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Toyota Teases New EV Crossover for BZ Electric Lineup

The new Beyond Zero electric crossover will be revealed for Europe on Sunday, April 18, and it could debut for the U.S. later this year.

 

toyota bz electric crossover teaser
TOYOTA
  • Toyota has released a teaser image of a new electric crossover, which will make its debut next Sunday at the Shanghai auto show and is intended for Europe.
  • The new EV will fall under one of the BZ names Toyota recently trademarked.
  • We should hear about the U.S. version later this year, which will go up against electric crossovers such as the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Volkswagen ID.4.

Toyota has a lineup of electric vehicles coming under the BZ name, for Beyond Zero. The first will be an electric crossover, which will debut for Europe at the Shanghai auto show next Sunday, April 18, at 9:20 p.m., to compete with other EV crossovers from Tesla, Ford, and VW. The U.S. version should make its debut later this year.

toyota bz
TOYOTA BZ CONCEPT.

 TOYOTA

This electric crossover, which will be built on an electric platform co-developed by Toyota and Subaru, has similar styling to one of the six concept vehicles Toyota showed in 2019. It’ll have thin, jagged headlights, possibly stretching down over the front wheel arches (as seen on a similar concept), and it sports a blue Toyota badge. Toyota trademarked a blue BZ logo in Europe, which we expect will be saved for other exterior badging.

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The Beyond Zero models’ names will all start with BZ and be followed by a number. In that way it’s similar to the naming scheme for Kia’s coming electric vehicles, which use “EV” followed by a number. Toyota recently filed trademarks in the U.S. for the names BZ1, BZ2, BZ2X, BZ3, BZ4, BZ4X, and BZ5. We suspect that the “X” is reserved for dual-motor, all-wheel-drive models, and this crossover could definitely be one of the models to offer that setup.

We’ll know more about Toyota’s first electric BZ model next week, when it debuts for the Europe market, and we should hear more about the U.S.-bound version later this year. Sedans, and even vans, will join the Beyond Zero lineup as well.

Biden’s Push for Electric Cars: $174 Billion, 10 Years and a Bit of Luck The president is hoping to make electric vehicles more affordable to turn a niche product into one with mass appeal.

President Biden is a muscle-car guy — one of his most prized possessions is a 1967 Corvette that he got from his father. But he’s trying to make this an electric vehicle world.

The $2 trillion infrastructure plan that he unveiled on Wednesday is aimed at tackling climate change in part by spending up to $174 billion to encourage Americans to switch to cars and trucks that run on electricity, not gasoline or diesel. That is a large investment but it might not be enough to push most Americans toward E.V.s.

Despite rapid growth in recent years, electric vehicles remain a niche product, making up just 2 percent of the new car market and 1 percent of all cars, sport-utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks on the road. They have been slow to take off in large part because

they can cost up to $10,000 more than similar conventional cars and trucks. Charging E.V.s is also more difficult and slower than simply refilling the tank at far more prevalent gas stations.

Mr. Biden hopes to address many of those challenges through federal largess. He aims to lower the cost of electric vehicles by offering individuals, businesses and governments tax credits, rebates and other incentives. To address the chicken-and-egg problem of getting people to try a new technology before it is widely accepted, he hopes to build half a million chargers by 2030 so people will feel confident that they won’t be stranded when they run out of juice. And he is offering help to automakers to get them to build electric vehicles and batteries in the United States.

“We find ourselves at a unique moment here where most American businesses and many states are looking toward a decarbonized future, but recognize there’s a big lift on the infrastructure side,” said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, an environmental research group. “This investment alone obviously won’t solve the climate problem or fix all of the infrastructure in the United States but it will be a huge boost.”

Automakers see the writing on the wall and many, including General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford Motor, have made big E.V.

promises. But even they acknowledge that they will need federal help.

ImageA charging station at a housing complex in Utah.

This transformation is greater than any one policy, branch or level of government, or industry sector,” a group representing manufacturers, suppliers and automotive workers said in a letter to Mr. Biden on Monday. “It will require a sustained holistic approach with a broad range of legislative and regulatory policies rooted in economic, social, environmental and cultural realities.”

The letter called for grants, loans, tax credits and tax deductions to promote research and manufacturing. The authors of the letter, which included industry groups and the United Auto Workers union, called for investment in job training programs and federal help in promoting development of minerals and other raw materials in the United States.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/31/business/biden-electric-vehicles-infrastructure.html

Volkswagen poised to change its name to ‘Voltswagen’ as it invests in electric vehicles

Volkswagen’s American division appears poised to change its name to “Voltswagen,” switching the “k” to a “t” in a nod toward the automaker’s investment in electric vehicles.

The German automaker’s announcement on the change appeared briefly on its media site Monday before it was removed, having apparently been released before it was ready for an official rollout.

Volkswagen spokesperson Brendan Bradley declined to comment Monday.

But VW was not hacked, the announcement is not a joke, it’s not a marketing ploy and the plan is for the change to be made permanent, said a person familiar with the company’s plans on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The news release, which was dated April 29 when it was accidentally posted, was published March 29 before it was ready to be distributed, the person said. A USA TODAY reporter noticed the announcement on VW’s website and saved it before it was removed.

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In the errantly published news release, the automaker said that “more than a name change, ‘Voltswagen’ is a public declaration of the company’s future-forward investment in e-mobility.”

“The new name and branding symbolize the highly-charged forward momentum Voltswagen has put in motion, pursuing a goal of moving all people point-to-point with EVs,” the automaker said in the release.

According to the announcement, electric models would get an exterior badge with the name “Voltswagen,” while gas-powered vehicles will have the standard “VW” badge. It was not immediately clear Monday whether any details of the plan are still subject to change.

The move would signal a significant pivot for the world’s second-largest automaker, whose U.S. division dates to 1955. It would also come after several competitors, including General Motors and Volvo, recently announced plans to eventually phase out gas vehicles.

“We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” VW of America CEO Scott Keogh said in the news release.

Volkswagen showed off their concept I.D. Buzz, a cross between the vintage VW Microbus and a 21st century EV vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 29, 2017.

The change would also further distance VW from the diesel emissions scandal that sullied its reputation, harmed the environment, hurt public health and led to penalties of more than $30 billion as well as criminal charges.

The announcement would also coincide with the arrival of the brand-new Volkswagen ID.4, the automaker’s first long-range electric SUV sold in the U.S. It’s part of a new lineup of electric cars under the ID sub-brand, including the forthcoming revival of the VW microbus.

The company plans to launch more than 70 electric vehicles worldwide by 2029 and sell 1 million by 2025. VW and its related brands, including Audi and Porsche, sold more than 9 million vehicles of all kinds globally in 2020, making it a close second to Toyota, though it previously held the No. 1 title for several years.

While VW is known to many Americans as the maker of small vehicles like the Beetle car and the Passat sedan, the brand has pivoted in recent years toward larger models, investing heavily in SUVs like the midsize Tiguan and the three-row Atlas.

Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2021/03/29/vw-volkswagen-name-change-voltswagen-electric-cars-tesla-competiton/7048576002/

Jeep’s Magneto Concept Is the Fully Electric Wrangler of the Future

The Jeep Wrangler Magneto takes a slightly different approach to the multi-speed EV concept. Designers installed a low-speed electric motor that is almost a swap-in substitute for the stock Wrangler’s stalwart 3.6 liter V-6. With 285 hp and 273 lb-ft and maxing out at 6,000 rpm, the electric motor’s stats shade the V-6’s, which doles out 285 hp, 260 lb-ft, and tops out at 6,600 rpm.
Intriguingly, the electric motor connects to a six-speed manual transmission through a conventional pedal-operated clutch, and the powertrain is calibrated to respond much like the gasoline engine it replaces. With the flatter torque curve of the electric motor, Jeep says the Magneto concept can get to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. For comparison, we’ve clocked the two-door Wrangler with the V-6 and six-speed manual combination to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.

Four lithium-ion battery packs, located in the cargo area, former fuel tank location, and under the hood, deliver a total of 70 kWh, while a pair of 12-volt batteries power accessories ranging from the stereo to the winch. All of the electrical equipment is housed in waterproof containers, allowing the Magneto to deliver the same 30-inch water-fording capability as a gas-powered Wrangler, and robust skid plates protect the batteries from off-road scarring.

Jeep has finished off the Magneto with a 2.0-inch lift kit, rock rails, 35-inch tires, and a Warn winch. The custom roll cage and white-black-blue paint scheme give it a cool early-1980s beach cruiser vibe.

EVs For The Trail? Really?

More compellingly, the Jeep Magneto is a fascinating experiment in how electric motors might apply to off-roading. One of the Wrangler’s parlor tricks is the ability to start the engine without the clutch while in Low range—that way if you stall on an obstacle because you’ve chosen too high a gear, you can hold the brakes, shift to a lower gear, release the brakes, then turn the key to start rolling. It’s messy—the starter pulls unevenly, there’s a jerk as the engine fires, and (unlike the old 4.0-liter I-6) the 3.6-liter V-6 doesn’t always have the torque to resume the climb without stalling—but it’s safer than trying to engage the clutch on a steep hill.

This sort of low-speed thing is exactly what an electric motor does best: Just apply the accelerator and start moving slowly. With the stock 84:1 crawl ratio, the Wrangler can creep along at a mere five feet per minute, or 0.23 mph. Off-roaders say “slow as possible, fast as necessary”, and as a drummer once said about Ray Charles’ chosen tempos, that is slow, my man.

The driving range available to Magneto drivers is a big open question, and Jeep hasn’t told us how far the EV Wrangler will go on a charge. The idea of off-roading without a plug for miles may seem daunting, but then again, there aren’t any gas stations on the trails, either—and while gasoline and diesel engines waste (lots of) fuel while idling away on the trails, electric motors don’t consume power unless they’re moving their host vehicles. In the future, we may start thinking of off-road endurance in hours rather than miles of range.

The Jeep Magneto is a good-looking concept, but it also has a lot to teach us about how off-roading might move beyond hybrids in the electric age—and if it saves the stick-shift, well, that’s all the better.

Source : https://www.motortrend.com/news/jeeps-magneto-concept-wrangler-ev-photos-details/