Indications are the production Volkswagen ID Buzz electric van will stay fairly true to the concept, pictured. PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN

Indications are the production Volkswagen ID Buzz electric van will stay fairly true to the concept, pictured. PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN

The Auto Sleuth: The buzz on the Buzz, Bentley adds a second hybrid and more

Hot off the press news from the auto world!

What’s the Buzz at Volkswagen?

The automaker has been teasing us for the past few years with an electric-minivan concept that somewhat resembles the original Beetle-based version.

The latest spy shots show prototypes of the ID Buzz that, although disguised, appear similar to the original prototype. In Europe, the ID Buzz will be available in regular- and extended-wheelbase passenger and cargo vans. For North America, only the passenger-van version with the longer wheelbase will likely be available.

Both rear- and all-wheel-drive models will be available with output maxing at 302 horsepower and range peaking at 500 kilometres. The ID Buzz is expected to arrive in 2023 as a 2024 model.

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An electric future for Dodge, Ram and Jeep

Little had been revealed about Stellantis’ plans for electrification, but that changed recently with news that the company — the amalgamation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the PSA Group of France — will roll out several electric vehicles this decade.

Included is an electric Ram 1500 pickup that’s due sometime in 2024 and an electric “muscle car” due to launch at about the same time, which could wear a Dodge Challenger badge (although Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said “Charger” in connection with a teaser video of what appears to be a classic Dodge Charger spinning all four tires).

The Jeep division, which already sells the Wrangler 4xe plug-hybrid, is adding a plug-in hybrid Grand Cherokee for 2022. Other Jeep-branded models, including the new-for 2022 Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, will eventually follow suit with hybrid options.

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis referred to an electric Dodge Charger in connection with a teaser video clip of an EV spinning all four tires. PHOTO: TWITTER SCREEN GRAB

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis referred to an electric Dodge Charger in connection with a teaser video clip of an EV spinning all four tires. PHOTO: TWITTER SCREEN GRAB

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Yet another electric-pickup maker plans to enter the market

Detroit-based Hercules Electric Vehicles has set late-2022 as the launch window for the full-size Alpha.

Hercules joins a growing number of startups hoping to score in the EV pickup bracket. Hercules claims the Alpha will produce up to 1,000 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, enough to deliver zero-to-60-mph (96 km/h) times of four seconds.

Although the image shown on Hercules’ website is a mock-up based on the Nissan Titan pickup, Hercules says Italian sports-car designer Pininfarina will create the Alpha’s finished appearance. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Hercules says the Alpha electric pickup will have up to 1,000 horsepower. PHOTO: HERCULES WEBSITE

Hercules says the Alpha electric pickup will have up to 1,000 horsepower. PHOTO: HERCULES WEBSITE

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Bentley adds a second hybrid to the lineup

For 2021, the luxury automaker, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, introduced a plug-in-hybrid version of the Bentayga utility vehicle.

For 2022, the Flying Spur plug-hybrid will be added to the lineup. The big sedan gets a 404-horsepower twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V-6 plus a 132-horsepower electric motor located between the engine and the eight-speed transmission. The system produces a net 536 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.

When fully charged, the electric motor provides an estimated 40 kilometres of range. In terms of performance, Bentley claims the Flying Spur can accelerate to 60 mph (96 km/h) from rest in 4.1 seconds. The supplied Level 2 home charger is claimed to top up the lithium-ion batteries from empty in 2.5 hours. Pricing hasn’t been announced.

A plug-in hybrid versio of the Rolls-Royce Flying Spur sedan will mate a 2.9-litre V-6 and an electric motor. Electric range is pegged at 40 kilometres. PHOTO: ROLLS-ROYCE

A plug-in hybrid versio of the Rolls-Royce Flying Spur sedan will mate a 2.9-litre V-6 and an electric motor. Electric range is pegged at 40 kilometres. PHOTO: ROLLS-ROYCE

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Lotus launches its final gasoline-powered sports car

Well, this is it. After the Emira, all Lotus models will be electrically powered.

The Emira, which will be available in North America by mid-2022, will offer a base turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder (supplied by Mercedes-Benz) rated at 360 horsepower. An available supercharged 3.5-litre V-6 (built by Toyota) makes 400 horsepower.

An eight-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission is standard with the four-cylinder, while the V-6 can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional eight-speed automatic.

The Emira can be had with either a four-cylinder engine or a V-6, but it will be the last Lotus model that comes with an internal-combustion engine. PHOTO: LOTUS

The Emira can be had with either a four-cylinder engine or a V-6, but it will be the last Lotus model that comes with an internal-combustion engine. PHOTO: LOTUS

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UPS AND DOWNS

DOWN: Chip shortage hits wireless charging for mobile devices on some GM vehicles – The worldwide scarcity of semiconductors has resulted in General Motors deleting that feature on a number of 2021 and 2022 vehicles. The affected models include full-size Chevrolet and GMC utility vehicles, the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 utility vehicles, and the Buick Enclave. Previously, GM was forced to eliminate the automatic stop/start feature on some full-size trucks and utility vehicles due to the chip shortage.

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DOWN: Range-extender option for the 2022 MX-30 EV appears to be on hold – Mazda’s new electric vehicle will arrive soon, but the planned gasoline engine — that would supply power directly to the battery — won’t be available, at least for first year of production. Apparently it has been deemed too costly. There are reports that a rotary gasoline engine — with rotors instead of pistons — will eventually be used in plug-in hybrid Mazdas.

The range-extender option for the 2022 MX-30 EV appears to be on hold.

The range-extender option for the 2022 MX-30 EV appears to be on hold.

– written by Wheelbase Media

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