Thursday January 17, 2019
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Audi Launches A New Electric Car Ahead Tesla

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle.

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Audi
Audi unveils its first production all-electric vehicle, the e-tron sport utility vehicle, at an event in Richmond, Calif. VOA

German luxury car brand Audi this week staged the global launch of a new electric sport utility vehicle on the home turf of rival Tesla, and highlighted a deal with Amazon.com Inc. to make recharging its forthcoming e-tron models easier.

The Audi e-tron midsize SUV will be offered in the United States next year at a starting price of $75,795 before a $7,500 tax credit. It is one of a volley of electric vehicles coming from Volkswagen AG brands, as well as other European premium brands including Daimler-owned Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo Cars and Jaguar Land Rover.

All aim to expand the market for premium electric vehicles and also to grab a share of that market from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, which has had the niche largely to itself.

“I want Audi to be the No. 1 electric vehicle seller in America over the long term,” Audi of America President Scott Keogh told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

Audi
Audi. Pixabay

Audi dealers, particularly those from California, where Tesla has made significant inroads, cheered the e-tron at Monday night’s crowded event.

Analysts on Tuesday expressed concern that the vehicle’s driving range may not measure up to that of the Tesla Model X. Audi officials said they do not have official range estimates for the e-tron SUV under U.S. testing procedures. They said the vehicle should achieve a range under less rigorous European testing standards of roughly 250 miles or 400 kilometers.

Keogh told attendees at Monday’s event that an e-tron had made a 175-mile journey over the mountains east of San Francisco with range to spare. He also emphasized that the e-tron is designed to recharge more rapidly than rival electric vehicles.

UBS analyst Patrick Hummel said in a note on Tuesday that the e-tron “fails to set new benchmarks in the premium EV segment, even though we consider it better than the Mercedes EQC.” The EQC is a rival electric SUV the Daimler AG brand plans to launch in 2020.

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A Telsa car recharges at a Tesla charging station in Charlotte, N.C.. VOA

The e-tron’s 95 kWh battery has less capacity than the 100 kWh battery used in the Tesla Model X 100D model, but more than the base Model X 75D.

The Model X 100D is rated at 295 miles (475 km) of range by the U.S. government.

Recharging

Audi and Volkswagen are using the U.S. launch of the e-tron SUV in mid-2019 to take aim at one obstacle to expanding electric vehicle sales: the lack of convenient ways to recharge their batteries.

Audi will partner with online retailer Amazon to sell and install home electric vehicle charging systems to buyers of the e-tron, the companies said on Monday. Amazon will deliver the hardware and hire electricians to install them through its Amazon Home Services operation.

Amazon’s partnership with Audi marks the first time the online retailer has struck such a deal with an automaker, and signals a new front in Amazon’s drive to expand its reach into consumers’ homes beyond the presence of its Alexa smart speakers in living rooms and kitchens.

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Tesla misses on Model 3 car production target: Report. Pixabay

“We see charging installation as a very important business,” Pat Bigatel, director of Amazon Home Services, told Reuters at Audi’s launch event in San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Center.

Audi executives said home charging stations would cost about $1,000, depending on the home’s electrical system.

Tesla offers wall connectors for home charging at a $500 list price, and will arrange for installation, according to the company.

At the same time, Electrify America, a company funded by Volkswagen as part of its settlement of U.S. diesel emission cheating litigation, plans to launch next year the next round of installations of public charging stations, Electrify America executives told Reuters.

Tesla has developed its own network of Supercharger charging stations with more than 11,000 chargers in North America.

Electrify America plans to have 2,000 chargers installed by mid-June next year. Those will be open to any vehicle, and customers can swipe a credit card to recharge.

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Audi of America President Scott Keogh introduces the German luxury brand’s first all-electric production vehicle, the e-tron sport utility vehicle, at an event in Richmond, Calif.. VOA

“We want to work with all” automotive brands, said Giovanni Palazzo, Electrify America’s chief executive.

Lifting the curtain

Audi has been heralding the launch of the e-tron SUV for some time, but until Monday it had not shared many details of the vehicle.

The e-tron is electric, and has two electric motors — one in the front and one in the rear — driving all four wheels. The Hungarian factory building motors for the e-tron will start with a production pace equivalent to 200 vehicles a day, Audi officials said.

In Europe, the vehicle will use cameras instead of conventional mirrors to give drivers a view to the rear. That feature is still not approved by U.S. regulators.

Also Read: Tesla’s Musk Sued For Defamation

However, in many other respects the e-tron is a conventional, mainstream luxury SUV. It offers seating for five, and its length and wheelbase position it in the center of the market for midsize, five-passenger luxury SUVs such as the BMW X5. The e-tron is 5 inches (13 cm) shorter than the Tesla Model X, and it has conventional doors. The Model X uses vertically opening “falcon wing” doors.

The e-tron will have an advanced cruise-control system that can keep the car within a lane and maintain a set distance behind another vehicle, but the system will be designed so that drivers must keep hands on the wheel. (VOA)

 

Next Story

Cadillac Unveils a Photo of What You Would Call its First Electric Car

As much as Mercedes-Benz came in to offer some stiff competition, it remains one of the best luxury brands in the market

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Electric cars are gaining more and more popularity in India and are sure to see a boom in their sales and production in the coming future. Photo: M. Rittgerott
Cadillac Unveils a Photo of What You Would Call its First Electric Car. VOA

This Sunday, Cadillac unveiled its first electric car. It also said that it would be General Motor’s leader in both launching and designing electric vehicles onwards. Mary Barra, GM CEO said that Cadillac would be known for its tremendous innovation.

Cadillac’s aim

Mary Barra said that Cadillac taking the lead in innovation and technology would make Cadillac the leader as it previously was. She said this at a media event which was hosted in Detroit where the vehicle was shown, along with a new Cadillac 3-row SUV, the XT6.

In as much as General Motors has the Chevrolet Bolt, which is also an electric vehicle (EV), Barra said that they’d allow Cadillac take the lead which is a brand label making it “next level.” Reporters had access to a photo of the new EV. However, the company did not give launch details or anything more.

Features of the EV

The Cadillac will be the first EV to create a future platform for other GM vehicles that will be able to accommodate front and rear wheel vehicles as well as all-wheel across its four brands. Cadillac will benefit from various body styles.

What is notable about this EV is the drive units and battery cells. They will both be designed for maximum usability across all the four brands. Every client has different battery system needs; therefore, the EV battery systems will have an option to adjust depending on the particular client or vehicle needs.

The plan is that Cadillac has just opened a world of opportunities for GM and it will be the forefront to other EVs in the future.

GM said that the new XT6 would be built in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The Cadillac EVs building location is still not yet definite as GM’s spokesperson said they are not discussing on production location as yet.

On an earlier report, in November, GM had said it would idle five of its plants in North America, three of which were assembly plants. The first plant is in Lordstown, Ohio where the Chevrolet Cruze is built, another in Detroit-Hamtramck where the Chevrolet Volt hybrid is made. The third plant is in Oshawa, Ontario.

When asked if the Lordstown or Detroit-Hamtramck plant would be fit for the EV product, Mary said that they first had to make GM’s capacity utilization. She further stated that they were working hard to create job opportunities for all the affected employees due to the closure of the three assembly plants.

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Electric Car (Representational image).

Mary also pointed out that GM has 2,700 open jobs in plants such as those in Spring Hill, Arlington, Texas, and Flint. The good news is that, of the 700 affected workers at Lordstown and Detroit- Hamtramck have all been placed in other GM plants.

The Cadillac EV will be a crossover-kind of a vehicle. Steve, the president of Cadillac, said that the car is expected to meet customer needs all over the world and become the heart of the crossover industry. The EV is a symbol of luxury and innovation as it is expected to make Cadillac become a household name as it was before.

Since the EV has no launch date, its name and any additional details will be defined as the launch draws near.

Cadillac is not here to joke, it plans on rolling out a new vehicle after every six months all through to 2021. They are not here to play certainly. There are plans of an Escalade and a performance sedan.

Cadillac’s History

Cadillac was formed out of Henry Ford’s second failed company. When Henry Ford's company called Henry Leland, who was a machinist to assess the firm’s assets for the planned sale. Leland, after assessment, convinced them to stay in business. He gave them the idea of combining Ford’s chassis with a single-cylinder engine. This is how Cadillac Car Company came into existence in 1902. Leland then introduced the company’s first Cadillac which going for $850 at the New York Auto show in 1903.

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The first year, Cadillac put out almost 2,500 cars following Leland’s motivation by intense competition from Henry Ford. William Durant, founder of GM then persuaded Leland to sell Cadillac. He acquired the company for $4.5 million worth of GM stock in 1909.

After three years, Cadillac had introduced the world’s first ever electric self-starter which was developed by Charles F. Kettering.

In 1954, it was the first auto company to provide automatic windshield washers as some of the standard equipment in all their vehicles.

As much as Mercedes-Benz came in to offer some stiff competition, it remains one of the best luxury brands in the market.