You won’t have to wonder any longer when Audi will be taking reservations in the US for their new all-electric e-tron SUV, as that date has been set for September 17th, 2018. All you’ll need to do is head over to audiusa.com and plop down a refundable $1,000 deposit to secure your place in line.
Audi already has a line of e-tron badged hybrid vehicles, but this will be their first ‘all-electric’ vehicle and it will be coming in an SUV format. The new e-tron will be making its global debut in San Francisco, the same day reservations open and it is expected to go on sale in the first part of 2019.
Purportedly equipped with a 95 kWh battery pack, two electric motors bringing 320 kW of total output and 150 kW fast charging and a range of 250 miles.
Hopefully we will have all the remaining details in just a few more weeks.
The BMW Wireless Charging option was shown off last year and we’ve been waiting for the 530e iPerformance model to drop with it ever since. Now it can be ordered as a lease option for those looking to get into the 530e starting in Germany, but will be followed by the UK, US, Japan and China. The wireless charging setup consists of a GroundPad which is on the floor of your garage or outside, as well as a CarPad which is on the underbelly of the vehicle. Once you begin the process of parking, a WiFi connection is established between the GroundPad and the vehicle which then guides you over the GroundPad from a Top Down view.
Once you’re established over the GroundPad and key off the car, the charging process will begin automatically. Inductive charging will happen between coils on the GroundPad and Carpad at 3.2 kWh and will fully charge a depleted battery within 3.5 hours. BMW says this method has an 85% efficiency, so its worthwhile to note that this is about 5% less efficient than standard plugin methods. It is yet to be seen if you’ll spend more time trying to get centered over the base plate than you would simply sticking a cord into the car.
Dramatic changes are coming for transportation and the way the technology is intertwined with the vehicles we drive is taking another massive step forward with autonomous driving. These autonomous capabilities range on a scale from 1 to 5 and BMW does a good job breaking this down along their timeline.
The Level 1 driving capability has been deployed by BMW for some time in the form of Active Cruise control featuring Stop and Go technology, collision and distance warnings.
Level 2 is currently in the field with newer 7 and 5 series and X3 which allows a driver to remove their hands from the steering wheel briefly.
Level 3 should arrive around 2021 and will allow a driver to completely remove their attention away from the road, but will need to be available to take over at any moment.
Level 4 should arrive also in 2021 in the form of a pilot test and this may allow a driver to completely ignore the road but still be able to take over if necessary.
Finally, Level 5 will bring full autonomy and there will no longer be a driver, only passengers.
There has been a lot of news lately regarding AI and we have suddenly come to realize that our current impressions of Siri and Alexa are not close to what state of the art AI is capable of currently. Ryan Tuerck, a Pro Drifter goes to the Formula E Rome street circuit to participate in Roborace to take on DevBot, an autonomously controlled electric race car. Ryan does a pretty good job handling the massive torque this machine puts out considering the little seat time he was given and manages to navigate his way to the finish line. DevBot on the other hand performed amazingly, but in the end comes up short allowing humans to retain superiority, for now.
For those who have seen various self-driving vehicles roaming around, you may have noticed various sensors and spinning objects located on the sides or top of the vehicle. These are lidar sensors which is a light based mapping technology that provides accurate depth based mapping information. This is very useful when combined with other ultrasonic based proximity sensors and cameras. The 3D sensing lidar technology is a third sense if you will, as the alternative is to derive depth and other vital factors from the cameras alone which can carry their own limitations. The biggest problem with lidar sensors outside of their bulky packaging is their cost. This new partnership with Magna and Innoviz Technologys may solve one or two of those issues due to the solid state nature of the InnovizOne.
Solid-state means there are no or virtually no moving parts inside, which translates to smaller packaging, lower prices and typically less complexity and higher reliability. The price is being projected at under $1000, which is good because the Chevy Bolt EV would require five of them.
The electrification of everything with wheels continues as BMW has unveiled its all-electric version of the existing X3 SAV dubbed, the iX3. This is a major milestone for BMW since it will be the first all-electric vehicle with a long range, previous electric models have relied on Range Extenders or hybrid powertrains of some sort. Sporting a 200kW electric motor and a 70 kWh battery pack, the iX3 should be able to carry you and your belongings approximately 250 miles, according to BMW.
This transition to long range, all-electric comes with the deployment of the fifth-generation eDrive powertrain which has consolidated the MGU(motor-generator unit), transmission and controller into a consolidated unit and contains no rare elements.
In an interview with Automotive News, BMW officials said that the i3 and i8 vehicles were designed as “technological showcases” that may not have a future:
“These cars are very unique,” Juraschek said. “These two cars were not [developed] as a family that we can expand in different [ways] or maybe five or 10 derivatives.”
In my opinion, this doesn’t mean there will not be a car of the future wearing the i3 or i8 brand, but instead he might be trying to say that there won’t be a spiritual or design successor to the existing vehicles since they do not conform to their modular future.
It has already been stated officially the Vision Dynamics vehicle will be unveiled as the BMW i4, so it would seem very odd for the i3 and i8 brands to cease forever. The i4 is supposed to go head to head with the Tesla Model 3, and it would make sense to build other vehicles which could span the entire electric spectrum. They will be starting with the electrified version of the X3 which will be called the iX3, and it seems pretty logical that BMW will flesh out the rest of their vehicle line-up as they see some of the pieces come together.
Following the success of FIA Formula E Championship, FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) and Dorna Sports, the company behind MotoGP have announced a partnership to form the MotoE World Cup. This will feature the multi-national power company Enel as the official title sponsor and the bikes will be exclusively provided by Energica. Based on an existing product called the Ego, the EgoGP provides 110 kW of sustained power with 200 Nm of torque with acceleration times from 0-60 in 3 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. The EgoGP is void of any clutch or gearbox, instead it uses a ride-by-wire system which allows the rider to control the acceleration and deceleration through the regenerative braking system.
To prevent loss of traction during overuse of the regenerative braking system, an eABS system is put in place to limit the maximum regenerative effect. Trying to reach this traction limit without enabling the eABS may be the key to optimizing times on the track, as this varying level of intervention may lead to unpredictable behavior in driving mechanics.
The battery capacity has not been announced, simply stating that it is a High Voltage Lithium Ion module with DC Mode 4 fast charging.
BMW has already trademarked the iX1 name(all the way up to iX9) and it is rumored that they will be using this as a base for the electrified X series models. This means that in the 2022 time frame we may see an electric BMW X1 called the iX1, and it will be based on the i3 we have today. This gives room for the i3 to become a true competitor to the Tesla Model 3, but puts the actual electric X1 in a bind. When trying to rationalize the namine scheme, you’d think that the electric X1 should be called iX1, and it may be if they decide to call the current i3 the i1 or something like that. Regardless, they have quite a pickle on their hands in terms of their branding formula, at least from where we are sitting. If everything is to be believed, the i5 will actually be a cross over between the X3 and X5 sizes with four different battery capacities ranging from 60 to 130 kWh.
Manufacturers have been climbing the electrification ladder and BMW is no exception with their previous releases of the BMW i3 and i8. By 2025 BMW Group intends on having 25 different electrified models, which include the already announced i8 Roadster and electrified Mini. The iX3 will likely be the next BMW to have the covers pulled and perhaps even an i9 model.
BMW’s modular battery packs for plug-in hybirds will come in three different sizes also designated in the model name, “30e – 60 kWh, 40e – 90 kWh, 50e – 120 kWh” allowing ranges up to 70 miles. The 50e battery packs will be exclusive to the Luxury class vehicles, likely due to the range issues presented by their weight and size.
All wheel drive is optional on the ‘regular’ models while the performance models have it standard, with a torque vectoring option.
Electric power can range from 100 kW (136hp) to 300 kW ( 408hp) and accelerate from 0-100 km/s in less than 3 seconds. It also appears certain models will also be able to charge at speeds above 150 kW.