Displaying items by tag: electric car

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
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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

Porsche made Vision Renndienst back in 2018, and due to the popularization of electric cars, many wondered if a new surprise from Porsche would follow.

The answer was given by Porsche itself for Autoblog. They stated that the company will not embark on new excursions in terms of city cars, even if they look like a concept minivan.

Vision Renndienst
According to Index.hr, Porsche's head of global design Detlev von Platen stated that he would only participate where “it is possible to define a sports vehicle.” It is a pity because this concept would be interesting to see on the road.

Let us remind you, Renndienst was designed by Porsche in 2018, and it was shown to the public for the first time at the end of last year. The driving position is central, as in the McLaren F1, but it can carry six people.

Published in Blog/News

Don't use the Internet and have nowhere to charge your car? Forget Volvo.

Okay, if you don’t use the Internet, you won’t read anything new and you won’t have anything to regret. But Volvo is really turning its business around.

From 2030, every new Volvo will be electric

 News has arrived from Sweden that Volvo Cars will be committed to becoming leaders in the fast-growing premium electric car market with a plan to become a fully electric car company by 2030.

Until then, the company will gradually phase out models with internal combustion engines, including hybrids. At Volvo, they expect that legal solutions and the expansion of charging networks will enable this transition to electric cars.

For now, Volvo will only sell its electric vehicles online.

Volvo Cars last year launched its first all-electric car, the XC40 Recharge, in markets around the world. In the coming years, Volvo Cars will introduce several additional electric models. By 2025, the goal is for 50 percent of global sales to consist of fully electric cars, and the rest will be hybrids. By 2030, every car he sells should be fully electric.

And the role of the merchant?
The fight for clients is over - there will be nothing to negotiate here. The buyer buys the car at the price shown on the website, and the seller must prepare it, elegantly hand it over and then service it. In the meantime, they may organize a test drive to help those who are not satisfied by clicking on the page. Volvo emphasizes that the dealer network will be just as important as it is today, but the role of dealers will be limited because electric cars are much simpler. We wonder what interest the owners of car dealerships will have in this approach of the manufacturer?

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After Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, GM, Ford and others, Volvo has now announced that from 2030 it will produce exclusively electric cars. That's why they accelerated a bit, so today the second electric model of the company was shown - C40 Recharge.

Moreover, the Swedish brand plans that from 2025, half of the sold Volvo cars will be powered by electricity, and the other half by hybrid drive.

This means that in just four years, they will stop selling models powered exclusively by SUS petrol or diesel engines. And whoever decides to buy a new Volvo in ten years, the only models that will be available will be electric.

Volvo is owned by the Chinese company Geely, from which it has been confirmed that the conventionally powered models will be on sale only for a while longer, all in order to meet the stricter standards on harmful gas emissions, writes CNN.

It will be a very difficult task for a company that literally has 2 electric cars as of today - the famous XC40 Recharge and the C40 Recharge introduced today.

The new coupe-SUV is based on the XC40 Recharge model, but is slightly lower than it. In addition to a more attractive design, it also has two powerful electric motors with a total power of 408 hp. The 78 kWh battery provides a range of about 420 km, and a charging time of up to 80% is 40 minutes. The new electric model will cost just over £ 50,000.

 

The head of Volvo announced that in addition to the new electric model from the 40 series, more novelties will arrive in the years ahead. As they pointed out from the Sino-Swedish company, they will work a lot on the development of the autonomous driving system.

Another interesting fact that they made public is that the new electric Volvo cars will be sold exclusively online, which already applies to the new C40 Recharge. Investing in online sales will further reduce costs, and after all, a similar strategy is being implemented by Tesla, whose models are officially sold exclusively online.

We remind you that many other car companies have recently started announcing plans for a significant acceleration towards full electrification of the market in Europe.

Among them are Daimler, Ford (which will cooperate with VW), JLR and others, while Tesla's first factory in the EU, which is being built in Berlin, will also contribute to this trend.

Also, it is expected that the production of electric cars will be cheaper compared to conventional ones, both due to the new generations of batteries and the smaller number of parts that would be transported and, therefore, the smaller number of workers needed for assembly.

Published in Blog/News
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