The “Lexus Electrified” vision targets a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling, control and driver enjoyment – even as mobility within our society continues to change with autonomous driving and vehicle electrification.
Evoking the original fun of driving, Lexus intends to use its 15 years of experience in electrification technologies to further evolve driving pleasure, and to fundamentally transform the essence of luxury vehicles of the future – creating a unique Lexus driving signature with exceptional ride comfort, quietness and craftsmanship.
Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer at Lexus, takes us through the key aspects of this “Lexus Electrified” strategy in an exclusive interview.
The man behind it all…
Takashi Watanabe started his career with Toyota in 1993 with engine systems development. He has worked on many different types of engines and exhaust systems. Since 2012, he has worked also on the development of several Lexus vehicles and became in 2017 leader of the Lexus Electrified Project.
Just watch and listen, and be transported into the electric future…by Lexus, using their unique “Lexus-ness.”
Groupe Renault unveiled its new strategy for China, building on two of its key pillars: Electric Vehicles (EV) and Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV).
For the Internal Combustion engined car market in China, Groupe Renault has entered into a preliminary agreement with Dongfeng Motor Corporation under which Renault transfers its shares to Dongfeng. DRAC (Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company) will stop its Renault brand-related activities.
Of course, Renault will continue to provide after sales service ot its existing customers in this market, and Renault and Dongfeng will continue to cooperate with Nissan on new generation engines like components supply to DRAC and diesel license to Dongfeng Automobile Co., Ltd. Renault and Dongfeng will also engage in innovative cooperation in the field of intelligent connected vehicles.
Booming LCV market…
The LCV market in China reached 3.3 million in 2019 and is forecasted to maintain a steady upwards path. Renault Brilliance Jinbei Automotive Co., Ltd. (RBJAC), launched in December 2017, is Groupe Renault’s sword arm for its LCV business in China. Jinbei is a well-established Brand with 1.5 million customers in China and close to 162,000 sales in 2019.
With Renault expertise and technologies, RBJAC is modernizing Jinbei models and extending the line-up with a total of 5 core models by 2023. The joint venture will also export in the future.
The joint venture operates in Shenyang, Liaoning Province and aims to deliver 150,000 units of upper medium commercial vehicles and new energy commercial vehicles annually by 2022.
The Alliance launched a mid size Jibei SUV…
In addition, the company will roll out a series of new models in local market, including the Renault-branded Trafic, the Master (including BEV version) and the Jinbei-branded F70, the F50 BEV version as well as some LCV (light commercial vehicle) models under the Jinbei brand.
A massive Chinese EV market
With 860,000 electric vehicles sold in China in 2019, China is by far the largest EV market in the world. EV sales are expected to reach 25% of the Chinese market by 2030.
Groupe Renault was a pioneer on EV and has sold close to 270,000 electric vehicles world wide since 2011. It gives a strong competitive advantage in China as shown by the successful launching of Renault City K-ZE, the first joint venture EV car competing in A segment with the best local automakers.
Groupe Renault expect to reinforce its partnership with Nissan and Dongfeng within eGT to make K-ZE a worldwide car. A derivative for Europe based on “Dacia Spring” concept will be sold from 2021.
JMEV is known as an agile and efficient EV player since its creation in 2015. With Renault support in terms of quality and technologies, JMEV will cover 45% of Chinese EV market in 2022 with 4 core models.
BMW continues to look at alternative powertrain technologies. Did you know that the BMW Group is teaming up with the Toyota Motor Corporation as part of a successful partnership that dates back to 2013?
The two manufacturers have joined forces to work on fuel cell powertrain systems and scalable, modular components for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles under a product development cooperation agreement.
Fuel cells from the cooperation with Toyota will be deployed in the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, alongside a fuel cell stack and overall system developed by the BMW Group.
As well as partnering on the development and industrialization of fuel cell technology for the mass market, the two companies are also founding members of the Hydrogen Council. A wealth of other leading companies in the energy, transport and industrial sectors have joined the Hydrogen Council since 2017, swelling its ranks to over 80 members.
According to Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Research and Development, the hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term. The upper-end models in the extremely popular X family would make particularly suitable candidates here.
Not for the immediate future…
A customer offer powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology will be brought to market at the earliest in the second half of this decade. There are many good reasons for this cautious but realistic approach. “In our view, hydrogen as energy carrier must first be produced in sufficient quantities at a competitive price, using green electricity. Hydrogen will then be used primarily in applications that
cannot be directly electrified, such as long-distance heavy duty transport,” said Klaus Fröhlich. The requisite infrastructure, such as an extensive, Europe-wide network of hydrogen filling stations, is also lacking at present.
Initial technical details of the powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT.
“The fuel cell system for the powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT generates up to 125 kW (170 hp) of electric energy from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen from the ambient air,” explains Jürgen Guldner, Vice President of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects at the BMW Group.
This means the vehicle emits nothing but water vapour. The electric converter located underneath the fuel cell adapts the voltage level to that of both the electric powertrain and the peak power battery, which is fed by brake energy as well as the energy from the fuel cell.
The vehicle also accommodates a pair of 700 bar tanks that can together hold six kilograms of hydrogen. “This guarantees a long range regardless of the weather conditions,” notes Guldner. “And refuelling only takes three to four minutes.”
The fifth-generation eDrive unit set to make its debut in the BMW iX3 is also fully integrated into the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT.
The peak power battery positioned above the electric motor injects an extra dose of dynamics when overtaking or accelerating. The total system output of 275 kW (374 hp) fuels the typical driving dynamics for which BMW is renowned. This hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain will be piloted in a small series based on the current BMW X5 that the BMW Group plans to present in 2022.
We just let you look at the photos here, giving you a detailed look into the hydrogen future…
In usual times, the 3D printers at Mercedes-Benz produce automobile components. Now Daimler is making its machines, know-how, and trained specialists available for the production of medical equipment.
As many as 150,000 components are 3D-printed annually at Daimler’s car production plants. In usual times these components are primarily used in prototype construction and small-series production. This capacity is now used in full for the production of medical equipment. See the film on https://youtu.be/GjTNernMVfk.
The Formula One Team is developing and producing breathing aids.
Many of the competing F1 teams have joined their forces and are now working at high speed to produce breathing aids. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team is working together with six other Formula One teams in order to help. So-called CPAP breathing aids, which have been developed in record time by the University College London and Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, are already in use in hospitals; the company’s experts are currently producing more of these machines.
In France, the PSA Group and Valeo are contributing volunteer workers, factory space and technical expertise to help France ramp up domestic production of ventilators to help coronavirus victims.
This venture, led by ventilator maker Air Liquide Medical Systems, seeks to produce 10,000 units by the middle of May.
PSA said it would build mechanical components of the ventilators in its factory in Poissy, west of Paris. There 50 volunteers will be involved, a further 50 at PSA’s technology center in Velizy. Final assembly of the units will be in Air Liquide’s nearby factory in Antony.
Valeo will lend its expertise by putting some of its purchase department staff in charge of supplier management and working out the procurement process. It will provide R&D support, and expertise in plastics and mechanical and electronic technologies. Valeo production engineers will help set up processes and training.
The effort is widespread: some 100 other French companies have been enlisted to provide parts and technical support.
Other carmakers and suppliers in China, Europe and the US have announced plans to build medical equipment and face masks. Among them are BYD, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, GM, McLaren, Tesla and Volkswagen.
For example, Lamborghini has started making face shields and face masks at its plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy.
It had to come. The electrification of the Fiat brand. The first step is here: The Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda, always European leaders in their segment, are the first FCA city cars fitted with the new gasoline Mild Hybrid technology.
The Hybrids are powered by the new 3-cylinder engines from the FireFly family which will deliver 70 HP, combined with the 3,6 kW BSG (Belt-integrated Starter Generator).
CO2 consumption and emissions are reduced by up to 30% depending on the model, in addition to the tax and traffic benefits of hybrid vehicles in densely populated areas, based on local regulations.
The new 500 and Panda Hybrid will be available from February and March 2020 respectively, are set to become a new European benchmark for electrified urban mobility.
The anchor year 2020 will further continue with the start of production in Turin of the new 500. This model will be 100% electric and therefore will play a key role in the e-Mobility by FCA strategy.
But now the coming days we will set sail to Bologna. Keen to drive these two new hybrids…
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
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.
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.
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.
We all know the frustration: however slow or fast you accelerate from a traffic light, the next one will always be red, even if, as it happens so often, this next light is only a few hundred metres away. We all know too well how much energy is wasted with this. Seat now started a project together with the Spanish Traffic Authority, the Barcelona City Council and ETRA.
It successfully connects vehicles with traffic lights and the traffic control centre so drivers can anticipate their upcoming status. This project also enables information on motorway incidents to get sent directly to vehicles without the need for information panels, bringing cars and infrastructure together via the cloud using cellular technology with latency times of 300 milliseconds.
Oh so clever!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Vehicles connected with traffic lights and road infrastructure.
The vehicle used in this pilot project is equipped with the necessary technology to connect with its surroundings and receive information uploaded by the Traffic Authority to the cloud, which in turn enables the driver to anticipate what lies ahead in real time.
“In this project, SEAT’s new connected cars receive real-time traffic information from the Traffic Authority’s central cloud, including information displayed on motorway panels or the traffic light status in cities”, explains Jordi Caus, the Head of Urban Mobility Concepts at SEAT.
How does it work?
When a vehicle is approaching a traffic light, an alert appears on the screen showing whether it will be red, green or yellow when it arrives, as the system performs a calculation based on how far away the car is and the speed it is travelling at. One important note for safety is that it only works as long as the vehicle is not exceeding the speed limit. “The system does not work at above maximum speeds, which is very important for road safety. It wants to be an auxiliary tool that enables motorists to drive more smoothly”, assures Manuel Valdés, the Head of Mobility and Infrastructures at the Barcelona City Council.
Information panels in your car, too.
Today there are 2,000 information panels in Barcelona that provide drivers with traffic and weather conditions or information about road work or accidents. With this system, all this information is displayed directly on the screens of connected vehicles at any point of the road network. According to Jorge, “we can accomplish the same as what we used to do with variable message signs on the motorway, but now directly to the car from any point on the road.”
A future of collaborative information…
In addition, connected cars and users themselves will also be information suppliers. “Anyone with information about what happens on the road can share it, so other users will know in advance of any incident when they reach the same point”, explains Jorge.
“With this project we’re taking a first step to connect cars with overall traffic infrastructure. We’ve begun with information functions, but with the future autonomous vehicles in mind we’ll be able to act directly on the car in situations of risk”, concludes Jordi Caus.
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
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!
Domenico Gostoli, Head of Fiat Professional Electrification Programs, presented the E-Ducato in Turin…
At the presentation of the new Ducato MY2020, Fiat Professional brand gave the world its very first glimpse of the Ducato Electric – an all-electric BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) version – which will go on sale during 2020 and team up with the natural gas Ducato Natural Power to complete the alternative fuel offering.
In conceiving and developing the Ducato electric, the 2 person team responsible for the project, led by Domenico Gostoli, Head of Fiat Professional Electrification Programs with Angelica Carapezza managing and coordinating the implementation of such electrification programs, started with a “bottom up”, client-based approach, and focused first on building up a database with a specific, detailed study of customers’ real use of their vehicles, which involved a year of data gathering.
Indeed, professionals working in specific business areas are keen to adopt E-technology, considering the growth in online commerce, postal and courier services, home ready-to-eat food deliveries, hub-spoke local transport, and the widespread need to ensure access to city centres, with their ever-increasing traffic restrictions on conventional fuel vehicles.
Finding the ideal use pattern of a Ducato Electric van is supported by pro-active cooperation with the customer, through Pilot Projects involving some large industry players, to fully exploit all their knowledge base, and identify all specific use demands to be borne in mind during individual customisation and configuration for every application.
The image here shows the unique approach of
these structured pilot projects with customers. It first involves sitting down
with the customer to evaluate his delivery mission, gathering the field data,
which are then analysed and further structured in a logistical pattern. Real BEV
data are then analysed and put in a computer simulation to establish a real
profile of the specific energy demand of the customer from his vehicle. This is
then followed by recommendations for the final vehicle configuration, the
necessary charging infrastructures and the use of the customer.
With this approach, Fiat Professional intends to offer complete electric mobility solutions, based on the study of energy needs, able not only to cover every single mission but also to offer solutions ranging from vehicles to infrastructures, not forgetting any aspect of the whole world of services increasingly required by today’s new, constantly evolving mobility scenarios.
So as well as offering a complete range of
versions, Ducato Electric will also feature modular battery size options, with
range from 220 to 360 km (NEDC cycle) and different charging configurations .
All combined with impressive performances: speed limited to 100 km/h to
optimise energy use, maximum power of 90 kW and maximum torque of 280 Nm.
What’s more, the new electric powerplant
does not penalise Ducato’s strong point: best-in-class load volumes from 10 to
17 m3, and a payload of up to 1,950 kg, the best in its category.
We made extensive interviews with the two
managers behind the project, which is a cornerstone in the transition we see
nowadays from the traditional “choice of vehicle” to a “choice
of mobility”. Indeed, in the
present day business environment, Total Cost of Mobility determines now your
purchase decision, instead of Total Cost of Ownership…
More on the new Ducato range and the series of video interviews – done with the kind assistance of Helena Menten – of the inspiring people of Fiat Professional soon!
It had to happen. BMW cultivates pleasure of driving. And this also goes for their E-cars. Even more so, as they have excellent torque and therefore massive pulling power. And what’s more, you can use several motors at once.
So it was only a matter of time that a trial car with superpower is created. Here it is: BMW Group presented its “Power BEV” during its #NEXTGen event in Munich.
Just before we go further, just explain here a bit more on the #NEXTGen event: From 25 to 27 June 2019 the company invites selected international journalists, analysts and further stakeholders to “BMW Group #NEXTGen” at BMW Welt in Munich. With this event, The BMW Group chooses a new direction with regard to how it presents its future technologies, services and products.
But back to the car now. Indeed, BMW explores
with this “Versuchswagen” what is technically possible. A BMW 5 Series was
taken off the production line, and then fitted with three fifth-generation
electric drive units, resulting in a maximum system output in excess of …530
kW/720 hp. This transforms the 5-Series into a supercar: with this power, it accelerates
from 0 to 100 km/h in comfortably under three seconds.
But it is not only about straight line
performance, it is also about handling. A true BMW also puts a smile on the
driver’s face through corners, and so the engineers got to work on the chassis
Separately controlled motors provide unseen agility…
To this end, the chassis and powertrain engineers worked together particularly closely to maximise the car’s performance. Key to its dynamic superb qualities is that the two electric motors at the rear axle are controlled separately. This brings e-torque vectoring into play, which enables maximum drive power to be translated into forward propulsion even in extremely dynamic driving manoeuvres.
The result is more effective and precise control
than with a limited slip differential, because actively targeted inputs are
possible in any driving situation. By contrast, a limited slip differential
always reacts to a difference in rotation speed between the driven wheels, and therefore
is slower to react.
As said, the drive system comprises three
fifth-generation drive units, each of which brings together an electric motor
and the associated power electronics and power take-off within a single
housing. One is mounted at the front axle and two (a double drive unit) at the
rear axle. Another notable aspect of this generation alongside its eye-catching
power is that it is entirely free of rare earths. An electric motor of this
type will make its series production debut in the BMW iX3. The iX3 will only
have one motor, though, rather than three.
A series production car forms the basis…
As said, a current BMW 5 Series production
model serves as the donor car for the Power BEV. Integrating a drive system of
this type into a production car represents a serious technical undertaking, but
it has been achieved here with absolutely no restriction in passenger
compartment space. This makes it far easier to assess this drive concept
It has also allowed the engineers to look
even more effectively into the possibilities opened up by two separately
controllable electric motors at the rear axle with e-torque vectoring.
And that means, in future series-production
vehicle projects, that the right technology can be selected for the model at
hand. Customers will therefore be provided with the most appropriate technology
for their choice of vehicle concept. Wow! Needless to say, we are now looking
to the E-future with a very broad smile! Driving pleasure will be certainly
part of it!