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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

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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.


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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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Tesla announces Dual Motor Model S and Autopilot

Tesla has unveiled the world’s first dual electric motor production car and announced that new safety and autopilot hardware is standard on every new Model S.

Conventional all-wheel drive vehicles distribute power to the wheels from a single engine driving a complex mechanical transmission system. The Dual Motor Model S, which comes with either a 60kWh or 85kWh battery, has a motor on each axle, digitally and independently controlling torque to the front and rear wheels. The result is unparalleled control of traction, with instantaneous response to the motors giving drivers precisely controlled performance in all conditions. With its digital torque controls and low center of gravity, Dual Motor Model S has, Tesla claims, the most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced.

Where gasoline-powered all wheel drive cars sacrifice efficiency in return for all-weather traction, Tesla’s Dual Motor propulsion system increases efficiency while delivering traction and control in slippery conditions. By precisely splitting the delivery of current from the battery to each motor, the Model S 85D and 60D actually gain an additional 16km of highway driving range compared to their rear motor Model S counterparts.

Tesla is also keen to demonstrate that an electric car can soundly beat gasoline cars on efficiency and pure performance. The Model S P85 already outperforms gasoline-powered cars in the same class with its ability to deliver 100% of peak torque from a standing start. The company also set itself the objective of outperforming the McLaren F1. Combining its new front drive unit and the P85 rear motor for a 0-60mph performance of 3.2 seconds, Tesla believes it has succeeded.

The P85D combines the performance of the P85 rear motor with an additional 50% of torque available from the new front drive unit. The result is, Tesla claims, the fastest accelerating four-door production car of all time, yet also one of the most efficient cars on the road – a combination the company claims can only be achieved by an electric car.

Deliveries of P85D begin in December for North America, to be followed by 85D and 60D in February. Deliveries to Europe and Asia will follow in the months afterwards.

The launch of Dual Motor Model S coincides with the introduction of a standard hardware package that will enable autopilot functionality. Every single Model S now rolling out of the factory includes a forward radar, 12 long range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16ft around the car in every direction at all speeds, a forward looking camera, and a high precision, digitally controlled electric assist braking system.

Building on this hardware with future software releases, Tesla offers a range of active safety features, using digital control of motors, brakes, and steering to avoid collisions from the front, sides, or from leaving the road.

Model S will be able to steer to stay within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by reading road signs and using active, traffic aware cruise control. It will take several months for all Autopilot features to be completed and uploaded to the cars.

Tesla is quick to point out that its goal of this new hardware and software is not to enable driverless cars, something it believes is still years away from becoming a reality. The system is called Autopilot because it’s similar to systems that pilots use to increase comfort and safety when conditions are clear. Tesla’s Autopilot, the firm claims, is a way to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel – the driver, however, is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.

Tesla also point out the potential long-term possibilities of the Autopilot hardware, asking customers to imagine having their car check their calendar in the morning (a feature introduced in Software v6.0), calculate travel time to their first appointment based on real time traffic data, automatically open the garage door with Homelink, carefully back out of a tight garage, and pull up to the door ready for the commute. The vehicle could also warm or cool the car and select the user’s favorite morning news stream.

16 October 2014


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