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Retrofitting new powertrains to used cars isn't something that automakers have done, historically--but electric cars may change that rule. Now, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has suggested that the Silicon Valley electric-car maker will offer a replacement battery for the 2008-2012 Tesla Roadsters that were its first production cars. Musk's announcement came in a mid-July interview with the British magazine Auto Express, in which Musk largely reiterated what is known about the company's upcoming Model III. At the end of the piece, though, was a kicker: Tesla plans to offer a battery upgrade that will not only give the car a fresh battery, but use newer-generation cells and other technology to provide a significant range boost. The Roadster, sold from 2008 through 2011 in North America (and through 2012 in other markets) had an electric range rated at 245 miles by the U.S.
The new battery, Musk said, "should have a range of about 400 miles"--quite a substantial upgrade. But his comment is just another indication that the advent of mass-produced electric cars is upending all sorts of assumptions about the ways the auto industry has historically worked. In June, Nissan announced that not only would it offer replacement Nissan Leaf battery packs for a mere $5,500--and that the new packs would use the latest battery chemistry. The relative simplicity of battery-electric vehicles may make engineering such upgrades and retrofits easier than in vehicles with gasoline or diesel combustion engines and multi-speed automatic transmissions. Their complete running gear comprises a battery pack, an electric motor, and the associated power electronics and software.
Since packs must be designed to be removable, a swap should--in theory--comprise no more than engineering a new and more powerful battery to occupy the same form factor and connect electric cables and sensors (plus any liquid cooling inlets and outlets) in the same place. Only 2,500 Tesla Roadsters were built, based on some underpinnings also used in the Lotus Elise sports car. Which should, if nothing else, limit the number of cells required to upgrade them--meaning there'll be relatively little impact on the cell volumes destined to emerge from Tesla's much-discussed battery gigafactory. Toyota has said for many years that it plans to build and sell a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, and now the company has trickled out some more information on that car. Specifically, it provided images of the final production version's exterior design--little changed from the concept it showed at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2013--along with on-sale dates and the price in Japan.
The Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan will be launched "before April 2015" in its home market of Japan, and the company is preparing to introduce the car in both the U.S. In November this year, the car's official model name was revealed: It will be the 2016 Toyota Mirai, which means "future" in Japanese. In Japan, the hydrogen-powered Toyota will carry a price of "approximately 7 million yen" before tax (roughly $68,700), and will first be sold only in those regions where hydrogen fueling infrastructure exists.
The company noted in its press release that additional information--including interior design, specifications, exact prices, and sales targets--will come later. Toyota put its first hydrogen test vehicles on the road roughly 20 years ago, and since 2002, it has been testing a fleet of Toyota Highlander Fuel Cell crossover utility vehicles in North America and other markets.


Curiously, a model name for the revolutionary new Toyota was not specified in the company's release.
The company also released a lengthy 75-minute video (below) of the Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan for the official unveiling event held in Japan. Audi unveiled a new smaller crossover at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show as it continues trying to fill every conceivable niche in the segment. The 2016 Audi Q2 is slightly smaller than the current Q3, and just one of many crossovers the company is planning. Audi has been planning a subcompact crossover for some time, and for awhile planned to call it Q1. That was because the rights to the Q2 name were previously owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which used Q2 for a front-axle differential in some Alfa Romeo models. The production Q2 is based on the Volkswagen Group's flexible MQB platform, which underpins the Golf and numerous other models. The standard engine is a turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder, which produces 114 horsepower.
A six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive are also available. Several larger engines, including a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline unit, will be available as well. And despite the ongoing Volkswagen diesel scandal, the Q2 will be offered in Europe with diesel engine options.
2016 Audi Q2, 2016 Geneva Motor ShowEnlarge PhotoThere is still no indication the VW Group will attempt to certify new diesel models for sale in the U.S. In addition to being smaller than any current Audi crossover, the Q2 is styled somewhat differently.
It sports a new version of Audi's trademark grille, harder surface edges, and a blacked-out rear pillar, among other features. This is part of Audi design boss Marc Lichte's plan to make Audi models more distinct from each other, in response to criticism that the carmaker's products looked too similar. In addition to the new Q2, Audi plans to launch a new version of the Q5, a larger vehicle called the Q8, and an all-electric model based on the e-tron quattro concept from the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Instead, we will get a slightly larger Volkswagen-branded crossover based on the multiple T-Roc concepts, and also using the MQB platform. Consumer Reports admits that the carbon bodyshell used by the 2016 BMW 7 Series makes it feel lighter and nimbler on the road. You have to remember that this is a quick drive, not a detailed analysis from Consumer Reports. BMW is on a losing streak with Consumer Reports, after the all-new X1 took a pounding a week ago.


2015 BMW X4, 2014 New York Auto ShowEnlarge PhotoBMW’s SUV lineup is growing again this year, and so is its lineup of coupes. You probably know the bigger X6—that’s the more coupe-like version of BMW’s X5 utility vehicle.
The X4 takes a carving tool to the X3’s squared-off roofline, smoothing it down for a sleeker profile. Like the X3, the X4 has an independent suspension, variable-ratio electric power steering, and driving modes that emphasize comfort, economy, and sporty driving. See more videos on our YouTube sites: The Car Connection, Motor Authority, and Green Car Reports. After Telegraph Cars found the flagship sedan to be unworthy of its price tag, Consumer Reports now attacks the tech department. The 7 Series is a flagship for BMW, so the company crammed in every feature it could think of, including ones that don't make sense yet.
But in 2015, the fact that you can wave at the 7er's screen seems stupid when there are physical buttons on the steering wheel.
The cheapest and smallest car sold by the company in America apparently doesn't ride as well as a Mercedes-Benz and lacks the features that come with the GLA-Class. At the same time, the front air intakes are plumped up and touched up with LED fog lights, all to draw more attention to the classic BMW grille.
It’s about an inch and a half lower than the X3, and the rear seats are sculpted for two passengers, though BMW says three will fit. There are options for adaptive cruise control and a set of surround-view cameras, even a parking assistant that steers the X4 into parallel parking spaces. We'll be back with a full review and a first drive later this year, but until then, get more information in our 2015 BMW X4 preview. The 750i sedan starts at €94,400 while its Mercedes-Benz S550 competitor stickers for $96,600. Nevertheless, they remain consistent when it comes to the price of optional features and how the dashboard works.
The low roofline means less headroom and slightly less cargo space, but it’s still pretty useful for cargo, with almost 18 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. Other options include a navigation system that lets you enter destinations on a scratchpad surface, and smartphone connectivity for streaming audio.
For a more custom touch, the X4 can be trimmed in M Sport gear, with bigger wheels and tires and sport seats, or in xLine trim, for a more traditional look.



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