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2024 Honda Prologue electric SUV confirmed: Here’s what we know
Honda’s first all-electric SUV for the North American market has been given its name, though you’ll still have to wait a while before you can actually put the GM-powered EV on your driveway. The 2024 Honda Prologue EV will be the first of the automaker’s new zero-emissions models, as it targets 40-percent of North American sales to be either battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell by 2030.
By 2040, meanwhile, Honda is aiming for all of its sales to use those technologies, ousting gas completely. By 2050, the automaker says, it should be carbon-neutral across both product and corporate activities.
They’re fairly ambitious goals, but looking at Honda’s line-up currently it’s hard to imagine the automaker actually achieving them. The range of vehicles in the US and Canada right now lacks even a single all-electric model; Honda recently announced it would be retiring the Clarity line, with both plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hydrogen versions getting the chop. It had already killed off the Clarity BEV a few years back.
What Honda needs, then, is actual EVs to sell, and that’s what the Honda Prologue will be all about. It’s being built on GM’s Ultium platform for electric vehicles, after a deal between the two automakers, though it’ll be designed by Honda and tuned to drive as its buyers expect.
“The Prologue will provide our customers with a battery-electric SUV with the excellent functionality and packaging they’ve come to expect from Honda,” Dave Gardner, executive vice president of American Honda, said today. According to Honda, the e-SUV will have “versatility and driving range on par with our current lineup of rugged SUVs.”
We’ll see more details in the coming months, Honda promises, but the actual Prologue SUV itself won’t be arriving in US and Canadian dealerships until early 2024. That same year, meanwhile, there’ll also be a new electric Acura SUV, also using GM’s platform. Naming for that hasn’t been shared yet, but we’d expect it to be more aggressively styled than the Prologue, and have a greater focus on performance – as well as a higher price tag.
At the same time, though, Honda isn’t offsetting all its electric eggs into General Motors’ basket. The automaker has also been working on its own e:Architecture, a completely new platform intended for its own vehicles. However, that’s not expected to be ready for actual production vehicles until sometime in the second half of this decade, initially for the North American market and then spreading to other regions after that.
The 2024 Honda Prologue, then, will be late to the party compared to electric SUVs from other automakers. Still, that will come with a few benefits. Instrumental to GM’s Ultium plan, after all, is developing cheaper and more power-dense EV batteries, as it tries to shave away at the price premium which electric models still carry over their internal-combustion counterparts. While Ultium may be expected to show up imminently in the form of the GMC Hummer EV, that will be a premium product, initially with a six-figure sticker. By 2024, the hope is that Honda’s Prologue will be able to come in considerably cheaper.
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The battery is the most expensive component of electric vehicles. Thus, true fast charging combined with the availability of public charging points allows automakers to produce cars with smaller batteries at lower prices. With this, they increase the growth rate by selling more cars to more users.
“High-end users of the early EV market want bigger battery packs and longer range because they can afford it,” said Sai Shivareddy, CEO of startup Nyobolt. Nyobolt has developed a niobium oxide anode material that can charge batteries in minutes. “To be accepted by mainstream users who are more price-conscious, you need a smaller battery pack…and you can fill up in 5 minutes like today’s gas cars.”Chinese companies dominate electric vehicles battery production
Chinese companies dominate the global electric vehicle battery production market. Companies like CATL are developing car batteries that can travel farther on a single charge. Chinese automakers have launched small, low-cost electric vehicles such as the Wuling Hongguang MINI. Although the price of batteries has been rising recently, the price of Wuling Hongguang MINI is only more than 30,000 yuan (about $4450).
In the global EV battery sector, start-ups such as Nyobolt in Cambridge, UK, and Woodinville, Washington, US, are researching new electrode materials in hopes of bringing fast-charging batteries to market. According to the startup platform PitchBook, there are much more investments in electric vehicles battery. It claims that investments in electric vehicles battery technology have more than quadrupled from $1.5 billion in 2023 to $9.4 billion in 2023.
Miniaturizing EV batteries could also ease supply chain issues for battery materials. In addition, it will reduce the use of cobalt and nickel as demand for electric vehicles soars. Another benefit is that automakers can use fewer harmful materials and emit less carbon dioxide in the process of building electric vehicles.Gizchina News of the week
Join GizChina on TelegramCheaper electric cars
The current fast charging technology is mainly limited by the rapid energy absorption of electric vehicle batteries. Fast charging can shorten battery life or overheat, so most EVs limit charging speed to protect the battery. At Nyobolt’s corporate headquarters, CEO Shivaredi has been able to fully charge four batteries in about three minutes. Niobium is a stabilizing metal commonly used to increase the strength of steel. Start-ups such as Nyobolt and Echion are investigating the use of niobium in battery cathodes. Niobium can be used for ultra-fast charging and can last many years longer than commercially available batteries, Shivaredi said.
Nyobolt is currently focused on developing high-performance electric racing batteries. Shivaredi said it will take years before automakers are ready to use their batteries in mass-market models. A few kilometers away from Nyobolt, Echion’s niobium-based battery anodes were initially used in commercial electric vehicles, such as mining vehicles, that needed to run continuously and recharge quickly. Echion CEO Jean de La Verpilliere said the company aims to bring batteries to the passenger electric vehicle market by 2025.
“Smaller batteries mean lower prices, so more users can afford electric vehicles,” he said.
CBMM dominates niobium production and has invested in Echion and other start-ups. It is currently testing niobium-based batteries with battery materials companies. It Nano One, Toshiba and a Volkswagen subsidiary in Brazil, Volkswagen Caminhoes e Onibus. Rogerio Marques Ribas, head of the CBMM battery project, said that although niobium has a 20% lower energy density than some current batteries, “with a full charge in a few minutes, our battery life maybe 3 to 10 times longer, and the safety higher.”
Ribas added: “In the near future, people will ask, why do you have such a large battery pack?”Market determines the cruising range
Niobium isn’t the only material that power battery companies are exploring. Silicon-carbon anode materials made by Group14 Technologies enable 50% more energy storage in lithium-ion batteries. After tests with battery anode materials developed by Group14, Mercedes-backed battery maker StoreDot was able to charge the battery to 80 per cent in 10 minutes. Group14’s chief executive, Rick Luebbe, said the anode material it manufactures could eventually allow electric vehicles to be fast-charged in five minutes.
“When I can charge in five to 10 minutes…then it doesn’t really matter if the range is 240 kilometers or 480 kilometers,” Lube said.
“The market will ultimately decide what the range is,” said CEO Mujeeb Ijaz.
The average American car travels less than about 48 kilometers per day, according to industry data. In Europe, the average car travels less than half that amount per day.
Isobel Sheldon, chief strategy officer at British battery company Britishvolt, believes that demand for range will decrease as EV users begin to realize they are paying more than they need. “As the market matures, people will start asking questions. They will ask why they need to spend thousands for a battery that they will never use,” Sheldon said. “Most cars only drive to the store, visit friends or take the kids to school, not to drive to Monaco.”
2023 Honda Ridgeline sees family-friendly pickup get a tougher look
Honda’s perennially-popular pickup is getting a refresh, with the 2023 Ridgeline bringing a new look and more cabin tech to dealerships next year. At the front it’s the new grille design that’s likely to be first spotted – not to mention most divisive – with its scalloped mesh and more upright position, with new LED headlamps promising better illumination.
The hood now has a new “power bulge” while the front fenders have been reworked to better emphasize the squared-off nose, Honda says. Indeed, everything from the front roof pillars forward is new sheet metal, and there’s a new front bumper with wide, functional side vents.
They create air curtains around the front wheels and tires, helping with pickup’s aerodynamics. A crossbar spanning the grille will be finished in chrome on the RTL and RTL-E trims, and gloss black on the Sport and Black edition trims. Honda has also extended the body color further down on the truck, and added new skid plates.
At the back, there’s a new bumper with twin exhaust outlets. 18-inch wheels with a more rugged design are standard, and the track has increased by 20mm for a more planted stance. An optional Honda Performance Development (HPD) Package cranks up the styling a little further, with a special grille, black fender flares, and new bronze-color wheels. It’ll be offered alongside the Utility, Function, and Function+ packages.
Standard is the 3.5-liter VTEC V6 with direct-injection, and a 9-speed automatic transmission. That gets 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The 2023 Ridgeline Sport and RTL will have optional i-VTM3 torque-vectoring all-wheel drive; the RTL-E and Black Edition versions of the truck will have AWD as standard.
It can push up to 70-percent of the torque to the rear axle, and then allot up to 100-percent of that power to the left or right wheels. It’s controlled by the Intelligent Traction Dynamics System – standard on both 2WD and AWD models – which adjusts the torque split automatically depending on traction and driving conditions. AWD versions add mud and sand modes to that system, on top of the standard modes which include snow and pavement settings.
Inside, there’s an upgrade to the infotainment system, with a newer version of Honda’s Display Audio tech. The automaker says we can expect better graphics and a physical volume knob, among other changes. Sport trim gets new cloth seat inserts, while there’s new contrast stitching across all trims. Sport, RTL, and RTL-E models have new dash, steering wheel, and center console accents. Honda Sensing, with features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, and collision-mitigation braking, is standard.
Optional is an In-Bed Audio system – using “exciters” that turn the bed into a huge speaker – that can be added to RTL-E trims and above. Pricing for that, and for the 2023 Honda Ridgeline in general, will be confirmed closer to its arrival at US dealerships early in the new year.
The Ordo Sonic+ comes in three colours: charcoal, white & silver and rose gold. It’s beautifully packaged and has a high-quality feel for its price point. In the box, you’ll get the brush handle, a brush head complete with a travel cap and a co-ordinating USB charging base and cord.
As the name suggests, it’s a sonic brush. That means it removes plaque by vibrating, instead of rotating back and forth, as oscillating brushes do. With sonic brushes, strong vibrations break up plaque, working even on hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. The Ordo has 40,000 sonic pulses per minute, which measures up quite well against the industry leader, Philips Sonicare, with 62,000 sonic brush movements per minute.
The only problem comes when it’s time to replace the brush head: replacements cost £5 each from the Ordo site or £4.50 each if you buy a 4-pack from Boots.Features
In terms of features, the Ordo Sonic+ has four brushing settings: clean, white, massage and sensitive. It also has a timer, which pauses every thirty seconds to let you know to move on to the next quadrant of your mouth. After the dentist-approved two minutes of brushing time, it switches off.
There are, however, a couple of missing features. The first is a pressure sensor. If you tend to press too hard when you brush (which is a common problem), the Ordo has no feedback system to let you know that you’re doing so.
This is a bit of a flaw. One of the best things about electric toothbrushes is the way they can help you to improve your brushing. The timer is one aspect of this and the pressure sensor is the other. Without it, you’ll have to do the brush head test. If your brush head starts to look mangled long before the end of a three month period (typically, the bristles will flatten and part in the middle), that’s a sign you’re brushing too hard.
The Ordo promises three weeks of battery life (brushing twice a day for two minutes) and it delivered more in our test – roughly four weeks of brushing time, which is very good.
There’s no battery warning light, however, which is the second feature we think it misses. You’ll only know that it needs recharging when you place it in the charging base and a red light in the stand illuminates.Price, availability and subscription service
The Ordo is available from the Ordo site itself in all three colourways, as well as Boots in the UK, where you can buy it in charcoal or rose gold. It’s now also come to Sainsbury’s in charcoal and rose gold. It’s priced at £49.99 (or £50 at Sainsbury’s). At this stage – and unlike most electric toothbrushes – the price seems fixed at the RRP.
However, for better value, you can order an Ordo starter kit.
Ordo also makes other dental care products and for £59.99, you’ll get a brush in the colour of your choosing (plus the charger), 18 interdental brushes in three sizes, a regular and a travel toothpaste, a reusable mouthwash bottle, mouthwash concentrate and dental floss. The toothpaste is sensitive, whitening, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.
This is a pretty decent value dental goody bag. I was able to test all of the products and I liked them all, especially the mouthwash. However, I think that toothpastes from established brands such as Colgate or Oral-B are more effective.
To subscribe, go to the Ordo website and choose a starter kit, with your choice of brush colour. Then decide between two refill options. The basic, which costs £10, gives you a large and a travel toothpaste and a replacement head. The recommended refill, at £15, gives you all of that plus three packs of interdental brushes, dental floss and a mouthwash refill. Finally, you choose a one, two or three month frequency.
The subscription is a good idea: it’s convenient, it’ll ensure that you replace your toothbrush head as often as you need to (every three months is recommended) and you won’t have to remember to buy toothpaste and floss.
Judging from a rough estimate of the products I buy regularly, it would save me money as well. But will you use all the products equally or end up with a stockpile of dental floss while still running out of toothpaste? You can’t switch up what you’re sent at each delivery, so this could be an annoyance.
If you’re interested in regular re-ordering, the Ordo is not your only option. That’s something you can set up if you have an app-enabled brush like the Philips DiamondClean 9000.Verdict
The Ordo is an attractive, good quality brush at a decent price point. If you opt for the Starter Kit, it’s very good value.
We loved the design of the brush head and the three-week battery life. However, it’s missing a couple of handy features: a pressure sensor and a battery warning light.
If you’re looking for more buying options, check out our round-up of the best electric toothbrushes we’ve tested.
The electric truck wars are getting interesting
No longer can the automotive industry afford to move at its old, glacial pace, not when the players in the electric truck wars are starting to show their hands. Pickups, vans, and utility vehicles in general have typically lagged behind their passenger vehicle counterparts when it comes to embracing new tech, but with no reasonable person able to write off electrification as a passing fad, it’s time for trucks to get charged up.
On the one hand, you have the traditional automakers. Ford confirmed today that it’s working on a roughly two year roadmap for the F-150 EV, its first all-electric version of the pickup. We can expect to see that launch – along with an electric Transit cargo van – within the next 24 months, the automaker has promised.
It’ll go up against GM’s all-electric pickup. There, General Motors hasn’t said exactly which of its brands the EV will launch under, and it has a few to choose from after all. An electric Chevrolet Silverado, for example, would compete directly with the F-150 EV. Alternatively, GM could opt for a GMC EV pickup, or even a sub-brand as it’s doing with the GMC Hummer EV. Yet another possibility is a whole new brand, either created just for the electric pickup, or borrowing an existing name like Maven.
Ford and GM sales are huge. Yet the two companies arguably don’t have the same early-leader cachet as some of the startups we’re seeing promising big things in the electric utility vehicle market.
There’s Tesla, of course. The Cybertruck may have proved divisive when the angular pickup was revealed last year, and spawned no shortage of jokes and memes after its “bulletproof” glass turned out to be a little easier to smash than Elon Musk had expected. Still, for all the hype which inevitably follows anything Tesla does, the EV-maker does have a track record of being able to put cars on the road.
There are others, too. Bollinger Motors’ offerings look like classic Land Rover Defenders brought into the 21st century with all-electric drivetrains; Lordstown Motors has named its electric pickup Endurance, and plans to begin production next year at an Ohio factory it acquired from GM.
Looming large in the attention of every player is just how the electric passenger vehicle market has been shaped. There, Tesla went from a fairly niche purveyor of expensive electric cars to effectively defining the conversation with the Model 3. While sales, quality, and production haven’t exactly been consistently smooth sailing for Elon Musk’s company, Tesla nonetheless set the tone with its focus on range, performance, and cabin technology.
The fear among the traditional auto behemoths, it seems likely, is that another relative upstart could do the same for how electric utility vehicles like pickups are defined. While sports cars and luxury sedans may have obvious appeal, sales in the truck market are huge and brand loyalty among owners fiercely sought. Not for nothing is the Ford F-150 America’s long-standing best selling vehicle.
Whether that will sway the opinion of fleet buyers – big companies looking to go green with battery-electric pickups and vans, and with the scope to order dozens, hundreds, or even more vehicles in one fell swoop – remains to be seen. Wooing that audience is something Ford is already looking to do, underscoring the technology story of the upcoming new F-150 which will be unveiled on June 25.
That won’t be all-electric, not for a while yet, though Ford will have an F-150 hybrid to bridge the gap. What it will do, though, is allow for things like straightforward fleet management, each connected vehicle trackable, its service status readily reported. When the F-150 EV arrives, it’ll slot into that ecosystem as one spoke of an overall transportation platform.
Insurmountable? Not at all. Much will depend on the eagerness of the customer to go green: Rivian’s vans for Amazon will live alongside the retailer’s existing gas trucks, for instance. Amazon, though, has no shortage of developers to build such an umbrella system; smaller businesses may not.
Even with those questions – and others – remaining, the lure of a slice of the electric truck pie is still strong. The demand for electric cars ebbs and flows, swayed by things like financial incentives and drivers being willing to pay a little more to get onboard with electrification. Trucks, meanwhile, have proved themselves to be somewhat more insulated. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when passenger vehicle sales slumped, truck demand was still high.
Get a chunk of that, and some of the fleet market, and it could be a far more stable basis on which to build an electric vehicle business. For now, there’s no shortage of big talk and bigger promises. As the first production vehicles begin to arrive from 2023, however, the electric pickup segment is only going to get more interesting.
Samsung Galaxy S7 release date and pricing confirmed
After months of leaks, the details of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge may not have been a complete surprise, but that won’t stop people from buying it in droves. All five of the major US carriers are signed up to sell the new Android flagship, and the good news if you’re itching for an upgrade from your current phone is that you won’t have too long to wait.
That’s because the Galaxy S7 release date is March 11th, though you’ll be able to stake your place in line earlier still. Pre-orders begin on February 23rd, which means there isn’t long to decide which carrier gets your business.
On AT&T, the Galaxy S7 will be $23.17 per month on the carriers’ Next 24 plan, for the 32GB phone. The Galaxy S7 edge also has 32GB of storage, and starts at $26.50 on the same plan. Oddly, given what the name would imply, both Next 24 plans run for 30 months.
Sprint will offer the Galaxy S7 for $27.09 per month for 24 months, or the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge for $31.25 per month over the same period. The carrier is also doing a promotion where buyers get a second handset of the same Galaxy they bought for half price, though that takes the form of a service credit.
The carrier’s budget brands will also get the phones, with Boost Mobile snagging both on March 11 too, while Virgin Mobile USA will follow on shortly after.
T-Mobile USA has priced the Galaxy S7 for $27.92 per month for 23 months and $27.83 for the final month, as part of its payments plan. The S7 edge will be $32.50 for 23 months, and then a final $32.39 payment. Alternatively, it’ll be offered on JUMP! On Demand for $32.50 per month for the S7 or $28 per month for the S7 edge.
T-Mobile says that the Galaxy S7 full retail price is $669.99, while the Galaxy S7 edge is $779.99.
Verizon has committed to the February 23rd (8 am ET) preorder date, but is yet to confirm pricing at this stage.
UPDATE: The Samsung Galaxy S7 will be available at Verizon with one plan starting at $28 per month for 24 months ($672 retail price). Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge will be released on a plan starting at $33 per month for 24 months ($792 retail price). Both devices will be available March 11.
NOW READ: Samsung Galaxy S7 hands-on
Finally, U.S. Cellular will have a 24 month payment plan option, with the Galaxy S7 for $28 and the Galaxy S7 edge at $32.50. However, there’ll also be two-year agreements, at which point the S7 will be $199 upfront and the S7 edge will be $299.
What there doesn’t appear to be, at least at this stage, is a way to buy an unlocked, SIM-free device from Samsung itself. We’ll let you know if that changes any time soon.
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