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2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless

2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless

The world’s first flagship crossover?

Back in 2014, Toyota got us excited with the FT-1 concept, an aggressive-looking sports car that many believed it previewed the next-generation Supra. The spy shots suggest that the production model won’t get that many styling cues from the radical concept, but the FT-1 remains the company’s greatest flagship car to date. Four years have passed, and Lexus is using a similar nameplate, now revised to LF-1, to showcase its own future flagship vehicle. But unlike its parent company, Lexus wants its range-topping luxury model to be a crossover. Meet the LF-1 Limitless, Lexus’ idea for a new genre of luxury vehicle: the flagship crossover.

Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the LF-1 Limitless preview a brand-new niche in the premium market. Or at least that’s what Lexus claims. Just like it established the luxury crossover segment with the RX 300 some two decades ago, the Japanese firm thinks it could invent a new class with the LF-1, the flagship crossover. Yes, it sounds a bit confusing, mainly because "flagship" is usually associated with the largest vehicle in a lineup, so the LF-1 would make more sense as a model placed above the LX, but hey, it’s the 21st century and rules have changed. Actually, the current automotive market no longer works by the book, so it’s not as awkward as it seems at first glance.

But it’s all PR talk so far, as Lexus hasn’t confirmed actual production plans for the LF-1. But this crossover looks gorgeous, and it’s packed with the company’s latest technology. Let’s have a closer look below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lexus LF-1 Limitless.

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2019 Fisker EMotion

2019 Fisker EMotion

High-tech and high-performance in an EV package

If you’ve never heard the name Fisker before, let me give you a brief summary. The name comes from Henrik Fisker, a Danish-born entrepreneur and automotive designer currently residing in Los Angeles. Mr. Fisker worked his pen designing such show stoppers as the Aston Martin DB9, BMW Z8, Galpin-Fisker Mustang Rocket, and VLF Force 1 V10, among others. In 2007, he founded Fisker Automotive, consequently unveiling the Fisker Karma hybrid sports sedan in 2011. Long story short, the Karma didn’t pan out all that great, and Fisker resigned as chairman of the company that bore his name in 2013. But that was then, and now, Fisker has a new automotive startup, and even a new model to go with it. It’s called the EMotion, and it’s framed as a luxurious all-electric four-door with quick performance, groundbreaking solid-state battery technology, and upwards of 400 miles of range per charge, not to mention supercar good looks and Level 4 self-driving capability.

The new firm is called Fisker Inc., and the EMotion will be the company’s very first offering. But it’s not easy to break into the premium EV segment, especially when you consider all the other companies out there vying to do exactly the same. Pair that with growing competition from all the established makes currently doubling down on electric vehicles, and you’re left with odds of success akin to an ice cube’s chance in Hades.

That said, Fisker is no novice in this space. Sure, the Karma didn’t exactly pan out they way it was intended, but when consider Fisker’s vast industry connections and knowledge, Fisker Inc. might actually have a shot at making it. Yes, it’s an extremely bold endeavor, and yes, the claims getting tossed around the EMotion smell a lot like vaporware. But hey – if that guy who made PayPal can do it, why not Fisker?

Updated 1/9/2018: Fisker just debuted the EMotion at CES 2018! Read on for all the details and new images.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fisker EMotion.

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2019 Byton Concept EV

2019 Byton Concept EV

A new Chinese start-up wants a piece of the electric car market

A Chinese electric car start-up called Future Mobility (FMC) is dipping its toes in the electric car market by launching car company Byton. The new automaker isn’t taking long to make its presence felt in the segment as it already has an electric mid-sized SUV that it plans to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

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2018 Kia Niro EV Concept

2018 Kia Niro EV Concept

Concept car previews 238-mile capable production EV

Launched for the 2017 model year, the Kia Niro is a subcompact crossover positioned below the popular Sportage. Previewed by a concept vehicle introduced in 2013, the Niro is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, and it’s available with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor combo, in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. A gasoline-only version isn’t on a drawing table yet, but a fully electric model is definitely underway. Already spotted testing on public roads in 2017, the Niro EV broke cover at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in concept form.

Heavily based on the production model, the electric concept is more than just a Niro with an electric motor and a battery. Kia also meddled with the exterior design and created a new lighting system for the show car. Inside the cabin, it features an updated "human-machine interface" and an array of new safety features. Surprisingly enough, Kia redesigned the Niro’s interior for the all-electric model. Alongside the Niro EV, Kia also unveiled plans to launch 16 new electrified vehicles by 2025. The range includes five hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five all-electric models, and a hydrogen-powered vehicle. The latter is planned to arrive in 2020 and could be based on the Hyundai Nexo, also unveiled at the 2018 CES.

The production version of the Niro EV is likely to debut by the end of 2018.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Niro EV concept.

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2020 Nissan IMx

2020 Nissan IMx

Japan’s answer to the Tesla Model X

Having launched the Leaf back in 2010, Nissan is one of the pioneers of the all-electric industry. While not as efficient as the recently launched Tesla Model 3 and Chevrolet Bolt, the Leaf remains the best-selling EV ever build as of early 2018. However, Nissan has yet to expand its all-electric lineup beyond this hatchback, and it is now falling behind the competition. This could change by the end of 2018, with Nissan likely to debut a battery-powered crossover based on the IMx concept.

Introduced at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the IMx is described as "an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 km." Nissan also says that the vehicle provides "a glimpse into the future of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, Nissan’s approach to changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated with society." The IMx also previews the company’s new design language, so it could change quite a few things for the Japanese automaker. If put into production, it could go against the Tesla Model X, currently the quickest, most efficient, and most popular electric crossover out there.

While Nissan didn’t officially confirm a production version of the IMx, an all-electric crossover is the next logical step now that the second-generation Leaf is on its way to dealerships. Let’s find out what it may bring to the table in the speculative review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan IMx.

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2019 Nio EP9

2019 Nio EP9

One heaping slab of EV speed

Founded in 2014 in Shanghai, China, Nio has quickly grown to become a major industry player, establishing itself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of electric vehicles and self-driving technology. Boasting over 2,000 employees spread out over 13 locations globally, Nio is known for creations like Eve, a forward-thinking autonomous concept, and the ES8, a seven-passenger high-performance all-electric SUV, as well as its involvement in the Formula E championship with powertrain support for the Nio 003 race car. However, the start-up is best known for this – the EP9, a high-performance all-electric speed machine aimed squarely at all things quick and internal combustion-propelled. Inspired by the FIA’s Le Mans Prototype regulations, the Nio EP9 is street legal, but has made a name for itself setting some very impressive records on the track, including a sprint around the Nurburgring’s north loop in just 6 minutes, 45 seconds, a run around the Circuit Paul Ricard in 1 minute 52.78 seconds, and a lap of the Circuit of the Americas in 2 minutes 1.11 seconds. Granted, these records were done on track-only slick tires, but it’s impressive stuff all the same.

So then – what makes this thing tick? Is it just an overblown blender, or is there more to it? Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the NextEV Nio EP9.

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2020 Project Redspace

2020 Project Redspace

A funky futuristic EV box for surviving the urban environment

The Earth is teeming with humanity. In 2011, the world population hit a head-spinning 7 billion people, and it’s only getting more crowded – at an accelerating rate, too. Most folks live in and around staggeringly dense urban centers called “megacities,” called as such thanks to population figures that eclipse the 10-million mark. With such incredible numbers of people to serve, transportation systems are at their limit. So what’s the solution? Something like Project Redspace might very well be it. Produced by a Chinese firm and aimed primarily at the Chinese market, the Project Redspace (Redspace as in “Revolutionary Electric Dream Space”) is an all-electric commuter with a unique twist. The driving philosophy behind its creation was to leverage space wherever possible, finding an ideal amalgamation between form and function through inherent adaptability and customization, all while leaving the door open for the integration of forthcoming autonomous systems. Introduced in concept form at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, this very well could be the transportation solution for future U.S. city dwellers.

While the Project Redspace certainly doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen before, that’s kind of the point, or at least half of it. Spearheading the project is Chris Bangle, a noted American car designer with a resume that includes a stint at BMW and Fiat. Backed by Chinese partners from CHTC Motors (China Hi-Tech New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd), Bangle says that he managed to design “a space that decided to become a car,” and he’s deadest on meeting the needs of the traveling public of the future. While this might be a prototype model, a production iteration is reportedly just years away. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Project Redspace.

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2018 Model Sondors

2018 Model Sondors

An EV three-wheeler with potential

The world of all-electric vehicles seems to be in a constant state of flux as of late, evolving from quirky, eco-friendly transportation alternatives, to top-shelf luxury cars, to high-performance speed machines, and now, it looks like we’re coming full circle. Unveiled in a small corner booth at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, this is the Model Sondors, the first offering from the Sondors Electric Car Company. Sondors is best known for its popular line of electric bicycles, and currently enjoys a position as the largest electric bike manufacturer and distributor in the U.S. Now, it’s aiming at expanding into the electric car game, starting with this slick-looking three-wheeling three-seater. Simplicity is the name of the game, from the powertrain to the interior. Even the way its built and sold will be streamlined, all in the name of driving down costs to bring electric motivation to the masses.

“I believe affordable, clean transportation should be the norm, not the exception. You shouldn’t have to choose between a car you can afford and a car that’s electric. We can do better,” says the founder of Sondors Electric Car Company, Storm Sondors. So far, so good. The prototype you see here was built in just seven months, an outright blitz by industry standards, and we think it looks quite good at this early stage. But is it really?

Continue reading to learn more about Sondors three-wheel EV.

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2020 Porsche Mission E

2020 Porsche Mission E

Stuttgart’s answer to the Tesla Model S

While considered laughable just a decade or two ago, the idea of a high-performance electric vehicle is now widely accepted in even the most traditional of speed circles. As the list of battery-motivated monster machines continues to grow, Porsche is getting in on the action with its up-and-coming Mission E. As a follow-up to hybrid superstars like the 918 Spyder and the Panamera, the Mission E is slated to become Stuttgart’s very first all-electric vehicle. Porsche teased the new model with a concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and now, we’re getting our very first shots of the production iteration in the wild. Captured out and about doing some real-world testing just outside Porsche’s factory in Weissach, the spy shots reveal just how close the Mission E is to becoming a reality on public roads. Expect specs that either match or beat the Tesla Model S, with several hundred miles of range and a blistering 0-to-60 mph time, not to mention a luxurious cabin space and Nurburgring-tested handling.

While full details are still forthcoming, there’s plenty of info floating around out there to go on in terms of speculation. Regardless, it’s sure to be top-shelf and quite fast, but the question remains – will it be enough to take out the Tesla? Is this finally the Model S killer we’ve been waiting for? We’re still a few years away from the release of the Mission E, so we’ll have to wait, but in the meantime, check out our speculative review.

Updated 12/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Mission E out for a new testing session, this time during cold, winter conditions somewhere in Sweden.

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2020 Tesla Roadster

2020 Tesla Roadster

Going beyond Ludicrous and straight into Plaid

Back in 2008, a little upstart EV company named Tesla threw a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a Lotus Elise and called it the Roadster. It was the very first model to bear the Tesla badge, and it was the first highway-legal series production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles in a single charge. Now, nearly 10 years and several remarkable models later, Tesla is at it again, revealing a second-generation Roadster in a surprise debut alongside its new all-electric semi truck. While it’s still several years away from hitting public roads, Tesla dropped a variety of specs and numbers for the Roadster 2.0, and long story short, this thing is shaping up to be an absolute monster. If it really can do everything that Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims it can, the second-gen Roadster will set numerous performance records, including quickest to 60 mph, quickest to 100 mph, and quickest in the quarter mile. And that includes internal combustion-based production vehicles, by the way. It’ll also set new standards for EVs in the realms of range per charge and top speed. This is faster than Insane Mode. This is faster than Ludicrous Mode. This, dear readers, is straight up Plaid.

While we knew Tesla had a new Roadster coming down the pipeline, few would have guessed what it might be capable of. We even put together a speculative piece about a potential Tesla supercar a while back, but it turns out the California automaker combined the two ideas into one incredible world-beater. “The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” says Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is gonna feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” Indeed, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is framed as a bona fide halo car, an ultra-quick speed machine that’ll show Tesla’s true performance potential. Read on for the details.

Updated 11/17/2017: Tesla just revealed the new Roadster!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

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2020 BMW i8

2020 BMW i8

Is BMW’s modern sports car taking the all-electric route?

Launched in 2014, the i8 was on BMW’s drawing boards since the mid-2000s. First unveiled as the Vision Efficient Dynamics in 2009, it was updated to the i8 Concept in 2011, before being showcased as a production-ready prototype in 2013. In 2012, BMW also revealed a Spyder concept car. More than three years have passed since its official debut, and the i8 is already a big hit with hybrid sports car enthusiasts. Despite this, BMW has yet to offer a mid-cycle update like it did with the i3, but it’s planning to launch a drop-top, Spyder version at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Whether more oomph is on the table for the current i8 is still a mystery, but there’s a lot of buzz about a significantly more powerful next-generation model flying around for quite some time.

Given BMW’s current strategy, a brand-new i8 isn’t likely to arrive sooner than 2020, so information about the upcoming sports car is scant, to say the least. However, there have been claims that the new i8 will go fully electric and the I Vision Dynamics concept that was unveiled in 2017 likely previews the sports car’s new design. I gathered all the information available in the speculative review below, while our designer created a rendering of what the second-generation i8 might look like. Keep reading to find out all the details we have so far and stay tuned for updates on this car.

Continue reading to learn more about the second-generation BMW i8.

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2019 Kia Niro EV

2019 Kia Niro EV

The battery-powered Niro is about ready to play with the big boys!

The Kia Niro EV has finally been spotted in the wild for the first time, and it was testing with its slightly smaller cousin, the Hyundai Kona EV. Based on its hybrid twin, the Niro Hybrid, the EV will ride on the same dedicated platform but is expected to deliver somewhere around 200 to 250 miles per charge. Then again, the Hyundai Kona is expected to offer up somewhere around 310 miles with its largest battery option, and both brands will use the same equipment, so the Niro could deliver closer to 300. But we’ll talk more about that a little later. With that said, not a lot has changed from the hybrid version of the Niro, but Kia has made a few changes that we can talk about.

Before we dive too deep into the details, let’s just point out that it’s not likely Kia will disappoint with the Niro EV. The Niro started life as the 2014 Kia KX3, which was already near-production ready. A couple of years passed before we saw the production model, but Kia didn’t disappoint and, if anything, it actually improved on its conceptual design for the Niro. The Niro is still relatively new on the market, making its initial push for the 2017 model year but it has taken the subcompact crossover market by storm. Kia promised us the EV by 2018 and, so far, it looks like Kia is about to hit yet another home run as this EV looks like it’s ready to bring the bacon to the table. Let’s take a good look at it before Kia beats us to the punch.

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2021 Porsche Mission E GTS

2021 Porsche Mission E GTS

A Porsche with extra electron power

In case you hadn’t heard, let me be the first to tell you – Porsche is building a four-door all-electric sports sedan, and it’s called the Mission E. Don’t worry, it’ll have all the go-fast characteristics you’d expect, just without the internal combustion to make it go. In fact, it should draw a good deal of its tech from the hybrid goodness developed for the Panamera and 918 Spyder, so that’s a plus. But, as we all know, Porsche isn’t satisfied to make just a single version of any one model. Multiple variants are required to fill every niche possible, so what about an even-faster Mission E? We’re calling it the Mission E GTS, and we decided to draw up a rendering and put together a speculative review to boot. Upgrades over the standard Mission E should include more aggressive exterior styling, lots of black trim pieces, more performance gear inside, a bigger battery, extra horsepower, and standard performance suspension.

The EV performance market is looking to balloon pretty rapidly over the next few years, and you can bet your lithium-ion battery pack Porsche will be there to take advantage of that growth. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2021 Porsche Mission E GTS.

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2017 Honda Sports EV Concept

2017 Honda Sports EV Concept

The Compact EV sports car we all really need

When Honda debuted the Urban EV Concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Auto Show, I was quick to scrutinize the brand for building something so weird, but as I looked at it more, it began to grow on me. And, it’s a good thing it did because that thing is slated for production for the European market sometime in 2019. And, to really top it off, Honda showed up to the 2017 Tokyo Auto Show with a sports car that looks quite familiar – the Honda Sports EV Concept. Following suit with the previous concept, it carries the same general styling cues in a futuristic but feasible package. Of course, it’s a sports car, so it doesn’t have that love seat up front, but it is quite sporty for what it is, and it could just as easily shift into production thanks to being built upon the same platform used for the last concept.

Unlike the last concept, however, we have next to no information. And, Honda didn’t even take the time to release interior shots of the concept either. We can tell that it has that massive display screen and that it’s missing the couch, but outside of that, we can’t see much. But, that doesn’t mean that this little battery-powered sports car should be overlooked. Out of all the EV sports car concepts we’ve seen, this is the one we really want to see become a reality, so let’s take a good look and see what’s crackalackin.

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2018 Rinspeed Snap Mobility Concept

2018 Rinspeed Snap Mobility Concept

Different pods can be fitted in the same platform. Where have we seen this before?

From the maker of some of the most bizarre vehicular creations in recent automotive history, Rinspeed is back at it with another, well, futuristic offering. It’s called the Snap Mobility Concept, and its name doesn’t do enough justice to what exactly it’s capable of doing. No, there’s no garden growing inside of it like the Oasis Concept from 2016, but it does have a chassis that can connect to different cabins, or “pods," as Rinspeed likes to call them.

The whole concept isn’t at all different from how trucks can carry different trailers, but the Snap Mobility Concept takes that approach on an entirely different level because an entire cabin can be removed and replaced with another, resulting in a concept that’s not at all too different from the Surus platform concept that General Motors unveiled earlier this week. Rinspeed’s whole objective with the concept is to reduce congestion and pollution in crowded cities, so it’s no surprise that the Snap Mobility Concept is completely autonomous and runs on a fully electric powertrain. The actual details and figures are still being withheld though rest assured, there’s a lot more to this concept than meets the eye. Keep an eye out for it when it makes its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2018.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Rinspeed Snap Mobility Concept

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2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept

2017 Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept

The compact EV may finally get a Nismo version, but don’t get excited yet!

The Nissan Leaf has been around since 2010, and it’s already one of the most popular all-electric vehicles on the road. The Japanese compact has been declared the best-selling EV in both 2013 and 2014 and sales have already surpassed 250,000 units as of 2017. On top of that, it has won numerous awards globally. Come 2017, and Nissan has launched the second-generation Leaf, a significantly improved vehicle that’s not only more appealing to look at, but also a better competitor to brand-new EVs like the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3. And it seems that the second-gen Leaf may finally spawn a Nismo version. Or at least this is what the Leaf Nismo Concept that was built for the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show suggests.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed for production, the Leaf Nismo Concept seems ready to hit the assembly line, as every new feature it received is inspired by previous Nismo cars. As usual, it has a sportier exterior, while the interior is highlighted by contrast stitching and the Nismo-specific red trim. The drivetrain has also been upgraded with a new, sporty suspension and revised ECU. On the other hand, both the electric motor and the battery are as standard as they get, which raises some concern as to whether or not the production version of the Leaf Nismo will be an authentic Nismo vehicle or just an annoying visual package. But, let’s find out more about that in the review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.

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2018 BMW 530e iPerformance

2018 BMW 530e iPerformance

Green sensibilities plus four-door German luxury

The 5 Series is Bimmer’s mid-size product, offered in a sedan, wagon, and fastback body style. Available since 1972, a total of seven generations have made their appearance over the years, with the current model making its introduction in October of 2016. This latest model sees an expansion into the Bavarian’s iPerformance lineup as the fourth such model to gain the designation. Seeking a balance between performance fun and a little efficiency as well, the 530e iPerformance gets all the same good stuff as the regular 5 Series, including the latest interior technology, snappy good looks, and a decent amount of performance, but adds a solid dose of hybrid efficiency and torque on top.

BMW says it’s doubling down on its electrified and hybrid offerings going forward, so it makes a lot of sense to see this relatively mild electrification for the 5 Series. We think it’s a smart move, as it manages to retain what we like about the 5 Series without diminishing anything in the process. It bodes well for future hybridized Bimmers, and sets a clear path forward as the Bavarians move to bring big batteries across its lineup.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 530e iPerformance.

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