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Lexus introduces its first PHEV with new 2nd-generation NX

Lexus announced the world premiere of the all-new NX, the first model of Lexus’ next-generation range. Under the “Lexus Electrified” initiative,…

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This article was originally published by Green Car Congress

Lexus announced the world premiere of the all-new NX, the first model of Lexus’ next-generation range. Under the “Lexus Electrified” initiative, the new NX accelerates the proliferation of electrified models by being Lexus’ first Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV); the NX is also offered as a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV).


Lexus NX 450h+ PHEV


In 2014, Lexus launched the NX, based on the concept of “Premium Urban Sports Gear.” Since then, the luxury crossover has been well-received by customers for its agile driving performance and powerful design. As of the end of April 2021, the NX has sold a cumulative total of approximately 1 million units in more than 90 countries and regions, and together with the RX, has grown to become a core global model for Lexus.

The new NX is the first model to introduce the next generation of Lexus. In order to establish the unique driving experience to be found in future electrified vehicles, Lexus focused on thoroughly improving driving control, aerodynamics, and weight reduction.

The new NX uses the GA-K platform to achieve a lightweight, highly rigid body with a low center of gravity to enable superior handling. The basic performance of the vehicle has been greatly improved, and it inherits Lexus’ driving signature, which is faithful to the driver’s inputs with control surfaces tuned for a more linear response.

Available powertrains include Lexus’ first PHEV; an HEV-equipped with high-capacity battery, a newly developed 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine; and a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder naturally-aspirated engine—all with high thermal efficiency.

PHEV and HEV. The NX 450h+ PHEV has a manufacturer-estimated 36-mile range on electric power only, made possible by the newly developed, high-capacity lithium-ion battery. The system achieves the EV output equivalent to a 2.0-liter engine. When combined with the newly developed hybrid transaxle, a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder engine delivers an estimated 6.0 second 0-60 time.

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PHEV system


A high-output, high-efficiency system designed to reduce power loss when converting from AC power to DC power, results in shorter charging times. Using the maximum charging current of 240V, the Lexus NX plug-in hybrid can be fully charged in approximately two-and a-half hours when equipped with the optional 6.6 kW Expedited Onboard Charger. With the standard 3.3 kW on board charger, charge time goes up slightly to four-and-a-half hours.

All-wheel drive (AWD) is available on models equipped with PHEV and 2.4-liter turbo powertrains, while both AWD and front-wheel drive (FWD) are available on the models equipped with HEV and 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated powertrains.

The plug-in hybrid system used in the PHEV version of the NX is equipped with a thermally-efficient 2.5-liter inline-four engine, a 18.1 kWh, high-output lithium-ion battery, and front and rear motors.

The NX PHEV features AWD (E-FOUR) with constantly variable front-to-rear torque distribution between 100:0 and 20:80 percent modes. The high-capacity lithium-ion battery is placed under the floor to lower the center of gravity and help enhance handling and the overall driving experience.

The driver can alternate at will among the four driving modes (EV mode, AUTO EV/HV mode, HV mode, and Self-charge mode) at the touch of a switch. In HV mode, the engine and motor work together to achieve high acceleration performance. In addition, when AUTO EV/HV mode is selected with a destination inputted into the navigation system, Lexus’ first anticipatory EV/HV mode will automatically switch to HV mode on highways and other road conditions based upon data such as remaining battery power, route, and traffic information, all for the achievement of energy-efficient driving.

The Lexus Hybrid Drive system on the NX 350h pairs the D4-S fuel injection 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with two high-torque electric drive motor-generators for strong acceleration and passing performance. Instead of transfer gears and a driveshaft to the rear wheels, the AWD system employs a second, independent electric motor to drive the rear wheels when it detects it is needed to help maintain optimal traction.

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HEV system


E-Four has a constantly variable front/rear driving force distribution from 100:0 to 20:80 percent modes. A FWD version will also be introduced to meet the diversifying needs of customers.

Highly rigid and lightweight body. Reinforcement braces and panels have been added to the suspension members and other parts of the vehicle to ensure that the driving force is optimized. The rigidity of the GA-K platform has been evolved by considering the cowl shape and increasing the structure’s plate thickness. The structure of the upper body benefits from an engine hood that adopts a twin-lock structure—a first for Lexus.

In addition to the annular structure, a high-rigidity structural foaming agent was placed effectively by CAE analysis in order to suppress matchbox deformation in the rear luggage opening. In addition to laser screw welding (LSW) and structural adhesives, laser peening technology has been newly developed for joining skeletons. Through their optimal placement, the bonding strength has been increased by extending the bonding length by about 35% compared to the conventional type.

The rocker outer reinforcement is made of 1180 MPa steel by tailor welded blanks (1.6 kg lighter than the conventional structure), and the roof center reinforcement is made of cold-rolled steel sheet with a tensile strength of 1470 MPa. The roof center reinforcement is made of cold-rolled steel plate with a tensile strength of 1470 MPa (approximately 0.3 kg lighter than the conventional structure). A structure made of such high tensile strength steel enhances vehicle rigidity, safety, and handling while mitigating mass.

Safety. The NX adopts the evolved Lexus Safety System +. By expanding the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera, Lexus enhanced the performance of each function and added new functions to assist on ordinary roads. The aim is to prevent accidents, further reduce traffic fatalities and injuries, and ease the burden on drivers.

In addition, the NX is equipped with Advanced Park, an advanced driving support technology developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept, to support safe, secure and smooth parking. Furthermore, a new function has been added to allow remote parking using a smartphone.

In addition, automatic door-opening cancellation (Safe Exit Assist), which is linked to the Blind Spot Monitor sensor and e-latch system, supports safe and secure exit. For added convenience, a digital key that allows the driver to operate the car from a smartphone is also available.

Energy & Critical Metals

Daimler Truck’s powertrain plants in Germany will produce electric drive components

Following intensive talks, Daimler Truck AG and the Works Council have agreed that the three powertrain sites in Gaggenau, Kassel and Mannheim will specialize…

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Following intensive talks, Daimler Truck AG and the Works Council have agreed that the three powertrain sites in Gaggenau, Kassel and Mannheim will specialize in different components for electrified drives.

In the future, they will drive the global production of battery-electric and hydrogen-based drive systems in a production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems, together with the sister plant in Detroit. Significant additional investments in future technologies at the Daimler Truck powertrain plants will drive technological change.


  • The Mercedes-Benz plant in Gaggenau, which specializes in heavy-duty commercial vehicle transmissions, will develop into a competence center for electric drive components as well as the assembly of hydrogen-based fuel cell drive components.

  • The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kassel is expanding its current focus on commercial vehicle axles and will become a competence centre for electric drive systems.

  • The Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim, specialized in commercial verhicle engines, is drawing on the more than 25 years of experience of the Competence Center for Emission-free Mobility (KEM) located at the plant and is focusing on battery technologies and high-voltage-systems.

Important scopes for alternative drives, such as the production of electrically driven axle systems, e-motors and inverters, as well as the assembly of fuel cell systems, will be integrated into the powertrain plants in the future, in addition to investments in the reprocessing and recycling of battery systems.

Our industry is undergoing a transformation toward CO2-neutral trucks. Since conventional drive systems will also be with us for some years to come, we are focusing the future orientation of our powertrain plants primarily on flexibility, cost-effectiveness and very well-trained employees. This had to be reconciled in our negotiations with the Works Council. With the production and technology network for electric drive components and battery systems in conjunction with the competence centers at the plants, we have succeeded in doing so. In this way, we are creating optimum conditions for maximum competitiveness for our plants and at the same time laying the foundations for a successful future.

—Yaris Pürsün, Head of Global Powertrain Operations Daimler Truck

Another element of the technology network for electric drive components and battery systems are the innovation laboratories (InnoLabs). In addition to the competence centers, these are being set up at all plants. They specialize in innovative production processes, new technologies and products.

The aim of the InnoLabs is to close the gap between prototype production and series development. Series start-ups are thus to be prepared with maximum efficiency so that products can be transferred from the prototype phase to series production as quickly as possible. With the InnoLab Battery located at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Mannheim, Daimler Truck AG will establish its own pilot battery cell production and thus lay an important foundation stone for future competence in battery technology.

In its transformation toward CO2-neutral transportation, Daimler Truck is focusing on two all-electric drive technologies: battery and hydrogen-based fuel cell. With these, every customer application can be covered with full flexibility in terms of routes—from well-plannable, urban distribution transport to multi-day transports that are difficult to plan. Which solution is used by the customer depends on the specific application.

As the first battery-electric truck, the Mercedes-Benz eActros for routes in distribution transport will go into series production at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth in October 2021, followed by the eEconic next year. The battery-electric eActros LongHaul for long-distance transport will follow from the middle of the decade. Key components be manufactured at the powertrain plants in the future.

In addition to the products, the powertrain plants are to become CO2-neutral from 2022, just like all other European Daimler Truck plants. This will be made possible, among other things, by a green power concept at Daimler: CO2-free power procurement from renewable energy sources will form the basis for CO2-neutral production. As part of this, the sites will purchase electricity from wind and solar farms as well as hydropower plants from 2022 onwards. On the way to becoming green production sites, the Mercedes-Benz powertrain plants are also to operate CO2-free in the long term by successively establishing fully renewable energy systems over the next few years.

The sister plant in Detroit, which is part of the global production network for powertrain components, will continue to strengthen its role in the US market and, as a competence center for electric powertrain components, make an important contribution to shaping sustainable transportation in the American market.

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Energy & Critical Metals

Tata Steel contracts for 27 electric trucks for transportation of finished steel in India

As part of its sustainability initiative, Tata Steel is partnering with an Indian start-up to deploy electric trucks for its steel transportin India. This…

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As part of its sustainability initiative, Tata Steel is partnering with an Indian start-up to deploy electric trucks for its steel transportin India. This marks the first use of EVs by any steel producer in the country for transportation of finished steel.


The electric trucks feature a 230.4 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack with a cooling system and a battery management system giving it capability to operate at ambient temperatures upto 60 °C (140 °F). The battery pack will be powered by a 160-kWh charger setup which would be able to charge the battery from 0 to 100% in 90 min. With zero tail-pipe emission, each electric vehicle would reduce the GHG footprint by more than 125 tCO2e every year.

Tata Steel has contracted for 27 EVs, each with a carrying capacity 35 tonnes of steel (minimum capacity). The company plans to deploy 15 EVs at its Jamshedpur plant and 12 EVs at its Sahibabad plant. The first set of EVs for Tata Steel are being put in operation between Tata Steel BSL’s Sahibabad Plant and Pilkhuwa Stockyard in Uttar Pradesh.

At a virtual ceremony organized on July 29, Tata Steel formally flagged-off the loaded vehicle at the Pilkhuwa Stockyard to move to the Sahibabad plant, 38 km away.

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Energy & Critical Metals

Tesla Is Hiking Prices In The U.S. While Slashing Them In China

Tesla Is Hiking Prices In The U.S. While Slashing Them In China

After posting its most recent earnings "beat", Tesla is taking on two starkly…

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Tesla Is Hiking Prices In The U.S. While Slashing Them In China

After posting its most recent earnings "beat", Tesla is taking on two starkly different strategies for its U.S. and its China business. 

In the United States, the automaker is raising prices in an attempt to boost profit margins, while in China it is keeping prices steady in what is likely an attempt to drum up more demand, Reuters reported

So far, Tesla has raised the price of its Model 3 and Model Y "about a dozen times" in the U.S. this year, the report notes. At the same time, the company also introduced an affordable version of its Model Y in China.

Tesla isn't just facing increased scrutiny in China from its citizens and the government, but is also running face-first into a wall of Chinese EV competitors. 

Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein has questioned demand in China as a result of the introduction of the lower priced Model Y. He has said that the model "may make sustained margin improvement difficult". Chinese owners were "were less enthusiastic and had lower repurchase intentions than owners in the United States and Europe," a Bernstein survey recently showed.

Meanwhile in the U.S., Tesla continues to raise the price of its Model Y long range, which is now priced at $53,990. In China, the more affordable Model Y is priced at $42,394.

Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin told Reuters: "I think Tesla is looking to be as competitive as it can be in China. Lower prices will be a part of that aggressive market positioning. There is a very large difference in battery prices in the U.S. and China, as well as local vehicle manufacturing costs."

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Nicholas Hyett added: "It wasn't so long ago that the group was trimming prices in the U.S. to gain scale and maximize profitability, and it feels like we're now seeing that in China too."

Gene Munster at Loup Ventures attests that the lower prices in China could "have a lasting effect" for the company in the country: "Teslas are on average 3x the cost of a typical EV made in China so they have to be priced less than the U.S. to compete. Prices of Teslas in China will be below (the) rest of the world for the next decade."

Tesla's market share in China has fallen to 11% in the battery electric vehicle market. China makes up 44% of the global EV market. 

 

 

 

Tyler Durden Fri, 07/30/2021 - 10:36
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