Listen to “AD #3261 – Kiss Lexus' Spindle Grille Goodbye; Polestar Decides to Glue Cars Together; Jeep Meridian Aimed at India” on Spreaker.
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0:07 China’s Infrastructure Will Charge 20 Million EVs
0:42 U.S. Invests in Hydrogen Manufacturing
1:20 Audi to Build More EVs in China
2:36 Jeep Meridian Designed for the Indian Market
3:12 Polestar Pioneers a Fully Bonded Structure
4:28 Mobileye Expands Beyond Cameras Into Robotaxis
5:36 Fisker Taking Reservations for PEAR EV
6:09 Acura Taking Orders for All-New Integra
6:33 Kiss the Spindle Grille Goodbye as Lexus Goes Electric
7:19 DS Adds a Bit More PHEV Range
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
CHINA INFRASTRUCTURE WILL CHARGE 20 MILLION EVS
The Biden Administration announced it’s going to invest $5 billion over the next five years to install EV chargers all across the U.S. Sounds like a lot, right? Well Gasgoo reports China is putting the infrastructure in place to be able to charge 20 million electric vehicles by 2025. Part of the plan includes installing chargers at parking spots, building fast-charging networks along highways and opening more battery swapping stations. Currently, China has more than 2.6 million chargers across the country.
U.S. INVESTS IN HYDROGEN MANUFACTURING
The US Energy Department is going to invest $8 billion to create at least four hydrogen “hubs” across the U.S. The network will produce, process, deliver and store hydrogen. The hubs have to support different types of hydrogen production, including hydrogen made from fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable energy. And one of the hubs must produce hydrogen for transportation, industry, power generation and heating. The DOE will talk with companies, environmental groups and other experts for help on building the hubs and determining how many there should be.
AUDI TO BUILD MORE EVS IN CHINA
There’s been a lot of activity involving automaker’s and their joint ventures in China lately. And now we can add Audi to the list. It was just given approval by government officials for its EV joint venture with FAW. The two companies are spending $3.3 billion to build a new plant that will produce 150,000 electrics a year. Starting in 2024, the plant will make three models including the Audi e-tron SUV. The German automaker also has plans to build EVs with SAIC and is aiming for electrics to account for one-third of its sales in China by 2025.
JEEP DESIGNS VEHICLE FOR INDIAN MARKET
Did you know Jeep sells vehicles in India? Currently it has the Compass and Wrangler and soon it’s adding an all-new model, called the Meridian. It’s a three-row crossover with seating for 7 that’s going to be extremely similar to the Commander that launched recently in South America. While both models are built in their respective markets, they’re actually based on a stretched version of the Compass platform that’s about 6-inches longer. The Meridian will likely be powered by a turbocharged diesel engine mated to a 9-speed automatic. And it should launch later this year.
POLESTAR PIONEERS A FULLY BONDED STRUCTURE
Polestar has developed a new bonded aluminum architecture that it will use for its upcoming Polestar 5, an electric 4-door GT. Using structural adhesives to bond parts of a body together is nothing new. But it sounds like Polestar is getting rid of most of the welds and gluing the body-in-white together instead. Spot welds are a great way of making a body, but they only provide fastening strength where the spot weld is. With structural adhesives, the fastening strength is continuous along every flange and the structure ends up being stronger. That means designers can use smaller flanges and thinner material, which means it’s lighter too. In fact, Polestar says the 5 will weigh less than cars in smaller segments, yet have greater torsional rigidity than a supercar. Another advantage is that Polestar doesn’t have to design open areas in its body-in-white to accommodate big welding robots during manufacturing. That means it doesn’t have to compromise the design, which also results in a lighter, stronger structure. That’s going to allow the Polestar 5 to look more like the car that inspired it, the Precept Concept, which has won all kinds of styling awards.
MOBILEYE EXPANDS BEYOND CAMERAS INTO ROBOTAXIS
Technology company Mobileye has big plans to expand into autonomy. It plans to launch robotaxis in Israel and Germany this year, AV delivery vehicles in the U.S. next year and just announced a deal to put autonomous shuttles on roads in the U.S. in 2024. It’s partnering with Benteler EV System who will provide the shuttles, which are built on a modular electric platform and seat around a dozen people, and Beep who will handle deployment and operations systems. Mobileye is contributing the self-driving system, which is Level 4 capable. At first it plans to have a few hundred shuttles in operation that will be limited to 35 MPH in geo-fenced areas, but the plan is to expand to 10,000 to 15,000 globally in the future.
FISKER TAKING RESERVATIONS FOR PEAR EV
Even though it’s only shown a few teaser images of the vehicle and it doesn’t go into production until 2024, Fisker is now taking $250 reservations for its second EV, the PEAR. The five-seater currently has a starting price of $29,900 before taxes and incentives. There aren’t a whole lot of details about the model. But we do know it will be built by Foxconn in Ohio starting in 2024 with a minimum production capacity of 250,000 units a year.
ACURA TAKING ORDERS FOR ALL-NEW INTEGRA
And speaking of reservations for new cars, Acura will start taking pre-orders for the all-new Integra in March. Acura hasn’t shared many details about the model but it will come with a turbocharged 1.5L mated to a six-speed manual and have a starting price around $30,000. That’s all we know for now but Acura says it will share more details soon.
KISS THE SPINDLE GRILLE GOODBYE AS LEXUS GOES EV
By a show of hands, who hates Lexus’ spindle grille? Now, I know I can’t see you but I bet there’s a lot of hand raisers out there. Well, if you’re one of them, you’re in luck. Based on a number of images released by the automaker showing some of its future BEV products it looks like it’s starting to go away from the design feature. You can still see remnants of it in its SUVs, but it’s much less pronounced in the BEV Sport and BEV Sedan concepts. By the way, we see a little LFA and Supra inspiration in that BEV Sport, which Lexus says could do 0-60 in the low 2-second range and exceed 430 miles of range thanks to solid-state batteries.
DS ADDS A BIT MORE PHEV RANGE
The DS brand, which is part of Stellantis, is giving one of the plug-in hybrid versions of its sedan, the DS 9 E-TENSE 250, a bigger battery. It’s going from 11.9 kWh up to 15.6 kWh, which increases range to 61 kilometers or about 38 miles on the WLTP test cycle. There’s also an AWD version of the DS 9 PHEV, which combines a 200 horsepower gas engine with two electric motors and a number of unique chassis upgrades, but it still uses the smaller battery. And it’s a little slower than you might think. 0-100 km/h takes 5.6 seconds. I was also a little shocked at the price, having never looked them up before. The less powerful version starts at 58,000 euros in France, which is roughly $66,000, while the AWD PHEV starts at 67,500 euros or over $76,500.
The EV revolution is upon us, but the internal combustion engine is going to be around for decades to come, especially in developing countries. But how long can automakers hold onto their IC engines, and what will they have to do to keep their engines relevant as long as they can? That’s the topic for Autoline After Hours this Thursday. We’ll have engine expert James Martin from IHS Markit on the show. So join John and Gary to talk about one of the greatest challenges traditional automakers face: how do they plan to wind down their ICE operations?
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.