Mercedes-Benz EQA–their first full-electric compact.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQA is the German car maker’s first full-electric compact car.

The EQA 250 is currently for sale with a starting price of about $49,000 for the Sport and $51,000 for the AMG Line trim. The EQA 250 Sport comes standard with cruise control, a back up camera, adaptive high-beam headlights, sports steering wheel and other driver aids standard. The AMG Line includes 20 inch alloy wheels, faux leather sport seats and beautiful interior trim.

The AMG Line can be upgraded with a package that includes twin-spoke alloy wheels, augmented reality navigation system and panoramic sunroof, upgrade sound system and wireless phone charging.

The EQA 250 all electric is just one of six EQ models to be launched by 2022. Mercedes is also planning a seven seat EQB.

The interior of the EQA, like much of the car, is based on the GLA. The interior of the EQA is basically unchanged—but the interior trim is now in rose-gold color along vents, seats and key hole in addition to new backlighting.

 

What Could Apple’s Future Role in Autonomous Vehicles Be?

Apple has made many false starts getting into the autonomous vehicle market—they continue their efforts both by themselves and through potential partnerships.

Many believe that Apple’s future as a tech giant will be to expand beyond phones and computers, which they have conquered already. Some believe that either a role in self-driving cars or in improving health care are their best bets.

Hyundai has made a public confirmation that they have been talking to Apple about the two companies working together in some form. Hyundai’s role could be in manufacturing and with battery technology. A product could be available as soon as 2024.

Additionally, Apple sought and received the OK from California regulators to test self-driving cars on city streets. They have a handful of vehicles equipped with a variety of sensors including radar and lidar which have been spotted on the roads of Silicon Valley.

Lastly, Apple has been hiring and invest in their own business even amongst staff cuts, leadership changeups and new strategies.

Global NCAP Cast Light on Lower Auto Safety Standards Around the World

The NCAP, global vehicle safety body, has again put a lens to the inequality between the safety standards Europeans enjoy and the lack of standards in low-income markets. NCAP’s data shows that this disparities account for 90% of the 1.3 million annual road deaths in the world.

As an example, the Renault Kwid, which tested poorly in India and Brazil, scored only two stars in the Global NCAP’s recent testing in its Safer Cars for Africa test even though the criteria were lower than those in the US or Europe. This even though the Kwid received upgrades like passenger and driver airbags.

The Kwid is much like the Dacia Spring Electric—this vehicle might be the cheapest mass-production electric car when it goes on sale. However, to go on sale in Europe it will need significant safety upgrades to the structure and electric safety system.

The Renault Kwid is just one example of vehicles whose lower-income markets receive vehicles made with inferior materials and at lower safety standards.

 

Citroën Enters EV Passenger Van Market

European car maker Citroën is going the small market for EV passenger vans with its all electric Spacetourer model.

The e-Spacetourer, up to 9 passengers, features an electric motor which puts out 134bhp and 192lb ft of torque. This replaces the original’s diesel engine. The e-Spacetourer employs a 50kWh battery pack. This gives it a WLTP-certified range of 143 miles and a top speed of 80mph.

The eSpacetourer also includes three driving modes to increase range. Its “Eco” mode drops the output significantly to 80bhp as well as the air-conditioner’s power draw. The “Normal” setting increases power to the mid-range of 107bhp. The “Power” setting give out the full 134bhp.

Citroën says the battery pack, with its under-floor position, takes up no space from the inside of the medium length Spacetourer (4.95m). The battery is has an 8-year, 100k mile warranty.

The e-Spacetourer comes standard with a Type 2 home charger with an 7.4kW wall box has an option The van can also rapid charge up to 100kW. This rapid charge can take the battery from zero to 80% in just 30 minutes.

Volvo Updates Two Popular Models to Electric Power Trains

Volvo’s S90 and V90 models just go an update including for the first-time mild hybrid power trains. These new mild hybrid power train is available now on every model in the Swedish’ carmakers line up. Volvo claims it offers up to a 15% savings in fuel and emissions.

The system uses a 48v battery with its own integrated starter, generator and energy recovery mechanism. It will be included across the S90 and V90 models and even on the V90 Cross county. This is the first time one of Volvo’s more sport utility models will be fitted with a hybrid system.

Each of the models in question here got some other small upgrades as well. Both models will be getting new, more stylish bumpers with fog lights and new LED taillights will be included on the V90. Models will include sequential indicator lights as well as new paint and wheel options as well.

Refreshed interiors come standard along with advance air cleaning technology which filters the cabin air and even gives an air quality report from the infotainment system. This is the system previously available only on models sold in the Chinese market.

Both models get rear USB-C charging ports (no more 12-volt power which surely some will miss) along with wireless charging being added as an option on many variants. For the audiophiles both the V90 and S90 will get new Bowers and Wilkins sound systems. For the interiors Volvo is offering many new leather-free options for materials.

Additional specs and pricing are not yet available.

BMW iX3: More than Meets the Eye When Going Green

BMW now has plans to continue to electrify its line up with an EV version of the X3 compact SUV with the new iX3 (not to be confused as a sibling of their i3 EV). And while it may feel like BMW is a bit late in joining the party when it comes to EV SUVs they have announced plenty about their plans for the iX3 to get drivers excited.

Range is the name of the game when it comes to EVs and BMW is promising over 440 km from the 74-killowatt-hour battery pack. Where the range will end up when the iX3 is on the road driven by consumers it is hard to know as some vehicle’s ranges have ended up less than what one would expect based on EPA testing.

The iX3 will combine the electric motor, electronics and transmission into a single unit. This saves on space and weight—the latter always being of concern when it comes to EVs. So far BMW has only mentioned rear-wheel drive and initial ratings have the iX3 at around 286 HP and 295 pounds-feet of torque.

As far as “going green” BMW is attempting to go beyond reducing fossil fuel usage. The car maker claims they are trying to be eco-friendly in all areas of production such as where and how raw materials are gathered, daily usage and recycling potential. BMW is also trying to address the environmental issue of used batteries by planning a second life for the iX3 battery packs after their use in the vehicle.

An Electric Vehicle With A Transmission Tunnel? Polestar Explains Why.

Polestar, the Volvo subsidiary, will release its first battery electric sedan with an unusual design element for an electric vehicle, a transmission tunnel. As one might suspect, this has nothing to do with an actual transmission.

It is a battery storage area which keeps a portion of the three-hundred and twenty-four pouch cells that power the Polestar 2.

Polestar engineers explained that this is both an aesthetic and functional design. Most EVs store their batteries flat and under the floor which is known as a “skateboard” design. This, however, adds to the height of the vehicle and gives way to pour aerodynamics and negatively effects driving range.

The engineers were able to create fast, sleek silhouette by removing batteries from the rear-seat footwells. This also allowed more comfort for these passengers by creating a cockpit design down the center of the vehicle with a raised center console.

The Polestar 2 will most likely reach US sales floors mid-2020 as they go into production next year.

 

 

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.

 

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012, Part II

When you start looking for a car, used or new, it helps to get some ideas about value, reliability, and safety. Here’s Jody Victor® with the second half taken from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger and msn.com.

Jody Victor®: Hey Joe, you are absolutely right! Having some info to go on gets you started and helps you make an informed decision when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle. Here’s the rest of the article.

2008 Subaru Outback 2.5i

Price when new: $25,240 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $15,218
Private-party price: $14,068
Certified used price: $16,256
MPG (city/hwy): 20/26

The Outback offers the best of both worlds: car-like construction to aid in maneuverability and fuel economy, plus the utility of all-wheel drive, copious amounts of cargo room (34 cubic feet) and a higher stance that improves visibility. Six airbags are standard, and it was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, too.

2009 Ford Taurus Limited

Price when new: $31,495
Dealer used price: $16,634
Private-party price: $15,271
Certified used price: $17,653
MPG (city/hwy): 18/28

Just a year after Ford revived the Taurus nameplate, it added standard stability control and earned a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Limited trim comes with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC system, which allows you to connect music devices with USB and phones via Bluetooth, making them easier to use safely.

2008 Mazda CX-9 Sport

Price when new: $30,035
Dealer used price: $18,315
Private-party price: $16,689
Certified used price: $20,424
MPG (city/hwy): 16/22

It seats seven and has 17 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats (48 cubic feet with the third row folded down), which helped the CX-9 win Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for this model year. Safety bragging rights include an optional blind-spot monitoring system — which will alert you if there’s something in your blind spot when you attempt to change lanes — and standard stability control.

2009 Toyota Sienna LE

Price when new: $26,865 (7-passenger)
Dealer used price: $18,463
Private-party price: $16,692
Certified used price: $19,882
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23

Multiple seating configurations make this minivan family- and cargo-friendly. In the seven-passenger Sienna, the removable second row captain’s chairs can be spaced out to give your brood elbow room, or arranged as a bench for easier access to the third row. The third row is split 60/40, and the sections fold over or completely flat. Even the front passenger seat folds down, should you have serious cargo needs.

2009 Infiniti G37x AWD

Price when new: $36,615
Dealer used price: $23,889
Private-party price: $22,308
Certified used price: $26,174
MPG (city/hwy): 18/25

The G Sedan gives German sedans like the BMW 3-Series and Audi A4 a run for their money, but it costs thousands less. The 2009 model got a larger, 3.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 328 horsepower, as well as a seven-speed automatic transmission — plus, it packs in essential safety features, such as head and side airbags and stability control.

 Thanks, Jody! We’ll be sure to check them out!

Joe Victor

Joe asks Jody Victor: 10 Best Values In Used Cars, 2012

If you are in the market for a used car, you may have trouble finding one. Here’s Jody Victor® telling us about it from an article by Jessica Anderson of Kiplinger.

Jody Victor®: Hey, Joe, sometimes a used car is the way to go, no matter what kind of vehicle you are looking for. But since the Great Recession, used cars have not been around – people are hanging on to their older cars longer. Here’s a list, in two parts, from msn.com  that will give you something to go on.

2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS

Price when new: $19,545 (automatic)
Dealer used price: $9,902
Private-party price: $8,731
Certified used price: $11,480
MPG (city/hwy): 21/30

Hyundai’s Sonata offers a thrifty 2.4-liter engine, standard stability control and six airbags. Plus, it keeps ownership costs low — the brand’s 5-year/60,000-miles new-car warranty and five-year no-charge roadside assistance transfer to new owners (they get the remainder of both). The famed 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, however, doesn’t transfer.

2009 Subaru Impreza 2.5i sedan

Price when new: $18,190
Dealer used price: $12,191
Private-party price: $10,967
Certified used price: $12,859
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

Engaging driving dynamics and Subaru’s always-standard all-wheel drive are only part of the Impreza’s appeal. It garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and has side and side-curtain airbags. If a collision causes the front airbags to deploy, smart technology protects the driver and front-seat passenger. Sensors measure the driver’s proximity to the steering wheel, as well as the passenger’s weight (to determine whether a child or an adult is occupying the seat), and adjust the airbags’ force accordingly.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu 1LT

Price when new: $23,225
Dealer used price: $13,114
Private-party price: $11,937
Certified used price: $14,141
MPG (city/hwy): 22/33

With its 2008 redesign, the Malibu garnered a lot of accolades: Kiplinger’s Best New Car and Best in Class awards were just a cherry topping to the industry’s prestigious North American Car of the Year award. But to play it safe, we recommend buying a redesigned vehicle in the second year of production — the first year’s examples often have kinks to work out. For 2009, stability control became standard across the trim lineup, along with side and side-curtain airbags.

2009 Nissan Rogue S

Price when new: $21,020
Dealer used price: $14,971
Private-party price: $13,435
Certified used price: $16,123
MPG (city/hwy): 22/27

After a 2008 redesign, when we named it Best New Small Crossover, the Rogue ascended to Kiplinger’s Best in Class award for 2009. Its stylish exterior complements the value it holds inside — including a peppy 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, stability and traction control, and six airbags. Plus, it was rated a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.

2008 Honda CR-V LX

Price when new: $21,370
Dealer used price: $15,135
Private-party price: $14,089
Certified used price: $16,402
MPG (city/hwy): 20/27

A perennial Kiplinger’s Best New and Best Used pick, the CR-V keeps its value throughout its lifespan. It boasts fuel economy on par with a midsize sedan, but it has more than twice the cargo capacity (36 cubic feet behind the rear seats). Its standard stability control and six airbags helped win it a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.

Thanks, Jody! More next time.

Joe Victor