Dogs ‘prefer electric cars to diesel ones’

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto News

Dogs are more relaxed in electric cars than diesel cars, research finds

Dogs are more relaxed in electric cars than diesel cars, new research claims.

Online vehicle marketplace CarGurus partnered with the University of Lincoln on the new study, which looked at the effects on dogs of travelling in a diesel car versus an electric vehicle (EV).

The two-day investigation used 20 dogs, each taken on two 10-minute car journeys – one in an EV and one in a diesel. During the trip, their behaviour was analysed.

Led by Daniel Mills, Professor of Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at University of Lincoln, the study not only found that dogs were less settled in diesel cars compared with EVs, but those dogs appearing to show some signs of car sickness had notably reduced symptoms in an EV.

MG5 EV

The study concluded there was no evidence to suggest EVs have a detrimental effect on dog welfare. This resolves anecdotal concerns that the differences in vibration and/or noise experienced in an EV may cause dogs to be unsettled or have increased car sickness.

While the dogs in the study lay for around a third of the journey’s duration regardless of powertrain, in diesel cars dogs broke their laying position on average 50% more than when in an EV.

Another notable finding from the study was that a small number of dogs appeared to feel markedly less nauseous in an EV compared to a diesel car. This was demonstrated by changes in behaviour and the fact that their heart rates reduced by up to 30% when travelling in an EV.

“Our results clearly show that dogs seem to be more relaxed in EVs, particularly when looking at behavioural traits such as restlessness,” said Professor Mills.

“Additionally, an interesting and somewhat unintended revelation from the study came from the dogs that we identified as having potential symptoms associated with travel sickness.

“During their journeys in the EVs, biometric recordings of these dogs revealed their heart rates slowed markedly more than when they were in diesel cars.

“This was of particular interest to us given an increase in heart rate is commonly associated with motion sickness.

“It’s an intriguing result, which raised additional questions for exploration within this field.”

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Ken Block: Electrikhana is a Dream Come True

Ken Block

Taking Audi’s iconic rally cars into the future was a labor of love for the Gymkhana superstar, and enthusiasts got the goods.

When Ken Block first teamed up with Audi to help develop electric vehicles, he revealed that watching Group B — and the company’s legendary S1 E2 — was what inspired him to become a rally driver. So working with the wizards of the Four Rings on the Audi S1 HOONITRON, then using it to tear up the streets of Sin City for the ELECTRIKHANA video was a dream come true. Even by Block’s lofty standards, the latest entry in his Gymkhana series is a riot to watch — and now that the smoke has settled, he’s giving us a peek behind the scenes.

Of course, there’s no question that the HOONITRON is a new-school machine. So it was interesting to see that some of the techniques used to construct it are as old-world as it gets. I’m talking specifically about the fact that before the final bodywork was completed, the prototype was sculpted in clay. Given how much can be done with 3D modeling today, the choice to use a physical medium to massage the lines was an interesting one.

But it’s hard to argue with results, and as James Bond taught us in Skyfall, “sometimes the old ways are best.”

As Bastian Rosenauer, Chief Engineer of the HOONITRON project explains, making a high-performance electric vehicle with the level of maneuverability Block requires for his videos was no easy feat. Specifically, the extremely short wheelbase meant finding a place for the battery was a challenge. And obviously, weight distribution — along with giving the machine the proper center of gravity — was a big factor as well. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Block describes the finished product as the most advanced drift car he’s ever driven.

At this point, exactly what’s next for the Hoonitron remains to be seen. But given the fact that Audi is headed toward an all-electric lineup, and has no intentions of letting its motorsport involvement fall by the wayside, you can bet some of the lessons learned here will be used to craft other weapons-grade kit. Perhaps someday, we’ll even see Audi return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an electric endurance car…

Photos: Audi

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New Audi Logo: Four Rings, Less Bling

New Audi Logo

The sleek, minimalist new Audi Logo design exemplifies the less is more school of design, and gives the Rings a futuristic feel.

Right now, Audi is pivoting hard toward electric cars, with its Sphere concept vehicles showcasing the sleek lines that’ll characterize future models. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that it’s also giving it’s venerated Four Rings logo a refresh. Overall, it’s very similar to the old design, and still references the quartet of Auto Union brands which would merge to form Audi. That said, there are some distinct differences.

For one, the logo is now two-dimensional, and instead of being chrome, the famous rings are black and white. In explaining the move toward minimalism, head designer Marc Lichte offered that “Good design is less design.” Another motivation for going with a flat logo is that it will appear the same whether it’s on vehicles, billboards, or magazine ads. The 2024 Audi Q8 e-tron will be the first to feature the updated Rings.

If this restrained new take is still somehow too flashy, the company will also offer a black-and-gray version. But the reveal puts to rest any question — not to say many people had them — as to whether next-generation Audi vehicles would sport any light-up emblems, like German rivals Mercedes-Benz. In another change, new models will feature laser-etched script detailing the make and model on the B-pillar, in a unique font called Audi Type.

To see how the new logo looks on a vehicle, check out the video of the 2024 Q8 e-tron below — and keep your fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long to see it on the electric R8 replacement! That said, what do you think of the new logo? Does it work well with the design language we’ve seen on Audi’s latest progress? Is it too restrained, or does the new simplicity give it a futuristic feel? Hit me up and let me know!

Photos: Audi

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Updated Audi e-tron Hits the Road for the E-Cannonball Rally

2023 Audi e-tron

At this point, we don’t know exactly when the next Audi e-tron will debut. But we do the sheet metal has been tweaked.

It’s almost hard to believe, but the Audi e-tron has been on sale for almost five years — and that means it’s time for a through update. At this point, Ingolstadt isn’t quite ready to show off the latest version, but it did let a pre-production prototype out to play for Germany’s E-Cannonball. And while the e-tron in question was wearing a white, black, and orange livery, eagle-eyed folks can notice some changes from the model currently in Audi showrooms.

Most notably, we’re looking at revised fascias front and rear, and it also appears the newest models with be getting updated wheels. That said, Audi has been on a path of constant improvement with the e-tron since its release. For the 2021 model year, we saw a range increase of 18 miles, with meant that drivers could aim for a range of 222 miles on a full charge. Last year saw arrival of the performance-oriented e-tron S, which boasts three motors and 496 horsepower. For those keeping score, that’s 94 more ponies than the standard model.

Aside from the visual changes which are obvious from the teaser photos, everything else is speculation. But the smart money says that while we might not see a huge increase in available power, we’ll likely see a robust improvement to the range. Because while 222 miles is perfectly serviceable for the needs of many folks, especially those with at-home charging, automakers have long targeted internal-combustion vehicles to have a 300-mile range between fill ups. So that’s likely what we’ll see here.

One question that insiders are asking if whether this latest update will keep the e-tron moniker, or be changed to the Q8 e-tron. An all-new electric Q8 is already planned for production in 2026, so as Audi continues its transition to a fully electric lineup, it would make sense to start folding the electric vehicles into the company’s standard nomenclature.

Of course, the ongoing supply chain issues, not to mention the delays with Audi’s forthcoming flagship mean timetables have to be more flexible than the brass would like. Since 2023 is just around the corner, we should have pictures of the production version within the next month or so, along with specs on exactly what work the engineers have done under the skin. Stay tuned!

Photos: Audi

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Report: Audi R8 Replacement Will be All-Electric

Audi PB18 E-tron concept

The future of the Four Rings is electric, and sources inside Ingolstadt say the next Audi R8 will be mean and green.

Starting in 2026, every new Audi will be electric, and by 2030, the company plans to be done with internal combustion entirely. Fortunately, models like the e-tron GT, the gorgeous Sphere concepts, and the Dakar-ready RS Q e-tron have shown that while the future will be green, it sure as hell won’t be boring. But we haven’t heard much chatter about what’s in store for Ingolstadt’s current range-topping performance machine. Now, Autocar is reporting that the replacement for the Audi R8 will be all-electric.

As you might expect, details are slim, and according to the source, plans for the electric supercar haven’t officially gotten the green light just yet. That said, there’s still plenty of interesting information in the report, including the revelation that Audi’s next halo car it won’t be called the R8. It’s also likely to take design cues from the PB18 e-tron concept — pictured here — instead of the current car, retain a two-door, two seat layout, and pack more power than anything else in the lineup. So at the end of the day, who cares what Audi calls it?

Exactly which platform the electric supercar will use is a big question. The smart money says it’ll be shared with corporate cousin Porsche, similar to the arrangement with the Taycan and the e-tron GT. Because since Stuttgart is already deep into the development of electric versions of its 718 Boxster and Cayman, that would be a cost-efficient way for Audi to get into the game. The rub, of course, is that while any R8 replacement would have to be faster than the already wicked quick e-tron GT, internal politics ensure it’ll have to be slower than the comparable Porsche.

Regardless, you don’t need a crystal ball to predict that Audi is going to release a performance coupe. Driving thrills are a key part of the company’s DNA, and its entrance into Formula 1 is sure to stoke excitement for enthusiast cars. The big question, of course, is when we’ll actually see cars start coming off the line — and that’s all guesswork. At the moment, Audi is years behind schedule for its EV flagship, and that model is sure to take priority over any sports car, regardless of how exciting it may be. More news on the Audi R8 replacement when we have it.

Photos: Audi

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