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Sustainability/Green

BEV & E-GMP Are The Way Forward: Hyundai.

In a major step forward in the electric car industry, Hyundai Motor Group has unveiled its new Electric-Global Modular Platform or E-GMP. It will produce a BEV or Battery Electric Vehicle in a dedicated move to create a core platform to develop the technology.To be launched in 2021, the program will form the basis for Hyundai’s next Ioniq, a dedicated BEV from Kia, and potentially other models for the brands. E-GMP is intended to be a bespoke platform for the company’s BEV range, having benefits such as increased development flexibility, powerful driving performance, increased driving range, strengthened safety features, and more interior space for occupants and luggage.

Driving performance will allow a sport-oriented model to achieve sub-four second 100kph times, whilst the platform can accommodate SUVs, sedans, or Crossover Urban Vehicles. By using a system called modularisation, it makes for better building and cost amortisation. The chassis design can be shrunk or stretched to accommodate the battery placement and therefore ensure weight distribution is always as appropriate as possible. A five-link rear suspension system, which is typically used for mid and large sized vehicle segments, and the world’s first integrated drive axle (IDA), which combines wheel bearings with the drive shaft to transmit power to the wheels, enhance ride comfort and handling stability.

The structure will be ultra-high strength steel for rigidity, with hot-stamped steel parts adding to the torsional strength. Energy absorption can then be designed into the structure as needed. This includes the front of the chassis where the A-pillar can deform to spread energy from an impact and thereby diverting kinetic energy from the floor mounted battery and front engine.
Short overhangs maximise interior packaging, and assisted by the flat battery floor, means any vehicle can be tweaked to suit a specific use target. this could include seating layout and positioning for leg room.

Drive will come from an integrated, single module, unit, which is able to raise the rotational speed by up to 70% over existing units. The module is comprised of a motor, EV transmission, and an inverter. A smaller size means less weight and yet efficiency isn’t compromised.

“Today our front-wheel driven Hyundai and Kia BEVs are already among the most efficient ones in their segments.” said Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division for Hyundai Motor Group. “With our rear-wheel driven based E-GMP, we are extending our technological leadership into segments where customers demand excellent driving dynamics and outstanding efficiency.”

Fayez Abdul Rahman, Senior Vice President of Vehicle Architecture Development Center for Hyundai Motor Group: “E-GMP is the culmination of years of research and development and brings together our most cutting-edge technologies. Our BEV line-up will evolve and be strengthened by this innovative new platform.”

Extra cooling has allowed Hyundai to redevelop their battery system. It is denser and more compact, with up to 10% more density in comparison to what is currently available. Linked to the engine unit is the inverter power module that uses Silicon Carbide material. This enhances efficiency by two to three percent and then allow a range extension from that battery of up to 5%. The battery module itself will be a standardised model, with a pouch-type cell structure that can be tailored as per design specification.

Drive itself will be predominantly rear wheel oriented. All wheel drive configuration on the E-GMP platform will be available. Hyundai will employ a EV transmission disconnector that “talks” to the front motor if fitted, and can switch, on the fly, between two and all wheel drive.As charge point infrastructure changes, Hyundai has future-proofed with an investment in a European based network, IONITY. The name also fits the IONIQ branding for Hyundai’s current EV range. IONITY currently offer 308 high power charge points that can charge at up to 350kW. There are 51 extra stations under construction with a view to offering 400 points by 2022.

E-GMP bring some forward looking tech. Charging at 800V is standard, with a switch to 400V available if necessary. The system has a patent on the technology as there are no additional equipment requirements to “step down” or “step up” the charge. A fully charged battery can provide over 500km of range, and can charge to 80% in just 18 minutes and in five minutes provide up to 100km of range.

There is also a new ICCU, or Integrated Charging Control Unit. This brings what is called V2L, or Vehicle To Load. Instead of a single path, being from a charge source to the BEV, a E-GMP vehicle can discharge to another electricity requiring source from 110V to 220V including another EV. Maximum output is rated as 3.5kW which Hyundai says could power a 55-inch TV for up to 24 hours.

Sibling company Kia is also part of the program, employing its “Plan S” strategy. One key aim is 20% of their vehicles to be EV in sales by 2025 and they are aiming to have seven dedicated BEVs by 2027.

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.

What Happens To Cars On the Scrap Heap?

So what happens to our cars once they’ve shuffled off?  At the end of a vehicle’s useful life one of two things happens.  The nicest option is that you’ll find an enthusiast who will take pity on the aged car and give it a complete rebuild and refurbish.  This happens to the lucky cars that have a bit of personality or desirability.  However, it’s not often that a regular run-of-the-mill car will get this lucky; so what the most likely outcome for a dead car is that it will be consigned to the scrap heap.

It is the cars and trucks that end up on the scrap heap that I want to focus on here.  There is a silver lining with vehicles that do get into the scrap yard process because habitually these cars can be almost totally recycled, and that’s a good thing.  Vehicle recycling involves totally dismantling a car and it’s a great way to protect our earth’s natural resources by ensuring that the vehicles are destroyed properly and re-used.  Cars, trucks and vans have a lot of reusable parts on them and so they remain valuable because their components can be used as spares for other motor vehicles or used to build totally new items.

The first step of car recycling involves manually removing the tyres and batteries, safely draining the vehicle of any fuel, oil, and any other liquids present inside the car’s components.  Catalytic converters and batteries are removed for recycling.  Airbags are safely triggered and taken apart, however the airbags aren’t fit for reuse on other vehicles.

Obviously, car parts are only stored for reuse if they are in good working condition.  If the particular model of vehicle is in good demand on the market, their engines can be re-manufactured to a brand new standard.  However, in most cases, unwanted gear boxes, engines, and other steel car parts are dismantled for separate shredding.  The ferrous metal material that is recovered after dismantling is sent to steel mills for use as ferrous scrap metal, which can also be used as feed stock to produce high quality steel components for new cars.  Also, anything from new cars to drinks cans can be made from recycled metals left over from the car recycling process.

The remaining car is now shredded, after which the remaining material becomes easier to sort through for obtaining other different recyclable materials within the shredded material.  The separation of the shredded material uses different methods; for example, magnets are used to draw out all the metal from the shredded material.  Shredding technology has advanced over time, and it is now possible to sort the shredded materials totally to ensure a minimal landfill product is left over at the end of the process.

Once the metal has been take out, the other components of the vehicles that are made up from different types of plastics and foam can be separated.  Hard plastics can now be taken out, which were originally from the car dashboard and other interior components.  Another material called shredder fabric can be sorted out, and this comes from shredded carpets and seat cushions.  The shredder sand material is what is left at the very end, and this consists of paint particles, glass, and other fine particles.

Left over shredded materials can be used to make new vehicle plastics and components.  But there are many uses for the left over materials.  Hard plastics, for example, can be used as reducing agents in iron production plants. Shredder fibres are sometimes used in sewage treatment plants.

Shredder sand is sometimes known as automotive shredder residue (ASR).  ASR consists of a wide variety of materials, including plastics, glass, rubber, wood, foam, tramp metal, wire, fibres, sand and dirt.  It can also contain some hazardous contaminants such as lead, cadmium and petroleum hydrocarbons, making it a hazardous waste. Recyclers and scientists have been searching for ways to recycle and reuse ASR, which is primarily petroleum based, and which nearly always tends to end up in landfills.

Because ASR is full of plastics, which are made of petroleum, it also has the potential for use as a fuel supplement in cement kilns.  It can also be used in products such as various coatings, paints, adhesives, plastics and flame-retardant additives.  Through pyrolysis, oil can be extracted from the plastics found in ASR, and though this process is not yet completely proven, researchers continue to explore the efficiency and profitability of the process. Refining the process of pyrolysis may soon make it a common solution for the recycling of ASR.

Recycling a spent car is definitely good for our environment, and there are good financial returns for those who choose to make money in doing so.

MINI Countryman Rolls Out For Oz.

MINI Australia has introduced the new Countryman to the Australian market in the first week of October 2020, with pricing starting from $44,500 (plus ORC) for the Cooper Countryman. There has been changes to the interior and exterior, upgrades mechanically, and improvements in the technological bases. Four variants will be available from the launch, with Cooper S Countryman, Hybrid Countryman, and JCW Countryman with the addition of a Pure version.Some models will have an all-wheel-drive system. The Hybrid Countryman has an increased range on battery power, with between 55km to 61km expected. This is thanks to a larger 9.6kWh battery being supplied. One exterior change is to the signature grille, with a redesign for the hexagonal look forming a centrepiece for redesigned front and rear bumpers. LEDs now form the standard lighting package, especially at the front (fog lights) and rear that highlights the Union Jack logo. These will sit behind a cargo area offering up to 1,275L of space.

A key interior change is the addition of purely digital displays for the driver at 5.5 inches. The MINI Connect service has extra functionality, and AppleCarPlay will be available via the 8.8 inch touchscreens.

Brett Wauby, MINI Australia and New Zealand General Manager said: “The arrival of the new MINI Countryman will bolster the strong momentum we’ve enjoyed in Australia thus far in 2020. We anticipate strong interest in the new Countryman, a clear favourite in the MINI range, and look forward to delivering signature British charm, go-kart thrills and value-added practicality for our MINI fans.”The Cooper Countryman starts the range, as mentioned, from $44,500 manufacturers list price. Power will be supplied from a 3 cylinder petrol engine providing 100kW and 220Nm for a 9.7 second 0-100 time. Transmission is a seven speed DCT. Economy (combined) is 6.3L/100km. 17 inch alloy wheels will be standard as will an auto tailgate. Leatherette Sports seats will support the driver and front passenger. They’ll have access to wireless smartphone charging, Apple CarPlay, and be safe with City Crash Mitigation with Pedestrian Detection plus Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop/Start. Dynamic Traction Control with Electronic Differential Lock Control and Park distance control with rear camera and reversing assistant will also be standard.

Cooper S Countryman starts from $52,990. A 4-cylinder petrol engine delivers 141kW & 280Nm for a 7.5s 0-100 time whilst providing economy of 6.7l/100 km via a 7-speed Steptronic sport dual-clutch transmission. There will be three MINI Driving Modes (Sport, Mid, Green). The exterior highlights will see a Piano Black Line Exterior (headlights surround, bezels around rear lights, front grille frame, door handles) with the radiator grille in black surround and featuring a black honeycomb insert and S designation.

18-inch light-alloy wheels with run-flat tyres will be here. Inside there is a John Cooper Works steering wheel, Leather Cross Punch Sports seats for driver and front passenger in Carbon Black that will match the piano black surfacing for the trim. An extra safety element is the Forward Collision Warning with visual and audio warning signal, plus braking pre-conditioning.Hybrid Countryman starts from $60,990. It’s the same 3 cylinder petrol plus a 65kW/165Nm electric motor and six speed auto. 0-100 is 6.8s and economy is 2.4l/100 km. There is an extra drive mode (Green+) and the All4 intelligent all-wheel drive system. The Piano Black exterior package is fitted and complements the chrome side scuttles. The 18 inch alloys and run-flats are standard as are the blackouts for the grille. The interior has the John Cooper Works steering wheel, Carbon Black Leather Cross Punch Sports seats for driver and front passenger, Piano Black interior surfaces and the Forward Collision Warning with visual and audio warning signal, plus braking pre-conditioning.

The JCW Countryman Pure kicks off from $61,915. The 4 cylinder petrol breathes via a pair of centrally mounted tailpipes and punches out 225kW and 450Nm for a 5.1s sprint time. Economy is 7.6l/100 km. The transmission is an 8 speed Steptronic sport automatic paddle shifts and launch control. The MINI Driving Modes are Sport, Mid, Green and grip is via the All4 intelligent all-wheel drive system. 18 inch alloys and run-flat tyres ride with a Sport tuned suspension. Brakes are fixed 4 piston front calipers. The grille has a red insert whilst the rear sit flat courtesy of a JCW spoiler.

Countryman’s additional specification over JCW Pure has a starting price from $67,818 and has adaptive suspension, 19-inch light-alloy wheels with run-flats. with the interior getting a HUD and sounds via a Harman Kardon HiFi Sound System with 12 speakers and eight channel digital amplifier.

An Abundance Of Energy: H2X Australia

Australia’s car manufacturing industry is dead. Long live the Australian car manufacturing industry.

But all is not yet lost…Hydrogen is seen as the potential next step in powering automobiles on Earth, and the technology has been around for decades, featuring strongly in the aerospace industries. Australian company H2X, based in Sydney, has been quietly working away since 2015 on using the most abundant element known, hydrogen, as the source material for automotive propulsion.The heart of a hydrogen powered vehicle is the fuel cell. Take hydrogen and oxygen, wave the magic wand, and electricity is made. The resulting leftover is water. Simple H2O. The efficiency of this process varies and comes in between 40 to 60 percent. Waste heat can be reused and brings efficiency to over 80%.

H2X are applying hydrogen fuel tech to vehicles that they hope to have up and running by the mid 2020s. A minivan, a tractor, and an SUV are amongst the range that the company has in mind. The firm recently turned the dirt at a location at Port Kembla, south of Sydney. It’s here that they currently intend to build the vehicles and also invest in battery and super-capacitors. However, in a reasonable effort to minimise extravagant start up costs, the firm will first use pre-assembled parts readily available from Asia, and a fuel cell from a company called ElringKlinger.A common issue with starting a new company is sourcing people with the required expertise. Here, H2X don’t appear to have a problem. Their CEO is a person that comes from hydrogen related businesses plus a solid automotive background with BMW, Audi, and Volkswagen. Heading the design bureau is the designer of the Giulietta, Chris Reitz. He’s also worked with VW and Nissan. Saab and GM have their DNA running in the veins of Peter Zienau as he worked on hybrid and electric programs with the pair. Opel, Lotus, Volvo, Aston Martin and Tesla have given Peter Thompson over thirty years of experience, including his involvement in the Tesla Roadster.There’s more power to come in the board, with Alan Marder, also with plenty of experience in startups dealing with hydrogen fuel cell and automotive industries spanning 35 years. He’ll head the marketing and strategy section, while the former head of the VW Group Asia, Kevin McCann, who also works with Hyundai, Volvo, and Deloitte, will be on the supervisory board.

Picking Port Kembla, says H2X, was a given, as it’s a focus for industries H2X will need as supports. Rail, metal manufacturing in the forms of steel and aluminuim, the size of the port to allow cargo ships, and electronics makers at a military spec level will go a long way to assisting the rumoured workforce of 5,000.They’ve already put forward what they hope will be the first vehicle to drive off the production line. The “Snowy” SUV, with a mooted range of 650km, a refuel time of around three minutes, and a freeway speed reaching time of 6.9 seconds, will be backed by a bio-safe interior, smartphone apps, and autonomous emergency braking. The powertrain is said to be a combination of a 60kW Elring Klinger PEM fuel cell, a graphene ultracapacitor from Skeleton Tech, a powerful 200kW electric motor, and a 5.0kg-capacity hexagon Type 4 hydrogen tank. A key feature that’s under the radar is a suspension system that will, like braking regenerative energy, apply the same process from suspension travel. The Snowy is on track for a 2022 unveiling.

Car Review: 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed PHEV.

This Car Review Is About: A vehicle from a mainstream car maker that provides a technology still all too rare. Hybrid tech of its own right is becoming widespread, however the plug-in part is still uncommon. The Outlander from Mitsubishi is an all too rare opportunity to sample an option in drivetrain tech that perhaps could become a little more common with time. In PHEV form it’s strictly a five seater too.

How Much Does It Cost?: The Outlander falls into the medium SUV category. There are three PHEV variants, being the ES and ES ADAS (higher trim levels) and the Exceed. This starts from $56,390 plus on-road costs. At the time of writing, a drive-away cost of $60,390 was advertised.Under The Bonnet Is: The opportunity to drive, theoretically, up to 54 kilometres on a battery only run thanks to a pair of electric motors, one front, one rear connected to a single speed transmission. Otherwise there is a 2.4L petrol engine that charges the battery, and backs up the electrical drive in uphill runs or when the battery is low on charge. There are two charge ports on the right rear quarter and a separate charge cable that plugs into the standard home plug outlet. When the PHEV was first released five years ago it came only with a 15A cable. Thankfully Mitsubishi listened. There is also an app that allows a driver to monitor charging progress and set charging times.The petrol engine produces 94kW and 199Nm, with the electric engine adding its own 60kW and 70kW via the front and rear mounted motors. Consumption is rated as 1.9L/100km and the tank size is 45L. Our overall figure finished on a creditable 5.8L/100km, and most of that was from charging on the go. The battery itself is of a Lithium-ion mix, with a 13.8kWh capacity, voltage of 300, and 80kW maximum output for the generator. Charging time (80%) on the DC fast charger is is 25 minutes, with seven hours on the cable for home charging.On The Inside It’s: Time for an update. We’ve reviewed three PHEVs and the Outlander platform is aging. Gracefully, yes, but aging. The ergonomics are no longer suitable and the look and feel is obviously older compared to its opposition. There’s been barely any changes since the last model and that’s minor tweaks to the centre console around the fore and aft drive selector, a rejig of the touchscreen and the way the seat material is laid over the frames.The dash is a slab, there are buttons hidden by the steering wheel including the Start/Stop and information button, and it’s all just a bit out of step with the competition. Faux grey coloured carbon-fibre is laid on the passenger side of the dash, the centre console and underneath the aircon controls. There is the usual assortment of cup and bottle holders, plus auto headlights and auto wipers.Cargo wise there is 463L of space, down slightly on the normal five seater. This is thanks to a slightly higher cargo deck that sits over the battery and houses a compartment for tyre goo in the case of a puncture, plus the plug-in charger cable and indicator box. The rear axle houses a motor also, and this contributes to the height as well. There is a 12V outlet for this area though and the rear door is powered.Five seats is what the Outlander PHEV packs, and they’re also in need of an update. This is more to the material used as padding, as there’s more a sense of sitting on, not in, the pews.
On The Outside It’s: Getting closer to the angular shape of siblings AS, Triton, and Pajero Sport. There’s still the rounded, slightly bulbous shape that’s wrapped Outlander for well over a half decade now, but the nose has the look of the rest of the team. One would expect that the next update will drop the ovoid look and bring it more into line with the others.

Wheels are high gloss alloys and of a 25 spoke design. Rubber is 225/55/18 and from the Toyo Proxes range. Access to the two charging ports is via a flap on the right rear quarter, with fuel on the left rear.On The Road It’s: A good mix of electric propulsion for, as it turned out in the real world, around 45 kilometres. The driver’s display has a graphic that shows the charge level of the battery and any regeneration charge being fed back in. It’s a push button start system and there’s a couple of faint clicks and whirrs as the system gets ready. A flick of the drive selector to the right and a fore or aft movement for Reverse of Drive, and that’s as complicated as it gets.Unless the right foot is super heavy or heading uphill, the PHEV is a purely electric vehicle. There’s virtually no noise from the drivetrain, but plenty from the rubber, even on smooth road surfaces. As the charge level drops and heads towards maybe 10%, the petrol engine kicks in and tops up charge ever so gently. On the fly a driver can press a console tab to charge or use a Save Battery mode which entails the petrol engine kicking in and out as required. The swap-in and swap-out is almost seamless, with bare hints of vibration and a dull background drone the indications of the change.

The steering is leaden, heavy, and as the drive indicators don’t show torque split, it feels as if it’s a heavily front wheel drive oriented machine. The suspension is also super tight, with most of the smaller road surface niggles absorbed by the tyre sidewalls, not the suspension. The brake is also numb, a curious sensation given the regenerative ability of the system itself.

Acceleration is somewhere between not bad and slightly leisurely. A dry weight, befoer passengers etc, of just under 1.9 tonnes would have that effect… Even when the petrol engine kicks in, it’s an easy-going, unhurried affair. The single speed transmission does a sterling job too, coping admirably with the demands of either or when it comes to switching between the two power sources.

What About Safety?: Ultrasonic misacceleration Mitigation System is standard in the Exceed, as are Blind Sport Warning, Lane Change Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Adapative Cruise Control with a simple push button to adjust, and a 360 degree camera system are also standard. Seven is the count for airbags.

What About Warranty And Service? Warranty is five years and capped price servicing applies. Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000kms. Conditions and further details can be found here.

At The End Of The Drive. Mitsubishi deserve accolades for their PHEV push. Hyundai have the Ioniq, itself an attractive proposition with electric, hybrid, and PHEV, variants Toyota doesn’t offer a PHEV. And with a real and usable range of around 40km, the Outlander PHEV is absolutely ideal for city running, and with the occasional dip into the petrol tank by using the engine to charge on the go, an easy 60+ , more than enough for most users, it’s perfect. But expect that on any other route consumption will increase.

There are other areas of mild “concern” too. The steering has no life, the dash is really showing its age, and the exterior is now the only member of the current Mitsubishi that lacks the truly hard edged “shield grille” design. And at $60K, buyers will look towards newer and competitively priced products, irrespective of fuel savings.

Outlander PHEV details are here.

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Audi Unveils The e-Tron

Audi has unveiled the e-Tron in a webcast from California. Focusing on the design element, price, and the extensive charging network that Audi and its business partners have and will invest in, the e-Tron, Audi’s Tesla challenger, is available now to order online in the US. Audi have also partnered with global retail giant Amazon in what is currently a unique move, allowing one stop at home charging via the Amazon Alexa smart-home device.An energy recuperation system is expected to harvest up to 90% of the battery’s usable capacity to power the vehicles twin electric engines. Quick charging for the 95 kW/h battery provides up to 150kW or 80% from empty in around thirty minutes. A zero to 60mph time of the 5.5 second mark has been quoted also. Driving range won’t be an issue although Audi didn’t confirm expected range. With a raft of charging stations available throughout the US on major roads, connecting and recharging from the west to east coast won’t be an issue. With the immediate competition offering figures between 240 to 295 miles of range, an extensive network will alleviate range anxiety.

The e-Tron is based on the Q series of AWD vehicles, features the signature Audi grille which will have a platinum hue to signify Audi’s electric intentions, and will start in the USD$74K range. It also means that visually they are immediately more relatable, in an electric car sense, to buyers familiar with the Audi styling. Interior styling should be “standard” Audi with the multi-media and virtual cockpit fitments. There will be a pair of large screens for the centre section of the dash, with a 10 inch and 8.6 inch screen for satnav/entertainment, and climate control usage. With the driver having the Virtual Cockpit it means most conventional tabs and buttons have been removed. Autonomous driving will be on board but to a level that still requires human input. A Comfort and Sport mode is programmed to have the semi-autonomous factor as well. A panoramic roof and four zone climate control are standard. The much talked about digital mirrors will come later.Audi have provided the e-Tron with a signature look up front. Alongside the stylish grille are new four bar LED driving lights that blend well into the overall Audi styling. And the rear is standard Audi as well, with a clean and uncluttered design.

The entry level e-Tron will have twenty inch diameter wheels, a 360 degree camera, and a pounding B&O sound system. Vented and heated seats will be standard. Spend a little more and the Prestige at USD$81K offers a HUD or Head Up Display, massaging front seats, and dual pane acoustic (noise reduction) windows. Then there is the First Edition, a limited run numbers version. USD$86,700 has Daytona Grey paint, 21 inch wheels, and just 999 will be available in the US.
The car is due for deliveries in the US in the first quarter of 2019. http://credit-n.ru/offers-zaim/oneclickmoney-zaim-na-kartu.html