The Nissan Leaf Nismo Has Been Unveiled, But It May Leave You Disappointed
Since the introduction of the first Nissan Leaf, the automotive world has been quite eager to see what the Nissan performance division Nismo can do with the electric hatch. The race-ready Nismo Leaf RC was the first one to appear, but it was just too radical. Then, over the years, Nissan played around with some pseudo spirited versions never giving us a true Nismo Leaf. All that until October 25, 2017, when the Japanese company showcased the Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept.
Fast forward to today.
Nine months of the gestation period gave birth to a Leaf Nismo only available in Japan and wearing much the same attire as the concept version. Yet, I am far more interested in what Nismo did to that 147 horsepower drivetrain.
2020 BMW iX3
Like most automakers out there, BMW announced plans to add a large number of electrified models, but while some companies are already offering a handful of EVs and hybrids, BMW doesn’t have much to offer beyond the i3 electric hatchback and the i8 hybrid sports car. But that’s about to change soon, as BMW developed a new-generation eDrive platform that will underpin a number of vehicles in the future. The new drivetrain made its debut in the iX3 Concept, which previews a production model based on the familiar X3 crossover.
Showcased at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show, the iX3 is a mildly revised X3 on the outside. This is a sign that BMW wants its electric lineup to be familiar to company enthusiasts and it’s a hint that upcoming EVs will share design cues with the conventional Bimmers instead of getting their own unique styling, like the i3. Specs and performance details are slim as of this writing, but BMW promises an innovative drivetrain layout, an output of at least 270 horsepower, and mileage of at least 400 km (249 miles). A prototype of the production model was already spotted in the wild, so it may be unveiled early next year. Let’s find out more in the speculative review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the BMW iX3.
Kia Niro EV Arrives with 236-mile Range
Previewed by a concept car at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in January, the Kia Niro EV was unveiled as a production model at the International Electric Car Expo in South Korea. As expected, the electric crossover is a mildly revised version of the conventional Niro styling-wise.
2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid
Porsche updated the Cayenne for the 2018 model year, but the hybrid version wasn’t quite ready. Now that the 2019 models are about to roll into dealers, Porsche has finally pulled the covers off of the new 2019 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, a direct replacement for the Cayenne S E-Hybrid. It brings some serious improvements to the table over its predecessor and the standard Cayenne too. We’re talking about things like faster acceleration, more electric range, better efficiency, and increased power, among other things. It also brings all of the new styling cues and technology introduced with the 2018 Cayenne to the hybrid market.
Honda believes that it’s important for its customers to understand just how hybrids work. So, the brand plans to start a whole new media campaign to educate me, you, and everyone else about how their hybrid (or potentially future hybrid) vehicle works. After all, if you don’t understand them, you might not want to buy one. Well, that’s what the bean counters over at Honda think, anyway. The media campaign will be known as “I was an electric skeptic,” and it’s designed to provide important and easily understandable information about the function of hybrid vehicles. How Honda will choose to differentiate information between EVs, plug-in hybrids, and regular hybrids remains to be seen, but this could get interesting. Or… maybe it’ll be educational.
2019 Hyundai Nexo
Hydrogen fuel cell technology has been making headlines in the auto industry for a few decades now, with many claiming it’s the future of the fossil-free automobile. However, unlike the electric car market, the hydrogen segment has evolved rather slow, with most automakers opting to stay away from the big development costs and the expensive carbon-fiber fuel tanks. Until Toyota debuted the Mirai, Hyundai was the only company that actually launched a production model. The ix35 FCEV, also known as the Tuscon FCEV in some markets, was introduced in 2013. After several tests, full-scale production began in 2015 and examples were delivered in more than 20 countries worldwide. Come 2018 and Hyundai wants to take things up a notch with a brand-new model, called the Nexo.
Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show, the event where automakers launch their high-tech products for a few years now, the Nexo will replace the ix35/Tucson FCEV. And the new hydrogen-powered EV is a significant departure from its predecessor. Not only riding on a new platform, it also features a unique design, a brand-new interior, and bespoke technology. And unlike many vehicles we usually see at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Nexo is ready to go into production and will become available in select markets later in 2018. Let’s find out more about Hyundai’s next-generation FCEV in the review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai FCEV.
2019 Nio EP9
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.
Renault Shows Off the Symbioz as a Working Prototype
As more and more automakers continue their push to develop electric and autonomous vehicles, a company like Renault isn’t going to let itself get behind the proceedings. The French automaker unveiled the SYMBIOZ concept at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show last September to showcase what it can do in this burgeoning space. The concept was first envisioned as a roadmap for the company’s future by 2030, but in the space of just three months, Renault was able to develop a new working prototype of the same concept that has cut its timetable to 2023.
2018 Polestar 1
Originally named Flash Engineering and rebranded in 2005, Polestar is Volvo’s go-to when it comes to performance applications. Now, however, Polestar has broken away from the mothership, seeking its own destiny as a “standalone electric performance brand.” The Polestar 1 is the company’s first effort in that role, promising huge hybrid power, stylish GT car looks, a classy interior, and even a new take on modern car ownership models. It’s an ambitious undertaking and, if successful, it will undoubtedly shake things up across the industry. However, the question remains – will Polestar have what it takes to fend for itself?
Continue reading to learn more about the Polestar 1.
Need a Six-Door Electric SUV? Here’s Some Green4U
You may have heard of Panoz, a Georgia, U.S.-based automaker that builds custom road cars and their racing counterparts like the AIV Roadster and Esperante. You might even know the Panoz name from Don Panoz, the founder of the American Le Mans Series. But, it’s likely you’ve never heard of Green4U, the new parent company of Panoz. Though it sounds like a smoothie option at the local mall or landscaping company, Green4U is focused on building electric vehicles for taxi fleets, municipalities, the military, and the general public. The company has barely made it off the ground, having been founded in September 2016, but has several vehicles in the works. Two of them are six-door SUVs with all-electric drivetrains.
What’s more, Green4U claims they’ll both have a 230-mile electric range.
The SUV seen here is the MTU-6. It’s a Land Rover Defender-esque SUV that rides on an aluminum chassis and is built in-house in Green4U’s Georgia facility. The other SUV is the Enova. It also rides on the same aluminum chassis, but its body is tailored more towards the limousine and taxi service rather than the rugged outdoorsman with lots of friends. Green4U hasn’t divulged many details about either of its SUVs beyond the claimed 230-mile range. But, by the look of things, we’d bet 4WD will be included in the mix.
Jack Perkowski, Green4U Technologies CEO and co-founder, said, “Our engineers designed a lightweight and strong aluminum chassis and are optimizing electric drivetrains and systems to deliver the range and performance that fleet operators need. “We’re focusing on fleet operators because they understand how EVs can greatly lower their operating costs. A company that has fleet vehicles traveling 50,000 miles a year can save thousands of dollars through lower fuel and maintenance costs.” Green4U says pricing and detailed specs will be released “in the near future” and the MTU-6 and Enova will be available to customers by the summer of 2018.
Continue reading for more information.
2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport P400e
The Range Rover Sport is getting a facelift and thorough update for the 2019 model year, along with an all-new gasoline-electric hybrid variant called the P400e. In addition to the new exterior and swanky updated, technology-laden interior, the 2019 Range Rover Sport P400e will offer 31 miles of all-electric driving from its 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder. But this isn’t some slowpoke Prius. Rather, the P400e packs 404 combined horsepower and 472 pound-feet of combined torque to shoot this all-aluminum SUV to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds with a top speed of 137 mph while also being able to squeeze out 101 MPGe on the European scale when driving conservatively.
The 2019 Range Rover Sport P400e is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s recent promise to have an electrified variant of each of its vehicles by 2020. The P400e joins the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace crossover as the second member of JLR’s new-age lineup. Obviously, we can expect many more JLR vehicles coming with similar hybrid powertrains in the near future, especially since 2020 is only two model years away. While we have no insider information on the subject, it would be a safe bet JLR will use hybrid systems very similar to the P400e’s in the majority of its vehicles. The range will include everything from the sporty Jaguar F-Type to the luxury-minded Range Rover. Until then, let’s take a look at the 2019 Range Rover Sport P400e, its hybrid drivetrain, and its updated aesthetics and technology.
Continue reading for more information.
2018 BMW 530e iPerformance
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.
2017 Hyundai Ioniq - Driven
Toyota Prius, you’re on notice: The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid is here, and it’s arguably doing this whole hybrid, fuel-efficient family car thing better than you.
The Prius has had this market sewn-up for over a decade now. There’s been competition, but it’s been limited. Considering gasoline has been “cheap” here in the States for most of that time, it’s easy to understand why automakers haven’t been eager to challenge Toyota with a compact hybrid hatchback. After all, compact cars aren’t the hottest-selling things in truck-and-SUV-loving ‘Merica, so getting folks to pay a little more for a hybrid electric powertrain in a compact car can be a hard sell.
So while other compacts like the Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra, Kia Forte, and yes, even Toyota’s own Corolla and Hyundai’s own Elantra fought it out for a piece of a shrinking pie, the Prius more or less had the super-efficient niche all to itself.
All three versions of the Prius — compact Liftback, subcompact “C”, and midsize “V” — sold 136,632 copies combined in 2016 — down 48,162 from the year prior. (Toyota didn’t provide a breakdown of individual Prius model sales in its 2016 year-end sales stats.) By comparison, the brand’s Corolla sedan sold 360,483 copies in the same year, and that’s not counting the 17,727 copies of the closely related Corolla (née Scion) iM hatchback. But to show you how much we ‘Mericans love trucks and cheap gas, Ford sold more gas-guzzling F-Series pickup trucks in 2016 than all of the above combined — 820,799 trucks total.
Into this fuel-swilling American marketplace steps Hyundai with its first dedicated compact hybrid, the Ioniq, designed specifically to compete with the Prius Liftback. Even with the Prius getting a much-needed total redesign this year, there are things I like better about the Ioniq. First and foremost: its design.
Continue reading for the full story.
Owning an All-Electric Car in New York is About to Get Easier
This country has a huge political divide, and for the most part, you’re either on the Republican side or the Democratic side. If you’re a Republication you probably support The Donald and enjoy your second amendment rights, while if you’re democratic, you’re still crying about Hillary’s loss, the travel ban (that’s right, it’s not a Muslim ban, folks), and you probably don’t want people to legally own guns in your city. Okay, so that’s an oversimplification, but in fairness, things have gone so haywire lately, it’s hard to know what any party represents. Back to the topic at hand, the highly democratic city of New York has just taken a major step to saving the environment, the lungs of New Yorkers, and to make it easier to own an electric car in one of the most traffic-congested cities in the country. How, you ask? Well, Mayor De Blasio, while taking a stab at president Trump’s view of climate change, has announced that New York will introduce some 1,000 public EV chargers by 2020.
These will come by means of 50 new public charging stations and a rather large check that will set the city back by a total of $10 million. Needless to say, being green isn’t easy, but in the end, I think we can all agree that this is a really good thing. Living in NYC isn’t for everyone, and it’s certainly not easy all of the time. It’s even harder if you want to drive an EV since you’ve got a better chance of scheduling a meeting with Kim Jong Un than you do finding a charger in the Big Apple. There’s a total of 16 public fast chargers as of the time of this writing, four of which are owned by Tesla at good ole JFK International next to hundreds of Level 2 “trickle” chargers that give you up to 70 miles of range per hour of charging – that’s going to go a long way in NYC, right?
The truth is that New York City is as busy as ever trying to up the number of EV registrations in the city to at least 20 percent by 2025. As of the end of 2016, there were a total of 2,162,329 vehicles registered, so by 2025, De Blasio wants at least 432,500 of them to be all-electric. That could go a hell of a long way to dropping emissions, improving air quality, and reducing the city’s consumption of that liquid gold we call gasoline. However, these public charging stations are a must, because right now, your best bet is to hijack power from a street light, assuming you can find a spot to park, or rent out a parking space in a garage and hope there’s a plug somewhere nearby. And, you can bet garage owners won’t be the first to jump at spending thousands to install charger ports either.
While I don’t necessarily agree with a lot of the politics that come out of NYC, I tip my hat to De Blasio in this regard, as the city needs some serious infrastructure changes to handle the growing abundance of EVs it’s aiming for by 2025.
What do you guys think? Will these 50 charging stations be enough to support nearly a half-million EVs in the next eight years, or will it not be enough? Let us know in the comments section below.
2018 Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid
The S-Class – previously known as the “Special” Class – is Merc’s full-sized coupe and sedan, a flagship luxury vehicle that promises the highest levels of refinement, the finest materials, and the most advanced technology offered by the German automaker. Following its reintroduction in 1972, there have been six generations of the S-Class, with the latest generation introduced for the 2014 model year. But now, the calendar is telling me the date is 2017, and all that luxury, technology, and opulence can be had with some green sensibilities as well. Merc’s latest entry in this segment is the S 560 e, the successor to the S 550 e, which once again seeks to find a balance of both long range and a local emission-free motoring, all with that characteristic Mercedes gloss. The S 560 e just broke cover at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and it when it hits U.S. dealers in 2019, it’s expected to arrive with a twist-happy 3.0-liter V-6, 25 miles of all-electric range, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and plenty of Eco-focused features, plus all the traditional luxury bits, of course.
The S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid is the latest effort from Mercedes as it pushes for more extensive electrification across its entire lineup. Both all-electric vehicles and hybrids are slated to see a big boost in the Merc portfolio, so expect to see the same stuff previewed in the S-Class trickle down to the more accessible models.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz S 560 e Plug-In Hybrid.
Mercedes Launches First Production Hydrogen Hybrid With GLC F-Cell
The latest crop of green alternative passenger vehicles is making the rounds at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and Mercedes is getting in on the action with a brand-new hybrid SUV. It’s called the GLC F-Cell, and it’s touted as the world’s very first production-ready hydrogen hybrid vehicle. Flying the German automaker’s EQ Power banner, also known as the go-to branding for Merc’s various green solutions, the GLC F-Cell is essentially an SUV that combines plug-in all-electric battery power with hydrogen fuel cell power. The marriage of these two alternative power sources hopes to find a synergy whereby benefits are maximized and disadvantages are minimized, combining the quick refill times of hydrogen power and the long-range capability of electrified assistance, all without the traditional explodey dino juice normally associated with “typical” hybrid vehicles.
The new SUV is part of the latest Mercedes product strategy to produce 10 new battery-electric models by the year 2022. The GLC F-Cell is also a modern addition to the Mercedes CASE strategy, an acronym that stands for, Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services, and Electric. And while the SUV has yet to show anything terribly noteworthy in terms of connected, autonomous, or sharing features, the novel hybrid stuff is more than worthy of the attention of anyone interested in powertrain technology development. Read on for the specs and details.
Continue reading to learn more about the GLC F-Cell.
The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid
When the W222, sixth-gen Mercedes S-Class came to the market in 2013, it sat in a niche that was completely void of any real competition. But, after just a few years that changed, with long-time rival BMW introducing the new 7 Series and GM’s luxury division, Cadillac, introducing the full-size CT6 to the market. The S-Class was already competitive enough to hold its own in the full-size luxury segment and was even praised for its superior ride quality, seemingly effortless acceleration, and all of that fancy tech that brought it one step closer to being a true-to-life spaceship on wheels. With the new E-Class coming before this mid-cycle update, Merc had a lot of new tech on its hands, and you certainly can’t have a lesser model sporting better features, so this was the icing on the cake and triggered Mercedes to revamp the S-Class in time for 2018. Now that we’re approaching the holiday season and the new year, Mercedes saw fit to introduce the newest member of the S-Class family: The S 560 e – a plug-in hybrid that promises to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model.
So, now that we’re looking at the facelifted S-Class hybrid, it’s important to note that it also comes with a new name. Previously known as the S550 Plug-in Hybrid, the 2018 model will now go by the nomenclature of S560 e Plug-in Hybrid. Highlights of the facelifted model include an increase in system output of more than 50 horsepower, increased all-electric range thanks to a revised battery, relocated electric components, and increased luggage room in the rear. An ECO assist feature will help you drive more efficiently, while pre-entry climate control will have the temperature just right before you even sit down inside the vehicle. I guess that’s pretty commendable and right in line with what you should expect for a car of this stature. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what kind of improvements the revised hybrid brings to the market. Something tells me, you might want to consider trading in that old plug-in for a new one, but we’ll see.