Listen to “AD #3116 – VW Lays Out Transformation Plan; Renault Puts Fuel Cells in Van Roofs; All-New Opel/Vauxhall Astra Revealed” on Spreaker.
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0:07 VW Lays Out EV & Mobility Transformation Plan
1:18 France Pushes Back on EU ICE Ban
3:26 Renault Installing Fuel Cells in Van Roofs
4:38 Opel/Vauxhall Reveal All-New Astra
5:39 Peugeot 308 PHEV Details
7:29 Ford Dropping Diesel F-150
8:00 GM Taps Unlikely Supplier for Small Batch of BrightDrop Vans
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
VW LAYS OUT PLAN FOR EV & MOBILITY TRANSITION
Volkswagen is aggressively moving away from ICE vehicles to transition into a software-driven mobility company. And the automaker revealed details about how it plans to make that transformation. Of course, a big focus is on battery electric vehicles and by 2030 VW says 50% of its global sales will be BEVs and by 2040 nearly all of its lineup will be zero-emission. In 2026, VW will start building all of its EVs on a new architecture called the Scalable Systems Platform. It’s fully digital, highly scalable and will have Level 4 autonomous capability. And like its MEB platform, this new one will be available to all automakers. Mobility is also a big part of its strategy and in 2025 VW will launch its first autonomous mobility service in Europe, followed by the U.S. shortly after that. Those are the highlights but if you want more details just click the link in the transcript or description box below.
FRANCE PUSHING BACK ON EU ICE BAN
The European Union is expected to soon announce a sales ban of ICE vehicles by 2035, including hybrids. But Bloomberg reports not all countries are down with that. France is pushing back against the new proposal, which would require a 65% reduction in emissions by 2030 and 100% by 2035. Currently, the EU is targeting a 37.5% drop in emissions by 2030. Instead, France prefers a 55% reduction in vehicle emissions by 2030 and for hybrids to remain in the market longer. The concern is all about jobs. It’s estimated that France could lose 100,000 jobs in the auto industry through 2035 by phasing out ICE cars.
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RENAULT INSTALLING FUEL CELLS IN VAN ROOFS
Renault’s newly created business unit, HYVIA, which handles everything related to hydrogen fuel cells, says it will have three hydrogen-powered fuel cell commercial vans in the European market by the end of the year. They come in three different setups, which are based on the Master van, and offer ranges between 250 to 500 kilometers or 155 to 310 miles. A 33 kWh battery pack provides roughly 100 kilometers or 62 miles of that total range, while the rest comes from hydrogen. As we’ve reported, one of the setups will feature the tanks mounted in the floor where the battery pack would normally go in the EV version, but more interestingly it will also mount the tanks and fuel cell in the upper section of high-roof models. We wonder what that will do to handling? But we’ll have to wait until they actually get into customer hands. In addition to the vans, HYVIA will start making hydrogen refueling stations by the end of the year as well. These are meant to be rented or purchased by operators.
OPEL/VAUXHALL REVEAL ALL-NEW ASTRA
Opel/Vauxhall revealed the all-new, 6th generation Astra. Right away we see a lot of family resemblance, which is especially true of the lighting signature that has the same design front to rear. It’s a look that was first used on the new Mokka. But beyond the individual aspects, the overall theme is similar; a boxy shape with a two-tone paint job and shark-fin rear pillar. The interior too is twinning with its other new stable mates. A large curved display screen is the dominating force, but also note the decluttering of knobs and switches. Under the hood will be a range of gasoline and diesel engines, including plug-in hybrid variants. Power ranges between 110 and 225 horsepower, which is fed through either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Deliveries of the new Astra kick off early next year.
PEUGEOT 308 PHEV DETAILS
And here’s a little more info about those plug-in hybrid setups, which are now making their debut in the new Peugeot 308. The more powerful 225 horsepower version combines a 180 horsepower engine with an 81 kW electric motor. It’s said to provide up to 59 kilometers or roughly 36 miles of range, based on the WLTP test cycle. The other setup features a 150 horsepower engine and the same electric motor, which combines for a total output of 180 horsepower. It’s estimated to have slightly more range of 60 kilometers. By the end of this year, Peugeot says 70% of its lineup will be electrified. That goes to 85% by 2023 and 100% by 2025.
FORD DROPPING DIESEL F-150
After only 3 years on the market, Ford is dropping the diesel version of the F-150. Its specs, on paper, are bettered in a number of categories by the automaker’s 3.5L turbo V6, especially towing capacity and price. So, we’re guessing the gas version was much more popular with customers and left little reason to keep investing in the diesel. As of this Friday, you’ll no longer be able to order a diesel F-150 from the dealer.
GM TAPS UNLIKELY SUPPLIER TO MAKE SMALL # OF BRIGHTDROP VANS
GM is tapping an unlikely supplier to build a small number of its BrightDrop vans this year. German robotics company, Kuka, will produce fewer than 500 EV600 vans at one of its facilities just outside of Detroit. BrightDrop is the electric delivery and logistics company GM launched earlier this year. Production of the van will eventually shift to GM’s CAMI plant in Ontario, Canada starting in November 2022. GM says it’s received strong interest in BrightDrop and is aiming to deliver its first van by the end of the year.
Hydrotech is the name of the business unit at General Motors that makes fuel cells. And Charlie Frieze is the Executive Director of Hydrotec. He’s also going to be our guest on Autoline After Hours this Thursday. Tune in if you want to learn why you keep hearing about companies investing in fuel cell technology. And if you’ve got questions for Charlie, you can tweet them to @Autoline or send an email to viewermail@Autoline.tv.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.