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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class


The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.

Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor


Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.

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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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BMW X5 PHEV: the knowledge

BMW has revealed details of the first hybrid production car from the OEM’s core brand. Here are some of the highlights


Hasn’t BMW released plug-in hybrids before?
There’s been lots of talk about the BMW i8 of late, but the X5 xDrive40e (to give its full name) is the first production vehicle from the OEM’s core brand, rather than the BMWi sub-brand – which currently consists of the i3 and i8.

What’s powering the new vehicle?
The new plug-in X5 will have a total output of 317ps – the combustion engine is rated at 248ps, and the electric motor at 115ps. A four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology is paired with a synchronous electric motor, integrated with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. The result, according to the company’s stats, is a vehicle with a 0-100km/h time of 6.8 seconds, a limited top speed of 210km/h, a combined figure of 3.3l/100km and carbon dioxide emissions of 77g/km.

Have we seen the IC engine before?
The 2-liter gasoline unit has won the International Engine of the Year three times. It features a TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, and Valvetronic variable valve timing and variable camshaft control on both the intake and exhaust sides.

What does the electric motor add?
The motor’s maximum torque of 250Nm is available instantly, boosting the IC engine’s output for increased responsiveness with no delay when accelerating from stationary. It will also enhance performance when a quick burst of speed is required. In all-electric drive mode, the vehicle is capable of an electronically limited top speed of 120km/h.

The 9kWh lithium-ion high-voltage battery pack can be topped up with mains electricity from any standard domestic power socket, the BMW i Wallbox, as well as at public charging stations. The high-voltage battery, which also supplies power to the battery for the 12V electrical system via a voltage transformer, is housed underneath the luggage compartment floor.


How is all this put into action?
BMW’s eDrive functionality lets drivers tailor the powertrain according to their own preferences and situation. When the vehicle is started, the default Auto setting is activated, with both engine and electric motor working together. The electric motor alone is used for setting off with normal power requirements and the engine cuts in at around 70km/h, or when the driver wishes to accelerate briskly. In this mode, the intelligent operating strategy determines the most efficient drive combination at all times and switches automatically. The driver can also switch manually to the all-electric drive mode, Max eDrive. This mode is designed for comfortable driving with zero local emissions and offers a maximum range of approximately 30km at a limited top speed of 120km/h.

The third mode available is the Save Battery setting, which allows the driver to conserve or build up the high-voltage battery’s reserves for later on. When driving on the motorway, for instance, the state of charge can be kept constant or even boosted in order to use the high-voltage battery’s power for all-electric driving later in the journey. In this way, the stored electrical energy can be selectively deployed exactly when required.

The new X5 will also feature BMW’s Driving Experience Control switch as standard. This can be used to activate the vehicle setup modes (Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro), which each have the effect of altering the throttle mapping, steering characteristics, response of the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, as well as the characteristics of the Dynamic Damper Control, which is included as standard. Eco Pro mode triggers efficiency-optimized control of electrically powered comfort functions such as the air conditioning, seat heating and heated mirrors. Besides this, when traveling at speeds between 0-160km/h, the coasting function shuts off the engine, allowing the vehicle to glide along without burning any fuel. The modes selectable with the eDrive button and the Driving Experience Control switch can be combined freely with one another.


March 16, 2015


16 March 2015


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