This week’s automotive headlines – 21 May 2022
21 May 2022
Autovista24 looks at automotive headlines from the past seven days. In this week’s round-up, the BMW XM hybrid is put to the test, Porsche’s new Norwegian subsidiary, Skoda launches in-house MEB battery production, Microlino mini EV unveiled, and Mercedes-Benz cars to feature Tenneco suspension.
BMW XM hybrid is put to the test
BMW’s new high-performance electric vehicle (EV), the XM, is undergoing prototype testing ahead of a scheduled launch in March 2023. The XM underlines BMW’s embracing of electric-vehicle production and will be the carmaker’s first high-performance SUV featuring an electrified drive. The rather large SUV will feature a plug-in hybrid system, alongside a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine, anticipated to producer over 640bhp.This power is transferred to the road via the first hybrid-specific M xDrive four-wheel drive system. ‘With the debut of the BMW XM at the end of our anniversary year, we are looking into the future,’ said Franciscus van Meel, chairman of the board of management of BMW M. ‘Electrification gives us new opportunities to demonstrate that unmistakable M feeling in a fascinating way and transfer it to the road. Regardless of their drive technology, our performance and high-performance cars will continue to possess an unmistakable and authentic M character in the future.’
Porsche’s new Norwegian subsidiary
Porsche has announced that it will be forming a joint venture with Autozentrum Sport, the company that has served as an importer and dealer of Porsche cars in Norway since 1997. Subject to approval from the relevant local authorities, the union will officially kick off in January 2023. Porsche’s ongoing push towards electrification is central to the deal in a nation considered to be one of the world’s leading markets for EVs, with an electrification rate that sits at around 94% for new car sales. ‘Norway has become an incredibly important market for us in recent years and is leading in electric mobility,’ commented Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board responsible for sales and marketing at Porsche. ‘The country is not only far ahead of most others in terms of its electrification rate, but it is also a pioneer in other future fields such as digitalisation. The new subsidiary gives us the opportunity to further strengthen our presence in the Norwegian market in the years ahead, in proven partnership with AZ Holding with which we have already been very successful in the past years.’
Skoda launches in-house MEB battery production
Carmaker Skoda has started manufacturing battery systems for its EVs at its Mladá Boleslav factory in the Czech Republic, making the facility the only one outside Germany to produce vehicles based on Volkswagen (VW) Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB). The new production line, which was built at the cost of around €130 million, will see over 250,000 MEB systems manufactured a year by the 250-plus workforce, for use in Skoda and other VW vehicles. ‘By launching the production of MEB battery systems, we are now manufacturing the absolute key component at the heart of the company,’ commented Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda board member for production and logistics. ‘This means we have achieved another goal towards our successful transition to electromobility, and our objective is clear: we want to produce e-components or EVs at all three Czech plants by 2030.’
Microlino mini EV unveiled
Italian company Micro Mobility Systems has launched its Microlino ‘microcar’ designed for urban use. The compact electric vehicle is a two-seater, classed officially as a quadricycle, can get up to 56mph (90kph), and features a range of 110 miles (177km) on a single charge, which can be fully topped up in under four hours. Micro Mobility Systems has been producing EVs since the late 1990s, primarily making electric scooters, and the origins of the Microlino stem from the launch of the company’s ‘bubble car’ at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The finished product will be built in Turin, Italy, and will initially be available as a limited run of 999 ‘Pioneer’ edition vehicles, whilst future models can be reserved with a base price of €12,500.
Mercedes cars to feature Tenneco suspension
Automotive components supplier Tenneco will supply intelligent suspension systems for the Mercedes AMG SL Class. The two new systems include the CVSA2 semi-active suspension and the integrated CVSA2/Kinetic suspension. Both of these systems will be manufactured at Tenneco’s recently opened facility located in Gliwice, Poland. The CVSA2 technology will be standard equipment on SL 43 and 55 models, comprising of lightweight semi-active dampers equipped with two externally mounted electro-hydraulic valves that independently control rebound and compression. Each damper is continuously adjusted by software monitoring multiple data points, including steering wheel angle, vehicle speed, acceleration, and body displacement. The optional CVSA2/Kinetic suspension offers active roll control system that reduces vehicle weight by eliminating the need for anti-roll bars. This will be a standard feature on SL 63 models.