Japan considers banning sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles in mid-2030s

It’s quickly turning into a global trend
This picture taken on July 14, 2020 shows Nissan’s new electric SUV, Ariya, during a press preview at the Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP) (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

TOKYO — Japan may ban sales of new gasoline-engine cars by the mid-2030s in favor of hybrid or electric vehicles, public broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday, aligning it with other countries and regions that are imposing curbs on fossil fuel vehicles.

The move would follow Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pledge in October for Japan to slash carbon emissions to zero on a net basis by 2050 and make the country the second G7 nation in a little over two weeks to set a deadline for phasing out gasoline vehicles.
Japan’s industry ministry will map out a plan by the year-end, chief government spokesman Katsunobu Kato told a news conference on Thursday.
The likelihood of state interventions to lower carbon emissions is fueling a technological race among carmakers to build electric cars and hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles that will lure drivers as they switch from gasoline models, particularly in the world’s two biggest auto markets, China and the U.S.
Measures already in place in Japan mean Japanese automakers, particularly big ones such as Toyota with greater research and development resources, could use electric vehicle technology they have already developed at home.
Nissan Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta last month told Reuters his company was ready to respond to Britain’s decision to hasten a phase-out date for new petrol and diesel powered cars and vans by five years to 2030 because it was part of a global trend.
Japan’s industry ministry is considering requiring all new vehicles to be electric or hybrid, NHK reported earlier, adding the ministry would finalize a formal target following expert-panel debates as early as the year-end.
Japanese automakers for now are keeping quiet on what impact those measures could have on their businesses.
Toyota, Honda, Nissan and its alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors declined to comment.
In Japan, the share of electric vehicles is expected to increase to 55% in 2030, Boston Consulting Group said in a report on prospects for battery-powered cars.
Globally, “The speed of expansion of the share of electric vehicles will accelerate due to the fact that battery prices are falling more rapidly than previously expected,” Boston Consulting said in the report.
Japan, China and South Korea recently announced firm targets to end net emissions of carbon, which has given momentum for companies and banks to push for cutbacks to keep global warming in check.
Apart from Britain, parts of the United States and Canada, Norway and Germany, have curbed or are planning to curb fossil fuel cars. The wider European Union is expected to decide on future restrictions as early as this month.
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Hyundai Unveils EV Platform, Will Have 23 Global Electric Vehicles by 2025

  • Hyundai announced an electric-vehicle platform called E-GMP that will serve as the base of Hyundai and Kia’s global EV future beginning in 2021.
  • Vehicles on the new platform can generate as much as 600 horsepower, and a high-performance model will be one of the upcoming EVs, Hyundai said today.
  • Hyundai didn’t share details on battery pack size, but said that it’s targeting 310 miles of range.

EVs today have become major parts of auto companies’ road maps. By now, automakers have come to the realization that shoving electric vehicle parts into vehicles built to run on gasoline doesn’t always result in the type of efficiency an EV and a manufacturing line need. With that in mind, Hyundai is the latest automaker to announce a modular EV-only platform, also announcing that it will produce 23 battery-electric vehicles by 2025.

The new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) will be the underpinning of new Hyundai and Kia EVs starting in 2021. The first vehicle will be the Hyundai Ioniq 5 that we’ve so far only seen in concept form. It will then be used in other vehicles from Hyundai and Kia, likely to include the other Ioniq EVs we’re expecting from the Korean automaker. It will also be used for future Genesis EVs.

The platform’s main components will be a battery pack under the cabin and an all-in-one motor, transmission, and inverter designed and developed by Hyundai. By bundling the components, Hyundai said, it raised the maximum speed of the motor by up to 70 percent compared to existing motors, despite its small size. The company says that it can squeeze up to 600 horsepower from the system and that the company will show off a high-performance vehicle next year.

Both Tesla and Lucid design their own motors for the sake of efficiency. Hyundai doing the same thing instead of using something off the shelf from a supplier could help it accomplish they type of efficiencies found in EV-centric automakers.

Hyundai says that the planned high-performance vehicle on the E-GMP platform will be capable of doing zero to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and have a top speed of 161 mph, with rear- and all-wheel-drive versions available. The all-wheel-drive version will be powered by two electric motors instead of one. To save energy, the front motor will decouple from the wheels when it’s not needed.

EVs based on the new platform, Hyundai said, would be capable of about 310 miles of range on the WLTP scale and capable of charging to 80 percent in 18 minutes, thanks to an 800-volt architecture that supports charging speeds up to 350 kW. A five-minute charge can add about 60 miles. Hyundai did not release details on battery sizes that will be available on any of the upcoming vehicles or even a range of battery-pack sizes for the upcoming platform. It does note that the batteries will sit under the cabin and the vehicles will have a long wheelbase that would enable more cabin space for occupants and cargo.

Albert Biermann, president and head of R&D for the Hyundai Motor Group, said the rear-wheel-driven-based E-GMP will extend Hyundai’s “technological leadership into segments where customers demand excellent driving dynamics and outstanding efficiency.”

Finally, the E-GMP supports bidirectional charging. This means that with a charging station that supports the feature, a vehicle using the E-GMP platform can discharge its energy from its battery back to the grid or to a house that supports such a feature. The vehicle-to-load (V2L) function supplies 3.5 kW of power which, according to Hyundai, can operate a mid-size air conditioner and a 55-inch TV for 24 hours. A customer could conceivably use that to get the power out of a vehicle during a heat-wave-induced power outage. But more important, it can be used to charge another EV.

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GMC Hummer EV revealed as a 1,000-hp, 350-mile, fast-charging beast

The 2022 GMC HUMMER EV is a first-of-its kind supertruck develop

 

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV has finally been revealed, and it certainly looks the part. It has chunky, squared-off styling, big tires pushed to the edges, and a towering fascia. But it’s not a case of form over function. On the contrary, the Hummer EV is has some pretty wicked technology and gear under the skin.

The first version of the Hummer EV that will be available is the tricked-out Edition 1. It features three electric motors, which allows for torque vectoring. These motors make 1,000 horsepower, though GMC still hasn’t given real-world torque numbers. The motors are fed by a 24-module Ultium battery pack. The pack can provide an estimated 350 miles or more of range.

Not only that, but it supports 800-volt fast charging up to 350 kW. That’s comparable to Porsche’s charging system, and GMC says it can add an extra 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes. Later, a two-motor Hummer EV and a three-motor version without torque vectoring.

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant First Drive | A German fairy tale come true

2021 Audi RS 6 Avant

 

Finally. A 2021 Audi RS 6 Avant sits at the curb. It’s in Nardo Grey, arguably Audi’s best shade of grey (of which there are many). Year after year has gone by without a proper Audi sports wagon being sold in the United States. We’ve always had to longingly look across the ocean with one eye on the 25-year clock for import status. For those counting, the RS2 is now available.

Most of 2020 has been downright dreadful, but Audi has done its best to cheer us up with Avants back on this continent. We’ve already driven the standard A6 Allroad, but now it’s time to put the enthusiast darling RS 6 Avant to the test.

“How long do we need to wait to afford one of these?” my girlfriend asks as the laser light unlock animation plays in the headlights.

“Maybe … 10-15 years,” I say chuckling, genuinely wondering what kind of depreciation this six-figure German superwagon will suffer from.

Wagon devotees across the nation are likely wondering the same thing. A boatload of enthusiasts want a midsize wagon with 591 horsepower, but the percentage of that group with bank accounts to afford such a vehicle is not conducive to high sales volumes. Therefore, just like the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S Wagon and Volvo V90, the only way for Audi to justify the costs of bringing the RS 6 Avant here is to make it order-only. Fine, now every owner can get exactly what they want.

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BMW is building autonomous robots with the i3’s battery

By: Vijay Pattni

Anyone else getting a ‘Cyberdyne Systems’ sort of vibe? Just us?

It can’t be reasoned with. It can’t be bargained with. It doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop… until it has safely delivered up to one ton’s worth of palleted goods safely to its destination on the factory floor.
 
Heck, it’s even got a name that emanates a shiny, bright future. Remember this day, friends. For it is the day the BMW Group announced a new wholly owned subsidiary called… IDEALworks. Its mission? To become a supplier of autonomous robots.
 
Why are we telling you about autonomous logistics robots on a car website? Because a) this year hasn’t afforded much opportunity to shoehorn in mediocre The Terminator jokes and so we couldn’t resist, and b) because these BMW robots use the battery from the game-changing little i3 electric car.
 
Indeed, BMW built its first autobot back in 2015 – the Smart Transport Robot – and is using this new venture to branch out of the automotive world. Said Smart Transport Robot is able to autonomously transport goods up to one ton to their precise destination, calculating the best route and moving “freely” around the space on the factory floor.
 
The algorithm it uses doesn’t require the installation of navigation transmitters within buildings, and thus these autobots can be “set up quickly in a new environment”. Which doesn’t sound mildly terrifying in the slightest. Not one bit.
 
The STRs have been using i3 batteries since 2015, able to power the robots over an entire shift’s worth of labor. The next-gen T-800s – sorry, STRs – are scheduled to be rolled out at the end of the year, and we have Questions. Is the software able to be tweaked so these robots could start drag-racing each other between shifts? Can you fit cute little BMW grilles on the front? (There’s a better, less polite grille joke in there, but we’ll leave that to you.)
 
“Our perspective is changing now,” explains IDEALworks CTO Jimmy Nassif. “We are becoming a provider of logistics robotics beyond the automotive industry. We are preparing some innovations for the coming months.”
 
We can only hope said innovations do not involve a microprocessor-controlled hyperalloy combat chassis that’s very tough…
 

The Bugatti Bolide is a mind-blowing 1,824bhp track car

By: Rowan Horncastle

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It’s a question we’ve all figuratively asked but never thought we’d get answered: what would happen if Bugatti made an extreme track-only, lightweight hypercar? Wonder no more. This is the Bugatti Bolide – Molsheim’s 1,842bhp, 1,240kg downforcetastic love letter to bleeding-edge engineering and organ-bruising lap times. 5m 23.1s around the Nordschleife kinda lap times. Yikes. That’s not all, in a low downforce setting Bugatti claims the Bolide could also do more than 310mph. And thanks to all-wheel-drive, can also shoot from 0-62mph in 2.17 seconds. So no matter how you like your fast served, the Bolide will dish it up. We just hope you’re hungry.
 
It follows on from the current vogue for high end can’t-drive-on-the-road, can’t-race-in-a-championship hypercar track toys. Y’know, things like Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, McLaren’s Senna GTR, the Mercedes Project One and Ferrari FXXK. Just like them, the Bolide uses the modern race car’s recipe of minimal weight and maximum downforce. But then takes the concept of a track-only hypercar to another level, by pairing those ingredients with an absolute juggernaut of an engine.
 
Nestled snuggly in the heart of a carbon fiber monocoque is the same 8.0-litre, quad-turbo W16 unit we’ve come to know and love from Bugatti. But where it comes with 1,479bhp in a standard Chiron and 1,578bhp in the production version of the record-setting Chiron Super Sport 300+, the Bolide boots the doors down with 1,842bhp when running 110 octane racing fuel. It’s also got a lot less weight to push around. Thanks to a fighter-jet inspired design wrapped around a skeletal structure, the thing only weighs 1,240kg – 100kg lighter than a Porsche Cayman GT4. Some quick math equates that to an insane power-to-weight ratio of 1,471bhp per ton. Which is a truly monstrous figure when you compare it to the then jaw-dropping 644bhp per ton that left us speechless with the Veyron SS a decade ago.
 
We’re told Bolide is a rolling concept to be used for future technology and it’s taken Bugatti’s engineers just eight months to churn out. Talk about a productive lockdown. Yep, instead of feeling guilty about not doing Joe Wicks’ workout, Bugatti’s biggest brains hopped on Zoom and decided to blow the top off blue-sky thinking to try and get into another stratosphere of fast. How? Through the use of exotic materials, no rules and brain-melting ideas. It looks like they’ve succeeded.
 
Let’s start with the power. To get that extra oomph over standard, engineers bolted four new turbochargers with new optimized blades to make the engine build more boost pressure and power at higher engine speeds. At 7,000rpm the W16 now produces 1,842bhp and 1,364lb ft of torque. But more power and torque means more energy, and therefore more heat, so the whole oil and cooling systems have also been redesigned – including the introduction of air-to-air intercooling with water pre-cooling, rather than the standard water-to-air. And as there’s a lot more speed to scrub off before going into corners, new hybrid carbon titanium turbofan radial compressors ventilate and cool F1-style racing brakes finished with ceramic discs and coatings.
 
But it’s the diet that Bugatti has put its track racer on that really makes you think. Not since Christian Bale in The Machinist has anyone lost so much chunk for a dedicated role. In total, the Bolide has lost 755kg – the same as throwing an original Mini with a set of dumbells in the boot in the bin. Where weight could be saved, it has. So the driveline was gutted for grams, carbon fiber bodywork was kept to a minimum, any screw or fastening device is made out of titanium, and where possible, 3D printed aerospace titanium alloy was used. Just like the original Type 35 that had a hollow-bored and forged front axle, any weight that could then be scooped out of a component was. This all adds up. The brake calipers for example only weigh 2.4kgs each. The front forged magnesium rims 7.4kgs. The rears, 8.4kgs – meaning even weaklings like us could curl them in the gym. If we went to the gym.
 
Aerospace alloys that give crazy levels of single-fiber stiffness (350,000 newtons per square millimeter, if you’re counting) are present but also traditional elements that have been honed for purpose. Take the rear frame. It’s made of welded high-strength stainless steel… but is only 1mm thick. There’s also a morphable skin on the intake scoop on the roof which, depending on the situation, will deform to optimize airflow.
In case you hadn’t guessed, downforce is also present. The Bolide has more than any other Bugatti that’s come before. At 198mph, 1,800 kgs of force is being sat on the rear wing and 800kgs at the front. The suspension is rated to take 3.5 tons of force – or nearly two Chirons. If that’s not enough to keep you planted to the tarmac, there’s also Michelin racing slicks stickier than a Kellogg’s Fruit Winder that’s been stuck in a lunchbox on a summer’s day. They’re thicc boys too, 340mm on the front axle and 400 millimeters on the rear. Just for context, a boggo Chiron runs 285 mm at the front and 355 mm at the rear. With all this grip, we’re told you can expect up to 2.8g. Or what people in LA call a ‘cheap facelift’.
And check out the way it looks! It’s like a cosmic LMP1 car with all that wild, minimalist bare carbon bodywork and extrusions that help deflect air to the right places to keep things cool and/or plunge the thing into the ground. Right at the front you’ve got the iconic horseshoe grille – making it instantly recognizable as a Bugatti. But from there back everything is taught and sweptback as holes punctuate all parts of the car; cutting into the bodywork inboard of the front wheels to release the pressure, holes that become a framework to see the gorgeous front double wishbone pushrod suspension and horizontal dampers.
Hopping over the snorkel you’re greeted by a dorsal fin to stabilize the car at high speed that then spreads into an outrageous full-width rear wing assembly. Looking at it from dead behind is a menacing prospect. A giant ‘X’ signature highlighted by LEDs that draw your attention to four double-stacked exhausts and a whopper of a blue-tipped diffuser. As you may have noticed, the ‘X’ shape is used relentlessly throughout the design. This isn’t a happy accident, rather a nod to the Bell X-1 flown by Chuck Yeager in 1947, the first person to break the sound barrier. The good thing about the ‘X’ shape though is that it allows room for more holiness, so you can not only see the rear suspension, but also to act as a gully to channel air efficiently, not too dissimilar from the Lotus Evija.
Standing at only 995 millimeters tall (the same height as an original Bugatti Type 35, or just less than those giant Toblerones you used to get in airports depending on your frame of reference), drivers have to slot themselves in through gullwing doors before dropping down into the arse-down-feet-up racing driving position with the pedals moving towards or away from you. Inside there’s just enough room for you and someone to scare senseless. It may not be as luxurious as a standard Chiron but decked out in Alcantara and fitted with a dashboard and door pulls, it’s the Ritz in comparison to other race cars. Safe too, with all the features the FIA likes to see: HANS device compatibility, an automatic fire extinguishing system, towing device, pressure refueling with fuel bladder, central locks for the wheels, lightweight polycarbonate windows, six-point harness system and air jacks for a quick tire change.
The stats that Bugatti claim for the Bolide are potty in anyone’s books. A 0-311mph-0 time of 33.62 seconds. A Nordschliefe lap just off the Porsche 919 Evo’s record and a Le Mans lap time of 3:07.1, good enough for it to snatch pole at this year’s race by eight seconds. Obviously, these times are all currently simulated, and whether we’ll ever actually see the camouflaged Bugatti Bolide that’s been testing at Paul Ricard driven in anger remains to be seen. But Bugatti has gone and answered the question we’ve all figuratively asked but never thought we’d get answered: what would happen if Bugatti made an extreme track-only, lightweight hypercar? Now we know. But here’s another, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
 

Simon reportedly in talks with Amazon to convert former Sears, JCPenney stores into distribution cen

What Howard Rudzki Says:

Partnerships you will see more of as we reemerge from COVID 19 era.

Is an Amazon distribution center coming to your local Simon Property Group mall?

Seattle-based Amazon is reportedly in talks with the nation’s largest mall operator to convert empty department stores including Sears and J.C. Penney anchor spaces into distribution centers.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the possible talks, citing people familiar with the matter. The Journal reported Simon’s discussions with Amazon began before the coronavirus pandemic led to temporary store closures.

Sears and J.C. Penney declined to comment while Amazon said it has a “policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation.” Simon didn’t immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

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