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Saving the dinosaurs: Startups drive to electrify fossil-fuel cars

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You can save your prized Aston Martin DB6, Porsche 911 or Mustang from the museum of combustion engine history. Or your Fiat 500 and Renault Clio, for that matter.

That’s the message from a growing cohort of European and American startups seeking to carve out roles in the auto transition by converting the roaring dinosaurs of the fossil-fuel age into clean electric vehicles (EVs).

At the high end, companies like Britain’s Lunaz sell a “remanufactured” Aston Martin DB6 for 1 million pounds ($1.3 million), or Dutch firm Voitures Extravert, which sells a reengineered 1960s Porsche 911 for 300,000 euros ($337,000).

At the lower end, startups like France’s Transition-One have developed no-frills kits designed to electrify mass-market models like the Fiat 500 and Renault Clio in a few hours for about 8,000 euros. They are betting they can provide drivers with a cheaper and greener road to zero emissions than scrapping their car and buying a new one.

EV conversion is a cottage industry that’s emerged over the past five years, and been turbo-charged by advances in battery technology and electric motors in the past two. The market is largely untested, and several industry players interviewed by Reuters described an exciting, if precarious, scene.

“It’s pretty revolutionary at the moment,” said Mark Roberts, a 30-year McLaren veteran who is now chief creative officer at British startup Charge Cars. “Almost every month there are new companies popping up and you don’t know who’ll fade away after a year or so or who’ll be there for the duration.”

Next year Charge Cars will launch production of 499 electric versions of 1960s Mustangs, built from the ground up using car bodies produced under license from Ford and starting at 300,000 pounds apiece. The company, which initially set out to convert classic cars, has spent five years developing an electric replica model instead.

“Traditional manufacturers like Porsche can afford to screw up,” says CEO Vadim Shageleev. “We’re a startup, so we can’t.”

Established startups like his have attracted attention from traditional auto suppliers and manufacturers seeking technical input as they transition to electric – Michelin, for instance, has partnered with Charge Cars to test new technologies.

But there may be little room for error as a host of new EV conversion startups strive for scale to help them weather the increasing regulatory standards and costs that have begun to be introduced in countries like France.

“New regulations will wipe out a lot of smaller players because they won’t be in position to meet the standards,” said Chris Hazell, founder of Britain’s Zero EV, another startup working on mass-producing conversion kits for Porsche 964s and other classic models. His company will expand to the United States next year.

CLASSIC TO GARBAGE

There are various proposed routes to scale.

Lunaz, for example, sees classic cars like the Aston Martin DB6 as a good start.

The three-year-old company and its competitors at this end of the EV conversion industry aim to capitalise on the world’s large population of classic vehicles, with an estimated 5 million in the United States alone.

Lunaz typically buys a classic car on the open market or takes a customer’s existing vehicle, strips it down to the bare metal, rebuilds it, gives it a fresh paint job, new interior and an electric drive system and software with a range of about 250 miles.

But Lunaz sees its future in commercial vehicles, and is building a new factory at Silverstone in central England, home to the British Grand Prix, to convert more than 1,000 diesel garbage trucks a year into upgraded electric models.

“Classic cars were the lightning rod to get us to market,” founder David Lorenz said. “But if you want to have a real impact, you’ve got to have scale.”

Lorenz told Reuters the company was scoping out sites for a U.S. plant and one in continental Europe, and was considering going public within a few years.

‘THROW THESE CARS AWAY?’

In France, by comparison, the race is heating up among mass-market converters who spy an opportunity in the country’s anti-road pollution plans, which outpace much of Europe.

All diesels older than 2011 will be banned in large cities from the start of 2025, affecting millions of car owners. Paris wants to go faster and implement the ban from 2024.

New vehicle retrofitting laws introduced in the country last year, which startups say require government testing of about 100,000 euros per generic model to be converted, have intensified the need for scale.

Orleans-based converter Transition-One plans to start selling conversion kits for six models including the popular Fiat 500 and Renault Clio for those diesel owners who cannot afford a new EV. The kits consist of battery, electric motor, power electronics, and new instrument cluster, and typically have a range of about 140 km.

The cost to customers could be close to 5,000 euros including government subsidies, said CEO Aymeric Libeau, who said he aimed to produce kits “at scale” next year, having waited for the retrofitting laws to materialise, with the gear to be installed by independent mechanics certified by Transition-One.

Arnaud Pigounides, CEO of Paris-based REV Mobilities, estimates converting a car to electric cuts emissions 60% versus scrapping an old vehicle and producing a new one, in a country home to around 40 million passenger cars.

Pigounides said his company, which offers to convert a range of cars and commercial vans for around half the price of a new vehicle, has orders to convert 370 cars and 1,500 vans.

“The big question is: do we throw all those cars away or do we convert them?” he added.

‘HOW DO WE DO 10,000?’

Chris Pateman-Jones, CEO of British vehicle charging company Connected Kerb, said only “mass market” options in the EV conversion industry could make a real difference to the environment, rather than classic cars.

“The cost of producing a new car is huge, so if you can reuse what’s there it’s a fantastic idea,” he said. “But the challenge is doing it at sufficient scale to actually have a meaningful impact.”

For four-year-old startup Electrogenic, based down the road from Lunaz, the plan to reach significant size is to tap into rural Britain’s four-wheel drive market, specifically the Land Rover Defenders popular among farmers.

Co-founder Steve Drummond said the company was developing a kit for old Land Rover Defenders for 20,000 pounds that local mechanics can install. He added that Britain’s 36,000 farms need four-wheel drive EVs but there are no equivalent new models on the market.

Across the world in California, meanwhile, Zero Labs is aware of the limits of its current business performing electric “restomods” to rebuild classic Ford Broncos and Land Rovers.

The company’s vehicles start at $350,000, but it can only convert around 50 a year – so it is developing electric platforms that licensed auto shops can use to convert classic cars.

“We asked ourselves how do we do 10,000 a year?” CEO Adam Roe said. “Our platforms are going to be our scale product.”

 

(Reporting By Nick Carey; Additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris; Editing by Pravin Char)

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iPhones Continue to Provide the Highest Trade-In Value According to Research – Digital Information World

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Trading in your phone when you are looking to buy a brand new one is something that most people would agree is financially sound. After all, you can get some money back for the phone that you are trading in, and this can go on to make the next phone you are about to buy considerably more affordable at least to a certain extent, and one thing to note here is that some phones have higher value.

SellCell analyzed data regarding the depreciation in the value of smartphones and found that iPhones performed best in this regard. This is a trend that has remained more or less consistent over the past few years, and it is something that continues to be the case if 2021 stats are anything to go by. In fact, out of the top five phones for trade in value, only one was an Android phone.

The phone with the lowest dip in value after a year of ownership turned out to be the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Its value only dropped by around 31.7%, and it was closely followed by the iPhone 12 Pro with a 33.8% drop in value, the iPhone 12 with 34.3% and finally the iPhone 12 Mini whose value fell relatively more severely at 43.8% which makes sense considering it’s not a flagship model and was mostly meant for budget buyers.

All of these numbers contrast rather starkly with Android phones. The best performing Android phone, the Pixel 5, saw a massive 49.8% drop in value after a single year of use. Some Android phones performed especially poorly, with most Motorola phones seeing well over 80% reduced value as far as trade ins were concerned. This may be one of the main benefits of using iPhones that most Apple fans would agree with for the most part.

H/T: SellCell.

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Xiaomi announces Redmi Note 11 series with iPhone-style flat sides – The Verge

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Xiaomi has announced the Redmi Note 11 series, continuing its popular line of budget-friendly handsets that sell in huge numbers in India and various other markets.

There are four phones in total, but they only differentiate themselves in a few specific areas. All of them have what Xiaomi describes as a “trendy flat-edge body” — in other words, yes, it looks like an iPhone — and most of the specs are shared across at least two models. Here’s how it all breaks down:

  • The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is the highest-end model and has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with 5G support. The screen is a 6.67-inch 120Hz 1080p OLED panel, there’s a 5,000mAh battery with 67W fast charging, and a 108-megapixel main camera backed by an 8-megapixel ultrawide and a 2-megapixel macro camera. It’s also the only phone in this lineup not to have a 2-megapixel “depth camera,” which is probably not a big loss.
  • The Redmi Note 11 Pro is essentially identical to the Pro 5G, but it uses a MediaTek Helio G96 processor that only supports up to LTE connectivity.
  • The Redmi Note 11 has a Snapdragon 680, a smaller 6.43-inch 90Hz 1080p LCD, a 50-megapixel main camera, 33W fast charging, and only goes up to 6GB rather than 8GB of RAM.
  • The Redmi Note 11S has the same screen and 33W fast charging as the Note 11 but the same Helio G96 processor, 108-megapixel main camera, and option for 8GB of RAM as the Note 11 Pro.

All of these phones have 5,000mAh batteries, side-mounted fingerprint sensors, headphone jacks, and up to 128GB of onboard storage.

Xiaomi was unable to provide pricing information in advance of this launch, which is obviously critical for such a wide range of products and SKUs that are all intended to be affordable and price-competitive. For context, last year’s equivalent Redmi Note 10 Pro — which had a similar screen and camera — cost about $260 when it was launched in India.

The Redmi Note 11 and 11S will go on sale this month, while the Note 11 Pro and Pro 5G won’t be available until February.

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Everything about the Samsung Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra has just leaked – XDA Developers

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The Samsung Galaxy S22 series is just around the corner. We expect that it will arrive sometime next month, and an announcement event is possibly scheduled for February 9. Most details about all three phones have already leaked, and images of all three devices leaked yesterday. Now, though, all specifications for the three devices have also been leaked, revealing the inclusion of the Samsung Exynos 2200 in European devices — amongst other specs.

These specifications come courtesy of WinFuture, a publication with an excellent track record when it comes to leaks. All three devices launch with the Exynos 2200 in Europe and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the US. All three will also come preloaded with Android 12 based on Samsung One UI 4.1.

Samsung Galaxy S22 series complete specs (courtesy of WinFuture)

Model Samsung Galaxy S22 Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Software Google Android 12 Samsung One UI 4.1
Chip EU/DE: Samsung Exynos 2200 Octa-Core, 2,8 GHz + 2,5 GHz + 1,7 GHz, 4nm, AMD RDNA 2
USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Octa-Core, 3,0 GHz + 2,5 GHz + 1,8 GHz, 4nm, Adreno 730
Display 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2340 x 1080 Pixel, Infinity-O-Display, 10 – 120 Hertz, Gorilla Glass Victus, 1500 nits, 425 ppi 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2340 x 1080 Pixel, Infinity-O-Display, 10 – 120 Hertz, Gorilla Glass Victus, 1750 nits, 393 ppi 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3080 x 1440 Pixel, Infinity-O Edge-Display, 1-120 Hz, Gorilla Glass Victus, 1750 nits, 500 ppi
Storage 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage 8/12GB RAM, 128/256/512GB storage
Main camera Triple camera:
50 MP (Main camera, 85 °, f / 1.8, 23mm, 1 / 1.56 “, 1.0 ,m, OIS, 2PD)
12 MP (Ultra-wide-angle lens, 120 °, f / 2.2, 13mm, 1 / 2.55” , 1.4 )m)
10 MP (Telephoto lens, 36 °, f / 2.4, 69mm, 1 / 3.94 “, 1.0 ,m, OIS)
Quad camera:
108 MP (main camera, 85°, f/1.8, 2PD, OIS)
12 MP (ultra wide angle, 120°, f/2.2, 13mm, 1/2.55″, 1.4 µm, 2PD, AF)
10 MP (Telephoto, 36°, f/2.4, 69mm, 1/3.52″, 1.12 µm, 2PD, OIS)
10 MP (Telephoto, 11°, f/4.9, 230mm, 1/3.52″, 1.12 µm, 2PD, OIS)
Front camera 10 MP (f/2.2, 80°, 25mm, 1/3.24″, 1.22 µm, 2PD) 40 MP (f/2.2, 80°, 25mm, 1/2.8″, 0.7 µm, AF)
Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, Gyro sensor, Geomagnetic sensor, Hall sensor, Light sensor, Proximity sensor, UWB (UWB only in Plus and Ultra)
Battery 3700 mAh, fast charging, Qi charging 4500 mAh, fast charging, Qi charging 5000 mAh, fast charging, Qi charging
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2, USB Typ C 3.2 Gen 1, NFC, Wi-Fi 6 (WLAN AX)
Cellular 2G (GPRS/EDGE), 3G (UMTS), 4G (LTE), 5G
Colors Phantom Black, White, Pink Gold, Green Phantom Black, White, Burgundy, Green
Dimensions 146.0 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.64 mm 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm
Weight 167 grams 195 grams 227 grams
Misc Waterproof according to IP68, dual SIM (2x Nano + E-SIM), GPS, face recognition, Wireless PowerShare, DeX, child mode, data security: KNOX, ODE, EAS, MDM, VPN
Prices 8/128GB €849
8/256GB €899
8/128GB €1049
8/256GB €1099
8/128GB €1249
12/256GB €1349
12/512GB €1449

Samsung Galaxy S22

Samsung Galaxy S22

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is the regular variant of the three, packing basic flagship specifications. The 6.1-inch OLED panel has a refresh rate of 120Hz with a maximum brightness of 1500 nits. The touchscreen is covered by Gorilla Glass Victus, and it supports Wi-Fi 6 (WLAN-ax), Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and 5G.

In terms of cameras, there’s a 50MP primary shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 10MP telephoto sensor for 3x optical zoom. There’s a 3,700 mAh battery that can be charged wirelessly, and an ultra-sonic in-display fingerprint sensor. It weighs 167 grams and is IP68 rated. It will be released in Germany in Black, White, Green, and Pink at €849 (128 GB) and €899 (256 GB).

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S22 PlusSamsung Galaxy S22 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is a slightly beefier flagship smartphone in the trio. It has the same chipset, the same set of cameras, and the same storage and RAM options, but there are some important differences, too. It has a 6.6-inch full HD OLED display that goes up to 120Hz, with a maximum brightness of 1750 nits. The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. It has the same IP68 water resistance rating, but weighs 196 grams and packs a 4,500 mAh battery.

As for pricing, the Samsung Galaxy S22+ will be available in Black, White, Greem, and Pink Gold at €1049 (128 GB) and €1099 (256 GB). Its primary upgrades over the regular S22 are the screen and the bigger battery, as much of the rest remains the same.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraSamsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best Samsung phone yet, and it seems to have everything in Samsung’s arsenal thrown into it. Not only does it seem to carry the torch of the Note series thanks to its included (and dockable) stylus, but it also has some of the craziest specifications ever in a smartphone.

First and foremost, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 6.8-inch QHD+ OLED panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz. It’s coated in Gorilla Glass Victus with a brightness of 1750 nits. It can also be bought with up to 12GB of RAM. This device has a quad-camera arrangement on the back, packing a primary sensor that comes in at 108MP, an ultra-wide at 12MP, and two 10MP lenses for 3x and 10x optical zoom. The front-facing camera comes in at 40MP. Furthermore, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 5000 mAh battery, an in-display ultra-sonic fingerprint sensor, and an S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will be available in Black, White, Green, and Burgundy at €1249 (8/128 GB), €1349 (12/256 GB), and €1449 (12/512 GB).

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