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Mercedes EQB, an electric SUV to conquer families


TEST – Unparalleled on the market, the most compact electric SUV from the firm to the star can accommodate up to seven people.

It’s that or nothing. For the moment, Mercedes is the only manufacturer to offer an electric vehicle that can accommodate up to seven people, in three rows of seats. From the GLB based on the stretched platform of the Class B, the Stuttgart firm has declined a 100% electric version called EQB.

In terms of style, this model, like the short version EQA, differs from the thermal version by its closed grille featuring a glossy black panel and its LED taillights connected by a light strip. Large families should not be mistaken, however. In fact of seven places, this compact SUV (4.64 m) is in reality a 5 + 2 places whose two seats of the third row can only be suitable for small children and for short journeys. The manufacturer specifies that these places cannot be suitable for people measuring more than 1.65 m. You have been warned. These places are only really suitable for traveling short distances, for example dropping off

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Wayray, another vision of the car


DECRYPTION – A specialist in holography, the Russian start-up based in Switzerland has developed a unique demonstrator for the next series production.

Holograktor! This is the name of the first automobile just revealed by tech company WayRay, founded by Russian Vitaly Ponomarev and based in Switzerland. The switch to the electric car, and perhaps autonomous tomorrow, opens up new perspectives for this start-up which now dreams of converting the automobile to its head-up display technology in augmented reality based on holographic laser projection.

“My ambition is to introduce this car to the market in four years, either under my own brand or by offering the technology to other manufacturers”, Mr Ponomarev said. The result of seven years of development, the system developed by WayRay has already attracted the attention of certain manufacturers. Porsche thus acquired a stake in the company in 2018. One of its strengths is to project 3D information onto the windshield. The car, says the manufacturer, can either be driven normally or become an autonomous shuttle.

WayRay

Building on the

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Nissan Concept Max-out, an electric roadster


NEW – As part of its Ambition 2030 plan to decarbonise its range, the Japanese firm presented an original concept of zero-emission convertible.

Does switching to an electric vehicle mean giving up the many pleasures that driving can provide? Nissan wants to prove the opposite with the presentation of several concepts of zero emission vehicles which heralds a major product offensive. After a slump, the Japanese manufacturer gets back in the saddle, increasing the number of announcements and concepts. One way to ensure that he will have to be reckoned with in the future. Nissan has just unveiled its Ambition 2030 vision, which is based on the launch of 23 new electrified vehicles, including 15 100% electric models.

Nissan

To whet our appetites, the Japanese brand, which is an essential part of the Alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi, presented several prototypes exploring many market segments. One of them will have particularly caught our attention since it takes on the architecture of a roadster, a genre that has not yet converted to electric propulsion. At this point, not much more is known but so far most industry experts agreed that the roadster formula was not suited to the passing electric drivetrain, in most cases. by integrating the battery pack under the floor, thereby imposing a raised crossover-type architecture. According to the sketches, the engineers and architects seem to have found a solution. Originality of the Max-Out concept: the passenger seat can disappear into the floor, transforming this roadster in a way into a single-seater.

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Electric car: will you find a charging station on your way?


PRACTICE – Trace the road, yes … but in an electric car, it is better to test your journey beforehand. For your future trips, the presence of terminals nearby will be decisive. Discover their density on your journeys.

More than 700,000 100% electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles circulate on French roads. Five years ago, they were barely 110,000. The recent arrival of new models continues to push the numbers up, electric now accounts for 13.1% of the market share for passenger cars. This movement towards the so-called “clean” car seems irreversible. Should we therefore take the plunge?

If we confine ourselves to the very principle of the utility of the automobile, that is to say its ability to drive us from one point to another, the fundamental question is then to know whether we will find enough charging points on its journeys to arrive safely. Indeed,

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Car of the Year 2022, the seven finalists


NEWS – Sign of a paradigm shift, six finalists run on electric power. France is represented by two models.

A phenomenon that was still unthinkable a few years ago but which testifies to the paradigm shift that the European Commission wants to impose on us, six of the seven vehicles qualified for the final of the Car of the Year election are electrically powered. As for the seventh, the Peugeot 308, it will be available in a 100% electric version in 2024. In the meantime, the compact Lion sedan produced in Mulhouse is available in thermal (petrol and diesel) and plug-in hybrid versions.

Who will succeed the fourth generation of the Toyota Yaris awarded this year?

»SURVEY – What do you think will be the car of the year 2022?

The 61 European journalists taking part in this election, including a member of the editorial staff of Le Figaro, have, for the 59th selection of this institution that is the Car of the Year (Coty), overwhelmingly gave their votes to electric vehicles. If one of the six EVs in the field wins, it won’t be the first time the Coty has recognized this technology. It was in 2011 that the Coty awarded its trophy, for the first time in its history, to a zero-emission model, the Nissan Leaf. It will take eight years for a second vehicle, which runs on electric power (Jaguar i-Pace), wins the election. For the past two years, the Coty has rewarded vehicles that offer electrified versions – Peugeot 208 and Toyota Yaris. Can history repeat itself in 2022 and once again reward an electric model?

The supreme reward will not escape an electrified vehicle anyway, the Peugeot 308 having in its catalog of plug-in hybrid versions. Usually giving pride of place to city cars, the 2022 selection has only one vehicle in this category, the Cupra Born, the cousin of the Volkswagen ID.3. This is the second time that the young brand from Seat has reached the final of the election. Among the finalists, the Skoda Enyaq is based, like the Born, on the VW group’s MEB platform. Korean brands, who dream of winning the cup, present two vehicles in the final, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Kia EV6. As for Ford, which has not been on the podium since the 2012 Focus, it hopes to chase away bad luck by hoisting the Mustang Mach-E on the top step of the podium, an electric SUV that has no Mustang other than the name.

Unless the surprise comes from the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric which will be launched next year and whose price is already announced around 36,000 euros at the entry level.

The seven finalists will be the subject of a (last) confrontation during the month of February, before the final vote. The results will be delivered on Monday February 28 in Geneva.

SEE ALSO – Renault: Luca de Meo unveils the new electric R5 to straighten out Renault

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BMW Concept XM, the first electrified Motorsport


NEW – In anticipation of its 50th anniversary, the sports division of the Munich-based firm will produce a 750-horsepower plug-in hybrid SUV from the end of 2022.

For the 50 years of the Motorsport sports label that BMW will celebrate next year, we were waiting for the final version of the Vision M Next concept presented in 2019 and reviving the memory of the famous M1. It will ultimately be a study foreshadowing an unprecedented SUV, the architecture now preferred by motorists around the world. Dubbed Concept XM, this concept helps to carve out BMW’s new formal language, mixing styling elements from the X7 and the iX, the flagship of the Bavarian automaker’s electric offensive. As is the tradition at BMW, this concept is almost 90% close to the final model that will go into production at the end of 2022 at the Spartanburg plant in the United States.

Bmw

With this vehicle camped on 23-inch wheels and distinguished by a long hood, angular lines, bodybuilt fenders, a high beltline and its distinctly colored roof accentuating the floating roof effect, BMW intends to redefine the codes. luxury.

Impressive torque of 1,000 Nm

Designed as a cockpit entirely dedicated to driving, the interior of the XM concept borrows its language from sports cars. While the digital panel comes from the iX, the atmosphere is really sporty between the carbon fiber decor treated like guilloché aluminum and the bucket seats draped in a patinated gold leather like vintage upholstery. As for the rear seat, it is treated like a sofa dressed in blue leather, the pattern of which echoes the embossing of a pilot’s flame-retardant suit.

Bmw

A sign of the times, the fiftieth anniversary M will be powered by a plug-in hybrid engine. Details of this drivetrain are not yet known, but BMW’s XM will combine a petrol V8 with at least one electric motor. The set will deliver the impressive power of 750 hp and the phenomenal torque of 1000 Nm. The manufacturer announces an electric range of 80 km. With this model, BMW Motorsport clearly shows the direction taken for the coming years.

Bmw

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Company fleets: the market floats between two crises


With the health crisis and the shortage of electronic chips, companies are going from Charybdis to Scylla but are staying the course by extending their long-term rental contracts or by calling on the medium term.

After a short break, the sky darkened again over the auto industry. Barely out of the coronavirus pandemic, manufacturers are faced with a shortage of semiconductors. These electronic chips are sorely lacking and their absence grieves factories when the economic recovery is in place. The fleets are not immune to this new crisis. If the order books are full, delivery times are getting longer, sometimes reaching six months. “Manufacturers favor resale channels where the margins are the most important, notes Pierre Gerfaux, automotive director of Accenture. However, that of fleets is less profitable and manufacturers are concentrating their efforts on other market segments. ”

In contrast, long-term rental (LLD) players focus almost exclusively on business customers. However, this method of financing has asserted itself as a resilient practice. “This method of financing and management is adapted to the use of customers, explains Jérôme Conrad, president of LeasePlan France. To respond to all situations, we were able to shorten or lengthen the contracts. ”

● The second-hand market is exploding

Offered by short- or long-term rental companies or even by manufacturers, medium-term rental has taken advantage of the shortage of semiconductors to prosper. It makes it possible to compensate for the lengthening of delivery times. “Present in 31 countries, our ALD Flex offer has been a real success”, welcomes Gilles Bellemère, Managing Director of ALD Automotive France. Beyond one month, the tenant is released from any long-term commitment and can calmly wait for the delivery of a new vehicle for a long period.

The microprocessor crisis weighs more heavily on companies when vehicles are closely linked to their core business. “A company vehicle appears to be an element of comfort while the service vehicle is crucial for the company’s activity., details Jérôme Conrad. Under these conditions, proactive maintenance is essential to mitigate the effects of the extension of LLD contracts. ” If the extension of contracts does not penalize long-term rental companies, it weighs on manufacturers and on companies that do not have the right vehicles at the right time. But the misfortune of some makes the happiness of others. When new vehicle sales slow down, the used market explodes. Without the possibility of buying a vehicle first hand, individuals and more and more companies are turning to the second hand.

According to data from NGC-Data, in the first three quarters of 2021, sales volumes in the second-hand market increased 13.1% compared to the same period of 2020 and by 5.2% compared to first nine months of 2019, the year of the previous record. This year, 3.6 used vehicles were sold for 1 new vehicle.

The business model of long-term rental companies, bank subsidiaries, car manufacturers and independent players is based in part on their ability to resell their vehicles well on the second-hand market. They set their rents according to several criteria, among which the residual value occupies an essential place. Expressed as a percentage, this number reflects the ratio between the new price and the resale value. With an overheated used-vehicle market, prices are rising, as are rental margins. Today, Arval earns between 600 and 900 euros on the resale of each of its vehicles.

The combination of the shortage of semiconductors and therefore of new vehicles with the economic recovery explains the surge of the occasion. This improvement comes to contradict the Cassandra who foresaw a major crisis caused by the “Dieselgate” and the disaffection of used vehicles with diesel. “The diesel vehicles that are entering the used market today were produced five or six years ago., notes Gilles Bellemère. However, the sale of these vehicles does not present any difficulties. Individuals who cannot buy new vehicles look to the occasion and choose diesel because they have to travel long distances. Our used vehicles are two to three years old. It is all the less difficult for us to sell them as we have diversified our energies. ”

● The diesel crisis did not happen

The used vehicle also lends itself to the LLD. This practice is gaining ground with individuals and businesses alike. A specialist in used vehicle LLD, Roulenloc has rents that defy all competition. A Clio 5 Intens is offered at 376 euros per month when new against 296 euros in the case of second hand. As long-term rental contracts are negotiated to within a few euros, the difference is significant and likely to interest more and more companies. Today, Roulenloc finances 2,000 vehicles. This is still a modest figure compared to ALD Automotive’s 1.76 million units and LeasePlan’s 1.9 million vehicles worldwide. To further strengthen their position, the two entities are discussing a merger that would give birth to the world number one. CarNext, a former division of LeasePlan, already practices LLD of used vehicles, just like ALD Automotive with its brand ALD Carmarket.

● Fleets retreat

With the health crisis and the shortage of electronic components, the fleet market is rocking but not sinking. The Arval Mobility Observatory has compiled the data to compare the first nine months of 2021 to the same period of 2019. BNP Paribas’ think tank excludes 2020, successive containments and shutdowns of production and delivery for long weeks not allowing to establish a convincing comparison. Over the first three quarters of 2021, the fleet market (passenger cars and light commercial vehicles) is down 7.85% compared to the same period in 2019. Sales to businesses are holding up better than the market as a whole, including decline reached 20.3% at the end of September. According to AAAA Data figures, for private vehicles alone, fleets represented 28.14% of total sales when this percentage peaked at 21.8% in 2017. With light commercial vehicles, the share of companies climbed to 36% in 2021, or more than one in three sales.

● From the car to the official bicycle

In this panorama, French manufacturers occupy a central place. In the passenger car segment alone, Peugeot, Renault and Citroën occupy the top three places on the podium with respective market shares of 26, 20 and 11%. The volumes of the Lion increased by 22% compared to 2020, those of the Losange decreased by 3% and those of the Chevrons increased by 23%. From January to September, the three French brands represented 57% of the fleet market in France. Companies have more national fiber than other buyers since only 47% of all purchases go to these three manufacturers.

French or foreign, manufacturers are driven by the SUV phenomenon. These bodies have now dethroned the sedans in the hearts of companies and their employees. Since the start of the year, these raised silhouettes have mobilized 45% of auto sales to professionals against 42% for sedans. In 2017, their share was only 32% when sedans kept the same level of 42%. Also between 2017 and 2021, the share of people carriers rose from 9 to 2% and that of station wagons, from 11 to 8%.

If, whatever the type of bodywork, companies still give pride of place to the automobile, new forms of mobility are beginning to appear. Carpooling, car-sharing, bicycles and mobility loans are gaining ground and are among the top priorities for the future of long-term rental companies with electrification. With a low average age and leading-edge practices, large consulting firms are leading the way. This is the case of BCG, which has been offering function bikes to its employees since last June. “In Paris, young and childless, the need for a car is not felt, explains Matthieu Gombeaud. Under these conditions, employees need a bicycle more than a company car. ” Something to think about car manufacturers. Seat has thus taken the lead by launching an unprecedented mobility offer combining a car, an electric scooter (equivalent to 125 cm3) and an electric scooter.

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The utility converts to electric


To respond to the acceleration of the ecological transition and the future deployment of low-emission zones in agglomerations with more than 150,000 inhabitants, manufacturers are adapting their ranges. Overview.

The establishment of Low Emission Zones (ZFE) by 2025 risks seriously complicating the use of commercial vehicles in city centers. On that date, cities with more than 150,000 inhabitants will indeed have the possibility of restricting access to certain areas to the most polluting vehicles. The 98% diesel utility vehicle is the first concerned.

This is why the manufacturers have embarked on a forced march in the all-electric. The first was Renault. At the start of the 2010 decade, he offered the Kangoo ZE, an electric version of his bestseller. If the brand declared 270 km of autonomy according to the old NEDC antipollution standards, in reality, it was difficult to cover more than 150 km. Today, the latest models from manufacturers claim much greater autonomy. Fiat Professional and Ford, which respectively presented their eDucato and E-Transit, announce 370 and 350 km in the urban cycle, according to the more restrictive WLTP consumption standards. For its part, the Stellantis group, born from the merger of the French PSA and the Italian-American FCA, offers its entire range of utility vehicles in an electric version, while Ford stands out with a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, a unique offer on the market.

For the moment, on the subject of autonomy, only German manufacturers remain behind. The Mercedes-Benz eVito and eSprinter or the Volkswagen e-Transporter or e-Crafter hardly offer more than 150 km of range. Or even less. “These are products that meet very specific needs such as last mile delivery”, we are told at Mercedes-Benz Vans which signed in September 2020 with Amazon the order for 600 eVito and 1200 eSprinter.

The Fiat eUlysse. Fiat

Hydrogen, the next step

Compared to a thermal model, the batteries are installed under the chassis: this architecture has the double advantage of lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity and keeping the load volume. On the other hand, leaded by the mass of the batteries, the payload is reduced. The price remains. An electric utility is on average 25 to 30% more expensive than its thermal equivalent. To facilitate the market, the legislator grants up to 5,000 euros in aid for the acquisition of a zero-emission vehicle as well as a conversion bonus of up to 5,000 euros without forgetting local aid, such as this is the case, for example, in the metropolis of Greater Paris.

For their part, manufacturers are actively communicating on the drop in user costs. Fiat Professional announces a maintenance position “about 40% lower than that of a conventional motor vehicle.” The reason for such a gap? Maintenance reduced to its simplest expression and wearing parts that are much less stressed. As for the costs associated with energy consumption, it is very difficult to draw conclusions. “I estimate that I will reduce my energy bill by around 50%”, says David Calois, director of SRP Polyservices, a Lyon company specializing in industrial cleaning which has just acquired 57 Mercedes-Benz eSprinter. “I am nevertheless waiting a full year to know what the real savings will be because consumption varies enormously depending on the season and the use of the vehicle”, he concludes.

Aware of the limits of the electric utility, a low and uncertain autonomy, too long recharging times, not to mention the electricity prices subject to variation, some manufacturers are already working on the next step. Stellantis has just unveiled a compact hydrogen van. Available from the end of the year, this model has the particularity of being equipped in addition to hydrogen tanks, an electric battery that is recharged on a terminal. This solution makes it the first hybrid hydrogen-electric model. The Franco-Italian manufacturer announces a combined range of 400 km.

For its part, Hyvia, a joint venture owned by Renault and by Plug Power, an American company specializing in fuel cells, unveiled the Master Van H2-Tech last October. With its 30 kW fuel cell, Renault announces for its 12 m van3, which will be on the market in a year, a range of up to 500 km. There remain the problems of hydrogen supply. In France, there are only about thirty stations. To overcome the problems of charging infrastructure, Hyvia designed a simple station prototype. But whatever the case, the future of the utility will pass through the electric.

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Electric vehicles: not all terminals are created equal


OUR ADVICES – Installing recharging infrastructure for battery-powered vehicles in a business can quickly turn into an obstacle course.

Alternating current, direct current, type 2 socket, recharging capacity: difficult to navigate among all the charging station offers. There are two categories: the first distribute alternating current (AC). They are equipped with a type 2 plug, the European standard, and sometimes with a domestic plug. They have four charging power levels: 3.7 kW, 7.4 kW, 11 kW and 22 kW. The first two powers are more than sufficient for most plug-in hybrids, while the second is recommended for 100% electric models.

The right power

The second category of terminals delivers direct current (DC). Their charging power starts at 50 kW and increases to 250 kW, which is the case for example with Tesla Superchargers, or even 350 kW, like those of the Ionity network. From 11 kW, this is considered fast charging, and above 50 kW, ultra-fast charging. With such power, it is thus possible to recover

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Company fleets: how is the cost of vehicle use changing?


SURVEY – The average cost of fleets fell by 5.1% in 2020 thanks to the contraction in expenditure items.

As prices soar in many industries, inflation spares corporate fleets. Better, the cost of a company vehicle returns to the level of 2012. After three years of increase between 2017 and 2019, the trend was reversed last year. This good news is carried by the Arval Mobility Observatory, the BNP Paribas think tank which measures the evolution of costs in the fleets every year. To assess automotive budgets, its experts have developed the concept of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), which takes into account all the expenses related to the operation of a vehicle in order to understand its total weight and be able to compare it with other models on an equivalent basis. Ten years ago, the Arval Mobility Observatory seized on this concept to create the TCO Scope, an annual barometer dedicated to the study of the evolution of detention costs.

In 2020, the average cost per kilometer (PRK) stood at 0.372 euros including tax. This indicator was calculated from the weighted average total cost of a sample of 267,656 cars with an annual mileage of 25,000 km, i.e. long-term rental contracts of 48 months and 100,000 km. This PRK is down 5.1% from 2019 but has yet to return to its lowest level of 2016. “The cost of fuel has fallen significantly, indicates the Arval Mobility Observatory, since the simulations were carried out on the basis of the average price per liter in 2020, i.e. around 1.34 euros including tax per liter of petrol (14 cents less compared to 2019), 1.26 euros per liter of diesel (18 cents less compared to 2019) and, for electric vehicles, an amount of 2 euros per 100 km (identical to 2019). ” The current surge in oil prices, however, suggests an increase in the PRK for the year 2021. Another explanation, the increasingly marked presence of electric vehicles in the fleets of companies has a downward influence on taxation and on the maintenance.

Depreciation

In 2020, the weighted average total cost reached 37,520 euros, against 39,301 euros in 2019. Vehicle depreciation, financial costs, maintenance, tires, insurance, energy, tax and social charges, all items are falling. On the other hand, the respective weight of these different positions does not change. The main component of TCO, depreciation expresses the difference between the purchase price of the vehicle and its foreseeable resale value at the end of 48 months of ownership, a concept expressed as residual value by long-term rental companies. In 2020, the amount of the depreciation was fixed at 15,041 euros, a decrease of 4.51%, against + 1.96% in 2019 and + 7% in 2018.

Second expense item for fleets, tax and social charges account for 23.20% of TCO. This budget includes TVS, non-deductible depreciation and social charges on benefits in kind. “The State and social organizations represent a significant weight in the cost of using a fleet of private vehicles ”, believes the think-tank. This part is all the more important since the non-deductible VAT on the purchases of goods and services is not taken into account whereas it represents an additional cost of 20% for this item. However, this budget is also down (- 1.98% to 8,719 euros). With a wider focal length, the situation seems less favorable, since this position increased by 11.62% between 2012 and 2020.

With 7,207 euros and 19.22% of the TCO, maintenance, including tires and insurance, forms the third largest budget. Here again, this item fell and lost 2.1%. With the exception of 2016, 2020 is the year in which this position will have been the lowest. Energy comes in fourth place with 13.63% of the cost of using a vehicle. In value, it represents 5,113 euros, against 5,918 euros in 2019, a decrease of 13.6%. This trend is explained by lower prices at the pump over the period considered. Notable fact: between 2012 and 2020, the weight of energy in the total PRK fell by 5.37%.

The TCO Scope also analyzes the evolution of costs according to the segments of the automotive market. With the exception of the upper segment (type Audi Q5), all PRKs are down. Compared to 2019, the Eco segment (Renault Twingo) shows the largest decrease (- 7.55%, to 0.245 euro incl.tax / km) followed by the lower segment (Renault Clio) (- 4.76% to 0.280 euro incl. km) and the upper middle segment (VW Tiguan) (- 2.61% at 0.448 euro incl. tax / km). The PRO of the lower middle segment (Peugeot 308) does not budge in 2020, at 0.417 euros including tax / km, while that of the upper segment appreciates by 3.8%, at 0.634 euros including taxes / km.

According to the Arval Mobility Observatory, this general decrease is explained by the decline in gasoline engines, which emit more CO2 and more fuel-consuming, in favor of electrified models with more favorable taxation and for some of them more sober. Between 2012 and 2020, the luxury segment (BMW X5) is the only one to see its TCO drop (- 6.72%). Over the same period, the upper (+ 18.1%) and the lower middle (+ 11.2%) progress by a double-digit percentage.

Offering a complete panorama, the TCO of vehicles must not obscure the other operating costs of a fleet: administrative, management and organizational tasks. According to a study by SesamLLD, the union of long-term rental companies, 58 hours are needed per year and per vehicle to carry out these tasks. Above all, driver behavior is essential to contain costs. Bad practices can increase TCO by 40%.

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