This week’s automotive headlines – 5 March 2022
05 March 2022
Autovista24 looks at some of the biggest headlines in the automotive industry from the past seven days. In this week’s round-up Volvo mass-tests new wireless charging technology, a carbon reduction collaboration between Hyundai and Shell, Audi’s all-electric Q4 e-tron gets an upgrade, Lotus launches a new e-commerce platform, and Green Mobility Holding looks to acquire Europcar Mobility Group.
Volvo tests wireless charging
As part of a three-year trial in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, Volvo will roll out wireless charging for taxis. The Swedish carmaker will allocate a small fleet of fully-electric Volvo XC40 Recharge cars as part of a strategic initiative called Gothenburg Green City Zone. Taxi company Cabonline will deploy the electric taxis, which will charge up at stations delivered by Momentum Dynamics, a leading provider of wireless electric charging systems. ‘Gothenburg Green City Zone lets us try exciting new technologies in a real environment, and evaluate them over time for a potential future broader introduction,’ revealed Mats Moberg, head of research and development at Volvo Cars. ‘Testing new charging technologies together with selected partners is a good way to evaluate alternative charging options for our future cars.’ In total, the trial taxis will be used for more than 12 hours a day and drive 100,000km per year, which also makes this the first durability test of fully-electric Volvo cars in a commercial usage scenario.
Hyundai and Shell’s carbon reduction collaboration
Hyundai and Shell have announced a new strategic collaboration designed to explore ways to lower carbon emissions across products, services, and operations. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between Jaehoon Chang, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor Company, and Huibert Vigeveno, Shell’s downstream director, and the union complements several years of the two companies working closely together. The MOU will span electric-vehicle (EV) charging units, hydrogen development, low carbon energy solutions, and digital technology with the aim to reduce carbon emissions central to the deal. ‘Through this collaboration, we see ample opportunities for the transformation of our respective businesses and have identified promising synergies that will allow Hyundai Motor and Shell to thrive during the transition to future mobility and clean energy solutions,’ said Chang. ‘Through our joint endeavours, we will pursue strategic alliance initiatives designed to achieve common goals, such as carbon neutrality.’
Audi’s all-electric Q4 e-tron gets an upgrade
The Audi Q4 e-tron only hit the world’s streets last year, but the German carmaker is already updating the battery-electric (BEV) compact luxury crossover SUV. The updates are primarily focused on the interior, technical setup and charging capability, spanning the Q4 40 e-tron, Q4 45 e-tron quattro, and Q4 50 e-tron quattro models as well as the associated Sportback versions. These models will see the ideal five-to-80% charging time reduced to between 29 and 35 minutes. Audi confirmed the optimised charging times are facilitated by the enhanced thermal management and control systems of the battery. As well as the battery upgrades, Q4 e-tron drivers can call upon Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa to sort everything from shopping lists to finding a parking space. The myAudi app has also been refined, and the Black Optics Plus Package offers a more visible upgrade, adding black accents to the front grill, as well as the front and rear bumpers.
Lotus launches new e-commerce platform
Lotus has launched an interactive, online method of buying its cars, specifically the new Lotus Emira. Lotus Drive is an e-commerce platform that allows customers to configure a car, choose a payment method, value a part exchange, and place an order directly with the company. This new purchasing platform follows the recent restructure of Lotus’ UK showroom network from a retailer, to a retail agency model, announced in January. Customers can view their intended purchase on their personal devices, and in the comfort of their own homes, eyeing the car from every angle and in multiple lighting environments, plus, it can be seen virtually on a Californian mountain road. When it is time to get behind the wheel of a shiny new Emira, customers can collect the car from a local dealer, the historic Lotus HQ in Norfolk, UK, or have it delivered to their door. ‘Lotus Drive gives us the ability to deliver a consistent and highly personal shopping experience to our customers,’ commented Geoff Dowding, executive director, sales and aftersales at Lotus. ‘Additionally, it will allow us to understand what cars customers want and build them to order, as well as gather and use customer data to personalise offers.’
Green Mobility to acquire Europcar
Green Mobility Holding, a bidder consortium featuring Volkswagen Group, is on target to acquire Europcar Mobility Group. Ongoing pre-filing discussions with the European Commission have prompted Europcar to confirm it agreed to extend the deadline for completion of the offer from 31 March to 30 June. Green Mobility Holding are committed to completing the transaction ‘not later than 30 June 2022’, with French financial market regulator Autorité des marchés financiers announcing the final date by when shareholders of Europcar Mobility Group can tender their shares. The acquisition is hoped to strengthen and ensure the future of Europcar Mobility Group, as it emerges from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and other adverse market conditions.