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Audi’s First Electric Vehicle Recalled Over Fire Risk

It’s not good PR for a brand hoping to snap up wary would-be converts, but it does suggest that Audi’s quality management apparatus is at least partly up to snuff.
On Monday the German automaker announced a voluntary recall of 540 E-Tron SUVs sold in the United States out of fear that a glitch could spark a large and hard-to-control fire. The E-Tron, a fully electric midsize SUV with a (happily) conventional appearance, saw its first full month of U.S. sales in May, moving 856 units.
As reported by Bloomberg, the automaker is concerned moisture could enter the battery compartment through a faulty seal, potentially leading to a short circuit or even a serious fire. Audi calls the latter scenario an “extreme case.” Lithium-ion battery cells are highly volatile if breached by air or moisture; the resulting fire, as seen in several recent Tesla Model S incidents, can erupt quickly and prove very difficult to extinguish.
In total, 1,644 E-Trons are under recall for the issue. Through the end of May, Audi sold 1,109 of the EVs in the U.S., with the model going on sale in April.
While no fires or injuries have been reported as a result of the flaw, Audi claims five instances of battery fault lights turning on because of moisture seepage. The company began informing owners last week, with a fix available starting in August, Audi claims.

“We are applying an abundance of caution as no such incidents have been reported globally,” the company said in a statement, referring to fires.
Not all of the Brussels-built E-Trons assembled thus far contain the flaw, apparently. The automaker claims the model remains available, and it doesn’t appear that there is a stop sale order in place for the vehicle.
As they await a fix, affected owners are being told they’re eligible for an $800 cash card to cover gas purchases, rentals, and other costs stemming from the recall. Free roadside towing has been extended to these owners, too.
As for Tesla, the automaker continues investigating the cause of a rash of car fires spanning the globe. Following the most recent fire in Antwerp, Belgium, the company issued an over-the-air update to the charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles.
Getting ahead of any serious problems and being transparent about it is key to ensuring consumer trust in any product, and Audi seems to know this. The company has three more electric E-Tron models waiting in the wings, with even more poised to enter the fray in years to come.
[Images: Audi AG]

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Steph Willems – 2019-06-10 19:43:30
The Truth About Cars

The BMW V12 is most likely dead after this generation

BMW hasn’t had much use for V12 engines over the past few years. With modern turbocharging and even electrification, it’s been easy to make the same, if not superior, power figures from a much smaller displacement turbocharged V8. Still, there’s something about a V12 that’s just so endearing, which is why it’s stuck around for these years. However, even its silky-smooth charm won’t be able to keep it around forever, which is why the BMW V12 is likely dead after this generation.
During a recent interview with Autoblog (which we spoke about yesterday), BMW M CEO Markus Flasch was asked if the BMW V12 had any life in it.
“Beyond what we have, I don’t believe we will see a new twelve-cylinder model in the foreseeable future.” said Flasch.

That might be sad news to a lot of BMW enthusiasts. After all, BMW does have some incredible V12s in its history, including the simply awesome BMW 850 CSi, which had a V12 engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. However, any realistic car enthusiast understands that any engine bigger than eight-cylinders is doomed. Emissions restrictions and the need to save the planet are going to take big, gas-sucking engines away.
Another reason for the lack of BMW V12 is Rolls Royce. After this generation of Rolls Royce Ghost, the famed British luxury brand will no longer be using BMW engines. Rolls created its own twin-turbocharged V12 for the new Phantom and Cullinan and no longer uses a BMW V12. So once Rolls no longer needs the big engine, there’s really no need for BMW to develop one. The only car in BMW’s lineup that uses a V12 is the M760i and that sells in far too few of numbers to warrant continue twelve-cylinder development.

We’ll all miss the BMW V12, as the brand has long had a history of making creamy-smooth twelve-pot engines. However, its demise will only be a sign of changing times and change is exciting. The addition of electrification, either to enhance internal combustion or to act on its own, has made the V12 obsolete. The main benefit of the V12 was its smooth, effortless power delivery. Nothing is smoother or more effortless than electric power. So as the BMW V12 dies off, we’ll be gaining electrified Bimmers with smoother, more instantaneous torque. So as a legend dies, a new era is ushered in and it should be a better one.
[Source: Autoblog]

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Nico DeMattia – 2019-06-16 17:17:28
BMW BLOG

The Week in Business: A Surprise Tariff War, and the Future of iPhone Screens

Want this column in your inbox? Sign up here.Happy June! And sorry about your stock portfolio, which probably isn’t looking too hot after President Trump’s latest tariff threats. Here’s what you need to know about the week’s business news.MAY 26-june 1What’s Up? Not All Losses Are BadUber has taken some knocks lately. Less than a month after the ride-hailing company’s lukewarm initial public offering, its shares have fallen more than 10 percent. And according to its first-quarter earnings report, released on Thursday, Uber is seeing its slowest growth in years and lost more than $1 billion so far in 2019. But it still won’t tolerate rudeness. Uber also announced that riders with “significantly below average” ratings (yes, the rating system goes both ways) will get thrown off the app. (The announcement came after a Lyft passenger was caught on camera attacking a driver for not going faster.) It’s unclear how bad a rating would merit expulsion, but Uber says riders will get a couple of warnings before they’re officially banned. Merge RightIt’s a rough world out there for car manufacturers, what with all these tariffs and ride-sharing apps flying around, so why not band together? At least that’s what Fiat Chrysler’s chairman might have been thinking when he officially invited Renault to merge with his company last Monday after several weeks of private talks. The trans-Atlantic coupling would create the world’s third-largest automaker, second only to Toyota and Volkswagen. The elephant in the room? That would be Nissan, Renault’s formal partner. The companies’ relationship has frayed since Nissan’s chairman, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested last year. If they can all mend fences, the resulting juggernaut would be the world’s largest car manufacturer by a wide margin, and force other players in the industry to rethink their business strategies. Equal Opportunity for Diaper DutyAs of this week, one less group may have cause to complain about their terrible parental leave policy. JPMorgan Chase reached a tentative settlement with a father who sued the bank for denying him the 16 weeks of paid leave that it offers to new mothers. The bank also agreed to create a $5 million fund to compensate up to about 5,000 dads who were shortchanged in the past. The case sets an important legal precedent for corporate parental-leave policies to become more gender neutral. JUNE 2-8What’s Next? A War on Two FrontsInexplicably, given the state of his trade war with China, Mr. Trump has decided to replicate the same tariff tactic with another major trade partner. He threatened Mexico on Thursday with 5 percent tariffs on all goods unless its government stops the flow of illegal immigrants across the border with the United States. Those tariffs are set to take effect on June 10 and would gradually increase by 5 percent increments until they reach 25 percent — unless undocumented immigrants stop coming. An across-the-board tax of this nature could be extremely damaging for both American consumers and businesses, many of which are already hurting from the trade dispute with China. Stock up on avocados while you still can. Screen TimeApple will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, which is basically like Fashion Week for software nerds. Expect a lot of technobabble about complex new features for its products. But for the average Apple consumer (which is to say, an iPhone owner), all you need to know is “dark mode.” That’s the name of a trend toward making black space more dominant on screens’ backgrounds, which helps save battery life and cuts down on the amount of bright light beaming into your retinas when you should probably be going to bed or, hey, looking at other humans. Trump Jumps the PondPresident Trump will pay a state visit this week to London, where he’ll meet with the soon-to-be-former prime minister, Theresa May. That could be awkward, considering Donald Trump Jr.’s past remarks about Ms. May — but what hasn’t she heard at this point? She is stepping down as the leader of the Conservative Party this Friday, admitting defeat in her dogged attempts to forge a Brexit plan with Parliament. Her successors are already lining up, but to what end? The failure of Britain’s government to withdraw from the European Union by the deadline has so bruised the country’s economy that new leadership is too little, too late. What Else?Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized Facebook for “lying to the public” after a doctored video that made her appear drunk was spread on its platform. Meanwhile, the robots really are winning: Artificial intelligence can now outsmart humans at capture the flag and other multiplayer games. And elsewhere, a new report shows that the 2017 tax cuts didn’t really stimulate the economy. They definitely didn’t pay for themselves, either.

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By Charlotte Cowles – 2019-06-01 20:51:43
Automobiles

Next Season The FIA WEC Entry List Is Getting Smaller But Maybe Not Worse

Image: ACONext season is something of an interim year for the FIA WEC. The new 2020-2021 season regulations have been announced, and there have been a couple of takers thus far, but that’s not for another year. Toyota, in the 2019-2020 season, will again be the only factory supported LMP1 Hybrid. Some manufacturers have decided to leave GTE Pro, but the LMP2 grid is still strong, and the GTE Am class is bigger than ever. The season kicks off with the 4 hours of Silverstone in September, so who is going to be racing?In the LMP1 category, the FIA promises that the privateer teams will be closer to the Toyotas than they have been this season, but I’m not holding my breath. Two Toyotas will be back, running to the same spec as they have this year, and with the same driver lineup. SMP Racing will return with two of the same BR Engineering BR1 chassis and AER 2.4-liter turbo V6 engines. Rebellion, likewise, remains the same with a Rebellion R13 chassis and Gibson N/A V8 power. The newcomer here is Team LNT—winners of the GT2 class in a Panoz Esperante back in 2006—which will take over the Ginetta G60-LT-P1 program with AER power. All four teams will run a two car effort.LMP2 will remain mostly the same, with some teams joining the fray and others leaving. Most notably, McLaren boss Zak Brown’s United Autosport will be running the full season. This class increases from 7 entries in the season ending Sunday to 8 entries in the season beginning this fall.GTE Pro is already well discussed, as BMW and Ford are taking their cash and going away. The class will continue to be entertaining, however, as it will contain two AF Corse-entered Ferrari 488s, two Aston Martin Racing Vantages, and two mid-engine Porsche 911 RSRs.GTE Am gaining strength is a good thing for the series, as it means rich dudes still want to spend their money racing in this class. That means some semblance of stability in case fickle OEM efforts pull their cash and walk away, and it means the racing will still rely on gentleman drivers trying not to step on their own dicks. Nothing major is due to change in the Am category, aside from the new-shape Aston Martin Vantages finally being allowed to race in the lower tier. With four full-season Ferraris, five full-season Porsches, and a pair of Aston Martins, this is going to be where the real racing happens. Dempsey-Proton dominated the racing in the 18-19 season, winning five of seven races thus far, and grabbing pole for tomorrow’s 24. Can any of the newcomers take the fight to McDreamy’s McTeamy?Here’s Gerard Neveu [CEO of the FIA WEC] and Alan McNish to walk you through next season’s grid.

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Bradley Brownell – 2019-06-15 00:00:00
Jalopnik

Toyota Ramps Up Electrification Timeline, Outlines Nuanced Strategy

Following announcements that Toyota would be working on a shared electric vehicle platform with Subaru, as well as a jointly developed crossover, the brand conducted a press conference on Friday regarding its decision to “popularize BEVs.” While the announcement didn’t deal with the specifics of cutting-edge tech, auxiliary business opportunities, or even a total shift toward battery electric vehicles, it did represent a major commitment from a manufacturer that’s notoriously cautious in its decision making.
Opening the conference, Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi focused largely on the challenges of electrification. Terashi said Toyota’s intent has always been to support “social progress” and curb CO2 emissions while acknowledging that it had only made formal commitments to electrification within the last couple of years. However, he showed that the automaker has been busy within that time, and had several initiatives in the works aimed at repositioning Toyota as a mobility brand, by outlining the company’s extremely complex EV strategy.
Buckle up, because there is a lot to this — including some new cars. 

Starting with the Chinese launch of the Toyota C-HR/IZOA BEV in 2020, Toyota says it wants to deliver a batch of electrified models using its new e-TNGA platform. All told, the brand hopes to launch 10 BEV models worldwide, including six global vehicles, using the architecture. China will remain the focus, with additional markets receiving most products only after the People’s Republic has been served up each of the new-energy vehicles. Though it was said that some models could be designated specifically for North America, likely through Lexus.
Toyota also said that it would be bringing in Subaru and Suzuki in on e-TNGA. As previously reported, Subaru will be co-developing a mid-sized crossover while Suzuki (and Daihatsu) have a compact car in the works. The remaining introductory BEVs include a midsize sedan, a minivan, one large crossover, and another middleweight utility. The company eventually hopes to boast fleet-wide electrification by 2025 — meaning all models would at least offer a hybrid variant. Mazda is presumed to be getting some electrified love from Toyota as well, but neither company has confirmed anything officially.
Similar to Volkswagen’s MEB platform, e-TNGA will allow for vehicles that vary largely in form and function. Front, rear, or dual motor all-wheel drive vehicles will be available. Toyota suggested that wheelbases, overhangs, battery capacity, and motor size will all be scalable — allowing the platform to cover a lot of ground in terms of product offerings. But that’s where the similarities with VW end.

What e-TNGA cannot furnish, Toyota said it would build from scratch. In addition to normal-sized cars, the company also plans to deliver a bundle of mobility vehicles concerned with short-range transportation. Among those is a small 2-seater (based on the i-Ride concept), an enclosed trike (i-Road), a motorized scooter (i-Walk), and a wheelchair. Most of these contraptions are unlikely to make it out of the Japan.
Ultimately, Toyota claims the new strategy should result in the sale of 5.5 million electric and electrified vehicles by 2025 — which is 5 years sooner than it previously suggested. However, it believes only about 1 million of those will be BEVs or hydrogen-powered cars. In order to ensure an adequate supply of batteries — something it claimed would become the biggest source of stress for EV manufacturers — the company has partnered with four additional suppliers: Japan’s GS Yuasa and Toshiba, as well as China’s BYD and CATL.
That’s in addition to existing agreements with Primearth EV and Panasonic, the latter of which is working with Toyota to develop solid-state batteries. While Friday’s press conference did not confirm any major breakthroughs regarding the technology, Toyota executives hinted that a huge announcement could be made next year. The manufacturer also wants to work with these firms in finding new ways to minimize battery degradation and explore recycling solutions.
 
Terashi said Toyota’s new interest in battery sales was partially due to there being better visibility of the market, improved energy storage, and lowered technological costs. While it still doesn’t seem to believe BEVs will replace internal-combustion vehicles any time soon, it now feels that there is a sufficient market case to be made for OEMs to get more serious about them.
Despite its continued cautiousness and an additional warning about the perceived profitability risks of zero-emission automobiles, Toyota is still making sizable moves in the electric realm. In March, Toyota Tsusho announced it had purchased a stake in Fukuta Electric & Machinery Co. The company has since been discussing evolving into one of the world’s largest suppliers of electric vehicle components and systems. It’s also at the forefront of Automotive Grade Linux, which is collaborative effort between automakers that hopes to establish a new industry standard for the operating systems of connected cars. While often downplayed, these are probably some of the most important aspects of Toyota’s overall plan but you have to pull back a bit to fully appreciate it.
Toyota is taking a realistic and varied approach to electrification without pulling too many punches. If BEVs take off, it’ll be in a good position as both a supplier and brand. If they don’t, it could still make a mint selling its proprietary tech to companies more willing to take risks in an uncertain market. Regardless, Toyota is making important commitments while simultaneously hedging its bets and telling the world that it still isn’t convinced that electric vehicles are viable business model. However, if they are, Toyota should be sitting pretty — possibly with a seat at the head of the table.
 
[Images: Toyota]

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Matt Posky – 2019-06-10 02:20:17
The Truth About Cars

BMW 7 Series LCI vs Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Now that the BMW 7 Series facelift is out, reviews are going to start popping up here and there. However, comparisons with its usual rivals from Germany are just as inevitable. Today we’re looking at one such three-way feature courtesy of the guys from What Car. They took a 2019 Audi A8 and a similar Mercedes-Benz S-Class to pit them against the newcomer – The 7 Series facelift.
The three cars compared here are all diesels, as those are still the most popular choices in Europe right now. Although things are changing, for the moment it’s hard to beat the frugality and endless torque a diesel engine offers. All three feature 3.0 liter diesel engines and all three are configured rather nicely. The comparison goes over most things you may wonder about when thinking about buying one of them.

Inside the cabin, the A8 is criticized for its lack of physical buttons. Using touch screens might look fancy but becomes an ordeal in real life especially on rough patches of road. The 7 Series has the sturdiest interior and the best infotainment system but, according to the reviewers, it has the least powerful massaging seats which is a bummer. The S-Class has the classiest interior of the three and the most luxurious rear seats in this particular configuration, with over $30,000 of optional extras.
On the road, the 7 Series is the harshest riding of the three. That doesn’t mean it’s not comfortable, especially on the highway, but it’s not as comfy as the other two. There’s an explanation for that too, as the 7er is the sportiest of the bunch. Surprisingly, the S-Class didn’t win the award for the most comfortable ride, that honor going to the A8, instead. In the end, the Audi won the comparison and understandably so, as it is the newest of the three.

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Gabriel Nica – 2019-06-14 14:19:50
BMW BLOG

Uber’s First Earnings Report After I.P.O.: $1 Billion Loss

Uber’s shares, which have fallen from their $45 offering price, rose in after-hours trading on Thursday. Kathleen Smith, a principal at Renaissance Capital, which manages exchange-traded funds focused on I.P.O.s., said Wall Street had expected the losses and slowing growth because Uber had indicated them in its I.P.O. paperwork.“If Uber does nothing worse than it said, it may be a good result for them,” she said.The company’s results included some bright spots. Uber has a lengthy history of battling competitors in fierce price wars, offering subsidies to riders and drivers. But Mr. Khosrowshahi said those fights were beginning to subside, with competitors focusing on building their brand and products rather than on paying incentives. He called it “a healthy trend.”Some of Uber’s newer businesses, such as food delivery and freight delivery, also grew at a healthy pace. Uber Eats, its meal delivery service, more than doubled from a year earlier, while Freight jumped more than 200 percent. The company is expanding Uber Eats in Latin America as well as in Japan, where ride-hailing is not permitted.In an earnings call, some analysts raised questions about whether Uber Eats could sustain its growth in the face of heavy competition, and whether Uber’s price wars would shift from ride-hailing to food delivery. Mr. Khosrowshahi said Uber expected to remain the largest food delivery service outside China, whether it held its position through competition or by acquiring a competitor. Any acquisition would be a Plan B, he said.He also faced questions about one of Uber’s biggest markets: New York. Recent city legislation imposes a minimum wage for ride-hailing drivers, who are classified as independent contractors rather than as employees. As a result, ride-hailing rates for passengers in New York had increased significantly, Mr. Khosrowshahi said, and the volume of rides had declined. Still, he said, the market remains valuable to Uber.Mr. Khosrowshahi also addressed Uber’s I.P.O., saying he was “proud of what we’ve achieved.” He added, “I’ve told our team it is just one moment in a longer journey.”

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By Kate Conger – 2019-05-30 20:05:04
Automobiles

Save $70 On Anker’s Newest, Most Powerful Robotic Vacuum

Best Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.   Eufy RoboVac 11S MAX | $200 | AmazonWe’ve lost count of how many robotic vacuums Anker’s come out with over the last few years, but we do know that the brand new RoboVac 11S MAX is the most powerful model yet.Boasting 2,000Pa of max suction power (up from 1,500 in the most recent RoboVac 30 models, and 1,000 in the original RoboVacs), it can handle your daily floor maintenance with ease. Naturally, being an Anker product, battery life is great at 100 minutes of continuous runtime, and its low profile 2.85″ height allows it to scoot under sofas and other furniture where your regular vacuum rarely ventures. Today’s $200 price tag is essentially a launch discount from the usual $270, so get it while you can, and spend your vacuuming time doing something you actually enjoy. $200From amazon3 bought by readersGMG may get a commission

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Shep McAllister on Kinja Deals, shared by Chelsea Stone to Jalopnik – 2019-06-14 12:07:00
Jalopnik

Ace of Base A-Bodies From 1979

After our most recent Rare Rides post, your author perused The Big List of BDB Ideas and discovered a suggestion commenter Sgeffe made many moons ago. He suggested the most basic coupe A-bodies on offer in 1979. Feeling cheap? Let’s get weird.

Buick Century
Buick’s Century nameplate dated back to 1936, and the model entered its fourth generation in 1978. New that year, Buick applied the Century name to all its midsize offerings save for its standard-roof coupe, which was called Regal. The most basic engine was the 3.2-liter Buick V6 (196 cubic inches), paired with a three-speed manual. Basic Century customers longed for the Century Turbo Coupe, on offer only for 1979 and 1980. It was powered by a turbocharged Buick 3.8-liter V6.
Chevrolet Malibu
The Malibu was a brand new entry into the mid-size market for 1964, as it appeared as an upper-level trim of the Chevelle. Throughout the next two generations, until 1977, Malibu was constrained to a Chevelle trim. 1978 saw the name become a full-fledged model, as Chevelle was discontinued. Chevrolet held off on a fastback Malibu coupe, opting instead for a more traditional formal roof. Malibu saw the debut of a new family of 90° V6 Chevrolet engines, the most basic of which was the 3.3-liter, 200 cubic inch version. It sent 95 horsepower through the three-speed. The desirable coupe was the Classic trim, where the Chevrolet 350 V8 was available to complement the standard vinyl roof.
Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon
In production since 1961, the Cutlass Salon heralded the fifth generation of Cutlass, and it was the last instance where all Cutlass offerings were rear-drive in nature. General Motors placed much stock in the Oldsmobile A-body offerings, as evidenced by its variety of available body styles. The most basic engine available was the largest of our trio: a 3.8-liter (231 cubic inch) V6 from Buick. Base Salon customers stared across the showroom at the loaded Salon Brougham coupe with its waterfall grille and 5.0-liter (305) Chevy V8.
Three malaisey coupes with V6 power and few amenities. Which one gets a Buy?
[Images: General Motors]

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Corey Lewis – 2019-06-07 13:52:32
The Truth About Cars

BMW M8 means no supercar according M Boss

For decades, BMW enthusiasts have been begging for a proper supercar something to take on the exotics from Italy and Britain. Despite their calls, though, BMW hasn’t answered. The Bavarians keep insisting that such a supercar won’t exist and they’ve done it again. According to BMW M Boss Markus Flasch, a BMW supercar is no longer necessary due to the release of the new BMW M8.
Flasch told some Australian journalists that the M8 “is the ultimate performance machine that we offer; it will be the fastest ever BMW at the Nürburgring Nordschleife,” Not only that but he hinted that it can take down a very specific, very fast supercar, as he claims BMW test drivers call the M8 “a Porsche Turbo killer.”

The BMW M8 sounds like an awesome car but claimed it to be a 911 Turbo-killer is a bold claim. Few cars are faster than the 911 Turbo at any price. However, Flasch does seem confident about the BMW M8 and what it can do.
“The center of gravity is 24mm lower than in the M5, you sit lower and we’ve done a lot to the connection of the chassis to the body. It makes the front much stiffer and the steering feels different; all our test drivers were surprised by the different character,” he said.

That does sound promising, as the M5 is already a monster so to be able to sit in something similar but that’s lower, sharper and more connected to the driver sounds like a ton of fun. Will it be good enough to replace a proper supercar, something mid-engine and exotic? Will it be able to take down established performance juggernauts like that 911 Turbo? Or will it just feel like faster BMW M850i, making it a speedy grand touring car? We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.
[Source: Car Scoops]

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Nico DeMattia – 2019-06-13 12:32:23
BMW BLOG