Newsgrab

A highly selective, subjective (and lengthy) IAA-themed grab for the week ending 12/09/2021.

Audi Grandsphere. hum3d

The first indoor European motorshow since the onset of SARS CoV-2 is not something to be taken lightly, but neither is it of direct consequence to those of us who routinely fail to attend them. It’s not that I was ever particularly averse – in fact I rather enjoy perusing the putative, spectating over the speculative and free-associating over the fantastical, but the events themselves always seemed to have fallen at an inconvenient time. For the past 18 months or so this has been largely academic, but once again my coverage of a major motor event must by necessity be of a remote nature.

Impartial, in-person coverage is of course what anyone with a modicum of discernment would ideally wish for, but only here will you find the kind of poorly-researched, reactive, discriminatory and unashamedly uninfluential coverage that regular Driven to Write readers have come to depend upon. Munich – billed as IAA Mobility (not just cars anymore, you understand) – might pay lip service to other forms of personal transportation, but motorcars remain very much the primary concern. So, what of them?

You may have been aware of Audi’s recent (and frankly rather silly) concertina Skysphere concept (revealed in August), the first of a trio of level 4 autonomous concepts the four ring brand are debuting over coming months. Audi’s more recent (and immeasurably more appealing) Grandsphere saloon made a quiet debut in the run up to IAA, the timing of which didn’t reflect particularly well upon Audi’s marketers.

It sounds a little like damning with faint praise to say that by current Audi standards, Grandsphere is something of a return to form, but it is (and I’ve seen better photos than those currently on the web) rather well executed. Yes, it does retain a still overstated faux-grille, which according to Ingolstadt sources remains set to defy the shift to volts and ohms, but indulge me a moment to acknowledge the first Audi design in a very long time that it’s possible to regard with something more than derision.

Grandsphere we are told will form the basis for the next generation Audi flagship – which unfortunately sounds rather unlikely. But if it does look even remotely like this I will literally fall at Marc Licht’s feet and howl a recantation.

BMW i-Vision Circular. Notizieauto

BMW too it seems are looking ahead – to 2040 to be precise, displaying the i Vision Circular, an angular monospace which, the Vierzylinder asserts, represents future sustainable mobility. Consistent with current BMW stylistic values – Hofmeister kink aside – the concept contains little or no recognisable design cues. Not that BMW’s stylistic leadership see it that way, stating, “The kidney surfaces extend across the entire width of the front end, merging the headlights and grille into an unmistakable double-icon that will continue to be a clear BMW identifier.

Just to clarify, they actually did say “clear BMW identifier” for those not paying attention. Repeat after me: Clear. BMW. Identifier. It’s no use, is it? However, in its favour, the i Vision Circular is said to be wholly recyclable – in itself highly laudable, but I do hope that also includes the styling theme.

Kokcar

From the realm of unlikely futures to the mundane here and now, Renault’s Romanian own-brand outpost recognises that while electrification and driver assistance is on the coming agenda, for a large swathe of motorists, it remains a still distant one. Dacia’s new for 2022 Jogger recognises this, offering a low-frills extended version of the recently announced Sandero – largely identical from the B-pillar forward – offering a taller roofline, extended wheelbase (and rear), and seven seat capability.

Unlike its more demure predecessor (it also replaces the Logan MCV and Lodgy models), the Jogger carries a good deal of rufty-tufty crossover addenda (a reflection of customer tastes one assumes) although drive remains resolutely at the front. About as  unselfconscious an offering as one might encounter in the current era, could the Jogger be a less pretentious Matra Rancho for the modern age? Expect strong sales.

KIA Motors

Also within the realm of the attainable, KIA, having already shown a larger bodied variant of the new era Sportage for home and US markets, are debuting the more compact, if broadly similar European version at Munich. Said to have been optimised both in size and in road behaviour terms, the question of its frontal styling  remains rather more troubling. Frankly, it’s a fright, although in its favour, it certainly is original. But given the level of success its equally fiendish-looking Hyundai Tucson equivalent enjoys, it’s clear that polarising styling is no impediment to sales success – especially if your product comes with a seven year warranty and an enviable reputation. Expect strong sales.

Mercedes EQE. news.evearly

You can always rely upon the three pointed star to come up with the goods, especially at showtime. Sindelfingen hasn’t disappointed, Munich hosting the fully electrified EQB, EQE, EQG, the AMG-ified EQS saloon and in concept form, the “tradition-steeped” Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV – which I think we can all agree is a whole lot of EQ goodness for one mobility event. What can be said about these wonders?

All more or less cleave to the current electric Mercedes template – either somewhat chintzier-looking versions of pre-existing combustion engined models, or in the case of EQS and the debutant EQE, (its new for Munich mid-sized saloon sibling) a challenging and for Untertürkheim, highly unusual set of proportions, not to mention a whole new set of upended expectations.

What does seem apparent is that while Mercedes’ mainstream combustion range of cars are from a purely visual standpoint, at least (how shall I put this?), broadly competent, they do seem to be struggling to establish a coherent (or wholly attractive) creative identity for their new-era electric cars. But given that Mercedes, and brand-Maybach are said to have amongst the youngest customer base of its sector, the joke’s probably on us. Expect strong sales.

The Orbanaut. News18

Given how much the monospace format has fallen out of favour amidst the buying public of late, it does seem curious that the BMW group appear so fixated upon the concept. Not content with their own i Vision concept, Milbertshoven’s Union Jack offshoot is displaying its MINI Urbanaut concept, first seen last year. A soft-formed pod-shaped monobox, it resembles something which could conceivably wear the VW roundel upon its smooth nose without a raised eyebrow in sight.

Majoring on cabin ambience, and the provision of maximal interior space for a minimal footprint, Urbanaut, according to its creators is a recognition of the principles espoused by the Mini’s spiritual creator. Reports suggest that future MINIs will further Urbanaut’s rejection of the unnecessary; the next generation heartland MINI going fully EV, with all the benefits to proportion, overhangs and cabin space that ought to entail.

Urbanaut designer, Olivier Heilmer told Autocar this week that discussions are ongoing at the Vierzylinder over a production version, but if it happens, it will be at least five years off.

Mégane E-Tech. ondigitalshop

With the recent transformation of Groupe PSA within the Stellantis constellation, domestic rival, Renault has been somewhat overlooked. Now under new management, Renault are fighting back in the only fashion that matters. Dynamic new CEO, Luca de Meo has sanctioned a bold swathe of product, some of which are of a contemporary mien, while others hark back to past Boulogne-Billancourt masters.

Renault had been somewhat tardy in joining the C-sector crossover brigade, all the more surprising considering the success commercial and technical partner Nissan had enjoyed with the Qashqai model. Similarly, Nissan have been fielding a C-segment EV for over a decade now with the strong-selling Leaf. Not that Renault have not enjoyed sales success with electric vehicles, its long-running Zoe proving one of Europe’s best selling for some years now – although profitability has been another matter.

Now debuting the 2022 fully-electric Mégane E-Tech crossover, this VW ID3 rival looks poised to steal a march on both its domestic rivals and the rest of the C-segment electric laggards. The E-tech shares a group EV platform with the Nissan Ariya with its styling based on an earlier, more arresting Morphoz concept. In visual terms, one of the more convincing of its still thin on the ground breed, the Renault has considerably more showroom appeal than VW’s somewhat po-faced ID3 – especially within. Hopes are high in Paris.

Cinq. Rewired. L’argus.fr

On the other side of the Renaulution coin, Munich also witnesses the physical debut of the R5 concept, believed to preview a production version to replace the long-running Zoe in 2023. While it’s somewhat staggering that it has taken this long for Renault to formally acknowledge Michel Boué’s 1972 masterpiece, it does seem a slightly retrograde step for a carmaker who have not really looked backwards before now.

ekskulnews

Now partially decoupled from the Mercedes Deathstar, Smart are also looking to an electrified future under joint-owners, Geeley. Making a first appearance at Munich is the Concept #1, a total departure, not simply in format, but in form as well. Smart has hit a metaphorical wall of late, with its take on the compact city car and subsequent attempts at brand extension never quite stacking up, either creatively or commercially.

Concept #1 is an attempt to etch-a-sketch all that unpleasantness away, previewing a production car which will be roughly the size of Mercedes’ EQA but on a Geeley-designed and built platform, with styling overseen by its Sindelfingen stakeholder – described as “cool” and “grownup” by the three pointed star’s esteemed Chief Creative Officer. “The pure and futuristic design erases where car starts and art ends“, say Smart. Classic Gorden.

I don’t wish to sound snide, especially since the Concept #1 is a fairly inoffensive looking thing, but must be some seriously miffed MINI designers wandering about Munich this week. Rüsselsheim too really ought to be asking for their floating roof back, while I’m busy casting aspersions. So anything but original, this Smart concept, but you can’t argue that it isn’t tidily executed.

Clinical. auto-reise-creative

Volkswagen are doing a neat line in sterility nowadays, doggedly working their way through the product range, excising every last screed of sentience, charm or stylistic merit. Munich’s ID Life concept is simply the latest – a preview of a putative ID 2 model to be built using a modified version of VW’s MEB electric-specific platform in a couple of years time. Set to be one of the more affordable of their new generation of EVs, Volkswagen are claiming they will price the production car at €20,000, placing it into newly electrified R5 territory.

Styling is both faithful, yet at a remove from prior ID practice, the ID Life embodying a more upright rectilinear silhouette, one evoking a more retrospective feeling to that of its larger siblings. However, as presented it comes across as neither one nor the other, the faintly 1980s styling cues suggesting other makes rather than anything from VW’s own back catalogue. It’s difficult to pinpoint, but I’m finding VW’s ID product-design ethos somewhat forced.

Nobody deserves to be pigeon-holed – that goes for carmakers as much as for individuals. So when carmakers take a quantum leap, they ought to be applauded, for it is often an act of bravery. However there is something afoot here which I find vaguely disquieting. A nagging sense of design teams lacking either ideas or guidance and in its absence heading instead for the Karaoke booth. Mini covers Microbus, Smart does MINI. I’m not certain I can articulate what VW are trying to achieve (I doubt they can either) perhaps a tonally deficient rendition of Fiat’s 2019 Centoventi concept? It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Italians simply do this kind of thing with more conviction – and a lot more charm.

A word that Smart’s staggering lack of originality could at least be said to contain. One could even argue it represents a more convincing MINI than MINI themselves have served up for a good twenty years. Is this enough – or even vaguely acceptable? Maybe I’m just too much at a remove for it all to cast judgement.

Maybe. Clearer eyes than mine can better adjudicate upon these matters. And speaking of which, for a deeper, more varied, in-person and more clear-eyed take on the city of Munich and IAA Mobility itself, Design Field Trip, who will be offering nuanced and insightful Munich show analysis over the coming week is our recommended port of call. They at least made it out of the house.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

31 thoughts on “Newsgrab”

  1. Dear Eóin

    Thank you very much for your reflections on the IAA Mobility in Munich. I fully share many of these impressions and observations.

    It was supposed to be a new type of mobility exposition. A move away from a mere automobile show towards an International Campus for Mobility. I am firmly convinced that in the coming days and weeks we will be able to follow a number of debates in which the success of this project will be discussed.

    Initially, this format has left me with a number of looming ambiguities. First and foremost is the question of whether we can really still speak of an international platform in view of the large number of cancellations. The Stellantis Group and thus brands like Opel, Citroën or Peugeot – are missing. Tesla with the Model 3 as the manufacturer of the world’s best-selling e-car? Not there. The world’s largest carmaker, Toyota? Absent. Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Skoda and also brands like Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce or Lamborghini – all not in Munich. Organisers who claim to be the leading industry exhibition should also be able to offer visitors a representation of the entire automotive world in 2021.

    In fact, the organisers have allowed Mercedes-Benz to hijack this format and, with its seemingly endless array of innovations and concepts, to temporarily squeeze the competition against the wall in terms of communication. And this happened within a format that, in the course of its renewal, has declared a greater balance between the presentations of the individual manufacturers to be at the top of its list of priorities.

    Among other things, this was made possible by the fact that BMW, as a hometown patriot, completely failed to exploit this home advantage with an appropriately self-confident and richly garnished presentation. Instead, a largely unrealistic study is shown, which once again documents that one can continue to be seriously concerned about the future BMW design. A study of the upcoming BMW 7 Series with electric drive (i.e. the future i7) would have been enough to counter the comparable exhibits from Stuttgart and Ingolstadt. At best with more realism than Audi’s and more style than Mercedes-Benz’s identical twins in the form of EQS and EQE. Unfortunately, this is also not the case.

    All in all, one gets the impression that this new event-fomat has a lot of trouble meeting the wishes and expectations of the visitors – no matter whether they are classic car fans or are looking for inspiration from new ideas for the future.

  2. Any comment I make now is at risk of being accused of creating an echo chamber of this site. Eóin’s observations are spot on in my book: from the VW ID.2 concept to the Smart, and the fact that the EV phenomenon is seeing manufacturers invading the traditional space of others.

    I like the new Mégane EV, but also fail to understand the direction of Renault’s product strategy given the stated intent to creat EV’s to imitate the R5 and R4 (the latter said to be more premium than the former?). It’s as if these are de Meo’s doing and the Mégane is more of the ancien regime.

  3. Eóin, I have to say I am in awe of your restraint on this occasion regarding the latest Mercedes-Maybach concept. Its exterior styling is just terrible, childishly naive and extraordinarily poorly defined. The interior looks like a tacky beauty salon.


    How can any sane person think this represents good taste? I know taste is subjective, but not absolutely so, and this is so far beyond the pale as to be almost unbelievable as a serious proposition. If this represents the pinnacle of aspirational automotive styling, then I clearly don’t understand what’s going on at all.

    Glad I’ve got that off my chest!

    1. Oh my God, Daniel. You promised not to publish such pictures any more – and if you do so, then with the appropriate warnings.

      The pictured, hm, let’s call it an object, reminds me of an incident from my youth: I was 16 and just started my apprenticeship, my master showed me a design for something, I didn’t like it that much and said “Well, you can argue about taste”. He looked at me for a few seconds, raised his eyebrow very slightly and said “No, you can’t argue about taste. Either you have it or you don’t”.

      So I can reassure you, all is not lost for you and your aesthetic sensibilities, I’m not so sure about the world outside….

    2. Sorry, Fred. At least it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone in my feelings of revulsion for Gorden’s latest automotive excresences.

    3. In every way, this is a big, red, flashy, shiny gift to the wealthiest of mainland Chinese consumers. Our tastes have no bearing on it.

  4. I found that a fascinating read (and it made me laugh quite a bit, too).

    I like the BMW i Vision Circular in that it reminds me of the Honda Gear concept of a few years ago. While I’m sure it’s very worthy, I find it odd that they’re promoting recyclability so strongly, as that won’t be the concern of the first owner and it invites potential buyers to think of the car at the end of its life, being dismantled.

    As for Volkswagen, it’s as if they have lost their confidence and have forgotten who they are. Clearly, a lot hinges on getting the product right and the terrifying possibility of failure seems to have led to timid designs. As a Group, they had strong direction from a man with a very clear vision. That has now gone, and they are struggling to find their feet.

    Turning to the Jogger; it’s been described as an MPV. Surely they’re not going to make a comeback?

  5. The Audi concept at the top could, with little effort, be remade into a plausible Citroen. It seems to me that often quite daring and good concepts have a Citroen quality, or the quality we might once have expected of the brand before it became equivalent to Aldi or Lidl family packs of no-name biscuits. The Mercedes EQE has a badge problem. It´s not in the right place. I don´t mind Kia´s car at all and much of what they do is first rate, to my way of thinking. The BMW makes the mistake of turning the grille morphology into a grille-and-lamp graphic. Another step towards meaninglessness. I feel that there´s a dearth of semantic intelligence in BMW´s design centre. They don´t know what shapes *mean* and the symbols of BMW are just a worthless currency now.

    1. For many years, BMW Design was a prime example of merciless discipline in preserving the design features typical of the brand in the form of the BMW kidney, the twin headlights, the Hofmeister kink, the side crease and the L-shaped taillights.

      Even Chris Bangle never lost respect for these brand insignia despite various (sometimes rightfully) disputed impulses in the designs for which he was responsible. As a result, even under his aegis, a BMW was always clearly identifiable as such and thus clearly distinguishable from all other brands.

      This discipline now seems to be fading away. The reasons for this are rather unclear to me. There is an impression of disrespect for what generations of designers have created as the foundation of the brand. More than a few brands are positively salivating to be able to incorporate this distinctiveness into their products. At BMW, it seems as if this privilege is being stomped on just to finally be able to escape from the tight corset of brand-typical design.

      Unfortunately, no creative breeding ground seems to be emerging here at the moment that would be capable of fine-tuning the brand design further in the direction of distinctiveness. Instead, increasing mediocrity is taking over, and with new models one increasingly has the impression that certain details may already have been seen in other brands – preferably of French or Korean origin. The next chapter of this development is imminent when the BMW X8 (as well as X7 facelift and 7 Series successor) will present a completely new design for the front light units, which appear to have found their inspiration in the current model range of Citröen and Hyundai.

  6. I like the Audi, but can’t figure out why they opted for this wheel design. The even number of spokes doesn’t work for me.

    Whatever the BMW concept is trying to do the current i3 does it better as far as I’m concerned. Well, the i3 has too little range and too little room in the back. The interior of the Vision Circular is worse than the Maybach. Don’t post it here, Daniel 😉

    The Kia has a hideous front. What were they thinking. I hope no strong sales.

    Another addition to Mercedes’ alphabet soup. Another yawn.

    The other cars don’t bother me, nor inspire me.

  7. Interesting article, before reading about it I thought the Dacia was going to be the return of the Skoda Roomster!

    So many concepts with nothing to associate them with any brand – the R5 is a welcome exception! The BMW is just horrific.

  8. The Grandsphere may be attractive, but I have a very hard time seeing it as an Audi. It’s Hyundai at the front, Citroen at the rear, and the side may as well be any Buick concept car of the last decade. I don’t have the authority to define how an Audi should look, but this doesn’t seem very Germanic, and that’s probably it’s biggest flaw. The less said about the BMW, the better. Same goes for Mercedes and their cab-forward, 8th gen Civic EV sedans and China-friendly EV SUVs.

    The last thing I will say is that I find the new Sportage quite attractive despite its looks, but the SWB EU version really wreaks havoc on the DLO. The way the chrome strip under the windowline halts at the rear door and continues on the spoiler is really sloppy in contrast with the thick chrome sail on the LWB that is reminiscent of the chrome fin on the Sorento and K8. It reminds me of Volvo’s stylistic trials and tribulations regarding sharing rear doors across different models: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/automotive-histories/the-rear-door-dilemma/

  9. Good morning Eóin

    A really interesting piece that I enjoyed reading. Like others I do wonder what some of the designers have been taking or drinking, although I do accept that pushing boundaries is part of the process. The Maybach is only slightly worse than another version seen a while back in Germany. All bling and very little substance.
    A far greater concern to me than the designs is the means of propulsion they will use. I fail to understand the lemming like adoption of battery power with all the costs and difficulties that will create. One of our fellow readers sent me a video link recently of a conversation between a reporter and Lord Bamford of JCB. They are producing hydrogen powered engines for their machines as battery power is considered “inflationary” and does not make economic or environmental sense.

    1. There isn´t really a good alternative to ICE in cars; batteries using rare earths replace the tyranny of the ME oil suppliers with the tyranny of the very few countries that have large deposits of things like lithium and the other special minerals. This time would have been a good one to reconsider the entire paradigm of private transport. It has led to urban sprawl as well air pollution and massive CO2 emissions in addition to strategic political problems. It would have been wiser to get shot of all those and accept a re-engineering of our way of life. Such a change is unpalatable though and so we are like a heroin addict switching to methodone but still needing to shoot up twice a day.

    2. Richard, Lithium and other rare earth materials can be recycled, so the kinds of tyranny equivalences you are assuming in the likely case that BEVs become dominant will never exist in the medium to long term. Even in the short term, the currently known geographical distribution of mineable lithium is sufficiently diffuse so as not to pose the kinds of problems you imply.

      Therefore I don’t understand the foundation of your argument. There are certainly issues to be reckoned with as we transition from ICE, but the benefits would seem to greatly outweigh the caveats, most of which could be mitigated without completely re-engineering our way of life.

    3. Interesting points gooddog but if we used Hydrogen instead then mining all of the other rare earth materials would surely not be necessary? The ” inflationary ” argument Lord Bamford described relates to the use of batteries that weigh, in large excavators and the like, as much as 50% of the weight of the original vehicle and do not stay charged long enough to deliver the performance of either a diesel or hydrogen powered engine. Cars are much the same.
      On a separate note I chatted to a Ford Main Dealer person yesterday about the same topic. He couldn’t understand the battery power logic either. He told me about two examples that folks may not be aware of:-
      1. Ford batteries will last approximately 7 years before needing to be replaced. At 4 years their capacity to accept charge will reduce by up to 50% and their range will drop accordingly. Current replacement cost is circa £20K
      2. Customers are purchasing cars on PCP’s and expect to return them at 3 years old. Those cars will only have around 50% capacity as above, but purchasers of them as used cars may well not know that, and certainly won’t be told.
      Finally he mentioned one of his customers who purchased an EV but didn’t realise that a charging point at home would be needed. She lives in a terraced house with no garage and no public charging points nearby!

    4. Mike, I think hydrogen is viable for heavy vehicles which traverse established routes repeatedly, so the refueling infrastructure can be installed, owned, and managed by the purchaser of the vehicles. It is a closed system, there is no danger of a semi-truck or factory-based loader driver wanting for a hydrogen refilling station in the midst of a holiday on some obscure mull in Scotland. I’d never heard of Lord Bamford, but I do believe I am in agreement that batteries don’t scale well to heavy commercial vehicles, especially because many of those are taxed by weight.

      1. Tesla warranties their battery packs for 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first, with minimum 70% retention of Battery capacity over the warranty period. That would appear to be more than double what the Ford dealer is expecting. Also I read various prices for a Tesla battery replacement ranging from $3-16K, which is at least 25% less than the Ford dealer has quoted.

      Depending on the price of petrol and electricity, a BEV user may save around that much in fuel costs over 8 years, so perhaps the Tesla battery comes close to paying for itself?

      The numbers you’ve quoted for Ford are disconcerting. The auto business is generally low margin, saving pennies matter for a manufacturer and can make the difference between black or red ink on their balance sheet. Here we are talking about huge discrepancies, not mere pence, among brands. Someone is going to go bankrupt here.

      2. This is a problem. It’s at least partially mitigated by the simplicity and robustness of electric motors vs. ICE engines, and reflected in reduced maintenance costs. I think that BEV advocates are betting that batteries will become cheaper, and that we will not experience shortages of lithium and other rare metals because the market for the recycling chain will make itself, so demand for raw materials will not rise proportionally with production.

      3. There is already electricity supplied to every light post on most every street and parking lot in every town. Would it be much more difficult to install charging points than parking meters? I think this is a short term problem, as most of the necessary infrastructure exists already, a solution is on the way. The ubquity of electricity should help to propagate healthy competition in this market and curb price gouging.

    5. “Finally he mentioned one of his customers who purchased an EV but didn’t realise that a charging point at home would be needed. She lives in a terraced house with no garage and no public charging points nearby!”

      We are still early enough in the EV realm that assumption of that knowledge by the seller is a poor one.

      The power requirements of EV charging are well beyond what is required for street lights or parking meters, meaning that changes will need to be made to accommodate slow charging – fast charging is another story entirely, you can’t just drop a 150-350kW consumer into things let alone multiple; each charger takes more power than a large building.

    6. John, I think you are stating correct facts. I am however, motivated towards a convivial discussion on this difficult and emotion raising topic for a number of reasons. In response to your well intended and grounded argument against the likelihood of simply attaching EV charging stations to lamp posts, I offer a further thought:

      I noticed when I switched from incandescent to LED bulbs in my home how my electricity bill diminished markedly. Now I see almost all of the street lamps around where I live have been similarly converted. My impression is that there is less electricity being used now than these applications were originally designed for, so the surplus capacity could be put to use without causing overloads.

    7. John: I think it would help to take a look at the division of problems into tame and wicked. There´s an accessible paper from 1973 by Rittel and Webber written in charmingly plain English. The development of an EV charginng network is a tame problem and not a wicked one; it´s only as hard as the problem of installing water, gas and phone lines. Apply money and time and the job is done.
      Another division of problems is into the class of “inconvenience” and “existential”. The solution of existential problems requires inconvenience; or put another way, inconvenience should not stop the solution of existential problems. The climate crisis is existential and, yes, dealing with it is a pain in the ass. But such pains in the ass are not a reason to ignore an existential problem.
      A problem we have with our decision makers is that they are fixated on convenience and think tame problems are barriers to change. The corona crisis showed we could accept inconvenience to stay alive. Wars show a huge level of acceptance of inconvenience; the climate crisis “only” requires we put up with the societal equivalent of renovating the house and fixing the roof.

  10. I am particularly disappointed and frankly worried about the viability of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance. They conspicuously have neglected to mention the Mégane E-Tech’s range or performance. And even fail to quantify the space efficiency they are touting in the following video.

    1. If it is anything like the EQS, as it appears to be:

      “There is no mechanism to allow the customer open the bonnet. It can be opened during servicing with special tooling, but it is designed to remain closed,” Steffen Koehl, head of Mercedes-Benz advanced design, told Autocar recently.”

      The impression conveyed to me in this is that the underlying gubbins are nothing MB is especially proud of. Porsche at least has the excuse of deferring to packaging considerations when they hide the Boxster/Cayman powertrain.

      Regarding the sadness at the lack of outward facing inspirational design, while all of us knew long ago that Herr Gorden’s body of work does not approach the qualities of a Bracq or Sacco, I am somewhat awed by the very Star Trek Next Generation interior hardware and ambience. At least these cars have that for a USP.

  11. I guess this is not news, but if one’s inner utopian were smitten with the Urbanaut’s egg-shaped exterior, they could purchase a close facsimile right now (at least in Germany) for just under €40,000 (the exterior photo I’ve linked to below reprises the very Tadao Ando inspired background known to draw Mr. Parazitas’ attention).

  12. If you thought that some of those designs lack originality, then what to make of the Ora Cat? A Chinese battery-car which Auto Express and Autocar think is heading to Europe and the UK next year, which they reckon is about the size of the ID3, price of Honda E or Mini E, and has 250miles of range. Here it is. https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/355910/new-ora-cat-revealed-pictures

    The Jogger shows that Dacia’s fondness for odd names was not limited to Duster and the forthcoming Bigster. Particularly as ‘jogging’ is no longer a trendy term, having been replaced by ‘running’ at some stage. Hopefully the SUV addenda will disappear on lower trims; the model shown is a launch-edition trim called Extreme. A hybrid is to follow; for now it uses 110hp turbo-triple petrol, or 100hp LPG version. Seven-up performance may be less than Extreme, but nice to see that: a 5-seater will be available; the LPG tank sits in the spare wheel well, which means that the petrol versions have one; a near-vertical tailgate these days; the rear two seats are separate, not one unit, and can be removed. £13k is the starting price, though that will be Essential trim and 5 seats – which is quite clever as the 5-seater effectively replaces the Logan MCV, which would presumably start from around £1000 more than the new Sandero, were it to exist, and would therefore be closer to £10k.

    That statement about Smart design made me wonder whether they will later issue a recall, for parking and collision sensors which “cannot tell where car starts and art ends”.

    1. I have to agree about the Jogger’s terrible name – I’d have offered Longdero, but it’s probably a profanity in Tagalog.

      Dimensionally it’s not quite a poor man’s XC90, but quite close. The principal dimensions are close to the ’70s Universal Australian car numbers: 112″ wheelbase, 60″ tracks. The Dacia’s wheelbase is actually two inches longer. And this is an elongated supermini!

      The name isn’t going to stand in the Jogger’s contribution to Dacia’s ‘good enough’ and cheap path to world domination, but it would be so much better with a 2 litre diesel and a decent automatic. The Hybrid’s not due till 2023, maybe it will deliver the same, by different technological means.

      According to Dacia Media:

      “2023 will see the addition of a hybrid engine to the range. The Dacia Jogger will be the first Dacia model to feature hybrid technology. It will become the most affordable 7-seater hybrid on the market.

      The Dacia Jogger hybrid technology will incorporate a 1.6 litre petrol engine, two electric motors (an ‘e-engine’ and a high voltage starter motor), and a multi-mode clutch-less dog box. Regenerative braking, combined with the high self-charging capacity of the 1.2 kWh (230V) batteries and efficient automatic transmission, means 80% of its time spent on city roads can be in full-electric mode thereby saving up to 40% on fuel (compared to an equivalent petrol engine in urban-cycle, and all without changing the way one drives).”

  13. A great discussion has been activated by this post. Just a question please. A friend told that in England there are cars parked in village car parks available to hire using the credit or debit card. An other friend reported something similar from Berlin, a car usage scheme. These schemes are unheard of in our past-thinking periphery. Could some fellow reader, living in the center of Europe, express his experience?

    1. Hi gpant. Coincidentally, I was in Ireland last week and came across a car-hire scheme in Dublin operated by a company called GoCar. Here’s how it works:

      https://www.gocar.ie/how-it-works/

      I imagine there are similar schemes operating in many other European cities, but I doubt that it would extend to small towns and villages.

  14. Thanks a lot Daniel. I am trying to understand how it works. Here nothing like this operates, due to different mentality.

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