Tesla semi truck unveil event ‘tentatively’ set for October 26

Tesla semi truck unveil event ‘tentatively’ set for October 26 Tesla

Tesla had previously set September as the timeframe for their big unveiling of an all-electric semi truck created by the company. The big rig is now set to be shown off for the first time on October 26, however, in Hawthorne, California (which is where the SpaceX HQ is located).

Elon Musk tweeted the revised date on Wednesday, noting also that it would include a “test ride,” meaning it’ll be operational when it’s first revealed to the public.

While Musk had originally set the September reveal window for the electric semi truck way back in April, it’s not uncommon for the company’s timelines to shift somewhat later than intended. All things considered, a mere month later is pretty much on track by Musk’s standards.

The Tesla truck event could fill in more of our knowledge gaps about the Tesla transport vehicle, too — including whether or not it includes autonomous driving technology, as we learned is possible from a report in early August.

We could also get confirmation of its planned range: Reuters reported between 200 and 300 miles last month, which would require a significant battery pack, and potentially a lot of charging time to restore its range.

Musk himself promised some interesting additional surprises at the planned event, noting that it would include possibly “a little more than we’re saying here” when discussing the event in June at the Tesla annual shareholder meeting.

Volkswagen to offer electric versions of all of its vehicles by 2030

Volkswagen to offer electric versions of all of its vehicles by 2030

Volkswagen is the latest car maker to announce a move to electrify its entire range of automobile offerings: The car maker will provide either hybrid or electric versions of every one of its 300 models by 2030, it announced today ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show in German.

VW’s not the first to make a similar commitment — and in fact Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz announced it was going to do the same by 2022 earlier today. But the Volkswagen Group’s vehicle range is quite a bit larger than Mercedes-Benz’s, which makes this a more significant overall commitment.

By 2025, Volkswagen plans to offer 80 new electric vehicles across its group and sub-brands, which include Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and the Volkswagen brand itself. VW has committed to spend nearly $23 billion U.S. on getting this plan in place via zero emissions technology investment, and it also said it would commit more than $55 billion toward purchasing batteries to provide power for these vehicles.

The news also follows the big announcement from this weekend that China would be banning fossil fuel burning vehicles eventually, joining commitments made by the U.K. and France before. There’s clearly a trend on both the regulatory and the industry side of the equation with regards to electrified vehicles, but there will still be a lot of questions and work to be done in terms of maturing the supply chain and overcoming technology and infrastructure challenges.

Mercedes-Benz will electrify its entire car lineup by 2022

Mercedes-Benz will electrify its entire car lineup by 2022

Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to embrace electrification, announcing that it will be electrifying its entire vehicle lineup by 2022. Get used to it: Car makers are going to be making these announcements at an increasing clip, especially now that China, the most important car market in the world right now, has announced plans to eventually move to ban the sale of fossil fuel vehicles entirely.

Here’s the deal: Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche said that the car maker will offer either hybrid or fully electric versions of its vehicles by 2022, adding up to a total of a minimum of 50 new electric model options by that time. Smart, meanwhile, another Daimler-owned sub-brand, will go fully electric by 2020.

This puts Mercedes-Benz in good company with other higher-end car manufacturers, including Volvo, which have committed to offering a fully electrified lineup by 2019, and Ford’s Lincoln luxury sub-brand has also set 2022 as the deadline for offering electric variants of each of its vehicle models.

 As mentioned, China announced over the weekend that it would eventually ban the sale of all fossil fuel-powered cars in the country, within a timeline to be determined. China’s vehicle sales numbers have led the world recently, and are increasing at an impressive clip annually, so automakers reconfiguring their long-term strategy to focus on EVs in light of China’s favoring of EV tech makes plenty of sense. France and the U.K. have also expressed plans to phase out fossil fuel cars by 2040.

Nissan launches the new electric Leaf

Nissan launches the new electric Leaf

Nissan on Wednesday introduced the new Nissan Leaf, the next evolution of its zero-emission electric vehicle.

The Nissan Leaf has been completely reinvented, combining greater driving range with a new design and advanced technologies.

“The new Nissan LEAF, with its improved range, combined with the evolution of autonomous drive technology such as ProPILOT Park, and the simple operation of the e-Pedal, strengthens Nissan’s EV leadership as well as the expansion of EVs globally. It also has core strengths that will be embodied by future Nissan models,” said Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan.

The new Leaf offers a range of 400km, allowing drivers to enjoy a longer journey. The new e-powertrain gives the new Nissan Leaf 110kW of power output and 320 Nm of torque, improving acceleration.

Charging time (normal charging):

  • 16 hours (3 kW);
  • 8 hours (6 kW);

Charging time from alert to 80%  – quick charging – is 40 minutes, Nissan said.

The new Leaf also features ProPILOT autonomous drive technology, used during single-lane driving on the highway, and ProPILOT Park, which when activated, takes control of steering, acceleration, braking, shift-changing and the parking brake to automatically guide it into a parking spot.

New e-Pedal technology lets drivers start, accelerate, decelerate and stop by increasing or decreasing the pressure applied to the accelerator. When the accelerator is fully released, regenerative and friction brakes are applied automatically, bringing the car to a complete stop.

The car holds its position, even on steep uphill slopes, until the accelerator is pressed again.

The new Nissan Leaf will go on sale on 2 October in Japan. The model is slated for deliveries in January 2018 in the US, Canada and Europe. It will be sold in more than 60 markets worldwide.

Nissan said it will also offer a version with more power and longer range at a higher price in 2018 (timing may vary by market).

Nissan launches the new electric Leaf

Nissan launches the new electric Leaf

Nissan launches the new electric Leaf

BMW to offer 12 fully electric car models by 2025

BMW to offer 12 fully electric car models by 2025

BMW says that it’ll have a total of 25 electrified vehicles in its lineup by 2025, with a full dozen of those being full-electric cars. These should have a usable range of up to 435 miles, BMW CEO Harald Krueger told reporters, according to Reuters.

That’s another brick in the wall for the ongoing automotive market powertrain switch, which gained steam today with another announcement from Jaguar Land Rover, which committed to making sure its entire lineup of vehicles has an electric car option by 2020.

The BMW move will include making sure it has the ability to mass produce its electric vehicles and drivetrains in sufficient quantities to cover the range and demand: All of its cars should also be able to offer electrified powertrain options, whether fully electric or hybrid, by the 2020 mark.

BMW is planning to show off a new zero-emission all-electric four-dour vehicle at the Frankfurt auto show next week, which will sit between the current i3 and i8 offerings in its EV lineup.

Every Jaguar and Land Rover will have electric option by 2020

Every Jaguar and Land Rover will have electric option by 2020

Jaguar Land Rover is joining the rising chorus of automakers embracing electric and fusion powertrain options, revealing that all new vehicles in both the Jaguar and Land Rover range will offer an electric or hybrid option from 2020 on. Jaguar Land Rover announced the news on Thursday at its very first Tech Fest event, noting that this will include fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.

While it’s not quite as extreme as committing to produce only electric or hybrid vehicles, as have both Volvo and Aston Martin, it’s still a significant step towards promoting alternative drivetrain technologies.

Jaguar Land Rover’s decision to introduce a full range of electrified options represents an aggressive quickening of pace for the car makers drivetrain change-up plans; the Jaguar I-PACE, the company’s first fully electric model is set to enter the market next year.

The tide is clearly turning in favor of electrified drivetrains in the automotive industry, and now the major questions remaining are around how infrastructure and consumers will deal with this coming transition.

Introducing the future of transport – Lilium Jet

Introducing the future of transport - Lilium Jet

Imagine some time in the not-so-distant future. After making your way to the nearest community landing strip, you’ll pull out your phone, and, with a single tap, hail the closest air taxi to take you to your chosen destination. The experience will have Uber-like convenience but the mode of transport couldn’t be any more different.

Never again will you need to ask your taxi driver to take the scenic route as you’re flown from one location to another, much faster than by car and with significantly less environmental impact. That’s the promise of the five-seater Lilium jet, a new kind of all-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) device being developed by a startup based in Munich, Germany, which, until just a few years ago, had yet to come into existence.

“The founding mission of the company was to enable everyone to use this kind of transportation system in their everyday lives,” Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand tells TechCrunch. “We want to be the leading company enabling every person to take a jet instead of using the car and be five times faster to their destination… There’s going to be an app and from day one you’ll be able to book this airplane as a service”.

Despite what you may have read elsewhere, however, day one is still “several years” off, with Wiegand describing the Lilium jet as following a classic development timeline for any new aircraft of its size. That’s not to say that the startup hasn’t made significant headway to date, including a first public and successful flight in April for a two-seater and remote operated version of the jet, which, says the Lilium CEO, didn’t go unnoticed by investors.

We have been extremely successful, specifically inventing a new aircraft concept that hasn’t been done before
— Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand

Today the company is announcing it has closed $90 million in Series B funding, up from the $10 million Series A Lilium raised a year ago. Backing the round are Tencent; LGT, the international private banking and asset management group; Atomico, Lilium’s Series A backer founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström; and Obvious Ventures, the early-stage VC fund co-founded by Twitter’s Ev Williams.

“When we had the Series A investment, we had an idea and a smart founding team and a promise, basically. In April we delivered that: we have shown a full-scale airplane flying, even in transition from hover flight, so we could really demonstrate this is the best technology in that field and it works. That was probably the key difference”.

In addition to a successful test flight, Wiegand says Lilium has “built up a lot on the company side,” in terms of hiring and processes and growing the engineering team. Headcount now stands at more than 75 people, around half of which are non-German. And just last month, Lilium added a number of key hires from notable companies in the transportation space, including Dr. Remo Gerber, former MD for Western Europe at Gett, who joined as chief commercial officer. “It’s a totally different company than it was one year before,” Wiegand says.

Neither a conventional airplane nor helicopter — but, to some extent, capable of doing the job of both — there are a number of other startups that are focused on the electric aircraft market, including Kitty Hawk and Zee.aero, both backed by Larry Page; and Vahana, backed by Airbus.

If you look closely at the aircraft you’ll see there is no tail, because the tail adds drag and adds weight to an aircraft
— Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand

The Lilium jet’s party trick is that multiple engine flaps tilt from a vertical into a horizontal position depending on the jet’s flight mode. During take-off, the flaps are tilted vertical to enable the engines to lift the aircraft, but, once airborne, the flaps transition slowly into a horizontal position to enable the aircraft to accelerate until enough lift is provided by the wings alone, just like a conventional airplane.

However, it is the insistence that the Lilium VTOL jet should be solely electric-powered that really stands out and has left some aviation experts sceptical that the startup can reach its goal of speeds up to 300 kph and a distance of 300 km. Wiegand sounds unfazed.

“The biggest challenge is with batteries… Compared to gasoline, there is roughly one hundred times less energy per kilogram of batteries than there is per kilogram of gasoline, and that means you have to have an aircraft concept that is extremely efficient in the way it deals with the energy and is extremely efficient in moving forward in the air. There we have been extremely successful, specifically inventing a new aircraft concept that hasn’t been done before,” he explains.

Asked to elaborate a little, Wiegand says there are many differences in the details, such as using electric jet engines not open propellers. “Electric jet engines give a better compromise between safety, efficiency, noise and performance,” he explains. “There are also other things like the aircraft concept itself. If you look closely at the aircraft you’ll see there is no tail, because the tail adds drag and adds weight to an aircraft. We’ve done optimizations in almost every field, from aerodynamics, to lightweight design, to the propulsion concept”.

Of course, beyond the specific technical challenges posed by an all-electric VTOL, an air taxi service on the scale that Lilium envisions will require considerable buy-in from legislators and the wider public. Won’t things like noise pollution and skyline pollution be an issue if we are to see an entirely new flight-based transportation system become a reality? Not so, reckons the Lilium founder.

“Of course we thought of potential downsides from day one, that’s why we have invested a tremendous amount of energy and money to reduce the noise of these electric engines to the lowest possible degree. We’ve been hugely successful in that,” he explains. “The aircraft is around four times less noisy than a helicopter and you can only hear it when it is taking off and landing. Once the aircraft is in flight at a one kilometre altitude, for example, you can’t hear it from the ground. And that’s a huge benefit”.
You can’t hear it when it’s flying, you don’t need to build any infrastructure that cuts through nature, and it doesn’t create any emissions
— Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand

In terms of visibility, Wiegand says that, for the most part, you probably won’t notice the presence of Lilium jets because they will fly at quite high altitude. “It’s a small tiny dot but you can’t completely vanish it,” he says. Unlike cars, you won’t ever see hundreds of Lilium jets in one spot, either. And at five times faster, less are needed “to do the same transportation job as cars”.

“You can’t hear it when it’s flying, you don’t need to build any infrastructure that cuts through nature, and it doesn’t create any emissions [fine dust or CO2],” says Wiegand, claiming that the Lilium jet can potentially become the means of transportation that creates the smallest impact on the environment possible.

But perhaps the greatest upside is the impact an air taxi service like Lilium could have on productivity and therefore the economy. “It’s not only a benefit in terms of relieving society from transit traffic, but the much, much bigger benefit would be that everyone can use it and that people can get to their destination five times quicker, basically a five times increase of their daily radius of life. This connectivity is going to be a huge benefit to society but also economic growth,” he says.

All of which makes it even more curious that Lilium’s founding story paints Wiegand as an almost accidental entrepreneur, first conceiving of Lilium all the way back in November 2013, two years before recruiting his co-founders Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner and Patrick Nathen.

Recalls the Lilium CEO: “I was alone when I had the idea that this would be the perfect means of transportation. It was more a fun project for me to make some calculations and concept estimations and to see whether it’s physically possible. And a friend of mine said, ‘hey, you can do this, you have to do this, it’s just too amazing’. We had drunk maybe a little bit too much beer, but actually the idea that he had sparked to found a company that builds a new kind of transportation system, it didn’t go away, so I decided to go back to Germany and assemble a founding team and set up a company that builds these aircrafts”.

On the topic of Lilium’s Munich-based HQ, Wiegand says the jet’s ‘made in Germany’ engineering has been “a very good friend that is well-known,” not least in the eyes of investors. “I think people knew that for hardware there is no better place to do it,” he says, noting that Southern Germany is home to world-class and hugely successful engineering companies such as BMW, Siemens, Audi, and Porsche. If all goes to plan, perhaps one day Lilium can be added to that list.

Smart unveils a self-driving pod car

Smart unveils a self-driving pod car

Smart brand will use next month’s 2017 Frankfurt auto show to preview its vision for personal transport of tomorrow.

The preview is in the form of the Smart Vision EQ ForTwo concept, a fully self-driving electric pod car ideal for shared urban mobility. Some readers will recall that Mercedes showed a similar concept in 2015 in the form of the F015, but Smart’s version is devoid of a steering wheel and pedals, the first time a vehicle from German auto giant Daimler has been designed in such a fashion.

It’s all part of Daimler’s corporate strategy known as CASE, an acronym for Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. These are the four main pillars that define the automaker’s strategy and vision for the cars of tomorrow. The Vision EQ ForTwo is actually the first car to combine all four pillars, as detailed below:

Connected: A fleet of Vision EQ ForTwos could circle around town, with individual cars driving to locations entered in a smartphone by someone needing a ride. The panel at the front of the car will greet the rider. There could also be two riders, should there be a friend or perhaps someone else heading in a similar direction, thus boosting efficiency and reducing usage costs.

Shared: Since no individual owns the Vision EQ ForTwos in the fleet, each will be shared with anyone registered to use one. One of the factors that makes car sharing popular is that it is spontaneous and flexible. The car does not have to be picked up from or taken back to a specific location. It can be hired and left anywhere in the designated “home” area. Daimler already offers such a service with its Car2Go program, though right now you still have to do the driving yourself.

Autonomous: Since the Vision EQ ForTwo is a fully self-driving car, more of the public, such as the elderly or vision impaired, will be able to use it, not just licensed drivers. And the cars will be able to operate 24 hours a day. This makes the utilization rates much higher than current cars which on average are used less than an hour each day. And as more people start relying on car sharing, the number of privately owned cars will likely be reduced, leading to less traffic and more free parking spots.

Electric: The Vision EQ ForTwo is fully electric. It features a rear-mounted motor powered by a 30-kilowatt-hour battery. When not in use, the car makes its way independently to a charging station to load up with new energy. Alternatively, the cars can dock with the power grid wirelessly (via induction), feed in electricity and act as a “swarm battery,” taking pressure off the grid.

Volkswagen takes bold decision to put I.D Buzz electric concept car into production.

Volkswagen takes bold decision to put I.D Buzz electric concept car into production.

At the Detroit Show in early 2017, Volkswagen showed the I.D. BUZZ concept car, a fully electric vehicle that taps in to the spirit and vibe that made the VW Microbus such an iconic vehicle — whether with Hippies and families in the Sixties or Surfer Dudes and Van Lifers today.

Now, Volkswagen has taken the bold decision to put the Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ concept car into production and Volkswagen’s CEO of the North American Region, Hinrich J. Woebcken is happy to welcome the car to North America.  The Chairmen of the Boards of Management of the Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands, Dr Herbert Diess and Dr Eckhard Scholz, announced the decision today at one of the most prestigious automotive events in the world — the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.

Within the framework of further development, Volkswagen has also set a launch date for the I.D. BUZZ. The vehicle will arrive at dealerships in 2022, after the compact four-door I.D. makes its debut. With the I.D. BUZZ, Volkswagen is mainly targeting markets in North America, Europe and China.

“After the presentations at the global motor shows in Detroit and Geneva, we received a large number of letters and emails from customers who said, ‘please build this car’,” Volkswagen CEO Dr Herbert Diess said in Pebble Beach. The Board of Management chose Pebble Beach as the location to make its announcement because, as Diess explained: “The Microbus has long been part of the California lifestyle. Now we’re bringing it back by reinventing it as an electric vehicle.”

Just like the concept car that was shown in Detroit, the production model will also have its batteries mounted in the vehicle floor. Because the electric drive components — electric motor, power electronics, and such —don’t take up much space, the vehicle has a long wheelbase with short overhangs, allowing for a massively spacious interior and great proportions. “The vehicle looks like a compact commercial van on the outside, even though it offers the generous interior space of a large SUV,” Diess explained.

CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen, Hinrich J. Woebcken added: “We are delighted that our parent company has taken the decision to produce the I.D. BUZZ. This vehicle is the perfect balance between emotion, usability and sustainability, while also showcasing our technological leadership. The high seating position, cargo capacity, overall versatility and all-wheel drive option packaged into such an appealing design is just what our customers want from us. And it’s the perfect fit for the zero-emissions American lifestyle.”

The I.D. BUZZ won’t just be a passenger vehicle. Just like the classic T2, the I.D. BUZZ will both haul people and haul freight. “Along with a minibus version, we’ll also be offering an I.D. BUZZ CARGO variant for zero-emissions delivery of goods,” said Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Dr Eckhard Scholz. “With Level 3 autonomous capability, this is an ideal concept for an electric van, particularly for delivering packages and goods to the inner cities.”

Although Volkswagen’s oldest and newest Microbuses will be separated by more than seven decades when the new model is launched, the I.D. BUZZ undoubtedly has the original’s genes, as it offers maximum utilization of space on the footprint of a mid-size passenger car. Based on the new all-electric architecture, the production version of the I.D. BUZZ will incorporate many design ideas from the concept car, including multi-variable seating, interactive connectivity and highly automated driving.

A revelation of luxury: Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet

A revelation of luxury: Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet

At this year’s gathering of the most magnificent classic cars at Pebble Beach in California, Mercedes-Benz is once again set to present a highlight: the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet is a car which, with its sensual, emotionally appealing design and innovative technical concept solutions, defines the ultimate in luxury of the future. At the same time the two-seater model pays homage to the glorious “automotive haute couture” of hand-finished, exclusive cabriolets.

The glamorous cabriolet reinterprets classic, emotional design principles in an extravagant way and combines intelligent beauty with classic, aesthetic proportions and a reduced, technoid appearance – a perfect embodiment of the design philosophy of Sensual Purity.

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet is designed as an electric car. The drive system has an output of 750 hp (550 kW). The shallow underfloor battery allows a range of over 200 miles (500 kilometers according to the NEDC).

The elegant cabriolet is set to make its debut at the Monterey Car Week, which will take place on the Monterey Peninsula in California from August 15 – 20, 2017. The final event will be the traditional Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which this year takes place on August 20.

“The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury, and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy. Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious “haute couture” interior help to create the ultimate experience,” explains Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG.

Exterior: powerful structural elements with a sharp feature line

Measuring almost 20 feet (6 meters) in length, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet incorporates the classic proportions of art deco design with its extremely long hood and puristic, flowing lines, and at the same time completely reinterprets these aesthetic principles. The curved body boasts a sporty, stretched design which is characterized by powerful structural elements in conjunction with the sharp feature line. This side feature line defines the upper vehicle body, from the radiator grille across the entire length of the vehicle through to the rear.

The strong contrast between the dark blue paintwork in “nautical blue metallic” and the chrome highlights increases the fascinating relationship between the clearly defined areas with organically shaped fenders and the chrome trim elements, which sit at the top on the edge of the fender as well as in the middle of the trunk lid, where they also incorporate the vertical tail lamps. This benefits the interpretation of the Mercedes-Maybach radiator grille, which with its fine, vertical struts accentuates the front end. The grille was inspired by a pinstriped suit. The radiator grille rests on two aerodynamically shaped supports on the outer right and left of the bumper.

The newly designed 24-inch light-alloy wheels feature a center lock. This is painted in rose gold and as such reflects the color shade used on all electric vehicle studies from Mercedes-Benz.

The extended, round “boat tail” format of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet’s rear recalls a luxury yacht, and narrow tail lamps which emphasize the width of the vehicle are integrated in its outer edges. Further distinctive features at the rear include the diffuser with aluminum frame and the air outlets behind the wheel arches.

The transition between the vehicle rear, the area of the trunk lid and the interior boasts a flowing design. Crystal white high-quality nappa leather creates an exciting contrast to the dark paint finish. The custom-made fabric top with interwoven rose gold threads has been perfectly coordinated with the look of the vehicle.

Interior: 360° open-air luxury lounge

With the luxurious interior of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz demonstrates a new synthesis of intelligence and emotion. At the same time, the designers have combined the unique tradition of the brand with a previously unknown high-tech experience.

The generous, flowing design idiom brings exterior and interior together in a holistic design. The formal flow of the areas from the rear into the interior gives rise to a typical yacht feeling. A light wing flows in a curve across the door trim and the center tunnel into the seat landscape, creating a 360° open-air luxury lounge.

The new “inside out” spatial design adds a particularly special feature. The sitting surface forms a horizontal plane, transitions into the vertical plane of the doors and finally becomes the underside of the dashboard wing.

In addition to the flowing contours, the material composition produces a luxury experience of the highest order. Here, too, the interplay of the contrasts is both hot and cool. The brand’s hallmark authentic materials and colors are used, such as rose gold on the trim elements, or the surfaces which come into contact with the skin, featuring a lavish, quilted crystal white nappa leather finish. In this luxury technique, familiar among other things from Chesterfield furniture, the leather is put into folds in a diamond pattern and secured to the frame with buttons. In the case of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet, this traditional seat upholstery boasts a futuristic interpretation: each individual button of the quilting depicts a delicate Mercedes star, backlit in blue. The open-pore wood floor with inlaid aluminum underscores the lounge sensation and the connection to yachting.

Above the 360° luxury lounge, the display strip links doors, dashboard and the rear area. All display elements are integrated into the continuous glass trim part. By way of contrast, classic round dials, such as the instrument cluster, are positioned prominently. The combination of digital displays with real needles is also totally on trend. By using “hyperanalogue” elements, the designers are responding to the need of people to experience analogue luxury in what is an increasingly digital world. As a classic borrowing from aviation, three air vents are positioned beneath the wing which appear to float like engines.

Another highlight comes courtesy of the floating, transparent center tunnel, which visualizes the drive system’s electrical energy flow for the passengers by means of blue fiber optics.

The main driving functions as well as information relevant to the location (e.g. restaurant recommendations or information on points of interest) are shown on the windscreen via two head-up displays.

User experience: intuitive communication

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet is designed to anticipate the needs of its passengers and to provide the required information and solutions in real time. The user experience also combines ultimate luxury with intelligence. In addition to the touch-only control and intelligent navigation linked to the appointment calendar, another example is the Concierge function. It is possible to talk to the concierge like talking to a friend, i.e. freely, without using predefined voice commands. This enables full concentration of the tasks of driving.

The latest generation of biometric sensors record the state of mind and health status of the passengers.

Emission-free driving: electric drive system generating 750 hp (550 kW)

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 is designed as an electric car. Thanks to its four compact permanent magnet synchronous electric motors, it features all- wheel drive. The flat battery sits in the underbody. The drive system has an output of 750 hp (550 kW). This not only allows performance characteristics typical of a sports car (acceleration from 0-60 mph in under four seconds, top speed electronically governed at 155 mph) but also a range of over 200 miles (500 kilometers according to the NEDC).

The quick-charge function is also visionary: as a result of DC charging based on the CCS standard, the system allows a charging capacity of up to 350 kW. In just five minutes enough power can be charged to achieve an additional range of over 60 miles (100 kilometers).

The wow effect: visionary show cars with long-term prospects

With its generous dimensions, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet (length/width/height: 18.7/6.9/4.4 ft) continues the series of visionary design show cars from Mercedes-Benz. So far these include the Vision EnerG-Force (Los Angeles, November 2012), AMG Vision Gran Turismo (Sunnyvale, 2013), Vision Tokyo (Tokyo 2015) and Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Coupé (Pebble Beach 2016). Thanks to the global nature of the Mercedes-Benz Design function, these concept vehicles take cues from local trends in design, culture and mobility and make these the focal point of the respective mobility concept. At the same time, these show cars are looking far into the future.

Mercedes-Maybach: perfection blends with exclusivity

Mercedes-Maybach stands for the ultimate in exclusivity and individuality. The target group includes customers who place value on exquisite luxury, perfect workmanship and exceptional appointments. The latest vehicles include models launched in July 2017, namely the Mercedes-Maybach S560 4MATIC, and the S650 Cabriolet, which blends the perfection of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the exclusivity of Maybach.

Limited to 300 examples worldwide, the Mercedes Maybach S-Class Cabriolet is the first open-top Maybach for decades and a homage to open-top automotive refinement.