This week’s automotive headlines – 23 April 2022
23 April 2022
Autovista24 looks at some of the biggest headlines in the automotive industry from the past seven days. In this week’s round-up, BMW’s ‘monolithic’ new 7-Series, Zap-Map’s survey uncovers new EV driver behaviour, Mini takes on the challenge of the Nürburgring 24 Hours, and new gigafactory announced in California.
‘Monolithic’ new BMW 7 Series
BMW has unveiled its new 7-Series model with sustainability and digitalisation playing a vital role in the car’s make-up. In terms of technology, the Bavarian manufacturer is striving for a multi-sensory vehicle experience with the latest generation of BMW operating systems, as well as a choice of combustion engines, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) systems and an all-electric drive option for the first time in the 45 years of 7-Series production. Manufactured at BMW’s Dingolfing plant in Germany, the new 7-Series is now on pre-sale, and will be available to customers from November 2022, with BMW saying the latest iteration: ‘Has been designed to meet the needs of a modern target group that sees itself as committed to meeting challenges in a responsible manner – and one that views personal mobility as a way to experience unique moments in everyday life and on trips away.’
Zap-Map’s survey uncovers new EV driver behaviour
Zap-Map, an app and digital platform which enables electric-vehicle (EV) drivers to search and pay for vehicle charging, has published its annual comprehensive report focusing on the habits and behaviours of the UK’s EV owners. Based on the responses of over 3,000 participants, the key findings of the survey include the uncovering of new trends in an EV driver’s charging behaviour. According to Zap-Map, these are centred on the area of high-powered ‘en route’ charging and the increased popularity of charging hubs. Rapid chargers spanning a power range of 25kW to 99kW remain the most popular charging medium for EV drivers, and it is notable that usage of ultra-rapid chargers jumped to 27% of EV drivers – up from just 16% in the previous survey. ‘We know that EV charging use cases are diverse, as the survey makes clear, and we absolutely need a range of charge speeds to match them,’ stated Melanie Shufflebotham, Zap-Map co-founder and COO. ‘However, amongst other considerations, the demand for high-powered chargers revealed in this report indicates that ultra-rapid chargers and charging hubs continue to be a crucial area of investment – for the simple fact that they make long journeys easier.’
Mini take on the challenge of the Nürburgring 24 Hours
Alongside the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours of Spa, the Nürburgring 24 Hours is one of the toughest endurance races in motorsport. Every year, major manufacturer-backed teams such as Audi, Porsche and BMW battle it out on the infamous 25-plus km Nürburgring circuit in Western Germany to be crowned winners of this gruelling event, and the 2022 edition of the race will see a return of one of the automotive world’s most famous names. This year, Mini will be entering the race with a one-off 320bhp Mini JCW GP. The car has been prepared by the Bulldog Racing team, with some specialist parts from BMW’s M Performance department, as well as huge rear wing and a special red and white livery, paying homage to Mini’s iconic motorsports history over 60 years. A Mini last appeared at the Nürburgring 24 Hours a decade ago in 2012 and will line up for the 2022 event which takes place between 26 and 29 May.
New gigafactory announced in California
Founder of Britishvolt and founder-CEO of Italvolt Lars Calstrom has announced the launch of a new company, Statevolt, and with it the construction of a 54GWh gigafactory in southern California. The new facility will be located in Imperial Valley, and the launch has been accompanied by the signing of a letter of intent with lithium and renewable project specialists Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR). Once fully operational, the gigafactory will be one of largest in North America, with a battery production serving around 650,000 electric vehicles a year at full capacity. Working together, Statevolt and CTR plan to deliver sustainable, locally produced lithium and geothermal power. ‘We are pleased to be collaborating with CTR and its industry-leading, and highly-specialised approach to sustainable lithium production and development,’ commented Calstrom. ‘Together, through the construction and development of Statevolt, we will support the nation’s energy transition while retaining a keen focus on low-cost, sustainable battery manufacture.’