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Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Low Voltage: The Charge To EV Vehicles

With world governments declaring a transition to electric vehicles over the next three decades or earlier, such as the U.K. by 2030 or 2035, it would be reasonable to presume that Australian governments would also back any push, without extra roadblocks, to have EVs the primary vehicle for passenger transportation.

The Australian Capital Territory has gone to that length, as has the state government of Tasmania, with the Apple Isle declaring the government’s fleet will be 100% electric by 2030. the A.C.T. began their transition process in 2018 . Neither the A.C.T. or the Tasmanian government have currently declared that any form of EV tax will be implemented.

However, South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria have all announced that the users of an EV will be subjected to a user tax. Victoria has declared that as soon as July 1, 2021, a road user tax on EVs will be implemented. Tony Weber, from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, isn’t impressed:

“Australian state governments want to kill the technology at its infancy. Is this because some states want to substitute the Commonwealth excise tax with their own tax? Are motorists being caught in a petty game in which the states want to establish a new revenue base at the expense of the Commonwealth?”

Weber also points out the disassociation of the governments here in regards to what other nations are doing in respect to development alternatives for public vehicle transport.

“All around the world, global automotive companies have invested billions of dollars to develop environmentally friendly vehicles. And all around the world, progressive governments have supported the introduction of these vehicles. But here in Australia, we inhibit their introduction by levying extra charges on them. It simply beggars belief at this early stage of electric vehicle introduction.”

Mr Weber’s points take aim at the short-sighted attitude of the Australian states that appear to prefer revenue over doing something that reduces exhaust emissions and going some way to reduce the effects of climate change. “With its proposal to tax LZEVs through a road-user charging tariff, South Australia is discouraging the uptake of environmentally friendly motoring and is turning its back on the topic of Climate Change.”

The argument for the taxes comes from those that see that by using no petrol or diesel, which have excises attached, by using the same roads without those excise contributions, EVs are effectively getting a free ride. This overlooks the charges by electricity suppliers to any location providing an outlet for an EV to be charged, however then it’s pointed out those EV charges don’t go back into the roads.

This is something the Australian Automobile Association has in mind when it comes to a fairer apportioning of charges: “As people move towards electric vehicles and other low emission technologies, revenue from fuel excise is declining, which not only risks road funding, but also means some drivers are paying for roads while others are not, which is neither a fair nor a sustainable model. A nationally consistent approach will be important to drivers, who won’t want a patchwork of unique state charging systems, technologies, or rates.”

Regardless of which, it would appear to be a prudent move by the governments to look at what the A.C.T. is doing: Zero stamp duty on new zero emissions vehicles; 20% discount on registration fees; Annual savings from reduced running costs; Help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep our environment clean and healthy; Quieter driving and reduced noise pollution.

And perhaps: In 2017 the United Kingdom and France announced their intention to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, with all cars to be fully electric. Since this time, other countries have also committed to phasing out new petrol and diesel car sales including Scotland, India, China, Norway and the Netherlands.

Then there is the announcement in mid November, 2020, by General Motors, here.

As Bob Dylan once sang: the times, they are a-changing…but it seems some governments are stuck in time.

Raw Materials and Sustainability in an Automotive World

Car interiors are looking very stylish with many colours available, many textures and, of course, technologies.  Even the exterior and structure of new cars utilise some pretty sensational materials that are lightweight, strong and malleable.  So what are the main raw materials that make up the structure, style and flair that we love in our vehicles?

Inside each new car are different materials that require a number of raw materials for their production.  Aluminium, glass, coking coal, and iron ore are used in the process of making steel.  Kia and Mazda use very high-grade, high-strength steel in the production of their cars.  Mazda even states that they use very thin and strong steel.  There is a cost, though; the more high-grade, lightweight and high-strength the steel, the costlier it is to produce.  High-strength steel alloys cost more to manufacture.  Not only is the high-grade alloy harder to create in its raw form; it is also harder to work with.  Stamping it and forming it becomes harder, and so more energy and stronger tools are needed to press, form and cut it.

The automotive industry also relies on oil and petroleum products, not just for the gasoline and fuel to power the vehicles, but for the synthesis of plastics and in the production of other synthetic materials.  Petroleum products are needed to make huge amounts of plastics, rubber and special fibres.  After the raw materials are extracted from the earth, they are transformed into products that automakers or auto parts companies use in the car assembly process.

But wait; there is more – but only if you are into driving an electric vehicle (EV).  An EV is made up of all the raw materials described above, as the only thing that’s different about an EV from a vehicle that is powered by a combustion engine is that an EV uses a battery pack to get its power.  In every EV battery, there’s a complex chemistry of metals – cobalt, lithium, nickel and more.  These are all raw materials that need to be mined from somewhere around the globe.  Some researchers are expecting to see double-digit growth for batteries’ special raw materials over the next decade, and this sort of growth will increase the pressure on the raw material supply chain for EVs.

Hydrogen vehicles are powered by hydrogen.  The power plants of such vehicles convert the chemical energy of hydrogen into mechanical energy by either burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine, or by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to power electric motors.  The fuel cell is more common.  A hydrogen powered vehicle is made up of the same core raw materials as the contemporary combustion powered cars and the EVs; however, like the EV, the hydrogen vehicle gets it power from a different source (hydrogen).  As of 2019, 98% of the hydrogen was produced by steam methane reforming, and this emits carbon dioxide.  Hydrogen can be produced by thermochemical or pyrolytic means using renewable feedstocks, but the processes are currently expensive.  So, you can run a hydrogen vehicle with an internal combustion engine that uses hydrogen as the fuel.  However, you can also run a hydrogen vehicle that uses a hydrogen fuel cell.  The hydrogen fuel cell is more complex, relying on special raw materials (one raw material being platinum as a catalyst) to deliver the hydrogen for powering the vehicle.

Biofuel is another fuel which can be used for powering combustion engine vehicles.  Biofuel can be produced sustainably from renewable resources.  The hitch with this one is ensuring there are large enough areas and methods dedicated to growing and producing biofuel for the masses.  Biofuel is considered to be a fuel that is derived from biomass, which can be from plant or algae material or animal waste. Since such plant, algae or animal waste material can be replenished readily, biofuel is considered to be a source of renewable energy, unlike fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas and even EVs.

Without a doubt, the automobile industry is one of the largest consumers of the world’s raw materials, and it’s important we get informed as to just how green a heralded new technology is said to be.  Science and sustainability need to continue to power our much needed vehicles about the globe and not fossil fuel giants, electric companies or blinded government bureaucrats.

MG Powers Up With Australian Release of ZS EV.

Historic nameplate MG joins the EV revolution with the all-new, full-electric MG ZS EV compact SUV. Now available to customers in Australia and New Zealand in one trim level only, it’s the cheapest EV available with a drive-away price of $43,990. That price includes an eight year, 160,000 kilometre battery warranty, and a five year, unlimited kilometre, car warranty. Roadside assistance is included for five years.It’s a price that is sure to attract keen interest. The CEO of MG Australia and New Zealand, Peter Ciao, said: “Until now, buyers have had to pay a premium price for an EV. This has meant that only a small portion of the public can afford to buy an EV. Our vision at MG Motor is to change this situation by making electric vehicles available and accessible to everyone. By removing the affordability barrier, we are seeking to fast track EV adoption in Australia and New Zealand.” MG have located the charge port for the front electric motor rated at 105kW and 353Nm at a central point. Charging is provided via a standard CCS2 socket located conveniently behind the grille. The flexibility comes from plugging in a standard household socket or a DC charge cable up to 350kW. This will bring the battery to 80 percent charge from zero in just 45 minutes. At home, it’s a standard overnight charge time for the 44.5kW battery, itself an in-house development by MG. The company is just one of three to have their own battery building facility.That battery size allows for the MG ZS EV to look at a range of just over 260 kilometres. It also endows the MG ZS EV with a 0-100kph time of a scintillating 3.1 seconds from a 1,532kg body, just 50kg heavier than a standard ZS. There are three drive modes to take advantage of, being Eco, Normal, and Sport.

The sole trim level doesn’t skimp on the niceties. Above the passengers is a Panoramic Stargazer glass roof, and at a surface coverage area of 90%, it’s one of the largest of its type. The fronts eat passengers have an 8.0 inch touchscreen complete with Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, satnav, and six speaker audio. drive selection is via a rotary gear selector and there are three regenerative modes.

The dimensions (4,314mm length, 1,809mm wide, 1,644mm tall on a 2,585mm wheelbase) provide plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room as well, along with a flat rear floor that provides up to 1,166L worth of cargo space when the 60/40 splitfold rears are folded. The leather seats have tight stitching and are well padded for comfort. Outside is the familiar “London Eye” headlight design and dual-tone alloys at 17 inches in diameter. Exterior colour choices will include one that is exclusive to the ZS EV, Clipper Blue. Buyers can also choose from Diamond Red metallic paint, Regal Blue,, metallic paint, and Dover White or Pebble Black.MG Pilot is the main safety system including Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Collision and Lane Departure Warning, plus Emergency Braking, and Speed Assist. It’s a five star safety rating for the MG ZS EV, with a high torsional strength cabin and rigidity factor. The battery has been certified independently to be fire, submersion, dust, pressure, impact, and salt spray resistant.

Our friends over at Exhaust Notes Australia attended the launch, and have provided this initial review

‘Electric for everyone’
MG Motor’s parent company, SAIC Motor, has invested heavily in electric as well as other new energy vehicle technologies, processes and battery production, making it one of only a handful of auto manufacturers to own its EV supply chain. In 2019, that expertise resulted in the production of more than 185,000 electric vehicles, making it one of the top five EV producers globally by volume. MG Motor now brings this experience to the local market, enabling it to deliver state-of-the-art EV technology at the best value and packed with features.

South Australia hits EV owners with road user charges

After much speculation in recent times as to how governments would tackle road funding amid the transition from petrol-powered cars to electric vehicles, the South Australian government has made the first move. In doing so, the government has effectively set down a precedent that could have implications for the rest of the country, if others follow suit.

 

What has been announced

Starting from July 1, 2021, electric car owners in South Australia will be required to pay road user charges that cushion the blow from a slow but steadily growing gap in the budget for road funding.

Fuel excise has long been the revenue raiser for the federal government, which is then distributed to the states for the upkeep, maintenance and upgrade of roads. With cars not only more fuel efficient in this day and age, but society also contending with alternative fuel technologies such as hybrid and pure electric vehicles, fuel excise hasn’t been keeping up with the nation’s population growth.

The move will bring EV owners into alignment with their motoring peers, ensuring all drivers contribute towards road funding across the state.

 

 

What will be the charge?

At this stage, specifics of the road user charge are yet to be finalised.

The government will need to crunch the numbers over the coming months and come to a figure that is deemed fair and proportionate, yet at the same time, not go so far as to disenfranchise prospective buyers of electric vehicles.

Budget papers from the South Australian government indicate the charge will likely include two components – a fixed charge, as well as a distance-based charge.

For now it remains to be seen whether the charges will have an impact on the adoption of electric vehicles. To date, the sector has seen sluggish growth, with local motorists favouring gas-guzzling SUVs. However, while it might not necessarily be a punishment of any sort, the advantage that may have been there is set to be no more, which ultimately isn’t going to help the cause.

What’s your take on road user charges for electric vehicle owners?

2021 Volvo XC40 R-Design PHEV: Private Fleet Car Review

This Car Review Is About: Volvo’s SUV entry into the hybrid world and specifically the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle world. The R-Spec sits at the top of the mid-range for the XC40 and looks an ideal way to get the Swedish brand into the market for hybrid SUVs.

How Much Does It Cost?: Volvo provided, as always, an extensive information sheet. The manufacturer’s list price is $64,990. As tested, the vehicle supplied was $69,760. Metallic paint is a premium price here and double the asking cost of nearly everyone else in the segment at $1,150. A powered folding rear seat headrest and cargo protection net is $230. A Climate Pack which consists of heated wipers, heated front seats, and heated tiller is $700. A big tech item is the 360 degree camera is $990, with tinted rear windows at $700. For the heated rear seat that’s $350 with Park Assist Pilot at $650.What’s Under The Bonnet?: A combination of a three cylinder 1.5L petrol motor and battery powered engine. The petrol motor is 1.5L in capacity, and generates 132kW of peak power and 265Nm of peak torque. This is backed up by the 60kW and 160Nm from the electric motor. Consumption is quoted as 2.2L/100km for the combined cycle and that is eminently achievable. We saw nothing worse than 4.6L/100km, meaning a theoretical range of around 1,000km. It also reduces emissions, with 50g/km the quoted figure. Tank size is 48.0L. 0-100kph time is quoted as 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 205kph.On the Outside It’s: Unchanged from the “normal XC40” bar the addition of a port fitted for the battery pack on the left forward flank. To see our original review, click here for more.

On The Inside It’s: Also largely the same. The virtual dash has the addition of Hybrid in the right hand dial, and the main touchscreen, which swipes left or right for submenus, now has the addition of a “Charge” tab, to engage the engine whilst driving to add charge to the battery pack. A zipper bag is included that houses the charge cable. A simple clip ensures the bag stays in place whilst driving. The airvents have a whiff of 1950s elegance and an alloy trim plate brings class to the dash ahead of the passenger. The cargo area is of a very good size but has a flat floor, losing the more effective folding floor that opened to storage pockets underneath.On The Road It’s: An interesting drive. In our experience, hybrids start off quietly, get to around 20kph, and then, regardless if a EV Mode is selected, overrides that and kicks in the petrol engine. Here it’s the opposite, with silent electric driving UNLESS the accelerator is mashed to the floor. The three cylinder engine is isolated to the point of invisibility aurally, and is so well integrated in the drivetrain that any physical sensation is virtually free of being felt.Range on battery alone is estimated at 40 kilometres, and the dash display shows this along with the consumption. There is a regenerative change that collects kinetic energy and feeds it back to the battery. And when engaging the petrol engine to recharge that battery it’s that same seamless switch from a silky smooth electric run to a barely perceptible thrum from the three cylinder. However, it’s a two mode system and cannot be adjusted. There are drive modes, one of which is Pure. This locks the drive into only battery powered motion and when the battery runs dry, automatically switches to petrol power. Power mode hitches both electric and petrol to the drivetrain, and emulates the heavy right foot drive style needed when that just right break in the traffic comes along.It’s an ideal cruiser too, with the combined torque propelling the 1,760kg XC40 along the freeways and highways effortlessly. It’s a serene experience, with only hints of tyre and noise getting through to the cabin. That’s an impressive feat considering the 245/45/20 Pirelli P-Zero rubber. With such a sizeable footprint, more noise would be reasonably expected. They also provide, not unexpectedly, more than ample grip, with cornering a confidence-building event and with virtually zero body roll from the MacPherson strut/multi-link rear. The ride is perfect, with compliance and a sporty tautness exactly where they should be. The same applies to the steering; it’s light but not overly so. There is weight when needed but nor is it excessive or applied at the wrong time.

Braking is the area that needs work; that beautifully tactile feel has changed to a grabby and non-intuitive bite. There’s a lack now of gentle and smooth progression, it’s now a situation where it’s semi-soft before grabbing the discs and lurching the XC40 to a halt. It’s more than a niggle especially at traffic lights and stop signs where there may be a vehicle ahead, and that lurch is enough to raise the eyebrows and push the pedal harder to avoid contact.

What About Safety?: Plenty, of course. It’s what Volvo is built on. Here’s the list: City Safety: Pedestrian, Vehicle, Large Animals and Cyclist Detection, Intersection Collision and Oncoming Mitigation with Brake Support; Steering Support; Intellisafe Assist: Driver Alert; Lane Keeping Aid; Adjustable Speed Limiter function; Oncoming Lane Mitigation; Intellisafe Surround: Blind Spot Information (BLIS) with Cross TrafficAlert (CTA), Front and Rear Collision Warning with mitigation support; and Run-off road Mitigation. Hill start assist; Hill Descent Control; Park-assist Front and Rear; Rain Sensor; Drive mode with personal powersteering settings; Emergency Brake Assist (EBA); Emergency BrakeLight (EBL); Frontal Airbags, Side Impact Protection System (SIPS)with airbags in front seats, Inflatable Curtains and Whiplash ProtectionSystem; Driver’s knee airbag; Belt Reminder all seats; ISO-FIX outerposition rear seat; Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS) complete what is an obviously extensive list.What About Warranty And Service?: Five years and unlimited kilometres. The battery has an eight year warranty excluding expected efficiency losses. Volvo has a three year capped price service plan and for the XC40 it’s $1,595.

At The End Of the Drive. Hybrid technology for the automotive world is increasingly seen as a better option than purely electric and hydrogen. The bigger the charge from the battery the more assistance it provides to the petrol engine, and the better the range. And then the range anxiety that still worries people with a purely battery only vehicle is largely alleviated, and petrol running costs are reduced significantly.

In XC40 R-Design form, hybrid tech provides an ideal opportunity to sample it and in a car that is an award winning vehicle. There is plenty to like here, and it’s a car worthy of investigating to place in the driveway. Here is some information from Volvo.

 

Tesla Hikes Charging Rates at its Supercharger Stations

While it’s meant to be a frontrunner for the rush to electric vehicle adoption, Tesla has made a decision that has raised the eyebrows of industry onlookers, increasing the cost of its charging rates at Supercharger sites.

The move is understood to have been implemented silently over the last few weeks, despite the absence of any official confirmation from the auto-maker. The increase in price is equivalent to a near 25% jump, with the charge per kW increasing from $0.42 per kW to $0.52 per kW.

 

How will owners be impacted?

Australian Tesla owners have had little say in the matter, with no heads up given before the price increase. Of course, it would likely be out of owners hands even if they were advised, since the company’s 35 Supercharger sites across the nation have been an integral part of the broader infrastructure network being rolled out to support electric vehicle uptake. That network is set to expand by a further 7 soon enough, with additional sites currently being built.

To better understand the cost impact, one estimate provided by Caradvice focused on the Model 3 Long Range. Their estimates suggested that charging the Model 3 Long Range from an empty battery to a full battery would now cost approximately $43.30, a notable increase from the former price of around $35. That might still be some part cheaper than most if not all ICE vehicles, however, let’s not forget that some technology companies – which Tesla certainly is as much as an auto-maker – are price makers.

 

 

We certainly hope the manufacturer doesn’t plan to push through any further price hikes in the near-term, because we might start to see questions being asked as to the value motorists are getting. It’s one thing for the latest electric vehicles to be equipped with long range capacity, however, having to paying more for the ‘luxury’ to charge them at Tesla’s sites may be a contentious move, even if the car company has recently taken an axe to the retail price of its cars.

Nonetheless, as far as driver uptake goes, shifting numbers around to pay less up-front and then pay more while in use could gain traction – provided motorists are actually aware of what they’re signing up for. That’s the missing thing here, however, greater transparency. And Tesla will need to remember they might enjoy an early-mover advantage right now, but will it last if you alienate your customers through non-communicated price hikes?

Robert Opron and the Simca Fulgur: Better Than Nostradamus?

The question as to where all the flying cars are now that we’re in 2020 has become a bit of a cliché.  It’s been a bit of a cliché ever since we hit the new millennium. This is a reference to the way that popular culture envisioned what family cars would look like in the 21st century.

However, at least one car designer had ideas that were a bit more down to earth – literally.  The year was 1958 and the designer was Robert Opron. This designer had accepted a challenge to produce a concept car for the 1959 Geneva Motor Show for his parent company Simca. Never heard of Simca? This was a French company owned by Fiat that rivalled Citroen for the title of “France’s answer to the VW Beetle”. I owned one back in my student days – possibly a Simca 1300; it had a front engine like a normal car rather than a rear engine and it’s probably worth a mint now, so I’m rather regretting selling it. Its only quirk was a flaw in the speedo: after it hit 50 mph, the needle went back down even when I accelerated.

Anyway, enough memories of student cars and back to Robert Opron.  Opron later took his genius to Citroën, then Renault, then Alfa Romeo. He has been recognised as one of the top 25 designers of the 20th century, although he wasn’t the chap responsible for the very distinctive Citroen 2CV. The Renault Alpine was his, though, as were a number of 1980s Renaults.

Opron had come across a challenge issued by the Journal de Tintin.  Yes, that’s Tintin as in the intrepid red-haired reporter who has a dog called Snowy and a best friend called Captain Haddock.  The challenge was to design a “typical” car for the 1980s or for the year 2000. The challenge included a list of specifications that had to be included in the design, including the following:

  • fuelled by a nuclear-powered battery or a hydrogen fuel cell with a range of 5000 km
  • running on two wheels, balanced gyroscopically, at speeds over 150 km/h,
  • voice controlled
  • radar guidance for navigation and for detecting hazards
  • top speed of over 300 km/h
  • automatic braking if it detected a hazard
  • headlights that adjust automatically with speed

Although Opron didn’t produce a full working prototype, he did show a shell of the concept at the 1959 motor show and the full details of the concept car, known as the Simca Fulgur, were published in the Journal de Tintin (this suggests that it would have appeared alongside The Red Sea Sharks and/or Tintin in Tibet – just in case you were curious, like I was).

The Simca Fulgur – which takes its name from the Latin word meaning “lightning” – looked like the classic Jetsons flying car, except it didn’t fly. It captured the public imagination somewhat and became the basis for what people thought futuristic cars would look like. Or what UFOs would look like – take your pick.

Anyway, from the perspective of late October in 2020, 61 years later, it’s amusing to take a look at the cars of today and see how close we’ve actually come to getting some of these features. How well did the Fulgur predict what we’d have on our roads?

  • Voice control: Yes, we’ve got this, although it’s not quite a case of telling the car your destination and letting it get there (they’re working on that). But you can use voice control on quite a few things, including the navigation system.
  • Top speed of over 300 km/h: Yes, but most cars that are capable of this have their speeds limited for safety purposes.
  • Autonomous braking and hazard detection: Yes. However, human input is still needed.
  • Automatically adjusting headlights: Yes, although they adjust for the ambient light levels rather than how fast you’re going.
  • Electric motor with hydrogen fuel cell technology: Yes, although the range isn’t anywhere near what was predicted. We’d all love a range of 5000 km in an EV (electric vehicle) or HFCV (hydrogen fuel cell vehicle).
  • Electrical motor with nuclear power: Are you kidding me? Since Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear power isn’t quite the sexy answer to our energy problems that it was back in the 1950s.
  • Balancing on two wheels with gyroscopic stabilisers at speeds over 150 km/h: No. Just no. If you want that sort of thing, get a motorbike, not a family saloon.

All in all, not too bad a job of predicting the future, Monsieur Opron – you did a better job than your compatriot Nostradamus.

Mercedes-Benz Flags the End of the Manual Transmission

In news that will send a shiver down the spine of motoring purists, Mercedes-Benz has signalled the end is nigh for the beloved manual transmission.

That’s according to Mercedes-Benz’s head of innovative work, Markus Schaefer, who made the comments suggesting curtains were drawing near as the brand shifts its attention to electrifying its vehicle line-up.

The German manufacturer will produce six models under the EQ badge, furthering its focus on a format that has yet to gain traction, but is seen as the ‘future’. Among its combustion line-up, plug-in hybrids are set to fill the void as combustion engines are consolidated across a series of Mercedes-Benz platforms.

At the heart of the decision is a drive by the company to reduce costs by standardising architecture across the company. In effect, Mercedes-Benz is promoting a modular strategy, which will limit variations between models, but help to keep manufacturing costs in check to support funding elsewhere.

 

 

Were the clues already in place?

The move away from manual has arguably been in the works for some time now. Among Mercedes-Benz’s current international line-up, larger variants have long been confined to automatic transmissions. Only a few cars have been fitted with a manual transmission, mostly entry-level variants in the A and C Class ranges. Closer to home, and the entire breadth of Mercedes-Benz’s passenger vehicle series is fitted with an automatic transmission.

You certainly can’t say the writing hasn’t been on the wall for a while now.

The bigger question from here on in, however, will be what impact this move has on the broader new car industry. Are we set to see an increasing number of manufacturers abandon the manual format in favour of a simpler set-up, thereby standardising combustion vehicle architecture in order to focus on electric vehicle research and development.

Only time will tell, but this may just be the beginning of an industry-wide trend.

 

Peugeot Sport Engineering: 508 Goes Hybrid.

Peugeot is undergoing a quiet evolution. Their stunning 508 sedan/coupe and wagon has been given the hybrid tick and along with the engine change comes a name change. Peugeot Sport Engineered is the monicker to be given to the range.The drivetrain that will be slotted into the Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered is a 147kW/300Nm 1.6L turbo four and a pair of electric motors. There is 81kW for the front, 83kW for the rear, making the vehicle a proper all wheel drive and being driven by 265kW and 520 Nm. Packaging sees the cargo space for both body styles unchanged. The transmission is an eight speed auto. Sink the slipper and 100kph comes up in 5.2 seconds, and the top speed is an electronically limited 250kph. Need some overtaking ability? 80kph to 120kph is seen in just three seconds.

The plug-in hybrid’s system sees an 11.5kWh battery fitted and using a standard 240V house socket should be charged in around seven hours. Factor in a 32A wallbox and that drops down to under two hours, or install a 16A plug system and that’s a good average of around 4 hours or less.Utilising the urge comes down to choosing from one of five drive modes. Sport takes a fully charged battery, and adjusts the dampers, engine, and transmission into the most energetic drive modes. Electric is a pure battery drive and offers a range of just over 40 kilometres, whilst disabling the 1.6-T at velocities of up to 140kph. Comfort is what the name suggests, with a cushy, plush ride, Hybrid uses both battery and petrol for an optimal drive, with the all-wheel drive mode more for those slipperier roads. Ride is helped by those adaptive dampers, a track change of 24mm front and 12mm rear, with 380mm font discs being slowed by four piston pads. 20 inch alloys hold on to Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber.

Defining the look of the 508 Sport Engineered is an upgraded interior featuring Peugeot’s ubiquitous flat-bottomed tiller, the beautiful i-cockpit with 12.3 inch LCD screen, a premium audio setup from Focal, and a 10.0 inch main touchscreen. Leather “comfort-fit” seats with a 3D looking mesh cosset the passengers and the driver keep an eye on info via a HUD. Safety will include AEB, Lane Departure Warning, and night vision cameras.There is a bespoke grille, a redesigned front bumper with new air scoops in the lower corners, blackened exhaust tips, a rear diffuser and winglets front and rear. Selenium Grey, Pearl White, and Perla Nera Black will be the colours available.

Peugeot Australia has not yet confirmed availability for Australia but a spokesman said local availability is being looked at.

N Is Good: Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line & Kona EV Sets Record.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia has released details of the forthcoming (last quarter, 2020) i30 Sedan N Line. With a bespoke Australian suspension tune, the i30N Sedan N Line is a step up from the striking looking i30 sedan released globally earlier in 2020 The N Line version has its own characteristics with specific performance enhancements and design motifs. This opens the door wider to more customers. Sonata N Line will also be released soon after, complete with a 2.5L turbo four.

Power is provided by a 1.6L turbo four, driving the front wheels via a six speed manual or seven speed dual clutch auto. Peak power and torque figures are 150kW and 265Nm. Paddle shifters and drive mode selections add driving spice, and stopping is brought into play from bigger front brake rotors inside 18 inch alloys. Ride comfort comes from that Aussie tuned multi-link independent rear suspension. N Line trim looks good on the steering wheel, N Sport seats with leather trimmed bolsters, and a metal accented gear selector. Alloy pedals add more visual appeal and there is a bit of tech with wireless CarPlay and Android Auto.The i30 sedan has been given N Line styling, with side skirts, gloss black moulding on the wheel wells and wing mirrors. Hyundai says the sedan has their “Parametric Dynamics” which covers the flowing lines of the body and the assertive look on the cascade grille, complete with N Line identification Aero performance and engine cooling is funneled from arrow-look air curtains in the lower corners. The profile leads the eyes towards the finely sculpted rear which has also been refined for better aero flow. There is an integrated spoiler, chromed twin pipes, and a bespoke N Line diffuser.
Naturally there is an array of safety features including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), High Beam Assist (HBA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW) and Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist (BCA) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).

“The new i30 Sedan N Line model will appeal to customers who favour a sporty look and spirited driving performance,” said Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group. “The expanded range will help solidify i30’s position as a leader in the small car passenger segment.”

Hyundai also set a new EV record with a trio of Kona EVs traveling, separately, over 1,000 kilometres each on a single charge. 1,018.7, 1,024.1 and 1,026.0 kilometres were the distances covered and run under strict guidelines. All vehicles used in the test were factory-spec and unmodified, equipped with standard Nexen N Fera SU1 low rolling resistance tires in the 215/55R17 size. Each vehicle’s air conditioning and entertainment systems remained off, with available power used solely for propulsion. Only the daytime running lights remained on to comply with the legal requirements for road traffic.

Each distance also represents a record in terms of 64kWh battery capacity, as the power consumption figures of 6.28, 6.25 and 6.24kWh per 100 km were well below the standard value of 14.7kWh per 100km determined by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Hyundai recently announced a new sub-brand that will be called IONIQ and dedicated to purely electric vehicles.