Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bram Schot to Take Over as Audi Leader, Report


By: Sebastien Bell
Audi’s head of sales and marketing, Bram Schot will reportedly take over as interim leader for the company after CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested early Monday.
Schot is the brand’s favorite, reports Blomberg citing an unnamed source, because the path to his current position leaves him untainted by the diesel scandal.
Hired in 2011, Schot worked at Audi’s commercial vehicle department and only joined Audi’s management board last year, which should keep him beyond suspicion, making his hands steady enough to steer the ship.
No decision has officially been announced yet, but Audi is expected to comment on the situation soon.
Stadler was arrested this morning after a judge ruled that he could suppress evidence. So far no judgments have been made on his innocence or guilt, but prosecutors announced last week that they were investigating him.
Since the arrest, prosecutor Stephan Necknig has said that Stadler has agreed to be questioned later this week and his lawyer will not challenge the arrest.


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Audi CEO Arrested in Dieselgate Case

By: Sebastien Bell

Rupert Stadler, Audi’s embattled CEO, was arrested Monday “as part of an investigation into diesel affairs and Audi engines,” according to a release from the Munich prosecutor’s office.
Stadler has not been found guilty of a crime yet so the presumption of innocence remains, but he is seen to be at risk of suppressing evidence, so a German judge ordered that he be remanded into custody.
The arrest follows a statement from German prosecutors last Monday, saying it would widen its investigation to include Stadler, among others.
Prosecutor’s made the arrest at Stadler’s Ingolstadt home early on Monday morning.
Stadler has been at the helm of Audi since 2010 and has been criticized in the past for his handling of the scandal. Still, the Audi board had enough faith in him to give him another five-year contract as CEO, while the Volkswagen board saw fit to put him in charge of Group Sales earlier this year.
Audi has yet to release a statement about the arrest, but a Porsche SE (the company that controls the VW group) spokesperson said that the issue would be discussed at a board meeting today.
Prosecutors said that this arrest was part of its own investigation and that it was not made at the behest of US authorities.


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Monday, June 18, 2018

What Happens if the I.D. R Has to Stop its Run Halfway and Recharge


By: Sebastien Bell
There are a lot of things about running an electric race car that a team has to contend with, but one of the big ones, at least at Pikes Peak, is charging time.
It may seem like, since it’s just an 8-minute run that has to be completed but once, the team shouldn’t have to be in too big a rush to charge the car, but at Pikes Peak conditions are uncertain and Germans are never satisfied with uncertainty.
In the rules, Pikes Peak runners have 20 minutes to find their way back to the start line and start all over again if their run is ruined for safety reasons (hail or a crashed car on the track, for instance). If the I.D. R is halfway up the mountain, that could be a big issue.
“We had to bear in mind a possible re-start,” says Marc-Christian Bertram, Head of Electrics and Electronics at VW Motorsport. “With that in mind, there were two main challenges that had to be overcome: To avoid overheating the battery during the charging process, and to ensure that all the battery cells are charged equally.”
The team started small, testing out all kinds of chemical compositions for the individual batterycells before starting tests on modules. The tests, run out of VW’s Wolfsburg E-mobility lab, found that a lithium-ion battery, split in two and located next to and behind the cockpit was the best setup for high output motorsports applications.
To actually charge the batteries, VW uses two rapid-charging systems at once, but only at 90 kW to prevent it from getting too hot. Together with the relatively small size of the battery—it only stores enough energy to get 80% of the way up Pikes Peak Hillclimb course—the I.D. R can be ready to go if the unexpected happens.
And how do you charge a race car at 9,000 feet above sea level where there is no infrastructure? Why, a generator, of course. And while it may look regular from the outside, the VW team uses glycerol, not diesel to power it.
We’ll get to see if VW has prepared itself for every eventuality when it races for the electric Pikes Peak record on June 24.


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Sunday, June 17, 2018

2020 Porsche Taycan: Stop Worrying – This Electric Car Has a Soul, Automaker Claims


By: Steph Willems
Even if some of its buyers don’t have one, Porsche prides itself on building cars with a unique essence, a certain substance that cannot be denied. A soul, in other words. Now, the automaker promises we’ll all discover that same quality in its upcoming electric sedan, which recently picked itself up a new name: Taycan (pronounced “tie-con”).
Formerly called the Mission E (seen in concept form above), the Taycan appears next year as a luxurious, long-range four-door with a price tag that almost certainly begins in the six-figure range. It’s a clear competitor to what was, for years, the only choice in this field — the TeslaModel S.
In a recently released video, Porsche seems to be making the argument that buyers who care the least bit about history and soul will have no use for that other car. It’s also a pretty good piece of marketing in its own right.
“It’s like the wind, some say. Or gravity. You can’t see it, but you know it’s there,” a deep, slightly gravelly, erudite-sounding voice states. “You can’t find its button on the dash, or its chapter in the owner’s manual. We have no drawings of it. We don’t know how much it weighs. Can’t time it on the track. Ask 10 of our engineers about it and get 10 different answers. But there’s no debate about its existence.”
Meanwhile, we’re treated to darkened, glistening shots of existing Porsche models, juxtaposed with shots of half-built vehicles on the assembly line and a 911 hanging its tail out on the track. The music swells. More Porsche models flick by, a stubbly man grins behind the wheel, no doubt knowing he made the right choices in life.

“After just one day behind the wheel, it’s the most valuable part of the car,” the voiceover continues, music rising to a crescendo. “The irreplaceable component, the thing you love more and more with every passing mile. The thing you instantly miss in any other car. The soul. For reasons mysterious and many, every Porsche ever built has one, and always will.”
We’re then shown a long, low-slung sedan with full-width taillights, concealed by a shroud of darkness.
It isn’t known if the narrator was thinking of the 914 or Cayenne Diesel while recording this spot, but it’s probably safe to say those weren’t his sources of inspiration.
As a piece of automotive marketing, this spot ranks pretty high up the list. Why? It doesn’t grate or ooze pretentiousness. It’s confident but not hit-you-over-the-head serious, and it maintains a sense of wonder and curiosity throughout that’s reflected in shots of a young boy (who must have eluded security) walking through a warehouse filled with the brand’s historical rolling stock.
Porsche wants to get across that the Taycan is a vehicle of substance. Like the Tesla, both vehicles have a mission, but Porsche aims for an Old World-type sophistication that places quality and driver satisfaction at its core. It’s not saving the world — it’s saving the driver. Despite originating from a luxury German automaker, Porsche’s spot comes across as less snobby than the Tesla superfans you’re likely to come across on social media (maybe “eco-snobby” is a better term, as many Musk aficionados wouldn’t be caught dead driving another electric car, despite their main concern in life being sustainability).
In a statement released late last week, Porsche chairman Oliver Blume said the new car “is strong and dependable; it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomises freedom.”
The automaker promises a 0-62 mph sprint in 3.5 seconds, with a European driving cycle range of “over” 500 kilometers (311 miles). Expect a reduction on the EPA cycle when it arrives here next year.


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