In the world beyond internal combustion engines, three manufacturers made headlines this week with new-vehicle announcements. The biggest news came from Sweden, where Volvo announced an upcoming all-electric variant of the XC40 SUV. Hyundai also updated its all-electric Kona and hydrogen fuel-cell Nexo subcompact SUVs, and Toyota confirmed that it’s moving forward with a second generation of the low-selling Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell sedan.
XC40 Goes Electric
Volvo’s announcement about the electric, dual-motor XC40 is light on details about range or power; instead, Volvo being Volvo, it focuses on safety. Calling it “one of the safest cars on the road,” the Swedish company took great pains to ensure occupant safety was up to Volvo standards, developing a new cage structure for the battery pack to protect both it and occupants in the event of a crash. Volvo also went to great lengths to reinforce what would be the engine compartment in a gas- or diesel-powered XC40. Without the bulk of the engine, crash structures in the front were redesigned and reinforced. The rear of the electric XC40 was also strengthened: The rear electric powertrain is part of the body structure, which is intended to help distribute any crash forces away from the cabin.
Volvo said it would reveal further details about its XC40 EV in the weeks leading up to its full reveal on Oct. 16, so check back in with Cars.com for updates.
Hyundai Updates Kona EV, Nexo
The Kona Electric SUV gets minor updates for 2020. An available multimedia display on Ultimate models increases in size to 10.25 inches from 8 inches, and a battery warmer is now standard on Limited and higher models, which should help with charging the Kona in cold weather as well as help decrease power loss in frigid temperatures. The Nexo — only available in California, in Blue or Limited trims — gets even minor-er updates: A new cargo cover, auto up/down front passenger window and rear privacy glass are now standard on Blue models, while rain-sensing wipers are now standard on Limited models.
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Mirai Not a Mirage
Toyota remains committed to its hydrogen fuel-cell car, the Mirai sedan, and will extend its life beyond one generation. Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada announced during a conference about hydrogen energy in Tokyo that the second generation would be coming in 2020; Toyota later confirmed that a second generation was on the way, though it declined to commit to a 2020 launch. Hopefully, the next Mirai will be a little less, um … ugly, and will finally allow us to drink its forbidden water (hydrogen fuel-cell cars emit only water vapor, but when we last drove a Mirai, Toyota strongly recommended against consuming any collected water).
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