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Cars in Europe vs USA

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by TEG, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    #1 TEG, Dec 6, 2007
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2007
    (I moved some posts here from a sidebar discussion that got started in a different topic)
     
  2. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    Given the likely initial range issues, maybe a BEV Whitestar should be introduced in Europe first.
     
  3. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    I'm playing a bit with some numbers here...
    Looking at the BMW 5-series which the Whitestar should be comparable to I find that the 520i weighs in at 1490kg while the 540i is 1660, both are automatic. Since there are 130 horses and 4 cylinders in difference between these two and their equipment list shows hardly any difference on the faster model I assume most of the difference there is weight. And lets say a base 150kg for the engine in the 520i and then 310kg for the 540i.
    So it assumes a BMW 5 series weighs in at around 1350kg for the base chassis without driveline. Adding the 450kg of the Roadster ESS that jumps it upto 1800kg.
    As the Roadster is around 1220kg that means the Whitestar would be about 50% heavier and thus have 75% of the range of the roadster, thus around 170miles.

    Looking at the BMW 3-series they are almost 100-150kg lighter so lets assume they can cut the "chassis" weight down to around 1250. Tesla assumes around 8% increase in Li-ion performance each year so if they take that out in reducing size they can for 75% of the size (and price) of the Roadster ESS get 50Ah and then only have a total weight of 337kg ESS and 1250kg car = 1587kg. Then we are back up around 200miles range.

    If my math holds it should be possible to get a decent Whitestar out with decent specs also americans want to buy ?

    Cobos
     
  4. malcolm

    malcolm Active Member

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    With it's love of larger vehicles and lower gas prices, the market window for PHEVs should last longer in the States than elsewhere.
     
  5. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Keep in mind that Europeans are used larger sedans with small engines that many Americans would consider underpowered. The fuel price differential in Europe, and less emphasis on "muscle car specs" have different models available. For instance, you can't get a 2 liter 5 series here. The smallest engine offered now is a 2.8liter 6 cylinder.

    Another factor is that US consumers view BMW as luxury/performance cars. We don't have BMW/Mercedes stripped down taxi's and police cars here. BMW uses the Mini brand for their lower cost model right now. Even the new 1 series entry level engine is the 2.8 liter six here.
     
  6. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    I think the concern is situations when you have engine only, and there is no more reserve left in the battery. Those long hill climbs don't give the small ICE a break to recharge the batteries. Cars like the Volt seem to be planning an ICE that can only generate about half the output that the eMotor can create, so when you are done tapping into battery reserves you are forced to drastically limit how much power the eMotor can make. So you are cruising along OK with 160hp of eMotor power available, then suddenly you only have maybe 60hp of eMotor power available because the batteries are spent. Sure if you are going up and down small hills the ICE & regen can "fill in the gaps" as you go back down a hill, but if you have constant hill climb for longer periods you don't give the system a chance to "catch its' breath" again.

    Last year my wife (who supposedly doesn't care about performance at all) was car shopping and we were trying to decide between a Mazda 5 ( 153hp ) and Toyota Highlander Hybrid ( ~268hp ). We went for a Mazda 5 test drive in the "Emerald Hills" (near San Carlos), and she had the thing floored and it was just barely able to maintain the 45mph speed limit up that hill. The thing weighed about 3400 lbs which isn't all that heavy. She ended up on insisting on the Highlander because it went over the same hills with little effort and still got better gas mileage.

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FirstDrives/articleId=106717
    "Although most minivan buyers aren't concerned with performance, the Mazda 5's power-to-weight ratio is a real concern. While the 2.3-liter engine feels sprightly in the Mazda 3, even in the 2,826-pound wagon version, the 5's additional 500 pounds puts a strain on the little engine.
    Around-town drivers won't have much to complain about, but snowboarders won't be making any time up mountainous roads where the 5 really slugs along."

    I can recall driving up steep hills in rental cars like Geo Metro, VW golf/rabbit, Subaru Justy, etc., all of which were "pedal to the floor" not able to keep up with more powerful cars, and all had well more than 70hp available.
     
  7. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    I suppose there is a big difference in perception between Europe and the US. The Mazda 5 has 4 engine options.
    1.8L gasoline 115hp $49 000
    2.0L gasoline 145hp $58 600
    2.0L diesel 110hp $54 600
    2.0L diesel 143hp $62 400

    All of these with manuall trans of course, you can't get the Mazda 5 with automatic in Norway.
    The wierd thing is I did read a few reviews of the Mazda 5 (was doing some research and I own a Mazda myself so I'm partial to them) and they didn't say it was underpowered. Considering Norway got a side order of large hills with their main course of big mountains when geography was handed out I'm figuring it's mostly in the automatic that you loose a lot ?

    Cobos
     
  8. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Yeah, possibly the automatic trans is a part of the problem.
    I guess that is another area of difference. Autos are dominant here, but manual still has a strong following overseas.

    Around this area a typical BMW would be a 540i

    Around Europe you have plenty of 520i, right?
    520i vs 540i
    * 2.0l i6 vs 4.4l v8
    * 170hp vs 282hp
    * 9.6s vs 6.1s 0-60
    * ~30 vs ~16 city MPG

    I bet the 520i weights a lot less than the 540i
    Also you can get a 520d in Europe with a diesel i4.
    They don't offer small diesels in big BMWs here.

    Can you still get cloth seats in a BMW in Europe?

    Here it seems most of the 540i are autos. What is the auto / manual mix on 520i there?
     
  9. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    TEG: Considering the price differential I beleive the 520i or the 516i is a lot more popular here.
    520d: $80 000, 520i $79 900, 540i $170 000

    I can't find any exact sales data for the different BMW models but for BMW their automatic transmission is better than most ( like Volvo f. inst.) so I expect a few choose that. On the other hand compared to the other german premium brand, BMW's strength is driving experience and handling not comfort. You would get a Mercedes for comfort. And of course many of these cars have hybrid transmission solutions anyway, with quick-change pedals behind the steering wheel or similar systems.
    You can get cloth seats as well, though I'm guessing the 3-series buyers obviously got less cash so are more prone to go for cloth seats. As you can see above as the engine power increases the price definately does as well.
    Currently the diesel vs gasoline mix in Norway for new cars are 70% diesel and rising. And as you can see you get the 520d and 520i for the same price here.
    There even was a special version of the 520d with 150hp instead of standard 163hp since it then was $5000 cheaper.

    Cobos
     
  10. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Here I think you can't get cloth seats at all. They all seem to be leather.
    For BMW you do see some manual transmissions (since it is "sporty"), but basically none for Mercedes.
     
  11. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    Mercedes sells almost only automatics here, but I suppose that's because around 10years ago all taxies were Mercedes C and E class sedans and wagons. And taxidrivers do not want manual, and for a good reason. It also matches nicely with their comfort image here.
    Regardless Audi is actually the german premium brand that sells the best of the 3 big ones. They are in 8 place among the bestselling brands in Norway. They usually sells automatics since their newer automatic gearboxes are so good.
    In general we are seeing a gradual change from almost exclusively manual to a substantial amount of automatics especially among the premium brands where price obviously isn't that important. All the drivers ed cars though of course use manual as everyone learns to drive with a stick shift. And as case in point, the car my driving teacher used were BMW (series 3 I think) with stick shift, and cloth interior :)

    Cobos
     

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