Fast Lane: New Mercedes limo arrives, EV charging along Malaysian highway

The new limo is bigger (wheelbase is 51mm longer) but lighter.
The new limo is bigger (wheelbase is 51mm longer) but lighter. PHOTO: MERCEDES

Latest Mercedes limo lands

The new Mercedes-Benz S-class is here, with prices starting at $502,888 for the 3-litre inline-six S450L.

Mercedes has gone from V6 to straight six, a configuration long favoured by arch-rival BMW.

A 4-litre V8 will arrive later, as will a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of 100km.

The new limo is bigger (wheelbase is 51mm longer) but lighter. It is highly digital, equipped with up to five screens and an infotainment system with voice command which recognises up to five voices.

The touchscreens replace 27 hard keys in the previous model. The limo comes with a 31-speaker 1,750-watt Burmester hi-fi, the world's first frontal airbags for rear passengers, and all-wheel steering which gives the S-class a turning circle of a compact car.

High-speed EV chargers along Malaysian highway

Want an electric car but worried about not being able to drive to Malaysia?

Porsche Asia-Pacific and Shell have teamed up to roll out the first cross-country high-performance EV charging network in South-east Asia.

Six Shell stations in Malaysia will soon offer 12 high-speed direct current chargers capable of juicing up EVs such as the Porsche Taycan at up to 180kW.

Strategically located along the North-South Highway, the chargers will allow for EV drives up to Penang and back.

They will be rolled out in stages - with four stations to be ready in the second half of this year and two more by the first half of next year.

The sites will be integrated with 18 "Reserve + Shell Recharge" charge points in Malaysia.

They will complement 175kW chargers available at all Porsche Centres in Malaysia, as well as a growing network of hotels, airports, sports clubs and lifestyle venues with EV chargers.

Electric Kia to arrive next year


PHOTO: KIA

Kia's sleek EV6 electric car is slated to arrive next year.

The first EV to be built on new platform for electric models, it offers a driving range of more than 510km, ultra-fast charging (100km in less than 4.5 minutes), a century sprint of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 260kmh.

It will also have semi-autonomous features such as highway convoying and remote parking. Based on overseas pricing, the cost of the car could start at under $200,000 here.

Automotive firms to invest US$250m to promote EVs in US

Carmakers and parts suppliers are prepared to spend US$250 billion (S$337 billion) on boosting the use of electric vehicles in the United States, according to Bloomberg. They are calling on the Biden administration to urge Congress to extend tax credits to buyers.

The funding is intended to spur adoption of alternative-fuel cars such as plug-in hybrid vehicles, battery-powered electronic vehicles (EVs) and fuel-cell EVs, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, United Auto Workers International Union and Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association said in a letter to President Joe Biden released on Tuesday.

The groups said Mr Biden should press Congress to approve an extension of a federal tax credit that provides as much as US$7,500 to buyers of EVs. Automakers face a lifetime ceiling of 200,000 EVs per manufacturer that qualify for the tax break.

Reaching the maximum number of tax credits begins a phasing-out of the offering, with the amount falling by half every six months until it hits zero. General Motors Co and Tesla Inc became the first carmakers to hit that ceiling in 2018.

Electric Mercedes among world's most aerodynamic cars

The Mercedes-Benz EQS has a drag-coefficient of 0.2, making it more aerodynamic than its non-electric S-class twin. It will be launched in Europe in August.

Its signature feature is a wall-to-wall curved MBUX Hyperscreen, which comes with a head-up display with augmented reality content and optional driving sound in the interior.

BMW M5, 6GT arrive


PHOTO: BMW

The facelifted BMW M5 Competition (has arrived. Prices for the 3.3-second car start at $540,888. It is sold alongside the BMW 6-series Gran Turismo facelift, which costs from $297,888.

Mini safety car for Formula E


PHOTO: MINI

The Mini Electric Pacesetter is the new safety car for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race series.

BMW-owned Mini says the car "connects the brand's electrified future with the rich racing history of John Cooper Works".

The car was created out of the new Mini Electric as part of a collaboration among Mini Design, BMW Motorsport, the FIA and Formula E.