Xpeng AeroHT, a subsidiary of Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer Xpeng, aims to deliver its first flying vehicles as early as 2025. This announcement was made at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 presented this week in Las Vegas.

The first model that will be available for use by a new generation of travelers (who will have training as both a road vehicle driver and an aircraft pilot, hopefully) will be the Land Aircraft Carrier (LAC). This modular vehicle with six wheels and electric propulsion is designed to transport a small vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

Unique in its kind, this “road aircraft carrier” will be able to transport 4 or 5 people and its propulsion will drive all six wheels. It will even have all-wheel steering.

The LAC can be used as a recreational vehicle, but its “air mode” is what’s really interesting. Once engaged, in the blink of an eye, says the manufacturer, an elegant ballet will animate articulated panels at the rear of the vehicle. They will unfold to allow the unloading of a small aircraft.

Once on the ground, the electric motor-powered aircraft can fly at low altitudes. This aircraft will have a panoramic two-seater cabin offering a 270-degree view and can be piloted in manual or automatic mode. Additionally, its electric propulsion system will meet safety requirements in case of malfunction, the manufacturer assures.

Described as a “low-altitude aerial mobility exploration system,” the manufacturer hopes to open its order book by the end of 2024. The LAC may also be of interest to various public and private public service and emergency service providers.

Interestingly, the LAC was absent from the Xpeng AeroHT booth at CES. In a press release issued yesterday, the manufacturer acknowledged that “its final design is still in progress.” It is currently in the final validation stages, which will lead to mass production, the manufacturer explains.

However, the Chinese manufacturer showcased its latest version of the eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicle, the flying car that it intends to commercialize “when the ideal political, regulatory and usage scenarios are met,” according to Xpeng’s statement.

CES visitors were able to get a close look at this prototype, as well as witness a demonstration of its operation on a large screen.

In road mode, the vehicle looks like a sleek two-seater with an unusually long but aesthetically integrated rear end.

When it switches to aerial mode, the eVTOL deploys four arms with rotors and blades. It can then perform vertical take-off. Like the small aircraft of the LAC, this electric flying car will be designed for short-distance trips at low altitudes.

“In 2013, we launched AeroHT dreaming of flying cars,” said Tan Wang, co-founder and vice president of Xpeng AeroHT, during the presentation of the eVTOL in Las Vegas.

“Fast forward to 2024, this dream has become a reality. Today, we are excited to unveil our two latest innovations that will soon allow people to go from driving on the road to flying in the air. The future is here today, and the whole world is ready to fly,” Mr. Wang adds.

It remains to be seen if the leaders of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will agree with Mr. Wang’s last statement…

Xpeng, an electric vehicle manufacturer (short for Xiaopeng) was founded in 2014 in Guangzhou by a quartet of businessmen, including He Xiaopeng, a former executive of Alibaba, and He Tao, a veteran of the Chinese automaker GAC.

Its current lineup includes five different models that cover the main segments of the Chinese automotive market. Its latest model, the seven-seater X9 van, debuted on January 1st of this year.

Far from being a giant like BYD, this manufacturer only delivered 141,601 electric vehicles in 2023. This brings its total deliveries to 400,311 vehicles since the first Xpeng P7 sedan, a model very similar to a Tesla Model S, was handed over to its buyer in June 2020.

However humble, this progress has not stopped this manufacturer from having big ambitions. It is already heavily focused on exports. in November 2020, Xpeng entered the European market. After establishing itself in Norway, it entered Denmark, then the Netherlands and Sweden. The company is now preparing to launch its products in Germany and will do so later this year in ten other markets, including the UK, Italy, and France. Xpeng has also been present in Israel since 2023.

Although the seven-seat Audi Q7 may be impressive, its interior does not rival that of the BMW X7 or the Mercedes-Benz GLS. Rumors are circulating about a three-row SUV from Porsche and Audi, adding spice to the competition.

Strong Trends

Three-row SUVs, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee L, are not the best-selling, but they are crucial for certain brands that focus on profit margins. Audi, aware of the competition, has been working on the Q9 for several years. Rumors and spy images suggest that the official announcement is imminent. A robust electric model could compete with the G-Class and the Defender. Porsche, a member of the VW group, is preparing a family electric SUV. Although little information is available, it seems to be an interesting challenge for the sports brand, already known for its Cayenne.

The Quest for the Holy Grail: Space and Elegance

While some fear that the Q9 will be nothing more than a fancy VW Atlas, indications point to an elegant six or seven-seat SUV, taking notes from the success of the Bentley Bentayga. Dealers are already informed, hinting at an imminent presentation. Porsche, after shocking purists with an SUV, could take on a new challenge with a large electric SUV. The details about this model are still secret, but Porsche enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting further developments.

The text “Audi et Porsche préparent un VUS encore plus grand” is from L’annuel de l’automobile – Actualité automobile.

In the effervescent world of automobiles, the V90 stands as a muse, capturing the authentic essence of Volvo. This full-size family car stands out for its safety, utility, and respectability, evoking the brand’s core values.

A Challenge to SUVs

But what we appreciated the most during our two-week test drive was the fact that it is not an SUV. The V90 is a spacious, comfortable, and pleasant car. It stands as a challenge to the incessant tide of SUVs that overwhelm us. Like the V60 and V60 Cross Country, the V90 defies conventions, and that’s a good thing. We just wish there were more vehicles like this on the market.

A Refreshing Drive

Beyond its aesthetics, the V90 offers a refreshing dance on the asphalt. Its spacious interior reveals clear lines of sight, a blessing for urban driving. The electric power-assisted steering and Pilot Assist reveal a fluid symbiosis with the road, providing an unparalleled driving experience. Our only concern was with the 21-inch tires. The large tire size became a problem in the abundant snow at the beginning of the year because the space between the wheel and the wheel wells was tiny. Driving in the storm, intense vibrations in the steering wheel and throughout the vehicle made the driving experience very unpleasant. That’s why we recommend opting for smaller tires, which will do an excellent job.

Power and Elegance

With 295 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, the V90 CC propels itself with majestic grace. The reasonable fuel consumption of 10.7 L/100 km in the city attests to its efficiency. This is the only engine available with this model. The all-wheel drive is effective but a bit slow. The electronic response takes half a second to kick in and can be a bit nerve-wracking in moments where an instantaneous reaction is needed. Audi does it better in this regard. The mild hybrid system improves performance and mileage, striking a balance between power and economy. The numerous electronic driving aids provide peace of mind behind the wheel. There are occasionally annoying beeps, but the systems are not too intrusive. Those looking for space not only get it for four or even five passengers but also have plenty of room for luggage thanks to a generous rear cargo compartment. You have 561 liters with the rear seats up and 1,954 liters when the seats are folded down.

The Interior: Refinement and Comfort

Inside, the cabin reveals a refinement worthy of a luxury sedan. The leather seats, generous and massaging in our Ultimate trim, create a cocoon of luxury. A panoramic sunroof offers a celestial canvas above. Navigating the V90’s technology requires a learning curve. However, the Google-based infotainment system offers an intuitive experience. Apple CarPlay is an option, but sometimes, the good old phone remains the fastest companion.

Conclusion

In conclusion, for Volvo enthusiasts, the V90 Cross Country is an ode to excellence, although there are some reservations. Also explore the offerings from Audi or Mercedes-Benz, which also offer interesting family models like the Allroad or an E-Class wagon.

Strengths

– High-end and elegant interior.
– Large cargo capacity.
– Very comfortable front seats.
– Confident feeling behind the wheel.

Weaknesses

– Firmer ride than expected from a luxury car.
– Cabin is slightly noisier than its competitors.
– We do not recommend the 21-inch tires.

The diesel engine manufacturer Cummins recently reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice and the State of California, agreeing to pay a record fine of 2 billion dollars. This agreement, subject to court approval, is related to violations of the Clean Air Act and carries significant consequences for the company.

Cummins is accused of installing illegal defeat devices on over 600,000 Ram trucks. This practice exposed several communities to harmful air pollution across America. The $2 billion civil penalty is the largest ever imposed for a violation of the Clean Air Act.

Deputy Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann of the EPA emphasizes the agency’s commitment to holding polluters accountable. This record-breaking sanction aims to ensure that companies pay a high price when they violate environmental laws, highlighting the importance of corporate responsibility in protecting the environment.

The Department of Justice alleges that nearly one million Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups between 2013 and 2023 used undisclosed engine control software functions. Additionally, 630,000 pickups manufactured between 2013 and 2019 were equipped with unlawful emission control defeat device functions.

In addition to paying the fine, Cummins will have to work with Stellantis to recall and repair all affected diesel Ram HD trucks from 2013-2019 at no cost to the owners. Furthermore, the company will have to fully offset the increase in NOx emissions by purchasing 27 new low-emission locomotives and funding 50 projects to reduce idling of diesel locomotives, totaling $325 million.

In a statement, Cummins said that it had not seen any evidence of wrongdoing on anyone’s part and did not admit to engaging in any wrongdoing itself. This response raises questions about the company’s perspective on these allegations and the imposed sanction.

The Vietnamese manufacturer VinFast stood out at the CES 2024 Show in Las Vegas by unveiling three attractive new vehicles: the prototype of a midsize truck called VF Wild, the mini electric vehicle VF 3 promised for North America, and an electric two-wheeler called DrgnFly.

The VF 3 is a compact electric vehicle with a length of 3,190 mm. It has a 5-seat interior with a foldable rear bench and a 550 L cargo volume. The car is designed for urban use and features a minimalist interior with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. VinFast claims that the VF 3 will have a range of approximately 201 km.

In terms of price, VinFast aims to offer the VF 3 at a base price of $20,000 US, excluding incentives, making it potentially more affordable than the Fiat 500e. The first deliveries of the VF 3 will take place in Vietnam in the third quarter of 2024, with exports to other countries, including North America, to follow.

As for the DrgnFly, it is an electric two-wheeler designed for urban commuting. It has a 750-watt motor integrated into the rear wheel, allowing a top speed of 45 km/h. With a range of up to 100 km, it is targeted towards city dwellers. The DrgnFly will soon be available in the US starting at $2,800 US, but there is no information yet about its potential availability in Canada.

GT and Taliban, it sounds like an oxymoron. However, a young Afghan designer dreams of changing this image by launching a two-seater car with Bugatti-like features that he has built. Called Simurgh, it would be the first sports car designed in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Riza Ahmadi, a thirty-something engineer of Iranian origin, is the president and CEO of the company Entop that he founded in Kabul, the capital. It was there, about five years ago, that he started his project in a workshop. Then, in December 2022, his elegant black car with sleek lines made its first public appearance in the capital. Its driver even dared to perform some controlled skids on a snowy road!

In a statement released in May 2023, the Kabul TVET-A Technical and Vocational Education and Training Innovation Center celebrated Ahmadi and his team for completing the development of the Simurgh in its facilities.

The statement adds that the attention from international media to this racing car would have prompted three other Afghans to design their own vehicles with the help of the Center: an armored vehicle, a “Jeep” and a vintage-looking car. Seeing the vehicles in question in the photo published by the Center, it is clear that the Simurgh is the most advanced of the lot!

Ahmadi first called his creation Mada 9, a name borrowed from the Ma’dha, an ancient Iranian people. Later, on social media, he called it Black Swan, then Helmet, to evoke the helmet of the warriors of ancient Persia.

Clearly inspired by the rich historical past of his region, he finally chose to name it Simurgh. It was under the name of this fabulous bird from Persian mythology that his car was exhibited at the 2023 Geneva Auto Show, which was exceptionally held in Doha, Qatar, from October 5 to 14 of that year.

There, the Afghan racing car rubbed shoulders with the products of about thirty major industry brands. Ironically, all the pictures taken for the international press by Émilie Guido, the official photographer of the show, show a deserted booth with the CEO of Entop alone. Let’s assume that Ms. Guido took these photos during a lull…

This doesn’t prevent Amhadi from dreaming of seeing his racing car on the market soon, but only after registering it for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, he claims. After all, in order to be on par with the big brands, Entop must develop a reputation that is currently lacking. But to reach the starting line of the endurance race, Ahmadi claims that he has to raise $49 million US dollars!

This reputation is therefore not guaranteed. Especially since the elegant aluminum and carbon fiber bodywork is handcrafted, which shows the uneven fit of the windshield and an unfinished interior.

Furthermore, the engine housed in the center of the tubular chassis, which the designers claim to be of the caliber of a “supercar,” is only a humble modified 4-cylinder borrowed from a 2004 Toyota Corolla.

Admittedly, in the current context, where Afghanistan is subject to embargoes and economic sanctions, the choice of this engine is not surprising. The Afghan car market is mainly supplied with used vehicles from Dubai (mostly Toyota products), according to Ariana News, a local media outlet.

Enthusiastic as ever, Ahmadi even envisions equipping the Simurgh with an electric engine one day. After all, he aspires to make it nothing less than the flagship of the Afghan automobile industry.

Photos: Entop, GIMS, Mohammad Riza Ahmadi, and TVET-A

China is preparing to overtake Japan as the world’s largest exporter of automobiles in 2023, according to forecasts from the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Domestic manufacturers such as BYD and Chery have seen significant growth internationally, propelling Chinese light vehicle exports to a record level of 3.83 million units last year. In comparison, Japan totaled 3.5 million exports over an 11-month period, excluding used vehicles, according to Japanese customs data.

Total Chinese vehicle exports, including trucks and buses, were estimated at 5.26 million in 2023, reaching a value of approximately $102 billion. This figure surpasses the forecast for Japanese exports for the year, estimated at around 4.3 million by the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This growth in Chinese exports has been driven by emerging markets such as Russia, Mexico, and sustained demand in Europe.

However, despite this expansion, Chinese automakers have largely avoided the American market due to ongoing trade tensions between the US and China. The rise of Chinese electric vehicles, with companies like BYD even surpassing Tesla Inc. in global electric vehicle sales in the last quarter, has strengthened China’s dominant position in the international automotive sector.

This rapid rise of Chinese automakers abroad has sparked concerns within some governments, leading to investigations, particularly in Europe, into potential subsidies received by electric vehicles made in China. Trade tensions between the US and China could also escalate, with discussions of increasing tariffs on Chinese products, including electric vehicles.

Within the country, the Chinese automobile market continued its growth in 2023 with a 5.3% increase in light vehicle sales, reaching 21.93 million, marking a third consecutive year of growth. Electric vehicles have been particularly popular, with a notable increase in sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Chinese brands are expected to further consolidate their position, reaching 63% of the market by 2024, according to expert forecasts.

Despite these advancements, foreign brands like French brands have experienced significant losses in the Chinese market, while German brands have seen growth. However, new competition is looming with the entry of Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, into the automotive market, already displaying global ambitions to become one of the leading automakers.

The strict rules regarding automotive emissions in Europe (and soon in our country) have disrupted the manufacturing of gasoline and diesel vehicles. Bans are on the horizon, thus favoring alternatives such as hydrogen.

Hydrogen: a growing trend in the automotive industry

Hydrogen fuel cells are becoming more and more popular, offering a zero-carbon emission solution to power electric motors. This advancement is propelling the commercial transport industry towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly solutions.

Bosch and its innovative hydrogen propulsion

Bosch is joining forces with other giants such as Alpine, Porsche, and Toyota in the development of internal combustion engines powered by hydrogen. Bosch’s recent announcement at CES 2024 in Las Vegas confirms its plan to launch a hydrogen engine this very year.

Hydrogen at the heart of the energy transition

Bosch, already involved in the production of hydrogen fuel cells for heavy vehicles, emphasizes the central role of hydrogen in the transition to sustainable energy sources, thus reinforcing its commitment to environmentally-friendly solutions.

Challenges and solutions for hydrogen

Despite its advantages, challenges persist, particularly in terms of storage and nitrogen oxide emissions for hydrogen engines. However, solutions such as selective catalytic reduction with urea or emissions-free hydrogen production through renewable energies can mitigate these issues.

Global investments in hydrogen

Many countries and sectors are investing heavily in hydrogen technology. For example, the United States is allocating significant funds to create hydrogen hubs to develop a larger and interconnected infrastructure.

Bosch and advancements for electric vehicles

In parallel with its efforts on hydrogen, Bosch is focusing on new technologies for electric vehicles. At CES, the company unveiled a battery health monitoring system that could extend their lifespan by 20%, thus highlighting its ongoing commitment to eco-innovation in the automotive field.

With information from Motor Authority.

The text Bosch prépare un moteur à hydrogène pour 2024 comes from L’annuel de l’automobile – Actualité automobile.

Stellantis has unveiled its latest innovative tool, the “Virtual Cockpit,” promising to revolutionize the development of infotainment technologies. This breakthrough could accelerate development cycles in this field by up to 100 times. Using BlackBerry’s QNX Hypervisor software via Amazon Web Services cloud, this technology offers a virtual emulation of vehicle infotainment controls and systems, simplifying their evaluation.

Adaptable ambiance

Thanks to this innovation, Stellantis’ design and engineering teams can faithfully recreate the brand and vehicle-specific “cockpit experience” with minimal effort. But most importantly, they can make real-time adjustments based on customer feedback, improving the user experience.

Like a flight simulator

This virtual simulation encompasses graphics, sound, touchscreens, mice, and keyboards, reproducing their operation “as in a real car” without requiring modifications to the main software. This process greatly accelerates development, allowing what previously took months to be achieved in a single day.

Evolutionary software

Yves Bonnefont, Software Director at Stellantis, emphasized the growing importance of software in vehicles: “Software is becoming increasingly crucial in vehicles, which leads us to innovate in how we develop and validate it. With our virtual cockpit, we are not only revolutionizing our own approach, but also that of our suppliers and partners in the industry. Essentially, this technology allows us to better meet the needs of our customers through faster development cycles, faster feedback loops, and faster delivery of the technology they use and appreciate. It’s a leap forward in innovation and efficiency in the automotive world, where the customer comes first.”

All information in the cloud

Blackberry QNX also announced that a demonstration of the QNX hypervisor would be available at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 9th to 12th. While the software platform is already accessible in early access in the cloud, details regarding its general availability will be announced later in 2024.

Ready for 2030

It should be remembered that the collaboration between Stellantis and cloud service provider Amazon Web Services was initiated in 2022. Stellantis is convinced that software represents a “key element” for the future of mobility and for the realization of its strategic plan “Stellantis Dare Forward 2030.”

Source: Carscoops

Mercedes-Benz is taking advantage of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to add a new virtual assistant to its MBUX interface powered by generative AI. It is often joked that modern cars are huge computers on wheels, and it seems that Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to prove us wrong. The German luxury brand took the opportunity of the CES to unveil upgrades to its MBUX embedded interface.

There are three updates: the first is the software system that supports the MBUX platform, called MB.OS. Like many other automakers, Mercedes-Benz sees potential in the connected services of tomorrow and is preparing its vehicles to be able to more directly enter this new world. The first vehicle to benefit from MB.OS is a concept coupe called the CLA, which was unveiled for the first time in North America in Las Vegas. This is an electric vehicle concept capable of traveling 750 km per charge, with a very low energy consumption of 12 kw/h per 100 kilometers.

In addition to the base software, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a new, more immersive sound environment integrated into MBUX. Part of this environment has been designed in collaboration with American artist Will.i.am and is called MBUX SOUND DRIVE. The system will adapt the music based on the behavior of the vehicle, and more importantly, based on how the driver behaves behind the wheel of the vehicle. Mercedes is also expanding its partnership with Amazon to add Audible audiobooks to its MBUX system. These will be compatible with the Dolby Atmos sound standard, which creates a three-dimensional immersive sound. So one can listen to the narration of a book with, in addition, the characters positioned throughout the interior.

All of this is nothing compared to the most ambitious of the three new features presented at CES by Mercedes-Benz. Obviously, generative AI is on everyone’s lips at this conference, which brings together more than 3,500 exhibitors from the technological and electronic world. It was to be expected that the automotive sector would jump on the occasion. The MBUX virtual assistant is presented as the “most human interface” ever designed by the German group. The interface can express up to four different emotions, depending on the mood of the driver or passengers. A generative AI can produce information itself, rather than simply delivering information from the Internet or a database. This means that Mercedes cars powered by this virtual assistant will be able to somewhat naturally converse with their occupants.

Mercedes-Benz also jumped on the crypto wave by presenting an NFT display application, these collectible digital creations, and a few other applications that will also be added to the MBUX system.