Hyundai Motor launches Ioniq 5 electric crossover, expects EV demand jump

(Reuters) – South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co launched its Ioniq 5 midsize crossover on Tuesday, the first in a planned family of electric vehicles (EV) that it hopes will propel it into the third rank of global EV makers by 2025.Slideshow ( 5 images )

The company says the model is based on a new electric vehicle-only platform that uses its own battery module technology and requires fewer components than Hyundai’s existing electric cars, enabling faster production at lower cost.

The launch of Ioniq 5 is the linchpin of Hyundai’s long-term goal to capture 10% of global EV sales by 2025, up from a combined market share of 7.2% for Hyundai and Kia together during the January-September period in 2020, according to industry tracker SNE Research. Hyundai Motor and its sister company Kia Corp together aim to sell 1 million EVs in 2025.

“We expect this year’s (global) EV demand will increase more than 30% versus last year,” Hyundai Motor President Chang Jae-hoon told a news conference.

The Ioniq 5 will have a maximum driving range of about 480 kms (298 miles), up nearly 20% from the Kona EV, which previously had the longest range among Hyundai’s EV lineup.

It will offer two battery pack options – 58-kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 72.6 kWh – and will be available in selected regions starting in the first half of 2021, Hyundai said in a statement.

The South Korean automaker did not disclose the price of the Ioniq 5, but Hyundai Motor Europe President Michael Cole said in Europe it would start at about 42,000 euros ($51,100) before government incentives.

Hyundai is targeting sales of 100,000 units globally next year, with about 30%-40% in Europe, 30% in North America and 20% in South Korea.

“Hyundai will be able to increase its presence in the global EV market as it adds a new EV, considering that the company showed solid performance with its major EV Kona Electric,” said Kevin Yoo, an analyst at eBEST Investment & Securities.

($1 = 0.8219 euros)

Daimler to keep “protective hand” on truck unit after spin-off

(Reuters) – German carmaker Daimler aims to keep a “protective hand” on Daimler Trucks, the world’s largest truck and bus maker, following a planned spin-off, Chief Executive Ola Källenius told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).

Daimler said on Wednesday it plans to spin off Daimler Truck as it seeks to increase its investor appeal as a focused electric, luxury car business.

“The exact percentages are yet to be determined, but at the same time we will keep a protective hand over Daimler Trucks through our shareholding,” Källenius said in an interview with the FAS published online on Saturday.

“Should something happen in the market that would not be in the interests of Daimler Trucks, then we are there,” Källenius said. “But the company will act independently, we will not interfere operationally via the supervisory board.”

The two business would still cooperate – for example, the car business would, if needed, have access to the fuel cell technology of the truck maker, which, conversely, would be able to use the car maker’s battery technology, Källenius said.

He expected Daimler Trucks to be listed on Germany’s blue chip DAX index, like the carmaker.

“I think it is very likely we will get two DAX companies in Stuttgart,” he said.

Lotus Cars announces 250 new jobs with prototype built in Norfolk

Sports car manufacturer Lotus has announced production of a new prototype which will create 250 jobs.

The firm said it was investing £100m at its headquarters in Hethel, near Norwich.

But three of the company’s models will cease production this year including the Elise, which launched in 1995.

Phil Popham, chief executive of Lotus Cars, said: “Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track.”

It follows last year’s announcement that it was moving some production to a new facility in Norwich from its existing plants in Norwich and Worcester.

Lotus HQ
image captionLotus said it would invest £100m into its headquarters, south west of Norwich

The company said the roles would be in engineering and manufacturing for both Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering which is due to open near Warwick later this year.

Alongside the new prototype – called Type 131 – the company will continue to make the electric Evija model.

Lotus Elise
image captionThe Lotus Elise was launched in 1995 and will cease production this year

Later this year Lotus will stop production of the Exige and Evora models as well as the Elise.

Matt Windle, executive director of engineering at Lotus, said many of the current team of engineers, designers and technicians “were around when Elise was being developed” more than 25 years ago.

New electric car battery can charge in five minutes

“A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible,” said StoreDot’s chief executive, Dr Doron Myersdorf.

A new electric car battery that can be fully charged in five minutes has been manufactured for the first time on a normal production line in China, based on designs by Israeli company StoreDot.

The breakthrough could address a significant concern for electric car drivers – the fear of running out of power during a journey, marooning the vehicle for a couple of hours while it charges.

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“A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible,” said StoreDot’s chief executive, Dr Doron Myersdorf.

Dr Doron Myersdorf, CEO, StoreDot
Image:Dr Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot, said the innovation may overcome ‘range anxiety’

“But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates that it is feasible and commercially ready,” Dr Myersdorf added.

The company produced 1,000 sample batteries with its manufacturing partner Eve Energy in China.

These samples, which are compliant with Li-ion battery certifications, were manufactured on a normal construction line and will be used to showcase the company’s technology to other companies.

So-called “range anxiety” is the “number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles”, said Dr Myersdorf.

More from China

Fast charging lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries is a significant problem for electronics manufacturers and developers, and companies from Samsung to Daimler have invested in StoreDot.

The company’s new batteries are designed differently to standard Li-ion ones, replacing the graphite with semiconductor nanoparticles based on germanium – though they hope to move to silicon in the future.

Because the speed of the charge is based on the battery rather than the charging point, StoreDot’s invention could have a significant impact on the adoption of electric vehicles, which are facing a bottleneck in countries such as the UK that have limited charging stations.

There are more than 30,000 points currently in the UK in over 11,000 locations, and around 10,000 charge points were added in 2019 alone.

But research by Deloitte suggests the UK will need to spend £1.6bn on 28,000 more public points for the estimated seven million EVs that will be on the road by 2030.

In 2019, there were 37,850 BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) registered in the UK – up 144% on the previous year, however they still only account for 1.6% of the market.

Hybrid electric vehicles – combing an electric motor with a petrol or diesel engine – are currently more popular, making up 4.2% of the market share, but they are set to be phased out along with petrol and diesel cars by 2035.

By: Kwamed2k

Audi to make electric cars with China’s oldest carmaker FAW

Audi is teaming up with China’s oldest carmaker FAW to produce luxury electric vehicles.

FAW is China’s third largest carmaker, and counts Hongqi – or Red Flag – limousines for China’s communist party leaders among its products.

It has been trying to gain ground in the world’s largest electric car market against domestic competitors like Geely and SAIC.

The new joint-venture factory will build fully-electric Audi models.

The $4.6bn facility is set to open in 2024 in Chungchun in China’s Northeast, according to Audi.

“This deepened partnership between Audi and FAW heralds a new era of electrification as the next ‘golden decade’ for Audi on the important Chinese market,” said President of Audi China Werner Eichhorn, in a press release.

China is the single biggest market in the world for Audi, which sold more than 700,000 vehicles there in 2020.

The German luxury brand wants electric vehicles to make up one-third of its sales in China by 2025.

Audi and its owner Volkswagen will own a 60% stake in the joint venture, while FAW will own 40%.

Xi Jinping in a FAW Hongqi at a military parade.

FAW already produces Audi models locally and has a longstanding relationship with Audi and its parent company Volkswagen.

The company was created as part of an industrialisation push by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong in the 1950s.

Its premium Hongqi models, which were originally created to transport diplomats and communist party officials, fell out of favour in the 1980s before being revived amid a national push to promote Chinese brands.

China’s President Xi Jinping rode in a Hongqi limousine during a military parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in 2015. 

FAW sold more than 3 million units in 2020, including 200,000 of its premium Hongqi branded cars.

The company plans to electrify most of its Hongqi models by 2025.

Electric car shake-up

Audi’s latest move comes amid a backdrop of increasing competition in China’s electric car market.

According to the International Energy Agency, there were 7.2 million electric cars on the road globally by 2019, with 47% of them in China. 

China’s electric vehicle sales are tipped to reach 1.8 million units this year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

The FAW-Audi tie up will likely compete with BMW, which has its own electric vehicle joint-venture with Chinese sports utility vehicle maker Great Wall Motors.

Tesla is also a major player, with its first Chinese-made electric vehicles rolling off the assembly line of the car maker’s Shanghai gigafactory last year. 

A number of local start-ups, like Nio, Aiways, XPeng, Li Auto and WM Motor are also vying for a slice of the Chinese market. 

Increasingly, local electric car markers have also been looking to incorporate high tech features into their cars in an effort to become more competitive. 

Many have partnered with China’s big technology companies to manufacture smarter electric vehicles. 

Nio EP9 car is on display at 2020 Shanghai Pudong International Automotive Exhibition

Chinese media have reported that Alibaba and SAIC will work together under a new premium electric vehicle brand called Zhiji, which will feature new battery technology that will extend the car’s range. 

Chinese search engine Baidu and iPhone maker Foxconn have also each announced partnerships with with Geely, which is China’s largest private carmaker. 

Ride hailing app Didi Chuxing also recently announced it would make electric vehicles designed for its services with automaker BYD.

Chip-shortage ‘crisis’ halts car-company output

Audi is having to slow production because of a computer-chip shortage it is calling a “crisis upon a crisis”.

Boss Markus Duesmann said it was now aiming to make 10,000 fewer cars in the first quarter of the year and putting more than 10,000 workers on furlough.

Its parent company, Volkswagen, announced its own go-slow due to a lack of chips last week, alongside rivals such as Honda.

Mr Duesmann told the Financial Times carmakers had been caught by surprise.

‘Limited pool’

After a poor start to 2020 for new car sales, manufacturers cut their orders from the Chinese factories making computer chips.

But then, at the end of the year, “everybody was quite surprised by the strength of the market”, Mr Duesmann said.

However, ordering new chips is not simple. 

CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said: “Semiconductors have a broad range of applications but a very limited pool of companies capable of manufacturing the silicon.

“Demand is high, and supply is tight” and any sudden needs “can prove very difficult to accommodate”.

“Modern cars are becoming computers on wheels, with an abundance of silicon required to control everything from the infotainment system to camera, radar and lidar,” he said.

‘Major disruptions’

The demand from carmakers “competes for manufacturing capacity with smartphones, servers and a host of other segments”.

And a boom in the market for devices such as PCs and new game consoles was making it doubly difficult to book manufacturing time.

The shortages have seen Mercedes-maker Daimler, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota all reportedly suspend production for days or weeks at a time.

And German car-parts company Continental described “largescale supply shortages”, with lead times of six to nine months, adding bottlenecks were expected to continue “well into 2021, causing major disruptions”.

Product recall: Safety issues with Tesla cars

Tesla has been asked to recall 158,000 Model S and Model X vehicles over an issue with failing touchscreens, which could increase the risk of crashes.

The problem involves the memory chips used in the displays of cars made between 2012 and 2018, which wear out, causing the screen to stop working.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sent Tesla a formal letter requesting the recall.

It has until 27 January to respond.

Tesla has implemented some over-the-air updates to mitigate some of the issues – but the NHTSA said they were insufficient to address it concerns.

It said the failure of the media-console units (MCU) was “a defect related to motor-vehicle safety” because of a range of safety issues, including:

  • the loss of rear-view camera images and controls for heating, air conditioning and defrosting
  • the potential loss of audible chimes and alerts associated with indicators and the driver-assistance Autopilot feature

And it requested “Tesla initiate a recall to notify all owners, purchasers and dealers of the subject vehicles of this safety defect and provide a remedy”.

Stop working

The cars in question – Model S sedans built between 2012 and 2018 as well as Model X SUVs from 2016 to 2018 – are fitted with a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with an integrated flash memory device.ADVERTISEMENTnullnull

Part of the storage is used every time the vehicle is started.

And when capacity is reached, the MCU will fail.

All MCUs fitted with this chip will eventually stop working, with most having a lifespan of 10 years.

The NHTSA opened an investigation into the vehicles in June, considering information provided by Tesla and consumers.

Included in it were complaints Tesla required owners to pay to replace the units once warranties expired.

BBC News has asked Tesla for a response.

China’s Baidu and Geely partner up for smart cars

China’s search engine Baidu has announced it will partner with carmaker Geely to make smart electric vehicles (EVs).

Baidu will provide “intelligent driving capabilities”, while Geely will offer design and manufacturing expertise. 

Geely is one of China’s largest carmakers, and also owns Volvo and a stake in Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler. 

The two companies will be competing not just with Elon Musk’s Tesla, but also with several Chinese competitors. 

“We believe that by combining Baidu’s expertise in smart transportation, connected vehicles and autonomous driving with Geely’s expertise as a leading automobile and EV manufacturer, the new partnership will pave the way for future passenger vehicles,” said Robin Li, co-founder and chief executive of Baidu.

Baidu established its autonomous driving unit Apollo in 2017, which mainly supplies technology powered by artificial intelligence and works with a number of international and Chinese carmakers

China is the world’s leading market for electric vehicles. 

According to the International Energy Agency, there were 7.2 million electric cars on the road globally by 2019, with 47% of them in China. 

Data provider S&P Platts estimates that “new energy vehicles” will account for 20% of total new car sales in China by 2025. 

“China has become the world’s largest market for EVs, and we are seeing EV consumers demanding next generation vehicles to be more intelligent,” Mr Li said. Will the UK be ready for a 2030 ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars?

Fierce competition

Baidu and Geely are likely to face strong competition, with carmakers and tech giants globally trying to develop smart cars.

Internet giants including Tencent, Amazon and Alphabet have all developed auto-related technology or invested in smart-car startups in recent years.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has formed an EV joint venture with Geely’s competitor SAIC.

Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing has partnered with automaker BYD to make electric vehicles specifically designed for ride hailing services.

Hyundai and Apple

The announcement follows reports of a possible electric car tie-up with Apple and Hyundai.

Shares of the South Korean car company surged by more than 20% on Friday after it initially said it was in the “early stage” of talks with the iPhone maker about a possible electric car partnership.

But hours later it backtracked and said it was talking with a number of potential partners without naming Apple.

A report in Korea IT News on Sunday said the two companies planned to sign a deal by March and start production around 2024.

Three NDC executives involved in car accident

Three executives of the NDC in the Eastern region have been involved in a near-fatal accident while returning from a campaign tour in Afram Plains.

The victims, Hackman Kabore, Regional Organizer, Richard Etornam Nyarko, Deputy Regional Organizer and Michael Akorli, Deputy Regional Communication Officer sustained injuries and were rushed to the Atibie Government Hospital where their conditions stabilized and subsequently referred to Eastern Regional Hospital in Koforidua.

The accident occurred on Saturday, November 28, 2020, on Kwahu Adawso to Kwahu Tafo road. 

Information gathered indicate that the executives were returning to meet the national chairman Ofosu Ampofo after campaigning with the General Secretary of the Party Johnson Asiedu Nketia at Afram Plains South and North Constituencies. 

The speeding party-branded Nissan Pick-Up vehicle driven by Mr Etornam Nyarko reportedly veered off the road after hitting an unmarked bumpy stretch which made the vehicle somersault five times and landed in a ditch. 

The vehicle is badly damaged.

Source: Star fm