Mini has revealed what form its new hybrid will take.
That, the e-tron name lives on in Audi’s firstÂ dedicated electric SUV, Unifor squares off with Ford, and hype man Elon Musk reschedules his alleged big announcementÂ â€¦ after the break!
Plug-in Mini Countryman confirmed for 2017, full EV follows
Capable of driving 25 miles solely on electric power, Mini’s Countryman will be the first hybrid vehicle offered by the company. BMW Group released photos of a lightly disguised Countryman being gleefully tested by MiniÂ executives Sebastian Mackensen and Peter Wolf.
The press release offered few specifics regarding the vehicle’s drivetrain, claiming theÂ electric motor will power the rear wheels while anÂ internal combustion engine powers the front.Â Developed alongside the European BMW 225xe, it is expected to use the same powertrain.Â The 225xe combines a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder motor with a rear-mounted electric mill, making for through-the-road all-wheel drive.
Mini did notÂ confirm a launch date for the plug-in hybrid, but it is expected to make an appearance at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show next month.Â BMW executives also confirmed that MiniÂ will be launching an all-electric vehicleÂ in 2019.
Audi gives the e-tron moniker to fully electric SUVÂ
Due for production in 2018, Audi’s electric sport utility vehicleÂ will simply be known as the â€œe-tron,â€� Audi CEO Rupert Stadler tells Britain’sÂ Autocar.Â Stadler says the e-tron name is intended to evoke the quattro name used on the company’sÂ iconicÂ all-wheel drive model.Â Passed down from the now-defunct R8 e-tron to the A3 Sportback e-tron, the name will continue to identify electrified powertrains in other Audi models.
The e-tron SUV will likely be the first of manyÂ electric vehicles from Audi. The automaker has said it expects electric cars to compriseÂ 25-percent of its U.S. sales by 2025. The decision to focus on EVsÂ revolves around stricter emissions standards and fierceÂ competition from other German manufacturers.
AÂ e-tron quattro concept debuted in Frankfurt last year, with three electric motors producing a combined 430 horsepower and a tested range of around 300 miles. How much of concept’s hardware will be passed down to the production model is unknown.
Unifor-Ford talks begin on rocky ground
Canadian Detroit Three autoworkers union Unifor begins bargaining with Ford today after 70 percent of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Canadian workers agreed to aÂ new contract on Sunday.
Similar toÂ the contract the union reached with GM Canada in September, the deal includes wage increases, a move to a defined-contribution benefit plans for new employees, and more than $330 million (CAD) in plant investments.
Uniforâ€™s negotiations with Ford aim to secure product investments at two engine plants in Windsor, Ontario, that produce motors for the Mustang and hugely important F-150.
However, theÂ negotiations have already hit a snag with union opposition from Oakville, Ontario. According to the Windsor Star, Dave Thomas, president of Unifor Local 707, has informed both Ford and Uniforâ€™s national leadership that his members will not vote to approveÂ anyÂ deal similar to the GM agreement.
Thomas claims workers at the plant have said they want a more generous deal.Â â€œThe framework that GM has set forward wonâ€™t ratify in Oakville,â€� Thomas told the Star. â€œMy members have huge concerns.â€�
The GM and FCA contracts contain aÂ $6,000 signing bonus, offer legacy workers a 4 percent raise over the life of the deal, and delivers wage increases to new hires under the 10-year grow-in period. The previousÂ period saw a three-year wage freeze.
Elon Musk announces a delay for an announcement
Earlier in theÂ month, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would be presenting a new productÂ today.Â But last night Musk tweeted that the company was delaying the productÂ announcement until Wednesday.
“Needs a few more days of refinement,”Â he explained while obnoxiously providing no additional details.
Musk seems to loveÂ teasing things onÂ Twitter before it’s actually news, so none of this is really surprising. Occasionally, he gives up some actual information, like howÂ Tesla plans to unveil a solar roof product for buildings at an October 28 event in San Francisco.[Images: BMW Group; Audi AG; Ford Motor Company;Â Brian Soli/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)]