Lexus Leaks Digital Reveal of Made-Over RX SUV

Lexus has let the internet know about the revamp of their RX SUV. Make-over items included “blade-scan” slim headlights which offer faster switching between high and low beams. New front and rear bumpers and revised character lines are also on the table.
It will also over both 20 and 18 inch wheel options, more colors and different taillights (still LED).

Maybe more exciting is the lane tracing assistance and road sign recognition that is included in the Lexus Safety System suite. The new touch screen system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Lexus has remodeled the third row seating with two positions to give more leg room when needed.

New dynamic shock absorbers with a new friction control device should reduce high frequency vibration caused by road imperfections for a smoother ride. Also included are new stabilizer bars among other similar improvements that will provide ride quality and handling benefits.

AMG Mercedes-Benz Announces new GLB 45 4Matic

The AMG division Mercedes-Benz has begun testing on their GLB 45 4Matic on public roadways just 12 months before its scheduled showroom premier.

Audi’s new RS Q3, a rival vehicle, will be different from the new standard GLB in its reduced height, multi-pot calipers, larger brake discs and four tail pipes. This is in opposition to the dual pipes on the GLB.

The GLB 45 will run on a new four-cylinder engine. It is based on the M260 unit, a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder.

This new engine claims 383bhp and tuned up 416bhp. The engine also plans on appearing in the A45 4Matic, CLA 45, CLA 45 and GLA 45 vehicles.

The 45 is meant to be the crown of the upcoming GLB line when it hits showrooms for sale in 2020

BMW M5 Edition 35 Years

BMW will be releasing a special edition of its M5 vehicle the M5 Edition 35 Years. The car will feature the M5 Competition V8 which makes 553lb ft torque and gets to 62 MPH in just 3.3 seconds. It has a top speed of 155 MPH.

The 4WD model will have lowered and stiffer suspension from the M5 Competition. The front end will have upgraded anti roll bars and the rear suspension will be ball jointed.

The model run will be limited to 350 vehicles. These special editions have a special hue grey paint and new 20 inch alloy wheel. The brakes will be finished black in high gloss. Optional ceramic breaks will be offered in gold.

The door trim will be good anodized as well as the instrument panel and center console. The rest of the interior will include special edition embossing.

The Edition 35 Years will be available in July.



Illinois Wants to Charge How Much to Register Your EV?

The state of Illinois is proposing what some are calling an outrageous hike for yearly vehicle registration fees for EV owners—from $17.50 annually to a jaw dropping $1000.

The proposal, intended to raise money for desperately needed road improvements and repairs across the state, would also double the gas tax in the state to 44 cents a gallon. It was raise the standard vehicle registration from $98 to $148.

The 60 times increase for electric vehicle registration would be a huge blow to a niche industry that already relies on government subsidies to attract early adopters.

Hybrids that use any kind of gasoline and plug-in hybrids will be excluded from the $1,000 annual registration fee.

So why the prejudice against pure EV vehicles and the justification for the 60 times increase in registration? EVs don’t provide the state with any gas tax money.


Audi Doubts Electric Vehicles, Reignites Hydrogen Cell Program

Audi chairman Bram Schot announced publicly that the company will ramp up their hydrogen fuel cell program. Audi has doubts about resource availability for battery production and the marked increase in customer expectations when it comes to electric cars.

These doubts led the car maker to re-open the h-tron program and will place hydrogen fuel cell technology as the keystone of the Volkswagen Group.

Audi confirmed a new 6th gen hydrogen fuel cell vehicle prototype will be available for public display sometime this year. They also said that a small number of such production vehicles could be part of a lease program as early as 2021. At the moment these vehicles would come from the Neckarsulm, Germany plant where the A6, A7 and A8 are currently produced.

This new fuel cell tech was born from a cross-license agreement with Hyundai. This car maker already sells the FCEV called Nexo SUV.

EV Start Reinvents Beloved Bronco

The classic and beloved American icon the Ford bronco is getting an EV re-engineering from Cali start up Zero Labs. The reimagined and electric 1965 4×4 employs a brushless magnet AC motor. This produces 277lb ft of torque; 434bhp.

This is an incredible 500% power increase over the original 1965 Bronco with its straight six gas engine.

The EV Bronco uses a five-speed manual gearbox to send power to either the rear axle or all four wheels. Most EVs almost exclusively use a single speed transmission. The 70kWh lithium ion batter pack gives Zero Lab’s first production vehicle a claimed 190 mile range.
Six-piston Brembo disc brakes, coil over adjustable suspension, specialty rear and front differentials and a 2 speed transfer case help this new EV Bronco maintain its off road heritage. It also employs carbon fiber body panels to create its styling.

As far as interiors there are a range of available options including vegan and/or sustainable material options. The original shape of the analog displays has been maintained though they are digital.

Reservations can be placed through the Zero Labs website for the initial run of 150 units.

Jaguar Gets Back to Sports Sedans w/ Techy New XE

Even though your typical Jag showroom today is going to be a hoard of up-scale SUVs, the British car maker isn’t abandoning its roots. As evidenced by the XE sport sedan shown at the NYC international Auto Show.

The 2020 XE is all traditional Jag. Literally the only thing some diehards may miss is the “Leaper” hood decoration—the namesake cat now lives in the middle of the XE’s big grille. Despite this change, the XE hasn’t changed all that much in basic line and shape. It has drawn some inspiration, of course, from the F-Pace SUV. In particular the front end is wider, lower and has more “muscle” with J-shape running lights.

Also, all lighting, to no great surprise, has gone LED. The bumper and taillights get a revision as well.

The major upgrades are all tech, like the video mirror system that helps with the limited view caused by the roofline. A flip-switch gives the driver a view captured by outside camera. However, the view is wider than a regular mirror display, taking some getting used to. Other tech updates also include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the wireless cell charging system Qi.

In New Business Move Toyota to Offer Access to 24k Patented EV Parts

Toyota’s electric vehicle department head revealed that the carmaker has got offers from 50 some companies since it made a recent announcement that the Toyota company would give free access to important patents for power control units and EV motors.

The potential partnerships are seen by Toyota Motor Corporation as a way to decrease outlays in expanding hybrid and electric car component manufacturing in Japan, China and the U.S.

Becoming a supplier to their rivals would increase, perhaps exponentially, the scale of production for such hardware like electric motors and controller units which are essential components of electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids and gasoline-electric cars.

The plan outlined by Toyota offers automakers and auto parts suppliers royalty-free access to some 24,000 technologies that are owned exclusively by Toyota Motor Company. Overall the company sees this as an opportunity to decrease cost and to create a new source of revenue.

VW Tests Level 4 Autonomous e-Golf in Hamburg City Center

Volkswagen, German car maker, publicized that it will be testing for the first time e-Golf vehicles equipped with Level 4 automation. This will be done in actual traffic and in the Hamburg, Germany city-center no less.

Volkswagen has never before attempted such a test—not with this level of technology nor in such conditions. Five e-Golf vehicles have on board eleven laser scanners, seven radars and fourteen cameras. New software has been installed for these specific tests which will take the vehicles through 3 kilometers of Hamburg city roadway.

It may seem unbelievable, but in the trunk of each of the test e-Golf vehicles there is what equates to the processing power of about fifteen laptop computers which are able to communicate information at about five gigabytes per minute during testing, tests which last several hours.

The immense about of data being collected form the other apparatus equipped on the experimental e-Golfs will include information about pedestrians, other cars, cyclists, priorities, intersections, parked cars, lane changes and more. All this data has to be capture and analyzed in fractions of a second so the car my safely navigate as a skilled and attentive human driver would.

While for autonomous driving enthusiasts this may all already sound exciting—what does it all mean for the lay person? Remember these experimental e-Golfs are “level 4” meaning their driving system id considered to be 100% autonomous and driver intervention would only be needed in a crisis of extreme circumstance, while “level 5” would, theoretically, never require human intervention.

Supermini Honda Jazz Goes Hybrid-Only in Europe

At launch next year the newest generation Honda Jazz will be offered as hybrid-only. The best-selling Honda model in the UK is set to be revealed at the October motor show in Tokyo. It is thought the Jazz will be the first in the Honda stable to go hybrid-only, though the brand promised to go hybrid only in Europe by 2025.

At this time, the only model that offers hybrid at all is the CR-V. This hybrid replaced a former diesel variant. Honda is still selling a gasoline version of the CR-V in Europe as well. The CR-V hybrid as done well for Honda, accounting for an impressive 60% of model sales.

To follow the hybrid Jazz in 2020 will be the electrified version of the Civic in 2021.

The Jazz, more than likely, will take is powertrain setup from the CR-V hybrid. The CR-V employs two electric motors and a 2.0 liter gas engine combined with a CVT transmission. The Jazz will, however, have a smaller gas engine and less power given its smaller size and “supermini” status.

Honda’s goal with the new Jazz is for it to remain familiar to old customers—remember its Honda’s best European seller—yet bring in new customers to Honda through the entry level Jazz model.