Monthly Archives: April 2017
Many automakers showcased their concept cars at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. Most of them offer a hybrid or all-electric powertrain. Among them were the Volkswagen ID Crozz and the Skoda Vision E concept cars.
Looking at the two vehicles, they surely bear a striking resemblance with each other. After all, their brands are closely related. Here is a quick look at their key features:
Skoda is a Czech brand but it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 2000. Therefore, it is no longer surprising that the Skoda Vision E shares the same platform with the Volkswagen ID Crozz concept.
Side-by-side, the two concept SUVs have the same form, dimensions and panoramic roofing. They also got rid of the traditional front grille. The noticeable differences in their exterior lies in the lighting system, bumpers, body lines, wheels and badges only.
Skoda had taken liberties in the interior of the Concept E compared to the ID Crozz of Volkswagen. While the ID Crozz offers what looks like a futuristic but minimalist approach, the Concept E is adorned with a lot of gizmos, including three displays in the dashboard and more controls. The Concept E appears to have more prominent wood trims and leather accents too.
The new Volkswagen and Skoda concept vehicles share the same powertrain. Each auto is powered by two electric motors located at the front and rear.
The front motors of the ID Crozz and Concept E each provides an output of 75 kW. The rear electric motor produces 150 kW. Overall, each vehicle has a total output of 225 kW.
The concept cars are powered by a 83 kWh battery with regenerative braking technology. The tech is a form of energy recovery mechanism, which adds to the energy efficiency of the vehicles. Based on Skoda, the EVs can cover a distance of 500 km at full charge.
A flying car used to be a subject of a science fiction novel. With the rapid development of technology, it is slowly becoming a reality. Recently, another flying car was previewed in Germany called the “Lilium Jet”.
How it was considered to be a car beats us, because it is more like a small jet. The Pop.Up of Airbus is more of a car than this one. However, if we take a look back at the flying cars in movies, Lilium resembles a lot of them.
According to the Verge, Lilium Jet is being developed by Lilium Aviation. The company is a startup based in Munich, Germany.
The flying car is electric-powered with two-seating capacity. It features a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) operation, thanks to its 36 propellers distributed across its 10-meter wings and 12 movable flaps. Then once airborne, the flaps adjust horizontally to provide the small aircraft a forward thrust.
Lilium said that the electric battery of the jet has 90% better efficiency than the drone-styled aircraft. The prototype is capable of covering a range of 300 kilometers at full charge and it is 300 km/h quick. That will definitely get you to faraway places fast because it is not hindered by most land barriers such as hills and rough terrains, which serve as challenges to the cars of today.
The Lilium Jet is already undergoing testing. It is still being piloted remotely though. The flying car’s maker claimed that the manned testing of the aircraft is near.
While the technology to build flying cars is close-at-hand, there are a lot of hurdles it must face before it reaches mass production for consumers. As pointed out by Mathias Thomsen of Airbus, there is the issue in public infrastructure. But this can be resolved with careful urban planning. Next are the modern day road regulations.
Toyota Motor Corp said during the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show that it will begin testing its hydrogen fuel cell cars in China by October. The move is for the company evaluate the feasibility of bringing the Mirai in the giant Asian country’s market.
According to Reuters, Hirohi Onishi, Toyota’s head of business in China, revealed that the automaker is planning to construct a hydrogen fuel station in Changshu City in the eastern part of Jiangsu province during the testing phase. He stated that promotional activities will be made in line with the arrival of their product in the country to gauge how receptive are the Chinese consumers to the vehicle.
The Japanese brand finds putting the hydrogen fuel cell-powered Toyota cars in China challenging though. Automotive News reported that there are only five hydrogen stations in the country. The facilities are centered around the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Toyota station would be the first in Changshu.
Presently, the Toyota Mirai is sold in Japan, United States of America and Europe. From the said regions, the company has sold 3,000 units of the car. Australia, United Arab Emirates and Canada will also be the location of the other testing areas for the hydrogen fuel cell Toyota cars.
Lately, the Chinese government has implemented strict measures to curb the alarming pollution in the country. As a result, more automakers are investing into bringing their electric cars in that location. Recognizing the strong demand for EVs, even luxury car makers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi are taking their game into the electric car segment of the Chinese market.
With such a stiff competition looming in the electric car business, it remains to be seen how the Mirai will be received by China’s consumers. Everything will be made clear once it arrives in the Chinese roads for testing.
The BMW 5-Series is in it is seventh generation for the 2017 model year. At this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, a new model of the car was just unveiled called the BMW 5-Series Li.
Here are 4 stuff you should know about the BMW 5 Series Li, which was manufactured under the Brilliance-BMW alliance:
In a nutshell, the BMW 5-Series Li is the long wheelbase model of the 5-Series. It follows all the design cues of the car where it is based.
The 5-Series Li’s wheelbase is five inches longer than its standard version though. The extra space gives its rear passengers more legroom.
The target market of the series are the wealthy people who prefer to be chauffeured to their destinations. Thus, the extra room in its rear seats.
The long wheelbase car follows the interior elements of the 5-Series. It is adorned with Nappa leather and dark wood trims on the side panels.
However, its rear seats feature added soundproofing, electronically adjustable seats, two 10.5-inch touchscreens and Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof. In between the rear passenger seats of the luxury vehicle is another touchscreen display integrated with the center armrest.
The powertrains of the BMW 5-Series Li follows that of its standard version. Buyers of the long wheelbase models can choose among the two gasoline-fed 2.0-liter turbo inline-four engines and 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 engine versions of the luxury vehicle. The respective outputs of the units are 224 hp, 252 hp and 340 hp.
Sources in China claimed that there is also a BMW 5-Series Li M Sports. But do not get your hopes up too much on that one because it only offers a new set of bumpers and wheels.
Unfortunately for most fans of BMW, the 5-Series Li will only be available in the Chinese market. As of writing this article, there is no official confirmation yet about the market release of the long wheelbase car.
Not to be outdone by its major German rivals like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Audi just unveiled its own electric-powered concept car at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. The vehicle is called the e-tron Sportback concept.
The new concept car gives everyone a preview of what to expect from the future crossover coupe models of Audi. It embodies their next evolution in styling, technology and power.
Here are the top 3 features of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept based on its maker’s official website:
The e-tron offers sporty lines and muscular body in its exterior. Then it is fitted with 23-inch six-spoke 3-D wheels. The measurements of the auto is similar to the Audi A7.
The concept car is further highlighted by futuristic-looking headlamps and taillamps. Even the logo of the auto in its nose is illuminated by LED lights. The lighting system of the vehicle is capable of projecting images in the road to communicate with drivers and pedestrians. Examples of those are a braking indicator or zebra crossing projection. It uses digital animation to do those.
The interior of the concept vehicle is highlighted by Audi’s signature luxurious leather treatment. It is also adorned by high-resolution touchscreens providing information on navigation and other functions of the auto.
3. Power Unit
The e-tron is powered by a 95 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack and three electric motors. The output of the car totals 320 kW, or even up to 370, according to Audi. That allows the vehicle to sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
The battery of the concept car is capable of covering a distance of 500 km at full charge. Its maker claimed that it can get an 80% charge in just 30 minutes using a fast DC charger.
Check out the official photos of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept in the gallery below:
Here is a video of the Audi e-tron Sportback concept during its introduction:
Giant luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz wasted no time in making its presence felt at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. The German automaker unveiled two new models for the world to see.
The flagship range of Mercedes just got a facelift for its current generation. Outside, the car features new set of bumpers, more advanced headlights and tailights, redesigned grille and 20-inch wheels. The interior is pretty much the same than its earlier version, which is highlighted by twin displays measuring 12.3 inches diagonally.
The different models under the range now offer engine upgrades. Everything from the standard Mercedes-Benz S-Class models up to their Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach counterparts take the next-generation power units of the automaker. The S 450 is equipped with the new V6, the S 560 (including the Maybach model) plus the AMG S 63 and S 65 possess the new V8. The ultra-opulent Maybach S 650 has the new V12 under its hood.
The new Mercedes S-Class will roll out in the European market by July. Mercedes-Benz USA confirmed that the car will hit the dealerships in its territory starting fall.
Mercedes-Benz Concept A
The Concept A is merely a preview of the application of Mercedes’ new design language to its compact vehicles in the future. It is called the “Aesthetics A”, which will be the basis for the styling of the next generation A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA. The Concept A comes just after the introduction of the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept at the recent Geneva Motor Show.
Similar to the AMG GT Concept, the Concept A showcases smoother surfaces in its body. It departs from the design of the present models of the three-pointed star brand that sport prominent body lines.
The Concept A noticeably adopts the Panamericana grille of the new Mercedes-AMG GT models, which display larger vents in its nose. Also, similar to the AMG GT Concept, the Concept A possesses advanced-looking headlamps and taillights. Lastly, it comes fitted with 20-inch wheels.
Earlier, the Supplier List of Apple for February 2017 hinted that the Cupertino-based tech firm might be working on its own self-driving car. Recently, the company got its permit to test such vehicles in the state of California, which further fuel speculations.
According to Reuters, the state of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles disclosed that it just allowed Apple to conduct test drives in three vehicles with six drivers. All vehicles to be used are 2015 Lexus RX450h units. It should be noted that the law of the state requires someone to be inside the car so that the person can take over if something goes wrong in the autonomous driving system of the auto.
Apple is yet to acknowledge if it is indeed developing its self-driving car. However, there have been hints that the giant tech firm might be considering it.
Aside from getting Robert Bosch as one of its suppliers, Apple has been signing in major figures in the automotive world like former Mercedes-Benz Research & Development chief Johann Jungwirth as well as Sinisa Durekovic, who is known for his work in developing satellite navigation systems in luxury cars.
Then, Apple’s director of product integrity, Steve Kenner, also wrote a five-page letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA regarding the regulation of self-driving cars. It was there where he mentioned that Apple is interested in working on many automated systems, including in transportation.
On the other hand, Chris Theodore, president of consultancy Theodore & Associates and former vice president of Ford and Chrysler, said that Apple’s acquisition of a self-driving car testing permit does not necessarily mean it is making a car. He stated that the company might still be toying with that idea, but the most likely reason is the firm could only be developing a software or hardware related to autonomous technology.
Volvo is reportedly gearing for the release of its first electric vehicle. The Volvo EV is expected to be introduced in China.
1. Bound for Chinese Market
Since Volvo Cars is presently owned by Geely Holding Group, and the company happens to be China-based, it just makes sense that the Asian country will be the first to get the brand’s first EV. There is also the fact that the Chinese market has a strong demand for electric vehicles now because of its stricter measures to curb pollution, which further support speculations.
Citing its sources within the company, Automotive News said the car will be produced at the Luquiao plant of Volvo located in the southeastern part of China.
2. It Will Have the CMA Platform
The Volvo EV will likely ride on the CMA or Compact Modular Architecture of its maker. The platform is currently used by its compact vehicles like the XC40 crossover. The architecture was developed in partnership with Lynk & Co, which is another subsidiary of Geely.
The article claimed that the Volvo EV will be an all-new model.There is no word yet about the body type of the auto and its key specs.
The source noted that the company is looking to put at least one million electric cars on the road by 2025. The brand is aiming to be one of the major sellers of EVs going to that year.
3. Details Will Be Unraveled in Shanghai
Information about the Volvo EV is still scarce. Its maker declined to comment about it yet. However, official announcements and some details about the vehicle are expected to be made public at the auto show happening on April 21-28, 2017 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China.
Among the parts that receive a lot of punishment when driving are your car brake pads and rotors. Using a heat sensitive FLIR T1k infrared camera, the video here explores how hot the parts get during your travels.
Engineering Explained takes a close look at one of the rear disc brakes of a Honda S2000 using a thermal cam to demonstrate how their temperatures rise during your trips. First, the presenter divides the wheel of the car into five data points namely the edge, rotor, the point where the rotor exits the caliper, wheel hub and the back of the brake pad.
Then he observes the points as he starts running the rear wheels in first gear. Here, it is amazing to note that the heat levels detected by the thermal cam in the rear wheel are somewhat uneven in some portions. The hand brake is slightly applied, which bring about some changes in the temperature of the brake disc.
Eventually, he revs up the engine while still applying the rear parking brake slowly. That’s where we can see that the areas surrounding the wheel hub are really rising in temperature.
The hottest part detected by the thermal cam among the five data points is the third point, or the area after the rotor passes through the brake pad. A significant increase can be observed in the heat indicators displayed on the left side of the screen despite the very short distance between points 2 and 3. For example in video, the point before reaching the brake pad would only be 44.9 degrees Celsius compared to the 72 degrees Celsius it generates after passing through it.
Outside the five data points, the very edge of the rotor shows a higher temperature in the wheel. Pushing the gas pedal up to 3,000 RPM yields as much as 140 degrees Celsius for that area.
It should be noted that the car we are watching here is not really brand new, so results may vary. However, the presentation should serve as a reminder for us to always check our brake fluids and braking system regularly to minimize the wear and tear of our brake discs and for us to have a safe driving experience.
Lamborghini is truly one of Italy’s pride in the automotive world. Recently, the Italian Police got themselves a new Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 to aid them in their fight against crime around the Bologna region.
For some, the supercar might be too much for a law enforcement agency. First, it is too expensive because of its $200,000 price tag. Second, its 610 hp output is just overrated.
Then again, BBC claimed that the vehicle is a gift from Lamborghini to the Italian Police. So who in their right mind would turn that down? Moreover, in a police’s line of work, speed is definitely of the essence.
The Lamborghini Huracan can reach a top speed of 325 km/h. The one given to the police is equipped with state of the art technology to enhance its navigation, communication and security features.
The special car’s main features include a police radio, tablet computer, firearm holster, fire extinguisher, hand-held devices for directing traffic and video camera. It is also packed with medical kit for first aid and refrigeration system in its trunk for transporting human organs.
The exterior of the supercar gets a medium blue paint finish with white accents. The paint follows the official colors of the Italian police. A police siren sits on the roof of the car and its sides are marked with “Polizia”. It is fitted with P Zero Pirelli tires to complement its very sporty appeal.
It should be noted that it isn’t the first time for Lamborghini to donate one of its creations to the police force. Three years ago, the company gave the agency a Lamborghini Gallardo, which is the Huracan’s predecessor.
The head of the Italian State Police, Alessandro Pansa, took the delivery of the new Huracan. “This Lamborghini represents Italy and the quality of its people,” he said. “The same we find in both men and women who wear the uniform of the State Police,” he added.
Check out the photos of the new Lamborghini Huracan police car in the gallery below: