Volkswagen will race this wild new EV up Pikes Peak later this year

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Volkswagen announced late last year that it would return to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb for the first time in 31 years. Now we know that the German automaker plans to tackle the competition with a wild, all-electric race car called the ID R Pikes Peak.

In case you’re unfamiliar, PPIHC is one of the more revered (and daunting) motorsports competitions in the world. Drivers start at the bottom of a 156-turn, 12.4-mile course, and race (one at a time) to the finish line at the summit some 14,000 feet above sea level.

EVs aren’t new to Pikes Peak — in fact, they’ve flourished there since showing up a few years ago, in part because they don’t wind up gasping for oxygen like internal combustion engines are wont to…

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Volkswagen: €34bn reinvention as electric, autonomous car maker

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Volkswagen SEDRIC

The Volkswagen Group has laid out an ambitious electric vehicle and autonomous driving roadmap, with 16 locations around the world now set to produce electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of 2022.

The €34 billion programme marks a major up-scaling of the carmaker’s electric car programme, from its current three EV production locations. CEO Matthias Müller announced the investment at the Group’s annual conference in Berlin.

Volkswagen plans to have a further nine electric car plants up and running in the next two years.

Agreements have already been signed with battery manufacturers for Europe and China, comprising much of the €20 billion already committed, while securing battery capacity to meet demand. A supplier for North America is expected to follow soon.

The turbocharged plan follows the launch of Volkswagen’s Roadmap E strategy last autumn, in which the carmaker announced its intention to produce up to three million electric vehicles annually by 2025, and market 80 new electric models across the Volkswagen Group.

The company is set to launch three new fully electric cars and six hybrids this year, with this expected to increase to a new electric vehicle “virtually every month” in 2019, Müller announced.

Evolution or revolution?

This seems to be a watershed moment in Volkswagen’s history, and that of the car sector as a whole. Even within Volkswagen itself, the move will have far-reaching repercussions, as it owns Audi, Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini, among other famous marques.

As electric cars become more affordable and capable, overcoming the challenges of range and charging times, the industry’s giants are keen to keep their place in the vanguard of automotive innovation, fending off challengers such as Tesla, Uber, and Alphabet.

However, this doesn’t mean that Volkswagen thinks the combustion engine is dead. Müller said:

We are making massive investments in the mobility of tomorrow, but without neglecting current technologies and vehicles that will continue to play an important role for decades to come. We are putting almost €20 billion into our conventional vehicle and drive portfolio in 2018, with a total of more than €90 billion scheduled over the next five years.

The digitised cars of tomorrow

The increased focus on electric vehicles goes hand-in-hand with the Group’s wider digital transformation. Last autumn it announced the Volkswagen I.D. – a range of electric, fully-autonomous concept cars that embody its strategic vision for the space.

Now, the carmaker’s first level 5 (complete automation) concept car has been announced: SEDRIC. It forgoes a steering wheel, pedals, and even a cockpit, in favour of four inward-facing seats. (God forbid it encounters any speed bumps.)

Taken together, e-mobility, autonomous driving, networking of all road users, and new mobility services add up to a total of €34 billion in new Volkswagen investment by 2022.

“We want to redefine urban mobility, and to that end we are systematically focusing on people and their needs, and not primarily on technology,” said Müller.

One example is Volkwagen’s recent announcement of CarLa, an autonomous robot that charges your car. It is aimed at tackling one of the friction points of electric car ownership: the need for regular charging.

Summing up, Müller said:

In spite of all the challenges, particularly those we are facing in cities, we want to be part of the solution. I am convinced that the Volkswagen Group with its 12 brands is better placed to achieve that than any other mobility group.

“And because – irrespective of all the love of cars that makes us who we are and defines our success – we have understood that, ultimately, technology is always only a means to an end.”

Internet of Business says

This final note on consumer needs is an important one. In the constant drive for technology gains, it’s vital to remember the customer. Whether passengers are travelling in a diesel car or an electric one, and whether it boasts level 5 autonomy or a humble steering wheel, it all boils down to their experience. Ultimately, it’s about whether the vehicle matches their lifestyle – and gets them to where they want to go.

In the aftermath of Dieselgate, Volkswagen is eager to redefine itself as a forward-thinking sustainability advocate. And as the largest carmaker in the world by some measures, Volkswagen will play a central role in the shift to smart electric vehicles.

The company’s renewed strategic emphasis on electric cars begs the question of how this will affect the current leaders in the field. Tesla may be the industry darling, but the financial might and pedigree of Volkswagen can’t be ignored.

Read more: Lamborghini teams with Vodafone on connected supercars

Read more: Hyundai tests first autonomous fuel cell cars

Read more: TomTom brings connected car services to Kia and Hyundai

The post Volkswagen: €34bn reinvention as electric, autonomous car maker appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Apple partners with Fiat Chrysler & Volkswagen to bundle Apple Music trial with new vehicles that support CarPlay

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Apple has partnered up with Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen to offer a six-month subscription to Apple Music when purchasing a new vehicle with CarPlay. The new promo will start on May 1, 2018.

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U.S. Fiat Chrysler and EU Volkswagen buyers can get 6 free months of Apple Music

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If you’re thinking of buying a new vehicle that supports Apple’s CarPlay, Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen are ready to sweeten the deal. In the U.S., select Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, and Ram cars with CarPlay will come with six months of free Apple Music; in Europe, certain new Volkswagens with CarPlay will offer the same six-month deal, so long as customers register with VW’s Car-Net connectivity service.

Apple offers pretty much anyone a free three-month trial of its unlimited audio streaming service Apple Music, but once that trial ends, you generally can’t get an equivalent or longer second trial. With six months of service, the Fiat Chrysler/Volkswagen deal is the longest free Apple Music service offer out there, and a great perk for CarPlay users looking for a better-than-radio alternative. U.S. and European customers will have access to the full 45 million song Apple Music catalog, plus standard CarPlay features.

There are a few caveats. First, the deal is available for a year, starting on May 1, 2018 and ending on April 30, 2019. Second, the free service being offered is an individual membership, rather than the more expensive family plan. That means the value of the six-month trial is around $ 60, not $ 90, and only one person can listen to Apple Music at a time.

Third, existing Apple Music subscribers will get only three free months of service from the deal instead of six free months. The U.S. press release notes that the six-month trial is for “new Apple Music subscribers,” while the European press release explains that the “six-month membership consists of three free-of-charge trial months and three additional months provided to customers free of charge.” In other words, if you’ve previously signed up for Apple Music or received a three-month trial, expect only three extra months of service, not a six-month extension.

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FCA and Volkswagen offer six-month Apple Music trials to new car buyers

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Apple is partnering with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the U.S. and Volkswagen in Europe to offer new car buyers six months of Apple Music with select models supporting the CarPlay platform, doubling the streaming service’s normal trial period.
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Volkswagen Has Pledged to Spend $40 Billion on Electric and Hybrid Cars

Volkswagen Ups the Ecologic Ante

Yet another automaker has stepped up to the plate in making their vehicles more environmentally friendly. Volkswagen (VW) has announced that they plan to spend more than 34 billion euros, or $ 40 billion, between 2018 and 2022 on developing electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and new technology.  Most of that money, the company stated after a supervisory meeting, will be spent on updating Volkswagen’s current models to into electric or hybrid.

This projection is significantly larger than a different pledge, released two months ago, that VW would invest 20 billion euros through 2030 on electric and self-driving cars.

The ID BUZZ, one of many electric models Volkswagen has announced. (Image Credit: Volkswagen)
The ID BUZZ, one of many electric models Volkswagen has announced. Image Credit: Volkswagen

“With the planning round now approved, we are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world’s No. 1 player in electric mobility by 2025,” said Matthias Mueller, VW Chief Executive, in a press conference, Reuters reports.

Diverse Choices

The German automaker already has four electric models on the road, and has unveiled plans for several more, including an electric crossover with autonomous features and the retro-inspired electric ID BUZZ.

All Electric Cars: What’s My Range? [INFOGRAPHIC]
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The company’s push for more eco-friendly vehicles comes as little surprise in the wake of their 2015 emissions-cheating scandal. The scandal erupted when the Environmental Protection Agency discovered that VW vehicles contained a device that allowed them to meet emissions standards when an emissions test was detected, but emit up to 40 times more greenhouse gases than the legal U.S. limit otherwise.

The shift is also being prompted by quotas requiring the shift to electric cars in China, where more electric vehicles (EVs) are sold than anywhere else. CNN reports that Volkswagen plans to invest as much as 10 billion euro, around $ 11.8 billion, in China over the next seven to eight years. This will include developing as many as 40 new electric and hybrid models by 2025.

Not to mention, Volkswagen may find itself forced to switch over as EVs begin to dominate the auto market — many of VW’s competitors, including General Motors, Porsche, Ford, Honda, and even Lamborghini have announced plans to go hybrid or fully electric.

The post Volkswagen Has Pledged to Spend $ 40 Billion on Electric and Hybrid Cars appeared first on Futurism.

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