With INCIT-EV, Renault takes bold steps to test out charging solutions in Europe…

2019 – Porto Santo ecosystem – a bold experiment of insular bi-directional charging already launched by Renault

Together with major industry partners and the help of the European commission through their Horizon 2020 project, Renault takes the (electric) bull by the horns. We all are well aware of the problem: charging infrastructure is still cruelly lacking in many European countries.

The project is called INCIT-EV, and Renault is coordinating it. It aims to encourage the development of electromobility in Europe through field experiments.

7 innovative charging technologies for electric vehicles will be tested in chosen locations in Europe, just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

2019 – Porto Santo ecosystem another project by Renault

The project is worked out in collaboration with 32 partners in Europe. Spanning the 48 months from January 2020 through December 2023, the INCIT-EV project will be broken down into two primary phases:

·Phase 1 will first involve analysing user needs and requirements, followed in April 2020 by an assessment of charging technologies and their integration into infrastructures.

·Phase 2 will focus on 7 tech demonstrations on selected sites and will run from the second half of 2022 to the end of the project. These 7 demonstrations are:

– A dynamic induction charging system for the urban environment in Paris, France;

– High voltage charging systems in the outskirts of Tallinn, Estonia;

– Optimised bidirectional “smart charging” in Amsterdam and Utrecht, the Netherlands;

– A dynamic induction charging system in peri-urban/long-range areas in Versailles, France;

– A charging hub in a car park for car-share vehicles in the outskirts of Turin, Italy;

– Low power bidirectional charging (for two-wheeled vehicles also) and static wireless charging in taxi lanes located at the airport and central station in Zaragoza, Spain.

2019 – Porto Santo ecosystem

 ·

A pan-european project brought to life by the Renault Group…

To address the needs to test the charging technologies in real-life conditions – such as the Contactless Dynamic Charging technology – and to structure the whole ecosystem, Groupe Renault took the European Commission’s call for new projects as an opportunity to create a consortium. In the capacity of coordinator, Groupe Renault serves as intermediary between the European Commission and the consortium partners, and oversees the technical development, budgeting, and scheduling.

Not less than thirty-two leading industrial companies, universities, institutes, cities, start-ups, and SMEs positively answered the call put out by Renault, with the shared desire to promote electric mobility in Europe by carrying out electric car’s user-centric experiments.

Groupe Renault experiments already on alrge scale with bi-directional charging, here in the Netherlands…

These 33 members of the consortium are based in Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and Turkey.

Needless to say that we will follow up closely on this initiative, as an electric powered car is only so useful as it can be practical in daily (commercial) life.

Having said this, we will in these columns also concentrate in the future more on the professional mobility, i.e. LCV’s and all purpose pick-ups and offroads, a segment which has become eminently important in Europe. We wrote in these columns already about the electric Fiat Ducato for instance and the people behind it. We will soon look more closely at the state of electrification of LCV’s and what it holds for the (near) future.

Stay (E)tuned…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

2020 Brussels show report: BMW electrifies the future…

The BMW Vision INEXT was to be seen in Brussels…

The Brussels motor show is always a unique event. Last but not least because this is a true buyers’ show, to be taken in the literary sense: about 30 % of the annual car sales in our country is done on the grounds of the Motor Show!

“Our” show is also unique because all the brands are present here in Brussels. First of all because no car manufacturer wants to miss the sales opportunity, but also because the Brussels show is also an ideal “test” market, it allows brands to assess what global (European) market share they can achieve overall and for their respective models individually, judging by their penetration in the Belgian market, where no national brands can distort the situation in our market place.

We took a walk through some of the stands, and here follows our report, where we focus on the brands we did not yet discuss already in our show preview, starting here with BMW.   

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BMW and MINI unveiled two world premieres with respectively the BMW plug in hybrid versions for the X1 and the X2 models, the BMW X1 xDrive25e and the new BMW X2 xDrive25e. BMW is pushing its electrification very hard forward, and on the accompanying photo you can see the table they displayed at the show, showing the further steps they are taking towards an electrified future. An  electric drive and a lithium-ion battery enable an electrically powered range of up to 57 kilometres in the two new plug-in hybrid models. In the near future, four BMW X models with plug-in hybrid drive will be available. BMW intends to have more than one million vehicles with electrified drive on the road by the end of 2021.

The plug-in hybrid system of the new BMW X1 xDrive 25e and the new BMW X2 xDrive25e consists of a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology and an electric drive specially developed for this model. It is taken from the eDrive technology modular system of the BMW Group. The petrol engine mobilizes a peak output of 92 kW/125 hp and a maximum torque of 220 Newton meters. It transfers its power to a 6-speed Steptronic transmission and drives the front wheels.

The electric motor generates an output of 70 kW/95 hp and delivers 165 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. This makes for a hybrid specific all-wheel drive…Together the combustion engine and electric motor produce a system output of 162 kW/220 hp. The maximum system torque of both drive units is 385 Nm. The new BMW X1 xDrive25e accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. The new BMW X2 xDrive25e does the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 6.8 seconds. The top speed of the new BMW X1 xDrive25e is 193 km/h. Maximum speed of the new BMW X2 xDrive25e is 195 km/h.

The MINI crowd was also spoiled with a world first of a Sidewalk Edition of the MINI convertible. The MINI is already cute, desirable and truly iconic, and a cabrio version adds to all the pleasure a MINI can offer its driver and occupants. Variants of the exterior paintwork, soft top design, rim styling and interior fittings are developed especially for the edition model. The version of the fully automatic textile soft top, specially designed for the edition model, can be opened or closed electrically and almost silently in 18 seconds. It features an artistically woven-in arrow graphic in the particularly high-quality finish typical of MINI Yours. The 17 inch light-alloy Scissor Spoke 2-tone wheels of the new MINI Convertible Sidewalk are also a model-specific design feature. There are also the side indicator bezels, known as side scuttles, which bear the “Sidewalk” model designation.

Presenting the MINI John Cooper Works GP and the M8 Gran Coupé

Three engine versions are available, The new MINI One Convertible Sidewalk develops 75 kW/102 hp from the 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine. The new MINI Cooper Convertible Sidewalk is also powered by a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder engine which produces 100 kW/136 hp. The 141 kW/192 hp 4-cylinder engine of the new MINI Cooper S Convertible Sidewalk provides the sportiest fresh air experience.

European premieres for BMW and MINI

There were also European firsts in Brussels, like the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, interesting as it is beautiful, and we are certainly keen to drive one soon to tell you more about it. The same goes for the BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe. It has a 200 mm longer wheelbase makes extra room for the rear passengers.

Furthermore there is the insipring MINI John Cooper Works GP, with a 4 cylinder 306 HP engine, catapulting this Mini from 0 to 100 km in merely 5,2 seconds. It is produced in Oxford in 3000 units, and is on sale from March 2020.

Things to come: The Vision INEXT dashboard…

The BMW BMW X5 M and X6 M have their Belgian premières, the 4,4 litre V8 is good for 625 hp and this formidable engine makes these cars sprint form 0 to 100 in merely 3,8 seconds. Last but not least there is the Belgian first of the MINI electric, or the 3-door MINI Cooper SE.

On the stand, we stood also eye to eye with the BMW Vision iNEXT, the optical highlight of the exhibition stand, which also showcases the interior design principle “My Favorite Space” with harmonious, natural surfaces and technology that is kept discreetly out of sight.

Just look at the photos here… which answers the question: “What will cars look like when they no longer have to be driven by a person, but still can be?” The interior can be a place for relaxation, interaction, entertainment, or concentration, as preferred. It is more like a comfortable and fashionably furnished “living space” on wheels – a new “Favorite Space”. A new design principle, referred to as “Shy Tech”, plays an especially important part in this.

To preserve the high-end, yet cozy character of the rear compartment, and place its occupants center-stage, the intelligent technology behind the operating controls is integrated out of sight. It only becomes visible and operable when required by the driver or passengers…

Soon more about other brands and novelties we saw on the Brussels show…

Hans Knol ten Bensel    

The Concept Alfa Romeo Tonale is to be seen on the press and gala day of the Brussels Show…

Faithful readers will remember that we stood in the FCA Centro Stile eye to eye with the stunning design concept car, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. For those lucky ones who will be invited to the gala evening and attend the press day on January 9, we have good news : it will be on show on that day in the Hall 7 of the Brussels Salon…

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Indeed, you can admire it for one day in Hall 7 of the Motor Show buildings, and you will see its design language close up. This is rather important, as its shapes will be seen back in the second SUV which will bear the Alfa Romeo badge.

Its expressive design and compact shape bode well for the future styling of Alfa’s, whilst maintaining and even rather enhancing and accentuating further the organic Alfa styling DNA of the past. One only has to look at the formidable 21-inch alloy wheels, which evoke the “telephone dial”, a pure execution of the circular theme of the wheel itself. It was first seen in the 60’s and proudly carried by the Alfa 33 stradale. The wheel design has been further enhanced by special custom-made Pirelli’s…

The lateral profile of the car is reminiscent of the shapes of the Duetto and Disco Volante Spider, and the “Linea GT” profile of the Tonale is a modern day interpretation of the shapes seen on the GT Junior.

The “Trilobo” front end bears proudly the “Scudetto” grille, and the “3 + 3” headlights remember proudly the SZ and the Brera.

The cabin shapes have a distinct thoroughbred touch, and the materials are rich and inviting, with transparent panels in the centre console, and of course the DNA driving mode elector is a prominent element.

The Tonale is named after the Tonale mountain pass, which lies not far from the iconic Stelvio pass, and is equally breathtaking with eternal snow and water falls. Just come to admire it in Brussels…on the 9th of January. If you missed it, there is always a nice consolation for you: you can admire on the following days instead the new Giulia MY 2020…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the new Renault Clio Tce 100: a much awarded bestseller…

Did you know that the Renault Clio has been the bestselling car in its class in Europe since 2013? Deservedly so, we would think. It has style and panache, both inside and out. It sets new standards in its class, the automotive media world says, and we can only agree. It drives, looks and spoils you with advanced tech. Last but not least it introduces Level Two autonomous driver assistance systems to its sector.

Its interior is another highlight, featuring the option of larger 9.3-inch EASY LINK infotainment screen and a ten-inch TFT instrument cluster. We drove the lively and frugal Tce 100 HP version. Just read further…

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Nice to live in…

The cabin and its infotainment is indeed one of the very strong points of this Clio. Its many features give you the distinct feel and impression you are sitting at the wheel of an upmarket car. The large central screen is a breeze and joy to use, and it spoils you if you want with the new EASY LINK multimedia platform featuring Android AutoTM, Apple CarPlayTM and 4G connectivity.

In our test car we were also spoiled with park assist, regulated air conditioning, keyless entry, reversing camera with 360 ° view, just to name a few.

The used materials on panels and seat upholstery have also definitely a premium look and feel to it. But that is not all. The seats are also comfortable, and there is enough room for four.

All the commands are intuitive, also last but not least thanks to the central touch screen with a myriad of functions effortlessly at your fingertips.

and to drive

Driving is (again) believing, and also here the Clio truly scores. Setting up a comfortable suspension and marrying it with excellent handling and road manners is not something you have to learn a French car builder. Indeed, here the Clio masterfully excels.

It irons out all the nasty bumps and potholes, still gives you excellent feedback through the steering wheel of the road, and handles smoothly and with precision. The steering has been made more responsive thanks to a reduction in ratio from 15.2 to 14.4, while the electrical assistance has been calibrated to provide more natural feedback.

There’s also a more solid and stable mounting of the front suspension that helps boost steering accuracy. Here is a true compact Gran Turismo which is build to whisk you over hundreds of kilometres or miles in comfort…

Mind you, this Clio is the first Renault to be built on CMF-B platform, and so you are literally driving the future, we can say. Did you know that all versions get features such as Active Emergency Braking System with pedestrian detection, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning?

Driving at night is also a breeze, as LED headlamps standard across the range.

Smooth petrol power…

The Clio comes with a choice of five powertrains, comprising three petrols and one diesel, with, as we told you already in these columns, the E-TECH hybrid to come in 2020. We drove the 3-cylinder 1 litre 100 HP version. It is packed with a raft of cutting-edge features, including a turbocharger with an electrically controlled recirculation valve, an exhaust manifold partially integrated into the cylinder head, twin variable intake valve timing and a bore spray coating for reduced friction.

Delivering 100 hp and a muscular 160 Nm of torque at just 2,750rpm, the new-generation engine makes the Clio quite lively, providing an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 11.8 seconds. Top speed is 187 km/h. It’s clean and frugal too. CO2 emissions are just around 100 g/km, and we clocked throughout the test quite often averages of 5,1 l/100 km. Of course, we know that much depends on your driving style, but it is good to know that these averages can be achieved with the standard 5 speed gearbox, which is slick and smooth, by the way.

Practical

There is quite some handy stowage room in the cabin, to a total of 26 litres, and the boot architecture has been optimised to make load area as square and unencumbered by intrusions as possible, while capacity has been increased to 391 litres, making it in top of its class. We also liked the double-height floor.

Conclusion

“The street is always right”, investment managers and bankers say when they comment about financial markets, interest rates and asset prices, and the same we can say about cars. When the international motoring press awards it and the public across Europe makes it a bestseller, then you know that this Clio has what it takes to win over your heart too… We from our part can say that we rarely found a car which was more satisfying and pleasurable to drive and use than this Renault…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Kia is going electric on the Brussels Show

Ceed Sportswagon and XCeed are now also offered as PHEV versions…

Electrification is the name of the game at Kia. In Hall 4 it will show not less than 11 “electrified” cars, ranging from mild hybrid to hybrid and plug in hybrid on to full electric.

In Belgian premieres, we will stand eye to eye with the XCeed PHEV and the Ceed SW PHEV.

Emilio Herrera, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Motors Europe, commented that in the first half of 2019, one in seven of the Kia’s sold in Europe was an electrified model, a trend which is catching up quite fast.

The new drivetrain combines a lithium-polymer battery package of 8,9 kWh, an electric motor of 44,5 kW and an efficient 1,6 litre ‘Kappa’ four cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine. Total system power is 141 HP and 265 Nm, enough to propel the Ceed Sportswagon in 10,8 seconds and the XCeed in 11 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h.

Regenerative braking is provided for, and both cars have the so-called Virtual Engine Sound System, which is actvated in the EV-mode when driving slowly or backwards.

A charge indicator is of course provided in the instrumentation, and one can monitor the energy flow between engine, battery package and electric motor.

Power transmission of the petrol engine is via a 6 speed DCT, and both engines deliver their power parallel to the front wheels. The 8,9 kWh battery package is situated next to the 37 liter fuel tank under the rear seat.

Clever is also the “driver only” heating/ventilation mode, where the vents closest to the driver are opened, and the blower is cancelled. Just to save energy!

We will soon take the Kia XCeed 1,4 T for a test drive, awaiting this interesting PHEV version…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Mercedes EQC 400 4-Matic: your wonderful electric star.

Electrification is amongst us, and the oldest manufacturer in the world has the panache and experience to come up with a truly stunning vehicle. The EQC 400. An impressive Mercedes in every aspect. Aimed at the higher market segments, and rightly so. It creates first of all an upmarket image for fully electric vehicles, and it targets a well to do clientele which has invariably charging points at home and at the office or workplace, making them less dependent on the public charging infrastructure, which is still seen to be (very) deficient in some EU countries.

A prudent strategy adopted also by other premium car manufacturers, like Audi for instance with their e-tron.

After driving a few days – a full battery charge – with this superb car with the star, we can say that this car sets indeed the standards for what electric driving can be… Just read further!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Mercedes EQC 400 4-Matic: your wonderful electric star.”

Audi e-tron goes Sportback…

Indeed, an extra zest of sportiness is added to the already iconic Audi e-tron. The Sportback version looks and is more dynamic, as it offers up to 300 kW of power and a range of up to 446 kilometers (277.1 miles). A new feature, and for the first offered on a in a mass-production vehicle, are its digital matrix LED headlights.

This was also clearly visible at the Los Angeles presentation of this elegant SUV Coupé, where the rakish and elegant contours of the Sportback were lit by an array of LED headlights in the background, and mounted on a robot alongside the car.

Just read on for more details…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The Audi e-tron Sportback looks very good in the typical Audi design language.  The roof drops down steeply to the rear—in typical coupé style— and is flowing into the steeply raked D-pillars. The lower edge of the third side window rises towards the rear—also a typical Sportback feature.

The designers also varied the signature at the broad diffuser, drawing attention to the absence of exhaust tailpipes. A light strip connects the LED lights to one another.

Announcing even more colour…

A total of thirteen paint finishes are available for the all-electric drive SUV coupé, including the new colour plasma blue, metallic, which is exclusive to the e-tron Sportback. The logo on the electric charging flap features the eye-catching high-voltage signal colour orange, which can also be applied to the brake callipers on request.

The S line model emphasizes the sporting DNA of the Audi e-tron Sportback, and is standard equipped with 20-inch wheels and sport air suspension. At the rear end, the spoiler as well as a striking diffuser which extends across the entire vehicle width, contributes to the outstanding vehicle aerodynamics. In contrast to the basic model, the attachments on the S line exterior are painted in the exterior body colour – including the wheel arch trims, door sills, bumpers and exterior mirrors.

For those who want more contrast, Audi also offers the so-called black styling package that accentuates the area of the Singleframe, the side windows, and the bumper. The exterior mirror housings are also available in black as an option.

A drag coefficient of merely 0.25…

In conjunction with the S line exterior and virtual exterior mirrors, the Sportback achieves an drag coefficient value of just 0.25. This is primarily due to the coupé body shape and the associated lower aerodynamic drag behind the car. The high separating edge of the Sportback minimizes swirl in the air flow in this area.

Global innovation in a production vehicle: The digital matrix LED headlights

With the digital matrix LED headlights as top-of-the range equipment, Audi presents a worldwide first in a production vehicle: Broken down into minute pixels, their light can illuminate the road in high resolution. The design is based on a technology abbreviated as DMD (digital micromirror device) and is also used in many video projectors.

Audi e-tron Sportback: digital matrix LED headlight

At its heart is a small chip containing one million micromirrors, each of whose edge length measures just a few hundredths of a millimeter. With the help of electrostatic fields, each individual micromirror can be tilted up to 5,000 times per second. Depending on the setting, the LED light is either directed via the lenses onto the road or is absorbed in order to mask out areas of the light beam.

Revolution ahead: just follow the light…

These LED lights will be seen on the e-tron Sportback mid 2020, and they can perform multiple tasks. It can generate dynamic leaving- and coming-home animations that appear as projections on a wall or on the ground. This presentation transforms the area in front of the car into a carefully illuminated stage. Not only does the digital light system deliver cornering, city, and highway lighting as versions of the low-beam light with exceptional precision, it also supplements the high-beam light by masking out other road users with even greater accuracy.

Above all, however, it offers innovative functions such as lane light and orientation light. On freeways, the lane light creates a carpet of light that illuminates the driver’s own lane brightly and adjusts dynamically when he or she changes lane.

In this way, it improves the driver’s awareness of the relevant lane and contributes to improved road safety. In addition, the orientation light uses darkened areas masked out from the light beam to predictively show the vehicle’s position in the lane, thereby supporting—especially on narrow roads or in highway construction zones—the safe lane centering assist.

The marking light function is also used in conjunction with the optional night vision assist. The light automatically draws attention to any pedestrians it detects, thereby reducing the danger of overlooking pedestrians in the immediate vicinity of the lane.

Detail

On the second part of this report, we will tell you more about the dynamic qualities, the drivetrain, i.e. batteries and engines, interior and connectivity of this e-tron Sportback…

Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Kia’s Futuron Concept shows how Kia sees new designs for future electric vehicles…

A tall standing Urban Coupé with fluid, inviting lines…

Kia recently showed a stunning electric coupé with novel proportions. This Futuron made its public debut at the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. Its low-profile SUV coupe body makes a strong statement of intent for Kia’s future cars, which will be – as the manufacturer puts it – confident, sporty and modern, yet also elegant. At 4,850 mm in length, 1,550 mm tall and with a 3,000 mm-long wheelbase, it has an elevated ground clearance is matched with a low, lean body to create a dynamic, confident posture.

It is indeed a sports car… on an SUV platform. Clever. Because this makes – like for instance in the Audi e-tron – room for the batteries to be lodged beneath the cabin floor. The advantage is also that the elevated stance of the car is therefore matched with a low center of gravity.

And that slightly more elevated stance is just what you want in an urban car, even if it has the sleek shape of a coupé.

Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

This “E”-Coupé is powered by four powerful in-wheel electric motors. This e-AWD system delivers as you can expect lively responses to driver inputs.

But the important hallmark here is its fluid, intriguing design. The front fender flows backwards from the front of the hood before plunging into the cabin itself, establishing a connection between the driving seat and the road ahead. The concept’s roof is a diamond-shaped panoramic glasshouse which sits atop the 360-degree core, in the best traditions of UFO and flying saucer design. It floods the cabin with natural light, and it also extends down the bonnet to give drivers an unparalleled view ahead. The glasshouse also incorporates a network of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors capable of providing Level 4 autonomous driving features, enabling hands-off and eyes-off driving in most conditions.

Furthermore, the 360-degree theme is evident in the lighting that illuminates a sharp character line encircling the Futuron’s body.

A new “tiger” face…

The newly-designed front of the car, like that of the Imagine by Kia Concept first revealed earlier in 2019, expresses a new design interpretation for Kia’s future electric vehicles.

With a wider ‘tiger face’ shape, the grille incorporates the Futuron’s headlamps, an innovative ‘Star Cloud’ design which gives the car a dazzling new night-time identity.

Flexible cabin space…

The layout of the electric powertrain and incorporation of Level 4 autonomous driving systems has enabled the creation of a spacious and flexible cabin unlike any other vehicle on roads. The two front seats are created out of flexible materials and can offer an upright ‘driving’ position, or a reclined ‘rest’ position, similar to the flexibility afforded to first-class airline passengers. With the activation of the Futuron’s autonomous driving features, the two front seats recline as the steering wheel retracts. The ‘zero-gravity’ seating position this creates helps to reduce fatigue on long journeys.

One of the most prominent features of the cabin is the ‘cockpit’ area surrounding the driver. The graphical user interface (GUI) of the cockpit flows out of the driver-side door and wraps around the steering wheel in a seamless arc. This merges the instrument cluster directly with the audio-visual display at the center of the dashboard and is linked to the display integrated within the surface of the steering wheel itself.

The GUI is operated by artificial intelligence technologies, displaying useful information about the car various autonomous driving, powertrain and navigation features, which creates a unique user experience.

This is, according to Kia, what driving into the (urban) future is all about. Just look at the photos here…

Hans Knol ten Bensel   

The Jeep Renegade Plug-in Hybrid electric is the star of a Jeep exhibition in the heart of Paris…

We are driving presently the Jeep Renegade with its brand new state of the art 1,3 litre 150 HP “Firefly” engine, and we can tell you it is very impressive indeed.

This leads us to bring you the news that the Jeep Renegade PHEV can be previewed at the MotorVillage Champs-Elysées until the 25th of September.

Following its world premiere at the Geneva motor show last March and its international on-road debut at Turin’s Parco del Valentino motor show in June, the new Jeep® Renegade Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) has arrived in the heart of Paris to be showcased at the exclusive Jeep showroom on the Champs-Elysées.

The PHEV Renegade will take centre stage in the Playground expo, which is dedicated to Jeep’s affinity with sports and includes partnerships with WSL (World Surf League), LNB (Ligue Nationale de Basket) and JeepELITE.

New hybrid technology…with plenty of punch  

Displayed in Trailhawk specification, the Renegade PHEV has a pure electric range of approximately 50 kilometres and of course no CO2 emissions in full-electric mode. In order to deliver these figures, the Renegade combines a 1.3-liter GSE turbo gasoline engine with an electric motor located between the rear wheels, powered by a set of batteries that can be recharged while driving or by using an external power outlet: at home with the domestic plug, using the efficient Wallbox, or with a public charge point. Recharging times can vary from an hour and a half to three hours depending on the type of outlet.

The combination of both internal combustion engine and the electric motor delivers outstanding performance and driving pleasure: 0-100 km/h is reached in approximately seven seconds, CO2 emissions are lower than 50g/km (NEDC2) and the full electric top speed is 130 km/h. The combined power output sits in the 190 and the 240 horsepower range, depending on the trim level.

Most of all, thanks to the new hybrid technology, the Jeep Renegade further improves its legendary off-road capability courtesy of the greater torque offered by the combination between the two power sources. Thanks to the new electric all-wheel-drive technology (eAWD), traction to the rear axle is not provided by a prop shaft but through the dedicated electric motor. This allows the two axles to be separated and control the torque independently in a more effective way than a mechanical system.

The Jeep Renegade PHEV features a unique interior and dashboard, plus an 8.4″ HD Uconnect system with specific pages to allow for the driver to control its day-to-day hybrid driving operation. The Selec-Terrain maintains its location in front of the gear shift lever, while the Hybrid selector appears right next to it allowing the driver to select between the following driving modes: (see photo below)

Hybrid: the mode that optimises power to minimise fuel consumption. Internal combustion engine and electric motor work together depending on the road type, with energy recovery phases when braking

eSave: the internal combustion engine can maintain or recharge the battery while driving (driver’s selectable options)

Electric: full-electric mode which allows for a pure electric range of approximately 50 kilometers.

The new 7″ TFT colour display shows new information in front of the driver’s eyes: the battery charge level, range in electric, combustion and combined modes, power percentage and recharge levels. The 8.4″ Uconnect colour screen features new tabs such as power flow, driving history, charging times, eSave and the different charge settings.

Needless to say that we are keen to take a test drive soon in this interesting hybrid!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We drove the Lexus UX 250h: a premium compact SUV for future-loving connoisseurs…

Driving the future. Now. Literally, without any strings or plugs attached. That is what Lexus driving is all about. Superbly engineered, dramatically styled. With an eye for quality and modern day luxury:  this is what Lexus’s most compact SUV offers you.

It runs on the new GA-C-platform, which is also seen in the new Corolla. It shares also (most) of its drivetrain. Indeed, the well known 2 litre Atkinson Cycle four cylinder plays here the fiddle in harmony with its electric cousin under the bonnet, in clever hybrid fashion, just like in the Corolla. This means absolute technical perfection and utmost reliability is yours to enjoy. But that is not all. The bodywork of this SUV has what it takes to please you, both inside and out. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We drove the Lexus UX 250h: a premium compact SUV for future-loving connoisseurs…”