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      Ford pauses work on $3.5 billion battery factory in Michigan / ArsTechnica · 5 days ago - 21:30 · 1 minute

    A man stands next to an EV battery with some posters in the background.

    Enlarge / Ted Miller, manager of Ford Battery Cell Research and Advanced Engineering, holds a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery during a presentation on Monday, February 13, 2023 at Ford Ion Park in Romulus, Michigan. (credit: Ford)

    The past couple of years have seen a flurry of newly announced battery factories in North America. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is the main reason—it ties an electric vehicle's federal tax credit to domestically sourced batteries , among other conditions, so automakers have been scrambling to build that capacity locally. But today's news is rather more unusual. According to the Detroit News, Ford is pushing pause on one such facility, suspending all work on the $3.5 billion project.

    The plant in question is called Blue Oval Battery Park Michigan, located in Marshall, Michigan. Ford announced the new site in February , which it said would be responsible for making lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells. This is a less energy-dense chemistry than lithium-ion chemistries (like nickel cobalt manganese or nickel cobalt aluminum), but it can tolerate more charging cycles and is cheaper to make.

    Intellectually property issues have meant LFP cells have been uncommon in EVs outside of China, but that's beginning to change; Tesla fits some of its EVs with LFP cells, and Ford secured supplies of LFP cells from the Chinese battery company CATL for use in the Mustang Mach-E crossover and from next year, the F-150 Lightning pickup truck.

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      The 2024 BMW i7 M70—electric luxury turned up to 11 / ArsTechnica · 5 days ago - 17:28 · 1 minute

    A dark blue BMW i7 seen with some poplar trees in the background

    Enlarge / The i7 M70 features new mirrors and side skirts to go with new suspension and brakes and a more powerful rear motor. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    BMW provided flights from Washington, DC, to Portugal and three nights in a hotel so we could drive the new BMW i7 M70 as well as another BMW electric vehicle, which you can read about on October 1. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    LISBON, PORTUGAL—Driving BMW's new electric 7 Series was one of the true automotive surprises of 2022. The automaker rolled out electric and combustion-tech versions at the same time, with the electric i7 bettering the gas-burning 760i in just about every way. Now, BMW has sent its biggest and boldest EV off to its M division, the in-house tuning and motorsport people. The resulting car is the fastest-accelerating and most expensive electric BMW to date.

    I've long been an advocate for putting electric motors in luxury cars, especially big ones the combination of instant torque and near-silence is ideal for that application. Automakers both new and established also like the idea of big, luxury EVs because they can charge plenty for the privilege, so it's a crowded field. Some cars in this class target rollercoaster-like acceleration; for example, Porsche , Tesla , and Lucid will each sell you a four-door EV capable of a 0–60 time that's around two seconds.

    The i7 M70 is not as fast as those EVs, and it's not the kind of luxury EV you might use to wipe the smiles off some faces at the local drag strip's "run what ya brung" night. Instead, in keeping with BMW's old "ultimate driving machine" slogan, it's a rather engaging driver's car, one that belies its size and mass remarkably well.

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      This student-built EV just set a new world record for 0–62 mph / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 12 September - 19:26 · 1 minute

    a small electric single-seat race car accelerates on a runway

    Enlarge / You don't need 2,000 hp to set a world record for the fastest time to 62 mph. (credit: ETH Zurich / Alessandro Della Bella)

    There's a new world record for the fastest 0 to 62 mph (0–100 km/h), courtesy of a team of students at the Academic Motorsports Club Zürich and the Swiss universities ETH Zürich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The team did so with a scratch-built EV, designing everything from its chassis to its circuit boards, and bested the existing record— set last year by students in Stuttgart, Germany —by more than a third.

    The near-instant torque of an electric motor means that even a relatively low-powered hatchback like the Mini Cooper SE or Chevrolet Bolt feels quick off the line. In the days before electric propulsion's recent renaissance, a 0–60 mph time in the three-second range was the stuff of unobtainium. Now, you can buy a Tesla Model 3 that will hit 60 in 3.5 seconds for less than $50,000.

    As the price point goes up, the 0–60 time comes down. Anything starting with a 2.x is quick enough that it overcomes even the most jaded road tester in a way that taking 1 second longer to get there doesn't. Tesla will sell you a Model S that will get you there that quick, and Porsche's Taycan Turbo S is designed to do hard launches all day long until the battery is drained.

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      Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E gets a $65,000 Rally-inspired version / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 10:00 · 1 minute

    A yellow ford mustang mach-e rally driving on a dirt road

    Enlarge / Ford's latest Mach-E variant is designed for fun on or off the tarmac. (credit: Ford)

    Ford has a long and successful history with rallying, having won numerous races with motorsport-modified versions of more mundane machines like the Escort, Sierra, and Fiesta. Now it's applying some of that know-how to the electric Mustang Mach-E with a new version that goes on sale early next year, the Mustang Mach-E Rally.

    Until now, the Mustang Mach-E to purchase if you were looking for some fun has been the Mach-E GT, particularly if you opted for the $64,900 Performance Edition, which comes with magnetorheological dampers and better tires . Ford reckons the Mach-E Rally will cost about the same as that version, and it, too, rides on those magnetic fluid-filled dampers, together with new springs that give it a 20 mm higher ride height than the Mach-E GT.

    There are big front brake discs and 19-inch wheels shod in Michelin CrossClimate2 tires that have bigger sidewalls (and therefore absorb more bumps) than the 20-inch wheels and tires fitted to the GT. Ford has also added some underbody shielding to protect the front and rear motors from rocks, and there's protective film to help prevent stone chips on the doors and wheel arches.

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      Polestar 2 gets new motor and battery for MY24 refresh, and it’s a winner / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 12:00 · 1 minute

    A white polestar 2 parked next to a colorful sculpture of a triceratops

    Enlarge / When you see a brightly colored triceratops by the side of the road you should probably check it out. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    Polestar provided flights from Washington, DC, to Denver and back and two nights in a hotel so we could drive the model-year 2024 Polestar range. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    DENVER—A car's midlife refresh is, more often than not, a mostly cosmetic affair—new light clusters or a changed front fascia, perhaps a new interior. Truth be told, the styling tweaks to the model year 2024 Polestar 2 are subtle—you might notice new wheel designs, and the ersatz front grille has been replaced with a body-colored panel. Instead, Polestar concentrated on tweaking the bits you can't see, making the car more efficient and, in the case of the cheaper, single-motor version, a lot more fun to drive, too.

    When Polestar first launched the Polestar 2 in 2020, it did so with a dual-motor all-wheel drive version , followed by a more affordable single-motor model . Although the more expensive, more powerful version was faster, as is often the case with electric vehicles, I found the supposedly lesser car the one to go for. It's this version that has had the most attention paid to it in the refresh, most notably the fact that its single motor now powers the rear wheels, not the front.

    Polestar has developed a new electric motor that's significantly more powerful than the one it replaces, outputting 299 hp (220 kW) and 361 lb-ft (490 Nm). That's a 29 percent boost in power and 48 percent more torque than the previous single-motor model.

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      Can we please just go back to using smaller wheels and tires? / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 15 August - 17:28 · 1 minute

    A flat tire on a Hyundai Ioniq 5

    Enlarge / Sigh . Not only are the 225/45/R20 tires easy to puncture, they're not cheap. Smaller wheels would ride better and provide better efficiency. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    On Friday afternoon, I popped out of the house to run a quick errand. This week's press fleet car is a Hyundai Ioniq 5 , a boxy, angular, and efficient electric vehicle. I never quite made it to my intended destination, though; a very slightly misjudged corner—at low speed—saw me clip the curb with the back right wheel, resulting in a dime-sized hole in the sidewall and a frustrating couple of hours. Needless to say, there is no spare tire in an Ioniq 5, nor a can of get-you-home foam, not that it would have helped in this instance. But I can't help thinking all that stress could have been avoided if the car used smaller wheels and higher profile tires.

    Of all the current automotive trends, the ever-increasing size of wheels and tires may be my least favorite. If you're middle-aged, you've probably been driving for a couple of decades now, during which time smaller wheel sizes have been disappearing even faster than the honey bees . Just try finding good 14-inch tires for an older Miata, for example. Or even 15s.

    The increasing popularity of crossovers and SUVs is largely to blame, though not entirely. So, too, is the move to battery electric vehicles, which is ironic considering that increasing wheel size very clearly hurts efficiency and range, the two main considerations for many EV buyers.

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      The Pininfarina Battista is more than just face-warping acceleration / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 15 August - 15:00 · 1 minute

    A yellow pininfarina Battista parked with mountains in the background

    Enlarge / The Pininfarina Battista looks almost as good as it goes. And boy does this car go. (credit: Pininfarina)

    There’s quick, and then there’s launching a car with such brutality that you can legitimately feel your cheeks pulling away from your face. It takes the Automobili Pininfarina Battista just 1.8 seconds to accelerate to 60 miles per hour. Yet somehow, that isn’t the most eye-popping detail about this hand-built Italian hypercar. Ditto its $2.5 million asking price.

    A quick refresher: Automobili Pininfarina is a spin-off of legendary design house Pininfarina, a company responsible for making some of the automotive world’s most gorgeous cars (and also the VinFast VF8 ). The Battista—named for company founder Battista “Pinin” Farina—is Automobili Pininfarina’s first product, and it shares its electric underpinnings with the Nevera, a similarly hyperbolic supercar from Croatian brand Rimac .

    Those EV guts consist of a T-shaped 120 kWh battery pack and four electric motors, one at each wheel. Max output is a yes-you-read-that-correctly 1,877 hp (1,400 kW) and 1,726 lb-ft (2,340 Nm) of torque, and while the aforementioned 1.8-second 0-to-60-mph sprint is ludicrous in its own right, even more impressive is that the Battista never lets up. It takes less than five seconds to hit 124 mph (200 km/h), and you’ll see 186 mph in just over 10 seconds. The Battista’s top speed? 217 mph (350 km/h). You’ll be there in no time.

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      Cargo, passengers, even campers—Mercedes-Benz has a new EV van platform / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 16 May - 12:45

    a still from a Mercedes-Benz video showing a concept of how its modular van platform could give rise to a camper

    Enlarge / We know you love the idea of electric camper vans, and it seems so does Mercedes-Benz Vans. (credit: Mercedes-Benz)

    Mercedes-Benz Vans is on the verge of launching its next big thing. On Tuesday, the luxury carmaker’s Vans division detailed a new fully scalable electric vehicle architecture, called Van.EA, which is expected to bear fruit in 2026. From midsize luxury vans to full-size cargo and camper vans, Mercedes-Benz says Van.EA will provide extremely versatile bones.

    "We will merge our midsize and large vans onto one platform," Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, told reporters during a press conference on Monday. "That wasn't possible in the past."

    How will that work? Basically, Van.EA will consist of three main parts. Up front, a common axle and electric drive unit will be shared across all Van.EA vehicles. The middle section will be the most flexible, with different lengths and battery sizes depending on the type of van. Finally, two rear-end options will be offered: one with an electric drive motor, for a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup, and one without this extra power unit, for front-wheel-drive vehicles.

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      The VW ID.7—a new electric motor and a streamlined sedan shape / ArsTechnica · Monday, 17 April - 14:38 · 1 minute

    A car cover is pulled back to reveal the VW ID.7

    Enlarge / Volkswagen has established the "face" of its ID electric vehicles—because there's no mistaking this for anything else. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

    Volkswagen provided a train ticket from DC to New York and back, plus a night in a hotel, so we could see the ID.7. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    NEW YORK—On Monday morning, Volkswagen introduced its next new electric vehicle with simultaneous events in New York, Shanghai, and Berlin. It's called the ID.7, and it will go on sale in Europe and China later this year and in North America in 2024. It's a fairly substantial thing—more than a foot longer than the ID.4 crossover that VW now builds in Chattanooga—with a low-drag shape and some powertrain refinements that VW says will make the car highly efficient.

    But it will face stiff competition in the electric sedan market, up against the established juggernaut that is the Tesla Model 3 , not to mention Hyundai's excellent new Ioniq 6 .

    This is not our first view of the ID.7—VW showed it off underneath luminescent camouflage back in January . It's a big car—longer even than the VW Arteon sedan at 195.3 inches (4,961 mm), with a 116.8-inch (2,967 mm) wheelbase. It's relatively wide at 73.3 inches (1,852), but it also has a relatively low roofline at 60.6 inches (1,539 mm) that helps keep the frontal area down to 2.45 m2 in order to make the most of the ID.7's drag coefficient of 0.23.

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