Immerse yourself online in 160 years of Opel’s history…

In 2022, Opel is celebrating the company’s 160th birthday. To mark this anniversary, Opel Classic has a special gift for all fans and friends of autobile history: they can now indulge themselves in the company’s history in the new “160 Years of Opel” theme tour at opel.com/opelclassic.

Automotive buffs as we are, we certainly love everything historic about cars. So we applaud this initiative, meaning that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home a virtual tour back to the beginnings of the company and enjoy numerous highlights from 160 years of Opel engineering.

This Opel Classic tour will take you on a varied tour from the first sewing machines and bicycles “made in Rüsselsheim” to the current “Golden Steering Wheel” title holder Opel Mokka-e1.

Of course, this 160 year anniversary tour was developed with great attention to detail. The team first had to meticulously archive and document all the exhibits and precisely align them for filming so that online visitors can view the vehicles from all sides. The ‘160 Years of Opel’ tour is bilingual, offering some completely new Opel perspectives. “It’s really worth clicking on and taking the tour,” says the new Opel Classic Director Leif Rohwedder, looking forward to numerous online visitors.

“160 Years of Opel”: Virtual tour from its early beginnings to the present

This new 360-degree tour takes visitors virtually into the “hallowed halls” of the Opel Classic Collection in Rüsselsheim. Here, the brand with the Blitz shelters a veritable treasure trove of 600 historic vehicles and studies as well as 300 other exhibits ranging from Opel sewing machines to aircraft engines. The highlights of the “160 Years of Opel” tour include a look at the beginnings in the 1860s as well as the following decades. By clicking on the yellow info points, Opel Classic reveals important information about the selected exhibits – short and sweet, right to the point.

The “Wanderjahre Adam Opels” (Adam Opel’s wandering years) are discussed as well as historically valuable exhibits such as the “Quintuplet” – a five-seat bicycle – on which the five sons of the company founder had themselves photographed for publicity purposes at the end of the 19th century.

The pioneer among Opel automobiles can also be seen for the first time in a virtual tour: the Patentmotorwagen “System Lutzmann” from 1899, which marked the beginning of car production in Rüsselsheim.

Then interested visitors can continue on various paths through the historic halls. They will not only encounter numerous Opel icons and bestsellers, but also innovative record-breaking vehicles such as the Opel Elektro GT. Five decades ago, this car demonstrated at the Hockenheimring what is possible with zero emissions. The tour through 160 years of Opel history leads to further groundbreaking developments such as the first fully electric vehicle suitable for everyday use, the Opel Ampera, and the battery-electric Opel Mokka-e. The current e-car with the Blitz won the “Golden Steering Wheel 2021″1 with its convincing driving performance as well as its very own style and rounds off the journey through time in the Opel halls.

The “160 Years of Opel” tour now complements the Opel Classic online tours that were successfully launched in 2021.

Finally, we want to tell you here that visitors can also explore and enjoy more subjects Opel Classic has online in store for you: what to think of subjects like “Alternative Drives”, “Rally Racing”, “Roaring Twenties” and “Mobility for Millions”?  I would say, get tuned for an unforgettable online Opel session!

We just let you enjoy some photos here, but I suggest you grab your mouse and start a journey into history!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) and Alpine create a hydrogen concept car…  

Students at the Italian Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) presented the ‘A4810 Project by IED’, their new concept car made in collaboration with Alpine. The result of this collaboration between the Italian design school and Alpine is a hydrogen-powered two-seater supercar.

Twenty-eight Masters students studying Transportation Design at IED worked on the project.

Alpine proposed the students to design a ‘super berlinette’ for the year 2035. The two-seater supercar was designed to be a high-performing vehicle both in terms of performance and environmental impact.

After the brief was given last autumn, students worked individually to come up with their own interpretation and present it to the Alpine designers. Alpine then selected a combination of two main ideas. Based on the two selected proposals, the young designers created the ‘A4810 Project by IED’: a light yet powerful and agile concept car that boasts pure driving pleasure.

During the design phase, the students sought to combine vision and innovation, without losing sight of the traditional roots of the French car manufacturer.

Furthermore, they chose a name that conveyed the brand’s legacy. In fact, ‘4810’ is the height (in meters) of the Mont Blanc: the highest and most emblematic peak in the Alps that sits at the border between Italy and France, like a bridge connecting IED and Alpine. The car manufacturer is named after the very same mountains and evokes the joy of driving along their winding roads.

A STUNNING LOOKING CONCEPT CAR

The Alpine A4810 Project by IED (length 5,091 mm – width 2,010 mm – height 1,055 mm – wheelbase 2,717 mm) is a two-seater supercar with the experimental combination of the shape of a berlinette with a hydrogen powertrain.

While the engine and fuel tanks are built like those on a typical hypercar, the subtraction process is proof of considerable innovation. The design alternates between empty and full spaces, giving the vehicle a lightweight look and aerodynamic features inspired by Formula 1 models. Furthermore, the A4810 Project by IED was tasked with bringing the brand to the cusp of the sports car category.

The team of students used digital tools to design the interior through sketches, 3D models, renderings, animations, and HMI (Human Machine Interface) development.

The A4810 Project by IED was presented on Friday, 18th March with a livestream broadcast from OGR Tech in Turin. For more info, please visit www.iedA4810.makeitlive.it.

Just click your way to Alpine’s sporty future, and in the meantime, have a look at the photos…!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the 360 HP DS9 E-Tense 4×4 in Nice… and witnessed the launch of the DS Supercar!

Arriving late last night from Nice, we report you here immediately about the wonderful driving experience with the most powerful DS9, enjoying its pure GT talents over the winding roads around Grasse and the iconic Côte d’Azur. We will soon tell you more about it.

But the gentlemen of DS Automobiles did even more than just letting us have a drive in their flagship DS9, they also unveiled in the flesh at their press conference a wonderful Supercar, with absolutely stunning looks and performance.

DS Automobiles puts their E-Formula racing experience into practice on our roads… What to think of 815 HP or 600 kW, developed by two electric motors of 250 kW in the front, and 350 kW driving the rear wheels.

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is done in a fantastic 2 seconds…and the car is a beauty too!

Much more about this superfast E-“bolide” and the impressive top-level DS9 soon on these pages!

Hans Knol ten Bensel    

Lexus lifts a veil of its BEV Sport Concept car: formidable!

Lexus has released a gallery of new pictures and animations of its possible next-generation BEV Sport, Sedan and SUV concepts. The models were first revealed on December 14, 2021, in the corporate battery electric vehicle (BEV) announcement made by Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President and Lexus Brand Holder. The new Sedan, Sport and SUV concepts are proposed to be part of a full line-up of BEVs Lexus recently unveiled under the collective vision known as “Lexus Electrified.”

We show you here already some photos of the absolutely stunning all electric sports car…

It has bold proportions and low ride height, and of course all the sophisticated aerodynamics typical for a high-performance sports car.

According to Lexus, the Lexus BEV Sport concept symbolizes the future of the luxury brand, while also reviving the spirit of the iconic Lexus LFA.

The performance is nothing short of sensational. What to think of acceleration from 0-60 mph in the low two-seconds bracket, with at the same time a cruising distance which could exceed 430 miles, thanks to the possible use of solid-state batteries.

More news to come, also on the BEV Sedan an SUV Concept cars, but just admire already the breathtaking shape of this BEV Sport “Bolide”…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Alfa Romeo presents Tonale, bringing a metamorphosis of the brand…

Alfa Romeo presented on February 8th its Tonale, the model that marks the Brand’s metamorphosis. Of course Alfa remains true to its DNA of noble Italian sportsmanship since 1910, but the Tonale a radical evolution is taking place at Alfa Romeo. It enters a new era of connectivity and electrification.

We bring you here in this first report the main points, of course, more will follow when we see the car ‘in the flesh’ at further presentations.

The Tonale breathes unique Italian design, being extraordinarily faithful to the concept model which you see here on the photo above, which we could admire feel and touch at the Centro Stile.

The car embodies state-of-the-art technology, Alfa says, with software and electrification systems enhancing the Brand’s DNA. With the launch of this car, Alfa also deploys a universe of innovative, customer-focused services. See more below…

The Tonale has a clear mission: reinventing sportiness for the 21st century. The name marks the evolutionary continuity with Stelvio, a fascinating new road that leads to a new destination: the future.

The car is made in Italy, at the revamped “Giambattista Vico” plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, according to Alfa one of the most advanced production plants in the automotive world, where a dedicated assembly line has been built with cutting-edge technology and high levels of automation.

The technology in the Tonale is aimed at enhancing the unique Alfa driving experience, but not only that: it also wants to bring the customer experience at another level and sets steps to protecting its residual value.

Indeed, in a a world exclusive, Tonale is the first car on the market equipped with a NFT (non-fungible token) digital certificate. Based on blockchain technology and uniquely linked, the Tonale NFT certifies the car upon purchase, then evolves to represent its use during the car’s life cycle, with major benefits in terms of protecting its residual value. With the customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used as a guarantee that the car has been properly maintained, with a positive impact on its residual value. On the pre-owned car market, NFT certification represents an additional source of credibility for owners or dealers to count on. In the meantime, buyers will be reassured in their choice of car.

The Tonale also sports an all-new infotainment system. Totaling 22.5”, the two large Full TFT screens are installed.

The world of Amazon in your Alfa…

The infotainment system is designed to offer Over-the-Air updates and integration with Amazon Alexa.

There is a complete integration with Amazon: courtesy of the “Secure Delivery Service”, you can choose the Tonale as the place to deliver the packages you are expecting, by unlocking the doors and letting the courier leave them inside the car, all completely safely.

You can also receive constant updates on vehicle status from the comfort of your home, find out the level of charge and/or fuel, search for points of interest, find your car’s latest location, send remote locking and unlocking commands, and much more. “Alexa” can also be used to ask to add products to your shopping list, to search for a restaurant nearby or to adjust lights or heating connected to your home automation system, all while remaining focused on the road.  

The technology is also focusing on safety, with level 2 ADAS systems.

Cabin comfort is of course not neglected. Alfa tells us that the cabin environment is designed for and around the occupants, with meticulous attention to detail, paired with a constant quest for the highest quality.

Two levels of electrification – Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Q4, developed by Alfa Romeo.

State-of-the-art electrification: this electrification serves the Brand and its DNA, with the mission of reinventing sportiness for the 21st century, Alfa announces.

The Tonale debuts the 160-hp Hybrid VGT (Variable-Geometry Turbo) engine, an exclusive for Alfa Romeo. Its variable-geometry turbocharger paired with 7-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch transmission and the 48-volt 15-kW, 55-Nm “P2” electric motor makes it possible for the 1.5-liter gasoline engine to propel the wheels even when the internal combustion engine is turned off.

Alfa Romeo has opted for this technical solution to offer an authentic electrified experience. The transmission enables startup and travel in electric mode at low speeds and when parking and cruising. At launch, the 130-hp Hybrid version is also available, again paired with 7-speed Alfa Romeo TCT and 48-volt “P2” electric motor.

The 275-hp Plug-in Hybrid Q4 version with all-wheel drive is has an expected range in electric mode of up to 80 km in the city cycle. It is the most powerful and efficient version in the line-up.

To complete the engine range, there is also a new 1.6-liter, 130-hp diesel engine with 320 Nm of torque, paired with 6-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

Customers at the center of the Alfa Romeo universe…

With Tonale, Alfa Romeo launches a series of new services, which redefine the customer experience and will cover the brand’s entire line-up.

A digital experience:  the customer purchase experience can take place online from the comfort of home, in three simple steps, by accessing an interface identical to the one used in dealerships.

Extended warranty: Efforts to improve the quality of the end product have resulted in the availability of an innovative Alfa Romeo extended warranty, lengthening the protection of the vehicle’s main components to 5 years. The warranty for the batteries in the hybrid Tonale versions has also been extended to 8 years or 150,000 km traveled, becoming the best offer in the segment.

Alfa Romeo Certified is the dedicated to customers in the pre-owned car market. The aim is to ensure a shopping experience that is identical to that of buying a new vehicle. The main features of the service are as follows:

Warranty coverage equivalent to that of a new car.

 “Satisfaction or your money back”, within 10 days or 1,000 km

No maintenance costs, for 15,000 km or 1 year

120 vehicle checks

Customized after-sales and financing services

Test drive

24/7 roadside assistance in Europe during the warranty period

Finally, Alfa Romeo Videocheck is the service dedicated to after-sales, created in consideration of the special relationship its customers have with their car. One sole aim: service quality and transparency for customers. When at a workshop, if a car is found to need more work than agreed with the customer, the technicians will be required to follow a procedure via mobile app to certify the work, with a video to accompany the related repair costs. The customer will then be free to partially or fully accept or reject the new quote.

Driving dynamics…

Rather impeccable, according to Alfa. It has the best weight distribution and the most direct steering in its segment (13.6), and the fact it is the only model in its class to be equipped with the Integrated Brake System (IBS). The adoption of fixed calipers by Brembo, with 4 pistons and self-ventilated discs at the front and full discs at the rear, contributes to the improved braking performance.

The Tonale opts for the fully independent MacPherson suspension system, with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers. The new Tonale offers two drive solutions: Q4 all-wheel drive in the Plug-in Hybrid e-Q4 version, and front-wheel drive in the Hybrid and diesel versions. The latter are also equipped with Alfa Romeo electronic self-locking differential. The specifications are completed with a “Dual Stage Valve” active suspension with electronically controlled damping.

New line-up strategy

The Alfa Romeo Tonale introduces a new line-up strategy.

Two trim levels are available – Super and Ti, both with clearly defined specifications. The Super trim can be customized with the Sprint pack, which includes numerous options with a strong sporty connotation. Alternatively, the Ti trim can be added to with the Veloce pack, to reach the peak in terms of performance and sportiness.

More Alfa news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Renault unveils 3D sketching: a digital touch to every drawing

It all happens at Renault’s technocentre at Guyancourt3D sketching brings a revolution…

As some readers may know, your servant makes daily ink drawings of flowers on his Instagram account hanskrisjanknol and is an artist painter who has exhibited twice this year. Anything that has to do with drawing, painting or figurative art in general therefore has his keen interest. Needless to say that the drawing and sketching of car designers and stylists also take centre stage… so when Renault brings a news story about the status of 3D sketching in today’s electronic world, I have to share it with you, dear reader… just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

All one needs to do 3D sketching is a VR headset, two controllers, and an internet connection

As is the case with film, video games, and landscape mapping, the past few decades has seen the automotive industry incorporate more technological advancements in 3D modelling to bring its projects to life. Nowadays, before a car can be sent to the production line, it must first be born in a 3D world. This mission is entrusted to designers, whose set of digital tools is constantly growing. One such tool involves 3D sketching – revolutionary technology that allows designers to draw with neither pencil nor drawing board. Welcome to the future!

It all happens at Renault’s technocentre at Guyancourt. A man, decked with a VR headset and a controller in each hand, stands in the middle of a room gesticulating wildly. He appears to be drawing invisible lines in the air around him. A curious scene that is clearly reminiscent of the world of virtual reality gaming. And yet, Udo – that’s the man’s name – is not a gamer… he is a designer! And he is hard at work. His latest gadget? A program for 3D sketching; a drawing method currently being rolled out at Renault Group’s Design division.

With 3D sketching, you are immersed in a space where there are neither constraints and limits. Udo, Chief Designer

What does 3D sketching involve?

3D sketching is a form of intuitive technology that enables you to ‘draw in thin air’ all around you.

Draw in thin air? Pablo Picasso was already carrying out such experiments in 1949. The famous Spanish artist replaced pencil with cigarette lighter to perform his ‘dancing light’ pieces. These ephemeral drawings were immortalised by photographer Gjon Mili, and the technique was known as light painting (or light drawing). It was an art form that, even back then, saw ideas come to life out of thin air.

Today, 3D sketching is much the same idea, though minus the lighter and camera. The technique requires the use of a VR headset (virtual reality headset). Invented 50 years ago, it became more widespread about ten years ago, with consumer models for video game use hitting the market.

With the headset firmly on and plugged in, the designer is immersed in an entirely virtual 360° drawing studio. Using two controllers (one in each hand), they can then choose colours from a palette, draw lines, create shapes, fill surfaces, and much more. A computer program models and records each and every movement.

All one needs to do 3D sketching is a VR headset, two controllers, and an internet connection

Digital creative freedom that is almost limitless

Near the end of the 1990s, the work of designers had already been through a first transformation with the popularisation of drawing on digital tablets. Today, 3D sketching takes it a step further where designers no longer need a tablet, pencil, mouse, or even a desktop to work. Design is entering a new era: one where digital tools sit at the heart of automotive design.

Renault Group has been harnessing digital tools for some time. Today marks the beginning of a new era for designers.

As the technology continues to improve, digitalisation gives designers a considerable amount of freedom tenfold and makes their projects even more accessible. It has never been easier to quickly whip up a 3D sketch, create perspective, model shapes – even on a 1:1 scale – or fill volumes. “It saves time,” says Udo. “It takes at least four weeks to run a scan or data file through a machine, while everything here is in real time. That’s a huge advantage.” In short, 3D sketching makes it far easier to experiment with new ideas as they are so readily brought to life.

Only drawbacks: eye strain, headaches, and other back and joint pain experienced by some designers after prolonged use. “Drawing in 360° means you have to be in good shape and take breaks every hour,” says Udo.

Engineers are already thinking about ways to make the experience more enjoyable and less restrictive. This includes making the headset lighter. For example, mixed reality headsets are being developed, so designers can draw in VR while still being able to see what is happening around them and interact with colleagues.

Collaboration 2.0: distances are no object anymore…

3D sketching adds another string to the designer’s bow: colleagues can now work together at the same time, on the same project, regardless of the distance between them.

“As long as you have an Internet connection, geographical limitations are a thing of the past. You can feel like you’re together even if you’re actually thousands of miles apart,” says Udo. Two designers can communicate with each other via the 3D sketching tool using earphones and a built-in microphone in the VR headset. They can then talk, share what they have each been doing on their own and even work together on joint projects. All without having to leave their home, offices, or wherever they may be in the world.

The outcome being that possibilities are endless, and people misunderstand each other far less often.

Thanks to VR that acts as a gateway to a world of 3D, we can express ourselves more precisely.

But that’s not all: the workflow has also been improved. First, models are made using 3D sketching before being exported as a digital file. The files can then be used by all those who are part of a vehicle’s design and production line. For example, designers can hand over a digital copy of their work to a modeler who makes a physical mock-up of the design or to an engineer who will estimate its feasibility. Much like digital modelling, 3D sketching removes obstacles that may arise from miscommunication and gradually breaks down barriers between professions.

The augmented designer’s new pencil

For some time now, digital drawing has offered those at the Design Department the power to produce more iterations of their work, to work faster, and to go further, right from the outset. This trend has been taken up a notch thanks to 3D sketching. In addition to reducing costs and manufacturing times, this new technology makes it easier to view and review working sketches.

In concrete terms, designers can now hone in on specific details of their drawing with greater precision, experiment with different surface types, work with mirroring tools to stretch a 2D shape into 3D object, attain a better finish on sketches and models, present projects in real time, and even give life to their drawings thanks to the compatible nature of 3D printers.

Modern designers harness the numerous advantages of such technology, along with new skills and a wide range of tools to express their ideas and thus evolve into augmented designers.

We will always need physical mock-ups of working designs because customers want to buy a real product, something they can touch and feel.

According to Udo, “While 3D sketching is yet another tool to be used, traditional methods still have a role to play.” Digital and physical techniques go hand in hand. They each play their part in the car making process. Modelers continue to use plasticine to make models. An ideal material to use when working on the silhouette of a new model, they are essential in determining the success a design during the final stages of the design process. Similarly, 3D sketching is not a substitute for the designer’s talent when it comes to drawing, a cornerstone of the design process.

3D sketching is already a crowd favorite in other industries

Renault Group designers aren’t the only ones to work with the new technology. Already used in many design schools, it is now used by designers working on motorcycles, sports shoes, bicycle helmets, and backpacks. It is fair to say that in the future it will be a key to the success of numerous projects in fields as varied as fashion, interior design, medicine, architecture, and video games…

Brave new world!

Stay tuned for more Renault news: next week I will be testing the Arkana E-TECH Hybrid…

Hans Knol ten Bensel  

Citroën exhibits its vision of mobility at the CES…   

At the heart of the Stellantis experience at the 2022 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which had opened its doors from 5 to 8 January, Citroën shared its vision of current and future mobility with an original innovation, the Citroën Skate and of course, its mind-blowing Citroën Ami.

 Citroën exhibited its “Skate”, an essential part of its concept of autonomous and shared mobility, Citroën Autonomous Mobility Vision.

The concept combines an autonomous technology platform, Citroën Skate, with pods purposed for a range of services and uses designed by partners (local authorities, service companies). The “Skates” will transport users from one point to another in the city, offering them a singular on-board experience”e.

The aim of this autonomous open-source concept is to free up urban traffic and bring users an original experience that takes care of all their needs.

To optimise urban traffic flows, a fleet of autonomous and interconnected robots, “Citroën Skates”, dissociated from the pods that they transport, will circulate in special lanes seamlessly integrated into the urban landscape. The Skates are mobility vectors which enable the pods, created by various service companies, to position themselves on their platform.

Users enjoy 24-7 access to the service of their choice. For example, they can benefit from a relaxed environment to read a book, watch a video, listen to music while sipping a drink, or practice sports while travelling from A to B.

Of course, focusing on the present, the Citroën Ami was also in the spotlight in its playful and sporty My Ami “Pop” version. Accessible, electric, ultra-compact and agile, Ami responds to new micro-mobility needs, rounding out our range of electric vehicles for individuals and professionals alike.

More interesting Citroën news soon, stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

VISION EQXX – taking electric range and efficiency to another level…

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX, exterior

Range and efficiency are set to define the electric era. Outstanding range will make electric cars suitable for every journey and will also speed up the adoption by the public. Exceptional efficiency will create a virtuous circle of battery size and weight reduction, allowing Mercedes to go further with less. Indeed, the men (and women) at Mercedes-Benz are determined to lead the way.

The brand with the star is already leading the charts of real-world range with the EQS with 245 kW (electrical consumption WLTP combined: 19.8-15.7 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)[1], as evidenced by the recent Edmunds test where an EQS 450+ travelled 422 miles on one charge, 77 miles further than any other car previously tested.

But Mercedes-Benz is not resting. Driven by the idea of zero impact on our planet and a highly responsible use of green energy, the engineers are working intensively to take range and efficiency to a whole new level. The VISION EQXX is the result of a mission to break through technological barriers across the board and to lift energy efficiency to new heights. It demonstrates the gains that are possible through rethinking the fundamentals from the ground up. This includes advances across all elements of its cutting-edge electric drivetrain as well as the use of lightweight engineering and sustainable materials. Complete with a barrage of innovative and intelligent efficiency measures, including advanced software, VISION EQXX allows to explore new frontiers of efficiency.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX, exterior

Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG commented:  “The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars. Just one-and-a-half years ago, we started this project leading to the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built – with an outstanding energy consumption of less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometres. It has a range of more than 1,000 kilometres on a single charge using a battery that would fit even into a compact vehicle. The VISION EQXX is an advanced car in so many dimensions – and it even looks stunning and futuristic. With that, it underlines where our entire company is headed: We will build the world’s most desirable electric cars.”

VISION EQXX – The EV road trip reimagined by Mercedes with a new technology blueprint for series production

There’s a reason why road trips have been a cultural touchstone for at least 70 years, telling stories from the highway in books, movies and music.

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX, interior

The journey to electric mobility is a road trip; as exhilarating as it is challenging, as unknown as it is certain. The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is a vehicle designed for that road trip. It answers the progressive demands of a modern generation of customers for and emotionality through innovation. Part of a far-reaching technology programme, this software-defined research prototype was engineered by women and men with the creativity, ingenuity and determination to deliver one of the planet’s most efficient cars – in every respect. They did so using the latest digital technology, the agility of a start-up and the speed of Formula 1.

The result is an efficiency masterpiece that, based on internal digital simulations in real-life traffic conditions, will be capable of exceeding 1,000 kilometres on a single charge with an outstanding energy consumption of less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometres (efficiency of more than 6 miles per kWh).

Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX, interior

By ripping up the automotive engineering rule book, Mercedes-Benz has built a software-driven electric car that re-imagines the road trip for the electric era. At the same time, it presents a highly progressive interpretation of the fundamental Mercedes-Benz principles of modern luxury and Sensual Purity. Rather than simply increasing the size of the battery, the cross-functional, international team focused on maximising long-distance efficiency. They pulled out all the stops in drivetrain efficiency, energy density, aerodynamics and lightweight design.

“The technology programme behind the VISION EQXX will define and enable future Mercedes-Benz models and features,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes‑Benz AG, Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Procurement. “As a halo car, the VISION EQXX firmly establishes Mercedes-Benz as the brand that pairs luxury with technology in the automotive world and beyond. And the way we developed it is as revolutionary as the vehicle itself. VISION EQXX has seen the best minds from our R&D centres work together with engineers from our Formula 1 and Formula E programmes. They are proving that innovations from motorsport – where powertrains are already highly electrified – have immediate relevance for road car development. We are challenging current development processes with innovative spirit and outside-the-box thinking. This truly is the way forward.”

The VISION EQXX is how Mercedes-Benz imagines the future of electric cars.

The VISION EQXX offers meaningful answers to pressing issues. For instance, sustainable materials throughout cut the carbon footprint considerably. Its UI/UX features a radical new one-piece display that comes to life with responsive real-time graphics and spans the entire width of the vehicle. Other elements of the UI/UX help the car and driver work together as one, and even use technology that mimics the workings of the human brain. And the software-led development process that delivered it revolutionises the way electric cars are designed.

This car is one outcome of an ongoing programme that is delivering a blueprint for the future of automotive engineering. Many of its features and developments are already being integrated into production, including the next generation of the MMA – the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture for compact and medium-sized cars.

We will come back soon more in detail about this outstanding EQXX…just show you some photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The “City” My Ami goes off the beaten track… in style!

It had to happen: the cute Citroën My Ami city car was due to convert itself in a robust, go-anywhere champion for the outdoor-loving crowd, and here it is… as a concept car.

“This concept expresses without reservation the style of Citroën and draws its inspiration from non-automotive worlds such as building games, industrial design and fashion. The My Ami Buggy Concept” says Citroën, “it has an unbridled style, but remains fully rooted in real life, being at once playful and functional, aesthetic and ergonomic, but also eminently practical and ecological.”

We just cite here its designer, Samuel Pericles:

“The My Ami Buggy Concept is a proposal in line with the philosophy of Ami that is not a car. That is why we have sought inspiration from the world of building games for the playful and functional, industrial design for ergonomics and aesthetics which include everyday objects (furniture, lighting, etc.), fashion accessories (sneakers, sports equipment, glasses, etc.), for example, the camera and smartphone holders with their simple, extruded shapes are inspired by the work of designers who in the second half of the last century created essential and timeless utensils. My Ami Buggy Concept is minimalist, functional, simple, in the purest spirit of iconic contemporary industrial objects.”

My Ami Buggy is indeed a mischievous concept car that every kid from 14 to 77 might want to put on their Santa wish list… more details about this concept car here, and some photos.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Cute robustness…

Standing firmly on its large notched wheels, the My Ami Buggy has a distinctly adventurous character, which is emphasized at the front and rear by its bull bars, headlamp shrouds and grilles, bumper panels and front panels with the chevrons in the middle.

On the sides, reworked fender flares and tubular protectors on the undersides of the doors give the car a more muscular appearance. On the roof, the roof rack and spare wheel reinforce the adventurous spirit of the concept. All these decorations are in a single black color, which is dyed directly into the mass.

The LED light bar on the front of the roof adds to the sense of adventure when driving at night or in fog. Once the vehicle is stationary, everything is set up for a “campfire atmosphere” thanks to the light diffused by this bar and the sound of its playlist, distilled through the nomadic loudspeaker.

The doors have been removed and replaced with clear watertight covers that can be pulled up in bad weather, a reference to the Mehari. These use sliding latches to close off the cab with a high opening reminiscent of the glass doors of classic vehicles. The practical covers can be removed, rolled up and stored in the backs of the chairs in special covers.

My Ami Buggy Concept is available in a total of three colors: black, khaki and yellow. The black, inspired by camping equipment, enhances the functional and robust character of the vehicle. The different shades of black – anodized black on the wheel arches and roof, textured speckled black for a hammered effect at the rear – match with the anodized khaki and lemon yellow, giving the vehicle a bold look with careful detailing.

My Ami Buggy Concept comes in a two-tone color scheme: Anodized Khaki at the front and Speckled Black at the rear, a play of symmetry that also aims to clearly distinguish the front from the rear of the vehicle.

The color anodized khaki is a nod to nature, because black, synonymous with strength and modernity, catches the light and dramatizes the colors with which it is associated. The choice of black was also motivated by the desire to use a dark, less messy color.

Many key elements of My Ami Buggy Concept are accentuated by a speck of Citric Yellow, such as the seats, the charging cable, the graphics capsule on the doors, all luggage and many accessories. This acidic color also indicates that the articles marked in this way are functional.

It’s all in the details…

The chevron theme, a key Citroën styling feature, is repeated with the same graphic elements on various exterior and interior elements to create a rhythm reminiscent of the Traction’s grille, the center console of the 19_19 concept car, the front roof panels of the Ami One Concept and the design of the Ami’s storage compartments. On the My Ami Buggy Concept they can be seen on the outside of the wheel covers, fascia’s, hood, side skid plates, light rail brackets, underside of bumper and rear of mirrors; and inside on the accessory brackets, storage bins and dashboard.

The word ‘Pilot’ can be seen on the roof on the driver’s side and ‘Copilot’ on the passenger’s side, and in a similar nod to motorsport, the number 01 is engraved on the driver’s seat and 02 on the passenger’s seat to indicate the location of each. Cool!

Yellow arrow stickers under the nose cone indicate the direction of the wind, a reference to aviation. This type of decoration can be found on the wheel arches.

A “+” badge appears on the driver’s side mirror, referring to the electric motor and battery terminals, just like in the parking spaces reserved for electric vehicles.

Originality also continued in the cabin…

The interior design of My Ami Buggy Concept has been meticulously (re)worked on in three areas: the seats, the storage space and the luggage.

The My Ami Buggy Concept has new Advanced Comfort® seat cushions with an increase in foam thickness from 35mm on the “City” Ami to 70mm. The combination of memory foam and seat cushions makes them both light and soft. They are easy to remove from the shell, interchangeable and washable. Their construction, consisting of two shells mounted one above the other, is inspired by the design of a buoy, thus establishing a link with the world of beach accessories.

The storage units are smart and mobile. Each has its own function in the cabin, but can also be taken outside for a picnic or outing.

The storage compartments on the dashboard, accessories already available on My Ami, have been redesigned especially for My Ami Buggy Concept. A matte gold metal gallery is attached above the bins to prevent objects from sliding.

A specific luggage line has also been created, with each piece in harmony with the interior spaces of the vehicle. Storage space is also built into the doors at seat height.

It can hold all kinds of items or a large detachable bag, which is custom and can be opened from the inside. It works like a bag. A nice push button is used to unlock the doors, which, like the Ami, always open in the opposite direction.

The charging cable is attached to the passenger door frame by means of a handle-like element that makes it easier to hold and operate.

Functional, well-designed accessories…

The accessories of My Ami Buggy Concept are not just a mere exercise in style. They had to be also truly functional. The designers adopted the mindset of a leisure enthusiast and came up with functional items to make a trip on board of the My Ami Buggy Concept are both fun and practical.

The design of the interior components was self-explaining to make their use very intuitive. For example, the turning wheel used to hold or adjust objects is used several times, in a spirit of homogeneity. The design instinctively suggests its operation. The fastening mechanisms of many accessories are designed according to the same model and are arranged transversely, so that they can be detached and placed in different places in the passenger compartment, as a mounting kit.

This is for example the case with the support for attaching a camera or camera, a must for capturing and sharing the highlights of a journey or the landscapes you pass… Equipped with a universal screw suitable for all types cameras, it can be retracted thanks to the release button integrated into the part and can thus be placed on the four anchor points located on the vertical moldings of the driver and passenger doors. A touch of genius!

The exterior mirrors can be adjusted by means of the ball joint integrated in the mounting device and can be mounted in the places provided in the door pillars. They are also removable.

The cup or bottle holder can be placed on the dashboard or on the holder instead of the My Ami bag holder.

The smartphone clamp developed for My Ami, located on the right side of the driver’s seat, transforms in the My Ami Buggy Concept into a support in the form of a cylinder with a clamping wheel at the right end of the object to hold the device. The tube can be engraved with the owner’s name and surname, a must for some.

A new conical bracket has been designed to fit the mobile speaker into the rounded shape of the dashboard behind the steering wheel.

Thanks to 3D printing, the step from idea to reality is made quickly. Each of these accessories has been the subject of an original design, as they are 3D printed and can therefore be reproduced at will.

The My Ami Buggy Concept, is for the moment a style study that you might want to put on your Christmas list. It illustrates one of the many faces that Ami could take on, the atypical mobility object developed by Citroën, ready to explore new areas. A runabout that I would love to have in my holiday home, but then, could it be sitting there for several (winter) months without using it? Would the batteries endure this? Hmmmm, wait and see…

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Toyota goes forward with full global battery electric line-up…with Lexus following suit!

Toyota now takes the BEV market very seriously: Akio Toyoda, President of the Toyota Motor Corporation, seen on the photo above, today presented news concerning the company’s carbon neutrality strategy, by outlining its plans to offer 30 battery electric models by 2030 (Toyota & Lexus combined).

The company expects total global battery electric vehicle sales to reach 3.5M by 2030, and this announcement underpins the plan of for a 100% CO2 reduction in all new vehicles sales by 2035 in Western Europe.

Toyota’s bZ (beyond Zero) battery electric family in Europe is also soon to expand with introduction of a compact SUV as follow up to bZ4X launch. Not less than three battery electric ‘Toyota bZ’ vehicles are planned for Europe by 2025.

Toyota will further increase its investment in batteries from the 1.5 trillion yen – which was announced in September – to 2 trillion yen (15 billion euros).

The Lexus electrified sport will have formidable performance and range…

Now let’s turn the spotlight on Lexus:

Lexus aims for 100% battery electric mix in Europe, North America and China by 2030

The full name of the new Lexus BEV (that will be launched towards the end of 2022) was revealed: the Lexus RZ450e. See the photo here below…

The Lexus Electrified Sport (Sports BEV) concept was also shown: it offers impressive Lexus driving performance, with an acceleration time that will be in the low 2 second range and a cruising range over 700km.

There were also two other future concepts were shown: the Lexus Electrified Sedan (BEV Sedan), and Lexus Electrified SUV (SUV BEV). We show you the photos here.

The Lexus electrified sedan…

More interesting Toyota/Lexus news to come. Faithful readers know that we are the a satisfied owner of a midnight blue Lexus CT 200h, which proves to be not only frugal with an average consumption this year of 4,7 liter/100 km, but also utterly reliable and recently passed the yearly technical inspection with flying colours. A report will follow soon. Stay tuned!

The Lexus electrified SUV…

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