Electric Vehicles

Lotus Evija hypercar enters initial build phase in the UK

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The Lotus Evija is moving from sexy proposition to hypercard reality. The model is the first-ever British all-electric hypercar and it has the looks and powertrain to make an instant impact during track days worldwide.

Sporting a name that means "the first in existence", the Evija boasts a 1972-horsepower output, sub-three second zero to 62 mph time, and a top speed over 200 mph. The model is the first project launched at Lotus under its Geely stewardship. Geely also owns Lynk & Co, Volvo, and Polestar among other brands that are less familiar to Americans like PROTON.

Meet the Lotus Evija Video courtesy of YouTube

The car's all-electric powertrain was co-developed with Williams Automotive Engeineering, the company behind many Formula One and Formula E successes. Its battery pack is mid-mounted directly behind the coupe's two seats, supplying energy to four motors. Lotus says that the, "highly efficient system is the lightest, most energy dense, electric power package ever fitted to a road car."

Power is stored in the car's 2,000 kWh lithium-ion battery, which can accept an 800kW charge and be fully loaded in just nine minutes. However, charging infrastructure for 800 kW charging is not currently in place. On readily available 350 kWh charging devices, the the Evija's charge time will be 12 mins to 80 percent and 18 mins to full. The car's range is 250 miles on the WLTP Combined Cycle, or 270 miles on the NEDC Combined Cycle.

The Evija's charging port is located at its rear.

Lotus has given the car a F1-style steering wheel and five drive modes: Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track.

Lotus is targeting a total vehicle weight of just 3703 pounds.

Lotus Evija

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The car ports a carbon fiber body.

Evija is built for speed. It sports a carbon fiber body and a ride height of just 105 mm, meaning a can of soda won't even fit below the car's splitter. The four-wheel drive auto features a full carbon fiber chassis. It has a rear spoiler and F1-style Drag Reduction System. At the back is a ribbon-style light signature designed to remind admirers of fighter jets. The Lotus badge illuminates as well.

The car's four radiators and dynamic exterior design aid with cooling, allowing the Evija to be driven flat out with no derate for at least seven minutes in Track mode.

Inside the cabin, the car features a "floating wing" dashboard. "The shape is inspired by the company's prototype racing cars of the late Fifties and early Sixties," said Russell Carr, Design Director, Lotus Cars. "It has a beauty and an elegance to it, and represents a typically Lotus approach because it performs multiple functions. It houses the instrument panel and air ducts, and is also an integral structural support. It reinforces Colin Chapman's cast-iron rule that no Lotus component goes along for a free ride."

A unique sloping center console features additional controls for the car including those for the climate and audio systems. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Passengers get in and out of the vehicle via two dihedral doors. The hands-free doors are operated via a key fob.

Lotus Evija Makes Dynamic Debut www.youtube.com

Production will be limited to 130 models.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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Honda is working with Verizon on self-driving cars technology.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.

The Mcity campus was designed to be a proving ground for new technologies. Honda and Verizon are utilizing it as such as they partner to explore how Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) can be used to ensure quick and reliable communication between road infrastructure, vehicles, and pedestrians.

The 5G technology leverages cloud technology to deliver lower latency, a large amount of bandwidth, and improved communication. This communication includes the way that vehicles interact with ther cars, traffic lights, pedestrians and emergency vehicles to improve threat detection and avoid accidents when seconds matter most. That's where the "V2" in acronyms like "V2V" (vehicle-to-vehicle) and "V2X" (vehicle- to-everything).

Honda and Verizon Test How 5G Enhances Safety for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles www.youtube.com

Honda has been working since 2017 to develop a technology that will help to create a collision-free society. The technology, called Safe Swarm, uses V2X communication to enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and share key information such as location, speed, and vehicle sensor data.

There are some obstacles, not the least of which is the need to outfit each vehicle with onboard artificial intelligence capabilities. The use of 5G helps move the AI capabilities from the vehicle to the MEC, reducing the need for AI onboard each vehicle.

"The ability to move computing power to the edge of our 5G network is an essential building block for autonomous and connected vehicles, helping cars to communicate with each other in near real-time and with sensors and cameras installed in streets and traffic lights," said Sanyogita Shamsunder, vice president of Technology Development and 5G Labs at Verizon. "When you consider that roughly 42,000 people were killed in car accidents last year and 94% of accidents are caused by human error, our new technologies including 5G and MEC can help drivers 'see' things before the human eye can register and react helping to prevent collisions and save lives."

Three safety scenarios have been explored as part of the testing:

  • Pedestrian Scenario - A pedestrian is crossing a street at an intersection. An approaching driver cannot see the pedestrian due to a building obstructing the view. Smart cameras mounted in the intersection relay information to MEC using the 5G network. Verizon's MEC and V2X software platforms detect the pedestrian and vehicle and determine the precise location of road users assisted by Verizon's Hyper Precise Location services. A visual warning message is then sent alerting the driver of the potential danger.
  • Emergency Vehicle Warning Scenari - A driver cannot see an approaching emergency vehicle and cannot hear its siren due to the high volume of in-vehicle audio. Verizon's MEC and V2X software receive a safety message from the emergency vehicle and send a warning message to nearby vehicles. The driver receives a visual warning.
  • Red Light Runner Scenario - A vehicle fails to stop at a red light. Using data from the smart cameras, MEC and V2X software detect the vehicle and send a red-light-runner visual warning message to other vehicles approaching the intersection.

You can watch the video of Honda and Verizon's Mcity tests at http://honda.us/5GResearch.

Honda isn't the only company exploring what 5G communication can offer. Pirelli has installed the tech in its tires and BMW recently updated its My BMW app to make it compatible with the new technology. Audi is working on similar technology out on the road in Virginia and Georgia.

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