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2022 Audi E-Tron GT arrives with stunning looks, RS flagship

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2022 Audi E-Tron GT

It seems like the E-Tron GT has been in the works forever, but Audi on Tuesday finally revealed its battery-electric super sedan.

It’s due at dealerships this summer as a 2022 model, and there’s both a standard model and extra-spicy RS E-Tron GT coming. The standard model is priced to start at $99,900 and the RS E-Tron GT at $139,900. Both figures exclude the destination charge.

All E-Tron GTs come with a 93.4-kilowatt-hour battery that should deliver around 200 miles of range (an EPA rating will be announced closer to launch). Charging at up to 270 kilowatts is possible, meaning owners are able to charge from 5-80% in about 22 minutes. And Audi is now expecting a 238-mile EPA range (232 miles for the RS).

Liquid cooling makes performance repeatable and help preserves the performance over the life of the vehicle. Four liquid cooling circuits are connected by valves. One circuit is dedicated to the high-voltage battery, and another handles the electric motors and power electronics. Another system conditions the interior.

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

Speaking of the interior, the E-Tron GT comes with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.1-inch screen serving as the infotainment hub. Thankfully, Audi has also included multiple physical buttons for frequently used items. No one wants to tap on more screens after tapping away on a phone the whole day. Audi also includes a flat-bottom steering wheel and some Alcantara trim as standard.

For the United States, all versions of the E-Tron GT feature a dual-motor powertrain forming an all-wheel-drive system. The standard E-Tron GT delivers 469 hp (522 hp with temporary overboost using launch control) and 464 lb-ft of torque. This is enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 152 mph.

The RS E-Tron GT delivers 590 hp (637 hp with overboost) and 612 lb-ft of torque, or enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. In both cases there’s a two-speed automatic transmission at the rear axle and a single-speed at the front, a setup that should aid efficiency in highway driving.

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

Although the E-Tron GT is based on the same J1 dedicated electric-vehicle platform found in the Porsche Taycan, Audi has implemented numerous changes to make its sedan feel unique. For instance, both EVs use a three-chamber air suspension and adjustable, adaptive dampers at each corner. However, Audi engineers have tuned the E-Tron GT’s suspension to make the car feel like an Audi, with softer Comfort mode settings and firmer Dynamic settings.

The air suspension is also able to raise and lower the car. From its normal ride height, the suspension drops 0.4 inches in Dynamic mode, and 0.87 inches in Efficiency mode. The car also raises 0.8 inches in Comfort mode.

Audi has also added rear-axle steering that makes the car turn sharper at speeds less than 31-37 mph, depending on the driving mode, by turning the rear wheels up to 3 degrees opposite of the fronts. At higher speeds, the rear wheels turn with the fronts to improve stability.

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

2022 Audi E-Tron GT

The standard wheels are 20 inches but a 21-inch set is available. The standard brakes are steel but carbon-ceramic brakes are available. A rear-locking differential is also fitted as standard and buyers can upgrade to a multi-plate clutch unit with a locking range that extends from 0-100% (standard on RS E-Tron GT).

Audi has also crafted unique sounds for the E-Tron GT, not only to add to the emotional experience but also to warn pedestrians. There’s a standard external speaker setup to meet safety regulations for EVs, but Audi, depending on the market,  will also offer a more emotional package as an option.

Production of the E-Tron GT is being handled at Audi’s specialist Böllinger Höfe plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, where the R8 supercar and various racing models are built. The plant is unique at the Volkswagen Group in that it is the first to build two technically different cars on the same line, one a battery-electric sedan and the other a V-10-powered, mid-engine supercar.

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Toyota begins construction of its smart city

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Toyota's Woven City

Just before the coronavirus pandemic hit, at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, Toyota announced an ambitious plan to build an entire city in Japan as a showcase for futuristic tech. Despite everything that’s happened since that announcement, Toyota is still going ahead with this scheme.

Toyota held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, dubbed Woven City, Tuesday at a construction site adjacent to one of its former factories. The automaker didn’t give any other updates on construction, or on its efforts to recruit people to live in the city.

Woven City will be built from the ground up on 175 acres of land at the base of Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji. At its CES 2020 press conference, Toyota said the city would allow for testing and development of autonomous vehicles, robotics, smart-home systems, and other future tech in a real-world environment.

The name Woven City comes from the use of designated streets for three types of traffic: faster vehicles, mixed usage for lower-speed personal mobility devices (such as scooters), and pedestrians, as well as pedestrian-only zones. There will also be one underground road to transport goods, according to Toyota. The name also refers to Toyota’s roots in the textile industry.

Toyota’s Woven City

Toyota previously said it would deploy working versions of its e-Palette and LQ concepts in Woven City, plus an assortment of scooters and mobility aids for the pedestrian-only areas. The e-Palette is a reconfigurable box-shaped autonomous vehicle designed for both ride-sharing and delivery services, while the LQ is a small hatchback with an AI interface and some degree of autonomous-driving capability.

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose team designed Google’s Mountain View headquarters, was commissioned to design the city, which will be built from sustainable materials and powered by renewable energy, including hydrogen fuel cells (a Toyota favorite) and rooftop solar panels.

Toyota also previously said homes would have robots and sensors to monitor occupants’ health, and that all buildings, vehicles, and people would be connected through a citywide network managed by AI.

Initially, Woven City will have just 360 residents, mostly older adults, families with young children and inventors. Toyota plans to eventually house more than 2,000 people, including some of its own employees, in the futuristic city.

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Tesla won’t maintain growth as industry catches up

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Incoming BMW CEO Oliver Zipse

Tesla humbled the established German luxury automakers by leading the way for electric cars, but the rest of the industry is catching up, BMW’s chief executive believes.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Tesla’s 2020 deliveries were up nearly 36% from 2019, at just under 500,000 cars, the automaker said in its year-end financial results call. Tesla is also expanding, with new factories in Germany and Texas scheduled to come online, alongside its existing California and China plants, in 2021.

“It won’t be easy for Tesla to continue at that speed because the rest of the industry is moving ahead big time,” BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told Bloomberg Monday during the DLD All Stars tech conference, a gathering of tech visionaries.

Established automakers were not prepared for the Tesla Model S when it launched in 2012, and they are still struggling to match Tesla, which is now planning to launch a version of the Model S with more than 500 miles of range. Most German luxury brands are just beginning to roll out high-volume EVs and they are struggling to hit 300 miles of range.

Incoming BMW CEO Oliver Zipse

The Texas factory will build the Cybertruck, targeting the most popular vehicle segment in the U.S., and CEO Elon Musk has teased an entry-level $25,000 EV as well.

However, German automakers are finally beginning to ramp up production of EVs. BMW has several new models in the works, including the iX SUV, i4 sedan, and an electric version of the next-generation 7-Series. They’ll join the iX3 (which isn’t sold in the U.S.) and Mini Cooper SE, both of which debuted last year. The automaker plans to launch 25 electrified models by 2023, with more than half all-electric.

Mercedes-Benz plans to have eight EVs under its new EQ sub-brand by 2022. That includes the EQC crossover and EQV minivan already on sale in Europe, the upcoming EQA and EQB compact crossovers, as well as larger EQE and EQS models—each in sedan an SUV body styles. The EQS sedan starts production in Sindelfingen, Germany, later this year, while the SUV version, along with the EQE SUV, will be built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, starting in 2022.

The Volkswagen Group may already be ahead of Tesla in Europe at least. It sold more EVs than Tesla in that market last year, and delivered 231,600 globally—more than triple its 2019 total. VW is adding the ID.4 crossover to its lineup in both Europe and the U.S. this year. Audi will get its own version, dubbed Q4 E-Tron, along with the Porsche Taycan-based E-Tron GT this year.

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None of Jaguar’s current model lines will remain after EV transformation

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Thierry Bollore

Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore last week made the shock announcement that Jaguar’s full lineup will consist exclusively of electric vehicles as soon as 2025.

But the automaker doesn’t plan to simply redesign current models like the XF sedan and F-Pace crossover with battery-electric power. Instead, it plans a full reboot that will see new model lines introduced and the lineup likely pruned.

The reboot could also see the Jaguar brand repositioned as a more premium offering. Citing people familiar with Bollore’s plans, Automotive News (subscription required) reported this week that Jaguar will ditch the premium market dominated by the German brands and target the luxury market where brands like Aston Martin, Bentley and Maserati operate.

Thierry Bollore

The claim is backed by comments made by Bollore in a press conference following last week’s announcement, where he said, “we will reposition completely the Jaguar brand.” He also said in the conference that the repositioning is why plans for an electric XJ originally due in 2020 have been scrapped.

Key to the repositioning will be the development of a battery-electric platform exclusive to Jaguar. Land Rover will have two platforms of its own, both of them designed to support hybrid and battery-electric vehicles.

At this point Jaguar doesn’t have much to lose with a reboot. Last year it managed to sell slightly more than 100,000 vehicles. That’s only one fifth of what Tesla sold, despite Jaguar having two more model lines.

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