VW sees electric car price parity soon, will be the tipping point for adoption

VW sees electric car price parity soon, will be the tipping point for adoption

A VW executive said that electric cars are ‘near’ price parity with gasoline vehicles and when that happens it will be the “tipping point” for EV adoption. Reinhard Fischer, senior vice president for Volkswagen Group and the head of strategy for the VW brand in North America, made the comment to Automotive News at the 2019 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Michigan:

“We strongly believe that the tipping point is near, and that tipping point will be price equity”

The executive believes that Volkswagen’s massive electric car push will bring new economies of scale to electric car production and achieve price parity. VW is currently investing billions in order to change its all-electric car production capacity from a few thousand units per year to 2 to 3 million all-electric cars a year by 2025.

Fischer added:

“Once you overcome the fear of something new, the EV is the better choice for you. I don’t think it’s going to take a lot of convincing. There is a fundamental curiosity. Everybody sees the end state. When you put pencil to paper, owning a full-electric vehicle costs about half of what a gas car costs me to operate.”

However, there are going to be a few hurdles, but it’s nothing too difficult to overcome. The executive said that VW held a few focus groups about EVs in order to learn what is holding back people from going electric and they didn’t find any unsolvable problems. He said:

“There is still a fear about driving electric cars through water. For 50 years, we’ve educated people that electricity and water don’t mix.”

Fischer also mentioned the charging infrastructure:

“Range anxiety has now been replaced by charging anxiety,” “A hundred years ago, gasoline was sold at pharmacies. Today, we have 122,000 gas stations in the United States. It’s transformed from a bottleneck to a commodity. Electric charging is going to be exactly the same.”

In North America, VW is deploying charging stations through Electrify America and in Europe, the company is participating in the Ionity charging network.

Electrek’s Take

This is exactly what I’ve been saying for a while now. It’s nice to hear it from a major automaker, but the problem is that this major automaker is still guiding the majority of its sales to be internal combustion engines a decade from now. If we achieve price parity and there’s a tipping point in electric vehicle adoption, there will be a snowball effect and people will quickly see EVs as the only viable option. It will cripple the long term value retention of gasoline-powered cars and make buying such a car a very bad financial decision on many levels.

Automakers need to prepare themselves to quickly shift their production capacity to electric cars in order to respond to that tipping point. It’s going to happen a lot faster than many people think. That’s the premise of Zalkon. It’s going to happen at some point before 2025 and many companies will not be ready for it while others will take advantage. It creates many investment opportunities in the sector.

Source: Electrek

Hyundai launches car with a roof-based solar charging system

Hyundai launches car with a roof-based solar charging system

Hyundai Motor Company has launched its first ever car with a solar roof charging system. In an announcement Friday, the business said that the technology would be used on the latest version of its Sonata Hybrid and then introduced to other vehicles over the coming years.

The idea is for the solar roof to support the car’s electric power source, boost fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions, Hyundai said. Silicon solar panels have been attached to the roof of the vehicle and can charge while the car is moving. 

Hyundai added that 30% to 60% of the car’s battery could be charged using the solar technology. With six hours of charge per day, the vehicle could increase travel distances by 1,300 kilometers per year.

In a statement, Heui Won Yang, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Body Tech Unit, said that the technology allowed its customers to “actively tackle” issues related to emissions, adding that the business hoped to expand the technology to vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines. 

The vehicle is being sold in South Korea and will also be released in the North American market, although there are currently no plans to make it available in Europe. 

The idea of attaching solar panels to vehicles is not a new one, and neither is it restricted to land-based modes of transport. 

In August 2018, an unmanned, solar-powered aircraft from the European aerospace giant Airbus completed a maiden flight lasting 25 days, 23 hours, and 57 minutes. In 2016, the Solar Impulse 2, a manned aircraft powered by the sun, managed to circumnavigate the globe without using fuel. The trip was completed in 17 separate legs.

 

Source: CNBC

Hyundai Mobis and Yandex reveal 2020 Sonata self-driving prototype

Hyundai Mobis and Yandex reveal 2020 Sonata self-driving prototype

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata isn't even out yet, but already, one company has created a self-driving development prototype out of one. It's nice to know people -- or, in this case, it's nice to know the parts and service arm of the greater Hyundai empire.

Russian internet giant Yandex and Hyundai Mobis on Thursday debuted their jointly developed 2020 Hyundai Sonata self-driving development prototype. Based on a regular ol' next-generation Sonata, the vehicle has been fitted with the hardware and software necessary to enable autonomy and continue development on the technology. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to create Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles, and this is the first step towards that end goal.

According to Yandex's Medium post, the company received its first 2020 Sonata at the end of May, just two months after inking the partnership with Hyundai Mobis. Engineers from both companies worked to adapt Yandex's tech to the Sonata, and the result looks surprisingly sleek. The majority of the car's hardware looks contained to the pod up top, which sports some recognizable lidar emitters. Cables run to the trunk, where there's more hardware responsible for crunching all the data its sensors receive. So far, testing has been limited to Yandex's testing grounds, but according to the company, it's been operating completely autonomously in that closed environment, coming up against things like simulated weather and traffic. Yandex said its prototype will start operating on public roads in Moscow "shortly."

This is just the beginning for their partnership. Eventually, Yandex wants to have a fleet of 100 development vehicles, a feat it hopes to achieve by the end of 2019. Future prototypes won't just be based on the Sonata, either. To prove its flexibility, Yandex wants to add its hardware and software to a multitude of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, although it declined to say which ones.

How Hyundai's New, More Fuel-Efficient Engine Tech Called CVVD Works

How Hyundai's New, More Fuel-Efficient Engine Tech Called CVVD Works

  • Hyundai claims it has created the world's first Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) engine technology, which it says increases engine performance by 4 percent and efficiency by 5 percent.
  • The first application will be in the company’s Smartstream G1.6 T-GDi inline-four engine, which makes 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque and is expected later this year in the new Sonata Turbo in the home market of South Korea.
  • Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) stretches or shortens the time the intake valves are open, depending on engine speed and load.

Engine building is an exercise in balancing efficiency with power. Much of that compromise involves the camshafts, which control the air that flows in and out of an engine’s cylinders. To minimize the trade-offs between competing priorities automakers use systems that are by now well known-variable valve timing, variable valve lift-and now Hyundai is announcing something new: variable valve duration. Hyundai calls the technology Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) and claims an increase in performance of 4 percent with 5 percent better efficiency, along with a 12 percent improvement in tailpipe emissions. The system works as a complement to existing variable-valve-timing systems, not as a replacement. It's just one more invention to make engines instantly able to adjust to any operating condition, and probably the final step short of a camless engine.

So what's going on here? First, let's back up to the basics for the uninitiated (experts skip ahead two paragraphs). Each piston in a four-stroke engine goes down, up, down, up-four strokes-in every combustion cycle. That's intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. In simple terms, the intake valve(s) need to be open at the right time to pull air in, and the exhaust valve(s) need to be open to push those hot, post-combustion gases out to start the cycle all over again. In actual practice, the valves open at different times throughout the four-stroke cycle and even overlap at times.

The valves are pushed open by the eccentric lobes (think egg shaped) of a camshaft at a specific point in a 360-degree rotation. Adjust the shape of the camshaft lobe, and you can change when, how far, and how long a valve opens. The problem is that valve timing that works for high-rpm performance running might not work very well for idling or low-rpm cruising. Enter variable valve timing, which helps get closer to the best of both worlds.

Here’s a more detailed explanation, but the general idea uses a form of rotational black magic (cam phasing) to advance or delay the valve timing. Variable valve lift gets even more complicated.

Variable valve duration is not necessarily less complicated than variable timing or lift, but VCCD is an elegant solution. It works, as best as we can tell from patent drawings and Hyundai’s promotional video, with a rotating adjuster with a slot in the middle. The variable duration adjuster moves up and down, and shifts the contact point of the cam lobe. Where the duration adjuster is moved determines how long a valve is open.

The benefit is that you can have a long valve duration during low engine speeds and loads, allowing plenty of time for the air to enter the cylinder. At higher speeds, a short duration maximizes compression and thus power. Speaking of compression, VCCD can also be used to change the effective compression ratio, similar to how variable-valve-timing systems can close the intake valve late and effectively switch between Atkinson-cycle and Otto-cycle operation.

While the 1.6-liter debut of VCCD only uses adjustable duration on the intake valves, Hyundai’s patent applications state the system is not limited to a single camshaft. As this is a new derivative of the Gamma engine, used across the Hyundai and Kia lineups, it’s likely to see widespread use. Hyundai has not announced when we'll see this technology in the United States, however, or which vehicles will get the new engine.

The Solar Roof On Hyundai’s New Sonata Hybrid Adds 1,300km Of Range Per Year

The Solar Roof On Hyundai’s New Sonata Hybrid Adds 1,300km Of Range Per Year

Hyundai rolled out a new version of its Sonata Hybrid, which would not normally be news around these parts but for the fact that it comes from the factory with a solar roof. It actually adds some zero emission range to the otherwise petrol-powered vehicle.

Under the hood, the new Sonata Hybrid comes with a rather standard gasoline engine that has been paired with an electric motor. Energy from the moving vehicle is recouped through an onboard generator and stored in batteries which can then power the electric motor. The implementation of hybrid powertrains are not new, but this one uses its rooftop solar panel to actually recharge its drive battery. That translates to a few more electric miles each day and each year that come from the sun instead of recovery after petroleum.

The addition of solar panels does not make this car a clean, tree hugging electric vehicle by any means, but it does add meaningful range when it sits in the sun. Hyundai claims that with 6 hours of sunlight each day, the solar panels will add enough charge to the battery for 1,300 kilometers (808 miles) per year. Granted, that’s only an extra 3.6 kilometers per day (2.2 miles), but it is a nice little bonus. It’s like finding a bit of spare change in your pocket each and every day.

The new solar roof is the first generation in production for the company and was designed specifically for hybrids. It not only adds range, it offsets the inherent “vampire drain” of electric vehicle batteries that saps power from the battery when it sits parked.

Hyundai has a second generation solar roof in the works for its combustion vehicles that will be semi-transparent. Think about this one like the roof in a Tesla Model 3 or the glass roof in a Model S, but with a little less light coming through. It sounds beautiful, but we will have to wait to see what Hyundai’s actual production version looks like to make an assessment. These initial developments provide the ramp up to the development of a lightweight solar roof for fully electric vehicles. None of these are likely to allow the vehicle to be completely powered by the sun, but serve to keep the vehicle battery from latent discharge and add a few miles of range per day, which is better than nothing.

Volkswagen-Ford isn't just an alliance, it's an automotive earthquake

Volkswagen-Ford isn't just an alliance, it's an automotive earthquake

Although Ford CEO Jim Hackett has been criticized for being at times hyperbolic in his pronouncements, when he sat onstage in New York this morning, flanked on his right by Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and on his left by Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky, and said that the auto industry is in the midst of “the biggest shift in transportation” since the time of Henry Ford, there was absolutely no exaggeration.

The announcement that Ford and Volkswagen AG are expanding their global alliance is one of the biggest events in the auto industry in modern times.

 

What makes this fundamentally different from, say, the original Renault-Nissan alliance: That deal allowed the continued existence of the two companies, but there was no substantive change in what the companies brought to market — the same sorts of cars, crossovers and commercial vehicles they’d long been producing, just with a bit more cost sharing.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance is not unlike the agreement that Ford and Volkswagen announced earlier this year regarding the collaboration on commercial vans and medium pickups for European and other markets.

Today’s announcement, however, is truly transformative in that Ford will be using the Volkswagen-developed electric vehicle platform — the Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) — to produce some 600,000 vehicles in Europe over the next six years, a platform that Volkswagen intends to use for the production of some 15 million battery-electric vehicles on a global basis over the next 10 years.

What this part of the announcement underscores is that these two global automotive giants — the two companies combined had sales of 16.7 million vehicles in 2018 — are now creating something of a standard for an electric vehicle architecture.

As Diess explained, by opening up MEB to Ford, the companies can drive down production costs through scale economies. That leads to the ability to offer the vehicles to the consumer at a more attractive price. Which can conceivably increase demand, which, in turn, can further trim costs. And for the vehicle manufacturers, who are presently facing nothing but red ink regarding EVs, there can be, according to Diess, “sustainable and profitable growth.”

One could argue that this is simply a case of Ford buying the MEB from Volkswagen, sort of a straight-up purchase that has no further implication than in terms of a supplier-customer relationship.

But speaking of the development of the Ford electric vehicle for Europe that is to launch in 2023, Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, Automotive, said that it is helpful that the company has an advanced research and development center in Aachen, Germany, whose engineers can work with those of Volkswagen. “A lot of work goes on in developing a vehicle,” he said with understatement.

So here is a case where the two companies are going to be working together to develop and launch a product that is certainly non-traditional in the context of the vast majority of the aforementioned 16.7 million vehicles.

Then there is Argo AI, the company that is developing an autonomous vehicle platform, a startup that Ford invested in two years ago. The finances are a bit tricky, but the bottom line here is that Ford and Volkswagen will have an equal stake in Argo AI, which will account for a “substantial majority” of the privately held company. Volkswagen is putting in $1 billion in funding and wrapping in its Munich-based Autonomous Intelligent Driving (AID) company; AID will become Argo AI’s European operation.

Again, auto companies investing in autonomous vehicle companies is nothing new. In fact, Volkswagen had invested in Argo AI competitor Aurora until this past June; Aurora has investments by Hyundai-Kia and FCA.

But the difference here is that Volkswagen and Ford are looking to achieve a self-driving platform that can be scaled comparatively quickly. Argo AI’s Salesky emphasized that their objectives are to (1) build for scale, (2) architect the software to be production quality, (3) have automotive grade sensors and computers, and, perhaps most important, (4) fully integrate their product with OEMs.

Hackett said that one of the reasons Ford was initially interested in Argo AI was because of that company’s focus on working with a vehicle manufacturer  to make its products appropriate for use.

This, too, is a play of a platform that can be scaled. Not only is this somewhat analogous to the MEB in terms of the ability to reduce costs through volume, but there is the additional benefit that by having an Argo AI system on many more vehicles — both Volkswagen Group products and those of Ford — the system, by obtaining data through daily operation, can get smarter and better.

If the future is electric and autonomous, the arrangement between Ford, Volkswagen and Argo AI will define that future and transform the industry.

As Hackett pointed out: If you look at what has happened in the technology sector — think Microsoft and Apple, Facebook and Google — “there will only be a few winners.” By setting de facto standards, Volkswagen and Ford are likely to be among the few.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Second Drive Review | We finally try it on U.S. soil And find that it's a must-drive three-row family crossover

2020 Hyundai Palisade Second Drive Review | We finally try it on U.S. soil And find that it's a must-drive three-row family crossover

COUER d'ALENE, Idaho — You're going to hear the name 2020 Hyundai Palisade a lot in future three-row family crossover reviews. As in, "This interior just doesn't have the premium feel of the Hyundai Palisade" or, "This is more expensive than the Palisade, but you get less equipment." That's what comes from creating such a well-rounded entry that checks just about every box for would-be buyers of three-row crossovers.

Now, the Palisade may be new, but it's not like Hyundai has hit a home run in its first at-bat. The forgettable but reasonably competitive Veracruz hit the scene back in 2007, and was then replaced by the three-row Santa Fe (known as the XL for 2019). Both of those had common flaws: They were less spacious than their competitors, they weren't as good to drive, and their styling hardly made them stand out from the crowd.

All of that is corrected with the Palisade, but surpassing the bar set by Hyundais past was rightfully not the goal. Hyundai's newest three-row crossover is considerably bigger than the Santa Fe XL (3 inches longer, 3.6 inches wider, and there's 4.5 extra cubic feet behind the third row), but the more relevant feat is that it's now more spacious than many three-row competitors. It was something we noted when we compared its dimensions to the Subaru Ascent, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9, but it's readily obvious when experiencing it in person. You can fit someone taller than 6 feet in each row simultaneously (your kids will therefore be that much more comfortable), including in the third row. The rearmost row of seating provides plenty of headroom and under-leg support (unlike the new Ford Explorer) thanks to a seat bottom that was raised considerably from where it was in the Santa Fe XL.

That was one of that SUV's key flaws, but so was its six-person capacity when equipped with the popular second-row captain's chairs. Adding an extra seat belt to the third row (along with extra width) allows for seven — that the standard second-row bench seat results in an eight-person capacity was of secondary importance, according to product planning manager Trevor Lai.

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Another goal was to provide an enlarged cargo area, especially behind the third row. Lai says he and other product planners distinctly remember seeing Honda advertise that its previous-generation Pilot could fit a 75-quart cooler behind its third row. As such, they requested that engineers provided enough space for an 80-quart one. They got 100 quarts instead. That equates to two jumbo golf bags and multiple carry-on roll-aboard suitcases. A removable floor panel opens up additional space, which can also be used to stow the rolling cargo cover.

It's also not just a matter of space in the Palisade's two rear rows. There are two cupholders beside each outboard seat, air vents in the ceiling, and two USB ports in each rear row (SEL and Limited). The second-row seats slide forward by pushing one of two redundant buttons on the seat shoulder and at the base of the seat cushion. The resulting gap to the third row could be bigger, but there's a unique grab handle integrated into the C pillar that helps climbing inside. The third row's square-ish cupholders were also purposely shaped that way to serve double duty as a second grab handle to be used when climbing out. Thoughtful.

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Actually, there's plenty differentiating it from the rest of Hyundai's SUV lineup, as well. Senior chief designer Chris Chapman equates the styling of most manufacturer lineups to Russian nesting dolls — increasingly larger versions of the same look. By contrast, Hyundai is going for something more akin to a chess set ­— each different, but sharing common elements. On this chess board, the Palisade is the king. You can see similarities in the grille shape and headlight cluster hidden within recesses below a thin strip of LED lighting. In the Palisade, though, that lighting cascades into that cluster and appears to slice behind body work. It's just one of several interconnecting elements, including the bright work surrounding the side windows and taillights.

Frankly, there's an awful lot going on in the Palisade — perhaps too much, especially with the chopped fender flares and the Limited's extra-shiny grille surround. The Palisade projects a premium vibe.

That's definitely the case inside, where there is a distinctly upmarket appearance that doesn't need to resort to giant swaths of fake wood trim to get the point across. There are handsome, textured trim pieces on the dash, doors and center console, along with soft-touch surfaces and high-quality switch gear. Now, there is "wood" trim in the Limited's tan interior, but it has lines seemingly etched into it to create a more modern look. Hyundai's designers say they were going for something that evoked "the serenity of a yacht." We don't own a yacht, so who knows if they succeeded, but at least the impressive Harman/Kardon audio system made Sirius XM's Yacht Rock Radio sound reasonably palatable.

The general dash layout is similar to what you'll find in the Telluride, as are the user-friendly tech interfaces. An 8-inch touchscreen is standard with a 10.25-inch one available (shown below), but unlike their placement in the Telluride, those adverse to the iPad-on-the-dash look will find the Palisade places them in a binnacle integrated with the instrument panel cowl. It's a classy look evocative of Mercedes' latest design, which is surely a matter of coincidence since Hyundai and Mercedes were simultaneously developing their respective looks. Classy minds think alike. You also don't lose much by opting for a lesser trim level — a Palisade should always seem a bit more stylish and ritzier inside than a comparably priced Pilot, Ascent or Explorer.

2020 Hyundai Palisade Interior

However, we wouldn't count on it being more responsive, comfortable or powerful when behind the wheel. Much like the Telluride, the Palisade offers a well-rounded driving experience free from bad habits, but also bereft of anything particularly memorable. Effectively, it reaches the bar set by the vast majority of buyers in the segment.

The 3.8-liter V6 engine produces plenty of power (291 horsepower, 262 pound-feet) and is reasonably efficient (an EPA-estimated 21 or 22 mpg combined) thanks to its ability to run on both the regular Otto and more efficient Atkinson cycles, but it ultimately produces acceleration on par with most other vehicles in the segment. The steering is precise and gains a little extra effort when in Sport mode, but it also doesn't keep you particularly engaged in the driving experience. Similarly, the suspension capably controls body motions, and the stock tires do a good job of gripping pavement (or even loose gravel), but again, those looking for more zest should seriously consider a Mazda CX-9 or the powerful new 2020 Ford Explorer.

During our first drive in northern Idaho, the suspension sopped up poor pavement well despite our test vehicle riding on 20-inch wheels. There was no impact harshness, and unlike similarly shod vehicles, the suspension wasn't overly springy to compensate for having less tire sidewall. Opting for a Limited or an SEL with the Tow Package brings a self-leveling rear suspension that compensates for extra-heavy loads or a towed trailer with special mechanically controlled rear shock absorbers. This is altogether another area where the Palisade eclipses the Santa Fe XL, which had a rather unsophisticated ride prone to crashing on its bump stops when loaded, and being thrown out of whack over mid-corner bumps.

Really, the Palisade is so completely superior to the Santa Fe XL that it doesn't actually seem like a replacement. Yet, it still possesses the same Hyundai hallmarks that have long attracted consumers to the brand: excellent value (you get more features at a price that starts at $32,595 and tops out at $47,445), a lengthy warranty (5-year limited, 10-year powertrain), excellent anticipated reliability (the old Santa Fe got top marks) and superior safety credentials (there's unmatched standard safety tech, and Hyundai says it anticipates a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, which would be consistent with its other models).

Source: Autoblog

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About Garage Centraal

The goal of Garage Centraal Aruba is simple: that everyone that needs a vehicle is able to have a vehicle that satisfies their needs and expectations, with expert service and parts support.

That is why we offer brand new, award winning vehicles from the renowned Hyundai brand, as well as Isuzu pickups and trucks. We also offer an extensive catalog of commercial vehicles from Hyundai as well as Hyundai Construction.

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