Lancia announces bold renaissance…

Lancia launched last week a ten-year strategic plan, which includes three new models, one every two years, starting in 2024, for an attractive and iconic model range to cover 50% of the market.

The plan will begin in 2024 with the new Lancia Ypsilon, which will be around 4-meters long, belonging to the B segment and will be launched with a 100% electrified powertrain. In 2026, the new flagship will arrive, 4.6-meter long and will allow the brand to enter into the largest segment in Europe. 2028 will be the year of the new 4.4-meters long “Delta”, a sculpted and muscular car, with geometric lines, which will attract car enthusiasts throughout Europe.

These three new models will cover 50% of the market and will have the duty to contribute to the improvement of Stellantis performance in its premium and luxury cluster, as laid out in the “Dare Forward 2030” Stellantis strategic plan.

“Today is an important day,” declared Luca Napolitano, CEO of Lancia brand, “Lancia is now ready for Europe, taking a first step to become a credible and respected brand in the premium segment.

Lancia’s ten-year plan has also a clear electrification strategy: from 2026 the brand will only launch 100% electric models and from 2028 will solely sell 100% electric models.

In addition, a wide use of innovative materials will make Lancia the Stellantis brand with the highest percentage of recycled material, with 50% of touchable surfaces made from eco-sustainable materials in order to contribute to building a better world for future generations.

Inside the new vehicles, Lancia customers will be welcomed in a typical Italian elegance style. Inspired by the exclusive materials of its past iconic vehicles, like the Gamma, Thema and Flavia, the next-generation Lancia vehicles will provide a comfortable environment with simple and intuitive on-board technology which is in line with its DNA.

The S.A.L.A., Sound Air Light Augmented (sala in Italian means living room), will be a minimalist and intelligent virtual interface which will give the customer total control of the vehicle’s cabin from the sound system to the air conditioning and lighting, with the use of a single button.

Lancia also introduces an innovative distribution model with 50% of online sales, and will establish a presence in 60 major cities with a network of 100 dealerships.

In unfolding the country strategy outside Italy, Lancia uses three criteria:

The first is love and passion for the “Made in Italy”, with Spain, Belgium and France leading the way.

The second is the relevance of online sales, with The Netherlands and Germany in pole position.

The third is the dimension of the B premium segment, with all these countries ranking in the top five.

These five countries represent the first step in the internationalization process of the brand, which will be present in Europe in and 50% of sales online.

 More Lancia news soon!

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

Kia presents 2030 roadmap to become global sustainable mobility leader

Kia announced its key targets to transform into Sustainable Mobility Solutions Provider. This corporate vision is supported by three key pillars – ‘people’, ‘planet’ and ‘profit’. It did this in presenting the roadmap to 2030 at the company’s 2022 CEO Investor Day virtual event.

Under these pillars, Kia will strive to enhance customer value and nurture talents, reduce carbon emissions in consideration for the environment, and generate profits while working as a responsible corporate citizen.

Kia also announced its four key business targets for 2030. These core business aims include: accelerating electrification and achieving annual sales of 1.2 million battery electric vehicle (BEV) units by 2030; reaching 4 million annual vehicle sales by 2030, including over 2 million eco-friendly models; expanding the application of connected car feature and autonomous driving technologies to all new vehicles; and become the number one brand in the global purpose-built vehicle (PBV) market by 2030.

Kia to establish a line-up of 14 BEV models by 2027. Indeed, starting in 2023, Kia plans to launch at least two BEVs per year. Compared to its previous plan to release 11 models by 2026, Kia will add two electric pickup trucks – a dedicated electric pickup truck and a strategic model for emerging markets – and an entry-level BEV model.

 ‘AutoMode’, Kia’s new autonomous driving technology, to be launched in 2023 with first application in EV9…

Kia’s range of autonomous driving technologies, branded ‘AutoMode’, will be rapidly expanded throughout the line-up starting with the EV9 in 2023.

Kia AutoMode supports performance optimization through wireless updates and will be improved as the technology develops. It will also include Highway Driving Pilot feature which would enable driving without driver intervention on highway sections. Kia aims to expand connected car features to all vehicle lineup by 2025

Aims to become No.1 global PBV brand by 2030···first dedicated PBV model in 2025.

Indeed, As a customer-centered company, Kia will provide flexible mobility services that reflect the diverse needs of people and businesses. A core part of Kia’s work in this area will focus on PBV. (Purpose Built Vehicle)

Kia is the one of the first movers in the global PBV market and plans to become a market leader. The demand for delivery and logistics services has increased significantly following the acceleration in e-commerce during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the mid-to long term, Kia will develop dedicated PBVs. The dedicated PBV will be developed as flexible structure that sits on a flat, skateboard EV platform, so that the size and shape can be adjusted according to the purpose and customer needs.

Kia will launch its first dedicated model in 2025 when the PBV market is expected to mature. The first dedicated PBV will be similar in size to a medium-sized vehicle, with inherent scalability.

Company announces financial targets for 2026···gross revenue of KRW 120 trillion; operating profit margin of 8.3%

The company plans to garner 39 percent of operating profit from BEVs in 2026 with the reduction of fixed costs through volume expansion and cost reduction from technology development.

Furthermore, Kia expects that by 2026, the contribution to operating profit from all eco-friendly models will reach 52 percent, exceeding that of internal combustion engine models.

To achieve these goals, Kia will not only expand sales of its eco-friendly models but also greatly improve profitability, securing additional sales and profit structures due to the commercialization of new businesses and technologies.

Kia will also actively participate in Hyundai Motor Group’s next-generation projects, such as Advanced Aviation Mobility (AAM), robotics. Specifically, Kia plans to focus on creating synergy between the Group’s AAM efforts and its own PBV business.

We keep you posted further on Kia soon as next week we will test the Kia EV6!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Jeep® Brand Reveals Images of First-Ever Fully Electric Jeep SUV…

News from Stellantis comes thick and fast: Today, during Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan presentation, Carlos Tavares, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Stellantis, revealed images of the first-ever 100% battery-electric Jeep SUV, as the brand continues its global initiatives toward the full electrification of its SUV portfolio.

This new fully electric Jeep vehicle will be launched early next year, expanding the brand reach and taking the next step to the achievement of Jeep brand’s vision of Zero Emission Freedom. More information on the Jeep BEV will be released in the coming months.

We will also bring a full report on the Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan presentation soon. Stay tuned!

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

Renault Group, Valeo and Valeo Siemens eAutomotive join forces…to produce a new electric motor

When testing the Arkana Hybrid, we already mentioned the clever way Renault sources know how and expertise across boundaries. With the electric age coming upon us, further cooperation is growing to develop and produce ever more efficient drivetrains, using ever less resources. The news came that Renault is now joining forces with Valeo and Siemens… interesting!

Indeed, Renault Group, Valeo and Valeo Siemens eAutomotive have signed on February 10th a memorandum of understanding to form a strategic partnership for the design, co-development and manufacture in France of a new-generation automotive electric motor, eliminating the use of rare earths.

Under this partnership, each of the three partners will contribute to the development and production of the two key parts of the electric motor: the rotor and the stator.

Overall architecture comes from Renault…

Renault will develop and produce the EESM (electrically excited synchronous motor) rotor technology, designed without the use of rare earths, it offers enhanced energy performance.

In addition to the supply of components based on each company’s best expertise, the overall architecture of the all-in-one motor for Renault Group will also be designed by Renault.

Valeo and Valeo Siemens eAutomotive will develop and produce the stator, which is based on Valeo’s technological expertise in copper wire assembly. Thanks to its unique know-how in this field, which allows it to use a higher density of copper in the stator, Valeo is able to generate more power without having to use more electrical energy.

Renault Group, Valeo and Valeo Siemens eAutomotive will be the first to mass produce a 200kW electric motor without using rare earths, starting in 2027. Production of the motor for the automaker’s own needs will be based at Renault Group’s Cléon plant in Normandy, France.

More Renault news soon!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

All-new Renault Austral: a revolutionary dashboard and interior…

The dashboard of the new Austral: a drawing by Damien DURAND

The Renault Design team completely redesigned the all-new Renault Austral’s passenger compartment down to  the last detail – and it makes the most of OpenR technology, of with more soon in a separate report…

Spacious and modular…

The cabin design of the Austral has all the traditional SUV hallmarks. But the high and wide central console stands out. The dashboard’s architecture gives it a slim and wide look, and the connections to the door panels give front-seat passengers that distinct cockpit feeling. The fact that the door panels are high up also create a sense of safety. The overall design follows the angled lines that give the car its dynamic stance.

The passenger compartment is also modular. It has multiple storage areas, starting with a wide sliding armrest that can provide extra storage and makes using the OpenR Link multimedia system simpler. The console has two large storage areas and a nest to hold your smartphone – and induction-charge it at the same time if you want. Combined, the choice of nooks around All-new Renault Austral’s passenger compartment can fit more than 30 litres.

To make the cocoon effect perfect, a flecked fabric decks the entire roof and windscreen posts. Seat comfort also got special attention. At the front, each person has an ample, ergonomic and comfy area. The rear is also roomier because the transmission tunnel is gone. Versatile and multipurpose All-new Renault Austral has a sliding and folding rear bench, operated with a button in the boot. The seats are designed for chatting: as the front ones taper at the top, it’s easier for passengers in the front and rear to interact.

Agneta Dahlgren, Renault Design Project Director, sums it up for us.

“When we created All-new Renault Austral’s passenger compartment, the three recurring themes were the perception of space, edgy design and a protective feel. And all that based on high quality standards.”

Technology focused on the user…

Passengers also enjoy the large “OpenR” screen. This centrepiece in the passenger compartment is one of the largest screens on the market. Its L-shaped configuration sweeps across the central dashboard and the total display area spans 24.3 inches (774 sq. cm.). It is easy to look at, easy to reach, intuitive and connected. And it has controls for practically all of the car’s features – so the rest of the passenger compartment is considerably leaner.

This state-of-the-art technology runs on the Google Automotive Services system and is so bright and anti-reflective that it makes the visor over the dashboard superfluous. Besides its visual streamlining, the panel has inconspicuous built-in vertical air vents, and the ultra-fine contouring around the screen is perfectly flush. The steering wheel is squarer, and slightly flatter in the centre to enhance driving pleasure while providing the driver with an unobstructed view of the dashboard screen.

Packed with the latest connected and smart solutions, the OpenR Link interface includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus a Google search feature and Google Maps. A full 90% of the features you need every day are only one or two clicks away. The OpenR screen is as smooth and simple to use as a smartphone. And it’s one of Renault’s biggest breakthroughs in on-board technology in the past several years. We will tell you soon more about this “OpenR” screen architecture!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

DS Automobiles presented at CES in Las Vegas its DS E-TENSE FE21 single seater…

We are driving the impressive DS 4 E-TENSE, and you will read our driving experiences soon. Did you know that since its launch, DS Automobiles has a 100% electrified range offered to its buyers since 2019?

DS Automobiles was the first premium manufacturer to commit to Formula E, and is the only brand to have won two consecutive Teams’ and Drivers’ titles. As of now, DS Automobiles has renewed its commitment until 2026, while starting development of a new generation of single seater that’s more competitive and more efficient. This technology laboratory enables progress to continue with production models.

On the Stellantis stand, DS Automobiles is showing off its Formula E World Championship DS E-TENSE FE21 single seater, like a winning secret of electrification from the brand.

Taking advantage of its commitment to this competition to transfer its expertise to its production vehicles, DS Automobiles is accelerating its electrification strategy and will present new exclusively 100% full electric models from 2024…

For the moment, with the 100% electric DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE plus DS 4 E-TENSE, DS 7 CROSSBACK E-TENSE and DS 9 E-TENSE plug-in hybrids with 225 to 360 horsepower, every DS is offered with an electrified power unit.

In 2020 and H1 2021, DS Automobiles has been the leading multi-energy brand in Europe with the lowest average CO2 emissions (100.2 g/km WLTP in 2021) with its electrified range (34% of registrations).

More DS news soon!

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