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BEV

Hyundai Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has certainly been quick to start the EV (electric vehicle) ball rolling. Of course, this is not the first EV to be sold in Malaysia. Mitsubishi Motors Malaysia sold the i-MiEV in 2008 and Edaran Tan Chong Motor has already sold two generations of the Nissan LEAF, while Porsche, BMW and MINI have also introduced EV models in recent years.

However, this time things are different as there is exemption of all taxes for such vehicles which was announced during the proposed Budget 2022. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs), ie fully electric and not hybrids, will be allowed to be imported and sold duty-free for a limited period and then those that start assembling them will also enjoy the duty-free incentive a bit longer. Exemption from paying roadtax has also been include in the proposed Budget 2022.

As Malaysians have long complained about taxes bumping up prices and making cars too expensive, the thought of not having to pay any tax would be exciting. Lower prices would be expected, and this was the case when the government gave the same exemption 10 years ago for hybrids and EVs.

However, the new Kona Electric is not exactly within the ‘affordable’ bracket for most people as even the cheapest of the three variants has prices (excluding insurance) starting from RM149,888. That’s for the e-Lite version and for the better equipped Kona Electric e-Plus, it will be RM169,888. A third variant is the e-Max which is priced at RM199,888.

In the UK, prices of the Kona Electric start from £27,950 which is about RM157,000 at today’s rates. Of course, those are retail prices which include applicable taxes over there. However, like many governments, the UK government also provides incentives to those who buy EVs and currently, purchasers can get a grant up to £2,500 (about RM14,000) on vehicles costing up to £35,000 to offset the cost. Additionally, EV owners can also get a grant of up to 75% (or maximum of £350) to pay for installing a charging point at their home.

The point here to note here is that EVs are not cheap at this time, so don’t expect ‘duty-free’ to bring prices down to the levels of models sold by the Malaysian brands. Wherever they are sold, EVS have high pricetags and manufacturers hope that governments will provide incentives to offset the high cost of purchase and help accelerate increase in numbers sold. The technology is still expensive but if volumes can quickly rise, then economies of scale will kick in and production costs can start to drop, with retail prices also being reduced.

Anyway, back to the Kona Electric in Malaysia which was officially launched today (but deliveries will only be in 2022). The difference in the prices of the three variants are largely related to their battery pack capacities and equipment levels. The e-LIte and e-Plus share similar lithium-ion polymer battery packs which have a capacity of 39.2 kWh whereas the e-Max at the top of the range has a battery pack with a greater 64 kWh.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

The different battery capacities have implications on range with the lower-capacity pack having a range of up to 305 kms while having more energy on board can take the e-Max up to 484 kms. Like fuel consumption, range figures depend on driving style and conditions. Faster speeds will draw more electricity faster as the motor needs more power. Regenerative braking helps to reclaim some wasted energy during braking which goes to the battery pack.

Besides range, the other thing that those planning to own an EV would want to know is the time it takes to recharge a battery pack. At this time, it is not as quick as refuelling petrol in a car though continuously advancing technology has been bringing the times down. But having to recharge will be something you need to get used to, just like recharging your phone every night.

In the case of the Kona Electric, the recharging time can take between 4.5 hours and 7.5 hours, depending on the type of charging outlet used. You can use the standard outlet at home but it will be slow (up to 31 hours) but if you have access to a high-powered DC fast-charging station, then the time to ‘refuel’ from 0% to 80% can be less than an hour. HSDM offers charging station installations for customers who have homes where a charging station can be installed.

There are differences in power output from the motors in the different variants. The e-Lite and e-Plus, with the 39.2 kWh packs, generate 136 ps/395 Nm to give a claimed 0 to 100 km/h time of 9.9 seconds and top speed of 155 km/h. Th e-Max has a more powerful motor generating 204 ps but also 395 Nm and this variant can go from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 167 km/h.

The nice thing about electric motors is that maximum torque is available from standstill so the car accelerates strongly off the line. However, deceleration characteristics are different as there is no conventional gearbox. To enhance braking, it is also possible to use the paddle on the steering wheel to slow down.

The other aspects of the Kona Electric are generally like the Kona with a petrol engine. But the Kona Electric also stands out with its EV-specific elements. The bumper, wheel and headlight designs are different and with no need for a traditional grille for cooling purposes, the front end is ‘sealed’.

The interior has a similar horizontal layout as the other versions with new ambient lighting. The instrumentation reflects the EV-nature of the vehicle, with the tachometer space occupied by a meter showing the battery charge and power levels. There’s also a gauge to let the driver know how much range is left with the energy in the battery pack.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

For the money asked, it’s only to be expected that HSDM will provide a comprehensive safety features as standard. The e-Lite has a few less systems (hence the lower prices) while the e-Plus and e-Max are similar. Hyundai’s active safety systems are packaged as the Smartsense suite which helps the driver to avoid accidents or reduce the severity when accidents (mainly collisions) do happen.

Besides a 2-year/50,000-km warranty on the vehicle, there is also a separate warranty of 8 years/160,000 kms for the battery pack. This is to give owners peace of mind as the battery packs are expensive – much more expensive than those small black ones in the engine bay of your car. HSDM also offers optional warranty extension for another RM10,000. This will extend coverage to 5 years or a maximum of 100,000 kms and they even include free service maintenance for 3 years or a maximum of 50,000 kms.

Older Hyundai models can now be covered under HSDM’s Extended Warranty programme

Roger Smith, the former General Motors Chairman and CEO from 1981 to 1990, introduced huge amounts of technology into the company in the 1980s to gain what he believed would be an advantage in vehicle production. He fantasized about a ‘factory of the future’ which would work 24 hours non-stop without needing lights as there would be no human workers. Everything would be automated so no worries about unions and strikes.

But total automation and high-tech have not proven to be the way to become an efficient and productive carmaker. In later years, after Smith had retired and GM formed a joint-venture with Toyota to operate a factory in California making cars of both brands, it would be discovered that the Japanese ‘secret weapon’ was not some advanced manufacturing equipment but something more human like training and having the right culture.

Three decades later, the new General Motors has created another high-tech factory though ‘future’ is no longer mentioned. It is actually the old Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant which received a massive US$2.2 billion investment to be fully renovated for building a new generation of battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

General Motors Factory ZERO
The signboard on the 110-year old General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck factory being taken down in September 2020 as work was underway to renovate it into Factory ZERO to build only electric vehicles.

General Motors Factory ZERO

The various meanings of ZERO
Recently opened, the factory is known as Factory ZERO and while ‘zero’ is today associated with ‘zero emissions’ from vehicles, the name also reflects the significant role the facility plays in advancing GM’s vision of a world with zero crashes and zero congestion. It will make models such as the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and HUMMER EV SUV, Chevrolet Silverado EV and Cruise Origin, an all-electric, self-driving, shared vehicle.

All Factory ZERO EVs will be built on GM’s Ultium Platform which is the core technology for the company’s EV product strategy. The Ultium Platform encompasses a common vehicle architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, drive units, EV motors and integrated power electronics, and is fundamental at plants where EVs are produced.

GM’s Ultium platform which will be used for the EV models of its different brands.
The GMC HUMMER EV SUV is one of the models to be built at Factory ZERO and will go on sale in 2023.

Through the Ultium Platform, GM can realize a strategic value chain shift across its network of vehicle assembly plants as the company is able to commonize and streamline machinery, tooling and assembly processes. This gives the company flexibility which huge corporations sometimes lose, and enables lower capital investments and greater efficiencies as additional assembly plant transformations occur.

GM’s competitive advantage
GM retooled Factory ZERO for BEV production for two-thirds the capital required to build a greenfield (brand new) plant, making the facility a model for future GM facility renovations. Some of the approaches taken during construction include reuse or recycling of almost every material that came out of the old facility during conversion. This included crushed concrete from the floor, which was repurposed for temporary roads around the facility. Storm water will be recycled and of course, solar power will contribute to the electrical needs.

General Motors Factory ZERO

As the company continues its transition into an all-electric future, GM will avoid up to US$15 billion in capital costs by 2030 through the renovation of existing manufacturing facilities versus ground-up construction. The figure grows to US$20 billion to US$30 billion at 100% transition of all manufacturing facilities to support EV production. That capital can be redeployed more strategically for additional customer-facing products, services and technologies.

“To meet our ambitious EV transition, GM’s North American EV vehicle assembly capacity will reach 20% by 2025, and then 50% by 2030,” said Gerald Johnson, GM’s Executive Vice-President of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability.

Shortened launch time
Using virtual tools and working in parallel with production engineering teams, GM cut the manufacturing launch time in half – from two years to less than one – also gaining a competitive advantage. By comparison, a brand new factory, with planning and construction, could take up to 4 years from site selection to vehicle production.

General Motors Factory ZERO

Along with the capital advantages, GM’s commitment to renovating its existing network of manufacturing facilities during the EV transition also saves time. An accelerated launch and production start allow the company to get new-generation EVs to customers sooner. The first vehicles from Factory ZERO will be delivered to customers by the end of this year.

GM estimates that 80% of the assembly process for an EV is the same as that for conventional vehicles. This is another driver of speed for GM. The company has refined and perfected its own standardized manufacturing processes over many decades, and will launch its expanding portfolio of BEVs faster, with superior quality and a lower cost.

People still matter in manufacturing
Roger Smith imagined a factory with robots and almost no human workers but Factory ZERO, when fully operational, will employ more than 2,200 people. “Our people are GM’s true competitive advantage — an advantage you simply can’t buy or quickly build,” said Johnson, echoing what Japanese carmakers have often said.

As a BEV factory, Factory ZERO plays a direct role in GM’s commitment to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and become carbon-neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. The company has already made a commitment to invest US$35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles, with plans to introduce more than 30 BEV models by 2025.

General Motors Factory ZERO
Factory ZERO was officially opened by US President, Joseph Biden, recently.

GM looking forward to all-electric future with Ultium batteries

Henry Ford may have forced the colour black on all his Model T customers but even he knew that there was a need to offer different bodystyles to suit different tastes and purposes. The auto industry has continued to provide customers with a wide variety of shapes and sizes for cars, with designs evolving over different periods.

So it’s not surprising that Porsche’s all-electric Taycan family is growing with additional bodystyles. The original model was joined earlier by the Taycan Cross Turismo, and now comes a third body variant in the form of the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

“The Taycan model range has grown steadily since its world premiere in 2019. Three body variants with up to 5 engine options offer something for everyone,” said Kevin Giek, Vice-President Model Line Taycan. “I am particularly pleased that we now also have a Taycan with the legendary GTS moniker. It is positioned above the Taycan 4S and below the Taycan Turbo derivatives, so it represents a real sweet spot in the range.”

The new Taycan GTS and Taycan Cross Turismo (right).

The newcomer has a similar front end as the Taycan, but the rear half of the body and the silhouette with rearward-sloping roof line are similar to the Taycan Cross Turismo. There are numerous black or dark details on the exterior, such as the front apron, the bases of the exterior mirrors, black alloy wheels, and the side window trims – as is traditional on a GTS. However, the Taycan Sport Turismo does not have off-road design elements.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

The electric powertrain generates up to 440 kW (598 ps) which goes to all four wheels. With Launch Control, this can send car from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 3.7 seconds, and reach a top speed of 250 km/h. A fully charged 93.4 kWh battery pack is said to be able to provide a range of up to 625 kms in town, with a combined range of up to 504 kms. It is the first Taycan to break the 500-km mark, thanks to a new more efficient drive strategy. The richer sound pattern of the modified Porsche Electric Sport Sound also underscores the character of the new model.

The adaptive air suspension, including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), is specifically adapted to the GTS, to the benefit of the lateral dynamics. A sportier set-up is available for the optional rear-axle steering.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

The new variant is aimed at those who want a similar level of everyday practicality as offered by the Taycan Cross Turismo, but who also want the on-road performance of the Taycan sports saloon. The headroom in the rear is more than 45 mm greater than that in the Taycan, while the cargo capacity under the large tailgate is more than 1,200 litres.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Numerous Black Race-Tex features in the interior underscore the elegant, dynamic ambience, as does the standard brushed aluminium interior package with Black anodised finish.

The first deliveries start in early 2022, with Taycan GTS Sport Turismo prices starting from 132,786 euros in Germany.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

Track-only Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport to debut at LA Auto Show

 

The Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) has many new models in the pipeline, virtually all electrified either as battery electric (BEV) or hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). It seems that HMG – which consists of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis – can’t wait to show the world what’s coming and throughout this year, we’ve seen production models being launched as well as concept cars that preview what’s to come.

The Hyundai SEVEN is one of those that will be coming and is described as the brand’s future sport utility electric vehicle (SUEV). It is likely to be a product in the IONIQ EV sub-brand and ‘SEVEN’ suggests that it would be somewhere at the top of the range, the same way the Kia Concept 9 is likely to be a flagship model.

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

Next-generation customer experience
HMG has developed the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) that will be used by all three brands and is optimised for EVs. This includes the SEVEN which has interior architecture to provide greater freedom and comfort for passengers. Following the 45 concept in 2019 and the Prophecy concept in 2020, the SEVEN concept opens a new chapter for the IONIQ brand. It promises a next-generation customer experience with the most advanced technologies within a vehicle that is designed as an innovative living space on wheels.

“The SEVEN concept demonstrates Hyundai’s creative vision and advanced technological development for our electrified mobility future,” said Jose Munoz, President & CEO, Hyundai Motor North America. “Its innovative interior space, eco-friendly powertrain and cutting-edge safety and convenience technologies reveal an exciting future for Hyundai SUV customers.”

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

Aerodynamically redefining the SUV
The SEVEN concept makes full use of the flexible E-GMP to have a long wheelbase and flat floor beneath its an aerodynamically pure silhouette. The low, leading edge of the bonnet, a single, streamlined roofline and elongated wheelbase communicate a clear break from traditional SUVs powered by internal combustion engines. The pure volume of SEVEN’s minimal forms contrast with the powerful stance and commanding, rugged presence.

Aerodynamic efficiency and minimum wind resistance are vital for BEVs to go further, and the SEVEN is claimed to have a 480-km range. Thus every area on the bodywork is carefully shaped to allow air to flow smoothly. Even the wheels have integrated Active Air Flaps, which deploy or retract depending on brake-cooling or low-drag requirements.

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

At night, the SEVEN is easily identified by IONIQ’s signature Parametric Pixel lights that deliver a Welcome Light Sequence on start-up. Parametric Pixels provide a common design thread, linking digital and analog styles, a reminder that its designers considered every aspect of SEVEN’s design, down to a single pixel.

Welcoming premium lounge
The concept SUEV’s interior design priority lies in the innovation of space and makes full use of the 3.2-metre wheelbase. With the flat floor, the designers have explored an alternative to the traditional row-based seat arrangements, creating a more fluid interior layout. The Pillarless Coach Doors offer a grand entrance to reveal a welcoming interior with a completely new dimension of space. The streamlined roofline, long wheelbase and flat floor that extends to the third row opens new opportunities to furnish the interior like a premium lounge.

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

The SEVEN also embodies Hyundai’s future vision of autonomous mobility. The driver’s seat features a retractable control stick that hides away when not in use. Without the need for the usual driver’s equipment, the ultra slim cockpit and integrated screens create a lounge-like experience. The seat arrangement is unlike traditional SUVs, with swivelling lounge chairs and a curved bench seat. This seat arrangement can be customized depending on driver-controlled or autonomous driving modes.

Highlights of the vehicle are the Universal Island console, specially designed home appliances and a multi-functional Smart Hub graphic user interface. When the Smart Hub and front seats combine with the rear chaise-lounge seating, the SEVEN has an environment where the occupants can experience quality time alone or together in the glow of side-door ambient light. In transit, SEVEN’s built-in mini fridge provides chilled refreshment on the go and there are even shoe-care compartments to refresh passengers’ footwear.

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

The vision roof features a panoramic screen that not only displays various content based on passengers’ tastes, but also changes the overall interior atmosphere to guarantee maximum relaxation and pleasure during the journey.

Eco-friendly materials
The SEVEN uses various eco-friendly materials while offering segment-leading hygienic features, such as Hygiene Airflow System and UVC Sterilization. The Hygiene Airflow System takes inspiration from the sophisticated airflow management of passenger aircraft. In its vertical mode, air is taken in through built-in air intakes in the roof rails from which the air travels inwards from above, and extracted through the exterior vent behind the rear wheels. In its horizontal mode, the air flows from the slim dashboard to the rear vents.

Most importantly, this system can activate independently whether the vehicle is in motion or not to reduce cross-contamination among passengers and isolates the airflow between front and rear occupants.

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

Bio-paint is used for the exterior and hygienically-recycled and renewable materials throughout the interior. Mineral plaster, bamboo wood and carpet, bio resin and interior paint are based on renewable sources that can reduce pollution from the production process. Extensive use of copper and hygienically treated fabric with proven antibacterial functions ensure all surfaces inside the SEVEN remain clean at all times.

UV-C Sterilization activates once the vehicle is vacated of its passengers. The control stick, first-row storage drawer and speakers pop up and then, integrated sanitizing UV-C lights help clean the living space of bacteria and viruses. In addition, there are sanitizing storage compartments in the bench and Smart Hub console for personal belongings.

“SEVEN paves the way forward for what an SUV needs to become in the EV era with a unique aerodynamic pure form that does not compromise on its rugged personality. The interior opens up a new dimension of space that cares for its passenger as a family living space,” said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice-President, Head of Hyundai Global Design.

2021 Hyundai Motor SEVEN concept SUEV

IONIQ – from model name to brand name

During this decade, Kia will be electrifying its whole line-up as it aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the company’s value chain by 2045. Its popular SUV range is already partially electrified with some models having hybrid powertrains, and in due course, fully electric powertrains will be used.

Today, the Telluride is the biggest SUV that the Korean carmaker offers and the fully electric successor could look like the Concept EV9 which is on display at the Automobility LA motorshow in Los Angeles this weekend. The Concept EV9 follows the EV6 in Kia’s BEV (battery electric vehicle) range that will continue to grow with one new model each year.

2021 Kia Concept EV9
The Concept EV9 has similar proportions to the Telluride (below) which is Kia’s 3-row flagship SUV currently on sale. Could the Concept EV9 be the successor?

Platform optimised for EVs
Like the EV6, the Concept EV9 uses the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) which is developed and optimised for BEVs. This means that the advantages of an electric powertrain can be fully utilised, compared to other platforms which have been designed for conventional combustion engine powertrains as well.

The design of the vehicle was inspired by nature with striking visual aesthetics derived from Kia’s ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy. The design team was especially influenced by the ‘Bold for Nature’ pillar of ‘Opposites United’, hence the bold form meshing logical and emotional qualities with informal, rugged features and styling cues.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

Tiger Face goes digital
The ‘Tiger Face’ has been used in every Kia model since 2007 and has constantly evolved. This iconic feature will continue into the BEV era and is reinterpreted appropriately on the Concept EV9. With no need for a traditional grille to let air flow in, the space houses an intricate star cloud pattern display that is completely hidden behind the body when not in use. Sequential patterns create a ‘welcome light’ for the driver and also function to appropriately position lights during driving.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

2021 Kia Concept EV9

The opportunities afforded with a re-styled grille and the Digital Tiger Face have resulted in a new air vent design that reduces the frontal mass of the vehicle and greatly improves aerodynamics.

Measuring 4930 mm in length, 2055 mm in width and 1790 mm height, the proportions of the vehicle outline a 3-row SUV interior. Mirroring the exterior design, the interior of the Concept EV9 offers the driver and passengers a transformative interior space. It is a comparable to a first-class lounge with a panoramic roof complementing the large glazing to give a sense of lightness and being in contact with the environment.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

Three interior modes
With a spacious 3.1-metre long wheelbase, the interior can be configured in 3 modes that capture different journey situations and requirements. Active Mode is when the Concept EV9 is on the move, making sure the driver and passengers have an optimal driving experience from within the all-electric SUV. The two other modes relate to when the Concept EV9 is not moving.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

Pause Mode modifies the interior space to be more akin to a first-class lounge, giving occupants the opportunity to directly interact with each other while benefiting from the light streaming in from above. In this mode, the seats switch around to enable occupants seated in the first row and third row to face each other. The second-row seats fold down and become a table, completing the lounge arrangement.

The second stationary mode is Enjoy Mode, which opens the interior into a downtime breakout space by turning around the 3-row seat configuration. In this mode, the tailgate opens, giving all occupants the opportunity to connect with the outside environment and gaze ahead and beyond the vehicle while sitting comfortable inside.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

A sense of ‘tomorrow’ can be seen in the steering wheel. The automotive industry today treats the steering wheel like a separate product, like a total standalone subsystem. In the  the Concept EV9, however, this element takes a radically different approach in which the pop-up steering pad is an extension of – and integrated and harmonized within – the interior space.

An interactive 27-inch ultra-wide display connects the Concept EV9 from the real-world to the virtual one, while serving as the nerve centre for all driver and passenger requirements, including media, climate control and comfort functionality features.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

480-km range
Details of the powertrain are not extensive and Kia says that it has a range of up to 480 kms. It is fitted with next-generation ultra-fast charging technology that uses a 350-kW charger for ‘refuelling’ the battery pack from 10% to 80% in 20 – 30 minutes.

The bonnet vent duct area is utilized as a solar panel that helps recuperate some of the electric energy for the vehicle. This gives owners an alternative source of energy when they are not close to a charging station.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

Bermaz Auto takes over Kia business in Malaysia, with local assembly to commence in 2022.

Volkswagen aims to launch at least one electric vehicle (EV) every year to meet various goals of increased sales of such vehicles. By 2030, at least 70% of Volkswagen’s sales in Europe are expected to come from electric-only vehicles. In North America and China, the goal is that electric vehicles will account for at least 50% of sales. The actions taken by the carmaker are expected to decrease CO2 emissions per vehicle by up to 40% as soon as 2030.

With the ID. family, Volkswagen has been advancing its electric offensive in all vehicle classes in the framework of its ACCELERATE strategy. This is a brand new family of fully-electric models (also referred to as Battery Electric Vehicles or BEVs) which began with the launch of the ID.3 and ID.4 since 2019. The range will progressively expand and all models will use the VW Group’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) which is a platform designed specifically for EVs.

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

ID.3 and ID.4 – the first two members of Volkswagen’s fully-electric ID family

The next model will be the new ID.5 which will bring the brand into a new market segment. This member of the ID. family is an e-SUV coupe and will go on sale in 2022. The 4599 mm long vehicle will be offered with three engine options and also come with a new ID. software version for better performance and functionality.

The new e-SUV coupe has light strips on the front and rear styled with visual signatures of the ID. family. Of note are the IQ.Light LED matrix headlights with intelligent high beams and 3D LED rear lights as standard to give an even more dynamic appearance (ID.5 GTX version). Many features – including the striking bumper, painted door panelling and new roof line – set the e-SUV coupe apart from the ID.4, e-SUV which was picked as the 2021 World Car of the Year.

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

The Vehicle Dynamics Manager networks the drive and chassis control systems, while an optional adaptive DCC chassis can provide optimal driving dynamics. Volkswagen claims that the driver will experience an entirely new level of sporty driving pleasure, traction and driving safety.

Despite its coupe-type shape, the ID.5 has just 12 mm less headroom in the back than the ID.4. The long 2766 mm wheelbase facilitates interior spatial conditions comparable to those of SUVs in higher vehicle classes.

The ID.5 will be powered by an electric motor in the rear and for the sportier GTX version with all-wheel drive, there will be another motor powering the front wheels. All versions have a large-capacity, long-range battery pack. Using a standard Mode 3 cable, recharging with up to 11 kW of alternating current (AC) is possible and charging performance can reach up to 135 kW to be compatible with fast-charge stations. While range is important to EV owners, so is charging time and the new software 3.0 improves charging performance.

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

The driving performance is enhanced by a low drag coefficient of 0.26 (0.27 in the ID.5 GTX) which also boosts the vehicle’s range. This capability is further extended by the integrated spoiler in the wide-opening, aerodynamically shaped tailgate. Electric cooling air vents in the front of the vehicle open only when necessary, so as to keep wind resistance low as much as possible.

The new software generation allows for over-the-air (OTA) updates and activation of additional functions, so that the ID.5 can stay up-to-date and perform optimally for a long time. Innovative assistance systems such as Travel Assist with swarm data and latest-generation driver assistance systems help further advance towards automated driving. Park Assist Plus with memory function will take care of personalised parking processes on request.

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

The digital cockpit offers a new operating concept with a high-resolution multimedia system delivering brilliant visuals. An innovative augmented reality head-up display within the driver’s field of vision presents additional information. The new software 3.0 features various improvements including natural voice control (Hallo ID) and is learning-enabled. It can also go online to access information from the Cloud. Where the services are available, We Connect provides the driver with real-time online traffic information, online map updates, information about charging stations, web radio, etc.

With Car2X communication, data from compatible vehicles in the Volkswagen fleet and signals from infrastructure within a radius of up to 800 metres can be locally interpreted in a fraction of a second. This means the driver can receive alerts about dangerous areas, accidents and stationary traffic.

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

Now that the Malaysian government is allowing importation of BEVs with no tax imposed, many people are excited at the prospect of seeing a whole new range of cars in showrooms. Perhaps Volkswagen’s ID. models might come but the exemption is a short-term thing and companies like Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia would be looking at the investment they will need to make in order to sell BEVs.

As the official marketing company for the brand, they are obliged to ensure full aftersales support for whatever they sell. Unless there are long-term plans to assemble locally – which has a slightly longer tax-exemption period – the volumes they may be able to sell may not justify the investment they need to make. In any case, Volkswagen would be occupied with meeting demand in the major markets of Europe, North America and China so the incremental volumes possible in the Malaysian market may not be of significance.

2022 Volkswagen ID.5 EV

Lower-priced Volkswagen ID.LIFE to help increase adoption of EVs

The Renault 4 was unveiled right at the start of the 1960s, a time when people in France were beginning to leave their country lives behind them and move closer to urban areas. However, public transport links left much to be desired, particularly on the outskirts of towns and cities. People began to feel the need for a car suitable for rural and urban areas alike, a car they could drive to the shops or to work. It was also a time when increasing numbers of women were in employment and households’ purchasing power began to expand.

Against that backdrop, the car that would soon come to be known as the ‘4L’ provided a 24/7 solution for both urban and rural living – all thanks to the humble hatch at the back. The fifth door – which is in cars we call ‘hatchbacks‘ – meant that the new Renault 4 quickly became a ‘social phenomenon’.

The Renault 4L launched in 1961 and (below), a 21st century version of the car that started the hatchback bodystyle.

Renault SUITE N°4 concept 2021

The man behind the project, Pierre Dreyfus, CEO of Renault from 1955 to 1975, explained to his teams that he wanted to see ‘a high loading volume’ for a ‘blue jean’ car – meaning a car that would suit people of all ages and social classes around the world. Over 8 million units would be sold in more than 100 countries during a period spanning more than 30 years, so it is safe to say his wish was granted.

“The hatch on the 4L gave rise to a new car model and a new car feature,” said Hugues Portron, Managing Director of Renault Classic. “This wonderful invention resulted in a vehicle that was a saloon car, an estate car and a utility car in one. Hatchbacks revolutionised the automotive industry by offering greater interior modularity.”

Renault SUITE N°4 concept 2021

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Renault 4, the French brand decided to reinvent the model to show what it would be like as a 21st century product. The company teamed up with designer Mathieu Lehanneur to create the SUITE N°4, an original concept car inspired by a nomad hotel suite.

“The collaboration with Lehanneur was a natural fit,” said Arnaud Belloni, Renault Brand Global Marketing Director. “We asked him to come up with a concept car showcasing his vision for the 4L. The finished product is extraordinary. A car which really encapsulates everything the brand has set out to achieve through the Renaulution strategic plan: create modern and innovative cars that provoke emotions.”

Renault SUITE N°4 concept 2021

Lehanneur’s vision was fuelled by the parallel worlds of automobile and architecture. SUITE N°4 is a tribute to the 4L, channelling the same pure, understated and simple spirit while prioritising efficiency and spontaneity. On top, this concept car projects the model into the designer’s contemporary aspirations.

SUITE N°4 suggests a new mobility and travel experience. “I wanted to merge the worlds of cars and architecture to create an open-air hotel room. Even better than the finest palatial suite, the car is exactly where you want it to be, whether that’s by the sea, in the middle of a field or driving around the city you’ve always dreamed of,” Lehanneur explained.

Renault SUITE N°4 concept 2021

The concept car maintains the same exterior dimensions (about 3.65 metres long, 1.5 metres wide) and lines as the iconic model but comes with a radical twist. The rear section and the hatch have been replaced with polycarbonate windows that provide transparency and lighting on a par with that of architectural glass. The transparent solar panels on the roof let light through while helping to charge the battery of the car as it is fully electric and emission-free.

Renault SUITE N°4 concept 2021

The front of the car sports the same iconic lights, lines and silhouette as the original. The front grille in polished aluminium is both the designer’s signature and an ode to evasion. It creates waves and gives the car an effect of fluidity, dynamism and movement. The architectural inspiration can also be found on the body of the car, which is coated with three layers of paint that give it the mineral aspect of cement.

Inside, Lehanneur decided to let in the ambience and materials typical of residences, and combine the automobile technical requirements and the sophistication of the French art de vivre. The seats and the dashboard are upholstered with an energetic yellow velvet. In contrast, the space on the back is finished with a thick, ribbed chenille fabric and accessorised with two laps, for a robust look.

Renault SUITE N°4 concept 2021

Bolsters and pillows complete the boot, transformed in a moving room. The experience is finalised by a wooden bench which slides like a drawer and can be extracted to provide sheltered seating when the hatch is open. Like for the original 4L, all of the materials are ‘Made in France’ and supplied by Paris-based artisans.

The 4L’s anniversary is to be a year-long celebration with different initiatives. These include a global social media campaign, posting a variety of content each month. International media have had the opportunity to take a ride in different historic Renault 4L models, some of which have been retrofitted with an electric powertrain. A collection of 30 different editions of the iconic French model is also on display at the Atelier Renault in Paris.

2021 Renault 5 Prototype

The Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) has three brands – Hyundai, Kia and Genesis – and between the three, there’s been a non-stop flow of new models and concepts. While the companies present themselves differently and probably operate differently, they also share a lot of hardware and their combined volume obviously gives HMG an edge where costs are concerned, not to mention sharing of R&D resources.

Moving forward, it’s all about electric vehicles (EVs) these days and the brands have a number of models in the pipeline between now and the end of the decade. Some of them have gone on sale, and more will be in showrooms next year and the years to follow.

The Electric Global Modular Platform (e-GMP) developed as a dedicated platform for BEVs which will be used for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis models.

In total, Kia has revealed that there will be no less than 10 new full EV (also known as Battery Electric Vehicles or BEVs) models. It’s not the first time Kia is introducing EVs as it has had electrically-powered variants of models like the Niro and Soul. These, however, have been initially developed as conventional models with combustion engines or hybrid powertrains. So the full advantages of a BEV have not been gained and Kia, like other manufacturers, now has a new BEV range that has been originally developed and engineered only for fully electric powertrains.

Dedicated EV platform for all HMG brands
The group’s Electric Global Modular Platform (e-GMP) is a core element in HMG’s electrification plans. Being modular, it can be used for a variety of model types and the wheelbase can be extended beyond 3 metres. It is engineered to accommodate 2WD and AWD drivetrains. At this time, the range on a full charge is 500+ kms but battery technology is constantly advancing, so that will improve in coming years.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

The e-GMP was used for the first time in the new Hyundai IONIQ 5 (a different model from the original Ioniq) launched early this year. Next was the Kia EV6 which was officially launched in August and perhaps in 2022, the EV9 will also use the platform. As the end digit suggests, this future model would be positioned higher up in the range and almost certainly the flagship.

We’ll find out full details and see the full model soon at the global debut of the Concept EV9 in Los Angeles next week. For now, the first official visuals of the concept SUV show another distinctive design with the brand’s EV design language.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

Large SUV with ‘smart lounge’
The profile is fairly SUV-like and rather upright, bringing to mind the Telluride (a large SUV mode). The renderings also illustrate a highly conceptual cabin that suggest a light, flexible and adaptive interior space for the occupants on three rows. With a lot of state-of-the-art tech, it is conceived as a ‘smart lounge’ where people won’t just be seated but also entertained and connected.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

It’s hard to tell if the futuristic forms in the renderings will be what is also used in the production model. The dashboard has an ultra-wide display and the steering wheel seems to be shaped in a very impractical way. Kia says it is ‘a radical new take on the traditional steering wheel’.

Aiming for 6.6% of global EV market
The EV6 and future EV9 will help Kia achieve its target of 6.6% of the global EV market share and 25% in the eco-friendly car segment. This will mean selling 500,000 EVs annually, which its ‘Plan S’ strategy has set 2026 as the target year.

2021 Kia Concept EV9

2021 Kia EV6
EV6 is the first Kia model to use the e-GMP and this model is positioned about midway in the EV range that will have models from EV1 to EV9.

Kia aims to achieve leadership position in EVs

It’s no secret that the new Subaru Solterra unveiled today is essentially the same as the Toyota bZ4X that had its global debut earlier. It’s the same thing as the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ, which the two companies developed jointly and which is probably necessary because of the volumes. With this new battery electric vehicle (BEV), both companies are entering a new era of high-volume pure electric vehicles that will likely become mainstream by the end of the decade and certainly in the next decade.

Being a joint project, the key structural elements are shared so the Solterra would use the e-TNGA architecture of the bZ4X. TNGA stands for Toyota New Global Architecture and is used for virtually all its latest models. How much involvement Subaru had in the e-TNGA, which is a BEV-dedicated platform, is unknown and just to differentiate its product, it calls the platform the e-Subaru Global Platform.

2022 Subaru Solterra EV

Toyota’s version of the BEV which is known as the bZ4X.

Slightly different styling
Like the Toyota model, the Solterra has sharp lines and futuristic styling. Its look certainly makes a statement that it is a different sort of vehicle (which, being a BEV, it is). The SUV profile is the same as the Toyota but as is the usual case in shared models, things like the lights and front end have different styling, along with the wheels.

In the case of the Solterra, the front end has a hexagonal shape where the grille would be. There is no grille, since there is no radiator to be cooled, so it is just a flat panel. But the styling is rather messy, like loose jigsaw puzzle pieces and the intake vent along the lower section does not help make things any better.

2022 Subaru Solterra EV

2022 Subaru Solterra EV

The headlights are more expressive with distinctive DRLs around 4 LED cubes. The rear lights also differ from the Toyota’s a bit but there is a similar light strip that runs the width of the body.

One of the areas that would certainly be identical is the powertrain with high capacity 71.4 kWh battery packs placed under the floor. Being part of the structure, the battery pack positioning helps in body rigidity as well as lowers the centre of gravity which helps stability and driving dynamics.

FWD and AWD
There will be front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions, the latter providing AWD by having a second motor at the rear axle. Total system output is 160 kW with two motors, and 150 kW with a single motor.  Factory tests have achieved ranges of around 530 kms and 460 kms for the FWD and AWD versions, respectively. Subaru doesn’t mention recharging time but for the Toyota model, an 80% charge is said to be possible within 30 minutes with a DC fast charging outlet.

The e-Subaru Global Platform for BEVs.

Subaru has had long expertise in AWD, having been a pioneer among Japanese carmakers, so its long experience and knowledge would probably have been drawn upon for developing the drivetrain. Like the other SUV models, the Solterra has an X-MODE AWD control system that enhances the sense of security on rough roads. By adding the new Grip Control function, which enables the vehicle to run at a constant speed while stabilizing the vehicle even on rough roads, the capability is further enhanced.

Identical cabin layout
Inside the SUV, if you remove any brand identification, it would be hard to tell whose model it is. However, Subaru has not shown that it will offer the unusual yoke-like steering wheel that the Toyota has (initially for China) and provides a conventional circular one.

It is hard to have different designs for dashboards since the platform fixes many elements like vents and aperture sizes for various displays. To be very different will mean extra cost as the order to the supplier will be smaller so it is practical from the cost point of view to just have common parts and differentiate with colour and trim.

2022 Subaru Solterra EV

2022 Subaru Solterra EV

The whole dashboard is set low while the instrument panel is positioned high ahead of the steering wheel. The higher position of the panel allows the driver to view the meters while also keeping eyes on the road ahead. Over at the centre is a large tablet-like panel which shows other information and route guidance.

Subaru plans to begin selling the Solterra from the middle of 2022, which is also the same time that Toyota will start sales of its bZ4X. While the Toyota GR86 is made at Subaru’s factory alongside the BRZ, the Solterra will probably be made at a Toyota factory in Japan and perhaps also in China. Initial markets will be Japan, China, North America and Europe. Now that the Malaysian government is willing to allow duty-free import and sale of BEVs, perhaps Motor Image will be considering offering the model. However, it would also have to consider the potential volume since, as an official distributor, it will have to invest in providing full aftersales support.

2022 Subaru Solterra EV

Toyota reveals details of production bZ4X EV to be launched in mid-2022 (w/VIDEO)

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has been quick to respond to the exemption of all import and excise duties for electric vehicles (EVs) announced just last Friday by the government for the proposed 2022 Budget. The exemption will certainly make fully electric vehicles more affordable, hopefully spurring interest among Malaysians to switch to them.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV
The Kona Electric has a different front end from the version with a combustion engine (below) as there is no need for the traditional grille since there is no radiator to cool.

More attractive pricing without taxes
Later this month, HSDM will begin selling the Hyundai Kona Electric, the fully electric version of the Kona SUV already sold in Malaysia since April this year. With the exemptions (normally a privilege given to royalty and diplomats), the model is expected to cost less than RM150,000 in standard form. This compares favourably with the version using a 2-litre Smartstream petrol engine that are priced at RM119,888 and RM136,888 (without insurance and 50% exemption on sales tax).

Customers will have a choice of two lithium-ion battery packs (at different prices, of course). The more powerful one will have storage capacity of 64 kWh for longer range while the alternative pack  will have 39.2 kWh. With a fully charged pack, range claims are 484 kms and 305 kms, respectively, although this would depend on driving style and conditions, just like with combustion engines.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

47 minutes recharging time

What would be of more importance to owners would be recharging time, something which will have to be a daily practice – just like charging your phone overnight. Hyundai claims that it should take around 47 minutes to recharge from 10% to 80% using a 100kW direct current (DC) fast charger.

The Kona Electric also has an optional 11-kW 3-phase on-board charger. This allows for significantly shorter charging times using public 3-phase AC charging stations or with a private compatible wall box at home. Drivers also have the option of charging their car at a compatible regular household power socket using the ICCB-cable (in-cable control box).

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

Things to consider buying an EV
Owning an EV will have to be carefully considered by those interested in having such vehicles. While you will certainly save on fuel costs and help save the planet, your personal circumstances will be a factor. If you live in a condo complex or apartments, you may not have a place to recharge your vehicle if the property owner does not provide convenient power points. Then you will have to rely on public recharging stations which, at this time, are not exactly plentiful. The situation will change in coming years, but it cannot be predicted how fast the private sector will develop the recharging network.

Visually, the Kona Electric resembles the other versions but has its own bumper, wheel and headlight designs. The front end is also more ‘sealed’ since the traditional grille is not needed for cooling purposes.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

The interior has a similar horizontal layout as the other versions with new ambient lighting. The instrumentation reflects the EV-nature of the vehicle, with the tachometer space occupied by a meter showing the battery charge and power levels. There’s also a gauge to let the driver know how much range is left with the energy in the battery pack.

Performance-wise, the electric motor of the Kona Electric can generate 150 kW (equivalent to 204 ps) of power and 395 Nm of torque. You don’t get the sub-5 second times that you often read about with EVs, but it can go from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed 7.9 seconds. The strong point about EVs is that all the torque is available from standstill so acceleration is exceptionally quick.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric EV

The Kona Electric is one of the early models in the growing range of EVs by Hyundai. The Korean carmaker plans to introduce 12 new fully electric models by 2025 and reach a sales volume of 560,000 EVs annually. Its entire line-up will be electrified globally by 2040, by which time it expects to capture 8% to 10% of the global EV market.

Hyundai Kona Electric gets listed in Guinness World Records for altitude achievement

Vaccination does not make you immune to COVID-19 infection. You can still get infected and although you may not show symptoms, you could spread the coronavirus to others. Do not stop taking protective measures such as wearing a facemask, washing hands frequently and social distancing.

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