Electric Vehicles

Hyundai Kona Electric wins Norwegian cold weather range test

Hyundai tested the model in the snow before ever sending it to dealerships.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Europe

Driving at low temperatures can deplete battery usage. Between power it takes to move the car, a heater running, heated seats on, and the climate control fan running, driving an electric vehicle (EV) in the cold isn't an ideal use case. Hyundai and Kia which share common ownership, are aiming to change that with heat pump innovation.

The short of it is that the latest design allows EV drivers to heat their car's cabin in cold weather without significantly impacting electric driving range, unlike other EVs. This also means that drivers can expect more consistent range prediction numbers from their propulsion system.

Hyundai Kona EV snow During development, the Koan EV was tested by Hyundai in Lapland, Sweden, where temperatures are extremely cold.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Europe

Kia introduced the technology in 2014 on the Soul EV. There, it was made up of a compressor, evaporator, and condenser. The heat pump captured waste heat given off by the car's electrical components and recycled it into the cabin.

Further development has moved the technology into other Kia and Hyundai products while increasing the number of sources it gets heat from, making range even more predictable. The pump now gathers heat from drive motors, on-board chargers, inverters, the battery pack, and slow charger.

Recently, the Norwegian Automotive Federation compared 20 electric vehicles that are sold in Norway in cold and warm weather conditions, analyzing which had the most consistent driving range and charging performance. They compared this to the range claimed by each EV's manufacturer.

The Hyundai Kona Electric took the crown. It traveled 405 km in the cold compared to its claimed range of 448 km (WLTP combined cycle). In severe cold weather, the Kona Electric delivered 91 percent of its promised WLTP combined range.

Other vehicles tested include: Audi Quattro 50, Audi Quattro 55, BMW i3 120Ah, Hyundai Ioniq, Jaguar I-Pace, Kia e-Niro (Niro EV), Kia e-Soul (Soul EV), Mercedes EQC, Nissan Leaf 40kWt, Nissan Leaf 62kWt (Plus), Opel Ampera-e, Renault Zoe, Seat Mii Electric, Skoda Citigo-E, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen e-Golf, and the Volkswagen e-Up.

To test the vehicles, "ordinary" drivers drove the vehicles in a variety of conditions on country and city roads, as well as highways, following the speed limit. All the cars were charged indoors overnight and all range tests were done with a cold start and no pre-heating.

Each model was test driven in Eco mode (or similar) with the cabin temperature set to 21°C and the seat warmer on the lowest setting. Each driver actively used regeneration.

The test drive route took drivers from Oslo, where it was 3°C with sleet coming down. The coldest temperature during the test was -6°C and during most of the drive it was snowing. Speeds varied from 60 km/h to 100 km/h.

It's important to note that tire diameter, topography, and driving style all play a role in range as well.

On average, the vehicles tested drove 20 percent shorter than their advertised range. Hyundai, Audi, and Kia vehicles performed the best in the testing. Tesla and Opel models were the farthest off from their WLTP estimates.

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Frightening security

Boston Dynamics' robot to patrol Kia factory

The robot is being tested as a security patrol unit.

Hyundai

Breaking into an auto manufacturing facility was already a very bad idea, but new security tech being tested by Hyundai Motor Group makes it downright terrifying as well. In addition to cameras, sensors, and armed security guards, would-be burglars at a Kia plant in South Korea now have to face off with a semi-autonomous robot dog.

The Boston Dynamics quadruped robot, named Spot, is being tested as a safer and more effective way of providing security patrols to the plant. The dog is one of several robots designed and tested by the firm, which has long terrified the internet with its physically capable electronic beings.

Boston Dynamics Spot Robot The robot uses various sensors to detect danger and intruders.Hyundai

If you haven't seen it, the Boston Dynamics robot dog is frightening enough on its own, so it's an excellent choice to provide factory security. The robot uses an integrated thermal camera and 3D LiDAR to detect people around it, and can monitor high-temperature situations and fire hazards. It can be controlled remotely through a secure webpage, which allows personnel to see what's going on in the factory without putting themselves in danger.

The robot is capable of navigating tight spaces and can identify issues not visible to the human eye. It's also able to semi-autonomously navigate its environment, and has been developed with task management and deep learning-based vision technology. Boston Dynamics says that its tech can be expanded to other types of robot platforms.



The robot dog is currently in the pilot stage at Kia's plant in South Korea. It will be used to support late-night security patrols and increase safety for workers. Hyundai Motor Group will assess the robot's effectiveness and suitability for the job before expanding its use in other industrial sites.

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New electric luxury vehicles

Three new Mercedes-Benz EVs we can't wait to see

Mercedes showed off its electric future at the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Germany.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is going electric, and though it only recently announced its firm plans to do so, it already seems that the German automaker is moving quickly toward that goal. At the 2021 IAA Mobility show in Munich, Mercedes showed off some of its upcoming electrified products. We've seen the EQS, a flagship electric sedan, but three newcomers made an appearance at the show.


Mercedes-Benz EQB EQB will be Mercedes' electric family SUV.Mercedes-Benz


EQB

EQB is the brand's family-sized SUV, offering seating for up to seven people. A long wheelbase of 111.3 inches and adjustable second-row seating allows more interior space for people and gear. Mercedes says the EQB will offer two powertrain configurations: The EQB 300 4MATIC will get 225 horsepower and the EQB 350 4MATIC will sport 288 horsepower. A front-wheel drive configuration will go on sale later and a long-range model will follow.


Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG The EQG will eventually become the brand's electric off-roader.Mercedes-Benz


EQG

Concept EQG is a preview of the eventual electrification of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, its boxy, upper-crust off-roader. This concept is far closer to a design exercise than something we'll actually see in production, but it's an interesting demonstration, nonetheless. With 22-inch wheels, wild exterior lighting touches, and what the automaker says will be legendary off-road abilities, the EQG will be an exciting vehicle when it does make an appearance.


Mercedes-Benz EQE EQE will follow the EQS as a smaller, sportier electric sedan in 2022.Mercedes-Benz


EQE

EQE is the second car to use Mercedes' EVA2 electric architecture, following the EQS sedan. The car is currently scheduled for a staggered release in mid-2022 and will feature a more compact and sportier design than its predecessor. Mercedes says that the car will be available with either 19- or 21-inch wheels, and notes that its size is comparable to the current CLS coupe-sedan. The car offers an impressive range of up to 410 miles on a single charge from its 90kWh battery and special charging capabilities through the Mercedes me Charge network.

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