Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tesla Autopilot On Snow Covered Road With No Lane Markings

Below is a dashcam video showing how the latest version of Tesla Autopilot can navigate on a snow covered two lane road with no visible lane markings and no car ahead to follow. It’s difficult to keep all the details about Tesla Autopilot straight, so here’s a quick refresher. (Note: I am not a Tesla engineer nor do I eat, sleep, and breathe Tesla 24/7, so if I get a few details wrong, I apologize in advance.)

Tesla began installing the hardware pieces for its Autopilot system on every car built starting in October of 2014. The system consisted of a forward facing camera supplied by MobilEye, a forward facing radar, and 12 ultrasonic senses mounted around the perimeter of the car. For the first year, the system operated in shadow mode, which means it captured data from real cars in real world driving and fed that information back to engineers at Tesla. They used that data to refine and validate software that would become the basis for the suite of semi-autonomous operations known as Autopilot.
Then in the fall of 2015, Tesla rolled out a working version of Autopilot via an over the air wireless update. In the original scheme of things, the camera was the primary input device and the radar was secondary. The system relied on visible lane markings on road surfaces and could lock on to a car ahead to help guide it. Then in May of this year, a driver using Tesla Autopilot was killed on a Florida highway when his Model S failed to recognize a tractor trailer crossing the road. That incident led to parting of the ways between Tesla and MobilEye, with each blaming the other for the tragedy.
Tesla went back to the drawing boards. It completely reversed the priorities of its hardware, making the radar primary and the camera secondary. It rolled out the new programming in September of this year. In the video, we are seeing how the new software is able to drive the car without human assistance on a road where the lane markings are obscured by snow and with no car ahead for the system to follow.
In October of this year, Tesla completely changed the hardware that operates the Autopilot system. It added a camera with three lenses — a wide angle, a close range focus, and one with a medium range focus — as well as cameras at all four corners of the car. The radar was upgraded as were the ultrasonic sensors. It also added a new “supercompter in a box” from Nvidia with 40 times more processing power to manage the increased flow of data. The new package is referred to as Hardware 2.
Here’s where things get confusing. Once Tesla gets the new system calibrated, validated, and de-bugged, it will be known as Enhanced Autopilot. But Tesla is not at that point yet. When it announced the changes, it said the new system would operate in shadow mode only until its engineers could tweak the software and make it road worthy. The company promised it would start rolling out the changes in December. As of this moment, in typical Tesla fashion, it has over-promised and under-delivered. Until it gets its Enhanced Autopilot fully deployed, cars with the original hardware package and latest software updates have greater semi-autonomous functionality than newer cars.
The wait will be worth it in the long run. When fully realized, Enhanced Autopilot will allow full Level 5 autonomous driving in those jurisdictions where it is permitted. At the moment, only Michigan does so.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Deal of the year? Used Fiat 500e electric cars at $6,500?

2017 Fiat 500e
2017 Fiat 500e

It's well known by now that the used-car prices of low-range electric cars are low.
Any 2011 through 2016 electric car not made by Tesla is likely to be cheap on a used-car lot due to worries about battery degradation and its effect on range.

Used Nissan Leafs, for instance, can often be found for around $9,000, even with only 30,000 or 40,000 miles—thousands of dollars less than a used gasoline Nissan of the same age and mileage.
Now, it appears that the earliest of several thousand Fiat 500e electric cars first leased during 2013 are coming back to Fiat dealers at the end of their leases.
And, wow, are their prices low. How about wholesale auction prices of slightly over $4,000?
The data on those wholesale prices was compiled by auto writer (and occasional Green Car Reports resarcher) Bozi Tatarevic.

The cheap lease returned electrics are coming. The 2013 Fiat 500e is running at a little over $4,000 at wholesale auctions this month.
And, he added, that should translate to a retail price of around $6,500 once the auctioned Fiat 500e hatchbacks hit used-car lots.
That means that you could conceivably pay $6,500 for a fun-to-drive, three-year-old electric car with only 30,000 to 40,000 miles on it.

Now, there's at least one catch: the 500e was only sold in California and Oregon, so Fiat dealers outside those two states will know little or nothing about the electric 500 variant.
While we could imagine some enterprising entrepreneur buying up the electric Fiats and bringing them to electric-car fans in other states, the service issue remains a risk.
2014 Fiat 500e - Driven, July 2014 (NWAPA Drive Revolution)
2014 Fiat 500e - Driven, July 2014 (NWAPA Drive Revolution)

Still, we liked the little three-door Fiat 500e when we first drove it, and some owners feel it's the best car in the entire 500 range—and just as entertaining as the sporty 500 Abarth variant.
When we went on that first drive, even the Fiat Chrysler engineers who'd worked on the car seemed slightly stunned at how much fun it was.
Deals like this one could last for a while. Fiat won't say how many electric 500s it's sold, but the number could be as high as 13,000 by the end of this year.

That's a whole lot of fun, cheap, low-mileage electric cars that will need to find second homes over the next couple of years.
So what do you think? Can you find it in your heart to provide a "forever home" for a cute little Italian orphan?
Operators are standing by.

Free Energy, $10 A Barrel Oil By 2025 Says French Utility Company

“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here,” says Thierry Lepercq, head of research, technology and innovation for Engie SA. He thinks the cost of solar power will drop below $10 a megawatt-hour ($0.01 per kWh) before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places. Engie recently conducted a “very deep modeling” of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of France, which has about 5 million inhabitants. The study showed those regions could run entirely on renewable energy for about 20% less than the price of electricity today. Engie executive predicts free energy
Lepercq also predicts that oil will drop to around $10 a barrel by 2025. “Even if oil demand continues to climb until 2025, its price could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand,” Lepercq said at his office near Paris. “Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve,” he said. “Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable energy system, but technological bricks already exist.”
A big supporter of hydrogen power, Lepercq thinks hydrogen may be as cheap as liquefied natural gas in less than 10 years. “We’ll have the possibility to transport energy (liquid hydrogen) that’s produced very cheaply in remote places,” Lepercq said. He is encouraged by the construction of the first liquefied hydrogen carrier by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. as part of a Japanese plan to import hydrogen from Australia and believes “hundreds” more will be launched in the coming decade.
Engie was once the natural gas monopoly holder in France. Over the past decade, it has invested in renewables while it selling off coal fired plants and exploration assets to shield itself from commodity price swings. It is now the world’s largest non-state owned power producer with operations around the globe. In September, Engie bought a stake in Heliatek, a German start-up developing photovoltaic films that can be applied to the exterior of buildings. It also acquired an interest in Symbio FCell, a French manufacturer of fuel cells that convert hydrogen into electricity to run vehicles.
The company plans to spend more than $1.5 billion by 2018 on technologies including grid-scale battery storage, hydrogen output, “mini-grids” that serve small clusters of homes, and smart buildings that link up heating, lighting and IT systems to save energy and cut costs. “In the months to come, we expect to announce the first major steps of projects, investments, partnerships and potential acquisitions” in these areas, said Lepercq, a former banker and entrepreneur. In 2006, he co-founded Solairedirect, a solar developer that was bought by Engie in 2015. “We’re talking about technology platforms in which massive value can be created from comparatively small investment.”
For decades, futurists have been predicting a time when electricity would be “too cheap to meter.” If Lepercq is correct, that time is less than 10 to 15 years away.
Source: Bloomberg

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bjorn Nyland Pours Love On The Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Bjorn Nyland has just posted a glowing review of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric. Bjorn is a video blogger who has made an international reputation by creating videos about road trips he has taken in his Tesla Model S and Model X. In fact, creating content for this YouTube channel has become nearly a full time job for him. Earlier this year, he won a Tesla Model X in a Tesla referral contest by generating more Model S referrals than anyone else in the European area.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
Nyland is committed to the electric car lifestyle and is now branching out to cover electric cars from other manufacturers. His latest video is about a 600+ mile road trip he took recently from Oslo to Trondheim, Norway and back in winter conditions. His report? The Hyundai Ioniq Electric is almost as good as a Tesla Model S but costs only one third as much. High praise indeed.
Nyland raves about the car’s efficiency. With a 25 kWh battery, it used just 272 watt hours per mile, thanks in part to an aerodynamic coefficient of drag equal to that of the Tesla Model S. The trip included climbing hills and slippery, snow covered roads — hardly ideal for testing an electric car. But what really impressed Bjorn was the level of equipment packed into the Ioniq.
With the exception of a few parlor tricks Tesla owners like to impress their friends with, the car has much the same functionality as a Tesla with Autopilot. Auto steer allows hands free driving. There are also adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, emergency braking, and blind spot warning functions built in. Wireless charging for cell phones is included as well as heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel — especially appreciated in Norway’s cold winter climate.
The Ioniq Electric has a range of 124 miles under ideal conditions. Nyland noticed that he was able to drive more than 100 miles on a charge even in winter with the defroster and seat heaters operating and the outside temperature hovering around 20º F. Thanks to Norway’s extensive network of DC fast chargers along major transportation routes, Nyland was always able to find an available charger when he needed one. A version with a larger battery good for more than 200 miles of range is expected in 2018.
The touchscreen is large and easy to use (no, it is not as large as a the one in a Tesla!) and can be customized to meet the driver’s tastes. One feature Nyland really appreciated was a setting that allowed the car’s heater to only warm the driver’s side of the car, saving precious electrons when there were no passengers along for the ride.
The Ioniq is a 5 door hatchback design with plenty of rear leg, head, and shoulder room (Chevy Volt owners take note) so it can swallow a huge amount of cargo, especially with the seat down. It is not yet on sale in the US but will be later in 2017. One other thing to notice is the Hyundai Ioniq and the Kia Niro are fraternal twins from the beltline down and are mechanically identical. That suggests the Niro Electric will be a tempting choice for those who want an electric SUV. Prices in the US have not yet been announced.
Any car that impresses Bjorn Nyland in a seriously good car. If you are in the market for an electric car, you might be wise to consider the Ioniq Electric or the Niro Electric when they become available in your area.
Source: Inside EVs  Photo credit: Bjorn Nyland/YouTube

Electric GT Racing Series Selects Tesla P100D As Sole Contender

The Tesla Model S P100D is considered by many to be the “quickest production car” on the planet, capable of blasting from 0 to 60 MPH in just 2.5 seconds. Despite this ludicrous acceleration, however, the Model S has not seen much racing duty outside of the drag strip. The minds behind the Electric GT racing championship want to change that, however.
The enterprising all-electric racing series has tapped the Tesla P100D to serve as the primary race car for the Electric GT, shelving plans to use the slower and older P85+. Dubbed the Electric GT V2.0, the modified Model S will benefit from a stronger suspension, improved brake cooling and steering, as well as adding FIA safety features that include a race-ready rollcage.
Despite these additional features, Electric GT says it is shaving off as much as 500 kg/1,100 pounds from the Tesla’s excessive curb weight. The series has begun testing its electric racers, as well as releasing details about the series setup.
10 teams with 2 drivers each will take part in save races during the first season, with 20-minute practice sessions and 60-minute qualifiers leading to two 6 0km/40 mile races. One of the races will be during the day, and the other at night, presumptively to allow the cars to recharge and rest their batteries.
One thing Electric GT has not detailed is how it plans to keep the Tesla battery packs from going into “limp mode” after the first few laps. The Electric GT Racing is quite protective of its battery, and driving flat out will see the Model S sidelined after just a few minutes. Tesla owners have tried, and failed, to make it around the 13.1-mile Nurburgring without going into limp mode, and I’m not sure how the organizers plan to tackle this obstacle to extended racing.
I must be getting old, because as awesome as this sounds on the surface, I can’t help but have some serious reservations. After all, there’s a reason nobody has tried using a Tesla Model S for racing, beyond it being a heavy luxury sedan that was never intended for, you know, racing.
That’s not to say that exciting all-electric can’t be done, as the Formula E series has easily proven. But can it be done with Teslas? We’ll find out in 2017.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

EV Advertising By Major Manufacturers Is Missing In Action, Presumed Dead

It’s obvious to everyone. Despite all their chest thumping and fist bumping by the major manufacturers that they are gonna do this and gonna do that, when it comes to EV advertising, there just isn’t any. Even the Sierra Club has taken notice of the gigantic disconnect between what car companies say and what they do. When it comes to telling the public about their EV offerings, they treat alternative fuel cars — especially those with plugs — like three day old fish. If you live outside California, the chances you have never seen any EV advertising.
EV advertising 2015
That’s according to a new study commissioned by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM). It was conducted by CompetiTrack and Motor Intelligence, two respected companies that track auto advertising activity. The study is for calendar year 2015, the most recent year for which data is available. The chart above makes the situation crystal clear. The blue bar represents national advertising for an electric car. The red bar is for ads that appeared only in the California market.
BMW has actually put some money into advertising its i3 electric sedan. Chevrolet has split its ad dollars between the national market and California, but the total sum is quite small. Oddly, Nissan invest almost nothing to promote its LEAF outside of California. Ford, however, is the worst. It spends nothing to promote the Ford Fusion Energi — which by all accounts is a pretty good car — outside of California.
Ford CEO Mark Fields, you may recall, is falling all over himself to kiss up to The Donald. He recently complained to the press that his company is being forced by the big, bad federal government to sell cars nobody wants to buy.
Too bad Fields didn’t ask his own people before running his mouth. In actuality, the Fusion Energi now accounts for 10% of all Fusion sales. How could the CEO of a major car company who enjoys a multi-million dollar compensation package not know that? Note to Ford shareholders. I would happily do Field’s job and only charge you half what he is making. Call me.
Overall, the industry has adopted a head in the sand approach to electric cars. Car makers spend billions every year to advertise their products, but in 2015, the total spent nationwide on EV advertising was under $25 million. According to my trusty Radio Shack calculator, that is a little more than 1% of the total budget. And you want us to believe you are doing everything in your power to promote electric cars? Please. You people lie almost as much as Donald Trump.
People marvel at how Elon Musk and Tesla Motors are disrupting the automotive industry, but it’s really no secret. The industry is doing everything it can to help Tesla succeed. It’s not that Tesla is so good — although their products are superior — it’s that the rest of the industry is so bad at recognizing the changes that are staring them right in the face.
It’s just another version of the “not invented here” syndrome that has been the bane of the American automotive industry since Engine Charlie Wilson ran General Motors. It’s what kept the Big Three from recognizing the revolution that arrived on their doorstep when the Volkswagen Beetle first came ashore in the early 50’s. Had they reacted sooner, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, Hyuundai, and Kia would never have gotten a toe hold in the American market, but Ford, GM, and Chrysler couldn’t make themselves believe people actually wanted small, efficient automobiles.
Instead of recognizing what Tesla is doing and adapting to it, the American car companies are trying their hardest to block Tesla’s direct to customer sales model and whining to anyone who will listen that nobody wants to buy electric cars except a few wealthy tech geeks. When the dust from the revolution settles, it may turn out that one or more of the Big Three car companies is already dead and just doesn’t know it yet.
Source: Sierra Club

Tesla Tops 2016 Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey

Tesla tops Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveryEvery year, Consumer Reports asks hundreds of thousand of people to tell it how happy they are with their car. Then it tabulates the results to get a mathematical picture of how good a job every car brand in the US marketplace ranks in customer satisfaction. For 2016, Tesla sits at the very top of the list. Despite a raft of issues with the Tesla Model X, people who buy Teslas love their cars more than owners of any other brand.
Of course everybody loves a car when it’s new. After all, people spend hours, days, sometimes weeks deciding what car to buy. Why wouldn’t they be happy? But what about after the new wears off, the car gets dirty from rain, snow, and road salt and the owner has trudged back and forth to work for a few months? Do people still love their cars then?
How does the survey work? Here’s how CR phrases it in their typically clinical terms: “Model satisfaction is determined by the percentage of owners who responded ‘definitely yes’ to the question of whether they would buy the same vehicle if they had it to do all over again.” This year’s survey included cars from model years 2014 through 2017.
To be included in the survey, a manufacturer has to offer at least two models and the responses from owners have to cover all the models offered. As Consumer Reports  notes, one outstanding model or one clunker in the lineup does not accurately define an entire brand. The responses are averaged for each manufacturer then ranked mathematically.
After tabulating more than 300,000 responses, Consumer Reports says Tesla owners as a group are happy campers. 91% said they would definitely buy another Tesla. Pretty good for a start up automaker that didn’t start selling cars until less than 5 years ago. Others at the top of the list are Porsche, Audi, and Subaru.
It is interesting to note that Subaru tops all manufacturers when price is taken into consideration. Tesla, Porsche, and Audi all make great cars but few of them are affordable by mainstream buyers.
Some brands surged upward in this year’s survey, others tumbled down the order alarmingly. The winners include Hyundai, which shot up from 24th position last year to 13th in 2016. Lincoln Motor Company’s quirky ads featuring Matthew McConaughey seem to be working. It climbed up from 21st to 12th.
Not so fortunate is the iconic Dodge Ram brand. Its fall from grace was dramatic as it dropped from 5th place last year to 17th position in the 2016 survey. BMW dropped from 6th to 14th overall and Volkswagen, which was 16th last year, fell even further to a lowly 24th place ranking.
Does a low ranking indicate anything about the quality of the cars in a manufacturer’s lineup? Not necessarily. All this survey does is ask people if they would buy another car from the same brand. Car ownership is a highly emotional experience and the marketplace is a notoriously fickle environment. That’s life, as Frank Sinatra would say.
The love Tesla gets from its owners may be a bit of an aberration. The company has sold far fewer cars in total than any other company in the survey. People who buy Teslas consider themselves to be at the bleeding edge of technology and, let’s face it, are inclined to think they are part of a Zen-like experience.
Let’s see how the numbers hold up when the Model 3 gets here and the company starts cranking out a half million cars a year or more. Model 3 owners may not be cosseted and coddled quite as much as those who buy a Model S sedan or Model X SUV. Check back at the end of 2019 to see if Tesla is able to keep the magic flowing.

Friday, December 23, 2016

WiTricity Wireless Charging Will Partner With General Motors

Boston area start-up WiTricty will partner with General Motors to develop wireless charging systems that work with current and future electric car models from The General. Wireless charging is consider to be an essential part of the transition from conventional cars to zero emissions vehicles powered by renewable energy resources because of the greater convenience the technology offers drivers. Toyota has also licensed the WiTricity technology (thing WiFi for electricity) and invested in the company in 2011.
Witricity wireless charging
WiTricity CEO Alex Gruzen kneels next to a Chevrolet Volt parked over a wireless charging pad.
Instead of having to hook up their cars to a charging cable that may be dirty, covered with ice, or otherwise unpleasant to handle, drivers will be able to simply park their cars over a charging pad and walk away. The pad can even be buried underneath a layer of asphalt or concrete to protect it from the elements and eliminate the need for an electrical cord to power it.
WiTricity was co-founded in 2007 by MIT professor Marin Soljačić, who helped develop the electromagnetic resonance technology that allows electric power to be transferred through the air. The company raised $23 million in an Otctober 2013 round of funding and introduced a wireless phone charging station in 2014.
The WiTricity system can charge at either 7.7 kW or 11 kW of power, although higher power systems are in the works. That may seem paltry compared to the 135 kW power level available at a Tesla Supercharger station or the 150 kW that the consortium behind the CCS charging standard hope to roll our soon. Tesla Motors quietly joined the CCS consortium earlier this year. 
High power charging is still critical for those travelling away from home, but the WiTricity systems are more than adequate to meet the needs of most drivers who charge at home or at work. One other technology that will give a boost to wireless charging is the autonomous driving car.
Once cars are able to drive themselves short distances, they could be driven remotely to an available wireless charging location, then moved to another place in the parking lot once charging is complete. Since there is no need to have a person actually connect and disconnect a charging cable, topping up the battery while at work would be as easy as tapping an icon on a smart phone.
Employers would find such a system highly attractive since their employees would no longer have to leave work to go outside and physically move their cars during the work day. It would also reduce the number of charging stations that have to be purchased and installed, since each wireless location would be able to charge many more cars during the day than a conventional charger ever could.
“The electric vehicle has been recognized as central to the future of mobility, and GM has been a leader, making EVs accessible to the broader market. The convenience of wireless charging will help accelerate adoption even further,” says bAlex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity. “Our team is proud to work with GM on this project. Wireless charging for EVs, based on industry standards, is inevitable as we move toward a future of self-driving and autonomous vehicles, and this project brings us one step closer to realizing our vision of a world powered wirelessly.”
Source: Boston Business Journal   Photo credit: WiTricity

Which Family Sedans Have The Longest Range? Here’s The Top 10

If you like to pile the family into the car and head out on the open road, range is an important consideration. Stopping for gas is everybody’s least favorite part of any road trip, although we all appreciate a bathroom break once in a while. Below are the 10 family sedans with the longest range as compiled by the editors of the New York Daily News.
First off, the list includes only sedans powered by gasoline engines. No diesels or hybrids or plug in hybrids. The list is made up of conventional cars that don’t carry the price premium associated with the latest technology. All the cars have either an automatic or CVT transmission. All have four doors. Prices listed are for the least expensive version of each car and include transportation.
May we have a drum roll, please!
Hyundai Sonata longest range
Tied for first place honors at the top of the list are the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima. It’s no surprise that the have exactly the same range. They are corporate cousins with the same powertrains and the same size fuel tanks (18.5 gallons). Each is rated by the EPA at 31 mpg combined. Total range for either car is 573.5 miles.
The Sonata/Optima twins are spacious inside with plenty of comfort for long distance travel. They also have the best factory warranty of any cars in the group. The Sonata starts at $22,436 and the Optima at $23,050.
Kia Optima longest range
In third place is the Nissan Altima. This sedan has generous interior room and one of the most powerful engines in the group. It has a range of 558 miles based on its 18 gallon tank and EPA rated 31 mpg combined fuel economy. The Altima starts at $23,335.
Nissan Altima range
Fourth on the list is the Subaru Legacy. What is remarkable about its overall range of 536.5 miles is that it is the only car in the group equipped with full time four wheel drive. It is rated 29 mpg combined by the EPA and has an 18 gallon tank. Prices start at $22,815.
Subaru Legacy range
Fifth overall is the Honda Accord, the largest sedan the company sells in the US market. Passenger space is plentiful in this comfortable tourer. With a 17.2 gallon tank and a combined fuel economy rating of 30 mpg, it can travel 516 miles between fill up and lists for $23,990.
Honda Accord range
Coming in sixth on the Top 10 list is the Volkswagen Passat. Another large and comfortable car with an especially roomy rear seating area, it is rated at 27 mpg combined. With its 18.5 gallon tank, that translates into a range of 499.5 miles. Prices start at $23,260.
Passat range
Seventh with 492 miles of range is the Mazda 6. Known for its agile handling, it has an EPA rating of 30 mpg combined and a 16.4 gallon tank. List price is $23,830.
Mazda 6 range
Tied for 8th place are the Chevrolet Impala and the Volkswagen CC. The Impala is the largest car in the group. It comes with an 18.5 gallon tank and is rated 25 mpg combined. Total range in this generously sized touring car is 462.5 miles. It lists for $28,175.
Chevy Impala range
It shares honors with the Volkswagen CC, the large and stylish sedan from the German car company. Rated at 25 mpg combined and equipped with an 18.5 gallon tank, it also can travel 462.5 miles on a tankful of gas. It is the priciest car in the group at $35,340.
Volkswagen CC range
Coming in 10th on the list is the one of America’s favorite sedans, the ultra-reliable Toyota Camry. With an EPA rating of 27 mpg combined and a 17 gallon fuel tank, it can go 459 miles between fillups. It’s base price is $23,935.
Toyota Camry range
The Wrap Up
All of these cars can be had in various trim levels from basic to fully loaded and prices will vary accordingly. Fuel economy, as we all know, depends on how your drive and how heavy your right foot is on the gas pedal. But the EPA testing process applies equally to all ten cars and math is math. Multiply mpg by gallons and you get range.
If traveling the furthest distance between trips to the gas station without plugging in or paying extra for hybrid technology is important to you, this guide will help point you in the right direction toward the car that best suits your needs.
Source: New York Daily News.  Photos are all courtesy of the manufacturers named in the story.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

VW to unveil new electric ID concept model in Detroit

Volkswagen will present a new I.D. family model—a multi-functional electric vehicle—at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. Like the I.D. concept shown this year, this new concept is also based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), and so it shows the potential and bandwidth of the MEB.
Teaser image of the new microbus-like I.D. concept to appear in Detroit. Volkswagen says that the I.D. concept vehicle in Detroit forges links between the origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electric future. (Volkswagen first introduced its legendary microbus in 1950.) Click to enlarge.
Since the presentation of the I.D. at the Paris International Motor Show in September of this year, these initials have stood for a new generation of fully connected, all-electric vehicles from Volkswagen.
This I.D. concept vehicle will also be able to drive fully autonomously in the future. Press lightly on the Volkswagen logo, and the electrically retractable steering wheel disappears into the dashboard. While the driver relaxes, laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors and cameras monitor other road users and the surroundings.