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The Volkswagen Group’s plan to accelerate electrification is starting to pay off as we are now seeing significant delivery volumes of fully electric vehicles from the German automaker’s brand.

The group has already delivered 171,000 BEVs so far this year.

Following the Dieselgate scandal and Herbert Biess taking over as CEO, the Volkswagen Group initiated what is arguably the most ambitious electrification plan of any legacy automaker.

That was quite a few years ago, but it takes a long time to ramp up new vehicle programs.

With the more recent launches of vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4 and new versions of the Audi e-tron, the volumes are starting to come.

Today, the German auto group released a mid-year update of its electric vehicle deliveries and confirmed just over 170,000 BEVs during the first half of the year:

“The Volkswagen Group has continued its successful electric offensive in the first half of 2021. The following new BEV models were launched in this period: Volkswagen ID.4, Volkswagen ID.61, ŠKODA Enyaq iV, Audi Q4 e-tron, Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron, Audi e-tron GT2 and Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo. In total, 170,939 BEV models were delivered throughout the world up to the end of June, more than twice as many as in the prior-year period (+165.2 percent). After 59,948 BEV had been delivered to customers in the first quarter (+78.4 percent compared with the previous year), deliveries increased significantly, as planned, in the second quarter to 110,991 units (+259.7 percent compared with the previous year). In the course of the year, the BEV ramp-up will further accelerate thanks to the expanded model range. The Group has also consistently expanded its portfolio of PHEV models. This vehicle category benefits from considerable customer demand, too. In the first half of the year, a total of 171,300 PHEV were delivered, more than three times as many as in the prior-year period (+204.2 percent).”

The group’s brands have more than doubled the number of all-electric vehicles delivered this year compared to the same period last year.

Here are the top 5 best-selling BEVs from Volkswagen brands:

  1. Volkswagen ID.4 37,292 vehicles
  2. Volkswagen ID.3 31,177 vehicles
  3. Audi e-tron (incl. Sportback) 25,794 vehicles
  4. Porsche Taycan (incl. Cross Turismo) 19,822 vehicles
  5. Volkswagen e-up! 17,890 vehicles

But, of course, it’s just the beginning.

Volkswagen is currently ramping production of several electric vehicles in different markets.

So far, China and Europe have been areas of focus, but the start of VW ID.4 production in the US later this year should significantly contribute to the ramp-up.


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Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham’s 50th birthday with Stop singalong

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Spice Girls reunite for Victoria Beckham's 50th birthday with Stop singalong

The Spice Girls have reunited for one night only in a bar for Victoria Beckham’s birthday.

The fashion designer and singer – famously also known as Posh Spice – celebrated with her bandmates at Oswald’s club in Mayfair, London, on Saturday, after turning 50 on Wednesday last week.

David Beckham had a front row seat to the reunion when Victoria, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Geri Horner and Melanie Chisholm sang their single Stop.

The five grinned as they danced and performed the track while David, who filmed the throwback moment, smiled and sang along.

Posting the clip on Instagram on Sunday, Victoria called it “the best night ever” and wrote the hashtag “#SpiceUpYourLife”.

The last time all five Spice Girls performed together was at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics in London.

The Spice Girls perform during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS ENTERTAINMENT)
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Victoria declined to join the Spice Girls last tour in 2019. Pic: Reuters

Before her birthday celebrations, Victoria posted on Instagram that she felt “so incredibly blessed to have reached this milestone” and added she was grateful for the “unconditional love and support” of David.

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While the girl group also went on tour in 2019, Victoria declined to join them as she focused on her fashion brand.

She also told American television presenter Ellen DeGeneres the same year that “it just didn’t feel like the right thing to do,” but said: “I’ll always be Posh Spice, always.”

Singer Marc Anthony, who is godfather to Victoria and David’s son Cruz, and actress Eva Longoria – godmother to their daughter Harper – also attended the party.

Other celebrities out for Posh Spice’s birthday included Tom Cruise and Salma Hayek, as well as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jason Statham and Gordon Ramsay.

Read more from Sky News:
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It comes after Melanie B – also known as Scary Spice – hinted at another Spice Girls reunion in an interview with Reuters, this time with Victoria joining in.

“I can’t say exactly… but us five have been talking… for a long, long time now, many, many months,” she said.

“So, we’re going to announce something soon… and I know the fans are not going to be disappointed. It’s going to be very exciting.”

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Rebel Moon: Zack Snyder and Ed Skrein on ‘mad’ reaction and ‘media storms’ following first movie

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Rebel Moon: Zack Snyder and Ed Skrein on 'mad' reaction and 'media storms' following first movie

British actor Ed Skrein says he hasn’t paid attention to any of the reactions Rebel Moon has received online.

The Deadpool star told Sky News: “The weather system of media storms does not affect me, I don’t live in the media.”

Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble in Rebel Moon. Pic: Netflix
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Ed Skrein as Atticus Noble in Rebel Moon. Pic: Netflix

The first instalment of Zack Snyder’s new franchise had a limited theatrical release before being added to Netflix in December last year.

The movie was the recipient of some less-favourable reviews, a 21% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes and it averaged a two out of five-star score from over 100,000 accounts on Letterboxd.

The actor, who plays Admiral Atticus Noble in the franchise, says it’s the art itself that maintains his attention.

“The process of filming is my bit, you know, when we were out there, that’s my part.”

He adds: “I’ll pass the baton on and let people run with it.”

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Read more from Sky News:
Swift reveals ‘secret’ double album in ‘2am surprise’
The female gamers competing for thousands of pounds

Skrein returns for Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver despite his character meeting his fate in the first film.

“My friend is a painter from Andalusia in Spain and said to me the other day, when we make art, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and you throw it out and occasionally after a while you get a message back or you just get your bottle back.”

He continues: “In filmmaking, I thought about it, it’s like you have your initial reaction but then five years later, 10 years later, it’s like, now we can judge it.”

Djimon Hounsou as Titus and Staz Nair as Tarak. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix
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Djimon Hounsou as Titus and Staz Nair as Tarak. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver continues with the storyline of orphan and ex-soldier Kora, played by Sofia Boutella, who looks to protect a peaceful colony from the ruthless Mother World.

Inspired by a rejection

Aside from Skrein, the cast includes Game Of Thrones Staz Nair, Gladiator actor Djimon Hounsou and The Age of Adeline’s Michiel Huisman.

The Rebel Moon franchise came into being after director Zack Snyder pitched the idea to Disney as a Star Wars film, but was rejected.

Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix
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Rhian Rees as The Queen, Cary Elwes as The King, Sofia Boutella as Kora and Stella Grace Fitzgerald as Princess Issa. Pic: Clay Enos/Netflix

He signed an agreement with Netflix to create an entirely new franchise with the plan to extend into other formats like comic books.

The Army Of The Dead director recently went viral for his comments comparing the success of the first Rebel Moon film to Barbie, suggesting to the Joe Rogan podcast that “more people probably saw Rebel Moon than saw Barbie in the theatre”.

‘Everyone got mad at me’

Speaking to Sky News, he stands by the statement and says he’s “really impressed” by Netflix‘s business model.

Zack Snyder talking at the Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album release event in New York. Pic: Noam Galai/Netflix
Image:
Zack Snyder talking at the Rebel Moon Part Two: Songs Of The Rebellion Album release event in New York. Pic: Noam Galai/Netflix

He explains: “I think that was what I was getting at with the whole Barbie thing.”

Then adding: “Everyone got mad at me, but I’m just telling you what I heard, like, sorry if Netflix has such a giant audience. The point of what I was getting at was that the pipeline is so robust that it’s unbelievable. What a filmmaker wants is the movies to be seen.”

A third film hasn’t yet been greenlit by Netflix but the storyline and recent interviews with the director suggest there could be more on the horizon for Rebel Moon fans.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is available to stream now on Netflix.

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Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department streamed more than 300 million times in one day

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Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department streamed more than 300 million times in one day

Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department has become the first album in Spotify history to reach more than 300 million streams in a single day.

The 34-year-old singer also became the most-streamed artist in a single day on the platform when her record was released on 19 April, according to the streaming service.

Spotify wrote on X: “History made! On April 19, 2024, Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department was the first album in Spotify history to have over 300M streams in a single day.”

Analysis:
Marriage, babies, break-ups – breaking down the album

Swift’s 11th studio album includes collaborations with Florence And The Machine and Post Malone.

Fortnight, featuring Post Malone, is Swift’s first single from the album and also became Spotify’s most streamed song in a single day.

On social media Post Malone, whose real name is Austin Richard Post, said: “It’s once in a lifetime that someone like @taylorswift13 comes into this world.

More on Spotify

“I am floored by your heart and your mind, and I am beyond honoured to have been asked to help you with your journey I love you so much. Thank you Tay.”

On 18 April, Swift announced that Fortnight was the first single on her record and said a music video would drop after the album.

Read more:
‘Secret’ double album announced in ‘2am surprise’
The hidden meanings in the album’s lyrics

She also said she had been “a huge fan of Post because of the writer he is, his musical experimentation and those melodies he creates that just stick in your head forever”.

She added: “I got to witness that magic come to life firsthand when we worked together on Fortnight.”

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Fans react to new Taylor Swift album

The music video for the track includes an appearance from Dead Poets Society stars Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles.

Hours after dropping the 16-song edition of her album the US pop superstar announced an expanded version with an extra 15 songs, titled The Anthology.

Swift, who has 11 chart-topping UK albums, had announced the arrival of her latest record live on stage at the Grammy Awards in February.

The performer will bring her Eras Tour to the UK from 7 June, when she kicks off with three shows in Edinburgh with the run of London shows beginning on 21 June.

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