Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen opens 50-space EV charging station but you can't use it

The Arizona proving grounds serves as a research hub for Volkswagen Group brands, including Porsche.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen has opened one of the most extensive electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in North America, but you, Joe Public, can't use it. That's right. The facility, at the company's 1,600-acre Arizona Proving Grounds in Maricopa, Arizona, is reserved for VW's research and development teams.

It's one of two worldwide for the company and was deigned to test battery and charging performance under extreme hot-weather conditions. It will allow the charging of EVs in weather conditions up to 120 degrees (but it's a dry heat).

Chargers Volkswagen proving grounds Arizona There are chargers from a number of companies on site.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 50-space station features 25 DC fast chargers, with variable power outputs from the most commonly used charger power today at 50 kilowatts up to 350kW, can charge properly equipped EVs at speeds up to 20 miles per minute.

There's also 10 Level 2 AC chargers that will be used to simulate typical, home-based charging. These chargers will utilize charge plugs from the three standard connector types: U.S. (CCS1), Europe (CCS2) and China (GB-T).

Volkswagen has plans to install pads to study inductive charging in the future.

All charging equipment comes from different global brands. It was developed in partnership with Electrify America. In a statement, Volkswagen said, "Parallel to the testing of electric vehicles at the EV station, the performance of the charging equipment is tested under these extreme-heat conditions to help improve the performance of the chargers for consumers."

Chargers Volkswagen proving grounds Arizona The infrastructure allows for a variety of types of testing.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Of the 50 spots, 16 are located under a remote-controlled canopy, which uses awnings to simulate full sun and shaded conditions.

There are also safety measures in place including a battery temperature monitoring system, developed in-house, that Volkswagen says is the basis of the world's first battery cooling system designed to prevent overheating damage in a serious emergency. A small building in the middle of the charging station allows engineers and test drivers to evaluate all testing data without having to endure the extreme heat themselves.

The charging station, along with the related support infrastructure, cost an estimated $9 million. Construction began in early 2019 and was completed in February 2020. The station received its final certification this month.

Chargers Volkswagen proving grounds Arizona Volkswagen has announced plans for an electrified model infusion into its lineup.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Research at the site will support Volkswagen Group products worldwide including the Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Volkswagen brands.

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The Twisted NAS-E California Series is a new all-electric 4x4.

Photo courtesy of Twisted

Earlier this year, a luxury 4x4 retailer in Austin, Texas showed off the Twisted NA-V8, a vehicle based on a classic Defender that comes in five different body styles. Now a limited run of 30 Twisted NAS-E all-electric 4x4 is bowing.

The NAS-E is born of the classic Land Rover Defender 90 body with a soft top and features an electric powertrain, a luxurious interior, and impressive off-roading capability. Each model is compliant with all North American EV Regulations and California CARB regulations.

Twisted NAS-E and NAS-E Plus

Photo courtesy of Twisted

"As the world moves steadily toward mass electrification, the Californian market has been missing a uniquely stylish electric 4x4 option that can stand out at the beach, off-road and at stoplights with a level of exclusivity and prestige that can only come from the timeless British Defender form," said Bruce Riggs, COO, Twisted North America. "With color schemes reflecting the natural beauty of California, a removable soft top shape to fully live the elements, advanced electric powertrain engineering exclusive to Twisted, zero-emission power, practical battery range and luxuriously modern interior touches, the Twisted NAS-E is the ultimate expression of the American coastal lifestyle."

The model is the first hero vehicle of the Twisted Legacy collection. It will be sold in two trim levels: NAS-E and NAS-E Plus. The difference mainly comes down to the power allocation. The NAS-E will be powered by a Remy Borg-Warner motor delivering more than 280 pound-feet of torque and 214 brake horsepower. The NAS-E Plus sees its output upped to 309 pound-feet of torque and 320 brake horsepower.

Twisted NAS-E Malibu Photo courtesy of Twisted

Twisted says that the model has a 200-mile range from its 60 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

The SUVs have custom-valved dampers, six-piston front brakes, four-piston rear brakes, hard-use RS29 brake pads, and a traction control system. Four-wheel drive is standard. There are Sport, Eco, and Off-Road drive modes.

The model will be offered in three color options: Malibu, Yosemite, and Tahoe. They will make up the California Series of the models, a limited time 30-vehicle offering.

Twisted NAS-E Tahoe Photo courtesy of Twisted

The NAS-E comes with a good list of features: cream leather seats featuring Alston Alcantara inserts, a three-seat bench across the front row with detachable headrests, 4x tip ups located in the load area, Twisted Sport Wheels finished in silver, a Twisted Stage One front end, NAS roll cage, Bimini hood, an infotainment system, EV management system touch screen, raptored 'spray down' unique flooring, eight-channel audio system, rearview camera with wideview angle, GPS tracker, immobilizer, and air conditioning.

The NAS-E Plus builds on that to include a NAS brush bar, NAS side steps, roll-bar spotlights, NAS-E body stripe decal, and black side sills.

Twisted offers the model with a comprehensive 24-month/20,000-mile warranty. Extensions are available.

Twisted NAS-E Malibu Photo courtesy of Twisted

The Twisted NAS-E starts at $185,000 while the NAS-E Plus comes in at $210,000. Each has a lead time of approximately nine months and requires a fully refundable deposit to reserve. Limited test drives will be available early October 2020.

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This image of a young child was considered so perverted by some that Audi decided to apologize for it.

Photo courtesy of Audi A

Audi has apologized for an advertisement that shows an image of a young girl eating a banana while she stands in front of an Audi RS 4 Avant.

The apology was issued after outcry from critics on Twitter who pointed to perceived numerous flaws in the ad from the overt sexualization of the child because of the banana involved to the potential danger the child was in because she was standing in front of a parked vehicle that can go up to 174 mph.

In the three-part apology, Audi stated, "We care for children. We hear you and let's get this straight: We care for children. The Audi RS 4 is a family car with more than thirty driver assistance systems including an emergency break system. That's why we showcased it with various family members for the campaign."
The statement continues, “We hoped we could convey these messages, showing that even for the weakest traffic participants it is possible to relaxingly lean on the RS technology. That was a mistake! Audi never intended to hurt anyone's feelings. We sincerely apologize for this insensitive image and ensure that it will not be used in future. We will also immediately examine internally, how this campaign has been created and if control mechanisms failed in this case.“
Some of Audi's Twitter followers said that, in their view, the criticism was likely unwarranted while others chose to concentrate on the fact that the model in the photo features a potent power plant. Others pointed out that they felt that the image was pro-pedophilia writing, in German, “I see a pedophile ad here. And child abuse. Disgusting and reprehensible.“

Though this is the first advertising slip up this year for the Audi brand, it's the second major ad folly for Volkswagen Group, Audi's parent company. In May, the company became embroiled in a controversy surrounding an advertisement that features a dark-skinned man being maneuvered around by the hands of a white woman. As the ad developed, the dark-skinned man ended up being flicked away from a yellow Volkswagen Golf, all while upbeat music played in the background.

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