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U.S.-made next-gen 2021 BMW X5 plug-in hybrid SUV debuts with big horsepower bump

BMW has unveiled the next-generation of its plug-in hybrid X5 SUV.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The second-generation of the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has debuted featuring more horsepower, a quicker zero to 60 mph time, and a long list of fresh technology. It also has a super ultra-low emissions vehicle rating (SULEV), which can benefit owners as the vehicle qualifies for high occupancy lane access stickers.

Dubbed the 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e, the model is only sold as a PHEV. It is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that replaces the last-gen's 2.0-liter twin-turbo-four. The engine is paired with a 24 kilowatt-hour battery (double the previous model's capacity) and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e The model retains much of the exterior elements of the traditional X5 model.Photo courtesy of BMW

The new battery allows the car to have a maximum all-electric speed of 84 mph (75 mph in the previous model) and more than double the all-electric range - now 30 miles. With the rear seats up, cargo space is only 0.8 cubic feet less than the standard X5. With the rear seats folded, cargo space is 1.1 cubic feet less.

Combined power is 389 horsepower, an 81 horsepower increase from the last edition, and 443 pound-feet of torque (up 111 pound-feet). The powertrain moves the X5 xDrive45e from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, making it 1.2 seconds faster than before.

Drivers have three drive modes to choose from: Hybrid, Electric, and Sport. Hybrid is the default at start up and allows the car's computers to decide the best use of gasoline and electric power based on driver input. Electric-only driving is capable up to speeds of 68 mph in this mode.

Using Electric mode, the X5 xDrive45e can go up to 84 mph. To get back to Hybrid mode, the driver simply has to push the throttle back down through the kick-down position or push the button on the center console. Sport drive mode utilizes only the gasoline engine and allows for aggressive energy regeneration from engine and mechanical braking.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Its grille is big but so is its horsepower boost.Photo courtesy of BMW

Sport isn't just a mode. BMW has given the X5 xDrive45e the ability to deliver an engaging drive experience. It has a double-wishbone front and five-link rear suspension, which make it agile. Its standard Dynamic Damper Control system uses electronically controlled shock absorbers.

The X5's ride height can be changed among five selectable levels at the touch of a button. The driver is also able to adjust the body's ground clearance for off-road driving to a maximum of 1.6 inches above the standard setting. Another button lowers the car's height by 1.6 inches to make loading and unloading of the vehicle easier.

BMW equips the car with standard 19-inch V-spoke Style 734 wheels that are wrapped in 265/50R19 all-season run-flat tires. Two 20-inch and two 21-inch wheel options are available.

The SUV is offered in the buyer's choice of nine paint finishes.

A factory-installed available trailer hitch allows the SUV to be rated for up to 7,200 pounds of towing capacity.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e BMW offers the car with three drive modes, which are activated using buttons on the center console.Photo courtesy of BMW

The cabin of the X5 xDrive45e is upholstered in standard Sensatec material in either Canberra Beige/Black or in Black. Buyers can upgrade to Vernasca Leather in their choice of five colors: Ivory White, Canberry Beige, Coffee, Cognac, or Black. Additionally, BMW Individual Extended Merino Leather is available as an option Ivory White, Coffee, Tartufo, Black, and Ivory White/Navy Blue.

There are stripe wood high gloss interior accents on the interior in the base model. Alternatively, buyers can choose Aluminum Tetragon, Aluminum Dark Mesh, Brown-Metallic Ash Grain Wood, Fineline Stripe Brown High Gloss Wood, or Anthracite Brown Poplar Matte Finish Wood.

In front of the driver is BMW's Live Cockpit Professional which includes a high-resolution 12.3-inch instrument cluster. A 12.3-inch infotainment screen sits at the center of the dashboard. The system offers haptic controls for the iDrive controller, an advanced tablet-like touch interface. Additionally, there are two USB-C ports and Bluetooth capability. The SUV comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Google Assistant, Google Maps, music streaming services like Spotify and Amazon Music and the WhatsApp messaging service are now available to both iPhone and Android users.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Three different types of upholstery are available in the new SUV.Photo courtesy of BMW

The 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e is available with a wide variety of standard and optional driver assistance systems. The standard Active Driving Assistant includes blind spot detection, lane departure warning, rear collision warning, front collision warning and pedestrian with city collision mitigation (which now also alerts the driver if cyclists are detected) rear cross traffic alert, and speed limit information.

Adding the Driving Assistance Professional Package gives drivers access to adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, including the ability to stop the car and pull away again automatically after being stationary for up to 30 seconds. Lake keeping assist with active side collision protection; evasion aid, which reacts to pedestrians; and front cross traffic alert are also included.

A drive recorder is available with the Parking Assistance Package and uses cameras of the various driver assistance systems to record video footage from the front and/or rear view points of the vehicle before storing the recordings. The saved video files can be either watched later on the center control display when the car is stationary or exported via the USB port. When activated, the drive recorder shoots and stores up to 40 seconds of video. In the event of a collision, a period of up to 20 seconds around the moment of impact is automatically recorded and saved.

2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e Two 12.3-inch screens make up the displays at the front.Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW makes the X5 xDrive45e at its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The model goes on sale later this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date.

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The all-electric range of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed. The model is the first modern electric Volkswagen to be sold in the U.S. and a model that the German automaker is resting a lot of hopes on for the future of sales in the country.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro with all-wheel drive will achieve an EPA-estimated 260 miles of all-electric range on a full charge. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition, which have more features and equipment and therefore weigh more, achieve an estimated 250 miles of range.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro RWD is 107 MPGe in the city; 91 MPGe on the highway, and 99 MPGe combined. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition does slightly worse achieving 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, and 97 MPGe combined.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior The "1st" badging denotes the vehicle as a first edition model. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

These new numbers come as part of a second round of EPA testing. Original testing found that the model did not quite hit its target.

How does that compare to other EVs? The Nissan Leaf Plus offers 226 miles of all-electric power. The Hyundai Kona Electric delivers 258 miles. Volvo's XC40 Recharge has just 208 miles of all-electric range but the Tesla Model Y can go up to 326 miles on one full charge.

First out of the Volkswagen gate will be ID.4 models with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor. That system delivers 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

At a public DC fast-charging station with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. With purchase, ID.4 owners receive three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC Fast Chargers at no additional cost.

The 2021 ID.4 is on sale now, with pricing for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starting at $39,995 MSRP, before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The Pro S carries an MSRP of $44,495. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

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