0:27 China Boosts EV Incentives
0:54 Tesla Struggles with Chinese Factory
1:34 BMW Reveals the New X4
2:29 Mercedes Updates the C-Class
3:36 New Sensor Monitors Brain Activity
4:41 Magna Develops New Kind of Radar
6:36 Benchmarking the Tesla Model 3
On today’s show…we’ve got new cars from BMW and Mercedes…new technology from Magna and Freer Logic…and more feedback from Sandy Munro on the Tesla Model 3. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show that keeps you informed on the global automotive industry.
FROM THE LONG MARCH TO THE LONG RANGE
To promote long range electric cars, China is boosting subsidies for BEVs that have a range of 400 kilometers or more. That’s about 250 miles, and that qualifies them for a $7,900 subsidy, which is up from $6,300. At the same time, the minimum range for an EV to earn a subsidy has also increased, from at least 100 kilometers, to 150 kilometers.
TESLA STRUGGLES WITH CHINESE FACTORY
Speaking of China, Tesla is running into problems trying to open a factory there. Chinese law mandates that Tesla must find a joint-venture partner or it can’t build cars in the country. But Bloomberg reports that the EV maker and the Shanghai government are having trouble coming to an agreement because Tesla wants to own the factory. Tesla is losing out on sales in China, the world’s largest EV market, because its cars get hit with a 25% import tariff. That really jacks up the price. For example, a loaded Model X that costs $105,000 in the U.S., costs $132,000 in China.
BMW’S QUATRO EQUIS
BMW has sold more than 200,000 X4s worldwide since it was launched in 2014 and now it’s showing off the second generation. It’s longer, wider and ever-so-slightly lower than before. The headlights no longer extend into the grille, which is also larger, so is the lower air intakes and longer and narrower tail lights help make the rear end look slightly sleeker. A 10 and a quarter inch display screen is now standard, the head-up display is 75% larger and it now comes with a panoramic moonroof. In the U.S., you can choose from a 4-cylinder that generates nearly 250-horsepower, and there’s a 355-horsepower inline 6 for the M Performance model. A 9-speed transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. The new X4 hits dealerships in July starting at $50,500.
DO YOU C WHAT I C?
Speaking of new models, Mercedes just introduced the new C-Class. Up front you’ll notice a slight change to the grille and the lower fascia. The rear is pretty much the same, but with a change to the lighting signature in the taillights. A new 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder engine produces 255-horsepower, which is 14 more than before. More driver assistance systems are featured, including semi-autonomous capability plucked from the E-Class. In worldwide markets, a wagon version will also be available. The new C-Class will debut in Geneva and then go on sale in the U.S. later in the year.
Here at Autoline Daily we love showing you the innovative technology coming from automotive suppliers, and we’ll show you the latest right after this.
NEUROMANCER, AUTOMOTIVE STYLE
Remember Nissan’s Brain-to-Vehicle technology that monitors brain activity to improve safety and reduce stress? It’s pretty cool stuff, but the driver has to wear a headset, and most people would never go for that. So a company by the name of Freer Logic, uses a non-contact neuro scanner mounted in the headrest. It’s not able to get as detailed a scan as a headset, but by using proprietary algorithms to pull out the information it wants, it is still able to monitor drowsiness, cognitive load, and driver distraction. From there the vehicle system could send alerts to the driver in the form of haptic feedback, audio, visual warnings or the one I like best, spray a coffee smell to help wake the driver up. Peter Freer, the CEO of the company tells Autoline, in the future the sensor could also be used for things like answering phone calls or even adjusting seat settings. He says this technology could be in production in the next 2 to 2 and a half years.
MAGNA DEVELOPS NEW KIND OF RADAR
Magna, the giant Canadian supplier, has developed a new type of radar for cars. Today, automakers all use what is called FM radar, or frequency modulated. But Magna’s radar is PM, or phase modulated. Swamy Kotagiri, the head of R&D for Magna, says it’s as much of a technological leap forward as when cells phones changed from analog to digital.
(Magna’s Radar can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
The phase modulation will help today’s cars with adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking. But it’s also the kind of technology that is bringing autonomous cars closer to reality.
Coming up next, Sandy Munro has more to say about the Tesla Model 3.
BENCHMARKING THE TESLA MODEL 3
All week long we’ll be showing you the latest that Munro & Associates found in its benchmarking study on Tesla’s Model 3. Here’s the latest.
(The Tesla Model 3 benchmark can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
We’ll have more to show you all week long on what Munro and Associates is learning from its benchmarking study on the Model 3.
And don’t forget to join us this Thursday for Autoline After Hours, when John and Gary give you some of the best insights as to what’s happening in the automotive industry.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.