, then yes, this would put too much of a load on the national grid.  The answer?  Charge your vehicle during off-peak times in the evenings and overnight when industry isn’t calling for as much power and air-conditioning systems aren’t working so hard.

#2: Electric Vehicles Haven’t Got Much Range

Some people are reluctant to purchase an electric vehicle because they have mental images of being stranded in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery and no way to recharge it.  It’s true that if you regularly drove long expanses of open road in the middle of nowhere, you could get yourself in a mess.  However, most of us aren’t driving around the Outback or around the farm on a regular daily basis: most of us are driving around the city. Most electric cars have a decent range of at least 100 km and some have a lot more.  The typical city commute tends to be shorter than this – a lot shorter.  Even if you live in a dormitory suburb.  On top of this, the 100-km range is at the lower end of battery life and ranges for electric cars these days.  The technology is improving as well, and some of the big names in electric vehicles (Tesla, Chevrolet and Nissan) are scheduled to release EVs that can get well over 300 km per charge.

#3: Electric Vehicles Are Expensive Luxury Items

This one is not quite a myth and not quite the truth.  Yes, electric vehicles have a certain cachet and the early examples had quite a large price ticket.  Some still do, especially the fully electric vehicles (as opposed to hybrids, which are on a pricewise par with their petrol and diesel fuelled equivalents).  However, there’s a pattern that economists and sustainable energy boffins have noticed that happens with every new green technology – and even some that aren’t quite so green per se.  The pattern goes like this: (a) A new technology comes on the scene.  It’s hot, it’s new and it’s sexy, and everyone is drooling and excited about it.  (b) The well-heeled jump on board and the new technology becomes a status symbol. (c) The manufacturers start introducing cheaper versions for the mass market (which, incidentally, are improvements over the older versions).  (d) Everybody’s got one and the wealthy are looking for the next hot item.  You’ve possibly already seen this happen in your lifetime with other technologies: think of cell phones.  Some readers will remember back in the 1980s and 1990s with those brick mobile phones.  They were one heck of a status symbol.  Now it seems that the majority of teenagers have a phone that makes the old status-symbol bricks of the 1990s look pathetic.   The same has happened with heaps of automotive technology, too, where what was once a luxury item is now standard: this has happened to seat belts, automatic transmissions, car stereos, cruise control, ABS brakes and airbags.  Heck, even the car itself was once a luxury toy for the wealthy.  The same is starting to happen with EVs and hybrids.  They’re beginning to head mass-market.  Given the desire for cleaner, greener technologies by many governments giving things an extra push and we’ll soon see the price tag of new EVs come down, as has already happened with hybrids.

#4: EVs and Hybrid Vehicles Are Dinky Little Hatchbacks

I wouldn’t call the Nissan Pathfinder a dinky little hatchback.  Nor the Mitsubishi Outlander .  These both come in hybrid variants.  What about electric vehicles?  Well, Audi Australia has an all-electric SUV planned for release by 2020, and that’s just one company.  Yes, you can get small electric and hybrid hatchbacks.  You can also get hybrid sedans and stationwagons.  Land Rover has even put out some hybrid 4x4s (some of which did the rather rugged Silk Road in a publicity stunt a couple of years back).  Electric 4x4s won’t be too far behind, especially as battery range improves.

#5: Hybrid and EV batteries Have Short Lives

One of the big worries about hybrids and EVs is that they would cause environmental headaches thanks to the batteries running out and needing to be disposed of – and batteries can be a disposal nightmare.  However, if you keep the battery nicely topped up and don’t drain it completely out of charge all the time, it has a nice long lifespan and won’t need to be $$$replaced$$$$.

#6: There’s A Conspiracy To Get Rid Of Electric Vehicles

No.  In spite of the documentary that came out in 2006 entitled Who Killed The Electric Car?, there isn’t some petrodollar-backed conspiracy to shut down production of electric cars.  Yes, GM recalled its EV1 back in the 1990s and ceased production.  However, you just have to look around you and look at any good car review site (ours, for example!) to see that there are plenty of hybrids and EVs out there, with more set to enter the market.