Category Archives: Misc automakers

Nikola Motors Teases Hydrogen – Electric Semi Truck

It’s not too often that we get the opprotunity to talk about semi trucks here at Autoinfoquest, but the folks at Nikola Motor Company have big things in store for their entry in the commercial truck segment, and have released a lone teaser image of its new rig ahead of its formal debut later this evening.

 

Dubbed the Nikola One, this new model is a class 8 semi that Nikola claims will be ready for production by 2020. While the lone image does not give an all round look of its styling, it does reveal the production front end which boasts plenty of LED lighting accents, as well as a slight resemblance to the Audi R8 when you ignore its big center mounted grille and focuse on its headlight assemblies.

The lighting also forms a calling card for the Nikola with a thin strip forming a sleek border that encircles the headlights as well as the lower front air intakes. Thankfully the front fascia largely resembles prior renderings that the company released, albeit with minor tweaks for the sake of feasability. The renderings also showcased its aerodynamically focused profile, though expect changes here too in its transistion from the drawing board to production big rig.

Either way, it should be a nice change of pace versus current gasoline offerings from rivals such as Mack and Peterbilt which favor brawny themes, and typically stay away from the more elegant suit of clothes wielded by the Nikola One.

The highlight feature however is its zero emissions powertrain. Potentially the first production semi truck to offer such an option, the Nikola One gets its energy from both electric batteries as well as a hydrogen fuel cell. The company did not release formal performance figures, but did reveal that the combination allows the truck to have a driving range between 800 to 1200 miles.

To help make fueling and upkeep more affordable, Nikola will have a 72 month lease program that goes between $5,000 and $7,000 and allows owners to fill up at a network of fueling stations which will be announced by Nikola this evening. Maintenance will be covered by Ryder, with the firm also providing sales and warranty services for Nikola.

The company claims that it already has secured $3 billion in pre-orders which is an impressive feat. However like Tesla and its upcoming Model 3 sedan, it will be interesting to see if Nikola will have enough production capacity to meet all this demand.

Beast Alpha

Rezvani Teases Beast Alpha

Rezvani has been on a roll when it comes to expanding its ferocious lineup of Beast offerings, and the California based firm appears to have yet another road devouring offering in the works with the company releasing a lone teaser image of its all new Beast Alpha.

As is the case with the company’s other Beast offerings, the Alpha most likely starts life as a stripped down Atom which has been shrouded in a custom coach built body. However, unlike other Rezvani models, the Beast Alpha stands out thanks to several unique features. These include forward sliding ‘sidewinder’ doors, a removable hardtop, and air conditioning.  Naturally, the extra amenities increases the Beast Alpha’s curb weight by several hundred pounds when compared to its brethren, but Rezvani reps claim that the car still retains its lightweight reputation with the Alpha allegedly being 50 pounds below a ton.

Performance for the Beast Alpha comes from a tweaked and mid-mounted version of the Atom’s 2.4 liter supercharged Honda engine which promises to deliver 500 horsepower. This figure would put the Alpha in the middle of the Beast lineup with the car directly between the base 300 horsepower Speedster, and the range topping 700 horsepower Beast X. In short, it’ll be the proverbial Goldilocks model in the Beast lineup.

In addition to its potent power, the Beast Alpha is also capable of impressive levels of performance with Rezvani claiming that the Alpha can pounce its way to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds which is impressive considering the extra weight that the Alpha is carrying in comparison to its more track focused siblings. The Alpha also closes a void in Rezvani’s lineup, and adds a middle ground option to those that want to have more power than the base Speedster, but don’t have the financial resources to go all in on the Beast X.

Look for full details to be released when the Alpha makes its formal debut on November 16th. Pricing is expected to fall in the low six figure range for a base Alpha which is on par for other entries in its unique vehicle segment.

Fisker Previews EMotion Electric Car

Henrik Fisker always seems to find a way to stay busy in the automotive world. From being the man responsible for the current generation Aston Martin Vantage as well as the recently axed DB9, to crafting the outright bonkers Force 1 supercar. Fisker’s mark on the industry is undisputed, and it appears that his legacy will continue with his latest creation the EMotion electric car.

Unlike the Force 1 which was based on the Dodge Viper and sparked a legal spat with Aston Martin, the EMotion is an all new effort with the car boasting a wedge shaped design that is decidely less dainty than the Fisker Karma.

The EMotion also embraces the recent shift towards four door coupes though admittably some of the design elements here may appear EMotionto have a subtle relationship with Fisker’s old creation which is now being offered by Chinese firm Wanxiang under the Revero nameplate.

“Combining redefined proportions with game-changing battery technology, the car will boast the world’s longest electric range of any production vehicle on the road,” the company revealed in an accompanying statement. “For the first time in automotive history, Fisker’s electric vehicle adaptive construction transforms the use of lightweight materials without compromising elegance to create a superior driving experience.”

The EMotion will also allegedly have more rear head and leg room than comporable segment rivals with the rest of the cabin “cocooning” occupants in premium materials as well as superior ergonomic design.

Like Tesla, Fisker is aiming to create EV offerings that set new benchmarks for range and cost in every segment. Fisker’s strategy also mirrors Tesla’s and will initally be defined by premium models before trickling down market to appeal to more buyers.

Curiously, Fisker is taking an unconventional approach when it comes to battery technology with the firm ditching existing suppliers in favor of an all new seperate battery division dubbed Fisker Nanotech. The division is said to be pursuing a mysterious breakthrough battery technology that will be heralded by the EMotion. If all goes to plan, the car could theoretically deliver a driving range of 400 miles which would smash the rather low range boasted by many of its rivals.

It will be intersting to see if Fisker can use this second chance effort to finally build a sucessful EV offering. Its last attempt the forementioned Karma had early inital promise, but the company was forced to stop building it in 2012 after a series of issues with its old supplier A123 caused the battery maker to go bankrupt which in turn nearly crippled Fisker.

The EMotion then, can be seen as the company’s all in bet on the green car industry, and it will be interesting to see if the EMotion and its breakthrough battery technology can truly stand out against traditional lithium-ion batteries without falling into the same traps that doomed previous breakthrough efforts.

Sprint rear end

Caterham Unveils Seven Sprint

There’s nothing that oozes the spirit of British motoring better than the Caterham Seven. The retro styled roadster has always delivered on its promise to give drivers a unique driving experience whether fully assembled or built by hand via kit. With the car’s 60th birthday fast approaching, Caterham has unveiled yet another flavor of Seven for buyers to enjoy.

Dubbed the Seven Sprint, this blast from the past features a model exclusive front grille with chrome slats, cream colored wheels with polished hubcaps, individual taillights, and Seven Sprint rear endretro themed Caterham emblems front and rear. Buyers can also choose from five appropriately named colors – Cream, Mellow Yellow, Regency Red, Camberwick Green, British Racing Green, and Misty Blue. The interior of the Seven Sprint also embraces its roots and comes equipped with red upholstery, a wood rimmed steering wheel, and gauges that are similar to the ones equipped to 1960s era models. This is a neat touch, and does a good job highlighting the comfort side of the typically track oriented Seven.

Performance for the Sprint comes from a turbocharged 660cc engine that is sourced from Seven Sprint interiorSuzuki and their kei car lineup. While the  thought of having only 80 horsepower and 79 lb-ft of torque to play with may seem like a buzz kill at first, Caterham claims that because the Sprint is so light, it can make the dash to 60 mph in a brisk 6.9 seconds. A five speed manual transmission is the sole choice available and it helps send power to the rear wheels.

Buyers looking to buy a Seven Sprint of their own will be pleased to hear that it is currently on sale now with a base MSRP of £27,995 which is equivalent to $37,000. However don’t mistake this for a mass volume model since Caterham is only producing 60 examples a number chosen to reflect its upcoming birthday.

As for eager buyers in the U.S. we will most likely miss out on this one due to safety regulations as well as stricter emissions standards that effectively bar the engine from our shores.

Karma Revero

Karma Details Revero Sedan, Announces Pricing

Following up on Karma’s previous remarks regarding its upcoming Revero EV sedan, the Chinese backed firm has revealed new details about the reborn Fisker Karma including its official pricing as well as technical specs.

As mentioned in our last report, the Revero as well as Karma itself was born from the ruins of Fisker after its purchase by Wanxiang, and as a result, the Revero shares much of its styling with the Karma. However the Revero stands out from its ancestor thanks to several subtle details including its hand painted badging, minor styling tweaks, and a revised version of the Karma’s solar panel roof.

Numerous rumors claimed that the Revero would be powered by a BMW sourced engine, however the folks at Autoblog have learned that the Revero will not follow this route, and instead retain the long in the tooth, but still potent 260 horsepower turbocharged four cylinder that saw duty in its predecessor as well as older GM products including the Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, and the Chevrolet Cobalt SS. However, the electric side of the equation has gotten much better thanks to the availability of a 40 kWh DC fast charging system, as well as upgrades for the on-board charger that is now capable of charging at 6.6 kW versus the old unit’s 3.3 kW.

The battery still retains its A123 based roots, and even retains the same battery cell technology. But Karma engineers have improved capacity, and the battery is now capable of holding 21.4 kWh of juice which allows the Revero to not only have a 50 mile driving range on electricity alone, but also allow it to make the sprint to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds with both systems engaged (an improvement of 1 second over the old car.)

The interior of the Fisker Karma was always well regarded for its design but the sluggish, gimmicky, and unreliable infotainment system that came bundled with it proved to be a formidable ball and chain that dogged the car until the end of its production run. Karma resolved to right this wrong, and completely overhauled the system thanks to assistance from Rightware and its Kanzi UI software. It promises to have better response and image sharpness. Rightware for its part is very proud of the changes that it made to the system while promising that the new unit will offer ” a highly responsive and engaging user experience user experience with integrated access to HVAC and infotainment functions making them easily accessible with just a few touches. The system runs at a solid 60 frames per second and responds to touch instantly.”

Reflecting the strong dominance of Apple in the infotainment game, the Revero will initially launch with only Apple CarPlay before adding Android Auto capability at a later date. Karma has not released any detailed images of the interior, but look for it to retain many of its old Fisker cues albeit with minor revisions to keep things fresh for buyers.

Karma revealed that it is currently taking orders for the Revero with the base price starting at $130,000. Buyers looking to order online will have to wait until the end of September, and look for the price to inflate accordingly if the car is equipped with optional goodies, bespoke paint, and interior frills.

Tesla P100D

Tesla Unveils 100-kWh Battery, Makes Debut In P100D Model S and X

Following up on previous rumors and multiple reports, Tesla has confirmed that it will be offering all new 100-kWh battery packs for the Model S sedan as well as the recently launched Model X SUV dubbing them the P100D in the process.

Tesla claims that the bigger battery will boast an equally impressive driving range with the company claiming that a Model S equipped with this option can get up to an EPA-estimated 315 miles on a single charge. This makes the new flagship sedan the longest ranged electric vehicle in production, and could signal significant progress for Tesla and its battery technology.

However, this battery also has a split personality and is also capable of serious performance when hooked up to Ludicrous Mode and its Dual Motor all-wheel drive system. When equipped to the newly named P100D (the only model with this battery) Tesla claims that the Model S is the third fastest accelerating car on the market with the car achieving the feat in a blistering 2.5 seconds. For those that would like to counter this assertion and claim that the Porsche 918 and the Ferrari LaFerrari are faster, Tesla has prepared a quote just for this elite crowd of enthusiasts.

“However both the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder were limited run, million dollar vehicles and cannot be bought new” stated the company. “While these cars are small two seaters with very little luggage space, the pure electric all-wheel drive Model S P100D has four doors, seats up to 5 adults plus 2 children and has exceptional cargo capacity.”

As for the Model X P100D, the all electric SUV sees its driving range increase from 250 miles to 289 miles on a single charge. It will also see a bump in performance with the SUV capable of clawing its way to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. This figure would cement its claim of being the “world’s quickest production SUV” a title that was previously held by the Bentley Bentayga. All of this range and performance will not be cheap, and the P100D package is a sizable premium over other Model S and Model X variants. Despite this, Tesla claims that it still has high hopes for the package, and claims that it will also play a critical role within the company.

“While the P100D Ludicrous is obviously an expensive vehicle, we want to emphasize that every sale helps pay for the development for the smaller and much more affordable Tesla Model 3 that is currently in development.” Without customers willing to buy the expensive Model S and X, we would be unable to fund the smaller, more affordable Model 3 development.”

Koenigsegg XS front angle

Koenigsegg Unveils Insanely Awesome Agera XS

The folks at Koenigsegg have always had a knack for wowing the world with their unique take on the supercar. Our particular favorite here in the humble Autoinfoquest offices is the Agera, and the Swedish supercar maker has once again wowed us out of our collective shoes with the all new Agera XS.

Commissioned and even named by a U.S. customer, the XS is essentially a road legal version of the track only RS, and will visually stand out thanks to its bright “Karosserie Orange” paintwork  that incorporates a diamond dust-esque metallic effect, and is complimented nicely with a healthyKoenigsegg front close up dose of carbon fiber trim. The center stripe even gets in on the theme, and is made from carbon fiber as well. The XS also features model exclusive bodywork which was chosen by the collector who purchased the car (see a theme here) and it has the distinction of having the biggest rear wing ever mounted onto a Koenigsegg offering.

The interior of the XS is largely a function over form affair, but it stands out thanks to black Alcantara accents and orange contrast stitching. However, the interior still features some goodies to make driving it a bit more livable and Koenigsegg interiorincludes Apple CarPlay, a hydraulic lifting system, as well as a smart airbag system. Koenigsegg’s distinctive design flair for the gauges as well as the center console is still present and accounted for which should please the lucky owner.

Other than the wild body work and the equally bright paint scheme, the XS’s performance hardware is largely unchanged from the standard RS which means the supercar is still powered by the 1,160 horsepower 5.0 liter twin turbo V8 and is mated to the RS’s seven speed paddle shift transmission.

In addition to unveiling the XS, the company will also use its festivities in Monterey to debut the production version of the Regera which will be the first hybrid model that the company has ever produced. Don’t let its green intentions fool you, this slick flagship still packs 1,500 horsepower and is more than capable of outshining other hypercar entries.

Karma Revero

Karma Automotive Unveils Revero Sedan [Video]

When the newly created company Karma Automotive revealed the it was going good to build the Revero sedan, it was no secret that it would be largely based on the Fisker Karma sedan. However, newly released details reveal that there is plenty of differences between the two.

First and foremost we might as well address the figurative gorilla in the room, and that’s the Revero’s exterior styling. As expected, it shares a large chunk of its roots with the Fisker, and even retains that model’s solar panel laden roof. However the folks at at Karma claim that energy generated “will power the whole car.” This sounds fascinating to us, but more details will be needed to truly find out if the roof is indeed capable of achieving this feat. In the meantime, Karma claims that “No other vehicle sold in the U.S. has ever offered this capability. Our owners consider our solar roof an important element in our brand identity, and we listened.”

In perhaps one of the more unorthodox signs of the levels of exclusivity that Karma is seeking with this car, the company revealed that the front and rear badges on each Revero will be hand painted. “No other car company has ever done this,” Karma claims. “Consider it a small but symbolic statement about craftsmanship and individuality.” Furthermore, Karma claims that the infotainment system (a notable weakness of its Fisker badged ancestor) will finally be updated revealing “Our new infotainment system represents a departure from the norm. It is simple, intuitive, and beautiful. If you like a 200 page supplement to the owner’s manual to describe your infotainment system, look elsewhere.”

This all appears to sound quite exclusive, and the company has no problem embracing this perception with Karma’s chief revenue officer Jim Taylor revealing in a statement that, “Serving a mass market is not and never will be our purpose. The Revero is for a discerning group of individuals who desire beautiful, clean vehicles and a memorable ownership experience. We are thrilled to start this journey.” In a separate statement, Karma revealed that it plans to sell the Revero through traditional dealerships and company stores, with the firm selling it to 10 markets throughout North America.

Karma Automotive (which is owned by Chinese based Wanxiang Group) will debut the vehicle at a special launch party for media and current Fisker Karma owners in Laguna Beach California on September 8th. A special pre-order window will open for Fisker owners the very same day. Hopefully, this event will also help shed new light on whether Karma Automotive will follow through with its rumored plans to being the long dormant Atlantic concept into production reality. In the meantime, the company has released a brief video teaser which can be seen below.

Caterham Unveils 310 Roadster

Caterham and its popular line of Lotus Seven derived vehicles have always provided enthusiasts with a unique brand of retro and performance heritage especially when one considers the various iterations that have come and gone over the years. On that end, the company has formally unveiled yet another iteration of the iconic roadster.

Dubbed the 310, power for this model comes from a Ford sourced 1.6 liter naturally aspirated four cylinder engine which makes 155 horsepower. This is a 20 horsepower bump over the outgoing 270, and Caterham claimed that it originally considered adding Caterham 310 R 2even more power, but opted not to do so after discovering how well it drove out on the track. Power is routed through a five speed manual gearbox which allows the four cylinder to propel the 310 to 60 mph in just five seconds with the car eventually topping out at 127 mph. Overall, it tips the scales at a featherweight 1,190 lbs thanks to its aluminium body work, as well as a composite windshield.

Befitting its role as the base model in the Caterham range, the 310 can be equipped with two distinct option packages. The first package is the track focused R package which brings goodies such as a limited slip differential, sport tuned suspension, carbon fiber trim elements, four point racing harnesses, and a lighter flywheel. Upgraded brakes are also a part of the package, and should be a welcome addition when the 310 encounters twisty sections of track. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the “S” package which is tailored towards buyers that want to turn the 310 into a livable daily driver. That package brings luxury trimmings such as leather upholstery, a carpeted interior, a heater, and a full windshield.

The Caterham Seven 310 is currently on sale in England with a base price of £21,995 which translates to $29,000. As usual with Caterhams, buyers can save some money by buying the 310 in kit form, and doing the dirty work themselves. There is currently no confirmation on 28160888014_846a68730b_kwhether the 310 will make the jump across the pond to U.S. showrooms, but considering that it is based on the 270, there is a strong chance that it will eventually replace that model and become the new base model for U.S. customers.

Revived Bristol Unveils Bullet Roadster [Video]

It has been a long slumber for the Bristol brand, but the company has finally awakened from its Rip Van Winkle style absence to unveil the all new Bullet roadster.

Unlike the old Bristol Fighter (which was nothing more than a wildly styled coupe on Viper hardware) the Bullet wears a retro themed suit of clothes, and features a small oval grille, Bristol Bulletround front and rear lights, bulging fenders, and rear mounted fins on the body work. Bristol claims that the exterior styling was penned by an eminent Italian designer who curiously wanted to stay anonymous versus embracing the spotlight.

The body of the Bullet is crafted out of carbon fiber, and is paired with a lighter aluminium chassis which helps the car weigh in at 2,500 lbs. This featherweight figure doesn’t mean that the Bullet skimps on luxury. In fact the Bullet comes equipped with leather upholstery as well as a full color touchscreen infotainment system which should please technology fans.

Performance for the Bullet comes from BMW’s 4.4 liter V8 that is good for 370 horsepower and a 4.0 second 0 to 60 time. All of this power is routed to the rear wheels through a six Bullet 3speed manual gearbox that allows the Bullet to reach 155 mph. Unlike other boutique automakers that buy their engines directly from BMW (Morgan for its Aero roadster) Bristol claims that it is actually tradition with the company producing BMW powered models for decades.

Buyers interested in adding a Bullet to their garage will need to act quickly, Bristol is building only 70 copies of the Bullet with a good chunk of the production order already claimed by Bristol enthusiasts. Prices for the Bullet start at £250,000 which translates to roughly $330,000. Bristol currently has no plans to bring the Bullet to U.S. buyers due to our country’s stricter safety and emissions regulations.