Cadillac Prepares to Produce the LYRIQ

This electric crossover is the start of a new approach at Cadillac

By Gary S. Vasilash

 Cadillac has revealed the production version of what will become the first of its electric onslaught, the 2023 LYRIQ. With the exception of those who are exceedingly focused on such things, the LYRIQ production version looks essentially like the LYRIQ show car.

Jamie Brewer, the vehicle’s chief engineer, says that they were able to accomplish this by working very closely with not only the design team, but manufacturing, as well as the suppliers.

2023 Cadillac LYRIQ. Strange spelling. Cool crossover. (Image: Cadillac)

It is also interesting to note that the vehicle is going to be delivered nine months earlier than had been initially announced. According to Brewer they were able to achieve this through a virtual development process, in which there was extensive digital simulation and testing such that when they did their first pre-production builds there was “high fidelity” between what was expected and what was achieved.

Andrew Smith, executive director of Cadillac Design, and his team certainly had a big challenge in front of them, given that this is the first of the electric vehicles that will define Cadillac’s future.

Smith said he told the design team that they were to develop a “Cadillac that happens to be an electric vehicle.”

He also suggested that they are taking a somewhat different approach to creating models for the brand than some of its competitors do.

“Cadillac is a fashion brand,” Smith says. “Fashion is about change.”

While he says that there are a set of core values and principles, Cadillac design is not about making variants of different sizes and architectures of the same basic thing.

From a functional point of view the LYRIQ has an Ultium 12-module, 100 kWh battery pack and a rear-drive Ultium Platform. Brewer says that the LYRIQ development team and the Ultium development team sat with one another such that they were essentially the same team. She says that by having this close collaboration they were better able to optimize the systems for the vehicle.

The LYRIQ will have an estimated 340 hp and a 300-mile range on a full charge.

It offers high-speed DC fast charging at 190 kW, which means that about 76 miles of range can be achieved in 10 minutes. There is a 19.2-kW home charging module that is capable of providing 52 miles of range per hour of charging.

The vehicle is to start production at the GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, in Q1 2022 and become available during the first half of the year. The starting MSRP is $59,990.

According to Rory Harvey, vice president of Global Cadillac, the brand intends that from now on when there are new vehicles developed they, like the LYRIQ, will be EVs, not powered with internal combustion engines.

Of course, that is probably predicated on the acceptance of EVs by the market.

Should the LYRIQ be prelude to what’s to come, they probably won’t have an issue.

The Polestar 2 Expands

New models mean the Polestar 2 is now 3–sort of

By Gary S. Vasilash

The Polestar 2—which comes from a company named “Polestar”—has now become three.

That is, there is the Polestar 2 Launch Edition, an EV with two electric motors. That’s one.

Now there will be two others: One that is the single motor Polestar 2.

The Polestar 2 (Image: Polestar)

Another that is a dual motor Polestar 2.

Which makes three.

Now the Launch Edition has motors on both the front and rear axles. It has a combined output of 408 hp. (Yes, it is an electric vehicle, but people are more familiar with horsepower than kilowatts. For now.)

Then there will be the Polestar 2 with one motor. The motor will be on the front axle. But rather than a motor with an output of 204 hp—as is the case for the Polestar 2 Launch Edition—the output of that motor will be 231 hp.

The third is the dual-motor Polestar 2, which, motor-wise, is like the Polestar 2 Launch Edition, but which can be ordered with different amenities, thereby permitting people to get into it for less than the price (although Polestar has yet to release pricing) of a Polestar Launch Edition.

Sometimes people complain about companies (think Audi or Cadillac) using alphanumerics instead of names.

This is one case where maybe that would be a better idea.

The Lexus LF-Z Electrified Concept Revealed

What took them so long?

By Gary S. Vasilash

It was called the “Lexus Concept Reveal Show,” and the purpose of the show, such as it was,* was to introduce the LF-Z Electrified.

The show was about the car—a design that has the now-familiar Lexus sheet metal angularity but type-wise something of a cross between a four-door sedan and an SUV, which arguably makes it a bona-fide “crossover”—that is to come out in some form (concepts don’t always turn into production vehicles) by 2025 as part of “20 new vehicle models including BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs, and other electric vehicles.”

Well, it sort of has a spindle grille: the Lexus LF-Z Electrified. (Image: Lexus)

Heretofore the focus at Toyota—of which, of course, Lexus is a part—has been on hybrids.

And it was ahead of the rest of its competitors back in 2005 when it launched the RX 400h, a hybrid.

An interesting thing about that: Lexus was ahead with the straight-up RX, which has become a phenomenal success for the brand, out performing not only anything else in its lineup, but vehicles from its competitors. And the hybrid version was something that others didn’t have because they, to a certain extent, thought that diesel engines were the future.

Yet Lexus was there with that hybrid, then made hybrid variants of everything from its performance cars to its compact utilities.

But its full-EV–especially in the blinding-light of Tesla–was nowhere.

The details of the LF-Z Electrified are sketchy. As in “DIRECT4,” a “four-wheel driving force control technology” that sounds as if it is an approach to torque vectoring (the various wheels are controlled such that the appropriate amount of torque is distributed to each depending on conditions). It rides on a specific battery-electric vehicle (BEV) platform.

The battery is placed longitudinally and helps provide a low center of gravity, but what kind of battery it is or how big aren’t revealed.

The interior is said to be minimalist, using a new design concept, “Tazuna,” which is the Japanese word for rein, as in a rider reining in a horse. (Mazda has long used Jinba Ittai in the development of its vehicles: the combination of a rider and horse as one.)

Lexus has to come big with electric vehicles. Audi is rolling out with models right now, Mercedes is ratcheting up its output, BMW has a suite of electrified vehicles and has announced its own BEVs, and even Cadillac is going all in.

Given that Lexus was already providing electrified vehicles back in 2005 makes me wonder what’s been taking it so long.

*While this was about a car, it should not be mistaken for an “auto show,” one of those events held in a municipal convention center or fairgrounds with miles of aisles of displays of new vehicles, an event that was in the process of diminishing in importance before the pandemic. It almost seems as if those shows, where things like concepts were routinely introduced, may be giving way to things of a tightly controlled and digital nature.

Inside the Volkswagen ID.4

A look at the vehicle and the strategy that Volkswagen has for this important electric vehicle

By Gary S. Vasilash

Even though the Volkswagen ID.4 is only now beginning to roll out on American roads (as well as on German autobahns, which one would have imagined would have happened sooner, as the vehicles are built in a plant in Zwickau), people at Volkswagen were evidently certain of the likely success of the electric vehicle as on November 19, 2019, there was a ground breaking for a $800-million, 564,000-sq. ft. facility at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, complex that will be used, in large part, to build EVs, with the ID.4 being the first.

What’s more, they’re in the process of building a plant for assembling battery packs.

Volkswagen ID.4 (Image: Volkswagen)

So to say VW has a lot riding on EVs is not a hackneyed phrase.

What’s interesting about Volkswagen in America is that it has made a decided focus on crossovers.

While there were once the Touareg and Tiguan Limited, it wasn’t as though either of them made much of a dent in the ute market. The Touareg was described as being “the people’s premium SUV” and the Tiguan Limited was, well, limited in its appeal. MY 2017 was the final for both of the vehicles in the U.S.

But VW has subsequently come out with a new Tiguan, the Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport and the soon-to-arrive Taos. And the ID.4 is also positioned in the utility space.

In 2020 VW sold 325,784 vehicles in the U.S. While it is down 10% from 2019, arguably because of the pandemic, even 2019’s 363,322 units was nothing to necessarily celebrate, especially when you consider, for example, that in 2020 Toyota delivered 430,387 RAV4s. In other words, one vehicle sold nearly 105,000 more units than the entire Volkswagen lineup.

Be that as it may, the SUV lineup is fundamental to the success of VW in the U.S. market as it accounted for 58% of all VW sales in the market. The Tiguan is the only model that had 100,000+ sales in the U.S. in 2020.

So on the one hand, VW wants to sell more SUVs. On the other hand, it wants to sell more EVs. And while the ID.4 is an EV SUV, it still presents a bit of an issue for VW in that it is close to the Tiguan in terms of passenger volume, which is a metric that people pay attention to more than, say, slight differences in wheelbase (the ID.4 has a 108.9-inch wheelbase, which is 0.9 inches shorter than the Tiguan).

A man who has to deal with all of these issues is Hein Schafer, Volkswagen of America senior vice president, Product Market and Strategy.

And he explains what the company is doing regarding the ID.4 in the context of the company’s other offerings on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Schafer also gives insights into features of the electric vehicle and why they are the way they are (e.g., when you climb into an ID.4 with the keyfob, you don’t need to push a button to start the vehicle: you engage the gear selector and just go; Schafer says they took that approach to make the vehicle simple to use, recognizing that people unfamiliar with EVs might have a preconceived notion that driving one is akin to an algebra class or science experiment).

Schafer talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, freelance journalist Sebastian Blanco, and me on the show.

Additionally, McElroy, Blanco and I discuss a variety of other subjects, including the focus other OEMs have on luxury EVs rather than something that is more mainstream like the ID.4, whether sales practices are likely to change as a result of the massive increase in on-line shopping for seemingly everything during the past year, and a whole lot more.

You can watch the show by clicking here.

Developing the 2022 Bolt EUV

If you have any doubt that EVs have a future in an arena mainly populated by things with pistons, watch this show

Rob Mantinan was a self-described “gearhead” growing up in metro Detroit. He had a Camaro when he was in high school. His dad was a UAW worker at a GM facility in Warren. He went to Kettering University. And started right out of school at GM. He has a mechanical engineering degree from the school with a specialization in automotive powertrain. Which is arguably what a gearhead would get.

But then, while working at GM, he pursued a graduate degree and obtained a master’s in energy systems engineering. He was working on things like the Chevy Volt and his focus began to shift.

The Bolt is quick. But probably not faster than an X-Wing. (Image: Chevrolet)

Which makes a whole lot of sense for what he is doing now: Mantinan is the program engineering manager for the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Bolt EUV.

On the subject of going from one propulsion system to another, he admits, “I got converted pretty quickly,” adding, “I’ve turned from a piston guy to an EV guy. And I can’t see going back—other than as a toy.”

It is certainly good to be a strong believer in what you are doing. It makes doing it all the better and satisfying. And arguably results in a better outcome.

On this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Mantinan talks about the development and characteristics of the Bolt EUV, which is based on the Bolt EV platform, but stretched in terms of overall length (it is 169.5 inches long vs. 163.2 inches) and wheelbase (105.3 inches vs. 102.4 inches), with most of the addition space being used for rear passenger legroom (39.1 inches vs. 36 inches).

From a styling point of view, Mantinan says that the Bolt EUV is moving the Bolt “to the mainstream”: it resembles more of a crossover than a five-door hatch.

And the Bolt EUV is being offered with tech that is only otherwise available on. . .Cadillacs.

That’s right. On a vehicle that starts under $40,000 Super Cruise Level 2+ tech can be obtained.

One of the topics—which seems to come up whenever EVs are discussed—is the range. The Bolt EUV range is an estimated 250 miles. When asked whether they considered providing enough battery to allow a greater range, Mantinan notes (1) for existing Bolt customers, the range has not been a problem and (2) they wanted to assure that the Bolt EUV was accessibly priced for the buyer who isn’t interested in making the hefty payments that are associated with some other brands: This is a Chevy. (In addition to which, GM will be bringing out an array of EVs—including some with the bowtie on the front—that will be using its Ultium battery technology, but that’s in the future and the Bolts are now.)

Mantinan talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Jeff Gilbert of WWJ-950, and me.

Then the three of us discuss a variety of subjects, including VW’s Power Day, Cruise Automation buying Voyage, Foxconn’s reported EV plant plans, and a whole lot more.

You can see it all here.

Volvo Focusing on What Matters

And it isn’t whether or not there’s free coffee at the dealership

“The future of Volvo Cars is defined by three pillars: electric, online and growth. We want to offer our customers peace of mind and a care-free way of having a Volvo, by taking away complexity while getting and driving the car. Simplification and convenience are key to everything we do.” That’s Lex Kerssemakers, head of global commercial operations, for Volvo Cars.

Volvo announced it will be all-electric by 2030. And that it is launching a line of electric vehicles that will be available online only.

This doesn’t mean that Volvo dealers are going to be looking for something else to do come 2030.

It does mean, however, that there will be some offerings tailored to the ever-increasing number of people who can’t figure why you need to go to a special place to buy something when they have a perfectly good digital device at hand.

“Online and off-line need to be fully and seamlessly integrated. Wherever the customer is in their journey – online, in a showroom, in a Volvo Studio, or driving the car – the customer experience needs to be top-notch,” Kerssemakers added.

That’s what matters.–gsv

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

Advanced tech in a car for today

Although General Motors is bullish on the whole notion of people driving around in electric vehicles (EVs), for the most part that’s something that is off into the future because there aren’t a whole lot of EVs out there for people to drive—vehicles from GM or any other OEM, for that matter.

GM has had the Bolt EV in dealerships since 2017, a compact car. Compact cars of any type aren’t exactly high on the lists of consumer gotta-haves, and let’s face it: GM’s offering in this space hasn’t been such that people are likely to think when they go out shopping, “Hmm. . . I think I’ll go check out GM compact models.”

Which is to say that the company needs to modify its approach, and with the Bolt EUV it has done that—a bit.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV: Second EV in the Chevy lineup. (Image: Chevrolet)

According to program engineer Rob Manitian, the Bolt EUV shares no sheet metal with the Bolt EV. That said, the Bolt EV has undergone a midcycle refresh so in its new execution, it has a different look, as well.

The rationale for the Bolt EUV is to make the vehicle have more of a “utility” appearance, because if there is something that market wants—and that Chevy has on offer from small to medium to large—its something that seems “utile.”

Seems is pretty much the operative word for the Bolt EUV when it comes to utility vis-à-vis its stable mate.

That is, the Bolt EUV is bigger than the Bolt EV:

The EV has a wheelbase of 102.4 inches; the EUV 105.3.

The EV has an overall length of 163.2 inches; the EUV 169.5.

The height difference is just 0.2 inches.

The size difference is manifest in the rear legroom:

The EV offers 36 inches; the EUV 39.1.

But here is where the seems kicks in: Cargo volume.

The cargo volume behind the rear seat in the EV is 16.6 cubic feet and it is 57 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

The cargo volume behind the rear seat in the EUV is 16.3 cubic feet and it is 56.9 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

While those numbers are not significantly different—especially that 0.1 cubic foot difference—one might imagine that the EUV might offer a significant difference when it comes to accommodating stuff, which it clearly doesn’t. (OK. It has standard roof rails. But. . . .)

If you’re not putting someone in that rear seat, then one could say that the choice between the two is pretty much a wash, given that the vehicles have the same platform and propulsion system.

The vehicle is powered by a 150-kW permanent magnet motor. (A.k.a., 200 hp) There is a 65-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that provides an estimated range of 250 miles on a full charge. With a Level 2 charger (240 V) the battery goes to a full charge in 7 hours; with a DC fast charge system, up to 95 miles in 30 minutes.

Because of the increase in the wheelbase, there is a different driving dynamic, one that is appreciated when using. . . Super Cruise.

That’s right: the hands-free driver assistance technology that has been heretofore available only in Cadillac models has moved to the Bolt EUV.

The Super Cruise system makes use of sensors—radar, cameras, on-board—and a LiDAR map. (No, it doesn’t have LiDAR but the mapping of some 200,000 miles of roads—like freeways—that has been done with a LiDAR system. What does that mean? Simply that it is really accurate. In addition to which, GM has a contract with a company that is out there right now, scanning more roadways and updating existing ones, information that goes to Super Cruise via over-the-air updates.)

You activate the system, set speed for adaptive cruise, and assuming you’re on roadway that is good to go, you center the car in the lane, it then gives you a lightbar on the steering wheel indication that it is ready, so you push the button a second time. . .and remove your hands from the steering wheel.

The Bolt EUV then maintains speed—adjusted based on the set spacing via the adaptive cruise—and maintains the lane. The road curves; the steering wheel makes the adjustment.

You are not permitted to take a nap or read a newspaper because there is an unobtrusive “Driver Attention System” that uses infrared lighting and a small camera on top of the steering column that keeps an eye on your eyes (even through sunglasses) so that if you’re paying insufficient attention to what’s going on, the system let’s you know that’s not acceptable behavior.

But to return to the wheelbase for a moment. When driving at freeway speeds in the adjacency to big rigs, unless you’re in a full-size SUV or pickup truck, you’re going to feel buffeting. The addition six inches of wheelbase undoubtedly helps keep things from feeling too unsettling when the Bolt EUV is, essentially, driving itself (I suppose that this point I ought to have in big red letters something that says YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR BEING IN CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE because as modern as it is, you’re still in charge).

The interior of the vehicle is fresh and contemporary without being too overtly “futuristic” in execution. I actually wish it did seem to be a bit more advanced because let’s face it: this is still leading-edge technology compared to about 95% of everything else on the road, so those who are adopting it ought to get a nod that they’re participating in the creation of the future. (It is worth noting that the front end of a white Bolt EUV does resemble a Star Wars stormtrooper, however.)

But perhaps the biggest takeaway of the Bolt EUV is that while it is a technologically sophisticated vehicle, it is a normal vehicle. It is a vehicle that anyone can drive without feeling as though they’re in something that is uncomfortably different (“Uh, how do I ________________”).

Which is what will really matter in order to get more people behind the wheels of EVs.–gsv

Standard of the World, Again, Finally?

Will EVs provide Cadillac the jolt it needs to make it matter—again—in the market? Todd Lassa considers the proposition

As “Standard of the World,” Cadillac has had two distinct eras. The first started in 1908, when the luxury marque won engineering’s prestigious Dewar trophy for the precise interchangeability of its parts and earned that tagline; it ended at the beginning of World War II, shortly after it discontinued its second V-16 engine design and LaSalle sub-brand. The second era was from the new OHV high-compression V-8 of 1949 to, roughly, the mid-1970s. Even the over-chromed, over-finned, over-sized Cadillacs had a cache from here to Europe and Asia that began to fade in the 1970s, when Mercedes-Benz made them look in comparison like rental cars for the executive with a generous expense account.

Cadillac has been trying to earn back its “Standard of the World” reputation since the early part of the 21st century, when it started converting back to mostly rear-wheel-drive-based sedans. Despite some very good efforts, from the second- and third-generation CTS to the all too short-lived CT6 (and especially the CT6-V Blackwing), its flagship remained the big Tahoe/Suburban-based SUV, the Escalade. And if the ’71 DeVille came off as an overpriced ’71 Chevy Caprice (as Motor Trend so noted in a feature article asking whether the extra $3,000 was worth it), the ’21 Escalade still is basically a glorified ’21 GMC Yukon Denali with an extra-fancy dashboard.

A fresh face of Cadillac. (Images: Cadillac)

General Motors tried all sorts of extracurricular schemes to earn spots in car magazine comparison tests alongside the best from Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Audi, including the Sixteen concept of 2003, powered by two Chevy small blocks welded together: several failed European export attempts; moving HQ to Manhattan, and (unrelated, as it was then-CFO Dan Amman who didn’t want to relocate to Detroit) hiring the exec credited with making Audi what it is in North America, Johan deNysschen, after he spent a month running Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand.

DeNysschen had grand plans for Cadillac, which GM had just split off into a separate business entity, so it wouldn’t have to share more than the unseen bits (e.g.,  truck platforms, wiring harnesses and other things consumers aren’t particularly aware of) with Chevys, Buicks and GMC models. In what I believe was his first interview as president of Cadillac, in early fall 2014 for Automobile magazine, he told me the marque would eventually get a Mercedes S-Class competitor and a high-end sports car or two.

DeNysschen lasted in the job about three-and-a-half years. Some auto news reports overplayed his responsibility for initiatives including an edgy ad campaign (along with incorrectly blaming him for the Manhattan HQ) that failed to move the metal and a subscription service called “Book by Cadillac” (all lux-car sub services except for maybe Volvo have since fallen), but the real reason he left, not in a huff, but in a minute-and-a-huff, is that he clashed with top GM management, most of them lifers, over vehicle pricing.

To become Standard of the World again, you can’t put money on the hood as though the brand sells through one big network of Fast Eddy car lots, where its all about the deal, but that’s what they did. DeNysschen wanted to rebuild slowly by selling a product that could stand hood-ornament-by-hood-ornament with Mercs and Bimmers, but he fully recognized that it would take a good decade or more for new, younger luxury buyers to believe that the Caddy had the same level of cache´.

DeNysschen has been gone now as long as a full product lifecycle. He landed at Volkswagen USA (an even tougher job, but that’s another column), and Cadillac is still at it, offering the Mercedes E-Class-size CT5 for the price of a C-Class, and the BMW 3 Series-size CT4 for the price of a BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe.

But GM has figured a way back to the Standard, perhaps out of necessity: Electric vehicles (EVs).

Despite what you may have read in the mainstream press, GM hasn’t suddenly discovered EVs. There were more than two decades between the 1966 Chevy Electrovair experiment and the Saturn-esque EV1—admittedly, the Electrovair was pretty much for internal work and to show to the world that it could be done while the EV1 was also something of an external test program, as there were Californians who had the opportunity to lease the vehicle for their daily drives. What’s more, GM developed the extended-range Volt and the fully electric Bolt, both of them Chevrolets for the mass market, and it is now concentrating R&D efforts on what it calls the “Ultium” platform—batteries, motors and underlying platform.

In 2013 the Cadillac ELR went into production. It used the same Voltec extended-range EV technology that powered the Volt. In part, this was a response to analysts who pointed out the company should have used what is now known as plug-in hybrid tech in a $60,000 luxury car rather than a $40,000 commodity hatchback sedan. The Volt had gone into production three years earlier. By the time the ELR launched on the first-generation Voltec technology, it had inferior technology next to the Chevy Volt with its updated extended-range system. The ELR was a disaster.

Cadillac LYRIQ with the GM Design Dome in the background.

GM – or should I say, “gm,” given its new lower-case logo – is planning its big EV rollout of the next five or so years with new models to cover every U.S. brand. This time, however, it starts with higher profit-margin prestige models, like the GMC Hummer and the Cadillac Lyriq SUV.  

What’s more, GM has announced that Cadillac will become the company’s lead brand for electric vehicles, with plans calling for it to sell essentially only EVs by 2030. (Going back to deNysschen’s plan for dealers selling on quality not price, it is interesting to note that late last year GM offered to buy out Cadillac dealers who weren’t interested in going down the electric road, and some 150 of them—about one in six—took the offer.)

If the production Cadillac EVs, especially the >$100,000 Celestiq luxury sedan, are close to the prototypes GM showed off last March in the legendary GM Design Dome, they could rule the segment ahead of German, Japanese, British and South Korean luxury brands. Price them against the only real competition to date: the Tesla lineup. And if the Ultium EV platform delivers on its promise to reduce the cost of the technology but with highly competitive range and performance, Cadillac could become the Standard of the Electrified World and, importantly, make money while doing so.

GM could mess this up, of course, as it has so many times in the past. But I didn’t get the sense from the presentations last March that CEO Mary Barra, President Mark Reuss, and others in the company that they were at all nervous about continuing the automaker’s usual fatal flaws, like too-cheap interiors, disappointing execution, or a management reorganization that places emphasis back on V-8 pickup trucks and SUVs, reducing EV production plans below Corvette output and cancelling promising models after two years, pretending that this has been the plan all along.

Let’s face it: Even if they come up with superb products it is going to take Cadillac some time to convince those who are likely to buy premium-priced EVs that they want a Cadillac crest on their purchase. However, there is one possibility that would play to Cadillac’s advantage in the EV space: There will be a cohort of younger buyers who are looking for EVs and who have little or no impressions of the brand, so they’d be just as willing to go Cadillac as any other marque.

Still, it seems as though electrification could be Cadillac’s best shot.—Todd Lassa

Hyundai Introduces IONIQ 5

This is visually impressive and the EV numbers are solid. Dare we think “game-changer”?

Although Hyundai currently offers a model named “IONIQ”—a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle (EV)—it is creating a new brand for its EVs that is named “IONIQ.”

Which is slightly confusing.

But it has happened before, when the company launched the Genesis Coupe (a replacement for the Tiburon) and then decided that it would use “Genesis” as the name for its luxury brand. There are undoubtedly some boy racers around with their tuned Genesis Coupes, which probably annoys the hell out of those who are piloting their G90s.

Hyundai has introduced what is the first IONIQ vehicle, the IONIQ 5, an EV.

It is a midsized crossover.

The IONIQ 5 is based on the Electric-Global Modular Platform, which will be the basis of many electric vehicles to come from the Hyundai Group. (Image: Hyundai)

The factors that seem to be the most germane to people regarding EVs is (1) their range and (2) how long it takes to get a charge into them.

As for the former, Hyundai has released figures: a two-wheel drive IONIQ 5 with a 72.6-kWh battery will have a range of from 470 to 480 km on the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, which is not the same approach in testing that provide EPA numbers. For those who are not thinking in metric, the 470 to 480 are 292 and 298, respectively.

As for the charging, with a 350-kW charger the battery goes from 10% to 80% in 18 minutes. And if there are only five minutes available and the same type of charger, it can get 100 km, or 62 miles, of range.

It should be noted that the standard battery is 58-kWh.

The design, with its creases and angles, certainly indicates that the IONIQ 5 is a 21st century vehicle without having a cartoonish appearance.

According to the company, the way the front and rear portions of the crossover meet at the doors (doors, by the way, which have a remarkable diagonal crease) is an example of the company’s “Parametric Design” approach. What’s slightly confusing is that Hyundai notes that this design language was first used for the new Hyundai Tucson.

At some point they’re going to have to figure out the separation of the brands.

That said, the IONIQ 5, which is to launch later this year, certainly has the looks and the specs that is going to make it an exceedingly strong contender in the EV space.

If Tesla is Apple, then think of Hyundai—or IONIQ—as Samsung.–gsv

Electric Delivery: A Clever Approach to Logistics

This van is compact, capable and electric. And it has a hell of a price-point

This is nothing if not clever.

Even were it not for COVID-19, the success of e-commerce was driving all manner of commercial delivery vehicles into neighborhoods across the U.S. The pandemic has only accelerated that growth, and suddenly even businesses that never imagined that they’d be in the delivery business (e.g., restaurants that aren’t based on pizza) suddenly are if they want to stay in business.

One of the characteristics of electric vehicles is that because they have fewer parts than a vehicle with a combustion engine, there are fewer things that could break. In addition to which, there are fluids, like oil, that need to be changed.

Companies that have fleets of vehicles (even if that fleet consists of, well, one), know that maintenance is both costly and time consuming.

So that’s on the good side of the ledger for an electric delivery vehicle.

So James Taylor, who is the founder and CEO of Electric Last Mile Solutions (and a man who has run operations with names that you might be more familiar with, like Cadillac and Hummer), says that a right-sized delivery vehicle that happens to be electric can be a cost-effective game-changer for many companies.

The vehicle that will be offered by Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS) is a Class 1 delivery van. It is based on a model that is on the road in China, the Sokon EC35. It has a cargo capacity of 170 cubic feet and a maximum payload of 2,403 pounds. It is compact, with a 120-inch wheelbase and a length, width and height of 177, 66 and 78 inches, respectively.

The ELMS Class 1 delivery vehicle. (Image: ELMS)

It has a 100 kW electric motor from JJE and a 42-kWh battery from CATL.

It has a range of 150 miles.

Back to that cost of equipment issue.

According to Taylor, the vehicle is going to be priced at about $32,500. When you take the $7,500 federal tax credit off of that, it is at $25,000, a price, he says, that someone can get a combustion-powered Class 1 van for. So because of the reduction in required maintenance and other factors, Taylor says the total cost of ownership is about 35% better than the traditional approach.

The vehicles will be produced in Mishawaka, Indiana, in the 675,000-square-foot factory that used to be the Hummer plant. It has the capacity to build over 100,000 vehicle per year, which is probably a good thing for Taylor because he says that they have more than 30,000 reservations for the vehicle.

The bodies-in-white will be delivered to the plant so there is no stamping, welding or painting involved. It will be all about assembly.

Because there is a vast array of requirements in the commercial space, Taylor says upfitters will actually work within the Mishawaka plant so customers will get their van from the factory.

It is very clever.

Taylor talks about what ELMS is doing on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Christie Schweinsberg of Wards Intelligence and me.

In addition, McElroy, Schweinsberg and I discuss a variety of other subjects including the need for better and more extensive EV charging infrastructure, the introduction of the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to go electric, Ford of Europe’s electrification plans, and a whole lot more.

All of which you can see right here.