It was just a year ago that Sime Darby Auto Performance (SDAP) introduced Porsche’s first all-electric sportscar, the Taycan, and now comes a variant, the Taycan Cross Turismo. As the ‘cross’ in the name suggests, this is a SUV although Porsche calls it a Cross Utility Vehicle (CUV).

SDAP is importing three variants with the following prices (without insurance):
Taycan 4 Cross Turismo – from RM645,209
Taycan 4S Cross Turismo – from RM728,727
Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo – from RM968,928

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV

Design elements for the off-road image
With ‘utility’ in its function, the Taycan Cross Turismo has design elements that emphasise an off-road image. These include wheelarch trim, unique front and rear lower aprons, and side sills. Customers can also add the optional Off-road Design package which comes with special flaps at the corners of the front and rear bumpers and at the ends of the sills. These not only enhance the appearance but also help to give added protection from stone impacts.

Like the Taycan, the Taycan Cross Turismo rides on a high-tech chassis and all variants have all-wheel drive (AWD) as well as adaptive air suspension. Its off-road capability is enabled by higher ground clearance compared to the Taycan. With the Off-road Design package, ground clearance is increased by up to 30 mm.

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV

Extra mode for off-road use
When driving over loose ground – with no emissions to spoil the environment – the driver can activate the new ‘Gravel’ mode exclusive to the Cross Turismo. This new feature manages torque distribution through traction-optimised shifting and other chassis settings, increasing grip and stability on surfaces with poor quality.

Inside, there’s 47 mm more headroom for rear passengers and more than 1,200 litres of load capacity (with rear seatbacks folded down). The large, automatically-opening tailgate makes loading and unloading easy.

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV

Different output levels for each variant
All variants have the Performance Battery Plus, which has a total capacity of 93.4 kWh, but the output varies depending on the variant. The Taycan 4 Cross Turismo’s powertrain generates 280 kW (380 ps), with overboost power for Launch Control pushing it to 350 kW (476 ps). The Taycan 4S Cross Turismo has 360 kW (490 ps), with overboost power with Launch Control of 420 kW (571 ps), while the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo produces 460 kW (625 ps), and overboost power with Launch Control of 500 kW (680 ps).

The first shipment is already in Malaysia and those who are interested can contact SDAP to arrange an appointment to view the car by clicking here.

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo EV

Porsche Taycan Driven by Karamjit Singh – Behind The Scenes Story

Those who know the name ‘Piech’ will know it is well known in automotive history as it is the family name of the great grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. Ferdinand Piech was a brilliant engineer who became CEO of the Volkswagen Group in the 1990s and it would only be expected that other family members would have an equally deep passion for cars.

One of them is Anton Piech, his son, who started a small car company in Switzerland known as Piech Automotive AG In 2016. His partner was Rea Stark Rajcic, ad industrial designer, and the company based in Zurich focussed on electric vehicles and EV technology.

2024 Piech GT

By 2019, the company had developed a flexible vehicle architecture and on this went a sleek sportscar body. It was called the GT Mark Zero and made its first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show that year. Naturally, the Piech name associated brought extra attention to the concept car as Ferdinand Piech and his great grandfather had come out with advanced and innovative cars in their time.

Piech Automotive had plans to develop the GT Mark Zero into a production model that could go on sale within a few years. But as with projects all over the world that started in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 would cause delays but the production electric sportscar will be available by 2024.

2024 Piech GT

At the time of its debut, Piech provided basic specifications which showed that the car would have a fully electric drive with a 450 kW (603 hp) output. This would enable a claimed acceleration time of 0 to 100 km/h in less than 3 seconds, while the target range was said to be 500 kms.

The battery and battery cell technology has received further innovation with a technical partner in China with a solution that enables a full charge in less than 5 minutes. This requires a fast charger specially developed by TGOOD, a company founded in 2004 by a team of German and Chinese engineers that specialises in EV charging equipment.

With more conventional charging stations, the battery pack can be charged to 80% capacity in 8 minutes, it is claimed. The battery pack has compact and robust pouch cells with low heat generation, which is why air cooling is sufficient for thermal management of the battery. The lack of liquid cooling – common in high-performance electric vehicles –  keeps the total weight to 1,800 kgs.

2024 Piech GT

Recently, the electric sportscar – which now has the name of Piech GT – has started its trial phase on test tracks. According to Rea Stark Rajcic, the co-founder of the company, it will have typical sportscar handling which was already clearly defined the positioning from the very beginning. “The new Piech GT should convincingly transport the DNA of a classic sports car into the electric age,” he said.

Latest details revealed show that the powertrain consists of one synchronous electric motor at the front axle which produces 150 kW, while another two motors at the rear generate 150 kW each. The additional thrust at the rear axle is what will create the sportscar driving experience.

The arrangement of the batteries (one part is housed in the centre tunnel, the rest on the rear axle) permits a similar axle load distribution and handling that had previously found only with pure sportscars with internal combustion engines. In contrast to the widely used underfloor arrangement, the package enables a low seating position typical of a sportscar as well as precise handling with immediate feedback to the driver.

2024 Piech GT

“The second prototype will be completed by next March, with a further series of prototypes to follow before the end of 2022. Based on the test results from these prototypes, another batch of prototypes will then be built in 2023. Piech Automotive is exactly following the tried-and-tested testing cycles of German premium manufacturers here, with trials in heat and dust, in sub-zero temperatures with ice and snow, and on demanding roads and racetracks such as the Nurburgring Nordschleife, to be able to meet our target of starting series production in 2024,” said Klaus Schmidt, who was previously with BMW’s high-performance department at M GmbH for 30 years.

2024 Piech GT

In addition to the Piech GT, the company will  gradually broaden the range with a sporty electric SUV and a sports sedan to be called the Sportlimousine. “Our modular concept not only gives us freedom in the design to create vehicles that are as attractive as possible, but at the same time serves as a platform for all other body shapes. The initial focus is clearly on the two-seater Piech GT sportscar, while the sporty Piech SUV brings additional volume in sales and the 4-seater Sportlimousine offers more occupant space and round off the product range,” said Stark Rajcic.

“Not only are we flexible in terms of design and body shapes, but we are also keeping all options open when it comes to powertrains. We’re starting with electric cars, but our modular vehicle architecture would allow us to respond flexibly to corresponding developments and breakthroughs in the field of hydrogen or fuel cells,” added Anton Piech, CEO of the company.

2024 Piech GT

Everrati Signature Widebody – an electrified Porsche 911 (964)

Commercial vehicles (CVs), like passenger cars, will also have to follow the electrification route during this decade. This is especially so in Europe where there is a commitment by industries and governments to a target of net zero emissions by 2050, alongside a proposed ban on the sale of all polluting vehicles by 2035. With less than 15 years to go, there is now increased activity in developing electrically-powered trucks and there are already some in the market from leading manufacturers.

With demand for CVs therefore growing, there are other players coming into the market as well. One of them is Tevva Motors Limited, a UK-based company that describes itself as being ‘at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emissions commercial vehicles’. The team at Tevva is led by Ken Scott, formerly Engineering Director at both Bentley and Alexander Dennis, with styling handled by Dale Grewer, former Chief Designer at Jaguar Land Rover.

2022 Tevva EV Truck

Fully built in Britain from 2022
The company recently unveiled its new truck – simply called the Tevva Truck – which will be fully built in Britain on a high-volume basis from mid-2022. It is the culmination of 7 years of engineering development and the learning gathered from over 320,000 kms of in-fleet trials. Tevva expects to be building 3,000 trucks a month from 2023.

The 7.5-tonne (GVW) electric truck is the first of a series of electrically-powered vehicles that will extend to 19.5 tonnes for the UK, European, and Middle Eastern markets. Using a rechargeable battery pack, the claimed range is 250 kms while having patented range extender technology (REX) now upgraded to use hydrogen fuel cells, can provide a range of up to 500 kms.

2022 Tevva EV Truck

Tevva says its new truck offers a best-in-class combination of capability and cost efficiency from a zero emissions medium-duty truck, while offering the ruggedness and resilience of traditional trucks.

Ownership cost comparable to diesel truck
Range is obviously a concern to fleet managers who want the furthest distance at the lowest cost. The total cost of ownership is said to be comparable to a diesel truck; parity is achieved at approximately 3,000 kms or when 500 litres of diesel are consumed per month. The REX solution using compact hydrogen fuel cells can recharge the battery on the move, allowing longer duty cycles and transporting heavier loads even further.

2022 Tevva EV Truck

Future technical developments already being tested will enable the Tevva Truck to be fully charged in just one hour – facilitating double shift operations, to help reduce the total cost of ownership. The time spent recharging will also be important to operators and as technology continues to advance, the times should keep shortening. Eventually, the driver won’t have time to have a cup of coffee and a meal at the recharging station.

Meeting the immediate industry need
The Tevva Truck will help the immediate industry need to electrify with transformative battery electric vehicles for the real world. “Technology is transforming the commercial vehicle sector at pace, making it safer, greener, and entirely more efficient. But meaningful change is a gradual process, it must happen one step at a time, even if those changes are needed in fast succession. The Tevva Truck provides a natural transition into electrification for fleet managers, providing total peace of mind and a compelling total cost of ownership proposition, with no compromise on range and reliability and minimised compromise on payload,” said Asher Bennett, Founder and CEO of Tevva.

2022 Tevva EV Truck

Hino, Isuzu and Toyota to form new partnership in Commercial Vehicle Development

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

Just last month, Lotus confirmed it would be launching a new electric sportscar in 2026 – designated Type 135 – as part of a range of electrically-powered performance cars to be manufactured in the UK. The sportscar will have innovative new lightweight chassis technology developed through Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture), which the carmaker mentioned last October.

Project LEVA is a research programme that’s accelerating the development of all-new lightweight structures for next-generation battery electric vehicles. The structure developed through Project LEVA will be integrated into the company’s new architecture for electric sportscars.

This structure represents the ‘blueprint’ for the next generation of electric sportscars, for future Lotus products, and for the Lotus Engineering consultancy to commercialise. One example of its innovation is that the rear structure is 37% lighter than it is on the Lotus Emira V6. It is fully adaptable to provide a platform for a range of vehicle types with variable layouts, wheelbase lengths, battery sizes and configurations.

All three layouts feature a common lightweight die-cast rear subframe with multiple interchangeable components. This is the Project LEVA innovation: it means a single vehicle architecture can accommodate two different types of battery configurations.

The ‘Chest’ layout is where the modules are stacked vertically behind the two seats. A chest layout is a ‘mid-mounted power pack’, ideal for sportscar/hypercar vehicle types where a low overall ride height and low centre of gravity are required, eg Lotus Evija pure electric hypercar.

The ‘Slab’ layout, where the modules are integrated horizontally under the cabin, is most suitable for vehicles where a higher ride height and a taller overall profile is required. It is often referred to as a ‘skateboard power pack’ layout.

The innovative new subframe features cylindrical battery cells for high energy density, with the option of a single or twin electronic drive unit (EDU) to support. Cold cure, spot bonding and advanced weld processes mean reduced environmental impact during assembly.

This unique degree of flexibility and modularity in wheelbase and propulsion solutions will be the genesis for a wide variety of electric vehicle applications. These could be for the Lotus electric sportscar – scheduled for launch in 2026 – as well as for other clients through Lotus Engineering.

“Project LEVA is as revolutionary now as the Elise architecture was in 1996. In true Lotus spirit, significant weight-savings have been achieved throughout, with a focus on ultimate performance, efficiency and safety being engineered into the structure from the outset,” said Richard Rackham, Head of Vehicle Concepts at Lotus. He leads Project LEVA and is best known for his revolutionary work on development of the extruded aluminium Lotus Elise architecture 25 years ago.

Lotus Vision80 plan to transform company on journey of global expansion

In April this year, Honda announced that by 2040, it will sell only fully electric vehicles (not even hybrids), a bold move that will end its relationship with the internal combustion engine much loved by Soichiro Honda.

While different regions may move at different speeds along the road to electrification of their vehicles on a national basis, advanced markets like North America are likely to start having a higher proportion of electric vehicles (EVs) in the coming years.

New BEV series for North America
Honda will therefore be focussing on products for that market and has announced that it is working on a new series of high-volume battery electric vehicles (BEV) to introduce in North America in early 2024. The range will be known as PROLOGUE and will be led by an all-new SUV and herald the new electrified era for the company.

The carmaker already has a range of electrified vehicles on sale, but these are mostly with hybrid powertrains, apart from the Clarity which uses hydrogen fuel cell technology to generate electricity for powering the car.

In addition to the Prologue, the company will introduce an all-electric model under the Acura brand as well. Acura currently has hybrid models as well, including the 573-bhp NSX and the new all-electric model will be a SUV as well.

GM Ultium platform and battery pack (below).

GM’s Ultium platform for EVs to be used
Both the Honda and Acura vehicles will utilize the highly flexible global EV platform powered by Ultium batteries developed within the strategic partnership with General Motors. The platform will be engineered to support Honda’s driving character. As part of the agreement to jointly develop electric vehicles, Honda will incorporate GM’s OnStar safety and security services into its new SUVs, seamlessly integrating them with HondaLink.

Production of the SUVs will combine the development expertise of both companies, and they will be manufactured at GM plants in North America. In the second half of the decade, Honda also plans to launch a new series of EV models based on a new e:Architecture, with development led by the Japanese carmaker. These new models will be launched in North America first, followed by other regions.

Honda’s EV History
Though EVs have grown in prominence in recent times, Honda has been involved in developing and producing such vehicles for almost 25 years. In 1997, it introduced the EV Plus, a small electrically-powered hatchback which was the first BEV from a major automaker to use nickel-metal hydride batteries instead of heavy lead-acid batteries.

Honda EV Plus 1997
EV Plus was produced between 1997 and 1999.

After the limited production of the EV Plus, Honda came out with the Insight in 1999. This was one of the first volume-produced hybrids in the market. The FCX came out in 2002 and it was the industry’s first commercialised vehicle using fuel cell technology that was originally developed for the space program. The FCX was succeeded by the Clarity in 2017.

First generation of the Insight, one of the early volume-produced hybrids. This unit was driven from Thailand to Singapore in January 2001 to demonstrate the high fuel efficiency.
FCX – the first hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCEV) which was commercialised.

“We know customers who have a good experience with a hybrid vehicle are more likely to buy a battery electric vehicle in the future,” said Dave Gardner, Executive Vice-President of American Honda. “Our strategy is focused on introducing a higher percentage of hybrids in core models in the near term, making a committed effort to achieve higher volume leading to the introduction of our Honda PROLOGUE.”

Honda will stop selling models with combustion engines from 2040, range to be fully electric


Carbon dioxide (CO2) is known to be one of the major causes of climate change, causing global warming. However, it is a by-product of modern industrial processes and unavoidable. To address the issue of rising carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere, carmakers (as well as manufacturers in other industries) aim to become ‘carbon-neutral’ in the near future. This means that their processes, products and activities, while generating carbon dioxide, will be balanced with strategies that offset the CO2 generation to achieve net-zero emissions.

The approach most commonly being adopted, at least as far as the products are concerned, is to stop making and selling motor vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) that have been major contributors of carbon dioxide and other undesirable gases in the environment. Some have announced a time-frame for this approach, after which they will not sell models with ICE or, in some cases, models with only ICE (meaning they will still have hybrids). These companies are investing heavily in electric vehicles (EVs), powered by battery packs or fuel cells.

Toyota does not plan to completely stop selling models with petrol or diesel engines in the near-term but, at that same time, it already has a growing line of battery electric vehicles (below) for markets that want such vehicles.

Committed to carbon neutrality by 2050
Toyota is one of the companies firmly committed to carbon neutrality by 2050. However, the company’s strategy does not entirely focus on electrification of its products to the extent that future models will no longer be powered by ICE in the near-term. In time, it may decrease the amount of development of totally new ICE powertrains as EV acceptance in the market rises.

The thing is, advanced countries have developed the infrastructure to support EVs, so consumers are assured that owning an EV is not going to be inconvenient. Apart from widespread availability of public recharging stations, some countries also offer incentives to those who buy an EV. As a result, some countries in Europe already see EVs accounting for a large proportion of new vehicle sales.

For more advanced markets with the necessary infrastructure to support fuel cell vehicles, Toyota already has the second generation of its Mirai FCEV available.

Different pace in different regions
However, in other countries and regions, the transition to EVs may be at a different pace. For example, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore already have clearly-defined plans to ‘go electric’ but Malaysia does not (although recent news suggests that some incentives may soon be announced). Countries in Africa might also be slower to stop allowing ICE vehicles due to their economies and other factors.

Toyota wants to make sure that ‘no customer is left behind’ and for this reason, it will use multiple technology solutions in its quest to achieve carbon neutrality, developing advanced electric vehicles as well as continue to make ICE as clean as possible. The carmaker’s view is that companies and societies should work together with all available technologies to achieve the best and fastest results towards carbon neutrality – using whichever solutions and infrastructures suit their local needs best.

7th Environmental Action Plan
Toyota is currently in its 7th Environmental Action Plan which runs until 2025. The targets for this plan include reduction of CO2 emissions by 30% or more (on average) compared to 2010 levels, and boost cumulative sales of electrified vehicles to 30 million or more. All models in the Toyota and Lexus ranges worldwide are to be available with either full electric or hybrid powertrains by around 2025.

At the same time, CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 18% or more throughout the entire vehicle life cycle (including manufacturing and driving) compared to 2013 levels.

“The goal is carbon neutrality. Promoting Battery Electric Vehicle sales or banning gasoline cars is not in any way the goal. It is a must that cars already on the road be made carbon-neutral. Rather than narrowing the way out by placing importance on the creation of regulations focused only on new cars and internal combustion engines, it is necessary to expand the paths to carbon neutrality by including all approaches,” said Toyota President, Akio Toyoda, in his capacity as President of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

Toyota to build a prototype city of the future in Japan! (w/VIDEO)


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‘Mobility’ is a word that automakers like to use today, some explaining that they are transforming themselves from just being vehicle manufacturers to ‘mobility companies’. Honda too sees itself as a mobility company and indeed, over the 73 years it has been in business, it has developed products that provide mobility for the masses. In fact, it’s the world’s largest power unit manufacturer, making products from power generators used at pasar malams to motorized transport and even jet aircraft.

Honda would like to be regarded as a company that society wants to exist, because of the good things it does and can do. And as a responsible corporate citizen, it also has to consider important global issues concerning the environment and road safety, the latter related to the vehicles it provides.

With reduction of carbon emissions as a priority, Honda has made a firm commitment to achieve carbon neutrality for all its products and corporate activities by 2050. In this way, its business will have zero environmental impact and this will require the use of clean energy and resource recirculation.

In order to achieve this carbon-free goal on a ‘tank-to-wheel’ basis, Honda has decided that by 2040 – just 19 years from now – it will sell only battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCVs). It will no longer sell vehicle with internal combustion engines (ICE) that generate pollution, even if much has been done in past decades to bring pollution from exhaust emissions down (Honda’s CVCC system being one of the ways).

Of course, between now and 2040, the phasing out of ICE vehicles has to be progressive and will start with the more advanced markets where there is already a trend of electrification. In fact, Norway has already reported that sales of fully electric vehicles have overtaken ICE vehicles in that country. The ratio of electrified vehicles will be 40% by 2030 and then doubled to 80% by 2035.

The company has identified North America as one of the regions where it will pursue the targets and has formed an alliance with GM to achieve electrification in North America efficiently. The two companies are jointly developing two large EV models using GM’s Ultium batteries which will enter the market in 2024 under both the Honda and Acura brands.

Starting from the second half of the 2020s, Honda will launch a series of new EV models which adopt e:Architecture, a completely new EV platform developed by the company. These EV models will first be introduced to the North American market, and then to other regions of the world.

China, the world’s largest automobile market, will also see a similar progression to EVs and during the next 5 years, at least 10 Honda-brand models will be introduced. In fact, the first of these will be the SUV e:prototype which is scheduled to go on sale in early 2022.

SUV e:prototype, unveiled in Shanghai this week, will go on sale in 2022 as the symbolic first Honda-brand EV in China.

Japan, Honda’s home market, will see a sales ratio of 20% EVs by 2030, 80% by 2035 and 100% by 2040. However, if including hybrid models, 100% of automobile sales in Japan can be electrified by 2030. There will also be a K-car EV in 2024 as well.

It will be interesting to see how Honda deals with markets which do not have firm policies concerning EVs. Obviously the company won’t want to stop selling altogether but conditions could be difficult if prices of EVs do not come down sufficiently for the masses to afford. Right now, in countries like Malaysia, the fact that EVs have to be imported in CBU form makes them very expensive and low numbers will not be encouraging for companies, even less so to consider local assembly that could help offset the high production costs. Even then, a poor recharging infrastructure will be a discouraging factor to consumers and this would need government support to establish comprehensively and extensively.

Cruise Origin self-driving vehicle.

In the area of mobility services (MaaS), Honda will introduce the Cruise Origin, an electric self-driving vehicle. The company is currently developing jointly the vehicle with GM and Cruise, for the Japanese MaaS market in the mid-2020s.  On a broader scale, Honda will continue to work on the concept of Honda eMaaS (mobility services) by connecting electrified mobility products and energy service. Honda eMaaS will have three core areas: Expansion of the utilization of Mobile Power Packs; utilization of large-capacity batteries for electrified vehicles; and application and implementation of fuel cell systems.

Regarding fuel cell systems, hydrogen is expected to be popularized as a renewable energy source and Honda has a long history of R&D in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). It was one of the first carmakers to produce a FCV which was successfully used on a commercial basis and its collaboration with GM will see reduced costs and expansion of its line-up of FCVs and also using FC systems for a wide range of applications.

Honda has many years of experience in developing fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). In 2008, it introduced the FCX Clarity which had a hydrogen fuel cell to generate electrical power.

Honda will strive for zero traffic collision fatalities involving Honda motorcycles and automobiles globally by 2050. The major challenge we will face as we work toward this goal is how to eliminate motorcycle collision fatalities, especially in emerging countries. As a company that has both motorcycle and automobile businesses, we will continue to strengthen our research on safety technologies that enable motorcycles and automobiles to safely coexist and lead the way in realizing a collision-free society from the standpoint of both hardware and software.

As for road safety and the 2050 objective of zero traffic collision fatalities involving motorcycles and cars, Honda will apply omnidirectional ADAS (advanced driver-assistance system) to all new automobile models on sales in developed countries by 2030. However, the high accident rates occur in less developed or emerging markets where there are very high numbers of motorcycles. In such areas, particularly in emerging markets, there are many collisions that can be prevented through traffic safety education activities and by approaching the issue from the perspective of infrastructure and government policies. Therefore, Honda will focus also on such areas including strengthening of educational programs and government/industry relations activities.

Future Honda models will have sensors that can scan all round the vehicle to reduce collisions with other road-users, especially motorcyclists.

In order for Honda to keep making progress in its environmental and safety initiatives, it will be necessary for the company to invest in the R&D. This investment will not be influenced by fluctuations in sales revenues and Honda declares that it will invest a total of approximately 5 trillion yen as R&D expenses over the next 6 years.

Honda has been actively developing EV models since the 1990s, some of which have gone on sale in selected markets. By 2040, its range will consist entirely of EVs.

“As of last fiscal year, we enabled Honda R&D to focus on the research of advanced technologies, and we are conducting research on leading-edge environmental and safety technologies for the realization of a society that aims for zero environmental impact and a collision-free society. Also, we are making progress with research on technologies which will expand mobility into the 3rd and 4th dimensions, into the skies, the ocean, outer space and the area of robotics. We will strengthen our original research of technologies by ensuring optimal allocation of resources into the area of advanced and cutting-edge technologies,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Honda Motor’s new President and Representative Director who took over the position from Takahiro Hachigo at the beginning of this month.

“My hope is to hear people saying, ‘We are glad Honda exists’ or ‘Honda will definitely do it’. Honda wants to continue to be a company that people want to exist. That is what we want to achieve,” Mr. Mibe said during his inaugural speech as new President.

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Toyota is known to be cautious in venturing into new segments, watching competition start first and seeing the shortcomings – and then coming in with products that are often better. With electrification, the company has had dominance in the hybrid segment but seemed to be slow to get into full electrification. This is not to say that it was not developing models, but commercialising them was something that was slower.

Now, however, the company is starting its big push into full electrification, which is part of its commitment to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. To achieve this. Toyota is establishing a full line-up of electrified vehicles which will reach around 70 by 2025; at least 15 models will be launched by 2025.

2021 Toyota bZ4X concept

2021 Toyota bZ4X concept

Starting with SUV BEV
At Auto Shanghai, which is on this week, the Japanese carmaker has announced its new BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) series to start off and is displaying a concept car, the Toyota bZ4X, as a preview of the first model of this series. To be made in China and Japan, worldwide sales of the production version of the new SUV BEV is expected to start by the middle of 2022.

Development of the bZ series (‘bZ’ stands for ‘beyond Zero’) is based on BEV-dedicated platforms that can be used with multiple variations in terms of size and design. Since it is difficult for Toyota to prepare such a wide range of choices by itself, it is jointly developing the series with partners who have the appropriate expertise in various fields. In the case of the bZ4X, Subaru is involved as a partner.

e-TNGA platform
The new vehicle will adopt the e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform that was jointly developed by the two companies. It takes advantage of the strength of Toyota, which boasts expertise in vehicle electrification, and Subaru, which possesses AWD technologies. The bZ4X combines a long wheelbase with a short overhang which allows both a distinctive design and interior space comparable to a D-segment sedan.

2021 Toyota bZ4X concept

2021 Toyota bZ4X concept

2021 Toyota bZ4X concept

The bZ series BEVs will have a human-centered approach aimed at widespread use in regions such as China, the USA and Europe, where there is significant demand for BEVs, and where there is a large supply of renewable electricity.

A uniquely shaped steering wheel eliminates the need to change grip when steering, and also contributes to a spacious interior. The vehicle will have a steer-by-wire system that provides a smooth driving feel aligned with the driver’s intentions. The low position of the instrument panel and the location of the meters above the steering wheel serve not only to enhance the vehicle’s sense of space, but also improve visibility and contribute to safe and secure driving.

2021 Toyota bZ4X concept

The bZ4X has a new AWD system jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru. In addition to the use of regenerative energy systems, the vehicle also adopts a solar recharging system that recharges the battery while stationary.

Toyota adds new C+pod Battery Electric Vehicle to its range in Japan

Kia’s big push into the EV market and the first part of its transition to the new era of electrification starts this year with the launch of the EV6, the Korean carmaker’s first model that uses the Hyundai Motor Group’s dedicated new platform for battery electric vehicles (BEVs). To go on sale from the middle of the year (bookings accepted online in certain markets from today), the EV6 has a crossover SUV style (though it doesn’t really look like one) which is what today’s car-buyers want.

Key to acceptance of BEVs is a long cruising range and short charging times, both of which Kia has addressed. The 800V charging capability enables the EV6 to go from 10% to 80% charge in the battery pack in just 18 minutes. As for range, up to 510 kms is claimed on a full battery pack.

2021 Kia EV6

Multiple powertrain configurations
The EV6 will be offered in multiple fully-electric, zero-emission powertrain configurations, including long-range (77.4 kWh) and standard-range (58.0 kWh) high-voltage battery packs. This is Kia’s first electric vehicle to be available with 2WD) or AWD options, the latter offering enhanced dynamic capability in even the most challenging conditions.

The 2WD 77.4 kWh EV6 can travel over 510 kms on a single charge and with maximum torque of 605 Nm torque available on the AWD version, the EV6 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in a claimed  5.2 seconds. The 77.4 kWh battery pack powers a 168 kW (229 ps) electric motor powering the rear wheels; for AWD models, a 239 kW (325 ps) electric motor powers the front and rear wheels. The 58.0 kWh battery pack is paired with a 125 kW electric motor powering the rear wheels, and for AWD models a 173 kW electric motor powers the front and rear wheels.

2021 Kia EV6

“The GT version of EV6 demonstrates our technological leadership through its combination of outstanding high-speed charging and acceleration performance like a super sportscar. With our dedicated EV platform, there is no need for compromise between inspiring spaciousness and performance,” said Albert Biermann, President and Head of R&D Division for Hyundai Motor Group.

800V ultra-Fast Charging
The EV6 has 800V and 400V charging capabilities, without the need for additional components or adapters. The car is capable of a high-speed charge from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes on all variations or a top-up charge for 100 kms of driving range in less than 4.5 minutes when pairing 2WD with the 77.4-kWh battery option.

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The car’s charging system is more flexible than previous generation BEVs, thanks to an Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU). The ICCU enables a new vehicle-to-load (V2L) function, which is capable of discharging energy from the vehicle battery. The V2L function can supply up to 3.6 kW of power and is capable, as an example, of operating a 55-inch television and air conditioner  simultaneously for more than 24 hours. The system is also able to charge another EV, if needed.

With more than 35% charge left in the battery, the EV6 can still tow items weighing up to 1,600 kgs. Together with the V2L function, EV6 owners can take everything they need on an outdoor adventure with friends and family and do it all with zero emissions.

2021 Kia EV6

Energy recuperation
With energy-recuperation technologies driving range can be maximized. This includes Kia’s latest-generation energy-efficient heat pump, which scavenges waste heat from the car’s coolant system. This ensures that at  7 degrees C., the car can achieve 80% of the range that would be possible at 25 degrees C.

To accompany the EV6 into the new era is new design language which is guided by the brand’s new design philosophy ‘Opposites United’. This takes inspiration from the contrasts found in nature and humanity. At the centre of the design philosophy is a new visual identity evoking positive forces and natural energy, with contrasting combinations of sharp stylistic elements and sculptural shapes.

“EV6, as the first dedicated Kia EV, is a showcase of human-centred, progressive design and electrified power. We strongly believe EV6 is a compelling and relevant model for the new EV era. With EV6 we aimed to create a distinctive, impactful design by using a combination of sophisticated, high-tech features on pure and rich volumes while providing a dedicated EV aiming to define our future,” explained Karim Habib, the Senior Vice-President and Head of Kia Global Design Centre who was previously with BMW and Infiniti.

2021 Kia EV6

At the front, Kia’s familiar ‘tiger face’ has been re-interpreted for the digital era. Forming part of this ‘Digital Tiger Face’, daytime running lights display a sleek, modern appearance and include a  ‘sequential’ dynamic light pattern. Below this, a low air intake visually widens the front of the car, accentuating its high-tech image.

The side profile displays a crossover-inspired silhouette, which is modern, sleek and aerodynamic. A character line runs along the bottom of the doors, curving upwards towards the rear wheelarches to visually elongate the profile of the car. Designed in part to realize ultimate aerodynamic performance, the rear displays a sloping C-pillar with an integrated black glossy insert which appears to extend the window glass.

Above this sits a prominent wing-type roof spoiler that channels air downwards towards a raised lower spoiler, which sits atop the car’s unique rear light cluster.

2021 Kia EV6

Versatile and spacious cabin
The interior design benefits greatly from the dedicated E-GMP platform. Despite the EV6’s compact exterior dimensions, its 2900 mm wheelbase allows a cabin space similar to many midsize SUVs. One of the most striking elements is a seamless high-tech curved infotainment screen. The simple form language of the wide screen and dashboard give the interior an open feel. Relaxation seats are slim, lightweight and contemporary, and clad in modern, visually interesting and robust fabrics created using recycled plastics – equivalent to 111 plastic water bottles.

The EV6 has intelligent and flexible interior packaging and an abundance of cabin storage areas, including 520 litres of boot space with the second-row seats in place, or approximately 1,300 litres when the seats are folded down. This being an EV, there is also a front boot which offers and additional 52 litres of stowage space for 2WD models and 20 litres for AWD models.

2021 Kia EV6

2021 Kia EV6

The EV6 also features an augmented reality (AR) head-up display system, which projects driving information onto the base of the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight. The system displays alerts from the car’s Advanced Driver Assistance System, details of vehicle speed, and turn-by-turn navigation instructions.

The latest version of Kia’s innovative connected car system ‘Kia Connect’, previously named UVO, is included, featuring a range of Kia real time services and over-the-air (OTA) updates. Accessible through the touchscreen, Kia Connect allows users to find locations and pricing of EV charging points, view their vehicle’s charging status, plan smart charging schedules and check the range radius based on the remaining charge.

2021 Kia EV6

“EV6 also represents the beginning of Kia’s long-term commitment to sustainable mobility, accelerating the transition not only to clean transportation, but also products, materials and manufacturing,” said Ho Sung Song, Kia’s President & CEO.

Kia aims to achieve leadership position in EVs

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Over the next 4 years, Lexus will step up its electrification program and introduce up to 20 new models, with fully electric as well hybrid powertrains. As a preview of what is to come, Toyota’s luxury brand today presented to the world its LF-Z Electrified concept car. The conceptual BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) incorporates driving performance, styling, and technologies envisioned for realization by 2025.

The LF-Z Electrified has a BEV-dedicated platform which features a new 4-wheel driving force control technology known as DIRECT4. This uses the instant responsiveness of an electric motor’s driving force to freely control a vehicle’s four wheels for superior and highly flexible driving performance that sets it apart from conventional vehicles. The system controls the distribution of driving force through the seamless orchestration and calculation of accelerator pedal application and steering wheel operation, resulting in powerful acceleration and cornering performance that aligns near-perfectly to the driver’s will.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

The use of steer-by-wire eliminates the need for a mechanical connection through the steering shaft, resulting in a more direct response between steering operation and driving force. This enables the vehicle to turn with less steering angle―and more precision―in response to driving conditions.

Lexus Driving Signature
Although the LF-Z Electrified marks the move away from conventional combustion engines, future BEV models will still have the Lexus Driving Signature, a unique Lexus driving experience that aims for a linear response that is faithful to the driver’s intentions, including the feeling of seamlessly connecting deceleration, steering and acceleration in all driving situations.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

The LF-Z Electrified achieves an ideal balance and inertia by optimally positioning the battery and motors. The electrification technology allows for innovative packaging and design, and raises the Lexus Driving Signature to an even higher level by significantly evolving the basic performance of the vehicle.

By orienting the battery assembly longitudinally under the floor of the vehicle, the chassis becomes more rigid and the car’s centre of gravity is lowered for improved dynamics. In addition, this layout  helps mitigate vibrations and unpleasant noises from penetrating the passenger cabin upholding the Lexus DNA of quietness and ride comfort.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

With a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the LF-Z Electrified, which is said to weigh 2,100 kgs, is expected to have a range of up to 600 kms. The total system output of 400 kW/700 Nm will be able to accelerate it from 0 to 100 km/h in a projected 3 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 200 km/h.

Styling continues to evolve
Measuring 4880 mm in overall length and 1960 mm in overall width, the LF-Z Electrified’s sculpted and emotional exterior strongly accentuates the uniqueness of Lexus design. It suggests the direction of the evolution of Lexus styling where the overall form, which starts low in the front and peaks toward the rear, is composed of a continuous silhouette centered on a smooth cabin.

Large-diameter wheels that transmit the power of the high-power electric motors to the road surface are situated as much as possible at the vehicle’s four corners for a wide stance with a low centre of gravity.

Lexus designers took up the challenge of evolving the Lexus design icon of the spindle shape into a spindle body as the overall body architecture in a new form of expression. The aim was to create a 3-dimensional design that transforms the form of the body itself into the icon of the Lexus brand and to continuously develop functional expressions and styling that keep abreast with the evolution of technology.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

The use of DIRECT4, which freely controls the driving force of the four wheels, enabled styling that evokes the image of dynamic driving in which the distribution of driving force is linearly shifted. The accentuation of the doors fluently transitions from the front wheels to the rear wheels, which are surrounded by shiny, projecting, flare-shaped molding.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

In the rear, a clean and simple horizontal design combines with the molding that emphasizes the projecting wheels to express a powerful stance in support of a torque-strong driving force. Also, horizontally displaying ‘LEXUS’ in the continuous slender rear combination lamp contributes to styling that, along with the front of the vehicle, symbolizes the next generation of Lexus.

Tazuna cockpit with true Omotenashi
To provide a uniquely BEV driving experience, the interior is equipped with a ‘Tazuna’ cockpit and features an open and minimalist design. ‘Tazuna’ (Japanese for ‘rein’) refers to the relationship between horse and rider, who communicate through a single rein. While the cockpit is a key focal point, the low positioning of the instrument panel relative to the vehicle occupants and other measures are used to express a refreshing minimalism and a space that offers true Omotenashi (hospitality).

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

The entire interior has been made a clean and high-quality space by a form that seamlessly connects the cowl to the front doors and on to the rear doors. Also, a panoramic roof uses long plates of glass that bring about a feeling of openness, emphasizing the minimalist environment.

In the LF-Z Electrified, Artificial Intelligence (AI), which learns the driver’s preferences and behavioural characteristics, provides constant support to the driver. Voice communication contributes to improved operability while driving. The voice recognition system uses the latest AI to recognize, learn, and adapt to a driver’s habits and preferences, supporting with tasks such as determining driving routes and even making restaurant reservations. Ultimately, it becomes the driver’s ‘concierge’ and partner for every journey.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

Lexus is also working with Mark Levinson, its long-time partner in the audio field, to develop a system which can reproduce a concert hall-like audio experience. With the next-generation sound management function, active noise cancellation facilitates interaction or privacy amongst passengers, providing a quiet and comfortable interior space.

2021 Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept

New Lexus IS introduces ‘The Lexus Driving Signature’



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