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Stellantis working on hydrogen combustion engines Car News

Stellantis is working on hydrogen combustion engines as one of four different solutions to zero-emissions driving, CEO Carlos Tavares has said.

Tavares was speaking at the opening of the Symbio hydrogen fuel cell factory in Lyon, France. Symbio is an equally owned joint venture between Stellantis, automotive supplier Forvia and tyre maker Michelin.

Stellantis – which owns 14 car makers, including Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Jeep, Peugeot and Vauxhall – is trying to diversify the number of drivetrains available under European Union decarbonisation rules.

“Hydrogen injection is one of the four technologies we’re working on,” Tavares said after the plant opening. 

He criticised legislators for their “brutal” methods to move car makers away from fossil fuels and steering them towards EVs.

“Now the dogmatic thinking is being hurt by reality, because if you aren’t affordable, then people can’t pay for it,” he said.

Stellantis is diversifying its drivetrain options to cater to those customers for whom EV charging is a drawback.

“The real competition is starting between fuel cell, EVs, hydrogen internal combustion engines and even synthetic fuels,” Tavares said. “We will see in the next few years what is going to be the best solution for the citizens.” 

Burning hydrogen in combustion engines has been seen as the easiest solution for zero-emissions driving, especially among commercial vehicle makers, given the lack of disruption to supply chains it would cause compared with BEVs or FCEVs.

Petrol engines need to be modified to accept hydrogen, but much of the same mechanism remains. The hurdles then are establishing a refuelling network and making green hydrogen at scale.

Tavares didn’t say which vehicles would be offered with hydrogen combustion engines, but Stellantis has already begun selling its K0 range of mid-size vans (think the Vauxhall Vivaro) with a hydrogen fuel cell option.

Stellantis will also offer a hydrogen fuel cell version of the Ram Heavy Duty pick-up truck in the US in late 2026 or early 2027, Tavares said.

Hydrogen tanks are easier to package in a van, while the lesser weight of a fuel-cell or hydrogen-combustion van compared with a battery-electric one would allow for a greater payload. 

Toyota has demonstrated hydrogen combustion engines in both Toyota Yaris and Toyota Corolla race cars running in Japan, while the Renault Group has showcased one in the Alpine Alpenglow supercar concept.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-12-05 17:46:31

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Audi E-tron GT due redesign with 750bhp RS on the cards Car News

The Audi E-tron GT will receive a host of eye-catching styling revisions as part of a mid-life facelift – which could include the arrival of a new RS variant with as much as 750bhp.

Planned for launch towards the end of 2024, the Tesla Model S rival was spotted undergoing its final stages of testing in Germany with very little camouflage covering its bodywork.

Our spy photographer’s images suggest that the design of the E-tron GT will be brought more in line with the all-new Audi Q6 E-tron SUV, which is set for launch in February 2024. 

It will also follow in the footsteps of the Porsche Taycan, its Volkswagen Group sibling, in gaining more aerodynamically optimised front and rear bumpers, a revised front grille and new alloy-wheel designs.

Unusually for a facelift, the front and rear light designs appear to remain the same.

At the rear, the diffuser is much more prominent, with large side blades channelling air at either side of the bumper.

The side profile remains largely the same, save for redesigned side skits.

Judging by the muscular brake set-up and additional cooling apertures at the front, the range-topping RS E-tron GT could be made even more powerful. 

It could pack the same 750bhp powertrain as the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, bringing about a 113bhp increase over the current RS E-tron GT, which produces 636bhp and dispatches 62mph in 3.3sec.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-12-04 12:41:15

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UK-built electric Nissan Juke aims to be same price as petrol model Car News

The next-generation Nissan Juke will arrive in the second-half of the decade as an electric-only model with fresh styling based on the bold Hyper Punk concept.

Nissan is aiming for the next-generation Juke EV to cost around the same as the current petrol-powered model, which starts from around £21,000, when it goes on sale, although the firm has admitted that is a challenge.

The company has yet to give a timeline for the launch of the next Juke, allowing some flexibility due to the uneven adoption of electric cars and the differing speed of transition in various markets. 

The current model launched in 2019, so under a traditional lifecycle a successor would be expected around 2027.

It is built at Nissan’s Sunderland plant, and the firm is investing up to £1.19bn to design, engineer and build the next-generation EV versions of the Juke and Qashqai in the UK. The Nissan Leaf successor will also be built in Sunderland.

The Hyper Punk concept was first shown at this year’s Tokyo motor show, and is intended to preview the future design direction for Nissan’s future electric-only cars. It is described as “functional and styling”, blending virtual and physical features.

Technical details

Nissan has yet to reveal firm details about the machine, although all three future cars built in Sunderland are set to use the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance CMF-EV platform, a bespoke electric architecture designed for C- and D-segment machines.

That suggests the Juke could potentially grow in size slightly: the current machine uses the CMF-B platform designed for smaller B-segment cars. 

The Alliance does have a CMF-BEV platform that will underpin the next-generation Nissan Micra, although this will be built by in France alongside the Renault 4 and Renault 5.

Despite the Juke, Qashqai and Leaf all sharing a platform and being developed and built alongside each other, Nissan European research and development chief David Moss said that they would retain distinct characters, noting that they would feature different wheelbases. 

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-12-01 21:35:06

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Jeep Wrangler to go electric and range-extender from 2028 Car News

The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will go into production in 2028 with battery-electric and range-extender (REx) powertrains, in one of the most radical developments for the American off-roader since it was introduced in the 1980s. 

Documents published as part of Jeep parent company Stellantis’s latest agreement with the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) reveal the future of several of the firm’s US-built models, including the Wrangler. 

The current generation of Wrangler includes a plug-in hybrid model, the 4xe, but this isn’t available in the UK. Along with its Gladiator pick-up truck sibling, the Wrangler will receive upgraded plug-in hybrid powertrains in 2025 (it remains to be seen whether the technical changes being brought in will enable right-hand-drive production) before being phased out in 2028, the documents reveal. 

They will then be replaced by the new J70-generation Wrangler, with electric and ‘Range Electric Paradigm Breaker’ (Stellantis-speak for combustion-assisted electric) powertrains. The REx system will be used first in 2025 by the Ram 1500 REV, a pick-up truck based on the STLA Frame platform, which is also expected to underpin the electric Wrangler. 

Part of a new family of EV architectures being applied to all Stellantis products from next year, this body-on-frame platform will major on payload and towing capabilities. For instance, the 1500 REV claims a 1224kg payload and a 6350kg towing capacity – significantly greater than the rival Ford F-150 Lightning’s. 

The STLA Frame can also accommodate vast batteries to cope with the traditionally high mileages and heavy workloads of commercial vehicles. The 1500 REV will be offered with two long-range electric powertrains, with 168kWh and 229kWh batteries delivering 350 miles and 500 miles between charges. 

Jeep has hinted at what to expect from an electric Wrangler several times, most recently with the Magneto 3.0 concept, an outlandish, Wrangler-based off-roader with 641bhp and 900lb ft from a bespoke axial-flux motor, driving, unusually, through a six-speed manual gearbox. 

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-28 08:16:12

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2024 Aston Martin DBX to gain touchscreen in wide-reaching update Car News

The new Aston Martin DBX will receive a wide-reaching interior update with a new infotainment system taken from the DB12 sports car “in the near future”, company chairman Lawrence Stroll said.

The top-selling DBX has an outdated infotainment system sourced from Mercedes-Benz that uses a trackpad to control the screen instead of a touchscreen, a set-up that has been criticised by some users for lagging the competition. The DB12 features a new touchscreen with software designed by Aston Martin (pictured below).

Stroll confirmed the updates to the DBX in the company’s third-quarter earnings call in response to a question from JPMorgan analyst Akshat Kacker, who referenced the new DB12 interface by saying that “a lot of customers might be waiting for an update on the SUV as well”. 

“On DBX, the new infotainment, the new interiors, will continue along the line of DB12 and will be in the marketplace in the near future,” Stroll said in reply to the question, without being more specific on timings. Autocar has asked Aston Martin for a more precise indication of the new DBX’s launch date.

Aston Martin has lost sales in its key market of China this year, where demand for the DBX has been strong. The market is much more focused on high-tech interiors, putting the DBX on the back foot against more up-to-date competition such as the BMW XM.

However, Aston Martin said DBX sales overall are up 23% in the first nine months, driven by the hot DBX 707, which accounted for 70% of the SUV’s total sales this year. DBX sales made up just over half of all Aston’s sales so far this year, highlighting the importance of the model.

Problems around integration of the new software platform on the DB12 had held back deliveries of the new sports car, CEO Amedeo Felisa said on the call. “We had some issues on software, but I think everything now is fixed,” he said.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-25 08:19:36

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New 2024 Aston Martin Vantage will be “complete hooligan” Car News

The new Aston Martin Vantage will be given its own obvious character over the DB12 and the DBS replacement as the first Aston Martin to break cover before a slew of new models arrive in the coming months.

The Vantage will be styled to be a “complete hooligan” as part of a plan to make it even sportier, chief creative officer Marek Reichman has told Autocar.

Although the Vantage will undergo a similar interior overhaul to the DB12, it will be differentiated by its character on the road. Given the high-riding DBX 707 offers Vantage-baiting levels of performance and the DB12 has been given a power boost and significant handling upgrade over the DB11 it replaces, “you get more sporty anyway”, said Reichman, when it came to creating the next Vantage.

“The next Vantage can separate from a DB12 with huge performance and a DBX that feels like it. It has to be completely different,” said Reichman. “The replacement for the DBS will then be “completely different to both of them.”

Product and market strategy director Alex Long echoed Reichman, saying: “We’ll see in our sports car and GT range much more breadth and separation between one end and the other, where today they’re quite similarly positioned. We’ll see a much broader operating range.”

Reichman also said Aston’s road car operation will be making full use of the Formula 1 team’s resources, likely resulting in several tweaks in the Vantage’s design. The upgraded model was recently seen testing at the Nürburgring, revealing a smaller grille and smoother lines around the front end. The car’s rear appears to have received a reworked splitter with a quad-exhaust set-up and more aggressive air ducting from the wheel arches.

The chassis set-up is expected to take after the track-honed V12 Vantage, with improvements in poise and pace ranking high on the to-do list. Lightweighting is not likely to extend to a smaller engine, however: AMG’s six-cylinder wouldn’t work for the Vantage, Long said, because “the sound is so much” of the car’s raw emotional appeal. “We don’t build transport. We build dreams,” he added.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-24 14:06:26

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Aston Martin DBS to be replaced by hardcore V12 supercar Car News

“Rather than having products with two levels of power output and performance – and that includes dynamics and braking and all the other aspects of what makes a proper performance car – we now have to bring these power levels that give our cars the edge,” said Long. 

Clearly, as the DB12 has replaced the DB11 with more of a focus on long-distance refinement in its remit as a ‘super tourer’, the DBS successor will lean towards the other end of the performance spectrum, putting an even stronger emphasis on speed and agility. 

Long also emphasised that V12 engines are “synonymous” with Aston Martin. “People still love the twelves,” he said. “As much as the electrification revolution continues, [a V12 engine has] a different use case, and it’s still very much a huge emotional connection for our customers.” 

Indeed, Stroll has said that “there’s still room for a V12 in our sports car generation” beyond the current DBS. A power increase over the DBS 770 could nudge the new supercar towards the 800bhp mark, which would make it the most powerful pure-ICE road car that Aston Martin has yet produced. 

That power increase will no doubt be matched by a comprehensive chassis overhaul building on the set-up deployed on the fearsome DBS 770, with uprated dampers and a boost in rigidity at both ends helping to improve cornering performance and giving the supercar a broader scope of ability on track. 

Indications that the DBS replacement will be a tangibly different car to the DB12 suggest it will be styled to emphasise its flagship billing, no doubt taking influence from track-bred range-toppers like the Vantage V12, DBX 707 and DBS 770, which are obviously marked out as hardcore propositions by carbonfibre bodywork elements and extensive aerodynamic packages, as well as larger intakes and bigger brakes. 

It will be a closer match for the DB12 inside, however, as Aston Martin is planning to roll out its new, self-developed cockpit design across its next generation line-up. 

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-23 06:01:44

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Report: Nissan to build electric Juke and Qashqai in Sunderland Car News

Nissan will reportedly build the electric successors to the Juke and Qashqai at its UK factory in Sunderland.

Sky News says the Japanese manufacturer will make an announcement this Friday, following “months of talks” with the government, in a move that is said to safeguard thousands of jobs at the site, where around 6000 staff currently build the petrol versions of the two crossovers alongside the electric Leaf. 

Sky says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt have been involved in the discussions, with Nissan’s commitment tied to a ‘significant’ government funding guarantee.

Nissan’s own investment in the scheme will likely be upwards of £1 billion, according to automotive industry sources. 

The firm is currently building its EV360 battery factory at the site, which has the potential to produce up to 35GWh of batteries each year – around a third of the capacity the UK is expected to require by 2030.

It recently confirmed it would only launch electric cars in Europe from now on, before ceasing combustion car sales completely in the region from 2030. It has not yet, however, hinted at when it will launch electric versions of the Qashqai and Juke, which have been on sale in their current forms for two and four years, respectively. 

The Qashqai was the UK’s best-selling car in 2022, with nearly 43,000 units sold, and accounts for a fifth of all cars built in the UK since it launched in 2007. 

Reports of Nissan’s imminent announcement come just hours after UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged £2 billion of support to industry for zero-emission investment in the UK’s automotive sector in the next five years.

The money, announced by Hunt in his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday (22 November), will be part of a wider £4.5bn support package in “strategic manufacturing sectors” before 2030. The government said the funding was targeted at the “UK’s strongest, world-leading sectors” and would help those sectors remain “at the forefront of the global transition to net zero”.

Hunt said: “For our advanced manufacturing and green energy sectors, international investors say the biggest thing we can do is announce a longer-term strategy for their industries.”

He said the overall £4.5bn funding would “leverage many times that from the private sector and in turn will grow our economy, creating more skilled, higher-paid jobs in new industries that will be built to last.”

The £2bn for zero-emission investments in the automotive industry “has been warmly welcomed by Nissan and Toyota”, Hunt said.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-22 20:05:42

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New Hyundai Tucson brings redesign and physical heater controls Car News

Hyundai has updated the Tucson with a simplified look and an all-new cockpit to bring it into line with its newer electric siblings, the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6.

Set to launch in the UK in May 2024, the new car has a “more refined” aesthetic that brings it into line with Hyundai’s new Parametrics Dynamics design language, as seen on the new Kona and Santa Fe. 

It features a redesigned front grille, skid plates at the front and rear to emphasise its width, slightly restyled headlights and a new alloy-wheel design.

Inside, the infotainment touchscreen and driver display are now integrated into a slick, curved one-piece panel behind a new-look steering wheel that has a much cleaner design. 

The centre console has also been tidied up and there’s a new haptic control stack for various functions – but physical heater dials make a return in a bid for enhanced usability on the move. The slimmer centre stack has also made room for a larger storage space in front of the centre console.

The Tucson was the best-selling compact SUV in Europe in 2022, with 116,738 examples shifted two years after it was first launched in 2020 to beat its key rivals, the Volkswagen Tiguan, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Kuga.

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-20 23:01:46

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Lucid Air electric saloon set for UK sales in around 2025 Car News

American EV firm Lucid is on track to arrive in the UK market in two years, once current development programmes for new models are complete.

Speaking to Autocar at the LA motor show, where the firm revealed its new Gravity SUV, Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson said “we’ve got to do right-hand drive, but we need 18 months – at least”. 

He pointed to comparatively large demand for premium electric vehicles – such as the Lucid Air – in certain European markets as a key incentive for Lucid, but explained that getting the Gravity into production and developing successive models beyond that is the priority for now. 

“There are two really big markets: Germany and the UK, and they’re massively bigger than any other country – for luxury EVs,” said Rawlinson. 

“We’ve got to do right-hand-drive Air. To do that is probably going to take us 18 months, and we are absolutely slammed because I’ve got all my main engineering team doing all the design and development for Gravity, which is winter testing now in Minnesota.”

“And then I’ve got my advanced team and the studio working on our mid-sized project, which is our Tesla Model Y/Model 3 competitor vehicle set.”

The ‘mid-sized’ Lucid models are due to arrive in around 2027, priced from around $50,000, and development is understood to be well under way. 

“We’ve bitten off so much right now. It’s quite a project to make a right-hand-drive Air; it would take us at least 18 months to do.”

Asked whether Lucid could consider offering the Air in the UK in left-hand-drive form, as Tesla now does with the Model S, Rawlinson said it would not be possible because demand would be too low to facilitate a full scale-up in the market. 

“I have seriously thought about that but we looked at the numbers, and thought: how many will we sell – 20? 30? And then there’s all the cost, and I don’t want to ill-serve customers.”

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Source: www.autocar.co.uk
This notice was published: 2023-11-17 00:10:51