Advanced Safety Technologies ‘i-ACTIVSENSE’ for All-New Mazda6

September 27th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Mazda Motor Corporation will highlight “i-ACTIVSENSE” technologies in the all-new Mazda6 which will take centre stage at this year’s Paris Motor Show and make its Australasian debut at the 2012 Australian International Motor Show from 19th to 28th October.

i-ACTIVSENSE is a series of advanced safety technologies designed by Mazda to aid the driver in recognizing hazards, avoiding collisions and reducing the severity of accidents when they cannot be avoided.

Andrew Clearwater, Managing Director of Mazda New Zealand, says i-ACTIVSENSE brings with it a new standard in safety performance over a wide range of driving conditions.

“Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE is an exciting innovation for the company and for drivers of Mazda vehicles. Through the use of a full suite of new safety features, which make use of detection devices such as milliwave radars and cameras, Mazda is revolutionizing the driving experience. With safety one of the number one considerations for new car buyers, i-ACTIVSENSE makes the new Mazda6 and all new generation Mazda vehicles a simple choice,” says Clearwater.

At Mazda, the research and development of safety technology is based upon the company’s safety philosophy, Mazda Proactive Safety, which aims to minimize the risk of an accident by maximizing the range of conditions in which the driver can safely operate the vehicle.

Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE describes a group of advanced safety technologies, developed in line with Mazda Proactive Safety, including both active safety technologies that help the driver to recognize potential hazards, and pre-crash safety technologies which help to avert collisions or reduce their severity in situations where they cannot be avoided.

The Mazda6 with i-ACTIVSENSE will be available in New Zealand in early 2013.

Overview of i-ACTIVSENSE technologies

Control (MRCC): Judges the relative speed and distance to the car ahead, and works within a set speed range to maintain a safe following distance, thus alleviating some of the burden on the driver when driving on highways

Hazard Recognition Support and Forward Obstruction Warning (FOW):

Detects vehicles in front and alerts the driver to an approaching risk of collision early enough for the driver to brake or take evasive action

Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS): Detects lane markings on the road surface and warns drivers of imminent unintentional lane departures

Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM): Detects cars in the blind spot on either side or approaching from behind and alerts the driver to potential risks

High-Beam Control System (HBC): Detects oncoming traffic and vehicles in front and automatically switches headlights between high and low beam, improving visibility at night and aiding hazard avoidance

Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS): Supports safe driving at night by turning the headlights based on the degree of steering input and vehicle speed to maximize illumination and visibility at curves and intersections

Collision Avoidance/ Damage Reduction Support and Smart Brake Support (SBS): Helps reduce the severity of a collision by automatically applying the brakes when a risk of frontal collision is detected while driving at speeds of 15km/h or more

 

Sporty, Functional, Efficient: Panamera Sport Turismo

September 27th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Porsche is presenting the Panamera Sport Turismo concept car at the Paris Motor Show. The Sport Turismo unites the next generation hybrid drive with new ideas for an evolutionary, sporty body concept; it combines Porsche performance with comprehensive everyday practicality.

Body: sports appeal and functionality in further developed design
The body concept of the Panamera Sport Turismo is an outlook on a possible Porsche sports car of tomorrow: The overhangs are short, and the boot lid is large – both sporty and functional. The concept car combines the dimensions of a premium vehicle with the interior comfort of the luxury class. The Sport Turismo is 1,990 mm wide, a low 1,401 mm in height and 4,950 mm long. Its direction indicators and sidelights are integrated in C-shaped lighting units – known as C-Blades – mounted in the large air inlets at the front end. Together with four-point LED headlights in an innovative design, they define the front end appearance of the concept car.

The smooth and taut exterior skin is not interrupted by add-on parts – there are no conventional exterior mirrors. In their place, the Sport Turismo has two cameras mounted in the side air outlets whose images are shown on the displays in the cockpit. The rear body has been completely reshaped, yet it retains all of the characteristics of a Porsche. The rear lights in LED technology and the tail-light panel with the “Porsche” badge are sculpted in three dimensions, and the brake light is positioned between the four-point LED rear lights. Forming the roof termination is an adaptive carbon rear spoiler that produces improved downforce.

The new Liquid Metal Blue colour gives the concept car a surface that resembles liquid metal and highlights its contours and design lines more distinctly. The wheels in dual-spoke design have a bicolour look, and the brake callipers are painted Acid Green. The hub locks of the wheels recall the origins of every Porsche – which is motorsport. “e-hybrid” badges on the sides refer to the car’s drive concept, while the name “Sport Turismo” at the rear, framed in the same Acid Green colour, emphasises the car’s concept character. The milled aluminium battery housing is mounted under the boot floor, which is made of electrochromatic glass and reveals a view of the energy source illuminated in Acid Green at the press of a button.

“e-hybrid” stands for plug-in hybrid technology from Porsche
The drive technology of the Panamera Sport Turismo completes the next development step towards the plug-in hybrid, symbolised by the “e-hybrid” badge on the front wings. The car’s new ability to be
charged from the electrical power grid has been combined with even higher performance components. The concept vehicle with its 416 hp (306 kW) of peak system power is designed to be driven in pure
electric mode up to a speed of 130 km/h and can cover distances of over 30 km. The Sport Turismo also exhibits impressive fuel economy per the NEDC standard; its combined fuel consumption is less
than 3.5 litres per 100 km, while CO2 emissions are under 82 g/km.

The drive system of the Panamera Sport Turismo is an advanced development of the parallel full hybrid that Porsche already implements today in the Panamera S Hybrid and Cayenne S Hybrid. The
new electric motor produces about 70 kW (95 hp), which is around twice as much as in today’s Porsche hybrid drive, while the supercharged three-litre V6 engine still produces 245 kW (333 hp) here. In their interplay, they accelerate the concept car from zero to 100 km/h in less than six seconds.

Power pack: lithium-ion battery with external charging capability
The electric power pack of the Sport Turismo e-hybrid consists of a lithium-ion battery whose performance is several times that of the nickel-hydride battery currently used in production, although it has practically the same dimensions. Its 9.4 Kilowatt-hours of energy storage capacity and high peak power enable faster acceleration, longer electric driving range and higher speeds when driving without the internal combustion engine.

The default operating mode of the e-hybrid prioritises all-electric driving, but the driver may deactivate this by pressing a special button on the steering wheel. In addition, when the car is being operated in hybrid mode the driver can select the e-charge mode by pressing the steering wheel button to intentionally intensify charging of the high-voltage battery. This is especially useful when one section of the driving route on a motorway is followed by a section through a city that should be driven in pure electric mode without local emissions. In the e-charge mode, the internal combustion engine charges the battery by load point shifting, while satisfying rational energy management criteria.

As a plug-in hybrid, the fluid-cooled lithium-ion battery is not only charged while driving; it can also be externally charged within 2.5 hours (depending on the power supply) via a charging interface on the vehicle. Porsche systematically thought through all aspects of the concept car’s plug-in system; it utilises a universal charger (AC) that is wall-mounted in a home garage and has a standardised charging plug.

Familiar and yet completely new: touch displays for instruments and controls
The interior of the Sport Turismo is a forward-looking interpretation of purist sports car thinking: as little as possible and as much as necessary. Instead of classic instruments, a large central TFT colour display is positioned in front of the driver; it is used to call up and display any vehicle information as needed – from the tachometer to driving data or navigation. Two monitors, one to the left and one to the right of this display, show images from the “exterior mirror” cameras. Two additional displays in tube form provide information on the hybrid-specific driving states, e.g. pure electric driving, as well as other functions. The power meter in the instrument panel illuminates in Acid Green and shows the combined system power of the two drives.

A press on the touch-sensitive colour display starts the e-hybrid. Naturally, on the side that is typical of a Porsche: the left side. A completely new type of touch display in the ascending centre console incorporates additional controls; this is the control centre for the e-hybrid and all other functions that is implemented in black panel technology. It offers the driver the option of influencing the hybrid drive via smart keys to choose maximum driving fun, maximum performance or maximum efficiency. All driving indicators and control functions are also intuitively operated by multi-touch functionality, such as automatic climate control, seat adjustment, lights, reversing camera and the functions of Porsche Communication Management (PCM).

Wide-ranging communications and control via smart phone app
The Panamera Sport Turismo gives the driver entirely new options for customised communications. The driver can use mobile online services to access and control all key vehicle information with a
smart phone app. Charge control by mobile phone shows the user just how much electricity the battery has already stored at any given time and predicts how much more time the charging process will
take. In addition, there is a charging timer with user-defined charging times. Moreover, the vehicle’s interior can also be preconditioned by mobile phone, e.g. by turning on the air conditioner, and the vehicle will already be at the right temperature before driving with electricity supplied from a household electrical outlet.

Specifications Panamera Sport Turismo concept car:
Body: Sport Turismo with four individual seats, four doors and boot lid.
Drive system: Parallel full hybrid; 3-litre V6 engine, charged; hybrid module with electric motor and disengagement clutch; rear-wheel drive. Power: 245 kW (333 hp) V6 engine approx. 70 kW (95 hp) hybrid module 306 kW (416 hp) (combined peak power)
Suspension: Double wishbone front suspension; electro-mechanical power steering; multi-link rear suspension.
Dimensions: Length 4,950 mm Width 1,990 mm Height 1,401 mm
Energy supply: Lithium-ion battery with 9.4 kWh capacity and plug-in charging system compatible with electrical power grid.
Performance: Top speed, pure electric mode approx. 130 km/h Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h < 6.0 s Consumption (NEDC): Combined < 3.5 l/100 km CO2 emissions: Combined 30 km Charging time: up to 2.5 h

Mitsubishi Motors Unveils The World’s First Plug-In Hybrid SUV

September 11th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will unveil the new Outlander PHEV at the Paris Motor Show on September 27.

Outlander PHEV is the world’s first plug-in hybrid SUV and offers the best of three worlds: the environmental performance of an electric vehicle (EV), the cruising range of a conventional internal
combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, and the on- and off-road performance of an SUV. MMC is due to bring Outlander PHEV to market first in Japan early in 2013. It is expected here in New Zealand mid
2013.

The Outlander PHEV uses Mitsubishi’s own Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain derived from 100% electric systems used on MMC’s pioneering 100% electric i-MiEV and other MMC all-electric vehicles.

Targeting owners who require extended cruising range, the Outlander PHEV’s Plug-in Hybrid EV System fuses together the EV technologies proven on i-MiEV with the very latest ICE environmental
technologies, including MMC’s MIVEC variable valve timing system. Employing electrical power stored in the drive battery by charging at home, at a charging station or when the system recovers energy when decelerating, the Plug-in Hybrid EV System gives the Outlander PHEV petrol-sipping performance, with a target combined fuel efficiency in excess of 61km/litre or less than 2l/100km, far better than vehicles powered by a conventional engine, and a cruising range in excess of 880 km.

Major features

1) Automatic selection of three drive modes for optimal efficiency
Depending on driving conditions and remaining battery charge, the Plug-in Hybrid EV powertrain automatically selects the optimum drive mode (see below) for comfortable driving while
providing superior fuel efficiency.

  • EV Drive Mode
    EV Drive Mode is an all-electric mode in which the front and rear motors drive the vehicle using only electricity from the drive battery. With zero on-road fuel consumption and zero CO2 emissions the driver can enjoy quiet and very eco-friendly performance in this mode.
  • Series Hybrid Mode
    In Series Hybrid Mode the IC engine operates as a generator supplying electricity to the electric motors. The system switches to this mode when the remaining charge in the battery falls below a predetermined level and when more powerful performance is required, such as accelerating to pass a vehicle or climbing a steep gradient.
  • Parallel Hybrid Mode
    In Parallel Hybrid Mode the IC engine provides most of the motive power, assisted by the electric motors as required. The system switches to this mode for higher-speed driving when the IC engine operates at peak efficiency.

2) High-capacity drive battery offers driving versatility
The high-capacity 12 kWh lithium-ion drive battery gives Outlander PHEV an EV Drive Mode cruising range of over 55 km (JC08 mode), sufficient for all-electric operation in most everyday situations

The driver can also manually switch to Battery Charge Mode in which the IC engine acts as a generator and charges the drive battery whether the vehicle is stationary or on the move. Battery Charge Mode gives the driver the flexibility to use the IC engine as a generator at any time they want; for example if the driver wants to use EV Drive Mode at a specific time, they can
make sure the drive battery has enough energy for that time.

2) Twin Motor 4WD System provides superior response
The Outlander PHEV uses a Twin Motor 4WD system comprising independent electric motors to drive the front and rear wheels. In addition to decreased friction loss Twin Motor 4WD delivers better response and finer control than conventional mechanical systems. It accomplishes this without a propeller shaft or other mechanical components seen in conventional mechanical systems. The Twin Motor 4WD system is integrated with Mitsubishi’s well-proven S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) integrated vehicle dynamics control system to deliver high levels of stability and all-terrain performance and ensure the vehicle behaves just as the driver intends it to. In addition, the front and rear electric motors generate maximum torque immediately, an inherent characteristic of electric motors, giving acceleration comparable to that of a vehicle powered by a large-displacement high-output ICE and allowing Outlander PHEV to deliver superior levels of environmental and driving performance.

Kia Unveils Carens ‘Teaser’

July 27th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo

Kia has released ‘teaser’ photos of the next generation Carens compact people mover, which is to make its world premier at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

The photos – shown in a colour negative format – depict a complete fresh and sleek design with a new cab-forward architecture that promises to deliver more room for passengers on the lengthened wheelbase.

The upcoming Carens also looks much sportier than the vehicle it replaces, thanks to a lower roofline and larger (up to 18 inch) wheels that fill the arches.

Kia Motors says the new Carens has been conceived around the theme “responsive space”, a term that describes more spacious functionality within the vehicle.

The company adds that the newcomer’s sporty looks will garner the sort of “emotional appeal” that is becoming a regular feature of Kia products.

The previous seven seater Carens model was sold in New Zealand for a period of time and Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand says the new version is an exciting progression of that concept.

“It has all the hallmarks of advanced design and fresh thinking that we have come to expect from Kia and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer,” says Mr McDonald, adding that while details of the Carens are still to be released, it will certainly be evaluated for our market.

The new Kia Carens will be unveiled at a special media preview in Paris on September 27 and then remain on public display for the duration of the motor show, which ends on October 14.

Kia’s unique POP concept showcases future tech

October 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The striking Kia POP concept, just unveiled at the Paris Auto Salon, offers a glimpse of Kia Motors’ take on the future.

The electric-powered, bubble-shaped three-seater has been built to showcase the technology contained within the unusual body. Kia Motors used the Paris show to confirm that its first production electric car will go on sale in late 2011 — it’s tipped to be a small CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle).

Showcasing Kia’s increasing focus on new technologies, the chrome-coloured, three-metre-long, three-seater POP with its electric drivetrain, oblong-shaped side windows and butterfly-hinged doors took centre stage on Kia’s Paris Show stand.

Unconventional features of POP include its side-window design, the dot-pattern head and taillights, back-lit front grille, rear-view cameras in each door, full-length glass roof and the unique wheels — all point to inspiration from outside the usual automotive spheres. Designs have taken cues from as areas such as gliders and high-speed bicycles. Some of these design aspects may well be seen in the designs of future Kia vehicles.

Inside, a small piece of plexi-glass sits in front of the steering wheel and shows a Transparent Organic LED display for speed, battery charge and the other main readouts, when the car is running.  At other times it is totally transparent.

To the right of the steering wheel, a sculpted, chrome-look panel features only one button, with every other function (audio, sat-nav, climate control, etc) controlled via an animated touch screen.

The front seat is a sculpted bench, with eye-catching, flowing lines, while the rear seat is positioned at an offset angle, resulting in remarkable legroom for a 1,740 mm wide car with a wheelbase of just 2,055 mm.  Designed to accommodate a single passenger, this seat is a two-part affair, with a base that flips up when not in use and a backrest and a head restraint integrated into the headlining.

Continue reading “Kia’s unique POP concept showcases future tech” »

New Lotus Elan unveiled – sets sights on 911

October 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Many readers will remember the Lotus Elan from the early 90’s, while that model never achieved greatness Lotus is having another crack with an all-new Elan. The concept has just been unveiled in Paris and it is scheduled for production in 2013.

While its styling looks more Japanese than British, this new performance coupe is aiming to become a legitimate rival to the Porsche 911.

While Lotus acknowledge this isn’t going to be easy it feels quietly confident in this newest model. Power comes from a mid-mounted 4.0-litre V6 engine with 331 kW on tap and 465 Nm (343 lb-ft) of toque. It is backed up by a seven-speed DCT transmission, which allows the lightweight 1,295 kg car to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.5 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 310 km/h. If that’s too much grunt for you, perhaps you’ll be interested in the hybrid variant also scheduled for production.

The Elan will carry a base price of approximately £75,000 ($159,000 NZ).

Peugeot HR1 concept revealed with something for everyone

October 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Peugeot has unveiled its newest concept at the Paris Motor Show – the HR1.

Designed to have styling cues from many car genres including city run-around, coupe and SUV, the HR1 features electric scissor doors, a bubble roof, and LED lighting units.

Inside, there’s a driver-focused cockpit with a head-up display, ‘stowaway’ rear seats, and a ground-breaking movement recognition system. The latter enables users to “scroll through functions and select available settings with a simple movement of the hand.”

Under the unique sheetmetal power is provided by an 82 kW 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine at the front and a 28 kW electric motor in the rear. The HR1 can operate in EV mode, petrol mode, and four-wheel drive mode (which uses the petrol engine and the electric motor). Both motors are linked to a six-speed automatic transmission and fuel consumption is kept down to just 3.5-litres per 100kms. Continue reading “Peugeot HR1 concept revealed with something for everyone” »

Audi unveils Quattro Concept to celebrate original’s 30th birthday

October 1st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Audi has just revealed its ‘quattro concept’ in Paris as a tribute to the 30th anniversary of the original car’s debut back in 1980. There’s plenty to like about the concept machine but what’s extra hot is that, like the original, it’s powered by a turbocharged 5-cylinder.

In this case, though, the 2.5-litre mill makes a stonking 300 kW and uses a 6-speed manual transmission to, of course, power all four 20-inch wheels with 480 Nm of torque. Stopping the bease are chunky carbon-ceramic discs wearing 6-piston grippers.

With its high-output 5-cyl and lightweight construction, this new concept can hit 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds and return an impressive fuel economy of 8.5 liters/100 km.

Based on the much-loved RS5, Audi’s top designers shaved 150 millimeters off the wheelbase – now 2.6 meters – and chopped the roof by 40 mm in an attempt to immediately save weight. Dimensions are stated as 4.28 m long, 1.86 m wide, and 1.33 m tall.

In order to reach the 1,300 kilograms target, Audi used aluminum and carbon fibre in liberal doses. The bonnet, hatch and spoiler are made from carbon fibre and the rear seats have also been thrown out and replaced with a small luggage shelf.

In terms of exterior styling the front fascia is an all-LED light setup, in between sits Audi’s signature wide-mouth grille and the retro-inspired bonnet scoop is above.

The interior is well detailed but suitably spartan with two 18-kilo passenger seats with either three- or four-point harnesses. The driver will make use of a fully digital display which has two modes, “normal” and “race”. When choosing race mode, Audi says the graphics “revisit and refine” original Quattro’s digital display.

Continue reading “Audi unveils Quattro Concept to celebrate original’s 30th birthday” »

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