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.

Holden To Bring New Corvette To Australia

General Motors Holden has confirmed that the next generation mid-engine Corvette will be built in right-hand-drive and will be made available in Australia.

“Like anyone with a hint of petrol in their veins, we were glued to our screens watching the reveal of the new Corvette,” said Dave Buttner, Chairman and Managing Director of Holden. “The news that Corvette will now be built in right-hand-drive for the first time ever – and will be exported to Australia – is hugely exciting for our team at Holden and any Australian who loves high performance cars.

“With our long history in motor-racing, performance vehicles are an indelible part of the Holden brand. Our team is totally revved up to build on Holden’s performance legacy with the most technologically advanced Corvette ever built.

“We look forward to taking on the European and Japanese performance vehicles with some highly sophisticated American muscle.”

“Corvette has always represented the pinnacle of innovation and boundary-pushing at GM,” said GM President Mark Reuss. “The traditional front-engine vehicle reached its limits of performance, necessitating the new layout. In terms of comfort and fun, it still looks and feels like a Corvette, but drives better than any vehicle in Corvette history. Customers are going to be thrilled with our focus on details and performance across the board.”

The new mid-engine layout gives the Corvette:

  • Better weight distribution, with the rear weight bias enhancing performance in a straight line and on the track.
  • Better responsiveness and sense of control due to driver positioning closer to the front axle, almost on top of the front wheels.
  • The fastest 0-100km/h time of any entry Corvette — approximately three seconds when equipped with Z51 package.
  • A race car-like view of the road due to lower positioning of the bonnet, instrument panel and steering wheel. Excellent forward sightlines throughout the vehicle for both driver and passenger.
  • An enhancement of the Corvette’s traditional utility strengths with dual boots, ideal for luggage or two sets of golf clubs.

“As America’s most iconic performance nameplate, redesigning the Corvette from the ground up presented the team a historic opportunity, something Chevrolet designers have desired for over 60 years,” said Mike Simcoe, Vice President of Global Design, General Motors. “It is now the best of America, a new arrival in the mid-engine sports car class. We know Corvette can stand tall with the best the world has to offer.”

The new location of the engine is visible through the large rear hatch window. GM says the Corvette’s canopy-forward stance was inspired by F22s, F35s and other modern fighter jets, along with Formula One racing, adding that the Corvette is designed for superior ride comfort on the highway and well-balanced handling on the track.

“Thanks to sophisticated suspension geometry, tailored tyre technology and exquisite attention to structural details, we have improved ride and handling,” said Tadge Juechter, Corvette Executive Chief Engineer. “No Corvette has ever felt so comfortable, nimble and yet completely stable.”

The new Corvette is powered by the LT2 ‘small block’ 6.2L V8 engine, producing 369 kW of power and 637 Nm of torque when equipped with performance exhaust. The LT2 is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and features double-paddles on the steering wheel for a ‘different’ shifting experience.

“Though now placed behind the driver, the LT2 gives the same visceral experience we all expect from Corvette,” said Jordan Lee, GM’s Global Chief Engineer of Small Block engines. “The LT2 has been designed to deliver excellent low-end torque and high-end power to give thrilling pedal response at any RPM.”

New Corvette production begins at GM’s Bowling Green facility in late 2019. Holden said it will share further details about Corvette in Australia at a later date.

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.”

Genesis Opens Doors On First Australian Flagship Studio In Sydney

A glamourous ribbon-cutting at the first Genesis Studio, in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall, has marked the launch of the Genesis brand in Australia.

The flagship studio was unveiled by Executive Vice President, Global Head of the Genesis Brand, Manfred Fitzgerald, at a glittering cocktail event.

The launch of Genesis Studio Sydney introduces a new premium customer experience to the Australian market, and will be joined by Genesis Studios in Melbourne and Brisbane next year.

The stunningly designed Studio in the retail heart of Sydney’s CBD is defined by its spiral staircase encircled by a spectacular, bespoke large-scale curved LED screen.

“I am delighted to unveil Genesis in Australia with the grand opening of our flagship Genesis Studio in Sydney,” Manfred Fitzgerald – Executive Vice President, Global Head of the Genesis Brand said.

“Genesis Studio Sydney ushers in a new exclusive way to buy and own a luxury car, providing customers with all-encompassing premium ownership experience,” he said.

Genesis Studio Sydney will showcase the latest G70 and G80 luxury sedans, which will be joined by next year by the brand’s first SUV.

The company-owned Genesis Studio, with Australia’s first online build and order fixed pricing website, forms part of a true omni-channel business model and gives customers the convenience of being able purchase online or in person.

The Genesis Studio experience will be complemented by the Genesis To You program, which will give customers a test drive home-delivery service, a convenient handover delivery for new purchases, and concierge pick-up and delivery for scheduled servicing.

Genesis Experience Executives will meet the needs of Studio visitors, and provide customers with an individual point of contact from evaluation to purchase, which then continues throughout their Genesis vehicle ownership.

Completing the customer-focused offering is an all-inclusive ownership proposition that gives Genesis customers a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, five years free scheduled servicing, five years 24/7 roadside assist, 5 years free map updates and a five-year subscription to Genesis Connected Services and the exclusive ‘Genesis To You’ valet service.

The ownership experience is further enhanced with a two year complimentary subscription to the Genesis Lifestyle program, incorporating benefits such as a Lifestyle Concierge and Global Privileges, which includes travel and medical assistance.

Further underlying Genesis’s commitment to customer experience, for the second year in a row Genesis has placed first in the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) among all automotive brands. The IQS study, now in its fourth decade, serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality.

The New Mahindra XUV500

Mahindra Automotive Australia Pty LTD (MAAPL), unveiled an updated XUV500 in Brisbane. The refreshed XUV500 features subtle changes in refinement and features while adding further improvements to its exterior. Viewed from the front, the new XUV500 features a brand-new grille, with a larger chrome surround, redesigned headlamps and lower bumper.

The new tailgate, new combination taillights and a larger roof-mounted rear spoiler present a completely new look.

The W6, and W10 models have alloy wheels, cruise control with a multi-functional steering wheel with reach adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, as well as fully automatic temperature control (FATC). In addition, the W6-grade features premium cloth upholstery. The W10 model is also equipped with a 7” full colour infotainment system with voice commands.

The 2019 upgrade on the Stylish New XUV500 is more than just skin deep. Mahindra engineers have refined its mHawk 2.2 turbo petrol engine with its fifth-generation turbocharger. The mHawk-engine delivers 103 kW and 320 Nm of torque.

In addition, Mahindra has revised the suspension – which it designed in partnership with Lotus – to offer greater comfort and improved handling. The suspension upgrade and additional noise damping on the 2019 model has led to a dramatic drop in the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) inside the cabin.

The W6 variant offers a raft of standard equipment and suitably affordable drive away price of just $26,990.

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.