Electric Vehicles

Renault gives every resident of one town in France a free car

The Renault Zoe has gotten more range for the 2020 model year

Photo courtesy of Renault

Appy, France is located on the southern tip of France, just miles from the border with Spain. It's an isolated space in the Occitaine region - a remote and mountainous place with gorgeous scenery but little reason to be a permanent residence for those building a career.

It's so sparsely populated that there were no marriages in the town for a period of 64 years - 1946 to 2010. The population hovers somewhere in the mid 20s. In 2016 there were 26 residents, down from a high of 32 in 2013.

Appy, France Appy is a one-road-in, one-road-out town.Photo courtesy of Renault

Though there aren't many residents, each one of them has been given a new Renault Zoe to use for three years. The Zoe is an all-electric model that offers 245 miles of range (WLTP) from its 52-kilowatt-hour battery. It can be charged to 90 miles of range in just 30 minutes with a DC charger. It comes standard with a home charger.

The five-door supermini car is already popular in Europe - over 100,000 are on the streets. The publicity stunt by Renault is a move to show that the push toward an electrified future is not just for those living in urban areas. To date, over 300,000 electric Renaults have been sold.

To accommodate the shift to all electric vehicles, a public charger will be installed in the town. Despite its low population and dense, yet small, city center, Appy is surrounded by steep mountains and winding roads - an atypical challenge for the car.

As part of the deal, town residents will be offering feedback to Renault about the models during their tenure.

The Renault Zoe has had its battery power updated for the 2020 model year. It features recycled materials in the cabin. It is part of a larger electrified lineup that includes the Clio, Twingo, Captur, and Mégane.

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Canoosa Events is organizing luxury multi-day road rallies.

Photo by leekris/Getty Images

Canossa Events, a European luxury automotive touring provider, expanded to North America last year. This year, the company is launching several private, small group excursions on the East and West Coast of the U.S.

Beginning this autumn, guests of the tours will indulge in picturesque drives, one-of-a-kind gastronomy experiences, and luxury accommodations all curated with an eye toward beauty, elegance, taste and personalized service.

Highway 1 near Big Sur California's Highway 1 is a world famous grand touring destination. Photo by Getty Images

"We have longed to bring Canossa's version of la dolce vita to North America," says Canossa's Founder, Luigi Orlandini. "And in this current climate, we have the opportunity to deliver our experiences to our fans who are unable to leave North America. With Canossa Events North America, we will safely celebrate the freedom to drive, indulge in culinary delights, and soak in the beautiful sceneries among old and new friends."

The white glove service extends to the entire event and includes strict safety and social distancing guileless to "deliver a carefree and pleasant experience for guests".

Canossa Events North America is currently accepting reservations for its Fall Rallye New England, and will soon announce additional excursions, including:

  • Grand Tour of California - This excursion will highlight the coastal byways, wine country and farm-to-fork culture of California's Central Coast.
  • Rallye of Enchantment - Attendees will xplore some of America's most iconic landscapes of New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona and Utah.

The Fall Rallye lasts four days and three nights. It's limited to 25 cars and comes with a $9,900 price tag that is based on double occupancy. The event includes nights at New England's heralded Cliff House Maine hotel.

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Jeep has begun teasing its newest three-row SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It's wood-paneled sides, cavernous interior, go-anywhere capability. It was the bee's knees. Now those vintage models are a collector's item. Soon, it will be reborn.

A new teaser from Jeep simply states, "Grand" and the definition "magnificent or striking in appearance, size, or style". While AutomotiveMap is pretty sure that the teaser is for the return of the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep also has a redo of the Grand Cherokee and a few other things in its sights. Perhaps this is a BOGO (or three or four) teaser.

A Jeep product presentation for investors earlier this year detailed the forthcoming model rollout, including modifications to the plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It states that a new three-row Jeep E-Segment model is coming in the first quarter of 2021. Separately it lists the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as coming in the second quarter of 2021 followed by the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

All the models are scheduled to have some level of electrification (product plans say PHEV, which would be on-par with the new PHEV Compass, Renegade, and Wrangler offerings) as well as an advanced level of autonomy (don't expect anything too revolutionary here) and connectivity.

The new Wagoneer full-size SUV that Jeep is debuting is expected to compete directly with the Chevrolet Suburban. The Suburban was redesigned for the 2021 model year and, in addition to a bevy of tech updates, the model has significantly expanded its third-row legroom.

Product plants show that the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are different vehicles. Not much is known for sure about the two models, but rumors are rampant. One that seems to have sticking power is that the Grand Wagoneer will have finer appointments than the Wagoneer, which could be designed to be more off-road-ready.

The Grand Cherokee is going to be a two-row SUV built on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio.

The most mysterious model is the three-row E-Segment model that Jeep has said is coming. E-Segment models are typically large, showy flagships - sometimes large cars, but other times wagons. Jeep has also said that an electrified version of the Wrangler is on the way. Does A +B = C? Only time will tell.

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