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Volvo enters small SUV segment

 

Volvo Cars has expanded its line-up of SUVs with the launch of its new XC40 small SUV.

Volvo now has three new SUVs in what is the fastest growing segment of the automotive market, paving the way for further growth in terms of sales and profitability.

The new XC40 is the first model on Volvo’s new modular vehicle architecture (CMA), which will underpin all other upcoming cars in the 40 Series including electrified vehicles.

“The XC40 is our first entry in the small SUV segment, broadening the appeal of the Volvo brand and moving it in a new direction,” says Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “It represents a fresh, creative and distinctive new member of the Volvo line-up.”

The XC40 will be available with a D4 diesel or a T5 petrol four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain. Further powertrain options, including a hybridised as well as a pure electric version, will be added later. The XC40 will also be the first Volvo model to be available with Volvo’s new 3-cylinder engine.

In terms of technology, the XC40 brings the safety, connectivity and infotainment technologies known from the new 90- and 60 Series cars to the small SUV segment. 

Safety and driver assistance features on the XC40 include Volvo’s pilot assist system, city safety, run-off road protection and mitigation, cross traffic alert with brake support and the 360° camera that helps drivers manoeuvre into tight parking spaces.

Production of the XC40 starts in November with the first models arriving in New Zealand in the first quarter of 2018.

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2018 Discovery tows seven-trailer truck

The Land Rover Discovery has taken on a 110-tonne road train in the Australian Outback and won.

The sight of a seven-trailer truck being pulled by an SUV sounds far-fetched – but that’s exactly what happened when Land Rover put the Discovery to the ultimate towing test.

Land Rover completed the display of towing capability by pulling a 100 metre road train in the remote Northern Territory to announce the arrival of the 2018 Discovery.

The Discovery Td6 has a maximum certified towing capacity of 3,500kg on public roads but towed the road train 16km along a closed section of the Lasseter Highway, thanks to its 258PS 3.0-litre diesel engine and four-wheel-drive traction.

Road trains of up to four trailers are only permitted in Australia’s Outback regions. Regulations limit their length to 53.5m so Land Rover obtained permission to pull seven trailers and the 12-tonne tractor unit – retained to operate the hydraulic brakes fitted to the trailers.

“When Land Rover first got in touch, I didn’t think the vehicle would be able to do it, so I was amazed by how easily the standard Discovery pulled a 110-tonne road train,” says John Bilato, managing director of Haulage Specialist G&S Transport, Took.

“Towing capability has always been an important part of Discovery DNA and the raw weight of the road train tells only half the story here. Pulling a rig and seven trailers, with the rolling resistance of so many axles to overcome, is a huge achievement. We expected the vehicle to do well but it passed this test with flying colours, hitting 44km/h along its 16km route,” says Quentin Spottiswoode, Land Rover product engineer.

The Discovery used a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system and was hooked up to the road train using a factory-fitted tow bar attachment. With 600Nm of torque, the Td6 is well suited to pulling heavy loads. The 258PS 3.0- litre single-turbo engine features low-pressure exhaust recirculation and a two-stage oil pump for improved responses, refinement and efficiency. As a result, the diesel model delivers CO2 emissions of 189g/km and fuel economy of 39.2mpg (7.2l/100km).

Discovery is now available with Jaguar Land Rover’s efficient 300PS four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine.  The new engine produces 400Nm of torque and CO2 emissions from 219g/km.

 

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Intel: auto drive cars will lead to safer roads

Intel says autonomous driving will end human driving errors and lead to safer roads for everyone.

Brian Krzanich, chief executive officer of Intel Corporation, has discussed his company’s collaboration with Google company Waymo, and says he sees the venture helping to achieve these goals.

“Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes worldwide every year – an average 3,287 deaths a day. Nearly 90 per cent of those collisions are caused by human error,” Krzanich says.

“Self-driving technology can help prevent these errors by giving autonomous vehicles the capacity to learn from the collective experience of millions of cars – avoiding the mistakes of others and creating a safer driving environment.”

Waymo’s newest vehicles, the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans, feature Intel-based technologies that offer Waymo’s fleet the processing power required for high-level to fully autonomous driving.

Krzanich says that at the pace autonomous technology is developing, he expects his children to be using the tech exclusively.

“That’s an astounding thought: Something almost 90 per cent of Americans do every day will end within a generation. With so much life-saving potential, it’s a rapid transformation that Intel is excited to be at the forefront of along with other industry leaders like Waymo.”

Autonomous vehicle manufacturers are moving into the Pacific. Last week Auckland company Ohmio Automation announced it will establish a production facility to build autonomous vehicles in Christchurch, and French company Navya stated its intention to build a production facility in Adelaide, Australia.

 

 

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BMW’s Gran Turismo arrives November

The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo will arrive in New Zealand in November, and pricing and technical specs have been released.

BMW says its new 6 Series Gran Turismo will combine the long-distance comfort of a luxury sedan with the aesthetic appeal of a coupe, and that the design embodies a rigorous process of development.

Recommended retail pricing for the 6 Series starts from $155,600 plus on-road costs for the BMW 640i xDrive Gran Turismo.

The new 6 Series.

The new 6 series will sport a 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine that generates a maximum output of 250kW and delivers peak torque of 450Nm of torque between 1,380 and 5,200 rpm, reaching 0 to 100 kmh in 5.3 seconds.

The combined fuel consumption is 8.2 litres per 100 kilometres (figures according to the NEDC test cycle, may vary depending on the tyre format and vehicle specifications).

The new 6 Series will come with a number of driver assistance options that include a stereo camera that will link up with optional radar and ultrasonic sensors to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings.

Collision and pedestrian warning systems comes as standard, as does cruise control. This system is operational in a speed range from 0 to 210 kmh and is capable of braking the vehicle to a standstill.

The 6 Series interior.

Roadside assistance services come built in BMW. The vehicles uses an emergency call system with automatic locating and accident severity detection, alongside BMW’s teleservice accident assistance, that detects low-speed collisions below the threshold for airbag deployment.

The driver receives a message in the heads-up display offering to contact the BMW Accident Assistance service directly.

Pre-orders for the new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo have opened.

 

 

 

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Subaru’s 2018 performance range: first look

Subaru’s 2018 performance range has debuted with technical specs, design insights and pricing info.

The all-wheel drive turbocharged WRX, WRX STi and Levorg 2.0 GT-S displays a number of exterior design changes which include new alloy wheel designs, front grilles, front bumpers and LED headlight designs.

The MY18 Subaru WRX STi.

Subaru of New Zealand managing director Wallis Dumper says that the WRX and STi have gained a special place in their rally heritage market over the years.

“There are a huge amount of safety and specification improvements to the full range of WRX, STi and Levorg cars. These are cars that are exciting to drive and have very little competition,” Dumper says.

New breaking and wheel upgrades feature on all the new WRX STi models, to 340mm front and 326mm rear cross-drilled rotors clamped by six piston front and two piston rear yellow Brembo calipers.

Entry-level WRX STi’s gain heated door mirrors, while WRX STi Premium and WRX STi add the Front View Monitor.

All STi models have also received changes to suspension components and the driver control systems.

Every Levorg 2.0 GT-S, WRX and WRX STI has an independent five-star rating for occupant safety.

The models will come in the following variants and prices; WRX 6-speed manual at $48,990 and the WRX 8-speed SLT at $50,990. The WRX Premium 6-speed manual at $53,990 and the WRX Premium 8-speed SLT at $55,990. The WRX STi at $59,990 and the WRX STi Premium $64,990, both available with and optional rear spoiler, and the Levorg 2.0 GT at $57,990.

Subaru has not yet announced a specific date for the launch of the range.

The MY18 Subaru Levorg.

 

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XC60 pricing info released

Volvo’s new XC60 will be available to New Zealand customers in November, from $84,000 plus on-roads.

The XC60 will offer both petrol and diesel alternatives as well as the flagship of the range, the T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Hybrid, first seen in New Zealand in the XC90. All new XC60 models feature all-wheel drive, and three different levels of specification.

Volvo Cars’ T8 Twin Engine Range.

Pricing for the XC60 T5 Momentum with the turbocharged 2-litre engine will start at $84,900 plus on-roads, while the top line XC60 T8 R-Design is priced from $117,900 plus on-roads.

Volvo’s NZ general manager Coby Duggan says early interest in the new model has been strong with self driving technology becoming more important to premium SUV buyers.

“Kiwi consumers are increasingly aware of the safety benefits of automation in vehicles,” he said.

All XC60s will come equipped with standard equipment that includes a 360-degree camera, navigation, parking assistance, keyless entry, handsfree tailgate and Apple Carplay / Android Auto integrated into the stereo system.

The new Volvo XC60’s interior.

Optional features such as soft Nappa Leather seats with ventilation and massage, Bowers & Wilkins speakers and four-corner air suspension are available.

The first XC60s are set to arrive in NZ in November in limited numbers, and pre-sales are now underway.

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Mitsubishi debuts eCanter

Mitsubishi has unveiled the eCanter, the Japanese car makers first electric medium-duty electric delivery truck.

Unveiled by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corportation (MFTBC), a part of Daimler Trucks, the vehicle will aim to transform urban areas, FleetOwner reports.

According to the company, reduced noise and zero emissions is a key to making cities more liveable.

The eCanter in New York City

The truck was driven through New York city by Fuso president and CEO Jecka Glasman, where Fuso converted an old gas station into its temporary “Energy Station of the Future”.

Introducing the truck, Marc Llistosella, president and CEO of MFTBC and head of Daimler Trucks Asia, said some of the main trends he’s seen that will have major impacts on the trucking and bus industries are urbanisation, emissions reduction, and energy efficiency.

“We have been seeing more and more renewable, clean energy,” Llistosella explained. “There were a lot of hesitations and resistance, but now I would say [electrification] is coming.”

Llistosella noted that 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in cities, which has become a main driver for electrification and the need for clean trucks and buses.

“Cities have a voice,” he says. “It’s clear they want less pollution, less emissions and much less noise. We see a lot of tendencies and strong statements – from cities like Paris – that from 2040 on, they will no longer allow combustion-engine vehicles and trucks allowed into the cities. We will see changes driven by the cities.”

The eCanter has a range of about 100kms and a load capacity up to three and a half tons – depending on body and usage. The vehicle’s electric powertrain contains six high voltage lithium ion battery packs with 420 V and13.8 kWh each. According to the company, when comparing the eCanter to a conventional diesel truck, it offers savings up to US$2,000 per 16,000 kms on operating costs.

The eCanter will be delivered to customers starting this year in the US, Europe and Japan. MFTBC says it is planning to deliver 500 units of this generation to customers within the next two years. Larger scale production is intended to start in 2019.

 

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Scotland to end sales of diesel, petrol cars by 2032

Scotland has announced they will phase out sales of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2032.

Scotland now follows a growing list of counties that have outlined intentions to move away from the internal combustion engine.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, outlined plans to “massively expand” charging points and set up pilot projects to encourage uptake of electric vehicles.

If Scotland meets its target, it will do so eight years ahead of the UK as a whole.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, outlined the plans.

“Our aim is for new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be phased out in Scotland by 2032,” Ms Sturgeon said.

The Government said the commitment was necessary due to the avoidable impact poor air quality was having on people’s health.

Jesse Norman, the parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Transport, confirmed the Government’s plans.

“The Government has a manifesto commitment for almost all cars and vans on our roads to be zero emission by 2050. We believe this would necessitate all new cars and van being zero emission vehicles by 2040,” Mr Norman said in a written answer to the Commons.

The UK government said earlier this year that in the interests of meeting targets under the Paris climate accord and to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, they would end the production of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

France has an even stricter target, announcing they would ban sales of the internal combustion engine the same year as the UK plans to have them phased out.

Earlier this week China also announced it would phase out the combustion engine, and focus on the production of electric vehicles.

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Production facility for autonomous vehicles in Christchurch

An Auckland company has announced it will establish a production facility to build autonomous vehicles in Christchurch.

Ohmio Automotion launched in Christchurch yesterday with the company showcasing three shuttle buses, which feature self-driving vehicle technology.

Fully operational prototypes of the electric Ohmio Hop shuttles carried passengers including school children as they performed on a circuit around the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Ohmio claims to be one of the first companies whose shuttles can form a connected convoy.

An Ohmio autonomous bus outside the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Ohmio vehicles include self-mapping artificial intelligence. Once they have completed their route once, they are able to self-drive the route over and over.

A range of four Ohmio models is planned for production before 2019, the vehicles will range in size from small to large shuttles and freight pods and vehicles will be customisable to suit their customer. All models will be built around the innovative technology developed by parent company HMI Technologies, a technology company that specialises in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

Richard Harris of HMI Technologies says that he expects the autonomous vehicles would operate well in a confined area, when fully introduced.

“I can imagine them moving around a set space, perhaps a CBD, picking up and dropping people off, rather than shooting out to the airport or somewhere further away.”

HMI has been developing and manufacturing ITS solutions for 15 years, their customers include governments and transport agencies. Their technology includes electronic signs, sensors and software for monitoring transport to aid management of urban and rural transport environments, making transport safer and more efficient.

Being in New Zealand offers the new company a formidable advantage, explains Mohammed Hikmet, founder of HMI Technologies. 

“The testing and deployment of autonomous vehicles elsewhere is slowed down by legislation or requires special permits. Here in New Zealand, the government already allows for testing of driverless vehicles. That gives Ohmio an advantage as we scale up and develop our technology, especially as we understand regulations here and in Australia.”

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel is excited by the Ohmio technology and what it will mean for the city’s future direction.

“And they have done it here in Christchurch where we are seizing the opportunity to become a testbed for emerging technologies. We won’t be swamped by disruption – we will embrace it, learn from it and turn it on its head,” says the Mayor.

“This could help write a regulatory framework for the roads and the signals that provide guidance to the vehicles. We can set the standards for NZ and the world.”

 

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First look at third gen Swift Sport

Suzuki will unveil the next generation Swift at the Frankfurt international motor show on September 12, and has provided a first look at their flagship hot hatch.

Suzuki says the third generation Sport is based on the new Swift range, released in New Zealand in June, and is lighter, more efficient.

The Sport will be the first Swift to be turbocharged, and will be available for the New Zealand market with a 6 speed manual or automatic transmission, the latter with paddle shifters.

A first look at the third generation Swift Sport.

“Swift Sports have always harked back to classic hot hatches of old with their tenacity and clean dynamic interaction, and we expect the latest generation version to inherit these admirable qualities,” said Gary Collins, General Manager, Automobile Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

Suzuki promises that the new Swift Sport will be the best value hot hatch on the local market, building on the strengths of its predecessor while incorporating the latest technology.

New Zealand consumers will be able to find out during the first quarter of next year, when the new generation model goes on sale locally.

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First electric rubbish truck on NZ streets

Waste Management NZ is currently trialling their first electric truck for wheelie bin waste collections, which will start work on New Zealand streets from October this year.

Christchurch will be the first city in the Southern Hemisphere to put a 100% electric residential waste collection truck into service.

More electric trucks will arrive into Waste Management’s fleet in other cities around New Zealand towards the end of 2017.

Waste Management announced its move towards a fleet of electric vehicles in September last year as part of its Sustainability Commitment.

Waste Management NZ’s first electric truck.

The company has introduced more than 20 electric cars within its light fleet. It also launched an electric box body truck, which collects food waste from Countdown supermarkets across Auckland, earlier this year. This new truck will be the first electric truck which is designed and dedicated to collecting residential wheelie bins from the kerbside.

Tom Nickels, Waste Management Managing Director, says the new truck is further evidence of the company’s continued shift to EVs.

“With a large fleet of trucks and cars on the road we believe we can help safeguard our environment for future generations through the adoption of electric vehicle technology. I am delighted we’re bringing this strategy to life by rolling out electric trucks across New Zealand.”

Other logistics operators, such as Infratil NZ, have been trialling electric vehicle technologies. Their business NZ bus is testing the Chinese made BYD fully electric vehicle, in a bid to accelerate the transition to electric-powered public transport in New Zealand.

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