From the myriad of new technologies and innovations presented at CES, the world’s largest electronics show in Las Vegas, there was one concept that stood out in the spotlight – Mercedes-Benz VISION AVTR. This advanced vision transportation, inspired by James Cameron’s iconic movie, Avatar, is part of the Mercedes-Benz strategic agenda for the next years, which strives for a more sustainable future. The connection to the film results from its essential message: the Mercedes-Benz plan’s line of reasoning perfectly fits with Avatar’s environmental and spiritual themes. During the reveal, James Cameron, the director of Avatar, joint with Mercedes-Benz members, highlighted the importance of sustainability and coexistence of technology and humans not interrupting the development of nature.
This futuristic concept vehicle is said to be entirely eco-friendly. It is electric, carbon-neutral, and supposed to interact with the surrounding world. The exterior design of the car is supposed to blend in with nature. After opening, the doors are designed in a way to imitate the dragonfly, and at the back of the car are located 33 individual hatches that resemble breathing scales on a reptile.
The futuristic design even extends to the interior part of the vehicle, as there is no steering wheel, and it is driven using biometrics. You are one with the car. This concept of using a driver’s biometrics is adapted straight from the Avatar movie and should imitate the symbiotic relationship between the driver and the vehicle. The comfort and infotainment of electronics in this vehicle are based on the driver’s hand, as by waving gesture, we are able to drive the car.
After getting in, the system of control lights up on your right hand, and by gestures and waving, you can operate this eye-popping vehicle. By touching the element in the center of the car, it wakes up. The lights and element go up and down to imitate breathing and heartbeat. Not only does this car drive straight and backward as a regular car, but it also has an ability to drive sideways. Large odd flamboyant wheels enable this car to move, little resembling crab-walk, perpendicularly. The vehicle went through the real-life test on the roads of Las Vegas and proved itself to be ready to hit the streets to saturate them with the aspirational and eco-friendly idea of the future.
The presence of James Cameron and his collaboration with Mercedes-Benz is not only all about sustainability, but also the longly-awaited sequel of Avatar movie. Whether it is just a costly marketing or a real car that could be seen in some time on the market and roads, we cannot argue that it is a successful fulfillment of the statement “Vision of Tomorrow.”
Last week, on the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, we could witness a birth of a new player in the electric cars’ game – Rivian.
To start with, I’ll explain what is hiding under this rather modern name. Rivian’s owner describes his products (because they already launched two, not one) as “The world’s first Electric Adventure Vehicles”. As it turned out, they’ve been working on their project for the last seven years in their headquaters in California (obviously), developing their product with the smallest details and avoiding mistakes previously made by competitors.
So, they made two models – a seven-seat SUV called R1S and R1T, which is a five-seat pick-up. Both of them are based on Rivian’s invention named ‘skateboard’ platform (sounds cool, doesn’t it?), which basically means that parts like the battery, suspension or drive units are placed below the height of each wheel. Not only does it provide much more passenger space, but also a low centre of gravity, which might make the difference in the car that weights 2.6-tonnes.
Potential buyers can opt for three battery sizes: 180kWh (400 mile range) and 135kWh (300 mile range) and a 105kWh battery (230 mile range). Rivian also promises that their products’ interiors are provided with the best quality materials, such as actual wood on the dashboard.
Right, but it all sounds like we’ve already heard that story about a complete revolution in the electric cars industry, best materials, biggest batteries and even bigger numbers attached. Rivian’s owner, RJ Scaringe claims that he “started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have.” So, what is so special about this brand?
First of all, their cars are provided with kind of artificial intelligence of the new level. While driving the Rivian, an algorithm constantly analyze your driving style and learn how to better optimize its charge. Welcome to the future!
As the Electric Adventure Vehicles, they are expected to provide you some load space, right? Well, in the R1T, there’s 330-litres under the hood (because there’s no engine inside), a 350-litre space in the R1T’s so called ‘gear tunnel’, and a 200-litre bin beneath the rear bed floor.
Moreover, both models are equipped with tools like cameras, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and GPS, which allow for ‘Level 3’ autonomy. What does it exactly mean? In Level 3 cars, you’re still needed as a driver, but you are able to transfer safety-critical functions to the vehicle, depending on traffic and other conditions, so they are really close to producing fully autonomous cars with a highest Level 5 autonomy.
And the last but not least – speed. These things are TREMENDOUSLY quick. Both are claimed to reach 60mph in 3 seconds. In a car of this weight, these numbers are far more than impressive.
You can already order both of Rivian’s models. The pick-up is expected to be delivered in 2020, and the SUV no earlier than a year after.
So, what do you think about the whole project, apart from the these cars’ names which you probably associate more with a Star Wars’ characters rather than cars? Will Rivian find its niche or make a huge loss? Let me know below!
Ten years ago, thinking about riding a fully electric car was an illusion. Nobody could have said that cars would be motorised only by electric motors in such a short period of time. After improving the technology thanks to hybrid cars principally, some start-ups and carmakers succeeded to build 100% electric vehicles. And, the number of sales is always growing. This is why today, you can easily cross cars like Tesla Model S, a BMW i3 or a Renault Zoe in the streets or on the roads.
Nevertheless, these cars are only regular cars and everybody’s dream is to own a supercar, a car you enjoy driving every day and which you can bring on the racetrack to go on full throttle. And now, carmakers are able to raise the bar, to push it to the next level. The result? 2 zero-emission sports cars: the Porsche Mission E (concept released in 2015 and on sale at the end of 2019 because the concept is still in development – but at its final stage) and the Rimac Concept One. To these two environment friendly vehicles, we can add the Tesla Model S P100D – the sports version of the well-known Tesla Model S. Why are these cars so special? Can they compete with Tesla?
Porsche Mission E:
Porsche is the first big sports carmaker to get on with the electric power. Indeed, due to the wish of the Volkswagen Group – Porsche belongs to the enormous Volkswagen Group (see the picture below) – to electrify every car by 2030, which means that every car would be either hybrid or full-electric, brands are spending a lot of money to improve their current models and offer at least hybrid cars. So, in the next few years, you would probably see hybrid Lamborghini or hybrid Audi RS series – Lamborghini is currently working on a new hybrid car to respect the Volkswagen Group’s objective.
Before beginning the “Mission E” project, Porsche has developed a successful hybrid hypercar (Porsche 918 and Porsche 918 Spyder). And now, the next step is to develop a no-combustion-powered vehicle. The brand has already spent more than 3 years on the Mission E. This four-door sports sedan, looking like the well-known Panamera, is the first 100% electrically powered Porsche. Here are some facts about this futuristic car:
The all-wheel-drive vehicle is powered by two electric motors, one in the front and one at the back. The batteries are made of only lithium-ion and are located in the floor of the car to distribute equally the weight and to lower the centre of gravity.
Like the other brand’s series (911, Macan, Cayenne, Boxter, Cayman and Panamera), Porsche is planning to offer different performance levels for the Mission E. The most powerful version would have 600 hp (>440kW) and the top speed would be over 250 km/h.
According to the last updates of the development car’s figures, the range of the car amounts to 530 kilometres (330 miles). To compare, Tesla Model S has just a range of around 450 kilometres (270 miles)
Acceleration speed: 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under 3.5 seconds. Though, the sports version of the Tesla Model S is quicker than the Mission E – P100D version reaches 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds – but Porsche says that there will be software updates in order to improve the performances and the range of its new car.
The car has no exterior mirrors: there are cameras on the side of the car and the images are directly projected in the lower windshield corners.
And a lot of others features (presented in the next video)
“The time is ripe for this study. It shows that, in addition to our plug-in hybrids, all-electric drive systems can truly meet our standards of intelligent performance. For us, this declaration is distilled into one clear philosophy: Porsche E-Performance.”
Charged via an 800-volt charger unit specially developed for the car – which is twice as powerful as today’s quick-charge systems – the lithium-ion batteries integrated within the vehicle floor have enough power again for 80 percent of the range after just 15 minutes. The charging port is hidden at the side of the front fender. Moreover, the vehicle can optionally be recharged wirelessly by induction thanks to a coil set into the garage floor. To drive 100 kilometres, you just need to “refuel” the car for 4 minutes. Impressive, isn’t it?
The engine used by this futuristic car is a PSM high performance motor. PSM stands for “permanently excited synchronous machine”, which means that it’s an electric motor with extremely high-power density, high efficiency and consistent performance over the entire range of speed and distance. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to push at full throttle several times in a row without a loss of performance.
The video below shows how the car was designed and what are the new features and technologies inside the “Mission E” project.
According to Porsche’s CEO, Oliver Blume, the brand is “beginning a new chapter in the history of sports cars”. Thanks to this project, over 1000 jobs are being created and around 700 million € will be invested in its factory in Stuttgart for the new production line.
Due to the announcement of the car launch before 2020 during the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September, the market leader, Tesla, fears that he will lose market shares because of the price of Porsche’s car. Indeed, the basis cost would be around the same than the Panamera’s price, so around 85000€. And the Porsche offers a more sportive DNA than the Tesla Model S P100D, for the same price range. Let’s see what Tesla will bring to answer its new rival’s car.
Always more powerful, always faster: this is the dream of every car brand. You might probably don’t know this automaker because Rimac Automobili is relatively new. Rimac Automobili is a Croatian start-up founded in 2009 by Mate Rimac. The world premiere of the Rimac Concept_One was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, but the production of this car only started in 2016. But why do I introduce you this car? This is because the Concept_One is the fastest and most powerful 100% electric hypercar ever built. And this car is far away ahead of its time.
In fact, this car can achieve 100km/h (62mph) in under 2.5 seconds, what makes this car one of the fastest for drag races. The official top speed recorded is 355 km/h (220 mph) thanks to the four engines (one for each wheel) which combine in total 1224 horsepower. All of that to say that electric vehicle can even beat the best internal combustion engines currently on the market.
According to test drivers, this is car is most insane car they have ever driven. It exceeds all the expectations and you usually flirt with the limits. But don’t forget to not overtake these limits because car crashes with that kind of hypercars happen quickly, as attested by the Richard Hammond’s car crash while testing the Rimac Concept_One – Richard Hammond was one of three presenters of the BBC’s program “Top Gear”, and was testing this car for the new Amazon Prime’s show “The Grand Tour”.
In contrast with the Porsche Mission E, which is affordable for nearly everybody, the Rimac Concept_One is exclusive: this car is worth over 1.2 million €. We might say that this toy is not something to give to the standard driver. A common characteristic between these two cars is that you can control all the data (estimated remaining range, telemetry data, location, speed, …) thanks to a mobile phone app.
And the trend of developing 100% electric cars continues, because new carmakers are entering this promising market like Faraday Future, which has recently revealed its new electric sports car called FF 91. In addition, the use of electric features in racing championships – Formula1, Formula E and other championships – will help the development of electric engines to make the sports car drive faster. Moreover, other brands – Volvo as it happens – have said that they will progressively give up producing vehicles with combustion engine. Other start-ups or carmakers enter the market and directly focus on hybrid or electric cars.
In my opinion, the way we will move in the next decades will change. And this change will go through the improvement of the electric car’s technology. Due to all the regulations in the EU about the carbon dioxide emissions, car brands are obliged to develop new engines and, to anticipate the next regulations, it’s better to build hybrid or electricity-powered cars. I think the technology about full-electric car is progressing so fast in terms of performance, range, price, etc. that before 2030, everybody would be driving a hybrid or a full-electric car. And the revolution has already begun. Electric vehicles are gaining market shares in nearly every country, which means that the population is aware of the ecological issues and that they want to improve this situation by buying more electric-powered vehicles. And Norway is an example for the other countries because nearly a quarter of the automotive fleet is composed of electric cars. (see article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car_use_by_country)
Everybody know Mercedes have one of the best exclusive cars in the world but not many people know they just made first electric heavy urban transport truck.
Now both demand and supply for ecologically friendly electric cars are growing as new companies are joining the market showing their propositions. Tesla was the pioneer in the case of passenger though in the case of tracks Mercedes decided it will not give them the firs mover advantage and designed the first big rig of its kind.
The all-electric truck was presented in Stuttgart at the end of past month. It is especially designed for urban purposes. It is meant to be used at the final kilometers of transport shipping cycle. That is because of both: its advantages and disadvantages. The first being good acceleration and better energy efficiency when often stopping and accelerating (which is how it often looks in the cities full of traffic jams and lights). Moreover, in some places it might be used in city centers where petrol cars are forbidden to ride while hybrid and electric can (for example Warsaw). By use of electrical engine, Mercedes wants to reduce noise which is important when driving in cities (everybody knows how noisy they can be.) The disadvantage of this truck, on the other hand, is its limited range of only 200 kilometers with total maximum weight of 26 tons.
The competition on this market will be for sure visible as two weeks ago Elon Mask, CEO of Tesla revealed that company is working on Semi transport track and is planning to present it as early as next year.
Mercedes-Benz is still waiting for close-up to start production for world scale. Daimler said the prices of batteries between 1997 and 2025 got 2.5 times smaller and batteries performance are expected to keep the same proportion.
Do you like idea of replacing all trucks in cities with those fully electric ones?