Displaying items by tag: electric car

Versus the competition: More than simply energy-efficient, the Model Y is space-efficient, with generous passenger and cargo room for its size, making it a perfectly usable and spacious small SUV.

The Tesla Model Y is the most popular EV today, with more registered in the first quarter of 2021 than any other EV, according to reports from Experian and Automotive News. So what is it about the Model Y that’s so appealing? A lot, actually, even considering the latest competition from electric SUVs like the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 and 2021 Mustang Mach-E.

Looking at the Model Y, you might think, “That’s an SUV?” The Model Y is a higher-riding version of the Tesla Model 3, with a liftgate and open cargo area versus a trunk, and it has all-wheel drive. So — by today’s standards — yes, it’s an SUV. The Model Y’s exterior footprint is almost identical to the BMW X4, which is a fastback “coupe” version of the popular BMW X3 SUV — an originator of the compact luxury SUV class. The Model Y is sized right in the heart of the soon-to-explode EV SUV class, which could see up to a dozen new luxury and non-luxury offerings in the next couple of years

Tesla Model Y as an SUV

Cargo Room

tesla-model-y-2021-42-interior--rear-cargo.jpg2021 One of an SUV’s defining characteristics is cargo room, and the Model Y has ample amounts of it, especially considering its compact proportions. Three large storage areas add up to big versatility: There’s the main cargo area behind the backseat, as well as two large tubs — one in back under the cargo floor and a front trunk — both of which can store sizable items.

We perform our own cargo testing in part because automakers vary in how they execute standardized methods, leading to invalid comparisons. By our measurements, the Model Y’s 20.9 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the backseat, including the rear tub, is more than the ID.4’s 18.9 cubic feet and the Mach-E’s 15.9 cubic feet. It’s also slightly more than you get in traditional electrified compact SUVs: the Honda CR-V Hybrid has 19.6 cubic feet and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid has 20.7 cubic feet.

The Model Y’s backseat folds in a 40/20/40 split, but it doesn’t quite fold flat because of the seats’ prominent side bolsters. Even so, with the seats folded, what looks like a small car on the outside can haul items like a larger SUV could.

A bonus: The Model Y’s front trunk measures 2.9 cubic feet, beating the Mach-E’s 2.0 cubic feet. The ID.4 has no frunk at all.

Passenger Room

I’m a slender 6 feet tall with long legs, and my legs had room to breathe in the driver’s seat. The backseat reclines but doesn’t slide in the two-row version, and I was adequately comfortable back there; there’s good thigh support and headroom to spare, plus generous cutouts in the back of the front seats that opened up foot room. We tested a two-row model, but there’s a small optional third row that increases the number of seats to seven and gives the second row a sliding function for third-row accessibility. I don’t expect the third-row proportions to be quite as generous, but we haven’t tested it yet.

tesla-model-y-2021-40-backseat--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Driving Impressions

What’s not SUV-like about the Model Y is how it drives; it’s more like the Model 3, which is aggressively tuned for spirited driving. Here in the Chicago area, where potholes are simply a road feature instead of an occasional deterioration, you too may find the ride quality somewhat uncomfortable if you don’t care for a tight, sporty driving feel.

The Model Y’s ride quality was a polarizing topic among Cars.com editors. Some thought it was unrefined or simply too harsh, but others, including myself, found the ride taut yet sophisticated and well controlled. For those looking for a sports-car-like feel, the stiff ride is worth the price of admission. It’s a genuine joy to drive, with quick reflexes thanks to a tight steering ratio, good steering feedback and competent dynamics. Snaking the Model Y through curvy roads reminded me of the latest BMW 3 Series with the M Sport package: not for everyone, perhaps, but those who appreciate a dynamic car will be rewarded.

tesla-model-y-2021-06-black--exterior--front.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Versus other EVs, the Model Y is more nimble than the Mach-E, which feels a bit bloated in comparison — and it is 500 pounds heavier when similarly equipped despite comparable exterior proportions. There was no polarization over the Mach-E’s ride quality: We all found something peculiar about how it porpoised down the road, seemingly pitching from its center over bumps.

Most affordable EVs don’t ride that well, but if none of the above sounds appealing, check out the VW ID.4: Its soft, inoffensive ride makes it a standout among the current crop of EVs.

The Model Y’s acceleration is punchy and rewarding, and those who haven’t driven an EV will be blown away by how quickly even the non-Performance Model Y accelerates compared with traditional gas-powered luxury SUVs in its price range. Typical of EVs, there’s no step-gear transmission, and the result is near-instant acceleration response, with no waiting for kickdowns or gear changes. The Model Y seemed to accelerate harder for longer than the Mach-E, despite equal 0-60 mph claims from each automaker (4.8 seconds). Where the Mach-E fell off around 50 mph, the Model Y felt like it was just winding up.

 

Visibility

tesla-model-y-2021-39-interior--rear-visibility--sunroof.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Where there’s less confidence is in the Model Y’s visibility. The small rear window doesn’t offer great natural visibility, though it has electronic assists that might help if you’re willing to put in a little effort. This takes us to the large 15-inch touchscreen that’s the main control and user interface for the vehicle’s climate controls, vehicle systems, multimedia, navigation and driving monitors.

One function of the screen is the rear camera system, which isn’t simply a backup camera display that pops up when the car is in Reverse. The rear view can be left on while driving to show what’s behind the Model Y, and you can augment the display with two rearward-facing, side-view cameras so you can also see along the left and right sides of the vehicle.

tesla-model-y-2021-30-center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior--safety-tech.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The large, high-resolution camera feed is detailed and informative, but having it appear in a central 15-inch touchscreen, along with the speedometer and everything else, is somewhat distracting. It would be easier to simply glance at a display integrated across a full rearview mirror, like what’s offered in the Chevrolet Bolt EV. A 360-degree, top-down camera view would also be nice for parking, but it’s not offered.

What would have made for more confident lane-changing is a traditional blind spot monitoring system that alerts drivers to a car in their blind spot with an illuminated symbol in a side mirror. That doesn’t exist in the Model Y; instead, a real-time visualization of the road and your surroundings are digitized in that central 15-inch screen, showing what’s around the Model Y. Colored markers alert you to what’s there, and you can also see digitized versions of surrounding cars in real-time proximity.

This all requires looking at the screen, however, versus simply seeing an orange light in your periphery while looking forward — or hearing a “ding-ding” when the turn signal is on, as a traditional system would sound. The Model Y does have a selectable audible warning that alerts you if you try to change lanes with a vehicle in your blind spot, but it has a high threshold and is more of a “What are you doing?!” alert versus a gentle “Excuse me, someone is over there right now.”

Towing

The Model Y is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds — good compared with conventional small SUVs and more than good compared with today’s EV SUVs, including the VW ID.4 (2,200 pounds) and Mach-E (not rated to tow). An optional tow package unlocks the Model Y’s capabilities, including a tow bar with a 2-inch hitch receiver, a seven-pin connector and a harness, plus a tow mode. We can only guess how much the SUV’s range would suffer towing a 3,500-pound trailer; likely a lot.

 

Range Anxiety: What’s That?

With up to 326 miles of EPA-estimated range, range anxiety wasn’t a concern while driving the Model Y in the Chicago area — and that wasn’t only because of its long range and a surplus of Tesla DC fast-charge Superchargers in the area. Peace of mind was easy to come by because of how the Tesla informs you of its efficiency through useful driving information. For example: the Trip Monitor, which is one of the most useful information graphics I’ve experienced.

tesla-model-y-2021-26-battery-level--center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Trip Monitor helps drivers understand how their habits affect efficiency, plus how much battery life and range will be used in a given trip. It works only when there’s a navigation destination entered, showing a gray line predicting how much energy you’ll use in a given trip, overlaid in real time by a green line representing your actual energy use. You can use it to make real-time corrections to your driving style in order to arrive at a destination with a greater pad for your return trip. You can see right away when you need to stop driving like an ass, or just change to more efficient driving and regenerative braking modes.

This is what it looked like in action: I was supposed to return the Model Y to its owner at the end of the loan with at least 80% battery charge. When I got in the car and entered the destination, the Model Y estimated I’d have exactly 80% left by the time I got to the owner. Driving efficiently in the lower power and greatest regenerative braking modes, I ended the trip with 82% battery life — so a 2% less jerk move.

Braking

The Model Y’s braking feel is top-of-the-line. Few EVs, hybrids or even gasoline cars with brake-by-wire systems stop as naturally as the Model Y. Pedal feel is linear and firm but not hard, and unlike the Mach-E you can use the brake pedal to stop without worrying about giving your passengers whiplash. The regenerative braking function is always active, but you can make it more aggressive in the Hold mode  in order to increase efficiency. That mode will slow the car to a stop using regenerative braking at lower speeds than will other braking modes, then hold once stopped. It takes a fair amount of attention to use, however, because simply letting off the accelerator in this mode aggressively stops the car; it takes a slow return of the accelerator to smoothly decelerate. There are two other stop modes: Creep mode, which acts like a regular gas car, leaving the Model Y to slightly accelerate at “idle” when your foot is off the accelerator, and Roll mode, which lets the car roll without any intervention, as if it were in Neutral. But neither have the extra regenerative force of Hold mode.

Charging

tesla-model-y-2021-13-angle--black--charging--exterior--front.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

In a metropolitan area like Chicago, it’s possible to use Supercharging regularly because there are so many locations, but home charging is really the best way to do EV ownership. Tesla warns in its owner’s manuals to minimize the use of DC fast chargers, like Supercharging, for the sake of optimal battery health. In addition, DC fast charging can be expensive.

At home, the fastest a Model Y can replenish its battery is 42 miles of range per hour, using the car’s maximum 11.5 kilowatts, a Tesla or equivalent wall unit, and a compatible 240-volt circuit providing up to 48 amps (a 60-amp circuit breaker). At a more average 24 amps, like you’d find on a standard 240-volt clothes dryer circuit (a 30-amp breaker), you’d be able to charge at 21 miles of range per hour. That’s a difference of adding 250 miles of range in six hours or 12 hours, both with charging systems classified as 240-volt Level 2.

The Model Y comes with what Tesla calls a Mobile Connector, which has a pretty robust 32-amp rating you can tap into by purchasing an appropriate short adapter cord for use with a 240-volt outlet (the plug determines the current and, thus, the charging rate). It comes with a 120-volt adapter for trickle charging at 3-4 miles per hour. Good for 29 miles of range per hour, this unit might be all you’ll need.

Home charging can vary wildly from house to house depending on your electrical setup, and one advantage Tesla has over other EVs is how many amperage settings it provides, allowing you to charge on a variety of 120- and 240-volt circuits. The charging rate is selectable via an onscreen Energy Display, where you can change the charging rate by single digits to accommodate whatever circuit you might encounter. This maximizes the charging speed when possible and cuts it down when the circuit is shared with another car or appliance. The Model Y will even learn a location’s settings and remember them when you return.

Supercharging is ideal when on a road trip or on the go; 250-kW Superchargers aren’t uncommon in our area. Other common speeds are 150 kW and 72 kW. How quickly these DC fast chargers add miles will vary by charger and your battery’s state of charge. In our testing, we added 127 miles of range in 50 minutes on a 250-kW Supercharger, though that was with a battery not at an ideal state for the fastest charge rates: It started at over 50% and stopped at full.

tesla-model-y-2021-21-battery-level--center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The fastest charge times come with lower battery levels, and the rate slows considerably as the charge level nears full; we never saw a rate above 70 kW during the charge referenced above. Case in point: We hit a charging rate as fast as 127 kW on a slower, 150-kW Supercharger when going from a quarter-full battery up to 90%; that charge added 198 miles in 40 minutes. Supercharging cost us 31 cents per kilowatt-hour, or $15.19 for the replenished 49 kwh. At home, the same charge would have cost $6.51 at the national average rate of 13.29 cents per kwh, but it would have taken at least 4.7 hours.

In our experience, we haven’t been able to charge faster than 80 kW on a DC fast charger with the ID.4 or the Mustang Mach-E, even though those vehicles are rated for 125 kW and 150 kW, respectively.

Autopilot — What It Is, What It Isn’t

tesla-model-y-2021-18-front-row--interior--steering-wheel.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Autopilot is a semi-autonomous, hands-on driver-assist system that Tesla doesn’t recommended using hands-free. In its current incarnation, which could expand in the future, Autopilot acts as an advanced cruise control that centers the car in its lane. It was ahead of the curve a few years ago, but it’s since been matched by many competitors, including modest brands. It is, however, standard in the Model Y, unlike Cadillac’s more ambitious hands-free Super Cruise and BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, and it works well in a variety of driving situations — more than some advanced lane-centering driver assistants.

Autopilot won’t truly distinguish itself again until its full capabilities are unlocked. Some of these capabilities are in beta testing if you opt for the $10,000 Full Self-Driving Capability Package. Even then, Tesla warns, “the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

Our test car didn’t have this package, which currently unlocks the following:

  • Navigate on Autopilot: A beta feature that gives the ability to navigate a highway interchange automatically, engaging the turn signal and taking an exit
  • Auto Lane Change: Can move the vehicle to an adjacent lane
  • Autopark: Can automatically parallel or perpendicular park the car (competing brands also offer this feature)
  • Summon: Moves the car in and out of tight parking spaces with an fob or phone application
  • Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control: Also a beta feature; reads stoplights and traffic signs and can slow the vehicle to a stop
  • Autosteer on city streets: As it currently exists, Autosteer is designed for highways and limited-access roads, but Autosteer on city streets (currently in beta to select owners) will open that function to city speeds. This will allow a Tesla to navigate to an entered destination while following traffic signals, turning, stopping and accelerating. This is still a Level 2 hands-on system requiring driver attention and intervention.
tesla-model-y-2021-28-center-stack-display--front-row--infotainment-system--interior--safety-tech.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Even without the self-driving package, our car showed a preview of this advanced functionality. The driving status display shows what the car’s cameras are viewing and visualizes it on the touchscreen, including vehicles of different shapes and sizes — it will show a pickup truck or bus as well as pedestrians and cyclists — but there’s more you can add with the Full Self-Driving Visualization Preview. In this beta preview, the car will read trash cans, safety cones, red lights, road markings and more. There are self-driving implications here, but for now it’s more informative than actionable; on our test car (without the package), it was sometimes overwhelming. What’s shown on the screen isn’t always accurate, either; at one point, the screen didn’t show a bicyclist on the side of the road but recognized a garbage can behind the bicyclist. This can all be turned off.

Tesla recently announced that this functionality will come exclusively through camera-based technology, instead of using both radar and cameras, in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles produced from May 2021 onward. The transition means the car’s software hasn’t fully caught up with the hardware yet, and there are limitations on those cars: Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance isn’t functional, and for a short period Tesla says Autosteer, which keeps the car in its lane, will be limited to a maximum speed of 75 mph — down from 90 mph.

Interior Quality

tesla-model-y-2021-17-dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Model Y’s interior quality isn’t going to wow anyone like a similarly priced Mercedes-Benz GLC300 or Genesis GV80 might. It’s not flashy, but it does feel high-quality — like its synthetic seating upholstery, which is supple and convincing. The front seats aren’t too aggressive, but nor are they unsupportive; they’re comfortable seats with a natural seating position. The wood trim has open pores, and aluminum trim is used sparingly but well. The interior doesn’t scream “luxury,” and it’s not considerably more opulent than a loaded Mach-E’s insides, but I think it’s a fair trade-off for what the Model Y does give you as far as an exceptional EV experience.

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

The biggest omission I see is a lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is almost inexcusable nowadays. There also isn’t a Siri function through steering-wheel controls as other cars that omit CarPlay have. Since the last Tesla I reviewed, in 2018, voice-to-text functions have been added through over-the-air updates — a staple of post-purchase Tesla expandability — and it’s included in new Teslas. Also added since 2018 is Spotify streaming music integration, which is nice if you’re a Spotify user.

As for the omission, I somewhat get it: Apple CarPlay or Android Auto would make it harder to use Tesla’s integrated navigation features, like finding Supercharger locations and availability, plus the trick efficiency monitor and Supercharger routing based on charge status and destination. One of the greatest assets of these smartphone mirrors is to provide Google Maps and Apple Maps when navigation isn’t optioned or offered, but Tesla uses graphics from Google Maps and Tesla-powered routing with success. I wanted Apple CarPlay and Android Auto more for their seamless voice-to-text functionality, Siri, and the apps and podcasts that weren’t included in the Tesla.

tesla-model-y-2021-15-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

One more annoyance with Tesla’s phone integration: The wireless charging pad didn’t work with my phone case — an OtterBox Commuter Series, which is designed to work with the iPhone 12’s wireless charging. It works on other cars I’ve tested with wireless charging, including our long-term 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid. In the Model Y, I had to remove my phone from its case in order to use wireless charging, which is ridiculous for a convenience feature; I just kept it plugged in to charge via a wired connection. The wireless charger comes standard, so it’s not like it costs extra to get something that doesn’t work, but it’s still a bummer. I wasn’t the only one whose phone didn’t work with the wireless charging pad; another editor’s Android phone wouldn’t charge in its bulky case.

No Instrument Panel

tesla-model-y-2021-16-cockpit-shot--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg2021 Tesla Model Y | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

What took the most acclimation was that the Model Y doesn’t have a speedometer within the driver’s forward view, just like the Model 3. Yes, you’ll get used to looking at the speedometer in the central screen’s upper left corner, but I really wanted a proper instrument panel like you’d find in the Mach-E or ID.4 — or even the Tesla Model S and Model X, which continue to use one even after their recent refresh. Even though the speedometer is at the top of the screen, it’s still a noticeable glance down versus a traditional instrument panel or head-up display.

I don’t mind almost all other controls being relegated to the touchscreen because it’s responsive and familiar enough to find items in the shallow option menus (like you would in a phone). Also, you can save your preferred settings and configurations to a unique profile, which limits having to play around with the screen after an initial setup.

Simply the Best?

Back to the estimated 326 miles of range: It’s a lot. In the budding EV SUV class, no one is close to offering that kind of rated range and giving you the Model Y’s acceleration (which, reminder: 0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds). A Mustang Mach-E is rated for up to 305 miles of range, but only with single-motor rear-wheel drive and a 0-60 mph time of 6.1 seconds. The larger-battery Mach-E with the 4.8-second 0-60 mph time — thanks to dual motors and all-wheel drive — is rated at 270 miles of range. The Model Y Long Range AWD is simply more efficient than the Mach-E AWD Extended, using 27 kwh for every 100 miles versus 37 kwh per 100 miles for the Mustang, according to EPA estimates. In an EV, efficiency translates both to faster charging and longer range, other factors being equal, along with cheaper cost for each mile driven.

In 2018, we matched the Model 3 and Model X 0-60 mph claims, so I don’t think Tesla is overstating the Model Y’s capabilities at this level. As far as range accuracy, I didn’t feel shorted during my few hundred miles behind the wheel. The range prediction was in the ballpark for my actual distance traveled, but I’d need to do a longer test in various weather conditions in order to say whether 326 miles is realistic, and in what conditions. Cold temperatures rob range from any EV — roughly 40% at 20 degrees Fahrenheit versus 75 degrees, according to AAA.

As for the list of “wants” that could be deal breakers, they’re available in other EVs, but with a hit to range and performance — or both. There are also states where Tesla isn’t allowed to sell you a new car (including Texas, Delaware and Wisconsin) or are limited in the number of stores it can operate (including New York and Colorado). That doesn’t mean you can’t own a Tesla in those states, but the purchase must happen elsewhere — leading to questions about future service, though a Tesla mobile service is available. You do, however, likely have a Volkswagen or Ford dealership in closer proximity — just keep in mind that those dealerships will need to be trained and have the proper equipment to work on their brands’ electric cars, and not every location may make that investment.

It’s easy to see why the Model Y is so popular. It’s affordable in the context of other luxury SUVs, has oodles of range and a great charging infrastructure, and it’s fun to drive and own. The Model Y does do a couple of goofy things, and unfortunately, they’re not easy fixes expected to be remedied anytime soon. If a stiff ride or lacking Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and an instrument panel are deal breakers for you, you have more compelling options in the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, but it’s really hard to look elsewhere when the Model Y does so many things so well — things that are core to what’s considered good for both EVs and SUVs.

(cars.com)

Published in Tesla

The Lyriq electric SUV and Celestiq electric sedan are central to Cadillac’s EV charge.

The Lyriq will be followed by the Celestiq, a limolike four-door sedan that will take over as Cadillac's flagship. The interior is intended to coddle chauffeur-driven passengers in the second row under a transparent, four-quadrant glass roof. Up front, a large dashboard screen stretches the width of the cabin. It will feature all-wheel drive, a hatchback cargo opening, and four-wheel steering.

WHY IT MATTERS: General Motors wants Cadillac to lead its EV push, so every one of the brand's new models moving forward will be electric. That starts with the Lyriq, followed by the Celestiq sedan, the Optiq and Symboliq SUVs, another sedan/coupe, and an electric version of the Escalade full-size SUV. The Lyriq sets the styling tone for the lineup.

2023 Cadillac Lyriq 8 

PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The Cadillac Lyriq will use the same BEV3 architecture and Ultium battery system as the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup. The battery cells are packaged as modules to allow the creation of vehicles of any size or shape. GM is building a new Ultium battery plant in Tennessee to supply the Lyriq, which uses a 12-module, 100-kWh pack versus the Hummer's 24 modules. Future electric SUVs for the Chevrolet and Buick brands will share a similar layout. The Celestiq is more of a one-off vehicle and a surprise addition to the portfolio. It will have at least two motors, and the long body provides a lot of underfloor space for energy storage. It will be able to fast-charge at 800 volts and likely provide at least 300 miles of range per charge.

ESTIMATED PRICE: The Lyriq starts at $59,990, and the Celestiq is expected to command at least $200,000.

EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Lyriq, Q1 2022; Celestiq, as early as 2023.

(motortrend.com)

Published in Cadillac

Amazon commissioned Rivian to develop and build it the best last-mile delivery van

WHAT IT IS: This fully electric delivery van will be offered in three sizes capable of carrying 500, 700, or 900 cubic feet of packages. All share the same stand-up interior height. The smallest one is narrower than the larger two and is as roomy as today's mainstream Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ford Transit delivery vans. The largest one has roughly the same turning circle diameter as smaller competitive vans to guarantee easy urban maneuverability. Because its design will eventually become ubiquitous nationwide and is expected to remain unchanged for years, the Rivian Amazon Prime van's designers gave it a friendly, smiley, cartoonish visage.

 
 
2022 Rivian Amazon Prime Van 6

WHY IT MATTERS: These vans were designed and developed exclusively for Amazon and will be built in the same plant as Rivian's R1 line of products. This will provide Rivian with reliable positive cash flow while the R1T and R1S products come up to speed, while simultaneously helping Amazon reduce its costs and shrink its carbon footprint. The contract calls for 100,000 Prime vans to be delivered by 2030. The design prioritizes driver safety, ergonomics, and comfort, providing a hinged door with side-impact protection on the driver's side and a sliding door on the passenger's side with entry steps designed in such a way as to avoid becoming dangerously slippery when wet or covered in slush. The van features driver assist handles for use while carrying packages.

PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: The Prime van will share its basic electrical and network architecture, ECUs, and battery pack design with the Rivian R1 models. The van will also share its basic single-motor e-axle drive unit with the entry-level Rivian R1 products. Range is said to be 150 miles. To manage costs, Prime vans use a steel body on a steel ladder chassis instead of the R1's aluminum setup. The vans will be assembled on a separate "low-feature-content" assembly line, though common body and paint shops will handle both vans and R1s. 

2022 Rivian Amazon Prime Van 3

ESTIMATED PRICE: The public will not be able to buy a Rivian Amazon Prime van, so official pricing may never be disclosed, but Jeff Bezos is no dummy. We expect the average price Amazon pays for each Prime van will land in the ballpark of a primary competitor: the Ford E-Transit. That electric cargo van starts at $52,690 for the high-roof, extended-wheelbase version.

EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Early production models have already entered the field, but volume production will ramp up next year with an aim of delivering the first 10,000 vans by the end of 2022.

((motortrend.com)

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under
Saturday, 05 June 2021 05:57

Audi Q4 e-Tron (2021) review: total eclipse

 

You know how they say never buy the first version of a new Apple product? Perhaps a similar golden rule should be applied to electric cars.

The first model based on the VW Group's entry-level electric platform, the VW ID.3 released last summer, had a premature, unfinished edge to it. But every new MEB derivative launched since then has bettered the previous version. The ID.4 is quantifiably more appealing than the hatchback, the Skoda Enyaq is more convincing overall than both Volkswagens, and now the Audi Q4 e-Tron raises the bar for looks, perceived quality, driveability and performance.

Before we get into that...

Yes, some headline specs. Built in Zwickau on the same line as the ID twins, Audi's entry-level e-SUV is also offered in Sportback guise, with a slightly more coupe-like shape and a drag coefficient of 0.26. In the UK, prices for the Q4 e-Tron start at £40,750, and for the quattro version begin at £51,370. Sportback pricing has yet to be confirmed. but expect to pay a couple of grand more.

q4 etron rear static

The line-up available at launch time consists of two rear-wheel-drive versions, the '35' and '40', rated at 168bhp/229lb ft and 201bhp/229lb ft as well as the 295bhp/339lb ft quattro edition, the '50', which sports a bigger 77kWh (net) battery, and a second motor ready to drive the front wheels should traction issues or performance itches arise.

We're driving the 50 quattro here. The 295bhp Q4 manages to win the 0-62mph acceleration derby against the 308bhp e-Tron SUV by 6.2 against 6.8sec. More important still, its maximum range of 305 miles compares favourably to the 213 miles recorded to WLTP rules for its bigger brother.

q4 etron interior side

While the smaller 55kWh (42kWh net) energy pack installed in the 35 e-Tron can be charged with up to 100kW, the 40/50 e-Tron accept a maximum dose of 125kW. A 10-minute plug-in stint typically extends the range by 80 miles. The official consumption spectrum ranges from 3.0 to 3.8 miles per kWh, which barely differs from the e-Tron GT.

These numbers show that yesterday's plug-in heroes are overtaken left, right and centre by newer models boasting more advanced batteries, motors and software.

What else makes the Q4 e-Tron stand out?

Surprisingly, the electric counterpart of the Q3 even beats the pricey e-Tron GT as far as interior design and the overall craftsmanship are concerned, not to mention the fact that the top-of-the-line Q4 50 e-Tron quattro costs over £10k less than the base full-size e-Tron SUV, which is 300mm longer but not dramatically roomier inside.

q4 etron rear seats

The Q4 cockpit, then, is a class act, with some exceptions: the silly iPod volume control, the available quartic steering wheel (again, standard with the top two trims) and the unpadded armrest and centre console where long legs typically come to rest. Up front, there is enough room to swing a tiger kitten, space in row two is also generous, visibility is panoramic (less so in the Sportback), and the top-notch surfaces which used to be typical of the brand until the arrival of the latest A1 and A3 are back in full force.

In contrast to the confusingly alternative ergonomics pioneered by the ID.3, the Audi brings back the classic direct-access temperature controls, puts the gear selector back where it belongs and reduces the number of vague touch sliders to a minimum. Depending on the depth of your pocket, there are up to three different (and largely redundant) displays to select from. On top of this all, voice control attempts to guide you through a vast variety of menus and sub-menus. Less might be more.

How does the Q4 drive?

q4 etron rear cornering

The Q4 e-Tron's more muscular stance also supports a more eager turn-in action than other MEB-based cars, a more neutral cornering balance and a smoother driver-to-car interaction. Our Q4 50 e-Tron 50 quattro refrained from picking a fight with every pothole in reach, wriggling its shoulders when straddling aquaplaning grooves and jarring the driver's palms in the wake of gaping expansion joints.

Although Skoda and VW have announced all-wheel-drive versions of their MEB cars, the Q4 quattro is actually the first of its kind to come to market, available this summer. Along with more power, it introduces adaptive torque vectoring to the handling sweepstakes, and its variable dynamic weight distribution makes the car more chuckable through fast zig-zag corners. The two propulsion units orchestrate the wheel-selective quattro system, which minimises understeer and oversteer while cementing directional stability even on tricky surfaces.

q4 etron side pan

Our test car was shod with optional 235/255 21 tyres, the ride was (with the adjustable dampers locked in Comfort) commendably supple even at low speed and over sudden transverse disturbances, while the steering is nicely progressive. The Drive Select system invites you to set the helm, both motors and the torque distribution in your choice of Comfort, Auto, Efficiency, Individual or Dynamic modes, but is in effect more of a gimmick than a real bonus with the exception of the Range and Efficiency programmes, which seriously curb consumption by limiting maximum speed.

Any efficiency tech?

Well, there's Audi's Predictive Efficiency Assistant. It's been on Audi models from the moment the current A6 arrived, and naturally evolved for the electric age. It monitors the real-time traffic flow and road signs via its sat-nav connection.

q4 etron centre console

Stick the gearlever (or is it more of a nodule?) in B and the Q4 will automatically recuperate with up to 145kW, which practically puts the brakes on the dole. In D for Drive, paddles (standard on Edition 1 and Vorsprung versions, optional on Sport and S-line) make it easy to select one of three regeneration stages, or to choose the overly cautious automatic programme.

Audi Q4 e-Tron: verdict

The Q4 e-Tron hits the trendy new targets of EV ownership (range over power, charging speed over top speed) with aplomb. Its footprint is small enough for it to pass as planet-friendly urbanite and to calm the social acceptance watchdogs. At the same time, it can be customised to the taste and budget of a rich person ready to jump from the combustible past to the electrified future.

Like it or not, but cars like this are the new normal.

q4 etron front static

(carmagazine.co.uk)

Published in Audi

How the average "redneck" will react to the fact that Ford's largest, most sought-after and loudest pick-up model F-150 will no longer make noise, we can only imagine. Despite that, the best-selling vehicle in the United States received an electric edition for the first time this year, called Lightning. It will have 563 hp, 4WD drive, it will arrive on the market next year, and its main rivals will be the electric Hummer and Tesla Cybertruck. Its trump card is the price, which is not significantly higher than standard models.

Ford's F Series has been made since 1948, and the 14th generation of the legendary model is currently in use. The best-selling vehicle in the United States was bought by as many as 730,000 people during the last extremely difficult year alone. Now, for the first time, this legendary "worker" received an electric version, which was presented last night.

The Ford F-150 Lightning will have all-wheel drive, two electric motors with a total power of 563 hp and 1,050 Nm, which is also the highest torque ever offered in this pick-up model.

The huge truck will reach 100 km / h in just 4 seconds. It will be offered in two options when it comes to the battery, so the more powerful version will have a range of 480 km, and the weaker one 370 km. Charging on a fast charger will take about 40 minutes.

The largest load capacity will be 907 kg, and towing up to 4,536 kg. New technologies will also enable the F-150 to immediately calculate the electric range with the help of a scale for measuring the weight of cargo.

Since the electric motors are smaller than the conventional ones that powered the large pick-up, the Lightning version will also provide luggage space under the hood with a volume of 400 liters.

The new electric version retained the chassis of the classic F-150 (which is also offered as a hybrid), and an independent rear suspension.

The new F-150 will also debut Ford's new and huge 15.5-inch Sync 4A infotainment system, while the driver will have a 12-inch digital instrument panel in front of the driver.

The starting price with the electric pick-up will be 32,972 dollars, which is not much different from the versions with SUS engines.

Watch the video where Ford shows that the new F-150 Lightning can power even a house, as well as a number of electrical appliances.

Published in Blog/News
Tagged under

 

It's clear that Hyundai's mantra must be 'speak softly and carry a big stick.' It just must be. Being among quiet pioneers of family-friendly electric cars already with the original Ioniq and Kona, the brand is about to smack us across the chops with a whole new range of EVs under the Ioniq sub-brand, starting with this: the Ioniq 5.

We've driven a near-finished prototype of for our first whack. Has Hyundai beaten VW at its new game?

What a looker!
Hyundai says the look has been inspired by the Pony Coupe of the 70s but, unlike so many car brands looking to its past to guide its future, design-wise, this is no slavish pastiche. It's an eye-popping piece of design, shaped as a family hatch, with pixelated lighting front and rear and super-crisp lines.

Interestingly, though, the Ioniq 5's dimensions are much larger than you think. This design masterstroke actually hides the car's size: it's actually longer than a VW ID.4 both physically and in terms of its wheelbase and about 40mm taller than a Jaguar i-Pace.

Speaking of the i-Pace and ID range, we conveniently managed to park next to Jag's EV and an ID.3 – both look instantly dated compared to this.

Inside, the cockpit takes full advantage of the e-GMP platform that lies underneath. A flat floor means no fixed centre tunnel, with a movable centre console that provides cupholders, cubbies and a wireless phone charger. You're also greeted by thick padded seats, two massive screens and a kitsch two-spoke wheel like a Honda E.

But Hyundai hasn't gone tech overload in here like Mercedes, or ultra-minimalist like a Tesla Model 3 – there's a balance between large, useful screens, touch panels and physical switchgear and solid materials on all your regular touch points. The shift stalk, for example, is on the steering column, with a chunky twist action and the door inlays – complete with eco-friendly paper inserts – all feel solid with a tactile thunk when you pull the door handles.

Space is impressive, too. The cabin itself feels huge once you're inside, with loads of room for rear passengers, too. The rear bench can slide forward and back and, even with a 6ft 2in driver like myself at the wheel, there's tonnes of legroom. The boot, however, is rather shallow, but has depth end to end, and properly usable width. You don't even need to store your cables here – there's a handy storage box under the bonnet for that.

Any clever technology on the Ioniq 5?
The platform, for a start. The new e-GMP platform will underpin every new Ioniq sub-brand model from Hyundai along with Kia's new EV range starting with the EV6. Rear- and all-wheel drive powertrains are offered, with the Ioniq 5 giving you a choice of a standard range 58kWh or long-range 72.6kWh battery packs. And, along with a three-pin plug socket in the car, there's 'vehicle to load' – the ability to use the car as a rolling power bank, allowing you to plug in (via an adaptor on the charging port plug) almost anything externally, like a lawn mower, e-scooter or even another EV.

Hyundai's electric car plans explained

It's also as clever as a Taycan, allowing for both 400 or 800-volt charging, meaning (on the fastest available 350kW chargers, of course) the ability to zap from 10 to 80 per cent charge in just 18 minutes. Hyundai claims 296 miles in the Ioniq's thriftiest setting (larger battery, rear-wheel drive), but you can expect an ID.3 rivalling 260-plus from the all-wheel drive variant.

Live in a sunny area? Of course you don't, not in the UK at least, but you can spec a solar cell roof (after the Ioniq's initial launch) that aids the batteries: 'The solar roof has a charging capacity of 205W, and in an environment that is sunny we did some experiments and found that it could add 1200 miles of range per year, or about three miles per day,' Ioniq 5 project manager, Askin Kahraman, told us, 'The roof will also help the 12V battery so the car doesn't discharge completely.'

Then there's all the available tech on board. Along with Level 2.5 semi-autonomous driving tech, you can have Hyundai's Blind Spot View Monitor (that shows you the view of the door mirror camera when you flick the indicator), an augmented-reality head-up display and front seats that recline with leg supports like a living room La-Z-Boy.

Hyundai's Blind Spot View Monitor: does it work?

Our car was fully trimmed with every frippery you could ask for, implying that it was one of the limited-run 'Project 45' versions, at £48k. On top of all the tech that gives you, it also means your Ioniq 5 comes with the bigger 72.6kWh battery and all-wheel drive. As for lower trims, we expect it to follow the same trim structure as Hyundai's other models: SE Connect, Premium and Ultimate, with the cheapest models circling the £39,000 mark.

Let's drive it!
Walk on up to it and flush doorhandles pop out, ready for the drive ahead. Given the front seat's reclining nature, the whole seat angles backward if you want thigh support – rather than just the front end of the base – and the wheel adjusts for plentiful reach and rake.

Once you're rolling, the 5's interesting details don't instantly reveal themselves – it feels entirely standard fare for a family EV – quiet, inoffensive and smooth when you're nipping around town. And properly quick, just like an EV with so much torque should be; Eco mode dulls the throttle while, at the other end of the drive mode scale, the dials glare red in Sport and the throttle response is incredible. And this simply won't be the most powerful version of the E-GMP platform, either. Kia, for example, has already shown off a supercar-baiting EV6 GT, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Hyundai could make an Ioniq N.

Then you start to notice the finer points after the miles roll on.

The steering, for example, is live-wire alert and well-weighted – no dead-spots off-centre and tremendously fluid when you wind the lock off after a turn. The turning circle is tight, too; not London Taxi or Honda E tight, but not far off. Then there's the brakes. It's almost an expectation for an electric car to have a soggy brake pedal and inconsistent feel when you apply some pressure due to regenerative braking (of which Hyundai has four steps, plus a one-pedal mode), but not here. Plenty of solid, accurate feel regardless of regeneration level.

You can really have fun with this car on a back road – something not often said this side of a Taycan. Adding up the whumping torque, sharp steering and feelsome brakes is already plenty good enough, but there's real balance to the chassis, too. This doesn't feel leaden or recalcitrant when you want some zippy thrills going the fun way home. Yes, there's a touch of body roll, but the way the suspension handles the Ioniq's weight is really something to be commended – it's a hoot.

We even got some time on the motorway. Hyundai told us that not all of the production-spec soundproofing is on this prototype but, if that's the case, I've driven plenty of family in-production family cars (including those of premium manufacturers like Audi) that riding on 20-inch wheels that have worse NVH refinement. Tyre noise is well within an acceptable level and wind noise is minor. Couple this with balanced ride quality – not too jittery, but not water bed wallowy either – and it's a very promising position to be in.

First impressions: Hyundai Ioniq 5
What an impressive machine. We can't wait to try a production-spec one but, even in this prototype, the Ioniq 5 brings such a breadth of abilities that other EVs can only dream of. Show-stopping looks, a thoroughly usable and appealing interior, and sharp dynamics that are rare to find in a heavy family EV.

Convinced by VW's ID.3? Try one of these first.

(carmagazine.co.uk)

Published in Hyundai

Automotive giant Volkswagen will rename its electric vehicles in the US to ‘Voltswagen’. It has not yet been confirmed whether this will apply to vehicles sold in Europe.

The news allegedly briefly appeared on the American press page yesterday, but was soon removed. Volkswagen's PR, Brendan Bradley, did not comment on the allegations, but according to media reports, a source close to the company said it was a permanent change that would apply to VW in America and would clearly separate electric models from conventional ones.

Although not confirmed, the German brand is not expected to change the name of its e-vehicles in Europe either.

A USA Today reporter quoted part of an official announcement stating that the Voltswagen is more than a name change.

"It is a public declaration by which the company announces future investments in e-mobility," reads the statement.

According to that announcement, electric cars will get the inscription Voltswagen, while the others will keep the classic VW logo.

This news comes at a time when Volkswagen is starting to commercialize the ID.4 electric crossover, the first that could seriously change the power relations in the electric vehicle market in America, Index.hr reports.

Recall, VW has announced 70 electric models by 2029, as well as sales of one million electric cars by 2025.

Published in Blog/News
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