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HomeFEATUREDEV NEWS: THE BUZZ ON THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE FRONT

EV NEWS: THE BUZZ ON THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE FRONT

PININFARINA’S EV DREAMS

Pininfarina is best known as the design house responsible for penning such iconic cars as the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, the 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, and a host of other classics that remain the envy of car collectors across the globe. Lately, though, the internationally acclaimed design house dreams of becoming the world’s first luxury electric carmaker.

The announcement was made at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show when CEO, Paulo Pininfarina, announced that the dream factory intends to establish itself as a luxury electric vehicle manufacturer with the backing and blessing of its parent company, Mahindra. “My father’s dream was to build a car company and his father’s dream was also to build a car company,” he said. “Now, I plan for that dream to come true.”

With the design talent of Pininfarina and the financial influence of Mahindra and its experience in Formula E, Pininfarina may well be the ideal entity to elevate electric cars into the realm of superlative design.

KIA NIRO EV TAKES AIM AT CHEVY BOLT

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Kia unveiled its new all-electric version of the Niro at the 5th International Electric Vehicle Expo in Korea last month. Inspired by Kia’s “Clean and High-tech” design ethos, the Niro EV features an interesting take on what used to be the radiator grille and front air intake, accentuated by the arrowhead-shaped LED daytime running lights.

The Niro EV is powered by the Korean manufacturer’s next-gen electric vehicle powertrain that uses production technologies developed specifically for Kia EVs. Equipped with a high-capacity 64 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, the Niro EV is targeting a class-leading range of over 380 km on a single charge, or up to 240 km when paired with the smaller 39.2 kWh battery pack.

Kia has committed to launch 16 electrified vehicle models globally by 2025, of which the Niro EV will have its official unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in October. This leggy crossover will likely go on sale in Korea towards the end of the year, with other markets to follow early in 2019.

VOLVO AIMS FOR 50% EV SALES BY 2025

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Coinciding with the launch of the new Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in China last month, Volvo announced that fully electric cars, or battery electric vehicles (BEV), would make up 50% of its sales by 2025. The announcement builds on Volvo’s announcement in 2017 that all new models released from 2019 will be available as a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), PHEV or BEV.

The new Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine crossover features a relatively small 9.7 kWh battery pack and a 55 kW electric motor that drives the front wheels, coupled with a three-cylinder petrol engine and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. As with most PHEVs, electric range is limited to about 40 kilometres of real-world driving.

According to last year’s Naamsa sales figures, the Volvo XC90 T8 is the most successful hybrid SUV in South Africa, outselling its German counterparts by a significant margin of 4:1.

“The success of our T8 in the local market puts Volvo in a very strong position in the hybrid/electric vehicle segment, and that is especially important in tougher markets, such as ours. We’re confident that Volvo will continue to lead as electrification gains a foothold in South Africa and further afield,” says Greg Maruszewski, Managing Director of Volvo Car South Africa.

PURE CHARGING PLEASURE

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BMW’s i-division has launched the first-ever factory-fitted, fully integrated inductive charging facility for its plug-in hybrid vehicles that, on paper, make charging even easier than refuelling.

This ingenious device enables electric energy from the main electricity supply to be transmitted to the vehicle’s battery pack without any cables. The BMW Wireless Charging consists of an Inductive Charging Station (GroundPad), which can be installed either in a garage or outdoors, while a secondary vehicle component (CarPad) is fixed to the underside of the vehicle.

The contactless transfer of energy between the GroundPad and CarPad is conducted over a distance of around eight centimetres. The system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, enabling the car’s battery pack to be fully charged in about three-and-a-half hours.

The principal benefit is the unrivalled ease of use, as drivers no longer need to hook up their plug-in hybrid car using a cable. Instead, as soon as the vehicle has been parked in the correct position above the charging pad, the process is initiated by a simple push of the stop/start button. Once the battery is fully charged, the system switches off automatically.

With production set to start in July, BMW is leading the way in the development of inductive charging technology that greatly enhances the ease of use and everyday practicality of electric vehicles.

Report by Report by WILHELM LOOTS | Images © NETCARSHOW.COM, KIA, VOLVO CAR, BMW AG

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