Fast Lane: BYD spins off luxe brands; Mercedes builds own superchargers; Suzuki’s first EV

The Yangwang U9, an electric sports car priced at around one million yuan (S$200,000). PHOTO: YANGWANG

BYD cars with four motors and more than 1,000hp

China’s BYD has launched a high-end sub-brand called Yangwang with two models. The Yangwang U8 is a hardcore electric off-road sport utility vehicle (SUV) while the Yangwang U9 is an electric sports car. Both are priced at around one million yuan (S$200,000).

All Yangwang cars will have a four-motor drivetrain and waterproof bodies which allow them to float on water.

With motors spinning at up to 20,500rpm, the U8, which is more than 5m long and 2m wide, has an output “exceeding 1,100hp”.

The U9 promises a two-second century sprint.

Mercedes to build fast-charging network

Mercedes-Benz is building its own fast-charging network and aims to have more than 10,000 high-powered chargers worldwide across North America, Europe, China and other main markets by the end of the decade.

Customers of the German marque will be able to pre-book a charging station from their car, but the network will be accessible to all brands to encourage a rapid uptake of electric vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz is taking a leaf out of Tesla’s books. Tesla has more than 40,000 superchargers worldwide.

Suzuki jumps on electric bandwagon

The Suzuki eVX concept. PHOTO: SUZUKI

The Suzuki eVX is an all-electric concept SUV and may well be its first production electric vehicle when it hits showrooms in 2025.

The compact eVX is an all-wheel drive measuring 4,300mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,600mm tall. It has a 60kWh battery which promises a range of 550km, which means it is fairly efficient despite its all-wheel-drive format.

Mazda EV with rotary engine backup

Mazda will introduce a new powertrain option for its MX-30 to be made available in Europe from the second quarter of 2023. It will feature an electric generator powered by a newly developed rotary engine. This is similar to petrol-powered range extenders found in earlier electric vehicles (EVs).

Heated seatbelts to preserve EV range in winter

German components maker ZF has developed a heated seatbelt for EVs which it says will reduce energy consumption by up to 15 per cent in cold weather. This will mitigate the range deterioration which is common in EVs in winter.

The heated seatbelt is based on a special webbing with integrated heating conductors that minimally increase the thickness of the webbing. Along with heated seats, the heated seatbelt has the potential to provide warmth to the occupant quickly.

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