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Motoring News

MERCEDES-AMG IS THE COMPANY’S FIRST FULLY ELECTRIC MODEL ON SALE IN AUSTRALIA

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MERCEDES-AMG IS THE COMPANY’S FIRST FULLY ELECTRIC MODEL ON SALE IN AUSTRALIA
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MERCEDES-AMG IS THE COMPANY’S FIRST FULLY ELECTRIC MODEL ON SALE IN AUSTRALIA

By EWAN KENNEDY

The Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ marks the introduction of high-voltage electrification to the Mercedes-AMG range in Australia.

At the heart of the new EQS 53 4MATIC+ is a performance-oriented electric drivetrain with two motors: one each at the front and rear axles. Fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive optimally transmits power to the road in all driving conditions.

It has up to 484kW of power and maximum torque of 950 Nm. The optional AMG DYNAMIC PLUS Package increases output to a maximum of 560 kW in RACE START mode with boost function, matched by torque of 1020 Nm.

MERCEDES-AMG IS THE COMPANY’S FIRST FULLY ELECTRIC MODEL ON SALE IN AUSTRALIA

AMG-specific body styling includes a spoiler lip on the bootlid.

In this mode, acceleration from 0-100 km/h is possible in as little as 3.4 seconds (3.8 seconds in standard specification). Top speed is limited to 250 km/h with AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package fitted (220 km/h as standard).

An onboard charging system also enables the EQS 53 to be conveniently charged at home or at public charging stations with up to 11 kW from AC (alternating current) sources, or up to 22 kW AC via the optional AC charging system.

This high-capacity system endows the EQS 53 with a recommended driving range of 587km (as measured by ADR 81/02), assisted by the highly optimised aerodynamic shape that enables an impressively low drag coefficient of just 0.23.

Sound has always been an important part of the typical Mercedes-AMG driving experience, and the EQS 53 4MATIC+ brings a new, powerfully sonorous sound to electric driving.

Inside, a sound system uses special speakers, a bass actuator and a sound generator to create a special sound experience in two versions: ‘Authentic’ or optional ‘Performance’. This exclusive AMG SOUND EXPERIENCE is generated inside and out with a tonality and intensity to match the driving status, selected driving mode or the driver’s wishes.

This is first model equipped with the innovative MBUX Hyperscreen. This curved display unit extends the full width of the cabin, comprising three screens under a glass cover that appear to merge into one.

Standard rear axle steering enables a rear wheel angle of up to 9 degrees, significantly enhancing dynamic agility through corners and bends while also reducing the large car’s turning circle to compact vehicle dimensions.

The EQS 53 is fitted as standard with AMG RIDE CONTROL+ suspension with adaptive adjustable damping, featuring a four-link axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear.

Inside are powered AMG sports seats with active cushion and hot stone massage functions. A Burmester® 3D surround sound system with 15 speakers and 710-watt output; a digital TV tuner plus DAB+ digital radio tuner.

MERCEDES-AMG IS THE COMPANY’S FIRST FULLY ELECTRIC MODEL ON SALE IN AUSTRALIA

AMG-specific body styling includes a spoiler lip on the bootlid.

Aerodynamic is provided by AMG-specific body styling including an AMG spoiler lip on the boot lid. Standard 21-inch AMG 5-cross-spoke light alloy wheels in tantalite grey can be substituted for an optional matt black finish, or for 22-inch multi-spoke light-alloy wheels in matt black.

The Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ is now on sale priced at $328,400, plus on-road costs.

The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS Package, which swells power and torque in RACE START mode, and adds the AMG Driver’s Package, AMG Track Pace and ‘Performance’ AMG SOUND EXPERIENCE, costs $7690.

The Energizing Comfort Package, including the Front Energizing Package, steering wheel heating, heated rear seats, ENERGIZING AIR CONTROL Plus, a HEPA air purifier, and the MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment System with two wireless headsets, adds $9290.

The Night Package, including exterior enhancements such as red-painted brake callipers, the 22-inch multi-spoke wheels, and trim details in black, adds $3990.

Accessories include an alternating current (AC) charging system for up to 22 kW charging ($2490) and the Mercedes-Benz Wallbox Gen 1.5 for home charging ($1450).

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

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Nissan Keeps All Options Open for Qashqai SUV: Petrol, Hybrid, and Electric

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Nissan is set to maintain a versatile approach for its Qashqai SUV, continuing to offer petrol, hybrid, and electric powertrains to cater to varying market demands. While the next-generation all-electric Qashqai is on the horizon, Australia is likely to continue with petrol and e-Power options for the time being.

Continued Production of All Powertrains

Nissan’s Sunderland plant in the UK will keep producing the Qashqai for global markets, complemented by production in Dalian, China, for the local market with partner Dongfeng. The Sunderland facility supplies Qashqais to over 100 countries, including Australia. Speaking to Australian media, Nissan’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Planning Officer for the AMIEO (Africa, Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania) region, Francois Bailly, confirmed that the electric Qashqai will not replace existing models but will be produced concurrently to meet diverse market needs.

Electrification Strategy and Market Adaptation

Bailly emphasized the variability in market readiness for electrification. “The markets around the world are so diverse, there’s a speed of electrification that we could imagine different technologies at the same time in different markets,” he said. However, he did not confirm the all-electric Qashqai for Australia specifically, noting the growing but still relatively low EV market share in the region.

Current and Future Qashqai Offerings in Australia

In Australia, the Qashqai is available with two powertrain options:

  • A 110kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine.
  • A 140kW/330Nm e-Power range-extender hybrid, which pairs a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor driving the front wheels.

For emissions-restricted markets like Europe, the Sunderland factory also builds a mild-hybrid version.

The facelifted Qashqai, expected to arrive in Australian showrooms by the end of the year, will likely retain the current powertrain options. It will feature updated exterior styling, improved cabin materials, and a new Google-powered infotainment system, although the latter is yet to be confirmed for Australia.

Investment and Production Plans

To prepare for the new all-electric Qashqai, Nissan has invested an additional £30 million ($AU57.7 million) in the Sunderland plant to accommodate the installation of heavy battery packs and high-voltage components. The Qashqai EV will share the production line with the internal combustion engine and e-Power hybrid versions, as well as the Juke small SUV and the upcoming new-generation Leaf crossover. This strategy allows for a seamless transition from the current Qashqai to the new models, ensuring continuous production of the popular SUV.

In conclusion, Nissan’s multipronged approach with the Qashqai ensures that the SUV remains adaptable to market trends and consumer needs, offering a blend of petrol, hybrid, and electric options. This flexibility positions the Qashqai to effectively meet the demands of diverse global markets, including Australia.

 

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

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Cadillac’s Future Sedans: Embracing Electric Power

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Cadillac, the luxury arm of General Motors (GM), has reaffirmed its commitment to sedans, hinting at a future where these models could be electric. This revelation was made by Mike Simcoe, GM’s Vice President of Global Design, during a recent media roundtable. Simcoe, an Australian and former design boss of Holden, emphasized that while SUVs dominate the market, sedans remain a vital part of Cadillac’s future, potentially powered by batteries.

A New Generation of Sedans

Despite the industry’s heavy lean towards SUVs, Cadillac is preparing to introduce a new generation of sedans. These models will be a key part of Cadillac’s lineup in the coming years, according to Simcoe. “We will certainly have a sedan in the portfolio at some point in the future,” he confirmed. This statement underscores Cadillac’s intention to diversify its offerings beyond the ubiquitous SUV trend.

The Celestiq: Cadillac’s Luxury Electric Sedan

Cadillac already offers the Celestiq, an electric vehicle that it refers to as a sedan. However, the Celestiq, priced at $US340,000 ($AU520,000), is designed to compete with ultra-luxury brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. This places it out of reach for most consumers, signaling Cadillac’s ambition to produce more affordable electric sedans that can cater to a broader market segment.

The Need for Affordable Electric Sedans

Simcoe indicated that while the luxury market appreciates high-end electric sedans like the Celestiq, there is a significant opportunity for more affordable electric sedans within Cadillac’s lineup. He remarked on the dominance of SUVs, calling them a “necessary evil” due to their market prevalence and practicality. However, Simcoe pointed out that many consumers, particularly those with higher disposable incomes, still desire a second vehicle that isn’t an SUV. This opens the door for sedans, especially those that are electrically powered.

Current Sedan Offerings and Performance Models

At present, Cadillac’s sedan lineup in North America includes the CT4 and CT5. These models, particularly their performance variants, are powered by twin-turbo V6 and supercharged V8 engines, aiming to rival BMW’s M3 and M5. These sedans showcase Cadillac’s commitment to performance and luxury, a tradition it aims to continue even as it shifts towards electric powertrains.

Cadillac’s Return to Australia and Electric Future

In a significant move, Cadillac announced its return to the Australian market in late 2024. This return is marked by an exclusive offering of electric vehicles, aligning with the global shift towards sustainable transportation. While Cadillac previously committed to transitioning to an all-electric lineup by 2030, recent updates indicate that petrol-powered models will continue to be manufactured into the new decade. This dual approach allows Cadillac to cater to diverse market needs while progressing towards a greener future.

Conclusion

Cadillac’s reaffirmation of its commitment to sedans, coupled with its strategic pivot towards electric vehicles, highlights the brand’s adaptive and forward-thinking approach. By continuing to innovate in the sedan segment and introducing more accessible electric models, Cadillac aims to maintain its legacy of luxury and performance. As the automotive industry evolves, Cadillac’s blend of tradition and innovation positions it well to meet the demands of modern consumers and sustain its competitive edge in the luxury market.

 

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

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BYD Sets Third Australian Sales Record in Four Months

 

By Jeff Gibbs

In a significant achievement, BYD has set its third Australian sales record in four months, with close to 2000 electric vehicles sold last month. The momentum is set to increase further with the introduction of a new range of hybrid cars.

Record-Breaking Sales Record Performance

BYD’s sales in Australia continue to soar, driven by the growing demand for Chinese-branded cars. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) reported that 1914 BYD electric vehicles were sold in May 2024, marking a 32% increase compared to May of the previous year. This remarkable performance underscores BYD’s rapid expansion and acceptance in the Australian market.

Upcoming Hybrid Models

The boost in BYD sales is expected to be further amplified by the upcoming launch of a new range of plug-in hybrid vehicles. This range includes a family SUV, the Sealion 6, and a utility vehicle (ute), both of which were announced last month. Although deliveries of the Sealion 6 plug-in hybrid SUV have not yet started, anticipation is high, and its introduction is expected to drive sales even higher.

Top Sellers and Market Dynamics

In May 2024, the majority of BYD’s reported sales were electric vehicles, with the Seal sedan leading the pack at 1002 units sold. This was followed by the Atto 3 with 737 units, despite a year-on-year decline of 49%, and the Dolphin with 175 units. BYD’s previous best monthly sales were recorded in March 2024 with 1622 deliveries, and in February 2024 with 1549 vehicles.

Despite BYD’s impressive performance, Tesla remains a formidable competitor, delivering nearly twice as many cars as BYD in May 2024, totaling 3567 vehicles. However, BYD’s sales trajectory is notable, with a 67% increase over the first five months of 2024 compared to the same period in the previous year. This growth positions BYD to potentially surpass 20,000 deliveries by the end of the year, though this falls short of their goal to double sales year-on-year.

Rapid Market Penetration

BYD’s rapid market penetration is unprecedented for a new automotive brand in Australia. It took BYD just one year and seven months to report more than 1900 new vehicles sold in a month. In contrast, other emerging brands such as MG, LDV, and GWM took significantly longer to achieve the same milestone, highlighting BYD’s exceptional growth rate.

Industry-Wide Trends

The rise in electric vehicle deliveries in Australia is part of a broader trend. Year-to-date, electric car sales have increased by 26.8%, totalling 40,636 vehicles. This follows a temporary dip in April 2024, the first since the pandemic. Electric vehicles accounted for 8% of new vehicle sales in May 2024, reflecting their growing popularity.

Similarly, plug-in hybrid sales have surged by 118% year-to-date, reaching 6099 deliveries. Although starting from a lower base, this growth indicates a strong interest in hybrid technology among Australian consumers.

China’s Position in the Market

China remains the third-largest source of new motor vehicles sold in Australia, trailing only Japan and Thailand. This places China ahead of other major automotive exporters like South Korea, Germany, and the United States. Sales of Chinese-made vehicles have risen by 7.9% year-to-date compared to the same period last year, further solidifying China’s role in the Australian automotive market.

Conclusion

BYD’s continued success and rapid growth in the Australian market illustrate a significant shift in consumer preferences towards electric and hybrid vehicles. With new models on the horizon and a strong sales trajectory, BYD is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally friendly transportation options. This momentum not only sets a new benchmark for emerging automotive brands but also contributes to the broader adoption of sustainable technologies in Australia.

 

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