Blogger captures first glimpse of Li Auto’s first-ever BEV, and it is unique looking to say the least
A passerby in China caught a look at Li Auto’s upcoming MPV called the Mega – it’s first-ever BEV model, before it officially debuts in December. Li Auto has already been touting the multi-purpose vehicle as a future best seller – despite its price… and its look. See more for yourself.
Li Auto ($LI) is a relatively popular automaker in China that hasn’t even celebrated its tenth birthday yet. While the company has made a name for itself overseas on the wings of four models deliveried since 2019, we don’t tend to cover it much because, well… Li Auto doesn’t make BEVs.
The automaker specializes in EREVs, which stands for “extended-range electric vehicles,” that are essentially, glorified plug-in hybrids. We at Electrek usually lose interest as soon as we hear the word “combustion,” but Li Auto has stayed on our radar because it has the potential to remove those range extenders from its EVs and join the zero-emissions party.
While the Chinese Automaker is by no means giving up one EREVs yet (it launched 3 of its 4 current models in 2022 alone), Li Auto has shared plans for its first BEV model called Mega. Mega is a fully electric MPV that Li Auto initially announced during the Chengdu Auto show this past August.
Although the public is not slotted to see a full reveal of the Mega BEV until December, a Weibo user happened to be nearby Li Auto’s facility near Guangdong and captured video of a camouflaged Mega BEV cruising by.
Li Auto’s first BEV is an aerodynamic MPV with a caboose
The images above were pulled from a video posted be Weibo user Lao Qi – who has over 1.5 million followers on the Chinese social media site. As you can see in the video, Li Auto’s Mega MPV pulls out of the lot and cruises by, giving us a nice up close look at its oblong side profile.
If you’re into bloated Priuses, this could be the BEV for you – Li Auto has certainly taken aerodynamics and efficiency as a main priority in designing this MPV which the blogger describes as a “pure, high-speed railcar.” We’d argue it looks more like a roller skate, but hey… it’s still sexier than a mini van.
As we’ve seen so far in the niche but growing segment of MPVs in China, it’s truly difficult to make an EV of such size sleek and sporty. One could argue that Li Auto’s upcoming BEV is even the sleekest of the MPVs when compared to XPeng’s upcoming X9, the ZEEKR 009, or even the Denza D9.
Hell, by simply calling its MPV the Mega without including the number nine, Li Auto already appears to be separating itself away from the pack. All jokes about its looks aside, it will be the performance specs and available technology that will truly determine whether the Mega MPV is as successful as Li Auto expects it to be – especially since its coming from a company that hasn’t delivered a true BEV to market yet.
We are sure to learn more this December, when Li Auto officially removes the camo before deliveries begin in China in February 2024. The Mega is expected to start at a price of RMB 500,000 yuan ($68,700).
Volkswagen cites slow demand amid EV production cuts at German plants
Amid several reports that Volkswagen is cutting EV production at two German plants, the automaker revealed the reason – slowing demand.
Volkswagen suspends EV production in Germany
Last week, a report from the German newspaper Automobilwoche claimed Volkswagen was pausing EV production at its Dresden facility in Germany.
Volkswagen’s Dresden facility has built over 150,000 VW Phaeton, e-Golf, ID.3, and Bentley Flying Spur models since beginning production in 2002. Last year, 6,500 ID.3 EVs were built at the location.
The automaker will temporarily suspend ID.3 production at the plant for two weeks during the Saxon autumn holidays, as first reported by Germany’s DPA news. Starting October 16, the electric car will be built again in regular single-shift operation.
Dresden’s roughly 300 employees will be reassigned to other areas, including “innovative manufacturing and testing.”
Meanwhile, at Volkswagen’s main BEV plant in Zwichau, one of the two production lines will shut down during the holidays, according to a spokesperson (via Automobilwoche).
The news comes after VW announced at a staff meeting earlier this month it would be cutting 269 temporary jobs at the site.
Although Volkswagen’s ID.3 and Cupra Born will be impacted by the halt, ID.4, ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron, and Audi Q4 sportback e-tron models will continue regular production in three shifts.
Volkswagen is discussing with local labor reps how to proceed with EV production at the Zwickau plant.
The company did not specify how many units or employees would be affected by the changes.
Volkswagen is struggling to attract new EV orders amid higher inflation and weaning subsidies in Europe. Europe’s largest automaker also faces a growing threat from more advanced EV competitors like Tesla and BYD.
The core Volkswagen brand faces pressure as cheaper, more advanced EVs are taking market share at home and abroad.
In Volkswagen’s largest market by revenue (China), the automaker was surpassed by BYD as the best-selling car brand earlier this year.
In the wake of slowing demand, VW slashed ID.3 and ID.4 prices in the region. But how long can VW keep this up?
Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume aims to boost VW brand returns to 6.5% over the next three years. Currently, it’s around 3.6%.
With EV makers like Tesla, BYD, and several other Chinese start-ups expanding rapidly, Volkswagen will need to act urgently to risk falling further behind.
Honda’s new electric sports car will debut next month, hinting at an NSX successor EV
At the Japan Mobility Show next month, Honda will showcase several new products and tech, including a new electric sports car that will headline the booth.
The new electric sports car will “enable the driver to experience the pure joy of driving,” according to Honda.
Although the automaker was light on the details behind the project, it claims the concept will represent “Honda’s continuous pursuit of the joy of driving” while embodying Honda’s universal sports mindset and distinctive characteristics.
Also ready to make an appearance at the booth is Honda’s SUSTAINA-C Concept and Pocket Concept, designed to use limited resources.
Both models are made of recycled and reused acrylic resin with the idea of “resource circulation” for environmental sustainability and future mobility freedom.
Other EV products set to make their world debut include the Honda CI-MEV. The two-seat, four-wheel mini EV uses Honda’s cooperative intelligence (CI) and automated driving for last-mile deliveries and areas with limited mobility options.
A prototype of Honda’s new commercial-use mini EV with a portable external power output device, Power Exporter e: 6000, will also be displayed.
Honda to unveil new electric sports car
Honda revealed plans to launch 30 new EV models globally by the end of the decade, including at least two electric sports cars.
One will be a specialty model, while the other will be a flagship. Speculation suggests one of the models will be an NSX, a two-seater sports coupe (An Acura model in North America), with the other being a GT.
Honda teased the upcoming electric sports cars under wraps, showing a low-profile vehicle with a similar body design to the NSX.
According to the British automotive magazine Car, Honda’s EV performance car will ride on the automaker e:n platform, featured in its e:Ny1 electric SUV.
The EV could also wear the Type R badge, as Honda’s technical consultant, Kotaro Yamamoto, said, “Type R stands for racing. It’s a pleasure transported. An electric car can deliver this, and a Type R is not obliged to use a combustion engine. Even in a fully electric society, there will still be Type Rs delivering ultimate driving pleasure.”
Other than that, Honda is keeping the details under wraps. We’ll learn more about the electric performance car next month.
The electric sports car will make its world debut at the Japan Mobility Show, running from October 28 to November 5, 2023. Media days will be October 25-26.
Is this the production Tesla Cybertruck?
New Tesla Cybertrucks, rumored to be “Master Candidates,” the final step before production, have been spotted coming out of Gigafactory Texas.
For the past month, Tesla has had full and at times, partial shutdowns, of production at Gigafactory Texas as it conducted factory upgrades.
Yesterday, a drone video shot by Joe Tegtmeyer confirmed that workers are now coming back to the factory.
The video showed new Model Y bodies coming out of the factory and new Cybertrucks.
There have been rumors that the shutdown at Gigafactory Texas might have been linked to the start of Cybertruck production.
Tegtmeyer, who often gets to talk to Giga Texas employees as he flyes drones there almost daily, claims that the new Cybertrucks spotted coming out of the factory are “Master Candidates,” the last step before production.
While it can’t be confirmed if they are master candidates or production versions, the two Cybertrucks spotted at the factory did look a lot more refined than the previously spotted prototypes:
The trims and fittings seem to blend better with the stainless steel body of the electric pickup truck.
While we can’t judge the vehicle’s fit and finish too closely because the footage is taken from a distance with a drone, the looks of those two Cybertrucks are encouraging.
Tesla is expected to officially start Cybertruck production any day now with deliveries to start at an event likely within the next month.
More Cybertrucks have been spotted parked at the homes of Tesla employees, which is a good sign that internal testing has expanded.
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