Automotive News reports that BMW has been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Paice LLC and The Abell Foundation in the U.S. District Court in Maryland. The lawsuit alleges that BMW has infringed on their patents involving hybrid engines.
The story notes that Paice was involved in similar litigation with several automakers, including Ford, Toyota, Hyundai and Kia. Those automakers subsequently paid Paice to license its technology.
“Beginning in the early 2000s, Paice taught BMW how its patented technology could maximize fuel efficiency and reduce emissions without sacrificing driving performance, the suit alleges. The company held in-person meetings and shared technical materials with BMW’s senior management and BMW engineers,” the story reports.
“BMW readily expressed interest in Paice’s technology because BMW was still pushing its diesel technology and was years behind other leading automakers that were actively pursuing hybrids,” the 31-page complaint states. BMW eventually dismissed Paice after learning what it could about Paice’s technology, the filing noted.
Volkswagen is set to launch a plug-in hybrid version of its updated Arteon product line, according to a report from Green Car Congress. The PHEV powertrain will feature “a 1.4-liter TSI engine paired with an electric motor and fed by a 12.7 kWh battery,” powering the vehicle to 160kW and 34-miles all-electric range. The product line also includes a number of other technical upgrades. Read more.
Jeep’s long-awaited entrance into the electrified vehicle market is near. The automaker has announced it will offer its Wrangler as a plug-in hybrid by the end of 2020 in the U.S., with Europe and China to receive the vehicle in Q1 2021. The Detroit Bureau reports the electrified Wrangler and others from Jeep are expected to feature “up to 31 miles [of] range and the ability to operate at speeds up to 62 mph in all-electric mode… [with] about 240 horsepower.” Jeep has committed to offer an electrified version of each of its models by 2022. Read more.
Audi will launch its 2021 Q5 models this fall in the US. Details of the models are beginning to emerge, with Car and Driver reporting the Q5 plug-in hybrid variant will feature 362 horsepower powered by a 14.1-kWh battery and an electric motor. Both the PHEV and the standard version of the Q5 feature updated tech and exterior offerings. Read more.
Ford is releasing its F-150 model with six powertrain variants for the 2021 model year. Of the powertrains, the PowerBoost Hybrid version is expected to lead the pack, according to AutoBlog. Byron Hurd at AutoBlog notes, “Based on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and a specially calibrated variant of the 10-speed automatic, [the PowerBoost Hybrid] is going to be the range-topping powertrain for the 2021 model… while exact figures have not been released, we can comfortably say that the PowerBoost model will produce at least 420 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.” Read more.
Green Car Congress reports that in a study of fleet-wide performance for NYC’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) vehicles, “hybrids performed better against their EPA ratings than non-hybrids—i.e., hybrids are even more fuel efficient as compared to regular fuel vehicles than expected.” The study looked at the fleet’s performance in 2019, and determined “the hybrid vehicles should have been 118% more fuel efficient than non-hybrids… [but] were 155% more fuel efficient.” Read more.
Chevrolet has launched five new versions of its Orlando model in China. The vehicle will be offered with a 48V mild hybrid powertrain. Green Car Congress reports, “the new variants maintain the new-generation 1.35L Ecotec dual-jet turbocharged engine and six-speed DSS start/stop transmission. They add a 48V mild hybrid system consisting of a 48V motor, 48V power battery, power management module and hybrid control unit.” Read more.
AutoBlog has published a new comparison of three of the top plug-in hybrid crossovers on the market: the Ford Escape plug-in, Toyota RAV4 Prime and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. For fuel economy, Joel Stocksdale at AutoBlog notes the Escape PHEV is the best bet with 100mpg-e, followed by the RAV4 Prime and then the Outlander. The rankings shift when considering horsepower: the RAV4 carries 302hp, the Escape at >200hp, and the Outlander with 190hp. Ford’s Escape tops the attractive-pricing podium, with the Outlander in second and the RAV4 in third. Read more.
Toyota’s RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid SUV will launch stateside this summer, carrying 42-miles of all-electric range. Electrek reports the RAV4 Prime PHEV will launch with up to 302hp and a projected 5.7 seconds 0-60mph. The model comes in multiple grades, with a base price of $38,100, before local incentives. Read more.
Land Rover is relaunching its Defender model, this time with an optional mild hybrid powertrain. The P400 engine option includes a “turbocharged-and-supercharged 395-hp inline-six with 48-volt hybrid assistance” that is optimal for “serious off-road trails” according to Car and Driver. EPA fuel-ratings for the vehicle are not available at present, but are expected to be announced soon. Read more.
Hyundai will launch hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of its Santa Fe vehicle in the European market, possibly as early as September 2020. Inside EVs reports that the hybrid will not be released in North America. Hyundai has not released much information on the model yet beyond, but more details are expected soon. Read more.