The wave of electric vehicles (EVs) is steadily cresting, promising more sustainable transportation. While many are quickly hopping on this eco-friendly bandwagon, some of us tread a bit more cautiously…
The wave of electric vehicles (EVs) is steadily cresting, promising more sustainable transportation. While many are quickly hopping on this eco-friendly bandwagon, some of us tread a bit more cautiously with emerging technologies. The battery, often dubbed the heart of an EV, is a focal point of curiosity and sometimes concern. Let’s dive deeper into the intricacies of EV batteries to ensure we’re genuinely harnessing their potential.
One term frequently mentioned in EV circles is Depth of Discharge (DOD). DOD measures how much of a battery’s stored energy has been used. For example, if your battery’s capacity is 100 kWh and you’ve used 50 kWh, then the DOD is 50%. While this might sound technical, understanding DOD is straightforward. Using the battery frequently but not depleting it too much (i.e., maintaining a low DOD) extends its lifespan. With this knowledge in hand, it’s also good to note that storing your vehicle’s battery at a low charge state, around 30%, can be advantageous during the sun-drenched days of summer. This combats the degrading effects of high temperatures on Li-ion cells.
Diving deeper into battery types, your EV’s specific kind of lithium battery can influence its care routine. Batteries using single crystal positive electrode materials with moderate Nickel (Ni) content are resilient. With these, microcracking in the positive electrode isn’t a concern, and they’re well-suited for vehicle-to-grid applications. Conversely, for those EVs equipped with Ni-rich batteries, boasting more than 70% Ni in Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC), it’s a good practice to charge them only up to 75% of their total capacity daily. This safeguards against significant volume changes that can degrade battery life over the years. Additionally, it curtails issues like microcracking and the unwanted release of oxygen from the positive electrode material. If you are going on a long trip or require the total capacity every day, charging 100% is acceptable.
No doubt, driving an EV requires more planning than a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle. EV charging facilities are not as common as gas stations. But most Canadians drive well under 100 kilometres per day. Even in the dead of winter, most EVs available for sale in Canada will support most commuters.
Here are some handy links that will help you locate charging stations:
In conclusion, the EV landscape is both thrilling and intricate. For those still navigating its nuances, it’s heartening to know that we can confidently care for our EVs by understanding elements like the Depth of Discharge and the makeup of our batteries. The lifetime of these batteries, combined with low expenses and less frequent repairs, gives us hope that this can make life easier and more sustainable. And for residents of cooler climates, a silver lining: cold temperatures can indeed prolong your battery’s life. As we embark on this electric journey, it’s with a blend of excitement and informed prudence.
Driving an EV will result in a significant reduction in your annual carbon emissions and your transportation budget.
Watch for an article discussing the future uses of EV batteries that are no longer used in vehicles. Spoiler alert: They are not going to a landfill.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 EV or sister company Kia’s equally impressive EV6, you’ll already know they provide near-luxury levels of features, refinement…
If you’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 EV or sister company Kia’s equally impressive EV6, you’ll already know they provide near-luxury levels of features, refinement and performance, not to mention styling in spades, so it’s going to take a lot for the Korean automaker’s premium Genesis division to top these two standout battery electrics.
Yet despite the daunting task, Genesis has stepped up with a uniquely attractive design, even more standard features including some industry-first technologies, plus a much higher level of luxury than the two more mainstream volume-branded BEVs, as well as even stronger straight-line performance in its top trim level, that also provides even more EV range.
“We are thrilled to begin our momentous journey towards full electrification with the launch of the GV60,” said Lawrence Hamilton, executive director of Genesis Motors Canada. “We are excited that our Canadian guests will be able to experience the innovative technologies, bold design, and extensive suite of Genesis Connected Services offered in this distinctive vehicle.”
Priced competitively against premium rivals
Pricing for the all-new 2023 Genesis GV60 starts at $71,000 (including delivery), which while a sizeable monetary leap from the entry-level trims of its two sub-$45k underlings, is nevertheless reasonable for the premium class. Tesla’s Model Y, for instance, starts at $82,100, which is more than $10k dearer than the GV60, whereas Jaguar’s I-Pace will set you back a cool $99,800 (for the difference you could park a new Hyundai Tucson in your driveway next to the GV60 and have change left over). Still, Audi’s Q4 E-Tron starts at a very reasonable $59,950, but it’s important to compare apples to apples, and to that end the new Genesis stacks up very well.
For starters, the GV60 is larger than all of the above. In fact, while smaller than most mid-size luxury crossover SUVs, it provides more passenger volume and cargo capacity than the compact luxury crossovers just mentioned. Before delving into such details, however, let’s see how the GV60 lines up against the smaller Audi Q4 E-Tron dollar-for-dollar.
GV60 vs Q4 E-Tron
The most basic 2023 GV60 Advanced AWD comes standard with 20-inch alloy wheels (only 19s for the Q4 E-Tron), LED headlights and rear combination lamps (Audi’s Matrix LEDs are part of an $8,400 package), supple Nappa leather upholstery (just regular leather for the base Audi), a heatable steering wheel rim (for both), three-way heated and ventilated front seats plus heated rear outboard positions (no standard cooled or rear warmers for the Q4 E-Tron), a panoramic Vision Roof with a powered sunshade (same for both), Fingerprint Authentication and Face Connect (nope), a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (just a 10.25-inch driver’s display for the German SUV), a head-up display system (part of that aforementioned $8,400 package on the Audi), integrated navigation (part of a lesser $5,400 package with the Q4 E-Tron), and vehicle-to-load charging capability.
Additionally, a full suite of safety and convenience features is included standard with the GV60, such as adaptive cruise control with stop and go (a $750 option or part of the $8,400 package with the Q4 E-Tron), high beam assist (part of a $1,600 Tech pack or included in the same $8,400 one), and Genesis’ list goes on with Highway Driving Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Remote Smart Parking Assist, Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, etcetera.
All said, the partially-loaded Q4 E-Tron Technic (that’s the $8,400 package) will set its owner back $68,350 before adding on $890 metallic paint, a smaller set of 20-inch alloys, and a $1,600 Tech package (that includes a head-up display and Audi Connect Plus), as well as $2,700 in freight and PDI costs, resulting in a final total of $74,540, or $3,540 more than the GV60. And that’s before factoring in that Audi’s base mid-size E-Tron, which is dimensionally closer to the GV60 inside, starts at $89,600 including destination.
Industry-first features set the GV60 apart from all competitors
The new GV60 will also be available with some auto industry-first technologies, including Face Connect, Fingerprint Authentication, and Genesis’ exclusive Crystal Sphere. The first two of these features have been available on smartphones for some time, making it somewhat surprising that it took an automaker this long to adapt. Nevertheless, Genesis will be first to offer facial recognition via a deep learning-capable Near Infra-Red (NIR) camera in the B-pillar that automatically unlocks or locks the GV60’s doors without the need for a key.
Face Connect links to two individual driver profiles, causing the head-up display, powered driver’s seat, power steering column, side mirrors, and multimedia settings to adjust automatically once a driver’s personal preferences are chosen.
In the same way, Genesis’ Fingerprint Authentication System lets drivers start and drive their GV60 without a key.
The Crystal Sphere, on the other hand, is a beautiful translucent orb that acts as a glowing ambient light when the GV60 is turned off, yet upon turning the ignition on it rotates around to provide a shift-by-wire dial for selecting gears. Gimmicky? Maybe. But is it cool? For sure.
Performance is impressive throughout the GV60 lineup
Genesis Canada’s entry-level GV60 Advanced AWD trim features a strong power unit with 314 horsepower (234 kW) and 446 lb-ft of immediate torque, while the top-line GV60 Performance AWD, which incidentally starts at $79,000, adds a more potent 160kW front electric motor that combines with the rear motor for an impressive 429 horsepower (320 kW) and the same 446 lb-ft of torque when in Sport Mode, or alternatively 483 horsepower (360 kW) and 516 lb-ft of torque in Boost Mode, which is accessible by pressing a green button on the steering wheel.
Boost mode is kind of a like the “push to pass” system used in Indy Car racing, or nitrous-oxide found on dragsters, as it only provides a short 10-second boost. Still, the result is a rather stimulating 4.0-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h, which should be good enough for the GV60’s luxury crowd. Then again, Kia’s EV6 GT reportedly does the deed in just 3.5 seconds, due to a whopping 576 horsepower “under the hood”.
Drift Mode and other features set GV60 Performance trim apart
An industry-first feature not yet covered is the GV60’s Drift Mode, an unusually welcome function that’s ripe for future parking lot testing sessions. According to Genesis, Drift Mode uses the braking system along with rear-motor torque in order to break traction at the rear wheels to cause oversteer, after which the crossover’s significant heft should carry the power slide through. There’s no word on whether the feature further utilizes the GV60’s stability management system to “catch” the slide before a spin, this normally requiring opposite lock steering along with driver skill to accomplish.
The Performance package also adds an Electronic Limited Slip Differential (E-LSD), plus an Electronically Controlled Suspension with Road Preview, and Active Noise Cancellation, while additional features include an Ergo Motion massaging driver’s seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a 17-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, surround view and blind spot view monitors, alloy pedals, and larger 21-inch alloy wheels.
Range matters most for EV buyers
Genesis has yet to announce EV range specifics, but Canada’s all-wheel drive-only variant should be capable of about 400 km (249 mi), or about the same as the two Hyundai and Kia AWD models that are also based on Hyundai group’s E-GMP platform—the U.S. rear-drive version can supposedly eke out another 50 or so km (30 mi). Unlike Tesla’s performance models, however, which provide more range with added go-fast goodness (as long as that performance isn’t used), the GV60 Performance model is said to get 368 km (229 mi) of range between charges. Of course, these estimates may differ when calculated to Environment Canada’s requirements, but the just-noted Korean-specs should be in the ballpark.
A Hyundai-first (but unfortunately not an industry-first), the GV60 will be able to fill the cabin with faux engine/exhaust noise via the audio system. New electric-Active Sound Design (e-ASD) recreates such familiar noises based on the GV60’s speed and given driving mode, not to mention the level of pressure on the throttle.
More importantly, Genesis Connected Services will allow drivers to find a charging station (or their vehicle), remotely adjust the climate control system, remotely monitor their GV60, plus keep track of its average range and battery status, while it also has the ability to start a charge, schedule a future charge (when the price of electricity might be lower), or stop charging completely. Additionally, over-the-air (OTA) software updates allow the GV60 to keep its features up-to-date without the need of downloading updates to a USB and loading them on manually, or visiting a Genesis dealership.
Size is critically important in the crossover SUV camp
Back to the GV60’s size, Genesis chose to make it a bit shorter overall than its volume-branded siblings, which makes it somewhat less accommodating inside in most configurations. The entire car measures 4,515 millimetres (177.7 inches) from nose to tail, while its 2,900-mm (114.2-in) wheelbase is 100 mm (3.9 in) shorter than the Ioniq 5’s and identical to the EV6, but passenger volume is good at 2,863 litres (101.1 cu ft), making it only 153 litres (5.4 cu ft) smaller than the Ioniq 5 and just 54 litres (1.9 cu ft) shy of the EV6.
Likewise, the GV60’s cargo capacity is generous at 680 litres (24.0 cu ft) behind the second row and 1,549 litres (54.7 cu ft) when those rear seats are folded flat, resulting in a downgrade of 90 litres (3.2 cu ft) from the Ioniq 5’s dedicated cargo volume and merely 11 litres (0.4 cu ft) when compared to the EV6, whereas maximum cargo capacity is off by 130 litres (4.6 cu ft) in Hyundai’s variant, while it actually grows by 127 litres (4.5 cu ft) over the Kia.
For those wanting more space, a Genesis SUV will likely ride on the back of Hyundai’s upcoming Ioniq 7, the latter being a much larger three-row crossover EV.
If the new 2023 GV60 sounds like a good fit for you and your family, Genesis Canada will start taking orders this week, while new examples will already start arriving at Genesis dealerships by the end of this month.
Of note, the new GV60 will be followed up by the launch of Genesis’ Electrified G80 mid-size sport-luxury sedan, while all new Genesis models will be fully-electrified by 2025, with a goal of 100-percent electrification across the entire range by 2030, five years before the brand plans to achieve carbon neutrality.
The First-Ever Genesis GV60 | Genesis Canada (0.47):
The All-Electric Genesis GV60 | Senses | Genesis USA (0:40):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Genesis
Like it or lump it, both 718 models’ horizontally opposed “lumps” are getting tossed when the two sports cars’ fifth generation debuts in three years. According to Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, the…
No announcements about powertrain specifics are available, but Porsche’s entry-level sports cars are being designed to keep their lightweight DNA intact, while plenty of lessons learned from building the all-electric Porsche Taycan, as well as the upcoming 2024 Macan EV (that we covered previously), should aid development of the two-place performance duet.
Tech from LMP1 Le Mans racer and 919 hypercar expected for 911 hybrid power unit
Additionally, Porsche’s 911 will continue forward with a lineup of internal combustion engines for the unforeseen future, but take note that its powertrain choices will expand to include a hybrid-electric option for 2025. Blume stated this electrified 911 will even source its tech from the brand’s multi-championship-winning motorsports division, with a nod to the LMP1 Le Mans race-spec power unit, which was also used in the phenomenal 919 hybrid supercar. Blume went further to suggest that a future 911 GT3 would receive a version of new hybrid powerplant.
Hybrids in mind, could F1 be in Porsche’s future? While we wouldn’t want to guess, Blume did tease that more surprises could be expected in the near future.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Porsche
Lucid? For most Canadians, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those who keep a keen eye on the electric vehicle scene will already know much about the new Air, a mid-size E-segment luxury sedan…
Lucid? For most Canadians, the name Lucid won’t ring any bells, but those who keep a keen eye on the electric vehicle scene will already know much about the new Air, a mid-size E-segment luxury sedan that directly rivals the popular Tesla Model S.
The Model S, who’s Canadian sales peaked in 2017 with 2,400 units and have since tapered down to 602 deliveries last year, remains one of the strongest selling electric cars in its segment (only beaten last year by the new Porsche Taycan, in a segment that also includes the Audi E-Tron GT and Mercedes-Benz EQS), and while all sales in the four-door luxury sedan category gradually slowed over the past decade due to more popular crossover SUVs (even Mercedes’ mighty E-Class has seen its deliveries slide from a high of 4,083 units in 2012 to just 1,828 last year, albeit still maintaining top-of-class status), it’s still garnering new entries, such as the new Lucid Air.
Lucid Motors (LCID), which was valued at $24 billion USD as of March 10 (about 60 percent off its highs), has only just arrived on the scene. The 1,111-horsepower Air Dream Edition debuted in the U.S. last spring at the lofty price of $169,000 USD, with orders opening up north of the 49th in September.
Aggressive base pricing could cause luxury EV buyers to take a closer look at Lucid
Pricing for all trims of the Casa Grande, Arizona-built car was recently announced for Canada, starting at $105,000, which makes the Air $15,700 more affordable than the Tesla Model S that starts at $120,700. That’s a significant discount for a similarly positioned car that offers a lot more modernity than the now 10-year-old Californian.
That base Air, dubbed Pure, features 480 horsepower and 653 km (406 miles) of range, which is one km more than Tesla’s base Model S claims, although to be fair, the old-timer comes standard with all-wheel drive. Some of the extra coin required for the Tesla goes toward yet more standard features, while both cars are capable of reaching stratospheric price points when options are included.
Four trims provide more variety to Air buyers than those considering a Model S
Lucid offers four Air trims in Canada, compared to the Tesla Model S’ two. These include aforementioned Pure, plus Touring, Grand Touring and Dream Edition, priced at $105,000, $129,000, $189,000, and $229,000 respectively, while the latter trim can be optioned out in either Range or Performance versions, the former providing 933 horsepower and 836 km (519 miles) of potential range, and the latter available with 1,111 horsepower and 758 km (471 miles) of range, plus a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 2.5 seconds and top track speed of 270 km/h (168 mph).
Comparatively, the top-line Model S Plaid is good for an estimated 637-km (396-mile) range from a 1,020-horsepower drivetrain, which has the ability to scoot from standstill to 100 km/h in about the same 2.5-second timespan. To be clear, Tesla’s official 2.1-second claim was not achieved from the usual standing start, but in fact included a one-foot rollout estimated at about 8 km/h (which after some tricky math makes both cars equally quick), while the Model S’ 322 km/h (200 mph) top speed requires $4,500 USD of optional wheels and tires that unfortunately limit range to 560 km (348 miles). Without those wheels and tires the Model S Plaid’s top speed is also limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). So therefore, the Lucid Air Dream Edition provides stronger performance than the Tesla Model S Plaid out of the box, as well as greater range.
Quick-charging Lucid Air is the most efficient EV in this class
Regarding efficiency, the Lucid Air managed a second-place spot in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) latest running costs estimations, at 131 MPGe compared to 120 MPGe for the Model S (which came in sixth), the former estimating yearly costs at $500 USD ($635 CAD) instead of $550 USD ($700 CAD) for the latter. The Air actually ties with the first-place Tesla Model 3, which is a very impressive score (see the full story here).
While both models offer very quick charging, the Air is capable of being charged to a 483-km (300-mile) range in just 20 minutes, via 300kW peak charging power, which is currently the fastest charging capability in the industry, claims Lucid. The Level II and Level III capable car also provides up to 19.2 kW of AC charging, and up to 1,931 km/h (1,200 mph) peak charging speed (250Wh/mi consumption).
Model S still wins on the practical front
They’re both sized almost identically, however, which was no accident on Lucid’s part, their wheelbases in fact sharing 2,959 mm (116.5 in) apiece. The Model S is slightly larger in all other key dimensions, with a gargantuan 793-liter trunk accessible via a hatchback instead of the Air’s more conventional 456-litre (16.1 cu-ft) trunk, plus an additional 850 litres (30 cu ft) of available space when the rear seatbacks are folded down. The Air’s 202-litre (7.1 cu-ft) frunk claws a bit of that cargo space back, however, because the Model S’ front trunk only measures 141 litres (5 cu ft).
Where the Model S has a lead in most practical measurements, the Air appears to deliver more luxury, higher-end materials quality, and better fit and finish, at least at first glance. The Model S has long been criticized for not measuring up to its conventionally-powered mid-size rivals when it comes to these types of touchy-feely details that luxury customers crave, but such issues will most likely be addressed when the car’s long-overdue update finally arrives. Nevertheless, for now the ultra-luxe Air leads, and therefore could get the nod in its upper-crust segment.
In the end, however, Tesla’s unparalleled charging network gives its customers a level of convenience that makes it hard for any upstart competitor to compete against, no matter the segment at stake.
Lucid retail network is taking shape
Currently, Lucid Motors only has two showrooms in Canada, the first to arrive situated within Pacific Centre mall in downtown Vancouver, with visibility to busy Georgia Street passersby, and the second just about to open on March 26th in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre (next to Roots, Samsung, Canada Goose, and Starbucks). Of note, there’s a Tesla dealership in this mall too, although word has it now Texas-based automaker is planning to move this location to a larger standalone facility. A recent job posting for a Service Manager in Montreal shows the company is planning a new facility in Canada’s second largest city too, but that would have been a no-brainer without the handy tip.
Lucid Motors, which is a Newark, CA-headquartered automaker, also had 20 sales and service centres across the U.S. as of 2021’s close, the former dubbed Lucid Studios. After its Silicon Valley Studio, based at its HQ in Newark, these include two Los Angeles Studios in Beverly Hills and Century City, a Los Angeles Service Center in Beverly Hills, a San Jose Studio at Westfield Valley Fair, a Miami Studio in Brickell City Centre, a West Palm Beach Studio in West Palm Beach, a New York City Studio found in the Meatpacking District, and a DC Metro Studio located in Tysons, VA.
Introducing Future | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (0:30):
Lucid Air l Global Reveal Highlights (4:43):
DreamDrive Reveal | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (5:29):
Car of the Year. In Our First Year. (0:25):
Lucid Air Factory Commissioning | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (1:47):
Benchmark Test Drive | Lucid Air | Lucid Motors (2:05):
Lucid Studio Retail Experience | Lucid Motors (3:06):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Lucid Motors
Stellantis, the company most Canadians have never heard of, is planning to build 25 new electric vehicles for North American markets by 2025. For those who don’t follow all things automotive, Amsterdam,…
Stellantis, the company most Canadians have never heard of, is planning to build 25 new electric vehicles for North American markets by 2025.
For those who don’t follow all things automotive, Amsterdam, Netherlands-based Stellantis is the new (as of last year) multinational automotive manufacturing corporation formed to combine all brands from the now dissolved Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with additional French PSA Group brands under one umbrella. This means that longstanding American brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Mopar auto parts are now part of the same ownership family as 11 European brands including Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, DS (Citroën’s luxury division), Fiat, Fiat Professional (a commercial division that makes Fiat and Ram vans), Lancia, Maserati, Opel (previously part of General Motors), Peugeot, and Vauxhall (ditto re GM).
Upon the amalgamation of both automakers within the new Stellantis group, all brands were promised the opportunity to shine (a.k.a. become profitable) before potentially being axed, which was a much-welcome lifeline thrown to a few once revered marques, such as Chrysler, Dodge and Lancia, which had been whittled down to just a few models prior to this new lease on life.
While we may never see Lancia return to Canada, or for that matter Citroën, Opel or Vauxhall (that are little more than Opels rebadged for the UK), let alone any 2022 models from Fiat, a Chrysler crossover SUV would certainly bolster that beleaguered brand’s lineup, let alone something new for Dodge. Chrysler deserves kudos for its plug-in hybrid Pacifica minivan, and for its nifty renaming strategy that turned a first-generation Pacifica into a brand-new Grand Caravan, thus providing a third wing-badged model, whereas Dodge has three totally unique models, albeit nothing close to the range of alternatives that Japanese or Korean competitors offer.
Stellantis promises new electric crossovers, pickups and even an EV muscle car
Earlier this month, Stellantis’ announced a comprehensive plan that will impact everything from financials to future products right through to 2030, with some of the latter including fully electric models for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram. Where the Ram 1500 EV was merely a graphic teaser designed to show Ford, Chevy, GMC/Hummer, Rivian, Tesla and other EV truck producers that Ram is taking the sector seriously, the bright yellow Jeep EV concept already looks promising.
It would be the go-anywhere division’s first electric vehicle, although take note that Jeep currently offers their plug-in hybrid 4xe powertrain for the new Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, with Hemi V8 performance from an electrified V6 that puts out 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Such numbers should make any auto enthusiast excited about the Dearborn-based automaker getting hold of a pure electric drivetrain, thanks to a history of cars, SUVs and trucks with tire-scorching straight-line acceleration.
The Jeep EV shown here, which is expected to launch in early 2023, most likely rides on the STLA Small platform, which is capable of accommodating between 37 and 82 kWh of capacity, resulting in as much as 483 km (300 miles) of range. Jeep promises a larger electric “lifestyle family SUV” too, as well as a more off-road capable EV, both for 2024.
Chrysler will get an EV as well. It’s based on the Airflow concept introduced last January at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, and sized similarly to Ford’s very popular Mustang Mach-E. Due in 2024 as a 2025 model, the new crossover should be good for up to 644 km (400 miles) of range, while also capable of Level 3 autonomous driving capability.
Stellantis to make up to 75 unique electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles worldwide
Stellantis’ EV push also includes a hydrogen fuel cell contingent, which, together with all of the above and more, combines for a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2038. This means all European vehicle sales and half of U.S. sales (which will likely include Canada) will be electric by 2030, resulting in 75 new electric vehicles in production by the latter year, with at least 25 on their way to North America.
Just ahead of the Ram 1500 EV mentioned a moment ago, which is scheduled to arrive in 2024, Stellantis’ dedicated truck brand will launch a fully electric ProMaster van in 2023, which will simultaneously debut a Fiat Professional version. We’ll also see an electrified Dodge muscle car prototype later this year, all ahead of the aforementioned Airflow hitting the market.
Chrysler will be fully electric by 2028, so therefore all internal combustion engine (ICE) enthusiasts can give a collective sigh of sadness for the fabulous Hemi V8’s demise, while Italian luxury car brands Alfa Romeo and Maserati (also known for their formidable and sonorous ICE’s) will completely change over to electric by 2030.
Stellantis sees a future for hydrogen fuel cell tech in the commercial sector
As for hydrogen fuel cell models, Ram is planning a large, ProMaster hydrogen van for 2025, while the same brand should have its heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks hydrogenized shortly thereafter. Hydrogen offers lighter weight than battery-powered EVs, benefiting ultimate cargo capacities, plus quicker refueling than recharging a battery, so H2 may become a better alternative for commercial vehicles as long as an extensive hydrogen refuelling network is made available to support its plan.
Serving both commercial and consumer markets, Stellantis’ is continuing to work on autonomous driving aids, such as hands-free cruise control, as well. The automaker is lagging behind others in this sector, but, together with strategic partner BMW, plans to introduce an advanced system in 2024 that won’t require a driver to continuously monitor the steering wheel, which is currently the case for most competitive systems.
2022 Chrysler Airflow | Our First Battery-Electric Vehicle (3:16):
2022 CES | Chrysler Airflow Reveal (12:22):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Stellantis
Volvo’s new XC40 Recharge is everything I already loved about this fabulous little luxury utility, and less! Less running costs, less emissions, and less of an impact on the local environment, but then…
Volvo’s new XC40 Recharge is everything I already loved about this fabulous little luxury utility, and less!
Less running costs, less emissions, and less of an impact on the local environment, but then again in contrast, the new XC40 Recharge’ 78-kWh lithium-ion, high-voltage battery and twin 150-kW electric motors provide even more get-up-and-go than the turbocharged 2.0-litre gasoline-powered variants last tested. And while we’re talking about more, you’ll also need to make a bigger financial commitment to own one.
This puts the XC40’s cost of going electric at about $20k give or take a couple of thousand, although we should never forget government EV incentives that range from $1,000 to $8,000 depending on your province. All things considered, the new Recharge might not initially seem like the ideal choice amongst XC40 trims, at least financially, but for those who want the extra performance and positive nods from passersby, it’s a great choice amongst electrics.
The gasoline-powered XC40 variants previously tested included a 2019 T5 AWD R-Design that I reviewed back in June of its model year, plus a 2020 T5 AWD Momentum that I covered in October of that year. Both were infused with the non-electric model’s upgraded powertrain, featuring an energetic 248 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. They were relatively easy on fuel and fun to drive, but take note this purely gasoline-powered engine, as well as the less potent T4 variety that’s available in the entry-level XC40, will be replaced by more fuel-efficient hybridized B4 and B5 powertrains this fall for the 2023 model year.
Shocking acceleration comes standard
While all this is good news for small luxury SUV lovers, Volvo’s new Recharge Pure Electric power unit, which is available right now for the 2022 model year, puts an entirely new spin on XC40 performance and efficiency.
This all-electric cute ute is serious fun at take-off, thanks to dual electric motors that supply four-wheel traction out to wide, grippy tires, my tester’s having been upgraded to a set of 20-inch five-V-spoke diamond-cut alloy rims on 235/45 rubber up front, and 255/40s in the rear, which are the same as on the first XC40 R-Design I drove back in 2019.
The electrified utility’s acceleration is actually quite shocking (not literally), with a standing start to 100 km/h taking a mere 4.9 seconds, this thanks to a combined 402 horsepower and 486 lb-ft of torque from both front and rear motors.
Recharge your XC40 Recharge in only 40 minutes
The XC40 Recharge’ Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is rated at 78.0 kWh, incidentally, and only takes 7.5 hours to refill from a 240-volt home or public charger. Then again, if you can locate a 400-volt charger you’ll need only 40 minutes to complete the same task, making it an ideal companion for longer trips.
I can access a few of these 400-volt chargers near my home in Richmond, BC, and would be able to do likewise in any other Vancouver suburb, or for that matter on major routes outside of the greater Vancouver area in any direction, while some of my regular road trip locations, such as Whistler and Kelowna, BC, have plenty of high-speed chargers to choose from. Recharging an EV isn’t quite as quick as refueling with gas, but it’s certainly a lot friendlier on the wallet, and there’s always a coffee shop nearby for catching up on work, or even better, a little rest and relaxation.
Great range for commuting and running errands in town
Of note, if you go easy on the throttle and don’t overdo it with the aircon, the XC40 Recharge provides up to 359 km (223 mi) of range. This means you won’t be able to drive directly from Vancouver to Kelowna, for instance, or even Burnaby to the Okanagan’s most populous city. If you’re taking off from Surrey, however, you’ll be fine, and ditto for Toronto to Muskoka, while Montrealers will have no problem getting both to and from Mont Tremblant without recharging until arriving back home.
This said, most XC40 Recharge owners will be content just using their little all-season runabouts around town, where it has enough range to last days without recharging, depending on your commute. Like a lot of people these days, I work from home, so didn’t need to recharge my tester until the day before bringing it back to Volvo’s rep, at the end of my weeklong test. I managed to drive it all over the place in between, never concerning myself with any hypermiling techniques in order to get the most economy out of the power unit. It’s truly too much fun to resist, anyway, causing me to regularly take off from standstill with a level of schoolboy enthusiasm I had when fuel was only about 45 cents a litre.
Impressive interior design and quality
It’s also a really nice cabin to spend time in. In fact, despite being Volvo’s most affordable model, the XC40 is everything I’ve grown to appreciate about modern-day Volvos, which means that its overall interior styling, design layout, refinement, and technical interfaces are at least as good as most competitors, and better than some.
There’s no shortage of soft-touch surfaces either, with nicely textured, matte-finish harder composites only used sparingly in the usual places for this class. Some highlights worth noting include sporty textured aluminum dash and door inlays, a cool quad of vertical vents for the easy-to-use dual-zone automatic climate control system, a fabulous set of drilled metal harman/kardon stereo speaker grilles on the front portion of the door panels (they sound great too), and beautifully contrast-stitched black leather bolsters for the microsuede-centred front and rear seats.
Nestled within a traditional hooded binnacle, the 12.3-inch primary gauge cluster is fully digital and customizable, with attractive graphics and very functional multi-information content at centre. About two-thirds of the screen is utilized by the route-guidance system’s map in default mode, with other driving functions placed to each side. The fully digital gauge cluster comes standard with all XC40 trims, which is a step up from most other offerings in this segment.
Big changes as Volvo upgrades its vertical centre touchscreen to Google OS
Making up the majority of the centre stack is Volvo’s updated tablet-style vertical infotainment touchscreen, which comes with a new Google-derived operating system. Don’t expect to find anything resembling Android Auto as far as graphics and usability go, however, as this is designed to appear like a revised version of Volvo’s excellent Sensus infotainment interface, with Google not only running in the background, but also taking regular credit when using its “Hey Google” voice activation system. The latter prompt can be used for just about anything from changing radio stations and turning up the heat, to searching for an address in the route guidance system or, in the case of my tester, finding a charging station.
To fully use the system, you’ll first need to log in with your Google account, which allows it to fully integrate with your personal smartphone. At this point you can utilize full navigation functions and much more. It’s certainly a step up from the outgoing Sensus system, but even previous Volvo owners (and Android Auto users) will need some time to acclimatize, as is the case with most things new.
Navigation woes persist with Google
The only issue I had with the system is Google maps, which once-upon-a-time was a superb app, but from more recent personal experience isn’t always that accurate. I’ve had it send me to incorrect addresses and even ask me to perform manoeuvres that would definitely get me a sizeable ticket along with a considerable fine if performed.
For instance, amid rush hour on a busy corridor it rerouted me down a residential side street, obviously trying to escort me past the busier thoroughfare, and then asked me to turn left on another main route, which is an action that wasn’t permitted at that time of day, that day of the week, and designated so via signage. These weren’t new signs either, but rather this action hasn’t been permitted for decades due to such heavy traffic flows in the area. I already knew this, but out of curiosity and testing purposes allowed the system to guide me. Unfortunately, the result was a big fail, and caused me to reroute, which put me further back in traffic than I would’ve been if I’d just stayed on the route I knew.
A similar scenario played out with the Volvo XC60 B6 hybrid I drove the week prior, in which it tried to take me to the wrong location, although this one seemed due to recent construction. It appears Google maps isn’t updating fast enough to compensate for such changes. This said, I find most carmaker-imbedded navigation systems more accurate, or at least I have in recent times.
Dreamy seats and a fabulous driving position are Volvo hallmarks
This said, the XC40 Recharge’ driving position is superb, like every other Volvo I’ve driven in recent years. There’s plenty of reach from the tilt and telescopic steering column, while the rim is wonderfully comfortable and heated via three different temperature settings. The three-way heatable and three-way cooled seats are wonderfully comfortable too. They’re aided by four-way lumbar support, plus all the usual power adjustments as well as manually-extendable lower cushions.
They’re attractive too, as noted earlier, with microsuede inserts, leather side bolsters, and nice light grey contrast stitching, plus piping on their outer edges. There’s even a tiny blue and yellow Swedish flag sewn on the insides of the backrest, just in case you were wondering where this car was designed and made.
Likewise, the XC40’s visibility is better than the class average in all directions, much thanks to a tall greenhouse with few blind spots. This makes parking ultra-easy, a process made even more effortless due to the SUV’s subcompact dimensions, not to mention its front and rear Park Assist sensors that visually and audibly warn of close-proximity objects.
Cool features abound
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t even told you how to get the XC40’s all-electric Recharge system going. In a nutshell, you don’t have to do anything. As soon as you’ve unlocked and opened the door with the proximity-sensing key fob that can remain in pocket or purse, it’s ready to drive. Similar to Tesla, there’s no ignition button. It doesn’t require the release of an emergency brake either. All you need to do is push or pull the gear lever into “D” for drive or “R” for reverse, and go. When you get to your destination, just press “P” for park and get out of the car. A simple touch of the door handle locks it up ahead of the power mirrors retracting inwards.
Additionally, as part of my previous XC40 reviews I noted a number of unique features designed to make this little ute easier to live with than any rival, such as the two slots on the dash just left of the steering column, perfectly sized for holding gas/credit cards; and the parking pass holder placed next to the driver’s windshield pillar is a handy feature too. There’s even a little garbage bin integrated within the centre console, with its own push-down lid and easy removability for cleaning. What’s more, the carpeted door panel pockets are large enough for a 15-inch laptop as well as a big drink bottle, while the glove box hides a nifty hook that can be flipped outward to hang a purse or shopping bag. There’s even an available storage box below the driver’s seat, and the list goes on. No wonder the XC40 won European Car of the Year when it was introduced back in 2018.
Convenience is king
If you’re using an older phone, like me, it might be time to upgrade to a USB-C-to-C cable, because there are no USB-A ports available in the XC40 Recharge. Still, the wireless charging pad on the lower centre console powered my phone up quickly enough, plus, on an unrelated yet still appreciated note, to each side was a handy spot for stowing additional items such as sunglasses.
Back to the charging pad itself, I should mention that sometimes while driving I was notified that my phone wasn’t charging, at which point I had to physically slide my device back onto the centre of the pad. I have a fairly grippy case, so this was an unusual circumstance. Thankfully, the convenient notification feature let me know my phone wasn’t getting any juice, but taller ridges around the charging pad area might better help keep devices in place.
On the positive, I love the panoramic sunroof, and especially like the touch-sensitive slider function used for both the powered front glass roof portion, and the power sunshade. The overhead console is nicely designed too, with LED overhead reading lights that are also touch-sensitive, while even the rearview mirror was well thought out, looking better than average due to being rimless with handy switchgear for the universal remote below.
Comfortable for rear passengers and practical for cargo
Much of the above can be enjoyed from the roomy rear seats as well, not to mention a large, comfortable centre armrest with dual integrated cupholders that actually hold drinks in place. Tall vertical vents for distributing air evenly to rear passengers can be found on the backside of the front centre console, with three-way rear outboard seat heaters controls located nearby, next to a device charger.
Before delving into rear luggage capacity, take note there’s a small carpeted “frunk” under the front hood, which holds 31 litres (1.1 cubic feet) of well-hidden gear, while the rear cargo area is the one that truly matters, measuring 452 litres (16 cu ft) behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, and an accommodating 1,328 litres (46.9 cu ft) when those seats are folded flat. Volvo has smartly included a centre pass-through too, large enough for a couple pairs of skis, which means rear passengers will still be able to enjoy the aforementioned heatable window seats.
Notably, a portion of the cargo floor doubles as a grocery bag holder when pulled upright, while opening the rearmost section exposes a compartment below for storing the regular 110-volt three-prong household-style charging cord, which is easily the most robust of any I’ve ever seen. I used it throughout my test week, and appreciated the blinking light that let me know it was charging. I had no issues charging from home, being that I work there and don’t go out every day. This said, it takes nearly two days to fully recharge this “old-fashioned” way, so most owners will want to purchase a higher voltage home charger.
Still looking great after all these years
As noted earlier, the XC40 has been with us for a number of years already. Nevertheless, despite having almost a half-decade of experience under its stylish belt, I think it remains one of the better-looking subcompact crossover SUVs on the market, with the Recharge variant adding a more modern take on the design by filling in the grille opening with a nice body-colour cover. I think the little ute manages to balance sporty and cute ideally, making it a good choice for couples that share their ride. Plenty of fun colours can personalize it further, truly allowing for a bespoke appearance.
Of course, I’m biased, as I love the traditional boxy, upright, classic SUV shape, but it only works because Volvo has followed the new XC40 Recharge’s significant dose of style up with so an extra helping of function, and plenty of go-fast sport. There’s a lot to love about this tiny SUV package, which makes it an ideal candidate for your next new vehicle purchase.
Review and photos by Trevor Hofmann
Nissan’s Leaf has a permanent place in history for being one of the first modern-day mass-production electric vehicles available anywhere, and arguably the first practical EV (sorry Mitsubishi), so…
Nissan’s Leaf has a permanent place in history for being one of the first modern-day mass-production electric vehicles available anywhere, and arguably the first practical EV (sorry Mitsubishi), so it’s no wonder the compact hatchback quickly became the best-selling electric vehicle in the world.
Nissan investing half a billion into US EV manufacturing and technology operations
Therefore, Nissan is investing $500 million USD to partially transform its Canton, Mississippi assembly plant into an electric vehicle production facility, so that it will be capable of producing new Nissan and Infiniti EV models by 2025. This will include retraining and upskilling approximately 2,000 workers from the plant’s current 5,000 employee total, a process that will result in the Canton plant being Nissan’s centre for EV manufacturing and technology.
“Today’s announcement is the first of several new investments that will drive the EV revolution in the United States,” said Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer for Nissan Motor Corporation, Ltd. “Nissan is making a strong investment in Canton’s future, bringing the latest technology, training and process to create a truly best-in-class EV manufacturing team.”
Nissan Ambition 2030 project responds to massive EV growth expectations
While it’s only part of a $13.5-billion overall investment in Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing operations to date, of which $4-billion was previously invested in the Canton facility alone, the company is betting on industry estimates that 40 percent of new vehicle purchases will be fully electric by 2030.
There are certain to be even more electrified models sold as hybrids and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles in the near future too, which is why the “Nissan Ambition 2030” project is targeting 23 electrified models within the Nissan and Infiniti brands globally by 2030, of which 15 will be fully electric.
Two new electric mid-size crossover SUVs are the likely candidates for Canton
The 19-year-old Canton assembly plant, which currently produces four Nissan models, including the Altima, Frontier, Titan and Titan XD, and has built almost five million vehicles since opening in 2003, will have two entirely new fully electric models in production by 2025.
The Leaf, which is currently built in Smyrna, Tennessee for U.S. consumption (and the Oppama Plant in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan for Asian markets, plus NMUK in Sunderland, UK for European buyers), won’t be transferring production to the revised Mississippi plant, so it’s likely the two new models will be the upcoming Nissan Ariya and something similar to the Infiniti QX Inspiration, both mid-size crossover SUVs that will target large segments of both mainstream volume-branded and premium markets.
Combining EV and truck production could result in future electrified Frontier
Electrified commercial vans are also a possibility, being that Nissan was selling its full-size NV Cargo and NV Passenger vans, plus its NV200 compact cargo van up until September of 2021, when they were discontinued as part of Nissan’s new Business Advantage plan. A fleet of new electric vans could revitalize this segment for the automaker, and simultaneously expand Nissan’s important fleet customer base for its “Seamless Autonomous Mobility (SAM)” driving technologies, a more advanced version of its ProPilot Assist system that’s already available in many Nissan and Infiniti retail models.
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Nissan and Infiniti
To say the electrical vehicle market is heating up would be an understatement of monumental proportions. As of calendar year 2021’s close, zero emission vehicle (ZEV) ownership in Canada is up to 5.6…
To say the electrical vehicle market is heating up would be an understatement of monumental proportions. As of calendar year 2021’s close, zero emission vehicle (ZEV) ownership in Canada is up to 5.6 percent, which is a considerable 1.8-percent higher than it was this time last year.
BC leads the charge with 13 percent of all-new car registrations being zero emission over the past year, Vancouver being slightly higher at 15 percent, whereas Montreal came in second with a 10.7-percent ZEV take-rate in 2021, and Toronto third with 4.3 percent.
While Tesla is far and away the battery electric vehicle (BEV) leader in Canada, with more than 32,000 cars and crossovers currently registered, others are nibbling away at the U.S. firm’s dominance. Porsche’s new Taycan showed strength in the premium sector by overtaking Tesla Model S deliveries last year (732 deliveries to 602), while Tesla’s Model 3 (at 12,800 units) made up almost 62 percent of Canada’s entire dedicated electric vehicle market.
The Model Y (with 4,352 unit-sales in 2021) placed fourth behind Chevy’s regular Bolt and new Bolt EUV (which achieved combined sales of 4,675 units last year), and that was despite GM halting sales for most of Q4 due to battery recall issues, while the top-10 list finished off with Nissan’s Leaf in fifth (with 1,224 units), Tesla’s Model X in sixth (with 997 units), Porsche’s Taycan in seventh, Audi’s E-Tron in eighth (with 731 units), Tesla’s Model S in ninth, and finally Volkswagen’s ID.4 in 10th (with 536 units).
The new 2022 EV6, Kia’s first dedicated BEV, probably competes closest with VW’s ID.4 and Nissan’s Leaf, for size, while some potential Mazda MX-30 prospects (a model that sold 148 examples over the last quarter of 2022) and Bolt EUV customers might also cross-shop these small crossover SUVs. This said it directly targets Hyundai’s new Ioniq 5 (which sold 232 units in Q4 of 2021) that shares the South Korean automaker’s new E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) architecture, which will also prop up the new Genesis GV60 luxury crossover.
Of note, the 2022 Kia EV6 is priced almost identically to the Ioniq 5, both of which will be significantly more affordable than the GV60’s expected MSRP. The EV6 starts at $44,995 for the base Standard Range RWD version, with prices increasing to $52,995 for the Long Range RWD, $54,995 for the Long Range AWD, $57,995 for the Long Range AWD with the GT-Line Package 1, and $61,995 for the Long Range AWD with GT-Line Package 2. Comparatively, the base 2022 Ioniq 5 Essential RWD starts at $44,999 (which is $5 more than the EV6), while the same model’s top-line Preferred AWD Long Range trim with its Ultimate Package is available from $59,999 (which is $1,996 less than the top-tier EV6).
The differences in the just-noted trims include more performance and range, starting with the base RWD EV6 that includes a 58.0 kWh battery with a 125kW rear motor capable of up to 373 km of range; which is followed up by Long Range RWD trim featuring a 77.4 kWh battery with a 168kW rear motor for up to 499 km of range. The other two AWD power units utilize the same 77.4 kWh battery as the latter model, but the first trim incorporates a 74kW front motor and a 165kW rear motor for up to 441 km of range, whereas the most potent combination boasts a 160kW front motor and a 270kW rear motor for up to 499 kms of range.
Speaking of trims, the EV6’ standard centre display measures 12.3 inches diagonally, while Canadian buyers will also benefit from a heat pump system for maintaining range during cold winter conditions.
Of course, plenty of advanced driver assistance and convenience systems will be included too, such as forward collision avoidance assist, blind spot avoidance assist, automated parking assistance, driver attention warning, intelligent speed limit assist, highway driving assist, navigation-based smart cruise control-curve, and high beam assist.
The new EV6 also includes ultra-fast DC charging at 800V and 400V, without the need for a separate controller, which allows the battery to be topped up to 80 percent in just 18 minutes.
Additionally, campers, do-it-yourselfers, and the like, will appreciate the EV6’ available Vehicle to Load (V2L) feature, which transforms the new SUV into a direct power source for just about anything, from personal electronics and appliances, to even the ability to charge another BEV.
The new 2022 Kia EV6, which will arrive at Canadian Kia dealerships next month, will qualify for the $5,000 national iZEV rebate thanks to being priced below $45,000. Provincial rebates may decrease its price even further, with Quebec’s $8,000 incentive dropping the point of entry below $32,000.
Robo Dog | The All-Electric Kia EV6 (1:10):
The Kia 2022 Inspiration Journey | Kia EV6 (1:41):
The Kia EV6 used to break the world record (1:47):
18-Minute Charge Time | The Kia EV6 (0:15):
Up to 300 Mile Range | The Kia EV6 (0:15):
All-New Electric Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD Race Inspired | 2022 Kia EV6 (0:30):
All-new Electric Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD Jet | 2022 Kia EV6 (0:30):