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  • Volkswagen to revive Scout as EV brand in US market; pick-up, SUV prototypes next year, production fr 2026

    The Volkswagen Group will be launching the Scout brand with a fully electric pick-up truck and SUV destined for the United States market, the automaker has confirmed.

    According to Volkswagen, the Scout brand “will be built upon a new technical platform concept which brings new pick-up and [rugged SUV] credibility beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio,” it said in its statement. The commissioning of a new platform means that the existing MEB modular architecture for Volkswagen’s battery electric models will not be used.

    This should also be distinct from the brand’s existing pick-up truck nameplate, the Amarok, which is due to be an all-new iteration set for debut later this year.

    The Scout range will be comprised of an SUV and pick-up truck, and the latter will also be technically distinct from the ICE-powered Amarok (2nd row), which will be introduced later this year as a 2023 model

    The Scout brand will be established later this year, and will stand on its own from the main Volkswagen brand. “The company we will establish this year will be a separate unit and brand within the Volkswagen Group to be managed independently. This aligns with the new Group steering model; small units that [are agile] and have access to our tech platforms to leverage synergies,” said Volkswagen CFO Arno Antlitz.

    In terms of clean-sheet design, American-market fully-electric SUVs and pick-up trucks, the upcoming Scout SUV and pick-up truck could be compared to the Rivian R1T and R1S pick-up and SUV duo, which were revealed late in 2020 with a quad-motor powertrain with a Launch Edition specification of 754 hp and 1,120 Nm of torque, fed by a 135 kWh lithium-ion battery providing around 483 km of range.

    After Volkswagen’s successful turnaround in the United States, we are now taking the opportunity to further strengthen our position in one of the most significant growth markets for EVs. Electrification provides a historic opportunity to enter the highly attractive pick-up and [rugged] SUV segment as a group, underscoring our ambition to become a relevant player in the US market,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

     
  • Chery is returning to Malaysia – meet its Pro family of 4 SUVs and a sedan; Tiggo 7 Pro and 8 Pro confirmed

    In 2021, Chery managed to deliver a total of 961,926 vehicles, which is a year-on-year increase of 31.7% and a new record for the Chinese carmaker. Equally as impressive is the 269,154 units the company exported last year, an increase of 136.3% from 2020, and more than enough for Chery to keep its top ranking for the export of Chinese passenger vehicles for 19 consecutive years.

    Key to Chery’s export success is its “Pro” family of cars, which currently consists of four SUVs – Tiggo 2 Pro, Tiggo 4 Pro, Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro – along with a sole sedan, the Arrizo 6 Pro. These models have already been well received in several markets worldwide, including in Eastern Europe, South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

    With Chery set to make a comeback in Malaysia, here’s a rundown of the Pro family and what to expect. Currently, the Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro are already confirmed for our market, with the Omada 5 also being part of the mix (more on the B-segment crossover from Chery’s new Omada product series here).

    Tiggo 7 Pro

    One of three SUVs that Chery Malaysia has already confirmed, the Tiggo 7 Pro is a C-segment SUV with five seats that will take on the likes of the Proton X70, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008, Nissan X-Trail and Subaru Forester.

    Two engines are available for the Tiggo 7 Pro, both of them turbocharged and with four cylinders. The first is a 1.5 litre unit rated at 150 PS at 5,500 rpm and 230 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 4,000 rpm, with drive sent to the front wheels via a CVT with nine virtual ratios. This engine can also be paired with a 48-volt mild hybrid system to help with fuel efficiency – 5.8 l/100 km instead of 6.8 l/100 km without it.

    The other option is a 1.6 litre direct-injected mill with 197 PS and 290 Nm – peak torque comes as soon as 2,000 rpm. Also with front-wheel drive but using a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission instead, the 1.6 litre engine’s fuel consumption is rated at 6.6 l/100 km.

    In its home market of China, the Tiggo 7 Pro comes with amenities like remote engine start, power-adjustable front seats with driver’s side memory, “self-cleaning” dual-zone climate control with an ioniser and air quality sensor, a cloud-based infotainment system with a karaoke mode, voice control, over-the-air software updates, a panoramic sunroof and a Sony eight-speaker sound system.

    There’s also a more premium version called the Tiggo 7 Plus, which gets fancier dual 12.3-inch screens on the inside, restyled bumpers and a slightly improved interior. The infotainment system also runs on Chery’s Lion 4.0 operating system with Baidu CarLife and Apple CarPlay.

    It’s not certain which version we’ll get, but either should come with a good amount of safety kit to compete against rivals. The Tiggo 7 Pro in particular is available with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, speed limit assist, a door opening warning, park assist, automatic high beam, six airbags and stability control.

    Tiggo 8 Pro

    If a larger body and more seats are what you need, there’s the Tiggo 8 Pro, which is another SUV slated to be launched here. It’s wheelbase of 2,710 mm is longer than the Tiggo 7 Pro’s 2,670 mm, allowing it to fit two more seats for a total of seven.

    Occupying the D-segment, alternatives include the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-8, with the Hyundai Palisade and CX-9 also in consideration. Like the Tiggo 7 Pro, the Tiggo 8 Pro also comes a comprehensive suite of safety and driver assistance systems, while the rest of the equipment list is competitive too.

    Depending on the market it is sold in, the Tiggo 8 Pro comes with features like matrix LED headlights 18-inch wheels, a powered panoramic sunroof, a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation, 10.25-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a wireless charging tray, dual-zone climate control and leather upholstery.

    As for power, the seven-seater sports a 1.6 litre TGDI petrol engine – also shared with the Omoda 5 – that develops 200 PS at 5,500 rpm and 290 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,400 rpm. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission sends drive to the front wheels. Other engines from the Acteco range include a 2.0 litre unit as well as a 1.5 litre mill with mild hybrid tech.

    According to Chery, the 500,000th unit of Tiggo 8 series recently rolled off the carmaker’s assembly line, making it the fastest model to achieve production mark among Chinese-brand mid-size and seven-seat SUVs.

    Tiggo 4 Pro

    The Tiggo 4 Pro was one of the SUVs that was mentioned when Chery first announced its return to Malaysia, and the B-segment SUV has been spotted on our roads in the past (it’s also known as the Tiggo 5x in China).

    Built on the T1X platform – also used by the Tiggo 7 Pro and Tiggo 8 Pro – the Tiggo 4 Pro has no shortage of engine options. Depending on the market it is sold in, there are two 1.5 litre engines (113 PS NA and 147 PS turbo in South Africa) and a 124 PS 2.0 litre offered, coupled with a five-speed manual or CVT.

    Referring to South Africa specifications, the Tiggo 4 Pro is available with six airbags, the usual array of passive safety systems, keyless entry and engine start, cruise control, LED headlamps, a seven-inch digital instrument cluster as well as a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

    Given the Omada 5 will be Chery Malaysia’s B-segment SUV offering that packs more premium features, it’s likely the Tiggo 4 Pro will be given a miss for our market, although it could still be brought in to fit a more affordable price point.

    Tiggo 2 Pro

    For something even smaller, we have the A-segment Tiggo 2 Pro (also called the Tiggo 3x Plus), which is currently available in the Philippines with a 1.5 litre NA four-pot making 108 PS and 140 Nm, mated to a CVT with nine virtual speeds. The entry-level of the Pro series measures just 4,200 mm long, 1,760 mm wide, 1,570 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,555 mm.

    Still referring to the Philippines brochure, the Tiggo 2 Pro comes with 16-inch wheels, automatic halogen headlamps, LED DRLs, manual seats, cruise control, manual air-conditioning, keyless entry and start, dual front airbags, a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink as well as 3.5-inch multi-info instrument cluster display.

    Arrizo 6 Pro

    Moving away from SUVs, the Arrizo 6 Pro competes against the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and Mazda 3 in the C-segment sedan market. Also known as the Arrizo 5 Plus, the Chery sedan is built on the M1X platform and features a CVT paired with a 1.5 litre turbo four-cylinder making 147 PS and 210 Nm.

    As with all other models mentioned, specifications vary depending on market, and the Arrizo 6 Pro is available with matrix LED headlamps, 17-inch wheels, six airbags, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, keyless entry and start, a 360-degree camera, autonomous emergency braking and six airbags.

    There you have it, a brief overview of the Chery’s current Pro range of cars. As mentioned, the Tiggo 7 Pro, Tiggo 8 Pro and Omada 5 have already been confirmed as models coming our way, but are you looking forward to the other Pro models as well?

     

  • 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé most expensive car sold – one of only 2, priced at RM627mil

    It’s clear that capitalist excess is alive and well, despite hardships created by the pandemic and various other complications. Mercedes-Benz has announced that its most priceless possession actually did have a price after all – its 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé, one of only two in existence, became the most expensive car ever sold when it crossed the auction block for an eye-watering €135 million (RM627 million).

    Yes, the world’s costliest object on four wheels is a Three-pointed Star with an SLR badge, but it isn’t a McLaren. This is the car that gave that 2000s hypercar its name – a ’50s road-going coupé version of a Formula 1-derived race car, the latter garnering instant success in its all-too-brief competitive life.

    The SLR (short for Super Licht Rennen, or Super Light Racing) was conceived to out-300 SL the legendary 300 SL, itself a highly-successful Le Mans-winning racer turned road car. Its name came from a lightweight aluminium spaceframe chassis clothed in magnesium alloy body panels, motivated by a 302 PS 3.0 litre straight-eight engine with desmodromic valves (later popularised by Ducati) and mechanical direct injection.

    It entered the 1955 sports car racing season and promptly won its first race, the Mille Miglia, in the hands of Stirling Moss. But the sweet taste of victory soon turned bitter at the SLR’s third race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it was involved in what remains the deadliest accident in motorsport, with 82 killed.

    Such was the impact of the catastrophe that despite the SLR winning every other race – securing the World Sportscar Championship in the process – Mercedes pulled out of racing entirely. Stuttgart wouldn’t put its name on a competition engine, let alone its own race car, for another 30 years.

    The withdrawal of the SLR came with a Silver Arrow-shaped lining, as it freed up one of the two coupé versions, originally planned for the then-cancelled Carrera Panamericana, to be used as the personal car for chief engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut – hence the name. These vehicles had even sexier versions of the SL’s curvaceous bodywork, replete with the trademark gullwing doors, and weighed just 998 kg.

    The fascination surrounding the SLR was boosted further by the near-mythic status of Uhlenhaut, who even Mercedes claims has lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife three seconds faster than star driver (ha ha) and four-time F1 champion Juan-Manuel Fangio. Legend has it that the man, late for a meeting, once blitzed the 220 km from Munich to Stuttgart in just over an hour. With a top speed circa 290 km/h, the Uhlenhaut Coupé was the fastest car in all the land.

    The Uhlenhaut Coupé was named after legendary Mercedes engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut (pictured)

    With such rarity and the number of stories behind it, it’s no surprise that the Uhlenhaut Coupé, sold by RM Sotheby’s at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, smashed the previous record set by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in 2018 – and by a margin of more than €90 million (RM422 million). Not only is the SLR the most expensive car in the world, it’s also one of the top ten most valuable things ever to go under the hammer.

    All that money is at least going to a good cause, contributing to a Mercedes-Benz Fund that will provide school and university scholarships for environmental science projects. The programme is aimed at the less financially privileged and include extracurricular elements like mentorships. The fund will be jointly developed and managed by an experienced partner, which will be announced together with details later this year.

    As for the car itself, the private collector who bought it has agreed to display it publicly on special occasions. The second unit will be retained by Mercedes and continue to be displayed at the museum in Stuttgart.

     
  • Tesla stock has plunged by nearly 50% since late 2021

    Tesla hasn’t been having a good year so far financially, nor has its boss Elon Musk. The EV maker has seen US$558 billion (RM2.45 trillion) wiped off since November last year, and from a market valuation viewpoint is now worth US$663.9 billion (RM2.91 trillion), down more than 45% from a peak of US$1.22 trillion (RM5.35 trillion), Drive reports.

    While the slide began last year, much of the losses have been recent, with the company losing around US$342 billion (RM1.5 trillion) in market capitalisation since Musk disclosed his intention to buy Twitter in mid April. The decline is also as a result of multiple internal and external factors, which might have caused jitters amongst investors.

    These include unfavourable market conditions, failure to deliver on product timelines as well as lawsuits accusing the company of racial discrimination, among others. While the company’s models accounted for three-quarters of all EVs sold in the US last year, nothing new is on the immediate horizon.

    Earlier this year, Musk confirmed that no new models will commence deliveries to customers before the end of 2022. The Cybertruck has been delayed many times and is not expected until next year at the earliest, and the second-gen Roadster is also behind schedule, now due out only in 2023.

    While Musk’s bid to buy Twitter hasn’t helped his company’s stock price, neither has allegations made about his conduct. It was reported that Tesla’s share price dropped by 6.4% after claims of sexual misconduct against him emerged, wiping off US$10 billion (RM43.9 billion) of his worth in just a single day last week.

    According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he was worth about US$212 billion (RM921.7 billion) last Thursday. After the allegations came out, his wealth dropped to around US$201 billion (RM882.2 billion), Bloomberg reported. Musk has refuted the allegations made against him, calling them “wild accusations” and “utterly untrue.”

    Despite this, he remains top of the index, well ahead of Jeff Bezos, who is currently worth around US$130 billion (RM570.7 billion). Additionally, despite the plummeting of its stock price, Tesla remains the world’s most valuable automotive brand, also by a large margin, remaining ahead of Toyota, BYD and Volkswagen, all in order.

     
  • 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 and Meteor 350 now in Malaysia, priced from RM23,500 and RM24,500

    Now officially launched in the Malaysian market are the 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 and Royal Enfield Meteor 350, priced from RM23,500 and RM24,500, respectively. Pricing does not include road tax, insurance and registration and bookings are being taken now under Malaysian distributor Didi Automotive, part of the Didi Group, at the Royal Enfield (RE) flagship store at the Gasket Alley, Petaling Jaya.

    The Royal Enfield Classic 350, available in three variants with seven colour choices, follows traditional RE styling, dating to 1931 with the original Royal Enfield Bullet, and the design of the Bullet 350 has remained unchanged since 1948 aside from updates with modern equipment and engineering. Like its ancestor, the modern-day Classic 350 comes with a single-cylinder air-and oil-cooled power plant.

    Fed by EFI and with the mill displacing 346 cc, the Classic 350 is claimed to produce 19.1 hp at 5,250 rpm with 28 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Power gets to the ground via a six-speed gearbox and chain final drive. Braking is done with a single 280 mm diameter brake disc in front with Bybre two-piston calliper and single-channel ABS while the rear wheel is stopped with a mechanical drum brake.

    Suspension at the front is with conventional telescopic forks while the back end is propped up with twin shock absorbers with five-step preload adjustment. The Classic 350 has its seat height set 810 mm, while the entire package weighs 191 kg with fuel tank capacity rated at 13.1 litres, rolling on 19-inch wheels front and rear.

    Meanwhile, the Meteor 350, which comes in three variants, is given the cruiser styling treatment with low-slung seat set at 760 mm and equipped with RE’s J-Series air- and oil-cooled single-cylinder mill displacing 349 cc. With the engine fed by EFI, the Meteor 350 gets 20.2 hp at 6,500 rpm and 27 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm, coupled to a five-speed gearbox and chain final drive.

    The front forks on the Meteor 350 are 41 mm diameter telescopic units, non-adjustable, with twin shock absorbers at the back with six-step adjustable preload. With the 15-litre fuel tank filled to 90% capacity, the Meteor 350 tips the scales at 191 kg while inside the cockpit, a combination digital LCD/analogue instrument cluster comes with Bluetooth connectivity as well as a USB charging port.

    Braking is done with single hydraulic discs, a 300 mm diameter unit in front with two-piston floating calliper, and a single-piston unit at the back with 270 mm calliper, while two-channel ABS is standard equipment. The Meteor 350 comes with a 19-inch wheel in front, shod with 100/90 tubeless tyre, while the back gets a 17-inch hoop wearing a 140/70 tyre.

    GALLERY: 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Malaysia


    GALLERY: 2022 Royal Enfield Meteor 350

     
  • Glow-in-the-dark markings trialled on Australian roads; part of RM12.5 million road safety package for Victoria

    Visibility is key road safety; to that end, Australian road construction firm Tarmac Linemarking has been selected by road transport safety authority VicRoads, along with safety surfaces company OmniGrip for the trial run of photo-luminescent (glow-in-the-dark) road markings on selected roads in the state of Victoria, Australia.

    The application of the glow-in-the-dark road markings is part of a road safety programme by Regional Roads Victoria, and is one of three treatments in the state’s Innovative Package, for which AUD$4 million (RM12.5 million) has been invested for application at 70 locations across regional Victoria, as part of a larger AUD$245 million (RM763 million) allocation for the state’s road safety programme.

    In a more recent Facebook post, Tarmac Linemarking stated residents “all across Gippsland, from Philip Island to the border” will get to experience roads treated with the glow-in-the-dark road markings.

    Also part of Victoria state’s road safety innovation package is LED tactile paving (pictured), and high-reflectivity road marking paint

    The second of three road safety treatments in the Australian state’s Innovative Package for its safety programme is road line markings with higher reflectivity, courtesy of the addition of thicker glass beads and thermoplastic to the linemarking paint.

    Rounding up the trio of road safety treatments is LED tactile paving at controlled pedestrian crossings, which are LEDs on the pavement which follow the existing red (stop) and green (go) light signals for added visibility to pedestrians, particularly for those with diminished vision or those who are distracted.

    What do you think of these road treatments, dear readers? Would these be beneficial to Malaysian road users?

     
  • Mercedes-Benz EQS gains EQS450, EQS500 4Matic variants – up to 685 km range, coming to Malaysia?

    It has been more than a year since the Mercedes-Benz EQS made its debut, and the German carmaker recently added two new variants for customers to choose from in the form of the EQS 450 4Matic and EQS 500 4Matic.

    As a result, there are now six variants of the EQS available, including the initial EQS 450+ and EQS 580 4Matic from April, which was followed by the AMG-branded EQS 53 4Matic+ in September and the EQS 350 in November – all four were debuted in 2021.

    The EQS 450 4Matic and EQS 500 4Matic both come with two electric motors – one on each axle – for all-wheel drive and shares the same lithium-ion battery with usable energy capacity of 107.8 kWh (120 kWh gross). The rear-wheel drive EQS 450+ also uses the same battery, but the base EQS 350 is the only one with a smaller capacity of 90.6 kWh (100 kWh gross).

    In terms of outputs, the EQS 450 4Matic offers 360 PS (355 hp or 265 kW) and 800 Nm of torque, which is good for a 0-100 km/h time of 5.6 seconds. Meanwhile, the EQS 500 4Matic with its more substantial 449 PS (443 hp or 330 kW) and 855 Nm needs just 4.8 seconds to complete the century sprint.

    While there are differences when it comes to power and acceleration times, both new variants offer the same WLTP-rated range of 685 km, which is better than the EQS 350, EQS 580 4Matic and EQS 53 4Matic+, but worse than the EQS 450+.

    The EQS has been tipped to arrive in Malaysia soon, at least according to a teaser posted on Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s website. The company’s electric offensive here has already begun with the launch of the EQA back in March this year.

     
  • Mercedes-AMG One: F1-powered hypercar approved “when we were drunk,” CEO Ola Källenius jokes

    Customers of the Mercedes-AMG One were supposed to take delivery of their F1-powered hypercar last year, but the project is once again facing delays. Making the car roadworthy is a huge technical challenge, to the point where company bosses even joked about being ‘drunk’ when they gave it the green light.

    According to Autocar, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius said: “The team at AMG and the [AMG] High Performance Powertrain Formula 1 arm came to us about four years ago and said ‘we’ve got a great idea, let’s put a Formula 1 engine into a road car’.”

    “I will have to go back to check the meeting minutes, but I’m sure we were drunk when we said yes,” Källenius jokingly told the media while responding to a question about the official launching of the One. In case you forgot, the One was first shown to the public in 2017 in concept guise.

    Now, only 275 examples will be made, all of which have already been sold. Each unit costs 2.27 million euros (RM10.56 million), by the way. The One is powered by a road-legal 1.6 litre split-turbo V6 from the W07 Hybrid F1 race car – the same engine that propelled Nico Rosberg to his only world championship in 2016.

    The engine is mated to MGU-H and MGU-K electric motor-generator units as well as twin front-mounted motors to deliver a total system output in excess of 1,000 PS. Top speed is quoted at over 350 km/h. Engineers are reportedly having trouble in getting the powertrain to comply with WLTP emissions standards – the 1.6L mill idles at 5,000 rpm, and using a petrol particulate filter would hurt performance.

    In any case, it’s too late to wind back the clock, so Mercedes-AMG will have to figure this one out. The automaker will also post a “very honest documentary” about its progress on the project, so we get to see exactly what went down. So, what was the best or worst decision you made under the influence?

     
  • Mitsubishi eK X EV debuts as Nissan Sakura’s close cousin – 180 km range; 64 PS; priced from RM64k

    This is the new Mitsubishi eK X EV, essentially a close cousin of the Nissan Sakura, with both being all-electric kei cars. Developed and manufactured by the Nissan Mitsubishi Kei Vehicle (NMKV) joint venture, the eK X EV features the same powertrain as the Sakura, albeit styled to resemble the current eK X launched back in 2019.

    Said powertrain consists of an underfloor-mounted 20 kWh, 350-volt lithium-ion battery that provides up to 180 km of range following the WLTC standard. The battery powers an MM48 electric motor driving the front wheels that is rated at 64 PS (63 hp or 47 kW) and 195 Nm of torque, with the former meeting kei car regulations in Japan.

    Like the Sakura, it takes eight hours to fully recharge the battery to 100% using a 2.9-kW AC input (Type 1 connection), or about 40 minutes to get to 80% with a 30-kW DC input (CHAdeMO connection). There’s also support for vehicle-to-home (V2H) as well as vehicle-to-load (V2L) bidirectional charging so the vehicle can serve as an emergency power source or to power electronics when required.

    Design-wise, eK X EV is nearly a carbon copy of its non-EV counterpart, featuring the same X-shaped face, dual-tier headlamp configuration (upper DRLs, lower mains), “floating roof” look with partially blacked-out C-pillars, vertical taillights and overall boxy shape.

    There are differences if you look closely, as the upper portion of the eK X EV’s grille is closed off with black trim that is accompanied by silver accents. The corner fog lamps are also rectangular in shape instead of circles like on the internal combustion engine eK X.

    It’s the same story on the inside, as Mitsubishi’s pint-sized EV doesn’t get the Sakura’s dashboard, but instead carries over the one fitted to the eK X. Like the exterior, it isn’t an exact duplicate, as the elevated console that houses the gear shift lever and climate controls is made to appear more contemporary and resembles what you’ll find in the Sakura.

    Elsewhere, the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system are different from what the eK X gets, the latter coming in seven- or nine-inch sizes depending on the variant. Both options – the base G and top-spec P – come with Mi-Pilot, which is what Mitsubishi calls its safety and driver assistance suite.

    Standard systems include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert and assist, automatic high beam, pedal misapplication control and traffic sign recognition. These add to passive systems like seven airbags, vehicle stability control, ABS, EBD, front and rear parking sensors and hill start assist.

    As for other features, there’s LED lighting (headlamps, DRLs, taillights; fog lamps only on the P), black or grey fabric upholstery (synthetic leather is optional), six speakers, keyless entry and start, Mitsubishi Connect (optional for the G) as well as 14-inch (G only) or 15-inch (P only) wheels.

    The eK X EV’s two variants is one less than the Sakura’s three, and pricing starts from 2.398 million yen (RM82,638) for the G, while the P retails for 2,932,600 yen (RM101,052). These figures are well beyond the ICE-powered eK X’s price range of between 1.463 million and 1,688,500 yen (RM50,412 and RM58,183).

    However, thanks to Japan’s subsidies for clean energy vehicles, customers will enjoy 550,000 yen (RM18,952) off, so the actual starting price is from 1.848 million yen (RM63,709). Factor in further reductions that come from the eco-car and light vehicle tax schemes as well as municipal subsidies – 450,000 yen (RM15,512) in Tokyo – the eK X EV can be had for as little as 1.018 million yen (RM35,092).



     
  • EV maker Nio to establish an R&D centre in Singapore

    Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio says it will set up a research and development centre for autonomous driving and artificial intelligence in Singapore. The announcement, made by its chairman and CEO William Li, comes following the company’s debut on the Singapore Exchange, a move that had been indicated earlier this month.

    The automaker will collaborate with Singaporean science and research institutions on the new centre, Nikkei Asia reports. According to Li, Nio is looking to leverage Singapore’s advantageous position as an international financial and technology centre, and said that the new hub would broaden and enhance the brand’s global R&D footprint.

    The company presently operates an Advanced Research & Innovation Centre in Silicon Valley, California as well as a design office in Munich, Germany. The planned Singapore facility – for which no timeframe for implementation was mentioned – will seek advancements in digital technology, which plays an increasingly important role in competition among automakers, the report said.

    The automaker is set to launch three new models this year, hoping to cash in on the potential spike in demand for EVs in the second half of 2022. Its most recent introduction is the ET5, a mid-sized EV sedan that debuted at the end of last year.

    Equipped with a dual-motor powertrain consisting of a 150 kW induction front motor and a 210 kW permanent magnet rear motor, the ET5 has a combined output of 480 PS and 700 Nm of torque. The car’s largest battery configuration (150 kWh) provides it with 1,000 km of travel range.

    The brand has been aggressively pursuing growth, and in less than four years, has already produced 200,000 EVs. By the end of this year, it will open more than 100 new stores and 50 service centres in China, as well as the expansion of its EV battery swap network. The workforce will be multiplied, and a second manufacturing base located at NeoPark will be up and running in Q3 2022. Outside of China, the brand is expected to enhance its presence in Europe.

     
 
 
 

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Last Updated 19 May 2022