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Motoring News

MERCEDES-BENZ EQB FULL ELECTRIC

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MERCEDES-BENZ EQB FULL ELECTRIC

By EWAN KENNEDY

Good looking Mercedes-Benz EQB offers near silent running.

Mercedes-Benz continues the Australian rollout of its Mercedes-EQ family of fully electric vehicles by introducing the EQB, a compact SUV based on the B-Class, that can carry up to seven people. Or reconfigure the cabin to create more than 1600 litres of loading capacity.

The EQB has an electric drivetrain developed by Mercedes-EQ specifically for the Mercedes-EQ compact SUV range. The system’s operating temperature is optimised through cooling of the electric motors and the power electronics, as well as the high-voltage lithium-ion battery.

To reduce noise and vibration, which typically become more noticeable in the absence of the sound of a combustion engine, Mercedes-EQ engineers isolated the drive unit from the supporting frame.

The lithium-ion battery serves as the central energy storage unit for the electric drive system. Its high energy density provides a usable energy content of 66.5 kWh. Weighing just 469 kg, this unit is divided into several modules which are distributed beneath the vehicle floor to create a favourable centre of gravity.

Mercedes EQB have charging speeds with up to 11 kW of output via the AC (alternating current) charging system, or up to 100 kW using DC (direct current) charging.

Stowing all rear seats gives 1710 litres of storage space. With its flat floor and tall roofline, the EQB can accommodate bikes, surfboards, golf clubs and carts, and even largish furniture items.

With the second row in use which includes reclining seat backs, a handy 495 litres of cargo space is there. A three-way split-fold mechanism in the second row adds further options to configure the space available for passengers and cargo.

With the optional third row of seats fitted (EQB 250 only), the key storage measurements are 1620 litres (all rows stowed), 465 litres (second row in use) and 110 litres (all rows in use).

The new Mercedes-Benz EQB 250 variant, which is packaged as standard with five seats, while a third row that extends seating to seven can be selected as an option. Flexible and spacious, the EQB 250 is a smart choice for families keen to embrace the utility of being able to deploy two extra seats for occasional use.

Utilising a single e-motor driving power directly to the front wheels, the EQB 250 drivetrain generates 140 kW of power and a healthy 385 Nm of torque. The electric SUV is capable of achieving driving range of 371 km according to the WLTP test standard.

The Mercedes EQB 250’s cabin has spiral-look trim elements and houses a widescreen display, there are two 10.25-inch high-resolution screens.

The driver’s instrument panel can be customised with a number of pre-loaded themes, while the central screen acts as the portal to access the MBUX infotainment system, which includes audio, telephony and navigation controls as well as a number of vehicle settings.

The seats are finished in ARTICO upholstery with electrically adjustable and heated front seats, while the centre console includes a wireless charging mat for supported smart devices. Dual-zone climate control, DAB+ digital radio, Apple and Android smartphone integration, an advanced sound system and ambient lighting with a choice of 64 colours are all standard inclusions.

The Driver Assistance Package has active safety and convenience systems led by DISTRONIC active cruise control with Active Speed Limit Assist, plus Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist, as well route-based speed adaptation.

The standard Parking Package includes the PARKTRONIC parking assistant and a 360-degree camera, and the KEYLESS-GO Comfort Package includes an electrically operable tailgate including hands-free access.

Mercedes EQB 250 has acoustic ambient protection, which mitigates the risk posed to pedestrians and cyclists by the vehicle’s silent drivetrain by sounding an audible warning at speeds below 20 km/h, plus a reversing tone.

It has adjustable damping suspension with multi-link rear suspension to optimise ride comfort, LED high-performance headlights with Adaptive High beam Assist and featuring EQ-specific blue elements, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and the Progressive Exterior package featuring distinctive chrome and aluminium trims.

An LED luminescent light band across the front of the bonnet is another EQ-specific design feature. It rides on 19-inch AMG 5-twin-spoke light alloy wheels.

Both models in the EQB range incorporate a Type 2 CCS charging socket capable of accepting up to 11 kW (AC) and 100 kW (DC), while charging cables for use with Australian domestic sockets and public charging stations are also supplied with either vehicle.

The EQB 350 4MATIC creates a sportier driving experience. Dual e-motors, one mounted on each axle, enable power to be sent variably where it’s most needed, and with a low centre of gravity thanks to the flat, wide battery pack optimally distributed beneath the floor, the EQB 350 achieves a stable yet highly agile driving experience.

A combined output from the two motors of 215 kW and 520 Nm, the latter fully available from any speed or even from a standstill, endows the SUV with impressive acceleration ( zero to 100 km/h in as little as 6.2 seconds) and sports car-like responsiveness.

Driving range is 360 kilometres according to the WLTP standard.

Available only in the five-seat configuration, the EQB 350 adds additional interior features to show its sporty nature. This includes sports seats with adjustable head restraints and DINAMICA microfibre inserts with red double top-stitching , a multi-function sports steering wheel in Nappa leather with a flattened bottom section, backlit spiral-look trim elements, AMG floor mats and illuminated door sills.

Exterior features include an electrically controlled panoramic glass sunroof, AMG-specific body styling including extra chrome trim pieces, a diffuser look for the rear apron, and 20-inch AMG multi-spoke alloy wheels.

The Mercedes-Benz EQB 250 is priced at $87,800 in standard five-seat configuration, with a third row of seats adding $2900.

The EQB 350 4MATIC is priced at $106,700. Both models are on sale now.

EDITION 1 PACKAGE

For a limited time, EQB buyers can purchase the Edition 1 package, which creates a highly distinctive and even more stylish exterior appearance including AMG-inspired body elements, and also adds EQ-specific interior elements such as backlit trim and blue top-stitching on the seats and doors.

Until stock is exhausted the Edition 1 package will add $9100 for the EQB 250 model, and $3900 for the EQB 350 4MATIC.

Important note to editors – The price detailed in this document includes GST and any LCT applicable to the base / standard specification model but EXCLUDES ALL ON ROAD COSTS such as, for example, registration fees, stamp duty, CTP and the like.

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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

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2024 Lotus Emeya
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2024 Lotus Emeya Sets EV Recharge Record

 

By Jeff Gibbs

The all-new 2024 Lotus Emeya, an upcoming electric super-sedan, has set a new benchmark in DC fast-charging technology. With its advanced 402kW peak charging speed, the Emeya can recharge its 102kWh battery from 10% to 80% in just 14 minutes.

Key Highlights:

  • Record-Setting Recharge Speed: The Emeya achieves a 10-80% top-up in just 14 minutes using a 400kW DC charger, maintaining an average charge speed of 331kW.
  • Rapid Range Addition: This translates to approximately 310km of added range in just 10 minutes.
  • Advanced Battery Technology: The Emeya’s cell-to-back battery structure incorporates a cutting-edge cooling system that significantly enhances thermal performance, surpassing many competitors.

Performance and Competition

The Lotus Emeya was tested against several high-profile electric vehicles, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS, BMW i7, Tesla Model Y, Genesis G80, XPeng G9, Hyundai IONIQ 6, Nio ET5, and BYD Atto 3. This testing highlights the Emeya’s superior charging capabilities, narrowing the gap between the time required to recharge an electric vehicle and refuel a conventional combustion-engine vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that recharging the Emeya for a 310km range still takes five times longer than refueling a combustion engine car like the Porsche Panamera, which takes about two minutes.

Among its competitors, the XPeng G9 was the closest, achieving a peak charge rate of 320kW but averaging around 233kW as it approached 80% capacity.

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

2024 Lotus Emeya Interior

Power and Speed

Designed to compete with the fastest electric vehicles on the market, particularly the Porsche Taycan, the flagship Lotus Emeya boasts impressive performance specs:

  • Acceleration: 0-100km/h in a claimed 2.8 seconds, matching the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
  • Top Speed: 256km/h.
  • Powertrain: Dual-motor setup delivering 675kW and 985Nm.
  • Transmission: Two-speed system for optimised performance.

Official Statements

Lotus Group CEO Qingfeng Feng emphasised the breakthrough in charging technology, stating, “With our industry-leading charging technology available today, Emeya pushes the boundaries for how an EV performs, providing drivers with the confidence to travel anywhere. We’re bringing an unrivalled driving experience in the ultimate grand tourer package, so drivers want to go electric.”

Launch and Availability

Customer deliveries have already begun in China, with the Lotus Emeya set to launch in right-hand drive markets, including Australia, in the second half of this year.

The 2024 Lotus Emeya not only sets a new standard for fast-charging electric vehicles but also promises exceptional performance and driving experience, making it a strong contender in the luxury EV market.

 

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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing and Specifications: Base Price Increases by Nearly $10,000

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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Pricing and Specifications: Base Price Increases by Nearly $10,000

 

By Jeff Gibbs

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seater now comes exclusively as a hybrid and is significantly better equipped, resulting in a base price increase of $9,450 compared to the previous V6 model.

Key Points:

  • Pricing and Specifications for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hybrid-Only Model Available in Three Variants
  • Expanded List of Standard Features
  • Starting Price at $55,500 Before On-Road Costs

The entry-level price for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe seven-seat SUV has jumped by nearly $10,000 for this larger, better-equipped, hybrid-only model, set to arrive in showrooms soon.

New Hybrid Powertrain and Design

The 2024 Santa Fe will be available in Australia solely as a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol hybrid, offering both front- and all-wheel drive options. The redesigned model features a larger, boxier body and includes more advanced equipment and technology. While a petrol-only 2.5-litre turbo variant may be added later to replace the previous V6, the diesel option has been completely discontinued for this new generation, according to Hyundai Australia’s latest information.

Price Increase Details

The starting price has risen to $55,500 plus on-road costs from the previous $46,050 plus on-road costs for the base petrol V6 model. The lineup now includes three models: an unnamed base grade, the Elite, and the Calligraphy, which replaces the Highlander.

  • Base Model (AWD): Priced at $58,500, this is $8,950 more than the previous entry-level all-wheel-drive version, which used a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine. It is only $210 more than the entry-level Toyota Kluger Hybrid.
  • Elite Model: The hybrid AWD Elite is now $65,000, marking a $2,000 increase over its predecessor, which was the most affordable hybrid in the previous Santa Fe range.
  • Calligraphy Model: Prices for the Calligraphy variant range from $75,000 for the seven-seat version to $75,500 for the six-seat version, an increase of $5,450 to $5,950 depending on the configuration.
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior

Enhanced Features

The significant price increases are justified by a longer list of standard features. These include 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, dual 12.3-inch interior screens, dual-zone climate control, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, all standard across the range. Many of these features were previously limited to the higher-priced Active and Elite versions of the Santa Fe.

Advanced Technology and Safety

Top-tier models now come with advanced technology such as semi-autonomous Highway Driving Assist, which can centre the car in its lane and assist with lane changes.

Performance and Efficiency

All variants are powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack, delivering a combined output of 172kW and 376Nm (an increase of 3kW and 26Nm from the previous hybrid). This powertrain is coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, available in both AWD and, for the first time in Australia, FWD configurations.

Hyundai Australia claims a fuel consumption rate of 5.6L/100km, although it is not specified whether this applies to the FWD or AWD models. Despite the new model being approximately 250kg heavier than its predecessor, this figure is more efficient than the 6.0L/100km claimed by the outgoing Santa Fe Hybrid AWD and matches the efficiency of the Kluger Hybrid.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Prices in Australia:

  • Santa Fe Hybrid seven-seat front-wheel drive: $55,500
  • Santa Fe Hybrid seven-seat all-wheel drive: $58,500
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Elite seven-seat all-wheel drive: $65,000
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Calligraphy seven-seat all-wheel drive: $75,000
  • Santa Fe Hybrid Calligraphy six-seat all-wheel drive: $75,500

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a notable advancement in hybrid technology, design, and features, albeit at a higher cost. Potential buyers will need to consider the improved capabilities and efficiency against the significant price increase.

 

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

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Qashqai
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

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.

Qashqai Interior

Qashqai Interior

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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