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This fierce crossover EV could drive China into the US market
Pininfarina is best known as a design firm, of course, and though the company has projects that span a number of fields – including everything from architecture to cookware – it’s arguably its automotive work for which it’s most respected. Founded by Battista “Pinin” Farina in 1930, it was responsible for the aesthetic of iconic vehicles including the 1973 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4, 1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider, and 2023 LaFerrari. However, the company also had its eye on being an automaker in its own right.
That clearly requires plenty of cash, something provided when Pininfarina was acquired by Mahindra Group at the end of 2023. The deal, worth about $208m, kick-started Pininfarina’s new range of electric vehicle concepts. Collaborations between Pininfarina and Chinese automaker Hybrid Kinetic Group, they’ve included luxury sedans like the H600, five- and seven-seater SUVs such as the K550 and K750, and most recently the HK GT, a 2+2 GT with huge gullwing doors.
Now, there’s a smaller electric SUV coming, to take on the flourishing crossover segment. The K350 will be a four-seater all-EV SUV, Pininfarina says, the smallest in the envisaged line-up but borrowing its bigger siblings styling cues. That includes “a robust and athletic body,” Pininfarina promises.
The K550 and K750 were both hybrids, using electric drivetrains the range of which could be extended with an onboard gas engine used as a generator. According to Hybrid Kinetic Group, the combination could be enough for more than 600 miles of range. It’s unclear whether the K350 will use the same system, or shift to an all-electric platform.
Although production plans for the K350 are still unclear, there’s no denying that electrified crossovers are a growing area of interest – both for automakers and drivers. Chevrolet is believed to be working on an electric crossover based on the underpinnings of the Bolt EV hatchback, for instance. Volvo, meanwhile, will have an electric XC40 in the next couple of years.
For HK, the US is a target but it’s unclear when cars like the K350 might reach it. Previous reports have suggested that, rather than its own brand, it would use the Pininfarina name for such a launch. Eventually, the automaker has ambitious plans of a range of twelve vehicles, spanning sedans through SUVs to performance cars and even pickups. “Development work around the world continues to move steadily forward,” the automaker said at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, having begun construction of a $2.71bn powertrain center last November.
While that might seem ambitious – as does HK’s plan to set up other companies focusing on fuel cells, gas-powered range extenders, and automotive tech – there are some big motivators. Not least of those is China’s draconian clean car demands. The government expects “new-energy vehicles” or NEVs to represent all the auto industry growth in the country moving forward, and will be implementing tough penalties from 2023 for automakers that don’t meet targets.
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If you want something done right, then do it yourself. Rather than waiting for the private sector to catch on to clean energy, President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday that would put the US government on track to becoming carbon neutral in the next 30 years. This means reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by the end of the next decade and transitioning to purchases of electric cars and trucks only by 2035.
“As the single largest landowner, energy consumer, and employer in the Nation, the Federal Government can catalyze private sector investment and expand the economy and American industry by transforming how we build, buy, and manage electricity, vehicles, buildings, and other operations to be clean and sustainable,” the executive order states.
The other major goals of the order are switching to carbon-pollution-free electricity by 2030, hitting net-zero emissions from construction materials and other federal acquisitions by 2050, and creating a net-zero building portfolio by 2045.
“The federal government is the largest customer in the world. This aligns the government’s enormous buying power with the nation’s climate goals,” John Bowman, managing director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “Shifting to clean energy—in federal buildings, vehicles, and power purchases—and using clean building materials for infrastructure projects will speed the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
[Related: 4 new myths about climate change—and how to debunk them]
If successful, the market power the US government holds could give a serious financial boost to clean energy technologies—similar to what the Chinese government is currently doing with their 2060 net-zero goals, Joshua Freed, senior vice president for climate and energy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic research group, told the New York Times.
This massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would also include the Department of Defense, which emits more than 56 million metric tons of CO₂ each year, a footprint that dwarfs Norway and Sweden’ combined 2023 contributions. Projects are already underway to reach the lofty goals from Biden’s executive order, including the addition of 520 megawatts of solar photovoltaic projects at the Edwards Air Force Base in California and a 100-percent clean energy microgrid at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii.
Still, not everyone is happy about the changes. Republican leaders are concernd that the plan will harm fossil fuel-dependent states like Wyoming and West Virginia. “With this action, he’s telling millions of Americans who provide most of the energy we use every day that he thinks they should be thrown out of work,” Sen. John Barrasso [R-WY], who sits on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, told the Washington Post.
[Related: Biden’s infrastructure act bets big on 3 types of ‘green’ energy tech.]
On the flip side, environmental activists aren’t so sure this action is enough, especially with the Build Back Better plan still sitting in the Senate and Biden recently opening up millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas leasing. Bill Snape, a lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity, brought up the issue of timing too: While 2050 may sound soon, the climate change clock is rapidly ticking. “This is like a teenager promising to clean their room in 30 years. We need action now,’’ he told the AP.
Switching to using electric vehicles may be a first step in reducing emissions, but it’s certainly not the last. The most polluting part of EVs is the battery. Each link in the supply chain that contributes to creating the hefty battery pack produces greenhouse emissions. As auto manufacturers recognize this issue, some are working to rectify it.
Toyota announced on Monday that it will build a new battery plant in North Carolina, the company’s first North American factory for car batteries. The $1.29 billion site will go up in the Greensboro Randolph Megasite, and is slated to go online in 2025. It’s expected to add 1,750 new jobs, with about a $62,000 yearly salary per employee on average. (The annual average salary in Liberty, North Carolina in 2023 was $37,350). The company will start with four initial production lines that will be capable of creating enough lithium-ion batteries for 200,000 EVs. However, Toyota plans to expand to at least six production lines that can build batteries for up to 1.2 million vehicles a year. A Toyota spokesperson said that the company aims for 70 percent of their car sales to be in electrified vehicles by 2030.
[Related: What to know before you buy an electric vehicle]
“The future of mobility is electrification, and the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite is the ideal location to make that future a reality,” Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota Motor North America, said in a press release. Part of why Toyota picked this site in Liberty, North Carolina is its “outstanding, diverse workforce,” renewable energy availability, and access to four international airports and two seaports.
Adding a battery plant in North America will ideally streamline the production process of Toyota EVs, so there will be less energy wasted on transporting materials from other countries.
What’s more, Toyota claims the plant will run on 100 percent renewable energy, which is part of the company’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. While it’s still not certain which energy sources the plant will draw on, other Toyota sites run on solar and wind power (they have a solar array in Plano, Texas), setting a reliable precedent for this new plant.
The incentive to electrify the auto industry comes in large part from the Biden administration. EVs are more energy efficient than gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles; they’re able to convert more than 77 percent of energy they use to move. Gas-powered cars, however, lose a lot more energy in the process, and only 12 to 30 percent goes into powering the auto.
[Related: ‘Lithium Valley’ could save one of the most polluted areas in California]
Yet, experts are still debating the cumulative benefits of electric vehicles for the environment. For example, an area of contention is over whether the emissions from the battery manufacturing process can outweigh the benefits that come with an EV. In fact, just producing the battery pack can measure up to producing an entire combustion-powered vehicle. Furthermore, mining the metals that go into a lithium-ion battery pack—lithium, cobalt, nickel, and others—is also pollution and resource intensive.
Still, the future of sourcing lithium is changing, perhaps improving conditions along the way. Lithium Valley in California, for one, could help suppliers meet market demand, while creating jobs and de-metaling a polluted body of water.
2023 Kia Cadenza First Drive: Big car, small market
Lurking just below the surface of flashy ad campaigns and country club one-upmanship at the valet station there exists a world of comfortable, handsomely-styled automobiles that deliver 90 percent of the features found in traditional luxury cars almost completely under the radar. The 2023 Kia Cadenza is one such premium sleeper, joining the ranks of the Buick LaCrosse, the Toyota Avalon, and the Nissan Maxima as de facto upscale vehicles that ply the full-size sedan waters with silent dignity.
Redesigned for 2023, the master plan that has seen Kia claw its way up from the bargain aisle it occupied a mere 15 years ago is on full display in the Cadenza. This is a four-door that can go toe-to-toe with more established entries sitting in Lexus and Acura showrooms when it comes to features and build quality, and yet it doesn’t ask buyers to stretch their monthly payments quite as far in the process. Like most modern Kias, the Cadenza demonstrates how the democratization of technology has leveled the playing field to the point where you no longer have to go badge-hunting to bag a comfortable car.
The 2023 Kia Cadenza certainly fits in well with the current crop of large sedans, what with its revised creases and newly concave grille providing just enough differentiation from the previous model to stand out. More extensive use of LED lighting up front and at the rear also serve to highlight the car’s pleasing, if somewhat staid proportions and presence. Perhaps most importantly, the Cadenza moves farther away from the next-one-down Optima in terms of design, while maintaining a general family resemblance.
While the exterior of the Cadenza isn’t intended to wow, the passenger cabin gets high marks for its inspired interpretation of what family car shoppers are looking for in a premium car. This is particularly true of the top-tier SXL model, which features soft, perforated leather, the availability of heated and cooled seats, a well-organized dashboard and gauge cluster, and restrained use of interior metallic trim highlights. Back seat room is simply enormous, which is surprising given the Kia’s modest wheelbase, and the car’s infotainment system provides an easy-to-use menu system and compatibility with Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
Mechanically, Kia has invested in its familiar 3.3-liter V6 with a focus on boosting efficiency (albeit modestly). You’ll benefit from one more mile per gallon around town in the 2023 Kia Cadenza as compared to the model it replaces (20-mpg city, 28-mpg highway), at the cost of a few horsepower and a smattering of torque. It’s hard to imagine anyone noticing the ‘missing’ grunt, as the 290 ponies and 253 lb-ft of twist on offer from the six-cylinder unit is more than sufficient for motivating the sedan. A new eight-speed automatic transmission is on hand, too, and it makes power delivery as transparent as possible when the car is set to ‘Smart’ or ‘Eco’ driving modes.
Kia clearly hopes that a better Cadenza is also a more attractive Cadenza, but the fate of the car might be out of the company’s hands. Fewer people are shopping at the deep end of the sedan pool, preferring instead to devote their dollars to SUVs and crossovers, and while sales of the Maxima and the Avalon are strong in comparison to past Kia efforts in the class, they are absolutely dwarfed by Pathfinder and Highlander numbers. It’s nice to have a clear upgrade path available to Optima drivers in the form of a comfy Cadenza, but the real trade-up is most likely a Sorento, not a larger four-door.
This is GM’s fix for EV charging headaches
GM is building a simpler way to charge its electric cars, cutting through the confusion of multiple charging networks. What the automaker isn’t going to do is echo Tesla or Volkswagen-owned Electrify America and build a charger network of its own. Instead, GM plans to integrate its vehicles and its services more tightly with existing third-party charging infrastructure.
There’s some form there already. Back in April, GM inked a deal with EVgo for a dedicated DC fast charge network for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. However, that was for use by drivers on GM’s Maven car-sharing platform, not for regular EV owners.
Now, though, it’s those individuals who are getting some attention, and Chevrolet is looking further afield than just one charging network. A deal with not only EVgo but ChargePoint and Greenlots will see charger data and access brought together into a single platform for Bolt EV drivers.
For example, the myChevrolet app for iOS and Android will be able to show the real-time status of individual charging stations, so that users will be able to see whether the location they’re headed to is in use, out of action, and compatible with their car. Rather than requiring Bolt EV drivers to have to register three times, individually with each charger network, Chevrolet plans to create a single interface in its app that deals with all of them.
Once that’s in place, the charging process could get even easier. One possibility Chevrolet says it might developer is starting the charging through the app, rather than needing to swipe a membership card as is currently required. Of course, what we’re really hoping to see is a Plug&Charge technology such as that which Electrify America said earlier this week that it would implement. That way, simply plugging the charger into the socket on the car is enough to authenticate the account, authorize the session, and get the EV charging.
While the functionality is focused on the Bolt EV for the moment, that’s probably because it’s the only model in General Motors’ overall lineup that would really benefit from it. Where things get interesting is when the automaker’s next EVs come down the pipe. That will see GM’s other brands get involved.
This morning, GM confirmed that it would be Cadillac that debuted the automaker’s new, all-electric architecture. Flexible enough to power front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive vehicles, it’ll also be able to cater to different battery pack sizes for varying range. GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra, though, did describe 300 miles as the range sweet-spot.
Addressing the charging headache is a big deal for any company with realistic ambitions in the EV space. Tesla’s strategy of building out its own Supercharger network is one route; Volkswagen’s approach, with Electrify America, is another. Given the latter operates as a standalone entity, there’s nothing to say that GM couldn’t add that network to its list of supported charging systems in the future, too.
If all goes to plan, GM says it expects to have the deals with EVgo, ChargePoint, and Greenlots finalized by the end of Q1 2023.
Promising cryptocurrencies of 2023 should provide long stability and generate sufficient profits
In a sea of more than twenty thousandXRP
XRP is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses an open-source distributed ledger called the XRP ledger. It is the native coin of Ripple, which is an enterprise blockchain company that facilitates global transactions. The creators claim that XRP was built for payments and can settle transactions faster than most other cryptocurrencies securely and efficiently.Cardano
Cardano is a research-based cryptocurrency built by engineers, mathematicians, and cryptography experts. It is open-sourced and decentralized, with consensus achieved using proof-of-stake. It can also facilitate peer-to-peer transactions with the ADA token.Polkadot
According to its creators, the DOT token primarily serves three main purposes, which include providing governance for the network, operating the network, and creating parachains by bonding Polkadot tokens. The crypto has roughly gained 468% this year and continues to remain one of the best cryptocurrencies with great potential in 2023.Dogecoin
Dogecoin which originated something out of a joke, quickly became quite real for those who are profiting from it. The current DOFE price is about 4,889%, higher since the beginning of the year. Along with its success and affordability DOGE makes it a lucrative career option. Earlier this year, DOGE rose to prominence after Musk’s tweet, which reassured his support towards this crypto, enabling it to gain real profits.Shiba Inu
Shiba Inu is another meme cryptocurrency that is also one of the biggest rivals of Dogecoin. Despite its whimsical beginnings, SHIB has managed to gather a growing and faithful community, which is also one of its biggest selling points. The community has also created an NFT project around SHIB that has enabled it to gain more attraction from investors.Polygon
Polygon Matica is a framework and a protocol for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks which aggregate scalable solutions on Ethereum’s supporting ecosystem. Polygon creators have broadened their vision and reach by updating their system and bringing in metaverse designs and integrating the MATIC Plasma chain.VeChain
VeChain is the currency of the VeChain Thor blockchain, and it is considered the perfect choice for investors who want to invest in affordable, yet potential cryptocurrencies. VeChain facilitates the management of supply chains and other business processes.Decentraland
Decentraland is the token behind an Ethereum blockchain-based virtual reality game by the same name. The crypto has been described as a 3D virtual world where users buy land on which to develop and monetize content, buy goods and services and visit other properties.ApeCoin
ApeCoin is a relatively new cryptocurrency – launched in March 2023. It is also one of the few coins that have rallied amidst a contracting market and raced up to new heights. Much of this is attributable to its massive community of supporters and oversubscription by crypto influencers and celebrities who have helped fuel the hype around the coin. It could also be associated by its close association with arguably the most popular NFT projects yet – the BAYC and MAYC NFTs.The Sandbox
In a sea of more than twenty thousand cryptocurrencies , finding the best cryptocurrencies with the most potential (also pocket friendly) can be overwhelming. Most of these are known for their hype, aggressive marketing, and fancy promises. Most have even recruited celebrities and crypto influencers who employ every trick in the book to keep them trending on social media platforms and other crypto circles. But we have done the research, analyzed hundreds of crypto assets, and eventually settled with what we consider the top 10 cryptocurrencies that could turn US$10 into US$100 in chúng tôi is an open-source cryptocurrency that uses an open-source distributed ledger called the XRP ledger. It is the native coin of Ripple, which is an enterprise blockchain company that facilitates global transactions. The creators claim that XRP was built for payments and can settle transactions faster than most other cryptocurrencies securely and efficiently.Cardano is a research-based cryptocurrency built by engineers, mathematicians, and cryptography experts. It is open-sourced and decentralized, with consensus achieved using proof-of-stake. It can also facilitate peer-to-peer transactions with the ADA token.According to its creators, the DOT token primarily serves three main purposes, which include providing governance for the network, operating the network, and creating parachains by bonding Polkadot tokens. The crypto has roughly gained 468% this year and continues to remain one of the best cryptocurrencies with great potential in 2023.Dogecoin which originated something out of a joke, quickly became quite real for those who are profiting from it. The current DOFE price is about 4,889%, higher since the beginning of the year. Along with its success and affordability DOGE makes it a lucrative career option. Earlier this year, DOGE rose to prominence after Musk’s tweet, which reassured his support towards this crypto, enabling it to gain real profits.Shiba Inu is another meme cryptocurrency that is also one of the biggest rivals of Dogecoin. Despite its whimsical beginnings, SHIB has managed to gather a growing and faithful community, which is also one of its biggest selling points. The community has also created an NFT project around SHIB that has enabled it to gain more attraction from investors.Polygon Matica is a framework and a protocol for building and connecting Ethereum-compatible blockchain networks which aggregate scalable solutions on Ethereum’s supporting ecosystem. Polygon creators have broadened their vision and reach by updating their system and bringing in metaverse designs and integrating the MATIC Plasma chain.VeChain is the currency of the VeChain Thor blockchain, and it is considered the perfect choice for investors who want to invest in affordable, yet potential cryptocurrencies. VeChain facilitates the management of supply chains and other business processes.Decentraland is the token behind an Ethereum blockchain-based virtual reality game by the same name. The crypto has been described as a 3D virtual world where users buy land on which to develop and monetize content, buy goods and services and visit other properties.ApeCoin is a relatively new cryptocurrency – launched in March 2023. It is also one of the few coins that have rallied amidst a contracting market and raced up to new heights. Much of this is attributable to its massive community of supporters and oversubscription by crypto influencers and celebrities who have helped fuel the hype around the coin. It could also be associated by its close association with arguably the most popular NFT projects yet – the BAYC and MAYC chúng tôi Sandbox is one of the most popular and fastest-growing metaverse projects. In addition to the metaverse concept, its popularity could also be attributed to the fact that it integrates two other fast-rising crypto technologies – the Paly-to-Earn gaming model and NFT technologies. Sandbox is, therefore, massively popular among crypto investors who are chasing secondary sources of income either through flipping NFTs or playing online games.
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