Daimler Facing More Than One Billion Euro Fine For Diesel Cheating

Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler is facing a fine of up to one billion euros for diesel emission-related violations according to German magazine Der Spiegel.

The German motor vehicle authority (KBA) had discovered software deemed to be illegal under existing European Union law fitted to Mercedes-Benz C-class and E-class vehicles and ordered the car company to recall 280,000 vehicles, according to the Der Spiegel article.

The software is claimed to allow diesel-powered C- and E-class models to achieve lower NOx and CO2 emissions in controlled climatic conditions at pre-set speeds on a rolling road during testing than in practice on public roads.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the investigation was ongoing and would not be concluded before year-end. Der Spiegel says a fine of up to 5000 Euros per vehicle is being considered by the Stuttgart public prosecutor.

Hyundai Launches Solar Roof Charging System

Hyundai is launching its first car with a solar roof charging system. The company says the technology will provide vehicles with additional electrical power, as well as increasing fuel efficiency and driving range.

The solar roof charging system will first feature in the latest generation Sonata Hybrid to support the vehicle’s electric power source, improving fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions. In the coming years, Hyundai says it will roll out the technology to other vehicles across its range.

“Solar roof technology is a good example of how Hyundai Motor is moving towards becoming a clean mobility provider,” said Heui Won Yang, Senior Vice President and head of the Body Tech Unit of Hyundai Motor Group. “The technology allows our customers to actively tackle emissions issues. We are striving to further expand the application of the technology beyond eco-friendly vehicle line up to vehicles with internal combustion engine.”

Hyundai says the solar roof can charge 30 to 60 per cent of the battery per day with 6 hours of daily charging, and is capable of functioning while the car is in motion. Hyundai expects the roof to increase drivers’ travel distance by an extra 1300km annually.

The system is composed of a solar panel and a controller. Electricity is produced when solar energy – photons of light from the sun – activates the panel’s surface. The electron-hole pairs in silicon cells are then created, and the photons are converted into electricity. The electricity is then converted to the right voltage by the controller, and then stored in the battery.

The new Sonata is now on sale in Korea and will soon be sold in North America. Hyundai says it currently has no plans to expand sales to the European market.

Lotus Unveils Evija Production Car

British sports car manufacturer Lotus has unveiled the Evija, the world’s first all-electric British hypercar, at an event in London.

The event, hosted at the Royal Horticultural Halls, was made up of international automotive, business, technology and design media, plus a host of UK business leaders, corporate and commercial partners, government officials, Lotus employees, racing drivers and other distinguished friends of the brand.

Phil Popham, Lotus Cars CEO, and Russell Carr, Design Director, presented the two-seater EV hypercar to the audience. Popham described it as a bold statement of intent from the iconic British company, illustrative of its ambition under the stewardship of Geely.

“Evija will re-establish Lotus as a leader in terms of engineering and design. It is a hypercar that is built ‘For The Drivers’,” said Popham.

“The Evija is beyond anything Lotus has ever done… beyond anything I’ve ever done. We have created something beautiful, something new, dramatic and unique,” said Carr.

“Our auto industry has long been a source of national pride,” said Greg Clark, UK Secretary of State for Business who attended the unveiling. “The launch of the UK’s first all-electric hypercar, designed, engineered and built here in the UK, is testament to the skills and expertise of the workforce at Lotus.”

“A key part of our modern industrial strategy is to seize the opportunities of the future of mobility, including the move from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles. The Lotus Evija fits with this clear ambition.”

Further speeches were made by An Conghui, President of Geely Holding Group and CEO of Geely Auto, and by Ma Hui, Minister at the Chinese Embassy, London.

The Evija is the first all-electric British hypercar, the first Lotus with an electrified powertrain and the first new model since Geely took control in 2017. It has been designed and engineered in the UK and will be produced at Hethel, UK, with a total of 130 to be built. The Evija has a target output of 1471kW, 1700Nm of torque and sprints from 0-100km/h in under three seconds. It has a maximum speed in excess of 320km/h.

The Evija has a driving range of 400km and requires 18 minutes to charge with a 350kW charger, but has the ability to accept up to 800kW of charge. It’s priced from £1,700,000 plus duties and taxes. A £250,000 deposit secures a production slot and order books are now open through www.lotuscars.com.

News of the unveil event spread on social media as the car was unveiled. Within 12 hours, videos of the Evija had been viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube. Buzz around the Evija’s debut was also whipped up amongst fans thanks to a convoy of 12 historic and current Lotus sports cars – all yellow – which had driven around Central London during the afternoon.

“The world premiere of the Evija has been nothing short of spectacular, the perfect way to start a new chapter in this iconic company’s history.  I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved,” said Phil Popham as the event drew to a close.

“The Evija is a seismic shift for Lotus and signifies the rebirth of one of the UK’s most renowned sports car marques. It will act as a halo for the thrilling new range of Lotus performance cars that will follow.”

Groupe Renault And JMCG Establish Joint Venture For EVs In China

Groupe Renault and Jiangling Motors Corporation Group (JMCG) have announced the official establishment of their joint venture to further promote the development of the EV industry in China.

Groupe Renault will increase its share capital by RMB 1 billion to become a major shareholder of JMEV, a subsidiary of JMCG, with a 50 per cent stake. JMEV has already completed its business license registration.

Groupe Renault aims to expand its influence in China’s electric vehicle market through the joint venture, while JMCG wants to integrate and leverage more resources to promote rapid growth in the future.

“China is a key market for Groupe Renault,” said Francois Provost, Senior Vice President, Chairman of China Region, Groupe Renault. “This partnership in [the] electric vehicle business with JMCG will support our growth plan in China and our EV capabilities. As a pioneer and leader in the European EV market since 10 years, we will capitalise on our experience in EV R&D, production, sales and services.”

“Adhering to the concept of openness and cooperation, JMCG is one of the first domestic enterprises to introduce international strategic partners,” said Qiu Tiangao, Chairman of JMCG. “By partnering with Groupe Renault, JMEV will be able to elevate its comprehensive competitiveness to a new level and penetrate into China’s electric vehicle market.”

JMEV was set up in 2015 and quickly obtained certification to manufacture battery electric passenger vehicles, becoming a prominent player in China’s electric vehicle market.

Breaking The Formula 1 Record By The Volkswagen ID.R At Goodwood

The first electric race car to beat Formula 1: The Volkswagen ID.R has made motorsport history again by setting a new all-time record at the ‘Goodwood Festival of Speed’.

Romain Dumas completed the 1.86-kilometre track in the south of England in just 39.90 seconds. In doing so, the 500-kW (680-PS) electric race car broke the previous record, which had stood for 20 years, by 1.7 seconds. He also took victory in the Sunday Shootout.

The previous record at the famous hillclimb was set in 1999 by Nick Heidfeld in a 574-KW (780-PS) McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13 with a combustion engine.

Volkswagen WeShare launched In Berlin As Full-Electric Service

Volkswagen is entering the growing car sharing sector. WeShare is being launched in Berlin today. With 1,500 e-Golf vehicles, the Volkswagen brand is bringing onto the roads a 100 per cent electric fleet and all the vehicles will be operated on green power. They are to be followed by 500 additional e-up! vehicles at the beginning of next year and the first units of Volkswagen’s new full-electric ID.3 when it is introduced in mid-2020. WeShare is a “free-floating” system without rental stations and is operated digitally via an app. An expansion of WeShare, initially to Prague, together with ŠKODA, and then to Hamburg, is planned for 2020.
“With WeShare, we have tailored car sharing to meet the needs of users: easy to use with 100 per cent electric operation on green power,” said Christian Senger, Volkswagen Board Member for Digital Car & Services, today in Berlin. “With such a consistent, broad offering, we stand out from the competition. We are outstandingly well-positioned to participate in the expanding car sharing market.”

Porsche Fined €535 Million Over Diesel Cheating

German sports car manufacturer and Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche will pay a €535 million fine over diesel vehicles that emitted more harmful pollutants than allowed, according to Stuttgart prosecutors.

“The fine against Porsche AG was levied for negligence in quality control,” the investigators said. Porsche “abstained from a legal challenge” against the decision, the prosecutor’s office added.

The new penalty against Porsche is the latest in a string of fines against the Volkswagen group over its years-long “dieselgate” scandal. The company admitted in 2015 to manipulating 11 million vehicles worldwide to appear less polluting in laboratory tests than they were in real driving conditions.

Following fines against the Volkswagen brand, high-end subsidiary Audi and now Porsche, no further investigations over “administrative offences” remain open against the group, according to a spokesman. But legal proceedings against individuals, including former chief executive Martin Winterkorn, remain open.

Meanwhile, thousands of investors are suing the company for the losses they suffered on its shares when news of the scandal broke, while hundreds of thousands of drivers are also demanding compensation.

So far, the total costs of “dieselgate” for the Wolfsburg-based car giant have risen to €30 billion.

Suzuki Jimny Named World Urban Car Of The Year

The Suzuki Jimny has been named World Urban Car of the Year for 2019 at the New York International Auto Show.

In addition, the Suzuki Jimny also secured third place in the World Car Design of the Year award.

Vehicles were selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of 86 prominent automotive journalists from 24 countries around the world.

Upon receiving the award on behalf of Suzuki Motor Corporation Japan, its President, Toshihiro Suzuki said Suzuki is greatly honoured to receive the award.

“The Jimny is the one-and-only compact, authentic off-roader and we have kept true to this concept for almost 50 years. It now has many fans around the world who enjoy its excellent performance and one-of-a-kind functional design, both on and off-road. We accept this award on behalf of our fans, as well as with pride and confidence in our passion to build exciting cars to be the foot of our customers’ everyday lives” said Suzuki.

The 2019 Geneva Motor Show – What’s Hot And What’s Not

The 89th edition of the Geneva International Motor Show is being held at the Palexpo exhibition and trade centre in Le Grand-Saconnex.

This year’s show had a lot to offer, some great and some not so great vehicles, but as expected, there was a lot of electric cars.

From Audi, Fiat and Citroën to Aston Martin, a whole host of automotive brands are offering eco-friendly mobility options. From affordable, commercial cars to the more luxurious models.

Here’s a small selection:

Fiat presented an all-electric vehicle that is affordable for all. The Centoventi (One Hundred and Twenty in Italian) marks the manufacturer’s 120th anniversary and shows its vision for electric mass mobility in the near future.

Dubbed a rival to Tesla’s Model 3, Polestar’s latest car – Polestar 2 – is a fully-electric, five-door fastback coupe and comes at a lower price than the company’s previous model, while claiming to reach 100 kilometres per hour in less than five seconds.

The electric concept vehicle by Spanish manufacturer Seat (part of the Volkswagen Group) is called Minimó and was designed with city-dwellers in mind. It combines the safety and comfort of a car with the agility and easy parking of a motorcycle. It accommodates up to two passengers and features a battery-swap system that can fully recharge the car in a matter of minutes.

Citroën’s Ami One electric concept vehicle is designed to be an alternative to urban transport such as hiring an electric bike or scooter to get around a city or using public transport. The ultra-compact vehicle has a top speed of just 45 kilometres per hour, meaning that in many countries it can be operated by people as young as 16, with or without a driving licence.

Audi’s latest all-electric SUV concept will be the company’s fifth all-electric vehicle when it goes into production in 2020. The Q4 e-tron includes a specially developed exterior blue paint colour, called Solar Sky, which reflects a short-wave fraction of sunlight to reduce heat build-up in the car, meaning less energy is needed to cool the car on hot days.

Aston Martin revealed its Lagonda All-Terrain Concept – a zero-emissions SUV described as elegant yet robust, with futuristic shapes that look like they have been created by “the huge, planetary forces of gravity fields”. In line with this future-facing theme, the Lagonda also features a levitating key, which uses electromagnets to float between the front seats.

Volvo To Impose 180km/h Speed Limit On Its Cars

Volvo Cars says it is sending a strong signal about the dangers of speeding in limiting the top speed of all its cars to 180km/h from 2020.

The company’s Vision 2020, which aims for no one to be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by 2020, is one of the most ambitious safety visions in the automotive industry. But Volvo Cars says it is now broadening its scope to include a focus on driver behaviour, after realising that technology alone will not get it all the way to zero.

The company’s own research has identified three remaining concerns for safety that constitute ‘gaps’ in its ambition to completely end serious injuries and fatalities in its cars, with speeding a prominent one.

“Volvo is a leader in safety: we always have been and we always will be,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and Chief Executive of Volvo Cars. “Because of our research, we know where the problem areas are when it comes to ending serious injuries and fatalities in our cars. And while a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life.”

Apart from limiting top speeds, the company is also investigating how a combination of smart speed control and geofencing technology could automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals in future.

“We want to start a conversation about whether car manufacturers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver’s behaviour, to tackle things such as speeding, intoxication or distraction,” said Samuelsson. “We don’t have a firm answer to this question but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer.”

According to Volvo Cars, the problem with speeding is that above certain speeds, in-car safety technology and smart infrastructure design are no longer enough to avoid severe injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. This is why speed limits are in place in most western countries, but speeding remains ubiquitous and one of the most common reasons for fatalities in traffic.

Beyond speeding, two other problem areas constitute ‘gaps toward zero’. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in large parts of the world, yet it remains a prime reason for injuries and fatalities on today’s roads. The other area is distraction – drivers distracted by their mobile phones or otherwise not fully engaged in driving are another major cause of traffic fatalities.

Volvo Cars says it will present ideas to tackle the problem areas of intoxication and distraction at a special safety event in Gothenburg, Sweden on 20 March.